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A marriage between Cool and (relatively) Realistic. More or less the franchise in a nutshell.
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Square Enix's chief Humongous Mecha franchise, Front Mission throws readers and players into gritty Real Robot stories, in which conglomerate nations from 20 Minutes into the Future fight for power and political control, using armies of Wanzers (short for "Wanderungpanzers" - loosely translated from German for "walking tanks").

Two things set it apart from other mecha games: it is a Turn-Based Strategy (unheard of in 1995 outside of Super Robot Wars), and it applies as much realism as can be expected with giant robots. Logistics matter, the Wanzers are easily destroyed, winning battles requires teamwork, and the stories are heavily packed with Realpolitik.

With regards to the games, the series currently consists of five mainline titles and seven offshoots:

  • Front Mission 1 (1995, Super Famicom) (2002, Wonderswan).
    • Re-released as Front Mission: 1st for the PlayStation in 2003, and Nintendo DS in 2007. The DS version was the only one to get a localized release, but has all the features from the PSX version.
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  • Front Mission: Gun Hazard (1996, SFC) - A side-scrolling action spin-off, taking place in an alternative universe.
  • Front Mission 2 (1997, PS1) - A direct sequel to Front Mission.
  • Front Mission: Alternative (1997, PS1) - An RTS spin-off, taking place long before all other games.
  • Front Mission 3 (1999, PS1) - Sequel to Front Mission 2, but with little connections to the first two games. First in the series to get a localized release.
  • Front Mission: History (2003, PS) - A box set which includes the first three games in the mainline series.
  • Front Mission 4 (2003, PS2) - A side-quel that runs parallel to the events of the first game. Second in the series to get a localized release.
  • Front Mission 2089 (2005, Mobile) - A prequel to the first game.
    • Re-released as Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness for the Nintendo DS in 2008.
  • Front Mission: Online (2005, PS2/PC) - MMO spinoff that ran from 2005 to 2008.
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  • Front Mission 5 (2005, PS2) - An epic opera that serves to close the main story of the franchise and spans from right before the events of the first game, until long after the events of the third. Unlike 3 and 4, this was only released in Japan. A Fan Translation patch for the game exists, however.
  • Front Mission 2089 II (2006, Mobile) - Sequel to Front Mission 2089, bridging the remaining gaps to the first game.
    • An abridged version was included in Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness.
  • Front Mission Evolved (2010, PS3/Xbox 360/PC) - Third person shooter spinoff by Double Helix, taking place long after all other games.
  • Left Alive (2019, PS4/PC) - Third person shooter spinoff developed in house by Square Enix. Stated to occur after the events of Front Mission 5.

The series is known for regularly venturing into other genres. Gun Hazard is a side-scrolling shooter developed by the lead designer of Assault Suits Valken. Front Mission: Alternative ventures into real-time strategy (RTS). Front Mission: Online is the massively multiplayer online (MMO) game and the first third-person shooter (TPS) for the PS2 and PC. Front Mission Evolved, another TPS spinoff, was released on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Lastly, Left Alive, also a TPS spinoff, was released in 2018 for PS4 and PC. Only a handful of titles have made it outside Japan, as the majority of the series (including two mainline entries) remain Japan-only.

Games aren't the only things Front Mission is noted for. Though virtually unknown to the Western world thanks to Square's mishandling of its overseas marketing (only some of the games were localized), the franchise has a large media presence in Japan, including mangas, novels, radio dramas, and even live-action films. In fact, these other Front Mission works are linked to the video games so closely that they are necessary for completely understanding the stories. The most successful of these products are the manga and novels, which are perennial top-sellers in the mature/adult age bracket in Japan.

There is a character page desperately in need of work.

See Dual Gear, being treated as the franchise's Spiritual Successor.


The franchise provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    A - B 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap:
    • In 2089 and 1st, the maximum Job Level is 48... requiring 9,999 EXP in one of the four Job classes: Melee, Short, Long, and Dodge. Any EXP gained in these Job classes influences Pilot Level. Pilot Level maxes out at Level 50, requiring 37,500 EXP to reach.
    • 2: The maximum Job Level is 30. 14,815 EXP is needed to max out either Fight, Short, or Long Job classes.
    • 3: There are 25 levels for Weapon Rank, going from "A" to "A+" to "A++" and so on. Going from a Weapon Rank of "A" to "S", the highest level, requires 13,199 EXP.
  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: There's a fair bit of these, which isn't very surprising given all the nations and their military units.
    • USN/UCS for United States of the New Continent / Unified Continental States, which has the FAI: Federal Agency of Intelligence. There's also SOCOM, for Special Operations Command, though this one is from real life.
    • OCU for the Oceania Cooperative Union, which has the CIU for Central Intelligence Unit.
    • DHZ for the People's Republic of Da Han Zhong.
    • EC for the European Community.
    • OAC for the Organization of African Consolidation.
    • Other sorts of acronyms show up too, namely for several technologies.
      • ATLAS being the Astro Tribune Laser Accumulate System.
      • SCION being the Synthetic Computer Intelligence Orbital Network.
      • BD being the Bioneural Device.
      • MIDAS being one of two things: Mass Interparticle Dissociation Antiproton Synthesizer for the original anti-matter version, and Matter Irradiation Dissociative Acceleration System for the portable radiation derivative.
  • Amazon Brigade:
    • Three out of the four members of the Apollo's Chariot from Evolved are women. It does make you wonder if Marcus uses the girls for "bedroom duty"...
  • Anachronic Order: you have to read every game manual (and in the cases of 2 and 3, the in-game Network too) to fully understand the history.
  • Armored Coffins: The Vampires from the 2089 games - a black ops branch of the B-Organization - have their wanzers set for complete destruction upon defeat, to cover any trace of their relations to their employer.
  • Attack Drone: The "Save the Queen" laser drones used by the Strike Eagles in Dog Life & Dog Style also count.
  • Ax-Crazy: Evolved really takes the cake with this one, with four out of five main villains being more or less utterly insane: Cornelius Werner is an E.D.G.E. addict who seeks to dissolve all borders and frequently torments Adela Seawell; Gloria Leguizamo lives for war and appears to be aroused by the thought of fighting; Pia Simpson likes to gesticulate inside her cockpit as if she's conducting a symphony while blowing stuff up a la V for Vendetta; and Megan Chamberlain worships Valkyries. Not the most stable bunch.
  • Badass Crew: Every group that the main protagonists join is or ends up as this.
    • The IMAC (Alternative) was apparently tough enough to be one of the world's only forces to be given WAW units, the most state-of-the-art technology of their era.
    • Online also has Chasm Owls and Proud Eagles.
    • The Storm Unit (2089) and the Chariots (2089-II) fight the Vampires. Both groups defeat the latter regularly, though not without some rough battles.
    • Another noteworthy example is the Akatsuki Unit from The Drive. They are able to dispatch a mobile weapon and rout an USN force several times their size through sheer teamwork, for starters. Their impact on readers is particularly strong, since the manga holds nothing back in the way of mature content.
  • Badass Normal:
  • Band of Brothers: Many of the military units in the series play this, but the Durandal is in particular notable, despite technically not being military.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Well... for the most part, the series's stories revolve around the struggles between Hired Guns with sociopathic tendencies, Corrupt Politicians who'd sacrifice millions of civilians for power, and Western Terrorists who commit mass murders. You get the idea.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Partly averted. The shoulder weapons have limited ammo, but handheld firearms such as machine guns, rifles and bazookas do not. Possibly Lampshade Hanging, in that the ammo listing for these weapons is often a permanent 99/99.
    • Fully subverted in 2 (and later, 4, Online and Evolved), where all weapons but the melee ones have limited ammo. Very limited, in the case of some of the more powerful items.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Shotguns are generally this, with a combination of decent damage outputs, range (though less than machine guns and rifles) and low AP cost, making them quite cost-effective, if a bit boring. That said, many late game shotguns are Simple, yet Awesome (see below).
      • Shields have no offensive capability (unless the pilot has the appropriate skills), limited uses before breaking, and when used, means your wanzer will be suffering damage to that arm. They certainly won't be dishing out the same amount of damage as a wanzer with double weapons. But, they are also fairly light, greatly reduce damage taken, and will ensure your much more vital legs, body, and weapon arm survive longer.
  • Brain–Computer Interface: One of the recurrent themes of the franchise. BD technology including S-Type, Puppet Soldier, and Doll Eye are all part of it.
  • Broken Hero: Another trope that the franchise loves. In general, this is only implied in the games, but the other media often elaborate further. Many of the protagonists suffer from PTSD and other aftermaths of the horrors they have endured. A few go beyond this.
  • Bowdlerise: In the SNES version of Front Mission, there is a wanzer model named "Fagot" (which means "a bundle of sticks"). It is renamed "Flugel" in the NDS remake.

    C - E 

  • Catchphrase: There are several of them.
    • Morgan Bernard's "Globalist dogs", which he says every time he appears in the games to, you guessed it, the globalists. It includes anyone who doesn't actively support nationalism, such as Dr. Aisha Romariov (2089), Lisa Stanley (2), and Walter Feng (5).
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Oh, boy... there're so many of them it's impossible to list them all. But it sure as hell won't stop us from trying. From the games alone, we have:
    • Lycov appears in 2. Lisa Stanley meets Lycov during the coup a few times to set up a meeting, where she ends up receiving the final Raven model. Lycov is formally introduced in 2089.
    • Glen Duval in 2. During the battle against the Canyon Crows, Royd Clive references Glen as a contact who can help him out against the Dull Stags. Glen is formally introduced in 5, in which he's The Dragon.
    • From the perspective of the storyline's chronology:
      • Albert Masel and Serena Sana from 2089. Formally introduced in 2089-II.
      • Ellen Taylor and Yuji Kinoshita from 2089. Formally introduced in Online.
      • Marcus Allen from Online. Formally introduced in 3.
  • Cherry Tapping: Gun Hazard and 3: It's completely ridiculous to see that a handgun is strong enough to damage a wanzer but what's downright absurd is being able to destroy one with just a handgun.
  • Coitus Ensues: There are a few instances of this.
    • In 5, Walter Feng and Lynn Wenright... experience some urges after the Strike Wyverns have finished taking Fortune Medical. Conveniently, there's a bed nearby...
    • In The Drive, this occurs between Captain Xiao and Leung Flybird thrice. But the most notable instance gets to be this one: When Captain Xiao arrives and stops Leung from murdering an unconscious Albert Masel, he somehow thinks that it's a good idea to start making out with her right at the spot.
    • This trope is played straight regularly in Dog Life & Dog Style.
  • Cold Sniper: It will surprise us if this trope doesn't show up.
    • Leung Flybird and Mark Green from The Drive come off as this, when they snipe at an enemy mobile weapon unit while casually talking as though the target is a mitten crab they're going to crack open and eat.
    Leung (About to pull the trigger): I... gratefully... receive.
    • Shin Tsuneki from Dog Life & Dog Style also goes for a sniper rifle on several occasions, and he uses it to devastating effect whenever he does.
    • Otherwise, this trope is mostly inverted. The other sniper-type characters are generally normal off the field, or at least are Jerks With Hearts Of Gold, such as Billy Renges from 4.
  • Combat Medic: The Mechanic job class, first seen in the remake "Front Mission 1st" and officially introduced in 4. This type of wanzers generally boasts strong armor and high power output, the latter of which enables them to mount the Repair Backpack, a tool used to do quick repairs on ally units during battle. Such benefits come at the expense of their offensive capacities, however.
  • Combination Attack: Introduced in 2, in which a certain pilot's best skill allows them to assist other pilots in combat, so long as they're within ranges.
  • Continuity Nod: Every game other than Gun Hazard has at least some of this. Even 1st manages to retroactively get some through the PS1 remake and DS port. In the case of Gun Hazard's lack of continuity nods, it is justified because its story takes place in an alternate universe.
    • 5. EVERYWHERE IN THE FREAKING GAME. It even involves references to real world events! note .
  • Continuity Reboot: The franchise has laid dormant since 2010. Left Alive was meant to revive interest. But so far, critics and gamers are divided.
  • Cool Old Guy: This is expected.
    • Justified, Alder and Thammond are both veterans, while Hector is a S-Type user himself..
  • Corrupt Politician: And HOW! "Corrupt" doesn't even begin to describe it. In short, the politicians in this series's universe have been known to:
    • Try to murder various nations' representatives at the signing of a peace treaty, to prolong a war that profits them (Alternative);
    • Attempt to manipulate other nations into a potential world war, only to give one of the involved nations incentive to import their products and thus give their economy a needed boost (4).
  • Crapsack World: The main series starts as one and only gets worse as time goes on.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The vast majority of the playable pilots are specialized in certain job classes, each of which plays some vital strategic roles in the battlefield, and has wanzer models specifically designed for it. In general, there are five job classes:
    • Striker (aka Fighter): A job class dedicated to close-range combat, using melee weapons and often short-range firearms. Commonly equipped with knuckles, pile bunkers, and rods. These weapons tend to deal much damage but are lightweight. Hence, the usual wanzer model used by Strikers is a fast and tough machine that lacks power output.
      • Notable characters specialized in this role include: Rocky Armitage (2), Kazuki Takemura (3), and Darril Traubel (4).
    • Assault (aka Attacker): A balanced job class, suited for various tactics. Usually equipped with short- and mid- range firearms such as machine guns, shotguns, flamethrowers, and assault rifles. Wanzers piloted by Assaults tend to be Jack-of-All-Stats with decent armor, mobility and power output. Hybrid Assaults armed with a melee-firearm combination also exist.
      • Examples of notable characters specialized in the Assault class include: Ash Faruk (2), Elsa Eliane (4), and Walter Feng (5).
    • Gunner (aka Sniper): A job class devoted to long-range combat, using heavier firearms such as sniper rifles, bazookas, and gatling guns. Despite their weaponry's having both range and damage output, wanzer models used by Gunners have to sacrifice armor and some mobility to possess enough power output for carrying such weapons.
      • Noteworthy characters known for their skills as Gunners include: Billy Renges (4), Glen Duval (5), and Leung Flybird (The Drive).
    • Launcher (aka Missileer): A job class specialized in providing support fire via artilleries such as missile launchers, grenade launchers, and rocket launchers. Wanzer models designed for this role tend to have very high power output, but weak armor and low mobility.
      • Characters known to be specialized as Launcher units include: Lisa Stanley (2), Emir "Emma" Klamsky (3), and Zead Elger (4).
    • Commander: Lightning Bruisers who serve as the leader units of their squads. Such units are usually equipped with short- and mid- range firearms, paired with a melee weapon or artilleries for all-rounded, versatile performance in combat.
      • Royd Clive (1st) and Ernest J. Salinger (aka "Storm"; 2089) are both examples of pilots of the Commander class.
    • In addition to these five job classes, four special classes exist to provide combat support using equipment outside weapons.
    • Mechanic (aka Engineer): A job class devoted to the use of Repair Backpacks, with which the unit does quick repairs on ally units during battle. The combination of shield and firearm for the purpose of self-defense is typically seen on a Mechanic unit. Wanzer models used for this class tend to have superior armor and power output.
      • Mechanics are seen in 2089, 2089-II, 1st, Online, 2, 4, 5, and Evolved.
      • Noteworthy characters dedicated to this role include: Halle Fiennes (1st), Hermes Sturges (4), and Hector Reynolds (5).
    • Jammer: A job class that excels at electronic warfare, carrying equipment like EMP Backpacks, enabling them to manipulate and disable other machines' electronics, making the latter open for attacks. Usually equipped with melee weapons or short-range firearms to provide capacity for self-defense. Wanzers used by Jammers tend to be fast but weak.
      • Jammers show up in Online, 4, 5, and Evolved.
      • Latona Rodiona Vasilev (4) is noted for playing this role in her unit.
    • Recon: A job class dedicated to the use of Sensor Backpacks, deployed to scout out and help Launchers direct missiles towards enemy targets. Mostly equipped with melee weapons and/or firearms for self-defense. Wanzer models used by Recons are usually very swift and agile, but have weak armor that does not last too long.
      • Recons appear only in Online, 4, and 5.
      • Dieter Borsh (4) is a character known for specializing in this job class.
    • Comms: A job class noted for using Radio Backpacks that enable them to communicate with ally transports and direct air support, which ranges from carpet bombing and armor coating to calling in new wanzer units (to replace destroyed ones). Often equipped with missile launchers or other artilleries, so that the unit can also offer some offensive combat support.
      • Comms are available in Online and 4 only.
      • Beck Canova (4) belongs to this job class.
    • Of course, employing all of these specialists effectively is Truth in Television: modern militaries practice the doctrine of combined arms, where different units with different specialities work together to cover each others' weaknesses.
    • Lampshaded by a person in the OCU Campaign of 1st: "It's easy to specialize in using one type of weapon than using all of them."
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. The main games all have separate HP bars for each of the four parts of a wanzer (Body, Two Arms, and the Legs).
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Happens on a regular basis.
  • Darker and Edgier: The franchise's manga and novels, compared to the games.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: With "dark" in the sense of appearance...
    • Inverted in 2, in which the Dark Geese's color scheme is as dark as their name suggests.
    • This trope is inverted in 2089 as well. The Vampires are in pitch black wanzers, and many of their codenames are inspired by mythic creatures associated with darkness (e.g., one of them is named "Demon", another is "Witch", and of course, "Vampire"). Dark Is Not Evil is played straight with "Dark Knight" (aka Roy), however.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Averted... except in 1st's OCU campaign, where no less than six of the Canyon Crows members are recruited by having Royd Clive or another of the crows beat the stuff out of them in solo combat. Most of them are optional, however.
    • Somewhat justified in that the crows are mercenaries, so Royd can take whoever he likes, and to fight someone is a reasonable method to test if he's good enough for your team
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: There are several instances of this.
    • Over the course of Emma's campaign in 3, the cold, professional Emir "Emma" Klamsky slowly warms up to Kazuki Takemura. Their shared concern about her sister Alisa helps.
  • Dirty Communists: The Republic of Zaftra, having fallen on hard times, seems to want nothing but powers and profits at the expense of everybody else, if their desperate attempt to manipulate the EC and the USN into warring with each other is any indication.
  • Easy Logistics: Subverted and averted to various degrees in the games.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Truth in Television.
    • The IMAC in Alternative. They were one of the few armed forces in the world with access to the then cutting-edge WAWs (and later on, prototype WAPs).
    • In 2089, the Storm Unit is eventually recruited by the CIU.
    • In 2089-II, the Chariots end up recruited by the CIU too.
  • Energy Weapon: Quite a few of these show up.
    • In Alternative, there are three instances of laser beams appearing:
      • In Mission 24, the IMAC have to escort a trio of Yagisawa WAWs, who are testing out a giant railgun. But instead of shooting a shell, it spits out a big blue laser.
      • Towards the finale, when the IMAC infiltrates the secret underground factory run by the EC, they come across a shoulder laser cannon oddly nicknamed "Blassty".
      • In the final mission of the true ending, the IMAC is given a demonstration of the Saryshagan Rifle by Gustav Zelman and the EC's remaining forces at Timgad. The Saryshagan Rifle is a laser weapon which, at its full power, can destroy small settlements with a massive beam of doom. In-game, it's a One-Hit Kill weapon.
    • In the USN campaign of 1st, laser beams appear when the USN Army calls in a laser strike on the HQ of the Star of Freedom.
    • In Evolved, the laser beams sadly are either (a) in the hands of enemy units or (b) only shows up in the cutscenes.
    • Truth in Television. The military use of laser is indeed being researched.
    • There are also Walter Feng and Glen Duval in 5. In childhood, they were best friends before being forcefully repatriated by both the OCU and the USN thanks to the First Huffman Conflict. They remain friends even if they won't hesitate to shoot each other's wanzers down. Not even Glen killing Randy can break that bond.
  • Ensemble Cast: Most prominent in 2, with the focus of the story shifting back and forth between Ash Faruk, Thomas Norland and Lisa Stanley at any given time in the game.
  • Escort Mission: There's at least one of these in each game.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Why do cargo trucks explode after being shot once or a few times?
    • Because it's awesome.
    • I see your exploding trucks and raise you exploding human combatants in 3.
      • All of the above examples are being shot with large-caliber shells on par with tank rounds. To not explode would be quite difficult.
    • Lampshaded in 5: Cargo trucks packed with explosives are used as traps in some missions.
  • Evil Old Folks: Several characters give off this vibe.
  • Expy:
    • Many elements of Evolved are expied from other games in the series:

    F - I 
  • Failsafe Failure:
    • This occurs to Randy O'Neill in 5. His wanzer's ejection system is jammed, which leaves him helpless against Glen Duval's point blank shotgun barrage.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Lynn Wenright was once friends with Walter Feng, Randy O'Neill and Edward Collins as a child, although not really close to them. Walter is thrown for a loop when he learns that the cold, hardass CO of his new unit used to be the quiet girl who had a major crush on him.
  • For Want of a Nail: Happens again in 5 but downplayed. Apparently, whether two unnamed soldiers get to survive or be blown into bits by a wanzer's bazooka rests on how Walter Feng and his crew enters Ya Dav.
  • Gaiden Game: Gun Hazard and Evolved. Gun Hazard takes place in an alternate universe, while Evolved is a story reboot that isn't connected to the others.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: S.C.I.O.N., the final boss of Evolved.
  • Geo Effects: Or rather, terrain and elevation effects.
    • Among wanzers, bipeds excel in tarmac and have good jumping ability (swamps and marshes bog them down); Quads are more versatile with regards to terrains, but can't really jump; And hovers ignore terrain effects altogether, but can only go shallow inclines (not steps).
    • Also, units on higher elevations firing down have greater accuracy, while units firing up receive accuracy penalties.
    • In 4, a wanzer hugging walls that blocked line of sight from Launchers is immune to missiles as the missiles would hit the walls instead of the wanzer. Either that, or the Launcher simply can't target the said units.
    • 5 partly removes this. Launchers firing at targets behind obstructions can fire their missiles into the air, which would arc down and hit the targets, exactly how man-portable antitank missiles like the Javelin behave. Of course, for that to happen, you need a unit with sensor backpack to help guide the missiles.
    • And there's another twist on Geo Effects in 5. Sensor backpacks are unusable in indoor maps, because the missile flight paths (as per above) would cause them to hit the ceiling, relegating Launcher units to line of sight.
  • A God Am I:
    • Lukav Minaev in 3 is a major case of this, on account of being a "perfect" genetically-enhanced superhuman.
    • Morgan Bernhard also boasts about how he's transcended human existence, due to having become a networked consciousness rather than a single human being.
  • Gonk: Peewie Richburg Jr.
  • Guns Akimbo: Assault units are usually armed with two guns (2 Shotguns, 2 Machine Guns, or 1 Shotgun and 1 Machine Gun) so that they can keep fighting when one arm is destroyed. There is a battle skill that enables the pilot to fire both guns at the same time.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In some games, you can fight alongside friendly wanzers who will assist your unit.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Kazuki Takemura in 3 defines this trope. Despite being the main character, he angers over a myriad of issues, especially if it involves his sister Alisa. He snaps very often at Ryogo Kusama whenever the latter says something stupid. The whole Emma's campaign can be viewed as a game-wide Roaring Rampage of Rescue for him, as finding Alisa is his one and only motive to fight.
    • In Alisa's campaign, since Alisa is on your team... his Big Brother Instinct kicks in over anyone who even looks at her funny, much less threatens her, jokes about their relationship, or simply mentions her name. It only gets worse once he gets further involved with the story.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted in 5. Walter Feng, Darril Traubel and the Barghest's "normal" pilots are able to hold their own against the pilots with S-Type devices due to nothing but sheer experience and hard work.
    • In-game, the only reward for being a S-Type user is access to certain powerful, but expensive, skills. This is counterbalanced with their higher susceptibility to EMP.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: In 1st and 3, there is a default name and call sign for the main character. In the case of 2, every playable pilot has one.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Darril Traubel and Billy Renges from 4.
  • Hollywood Science: Almost always averted, but there remain two examples:
    • The Repair Backpack enables the quick maintenance of machines in the field. The technology that allows it to work is never explained.
    • Wanzers are equipped with a Damage Resistance System that reduces the damage received from certain types of weapons. HOW it does that is not elaborated upon in detail.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The only plausible explanation for Adela Seawell inexplicably missing a stationary Marcus Seligman after the latter shoots Alan Ramsey dead in Evolved.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: There're a few in every game. Largely different from other endgame equipment in terms of ranges, ammo capacities, or the amount of experience doled out per shot.
    • Evolved has an achievement named "Infinity Plus One" as well.
  • In Medias Res: You begin 1st as the commander of a small unit, in both campaigns.

    J - R 
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Darril Traubel and Billy Renges in 4. They are both embittered by their demotions and claim they are helping the guerrillas only to hang on to 25 million dollars of stolen gold, but when the chips are down, they come through anyway. Examples include...
    • Stopping a Venezuelan Army attack on a village, and helping the La Alianza make their push into Caracas knowing full well that they will be lucky to survive.
    • They also work with the Durandal, giving them some seriously vital information.
    • At the end, they give away half of the gold to help Luis Perez rebuild Venezuela.
  • "Join the Army," They Said: If Darril Traubel and Billy Renges are any indication, it seems regular service in the USN Army is a dead-end career. Darril's case is interesting, since he's a veteran of the Second Huffman Conflict. It is revealed in the secret mission in the DS version of 1st and in 5 that he became disillusioned with the USN Army after they willingly allowed civilians and soldiers to die during the war. Darril does eventually regain his rank of Captain later in 5, but he does not progress beyond this, even after he joins the "elite of the elite" Barghest.
  • Kick the Dog: With this series set in a Crapsack World, this is unsurprising.
    • Glen Duval kills a helpless Randy by repeatedly shooting his cockpit block at point blank range. This spurs Walter Feng's personal story in 5.
  • Kill Sat: In Evolved we have Vritra.
  • Leitmotif: All the freaking time.
    • Karen Meure, Natalie F. Blakewood, Maria Paredes, and Driscoll in 1st.
    • Richard Millman, Ark Hellbrand, Genoce Felder, and Royce Felder in Gun Hazard.
    • Lira Labra and Domingo Kyatt in 2.
    • Lukav Minaev and Linny Barilar in 3.
    • Morgan Bernard in 5.
    • Dylan Ramsey in Evolved.
      • There are also more general examples, which don't necessarily involve a character, such as the Canyon Crows and Black Hounds themes in 1st. 5 also has a few, including the Scars of the War leitmotif, the Strike Wyverns', and the Barghest's.
  • Latex Space Suit: For the most part, it is averted. Most pilots either wear fatigues, street clothes or flightsuits similar to those worn by helicopter crews. Exceptions are the Durandal in 4 and the cast of Evolved, though their suits, while form-fitting, are still thickish, resembling racing coveralls.
  • Level Grinding: You will need to do much of this in the Arena or Battle Simulator if you are having trouble with the next mission.
  • The Load: See Escort Mission above. An example that truly stands out is Elmo in 4, who outright charges towards enemy forces on his own, instead of having the basic self-preservation instinct generally possessed by characters of this trope.
    • Also: Since it is an Escort Mission, you lose if he dies...Thanks, Elmo.
    • There's a rather dark example of this in The Drive. After the Akatsuki Unit saves Albert Masel's ass, Leung Flybird thinks that Albert will become this trope to their unit... so she tries to murder him when he's sleeping. Luckily for Albert, it is interrupted by Captain Xiao.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: It isn't as bad as some games, but there will be pilots you never use. 5 really takes the cake thanks to its Scouting System.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: This can be invoked in 5. Load two missile launchers that fire multiple missiles, then use an S-Type pilot with the "Double Missile" skill...
  • Magikarp Power: Melee builds.
  • Majorly Awesome: In 5, Walter Feng spends much of the story as a Major, for over 10 years.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Pretty much a given.
    • Morgan Bernard plays this trope horribly straight, seeing that he plays right into Royd Clive's grievances, turning the former Huffman Hero into a mass murderer.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: From 5, Walter Feng is a quiet and reserved feminine boy to Lynn Wenright's tough and dominant masculine girl.
    • Conversed, as in "Your ass belongs to Lynn!"
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: As described above.
  • Mechanical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Short > Melee > Long > Short in 1st, at least in theory.
  • Memetic Badass: After the African Conflict (Alternative), Earl McCoy spent years fighting to quell the violence across Africa. He eventually became this in-universe, as in "THE REAL MCCOY".
  • Mini-Mecha: Most wanzers are barely larger than MBTs or IFVs. A civilian cargo truck could carry three of them easily. Their rather spacious cockpits take most of the torso section (judging from cutscenes). Also, they can easily jump onto and stand on top of buildings without damaging them, which actually provide noticable terrain effects.
  • The Mole:
    • Liu Hei Fong and Miho Shinjo of Alisa's campaign in 3, but Miho never truly betrays the party, and both of them genuinely join Kazuki's cause later on.
  • Mother Zaftra Makes You Strong: Played quite straight for Mikhail Ilyich Rezanov (aka 'Driscoll'), Anizka Ivanovna Aleksandrov, and Rolf Wagner. They even refer to Zaftra as "Motherland".
  • Multinational Team: The IMAC in Alternative is made of members from various OAC states and the OCU.
    • Given the theme of globalization, nearly all groups are this to some degree.
  • New Game+: First seen in 3, in which battle skills are retained. 4 allows levels, cash and wanzer parts to be carried over. 5 has a similar mode, as well as Hard Mode, which resets the cash and levels, and significantly ramps up the difficulty in exchange for the chance to get the best wanzers in the game.
    • Sort of downplayed in 3 though, assuming you plan to do the alternate campaign in NG+, only Kazuki and Ryogo will actually benefit since the rest of your squad is campaign based.
  • Noble Bigot: Dennis Vicarth in 3.
  • Noble Fugitive: Kwang Ming was the son of Ming Huang Jiu, the legitimate successor who was next in line to become the Chairman of China. When his father was secretly assassinated by Jie Bo Lao, Kwang was the sole survivor of the attempt and was forced to go into hiding as Jie's dictatorship took absolute control over the country by Nationalizing the industries and silencing anyone who stood in his way. Kwang would eventually be found and made leader of the Hua Lian Rebels.
  • Only in It for the Money: Many characters, "good" or "bad", are no more than Hired Guns.
  • Pile Bunker: Those in Front Mission look like some Armored Trooper VOTOMS versions.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Starting with 3, you can commandeer any vacant vehicle or wanzer just fine. The only problem is that the equipped weapons might not be compatible with the pilot's specialty.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The B-Type devices are computer devices using human brains for computing and processing power.
  • Private Military Contractors: A number of these show up throughout the series. The OCU and the USN employ PMCs before and during the Second Huffman Conflict. Among them are the Storm Unit (2089), the Chariots (2089-II) and the Canyon Crows (1st). They also appear in Alternative through Bamia and Sinsemilla, in 2 through the Canyon Crows and the Dark Geese, in 3 through Centipede aka Wulong, in Evolved through Apollo's Chariot, in Gun Hazard through Crimson Blow and the Kernelight Association, and in The Drive through the Akatsuki Unit.
    • For a more personal example, Elsa Eliane helps Darril Traubel find work at a PMC after what happens in 4, before Darril rejoins the Strike Wyverns in 5.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: OCU and USN troops come off as this throughout 1st and 5.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Needless to say, this goes hand-in-hand with Bittersweet Ending.
    • In the real ending of Alternative, the IMAC halted the Cerberus Garde's final attempt to prolong the war by killing the OAC regional state leaders at a peace treaty signing. Also, with help from outside sources, the IMAC disclosed tons of evidence of the EC's machinations in the African Conflict to the OAC. In light of these revelations, the OAC demanded that the EC withdraw all of its influences from Africa. While it was then truly independent, the OAC's fortunes didn't get any better. References in 5 reveal that the OAC is still plagued with civil conflicts, terrorism and economic recession all these decades later. One soldier even muses that they were better off back when the EC was aiding them.
    • At the end of 2089-II, the CIU manages to wipe out the B-Organization and the remains of the Vampires, preventing another war from happening on Huffman Island. Unfortunately, as the B-Organization's headquarters happens to be in the Larcus District (the operation takes place at almost the same time as Royd Clive's investigation in 1st), the gang fail to foresee what would happen next. The OCU and the USN trade verbal jabs before finally going forward with the war march, thus begins the Second Huffman Conflict. And with the Second Huffman Conflict come countless atrocities and some disturbing conspiracies...
  • Real Men Wear Pink: You can go through the games with your wanzers painted pink.
  • Real Robot: Wanzers are dangerous and fragile. It is not unusual to have one destroyed by just a single lucky shot. Intensive teamwork is required for them to operate on the battlefield.

    S - Z 
  • Save Scumming: In the Arena (at least that in 2089: Border of Madness, 1st and 5), your return on your bet depends on the difficulty of the fight, and hence you need lopsided (against you) fights in order to make a profit, but your whole bet amount is forfeited if you lose. For example in 1st, if you bet 500 Huffman dollars against an opponent with difficulty 1.50 then you lose all the 500 Huffman dollars if you lose, but you only gain 250 Huffman dollars if you win. While a single high-risk loss can wipe out a grinding streak's worth of revenue, you need this.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Mostly averted. But none of the Gun Hazard developers seemed to be aware of the lack of feasibility in making an orbital elevator a couple of kilometers wide when they designed the ATLAS. Then again, considering its true purpose...
    • This seems to be a recurrent issue with the series' Gaiden Games, if Evolved is any indication. Vritra is of impractical dimensions and construction for what amounts to a Kill Sat.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Considering you may choose what weapons you equip, which parts you use and how many units you deploy, they're just asking you to take one.
  • Sequential Bosses: Sinsemilla in Alternative, the Vampires in the 2089 games, Driscoll in 1st, Ven Mackarge in 2, Lukav Minaev in 3, and Rolf Wagner in 4. For the whole series, Morgan Bernard in the 2089 games, Online, 2, and 5!
  • Ship Tease: Between Elsa and Darril in 4. It is hinted in 5 that they may have gotten together. As revealed in the novels, they did.
    • There's so much Ship Tease between Lynn and Walter in 5 you can touch it. Their relationship gets... upgraded right before Walter joins the Barghest. The epilogue shows they get married and have a daughter, who is likely conceived at the time of the said upgrade.
  • Shout-Out: Wanzers, being about 5 to 6 meters tall in most cases (except for some unique units), armed with realistic weaponry based on actual technology, and having wheels built into their feet, are very similar to the realism-emphasized mecha that the anime Director Ryosuke Takahashi frequently used, such as in Armored Trooper VOTOMS and Blue Gender.
    • By this same shout-out it makes them similar to Gears.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: A few late-game shotguns in most of the entries are these, dealing decent damage at the low cost of 3 AP, but the standout examples are shotguns with the Dead Shot X skill in 5, where X is a guaranteed number of pellets will hit the target, no matter what evasion and accuracy modifiers are in place. note 
  • The Smurfette Principle: In each of 3's campaigns, the playable group consists of Kazuki, Ryogo, the main heroine (i.e., Emma or Alisa) and the remaining are either 'All male, one female' or 'One male, all female'.
  • Space Elevator: Featured prominently in the form of ATLAS in Gun Hazard. Multiple Orbital Elevators also appear in Evolved, with each supernation having at least one.
  • Space-Filling Empire: There are six supranational unions in Front Mission that are made from and based off of real life cross-national organizations, alliances, and/or trade organizations. Most modern day countries still exist as member states within such super-states. Several actually rebel against them.
    • The United States of the New Continent/Unified Continental States (USN/UCS) is formed from the North American Free Trade Agreement (USA, Canada, and Mexico), and later gobbles up the rest of the Central and South America. The only parts of the New Continent not under their control are some of the Caribbean Islands and probably the Falkland Islands.
    • The Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU) is evolved from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Japan, Australia, South Korea, and most of the islands of Oceania that the USN doesn't own.
    • The European Community (EC) is just a more centralized version of the European Union but with every country in the European bloc included. When the franchise was first created, it was based on the real life European Union.
    • The Republic of Zaftra is formed from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which consists of most of the former Soviet Union (minus Belarus, which separated and became then known as the Republic of Ravnui).
    • The Organization of African Consolidation (OAC) is an alliance between the nations of Africa, created with the help of the EC and the OCU, but subdivided into five regional states. After the African Conflict, the OAC becomes fully independent of EC and OCU influences.
    • The People's Republic of Da Han Zhong (DHZ) is the post-unification of China and Taiwan.
  • Squad Nickname: There's atleast one per game.
    • Front Mission Alternative has the IMAC (Independent Mobile Assault Company), Bamia, Sinsemilla, and the Cerberus Garde
    • Front Mission 2089 and Front Mission 2089-II have the Storm Unit, the Chariots, and the Vampires
    • Front Mission 1st has the Canyon Crows, Hell's Wall, Black Hounds, and the Silver Lynxes
    • Front Mission Online has the Chasm Owls, Iron Hearts, and the Proud Eagles
    • Front Mission 2 has the Muddy Otters, Dull Stags, and the Dark Geese
    • Front Mission 3 has the Purple Haze and the Wulong
    • Front Mission 4 has the Durandal and the Blauer Nebel
    • Front Mission 5 has the Strike Wyverns and the Barghest
    • Front Mission Evolved has Apollo's Chariot
    • Front Mission Gun Hazard has the Crimson Blow.
    • In the other media, there's the Akatsuki (The Drive), Smile Dogs (Dog Life & Dog Style), and the Strike Eagles (Dog Life & Dog Style).
  • Subsystem Damage: The individually breakable parts of wanzers, and certain other types of war machines in the games.
  • Super Prototype: Considering the entire series, there are a lot of them. But it is the enemies that get all the cool toys. However, you do get to unlock some of their stuffs too, via grinding through simulators or meeting special conditions in missions.
    • Mary-Jane Delschaft (Alternative) piloted the Belladonna Atropa, an experimental WAW armed with an assault rifle and capable of some flight through its verniers. Those verniers can also be used for extremely fast ground-based movement, which Mary-Jane uses with devastating effect when you fight her for the last time in the true ending.
    • The original Raven unit from 1st and Online also has flight capabilities (its vernier add-ons and flying are only in Online), albeit it is limited. It's also the best wanzer you can get in 2089-II and 2. In 2089-II, you have the original prototype model, though you have to dive into the Survival Simulator in 2089-II at least six times to get the full set.
    • You also get to have a taste of the Alucard unit in 2089, when Dark Knight (Roy) is revealed to be secretly working for your side.
    • Style 7 in Dog Life & Dog Style pits an OCU special forces unit codenamed "Smile Dog" using prototype stealth wanzers codenamed ''Loki'' against an USN elite special force unit called the "Strike Eagles".
      • The Eagles possesses three prototype wanzers designed exclusively for BD Doll Eye. Each of them comes with a "Save the Queen" laser drone defense system. The strongest one, the aptly named "Queen of Madness", has destroyed entire OCU companies with its fuel-air rifle (makes explosions similar to a nuke's) that it's known as a feared One-Man Army.
      • It is later revealed that the Strike Eagles gets a fourth prototype wanzer - a new version of Queen of Madness that uses both Doll Eye and S-Type. It also has "Save the Queen" built-in onto its armor, making it nearly impossible to hit. Then you throw in the fact that S-Type units have crazy agility to begin with...
    • The Zephyr and Caballus from Evolved, considering they are prototype units equipped with the E.D.G.E. system. Adela Seawell's Frost is also built-in with it, but in her case, it has more to do with her wanzer being a Ace Custom build.
  • The Syndicate:
    • The Grimnir led by Dr. Morgan Bernard. Essentially the whole series' antagonists, this terrorist organization has enlisted support from everywhere under the flag of nationalism. Politicians, military brass, scientists, weapons developers... you name it, they've got it! Even many "good" and "bad" guys are on their side. For instance:
      • Royd Clive, Dr. Mizette Brown and Dr. Gilmore from 1st;
      • Ash Faruk, Ven Mackarge and Domingo Kyatt in 2;
      • The Vampires in 2089;
      • Glen Duval in 5...
      • They have got everyone! All the main instigators, directly or indirectly, of nearly every major conflict in the series from 2080 to 2112 are apart of the Grimnir.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors:
    • In arena battles of the original Front Mission 1, Short takes precedence over Fight, Fight takes precedence over Long, and Long takes precedence over Short. Although in the meta perspective, Fight ended up being the underperforming class.
    • Front Mission 3 and on introduced damage types, which weapons inflict and armor (settable by the player) protects from. The flow goes Piercing beats Impact, Impact beats Flame, Flame beats Piercing. There's also a fourth type used energy weapons that ignores defense modifiers.
  • Taking the Bullet: Walter Feng does this for Lynn Wenright during the first Cambodia arc of 5. Glen has disabled Lynn's wanzer with EMP and is about to fire; Walter shoves her out of the way and gets hit, and is injured badly.
    • Also played in Alternative with Dal Furphy when he jumps in front of Liebert Dwyer's machine gun fire to shield Earl McCoy; 2089 has Dragoon/Lancer when he rushes right in front of Rei Amamiya to shield her from Demon's charging attack;
  • Technicolor Wanzers: You can paint your wanzers whatever color you want.
    • Can be taken to some ludicrous extremes in Evolved, where one may pick a pattern, a primary and secondary color, two colors of armor trim, and a decal on each part of your wanzer. Given the degree of customization, this can result in Rainbow Pimp Gear in no time flat.
  • Time Skip: Shows up in most of the games.
    • In Alternative, roughly four months pass whenever one of the story's chapters complete.
    • In the remake Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness, several months pass as the 2089 story ends and shifts into the 2089-II part of the game. There is also one final time skip that occurs in the epilogue, which occurs in 2093.
  • Token Minority:
    • And Russell Hamilton in Evolved is also a token black guy. Yun Tae-Hwang is the Token Asian. Jed Gordon may count, as he's the crew's Token Australian.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The first game and Online have a fictional tropical island in the Pacific, Huffman Island, as their main setting, 3 has a large portion of the game set in the Philippines, as well as missions in Indonesia, Singapore, Okinawa and Taiwan, and 5 has missions in the aforementioned Huffman Island as well as Kiribati.
  • Urban Warfare: Expect to fight against hostile forces in cities/towns/other urban places.
  • The Usurper: In 3, it is revealed that Jie Bo Lao, had issued secret orders to the Rapid Reaction Force to shoot down the private jet of Ming Huang Jiu who was the next in line to be the Chairman of China. Because of this, the creation of The People's Republic of Da Han Zhong was actually a plot concocted by Jie Bo Lao to gain power and control over the Nation as the first step to his plans of World Domination.
  • Video Game Remake: There're two of them for 1st. First, there's Front Mission 1st for PS1, which added the Nintendo Hard USN campaign and unlocked a couple of initially unusable Infinity Plus One Swords and marked the introduction of recurring characters Darril Traubel and Billy Renges (who would later be seen in 4). Then, Front Mission 1st DS (simply "Front Mission" for US release) is an enhanced port of the remake, featuring even more new recurring characters from the later games. Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness is also a remake of the-mobile phone-only Front Mission 2089. It fuses an abridged version of Front Mission 2089-II into the plot, and a bunch of added game mechanics that makes it play closer to 4 and 5.
  • Video Game Time: The story does not progress unless you make the decision to do so. This can become very ridiculous when you play a hundred arena and simulator battles and a second hasn't passed by without you.
  • Wanzer Of Choice: The Zenith wanzer (pictured above) is very popular among main protagonists. Royd Clive (1st), Ash Faruk (2), Kazuki Takemura (3), Elsa Eliane (4), Ernest J. Salinger ("Storm"; 2089), and Albert Masel ("Tornado"; 2089-II) all use some variants of it as default wanzers.
    • The Frost and its variants are the Zenith for protagonists from the USN side. Darril Traubel (4) and Walter Feng (5) both use versions of the Frost as their starting machines.
    • Driscoll (1st) is basically the poster boy for the Sakata Type 11 (aka "Raven") wanzer.
    • In 3, the Imaginary Numbers sport wanzer models tailor-made for their innate superiority.
    • Rolf Wagner (4) is to the Gepard wanzer like Driscoll is to the Raven.
    • Anizka Ivanovna Aleksandrov (4) is widely remembered for doing Evil Laugh while routing USN forces in her Zhuk mobile weapon.
    • Since 4, the Vyzov wanzer seems to have become the icon of Zaftran forces.
    • 5 reveals that the Grimnir was behind the arm manufacturer "Intergehen" (2). As a result, the terrorist group and its proxies are often seen in the Schakal, a wanzer model the Intergehen specifically designed for S-Type users.
    • The Vampire (2089) favor the Alucard wanzer, which is made for the Puppet Soldier.
  • War Is Hell: One of the main points of the franchise.
    • Very much so in Dog Life & Dog Style. The first style, for example, involves journalist Kenichi Inuzuka completely willing to take pictures or videos in the wartorn Huffman Island, exposing a lot of dehumanising moments similar to Berserk.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The massive Mir Orlen mobile weapon in 1st cannot move, and can only target units directly adjacent to it.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Anybody can be repaired after getting shot down, except for the commander units in 2089, 1st and Alternative. i.e., Ernest J. Salinger (2089), Royd and Kevin (1st), Earl McCoy (Alternative).
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably one of the key themes of the franchise.
    • Dr. Morgan Bernard, who desires a return to a nationalist-minded world and seeks to destroy globalization, which he saw as the cause of many world problems. Since 2080 and for decades, he was very successful and took down the Republic of Zaftra (economically), OAC (regionally), and even the OCU is on the brink of destabilization. The USN and the EC are also targeted, but fare better due to their (mostly) functional and working governments. Morgan's death in 2112 is widely celebrated by all the world powers (although the OCU doesn't celebrate much, as it does destabilize for a few years after his death). It takes nine more years before the Grimnir are at last gone for good.
    • Cornelius Werner tries to paint himself as one of these in Evolved, but it is only an excuse for him to threaten to blow up the world with Vritra's laser cannon.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future:
    • Played straight in Evolved.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: All BD users that don't use B-Type devices suffer from this to some extent, though there are exceptions.
  • World Tour:
    • In Alternative, you'll travel to Algeria, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Morocco, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    • By the final mission in 5, Walter and Lynn are well in their late 40s, but look 20 years younger for some unknown reasons. Subverted in the epilogue, where Walter is clearly an old man.

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