Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Front Mission 3

Go To

"Desire spawns Madness."
"Madness collapses into Disaster."
"Mankind Never Learns."
Opening text of Front Mission 3

Front Mission 3 is a Real Robot Genre Strategy RPG video game published and developed by Square Enix (back when Squaresoft was around) for the PlayStation console, with a remake set for release on Nintendo Switch. It was first released in Japan on September 2, 1999 with a release in North America on February 20, 2000, followed by Europe (and PAL-affiliated countries) on August 11, 2000. The game is a sequel to Front Mission 2, but has little to no connections to it (same goes with Front Mission).

The story begins in the year 2112, 10 years after the end of the Alordesh coup in the Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU), and takes place in Japan, parts of Southeast Asia and in the People's Republic of Da Han Zhong (parts of China and Taiwan) where players assume the role of Kazuki Takemura, a wanzer test pilot who's tasked to evaluate a new prototype wanzer made by Kirishima Heavy Industries (KHI) in Okinawa alongside his high school friend and fellow test pilot, Ryogo Kusama. After the test, the two are called in to assist with the first delivery of the new wanzers to the Japanese Maritime Defense Forces Base Yokosuka. But upon arrival, an explosion occus inside the base which Kazuki attempts to investigate since his adopted sister Alisa is inside. Later on, they're forced to escape being hunted by the Japanese Defense Forces after being framed as terrorists responsible for the incident. Depending on what choices the player makes, they'll either work alongside DHZ intelligence officer Liu Hei Fong or a United States of the New Continent (USN)-backed commando unit known as Purple Haze, under the Federal Agency of Intelligence (FAI), alongside Emir "Emma" Klamsky, a scientist who has an idea on what's happening in Japan.

Front Mission 3 provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: One of the main characters is named Alisa, which really stands out among the Japanese family she's supposed to belong to. This actually is a perfectly accurate Russian version of the name "Alice", as she's supposed to be a fugitive from this particular region. Then it zigzags back when her original name in that country is said to be Alisiana. On the other hand, we have her sister Emma Klamsky - which is a Western given name, not Slavic - who, after moving to North America, changed this name to Emir for some reason. Most of the other names of characters from Zaftra (Russia) and Ravnui (Belarus) are completely fictional and meaningless. It basically becomes a plot point in itself - if you meet a character with a made-up slavic-sounding name among, say, Chinese, Americans, or Filipinos, chances are, they are an Imaginary Number and you're going to fight them sooner or later.
  • Artificial Human: The Real and Imaginary Numbers in 3. They're essentially Coordinators.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The missiler Salvo skill. When triggered, the pilot fires all the missiles they have left in their rocket launcher. On one hand, its really cool looking and powerful. On the other, you have no more missles left unless you have spare rockets in your backpack. And the skill activates at random, which means it could trigger on a wanzer that is already about to die.
  • Badass Crew: Kazuki's True Companions eventually grows into this over the course of their stories. Both campaigns, no less.
  • Balance Buff: Melee wanzers had questionable-to-negligent value in 1 and hardly got some noticeable (if any) improvements in 2. But here in 3, they're among the most dangerous opponents you'll have to contend with for the whole game since they are both the fastest and most durable wanzers of all in-game classes, and are able to destroy a part just with a hit or two.
  • Big First Choice: Whether Kazuki goes with Ryugo or not at the start of the game essentially determines which of two massively different plots the game plays out.
  • Boring, but Practical: Shields. It depends on who you ask. But on gaming message boards, the oft-suggested build for most pilots, is their weapon they are the best at and a shield. The only exception to this is Kazuki, given his Hybrid Assault focus on shotgun and melee, and even then, a shield paired with a shotgun or melee weapon isn't out of the question for him.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Emma's campaign: Kazuki Takemura manages to stop Lukav Minaev's plan, but his father Isao was killed and Alisa stayed behind to get rid of MIDAS for good. At least he, along with the rest of the gang, arrive at the USN Assembly Building in time to tell the truth of the MIDAS incident to the whole world. Kazuki and Emma also decide to start a family together.
    • Alisa's campaign is this but a bit less so: Kazuki stops Lukav's plans; however, there's no attempt to break into the USN Assembly Building to reveal the truth of the MIDAS incident. Alisa also lives on, rather than sacrificing herself to destroy MIDAS. While Emma still survives, she's mentally broken by torture that Lukav inflicted on her. She's eventually revealed to be on the road to recovery, as Alisa and Kazuki visit her at the hospital she was brought to. It's also revealed that some of the conspirators behind the Numbers project and MIDAS were at large and ready to prepare for another long term scheme, unlike in Emma's campaign.
  • Combination Attack: The game takes this a step further with battle skills that allow pilots to attack an enemy en masse.
  • Corrupt Politician: Those involved fight for the copy of another Weapon of Mass Destruction and, to prevent the other party from obtaining it, detonate the said copy in a densely populated area, killing millions of civilians.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Jose Astrada at the finale of the Taal Naval Base arc: He wipes the floor with the mighty Purple Haze before you fights him and... you can kill him in a turn once the cutscene ends.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Inverted in the game, where the JDF Special Forces sport darkly colored wanzers.
  • David Versus Goliath: An Infantrymen trying to fight a wanzer with a sniper rifle, either out of incredible bravery or sheer stupidity, is quite an interesting sight. Either way, their small profile makes them hard to hit and and it's really annoying to get stunned or force-ejected by them.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: At the turning point of the storyline, the genetically-engineered ubermensch Lukav Minaev betrays his master and creator, and hijacks the plot, becoming the game's main Big Bad.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: There is one example of this. Depending on the path you take for the mission to save Alisa in Emma's path, you recruit Jose after defeating him in battle. However, on a different path in the mission, he just dies and you recruit someone else later.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Desperate to get some cash, Yun had the bright idea to contact the DHZ about certain rebels she's come in contact with and ropes in Kazuki when she claims that she's found information about Alisa as a cover story. This backfires at her badly as a rival spender also tracked her down and the Rapid Reaction Force come bearing down on them. Kazuki is not amused.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: From the USN side, you have Purple Haze, an unit of highly skilled wanzer operatives. From the DHZ - the Wulong, a well-known and expensive mercenary group. In either storyline, you're bound to meet them both more than once. Kazuki's True Companions are eventually cooperating with either a DHZ intelligence agent or the FAI, but they remain an independent group under no one's command, with no official callsign.
  • Energy Weapon: A new weapon class called "Beam" exists for energy-based weapons which happen to be the most powerful, since there is no defense against them. There are only a few Beam class weapons, and the player has access to one.
    • It is possible to use an enemy unit's Beam weapon if you hijack it...
  • Failsafe Failure: The ejection seats are ridiculously faulty. It is not that they don't work when the pilot is about to experience a fiery death, but are in fact way too prone to ejecting pilots from their wanzers after their machine gets shaken a bit too much. Being flung out of your wanzer with nothing but a worthless handgun seems almost random at times.
    • Averted with the specific Battle Skill which triggers on the wanzer's destruction and allows the pilot to eject safely and remain active instead.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The fates of a lot of people are effectively determined by a rather simple choice made very early in the story. It is, in many cases, literally life-and-death. Specifically, at the start of the game, Ryogo asks Kazuki if he'll accompany him on a drop off. If Kazuki says no, he has time to check his email before their next job to see that his sister in town at the local military base. If he goes with Ryogo, he has no time to check his email before said job. Thus his immediate reaction to a giant explosion in the base is completely different (if he checked his email, Kazuki immediately tries to force his way in to the base to find Alicia (which he does before the two of them and Ryogo are forced to go on the run), if he didn't, he doesn't find out she was there til later that evening when the base was fully on lockdown, forcing him to sneak in, gaining the help of Emma in the process but arriving after Alicia had already been taken away.
  • Government Conspiracy: Emma's arc reveals that the USN has an interest with the theft of MIDAS after the events of Front Mission 5. Kazuki and company raided the USN Assembly Building in order to reveal it.
  • Guide Dang It!: Most guides include how to get the Hoshun Mk. 112... not so much on That One Level in Alisa's campaign, where, like all missions, you have four people, but you must have Ryogo on foot (which makes him squishier than Twinkies), and only three wanzers against a full complement of squads. And Ryogo *has* to go ahead, activate a panel, and then come back. If he bites it, game over.
    • The secret is actually simple. Just go to the Network and download a map of the Sewer area beforehand. Also, in both scenarios, you can buy the image-enhancing software. Use it on the map and you can go through the map normally with four units.
    • In the PSN version, simply downloading the map will let you use all four wanzers, and the location and password of the map is given in an e-mail a few missions beforehand.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Several parts qualify for this due to their high value relative to their accessibility.
    • The Lanze body, which has an astounding amount of HP, and a ridiculous 60% Def-C rating at max upgrades. The only bodies with comparable defense coat ratings are the Hoshun and Tieqi, and the Tieqi has markedly less health.
    • The Wude 3 Arms, which have high accuracy for being melee-oriented, along with decent health.
    • The Tiandong 3 Arms that have slightly lower accuracy than the Wude 3 arms, but provide the deadly Eject Punch Battle Skill.
    • The Grapple M1 Legs, with 6 spaces of movement, high durability and a 47% evasion rating at max upgrades.
    • The Shangdi 1 Arms, boasting the highest health and accuracy of the 'support fire' arms along with Double Shot II.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Hoshun Mk. 112 and its accompanying Heavy P-Gun. The former is a Super Prototype Master of All Wanzer with great stats and insane battle skills like Revenge Body which destroys an enemy if it destroys one of the Hoshun's body parts and Body Smash which is a One-Hit Kill. The Heavy P-Gun is the most powerful weapon in the game, with even an E-rank in it heavily damaging an enemy and has range on par with missiles without their minimum range drawback. The only downside is its incredibly high AP cost which means it can only be fired once every other turn and it's acquired late in the game. Except, using the Hoshun's AP-0 skill completely mitigates the weapon's AP cost, and it's so powerful it's not impossible to get it near-mastered by the end of the game. The only thing to really worry about is your other characters not getting enough experience. Oh, and you can get these for free provided you know what to do on the Network.
  • La RĂ©sistance: The creation of the People's Republic of Da Han Zhong led to the rise of an internal resistance faction called the Hua Lian Rebels which is equipped and financed by the USN. Although under-equipped and outnumbered by the Changli Army, the Hua Lian Rebels seek to put an end to Jie Bo Lao's dictatorship at any cost.
    • Of course, in the neighboring Philippines, the situation is reversed - a decidedly pro-Western government fights against the pro-Chinese rebels. In both cases, depending on the walkthrough you will be allied to one, and opposed to other. This highlights one of the core themes of the game.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Those attack helicopters. When you hijack them with your long-range combat specialists, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Melee wanzers. Able to cover lots of ground (especially when upgraded), tank damage when armed with shields, and decimate anyone that gets into punching range with hard-hitting single hits.
  • Mind Rape: In Alisa's campaign, neither Emma nor Alisa are willing to tell Lukav how to build the MIDAS, so he forcibly extracts the information from Emma, and leaves her little more than an Empty Shell by the time Kazuki and Alisa rescue her.
  • My Hero, Zero: A popular Japanese wanzer type in the game.
  • No Antagonist: A good half of the storyline is spent like this; there's a secret weapon of mass destruction been stolen from the American research base, and you, along with the militaries of countries all over the Pacific, are running in circles trying to find it, its blueprints, or its creators.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Aliciana "Alisa" Klamsky and Kazuki Takemura. Becomes amusing to see once they meet Alisa's actual sibling, Emir "Emma" Klamsky. Alisa is Emma's blood-tied and Kazuki's adoption-tied siblings, respectively.
    • In Emma's campaign, the Ship Tease is already thick at the beginning, Ryogo playing Shipper on Deck notwithstanding. But that culminates with the ending, where Alisa and Isao Takemura pull off Heroic Sacrifices. THIS is their last piece of dialogue:
    Emma: This is where we were born. And where we grew up together. I only have good memories of this place. We were a true family.
    Kazuki: A true family...
    Emma: I'll come back here when everything is done.
    Kazuki: We'll do that... with a new family.
  • The One Guy: Along with its Distaff Counterpart, The Smurfette Principle, but generally downplayed. What is constant in your party is Kazuki, Ryogo and the route heroine (Emma or Alisa). The rest of exclusive characters based on the routes are the ones to follow this trope:
    • In Alisa's route, Liu is the only male exclusive character, and he's surrounded with ladies like Miho, Pham, Lan and Mayer.
    • In Emma's route, the only exclusive female is Yun. The rest are men like Dennis, Jose/Li, Marcus and Linny.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Some of the enemies you encounter are Infantrymen, Tank Drivers, and Wanzer Pilots fighting on foot. The fact that you have to hit them more than once with your Wanzer-sized weapons before they go down really does not make any sense as the various projectiles you're firing at them are between 20mm (Wanzer guns) and 6 Inches (Missile Launchers) in diameter.
  • Post-Final Boss: In the Emma scenario, Kazuki Takemura and company face off against some USN Capital Police wanzers as they try to break through the convention center in order to expose the conspiracy behind the MIDAS incident. This comes after the final battle against Lukav Minaev and his lackeys back at Ocean City in Okinawa.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Changli Army and the Rapid Reaction Force.
  • Random Number God:
    • Each wanzer part has a hidden "Pilot Skill" that will be learned upon satisfying certain conditions. Some skills are easy to acquire and other skills... are absurdly cryptic and too hard to figure out.
    • If you get a stroke of really good luck, you can initiate and string together a consecutive line of skill activations (also known as a combo attack) that will result in an enemy unit being viciously hammered to near-death or complete destruction.
    • Grenade Launchers are area-of-effect weapons that can hit and damage multiple units but are very inaccurate. They can be potentially frustrating to use and even more frustrating to get shot with.
    • Stunning a pilot or forcing them to consider surrender after just a normal attack seems to be a completely random and unpredictable occurrence. Though not as random and unpredictable as the morale mechanic which can take a long or short time to decide on whether an affected pilot should continue or give up.
  • Sequence Breaking: A minor, yet comedic, example. If you happen to download the Nagoya Sewers map before you discover the password to download it, Kazuki questions it.
    Kazuki: Ryogo, how do you know the password?
    Ryogo: Wouldn't you like to know?
  • Shield Bash: Shield Atk I, Shield Atk II and Shield Atk III are Pilot Skills that allow a melee attack to be performed with a shield.
  • Shout-Out: A FAI assault unit in is known as the Purple Haze.
    • There's an USN fighter codenamed "Red 5".
    • Searching the USN network of the internet will reveal some information about a convicted killer named Norman Bates. Further research reveals that Norman Bates is a failed Imaginary Number.
    • The name of the pseudo-Internet, Tenmou, literally translates as Skynet.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The MIDAS.
  • A Taste of Power: Kazuki and Ryogo start off testing out the Shunyo Mk. 111, a top-tier Gunner wanzer that you can't get until late game.
  • Time Skip: In Emma's story, there are two noticeable time skips towards the end. One happens right after the MIDAS vaporizes the Ocean City, when Kazuki and co. head to the USN assembly to expose the truth about the incident. The other one happens in the epilogue, which takes place a year after the story ends in 2113.
  • True Companions: In both walkthroughs, you became acquainted with the military intelligence agents from two competing countries (the setting's versions of the USA and China, respectively), who initially join the party only for their own reasons, but gradually warm up to the main characters and their agenda enough to start putting their needs over those of their respective countries.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Averted. There are the downloadable Picaresque and Kaleidoscope software, whose functions are to reveal the hidden layers of picture files and magnify them with perfect quality.
  • World Tour: You'll travel to Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan, and China (Da Han Zhong).