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Video Game / Ring of Red

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Not to be confused with that problem your Xbox 360 has hanging over its head. Or a Heroic Red Ring of Death.

What would happen if Japan never surrendered after the Americans dropped the nuclear bomb? And if Germans developed Humongous Mecha? This is explored at the action-strategy game Ring of Red. The American-led Allied forces, following the success of Operation Downfall, and the Soviet invasion of Japan from Hokkaido and after much fighting divide the archipelago apart with Hokkaido being renamed to Vastokayask. After that, the Korean War is simply reallocated to Japan, which is divided into South Japan, capitalist, and North Japan, communist. The plot takes place in 1964 with Masami von Weizegger and Ryoko Minakawa, two South Japanese test pilots who end up charged with recovering a stolen prototype mech during a North Japanese-led infiltration mission.


The mechas, named Armored Fighting Walkers (AFW), as would put the Miguel Lopez from Gamespot, "Unlike the lithe, sleek mechs that we've come to associate with the genre, Ring of Red's cumbersome, gas-powered mechs aren't graceful in the least. They're heavy machinery, first and foremost, no more deft than a six-ton crane or a Ferris wheel.". They had replaced tanks as primary land-warfare vehicle, for harsh terrains, like the Japanese territory.

It is now available for download from the Play Station Network. PS2 game discs are still available, albeit rare unless one scours Ebay and other sites and stores that sells used copies of the game.


This Game Provides Examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • Crews give their vehicles options to load specific ammo. In most cases, this is normal: they simply load the shell into the main gun and let the pilot fire. In some cases, however, the AFW's gun is not a breech loader; as a result, the crews make do by loading the ammo into a signal flare gun and shot them directly. This includes incendiary shrapnel, poison gas, and armor piercing rounds strong enough to damage other AFWs.
    • The Wire and Electric Wire abilities are deployed by special rifle grenades, which split into bolas and tie down the enemy's legs.
  • Action Girl: Ryoko, Ayana and about half the infantry in the game.
  • Alternate History: Aside from what's mentioned in the summary above, Nazi Germany invents Humongous Mecha in the latter days of WWII.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Armored Fighting Walkers (AFWs).
  • Anachronism Stew: Female front-line troopers in 1960's Japanese and Soviet forces. Not even for the usual reasons, given that they wear the same uniforms as the guys.
  • Anchored Attack Stance: 4-legged AFW's deploy stabilizers from their legs at the very least. The Little John even has a firing spade (which, as the name suggests, is a shovel that digs into the ground to keep it from moving back when it fires).
  • Anti-Villain: Yu Kaiho, Hidetomi Minakawa and the Loyal N. J. Army.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Light and Anti-AFWs will become significantly disadvantaged at Medium or Long Range.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: 4-Leg AFWs are at their worst if the battle starts at Medium or Short range.
  • Arm Cannon: The distinguishing visual feature of Medium AFWs.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemy AFWs and Anti-AFWs will always engage you in a melee attack when you get within close-combat distance. An effective strategy for exploiting this predictable aggression is to plant Adhesive Mines and goad them into exchanging blows with you which, upon stepping on the Adhesive Mines, will void their attack and cripple them, allowing your AFW to punch them without taking damage.
  • Attack Backfire: As mentioned above, attempting a CQC manouver when the enemy has deployed land mines.
  • Batman Gambit: The reason why Dora was hijacked was because Hidetomi Minakawa wanted to use it as a means of getting Japanese in North/South Japan to get rid of Soviet and American-led troops in both countries and reunite the divided nations.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: As mentioned under Good-Looking Privates, the heroic South Japan soldiers are quite attractive. Not so much with North Japan, the antagonist. The anti-communist geurillas in chapter 1 are also not so good looking until Streiffen joins up with Kharma and we meet Anya and Jun in chapter 3.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ayana is a sweet, polite girl, but she has a big 4-Leg AFW.
  • BFG: The final boss is the Dora Gustav, a gun so friggin' big that it required multiple trains to haul it around! At least, until the Americans built a quad-walker big enough to carry it. They also decided that this massive gun shall fire nuclear bombs instead of X-box huge conventional explosives.
  • The Big Guy: John Caster and his "Little John".
  • Bittersweet Ending
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: As evidenced by several lines during gameplay, the localization effort for Ring of Red was mediocre.
    Kaiho: Why you do insist on getting in my way!!
  • Blinded by the Light: Flash Shot debuffs and caps accuracy at 80.00%.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Possibly averted. In Kinasato's journal, he has received credible intelligence reports from the North that Weizegger and Ryoko survived their last stand in the ending and are assisting anti-North fighters in liberating POW camps all the way to the Siberian region.
  • Bomb Disposal: Troops with "Cleanup" can defuse enemy land mines. There's no messing around with triggers or wires, they just dig 'em up like potatoes and stuff them in their pockets.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Masami von Weizegger is half-Japanese and half-German.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Again, Emilio.
  • Character Development: Masami is a egoistic novice who learns to care with others as the story progress.
  • Cherry Tapping: An AFW with only 10 HP or less will topple over into a smoldering wreck if it gets hit... by a volley of autocannon/rifle/handgun bullets.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Rodriguez somehow managed to have this without voice acting or alternate text
  • Chicken Walker: Light AFW's. One model even looks like a giant mechanical chicken.
  • Close-Range Combatant:
    • Anti and Light AFW's, soldiers with Grenades, and Mechanics in general (being armed with grenades as their standard attack).
    • Ryoko's AFW is specced for close-ranged fighting moreso than a Medium walker is normally, having a snub-nosed cannon and a Power Fist that puts some Anti-AFW's to shame. It may have something to do with her morbid terror of the things.
  • Cognizant Limbs: Body (more damage) legs (immobilizes the unit, both in combat and strategically), and gun (the unit can't hit the side of a barn and its reload meter is reset to 0).
  • Cool Gun: The light AFW's crewmen fire their special rounds (whether they are shrapnel, incendiary shrapnel, chemical agents, armor piercing rounds, etc) into a humble signal flare gun. They're just as effective when the crews manning bigger guns load them via shells.
  • Combat Medic: Medic squads increase the amount of HP that other friendly squads can regain when given the recover order. They are armed with pistols that are decent against enemy infantry.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Once a 4-legged AFW is in short range, it may as well present its exhaust pipe. Accuracy drops to single digits (as low as three!). At long range, it's king, at medium, it can still send heavy payloads hurtling downrange, and at short, it's cannon fodder. It's actually more effective to walk up to the enemy and let them hit you once with their Power Fist to end the battle sooner than risk taking a handful of cannon shots while you futilely spit potshots (especially if you brought someone with land mines).
  • Critical Existence Failure: Any AFWs and Infantry Squads can still keep going and be brought back from the brink of destruction if they have 1 HP. However, squads assigned to crew the AFW's will call damage reports, indicating that each shot causes internal damage and increases the felt weight of the unit, with the final shot wrecking enough internals that it can no longer keep upright. Infantry squads also lose members as their HP goes down.
  • Critical Hit: Damaging the weapon causes a serious accuracy penalty while damaging the legs will slow down or immobilize the AFW.
  • Damage Is Fire: Damaged components catch fire. "Repair" and "Quick Repair" is represented by hosing these sections with fire extinguishers.
  • David Versus Goliath: Any soldier that runs up to grenade/rocket an AFW in the face has balls of steel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: EVERYONE has their moment, but this is most definitely Kinasato's hat.
  • Didn't See That Coming : Shringen reveals himself to be the traitor of the Streifen unit and tells them to "die an honorable death" as the last mission. Guess what? They failed miserably to accomplish his orders.
  • Diesel Punk: Cold-War era with reverse-engineered nazi Giant Robots. They even have diesel motors hanging off their backs.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Jun is mistaken for a girl several times in-story.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Masami hates his Japanese first name, so he asks his comrades to call him "Weizegger" instead.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Discussed. Soldiers with mines will ALWAYS remind each other to be careful with them.
  • Expy: Oddly enough, Dora Gustav become this to the titular Metal Gear. Giant Walking Tank with long range nuclear delivery capabilities, even though this function in itself considered incidental and simply Crazy Enough to Work at the time.
  • Flare Gun: Flash Shot, Illumination Shot (special move type), and Special Ammo when used by Light walkers is depicted as soldiers using a flare gun.
  • Foreshadowing: In Mission 4, John and Kinasato have a chat about the largest artillery peice ever built. It's the final boss, the Dora Gustav, AKA Schwerer Gustav, now given a land-battleship sized Spider Tank as a lower body.
  • Former Regime Personnel: Shrigen and Rodriguez were both AFW specialists for Nazi Germany given amnesty by the Western Allies for their technical expertise, similar to Wernher von Braun in Real Life.
  • Fragile Speedster: Light AFWs have relatively thin armor, but make up for it with insane mobility and terrain handling.
  • Gender Is No Object: Never addressed in story except by the villainous Vietnam veteran Yu Kaiho, but presumably there's no issue at all as half of the characters are female and all fought actively according to their roles. Strange since we're talking about Japan, but presumably it's a part of the Alternate History itself.
    • Hidetomi Minakawa exhibits the same view with Yu Kaiho, but only for a moment of surprise before going all out anyway.
  • Geo Effects: Be mindful of the terrain that you're fighting on when you attack enemy infantry or AFWs. If you open fire and no damage is inflicted despite the fact that your accuracy was very high, it's because the projectile/s got stopped in mid-flight by an obstruction or even the ground itself. The most ridiculous example of this are barbed wire sections: They can stop both small arms and cannon fire.
  • Good-Looking Privates: The South Japanese infantry are quite photogenic.
  • Grand Theft Prototype: The plot kicks off when Kaiho hijacks one of the prototype AFWs that was meant to be used during a training exercise.
  • Grenade Launcher: Mechanic and Supply troops are armed with shoot-through type rifle grenades (most rifle grenades use a blank charge to provide launch pressure, shoot-through catches the bullet instead). This allows them to use their carbines against AFW's and infantry as the situation warrants.
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: The protagonist are mostly Neutral Good, every single of them have their own agenda, and to a point knew well that the country they serve is most definitely not perfect, North Japan Army only fought for their cause too. In the end, Yu Kaiho and Hidetomi Minakawa were proven to be Well-Intentioned Extremist (and far less of an extremist than protagonist feared to boot), and the protagonist refused to be used as Black Sheep and determined to expose the truth behind the conflict.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    • Infantry squads that ride on AFWs or follow behind in the rearguard position will never cause damage. So the only reason why they're even shooting their guns in the first place is to look busy.
    • Medium and Anti AFW's have a machine gun turret to deter infantry attacks. It's a complete waste of space, money, time, etc.
  • Improvised Armor: The North Japanese's basic Medium walker has a slab of scrap metal bolted to its pelvis, which compliments the actual arm shield it has.
  • Ineffectual Loner: AFWs become much more vulnerable in battle if they lose their infantry escorts.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Medium AFWs are capable of fighting well with their medium cannon as well as mixing it up in close combat (though not as well as Anti-AFWs).
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
  • La Résistance: The North Japan Liberation Front. Also the pro-communist guerrillas Masami and company face in the early missions in South Japan.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": And then "Boom!" Comes in three flavours, regular, magnetic, and chain (reaction). Except for the Chain Mine, they’re only effective against AFW's.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Type 3 at the start of story: it moves like Light AFW, dishes it out like Heavy AFW, and hits like Anti-AFW. Its only weakness is long distance combat due to inherent inaccuracy of dual retractable cannon. Then it got the accuracy problem fixed...
    • Anti-AFWs in general have relatively fast-forward speed and boast a lot of armor. In return, they usually have a medium cannon with very short barrel as their main gun. Their backwards speed is pathetic too.
  • Live-Action Cutscene: The intro is Stock Footage of WWII with the game's Armored Fighting Walkers edited in.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ban on aircraft made using nukes impossible, then Dora Gustav crawled in.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Four-Legged AFW's and Shooters who know Homing Shot.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Medium and certain light and anti AFW's have ablative armor plating used to stop a few hits early in deployment.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy AFWs boast thick protection and carry a heavy gun, but have slow response and loading times.
  • Military Mashup Machine: The Dora in the game, IS the real Dora, captured by the Americans, who gave it a BFG. It's basically a land-battleship.
  • More Dakka: The "Rapid Fire" and "Cooperation" Infantry skills.
  • Nonchalant Dodge: The "Dodge Action" Max skill allows you to do this. Used mostly by light AFW pilots (the only medium AFW pilot who uses is Kaiho).
  • Non-Damaging Status Infliction Attack: The Mechanic unit's "Wire" ability, which fires a bolas at an enemy walker to trip it up and stop it from moving. It's upgraded version, "E-Wire," adds Sub System Damage in the form of breaking its legs (which, due to how the game handles subsystem damage, actually does no HP damage).
  • Non-Indicative Name: The non-lethal gas shells are incorrectly labeled "White Phosphorous" when they're actually just "Tear Gas".note 
  • Ornamental Weapon: The North Japan Four-Legged AFW has four mini-turrets under its main gun. These never fire.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Citys/Villages/Prison Camps that are marked with a star contain infantry squads that can be picked up/rescued and added to your force. If a damaged enemy AFW recovers on those places however, the squads are lost.
  • Putting on the Reich: Played with; South Japanese infantry unit uniforms look very similar to WWII German uniforms, but they're not the bad guys.
  • Random Number God: The optimum accuracy percentage for shooting at AFWs is between 70 and 80%. But the moment you know that the game is screwing you over is when you miss a +90% shot (+90% shots have very little chance of missing and will likely cause critical damage). On the other hand, landing a last-second snapshot at very low accuracy or when you jerk the trigger after forgetting you were in aim mode when a special ability finishes up is very satisfying.
  • Real Robot Genre: One of the hardest example in any fiction, without being too impractical. Early AFW designs were postponed due to poor leg workings, and they performed badly in the relatively flat European Theater. They are by far slower than any WWII era tank in even ground. Crippling the legs are important to the point of Lamp Shading; there are no less than four infantry techniques for crippling them (two different types of landmines, tying them down with high-tension cables, and frying them with electric shocks), and the targeting computer, when allowed to calculate a maximum-accuracy note  firing solution, invariably hits the legs. They're also quite noisy. Outside, they're stompy, and inside, you can hardly hear yourself think over the squealing and grinding of the transmission.
  • Scratch Damage: Light AFWs and soldiers armed with rifles/handguns can still chip away at other AFWs.
  • Secondary Fire: Not any of the AFW guns, however. Mechanics can swap between rifle-launched grenades and bullets depending on if they're fighting walkers or infantrymen (ex when another squad calls for a Co-op attack).
  • Ship Tease: Ayana actively tries to interact with Wei in chapter 5 and 6. However. it also highlights his Character Development, and could be interpreted as platonic.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Eliminating a Medic squad will drop a unit's ability to heal its infantry escort.
  • Single-Use Shield: Shields can withstand 2-3 shots of any strength, but after that, they're gone for the rest of the mission.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: The targeting of your cannon swings across the body, gun, and legs of the enemy mech, zooming in and tightening over the legs as the targeting computer calculates an optimum solution. If you're careful, you can use this to snipe their gun or legs at low accuracy.
  • Spiteful A.I.: At the start of Mission 10 (Miyako), there is one AFW that you need to immediately destroy in battle with Jun's Team as that particular enemy is programmed to capture the two neutral villages on the map which happen to contain recruits. Failing to stop him will inevitably result in the loss of those recruits as there is no way you can make a second attack without losing Jun, forcing you to restart the mission or forfeit any chance of saving those neutral villages.
  • Stock Footage: Played in very interesting way, most of the live-action sequences are Real Life war footage... but in certain scenes, AFWs are inserted creatively that because the footage is old, has low framerate, and very much grayscale, the mech's presence and actions look very realistic. Observe.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: As mentioned above, the AFW's were developed by Germany in the tail-end of WWII. It's downplayed, however, as they're Awesome, but Impractical in most places EXCEPT Japan, where their legs can outperform caterpillar treads or wheels on the tectonically-active archipellago, and are as cheap and easy to mass-produce as tanks (once the bugs were worked out, that is. Their complexity compared to wheeled vehicles stalled the whole project).
  • Sub System Damage: The legs and gun can be crippled on most AFW's.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Happens whenever someone uses a Maximum skill.
  • Super Prototype: One gets stolen from you by Kaiho during the prologue missions. It's an all-in-one AFW lethal at any distance, the MBT to the game's tank-class system. Fast as a Light, guns powerful as a 4-leg, twin Power Fists like an Anti, and the toughness and shields of a Medium. However, it trades long-range accuracy due to the guns being mounted in its elbows, of all places.
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit:
    • The first story arc involves the Grand Theft Prototype of an Armored Fighting Walker that combines all the disparate roles of the game's various types of walker (except for artillery, due to the accuracy problems inherent in its Unusual Weapon Mounting—someone thought it was a good idea to put its guns in its elbows, of all places). The enemy army supporting it is only there to slow your guys down so it can escape, as it's fully capable of mopping the floor with them in a standup fight.
    • The final boss of the game is the Dora Gustav, an immense Spider Tank sporting both the largest cannon ever made and a magazine stocked with nuclear bombs.
  • Trick Bomb: Smoke Shot is depicted as a grenade.
  • Turn-Based Strategy, Real Time Combat: When two AFWs engage, gameplay switch from the turn-based strategy map to real-time combat where the opposing forces shoot at each other until either one of them is destroyed or the operational time limit of sixty seconds has passed. Either scenario ends the turn.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Every enemy AFW represents an opportunity to earn experience. If you complete a mission by capturing a mission-critical location instead of annihilation, you lose the experience that could've been earned from any enemies still remaining on the field. You also need to keep every friendly AFW alive or else they will miss out on bonus experience that is rewarded at the end of a successful mission.
  • Unusual Weapon Mounting: The Type 3 Prototype AFW has its cannons mounted in its elbows for some inexplicable reason. Yes, it does ruin its accuracy.
  • Walking Tank: In fact, many of the AFW designs are based on specific WWII tank designs. Jun's AFW, for example, is based on the M3 Stuart while one of the North Japanese Anti-AFWs is clearly modeled on the Soviet SU-85 self-propelled gun.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: The AFW pilots and ground troops of the South Japan Army, the North Japan Army, and the Soviet Red Army.