Code Geass and Gurren Lagann in the same game? Madness!
The first Super Robot Wars title to be created under Namco Bandai. In many ways, it broke certain precedents and traditions: for example, the number of new series is more than any previous SRW. In this game, you play as either Rand Travis, a wandering repairman/mechanic, who's partnered with the young Mel Beater, or Setsuko Ohara, a member of "Glory Star", a small military squadron in the Earth Federation, alongside teammates Denzel Hammer and Toby Watson, as they are pulled through many conflicts. The main plot point of the game is Super Dimension Century Orguss's dimension bomb, which fuses an array of parallel worlds into one.
A PlayStation Portable sequel entitled The Second Super Robot Wars Z Hakai-hen is a two-part release, with the first half launched in April 2011 and the second slated for April 2012. This "World Breaking Chapter" returns every franchise from the first game, but the Mazinger Z and Getter Robo titles have their 1970s-vintage entries (including Great Mazinger and Grendizer) tossed for the more modern Shin Mazinger and Getter Robo Armageddon, while Eureka Seven is now represented by its movie adaptation, and Zeta Gundam has its movie apparently replaced with the TV series, despite still using the movie character designs, movie backround music, and including a never-before used movie-only attack. For some reason, Gravion and The Big O only have one season each listed in the credits for Hakai-hen: Gravion Zwei and The Big O's first (it should be noted that Big O still had some Season 2 only attacks in Hakai-hen, so one can assume that the second season was just grouped with the first for simplicity's sake), only for Gravion's first season to reappear in Saisei-hen's credits.
Series added in Hakai-hen (Bold indicates debuting entries):
By Word of God, any series with their first seasons covered in Part 1 will be concluded in Part 2. This is also true of Gurren Lagann, despite being a single season, due to its eight-year time skip. Fans have regarded this titanic series list as the "Best Thing Ever". From what little we know about the second game, things in the Z universe are going to get MUCH worse before they get better.Note that Z appears to be designed around breaking the old tropes previous SRW installments had, so expect a lot of aversions, inversions, and subversions.These games contain examples of:
A Day in the Limelight: Z1 is this to Zambot 3, which had previously been frequently overshadowed by its sibling Daitarn 3, as well losing a good deal of its plot to lessen the copius deaths and child abuse. In Z1 however, Daitarn 3 has more of a supporting role while the Zambot plot has a rather large one in Setsuko's route, with a lot more of the plot retained.
Ascended Meme: Kamina's epic sunglasses are an equippable item that gives you 20+ Will at a battle's start. This unlocks some of the more powerful attacks right off the bat. Ironically, Gurren Lagann's pilots don't need them, as Simon's ace bonus is beginning each scenario at 130 Will.
Back from the Dead: Emperor Muge Zorbados, Moon WILL (Thanks to the former), Emperor Zule (technically) and Aim Liard in Saisei-hen.
Badass Crew: ZEUTH and the Chimera Corps in Z, ZEXIS in Hakai-hen as well as the returning ZEUTH, obviously.
The Chimera Corps take the cake here: they literally played everyone and took control of the whole world while being consisted only of five members, which shocks ZEUTH to no end when they find this out.
Also, from the Z Special Disk, we have the Noir 7, a group of mercenaries from various factions (most of the major villainous human factions in Z) with grunt suits, but are actually very skilled, and spend their time protecting the peace. You get them for one scenario with Roger Smith, and they're pretty useful.
Bag of Spilling: Every main protagonist in ZEUTH loses something when they appear in Hakai-hen, either a combination attack if they had one or their strongest attack if they didn't, so that they'll have something to upgrade with in Saisei-hen. The only main characters who lose nothing are Amuro Ray and Banjou Haran, the latter actually gaining a new combination attack, but these two join you much later than the others to make up for it. A smaller case then occurs in Saisei-hen with some units, most notably Dai-Guard losing the Great Knot Punisher, and the Nirvash Spec V somehow devolving into the Spec 2.
Big Bad: The Edel Bernal, who doubles as a rare, villainous Ascended Fanboy, due to his battle quotes almost always referencing the personality or nicknames of the pilots attacking him and the events that happen in their series.
In Hakai-hen, it's Gaiou, the King of Destruction, who initially has Amnesiac Dissonance and just goes around destroying things as he likes while his subordinates do all the scheming, but eventually regains some of his memories and, in the final scenario, declares he wants to fight and kill a god (or a godlike being; he isn't exactly picky).
Saisei-Hen, in contrast, has Uther, the King of Restoration as it's leading baddie. Preumably, as this guy is also the king of Insaraum, he wants to restore his country, and is, himself, a legitimate sphere-holder. In his case, his is Aquarius, a.k.a. "The Inexhaustible Water Vessel". He starts out as benign, and even helpful. When you meet him in Stage 46, he is a classic example of the Sheltered Aristocrat, and he is controlled by a cruel Prime Minister, but when his Sphere activates, he takes about fifty levels in badass after getting some sense talked into him by your team, and blows the final boss of the previous game away with one attack in his new giant king robot. Despite this, Gaiou is still the Major Antagonist of Saisei-Hen and the Z2 Universe in general.
Bigger Bad: The "inevitable crisis" known as Baal that all the bad guys in Saisei-Hen are worried about and is Gaiou's mission to fight against. Who or what that is has yet to be revealed.
Big Brother Mentor: In Z, Gainer first invoke this toward Renton, but it set back since Renton is an outdoor boy, being more interesting in sport like Lifting than video game. Then it's double subversion, as Renton actually call him "Gainer-niisan" after witness Gainer's prowess in mech combat.
Elgan Laudic in Z2, the founder of ZEXIS and an alternate, non-insane version of the Edel Bernal.
Also, to a lesser degree, Lelouch Lamperouge when he becomes the Supreme Commander of ZEXIS in Saisei-hen.
Blessed with Suck: Being a sphere owner is not fun. Sure you get amazing power but the trigger is NEVER something you would want.
Here are a few examples from the known sphere holders:
Setsuko: Slowly loses her five senses as a result of using the Sorrowful Maiden.
Rand and Mel: Mel cannot age, and Rand experiences extreme pain as a side effect of tapping into the Wounded Lion (since Mel is the holder, but Rand is the Gunleon's pilot).
Crowe: Once the Swaying Scales reaches full power, Crowe is locked onto a single thought and cannot break out of it, entering a near-berserker state. It can be easily countered by making him hear the sound of the coin dropping through.
Aim: The False Black Sheep prevents Aim from speaking the truth, ranging from speaking only in lies to babbling in complete gibberish.
Uther: The Inexhaustible Water Jug slowly drains Uther's life force the more he uses it.
Saisei-hen introduces another "blessing". The "Stigma of the Cursed Wanderer". As a result of being exposed to the power of dimensional travel repeatedly, those that are marked by the stigma will find themselves and their weapons drawn to any world in which someone is manipulating dimensional power, unless that world has a version of yourself already present. This is why Zeuth members appear in the world of Zexis. (and why the original Mazinger, Getter and E7 characters don't) It also renders you immortal, and is the reason Asakim cannot die. As of the end of Saisei-hen, EVERYONE in Zexis has been marked by the stigma, as Asakim cheerfully informs them.
Cerebus Syndrome: Rand's scenario is generally a silly, lighthearted romp until the point where he gets his Gunleon's Mid-Season Upgrade, where everything becomes serious from that point on. Not to say that the silliness is completely gone, of course.
In Hakai-hen, Kamina's death is a big turning point where things start getting more serious, especially if you've been sticking to the Japan Route.
It actually starts getting bad when Gaiou appears, but after Kamina dies, the mood is a lot less lighthearted.
Character Exaggeration: Lunamaria Hawke's aiming skills. Thanks to an incident in the SEED Destiny anime where she managed to cleanly miss hitting a battleship with a beam rifle, she has the "honor" of having the Spirit Command "Strike" (gives 100% accuracy for 1 turn) at the monumental cost of 30 SP (it usually costs about half or a third that much) - a figure only matched by Mr. No Sense of DirectionMasaki Andoh.
Her Ace Bonus in Hakai-hen is cutting the cost of her Strike command in half.
Another example is Roger Smith, who talks much more than he used to back in his series, especially when piloting the Big O and also by exaggerating the frequency of his failures in negotiations and making it something of a Running Gag. To be fair, this is a mostly text-based game, so Roger had to be made more verbose to some extent, and his negotiations are sometimes plain impossible. For example, one of the first negotiations we see him do is between a disguised Hyakki and the Saotome Research Lab...
Chekhov's Gun: Near the beginning of Hakai-hen, Lelouch Lamperouge places a Geass command to force Carlos Axion Jr., the richest man in the world and president of the Axion Foundation that created Crowe Broust's Brasta, to answer any questions Lelouch has for him so he can steal his financial information to fund the creation of the Black Knights. It turns out Carlos is working against ZEXIS, and when they get their hands on him after scenario 49, they interrogate him as to Gaiou's whereabouts. When he doesn't comply, Lelouch-as-Zero recalls the Geass command he placed on Carlos and asks him personally; Carlos instantly reveals Gaiou is on the moon. Everyone else gets confused by Carlos' sudden change of heart, since they don't know that Zero is Lelouch or what Geass is.
Early on in Saisei-hen, Lockon Stratos flips a coin and notes how Crowe suddenly reacts to it. Later on, they try it again with something else to see if Crowe would react in a similar fashion, only he doesn't. Crowe explains that he can tell how a coin really sounds like, and only that will garner said reaction from him. Cue the CDS.
Again in Saisei-hen, Zero accidentally placed a geass on Esther after she turns into a Dimentional Beast, commanding her to stop when she attacked the Shinkirou. Few chapters later, Crowe believes that Esther has completely turned into a DAMON, to which Marguerite tells him otherwise. DAMON Esther attacks him at that moment, only to halt in its tracks after Zero reissues the same command, proving to Crowe that Esther isn't completely a DAMON yet, and still retains her humanity to a certain degree.
Chekhov's Gunman: Xine Espio shows up early as a generic mook who attacks Kei Katsuragi right after he primes the Space/Time Oscillation Bomb. She uses a generic mook pilot portrait and name; the only thing that gives any hint to her identity at that point was her voice.
Cherry Tapping: In Saisen-Hen the Nu Gundam gets a glorious new attack that involves good old fisticuff and its dynamic kill closes with a barrage of...vulcun firepower. Amuro is cool that he can get away with that just cuz.
Clipped Wing Angel: The Daigun Doten Kaizen boss fight in Scenario 44 of Hakai-hen's Earth route. It only has one attack, but Guame and Adiane provide backup and it has lots of HP.
Combat Sadomasochist: The Edel Bernal, SOOOO much. He practically orgasms with every hit, his or yours.
The Comically Serious: Z enjoys placing deadpan characters in the middle of comedic situations. Roger comes to mind with jabs at his constant failures at "negotiation" and having to resort to force.
In Hakai-hen, the Dynamic Kill of Nu Gundam's Fin Funnel attack ends with it performing the "Last Shooting". For those unfamiliar with the term, it's the name for the "firing straight upwards" pose the original Gundam did to finish off Char's Zeong in Mobile Suit Gundam.
There's tons of these to Z: for the first time, originals and series that didn't return are directly referenced, although the only series that didn't come back were the old Mazinger series, Grendizer, Getter G, and TV Eureka Seven. One example includes Camille asking the current Kouji Kabuto how Duke Fleed and Tetsuya Tsurugi are doing, before realizing this Kouji has never met them. For Eureka Seven, this dimension's version being different is actually a plot point. Still, it helps prevent the problem that was present in the Super Robot Wars Alpha games, where a series that appeared in one game and didn't appear in subsequent ones (I'm looking at you, Giant Robo and Brain Powered!) would utterly fail to be mentioned in dialogue, as if they had been Exiled from Continuity.
In one interesting nod, during the "Seikan Hikou" event linked below, Apollo gets into the song so much that he almost wants to do the memetic "KIRA!" bit from the song. In Another Century's Episode:R, where both Aquarion and Macross Frontier were part of the cast, Apollo repeats this very line nearly verbatim during the same event in that game.
Cruel Twist Ending: Hakai-Hen's storyline avoids the Downer Ending of both Gundam 00's first season and Getter Robo Armageddon's second episode, and the end sequence plays out with it looking like everything's fine. Credits roll, and then all the bad stuff starts to happen...
Crutch Character: In Hakai-Hen we have Kamina oh, so very much. If he didn't bite it halfway through the game, he would've been a Game Breaker.
To elaborate, he has extremely high stats even for a super robot pilot, gains the Spirit Command Valor (multiply damage you deal by 2 for a single attack) the earliest out of any character in the game, and his Ace Bonus raises his max Will by 30, which, combined with the "Break Will Limit" pilot skill, would set his maximum Will at 200. Should players decide to Level Grind, he'll learn Soul (multiply damage by 2.5), which would make it likely he can outdamage even Ryouma.
However, since he's docked together with Simon, you'd still be using him anyway, for Simon's sake.
Cutscene Power to the Max: When a unit gains a new attack (like Crowe Broust's Brasta and its SPIGOT VX), it may debut with a battle animation showing it dealing heavy damage to, if not outright killing, a five-digit-HP-bearing boss in one hit. It rarely works that way when you actually use it.
Inverted in Setsuna's final fight against Alejandro. If you've fully upgraded Exia, it's entirely possible to one-shot the enemy with plenty of damage to spare - which then triggers a cutscene where he does the same attack, and it only does barely enough damage to take him down.
In Z2, Original Dancouga, Destroy Gundam, Face Metal Beast, Beast Gore and Burai, Branch Robot 5
Demoted to Extra: Despite being one of the most powerful leaders and newtypes in Universal Century, Haman Khan gets shafted into playing second-fiddle to Paptimus Scirocco and Gilbert Durandal. When it seems she's about to make her move, she's suddenly Put on a Bus. unless you manage to take the secret ZEUTH route split, which allows you to recruit her, or more accurately lets her force her way into your team. Not that anyone would mind, though.
Soma Peries and the GN Archer only get to appear as an attack for Allelujah and the Gundam Arios in Saisei-hen.
Difficulty Spike: Stage 15 of Saisei-hen. Until then, the game's a cakewalk, especially if you imported a save data from Hakai-hen. Stage 15, however, pits you up against Marilyn and her Firebug squad. They're incredibly powerful, accurate, and dodgy, on top of Marilyn having a very high Command level, which means that enemies adjacent to her will receive immense boosts in accuracy and evasion, making them even tougher to deal with. Several other stages also qualify, particularly ones where Geraud takes the field. Seeing him pull in 68% accuracy rates against a fully upgraded Li-Brasta is a stunning moment when most bosses pull 20-30% at most against the same, and he hits like a truck even against fully upgraded units. Authority Equals Asskicking indeed.
Dissimile: According to Kamina, Rhinodamon MD is just like a pig mole, except bigger, much more powerful, with horns, able to shoot fireballs, and tends to charge at you. And it's white.
As it turns out, this is only partly averted in Part 2. While Euphie is revealed to be Not Quite Dead in the "IF" route, Kamina and Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy remain dead.
And unfortunately, despite Hakai-Hen FINALLY allowing Musashi in Shin Getter 3 - no death, no playing around, no secret character needs - he still finds time to die offscreen at the beginning of Seisai-Hen, as per the events of Getter Robo Armageddon (though not the same circumstances, of course), as per the unfortunate norm.
Upon being warped into the Hakai-hen world and being confronted by an army of Beastmen, Jiron and Timp form a (very brief) alliance to fight them off.
If memory serves, Roger Smith managed to persuade Jason Beck to help him out in one stage of Hakai-hen.
Any time Asakim assists you is also this, although with Asakim it's usually according to plan for him.
The first game has Seed Destiny's Berlin events where the Renegade Zeuth members show up with Archangel to assist the Zaft aligned Zeuth forces (who have had a falling out thanks to certain events) Unfortunately the poor communication as a result ends with them being unable to rescue Stella from the Destroy.
In Seisei-Hen, happens between OZ and White Fang from Gundam Wing towards the final stages.
Epic Fail: Poor Lelouch is the only protagonist of a series in SRW history to both be shot down in a demo sequence, and to miss his target, in Hakai-hen. In his own series, his skills as a pilot are relatively mediocre, relying on ambushes, misdirection, squad tactics, planted explosives and highly accurate long range fire. In the demo roll, however, he's piloting a customised obsolete mecha, and pitted against one of the two best pilots in the world his series exists in, piloting one of the most advanced mecha in the series. He's incredibly outmatched. Worse yet, the attack he's hit with deals 25% more damage than his mecha's maximum HP, when other units in these demo rolls take half of that, at most. It's as if the world is plotting against him. Unfortunately, it's an outcome he's all too used to.
While Lelouch breaks his defeat streak, the demo roll for Saisei-hen continues his poor match-up, with Lelouch captaining a battleship, who's missiles fail to hit. Worse yet, he's hit back for even more damage than the last time, despite being in a far more advanced machine, with even more armour than before. Luckily, since it's a battleship, it doesn't sink, but it still must be frustrating him that his opponent is getting protagonist hit and damage rates when Lelouch is the main character of his series.
Expy: Asakim Dowin is tailored as the Evil Counterpart to Masaki, a mainstay of SRW. Likewise, the Shurouga and its attacks bear a resemblance to Masaki's mech, Cybuster. Oddly, though, a Shu Shirakawa-expy is absent.
The Gunleon is basically the GaoGaiGar by a different name and equipped with an appropriately, mecha-sized wrench.
"Sexsuko" for Setsuko or "Blandsuko" for being overshadowed by Rand. Others includes "Wangstuko" and "Setsubou", a play on the Japanese word for "despair" (it Makes Sense In Context).
"Super Terrorist Wars" for Hakai-hen, due to the presence of The Black Knights, Celestial Being, the Gundam Wing pilots and the Dancougar Nova team. Technically, Team Dai-Gurren are revolutionaries as well, although not necessarily terrorists to the extent of the former, thanks to the Beastmen being a clearly different species and more aware of why their enemies hate them.
Flame War: Have an urgent need for supernova-grade heat? Go on a forum (preferably Game Faqs) and ask the dreaded question: "Who's better: Rand or Setsuko?" or just mention them both in the same sentence and hide in a nuclear shelter.
With the release of Hakai-hen, complaining about the inability to save Kamina, Neil "Lockon Stratos" Dylandy and Euphemia li Britannia should be enough to release A LOT of heat. And for a while fans of old school Mazinger, the one that appeared in a bajillion other games, were upset that Shin Mazinger was the one appearing in Z2.
Here's one from the Epilogue of Z2.1: Aoi starts getting headaches and feeling pain. That's the calling card of Emperor Muge Zorbados himself.
Fragile Speedster: Orguss units, all the way, although nowhere near the Garland on the "fragile" end of the scale. The Orguss is a weakly-defended unit in the game but is extremely powerful due to its high attack power and evasion rate, coupled with its pilot's amazing skill rating and default pilot skill set, which is designed to make use of it. It even comes with a very strong Combination Attack later in the game.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: Since Saisei-hen doesn't inherit your pilots' kill counts from Hakai-hen (for obviousreasons), it invariably makes one feel weird when Takeru isn't a Super-A Class Psychic, or Gainer ceases to become a Game Champion and others, despite Saisei-hen is just one year after Hakai-hen. Same can be said for former ZEUTH members from Z as well.
Genre Savvy: The Xabungle characters, of course, along with the Siberian Railroad soldiers. Gainer, being the gamer he is, also throws in a few Lampshade Hanging. For the originals, Rand shows impressive levels of this by deciding to not bother with a Running Gag, among others (despite having one major Genre Blind moment when he trusts Asakim, but he was his partner's savior at the time, so it's a bit justified). The all-time champion, however, is The Edel Bernal, whose first action in the final battle is calling another two versions of himself. In his own words: "Well, you're all coming at me as a group, so I'll call my own buddies!", averting Mook Chivalry very, very much.
Glass Cannon: Several super robot pilots, most notably Touga Tenkuuji, come with few or no natural ranks of Prevail, a crucial skill to keep super robots from being this. Teaching the skill causes most of these robots, Gravion included, to become the Lightning Bruiser that super robots normally are. However, there is no such way to keep Dai-Guard from falling into this category, and in fact Dai-Guard is probably the best example of the trope in the entire franchise to date: in its debut scenario, it has 200 Armor, less than a quarter of the next-frailest unit in the game. Even after the scenario, it only has 1200 Armor, lower than even the Aphrodite A. While Dai-Guard has multiple attacks with the Barrier Pierce skill in a game where enemies with damage-reducing barriers are astoundingly common, making it better at taking out Bull DAMONs than nearly any other unit, it always remains one of the most fragile units in your arsenal. The 200 Armor is Justified, as the Dai-Guard had not been used in-universe for several years and did not have time to swap out of its paper-thin show armor when it was thrown into battle.
Gratuitous English: The theme song for Z, Crest of Zs, has some of this (FLYING TO THE BURNING SKY AND ROLLING THUNDER RIDE!))
Guest Star Party Member: Quite a few especially in Z2 part 1, which has Suzaku (who joins the party for a few stages at Euphie's request only to leave once the SAZ incident occurs); Brera (helps out a few time but never joins); Zechs, Timp, and Beck (team up with you for one stage only); Fyana (tries to join up but is captured after one stage); the Barcoff squad in one flashback stage; Gregor (helps attack Pailsen then leaves); and to a lesser extent Kamina, Lockon, Holland, and the Gekko (who are around for awhile but will eventually leave. Holland you can get back for the last stage). Suzaku, Brera, Fyana, and Gregor join for good in part 2, while Zechs is a guest again twice (once with Tallgeese and once with Epyon). Both parts also have Kokubogar, which never joins permanently.
Also two a lesser extent Setsuko and Rand in Z2, as both spend a short story arc each getting to know Crowe before getting sealed in a Zone. They do return for the last few stages however.
Guide Dang It, mixed with Lying Creator: Infamously, series director Takanobu Terada stated there's "only one secret" in the game, and boy was he lying. Z's known for having an very large number of secret units, a route split depending on a point system not shown to the player, and another point system determining the Multiple Endings, again invisible to the player. Woe befall to players attempting to get the G-Bits and Tifa Adill without a guide, though worse yet are those trying to keep Rey Za Barrel and Talia Gladys alive. Managing to do the latter requires you to take the secret ZEUTH route split, accessible only by amassing a certain amount of the "invisible" points obtained by performing certain actions over a number of scenarios, some of those even going against what happens in the actual series (e.g. Shinn and Rey fighting Athrun Zala, but NOT destroying his unit; instead, waiting it out until the fourth turn) or might seem flat out nonsensical (such as ignoring specific enemy units). To make it worse, the ZEUTH route's much, much better than the ZAFT route (where most first-time players will get to without aid) and gives access to a great number of secrets ( Haman, for one.
Of course, the point system is dropped in a New Game+, making it a player's choice, averting the trope after invoking it the one time.
This continues on in Saisei-hen where the only way to prevent the Black Knights betraying Lelouch is the go to ZEXIS route split. Like Z1, accessible only by amassing a certain amount of the "invisible" points such as preventing Shirley's death which is a mystery in itself.
Handsome Lech: Kei, Michel, Pierre and Gain form their own group of four skirt chasers.
Harder Than Hard: Z's EX-Hard mode lives up to its name by banning both Weapon and Mech upgrades, unlike previous incarnations that only prohibited weapon upgrades. Moreover, Combination Attacks aren't as potent or abundant as they were in other games in the series and damage is generally lower.
Things just got even more hot-blooded! Macross Dynamite Seven will be in Z2.2, which means the return of Nekki Basara and his songs, which, even in game mechanics, make the entire rest of your army even more hot-blooded than usual!
Improbable Weapon User: Rand's Gunleon uses mecha-sized spanners (wrenches, for the Westerners), spanner-nunchucks, and a gigantic two-handed wrench roughly as long as it is tall that doubles as a Swiss-Army Weapon.
JAM Project: They sing all the opening and ending themes to the series:
Z's opening theme "Crest of Z's" and ending theme "Cosmic Dance".
Hakai-hen's opening theme "Noah" and ending theme "Negai".
Saisei-hen's opening theme "Hagane no Resistance" and ending theme "The advent of genesis".
Which can be accurately said about Gain himself, who is Weak, but Skilled. Not much of an Oversense person like Gainer, but he makes up for it with Improbable Aiming Skills. The fact that the Gatchko will turn into the Emperanza, a very powerful Overman, rather early in the game, doesn't hurt Gain's cause (though by that point he's gone beyond the "joke" qualifier)
Let's Play: Saint-ism has one for Z2 Hakai-hen and Saisei-hen. The latter features "Arranged battles" which edit the attack animations into extended battle scenes.
Also counts as a deconstruction of the usual Let's Split Up, Gang scenario, since a real-life group formed of military types and civilians would probably end up in the same way ZEUTH's factions did. Just looking at Holland's musings to himself during the first half of Z pretty much tells it all as even when the group is together, not everything is smooth sailing, making it a rare deconstruction of the True Companionship inherent in SRW.
Happens again at the end of Hakai-hen, with Zero ordering the team to disperse and go their seperate ways for now as their mission to take out Gaioh seemed to be done, but really because he wanted to get back to his crusade against Britannia. Again ends up being a very bad idea because the Black Rebellion fails as in the show without Zexis's support and the Knights are captured aside from Kallen and C.C. while Zero is captured and brainwashed. Celestial Being and the Colony Gundams are promptly targeted with their UN protection revoked with CB nearly wiped out, and their ship and Gundam's destroyed, the colony Gundam's scattered. The Zexis forces on the Dark Continent are understaffed and unable to stop Professor Saotome. The Zeuth Gundam pilots are forced to turn to Oz for shelter and protection. And everyone is helpless to stop the rise of the Alaws and the beginning of Ribbons control of the world.
Let's You And You Fight: Aside from the trope listed above, one scenario on Setsuko's route starts with you fighting against her!.
Loads and Loads of Characters: Th first Z alone has over 20 different series, each bringing in numerous characters both in and out of the cockpits. That sheer amount of characters by itself would be more then enough to qualify, but Z2 takes it Up to Eleven by bringing the series count to over 30, resulting in one of the largest headcounts in the SRW franchise.
Magikarp Power: ∀ Gundam starts as a not-very-useful unit with limited weapons and bad anti-air stats and a so-so pilot in the form of Loran Cehack until in-game events lead to it gradually getting upgraded, culminating in it obtaining its Moonlight Butterfly normal and MAP attack among others, making it one of the best units in the game. In another example, Renton's (including Loran's) stats grow at a much faster rate after they pass level 40-45s.
King Gainer, as well: initially, it's small, fragile and really hard to pilot Gainer's Will up to use his Overskills. Doing some investment in some choice skills like "Attack Again" (taking advantage of his "Gamer"/"Game Champ" innate skill), "Ignore Size Modifier" and some morale boosting techniques, he becomes quite good. It helps he constantly upgrades like the above two through event-driven scenarios.
Dai-Guard in Hakai-hen, due to Shunsuke Akagi's "Salaryman" skill that gives him a lot more pilot points (+3 at level up, every 10 kills, and scenario ends adds up later on).
Although Chirico Cuvie is far from a bad pilot, early on in Hakai-hen the Scopedog is a fairly unimpressive unit with only three attacks, all with either extremely limited ammo or unable to be used post-movement. After a while however, you can use the Red Shoulder Custom which provides you with lots of new attacks even if a few don't have much ammo with the only downside being a drop in movement and mobility; which a few parts can quickly balance out. During the end of the Woodoo arc finale, Chirico upgrades again to the Turbo Custom, which sacrifices some of the more ammo-scarce weapons for even better stats. And then that mode gets weapons put back on it for the Last Red Shoulder mission... and if you fulfilled the requirements, afterwards Chirico gets the Scopedog ISS.
Marathon Level: Quite a few, but especially Scenario 50, which is rather long on its own but after you beat it, you get a long exposition sequence and then thrust into battle again facing The Frost Brothers and Gym. The final scenario also counts since it's a three-parter and ends with you fighting the Big Bad doubling as That One Boss.
Here's a breakdown of that scenario: Part 1) Fight Edel Bernel, who comes with a powerful mecha with about 200,000 HP and an army of mooks; Part 2) Get Renton to a certain square while fighting against 50 squads of Coralians, all having shockingly high accuracy (in Setsuko's route, this must be done within 5 turns); Part 3) Fight the Big Bad. In Setsuko's route, he comes with 600,000 HP and a small army of mooks. If all mooks are destroyed, new ones are spawned; fortunately, the way around this is to destroy all but one. In Rand's route, he summons two more copies of himself. However, they have 300,000 HP; unfortunately, each have small HP Regen and a max Potential pilot skill (the lower the HP, the higher the stats). Not to mention they must be destroyed in the same turn, so it might take a while. Thankfully, between parts 1 and 2, the heroes get a refill of HP, EN and SP
In Hakai-hen, one scenario recreates Gundam 00's finale (along with some Gundam Wing and Code Geass thrown in): you must face off against an army of GN-Xs, Tauruses, and the commanders of every major faction in the world. At a certain point, the Ptolemaios gets dragged off to a second map along with the Celestial Being Gundams to face off against another army of grunts, with Ali-Al-Saachez and Alejandro Corner along for the ride (the rest of ZEXIS shows up later). After that, you get brought off to a third map which comprises of Setsuna in the Exia against Alejandro's Alvatorre.
May-December Romance: Little to no mention is made of Rand (who is in his late twenties (27)) romancing Mel, who is 16, yet looks 12. To his credit, Rand lampshades how this looks to others and outright says it to Mel.
Midseason Upgrade: One of the very few SRWs that even partially averts this for its heroes. Both protagonists get an upgrade halfway through the game, but Rand's Gunleon gets a couple of new attacks and a regeneration skill, while Setsuko's Virgora gets a new gun and a set of wings, capping off a chain of gradual upgrades that starts midway through the game's first act.
Played almost straight with Crowe in Saisei-Hen: his upgraded mech is called the Li-Brasta. The catch is that you decide whether the Li-Brasta is a close-combat Super Robot or a long-range Real Robot.
Mighty Glacier: Baldios and Daitarn 3 by virtue of being size LL, but the Big O's a better example due to its nigh-impenetrable defense and varied, strong arsenal which gets expanded as you progress through the game. Rand's Gunleon also counts, something which you may not notice at first, until you have to fight him for a few turns using Witz and Roybea and experience first-hand how hard its defenses are.
More Dakka: Z's new "Tri-Battle System" allows for an entire squad to unleash a volley of dakka that makes anything you could do with the earlier games' squad systems look dated and underwhelming.
More traditionally, various units such as the Orguss have a "fire all weapons" attack.
Multiple Endings: One of the game's more deviously-hidden Guide Dang It elements that manages through its own hidden point system. Should you fulfill certain conditions, you can choose to give up your memories and live in Paradigm City until the Black History takes place, ending all of civilization) Additionally, depending on which protagonist you choose, around half of the game is unique to that protagonist.
Then there's Hakai-Hen, which is almost made up of nothing but route splits.
"Guren" and "Gurren" are similar enough that Kallen and Kamina fight over the naming rights when they first meet.
Never the Selves Shall Meet: In a non-time travel variation, Z explains that multiple copies of the same person cannot exist in the same universe, in order to justify why the original Mazinger Z, Getter Robo, and Eureka Seven don't show up in Hakai-hen. Some fans believe UFO Robo Grendizer was not in Hakai-hen due to a possibility of Go Nagai's Battle of The Flying Saucers being in Sasei-hen. However, once it was announced, Banpresto apparently forgot all about Grendizer.
Nobuyuki Hiyama: Who voices the Vegan grunts. Reportedly, several others wanted to do the role but, when they were told he was doing the role, they gave up and said something along the lines of "we can't compete with that!".
No Indoor Voice: In Z2 Harry Ord has his famous UNIVEEEEEEEEEEEEEERSE scream in his Voice Clips and last voice clip is "Did you say Dianna-sama's butt? CURSE YOU!!!"
Obfuscating Stupidity: Rand; Sara Kodama even comments early on that she can't tell if the man's an outright idiot or a freakin' genius. One of his many moments of this is how he got himself out of trouble in the beginning of the Exodus. Another -and arguably the best- of his moments is when he makes it clear to Löwen that he always knew what he was doing behind his back and that he wasn't fooling anyone after appearing to be his buddy for quite some time. Also counts as one his many Crowning Moment of Awesome scenes.
Only Sane Man: Crowe Broost, Lockon Stratos, Aoyama Keiichirou and Duo Maxwell. Being the jokers of the group who can find time to joke during free-time unlike the rest who are either The Stoic, way too serious or apparently busy doing something else.
Oh Crap: So you've pumped up Rand and his Gunleon and having the time of your life tanking everything thrown your way and walking (or rather, wrenching) over legions of Mooks? Let's see how you feel now when you're pitted against him (with the same stats, skills and upgrades you gave him, no less) using only Witts, Roabia, Carris and the Freeden un-upgraded and under an instant game-over condition if one of them dies. Still, it lasts a few turns, but this doesn't make it any less horrifying for the player.
Better still: if you're doing the New Game+ and pimped the hell out of the protagonist's stats and mech (maybe equipping some Haros while doing so), it's entirely possible that you've made something completely unbeatable. However, there's a trick if this happens: the protagonist will ALWAYS move first on the enemy's turn. Taking this into consideration, move everyone that doesn't have the Flash/Alert or Invincible Spirit Commands into the Freedan and cast these two commands every turn.
For the mecha, the Gunleon, Virgora, Shurouga, Eliphas, Brasta, Arksaber Knight mecha and the Chaos machines, Arietis. The Z Special Disk also contains an original Overman called the XAN
Overrated And Underleveled: A variation, though not exactly a straight example, either: Char is, statistically, one of the best pilots in the game but he never gets his own top-of-the-line mobile suit, relegating him to the so-so Hyaku Shiki, which has nothing on the more powerful units later in the game (unless you do what many players do and put him in the ∀ Gundam.
Another example: Kira and the Strike Freedom. Unless you were deliberately saving money on Rand's route to upgrade the Freedom in the 2 or 3 scenarios he's with you, by the time you get the Strike Freedom (at around scenario 50 or so), it will have a paltry 3 bars of upgrades and your squads are likely filled up with specifically designated leaders. Comes with some bonus Pilot Points, though.
Obviously Evil: Just take a look at Asakim and any one of his attacks and tell us he isn't evil. For starters, the man's completely clad in black, his mech looks very "evil", his attacks are sadistic and his comments similarly so. Makes you wonder how anyone trusted this guy in the first place. Even though he only acts so for the sake of gaining freedom from being a Cursed Wanderer and finally dying.
Plucky Comic Relief: Crowe, Lockon, Duo, and Aoyama. When they group up they start telling bad jokes, or even when they're alone (such as in the Chapter 7 intermission before battle, while at the Ashford Academy Duo laughs at Kallen for acting a weak little milady). Aoyama during battles when Dai-Guard gets hit asks Ibuki if she would like to gamble with him about will the next attack hit or miss. Lockon hangs out with Crowe and laugh at each other's dry humour jokes. In Chapter 48 Daybreak's Bell in the intermission before battle when Setsuna comes to use the long-distance contacting device Crowe asks is he going to send a message to his girlfriend to which Setsuna responds with the usual The Stoic stare, which makes Crowe ask is it to his boyfriend then and he gets a The Stoic glare as answer instead, making Lockon note how Crowe's bad jokes don't work on Setsuna, to which Crowe states "They don't work on Chirico, Zero, Heero, Trowa, Wufei and Toudou either."
Power Limiter: Hakai-hen features an odd case: as long as Kamina is in the party, Simon is unable to learn his Valor or Bravery commands. This will almost never come up in normal gameplay since Kamina leaves about ten levels before Simon should learn either of those commands, but it plays up his status as a Crutch Character.
Power-Up Letdown: Alright, so you've waited forever and toughed through the early missions using the Gundam X Divider, wondering when you'll get to hear Garrod's "Satellite Cannon...HASSHA!" and when you finally get it, reality strikes hard: basically, the weapon's Awesome but Impractical, since it requires a full 3-4 turns before it's able to fire once...and ONLY ONCE, until another 3-4 turn recharge. To make it worse, it only functions in stages where the moon is visible through a line-of-sight, meaning you can't use it indoors or in many other stages. The G-Falcon reduces the recharge rate by one turn, which helps things out.
On the subject of the Satellite Cannon, however, the limits are very much justified - the Twin Satellite Cannon is THE STRONGEST ATTACK IN THE GAME, and will deal a lot of damage to most bosses. It may be a one shot in most scenarios, but that one shot will kill bosses.
Another example (albeit nearly not as severe) is Renton and the Nirvash Spec3: although its stats are much better and its attacks pack a bigger punch, the main reason anyone used the Nirvash Spec2 was its Seven Swell MAP attack, which it loses eventually, making it less useful against hordes of mooks you're up against. The Spec3 having as much raw power in its basic attack as the finishers of some super robots alleviates the pain quite a bit, though. The real letdown is Z2's movie version of the Nirvash, which never has the Seven Swell at all, and even after its upgrade into the SpecV is actually weaker than the Terminus 303.
Deathscythe Hell's Hyper Jammer attack loses the Accuracy Down effect of the original Deathscythe's Hyper Jammer, making it stronger but less useful overall.
The Psycho Rangers: Z Special Disk gives us Death Squad 13, Edel Bernal's attempt at forming a ZEUTH-style Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. It starts as an unit composed of Phantom Pain and Titans characters under the orders of Neo Roanoke, and then gains more members from mercenaries like Timp or Jason Beck, and others like the Frost brothers and Gym Ghingham tagging along for fun. It doesn't work nearly as well (most of the members are nuts after all) and the squad ends up disbanded without even meeting ZEUTH in battle once.
Really 700 Years Old: Elgan Laudic, former Secretary General of the United Nations, is over 200 years old. He is really the Z2 universe's version of The Edel. Unlike his Z1 counterpart, upon learning about the Black Knowledge, he did not go insane and actually took steps to prevent calamity from occuring, such as supporting Celestial Being and Dragon's Hive under the codename "Portman".
Retraux, Doing It for the Art: Older Super Robots such as Baldios, God Sigma and Getter Robo get some very awesome retro-looking animations in their finisher attacks, complete with choppy animation and trippy retro "laser backgrounds" and pastel-frame explosions! This is a first for the franchise and was a great moment for fans who weren't very excited about Z initially and also demonstrates the degree of love the designers have for the older shows, preserving them in all their glory.
This trend is continued in Hakai-hen with Godmars, notorious for its lack of animation during fight scenes. Its finisher reflects that perfectly.
Retcon: Z completely writes out Char's Counterattack in favor of keeping Char in line with his Zeta Gundam incarnation. Still, it's pretty odd since Char's Counterattack is only in Z to give Amuro the Re-GZ and eventual Nu Gundam, while Char gets stuck with his Hyaku Shiki and doesn't get the Char's Counterattack Sazabi. Nevertheless, the moment where he and Amuro learn about this possible future and Char heartfully declaring to stop it from happening was heartwarming indeed.
Also, one of the things Z is known for is that it handles SEED Destiny's plot in a way that is actually believable and MUCH more enjoyable to watch.
Also, whenever Rand does his "Heat Smile", everyone will make the same comment towards it, including Dorothy, Alan Gabriel and Alex Rosewater (!), Dianna Soreil and Harry Ord, Over-frozen Cynthia (!), the various Universal Century and SEED pilots, enemy generals and even the Shadow Angels, the Hyakki and alien forces. For those unfamiliar with the whole thing, Rand's a rather large "Cool Old Guy" who has a rather intimidating "special service smile" called the "Heat Smile". Those who see it always, always comment on it being "stuffy" or "atsukurushii" in Japanese either loudly or to themselves even in the middle of dire, life-or-death situations.
Kamina's tendency to come into conflict with everyone he meets as his way of making friends. He does this to Ryouma, Zero and Sheryl. It's always a Crowning Moment of Funny.
Sequel Hook: Plenty all over the place, from throwaway comments along the lines of "our battle has just begun" to unresolved plot threads (e.g. the Holy War, since we never see the remaining Sphere holders or the Eldritch Abomination)
Some of the explicit hooks include Kouji watching the Black History recording and talking about seeing a "Mazinger-like" machine he doesn't recognize, Ryouma getting shocked after watching the same recording and asking "Is that machine with the fearsome movements a Getter?!" (really, the Shin Getter), with his remarks in the final scenario about sensing the presence of another version of himself that flat-out scares him (none other than fan-favorite "BatshitRyouma" from Getter Robo Armageddon and the Getter Robo manga) and finally, Banjou deciding to leave for Mars and talk about "his true battle just beginning")
In Saisei-Hen, the Anti Spiral says he'll be back one day.
When it comes to following up on Shin Mazinger, however, the storywriters may or may not have written themselves into a corner in this regard..
Similarly to in the series itself - in Hakai-hen, Kamina references the Super Inazuma Kick with one of Gurren Lagann's attacks. Even after he dies, Simon references it when he attacks with the same technique.
Simon randomly calls out "Ittou Ryodan!" (roughly translates to "I'll cleave you in two!") when he slashes an opponent with his sunglasses. Sanger and Wodan would be proud.
Sandman says 「貴様達に名乗る名前などない!」Kisamatachi ni nanoru namae nado nai! "I have no name to give to the likes of you!"/"Scum like you doesn't deserve to know my name" like a certain heroic character from Machine Robo as he beats up PMC soldiers who tried to take Eida and her Manager in.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: As per usual, the best one's when you confront the Big Bad of Zambot 3, Computer Doll # 8 aka Gaizock. The malevolent AI will rant about how it's decision to destroy humanity is a perfectly logical one, that Humans Are Bastards who do nothing but evil things to each other and no one on Earth really cares about the heroes and their effrots to save the world. Our heroes tell it that no way are they going to let an emotionless computer determine their fate and vow to prove that it is the true evil for spreading strife across the galaxy. ZEUTH proceeds to blow Gaizock and it's Death Knights to kingdom come
Ultimately and shockingly subverted in the final battle, where the various members of ZEUTH try to do this to The Edel Bernal, only to have him reply with lines such as "Why is it wrong?", shocking the heroes to no end and makes them realize he's too far gone to listen to reason.
Hakai Hen is also rather cynical, since all of the storylines take place during the first season of a two part series where good people died for nothing and the situation was pretty bad all around. But like Crowe being powered by misfortune and fortune, Rebirth Chapter is much more optimistic.
The Strategist: In order to represent his tactical prowess, Lelouch gets a unique pilot skill, "Command", that allows him to give up his turn in order to beef up an ally's attack or defense or help them in taking down a boss. This makes up for him not being that great of a pilot, statistically speaking.
Stylistic Suck: In mecha form: Beck the Great RX-3 is a horrible machine, but the sheer camp of using its one and only move makes it still awesome
Theme Music Power-Up: In Scenario 18-A of the third route split in Hakai-hen, which takes place during a concert in the Macross Frontier storyline: Sheryl's song "Iteza Go Go Kuji Don't Be Late" pumps up the heroes so much that they all instantly shoot to 130 Will. After defeating the initial enemies, Baron Ashura arrives with some Kikaijuu; this causes Ranka to take the stage and sing her song "What 'Bout My Star?", which pumps Simon and Kamina up even further, to the point that Kamina debuts Gurren Lagann's famous Giga Drill Break(er), nearly obliterating the Kikaijuu Taros D-7 with it.
Talking To Yourself: Amuro and Ribbons hang out together in Saisei Hen. There is also Fujiwara Shinobu and F.S.
To Create A Playground For Evil: The Edel Bernal doesn't really have a plan other than to turn the world into the most chaotic and war-ridden place he can to be his personal playground. Part 2 sheds a little light on this. He went nuts foreseeing the coming of the Ba'al, and deciding there was no way to possibly win, opted to just turn the world into total chaos for his amusement to hang out in until the day the Ba'al showed up to slaughter everyone.
Took a Level in Badass: Mazinger Z's Koushiryoku Beam is usually the weakest attack it has. However, in Z2, it surpassesBreast Fire in damage potential, making it one of Mazinger's most powerful attacks. Why? Because that's what Shin Mazinger Impact strongly suggests.
The Gundam Sandrock/Sandrock Custom while it was known to be a decently armored real robot with alright attacks in past games. In this however with its full upgrade bonus (which adds more armor as well as a resupply ability, something it had in past games), its armor amount is higher than any other mech (barring those mechs choosing to boost their armor as their generic FUB) and combined with a high potiental/revail level and shield, it's effectively a tanking god.
Emperor Zuul is rather proactive in this regard. He spends a lot of the game trying to gather allies from the other villains, including Lordgenome, Moon Will and Dr. Saotome. When you do actually fight him, he brings along quite a few bosses you've already beaten.
More than that, most villains in Saisei-hen are working toward the same goal, from various points of view - the feat of the Final Boss of the Z-series, which kicked Gaiou's ass in the distant past. To explain why this is worrying, Gaiou defeated the Mycanae himself, and is by far the strongest being in Saisei-hen except weaker than Anti-Spiral, since the Anti-Spiral survives Saisei-Hen he might appear again in Z3 as a quite end-game boss.
The aforementioned 'Final Boss', known in-universe as the Ba'al, apparently includes the the Invaders and the Anti-Spirals.
Wham Episode/The Reveal: Many from the various franchises such as the nature of the Eldar and the S1 aliens, but the biggest one is the revelation that the Black History is not just the past, but the possible end of the current multiverse brought about by none other than ZEUTH themselves.
Shinn gets two or three himself: from Amuro for letting his anger drive him in battle and for being a little too happy to hate and kill the enemy—while Amuro knows it's necessary, he also believes that killing the enemy isn't something that should be done lightly and that restraint is important; from Holland for being more sympathetic to Stella than to his own allies, even though Stella was an enemy and burning Berlin; and from everyone if he sides with Durandal in the end.
Another example is what each side of ZEUTH thought they were doing in the ZEUTH vs ZEUTH battle.
What Could Have Been: The Baldios storyline continues after its… "interesting ending" in the anime and goes into the movie storyline, suggesting that this was how it was supposed to be all along. This is even noted in Baldios' encyclopedia entry.
Files uncovered after Z was hacked include Amuro's voice files for supporting Usso Evin and Judau Ashta. Considering the things Terada said in Hakai-hen's announcement, both were probably considered, but only Victory was implied to be in a future game and ZZ seems to have been dropped due to story issues and Bandai and Sunrise's agenda for it.
Western Zodiac: It's revealed in Saisei-hen that the spheres are based on the twelve constellations in the Western Zodiac. So far we've seen Leo (Wounded Lion), Virgo (Sorrowful Maiden), Capricorn (Truthful Goat), Libra (Swaying Scales), Aquarius (Inexhaustible Gourd), and Aries (Lying Black Sheep).
We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: The Chimera Corps splits ZEUTH against other by altering video footage to make it look like Rand's group has joined The Federation while Setsuko's group works with ZAFT. Neither group suspects these are fake until Orson and Banjo show each group their own video.
Although there were other factors, such as natural personality conflicts, the actions of the Archangel in antagonising Setsuko's team but befriending Rand's causing one group to hate Archangel and the other to defend their new friends. In addition Duke Freed shows up at a very poor time to witness Zambot's cast taking out their anger on an alien enemy, and reports to the other team that the report of Zaft's side being violently anti alien seems to be true. The faked reports were only the tip of the iceberg.
What If?: Done in the first Z with the plot of Gundam SEED Destiny and in Saisei-hen with Code Geass. In both cases the alternate storylines are accessible via an invisible points system related to the respective series, resulting in the last fifth of the game being an entirely different set of stages. Z's alternate route gives you more and better unlockables, while Saisei-hen only has one extra unlockable but shuffles the order of upgrades to give you quicker access to the Geass characters at the cost of shifting several other upgrades into Eleventh Hour Superpower status for how late they come.