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Video Game / Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies

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"Amidst the blue skies, a link from past to future. The sheltering wings of the protector..."

"I was just a child when the stars fell from the skies, but I remember how we built a cannon to destroy them and in turn how that cannon brought war upon us. War was an abstract thing, nothing more than a show on TV. Until that final day of summer...."

The fourth game in the Ace Combat series and the first on the PlayStation 2. Released in 2001.

In 1999, the gigantic asteroid Ulysses 1994XF04 entered Strangereal's atmosphere. In response, a coalition of countries decided to activate the weapon that they had constructed in anticipation of this disaster, the Spaceguard Turret Network, better known as Stonehenge. It succeeded in destroying the largest fragments of Ulysses but there were still many impacts; on the Usean Continent alone, 500,000 people were killed.

The Federal Republic of Erusea bore the brunt of the damage from Ulysses and was left crippled economically. 5 years later, they seized in desperation the town of San Salvacion as well as Stonehenge due to its value as an anti-aircraft weapon with a range that covered practically the entire continent. Almost overnight, Erusea had achieved complete air dominance and began a massive invasion, pushing back all of the other countries. This was the start of the Usean Continental War.

The other nations banded together to form the Independent State Allied Forces (ISAF) but were still beaten back, in no small part due to the power of Stonehenge, and prepared to make their final stand at North Point, on the northeastern tip of the continent. This is where you come in — you play one of the few remaining ISAF pilots stationed at North Point, callsign Mobius One. It is up to you, and eventually you alone, to turn the tide against Erusea.

Shattered Skies was one of the groundbreaking games of the series. It was instrumental in laying the foundations of Strangereal along with Electrosphere and all the previous games were retconned to take place in the same universe. It also completed the refinements to the controls begun in Electrosphere, which have formed the basis for all games since. Even today it remains one of the more highly regarded Ace Combat titles, and without question it's one of the most successful, being responsible for over a quarter of every Ace Combat game sold up until Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown released in 2019 and broke series sales records by shipping over 3 million copies in the span of two years.

Has nothing to do with the fanfic of the same name.

Mobius One, engage.

  • The Alliance: ISAF.
  • Airstrike Impossible: To attack Megalith in the final mission, you have to fly through a series of tunnels to Attack Its Weak Points. The last tunnel? You're relying on the ground team to get the exit doors open in time for you to escape, because there's no room for you to turn around inside.
  • Anti-Air: In addition to the usual assortment of flak guns and SAMs, there's also Stonehenge, the mother of all anti-aircraft weapons (see "BFG" below).
  • Anti-Villain: Yellow 13. He despises the dirtier tactics that his own people use (for example, placing AA Guns over hospitalsnote ) and views the war as meaningless. His only desire is fighting you.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Blue Skies".
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The FAEB. You get only 8 of them, whereas the most UGBLs you can get is 18, and the damage improvement is not enough that you can't destroy more targets with the larger number of wimpier bombs. Additionally, the FAEB is only available on the F-15 S/MTD, whereas any given UGB variant is available on five or six planes.
  • Back from the Brink: In what would become formula for future AC games, the game starts with Erusea ready to bomb the hell out of your last General Headquarters. You come in and completely turn the tide of the war.
  • BFG: The centerpiece of the Erusian military, an entire array of eight 120cmnote  cannons called the Spaceguard Turret Network and commonly referred to as Stonehenge, due to the arrangement of the giant cannons in a ring a few thousand feet in diameter. These guns are capable of decimating entire battalions of aircraft as long as they're within their range, which covers the better part of the Usean continent, a landmass approximately the size of Australia. Their only weakness is that that only applies to anything above 2000 feet, and they can't be used on targets that are too close, forcing them to rely on fixed defenses and an Air Defense squadron when they're attacked directly.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Averted. AWACS Sky Eye tells the pilots it's his birthday in the Back from the Brink mission, asking them to give him victory for a present, and he gets it. Happens again exactly one In-Universe year later, during the decisive battle for Farbanti... And he gets it again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one hand, the ISAF defeat the Erusians, and Mobius One survives to be acknowledged as the war's greatest pilot. On the other hand, the war takes many lives, including the narrator's family and the Yellow Squadron members he befriended (the latter thanks in large part to you), though he seems to have found some peace by the time he starts writing to Mobius One.
  • Book Ends: Mobius One's involvement in the war officially begins and ends on Sky Eye's birthday, September 19th.
    • Also, the first and last levels both begin with the same quote.
  • Bowdlerise: The game had the unfortunate coincidence of releasing in Japan on September 13, 2001. As a result, a few promotional media releases were either taken off or edited. Also, some of the cutscenes were edited to be less grim outside of Japan, with changes as follows: originally the letter's author expressed desire to assassinate Yellow 13 with a knife and he had swiped a pistol from a drunken solder. He later pulled this gun out when Yellow 13 stopped the barkeep's daughter. The barkeep's daughter also had a shotgun in hand when the author found out about the resistance.
  • Call-Forward: One of the bonus missions takes place over a construction site in the middle of the sea. The name of the music playing in the background during it? "Megafloat".
  • Calling Your Attacks: Barring the Japanese version of Electrosphere, this was the first game in the series to introduce brevity codes to accompany launching weapons, most commonly "Fox Two" for the standard heat-seekers and "Fox One" or "Fox Three" for several special weapons.
  • Child Soldier: The barkeep's daughter is a member of the resistance.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: In-game radio chatter subtitles are blue for friendlies, yellow for civilians, and red for enemies.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: Most of Erusia's squadrons are nicknamed after colors (IE Red, White and of course the infamous Yellow Squadron).
  • Cosmetic Award: Partly averted, as you have to pay for alternate paint jobs, and the ones for shooting down enemy aces cost noticeably more.
  • Crowd Song: Pilots celebrate the destruction of the Aegir fleet by singing their national anthem. Later, the people in San Salvacion also celebrate their liberation by singing the same anthem.
  • Deconstructor Fleet:
    • Of modern combat. No longer are your enemies terrorists, rebels or a greedy corporation like the previous games. No, they are part of a standing, professional military simply fighting for their country, which is usually the case in war, especially when fighter jets have to be involved. Also, it show much war negatively impacts civilians. While the cutscenes show little to no violence, it still shows that living under the occupation of a foreign army is no joke. Furthermore, in levels featuring ground battles, you'll hear the desperation and fear in the voices of soldiers from both sides on the radio with gunfire and explosion in the background. All this starts to bring the series into the darker and edgier tone.note  How this game got away with an E for Everyone rating is anyone's guess.
    • Of elite enemy mooks. Video games tend to portray them as the most vicious and cruel of your enemies. Here, the Yellow Squadron of the Erusean Air Force consists of ordinary people with ordinary lives outside combat. Their leader, Yellow 13, is concerned with protecting the lives of his comrades, which just so happens to make him have a extremely high kill record. In fact, he has sorrow for those he killed in combat. He only desires to fight an equally skilled opponent and is prepared to admit defeat should he get shot down by such opponent.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Beautifully averted, as is typical for the series; Mobius One ("that ribbon fighter") single-handedly turns the tide of the Usean Continental War. Especially awesome in the mission "Siege of Farbanti", where you can hear chattering from the ground soldier saying "The ribbon fighter is here! We're going to win."
    • Probably the best examples come from "Whiskey Corridor", where friendly ground units will outright tell one another that there's no reason to worry since Mobius One is flying air cover, and then "Siege of Farbanti", where a ground unit is inspired to fight harder just by the possibility that Mobius One is there.
    • After single-handedly destroying Stonehenge and then getting a confirmed kill on a member of The Dreaded Yellow Squadron, everyone praises you, including Yellow 13.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The F-22A Raptor, both a high-end plane and Mobius 1's canonical aircraft, is only available for use (at least in your original run) in the last two levels. The SU-37 Terminator is unlocked at the same time, and has the advantage of the insanely overpowered QAAM special weapon.
  • Epilogue Letter: The entire framing device, a set of letters written to the player character Mobius One by a man who was a kid at the time of the war. He is writing to you to reassure you that Yellow 13 did not begrudge you killing him by shooting him down over Farbanti, and telling you his story so that you know his understanding of the man you killed, and whose love interest you killed before that, is accurate. He concludes in a heart breaking manner, stating that 'Yellow 13 died happy.' You never learn either Yellow 13's or the kid's names.
  • The Empire: Erusea is this to the ISAF's Alliance.
  • Escort Mission: A couple of examples.
    • Mission 11: "Escort" features two passenger planes with defecting Erusians on board under attack by enemy fighter jets. To make matters worse, one plane is suffering engine problems and flying much lower than the other, forcing Mobius One to frequently switch between two different altitudes. Fortunately, the enemy AI starts to focus more on you than the planes once you destroy enough of them, turning the mission into a straight dogfight afterwards.
    • Mission 13: "Safe Return" is divided into two segments. First, Mobius One is tasked with destroying enough radar-jamming blimps to allow an allied spy plane to navigate through the map via radar (since the fog is too heavy for them to fly visually). After that, a squadron of Erusian fighters pursue the plane, forcing the player to destroy them in a fairly short dogfight.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Played straight with Yellow 13, as he believes in fair fights and hates cowards. He would rather be angry about the resistance blowing up his squadron's runway, indirectly killing Yellow Four than at you for directly shooting her down; in fact, he actually praises you for single-handedly destroying Stonehenge on top of it. That said, when he finds out that the barkeep's daughter was responsible for the runway bomb, he lets her go, as she's just barely a teenager. Setting up AA guns on top of hospitals (preventing them to be shot as shooting a hospital is against war laws) will also make him hate you, even if you're on his side.
    • Mission 11 has you escorting a civilian airliner, and one of the attacking enemy pilots will ask if that is really the target, to which his comrades reply, "Don't ask questions, just do your job."
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: ISAF is a fairly obvious fictional equivalent to NATO.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The most famous one in the entire franchise. Unlike other examples, where we learn little tidbits about their personality, we know literally NOTHING about Mobius One other than that he's an unbeatable Ace Pilot.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The most prominent nickname for Mobius One (a one-man airforce) is "ribbon".note 
  • Four Is Death: Mobius One, the player character of the fourth game in the series, is referred to as the Grim Reaper, and the first Yellow Squadron member he kills is Yellow 4. The game is also officially numbered "04", rather than just "4", presumably to avoid negatively associating the game with the "unlucky" number.
  • Genre Blindness: One ally has the uncanny tendency to say "watch me earn my ace wings today" at the start of missions where Stonehenge ends up shooting at you.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Yellows have lost levels in badass by the last time they get fought. Justified as, in order to bolster morale, they had to accept less skilled pilots in the unit as the more experienced pilots rotated out, not to mention the player getting more skilled by that point. Then comes the Megalith mission and the defending squadron using the Yellows' plane and livery but none of their skill.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The barkeep's daughter has a crush on Yellow 13, but Yellow 4 staunchly protects him. 13 is oblivious to all of this. How much of this influenced the younger girl's decision to bomb the runway, notably a mistake that severely affected 4, is up for debate.
  • Harder Than Hard: The first in the series to have this. You think Expert (where one missile kills you) is difficult? Wait till you play Ace.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Silent, as played during the briefing and menu before the final mission.
  • Hero of Another Story: Bravo Team, the ground forces that appear in multiple missions. Bravo 1, the leader, is on the comms in Operation Bunker Shot, Emancipation, and Megalith.
  • Hope Bringer: Mobius One eventually evolves into this, arguably truly gaining this reputation during the twelfth mission, during which he is responsible for both destroying Stonehenge and downing a member of Yellow Squadron for the first time. This gets to the point in which allied commanders can sometimes be heard giving orders to tell ground troops you're there even though they don't know for sure, simply because of the morale boost it brings.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: It is literally impossible to shoot down the Yellow Squadron in the mission where they first show up. The AI is ramped up to ensure that no missile will EVER hit them (not even a QAAM), and they're agile enough to keep flying circles around you to avoid gun fire. Even if you do hit them, they're immune, and the only way to beat the mission is to escape to the refueling zone as the mission dictates.
  • I Am Spartacus: The enemy pilots try to invoke this by taking on Yellow Squadron's emblem and planes in the final mission. ISAF responds in kind by creating a squadron around Mobius 1.
    Gene: You're not gonna believe this, Jean-Louis, all of them have ribbon insignias!
  • If I Can't Have You…: The Eruseans eventually realize that they can't hold onto San Salvacion and try to bomb it instead.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: Stonehenge kills everything above 2000 feet.
    • Getting within range of Mobius One's QAAMs is effectively a death sentence, unlike the nerfed versions in later games.
  • Kick the Dog: Some Eruseans set up an AA gun on a hospital in the narrator's hometown to prevent it from being shot in retaliation, prompting Yellow 13's displeasure. They get rounded up at gunpoint by the locals after the city is liberated.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Averted with Erusea's Colourful Theme Naming, where the Yellow Squadron are the best of the best, and Red are the generic mooks that get shot down every mission. Mobius One's planes are also more associated with gray and blue colors, especially in the Mobius insignia.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: In the mission "Deep Strike", there's a ravine. After splashing the targets, you get a warning that Stonehenge is firing your way and you need to take your plane below 2000 feet. Guess how you do that? It also applies to the spare visible missiles in "Megalith".
  • Letting Her Hair Down: Yellow 4 when she's with Yellow 13.
  • Legacy Character: Edge, or Nagase from the second and third games, returns as first officer of a civilian airliner you have to protect.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite exploring the war's effect on people in greater detail than all previous games, the game is still nowhere near as dark as Electrosphere (for one, it doesn't feature a cutscene depicting the destruction of an entire city), and the tone is overall much more optimistic.
  • Logical Weakness: Stonehenge and Megalith were created to shoot down giant meteors at long-range. Thus, close-range attacks at low altitude, especially with erratic and unpredictable fighters that don't have predictable flight paths, are rather effective against it. Stonehenge itself actually doesn't do anything at all except fire random shots that only hit you if you happen to be right in the way of one of those large and slow-turning cannons. All of its defenses are Erusian military anti-air and SAM units on the ground as well as the Yellow Squadron, who show up after you've destroyed all the working cannons.
  • Mighty Glacier: The A-10 Thunderbolt always has the highest defense rating out of all the planes from AC04 onward, but is one of the slowest.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: Befalls Stonehenge and Yellow Squadron. Both are justified. Stonehenge was created to shoot down meteor fragments from afar, not small airplanes, so up close its terrifying firepower doesn't work very well against small airplanes. Meanwhile, Yellow Squadron's downfall is a gradual process that only begins after you shoot down Four. The more experienced pilots from early in the game are constantly rotated out and replaced with rookies to build up the force. It's entirely possible that many planes you shot down mid game were actually Yellow Squadron pilots without their insignias.
  • Mythology Gag: Every main-series game since Shattered Skies has included Mobius One's paint scheme for the F-22 Raptor, and Mobius himself also appeared in 5's Operation Katina, 7's VR campaign, and the Boss Rush levels in Zero and Joint Assault. Most later games also have paint schemes based on Yellow 13 for the Su-37 or, in games that don't feature that plane, its closest equivalent (the Su-33 in 6, for instance), among other references (6 has the paint scheme adapted for the F-15E, while the Assault Horizon Legacy minor ace Ricochet uses a version of the paint scheme with red and pink colors replacing the yellow). Furthermore, Zero's Gelb Squadron is a direct reference to Yellow, flying the same planes with a largely yellow custom paint scheme, having a particularly close bond, being named for the same color, and eventually being done in by being rushed from front to front without time for adequate maintenance.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Yellow 13 bears more than coincidental resemblance to real-life WWII ace pilot Erich Hartmann. Both Yellow 13 and Hartmann were astonishingly lethal combat pilots who were noted for being more proud of the fact they never lost a wingman than for the number of kills they made (Hartman's total, at 352, is the highest confirmed kill count in history). Both were also seen as generally honorable men despite fighting for the "bad guys" (Yellow 13 as a Erusian, Hartmann in the Luftwaffe). Unlike Yellow 13, however, Hartmann survived the war, eventually returned home (though not before he spent more than 10 years in Soviet POW camps), and survived to the age of 71.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If, in the final mission, you choose to not shoot down the missile coming out of Megalith before you escape, the game shows you the effects of your actions.
  • Nose Art: Mobius One's ribbon, and the variety of Ace Custom paintjobs seen throughout the game.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The final mission's briefing theme. Normally there is music for mission briefings, but this is just the sound of a beating drum and ambiance. Justified, since the briefing stresses how important it is considering the target is a fortress that could launch missiles on any intended target, including asteroid fragments.
  • Number of the Beast: "Megalith" has Mobius One start at 6666 feet, and it is something of a level from hell with that tunnel-flying.
  • Oh, Crap!: Past the midpoint of the game, your very presence invokes this in Erusean forces. Also, the arrival of Yellow Squadron causes this in ISAF forces until Mission 8.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: "Rex Tremendae" and Megalith - Agnus Dei.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Mobius One is often sent to do missions alone, such as escorting fleeing allies, shooting down cruise missiles and providing close air support. His insane piloting skills in this game are noted in the arcade mode for Ace Combat 5, where he and Sky Eye are deliberately sent in alone to take care of a resurgent Erusean military force.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The "proper" name for Yellow Squadron is actually Aquila Squadron.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Ace Combat 04 started the tradition of each mission having a code name seen in its briefing, as well as a rare example of the Operation Name and Mission Name being the same: Operation Bunker Shot.
  • Parental Abandonment: The narrator loses his parents when a downed plane crashes into the cape with his family home. This applies to Mobius 1, as well.
  • Pet the Dog: In one cutscene Yellow 13 is briefly shown holding a small dog and petting it. Later reinforced when he saves the narrator and the barkeeper's daughter from military policemen, despite the latter being responsible for the death of his lover and prized student.
  • Pixel Hunt: There's an early mission where you have to shoot down cargo planes hidden behind radar jamming, though you can shoot down the E-767s causing it. A later mission takes this more literally by requiring you to manually identify and shoot down radar-jamming zeppelins with your gun in a valley so an allied spy plane relying on radar to fly can safely make it home.
  • Puppy Love: The narrator had a crush on the barkeep's daughter.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The mission result screen for the penultimate mission "Siege of Farbanti" notes that the victory over the Eruseans came at a high cost. In an earlier mission (specifically, the assault on Stonehenge), the briefing notes that HQ is predicting a 40% casualty rate for the mission. The last mission even has the characters wondering if they actually won the war. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, released 15 years later, reveals that the Usean continent was utterly devastated by the war, and the various countries were unable to recover on their own, requiring Osean intervention. Erusea was implied to be hit incredibly hard as well, given that they launched a war of conquest out of desperation that they then lost, setting the stage for their new Usean war.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The Ace paint scheme for the MiG-29 is a dark pink.
  • Redemption Promotion: The Yellows, as with every other NPC in the game, can only use the standard, easily-evaded missiles. Once you have access to their plane, you can use QAAMs and murder everything else in the sky with little trouble.
  • Redshirt Army: Downplayed. Like most Ace Combat games, there are various friendly fighter jets in the majority of the game's missions, largely to provide immersion. Compared to the allied AI in other games, however, they are surprisingly competent in dogfights and even occasionally able to steal Mobius One's kill. Though they are still prevented from destroying any targets marked as mission critical.
  • Rousing Speech: One of these is delivered as you choose your plane for Megalith. However, it's done without a dedicated cutscene or subtitles, and thus it's easy to miss.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The mission located in Whiskey Corridor takes place in a desert containing the remains of a long dried out river and harbor with several of these dotting the landscape.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Two times regarding Yellow Squadron before you're "supposed" to be able to shoot them down. In the "Comona" mission, no matter which of them you hit to make them retreat, it will always be Yellow 13 who gets damaged. Likewise, no matter which one of them you down in the "Stonehenge" mission, it will always be Yellow 4's... even if you used the XMAA missiles to shoot down four of the five at the same time.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the game itself, there is the Sky Kid bar and Air Ixiom. They're named after older Namco games (though the latter game is Star Ixiom). Beyond that, the game also references Sky Kid by placing a silhouette of player 1 from that game, Red Baron, on the tails of the Ace paint schemes of the F-14 and Tornado.
    • In one mission you have to protect two civilian airliners. On one of them the captain is unable to fly and the plane is taken over by a First Officer Nagase.
    • The ace paint scheme for the MiG-29, which paints the entire plane red, is apparently a reference to a manga called Red Prowling Devil, which stars a female pilot who flies a MiG-29 with the same crimson paint scheme.
    • Befitting a game set in the aftermath of asteroid fragments hitting the planet, every optional Ace in the game is named after an astronomer, from well-known ones like Edmund Halley and James Gunn to obscure people with single-digit discoveries like Kiem Keng Kwee or Jacqueline Ciffréo.
  • Shown Their Work: Despite the arcade nature of the game, a number of things are rendered correctly: the carrier launching sequence at the beginning of the game is completely accurate, down to the carrier crew moving around. Military brevity codes for weapons are accurate ("Fox One" for semi-active air-to-air missiles, aka the SAAM, "Fox Two" for standard missiles, which are heatseekers, "Fox Three" for radar-guided missiles like the QAAM, "Pickle" for bomb drops). The most unrealistic aspect of the game (other than the fact that you can hold hundreds of missiles and down hundreds of planes, which is due to the actual gameplay) is that Mobius-One flies without a wingman, which is only allowed in exigent circumstances in most air forces.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: Yellow Squadron. As you continue crossing paths with them and Mobius One becomes a better pilot, they gradually lose this, until eventually Yellow Squadron birds are just another set of targets that are worth more points than normal.
  • 13 Is Unlucky:
    • Yellow Squadron combines this with Four Is Death: Yellow 4 is the first squadron member to die in battle, and Yellow 13 is her romantic interest (not to mention commanding officer).
    • In the final mission, Bravo One's team initially meets little resistance when infiltrating Megalith, but then is ambushed and takes heavy casualties on the 13th floor.
  • Title Drop: Nearly every mission title has one in briefing For example . Both the NTSC and EU subtitles (Shattered Skies and Distant Thunder, respectively) also get dropped, the former as the name of the eighth mission, and the latter as a phrase in the introduction.
    • The Rousing Speech said when selecting an aircraft in the final mission drops the game's subtitle once more.
  • Took a Level in Badass: You, done entirely through Gameplay and Story Integration. You start out as a rookie pilot, taking on simple missions before your squadron gets wiped out by the Yellows. A few missions later, you actually land a hit on one of them, leading to the birth of your legend as Mobius One, a legend that grows until you actually shoot one of them down and destroy Stonehenge, cementing you as The Dreaded.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Sky Eye is an excellent example of this, as well as Voice for the Voiceless. Being an AWACS, he's on the back lines of the battlefield picking up comms, jamming enemies and calling out everything that Mobius One usually does (kill confirmations, missile firing and bomb dropping).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Hitting an allied plane with your machine guns will cause SkyEye to shout at you to cease fire.
  • Wintry Auroral Sky: The mission Broken Arrows has a beautiful green aurora high above the Artic landscape.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Twice over in Mission 12. Stonehenge has eight cannons, but one is already out of commission during the assault on it, taking one potential target out of the equation (which wound up becoming relevant thirteen years later). Yellow Squadron themselves are also in bad shape due to their runway being bombed immediately before the raid, with Yellow 4 in particular having taken shrapnel wounds and flying a plane that's in desperate need of an engine replacement, all culminating in you being able to shoot her down and force the rest of the squad to retreat.
  • Worthy Opponent: Yellow 13 sees Mobius One as this. After the Comona missionnote , he'll state in the cutscene that he saw a pilot who showed potential and could be a great opponent if he lives long enough to hone his skills. After destroying Stonehenge and shooting down Yellow 4, he'll flat out state that he is impressed to find such a skilled pilot and that you're worthy of praise. The narrator also states at the end of the game that he died happily knowing you were the one to do it.
  • You Are Number 6: Mobius One doesn't even have a callsign because his "Squadron" consists of his AWACS Sky Eye and... him (at the beginning of the game, you are part of a squadron, but all the others are shot down by the Aquila squadron, leaving you the only survivor). Even when he finally gets a squadron in the last mission, nobody dares to call him anything else other than Mobius One... Or the Ribbon Fighter.