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Video Game / Blaster Master Zero

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The heartwarming tale of a boy and his tank.
The girl is new.

"Mutant scum never learn! Blaster Master is back!"

Blaster Master Zero is the 2017 reboot/remake of the Blaster Master series, based on the NES original. Having obtained the license from Sunsoft, Zero was developed by Inti Creates for the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch and released on March 9th, 2017. A version for PC was released on June 14th, 2019 on Steam. A PlayStation 4 version was released on June 29, 2020. Versions for the Xbox One and the Xbox Series X|S was released on July 1, 2021.

Zero (re)tells the story of Jason Frudnick, an aspiring young mechanic who lives on the planet Earth. Earth itself is currently on the path to recovery, having survived countless wars that wrought an ice age on the surface and a comet impacting the planet. It's not long until Jason comes into contact with a mysterious frog-like creature, whom he names "Fred" and brings in for research. When Fred escapes from captivity and jumps down into a strange hole, Jason, in pursuit of Fred, finds himself face-to-face with a massive battle tank emblazoned with the name "SOPHIA-III" and its mechanic, the amnesiac girl Eve. Jason soon discovers that the SOPHIA-III was designed to fight mutants who have invaded the Earth's underground, and he decides to take up arms and save the planet from the mutant invasion.

A direct sequel, Blaster Master Zero II, was released in March 2019. Blaster Master Zero III, the second sequel and climax of the trilogy, was released in July 2021.

Blaster Master Zero contains examples of:

  • 100% Completion: It's how you get the Golden Ending, which requires collecting all area maps, life ups, weapons, and maneuvers, and defeating all bosses.
  • Adaptational Explanation: While the game is only loosely based on the original Blaster Master plot-wise and isn't in the same continuity as it, the game goes out of its way to cover up a few plot holes that the original Excuse Plot left behind during its localization from Metafight.
    • It would be very weird for a vast ecosystem to just be underneath the Earth's surface. The game's introduction reveals that the surface was rendered uninhabitable for a while after incessant wars, forcing the survivors to relocate beneath the surface and construct artificial biospheres to replicate those on the surface. When the surface became habitable again the humans moved back and left all of it behind, which is why they're still there and in working order when Jason finds the SOPHIA III.
    • The SOPHIA III is named as such because it is named after the planet it originates from.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: One of the keys in Area 9 requires navigating a maze of photo-negative versions of parts of previous Areas.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • There is a save point directly before most bosses, similar to Mega Man and Mighty No. 9, averting Continuing is Painful.
    • As of Version 1.2, exiting specific dungeons will cause the SOPHIA III to automatically respawn at the dungeon entrance. This is to ensure the player does not accidentally run into an Unintentionally Unwinnable scenario in which the player left the SOPHIA III behind (or inside) a block that requires the Crusher upgrade to break, only to find out that they inadvertently trapped themselves when the blocks respawn.
    • The bad ending drops a big hint as to how to unlock the true ending.
      Eve: Maybe if we just had some equipment or data, maybe things would have turned out differently...
    • In EX Character Mode, some puzzles that require specific Pilot and SOPHIA III abilities are changed to be solvable by the EX Character's inherent abilities. For example, in a Gunvolt playthrough, Dragonsphere can light up unlit dungeons and break walls, and Cerberus and Flashfield have built-in Crusher functionality, which allows you to do some Sequence Breaking early on.
    • In Destroyer Mode, almost every enemy is at least vulnerable to your standard Gun, the Blaster, so you aren't totally screwed if you happen to lose all your Gun Levels. There are a select few that aren't, but they can still be destroyed with Subweapons.
    • While playing as Shantae, to prevent accidentally transforming if you push the X button by mistake, the button must be held for at least a second before the transformation will activate. Anything in-game also freezes while performing a dance, similar to her origin series. Also, as Shantae, her Elephant transformation is STILL as broken as in her source series.
    • For the boss refights in Area 9, you don't need to do them all in a row. Your progress will save by simply leaving the dungeon and coming back in. The dungeons also all have power-up blocks in the first room to help even further. This helps immensely on Destroyer Mode. However, the final boss refight dungeon lacks subweapon ammo, so if you want to refill for that, you'll need to backtrack.
    • For Version 1.4, a couple of major ones were introduced.
      • All characters now can use the ability to call Sophia.
      • For the new Boss Rush mode, at least on Nintendo Switch, you can play it co-operatively, completely negating That One Boss status, since you can use any character you have purchased.
  • Arc Symbol: Hexagons, which appear in the game's logo (as the "zero"), Jason's jacket, the SOPHIA III, and Fred's chest. The latter serves as Foreshadowing to his true nature.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: Zero is very Animesque in nature, due in part to Inti Creates handling it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Acceleration Blast. It's a powerful Wave-Motion Gun capable of even taking down bosses in one shot, but it requires all of SOPHIA III's weapon energy, takes a long time to charge, and getting hit will interrupt the charge. Even Eve lampshades how powerful and difficult to use this thing is.
    Jason: So this Acceleration Blast lets SOPHIA use all of its power in one concentrated, super-powerful blast, huh?
    Eve: It [Acceleration Blast] has tremendous power. However, using it can be quite a burden in a number of ways.
  • Backtracking: Downplayed. Despite superficial similarities to a Metroid Vania, the game is liner by design. It's only required to retread old ground twice, and both times the game heavily hints at exactly where you need to go. Even going for 100% Completion, there's only a single item that can't be obtained your first time through an area, and it's situated right on a return path you'll be using during the first backtrack.
  • Barrier Change Boss: The Final Boss, the Multidimensional Overlord, will change colors; the color of the boss indicates what Gun he is weak to.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Shantae is capable of using enemies' attacks as her own when morphed into a mutant, enabling her to fight mutants in a sort of pseudo-Mirror Match.
  • Bookends: SOPHIA III's startup sequence is replicated at the very end of the game with SOPHIA Zero right before the True Final Boss fight.
  • Boss Rush:
    • All of the dungeons in Area 9 consist solely of boss rushes.
    • The version 1.4 update adds Boss Blaster Mode, a time trial boss rush which can be tackled either alone or with a second player.
  • Boss Subtitles: The appearance of a boss is prefixed with some descriptor title before showing the proper name of the boss.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In the original Metafight, Sophia III is the name of the planet the game takes place on, while the tank is named "Metal Attacker". In Blaster Master, SOPHIA III is simply the name of the tank. In this game, the SOPHIA III (the tank) is named after the planet that it originates from as a nod to Metafight.
  • Broad Strokes: While Zero uses the same base premise as the original game, the plot is more directly inspired by Metafight and uses the character of Eve from Blasting Again.
  • Broken Bridge: You are forced to pick up the Hyper upgrade, regardless of which character you're playing as. The wall enemies are otherwise invulnerable to attacks until you do so.
  • But Now I Must Go: In the bad ending, Eve tells Jason that she has to leave to protect the universe from the mutant threat. In the true ending, she knocks him out instead.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Using the Acceleration Blast on the Skeleton Boss will prompt a special line of dialogue where Jason screams "ACCELERATION BLAST!" before unleashing it on the Skeleton Boss for a One-Hit Kill.
  • The Cameo:
    • Lumen appears in Gunvolt's playthrough, who grants him Voltaic Chains when approached. She is located on a midair platform in Area 1, which requires Wall Climb to reach.
    • In the same vein, Squid Baron appears in Shantae's playthrough in Area 5 to teach her the Brainy Dance.
  • Charge Attack: Player 2 is armed with an unusual variant. Damaging enemies with the normal shot charges a gauge around the crosshairs; when at least one quarter of the gauge is full, Player 2 can consume a quarter of the gauge to drop a small Health or Energy pickup for Jason to collect.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The opening makes a rather unusual side note about a comet coming in contact with Earth around the time humanity began to rebuild on the surface, which is never brought up again. Later on, Jason deduces that since the mutants have been around for hundreds of years, it is possible that the comet that struck the Earth carried the mutants to the planet.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: In the Nintendo Switch version, Player 2 has an "Assist" role, moving a target cursor around the screen to provide cover fire, use an exclusive sub-weapon, and drop recovery items for Player 1.
  • Continuity Porn: This game uses the original story of Blaster Master, features tons of references to Metafight, and contains nods to nearly every single game in the franchise except Blaster Master 2, and is all but confirmed to be a Stealth Sequel to the original Metafight canon.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: The final overworld segment involves driving down an enormous weapons barrel while ducking into gaps to avoid the giant lasers that fire periodically.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying simply sets you back to the last Retry Point or autosave. Retry Points and autosaves are so ridiculously common that dying simply sets you back a few minutes of gameplay with no other penalty, since this game removed the finite lives system that made the previous games so difficult. You're gonna embrace this system in Destroyer Mode for all it's worth.
  • Death from Above: The final on-foot subweapon allows you to mark up to 15 targets in the room and remotely control SOPHIA to deliver an artillery strike on them.
  • Decomposite Character: In previous Blaster Master media, the Plutonium Boss was always depicted as the Mutant Lord, with no mention of that armored whip guy from the first game anywherenote . In Zero, the Plutonium Boss and Mutant Lord are now separate characters, with the Mutant Lord being properly attributed to the Final Boss of the original.
  • Deflector Shields: Gun Level 5 is Energy Shield, which generates a green barrier that deflects shots. Enemy projectiles that come into contact with it will turn green and be fired back at the enemy for some damage, but if you press the Shoot button right before the shot hits, the incoming projectile will be deflected as a stronger wave projectile that deals massive damage.
  • Degraded Boss: In Area 9, the Skeleton Boss appears twice; once in which it can be killed in a few seconds by SOPHIA Zero, and once as an obstacle that you must avoid as Jason.
  • Dem Bones: The overworld boss of Area 7 is the Skeleton Boss, a Kaiju-sized skeleton form of the Plutonium Boss.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Plutonium Boss, the original Big Bad from the US Blaster Master series, is not mentioned once in Zero's plot. He only appears in a skeletal form known as the "Skeleton Boss" as an overworld boss, and he's less of an actual boss enemy and moreso target practice for the shiny new Wave-Motion Gun Jason got that obliterates him in one hit.
  • Downer Ending: If you defeat the final boss without having defeated every other boss and obtained all area maps, life-ups, weapons, and mobility upgrades, the ending scene after the credits roll shows Eve inside of SOPHIA III, about to sacrifice herself to destroy the Mutant Core... which, as you find out in the Golden Ending, wouldn't have worked.
  • Downloadable Content: EX Characters can be purchased as DLC for $1.99 USD. However, for the first two weeks after release, all EX Characters can also be downloaded permanently for free, so you can play as the EX Characters for no additional charge if you grab them while they're hot.
  • Draw Aggro: The Turret sub-weapon in Zero also serves this purpose. Dropping one causes enemies to ignore Jason and go straight for the Turret instead. This even applies to bosses.
  • Dual Boss: The dungeon that houses the map for Area 9 requires you to fight one Mother Brain, followed by two Mother Brains, to acquire it.
  • Early Game Hell: In Destroyer Mode. Gun upgrades hardly drop or are rare to find, and most enemies are immune to your stronger guns anyways; a good chunk of early-game enemies can only be damaged with your peashooter, which you'll quickly find extremely annoying. You can dump Grenades on them to wear them down faster, but you only have so many of them.
  • Episode Zero: The Beginning: Played with. Blaster Master Zero is a remake of the first Blaster Master but is a Stealth Sequel to Metafight.
  • Evil Overlooker: On certain cover arts, the Mutant Lord is depicted in the background giving a dark stare with a flaming left eye.
  • Everything's Better with Sparkles: Shovel Knight's Ornate Plate constantly sparkles while it's being worn, to the point of lighting up rooms.
  • Explosive Stupidity: SOPHIA can take damage from its own Cannon Shot shells. They have a very wide blast radius, and firing one off too close to a wall will cause lots of damage. This is not, however, applicable to SOPHIA Zero.
  • Falling Damage:
    • Jason still suffers the same height restrictions as in the original game, where he can survive a fall up to one block higher than his jumping height, and any more beyond that is instantly fatal.
    • Averted for EX Characters Mode as a whole.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The final boss of Area 4 looks a lot like Fred, a trait that's noted by the characters. This is after the mutants have had time to examine Fred in Area 6. It's also later revealed that Fred is a drone, and that the mutants consider the SOPHIA III such a huge threat because it reminds them of an enemy fighter they fought back on Eve's planet. Finally, at around Area 4, you start running into mooks who fight like Jason, using a blaster and using their mobility to dodge around and pressure you. What is this all leading up to? The True Final Boss, which is a reverse-engineered SOPHIA III; the mutants have been able to corrupt or replicated all your other friends and weapons so far, why can't they corrupt SOPHIA III when it's in their core?
    • Even farther forward; the reason why Area 9 is so trippy and weird compared to the rest of the game, and why the Mutants there are so much more powerful than on Earth? It's superdimensional space, an Alternate Dimension existing in parallel with reality that the mutants hail from.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: Shovel Knight has the Ornate Plate, of course. It's so shiny, in fact, that when equipped in any darkened dungeon, it automatically lights up the entire dungeon as if you had used a Flash Bomb.
  • Golden Ending: There is a true ending which can be achieved after the player has collected all area maps, life ups, weapons, and maneuvers, and defeated all bosses. Eve leaves Jason and Fred to destroy the Mutant Core all by herself, using SOPHIA III's self-destruct function to achieve this. Things don't go as planned, however, since the Mutant Core possesses SOPHIA III and turns it into Invem SOPHIA, while also restraining Eve inside. Jason, with the aid of Fred, comes to her rescue and destroys the Invem SOPHIA with the SOPHIA Zero, ending the mutant threat.
  • Guest Fighter: EX Characters Mode, which allows players to play the game in full using special characters that aren't Jason, such as Gunvolt from Azure Striker Gunvolt and Ekoro from Gal*Gun. Uniquely, every EX Character has character-specific abilities and moves, and playing as an EX Character also adds certain aesthetic changes, such as changing the SOPHIA III's color and certain character-themed changes.
    • Gunvolt changes the standard health pickups into the health capsules seen in the Gunvolt series.
    • Ekoro changes all explosion effects into pink heart explosions, changes all health pickups into hearts, and changes the Item Get! jingle.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • At no point in the game does the game ever tell you to talk to Eve. Unfortunately, this can cause you to miss vital plot points that make the story make a whole lot more sense, since the game also doesn't tell you that talking to Eve in specific locations will trigger cutscenes that can't be seen on the same playthrough if you miss the chance to see it.
    • In New Game Plus, you are not told that to access the final few rooms in the game in Area 9, you need to turn on the Receiver to make a distorted doorway solid. The problem here being that the Receiver otherwise serves no function in New Game Plus, and it's very easy to not realize this on your first playthrough since the game more or less requires the Receiver for 95% of the game, so figuring this out right away would require quite the leap in logic.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Eve attempts to blow up the SOPHIA III with herself inside to destroy the Mutant Core. In the true ending, it's revealed that the Mutant Core possessed the SOPHIA III before Eve could hit the switch and prevented her from doing so.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: While playing as Shovel Knight, all Health pickups and some of the Life Up upgrades are replaced with food items.
  • Indie Game: Zero is both developed and published by Inti Creates.
  • In-Vehicle Invulnerability: The protagonists and their vehicles have separate health bars. In some of the games (notably the original), it's possible for the driver to restore his health by exiting and re-entering the vehicle.
  • Killed Off for Real: Only after the destruction of the Invem SOPHIA (and by extension, the Mutant Core) does the mutant threat end.
  • Mind Screw: The Alternate Dimension gets kinda crazy, but then you reach the end of the area and you end up not only scaling what looks like a gigantic version of Sophia III infused with mutant flesh, you travel through its main cannon to reach the actual Sophia III and fight Invem Sophia on top of it. The entire thing is not remotely explained or even acknowledged by Jason or Eve.
  • Minimalist Cast: Not including the EX characters, Jason, Eve, and Fred are the only named major characters.
  • Mirror Boss: Invem SOPHIA, the True Final Boss. It uses the same exact weaponry you had while piloting SOPHIA III, but it also has Secret A.I. Moves like being able to hover in a straight line and its Acceleration Blast charging much faster than when you were piloting SOPHIA III.
  • Mythology Gag: Everywhere, especially in regards to Metafight.
    • The room in Area 4 that contains the lock to unlock Area 5 uses a combination of the infamous Leap of Faith from Metafight and the revised platforming version from Blaster Master. Jason has to jump off a cliff and catch himself on a segment of ladder, which allows him to access a series of ladders that lead to the lock. Unlike Metafight, there is a broken ladder in the background that tells you where the ladder you need to catch is, and the ladder is a few tiles long instead of being a single tile.
    • Kane Gardner and Dr. Jennifer Cornet under the name "Dr. Jennifer Gardner" from Metafight are mentioned at the very end of the game, revealed to be the creators of the SOPHIA Zero and Eve.
    • Likewise, the title of the second form of the final boss is "The Ultimate Metafight".
    • Eve is full of them. Her model number, NORA-2057, is a combination of the alternate name for Metal Attacker, the year Metafight took place, 2052, and the game's release year of 2017, her design is based on Dr. Jennifer Cornet from Metafight, and she reveals in one optional dialogue after she reveals her origins to you that SOPHIA III is named after the planet she was created on — in Metafight, Sophia III was the name of the planet, not the vehicle.
    • The True Final Boss, Invem SOPHIA, is named after the mutant army from Metafight, the "Invem Dark Star Cluster".
    • One to Blasting Again, weirdly enough; the Acceleration Blast, which first debuted in Blasting Again, can be found, and it functions exactly like its original incarnation, but as a regular field move. It's not an Angst Nuke in this game, though.
    • Also one to Overdrive. In an optional conversation, Jason speculates that the comet that struck Earth hundreds of years in the past (mentioned in the intro) is probably what brought the mutants to Earth. The Stinger of Overdrive involved a Sequel Hook that implied a nearly-identical situation.
  • New Game Plus: After achieving the true ending, you can replay the game in Unlimited Mode, which starts you out with SOPHIA Zero and all area maps and upgrades unlocked, and lets you freely explore the game.
  • No Fair Cheating:
    • Attempting to use the Acceleration Blast against the True Final Boss will cause it to just leave until you fire the thing, after which it comes back. However, if you time it correctly, specifically right before the final boss would normally come back (as it has attacks where it briefly leaves the screen), you can trick it and unleash the Acceleration Blast. Just be sure to get Eve out before unleashing the Acceleration Blast. In addition, if you have near or full energy after rescuing Eve, you can charge and fire the Acceleration Blast while it's stunned. You can also use the Acceleration Blast on it without the boss being able to evade by getting behind the boss while its charging its own Acceleration Blast. Turnabout is fair play, after all.
    • The Wave Gun is ineffective against the second form of the Final Boss, forcing you to fight it normally. However, in Destroyer Mode, it's his weakness, something of a Hard Mode Perk.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: All story segments are removed in EX Characters and Unlimited Modes, allowing you to play the game with other characters without having to read the cutscenes.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Just before the fight with the True Final Boss, Jason has to proceed down a corridor with absolutely no enemies, but with a massive amount of stationary environmental hazards that force you to take a long, winding path to get down it... and weirdly, the amount of hazards goes down as you progress, along with the path getting straighter. Then you reach the end of the corridor... and promptly run into Invem Sophia, who begins to chase you, coupled with your personal "Oh, crap!" moment as you promptly realize why most of the hazards were at the start of the corridor.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: When you're dropped off in Area 9, it isn't immediately apparent that one of the Keys you're looking for requires you to go left. When you spawn at the left side of the stage, a player's first instinct is typically to go right, assuming that the area behind them is a wall. Thankfully, getting the Area Map makes this clear.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Mutant Lord transforms into a flaming elemental being, the Multidimensional Overlord, after the first phase of the fight.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: Instead of just jumping down any regular hole, Fred jumps down a wormhole, which just so happens to lead to the SOPHIA III. Late in the game, it's revealed that Fred can generate wormholes that link roughly to the location of a connected SOPHIA unit. This is what allows him to transport the SOPHIA Zero to Jason, as well as take Jason to the Alternate Dimension where the possessed SOPHIA III is.
  • Player Versus Player: The Version 1.5 update adds a Blaster Battles mode for the Switch version, where you and a buddy can square off in dungeon or overworld-based combat. Players are able to select from Jason and any of the EX Characters, making it something of a Blaster Master version of Super Smash Bros..
  • Purposefully Overpowered: The Infinity +1 Sword. The SOPHIA Zero, which is obtained right before the final level, is vastly superior to the SOPHIA III in terms of capabilities, possessing amped-up weapons and subweapons, reduced SP costs, and all charge times have been removed except for the Acceleration Blast. Jason infers that this is because Fred was feeding back data about their adventure to its home planet, which allowed the original creators of the SOPHIA III to develop an even stronger successor to eliminate the mutants.
  • Rescue Arc: The premise of the Golden Ending, where Jason, with Fred and SOPHIA Zero's aid, goes to save Eve after she leaves him to take out the Mutant Core by herself.
  • Retraux: Zero seems to evoke an NES+ or even SNES graphics style to invoke the original game. Like other games of the time that evoke this, the animations take advantage of the modern technology to far exceed what the originals are typically capable of.
  • Run or Die: The first half of the True Final Boss puts you in this situation. On foot, you're faced with the Invem SOPHIA — which is to say, SOPHIA III, possessed by the Mutant Core. The only thing you can do is dodge its attacks and haul ass out of there and back to SOPHIA Zero, at which point the actual boss fight starts. You can still deal Scratch Damage to it before it blasts open the boss room door you escaped through and during your escape from it and said damage stays with it to the actual boss fight, but there's no way to actually destroy it during the escape sequence, since it stops taking damage after you deplete around 30% of its health or so.
  • Sequence Breaking: EX Characters Mode has a lot of potential for this because of the special abilities the EX Characters get and the levels being designed around Jason and SOPHIA III. Gunvolt's Prevasion is especially egregious in this case, since its damage negation allows him to take shortcuts through obstacles that would typically kill Jason or SOPHIA III, such as the big spike traps in Area 6.
  • Shoot the Bullet: More like "shovel the bullet", but otherwise in the same sense. The Shovel Blade has a unique Energy Guard-like function in dungeons in which any projectile attack can be deflected back at the enemy if you strike it with your normal attack at the right time.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Gun Level 3 (Diffusion). The closer you are to the target when firing it, the more damage it inflicts.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The weapon obtained for reaching Gun Level 6 is the "Striker", which fires an orb that turns into Chain Lightning on impact. Eve will even reference Gunvolt's Catchphrase if you talk to her while it's equipped. This became even more hilarious when Gunvolt himself arrived in the first set of Downloadable Content, complete with a cameo by Lumen, and several pieces of fanart show Gunvolt, Jason, Joule, and Eve playing together.
    • The Gun you get at Gun Level 8 is called the Wave Gun, which appears like and is functionally similar to Samus' Wave Beam.
  • Sound of No Damage: Certain enemies have parts that negate damage, in which case you hear a sharp "ping" sound. In Destroyer Mode, this sound also plays when you hit an enemy with a Gun it's immune to.
  • Speed Echoes: The SOPHIA Zero leaves afterimages when it moves. Gunvolt in EX Characters Mode does so as well, but only if he has enough EP to use Prevasion.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Level 7. Avoid the searchlights if you don't want to get overwhelmed by powerful enemies.
  • Stealth Sequel: Blaster Master Zero is, of all things, a direct sequel to Metafight.
  • The Stinger: The cutscene after the credits roll in the Downer Ending shows Eve inside of SOPHIA III, about to sacrifice herself to destroy the Mutant Core.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: In the majority of dungeons, the boss room will be immediately preceded by a room that contains a save point and destructible blocks that always contain an assorted variety of Health and Weapon pickups. Later levels keep the save points but don't have the destructible blocks with powerups anymore.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Gunvolt's Luxcalibur will make his portrait show up before he unleashes the attack.
  • Superior Successor: SOPHIA-Zero to SOPHIA III. Created by the original creators of SOPHIA III using the data gathered by Fred to better fight the mutant threat. It's able to use charge attacks as its basic attacks, has stronger special weapons, and much better energy efficiency. Best illustrated when Zero has to fight the mutant possessed SOPHIA III: the fight is surprisingly easy in Zero's favor.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The SOPHIA-Zero, which also happens to be the Infinity +1 Sword.
  • The Teaser: The opening cutscene details Earth entering an ice age after countless numbers of human conflicts and natural disasters, forcing humanity to migrate to the underground, and developing methods after the conclusion of the ice age to restore Earth to its former state, undeterred by the coming of a comet. It then skips several centuries ahead and introduces the protagonist, Jason Frudnick, a robotic engineering genius who encounters a frog-like alien, which he captures for observation, and names him Fred. Fred escapes from captivity some time afterwards, entering a hole leading to the underground. Jason gives chase, and encounters SOPHIA III, which he uses to locate Fred's whereabouts.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: While it's certainly tempting to mow down every boss you see with the Wave Gun, bosses also run on a Mega Man-style weakness system (which Inti Creates is quite fond of using) in which a specific Gun type will deal super effective damage against a boss, signified by a "stagger" effect when you attack it with that Gun. For example, Striker destroys all Photophage units in a single hit, and Flamethrower quite literally burns up Mother Brain and Spark Salamander's health like a match to a tinderbox.
  • Technicolor Death: In EX Characters Mode, enemies killed by Ekoro burst into multiple pink hearts.
  • Tennis Boss: In Destroyer Mode, Venom Master is actually immune to everything you can possibly throw at it, except Energy Shield. This means you spend the entire fight deflecting projectiles at the boss to kill it.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: If you get hit by Invem SOPHIA's Acceleration Cannon, you're toast. Even Prevasion in EX Characters Mode won't save you.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Jason says this word for word at the beginning of Area 5 when he sees the massive sea he'll have to traverse with his clunky, terrestrial tank.
  • Title Drop: Double time.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Version 1.3 trailer that adds Shantae and Shovel Knight includes footage from Area 9 and the True Final Boss fight.
  • True Final Boss: The Invem SOPHIA.
  • Ultimate Universe: Zero assembles elements from many games in the franchise and the Worlds of Power novel, while using the first game as its foundation and improving upon it.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: In EX Characters Mode, neither Shantae nor Shovel Knight are armed with projectile attacks by default (in a side-scrolling shooter), and must rely on close-ranged methods of attack to defeat mutants.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: It was possible to destroy blocks with the SOPHIA III, then walk through the passage and enter a dungeon while leaving the SOPHIA III behind; upon leaving the dungeon, the SOPHIA III would be trapped behind or inside of the blocks, and Jason has no way of accessing the SOPHIA due to the game autosaving whenever you leave a dungeon. This is especially apparent with a certain dungeon in Area 7, where it is all too easy to make this mistake if you forget that the blocks respawn when you leave the dungeon. The Version 1.2 update fixed this by automatically moving the SOPHIA III to the dungeon entrance after you leave specific dungeons.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: SOPHIA Zero VS (a mutant possessed) SOPHIA III. In a rare example, it's the protagonist using the upgrade to fight the previous version, to which he wins with little effort.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Not here, thankfully. Gun Level 7 is a flamethrower with short range and scatter. While most players would immediately think "useless," there's a very good reason it's the second-most-powerful setting for the Blaster Rifle. Enemies that get hit continue taking burn damage which adds up quickly. More importantly, the flamethrower can clear away the blue rocks in the Waterworks Area dungeons and melt the floor ice and ice spikes in the Glacier Area dungeons. It also doesn't hurt that in Zero, you can now switch between the Gun Levels you have.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: It doesn't matter what boss/enemy gauntlet you fight in Area 1 on Destroyer Mode: Mother Brain, the Drap Trappers or Thousand Vios... You will learn the hard way the Wave Gun is no longer an instant "I win" condition.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Acceleration Blast. It takes a long time to charge and requires a full energy meter, but it nukes everything, even some spikes!
  • Wham Line: The letter from Eve's parents in the Golden Ending, which reveals that the entire game is a Stealth Sequel to Metafight.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The Skeleton Boss. It mostly consists of avoiding the boss's attacks while climbing a set of platforms to reach a switch that lowers SOPHIA to your location, then boarding it and charging your Acceleration Blast to inflict a One-Hit Kill. The alcove that the SOPHIA appears in is too small for the boss to hit you, allowing you to freely charge up your Wave-Motion Gun without worrying about being knocked out of it.