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Fridge / Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War

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Fridge Brilliance:

  • The Legend of Razgriz. It's first mentioned in Ace Combat 5, and forms a key part of Wardog's transformation into the Demons of Razgriz. In fact, the legend states "when history witnesses a great change, Razgriz reveals itself, first as a dark demon. As a demon, it uses it's power to rain death upon the land, and then it dies. However, after a period of slumber, Razgriz returns, this time, as a great hero." There are two interpretations of this when it comes to the events of Ace Combat 5 and Zero:
    • One interpretation is that Cipher represents one part of the fable, and Wardog represents the latter half. Cipher is the "dark demon who rains death upon the land", which he certainly did during the Belkan War of 1995. During the entire conflict he was referred to as "Demon Lord of the Round Table"; Cipher was responsible for destroying Excalibur, the decimation of most of Belka's flying aces, the destruction of the XB-0 Hresvelgr airborne fortress and the destruction of the V2 mass-retaliation weapon that ultimately ended the conflict. Afterwards, he disappeared from the skies, never to be seen again. In essence, like the fable stated, he "died" after he used his power to rain death upon the land. When Wardog is branded as traitors 15 years later and is shot down, they begin operating as the "Demons of Razgriz". When they uncover the true nature of the war between Yuktobania and Osea, as well as a plot to use a Belkan V2 to devastate Oured, Razgriz bravely stops a last-ditch attack by an old superweapon over the Osean capital. They thus fulfilled the "returns as a great hero" part of the fable and then disappeared from the skies afterwards.
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    • The second interpretation is that Cipher and Wardog both fully embody the Razgriz fable. Cipher because he rained death upon the Belkans during the eponymous war, which itself was a period of great change. After the nuclear detonations of June 6th (where his wingman Pixy betrayed him and possibly Cipher's zeal for war vanished, in essence "dying") he only undertook a few more "mop-up" operations until June 20th, upon which a peace treaty being signed led to him being inactive for six months (the "period of slumber"), Cipher resurfaced as a "great hero" and saved the world from the V2 missile. For Wardog, they too "rained death" upon the Yuktobanians during the Circum-Pacific War (again a period of great change), using their power to strike fear into their enemies. When they were betrayed by Belkan elements in the Osean government, they were forced to fake their deaths (the "dying") and resurfaced after a time as the Razgriz Squadron, ultimately being hailed as "great heroes".
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    • Another interesting thing to note is both games reinforce the Razgriz parallel with the common threads of Belka being the aggressor, the V2 missile being the final threat, the fable of the Razgriz appearing in the lyrics of the final tracks in both games ("The Unsung War in Ace Combat 5 and "Zero" in Ace Combat Zero) and both final missions taking place on the same day 15 years apart ("Zero" is set on December 31st, 1995 and "The Unsung War" is set on the same day in 2010). Finally, both Cipher and Wardog disappeared after their final mission, never to be seen again.
  • It's been noted that the Belkan War is effectively Strangereal's variant of WWII, with AC 5 taking place 15 years later, with OSEA and Yuktobania being obvious stand ins for the USA and USSR, respectively. WWII took place between 1939 and 1945. 15 years later would then be in the range of 1954 - 1960, immediately after the Korean War and just before Vietnam, respectively. The latter is especially notable, as the Vietnam War was largely unpopular with military personnel, politicians, and citizens alike. The era was also the height of novels and movies about spies, with nuclear weapons as the grand prize.
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  • Why does Grabacr during Mission 17 and Mission 18+ send an entire army, TWICE, just to eliminate you and your squadron? Well, two aces managed to eliminate Belka and end the war quickly. Now keep in mind that Grabacr only appears during the Mercenary campaign, where Galm One is at his deadliest because he has no qualms shooting at injured targets or potential civilian casualties. Your squadron is potentially filled with FOUR MERCENARY Galm Team-level aces. No wonder why Belka and Grabacr wants you really dead, they basically see FOUR Demon Lords of the Round Table at their very worst.
  • The fifth installment of the Ace Combat series has the main characters often say they feel like they're being used or sent to die as a sacrifice, and I always wondered in the back of my mind why in the hell they were saying that. And then it hit me: Because they are. The Belkans from the war fifteen years before Ace Combat 5 infiltrated the Osean and Yuktobanian militaries to the point where they were able to start the war between the two countries to begin with, and as the Wardog Squadron became heroes of war, they were often used for that agenda as well.
  • It might seem strange to be flying older planes that are either obsolete or retired by our standards (the F-14, in particular, despite being a Cool Plane is commonly pointed out as being out of service by the time several of the games take place.) However Osea, Yuktobania, Belka, ect do not have the start and end run times for their planes the countries they stand in for do, so the American side would not be out of place flying Cold War-era planes in 2010 since as far as this American side is concerned the plane has not been retired.
  • A Good Bad Bug in The Unsung War allows the first part of the final mission to be pathetically easy, literally a Game-Breaker. However the planes used in this mission are SU-47s (actually their prototypes, the S-32A) rather than the F-15s seen throughout the game, suggesting the ace pilots not had the time to become proficient in them, and thus easily killed by tactics that wouldn't have worked before.
    • Keep in mind too that, while they did fly Su-47's in heavy combat before, that was at least fifteen years ago. While they were taken in by Osea as an aggressor squadron afterwards, the restructuring of the Osean military into a defensive force probably meant they haven't been able to fly much at all, much less with the same equipment they were using back then. Compare that to a squad of much younger pilots who have been flying and honing their skills constantly for the past three months, not to mention training however long before war broke out.

Fridge Logic:

  • Chopper would've lived if he just tried to eject. Ejection systems don't rely on electronics at all to avoid the exact same issue he claimed it had likely happened (canopy and seat are fired through explosive charges). On top of that, the F-14's seat is rated for "0-0" launches - it can successfully work even with the aircraft stationary on ground. He could've literally ejected at the last second with the aircraft nearly into the stadium already. This is either an oversight on Project ACES' part, or Chopper was just really adamant in making sure the plane couldn't veer off course and hit civilians.
    • Not exactly. While modern (post-1980) ejection seats are safe to operate at zero-zero, ejecting from a crashing aircraft is another story entirely. The downward velocity of the aircraft's descent factors into the performance not of the seat, but the chute. In order to decelerate the wearer to a safe speed, a parachute needs time to work. The chute used with the seat can deploy and slow a rider in the altitude the seat provides, but the additional velocity of the aircraft descent stretches the time required for the deployed chute to slow the rider. Depending on the speed, it may not be much, even only a couple hundred feet, but an uncontrolled aircraft can veer far off line in only a couple hundred feet of altitude. In order to minimize the chances of ground casualties, pilots of stricken fighters have ridden their aircraft almost into the ground, including cases where they either did not eject in time or ejected so late that they were injured on impact because the chute simply didn't have enough time to deploy and slow them. Chopper could've potentially survived, but the cost could've been hundreds of casualties. For any solider, that's unacceptable, and a no-brainer choice to make.

Fridge Horror:

  • Chopper is not the only dead Wardog Squadron member. If you play through mission 18+ using two-seaters then play through mission 19, your back seat will be empty. While in gameplay, that happens whether you fly a single-seater or a two-seater, in canon Wardog Squadron flew F-14s. From a storytelling perspective, this could be considered Fridge Horror because your RI Os were likely killed while you were escaping from Sand Island, because the Belkans would think to kill witnesses, like the people sitting behind you.