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Video Game / Hardcore Mecha

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Hardcore Mecha (originally Code: HARDCORE) is a 2D action-platforming Mecha Game in development by Beijing-based indie studio RocketPunch Games. The game features a campaign mode following a conflict between Martian colonists and the Earth military as one of several unique pilots who can use one out of fifteen available, highly-stylized Mecha. In addition, a multiplayer mode of upwards to four players can compete against one another.

By the year 2219, humanity has been existing under the singular banner of the New United Nations (NUN), who has stretched out as far as the colonies established on Mars. The game follows the footsteps of Tarethur O'Connell, a mercenary pilot working for the Hardcore Corporation, and soon both him and his employers find themselves involved in a conflict between the NUN and the Steel Dawn, an insurgency movement bent on liberating Mars.


The game was funded via Kickstarter and was released in Asia on PC via Steam and PlayStation 4 in June 2019, with a Western release following on January 14, 2020.

The site is here.

This game provides the examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: It's probably easier to list the named characters that don't buy the farm; characters are almost casually offed on both sides of the playing field. All the members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad all go down with very little fanfare, Edgar seemingly sacrifices himself so that Tarethur can live, Xu sacrifices himself to ensure a transport makes it to its destination in spite of Cruzan's best attempts.
  • Apocalypse How: The destruction of Fervenca City.
  • Art Shift: Used dramatically in several scenes, such as the end of the CQC cutscene between Tarethur and Vulphaes in the abandoned outpost after the destruction of Fervenca.
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  • Bad Boss: Out of all of them, Xerxes is up there. He has no qualms about throwing the lives of his soldiers away, doubly so if they're mercenaries, triply so if they seem to genuinely believe in his apparent cause. After all, those that survive too long or ask too many questions are likely to realize that his true goal isn't the liberation of Mars.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tarethur has given up hope after having his mech damaged during the space battle around Station Sigma, but he is ultimately saved by The Phoenix, a frigate that also serves as Hardcore Corporation's headquarters. They not only save him, but help turn the tide of the battle in favour of the NUN.
  • Boarding Party: A mecha one, for the final level(s).
  • Darkest Hour: It goes From Bad to Worse, when it turns out that Xerxes anticipated the reinforcements arriving and had his flagship ready to reduce them to slag.
  • Diverting Power: The Phoenix is a small ship with a main gun that lets it hit far above its weight class. The catch? Said gun is such a power hog that the Phoenix has to shut down its main drives (meaning it can't make any meaningful course corrections) in order to have enough power to fire it.
  • Diving Kick: The one part of Crimson Flame's moveset that isn't lifted directly from Mazinger Z.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: In the alpha, the defeated bots are instantly vaporized in a large explosion that takes up about half the screen, but remains harmless to the player.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Thunderbolt possesses some strange power source that can only be tapped when in extreme danger. It manifests early on, setting it up as a Chekhov's Gun for the final encounter with Xerxes', where it allows Tarethur to break the restraints. For the remainder of the fight, the Thunderbolt deals more damage and takes significantly less.
  • Guest Fighter: Since September of 2020, Gurren Lagann and his pilot, Simon.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Following the destruction of Fervenca City, Vulphaes abandons the Steel Dawn and ultimately helps Arthur in the final battle against Xerxas Nomad, the leader of the Steel Dawn.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: First, Edgar convinces Tarethur to let go so he can save himself. Later, Vulphaes ensures that Tarethur and the rest of the NUN forces aboard the Leviathan get enough time to escape at the cost of his own life.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: One of your first encounters with Vulphaes sees him kick your ass at a set point in the fight, despite using a very basic mecha. There's actually an achievement for getting him below 10% Health in the first encounter.
  • Humongous Mecha: As stated by the developers themselves, they take inspiration for the mechanical designs from as many as sources as possible - Japanese-style, Western-style, Super Robots, Real Robots, etc., to satisfy the need of any Mecha fan. Some units include:
    • Thunderbolt, a unit design to work and adapt to any battle situation. The most humanoid-looking unit, it's meant to be an Expy of the mobile suits in the Gundam franchise.
    • Round Hammer, a BattleTech or Metal Gear-esque heavy duty artillery mecha.
    • Geier, a Transforming Mecha capable of turning into a jet.
    • Crimson Flame, a close combat Mazinger Z-inspired mecha, which comes with a Chest Blaster and Rocket Punch.
    • DLC adds Gurren Lagann (yes, that one) to the mix, complete with its Cool Shades that double as a sword and boomerang, penchant for creating numerous or massive drills (Including its signature Giga Drill Break) and even, given the machine's nature as a Combining Mecha, the ability for Lagann to detach from Gurren and keep fighting in the event that Gurren Lagann is destroyed.
  • In the Style of: It's an action game inspired by Assault Suit Leynos that looks like the attack animations of the Super Robot Wars series. An upcoming update will also bring one of its most legendary mechs as a Guest Fighter to the game: Gurren Lagann.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: Yes. Even Hardcore Mecha has participated in the genre of "mecha musume" by creating the DLC character Thunderbolt Otome, a gender-bent version of Tarethur that has armor parts and weaponry from Thunderbolt.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Tarethur is the blue to the red Edgar and Vulphaes.
  • Rocket Punch: Crimson Flame's primary attack is a literal rocket punch, which flies off a couple seconds' of charge-up time. The longer the charge time, the stronger the attack. Then, a replacement fist drops in from above in place of the old one.
  • The Social Darwinist: Xerxes' whole motivation is basically this. The terrorist attacks and 'liberation' from NUN/Earth oppression is just an excuse.
  • Shock and Awe: One of Thunderbolt's secondary melee choice is an Electric Shock secondary attack ability. Like the Energy Blade, its range is limited to melee, but it is seen to do less damage in favour of briefly stunning the enemy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Edgar refers to his blocking an attack aimed at Tarethur as "Support Defense"
    • When hot-dropping the Thunderbolt down into the battlefield for Tarethur to board, Edgar calls out "THUNDERFALL!".
    • Edgar(again): boasting that Tarethur turned an enemy Ace Pilot's red-colored machine into "Three times the scrap"
      • Additionally, the DLC color pack has one palette called "Wish Of Edgar" (a reference to a conversation that Edgar had with Tarethur over custom paint jobs based on mecha anime) that paints Thunderbolt in the traditional Gundam colors of red, blue, white, and yellow.
    • Metallictron itself is a big reference to all Super Robot mecha anime.
    • Gurren Lagann is well known as an incredibly powerful Super Robot and has carried over many of its epic home series elements and characteristics into the game.
  • Show Within a Show: Metallictron, an in-universe Super Robot anime that also serves as the game's tutorial.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Edgar is the idealist to Tarethur's cynic.
  • Smoke Out: The alpha build showed that the Round Hammer artillery mecha is able to fire smoke shells to confuse the enemies. It is also the only ability of that mech with infinite ammo.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Extremely common due to a rather haphazard translation. Vulphaes, for instance, seems to also be referred to as 'Wallfisch' in certain places.
  • Super-Deformed: Like its inspiration, the mecha have chibi-like proportions. In a rarer case, on-foot characters also have those proportions.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Steel Dawn has no qualms about killing innocent civilians if they stand in the way of its goals. The game starts with them salughtering innocent workers, in a mine. Later on, during the battle of Orcus city, they are shown attacking civilians with no remorse. They also sacrifice Fervenca city and its entire population as a means to weaken the NUN presence on mars.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level: Not one but two! First when Tarethur resigns and joins the NUN operation officially, then again after he's rescued and recovering. In the first you pilot his mech strapped to a booster pack, and in the second you fly the company frigate. Complete with beam cannons, CIWS turrets, and VLS missile arrays.
  • Victory Fakeout: You never truly defeat Vulphaes in any encounter; he always pulls out some trick or gets saved by some plot event.
  • War Is Hell: A pretty major theme since the game leans towards the Real Robot genre with just a slight mix of Super Robot genre.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Several, really. The Thunderbolt has a miniature one as an Ultimate from overcharging its beam rifle, the company's flagship/frigate has a particle beam cannon strapped to the side of it, Vulphaes has his chest blaster, and finally Xerxes overcharges a mining ship's planetcracker laser to wipe out the NUN reinforcement fleet.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Steel Dawn are relentlessly one step ahead, even when it looks like they're on the back foot.

Alternative Title(s): Code HARDCORE