Super Robot Wars 4 is the sequel to Super Robot Wars 3, released on the Super Famicom in 1995. Compared to its predecessor, the visuals are MUCH better, with the game engine refined to the point that every succeeding SRW uses the system in 4 as a template, story-writing is improved and additional gameplay mechanics introduced (parts system, manually deciding whether to counterattack or not during enemy turns) would stick around for future releases to ease game difficulty. As it stands, 4 is a very good game on its own right. In fact, the game was also the debut of the Shin Getter Robo, which would reappear in subsequent SRWs.
Unfortunately, 4 was considered an Obvious Beta by developer Banpresto, who thought they could do way better, thus made an Updated Re-release version for the Sega Saturn called Super Robot Wars F in 1997, a partial, but greatly expanded remake of 4 with an enhanced plot, game engine and an additional Humongous Mecha series added (but at the cost of some previous series being removed). F would be followed up nearly six months later into 1998 with the sequel Super Robot Wars F Final, which showcased the debut of the Mazinkaiser in any medium.
Both games would be ported to the Sony PlayStation. 4 was actually remade earlier in 1996 into Super Robot Wars 4 Scramble, featuring voice acting and CG movies for the time in the franchise. However, Scramble has been Retconned by F and F Final, so no worries there about not playing this obscure Video Game Remake.
The Inspectors have been defeated, but this is still not the end for the Earth and its hostilities with extraterrestrials, as the "Guests" of the Zuvorg Alliance have arrived to finish what the Inspectors have started. Excluding what occurs in the second half of Masou Kishin: The Lord of Elemental, the story of 4 marks the end of the "Classic Timeline".
Series present in Super Robot Wars 4 and Super Robot Wars F/F Final (Bold indicates entries that debuted in 4)
- Mazinger Z
- Getter Robo
- Getter Robo G
- Shin Getter Robo (manga)
- Mobile Suit Gundam
- Super Electromagnetic Robo Combattler V
- Invincible Steel Man Daitarn 3
- Warring Demon God GoShogun
- Aura Battler Dunbine
- Heavy Metal L-Gaim
- Super Beast Machine God Dancougar
- Banpresto Originals
Series exclusive to Super Robot Wars 4 (Bold indicates debuting entries)
- UFO Robo Grendizer
- Brave Raideen
- Invincible Super Man Zambot 3
- Brave Leader Daimos
- New Story of Aura Battler Dunbine (Units/Fairy only)
- Gundam Sentinel (Units only)
Series exclusive to Super Robot Wars F and F Final (Bold indicates debuting entries)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion (Debuted in F)
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam (Appeared in F)
- New Mobile Report Gundam Wing (Appeared in F)
- New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz (Debuted in F Final)
- Space Runaway Ideon (Debuted in F Final)
- Aim for the Top! Gunbuster (Debuted in F Final)
- Mazinkaiser (Banpresto version) (Debuted in F Final)
Tropes common to Super Robot Wars 4 are:
- Arrested for Heroism: In 4, Jamitov Hymem tries to have Londo Bell hauled in and dealt with after he gains control of the Earth Federation forces. In response, the heroes end up going independent for a dozen or so missions.
- Art Evolution: 4 is the first game in the franchise to feature Humongous Mecha looking remarkably well-drawn with a more modern, less "cartoony" look, despite it being Super-Deformed as per formula. Future games simply refined on this aspect even further.
- Although Super Robot Wars EX did this to a larger extent, Banpresto went whole hog with 4
- Bag of Spilling: The excuse that 4 uses to downgrade the player's army is that the increasingly Titan-controlled Earth Federation distrusts Londo Bell following their sudden disappearance during the events of Super Robot Wars EX.
- Breakout Character: Out of the eight originals in 4, only Irm and Ring reappear in Alpha and Original Generation. Doubles as a source of Epileptic Trees due to the absence of the other six.
- Canon Immigrant: Go Nagai was asked by Banpresto to create an exclusive Mazinger Z Mid-Season Upgrade for Kouji Kabuto. Not only was the Mazinkaiser lauded for its design by fans, the positive reception was enough for Nagai to quickly incorporate the unit into Mazinger canon, later giving it its own series.
- Character Customization: Unlike Super Robot Wars 2 and 3, 4 allowed the player to manually select from eight original characters, each with a specific character archetype, to be the protagonist of the story - male/female, who their Love Interest is, and whether they will use a Real Robot or Super Robot. (Though, funnily enough, for the first half or so of 4/S and all of F, you are instead in a "Type R" or "Type S" Gespenst, depending on choice, meaning even super pilots are in a "real" for part of the game, albeit one that can do very convincingly super things.) F then expanded the system further, allowing you to pick one of the appearances as your own for the character, define their name, birth date, blood type (the two of which determined your spirit commands) and personality (which chose their vocal set), and allowed you to customize their (mandatorally opposite-sex) partner. The pre-set profiles remained if you didn't want to fiddle with this.
- Continuity Cameo: Mixed with Continuity Nod - if you'd been following Hero Senki: Project Olympus at the time of release, you'd recognize Gilliam Yeager, having made his debut SRW appearance, albeit a cameo, in 4. This includes the Gespenst, which is based off of Gilliam's original machine, the XN Geist from the same game.
- Dummied Out: 4 contains unit listings for the Nightingale and Xi Gundam, alongside a number of unused units from Dunbine, Zeta Gundam, and L-Gaim.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: The ability for all of your units to be upgraded an extra five ranks gained ten scenarios before the end of the game.
- Final Boss: Three of them for F Final - Shapiro Keats, Paptimus Scirocco and Kaworu Nagisa.
- Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: In one incredibly iconic scene for the SRW fandom, Shinji Ikari gets "Bright Slapped" by the man himself in F. The scene plays word for word as if Shinji is Amuro Ray during the One Year War.
- Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Fifth Angel shows up during the tail end F during the Earth Route in a battle between the Evangelion pilots and the Mikene Empire, annihilating the latter's forces before turning on the former.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Treize Kushrenada and Zechs Marquise attempt to stop Scirocco with this at the end of the Divine Crusaders Route in F Final; unfortunately, they fail. Jerid Messa does this to stop Shapiro in the Guest-Poseidal Route.
- Jerid will only do this if Treize dies before doing the self-destruction himself, otherwise he ends up as a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere the player needs to beat.
- How Unscientific!: F would be the Trope Namer - after Master Asia takes out several military Humongous Mecha using nothing but his own martial arts skills, Asuka Langley Soryu says this word for word.
- Negative Continuity: Remember how Four Murasame got brainwashed and shoved into the Psyco Gundam the last two games? Guess what happens. Again.
- Nintendo Hard:
- 3 was harder than this, but 4 features even more enemies with the "Beam Absorb" unit ability that completely nullifies beam-based attacks. This made it an annoyance for early gamers sticking mostly with Gundams, who are affably religious beam weapon users.
- F and F Final are quite manageable as long are you're not fighting Guests or L-Gaim units.
- Multiple Endings: It depends on whether you fight Shu Shirakawa or not.
- Downer Ending: Shu Shirakawa is defeated, but Mekibos thinks that humans are power-hungry, thus canceling the negotiations with Guest & thus leading to a Hopeless War. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!.
- Bittersweet Ending: Masaki decides that Shu Shirakawa is Not Worth Killing, Zezenan is defeated, and the peace negotiations with the Guests are a success.
- Old Save Bonus: Clearing F allows players to carry over completion data into F Final via the Saturn's internal memory or from a Playstation save card.
- Original Generation: All eight selectable protagonists, the Guests, the Gespenst (which would be a recurring mecha in subsequent SRWs), as well as the very first Huckebein (what would specifically come to be the Hucke 008L in OG) and Grungust, and Gilliam.
- Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: At best, 4 is set only three months after the last game, but Hathaway Noah, the son of Bright Noah, is all grown up and playable. No one else seems to have aged that much to make this plausible, which just makes it very, very odd.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Although it's still a fairly crappy unit overall, the GP-01 "Zephyranthes" is very, very useful for extended battles with Aura Battlers thanks to decent accuracy from Kou Uraki and a lot of ammo for its vulcans. Even though there are better units for taking down one or two Aura Battlers, they usually run out of ammo too quickly.
- Villain Team-Up: Learning from the Inspectors' mistakes, the Guests decide to align with Poseidal. The resulting alliance is arguably the most effective villainous faction in the entire franchise.