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Video Game / Slave Zero

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Wherever that car is going, it's not going to end well.
It's 500 years in the future, and the world is ruled by SovKhan, whose base of operations is in the vast city complex known as Megacity S1-9. Out to stop his tyrannical rule is a group of resistance warriors descended from an ancient group of warriors called the Guardians. This fight seems rather one-sided, since SovKhan's forces are bolstered heavily by the use of 60-foot tall biomechanical Humongous Mechas known as Evangeli- sorry, "Slaves", grown from cybernetic embryos and a piece of Applied Phlebotinum known as NTR95879, or "dark matter". However, hope arrives to the guardians by way of a captured Slave unit called "Slave Zero", who is not only the original Slave that all the other slaves have been cloned from, but has also had a resistance member's mind permanently uploaded into its brain.

What follows is an urban rampage through various assorted cyberpunk cityscapes, with a nice assortment of gun combat, shoulder-mounted missiles, and plenty of terrain destruction.

Such is the story of Slave Zero, a Mecha Game heavily influenced by the style of shows such as Neon Genesis Evangelion. Released originally in 1999 by Infogrames, with development helmed by Accolade, the game was originally marketed on the technology behind Accolade's "Ecstasy" engine, but was a commercial flop in the wake of the game's initially lukewarm reception, and ended up being the only game made with the engine.

The PC version of the game has since been released on GoG by Tommo, Inc., and on Steam by Night Dive Studios.

A prequel, titled Slave Zero X, was announced June 15th, 2022 by Ziggurat for Steam.

Slave Zero contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: Slave Zero itself, although more for decoration than as a weapon.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: "Slaves" which are living beings whose flesh is grafted in an armor not unlike an Evangelion.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Throwing cars as a means of attack, especially considering Slave Zero already has a missile launcher.
    • The first person perspective, since it's obvious the game was designed with a third person in mind, and the first-person perspective merely comes across as an attempt to ape Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.
  • Art Evolution: If you compare X to the original game, the former's Slave designs have realistic proportions and look downright monstrous (which is what Ken Capelli originally envisioned when designing them).
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The final boss can only be damaged by shooting it in the face (where Sovkahn is piloting it from) - You did bring the Hellspike cannon right?
  • Bloodier and Gorier: X, which throws buckets of High Pressureblood and gorn with each and every onscreen kill.
  • Boss Arena Urgency: The fight against Revenant prime takes place on a series of platforms which they regularly destroy one by one.
  • Cyberpunk: Darkened cityscapes, neon billboards and all.
  • Degraded Boss: The Piranha Sentinel is treated as a boss in the first level, complete with boss healthbar and introductory cutscenes, but it becomes a generic enemy as early as the third level.
  • Everything Breaks: Certain buildings can be destroyed to reveal pickups.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Like several other games in this era, the initial release was hard-coded to assume that D: was the optical drive used to install the game, and would give a "no disc" error if the drive had any other letter. Fortunately, this was corrected in a patch, and it's naturally a non-issue with the GoG version.
  • Gangsta Style: How Slave Zero wields the one-handed guns.
  • The Goomba: X features human security guards armed with maces. They are the weakest enemy, going down in just one hit.
  • Guns Akimbo: Slave Zero is depicted wielding two of the initial machine guns, though you can't do this in-game.
  • Homing Lasers: Booth Sangiunar and Sovkhan are capable of delivering these and usually signifies an instant game over if you let them catch you. To avoid the former you have to keep shooting him and make him fall before he can make the attack (since his arena offers no place to hide) and for the later you just have put some obstacle between you and it.
  • Homing Projectile: The Stone Dog Guided Missile System and Zulu Engagement Missile System. They do less damage than their non-homing counterparts but are very useful for knocking out raider sentinels from the sky.
  • Mook Maker: The Slave unit lifts, which can be destroyed to stop spawning in enemies.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: In the original game, the Slaves are a 2-story tall beings and the cars and tanks look like toys to them. The Slaves in X are only larger than humans (just compare the height of an average human security guard to a Slave next to him).
  • Obvious Beta: The Dreamcast port. All of the in-game music is removed with only the intro and ending themes remaining, the menus in languages other than English are glitched and not fully translated, the framerate is far lower than the PC version and dips inexplicably during the cutscenes and the game is filled with all manner of bizarre bugs, such as falling infinitely off a bottomless pit or getting killed by the checkpoint transition and becoming invincible as a result. The existence of other far superior PC-to-Dreamcast ports showed that Infogrames plainly didn't care and rushed the Dreamcast port to get a quick buck.
  • Knockback: The hellspike wielding Titan-class Sentinel causes this, very annoying if you happen to be next to a Bottomless Pit.
  • Organic Technology: The Slave units are this trope, given the fact that they're said to be "grown" rather than simply "manufactured".
  • Powerup Let Down: The fourth-tier Energy Weapon fires a continuous laser beam that eats through your entire ammo store in seconds and does far less than its predecessor, a powerful sniper rifle that can two-shot a Titan-class Sentinel while using hardly any ammo at all and is also the only weapon capable of reliable damaging the final boss. Similarly, the third-tier Machine Gun does heavy damage, but rapidly chews through your ammo. And its fourth tier (siege cannon) is a single-shot cannon that, while doing descent damage, fires in an arc, making incredibly difficult to hit distant targets.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Slave Zero X have plenty of moments like these. Here's only one from the demo:
    "Pathetic, I'll wear your skin for my next promotion!" [cue boss fight]
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Ammo and health can be found by destroying small buildings.
  • Rise to the Challenge: Memorably, the fight against Sanguinar takes place inside a big tube that's slowly filling with acid which also consumes ammo/health packs unless you grab them quickly enough.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: All bosses are preceded with a whole bunch of of ammo pickups and health packs. Sovkhan also has a small armory prior to him allowing you to choose whatever weapon you prefer to fight him with.
  • Traintop Battle: Slave Zero X have a stage set atop a subway train going through the city, with you fighting enemies while standing atop.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: Unless one pick up the Valhalla rocket launchernote , the Final Boss is unbeatable on hard mode as he has more health than there is ammo available. There is additional ammunition embedded in the walls, and supply drops that should provide ammo but instead are passive decorations that can be walked through, both of which would have helped.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Aside from the two main weapons and rocket launcher, another means of attack is the ability to pick up cars and pedestrians and throw them.