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Video Game / Gungriffon

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Gungriffon is a series of Mecha Game developed by Game Arts, active from 1996 to 2004. Born out of a prototype for the 3D engine used for Grandia, Gungriffon was one of the first attempt to make a truly immersive Mech simulation on consoles.

In the far-flung future of 2015, the world is fragmented between four superpowers: The Asian Pacific Community (APC), the Pan European Union (PEU), the American Freedom Trade Association (AFTA) and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). The alliances fight over the world's dwindling supplies of natural resources, bolstered by the creation of the Armored Walking Gun System (AWGS) paradigm. The development of the High-MACS, an heavily armed and hyper-mobile type of AWGS, threatens to upset the balance of power.

The series comprises the following games:

  • Gungriffon: The Eurasian Conflict (Sega Saturn, 1996)
    The tensions between the APC and the PEU has escalated into a global conflict. The player takes the role as a pilot of the APC's 504th Mobile Squadron as they fight in the closing months in the war.
  • Gungriffon II (Saturn, 1998)
    An Interquel to the first, depicting battles set before and during the events of the original game. Gameplay-wise, Gungriffon II added features like support for alternate controllers, customizable weapon loadouts, and alternate gameplay modes.
  • Gungriffon Blaze (Playstation 2, 2000)
    World War III has ended, but the world is still destabilized by regional conflicts and ecological disasters. As a pilot of the Japanese Foreign Troops, you are to participate in a variety of peace-keeping operations. Blaze had a greater focus on Scoring Points and featured an "Item Box" system which compelled the player to pick and choose blind bags collected during missions to unlock consumable weapons, power-ups, or entries in the in-game encyclopedia.
  • Gungriffon: Allied Strike (Xbox, 2004)
    A Continuity Reboot of the series. The Burmese government, backed by China, has invaded surrounding countries in order to secure East Asia's vast agricultural resources. In response, the U.N has assembled a peace-keeping force. Allied Strike attempted a more realistic style of gameplay with slower movement and the introduction of a Subsystem Damage mechanic, in addition to a greater focus on multiplayer.

The series provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The instruction manual of Gungriffon Blaze includes a timeline for the whole series that goes into far greater detail behind the events leading up to the game.
    • The first game's strategy guide gives a name to the Japanese main character (Shin Nakano), his German Ace Pilot rival (Michael Hartmann), and the AFTA Major who oversees their rivalry (Greg). From the very few details that are given, Shin and Greg are blatant Expies of Shin Kazama and Greg Gates of Area 88, and Michael is a mix of Michael Wittmann and Erich Hartmann.
  • Anachronic Order: The missions in Blaze are not listed in chronological order. The Cape Carnaveral mission, which is the second mission, is the last to happen in the timeline.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The friendly AI in Allied Strike is rather flawed. In very rare instances, they even may shoot and destroy the player's ressuply helicopter for no clear reason.
  • But Not Too Foreign: The main mecha in most of the franchise, the Japanese Type 12 High-MACS, is developed by the Japanese-American McDonnell Douglas Mitsubishi, which makes it unique as the only American-designed mecha used by a foreign power. This gives the Asian faction a slight advantage in weapon development, because the isolationist Americans are the best mecha developers due to being pioneers in the field (the Europeans jumped later into the mecha arms race, while the non-Japanese Asians mostly rely on cheapter counterparts of the European models). The Americans are savy enough to have their own counterpart, in case they want to participate in the war without Japanese involvement.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Gungriffon II includes a "Double seater" control configuration where two players control different functions of the same mech.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: These changes introduced a bunch of incongruencies, such as why the armies are still using 90's-era jets and armored vehicles as battlefield mainstays in 2075.
  • Dub-Induced Plotline Change: Sega's English localization of Gungriffon completely rewrote the plot of the game. The English script moved the game to 2075 and instead had the player be a pilot of the U.S's 45th Foreign Legion assisting Russian forces in beating back an invasion by the APC. The opening FMV was edited to remove German voice clips (as their role as enemies were reversed by the plot changes), although the briefing illustrations and radio chatter in the missions were left unaltered. Likely, these changes were done as the final legs of the game had the player fight US troops.
  • Dub Name Change: The AFTA faction was renamed "United American Countries" (UAC) in the English script of the first game, most likely to avoid association with NAFTA, which was still a major political controversy at the time. The timeline in the English manual of Blaze uses the AFTA name.
  • Emergency Weapon: The machine gun serves this role in all the games beside Gungriffon II (where the player is always free to replace it during the loadout phase they so choose), being fairly weak but the only weapon to have unlimited ammo. In Allied Strike, it is also the only weapon that can be used when the mech's arms are broken.
  • Fan Sequel: HIGH-MACS Simulator, based on the first two games. Instead of trying to follow and/or expand the games' lore, it's supposed to be a combat training simulator for the games' missions.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The harder difficulties in Gungriffon Blaze give the player a score multiplier and allow to select one more Item Box after the end of each missions.
  • Hover Tank: The High-MACS' advantage over the other AWGS is its jumping / hovering abilities, so it esentially fulfills this role in the battlefield. The Japanese-American Type 12 that stars in the first two games is the first international model, but it's quickly followed by the American VW-1, the Japanese Type 12 Kai, and the German Jagdpanther. Gungriffon Blaze introduces the Japanese Fragile Speedster Type 16 and the German mass-produced Volkspanther, while Allied Strike goes all out creating new models, namely the Japanese Type 20, the American XVW-2, the Korean KW-1b, and the Russian Mi-57.
  • Hufflepuff House: The OAU are mentioned as one of the major superpower in the introduction of the original game, but they have no involvement in the events of the Saturn installments (to the point they're the only faction not given a logo in the second game's manual) and are barely mentioned in the timeline in Blaze's manual. They are the opponents in the final mission of Blaze, however.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Tanks, typically the most common and weakest enemies in the series, are playable in Gungriffon II's Survival mode. While they are slow, they're also well armored and their low profile make things easier to hit.
  • Market-Based Title: Sega planned to rename the original game Iron Rain for its western release until (according to the notes in the US manual of Gungriffon Blaze) Working Designs president Vic Ireland phoned Game Arts and convinced them to keep what he saw as the cooler more distinctive title (and less magnaminously, to prevent confusion with Working Design's concurently-released Iron Storm). This decision was made late enough that some gaming magazines reviewed the game under the Iron Rain title.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: The first-generation Walking Tank and Spider Tank-type mechs in this game are called "AWGS" (Armored Walking Gun System), while the second-generation mechs with hovering capabilities are called "High-MACS" (High Mobility Armored Combat System).
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Averted in the original game, where the final mission is to stop a nuclear missile launch.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: The original game was released in 1996 and set in 2015 (Sega's localisation notwithstanding).
  • Noob Cave: The Guam training mission in Blaze, which is mostly populated by stactic, easily destroy enemies on a small map (beside a single Jadgpanther the player is advised to save for last). When completing it, the player can only grab one option box instead of the standard three.
  • No Ending: Allied Strike has no ending to speak of. After completing the final mission, the player is whisked straight to the credits.
  • Nitro Boost: In Allied Strike, the "roller dash" ability was changed from something the AWGS could do at any time to a temporary burts of speed (drawn from the same pool of energy as the jump).
  • Obvious Beta: Between its abundance of bugs, very rough presentation and complete absence of any ending, Allied Strike is not the most polished of games.
  • Real Robot Genre: A fairly realistic setting: the Third World War, which happens in 2015, is still largely fought with military vehicles used in the 1990s, with the exception of novel highly mobile walking tanks, and a few state-of-the-art models which could be described as a cross between a tank and a helicopter.
  • Rollerblade Good: Some of the AWGS are upgraded to have tires and/or rollerblades for better movement, like the American M91A1 Brutal Crab II and M16A1, and the German Sturmtiger and Sturmpanther. All of the High-MACS are equipped by default with these.
  • Shout-Out: The High-Macs BIOS in the first two games is named "Silpheed", the name of an earlier Game Art title. The use of "Topaz" and "Garnet" as squadron names is also a nod to ''Silpheed'.
  • Spider Tank: One of the main types of AWGS. There's the American M15 Land Crab / M19 Brutal Crab, the German Tiger / Sturmtiger, the South African-British AT-AT-like Elephant, and the Italian six-legged Littorio (and its Chinese copy Type 14). Gungriffon Blaze adds the Japanese Type 10, modelled after the American and German equivalents.
  • Subsystem Damage: A mechanic introduced in Allied Strike. The player has traditional hitpoints along with varying levels of resistance for each of its components: having the head destroyed would remove the radar, the legs would remove the roller dash, and the arms would disable all weapons except the machine gun.
  • Super Prototype: The Type 12 Kai, a successor of the Japanese Type 12 and one of the new models in the second game, is an experimental upgrade of the earlier model briefly rolled out during the later stages of the war. It's implied that it's superior in almost every way, except for its low fuel capacity and expensiveness.
  • Tokyo Rose: The second game has a German DJ nicknamed "Berlin Lily" (voiced by Shiho Niiyama), who fulfills the role to the Japanese listeners. Ironically, it's mentioned that she's very popular among Japanese and American audiences.
  • Transforming Mecha: An extremely rudimentary version, since the High-MACS transform into their hovering mode by simply folding out their wings (and the tail, in case of the Jadgpanther). In Allied Strike, this process sometimes involves folding their legs.
  • Walking Tank: The other main type of AWGS. These include the American M-16, the Japanese Type 9, the German Panther / Sturmpanther, the British Destroid-like Valiant, the Russian Mighty Glacier BMX / BMX-30 (and its Chinese copy Type 13), the Thai Stone Wall Korat, and the French Chicken Walker Autruche / Super Autruche. Gungriffon Blaze also introduces the Italian hopping Satyros.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The China-led APC has almost more conflicts inside their own zone than against the PEU: new Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Tibetan conflicts, tensions between China and Japan, attempted defections of Egypt and Mongolia to PEU, China's civil war, or Australia's attempted withdrawal — needless to say, this takes a huge toll on the APC, making it easy for the AFTA to take them over.
    • The PEU doesn't fare much better, as it has to deal with the APC-allied Ukraine and Siberia's independence, or an excessively neutral UK. Once UK allies itself with the AFTA and Scandinavian and Benelux countries start leaving the PEU, AFTA takes over the PEU in less than a month.
  • World War III: The setting of the first two games. It starts after the isolationist stance of the North American AFTA ends up snowballing into proxy conflicts between an Asian alliance (APC) and an European coalition (PEU) in an expansionist Libya (PEU) and Egypt (APC), and later a European-allied Russia (PEU) and Ukraine (APC), which end up bringing a full-scale war into the Europe-Asian borders. At the midpoint of the war, the internal conflicts of the APC and PEU let the formerly isolationist AFTA to intervene against the two and singlehandedly win the war, similar to the US' invervention in the two World Wars.