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This page is for Crowning Moments Of Awesome for Ace Combat games preceding Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. For CMoA's in Skies Unknown, look here.

Ace Combat 2/Assault Horizon Legacy

Ace Combat 3

Ace Combat 04

  • Ace Combat 04. Mobius One starts as a simple rookie, rushed into a last stand to fend off bombers going after the last remaining allied air base near the occupied mainland, on the other side. By the conclusion of the game, the pilot has a squadron to his name, has destroyed the rail cannon network that had facilitated the enemy invasion, shot down almost every elite Erusean pilot, flown into the guts of a massive ICBM launcher and pulled it apart, liberated two cities, and in the arcade mode of Ace Combat 5, his tactical skill and effectiveness are equal to that of an entire squadron. Repeat: Mobius 1 makes up an entire fighter squadron... by himself.
  • Mission 08: Shattered Skies, the Battle of Comona (the mission being to defend a satellite launch from aerial attack) may be described as a "furball", or a giant air-to-air brawl with missiles, complete with Awesome Music.
    • The best part is that this is your first real chance to hit a member of Yellow Squadron.
    Ally: A Yellow's hit and trailing smoke. Whose kill was that?
    Yellow 13: Who was it that shot me?! See who's responsible for that shot!
    Unnamed Yellow: It's a ribbon!
  • The first time you shoot down a member of Yellow Squadron while attacking the huge cannon system that has killed countless buddies. Then the game throws it in your face that the plane had a faulty engine! And it was still tough to take them down for many gamers.
    • Somewhat balanced out by the fact that in a first playthrough, the player won't really have a plane comparable to Yellow Squadron's Su-37 Terminators in the first place, and gameplay-wise there's no actual difference between the Yellows — whichever you shoot down first is story-wise considered to have been Yellow 4.
    • Then stepped up during the battle for San Salvacion, where a few Yellows are over different parts of the city; each one shot down is worth far more points than any normal target, but there is no in-story note if you kill any of them beyond Sky Eye shouting "Got a Yellow!" when it happens.
    • Then outdone by Mission 17, Siege of Farbanti — capping off the attack on the Erusean capital and the decapitating of their military is the honest-to-Crystal Dragon Jesus splashing of Yellow 13 and his last four wingmen, no Worf Had the Flu excuse to defend them here! Except for the fact that most of Yellow was a bunch of hurriedly trained rookies, with the sole beautiful exception of Yellow 13.
  • The sequence leading up to, and the stage "Emancipation," always gives goosebumps. While not the start of ISAF's offensive (that was Operation: Bunker Shot), it marks the point where ISAF has gained the decisive advantage and the war's outcome sealed.
    • Yellow Squadron is in the air with you during this mission. If you seek them out, you can shoot them down here, too.
  • Moment of Awesome for players here: In the mission 'Lifeline', your squad takes down an oilrig and a refinery to cut off supplies for an invading force. Then Yellow Squadron shows up, they're supposed to be better than you, and your objective is actually to RTB as quickly as possible. The devs cranked the AI up to eleven on this incarnation of the Yellows just to drive the point home. They were shocked when they read various internet forum posts describing players actually landing hits, and being disappointed to find out that the planes were invincible at this stage in the game! (On ace difficulty, it takes two regular missiles to take out an enemy but just one for you to go down, meaning these players went 5 vs. 1 on the best AI in the game, and landed multiple hits without getting shot down!)
    • Not to mention the craptastic plane YOU are flying at the time vs the superfighters piloted by the Yellows.
  • The start of the final mission is a excellent example. Throughout the game, you are the only Mobius aircraft in theatre, causing so much damage that the mere sight of your plane terrifies the enemy ("There's a ribbon on that plane! It's the Grim Reaper.") Because of this, when you enter the mission Megalith and are greeted with Mobius Squadron you really get the feeling that, this is really the last chance, it's win or die here.
    Sky Eye: "Sky Eye here. All Mobius aircraft report in."
    Allies: "Mobius Two on standby." "Mobius Three through Seven on standby." "Mobius Eight on standby."
    Sky Eye: "Preparations are complete, ready for battle. All aircraft, follow Mobius One."
    ["Megalith ~ Agnus Dei" starts up]
    • For that matter, even the opening of the mission qualifies! You get to see how imposing Megalith is, complete with meteors, lasers coming from the facility and Ominous Latin Chanting:
      Rex tremendae majestatis,
      qui salvandos savas gratis,
      salve me, fons pietatis.
      King of tremendous majesty,
      who freely saves those worthy ones,
      save me, source of mercy.
    • Also, the reaction of the enemy planes. Yellow Squadron at this point has been decimated, so all of your enemies wear their symbol on their planes. They didn't see their enemies doing the same thing.
    You're not gonna believe this Jean-Louis! All of them have ribbon insignias!

Ace Combat 5

  • The entirety of "First Flight". Sand Island is attacked by the Yuktobanians, and it's so sudden that from your view in the cockpit, everything around you is being bombed. You then take off and begin your counterattack, and in the middle of the mission, New Meat Grimm takes Bartlett's spare plane out of the hangar and helps out. So it's just your four planes against an entire bomber force, and obviously, you kick their asses, all to a remix of Blockade from the last game, "First Flight". It's the beginning of the legend of the Four Wings of Sand Island.
  • Ofnir Squadron's entrance into the ravine in Mission 23: Ghosts of Razgriz is unquestionably badass. The formation of four Su-35s arrives over the ravine, before performing a high speed simultaneous 360-degree corkscrew descent into the canyon, leveling out mere feet above the canyon floor and each other.
  • Mission 17: Journey Home. A simple ceremonial flight over an Osean city turns into an absolute furball as Wardog is forced to defend against 50+ Yuktobanian fighters in a desperate situation, while an unquestionably badass song plays.
  • When Genette, the embedded reporter, throws it in with the blackballed Wardogs in the unarmed training planes after being held at gunpoint by the base commander. Sure, he'd been branded a traitor with the actual pilots, but he's still with them every step of the way without so much as a complaint, even after ejecting over the ocean. The mechanic's dog rides along with them. Even if that one level was the most fun level ever.
  • Ace Combat 5 also gets another one during the Mission "Sea of Chaos". After spending the latter part of the game branded as traitors, several ships from the enemy's fleet finally realizes that you were right all along and decide to defect in an inspiring cut scene ("This is missile destroyer Gumrak of the GLORIOUS Yuktobanian Navy. We cannot follow a fleet commander willing to sink one his own ships. All of you who believe in peace, follow me!"). You then get to fight two entire battle fleets, both from two completely different countries that are already at war with each other, to protect your new allies. As you utterly annihilate the enemy ships, the game's main theme song (an anti-war song no less!) plays in the background, while the sailors below react with terror (your enemies), with inspiration (your allies), or with disbelief (your old allies meeting your new comrades). Beautiful.
    • And then the next mission? You're catapulted off your aircraft carrier for the last time as it starts to sink (complete with a cutscene where the surviving crew salutes the sinking carrier, complete with inspiring music), are allowed to finally use your full selection of aircraft (instead of just the naval aircraft such as the F/A-18 family) thanks to a last-minute retrofit of your aircraft's nose gear to mate with the catapult after the carrier kill, and then have just about every squadron on both sides of the war join you for the final mission to save the world.
    • The cutscene of the last mission is pretty inspiring. The planes sent to intercept you? They form up with you instead. More planes appear? They're coming to join you. From both Osea and Yuktobonia, from every theatre of the war, they rally around YOU. During this scene they all join in singing the anti-war song, and one of them is an AWACS named Oka Nieba who refers to you and all of your new allies as "the choir".
  • Kei Nagase, the extremely pacifist borderline-Granola Girl, gets shot down in enemy territory during a blizzard. One mission later, you see her rescue right before rescue in a cutscene: Holding the enemy soldiers sent to capture her at gunpoint, while the narrator comments on her courage and skill.
    • The look on her face cements that moment, because you KNOW you don't want to mess with her.
  • Part II of the White Bird missions. When it turns out the Arkbird has been hijacked by terrorists and needs to be shot down, almost anything you do feels amazing whether it be dodging lasers, slowly taking the ship apart and even when it refuses to lay down and die. The music for the stage "White Bird (Part II)" fits perfectly and depending on how you do with the UAV Remote Planes, you may find yourself just about to fail the mission only to succeed at the very end just as the music starts to slowly die down as the Arkbird crashes into the ocean. Definitely one of the best missions in the game.
  • MISSION 18+: 8492. Right after those bone chilling lines "The 8492nd squadron doesn't exist!", the airspace in front of you is filled with enemy fighters. Then, later, you go back and take on the squadron of dozens of planes, and win.
  • In Journey Home, Chopper earns his Moment of Awesome when his plane is hit by an enemy missile, and rather then bail out over the city, he waits until the stadium is cleared out, but by then, his plane's systems are fried and he is unable to eject, so he guides the plane into the center of the stadium.
    • Remember that the mission begins as a ceremonial flight, before an attack is launched. The 8492 keeps reinforcements from arriving, before stealth bombers are sent.
    • The scene immediately after this is both a CMOA and a Tear Jerker. Edge and Archer are crying, but they and you seem to be shooting down the enemy with ease. Over the radio, the enemy muses that they must really be fighting the Demons of Razgriz, the demons having taken over the pilot's bodies. All round, good guy and bad guy freak out before the enemy retreats.
  • Operation Katina; it's great to be Mobius 1 again, and the set-up is just awesome. A large force of ex-Eurusean military have decided to return to duty and attempt to start an insurrection. ISAF decides that the situation can be handled by Mobius 1 alone.
  • Screaming towards the SOLG in an F-22 on Ace difficulty, you're intercepted by the Ofnir and Grabacr squadrons. Fire off four XLAA missiles and jink hard right, then reacquire and kill the rest of them. If you're good it takes all of five seconds. In fact you can break the game somewhat here as there is about thirty seconds of canned battle speech, and over two minutes of sappy natter from your pilots after downing the two squadrons.
    • And the final scene, when you have to shoot down the SOLG, is awesome in the unique, anti-climatically serene way. Speeding towards the rising sun with your wingmen, destroying the final derelict of the past war (which isn't even hard but takes just enough time to savor the moment), while the triumphant Latin main theme starts to play — it's not quite a Tear Jerker but more like a heartfelt goodbye to the characters and the game world.
      • Want to do it one better? You can fly inside the SOLG. That's right, Razgriz One flew inside a falling satellite linear gun and destroyed it from inside out.
  • The final tunnel in Sudnetor in Mission 27. One of the toughest if not THE toughest tunnel in the series, ridiculously long, with an enemy plane chasing you and trying to shoot you down, having to speed out after destroying the core while dodging obstacles and with gates closing in front of you, shooting down enemy planes coming head-on, all set to one of the most triumphant tracks the game has to offer (in a game with a lot of them!). Especially for a newbie, it's hard not to celebrate after successfully tackling that gauntlet.
  • The Aces mission, with your fellow pilots singing "The Journey Home" as you approach the base. Then there's the defection of the Yuktobanian and Osean pilots to fight the Belkans, as they add their quite off-key voices to the song, the tune growing louder and much more beautiful as more and more aces join you in the final battle. Check at 8:13 of this video and see for youself [1].
    703rd Squadron: This is the Yuktobanian 703rd Squadron. We heard the President's speech. We will fight with you.
    Allied Osean Squadron 1: Let us sing that song, too. We're going with you.
    Allied Osean Squadron 2: So are we.
    Osean 1st Fighter Wing: This is the Osean 1st Fighter Wing. I just knocked out the Brigade Commander. We'd also like to help.
    172nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron: This is the Yuktobanian 172nd Fighter-Bomber Squadron. We love that song too. We brought an AWACS with us.
  • If you shoot down enough Grabacr fighters (sans the leader), this exchange ensues.
    Grabacr: We'll return to haunt you for eternity! AAAGH!
    Swordsman: This battle is over! Accept your defeat!
    Grabacr: We will never give in!

Ace Combat Zero

  • The first mission to the Round Table (Mission 3). After shooting down numerous planes, a squadron of enemy aces suddenly shows up and puts up one of the most difficulty fights in the entire game (especially if you're still using the default F-5 Fighter). If you manage to survive the hard encounter, Pixy then poignantly says "Yo, buddy. Still alive?"
  • The mission 'Diapason' from Ace Combat Zero. After five missions of relatively minor battles against the enemy army, it comes time to liberate the player's capital city of Directus from the occupying Belkan army. It starts out awesome right from the get-go, with inspiring battle music underscoring the fight. The Moment of Awesome begins when the citizens of Directus decide they've had enough and rise up and fight the Belkan Army, who up to this point had crushed your nation's army with no difficulty whatsoever. Through the radio conversations, you can hear shouts of "The Belkans are running!" and "Get the hell out of our city!" Soon, the citizens of Directus more or less take back the entire city by themselves. For that final bit of awesome, they then take control of the anti-air guns and start helping you shoot down Belkan fighters.
    "Ring the bell! The Bell of Freedom!"
  • Mission 09 has you taking down Excalibur. At first everyone's desperate and wondering if they even have a chance, but as you slowly take it apart piece by piece, people begin believing that victory is assured for the sole reason that YOU'RE THERE. And then you actually DO take it down, and your commander explicitly states that the entire military has recognized you as "an indispensable component in this war" for being the man who pulled out Tauberg's sword. Pixy's line sums it up best.
    Yo buddy, you've got everyone fired up and believing in miracles!
  • Another crowning moment is mission 10, the second visit to the Round Table; it's right after you've destroyed Excalibur, and as such the Belkans have begun to fear your abilities, not to mention that you essentially turn the battle around on your own. To top it all off? This is mission where you first become the Demon Lord.
    • "Galm's not fighting alone! Let's show 'em what the Osean Air Force can do!"
  • The final four missions of the game show just how deadly the Demon Lord of the Round Table really is, and define him as a hero.
  • Someone cleared Ace Combat Zero using only bombs. Including flying straight up to fighter jets and dropping a freaking FAEB on its head... Must be seen to be believed.
  • While non-canon, the Gauntlet mode give you a pretty neat awesome moment. It has a nasty surprise in Ace difficulty: Mobius 1 in his trademark F-22 as the surprise final boss. If you defeat him, you'll earn a ton of points, but when you think about it... All the other player aces in the Ace Combat games save for Nemo (who does not count since he's a simulation) rely on their teammates to help them win. Mobius 1 toppled the whole Usean war as a one-man squadron and later broke the Erusea remnants in Operation Katina, once again by himself. Defeating him means that you outdid a pilot whose skill was greater than a whole wing of fighters.

Ace Combat X

  • Gryphus One establishes his badass cred early on by dodging the shockwave from a SWBM that wipes out almost everyone else in his squadron. He proceeds to lead the retaking of Aurelia, takes down the Gleipnir airborne fortress that helped Leasath almost completely conquer Aurelia in ten days, helps to retake Griswall despite the Leasathian Frickin' Laser Beams, defeats Leasath's elite Alect Squadron and the Fenrir superfighters. If you make the right choices, he does the last two at the same time!
    • It gets better. If you're REALLY good and know the general placement of the fighters early on, you can shoot down the Alect planes WHILE CLOAKED. The mission briefing states quite clearly that doing that is too dangerous to approach head on which is why you need to destroy the mechanism that's providing the cloak with energy. If you can down all four of them, the game sometimes has trouble accepting that you could actually do that and skip to the last phase of the mission.
    • Speaking of the last phase, there's the obligatory AC tunnel mission. If the Alect squadron was fought, there's still one last man who escaped your wrath. Your job is to find him and destroy the fighter he's piloting AND escape at from a collapsing tunnel at the same time.
  • Let's not forget Albert Genette. 10 years after joining the Wardogs in uncovering the truth behind the Cirrum-Pacific War, Albert shows he hasn't lost his reporting chops by taking down Diego Navarro by revealing to the entirety of Leasath his true plans for the war, leading to righteously enraged citizens tearing apart his beloved weapon on the very day of its ultimate triumph, just as Gryphus 1 destroys the rest of the weapons.
  • Operation X. Just like Mobius 1 in Zero, this game's version of The Gauntlet has a nasty surprise in higher difficulties: Scarface One piloting his signature XFA-27. Although defeating him is entirely optional, getting to that point is easier said than done; He's the hardest opponent in the entire game, even more so than the XFA-33 Fenrir.

Ace Combat 6

  • "Go dance with the angel!" Melissa's daughter and her sheer gall to insult the occupying Estovakia on public broadcast, starting a national-level Memetic Mutation in the process.
  • Small thing that bears mentioning: two woman who don't even speak the same language go on a road trip across the freaking warzone. They even nearly get killed by irate militia and buzzed by stray A-10 Thunderbolt at one point!
  • In Ace Combat 6, there is one moment that also qualifies as a Heartwarming Moment. You and your wingmate are on the verge of court-martial for disobeying direct orders. The two of you get sent on a secret mission to blow up the enemies WMD stockpile. However, after you do that, and try to escape, you get ambushed by 50+ enemy fighters. You will desperately try to shoot them all down, but, there are too many, and even with unlimited ammo, you will not be able to. Just when all seems lost, a whole host of friendly blips show up on your radar. Every single pilot who you have helped/saved throughout the entire game shows up to help you, and the resulting furball is on a scale not seen since the Battle of Shattered Skies ten years ago (in-game) in Ace Combat 04.
  • The Liberation of Gracemeria. Your first mission got you kicked out of your capital. Now, having taken down everything the Estovakians have to throw at you and the eponymous orchestra playing in the background, there's only one thing to do.
    "All planes, we're going to take back Gracemeria today!"
    • And then you do, by pasting Pasternak (which is its own Crowning Moment). In the cutscene that follows, McKnight's tank finally reaches the endpoint of the tunnel to the Gracemeria Central Bank. He blows through the final wall, revealing (not the oodles of money he expected, but) the treasures squirreled away during the initial siege of the city, including an antique suit of armor known as the Golden King. What does he do? He has the Golden King ride the tank's barrel like a horse, and parades it through Gracemeria proclaiming the end of the war.
  • Pasternak: "Corrupt governments and marred lands are no longer worth fighting to protect. There's only one thing left worth fighting for. And that's the future!" Pasternak says this during the battle to retake Gracemeria, after sending his squadron away when it becomes apparent that there is no winning the battle. He is piloting a badass superplane and has a legion of drone planes at his command, yet there is no way he's anything but a dead man seeing as he's fighting the entire Emmerian military by himself. All he's doing is providing a distraction so his teammates can get away with their lives, and he knows it.
    • And he becomes That One Boss doing it. Especially if you're dumb enough to fight him with anything but QAAM's.
  • The final mission, where Talisman takes down the Chandelier railgun singlehandedly by flying straight down its barrel.
    • Not only that, you are destroying the last vestige of the scar known as the Ulysses Incident.
  • Acquiring the CFA-44 Nosferatu by beating the campaign on the Hard Difficulty. The very first use of the plane's ADMM is enough to make the player's jaw drop at the sheer destructive firepower.

Ace Combat: Infinity

  • Reaper, the Player Character, destroys Stonehenge in Mission 4, as well as both an upgraded CFA-44 "Nosferatu" with its insane laser drones and the heavy command cruiser in the next mission. His reputation as an Ace is established within the first five missions (with more to come in the future).
    • In Mission 6, he performs a Tunnel Flight that The Demon Lord of the Round Table himself would be proud of.
    • Mission 7 has the player pay a visit to The Round Table and fight the Butterfly Master again.
    • The epic conclusion in Mission 8, especially the second half (after the meteorite strike), with an epic remix of "Blue Skies" accompanying the heroic battle.
  • The Special Raid Mission, "Moby Dick Pursuit" (any of the three variants), where both player teams, usually competing for better scores, team up to fight together and destroy Aigaion, along wih two Kottos and Gyges warships.
    • Thousands of bullets flying in the air coupled with hundreds of missiles going every which way, frantic radio comments by AWACS and the enemy... every moment of the six minutes of these missions is incredible. Especially if you and the other players manage to tackle the mission for an "S" rank, which results in huge money rewards (becomes insane if you're using Forced Sortie).
    • Special mention goes to the rariest version of this mission, where you encounter a golden-plated Aigaion. It is no longer armed with cruise missiles... now it has Frickin' Laser Beams that are capable of destroying your missiles and delivering a One-Hit Kill to you!
    • On August 19, the Aigaion Special Raid was replaced with STONEHENGE RETURNS. The mission's difficulty has been amped up due to the constant railgun fire and enormous amounts of targets to destroy. It feels extremely satisfying to get an S rank in any of the three mission variants, especially the "Gold Ring" one.
    • The January 2015 update trailer, showing the SOLG satellite new super planes - X-02 "Wyvern" and ADF-01 "Falken" (as standard aircraft!) and having "The Unsung War" as background music.
      • Even better, the Gold SOLG mission features the song in the background again, as the players try to destroy not only the satellite itself (Now upgraded with artillery shells, laser defenses and a crapload more endurance and durability), but also a bunch of Morgans and Falkens!
    • The November 2015 update gave the players quite possibly the best special raid so far: Excalibur Onslaught. It has been revamped to the point the superweapon is protected by UAVs, and a huge laser net through which the players must weave while destroying hundreds of targets.
  • Emergency missions that happen about halfway during regular Online Mission Co-Op. Their variety is like heaven for longtime Ace Combat fans. The Emergency Missions include:
  • The new Co-Op map, Weapons Base Assault.
  • Three words: Avalon. Dam. Invasion. It includes a tunnel flight to destroy ICBMs inside it and hundreds, if not, thousands of ground targets to destroy.
    • Especially if you have an emblem like "Galm" or "Wardog" , since the regular victory music is then replaced by a famous piece from the series, such as "Zero" or "Unsung War", for all players' hearing pleasure.
    • A couple of players have used the level to re-enact the final battle of Zero in a more modern game engine. If anything, it shows that Pixy was going easy on us in the original game, as the ADFX-01 is devastating in the hands of a skilled human player, forcing "Cipher" to crank every bit of maneuverability they can out of the F-15 to avoid the TLS. Even so, Cipher manages to get the first kill, score a Mutual Kill at the start of the last "phase" (right after the "I pray for your success" line), and ultimately win!

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