Another Century's Episode - The one that started it all. However, it's not officially counted as part of the series' timeline. Notable for the fact the two playable Original Generation units, the Gespenst and the Cloud Breaker (from the Xbox game Murakumo, also by From Software), don't have pilots acknowledged by the storyline.
Another Century's Episode 3: The Final - Continues and finishes the continuity from the previous game. Storyline centers around the "Baldona Drive", a device allowing travel between an Alternate Universe and threatens to destroy both "Earth A" (the one in A.C.E.2) and its counterpart "Earth B". Notable for the fact that while A.C.E.2 brought in G Gundam, The Final decided to be more blatant about letting super robots in on the action.
Returning series - Dunbine, Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, Brain Powerd, Dragonar, Char's Counterattack, Macross, Macross: Do You Remember Love?, G Gundam, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, The Wings Of Rean
Another Century's Episode: R - The fourth game in the series (and the first for the PlayStation 3), R sees characters from a myriad of anime worlds get caught in a mysterious "black sphere" and dumped in a parallel universe on the distant, ruined Planet Eria. Word of God confirmed it's an Obvious Beta, since R will be used as a testbed for the new hardware, alongside revamping the franchise. To that end, each series is limited to its "essential core characters" as playables, with visuals and gameplay being the primary focus rather than the massive cast list of the previous game.
Returning series - Zeta Gundam, Char's Counterattack, Overman King Gainer
Another Century's Episode Portable - Released in early 2011, this Playstation Portable installment is viewed as an Author's Saving Throw against the failed elements of R, as seen by the return of the classic control scheme. However, the game does not have an overall plotline, instead simply being something like a Mission Pack Sequel.
Returning series - Layzner, Brain Powerd, Overman King Gainer, Dunbine, The Wings Of Rean, Code Geass R2, Nadesico: The Prince of Darkness, L-Gaim, Dragonar, Zeta Gundam, Char's Counterattack, Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz, Gundam X, Turn A Gundam, Gundam SEED Destiny, Macross Plus, Macross Frontier
A.I. Is a Crapshoot - According to the backstory of R, humans colonized Eria, only to be randomly attacked by automated drones they dubbed "Aggressors". Eventually, they developed a planetary shield and defense system, maintained by the Season androids. Unfortunately, for some reason or another, their leader Winter One decided that humanity had to go.
Until it's subverted at the last moment when Dr. Shiki, a human who secretly had his mind inserted into Winter One, takes control of the android's body and shows himself to be responsible for turning the Seasons against humanity. Winter One himself isn't above sending his "siblings" to carry out suicide attacks or outright shooting them in the back if doing so distracts the heroes from his works although this may or may not be an indirect result of Shiki's influence as well.
Alpha Strike: The Ex-Blau Form-H in 3 can do this, firing all of its weapons at a single target. It's possible to severely damage if not outright kill bosses with this attack (which comprises micromissiles, rockets, shotguns, beam shots, a small wave motion gun, and artillery gun).
In the first two games, funnels are this, but they come with an immense caveat: once launched, they remain in play, firing at whatever you're locked on to at the moment for a set time, upon which they experience Critical Existence Failure. Unlike other weapons, they cannot be reloaded.
3 has funnels, as well, and the original mecha "Ixblau" has a Mecha Expansion Pack that gives it its own set of attack drones. Here, said drones return to you and recharge once they've spent an amount of time in the field, but they can also be destroyed by enemy fire...and you still can't restock them.
Awesome, but Impractical - Master Gundam in 3; on one hand, you get to control Bad AssCool Old Guy Master Asia and the machine can go into two successive super modes...on the other hand, most of its attacks either require a bit of startup time, aren't exactly effective against moving targets (which is just about everything in the game), or both.
Bottomless Magazines - The franchise moved in this direction over time. In the first two games, ammunition was pretty reasonable, but in the third, everyone's main weapon had a large amount of shots and reloaded very quickly (in the area of 5-8 seconds). R just says to hell with it and gives infinite ammo to everyone's primary gun, but everything else runs off of a "Tension" meter which builds by attacking, taking damage, and from some support abilities, such as Zero's Geass. This odd set-up means that weaker weapons like Mobile Suits' vulcan guns or Knightmare Frames' slash harkens cost Tension while beam rifles, grenade launchers and the like can be used freely.
Unlocking Nineball Seraph in R due to it being usable in only one mission, but hey playable Nineball!
Breaking Speech- Before fighting the Big Bad Dr. Shiki in R, the heroes are treated to a long speech on the rationale behind everything that has transpired, including the Seasons' extermination campaign against human colonists on Eria: 1.) Shiki began thinking of "liberating the colonists from the misery of war" upon conclusion that breach of the A.C.E. system by the Aggressors might take a long time but is ultimately inevitable, 2.) defending billions of human beings is not as efficient as defending a boxed collection of sperms and eggs, and 3.) removing the human presence means no more man-made pollutions or catastrophes, thereby preserving Eria's Eco-system. He goes on to portray his actions as an act of mercy for the colonists of Eria, but the heroes being heroes naturally just don't at all buy into it. Finally he proceeds to announce his intention of harvesting the heroes for body parts, a move that most likely isn't helping his cause, either......
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome - Gai Daigoji in 3. Despite surviving to the very end of the second game, he's nowhere in sight in the third and no explanation of what happened to him is given.
Ditto to Tak, The Hero of 2. In The Final, Love Interest Marina turns up as a playable character in Tak's mecha, and the dialog before the final stage has her implying that there's someone important to her to come back to, but it's never said where he is or why he's not here himself.
Combination Attack - A large part of the gameplay in the latter two games revolves around filling up a "Friend Gauge" to facilitate having all three mechs in your squad unload on a single enemy, with any nearby mooks getting caught in the crossfire. There's even an entire strategy revolving around creating squads of specific mechs to unleash stronger combos
Debut Queue - In R, the player picks a series to start with and experiences a couple of missions purely from its source material before the "black sphere" teleports them to Eria. Shortly thereafter, they meet about half the cast; over the course of the next two or three stages, they meet the other half, which necessitates a lot of introductions and Exposition (so newcomers know what an Exodus, Britannian and Miclone are)
R has quite a bit of this, since the "black sphere" means that we see brief snippets of events in every series' home world before only the select few playables get pulled away.
In a larger sense, Gundam Wing. In the original ACE it played a large role in the overall plot, complete with Romefeller Foundation HQ serving as the headquarters of the UCE. In 2, the characters are mainly there to play Big Damn Heroes, without even enacting Endless Waltz's plot (Wu Fei still rebels, but without the larger backstory of the Mariemaia Rebellion it looks more like he's throwing a temper tantrum). The Final takes it even further by only having Heero appear or even be mentioned out of the entire cast.
Downer Ending - The first game: due to a Sadistic Choice, you're forced to massacre civilians in a "needs of the many" situation. After taking out Hokushin, you chase Char Aznable to Mars and take care of him, too. Unfortunately, the UCE Government has now labeled all of Londo Bell to be traitors and mass-murderers, forcing the heroes to go into hiding. The only remotely-good thing to come out of this debacle is a suggestion given by the narrator that the disgraced heroes are protecting Earth from the shadows, because they're heroes and that's what they do. The answer as to whether this is supposed to be a hint at a new adventure or just a Hope Spot will never be known since the sequels then proceed to throw this storyline out the window.
Shin Kudo in R ends up no closer to finding Sara Nome by the conclusion of his story. That, and see You Can't Go Home Again entry below.
The Boss Rush levels effectively live off this trope. It's at its very, very worst in 2 when the Neue Ziel (already That One Boss on its own) gains a dream-team partner in the Sazabi
Early-Bird Cameo - The custom Gespensts used by Kai, Katina and Russel in The Second Super Robot Wars Original Generation made their debut in ACE Portable.
Escort Mission - Quite a few, but the most frustrating is the final Eureka Seven mission in 3, due to being surrounded on all sides by infinitely respawning Corallians who can literally start taking chunks out of the Gekko
Until you realize the large Coralians on the far sides of the map are Mook Makers. And that Valkyries are the best units to use against large numbers of enemies, thanks to Macross Missile Massacre and More Dakka. (And in Roy's case, nukes.)
Evolving Attack - Melee combos in 2 evolve as you pour points into upgrading them. Combination Attacks in 3 evolve based on the amount of experience each mech participating has.
Face Death with Dignity - Summer One in R gets to die at his own accord by going down with his mecha following his second loss at the heroes' hands. His "siblings" aren't even so lucky.
Facial Markings - Hard to see when he has his helmet on, but Tak has a rather intricate pattern on the right side of his face
Falling into the Cockpit - Subverted: Barrel's practically dragged into the Ixblau's cockpit and made to fight by co-pilot Fei.
Generation Ships - Ark Alpha houses the personal data of the humans stranded on Eria, and was designed with the intent to let them escape the planet and the control of Season
Genre Shift - By the way each game represents the story: the first seems to be realistic mecha simulation, similar to Armored Core, with an anime setting. The only face the player will see during a mission is his operator and the avatar character is a nondescript pilot. 2 shifts toward anime and less of realism, with the player actually seeing the protagonist during cutscenes. Tak's solid with personality and a background story. Still, aside from a few flashbacks and mission briefings, the player will never see Tak interact with other characters outside of battles (they use voicemail to contact him personally), and there are various reports which the player can read to learn about events beyond his scope. The Final slides even more towards an anime feeling, with Barrel actually talking to his fellow pilots before their sorties and everything is represented through dialogue
High-Altitude Battle - The fact there are so many of these is the reason units who, while unable to fly in their original series, have no problem doing so here
Subverted somewhat in R: Variable Fighters from Macross franchise are no longer capable of sustained flight in Battroid mode; also, when the heroes proceed to ascend towards space, Arm Slaves, Mobile Suits from UniversalCentury and Cosmic Era universes, Overmen, and the Earth Federation Army robots break off from the party to storm an orbital elevator rather than sitting out on actions (as most of them cannot leave planetary atmospheres under their own power, much less defend their capital ships along the way). In addition to being a diversionary attack, this move also serves to utilize the elevator, which can catapult them into space to link up with the rest of the party if they do slip past local enemy defenses.
Idle Animation - Certain mechs in 3, but only on the ground. The ∀ Gundam will rotate its head 180 degrees for a few seconds, then sit down and somehow pull out a clothesline which it will hang between its hands. The Overman "Dominator" is the only mech in the game with aerial idle animations; doing gymnastic stretches that cycle between three different forms every time you hang in the air long enough.
Jedi Truth - Recall Author's Saving Throw: it turns out Terada was just referring to characters, resulting in a large number of secret units being downgrades (for example, Crossbone X-1, Sousuke Sagara's M9 Gernsback, and the original Lancelot and Guren MK II), apparently because they weren't willing to expand beyond the "core characters", despite the surprising number of peripheral characters who get full voice acting AND their mecha worked into the game
The Gespenst MK II M in the original game isn't quite a joke character, but is hands-down the weakest machine in the game, thus treated as such by the fan community; beating the game with an stock Gespenst is considered the "ironman" challenge
The RX-78-2 is more a Lethal Joke Character, considering it's hideously overpowered to the point of Game Breaker: while it shoots slow for most weapons and has insanely long reload times, the damage is absolutely insane to the point where even bosses go down in a few well-placed shots
Bonta-kun in R.
Bonta-kun is a god compared to Luca Angeloni's RVF-25. Absolutely pitiful damage from its primary ranged weapon, an almost nonexistent melee combo string, and its only Tension ability being to futz with enemy missiles make for a difficult time fighting just about anything. It gains some useful skills in its "Super" configuration, but said configuration is only available for five levels at the tail end of the game, one of which is the Scrappy Level.
Kill Sat - The Guardian System for the Gun Ark and Buster Ark in 2
Fidel Barkholz in 2. He acts as The Professor while in front of the Albion's crew and regularly sends Tak information via e-mail, but turns out to be a Treacherous Advisor and the one responsible for giving Marina the Buster Ark and sending her and platoons of Mecha-Mooks off to get in the way of the Albion's forces.
Dr. Shiki in R. Although both the Doctor and the Seasons want all humans on Eria dead, the Seasons simply sees it as a conquest whereas Dr. Shiki sees it as an expression of his twisted vision of saving the world, and Winter One himself wasn't very happy to find out that Shiki isn't quite dead as everyone was led to believe.
Mask Power - Belkt, during the first half of The Final
Mecha Expansion Pack - Subverted in 2, wherein the Gun-Ark receives various weapon upgrades that don't alter its appearance in any way
Played totally straight in 3, with the Ixblau given four expansion packs: Blade, G-force, Heavy, and Telekinesis.
Mook Maker - Just about every enemy ship and/or base
More Dakka - Several mechs shoot A LOT of stuff, but the Heavyarms in 1 and 2, and the Alteisen Reise in R take the cake.
Mundane Made Awesome - In R: Arm Slave Units cannot fly (And thus, cannot use the boost gauge), but Arbalest can go to pretty much any enemy you want it to using only its knife, and it has a handy dodge roll which can be abused to gain speed.
Then when you get to the space stages the Arm Slaves gain flight (Presumably due to the lack of gravity), they also gain the ability to boost without using any sort of visible booster.
Original Generation - Tak Kepford, Marina Carson and the Ark series from 2; Barrel Orland, Fei Roshande, Belkt and the Ixblau from 3; Autumn-Four, Ark-Alpha, Alpheart and Season from R.
Overly Long Fighting Animation - Strange for the type of game, but Cybuster's specials are completely overdone in R to insane levels, espcialy Cosmo Nova.
Personality Chip - Autumn Four has the "Sentimental Circuit", which was damaged in the prologue, leading her to being an Emotionless Girl with occasional moments of "noise" from the Circuit (like her finding Bonta-kun adorable). As it turns out, all Season androids have the same Circuits in order to let them work better with humanity; obviously, it didn't work
The Rival - When Mikael Blanc introduces himself as a sniper, Kurz Weber cheerfully remarks "I guess that makes you my rival," which Mikael cheerfully confirms.
Sadistic Choice - The climax of the original game, thanks to Char: since he can't drop Axis (it having got stuck with A Baoa Qu after he tried to ram the latter as per Zeta Gundam), he instead sends an E2 bomb, which would cause MORE damage than Axis, to Earth. The problem is, it's in a civilian shuttle...which is a part of a giant fleet of refugee shuttles headed to Earth under Relena Peacecraft's auspices. This means you have to go on a rampage, destroying the ships and killing innocents, because letting that bomb reach Earth would be much, much worse
Shoot the Dog - Surprisingly done in R, by Kira "Shalt not kill" Yamato. When Winter forcibily takes command of Spring upon her loss and makes her attempt a kamikaze attack on Ark Alpha, Autumn-Four moves to destroy her, but Kira quickly snipes Spring down with a dragoon before Autumn can fire, killing her. He says he feels bad for killing her, but also didn't want Autumn to have to kill her "sister".
Something Only They Would Say - In R, Zero's attempt to convince Suzaku Kururugi to join up with the "Irregulars" rather than Season includes a thinly-veiled reference to their mutual past (saying they mustn't repeat their past mistake of ignoring the situation to focus on each other), which confirms to Suzaku this Zero is indeed Lelouch.
Super Prototype - The Gun Arks and Buster Ark in 2 and the Ixblau in The Final
Sword of Plot Advancement - Tak obtaining access to the Guardian System in 2 and Barrel learning he's the biological son of the creator of the Baldona Drive, thus able to bypass its security measures and activate it himself in 3
Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Suzaku with the other Geass characters in R as it's at the point in the series where he hates Zero completely, but doesn't yet know his story. Subverted with everyone else. Suzaku gets along with them just fine, and in fact the only reason he agreed to help in the first place was because there were other characters that he decided were trustworthy.
Theme Naming - The villainous organization in R is named "Season" and its members include Spring One, Summer One, Autumn One and Winter One. Our protagonist, however, is Autumn Four
Each Season member also have huge bases called Plants: Spring has the Sea Plant, Summer has the Geo Plant, and Autumn the Sky Plant. Winter, however, uses the A.C.E. Core.
Title Drop - R's plot heavily involves "System A.C.E.". In fact, it's the second-last boss. In the epilogue, Autumn prepares to seed life on mankind's new home, saying that it's the beginning of "Another Century's Episode", while speaking in Gratuitous English. However, this could be what System A.C.E. was intended for, in the first place...
It's implied this is because the Frontier characters filled him in on the events he missed out on, specifically Roy Focker's death and the devastation of earth in the original series. Since he'd no doubt try to prevent this the timeline kept him from doing so by sending him back with the Frontier characters to their time. Contrast Amuro and Char who are sent back to the time they left, because the Kincaid explicitly tells Tobia that they need to keep their fates from Char's Counterattack to themselves to prevent causing timeline problems.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair - Other than all the included series, the originals in R have some wild colors. Autumn plays it the straightest, though, with light-blue hair.
You Killed My Father - The major reason why Barkholz is so pissed off at the UCE in 2 is that they were responsible for killing off his father, Albert Reinen. So he decides that not only will he throw a monkey wrench in the UCE's plans by aiding their enemies via timely interruptions, but he'll also be the one to wipe out the Zentraedi through the Ark Project's There Can Be Only One development cycle