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Square Enix's flagship Humongous Mecha franchise, Front Mission throws players into various gritty Real Robot stories as conglomerate nations from Twenty Minutes Into the Future fight for supremacy with Wanzers (short for "Wanderpanzers" - loosely translated from German, "walking tanks"). So what makes it different from other mecha games? For starters, the action comes as Turn-Based Strategy (almost unheard of in mecha fandom upon the game's first release in 1995, save for Super Robot Wars) and applies real-world tactics as much as possible within the genre. Easy Logistics and Critical Existence Failure are subverted more heavily than in any other mecha game - for every ten turns you spend pumping bullets into the enemy, you'll spend two running back to your supply truck (or Cool Ship, if you're lucky) to restock ammo and/or repair broken limbs. Failure to equip your Wanzers to pander to your pilots' strengths or at least keep a well-leveled Five-Man Band handy will result in incurring higher repair costs after each battle - or even worse, Unwinnable scenarios due to the (mostly) limited opportunity for grinding.

Eleven games in the Front Mission franchise have been released:

  • Two on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (the original Front Mission 1 translated for Emulation and later remade for the Nintendo DS as Front Mission 1st; Front Mission: Gun Hazard also was fan-translated)
  • Three for the Sony Playstation (Front Mission 2 and Front Mission Alternative; Front Mission 3 got released in Japan, North America, and Europe)
  • Three for the Playstation 2 (Front Mission 4 got released in the United States, Front Mission Online, and Front Mission 5: Scars of the War is Japan-only but has a fan translation)
  • Two on mobile phones (with a remake for the Nintendo DS called Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness)
  • Two on the PC (Front Mission Online and Front Mission Evolved)
  • One on the PC, Playstation 3 and X Box 360 (Front Mission Evolved)

The franchise is also well-known for experimenting and venturing into other genres. Front Mission: Gun Hazard, an SNES title with a Fan Translation that plays out like a side-scrolling shooter obviously sharing a game designer with Assault Suits Valken. Front Mission Alternative, a Playstation title that ventures into real-time strategy (RTS). Front Mission: Online, the first massively multiplayer online (MMO) game and the first third-person shooter (TPS) for the Play Station 2 and PC. Lastly, the second TPS title through Front Mission Evolved on the PlayStation 3, Xbox360, and PC. The genre spin-offs are easy to identify because they don't have a number attached to them, unlike these titles: Front Mission 2089, 2089-II, 1st, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Sadly, only a handful of titles made it outside of Japan - a whopping seven video games from the franchise still remain Japan-only.

These aren't the only things Front Mission is known for. Largely unknown to the Western world (thanks to Square's HORRIBLE handling of Front Mission overseas), the franchise has a large media presence that includes comics, novels, radio dramas, and even live-action films! In fact, these other Front Mission works are linked to the video games so closely that buying them is practically a necessity to completely understand the Front Mission storyline! Japanese fans also liken Front Mission to the famous TV serial 24 as if you take out the mecha, all you get is essentially a slower-paced, more politically-charged 24! And the franchise outside of video games focuses way less on mecha and more on 24-styled action and political drama anyways. The most successful of these lines are their comics and novels, which are perennial top-sellers in the mature/adult age bracket in Japan. In fact, with the recent news that no more Front Mission video games will come out, it seems likely that the franchise will live on through these mediums.


This franchise provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: 5 allows you to upgrade your wanzer parts, which allows them to change to other types if you reach a certain level. Also, since you can mix-and-match any wanzer part as long as they fulfill energy and weight requirements, it's easy to make plenty of these. Bosses tend to show up in souped-up wanzers too.
  • Amazon Brigade - Three of the four members of Apollo's Chariot in Evolved are women.
    • With the exception of Walter, 5's pilot management system allows players to assemble all-girl squads.
  • Anachronic Order - you have to read every game manual (in case of 2 and 3, the in-game Network too) to understand the history.
  • Anticlimax Boss - Driscoll at the very end of 1st. His first form has no ranged attacks, and is immobile. His second form is exactly the same as the other two times you beat his ass, while you're controlling a unit of virtual demigods at this point.
    • SCION in Evolved starts as one of these. Then it goes One-Winged Angel. It still manages to be less dangerous than it looks.
    • Arguably Lukav in 3 as well if you get the secret wanzer... which can randomly activate the Destroy Body ability (i.e. instant death).
  • Armored Coffins - The Vampires in the 2089 games -- a black ops branch of the B-Organization - have their wanzers set up to completely vaporize them to cover any trace of their relations to their employer.
  • Artificial Human / Super Soldier - Real and Imaginary Numbers in 3.
  • Attack Drone - Gun Hazard's "Wireless Gunpod" weapons.
  • Awesome but Impractical - Whenever a "Large Unit" with a sweet-looking arsenal is debuted, chances are that sprite/polygon limitations will make all weapons fire that would be divvied up among multiple cannons come out of only one. Case in point: the T.C.K. Assault from 1st - packs four gigantic cannons, only ever fires one. Also, an entire wanzer can become this if it's using anything but conventional legs on a map where all the action takes place in an area separated from the starting point by more than one level of altitude at a time.
    • 5 also gives us weapons that allow you to attack 3 times in one round. Sounds great until you realize how horrendous their accuracy are. About the only one worth using were the melee weapons since they're actually stronger in terms of raw power as well.
  • Ax Crazy: Evolved takes the cake with this, with four out of five main villains being completely batshit insane; Cornelius is an E.D.G.E-addicted lunatic who seeks to dissolve all borders and who frequently torments Adela, Gloria lives for battle and appears to be aroused by the thought of fighting, Pia likes to gesticulate inside her cockpit as if she's conducting symphonies while blowing stuff up a la V for Vendetta, and Megan worships Valkyries. Not the most stable bunch.
    • Strong contenders for the title are Colonel Ark Hellbrand and Bishop the Berserker from Gun Hazard.
    • Actually most of the Big Bads are considered to be too. Except for Gustav Zelman from Alternative, Aleksandr Leonov from Online, Patrick S. Winger from 1st, Ven Mackarge from 2, Rolf Wagner from 4, and Well-Intentioned Extremist Morgan Bernard.
    • Serov in 3, who's completely snapped by the time you fight him. He even attacks his own allies in a fit of insanity.
  • Badass - Come on, guys. Anyone who's ever played any of the games or read the books know that you have to be one if you want to survive given how the state of the world is like.
    • Badass Abnormal - All of the Big Bad & Elite Mooks are either augmented humans using Bioneural Device (BD) technology like S-Type, Doll Eye, or Puppet Soldier (and said devices are installed in their war machines) or genetically engineered super-humans like the Real and Imaginary Numbers, with a few heroic exceptions: Dylan Ramsey and Adela Seawell in Evolved, Dark Knight/Roy in 2089, Ren Akagi and Tamira Vachek in Dog Life & Dog Style, Emir "Emma" Kramskoi in 3 and last but definitely not least, Lynn Wenwright and Hector Reynolds in "Scars of the War".
      • That's not the case with the final bosses on the USN scenario in 1st, whose Raven wanzers only use BD B-Type Devices (which is completely different from augmentation or genetic engineering).
    • Badass Crew: Each team that the game revolves around, like the IMAC (Alternative), Chasm Owls (Online), Proud Eagles (Online), Storm Unit (2089), Chariots (2089-II), the legendary Canyon Crows (1st), Black Hounds (1st), Silver Lynxes (1st), the unified Burg Transportation force (2 - consists of the Muddy Otters, Dull Stags, and OCU GDFIA 2nd Division), Kazuki's Nakama (3), Durandal (4), La Alianza de Libertad Venezolana (4), Strike Wyverns (5) and especially Barghest (5).
    • Badass Normal - Walter Feng in 5. While the Grimnir are filled with pilots using BD S-Type devices to control their wanzers like their own bodies (and thereby making them super soldiers), Walter is able to beat them through experience and hard work...after he trains with the Barghest's S-Type pilots for years. Your squad as a whole can count if you have no S-Type pilots in it... except for Hector.
      • Actually, most of the main heroes of any of the games. Examples: Royd Clive from 1st(taking on Driscoll in nothing but his Zenith V? Check.). Ash Faruk, Thomas Norland, and Lisa Stanley from 2 are also a few more, even after Lisa gets the final Raven, considering this version doesn't rely on BD technology for maximum combat performance. Kazuki Takemura from 3, able to keep up with the Real AND Imaginary Numbers by training the hell out of himself during combat and in simulators. And that is BEFORE he manages to get the Hoshun Mark 112. Darril Traubel and Elsa Eliane from 4. And in the case of Darril who also is playable in 1st and 5, he's actually an even better pilot than most of the augmented humans. Of course, Walter definitely personifies this trope in-universe.
      • Ernest J. Salinger aka Storm and Albert Masel aka Tornado from 2089 and 2089-II respectively also stand out. These guys and their crew take on The Vampires very frequently, manages to fight them to a stalemate and actually win.
  • Band of Brothers: The various military teams in the series, but especially Durandal (despite technically not being military).
  • Bittersweet Ending - 1st loves these. Sure, your squad's blown the lid off a plot to make computer devices from soldiers' brains, called the B-Type device. Trouble is, no one will believe you because you're wanted terrorists and the nation bankrolling the project is occupying Huffman Island as a peacekeeping force. Further compounded by the USN scenario, in which the deaths of Driscoll and the Sakata Industries bigwigs in the original OCU scenario throw a wrench into the court-martial of Kevin Greenfield's former commander.
    • Also Emma's route in 3. Kazuki manage to stop Big Bad's plan but has his father killed and Alisa made Heroic Sacrifice to dispose the MIDAS.
    • 5, the last entry, allows you to defeat Big Bad Morgan Bernard for good, but Walter loses his 2 childhood best friends in the process, though he was happily married to Lynn before she died of cancer.
    • Evolved's ending suggests it's trying to be optimistic, but looks more like it's forgotten it is supposed to be one of these, what with the deaths of Captain Hamilton, General Mosley, and your father.
  • Big Brother Instinct - Kazuki and Emma to Alisa in 3.
  • BFG - Intermittently played straight in Gun Hazard. Your most likely candidates in the core games are missile sites, aerial bombardments, and other called-from-offscreen or cutscene-restricted displays of conventional military firepower.
    • Played quite straight with Evolved's bazooka weaponry. It resembles nothing so much as an enormous length of sewer pipe with a grip, and has the ability to decimate anyone unfortunate enough to be on the open end. Naturally, certain boss-level enemies carry these.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the penultimate stages of 5, the Barghest team are outnumbered, and fighting a losing battle against Grimnir's superior numbers. Things are looking bleak... and then Lynn leads the Strike Wyverns in a airdrop, bringing Death From Above and turning the tide of the battle.
    • Lynn does it again for Walter after the final mission. With his wanzer badly damaged, he's said his last goodbye to Glen, and is resigned to dying... and then Lynn busts her way into in MIDAS chamber to rescue him via Outrun the Fireball.
  • Bottomless Magazines - While the shoulder weapons all have limited ammo, handheld rifles, machine guns, and bazookas do not. Possibly Lampshade Hanging in that the ammo listing for these weapons is a permanent 99/99.
    • Subverted in 2 (and later, 4, Online, and Evolved) however, when rifles, machine guns, and bazookas have limited ammo. Very limited, in the case of some end-game items.
  • Boring but Practical: Throughout the series, wanzer shotguns are this, due to a combination of dealing decent damage, decent range (though less than machine guns and sniper rifles) and low AP cost, making them quite cost-effective, if a bit boring.
    • Awesome but Practical: Several late-game shotguns are these, giving tremendous damage, but the best of the pack are shotguns with the Dead Shot X skill in 5, where X is a guaranteed number of pellets will hit the target, no matter what evasion and accuracy modifiers are in place. The best shotgun in 5, which is reasonably difficult to get, has the Dead Shot 5 skill, and fires 16 hard-hitting pellets.
  • Black Best Friend: Edward Collins in 5 attempts to invoke this. It doesn't quite take, though Walter seems to like him and Lynn finds him annoying.
  • Brain-Computer Interface: BD technology like S-Type, Puppet Soldier, and Doll Eye are all part of this. S-Type devices allow users to control any machine as if they were controlling their own bodies. On the flipside, this makes S-Type pilots more susceptible to EMP attacks, not to mention their bodies more susceptible to chronic diseases like cancer. Puppet Soldier acts similar to an S-Type device in that it offers the user more precise control (but not "human like") over their machine's movements. Their main use, however, is remote control of pilots synced up to their machines using it. Doll Eye grants its user a perfect 360 degree vision of their surroundings, making them nigh impossible to ambush. It also allows them to remotely control any nearby electronic systems; this is best demonstrated through the "Save the Queen" laser drone system.
  • Catch Phrase - Royd/Lloyd's response to being asked about joining the Canyon Crows is always "Do what you want". Also evident in Morgan Bernard's "Globalist dogs!", which he says in every appearance he makes in the canon games, you guessed it, the globalists. Means everyone that isn't working for him and the Grimnir like Dr. Aisha Romariov (Republic of Zaftra) in the 2089 games, Lisa Stanley (OCU) in 2, or Walter (USN) in 5.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Happens in in 5. Late reinforcements during the first Cambodia arc lead to Walter Taking the Bullet for Lynn and nearly dying.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Walter and Lynn are childhood friends, and the epilogue of 5 reveals they got married and had a daughter.
  • Critical Annoyance - The one in Gun Hazard is notorious for being one of the few you can turn off.
  • Critical Existence Failure - Subverted Averted with the separate HP bars for each limb in the main game, played almost completely straight in Gun Hazard (with the exception of heavily damaged Wanzers flashing and/or smoking at times).
  • Combination Attack: Introduced in 2, where one pilot's best skill allows them to assist other pilots in combat, so long as they're within range. 3 adds on to this with skills that allow your pilots to attack one enemy en masse. 4 refines it into the squad system. 5 requires you to be proficient in it if you want to survive. Individually, your pilots also has skills that allow them to use the weapons in your hands simultaneously. In the older titles you do it one after the other. Newer ones has them doing it Guns Akimbo except for Double Assault, which lets you attack using one melee and one ranged weapon one after the other.
  • Continuity Nod - Every canon game has some of these, even 1st retroactively through the DS port. 5 is loaded with hundreds of them everywhere in the game, referencing even real world events!
  • Cool Ship - Moreso in Gun Hazard than the core games, though some military helicopters and planes in the core games could count.
    • The Eclipse, hull number CVN-112, in 5. While it's designated as an aircraft carrier and is seen launching fighters, the Eclipse functions closer to a larger cousin of the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship.
  • Colonel Badass: In the expanded universe, Zead Elger was a Lieutenant Colonel in the British Army prior to joining Durandal.
    • Lynn Wenwright in 5 is promoted to this. Also, Hector Reynolds, though in a bit of a twist, he's a Combat Medic.
  • Combat Medic: First seen in the remake of Front Mission, Front Mission 1st, and officially introduced in 4, this is a possible wanzer build. Repair-type wanzers have higher armor and power output to allow them to mount repair backpacks; the tradeoffs are less movement range and weapons that can be carried.
    • Examples include Halle Fiennes from 1st, Hermes Sturges and Phillip Chaeffer from 4, and Randy, Edward Collins, and Hector in 5.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive - A couple of the core games' Big Bads. Government-entrenched versions take their place in Gun Hazard.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max - Verniers, of all things, in 4. Bear in mind that every turn-based Front Mission game constricts you to ground travel. And that 4 would draw backlash for its sluggish land speed.
    • Gun Hazard also breaks out the Infinite Vernier for one boss-fight sequence, and Infinite Dash as well, though the later Dash units can go practically forever anyway.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory! - Can happen in the same game in Evolved because in wanzer, if you use two-handed weapon, you use left click (or z) to zoom and right click to shoot, while on foot you use right click to zoom and left click to shoot.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Dark in sense of appearance in that case. 1st portrays USN soldiers in the OCU scenario in a grim light like the Hell's Wall unit being full of scarred freaks, but once you play their scenario you'll find out that some are not bad once you get to know them.
    • Barghest's camo scheme is black with dark gray trimming, and they're named after a black demon dog of British mythology, but they are unquestionably decent soldiers.
  • Defeat Means Friendship - No less than five of the Canyon Crows in 1st were recruited via Royd or another team member beating the stuffing out of them in arena or other solo combat. Six if you count Bobby Hopkins coming along with Porunga. Seven if you count Gentz Weizer, though it takes him a good three defeats on the battlefield proper.
    • Subverted in Gun Hazard as Rook joins you after getting defeated more than three times but it's Genoce who gives the last shot on him.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Lynn starts 5 as a cold, no nonsense military officer, but slowly defrosts towards Walter. The epilogue shows that they got married, and have a daughter.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending - All endings in core games have protagonists' suffering heavy losses but ultimately managing to stop antagonists' plans...though subverted in a big way in 5. Morgan Bernard and the Grimnir win when the protagonists win because the latter, intentionally or unintentionally, helps the nationalist parties succeed and humiliate the globalist parties. Huffman Island in 1st and the 2089 games, Alordesh in 2, Venezuela in 4, etc. 3 and 5 are the exception since Morgan dies for good in 5 and 3 takes place after Morgan's death.
  • Easy Logistics - Subverted and averted to various degrees in both the core games and Gun Hazard.
  • Elemental Mechanical Rock Paper Scissors - Short > Melee > Long > Short in 1st (At least in theory. See Game Breaker, below.)
    • Poor Predictable Rock - A melee build in 1st without First can easily have their arm(s) rifled off before they can do so much as glare at you. Even if they attack first.
  • Enemy Chatter - Enemies in the games occasionally speak when fought for the first time, or defeated, especially bosses.
    • In a bit of a twist, one of the first hints that Olson isn't all he seems to be (aside from the Anvilicious cutscene a few missions earlier) is the chatter from a random person at a bar that the OCU actually won the war because of its tank squadrons.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto - Why do cargo trucks explode after being shot enough times?
    • Because it's awesome.
    • I see your exploding trucks and raise you exploding human combatants in 3.
      • All of the above are being shot with large-caliber shells on par with tank rounds. Not exploding would be quite difficult.
  • Expy: Barghest in 5 is explicitly tailored as an obvious Expy to Delta Force, from the counter-terrorism focus, to their designation (Special Forces Armored Detachment-Barghest vs Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta), to both teams belonging to SOCOM.
  • Failsafe Failure - The ejection seats in 3 are rather faulty. Not in the usual sense of "they don't work when you're about to experience fiery death," but are in fact too prone to ejecting pilots spontaneously from their wanzer after their machine gets shaken a bit too much by enemy fire. The chances of being flung out of your wanzer armed with nothing but a worthless handgun seem completely random at times.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Lynn was friends with Walter, Randy and Glen as a child, though not really close to them. Walter is thrown for a loop when he learns that the cold, hardass CO of his new unit used to have a crush on his as a child.
  • For Science! - Gun Hazard's Dr. Akihito Sakata uses this as his motive for joining the good guys. Mostly because he wants to find weapons to test his shield against.
  • For Want of a Nail - The fates of a lot of people in 3 are effectively determined by a rather simple choice made very early in the game.
  • Friendly Enemy - Handled more realistically than most examples; the USN and the OCU are sworn enemies but the USN often ends up helping the OCU with many civil conflicts. Foreign intervention or salvation, these two world powers become quite friendly by 2112 in 3.
    • There's also Walter and Glen in 5. They were best friends before being forcefully repatriated by both the OCU and the USN during the 1st Huffman Conflict, and remain friends even if they won't hesitate to shoot each other's wanzers down. Not even Glen killing Randy can break that bond. Justifiable in that Glen was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Present in 4; squad members can shoot very close to each other at no risk.
    • Averted in 5: Friendly fire is present and can kill your team as well as your target, so careful positioning is a must. Players soon learn to position their units to minimize friendly fire risk to themselves, while maximizing friendly fire on the part of enemies.
  • Gaiden Game - Gun Hazard and Evolved - Gun Hazard because it takes place in an alternate universe, and Evolved is a story reboot that's not connected to the others.
  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere - In a way, S.C.I.O.N in Evolved.
  • Geo Effects - Or rather, terrain and elevation effects. Bipeds excel in tarmac with good jumping ability (swamps and marshes bog them down), quads are more versatile in terms of terrain, but can't really jump, and hovers ignore terrain effects altogether but can only go shallow inclines (not steps).
    • Also, units on higher elevations firing down have greater accuracy, while units firing up receive accuracy penalties.
    • Prior to 5, wanzers hugging walls that blocked line of sight from missileers were immune to missiles, as the missiles would hit the walls instead of the wanzers. 5 removed this; missileers firing at targets behind obstructions would fire their missiles into the air, which would then arc down and hit the targets, exactly how man-portable antitank missiles like the Javelin behave. Of course, for that to happen you need Jammers with their Sensor EMP backpacks to help guide the missiles there in the first place.
  • A God Am I (Lukav in 3)
    • (In Evolved the Sword of Damocles and SCION want to smite Earth with the judgement of Heaven.)
  • Guide Dang It - In 3, most guides include how to get the Hoshun. Not so much on That One Level in Alisa's scenario where, like all stages, you have 4 people, but you have to have Ryogo on foot (which makes him squishier than Twinkies), and three wanzers against a full complement of squads (and Ryogo *has* to go ahead, activate a panel, and go back; if he bites it, game over). The secret is actually simple: go to the Network and download a map of the Sewer area beforehand. Also, in both scenarios, you can buy an image-enhancing software. Use it on the map, and you can go through the map normally with 4 wanzers.
  • Gonk - Peewee.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid - The finale to Gun Hazard, during the assault on Atlas. Almost all of the supporting cast you've worked with before in the other areas. Richard Millman from the Kernelight Association seems to head things up, with a posse of mercs who take out the AA defenses so you can make your assault. Pretty much every one of Albert Grabner's former contractors (except José Abavu and Johanssen, who are members of "The Society") also makes an appearance.
  • Gundamjack - 3 allow you to do it. This is only way to obtain certain wanzers.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Kazuki in 3 defines this trope. Despite being the main character, he angers over a myriad of issues, especially if it involves his sister Alisa. He snaps quite often at Ryogo whenever he says something stupid. Emma's storyline itself can be considered a game-wide Roaring Rampage of Rescue for him, as finding Alicia is his sole motivation for fighting. During Alisa's storyline, since she's on your team, his Big Brother Instinct kicks in over anyone who even looks at her funny, much less threatens her, jokes about their relationship, or just mentions her name. It only gets worse once he gets further involved with the storyline.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works - Averted in 5, where Walter, Darril, and Barghest's "normal" pilots are able to hold their own against pilots with S-Type devices due to experience and hard work. In fact, the only reward for being an S-Type in the game is access to some powerful but expensive skills, which is counterbalanced with their increased susceptibility to status attacks.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here - There is a default name and call sign, but...
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The only plausible explanation for Adela inexplicably missing a stationary Marcus after he shoots Dylan's father dead in Evolved.
    • You can invoke this in the game as well if your wanzer's not set up right. Launcher/Missileer/Grenadier arms tend to have penalties to accuracy. Pair them with an already inaccurate weapon and, well...
  • Infinity+1 Sword - A couple every game. Largely different from other endgame equipment in their range, ammo capacity, or the amount of experience doled out per shot. Evolved has an achievement named "Infinity Plus One" as well.
  • In Medias Res - You begin 1st as the commander of a small unit in both scenarios.
  • It's Up to You - It's probably no surprise that not a lot will get done in Evolved if you spend your time on all those One Hundred Percent Completion scavenger hunts for sensor pods, emblems, and various pickups/item destruction bonuses. All allies will sit there waiting on you instead of taking most any part of the mission (save basic self defense) into their own hands.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Darril Traubel, Billy Renges, and Phillip Chaeffer in 4. They're both bitter about their demotions and claim they're helping the guerrillas only to hang on to 25 million dollars of stolen gold... but when the chips are down they come through anyway, gold be damned. Examples include stopping a Venezuelan Army attack on a village and helping the guerrillas make their push into Caracas, knowing well they'll be lucky to survive. They also work with the Durandal squad, giving them some seriously vital information.
    • Disagree on Chaeffer. Unlike the other two bitter vets, he was a newbie who wore his heart on his sleeve.
    • 1st, the USN scenario will introduce you as a friend to Hell's Walls unit commander Grieg Demetrius and the rest of the unit, if you played the OCU scenario you know that they are "famous" for a a good reason. But in here, they're portrayed as tough-but-loyal to each other and concerned with keeping allied casualties to a minimum. Ghetta even joins you later in the game to avenge their fallen comrades!
  • Joke Character: Linny Barilar forces himself onto your team fairly late into Emma's story in 3. He's trying to make a name for himself and his family with a methane-powered wanzer. It makes sense since he comes from an agricultural background, but using animal waste to power a wanzer does not go unnoticed by the other characters in the story (in fact, it completely grosses Yun out.) In terms of gameplay, he only has a C rank for missile launchers and no skill or ability for any other weapon.
  • Kick the Dog - Olson in 1st pulls back and aims when he threatens to have Keith Carabell "expended". Where the wind-up ends and the kick begins is rather subjective.
    • Genoce in Gun Hazard destroying Rook's wanzer at a request from José so he could finally join the society definitively his Moral Event Horizon crossing, since Rook was loyal to him to the core.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch - Royd in 1st nearly going off the handle and trying to kill Driscoll.
  • Kill Sat - The satellite equipped with the FENRIR in 2.
    • Vritra is one of these in Evolved.
  • Leitmotif: Joke Character Linny Barilar has his own theme music in 3.
  • Let Them Die Happy: Walter does this for Glen at the close of 5, after he's shaken off his Brainwashed and Crazy, assuring him that Randy is alive and well. Though Glen already knows this and simply accepts his death.
  • Lethal Joke Character - Attack Helicopter in 3 when you Gundamjack them temporarily with a long-range combat specialist, Hilarity Ensues.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters - Not as bad as some games, but there will be pilots you never use.
  • Magikarp Power - Melee builds.
  • Majorly Awesome: Walter spends much of 5 as a Major, for a period of over 10 years in-game.
    • Lynn is introduced as this, before her promotion.
  • Manipulative Bastard - Lukav in 3.
  • Masashi Hamauzu - Composed part of the music for Gun Hazard.
  • Meaningful Name - In the DS port, the wanzer of The Mole is renamed to "Trojan".
  • A Mech by Any Other Name (as described above)
  • Mildly Military: Durandal in 4. While most of its members are on secondment from their national militaries, the group's tone is fairly laid back. That doesn't make them any less dangerous, however.
  • Mini-Mecha - Most wanzers are barely larger than MBTs or IFVs, a civilian cargo truck could carry three of them easily, it's spacious cockpit took most of the torso section (judging from cut-scenes). Also, they can easily jump onto and stand on top of buildings without damaging them, which actually provide noticable terrain effects. In comparison with Human Combatant/ pilots in 3, wanzers are only 2-3 times taller. Think Arm Slaves. Subverted in Evolved, where the wanzers are at least 8 meters tall instead of being 5-6 meters tall.
  • The Mole - Zig Zags in 1st.
    • Liu and Mio of Alisa's scenario in 3 but Mio doesn't really betray your party and both of them genuinely join Kazuki's cause later on.
  • My Hero Zero - A popular Japanese wanzer type in 3.
  • Multinational Team: IMAC in Alternative is made up of members from various OAC states and the OCU. Also, Durandal in 4 is comprised of members from the EC, USN, and Zaftra.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Barghest in 5; in British mythology, a Barghest is a black ghost dog, ala Hound of the Baskervilles.
  • No Export for You - 5 was considered by nearly every series fan as THE best installment in the series. Naturally, for no discernable reason, it didn't make it out of Japan, although the fact that it's so heavily reliant on the player knowing what happened in the previous titles could have played a major role. Who wants to play a game where at best you only know half of the story? At worst, you might feel like you're just a bystander in the larger scheme of things until the last quarter of the game.
  • Not Blood Siblings - Emma and Kazuki, tied with Alisa in 3 as the knot (she's Emma's blood-tied and Kazuki's adoption-tied respectively). At the beginning, the Ship Tease is already thick (Ryogo playing Shipper on Deck notwithstanding)...but culminating with the ending of Emma-side (where Alisa and his father made Heroic Sacrifice) where this is the last piece of dialogue:

 Emma: This is where we were born. And where we grew up together. I only have good memories of this place. We were a true family.

Kazuki: A true family...

Emma: I'll come back here when everything is done.

Kazuki: We'll do that... with a new family.

  • Not So Stoic: Lynn freaks out when Walter is badly wounded after Taking the Bullet for her in Cambodia.
  • Older Than They Look - Koichi Sakata in 1st is 28.
  • Our Presidents Are Different - President Moss Orwen of Gun Hazard is a Badass President who is willing to give it all away if that's what it takes to save his country.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child - BD B-Type device = computer devices using human brains for computing and processing power.
  • Precision F-Strike - "Why are you such a bitch?" in 3. Funny because random.
  • Psycho for Hire - Every member of Apollo's Chariot in Evolved. Every. Last. One. Of them.
  • Punch Clock Villain
  • Real Men Wear Pink - You can go through the whole game with your wanzer painted Hot Pink.
  • Real Robot - Wanzers are nice and fragile. It's not unusual to have one destroyed with a single lucky shot.
    • In This video of the 5 intro, a few wanzers get nicely butchered by the chain gun of an attack helicopter.
  • Redshirt Army - In Olson's words from 1st, the OCU "couldn't fight its way out of a paper bag", so they need mercenaries (read: you) to do all the heavy fighting. Turns out to be subverted in the end. The OCU won the war because of its tank squadrons, not the Canyon Crows.
    • Why are we trusting the word of a single shifty-looking guy?
  • Robot Buddy - An Easter Egg in Gun Hazard.
  • Save Scumming - In the Arena (at least in 2089: Border of Madness, 1st, and 5) your return on your bet depends on the difficulty of the fight, and thus you need lopsided (against you) fights in order to make a profit, but your whole bet amount is forfeited if you lose. For example in 1st, if you bet 500 Huffman dollars against an opponent with difficulty 1.50 then you lose 500 Huffman dollars if you lose, but you only gain 250 Huffman dollars if you win. When a single high-risk loss can wipe out a grinding streak's worth of revenue, you need this.
    • As with turn-based tactics games that allow saves during combat this is a good idea, especially when the loss of both arms (and thus all weapons) combined with lack of ready access to a supply truck can cause a wanzer pilot to miss out on EXP.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale - Apparently nobody at Square knew the lack of feasibility in making an orbital elevator a couple of kilometers wide when designing Atlas for Gun Hazard. Then again, considering its true purpose...
    • This seems to be a recurring issue if Evolved is any indication. Vritra is of impractical dimensions and construction for what amounts to a Kill Sat.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge - Considering you can choose what weapons you equip, what parts you use, and how many units you deploy (up to a scenario's max), it's rather like they're just asking you to take one.
  • Sequel First: 3 was the series debut outside of Japan.
  • Sequence Breaking: A minor yet comedic example in 3. If you happen to download the Nagoya Sewers map before you discover the password to download it, Kazuki questions it.

 Kazuki: Ryogo, how do you know the password?

Ryogo: Wouldn't you like to know?

  • Sequential Boss - The Vampires in the 2089 games, Driscoll in 1st, Ven Mackarge in 2, Lukav in 3, and Rolf Wagner in 4. From the whole series, Morgan in the 2089 games, Online, 2, and 5!
  • Ship Tease: Between Elsa and Darril in 4. It's hinted in 5 that they may have gotten together... but if you read the novels, you'd know it's true.
    • There's Ship Tease between Lynn and Walter in 5. Their relationship gets upgraded before Walter joins Barghest, and the epilogue states they got married and have a daughter, who was most likely conceived at the time of the upgrade.
  • Shout-Out: Wanzers, being roughly 5 to 6 meters tall in most cases (excepting unique boss machines), armed with realistic weaponry based on modern technology (large scale shotguns, 20mm autocannons, etc) and frequently having wheels built into their feet in later installments is very similar to the realisim-emphasized mecha that anime Director Ryosuke Takahashi frequently used, such as in Armored Trooper VOTOMS and Blue Gender.
    • By this same shout-out it makes them similar to Gears.
    • A Wanzer squad in 3 is known as Purple Haze.
  • Shut UP, Hannibal - Kazuki's response to villains' attempts to justify their actions in 3.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil - Glaringly obvious when you realize that the USN has had some of the best parts in the game just sitting in stores in their capital city while you're stuck with your oh-so-impressive Zenith.
  • Space Filling Empire - There are six supranational unions in Front Mission that are made from and based off of real life multi-national organizations, alliances, and/or trade organizations. Most modern day countries still exist as member states within the super-states - several actually rebel against them. (Bangladesh/"Alordesh", Cambodia, Japan, Venezuela, etc.)
    • The United States of the New Continent/Unified Continental States (USN/UCS) is formed from the North American Free Trade Agreement (USA, Canada, and Mexico) and later gobbled up the rest of the Central and South America. The only parts of the "New Continent" not under their control are some of the Caribbean Islands and probably the Falkland Islands.
    • Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU) is formed from the evolution of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Japan, Australia, South Korea, and most of the islands of Oceania that the USN doesn't own.
    • The European Community (EC) is just a more centralized version of the European Union, but with every country in the European bloc. When Front Mission was first created, it was based on the real life European Community.
    • The Republic of Zaftra is formed from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which consists of most of the former Soviet Union (minus Belarus, which separated and became known as the Republic of Ruvnui).
    • Organization of African Consolidation (OAC) is an alliance between all nations of Africa created with the help of the EC and OCU, but is subdivided into five regional states. After the African Conflict, the OAC becomes fully independent of EC and OCU influences.
    • The People's Republic of Da Han Zhong (DHZ) is the post-unification of China and Taiwan.
    • Gun Hazard manages it to make things more confusing, not always stating exactly where some of the missions take place country-wise. Bergen is in Norway, Cenktrich is in Switzerland, Esporte is in Brazil, Sivilska is in Russia, Vorkuta is former russian territory now clearly separated, Al-Hari is around Saudi Arabia and the others? Beats me..
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - Roid/Lloyd/Royd's name in the original 1st, Fan Translation, and DS port, respectively.
  • Sphere of Destruction - MIDAS in 3.
  • Stop Helping Me! - Sort of. You'll be saying this to Luven if you spend too much time around him in Gun Hazard. It's also a literal command to order your computer-controlled partner to retreat.
    • - Thing is, he got to stay around you for a while because you'll be needing him for a certain mission, so he needs the exp!Good Luck!
    • Can be invoked in 5 with its LOS system. If you're standing directly between an enemy and an aggressive ally, get ready for some serious pain.
  • Stop or I Will Shoot - Variation. Natalie in 1st threatens to shoot Roid/Lloyd/Royd when he prepares to engage Driscoll against orders.
  • Straight Gay - Arguably implied with the names of Keith and Paul's wanzers, Ms. Jerry and Rainbow.
  • Subsystem Damage - The individually breakable parts of the wanzers.
  • Super Prototype: Considering the entire series, there's a lot. Though it's the enemy that get all the cool toys, you do get to unlock some of their stuff too by grinding through simulators and/or meeting special conditions in missions.
    • Lynn gets the Gracilis in 5, which packs a powerful sniper rifle and flight capabilities. It's also exclusively designed for BD S-Type pilots. Sadly, Lynn is not a playable character when she's piloting it, and the wanzer's flight mode is only seen in a cutscene.
    • The original Raven unit in 1st and Online also has flight capabilities (it only flies in Online), albeit it's limited. It's also the best wanzer you can get in 2089-II and 2, albeit you use the initial prototype model in 2089-II.
    • You also get to use an Alucard unit in 2089 when Dark Knight/Roy is revealed to actually be working for your side.
    • Remember that blue Zenith that Brainwashed and Crazy Glen uses to hand you and your team your asses and killed poor Randy with? It's the best wanzer that you can get in 5. The catch? You have be playing on Hard Mode and grind in the complete Survival Simulator at least 4 times to get the full set.
    • Style 7 in Dog Life & Dog Style pits an OCU special forces unit codenamed "Smile Dog" piloting prototype stealth wanzers codenamed Loki against a USN elite special force unit called the "Strike Eagles", which possesses 3 prototype wanzers designed exclusively for BD Doll Eye. Each of them comes with a "Save the Queen" laser drone defense system, which is controlled by Doll Eye. The strongest one, the "Queen of Madness", has destroyed entire OCU companies with its fuel-air rifle (makes nuke-like explosions) that it was known as a One-Man Army. As of the recent chapters, the Strike Eagles have a fourth prototype wanzer - a new "Queen of Madness" that uses both Doll Eye AND S-Type. It's also armed with a laser defense system mounted directly onto its armor called "Save the King", making it nearly impossible to hit when you throw in the fact S-Type units have crazy dodging abilities!
    • The Zephyr and Caballus from Evolved considering they are prototype units equipped with the E.D.G.E. system. Adela's Frost is also installed with it, but in her case it's more because of her wanzer being a Ace Custom custom build.
  • The Syndicate - "The Society" led by Henry Sherwood in Gun Hazard. A cabal of powerful and influential Europeans dedicated towards bringing about a "New World Order", starting conflicts to weaken national governments and make them ripe for control. After bringing them to control, "The Society" would then bring about "peace" in the war-torn region. In the expanded universe media, it's revealed that the organization was formed by the architects of the "Atlas" orbital elevator, after countries involved with the project had abandoned it. Dismayed at how humanity chose to throw away a chance for real peace and progress, Henry vowed revenge against the very nations that once supported "Atlas."
    • The Grimnir led by Morgan Bernard. Essentially the series antagonists, this terrorist organization has enlisted support from everywhere in the name of nationalism. Politicians, military brass, scientists, weapons developers...you name it, they've got it! Even "good" and "bad" guys are on their side: Roid/Dr. Mizette Brown/Dr. Gilmore in 1st, Ash Faruk/Ven Mackarge/Domingo Kyatt in 2, the Vampires in the 2089 games, Glen Duval in 5...they've got everyone too! Also the main instigators, directly or indirectly, of nearly every major conflict in the series from 2080 to 2112.
  • Taking the Bullet: Walter does this for Lynn during the first Cambodia arc of 5. Glen has disabled Lynn's wanzer with EMP and is about to fire; Walter shoves her out of the way and gets hit, and is injured badly.
  • A Taste of Power - Variation. You can get some parts/weapons earlier than you could normally buy them. The Egret from Mission 3 in 1st is the most obvious. (Unfortunately, these parts are usually outclassed within a few short missions.)
  • Team Mom - Natalie in 1st. Kind of.
  • Technical Pacifist - Gun Hazard's Dr. Akihito Sakata. Sure, his wanzer doesn't have any weapons mounted, but that doesn't stop him from blocking a boss's Wave Motion Gun using his Infinity Plus One Shield.
  • Technicolor Wanzers - Green, blue, red, pink, it's possible to paint your wanzers just about whatever color you want.
    • Can be taken to some ludicrous extremes in Evolved, where one may pick a pattern, a primary and secondary color, two colors of armor trim, and a decal on each part of your wanzer. Given the degree of customization, this can result in Rainbow Pimp Gear in no time flat.
  • Token Minority - Joynas Jeriaska (J.J.) in 1st: Token Black Guy. (Which makes him Keith's Black Best Friend.) Porunga is an Aboriginal.
    • Also, Hermes Sturges in 4.
      • And Russell Hamilton in Evolved. Yun Tae-Hwang is the Token Asian. Jed Gordon may count, as he's the game's Token Australian.
  • Took a Level In Badass - Lynn Wenwright in 5's backstory, who went from being a shy bookworm to a Marine Corps Special Forces and Special Operations commanding officer. She's also an BD S-Type pilot.
  • Tranquil Fury: Interestingly, the hotheaded Kazuki pulls this at the end of Emma's scenario in 3. Right before the final battle the Big Bad kills his father right in front of him. After a few moments of enraged silence, Kazuki says (without yelling like he normally would) simply: "..........NO MERCY."
  • Tsundere: Lynn Wenwright, Walter's superior officer and love interest from 5. Her dere side is very rarely seen.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future - Gun Hazard takes place around 2064 (though this game isn't canon). The series storyline starts action in 2034 with about a century of backstory - and neither has progressed far enough for wanzers to completely displace conventional military force.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon - Gun Hazard has TWO; see the entry for details.
  • The Grim Reaper: The Preatorian motif in Gun Hazard and he plays it rather well making use of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe to communicate, piloting a reaper-like wanzer and killing Society bigwigs who have failed the organization his only mistake is not wielding a scythe as a weapon but a giant rod with a iron ball on the top.
  • Video Game Remake - Two of them for the first. First, there's Front Mission 1st for the Playstation, which added the Nintendo Hard USN scenario and unlocked a couple of originally unusable Infinity Plus One Swords and marked the introduction of recurring characters Darril Traubel and Billy Renges (who would later be seen in 4). Then, Front Mission 1st DS (simply "Front Mission" for US release) is an enhanced port of the remake, featuring even more new recurring characters from the later games. Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness is also a remake of the mobile phone-only Front Mission 2089. It fuses an abridged version of Front Mission 2089-II in the plot, and a bunch of added game mechanics that makes it play closer to 4 and 5.
  • Wave Motion Gun - The majority of Gun Hazard's BFGs.
  • War Is Hell - Very much so in Dog Life & Dog Style in its first few volumes. The first volume for example shows Inuzka Kenichi completely willing to take pictures/videos in the wartorn Huffman Island, exposing a lot of dehumanising moments similar to Berserk. Also seen in the other expanded universe media.
  • Weaksauce Weakness - The extremely impressive-looking Seaking boss in 1st cannot move and fire in the same turn.
  • We Cannot Go on Without You - Anybody can be repaired after getting shot down, except for the commander units in the 2089, 1st, and Alternative. ie. Ernest J. Salinger aka Storm (2089), Royd (1st), Earl McCoy (Alternative)
  • We Can Rebuild Him - Driscoll in 1st.
  • Welcome to Corneria - One of these is a hint that Olson's a lying bastard in 1st.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist - Royce Felder, Genoce's sister in Gun Hazard, attempts to end the never-ending conflicts around the world by joining "The Society". As seen in the expanded universe, she was seduced by "The Society" and its seemingly compassionate solutions (in actuality, very violent) to bring about long-lasting peace to the world by creating a "New World Order". It doesn't succeed, and not because of the heroes!
    • Morgan Bernard, who desired a return to a nationalist-minded world and to destroy globalization, which he saw as the cause of many world problems. Since 2080 and for decades, he was very successful and took down the Republic of Zaftra (economically), OAC (regionally), and even the OCU was on the brink of destabilization. The USN and EC were also targeted, but fared better because of functional and working governments. His death in 2112 was widely celebrated by the world powers, but it took 9 more years before the Grimnir were finally eradicated.
    • Lukav in 3 is an arguable case.
    • Cornelius tries to paint himself as one of these in Evolved. It doesn't take.
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future - Averted in 3 with the downloadable Picaresque and Kaleidoscope software, who's functions are to reveal hidden layers of picture files and magnify them with perfect quality.
    • Played straight in Evolved.
  • Wham! Episode: Many. Far too many to mention.
  • White-Haired Pretty Girl: Elsa Eliane in 4, and Lynn Wenwright in 5.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity - All BD users that don't use B-Type devices suffer from this, though there are exceptions.
    • All in The Manual - Supplementary materials like 5's game guides and the expanded universe media state that the S-Type devices used by the USN Special Forces like Strike Wyverns and Barghest are advanced prototypes designed by Morgan Bernard. Unlike the early prototype used by Driscoll (made by Bernard) in 1st and the advanced prototypes used by the Vampires (also designed by Bernard) in the 2089 games, the USN version has some tweaks that allow its users to maintain sanity after augmentation. The complete S-Type device used by the Grimnir has an override feature that destroys the user's memory functions and replaces it with a copy of Morgan's persona). Glen Duval and Hector Reynolds were implanted with this model. There is also the original S-Type device only seen in the expanded universe which was designed specifically for Morgan Bernard himself.
      • 5 references this with the Neural Integrity rating for BD test subjects: A is best, and indicates the user retains almost all of their sense of self with no major side effects; G is worst, with the user having over 80% memory degradation and loss of basic living functionality (eating, walking, etc. Patients with a Neural Integrity rating of G require a special biochip in order to regain some semblance of basic life. Glen is rated G, because at the time Walter checks this information, his personality and memories have been overwritten by Morgan Bernard's persona AI. Lynn is rated A-, and suffers from 20% memory degradation, resulting in her keeping photos of her troops on a wall in her quarters so she would never forget them. Hector is rated A, and does not appear to suffer from any overt side effects...but he is still subject to memory override from the Bernard persona.
  • Yasunori Mitsuda - Composed part of the music for Gun Hazard.
  • Yoko Shimomura - Composed part of the music for 1st.
  • Younger Than They Look - Ralph in 1st is only 34.
    • By the final mission in 5, Walter and Lynn are in their late 40s but look 20 years younger. Subverted in the epilogue, where Walter is clearly an old man.
  • You Shall Not Pass - Pierre Wells in 3, and he almost says just that.
    • Rook the Detonator tries it too in Gun Hazard, his words are almost those.
    • During through the first Cambodia arc of 5, the Strike Wyverns have to recapture and defend an OCU border defense base against Cambodian insurgents who overwhelm the OCU forces, thanks to support from the Grimnir by the Cambodia-Vietnam border. After defeating several waves of wanzers and a giant tank-helicopter hybrid (the ridiculousness of which is lampshaded by Edward), Morgan and Glen show up, leading to Walter Taking the Bullet.
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