I'm reading your posts as I type this, and so far it's been really good.
AC4 is the most praised game of the series for featuring what many considered the most finely tuned combat model of the series.
Not really... 5 and Zero handle better than 04's engine, in my opinion. Dogfighting in 5 and Zero is way funner, and there are... subtle nuances in handling airplanes in those games. 04 seems more simplistic in handling aircraft and stuff. Plus, the ranges are rather short.
But Ace 04 isn't awesome just because of the gameplay. It's the storyline, mang. Not as bombastic as Ace 5, not as nihilistic or pseudophilosophical as Zeroes, or as melodramatic as 6's. Simple, but presented brilliantly!
The coastal nation on the continent of Usea, Erusea was successful in developing a weapon to stop or at least seriously diminish Ulysses. The land based artillery platform Stonehenge.
I think that while Erusea was the primary contributor for the Stonehenge project (they're the only nation in the Usean continent with a penchant for obscene technologies), other nations may have contributed to the project. Wasn't Stonehenge located in the nation of San Salvacion, rather than Erusea itself?
The use of nuclear slugs meant Ulysses was partially fragmented, and some smaller pieces did make landfall.
No evidence of them being nuclear shells. Nukes are rather... sparse in the Ace Combat world.
Then again, the notion that giant railgun rounds can create massive shockwaves in their wake, so powerful as to render entire areas into no-fly zones, is a preposterous one. Nuclear-tipped railguns would make more sense.
Also, the Ace Combat world is filled with ridiculous technology. Doesn't X have "shockwave" weaponry mounted on those flying invisible battleships?
Its (Eruseas) seething hatred of the planet it saved was probably compounded by what it perceived as abandonment.
Hey, that's good. I didn't see it that way. I just thought that Erusea went "rar" and invaded other nations due to simple financial hardships post-Ulysses. The notion of Erusea feeling betrayed, after constructing the Stonehenge to save the world and only ending up being abandoned by her so-called allies (who were, to be fair, probably experiencing difficulties of their own...), and developing a seething hatred that culminated in all-out war is a good one. It provides motivation!
Why was Stonehenge so important then? Potentially because Erusea’s own Air Force…was weak.
Very astute observation. I really didn't notice this, although it did seem that Stonehenge had a disproportionate role in securing Erusean air supremacy. It's unlike the Belkans, who were renowned for their fighting aces.
Of course, it was limited. Erusea limited the Yellow Squadron to the role of defense. They would spend many of the war’s most important operations uselessly sitting at Stonehenge practicing maneuvers and mock attacks, then bragging about their “accomplishments” at the local bar the following night. Occasionally, the Yellows would be roused to defend or re-enforce a beleaguered frontline position, but their distance to the front would ensure they arrived too late or too exhausted every time.
Mmm... that's a good idea. But I'd like to think that Yellow Squad wasn't just a paper tiger. In the opening, when Erusea invaded San Salvacion to take the Stonehenge, Yellow Squad did engage with enemy fighters. I think that they were vital in Erusea's initial push, since Erusea did have shit for an air force, and thus they built up their reputation there. But with the taking of Stonehenge and the security of Erusean air supremacy, they relegated themselves to guard duties over Stonehenge.
Maybe THAT's why Yellow 13 was rather agitated when he showed his squadmates that newspaper clipping of Mobius 1. Moby was kicking and beating ass, while the Yellows were just sitting there and drinking and playing harmonicas and guitars.
After Stonehenge was blown up, the Yellows thus got called up to resume the role of maintaining Erusean air supremacy - but they were just one squad, and that really wore them down. Even before Stonehenge was blown up, they might've also been forced to participate in vital sorties beyond Stonehenge's range - such as Shattered Skies.
The Independent State Allied Forces was a multinational coalition of Allied States and Militaries of Usea and overseas states created during the Ulysses Asteroid Crisis. ISAF was a directly unified response of the planet’s governments to the threat posed by Ulysses and the likely after affects it would have on AltEarth. I’m not sure if it was explicitly mentioned that Erusea was a member of this coalition, but it would seem likely given their central role in the construction of Stonehenge. Following the landfall of Ulysses offspring, Erusea probably left ISAF citing its lack of interest in the plight Erusea’s post-collapse infrastructure.
In the game, ISAF is the organization that the player, Mobius 1, fights for. ISAF seems to be primarily based around nations in Usea but its support from overseas is apparent. How else could they retake an entire continent otherwise?
Perhaps the ISAF was more like the European Union, with Erusea being more like Russia in that regard? Not really antagonistic, not like NATO and the Warsaw Pact, but still separate and different, although equal. This separation and distance, politically, socially, and culturally, might've made it easier for Erusea to hate its neighbor nations post-Ulysses.
Or maybe the ISAF was a hastily cobbled up together alliance of the remaining nations, formed after Erusea blitzed through half the continent and took everyone by surprise. That would explain why, at the game's start, we see the ISAF flag being raised on a pole over at North Point.
Maybe that's when they finally decided on what kind of logo they'd use, and what color their flag would be.
The Cold War never happened, so the deterrent to wars on Earth, the fear of planet destroying MAD, is not present. The interesting thing is, nuclear bombs and even ICBM’s appear to exist on the world of Ace Combat and are used extensively in the “super weapons” shown in the games. They are never used a single combat system though. Nuclear warheads are always tied in conjunction with some amazingly complex launch system. I can’t think of a way to explain this, but in any case, nukes certainly aren’t the only type of super weapon on the planet.
The Cold War happened, but on continents far away from Erusea. Namely Yuktobania and Osea. MAD might not have existed due to treaties, like START and FART and so on. Also, "conventional" nukes without insane launch systems do exist, in Ace Combat Zero there are strategic bombers packing nukes.
Those nuclear warheads with amazingly complex launch systems might be superweapons beyond normal nukes in that they're designed, as superweapons, to bring about the ultimate defeat of an enemy in one single strike. Whereas in real-life, both America and Russia needed hundreds of weapons to take each other down in MAD, these superweapons could've distilled all that nuclear nastiness into one delivery system.
In Ace Combat Zero, and Ace Combat 5, the V-2 MIRV is a Belkan 'vengeance weapon'. A single missile loaded with MIRVs was supposed to cause the devastation of two global superpowers. A single mere ICBM with MIRVs, like a Peacekeeper or a Minuteman or an SS-18, they CAN'T do that shit. You need lots of them.
But maybe this V-2 superweapon, and other Ace Combat superweapons like em, were HUEGER. Like those Soviet concepts to take a HUEG Energiya space rocket or something and CRAM THEM FULL OF NUKES. Such a mad concept never made it off the drawing board.
But in the Ace Combat world, where treaties might have limited the number of nuclear weapons, such an "all in one" device might've been ideal!
So ISAF had a huge air force, because it seemed like a far more reliable means to achieve military success. From the looks of EVERY game in the series, they may well have been right. I believe the current Win to Loss ratio for the games Air Forces vs. Laser Beams of Doom and Flying Battleships is currently 7/0. That’s 8/0 if you count Ace Combat X. There is no reason for anyone in the world of AC NOT to build a hugely competitive air force unless you simply lack the capability to do so.
Tee-hee! This trope is actually subverted in Ace Combat Zero. The Belkans had Laser Beams of Doom and Flying Battleships AND were renowned for having a badass hugely competitive air force!
Too bad they got their asses kicked not just by a coalition of ragtag nations, ala ISAF, but the local superpower Osea was right next door too.
From the looks of it, ISAF did build a huge Air Force combined of many nations. The ability to have all these foreign air forces working together so fluidly is nothing short of fantastic. This indicates superior organization and logistical capabilities on ISAF’s part. So effective they were able to recover from being backed against a wall and then continue to defeat an enemy that had taken a continent.
Perhaps a lot of those airplanes could've been "lend-lease" from the other nations of the world, from the other continents not directly participating in the war. It would explain, for once, why an Ace Combat game has such a wide variety of American, NATO, European, and Russian aircraft operating in a single side.
The Eruseans might've also used a lot of the aircraft captured from defeated nations, explaining the variety of their forces.
Unlike Erusea, ISAF also placed emphasis on Naval Aviation. The 4th game featured plenty of missions starting off the decks of any one of ISAF’s carriers and its escorting task force. ISAF never showed any kind of huge naval surface force like Aegir’s. It’s likely that like any Earth Nation, they saw surface forces as largely secondary in grand Naval Strategy. Despite this, ISAF seemed very unwilling to risk their use of their super carriers close to the Usean coast early in the game. Probably because of the still strong illusion of Erusean air supremacy.
If the Eruseans were so hardcore in naval warfare, there could've been a lot of heavy off-screen anti-submarine warfare action which Moby 1 might not have been privy to.
The next Ace Combat game should let your ace pilot fly an ASW helicopter, with the primary weapon as torpedoes and the special weapon as sonar buoys!
Mobius Squadron – Unlike the Yellows, Mobius squadron was hastily formed at the start of the war to defend North Point from attack by strategic bombers. It had very light standards, emphasizing ISAF’s need for pilots of any kind at that point. It was also very poorly equipped, receiving only obsolete F4 Phantoms and F5 Tigers for defense of North Point. It was largely a ragtag group thrown together in a rush. When it became apparent that the group’s pilots were learning particularly fast, ISAF decided to move them up for strategic raids on Erusean’ facilities on the mainland. There, they demonstrated excellent flight skill and accomplishment of objectives well within allotted time. Mobius Squadron had the benefit of continuously striking lucky on up-to-date targets that were poorly defended. It quickly gained a reputation that centered around the exploits of its flight lead Mobius 1. The newspaper headlines gained by Mobius 1 were probably effective in offsetting the Yellow Squadron’s reputation. Even if Mobius Squadron was fighting an enemy with a poor understanding of Aerial Warfare.
Back then, Mobius Squadron consisted of only one plane. Only in the ultimate mission were there Mobius Twos and Mobius Threes on standby.
For all of the ISAF's ragtagness, they were remarkably well coordinated. Hell, the rest of Mobius squad could've not have Mobius callsigns, being an impromptu formation of all sorts of pilots flying under different callsigns. Only by the war's end did it get formalized into a single squad, aptly named after the Biggest Damn Hero of the war - you are Mobius 1!
I think the up-to-date targets Mobius and the ISAF received could be, in no small part, due to the active resistance going on behind enemy lines in Erusean-occupied territory. It was touched on in one of the 'cinematics' and, man, this subtle hinting of a multi-faceted war is part of what makes 04 seem so "real" when compared to the later Ace games. 5 wasn't too bad in this, but after Zero it got really bad and by Six, it descended to cartoon levels...
The hastiness of the operation meant that ISAF was unable to carry out detailed pre-landing recon. As a result, the landing forces had unwittingly walked into Erusean pre war weapons testing range for SCUDs and other low altitude ballistic missiles.
Those weren't SCUDs and that wasn't a missile testing site. Those were just normal cruise missiles, and the last one was nuclear-tipped. There were no experimental whatsits.
Yet again, the Eruseans attempted to attack ISAF forces with a hopelessly outmatched force of bombers. The difference being that the bombers Erusea would be using this time were an experimental model of supersonic bomber that would supposedly be too fast to intercept. The Eruseans were beginning to rush experimental and unfinished weapons into combat in the hopes of further delaying ISAF. The supersonic bombers ended up being rushed into service and as a result, were not capable of the impossibly high speed Eruseas Air Force had demanded of the designers. The bombers were shot down, again depriving Erusea of desperately needed air striking ability.
Those weren't experimental bombers. Those were Tu-160 Blackjacks, something in real life was made in the 1980s by the Russians. The heaviest and the fastest (?) bomber in the world, with a design similar to the B-1 Lancer of the Americans.
They're not designed to be too fast to intercept, their top speed is Mach 2 or something. They're fast, but they can be intercepted. They're not superweapons or superbombers, just supersonic ones.
Erusea’s Air Defense over the city consisted almost entirely of experimental and unfinished fighter designs that had received limited production before most of the industrial plants were wiped out. Accordingly many of these designs had impressive gadgets and capabilities, but would be offset by their rushed design, inexperienced pilots, and of course, the sheer mass of ISAF’s aerial armada.
What? What experimental fighters are there? Never heard of this before...
As ISAF began to enter the city, Erusea’s military leaders convinced the President to flee the city for safety in Megalith, where he might find a temporary location from which to continue the war with the facility’s fanatically loyal garrison. He ultimately died in the escape attempt. Erusea’s remaining military leaders would meet similar fates, dying in fruitless escapes, by their own hand, or simply surrendering.
What? I don't remember the ISAF killing the Erusean president. But, I don't know, it's been a while since I played the game.
Most of the Yellows were wiped out before getting within visual range of the city.
Where are you getting this from? The squad did make it to the city, wherein they were all shot down by Mobius 1.
To demoralize ISAF pilots, the “Erusean Air Force” was disbanded as an organization and renamed “Yellow Squadron” to create an illusion of invincibility. The remaining aircraft had all typical Erusean designations and paint schemes removed, and were repainted in the same patterns the Yellows flew with. This new force was *not* Yellow Squadron but another illusion to create fear and panic in attackers.
Hrm... I don't think so.
The narrator mentions that many of the original Yellow Squad members were sent to other squads, so that their experience could help the other shittier Erusean Air Force pilots. And that there were lots of newbies entering Yellow Squad to train with them and stuff.
It would've been a hasty and not-so-good attempt by Erusean high command to try and fix their problem of having a shitty air force, using their only decent fighter squadron as a solution for their problems. With the deaths or going away of many of the original Yellows, the Yellow Squad was now filled with recruits of varying levels of experience. Sure, they were trained by the very best, they were probably good Erusean Air Force pilots or promising ones whose skills were further honed by the original Yellows, but still.
I don't think Erusea turned its entire air force into Yellows. I think all Erusea had left of its entire air force was
Megalith could not attack ISAF’s military, and its unfinished nature meant it could not even be used against terrestrial targets. Instead, Megalith would be used against remaining fragments of Ulysses suspended in orbit directly over it. If even a handful of missiles could strike fragments of Ulysses, it could create a successful chain reaction of decaying orbits and force those fragments to rain down on the planet. The success of this attack on paper was limited by the destructive nature of Megalith’s missiles, which would destroy most of a fragment on impact. Many asteroid fragments would also have uncontrollable trajectories, for every fragment that began to fall to the planet many others would be pushed back into space, or simply do nothing. Though it was enough for Erusia, since the possibility of a fragment falling on and obliterating so much as one ISAF city was tempting.
That's just pure conjecture. While the sky WAS falling and Megalith was shooting death-missiles everywhere, the true purpose and true mechanism of Megalith was not explicitly stated in the briefings. Besides, in the final stages of the mission, Megalith did reveal ANGRY MISSILES that seemed too angry to just blow up space rocks. I think those ANGRY MISSILES were meant to make people explode. It could've been the remains of whatever strategic nuclear arsenal Erusea had. If whatever analog of the START treaties they had forced them to deactivate their missiles and store them while destroying their silos, Megalith could've been at first a storage facility for their missiles before being converted to an all-in-one launch facility too (basically acting as a launch pad for all of their missiles).
Anyway, all Megalith did was look ANGRY while shooting rockets and laser beams while the sky was falling and doomsday music played in the background while John Woo doves flew in the air! For a superweapon that did nothing, it was the angriest
of all Ace Combat.
ISAF had snuck a small commando team into the archipelago via air drop some weeks ago and this team had successfully evaded detection for some time before sneaking into the Megalith facility during the ISAF attack. The team succeeded in temporarily capturing the command center and de-securing the facility from ISAF attack aircraft before they were ultimately overrun and wiped out.
Bravo 1, that limey-accented commando, asked Sky Eye who that pilot who flew in and destroyed Megalith was and whether or not he made it out alive, if the war was over, and so on. The commandos weren't wiped out.
Its role complete, ISAF was “decommissioned” in official terms though still exists in a*de facto* sense. The organization and its facilities remain staffed to this day, and with a successful national vote and moratorium, it can be brought back into commission to deal with an international crisis.
The ISAF was still operational as of Operation Katina, and we also see Larry Foulke (Pixy from Ace Combat Zero) fighting in Delarus, an Usean nation, in some indeterminate time in the future - with an ISAF flag flying in the background.
The post-Ulysses and post-Continental War environment saw a lot of ruination and I guess there were still brushfire conflicts, Balkanization and whatnot. The ISAF still exists and still continues combat (or peacekeeping) operations to this day.
Overall, I must commend you for this great undertaking. Analyzing the whole game and commenting on it, and everything. It also makes me remember playing it fondly, and mang, it was totally awesome and I totally enjoyed writing this reply too. Your work is good, even though there are some oddities, but it's been a while since either of us played that old game, rite? This in-depth analysis is cool.
And we're such dorks.
By the way, the Ace Combat world is called Strangereal
by fans and I think some of the Ace Combat games has "Welcome to the Strangereal world" in fine print as well.
Anyway, you best check out the Electrosphere
. It's a bunch of diehard Aceheads and you'd fit right in.