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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 PlayStation 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Badass Grandpa: Ippei Kirino and Hidetomi Minakawa.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Ayana is a sweet, polite girl, but she has a big 4-Leg AFW.
  • 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!!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Critical Hit: Damaging the weapon causes a serious accuracy penalty while damaging the legs will slow down or immobilize the AFW.
  • David vs. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ineffectual Loner: AFWs become much more vulnerable in battle if they lose their infantry escorts.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Loophole Abuse: Ban on aircraft made using nukes impossible, then Dora Gustav crawled in.
  • The Mario: 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).
  • 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).
  • Nonindicative Name: The non-lethal gas shells are incorrectly labeled "White Phosphorous" when they're actually just "Tear Gas".note 
  • Permanently Missable Content: Citys/Villages/Prison Camps that are marked with a star contain infantry squads that need to rescued. If a damaged enemy AFW recovers on those places, 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 50% accuracy 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.
  • Scratch Damage: Light AFWs and soldiers armed with rifles/handguns can still chip away at other AFWs.
  • Ship Tease: Ayana actively tries to interact with Wei in chapter 5 and 6. However. it also highlight 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.
  • Spider Tank: 4-Leg AFW.
  • 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, averting Conspicuous CG. Observe.
  • Super Move Portrait Attack: Happens whenever someone uses a Maximum skill.
  • Super Prototype: One gets stolen from you by Kaiho during the prologue missions.
  • Turn-Based Strategy
  • 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.
  • 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.


Example of: