- Annoying Video-Game Helper: The other pilots in your fighter wing can be really, REALLY aggravating any time you're fighting Yellow Squadron, where the frequency of which you are getting shot at causes them to alert you of enemy missiles CEASELESSLY!Friend: "Mobius 1, incoming missile."
Friend: "Evade, Mobius 1, evade!"
Friend: "Mobius 1! Missile! Missile!"
- Best Level Ever: Multiple, but the most agreed upon is probably Mission 08: Shattered Skies. Featuring a large and intense air-to-air skirmish and an iconic soundtrack, the level starts off strong and never lets up, even allowing the player to land a hit on a Yellow Squadron plane and force them to retreat. It essentially laid the foundation for levels like Mayhem and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-Universe, the Wyvern is mentioned as the latest in Erusean technology, but isn't encountered anywhere in the game. You have to fight off a whole squadron of them in Operation Katina in The Unsung War, but they're also not mentioned through the story or comm chatter.
- AC04 is in fact one of only two games in the Ace Combat universe where the super-fighter of the game doesn't actually factor into the game itself other than as a player reward. Ace Combat 2 is sort of the other one — one of its two superfighters, the XFA-27, is only a player reward like the X-02 here, but the other, the ADF-01, is piloted by the True Final Boss after shooting him down every time he shows up in a conventional fighter.
- Demonic Spiders: The Yellow Squadron planes except the ones at the end, which are piloted by inferior pilots can be really annoying to get a bead on, while they don't have as much of a problem shoving missiles up your tailpipe. And that's assuming that you're on a mission where you can even shoot them down. Note that only in "Lifeline" and "Shattered Skies" do the Yellows have invincibility; in "Lifeline" they don't even have collision detection, but connecting with a shot against a Yellow in "Shattered Skies" results in Yellow 13 mentioning it and the whole squad retreating for the rest of the mission.
- AA guns as well. They fire fast, are hard to avoid and on the higher difficulties the damage they do can't be repaired.
- SAMs, without a doubt, which are like AA guns but instead fire missiles at you. On higher difficulties, getting hit by even one missile is an instant Game Over.
- Game-Breaker: The QAAM missile is this in spades. While it has the same range as the standard missiles available to all aircraft, the difference comes in its accuracy. Nine times out of ten, it will hit your intended aircraft. If it misses? It simply makes another round and tries again until it decides to give up. Those demonic spider Yellows? They fear this missile.
- Tied for the best bomb, the Fuel Air Explosive Bomb and the Bomblet Dispenser were capable of disposing of anything on the ground with impunity. Too bad the FAEB is restricted to the F-15 ACTIVE and you only get eight of them.
- The X-02 Wyvern, unlocked by gaining S Ranks on every single mission on at least Normal difficulty, is gloriously overpowered. In addition to carrying the decently useful Advanced Long-Range Air-to-Air Missles, it can also carry the above-mentioned Bomblet Dispenser and Quick-Manuever Air-to-Air Missle. In terms of actual gameplay, it's also agile beyond description, capable of pulling turns and rolls with such speed that it takes time to get used to.
- Goddamned Bats: SAM sites. They're everywhere, they're constantly launching missiles at you, and they're only worth thirty points.
- Flak Guns. The third and (thankfully) least common anti-air weapon in the game. They shoot flak into the sky, too far for you to target back. They're easily avoided by flying low, but in doing so they make you vulnerable to SA Ms or AA guns in the area, in addition to making you risk a crash.
- Hero of Another Story: Bravo Team, the ground forces that appear in multiple missions. Bravo 1, the leader, is on the comms in Operation Bunker Shot, Emancipation, and Megalith.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Mobius 1 is identified by his emblem, a ribbon (alternatively a Mobius strip or the infinity symbol); aside of "Grim Reaper," he's identified as, appropriately enough, "Ribbon" or "the Ribbon Fighter." Given his legendary skill and notoriety, "FUCKING RIBBON(S)!" is probably what a lot of enemy units (and the player themselves in later games) proclaimed upon having to cross paths with him in the skies.
- Memetic Badass: While Mobius 1 does not do anything particularly more impressive than the Ace Pilot protagonists of other AC games, it seems that he has been elevated to his currently universally accepted status as the Ultimate Badass of the Ace Combat series by several additional factors, such as him never flying with a Wingman (and thus keeping all the glory for himself, as opposed to later protagonists) and him being officially acknowledged as a One-Man Air Force in AC5 and featured as the True Final Boss in ACZ. This might be attributed to the sheer success of his game, responsible for nearly a quarter of every game in the franchise sold.
- One-Scene Wonder: The ISAF special forces unit that infiltrates Megalith during the final mission of the game, which are vital in helping Mobius 1 destroy the superweapon. They aren't even seen, just heard over the radio. But they give the Erusians inside hell and are the most competent ground troops seen in the game. They even express concern for Mobius 1 and everything they do supports the player.ISAF Special Forces: "Hurry up, the planes are plunging in any minute now! We'll get those panels open! Don't let those pilots die!"
- That One Level
- Invincible Fleet is the final part of the first third of the game, and a definite difficulty spike compared to the five preceding it. You're tasked with destroying the Aegir Fleet, out of fuel and forced to dock at Comberth Harbor. Most of the ships have surface-to-air defenses that can make attacks tricky, and submarines are in pens forcing you to fly low in order to make sure your shots line up. Perhaps the most frustrating element, however, the the enemy planes sent to intercept you while you're most likely flying an attack aircraft. The Tornado IDS's in particular are slightly infamous for their mobility, forcing the player to slow to a crawl to get behind them while other fighters target you. Bringing Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles and focusing almost entirely on the ships makes things a quite bit easier, since they can lock on outside of a ship's retaliation range and destroy everyone of them in one hit, including the AA defenses that would otherwise remain active. Upon completion, the game does at least provide a pretty awesome scene of Mobius 1 and the allied fighters flying triumphantly above the destroyed fleet as they sing their national anthem.
- Tango Line and Whiskey Corridor are each a Marathon Level compared to the arcade-like fast-paced gameplay most other levels have, both lasting twenty minutes and requiring the player to travel across a fairly large map when one group of targets is destroyed. The former also has occasional attacks from Stonehenge, but fortunately most of the level's targets are below the range you need to fly to survive the attacks. The two levels do have their fans, however, and each has a pretty good soundtrack to enjoy.
- The Woobie: The poor narrator. His family is killed when a plane crashes on his home, he's left in the care of an unemployed and negligent uncle, and the only people he's made friends with are the enemy soldiers occupying his town who are all killed by Mobius 1. Fortunately, it seems he's done well for himself after the war, and doesn't hold a grudge against Mobius 1.
YMMV / Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies