Message of the blowing wind Erasing memories Stars are the witnesses of our existence Change is what the world awaits Could that be peace or war? The answer no one knows Trusting the break of dawn The blue bird flies away
— The lyrics of Beyond the Bounds, the opening of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner.
Good morning. Would you like to read TV Tropes' article of the Zone of the Enders series?Zone of the Enders is a Humongous Mecha series created for Konami by Hideo Kojima, the creator of the Metal Gear franchise and director of Snatcher as well as its Spiritual Successor, Policenauts.The original Zone of the Enders was released in 2001 on the PlayStation 2 as a high-speed mecha combat game. The story revolves around a boy named Leo Stenbuck, a kid from a space colony in orbit around the planet Jupiter that is attacked by BAHRAM, a group of rebels seeking to steal back "Jehuty", a Super Prototype Orbital Frame that, naturally, Leo accidentially ends up piloting. With little choice in the matter, Leo, along with Jehuty's A.I. ADA, tries to deliver Jehuty to the UNSF forces on the other side of the colony, while trying to do what he can to halt the attack.Zone of the Enders did a brisk initial sale, which was mostly attributed to the fact that the game also included a demo ofMetal Gear Solid 2. So rather people were buying the demo, and then maybe later on trying out "the free game" that came with it.Nonetheless, the game sold well enough to gain a cult following of its own. An animeOVA called Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO was released, and it served as a prequel to the game. IDOLO starred Viola Gyune (The Dragon of the game) and Radium Lavans, two Martian soldiers who join a resistance movement against the Earth using Idolo, the first Orbital Frame. A full TV Series, Zone of the Enders: Dolores, i, followed up on the story. The story of Dolores, i centered around James Links, a space trucker who ends up receiving Dolores, an Orbital Frame that happens to think he's her uncle, from his estranged wife Rachel, one of Idolo's designers who was supposed to have died during the climax of that story. This spurs him to seek out and reconcile with his equally-estranged children and reunite his family. And no government forces, crime families, or rebel troops are going to get in his way. Both the OVA and TV series received DVD releases, and later in 2012 (in Japan), re-released on Blu-ray.A Spin-Off game, Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars (a.k.a. 2171 Testament in Japan) is a Turn-Based Strategy game for the Game Boy Advance about a boy named Cage Midwell who finds an strangely powerful LEV hidden on a cruise liner just before the ship is destroyed, forcing him and a mysterious young girl to get inside it to save their lives. They eventually fall in with a rebel group known as BIS, who seek to free Mars from UNSF oppression. Fist of Mars plays similar to the Super Robot Wars series, but uses a more player-participating battle system where the player chases down the enemy with their crosshairs (or the other way around) to determine whether an attack hits or misses, and even critical hits. Although the stats of the units help determine how easy or difficult this is, it is entirely possible to hit with every one of your attacks, or dodge every enemy attack, even when a hit or miss would be otherwise unavoidable.A true sequel to the game, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (a.k.a. ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders in Japan), was released on the PlayStation 2 in 2003. The story focuses on a miner and former BAHRAM soldier named Dingo Egret who finds Jehuty, the frame from the first game, hidden on the moon of Callisto, just as BAHRAM does. He fights his way though them, and eventually all the way onto their command ship, where he meets Nohman, leader of BAHRAM and an old colleague of his who wants him to come back to the group. Dingo refuses, so Nohman shoots him. He finds himself awakened by by Ken Marinaris, a woman he fought earlier on Callisto, who claims to be a UNSF spy, and hard-wires his body into Jehuty's life-support systems to keep him alive. In exchange for her saving his life, and later completely fixing him, she wants his help. Dingo escapes down to Mars, where he faces BAHRAM mecha, trains, battleships, the first game's Leo Stenbuck in the Vic Viper, and finally settling the score not just between himself and Nohman, but Jehuty and Anubis as well. Along the way, however, he has to stop ADA from completing her own mission: make her way to BAHRAM's headquarters and destroy it by self-destructing Jehuty as it was revealed at the end of the first game.Oh right. We almost forgot to mention that the control cockpits for the humanoid Orbital Frames and LEVs are located on the front, right between the mech's legs in fact. Rather phallic, don't you think?Despite rather low sales, Zone of the Enders continues to be a cult favorite, and Kojima has stated that he has ideas for another Zone of the Enders game, but for years was tethered to the Metal Gear Solid franchise. A potential sequel was announced in 2012, and from the images released, it seems the Jehuty and Anubis will sport a Darker and Edgier look and the plot will apparently incorporate fantasy-like elements and demonic creatures. However, Kojima said that the producers plan to keep the previous games' basic nature intact in the new sequel.An HDCollection of the first two console games in October 2012 (which also includes a demo forMetal Gear Rising: Revengeance) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Unfortunately, due to technical and frame-rate problems, the collection went against on their original promise of bringing these games in HD quality in full 60 frames per second on two powerful consoles, failing to live up to the fans' expectations. Kojima stated that he acknowledges how disappointed fans of the PlayStation 2 originals, so he and some of his team members along with the help of Hexa Drive (the same folks behind the HD re-release of Rez and Ōkami) to undo some of the damage done by High-Voltage Studios. The patch was released in July 2013 to rectify these problems in the PlayStation 3 version while the Xbox 360 version didn't get this treatment. A PlayStation Vita version of the HD Collection was planned, but it was presumed to be quietly canceled after the reception the console versions received. Not only has these problems caused Kojima to work on a patch to fix these problems, but also halted production of the series' sequel. The team working on Enders' Project has been dismantled and Kojima re-evaluates how much the fans of Zone of the Enders wants a sequel.This series has nothing to do with Ender’s Game. Or the Zone of theEndermen, for that matter.
To further distinguish them from one another, Orbital Frames being immeasurably superior to LEVs in pretty much every way possible. The only thing LEVs have on frames is they can be manufactured with common materials. Although by The 2nd Runner, commercial LEV technology, as with the Vic Viper, had just about caught up with Orbital Frames, at least with a decent pilot who can give an Orbital Frame a run for its money.
Ace Pilot: Radam and Viola qualify. Also, Dingo used to be one.
Leo became one in the second game, piloting the beefed up LEV, the Vic Viper (but still considered weaker than Orbital Frames story-wise). He could fight Dingo in the second game to a stand-still in an inferior suit.
Absent Aliens: The conflict is strictly between various human factions.
Absurdly Low Level Cap: In the first game, you cap at Lv. 9. The second is probably not as strict, but by the time you reach the end of the game, you're probably at Lv.15-20.
Acting for Two: In The 2nd Runner, Jehuty's and Anubis' A.I., ADA and DELPHI, share the same voice actress. They are voiced by Cynthia Marcucci and Yoshino Miki are their English and Japanese voice actresses, respectively.
Actionized Sequel: The 2nd Runner compared to the original game. The 2nd Runner ditches the open-exploration gameplay of the first Zone of the Enders and went with a more linear approach of progression. The first game also involves lots of backtracking and looking for certain items or perform certain tasks to progress further into the game whereas the sequel emphasizes much more on action and fighting (for the most part), while at the same time, making much better use of the improved grabbing mechanics.
Actually a Doombot: When Dingo confronts Anubis in the Aumaan facility, it turns out he was beating up a fake with Ken inside it, as if a strangely wingless Anubis didn't give it away.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The A.I. of Hathor and Anubis are decidedly evil, while Hathor's twin sister Dolores is a bubbly and innocent Robot Girl. By contrast, Dolores's alternate identity, Isis, while seeming evil at first glance, is really just a neutral Combat Pragmatist who will readily relinquish control to the pilot or Dolores... as soon as any perceived threat is eliminated with EXTREME and unrestrained prejudice. Viola's A.I. from The 2nd Runner is a full-on psycho. Though initially neutral , ADA evolves into a compassionate computer, as does Pharsti from The Fist of Mars.
Somewhat justified, it is stated that Metatron has a sort of "mineral conscience" that may or may not be true sentience but is apparently malevolent without due protection. Whether or not this is Fanon is for you to decide, but Nohman does go on about "the will of Metatron" at the end of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, so credence is lent to the theory.
In Dolores, i one Raptor goes rouge and ends up becoming friends with Dolores.
Alas, Poor Villain: Viola in the first game. The music that plays during her death will most certainly not help.
Almighty Janitor: Dingo, a former BAHRAM military pilot, and is a genius runner to the extent to be rumored to be the only one that can match Nohman on one-on-one battle. And that's probably the reason why the Jehuty in the second game is far stronger and more useful than the first game Jehuty.
There's also the fact it gets upgrades in the second it never had in the first.
James Links, main protagonist of the anime, is just a lowly truck driver . . . and a former decorated, highly skilled LEV military pilot. Even if his mech's AI is keeping watch over all the complex background sub-systems, she is very much NOT suited for fighting, which means all that brutal ass-whooping that gets dealt out over the course of the series? That's all James. And then there's the "Die Hard" episode . . . .
The Anime of the Game: Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO, an OVA prequel to the first game; and Zone of the Enders: Dolores, i, an anime TV series that follows on 2167 IDOLO's story.
A new opening sequence was made for the HD Collection. The animation was done by Sunrise, the same studio that brought us the Zone of the Enders anime OVA and TV series, while using "Beyond the Bounds" from The 2nd Runner for the background music.
Antagonist Title: The Japanese title of The 2nd Runner is known as ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders. The title refers to Jehuty's rival Orbital Frame, piloted by the game's main antagonistNohman.
Nohman takes this and runs with it, even implying that Metatron has a will of its own.
Apocalypse How: Pretty high on the scale: it turns out Aumaan's ultimate weapon will simply compress space all over the solar system, crushing all the planets and the sun itself as though in a massive fist.
Although the first game made it clear by the end, ADA directly states that both Jehuty and Anubis are key to making this come about. The second game only makes this more obvious.
DELPHI: "I was...created...to destroy.............all"
Artistic License - Biology: In the episode "Die Hard" of Dolores, i, James Links comments that the air on Mars has a 0.04% oxygen content, but that the air around the oxygen plant has a 30% oxygen concentration, enough to live, but not stay conscious without a mask. Earth only has a 20% oxygen concentration. This might be chalked up to a thinner atmosphere (where higher oxygen concentration would be necessary to be breathable), except that the characters have already stated on several occasions that the Martian atmosphere is three times denser than Earth's. This COULD be hand-waved as indicating that there's actually too much oxygen in the local atmosphere, at too high pressure, resulting in hyperoxia and oxygen toxicity, which could certainly result in Noel fainting. And to be fair, James merely describes the air as "almost breathable," without indicating whether that means too little or too much oxygen. Still, the implication is clearly "too little," and Noel's collapse is rather too sudden to indicate hyperoxia, so it's a weak explanation at best.
Attack Drone: Ken's Ardjet has a cape made of tiny wisps, some of which it gifts to Jehuty (see also Morph Weapon below). When Jehuty upgrades to Ver.2, the much bigger and more useful "tail feather" objects on Jehuty detach and become additional firing points. Naturally, Vic Viper comes with the iconic Options from it's parent series.
The Atoner: Easily all the good guys in The Fist of Mars, in one way or another.
Background Halo: On Viola's frame, Neith and its successor (piloted by Viola's psychotic A.I.) Nephtis.
Badass: Every Orbital Frame pilot, and those that pilot non-mook LEVs.
Badass Crew: The members of BIS (Born In Space), half of whom regularly take on several Orbital Frames by the end of the game in little more than Ace Custom LEVs.
Badass Normal: Leo in the second installment. Despite not piloting a true Orbital Frame he's still able to keep up with Jehuty. Also, James Links, who make up for his lack of skill with an Orbital Frame with the experiences he gained as a hardened UNSF veteran to overcome many obstacles.
Bag of Holding: Vector Traps, "pocket dimentions" of folded-over space enabled by Metatron's space-bending properties. A Vector Trap can hold a theoretically limitless volume, but mass is still a factor for the device carrying it. This is what enables the Hyperspace Arsenal of Orbital Frames, and the Clown Car Base of Cellars that deploy unmanned frames.
Battle Butler: Twede from The Fist of Mars. Battle Secretary would be more accurate though.
Beginner's Luck: Leo and Cage, helped by the fact that they have some stupidly-powerful mecha with good A.I..
Subverted in Dolores, i, since James is a UNSF veteran, but the Dolores' A.I. is, well... not suited for combat. Then again, James isn't too good at the beginning either, as he's never piloted an Orbital Frame before. He actually improves fairly slowly (and on paper isn't a match for any of the "elites", though he generally muddles through with sheer pluck and the fact that his new "niece" is a Super Prototype).
Beware the Nice Ones: Push Dolores enough and you run the risk of waking her ISIS mode, which will terminate you in the most efficient manner possible.
Bitter Sweet Ending: The first game which was close to being a Downer Ending. Viola has been defeated, Celvice is safe, the space colony is okay but BAHRAM still exists. Furthermore, ADA informs Leo she is programmed to self-destruct to destroy the fortress Aumaan, which leaves a sad expression in Leo.
Blackout Basement: During the second phase of Inhert's boss battle, Lloyd cloaks the entire area in darkness and you have to find him with ADA's help while avoiding all the surprise attacks he throws at you.
Blade Below the Shoulder: Jehuty, Dolores and Testament have this. In Dolores' case though, her arm morphs into an arm-blade.
Bleak Level: In The 2nd Runner, in the area just before fighting Nephtis, you come across an area where are broken LEVs as far as the eye can see, some of which have been ripped apart or have their upper bodies destroyed. The music in the area is also almost non-existent and very foreboding.
Dolores, i also suffers from this in the early episodes, featuring translations like "Orbital Flame". While this was fixed by the end of the series, the damage was already done...
A small but egregiously noteworthy one in Dolores, i states, at the end of the series, that the plan to crash the orbital elevator onto earth will wipe out the entire population of the planet . . . 120 million people. Wait, WHAT? Why is the population of the Earth in the 22nd century less than two-hundredths of the current population? This is generally accepted to be a translation error of two decimal places, and the intended number was 12 billion.
Body-Count Competition: There's one in The Fist of Mars. What's particularly strange is that this competition determines which story path you go on, and what ending you get.
Broken Pedestal: A minor example: Isaac Barrett, the author of the book How To Be A Daddy whom James Links practically worships as an epitome of great parent, turns out to be a worse father than James himself. However, Isaac does manage to reconcile with his son at the end of the episode and James just gives Isaac's book back to Isaac, telling him that it is time for Isaac to follow what the book says.
Bullet-proof Mecha Shield: You can grab enemies and use them as a shield. The enemies will still shoot, causing them to hurt their allies instead of you. This comes in really useful, especially in the second game, where those enemies are your only defense against a difficult boss.
The human shield version doubles as a Moral Event Horizon for one of the villains in The Fist of Mars.
Bumbling Dad: James Links from Dolores, i. He's trying to work things out with his kids, though.
Cherry Tapping: Forced upon you in The 2nd Runner when you fight Anubis for real Jehuty has been damaged, leaving the only things it can do is blade, dash, grab, burst-blade and Zero Shift. No shield nor long-range weapons of any kind. Needless to say, it makes Anubis insanely hard on your first attempts.
In Dolores, i he allows Radium to go through with his plan because He knows its a suicide mission that will take Hathor off the table, and even if he succeeds it will destroy the Space Force which is the only real opposition to Project Aumaan. Also the chaos created by Radium's plan had crippled the leadership of BAHRAM.
It is revealed in The Stinger at the end of The Fist of Mars that the entire game's plot was a ploy to get rid of his opposition within the leadership of BAHRAM.
Both of these events events allow him to take complete control over BAHRAM and Mars in the time between Zone of the Enders and The 2nd Runner
Child Soldiers: The I.D.O. Mindflow System, which subdues the will of a pilot to enhance the performance of Orbital Frame, works better with children, making them ideal for soldiers. The party even fights an army consisting of child soldiers in the game.
Classic Cheat Code: In the first game, inputting the Konami Code restores Jehuty's energy gauge and sub-weapon ammo, at the expense of lower its level. Also the Versus Mode in the first game can be unlocked with the Konami Code as well.
The 2nd Runner also featured the Konami Code as an alternative method to unlock Zoradius.
Colony Drop: The attempted destruction of Earth's Space Elevator.
Competitive Multiplayer: In the main games, a Versus Mode can be unlocked by beating the game. In the first game, players can choose between Jehuty, the enemies, and Neith as well its final form; in the sequel, players play as the characters' Orbital Frames.
Cutting Off The Branches: Done in Fist of Mars, where halfway through, the storyline splits depending on whether you destroy more or less enemy units than a trio of NPCs. However, while the routes are notably different, the ending is more or less the same for both routes.
Leo goes from being the main character in the first game, to a supporting character in The 2nd Runner
Early on in the The Fist of Mars, if you decide to spare Nadia, you begin a process which will lead to her having a Heel-Face Turn. There could have been a virtual goldmine of tension between her and the Eviler than Thou newcomer Amante, or at least something about her learning and growing. Unfortunately, she doesn't even get twenty more lines in the whole game.
Nohman is the Big Bad of the entire series, serving as a Post-Climax ConfrontationHopeless Boss Fight in the first game, and the primary antagonist for the whole of the sequel. But in Dolores, i? He's just some cocky jerk who shows up to mock Pleminger's BAHRAM unit. It's revealed in backstory materials that Nohman was running his own gambit to take over Bahram via the chaos Radium's plan created.
Die, Chair! Die!: What you're trying to prevent in the first game to leave Antilia with minimal collateral damage; going around mindlessly wrecking things can impact the ending. In The 2nd Runner, however, it's the complete opposite as long as you're not breaking something important to complete a task (like shooting a container to find Taper with a Burst Shot).
In the episode "Final Countdown" of Dolores, i, James became worried when Noel, who was working with an old astronaut retiree at the time, and took his frustration out on a bench considering the impression he left on him towards Noel after he tied up James and his family when they first met.
Played for laughs in the episode "Final Countdown" of Dolores, i. When James went to check up on Noel who was working with the old man, he overheard them doing something that sounded rather suggestive. It turned out Noel was just polishing pipes for the rocket's repairs, much to James' embarrassment.
Downer Beginning: The first Zone of the Enders opens with Leo running away from a traumatic experience of witnessing his friends being crushed by a fallen Phantoma LEV when BAHRAM began their attacked on Antilia. Just before that, Leo and his friends where taken captive by a Martian woman who labeled them as Enders. Leo was given a choice to either try and fight back to rescue his friends or run away. He choose the cowardly decision and his friends were killed by the Phantoma that was wrecked by Viola's Neith.
Early-Bird Cameo: We get to see Nohman before his exposure to Metatron completely changes him in Dolores, i.
Escort Mission: Two in The 2nd Runner. The first one have you trying to bring Taper to a catapult on the BAHRAM battleship to get to Mars, then later you have to carry Ken's Ardjet out of a tower leading into Air's Cliff after frying her Orbit Frame's A.I. to erase Viola.
Evil Knockoff: The mass-produced Ifrits are this to the Orbital Frame "Testament" that Cage pilots.
Expy: For his emotional issues, Cage from The Fist of Mars has been compared to Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Fortunately, Cage has more backbone and friends who actually trust him than the poor Butt Monkey from Evangelion.
Task Force ACEMOS is highly similar to the Titans from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, especially in their racist beliefs. They're also led by a corrupt, schemer with serious ego issues.
Fantastic Racism: One of the central themes in the series. The eponymous term "Ender" is actually a degrading word in the in-game universe. People from the Earth look down on Martians, while Martians oppress the people who are living further away from the Earth than they do (i.e. Jupiter); each refers to the next as "Enders".
Faux Action Girl: Ken, considering one Escort Mission only exists because she can't pilot her frame if it doesn't have an A.I.. Early in the game, Dingo also insists that he doesn't need an A.I., and ADA obliges him by putting on screen the hundreds of status feeds that she's monitoring. Dingo then concedes that maybe he does need her help.
Grievous Harm with a Body: Jehuty can grab enemy mechs and whack more enemies with the one it grabbed. Of note is during The War Sequence, where the Vic Viper has infinite health, so a sound strategy is just to grab it and whack away until everything that is not your friend dies.
Groin Attack: Baan Dorfloum does this twice to James Links when they first meet. James returns the favor enough that Baan should be a eunuch.
Hammerspace: Vector Traps, and almost every sub-weapon n the second game.
Heel-Face Turn: Sameji finaly has enough of his superior when he approaches the Moral Event Horizon.
Improvised Weapon: One of the things The 2nd Runner encourages you to do is using objects around your surroundings to fight enemies. If there's an iron beam around, smack a couple of Raptors and Mummyheads around with it! If you see a solar panel nearby, grab it and protect yourself from attacks that are normally unblockable! If you can't find anything useful, then use your enemies instead!
Infinity+1 Mecha: The name of Naked Jehuty may sound stupid, but there is only one Orbital Frame that can withstand it's one full blade combo, and that one foe, is the Final Boss itself. Naked Jehuty also has infinite sub-weapon energy, allowing it to spam Homing Missiles to wipe out everything in seconds, and use Mummy to recover its energy gauge while blocking virtually everything the game throws at it.
For the full run-down: It's basic shot attack will One-Hit KO any non-boss, most non-boss attacks won't do any damage, the only attack it can't guard against is the Final Boss's burst attack, simply using it's burst mode will destroy enemies in melee-range and it has Infinite SP energy.
Justified since it's Jehuty after absorbing Anubis' energy. It is the combination of the two most powerful Orbital Frames ever created, so what do you expect?
It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Myona in The Fist of Mars falls into this line of thinking after regaining her memory. She even tries to die in the facility where she got turned into a Tykebomb so her friends do not get hurt by people who may come after her in one of the two possible scenarios.
Kill the Cutie: Subverted; Viola did indeed shoot Celvice in the back near-end of the game, but thanks to the UNSF medics she survived. No doubt that Leo broke down after seeing Viola's smug grin as she shot her, and Leo wanted to take her down personally.
Killed Off for Real: Viola in the first game, until she was remade as A.I. for her new Frame in the second.
Nohman also got his just desserts at The 2nd Runner's climax.
The Lancer: Warren would qualify, but aside from the fact he has some Unresolved Sexual Tension for Mebius, who likes Deckson, he's actually fairly respective of Deckson, though he's somewhat more pragmatic at times. It also helps that all three parties like each other so much that no one thinks about Murdering the Hypotenuse.
—Since the dawn of history, human beings have realized various forms of energy. Civilisations have progressed with them! So where does such energy like Metatron lead our civilisation!?Detruction! Detruction to end all! The Universe, and human subconious, are willing their own end!
Baan Dorfloum in Dolores, i, full stop. That guy is *really* enthusiastic about his job.
—John CARTER is perpretrating EVIL on MAAAAAAAAAAAAARS!
Lethal Joke Character: The Single-sword Raptor in the first Zone of the Enders' Versus Mode. You have to beat the game twice to unlock it and Zombie Neith (which is itself a powerhouse), but from all outward appearances, it's only a weaker version of the already anemic Raptor. Then you realize the third strike on its 3-hit combo completely bypasses shields...
Level Scaling: Enemies in the main games are usually around your level range. In the first Zone of the Enders, the highest level enemies can be fought is Lv.7, which by that time Jehuty is about Lv.7-9.
Lightning Bruiser: The Vic Viper is the most overpowered machine in the game with its ability to outfight nearly every Orbital Frame in the game without breaking a sweat. At maximum power and speed, the machine becomes a monster and it doesn't matter how much HP it has, as long as it is not 0, it WILL kick your ass. Not that Naked Jehuty or Testament are slouches, either.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Jehuty can obtain a sub-weapon called Mummy, where it creates a shield that not only protect it from unblockable attacks, but also replenish its Energy Meter while its up.
This reaches ridiculous heights if you do a New Game+ with Naked Jehuty, which has near-infinite subweapon energy. So ridiculous, in fact, it borders on More Dakka if you use some of the rapid-fire secondary weapons.
Market-Based Title: The sequel in Japan is ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders where it was dubbed as Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner overseas.
The Merch: Aside from the games and anime, there are wall scrolls, soundtracks, art books, and other products. Special mention goes to the Revoltech figurines of Jehuty, Anubis, and the Vic Viper, as well as Kotobukiya's line of model kits.
In is however implied that his exposure to Metatron piloting the Anubis between the first game and The 2nd Runner causes him to lose his sanity and turn him into a creepy albino. He appears inDolores, i looking like a normal human being and still thinking rationally.
Mook Debut Cutscene: The main games are particularly fond of showing you the next enemy you'll encounter throughout the game.
Nerf: Mosquitoes went from being a relative threat in large numbers in The Fist Of Mars to literal cannon fodder only there to show off the new bullet spam attack in The 2nd Runner.
New Game+: Of sorts in The 2nd Runner. After clearing the main story, you can chose if you want to start the game with every sub-weapon in the game and the form of Jehuty you want to start with if you have a cleared game save, including NakedJehuty.
No-Gear Level: In the first game, while remote piloting a Raptor.
The Inhert is also a case of this looking more like something straight out of the Shin Megami Tensei series. But considering who designed it* (Kazuma Kaneko of Shin Megami Tensei fame), it makes sense. To elaborate, it is the only Frame that has the cockpit on the head, cockpit itself being shaped like a statue of a woman with a sword and angelic wings, which is white in contrast to the rest of the Frame being covered in some sort of black shielding.
Tempest and Tyrant from the first game are also this, being as though the former is easily the size of a small mountain and has multiple octopus-like arms (that haveflamethrowers) and the latter being a huge crab... egg... ship-like thing. Nebula looks like both a common space ship and transforms into some sort of giant squid. It Makes As Much Sense In Context.
Old Save Bonus: It can only be done with the original Japanese ANUBIS: Zone of the Enders (a.k.a. The 2nd Runner), however. If you have a cleared save file from the demo included in The Visual Works of ANUBIS artbook stored in a memory card, upon running the full game with the demo's cleared game save will unlock the Versus Mode and Extra Missions mode without spending hours playing through the main story to unlock them normally.
Power High: Seems to be the early symptoms of metatron poisoning.
Psycho Serum: Any human who is in contact with Metatron or Metatron-powered machines too long becomes decidedly insane and gains freaky powers. Radium Levans managed a last minute Heroic Sacrifice once his ships' evil A.I. was killed, while Nohman died as evil as he lived.
Puzzle Boss: Nephtis in The 2nd Runner. All four times you fight it.
Real Time Weapon Change: In the main games, you can change your sub-weapons in-game with the D-Pad. Alternatively, you can select them in the pause screen, and in the second game, hold the L1 button to pause the game while you pick out your sub-weapon.
Recurring Boss: Viola is one in both games, well... one could argue about the second, and Nohman is also one in The 2nd Runner.
Redshirt Army: Earth's Phantoma pilots are outgunned in every way imaginable. It's like putting World War II era tanks up against modern MBTs. They can fight evenly against Orbital Frames, but only the unmanned models, of which BAHRAM has thousands. Against Frames with human pilots like a Tempest or Nebula, it takes about thirty Phantomas to take down one.
Reverse Mole: Ken is a spy from the Space Force sent in to keep taps on BAHRAM's activities. Although that was a lie; she's just a BAHRAM soldier revolting against Nohman for being responsible of her father's death.
RPG Elements: As you destroy enemies, you gain experience points to level-up Jehuty.
SatelliteImplied Love Interest: Celvice. She doesn't have much characterization outside of being a companion of Leo's. You can pretty much remove her from the first game and the plot wouldn't be affected at all. Well, just barely. She all but disappears in the second game.
Scars Are Forever: Baan gets hit by shrapnel in the temple and a good portion of his face is black and scarred.
Sdrawkcab Name: Nephtis' boss theme is named "ALOIVIA", a backwards anagram for "Viola A.I.".
In Dolores, i, James and Rachel Links named their son and daughter "Leon" and "Noel" respectively.
Shout-Out: In The 2nd Runner, Leo appears piloting a Transforming Mecha featuring up to four "Options" that trail behind him duplicating his attacks, a ringlike "Aura Bolt" attack, and a distinctive energy barrier that changes color as it wears down. The mech's name? Vic Viper. Its aircraft design is even inspired by the original ship.
This goes beyond this in earlier design sketches that showed the Vic Viper being far closer to the original Gradius design. Presumably the design changes were made to better animate its transformation and bipedal form.
Slap-Slap-Kiss: In The 2nd Runner Dingo and Ken first fought at Callisto, then Ken punched him he boarded Nohman's ship, then bickered their way throughout most of the game, became allies later on, and then becoming a couple by the end of the game.
Space Trucker: James Links runs a cargo ship around the Solar System. He copes with the boredom of weeks-long journies with beer and reading.
Spell My Name with an S: Between the games and the OVA/anime series, the dub translators seemed to get their notes mixed up on the pronunciation of several names: Nohman/Norman, Radham/Radium, BAHRAM/BUFRAM, not to mention a number of the Martian cities and territories mentioned in both 2nd Runner and Dolores, i.
Spider Tank: The aptly-named Spiders, although they're really small (compared to an Orbital Frame).
Spoiler Opening: The 2nd Runner's intro manages to spoil numerous twists from the game, including Viola's apparant return from the death and the fact it was really an A.I..
Suicide Mission: When Dingo was a BAHRAM soldier, Nohman sends him and his allies to a suicide mission against the Space Force's attack where they took many casualties with Dingo being the lone survivor.
ADA's goal is to destroy Aumaan by self-destructing Jehuty. Thanks to the efforts of Dingo, he not only saved the Solar System, but ADA as well.
Superpowered Evil Side: Dolores' ISIS Mode, although it was implied that the ISIS Mode is Dolores' A.I. of the Isis frame.
Super Prototype: Jehuty, Anubis, Idolo, Delores, Hathor, Testament, and Iblis. Mildly averted with the original Idolo, as was it destroyed in the movie it was introduced, and went on to form the fuselage for Dolores and Hathor, both far stronger than the original, as were (arguably) Jehuty and Anubis which were made from scratch.
Tech Demo Game: Zone of the Enders is generally considered this, not specifically from the player's perspective, but from the developer's perspective, seeing as it uses the same game engine as the higher-profile game Metal Gear Solid 2, so it's easy to think of Zone of the Enders as Kojima Productions' warm-up game before they tackled MGS2.
Theme Naming: Most of the important mecha in the series are named after Egyptian deities.
A tentative example in the names of the main protagonists: ZOE's hero is named Leo ("Lion"), 2nd Runner's is named Dingo, and Dolores, i's is named James Links (i.e. "Lynx"). One might even stretch the concept to include Fist of Mars by saying such animals belong in a 'Cage,' but that's a reach. And there's no real connection at all to Idolo's Radium Lavans. Of course, seeing how the movie is a glorified pilot for Dolores, i,and Radium is actually the villain of the series, that could be excused.
Averted in The Fist of Mars where the main character's mech are called the Testament and the main antagonist's mech is called the Iblis (which is the name of the primary devil in Islam). Also, the Testament's Evil Knockoff is called Ifrit.
Tomboy: Noel Links. Her personality more closer to James and can relate to her father and his problems more than her brother Leon. She was also working as a construction worker until she got fired when James got framed for the murder that occurred when he was carrying Dolores.
Tomboyish Name: Ken Marinaris from The 2nd Runner, who is otherwise very girly. Also note that Ken can be a female name in Japan.
Toxic Phlebotinum: Metatron is heavily implied to be this with early symptoms being drunk on power. Continued exposure to it seems to turn the afected into an Omnicidal Maniac.
True Companions: Dingo goes into a BAHRAM ship in order to draw BAHRAM away from Callisto so his miner friends do not get hurt. Also, his main motivation to fight against BAHRAM is to avenge his comrades who were unknowingly sent on a suicide mission to be used as a decoy. Dingo was the only one who survived from the UNSF's assault.
Updated Re-release: The 2nd Runner received a re-release in Japan and PAL regions (North America was left out) with the Special Edition, which irons out the frame-rate of the game, added new battle sequences to the main storyline, expanded the VR Missions mode, added new difficulty levels, and featured tutorials for the sub-weapons.
The HD Collection, available for both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, compiles both of the main games in the series with HD visuals; this is also the first time that the Special Edition of The 2nd Runner saw a North American release. Unfortunately the games, most notably The 2nd Runner on PlayStation 3, went against Konami's intentions of bring these games in 1080p with 60 FPS; the games were upscaled for 720p and had frame-rate stability issues. Konami and Hexa Drive later released a patch exclusively for the PlayStation 3 version to rectify the issues.
Variable Mix: Every single mission area in the first game, which featured a considerable array of musical stings and lines depending on the situation. Essentially, the only time the track wasn't being altered in some way was if you were idling outside of combat.
Villain Teleportation: Anubis. It will warp from one area to another at will, often to keep Jehuty from touching it.
Hathor as well. It's mentioned that Radium managed to copy the ability from Anubis, though he doesn't seem to be able to spam it like Anubis or Jehuty can. Edit: Hathor's ability to zero shift is in fact inferior to Anubis's, both to the lack of vector traps and inferior construction.
The War Sequence: After a stirring speech, Dingo and Leo convince the UNSF army remants to join forces for a final assault on BAHRAM HQ. Charging through artilery fire Jehuty, Vic Viper and around fifty Phantoma LEVs face off against THOUSANDS of mass produced Orbital Frames. And it is possible, although difficult to defeat the entire army with zero casualites.
Warm-Up Boss: Slash's Tempest in the first game and Ken's Ardjet in the second.
Wave Motion Gun: The Vector Cannon, as a BFG for Orbital Frames. It takes approximately twenty seconds to charge, and when it fires shoots a blast that damned near eclipses Jehuty in size and will rip through anything and everything in its path. It's capable of tearing apart battleships in a single blast. The Vector Cannon is the only weapon capable of punching through "Compressed Space", the games term for super-invincible force-fields.
What Happened to the Mouse?: We haven't seen anything of the characters from The Fist of Mars since the end of their game. Similarly, Amante seemed to be aware of the coming events in the first game almost a year before it happened. Then again, the game isn't confirmed as either canon or non-canon.
Wouldn't Be a Jerk to Girls: Jimmer might be a prick, but apparently has a policy on being respectful to women he actually takes somewhat seriously.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Celvice from the first game has blue hair. Leo also has blue hair albeit its darker. Nohman, as mentioned before, used to have purple hair. Viola's A.I. copy also has purple hair.