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Video Game / Super Robot Wars L

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Super Robot Wars L is the third entry in the Super Robot Wars series on the Nintendo DS, preceded by Super Robot Wars W and Super Robot Wars K. It was released on November 25, 2010. According to Word of God, the "L" stands for "Link".

The lineup of L was under some scrutiny following its announcement: the debut appearance of Rebuild of Evangelion raises questions on how its story can stir the plot, especially when "1.0: You Are (Not) Alone" and "2.0: You Can (Not) Advance" are only half of the Rebuild saga. The reappearance of certain series from Super Robot Wars Judgment, W, and K elicited many "expect loads of recycled sprites and pilot cut-in" responses, although it turned out many units had their animations updated to some degree. L also modified the controversial "Partner Battle" system from K, making it more like traditional SRW squad mechanics.

Rumour has it Masami Obari of Dangaioh and Gravion fame had a hand in the game's entry selection, which would explain why Iczer and Dancougar Nova made it in as debuts. Given Obari was busy putting up the final directing touches for the October 2010 release of the Animated Adaptation of Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2, this might not be such a coincidence.

Series included in L are (debuting series in bold):

Earthlings head to colonize space, but the journey's been tough for the past one hundred years: atomic war, strife against the Jama Kingdom and the lack of resources on Earth due to the space colonies seizing most of it. Around 15 years ago, the Second Impact occurred, to which forces such as the Darius Empire, the Katou Organization and the Dancougar appeared. As a result, nations began increasing their military strength and indirectly affected those living in space.

5 years ago, humanity waged a long war with the Mimetic Beasts and although victory was achieved, tensions mounted following a terrorist incident that destroyed a space colony 3 years earlier. 2 years before the start of L, humans on Earth and space colonists waged a deadly one-year war that lead to the Earth nations winning, but left their countries severely weakened from the fallout. Seeing a chance, Dr. Hell's Mechanical Beast army attacks, leading to an uneasy Earth/space colony truce to fight against them. With Dr. Hell and his Mycenae Empire allies defeated, peace returns; soon afterward, Darius mounts their full-scale assault and the seal preventing the Jama Kingdom from returning is broken. Now, visitors from beyond the Earth Sphere come into contact with humanity and a new battle begins.

This game contains examples of the following:

  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Scenario 37 includes the mysterious scene of Kouichi and Emi meeting the Flower of Steel version of themselves in the Deus Ex Machina, but gives them an actual dialogue scene, which enforces their Hero of Another Story status.
    • The Destiny Plan is expanded, it now involves seeking out those with SEED factor, as well as creating macronized soldiers using Zentraedi DNA obtained from the Frontier Fleet in order to bolster the Earth sphere's military against the many, many alien invaders out there.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the manga version of Linebarrels of Iron, the word "Arma" exclusively refers to the robots created by the Katou Organization based on the Machinas. However, in the anime version, the word "Arma" refers to all robots based on Machina technology, including the ones used by the Self Defense Force and the US Army, but the Katou Organization Armas never received a new name. Therefore, Katou Organization's Armas are simply called "Arma" in game.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Like in K, the Archangel crew do not employ the questionable methods that they used in SEED Destiny proper. Unlike in K, ZAFT is not given the Adaptational Villainy treatment to compensate, with this game offering the least villainous portrayal of Chairman Gilbert Durandal to date.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In the Iczer series' canon, Nagisa Kasumi (Iczer-3) is the Identical Granddaughter of Nagisa Kano (Iczer-1). Here, they hail from alternate universes and sport a Dimensional Traveler shared ancestor. Fittingly, they have a nearly-identical set of Spirit Commands. They also thoroughly avert One-Steve Limit, with Iczer-3's Nagisa referred to by her full name in gameplay while Iczer-1's Nagisa just goes by "Nagisa".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Big Gold and Moon Will. So, it comes as no surprise that they join forces to Kill All Humans.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Compared to his rather unceremonious death in his original series, Sting gets a fairly touching sendoff.
  • Alien Invaders: The Darius Empire, Big Gold and her forces.
  • Alternate Universe:
    • Macross Frontier, Voltes V and Iczer-3 all come from one universe and end up somehow Folding into another, which is where all the other series take place. The Machina from Linebarrels of Iron, as well as the game's original villain, also hail from that same Alternate Universe.
    • This leads to the first time in the entire franchise where the Combattler and Voltes teams are not so much as aware of each other's existence prior to the game's start. It also leads to some people in the game confusing the two robots for each other, which has happened in real life.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Second Impact is a Class-1, though its... well... impact, is significantly weaker, due to the more advanced technology level, as well as the existence of space colonies.
    • Break the World incident is a Class-0, though once again, the damage is reduced thanks to the Macross Quarter and various Super Robots destroying large portions of Junius 7. It is also possible to defend all meteor breakers from the ZAFT deserters in the game, reducing the damage even further.
    • The destruction of Central caused the dimensional gateway it came through to lose control, and would have caused a Class X-5, destroying both universes, if it hadn't been stopped.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Rebecca from Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu was a one-shot character in the anime, but in L she's somehow the subpilot of the Daichi Maryuu. Sadly, Kane still pilots the Tenkuu Maryuu all alone, but at least comes with Super Move Portrait Attack this time.
    • DaCosta from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny gets a lot more screen time during the Eternal's attack animations, since Meyrin never becomes part of the Eternal's crew in this game.
  • Assimilation Plot: Grace O'Connor and Central's respective plans.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Justified; in Jack's case, his body is a human-sized Arma. Furthermore, Jack's rating for space-based terrain is B, while everyone else in his series has an A, clearly showing he's not made for space. As for the Iczers, they are alien androids.
  • BGM Override: In order to imitate Macross Frontier's final battlenote , the finale stage plays a different Frontier song every turn, and these songs override your units' set BGMs.
  • Big Bad: Lude Gloria
  • Broad Strokes:
    • Even though L uses the anime version of Linebarrels of Iron, the mass production Jinrais can be controlled by an AI like in the manga version, instead of being exclusively human-piloted. Also, the Katou Organization mooks look just like they did in the manga.
    • Instead of being shot down and captured by the Minerva team while trying to save Auel's mother in Lodonia, Stella was shot down during the Battle of Crete, just like in Mizuho Takayama's manga adaptation of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny.
  • Butt-Monkey: Igarashi Shinobu and the Special Self Defense Force fill the same role as the Nerima Red Dragon from W. Not only do they get their asses kicked by the Katou Organization like in the original series, they also have to go up against the Angels and Cthulhu in their puny Armas. Predictably, they are wiped out every single time.
  • Char Clone: Zechs Marquise, Neo Roanoke, Brera Stern and Eida
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Since Rebuild of Evangelion wasn't complete at the time this game was released, it's plot ends with Kaworu telling SEELE that this "distorted" world isn't theirs, so the defeated 8th Angel is the last one.
  • Day in the Limelight: Unlike most Endless Waltz entries in SRW, in L the Gundam pilots (sans Quatre) actually don't join up for quite a while in game, and instead Zechs is the character who's with Lotus from almost the beginning of the game. A notable change of pace from previous games featuring Endless Waltz, where he's usually a supporting character whose role in the plot is overshadowed by Heero and the other Gundam pilots.
  • Demonic Invaders: The Jama Kingdom, though it later turns out they're actually Alien Invaders.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Mari, Kaworu and Kaji only get two scenes each. And only Kaji and Kaworu actually do something relevant in those scenes. Mari's are just cameos.
    • Auel is reduced to a NPC. Also applies to the Gundams: Chaos, Abyss and Savior show up, but only as MAP icons.
    • Pretty much the entire Iczer-3 cast other than the Iczers, Nagisa, and Neos Gold herself are reduced to cameos.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Happens frequently thanks to inclusion of Macross Frontier. To give an example, in one scenario, Ranka sings "Seikan Hikou" as your units battle rogue Zentradi the Earth Alliance. Too bad it ends when she gets abducted by the Vajra.
  • Dual Wielding: Straybird's Pheasant Cutter, in addition to many other units: Shoulder Slicers, Iczer-3 and Atros' twin light sabers, Linebarrel's two swords, Verdant's quad wield, Tsubaki-Hime's dual wielding chainsaws
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Angels, Big Gold and Neos Gold, Moon Will's Original Dancouga, Proist's King Darius the 18th, Susanoh, Central, Grace O'Connor as the Vajra Queen and Lude Gloria's Galtdeus.
  • Duel Boss: The last showdown with Iczer-2. You get a Game Over if anyone but Iczer-1 attacks her.
  • Easily-Overheard Conversation: Unlike the anime, the Will They or Won't They? scene between Hayase and Kizaki prior to their plot's final battle has a whole crowd of eavesdroppers.
  • Elemental Punch: Rushbird's Lightning Fist
  • Evolving Weapon: Like the machines in Super Robot Wars Advance and the Gunleon, the Rushbird gains new attacks and abilities as the game progresses
  • Exact Words: Trowa Barton is able to infiltrate the Phantom Pain by giving the cover story "I'm not Trowa Barton, I'm a nameless mercenary who killed the real Trowa Barton and stole his Gundam". That is entirely true, but he's leaving out the bit where the killing and theft took place before the beginning of Operation Meteor, which means that while he may technically not be "Trowa Barton", he is the person everyone means when they SAY "Trowa Barton".
  • Expy:
    • The Rushbird's attacks are exactly like Zeorymer, as well as Alice being an Expy of Miku, aka Robot Girl capable of channeling interdimensional energy into said mecha.
    • Dr. Graife, the scientist who designed Rushbird, also has some character design similarities to Doc Brown.
  • Fix Fic:
    • Again like Z and K, SEED Destiny gets a much better treatment in L: for starters, the deaths of Shinn's family gets re-written. Also, the Archangel does not interfere with the Minerva's battles and Athrun does not defect. To top it off, during Operation Angel Down, due to the Archangel lending a hand against Iczer One's enemies, Captain Talia Gladys assists in faking the sinking of the Archangel.
    • In addition, Michael, Ken, Atros and Soubi all can be saved from their canon deaths. Interestingly enough, you can also save Stella and Rey, but to keep Stella, you have to go along on a route split. Otherwise, she still lives, but gets Demoted to Extra and is no longer playable.
      • However, Michael's case is interesting in that it takes into account the "Max Kills" cheat code that often gets made for these games. As rescuing Michael is a classic "X character must get Y kills on stage Z" secret, using the "Max Kills" cheat actually backfires because Michael's kill count does not increase, even if he kills the number of enemies needed to prevent his death. This becomes a problem in replays even if you don't cheat, since kill counts carry over. Eventually if you like using him you're forced to start over because of this... unless you cheat to pull the kill count down in time for the secret flags to be set.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: You permanently lose Nagisa as Iczer Robo's co-pilot if you get a game over while Iczer-1 is combined. It gets reset if you lost Nagisa prior to Iczer's departure from the party once she returns.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: During the final battle of the Macross Frontier storyline, Brera tells Alto to aim at the Vajra Queen's head, so they can free her from Grace O'Connor's control without killing her. The two then perform a Combination Attack on the Queen, and the battle animation shows that all of their attacks are directed towards the head.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • At the end of the Macross Frontier finale, Alto and Brera unlock their 90-second long Combination Attack. However, it gets concluded with Alto pulling out what appears to be the sniper rifle of Michael's Valkyrie and shooting the enemy down one last time. Even if Michael gets saved (and thus still holds on to his Valkyrie's rifle), Alto will still mysteriously draw it at the end of the attack.
    • One of Daiya's battle quotes against mimetic beasts has him saying that he'll clean up all the mimetic beasts before the final battle with the Darius Army. He says this even when fighting mimetic beasts on stage 35, which takes place after said final battle.
    • The end of the three Eva units' combination attack shows them running out of internal power. While this does happen after they use it for the first time, they never actually run out of power after subsequent uses. This makes sense from a gameplay perspective: the attack would be worthless if it takes all three Evas out of the fight after a single use.
  • Gecko Ending: How the game resolves the issue of Rebuild of Evangelion's arc: After the eighth Angel is defeated, Kaworu approaches Gendo and SEELE and tells them that, due to the interference of beings from another dimension, the remaining Angels won't appear and the Human Instrumentality Project can no longer proceed. Gendo declares that he wasn't planning on relying on anything other than his own efforts anyway and embraces his role as a higher-up in LOTUS, while shortly afterwards Chairman Durandal exposes SEELE's existence to the public and leads a global uprising against them.
  • Glass Cannon:
  • Heroic BSoD: Go gets hit with a mild one, but still maintains an active presence on the team as a pilot instructor and representative for LOTUS, particularly during Operation Angel Down.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Gilbert Durandal kamikazes the damaged and crashing Messiah in order to kill Neos Gold.
  • He's Back!:
    • Not a case with characters, but with mecha: the Duel Gundam Assault Shroud and the Buster Gundam make their return as secret units. Also, for the first time since Destiny, you get to name the team you're on.
    • This trope is played straight with a few characters: Hilde from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. After having been absent in W, there were quite a few happy to see Hilde's black Taurus alongside Duo after having been out of action since Alpha 3.
  • Hot-Blooded Sideburns: Kouji Kabuto, Tetsuya Tsurugi, Hiroshi Shiba and Kenji Kusanagi.
  • Idol Singer: Eida, Sheryl Nome, Ranka Lee, Meer Campbell and Lacus Clyne. Amusingly, Gilbert Durandal tries to use at least three of them in his plans.
  • I Never Told You My Name: Subverted, just like in the anime, Kouichi loudly announces himself as Hayase Kouichi, the hero of justice, during his first fight with the Katou Organization, but then acts surprised at Emi and Satoru knowing his name. Made more funny in this game, though, since in the anime, his first meeting with the two took place a few days after his first battle. While in the game, the two arrived almost immediately after he called out his name.
  • Kamehame Hadouken:
    • Rushbird's Light Blazer, albeit a one-handed variant.
    • Until you unlock Rushbird's Dimension Storm attack, which is a two-handed, considerably stronger, version of the above.
  • Lazy Artist: Zigzagged: yes, there are some recycled sprites/animations from J/W/K, but there are also just as many touched-up, altered or just plain re-animated attacks from returning series.
    • For example, Zechs Merquise's cut-ins are all redone from W. Here, he's wearing his Preventers' jacket while in W, he was wearing his normal suit. In addition, he gains a brand new cut-in for the Tallgeese III's Heat Rod attack.
    • A much more obvious example would be Godannar TDM's Heart Breaker dynamic kill animation. Here's the animation in K, compare that with the one in L.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Kouichi is AI controlled on stage 37 and will recklessly charge right into the middle of the enemy formation, and needless to say you have to keep him alive.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Boss Borot; exceptionally good list of Spirit Commands between the three pilots, attacks are stronger than they look and ALL his moves are morale debuffs.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Iczer-1, high end Machina such as Linebarrel and Gaiking the Great.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Trope Namer is here in full force.
  • The Mole:
    • Rey acts as Durandal's inside man in LOTUS, which is most likely why Durandal allowed the Minerva team to join LOTUS in the first place. He eventually tries to convince the entire LOTUS to support Durandal's Destiny Plan, it didn't work though.
    • Trowa joined Phantom Pain as a mercenary, pretending that he's a Blue Cosmos member who stole the Heavyarms Kai. He was instrumental in tracking down Lord Djibril's location.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Nerf: A couple of mechanics were reworked to place greater emphasis on the Partner Battle system:
    • The Super Robot Wars K version of the Chain Attack system, which allowed solo units to target any enemies within the Chain Attack's range, was deemed too strong; Chain Attacks reverted back to the Super Robot Wars W ruleset which requires the targeted enemies to be adjacent to each other.
    • Equippable unit parts were completely removed from the game, being reworked into "Partner Bonuses" that each unit gives for being paired up with another unit.
  • Only Six Faces: Character portraits of the Linebarrel and SEED Destiny characters. It isn't as bad as comparing Fafner and Destiny in K, but still fits. All of the aforementioned series have character designs by Hisashi Hirai, who is infamous for the use of this trope.
  • Original Generation: Ichitaka, AL-3 Alice, Yuunagi and HL-0 Haruno for the characters, Rushbird and the Straybird for the mecha
  • Pinball Protagonist: The subplot about Ichitaka and Alice investigating GreAT's involvement in Professor Graife's kidnapping ends with them hitting a dead end. For the rest of the game, they mostly just wait for GreAT mooks to show up while doing something completely unrelated.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: The Vajra's Adaptive Ability, which allows them to No-Sell any attack they've been exposed to, up to and including reaction warheads, is omitted from the game.
  • Post-Script Season: Endless Waltz, Mazinkaiser, Combattler V and Voltes V are all post-series in L
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Macross Frontier's finale was originally accompanied by the "Nyan Nyan Service Medley", a 7-minute medley of various songs from all over the series. SRW L handles this simply by playing a different Frontier song each turn during said battle.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The Katou Organization captains are all recruited into the Preventers in the ending.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Machina pilots whenever their Machina enters into its Super Mode.
  • Robeast: Mimetic Beasts, Haniwa Genjin and the Angels
  • Robot Girl: AL-3 Alice and HL-0 Haruno, copilots for Ichitaka and Yuunagi, respectively. Also Iczers 1 through 3 and Atros. On the enemy side we have HL-1
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: The Rushbird's most unique feature is absorbing the energy from beam attacks and the like, while getting a small EN boost in the process. In some cases, such as fighting the Angels, a viable tactic is to let the Rushbird attack and keep it busy while everyone else clears the map. Do note this won't work if the attack is strong enough, as Laplace Barriers absorb attacks only to a certain damage threshold. The same mechanic is applied to the AT fields of the Angels and Evangelions.
  • Set Swords to "Stun": Unlike previous games, "killing" boss units won't show animation of it get destroyed. They simply escape afterwards for most of time, and explode only if it's actually destroyed in regards to deaths within the plots of the respective series. Unfortunately, this also means you rarely see dynamic kills on boss characters.
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Just like in canon, Kira tries to talk Rey down when he reveals that he's a clone of Rau Le Creuset. Unlike in canon, it doesn't work.
    Kira: You're wrong! Everyone, no matter who, has only one life! That's why your life is your own, not his!
    Rey: Shut up! You're also a life created by human hands, why are you so different from us?! Why do you get to live a meaningful life?!
  • Sibling Rivalry: Ichitaka and Yuunagi are brothers, and fight several times during the course of the game. They eventually reconcile and join forces against the Big Bad.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift:
    • Most characters' portraits change whenever they switch sides. Sometimes literally - if the "evil" portrait was facing right, the "good" one will face left or vice versa. This is most noticeable with Katou Hisataka and his followers.
    • On a smaller note, Izuna and Shizuna have nearly identical portraits until Kouichi gives Shizuna his tie clip to pin her hair up.
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • In addition to the unlockable characters, Kyo Misumi survives the game no matter what.
    • Raramia survives the Macross Frontier plot, and is even seen on the Vajra homeworld after the finale, since she only appears as part of Klan's Pixie Team attack.
    • Unlike in the show, Captain Talia Gladys sides with the protagonists when Durandal reveals the Destiny Plan for the sake of her son's future. She also does not join him to die on the Messiah.
    • Meer Campbell not only survives the destruction of the Messiah, but also receives the blessing of Lacus herself, as well as encouragement from Sheryl Nome. She reveals her identity as a doppelganger and becomes an idol singer on her own in the game's ending.
    • Just like in K, Yuna Roma Seiran survives the invasion of Orb, though he's still arrested for treason by Cagalli.
    • As stated above, Stella Loussier's survivability is practically guaranteed, unlike even in Z where you had to work your ass off to even avert her death. Whether she continues to be playable or not... is another story.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: The game gives you the full upgrade bar (10 stages, as opposed to the five you begin with) right before Stage 24, where you have to face Proist's Chou Maryu Dborak.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: AL-3 Alice, who was originally intended to simply clean and maintain the house...until she reveals she can channel trans-dimensional energies to unlock Rushbird's strongest attack.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Aoi's reaction to Neos Gold killing Atross.
  • Wakeup Call Boss: Sachiel, encountered in Scenario 11, is a noticeable cut above the boss units fought before that point. Powerful attacks it can spam easily, high HP and EN regeneration, and of course, the AT Field that will outright negate most of your attacks. To make matters worse, it'll also snipe away at your units as they fight the weaker enemies to build up morale, and there's really not much you can do about it until you've built up enough momentum to kill it.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Macross Quarter's Macross Cannon and at the tail end of the Straybird's Flood Assault.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Despite being featured front and center on the cover, Combattler V is a post-script series with barely any connection to the main storyline.