Another Century's Episode

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Another Century's Episode (or A.C.E.) is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover Mecha Game series made by a combination of Banpresto (most famous for the Super Robot Wars games) and From Software (makers of the Armored Core series and Metal Wolf Chaos). Simply put, think of Another Century's Episode as Super Robot Wars, but played in the style of Armored Core.

Much like Super Robot Wars, the story in each game in the series is a mashup of multiple Humongous Mecha series (mostly of the Real Robot variety), and revolves around a piece of Applied Phlebotinum which happens to fall into the hands of an Original Generation character.

The games are lauded for managing to keep (nearly) each and every playable mecha completely true to their counterparts without sacrificing gameplay or fun in the process.


The five games in the series are:


Tropes used in Another Century's Episode include:

Tropes found within the games which are separate from or contrary to the series the characters and mecha originated from include:

  • Ace Custom (Pun not intended) - Belkt's black/red Gun Ark, the "Blood Ark".
  • Adaptation Distillation
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: According to the backstory of Another Century's Episode: R, humans colonized Eria, only to be randomly attacked by automated drones they dubbed "Aggressors". Eventually, they developed a planetary shield and defense system, maintained by the Season androids. Unfortunately, for some reason or another, their leader Winter One decided that humanity had to go.
    • Until it's subverted at the last moment when Dr. Shiki, a human who secretly had his mind inserted into Winter One, takes control of the android's body and shows himself to be responsible for turning the Seasons against humanity. Winter One himself isn't above sending his "siblings" to carry out suicide attacks or outright shooting them in the back if doing so distracts the heroes from his works although this may or may not be an indirect result of Shiki's influence as well.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The "E2" energy source in the first two games, specific types of DNA in the second two
  • Attack Drone
    • In the first two games, funnels are this, but they come with an immense caveat: once launched, they remain in play, firing at whatever you're locked on to at the moment for a set time, upon which they experience Critical Existence Failure. Unlike other weapons, they cannot be reloaded.
    • Another Century's Episode 3 has funnels, as well, and the original mecha "Ixblau" has a Mecha Expansion Pack that gives it its own set of attack drones. Here, said drones return to you and recharge once they've spent an amount of time in the field, but they can also be destroyed by enemy fire... and you still can't restock them.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Master Gundam in Another Century's Episode 3: on one hand, you get to control Badass Cool Old Guy Master Asia and the machine can go into two successive super modes... on the other hand, most of its attacks either require a bit of startup time, aren't exactly effective against moving targets (which is just about everything in the game), or both.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Kamille Bidan, Quattro Bagina and Amuro Ray do this with Shinn Asuka, Kira Yamato and Athrun Zala in Another Century's Episode: R. And it is awesome.
  • Battleship Raid: The battle against Reinen's submarine in Another Century's Episode 2.
  • Big Damn Heroes - All over the place. In fact, the sole purpose Gundam Wing characters seem to exist in the latter two games is pulling these off. On the other hand...
  • Boss Rush: Two secret levels in the latter two games are devoted to this.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played with in Another Century's Episode: R: a mecha's main weapons (its primary ranged, melee and shield, if applicable) have infinite ammo, but everything else runs on "Tension", which you gain by attacking, taking damage, and from some support abilities, such as Zero's Geass
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Arguably one of the things making the games so much fun is doing everything, completing every hidden mission, saving up billions upon billions of points, all for the sake of unlocking new mecha to play with despite the fact you don't actually need them to finish the game, and in actuality, you probably won't obtain until your third or fourth playthrough.
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: Hit points in all three games is referred to as "AP" or "Armor Points", as a reflection of Armored Core's system
  • Calling Your Attacks: Domon Kasshu and Master Asia do this the most (indeed, the first time per stage that they activate their Limit Break attacks results in the action pausing while they do their famous battle chants); the Aestivalis pilots do this in Another Century's Episode 2 (only Hikaru Amano retains the habit in Another Century's Episode 3); and the Getter Team makes great use of their Hot-Blooded-ness for it.
  • The Cameo: Near the end of Another Century's Episode: R, the head of Season sics Nineball Seraph on you.
  • The Captain: Bright Noa in Another Century's Episode, Eiphar Synapse in Another Century's Episode 2, Ruri Hoshino in Another Century's Episode 3, and both Autumn-Four and Jeffery Wilder in Another Century's Episode: R.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The "Guardian Attack" in Another Century's Episode 2. The most notable thing about it is you can cause yourself a Critical Existence Failure if you use it while low on AP.
    • Another Century's Episode: R's support abilities are also this, whenever the player commands a unit to perform the action. This can get a little annoying, as it's the only way to perform a Combination Attack.
  • Character Level: Subversion: mecha gain levels instead of the pilots.
  • Charged Attack
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Gai Daigoji in Another Century's Episode 3. Despite surviving to the very end of the second game, he's nowhere in sight in the third and no explanation of what happened to him is given. Perhaps it would have been awkward for him to be in the same game as Shin Getter, considering that he's a fan of a certain Getter Robo Expy...
    • Ditto to Tak, The Hero of Another Century's Episode 2. In Another Century's Episode 3: The Final, Love Interest Marina turns up as a playable character in Tak's mecha, and the dialog before the final stage has her implying that there's someone important to her to come back to, but it's never said where he is or why he's not here himself.
  • Cloning Blues/Evil Twin: Belkt is protagonist Barrel Orland's clone in Another Century's Episode 3.
    • The Blood Ark in Another Century's Episode 3 is the Evil Counterpart to Another Century's Episode 2's Gun Ark.
  • Combination Attack: A large part of the gameplay in the latter two games revolves around filling up a "Friend Gauge" to facilitate having all three mechs in your squad unload on a single enemy, with any nearby mooks getting caught in the crossfire. There's even an entire strategy revolving around creating squads of specific mechs to unleash stronger combos.
  • Combos
  • Continuity Nod: The Ark series from Another Century's Episode 2 is powered by E2 from the first game; Another Century's Episode: R includes a reference to the Baldona Drive from Another Century's Episode 3.
  • Continuity Reboot: Another Century's Episode 2 completely rejects the canon of the first
  • Crapsack World/After the End: "Earth B" in Another Century's Episode 3, thanks to it being the home of Eureka Seven, After War Gundam X, Overman King Gainer and Getter Robo Armageddon.
  • Debut Queue: In Another Century's Episode: R, the player picks a series to start with and experiences a couple of missions purely from its source material before the "black sphere" teleports them to Eria. Shortly thereafter, they meet about half the cast; over the course of the next two or three stages, they meet the other half, which necessitates a lot of introductions and Exposition (so newcomers know what an Exodus, Britannian and Miclone are).
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Marina, as shown in flashbacks about her and Tak's past in Another Century's Episode 2.
  • Demoted to Extra: Isn't it sad, Burning? Noin? Sara? Shiratori? Tohdoh? And those are just the characters who at least got speaking roles.
    • Another Century's Episode: R has quite a bit of this, since the "black sphere" means that we see brief snippets of events in every series' home world before only the select few playables get pulled away.
    • In a larger sense, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. In the original Another Century's Episode, it played a large role in the overall plot, complete with Romefeller Foundation HQ serving as the headquarters of the UCE. In Another Century's Episode 2, the characters are mainly there to play Big Damn Heroes, without even enacting Endless Waltz's plot (Wu Fei still rebels, but without the larger backstory of the Mariemaia Rebellion it looks more like he's throwing a temper tantrum). Another Century's Episode 3: The Final takes it even further by only having Heero appear or even be mentioned out of the entire cast.
  • Desperation Attack: Several mechs in Another Century's Episode 3 have this in the form of a Super Mode.
  • Determinator: Tak's a pro at this.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Another Century's Episode 3's final boss is Belkt piloting the Shin Dragon in its reality-shattering, Jovian-moon-destroying final form.
  • Difficulty Levels: "Rookie", "Pilot", "Veteran" and "ACE".
  • Downer Ending: The first game: due to a Sadistic Choice, you're forced to massacre civilians in a "needs of the many" situation. After taking out Hokushin, you chase Char Aznable to Mars and take care of him, too. Unfortunately, the UCE Government has now labeled all of Londo Bell to be traitors and mass-murderers, forcing the heroes to go into hiding. However, the narration gives a Hope Spot, suggesting the disgraced heroes are protecting Earth from the shadows because they're heroes and that's what they do.
  • Dual Boss: Used quite often. Just to name a few:
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The custom Gespensts used by Kai, Katina and Russel in The Second Super Robot Wars Original Generation made their debut in Another Century's Episode Portable.
  • Escort Mission: Quite a few, but the most frustrating is the final Eureka Seven mission in Another Century's Episode 3, due to being surrounded on all sides by infinitely respawning Corallians who can literally start taking chunks out of the Gekko.
    • Until you realize the large Coralians on the far sides of the map are Mook Makers.
  • Evolving Attack: Melee combos in Another Century's Episode 2 evolve as you pour points into upgrading them. Combination Attacks in Another Century's Episode 3 evolve based on the amount of experience each mech participating has.
  • Facial Markings: Hard to see when he has his helmet on, but Tak has a rather intricate pattern on the right side of his face.
  • Falling Into the Cockpit: Subverted: Barrel's practically dragged into the Ixblau's cockpit and made to fight by co-pilot Fei.
  • Fan Service: A tiny bit of the regular kind in the later ones, (being an anime crossover, after all) even though you only see the characters a bit, but Code Geass fans may get a kick out of Lelouch Lamperouge squirming in terror at the fact his Geass does not work on Autumn, but in his usual fashion, he recovers quickly and figures out exactly WHY it didn't work, as well as helping to reveal said conclusion in front of everyone, all within the span of one mission.
  • Fix Fic: The series goes about happily preventing the deaths of popular characters who die in their original series, a la Super Robot Wars.
  • Forced Tutorial: Every single time you play through Another Century's Episode 2's story mode.
  • Freudian Excuse: Belkt wants to cause a double Earthshattering Kaboom because of daddy issues. His "father" Gil Baldona created the Baldona Drive and found himself Trapped in Another World. He made Belkt as a Replacement Goldfish for his son Barrel, but was going to abandon him to try to get back to his original world and son, leaving Belkt to be hunted down by the New Federation because of his ability to control the Baldona Drive. Unable to bear what a crapsack life he's leading compared to Barrel's, he decides both worlds gotta go.
  • Generation Ships: Ark Alpha houses the personal data of the humans stranded on Eria, and was designed with the intent to let them escape the planet and the control of Season.
  • Genre Shift: By the way each game represents the story: the first seems to be realistic mecha simulation, similar to Armored Core, with an anime setting. The only face the player will see during a mission is his operator and the avatar character is a nondescript pilot. Another Century's Episode 2 shifts toward anime and less of realism, with the player actually seeing the protagonist during cutscenes. Tak's solid with personality and a background story. Still, aside from a few flashbacks and mission briefings, the player will never see Tak interact with other characters outside of battles (they use voicemail to contact him personally), and there are various reports which the player can read to learn about events beyond his scope. Another Century's Episode 3: The Final slides even more towards an anime feeling, with Barrel actually talking to his fellow pilots before their sorties and everything is represented through dialogue.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Before fighting the Big Bad Dr. Shiki in Another Century's Episode: R, the heroes are treated to a long speech on the rationale behind everything that has transpired, including the Seasons' extermination campaign against human colonists on Eria: 1.) Shiki began thinking of "liberating the colonists from the misery of war" upon conclusion that breach of the Another Century's Episode system by the Aggressors might take a long time but is ultimately inevitable, 2.) defending billions of human beings is not as efficient as defending a boxed collection of sperms and eggs, and 3.) removing the human presence means no more man-made pollutions or catastrophes, thereby preserving Eria's Eco-system. He then goes on to portray his actions as an act of mercy, but, naturally, the heroes just don't at all buy into it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Marina's whole reason for being in Another Century's Episode 2 seems to be to attempt these for the sake of Tak, but he insists it would NOT make him happy.
  • High Altitude Battle: The fact there are so many of these is the reason units who, while unable to fly in their original series, have no problem doing so here.
    • Subverted somewhat in Another Century's Episode: R: when the heroes proceed to ascend towards space, Arm Slaves, Mobile Suits from Universal Century and Cosmic Era universes, Overmen and the Earth Federation Army robots break off from the party to storm an orbital elevator as a diversionary attack, rather than sitting out on actions (as most of them cannot leave planetary atmospheres under their own power, much less defend their capital ships along the way). That, and the elevator can catapult them into space to link up with the rest of the party if they do slip past local enemy defenses.
  • Idle Animation: Certain mechs in Another Century's Episode 3, but only on the ground. The Turn a Gundam will rotate its head 180 degrees for a few seconds, then sit down and somehow pull out a clothesline which it will hang between its hands.
  • Ignored Expert: Albert Reinen, who predicted an alien invasion and tried to sell the Federation on his defense system. They dismissed him, but several years later the Zentraedi come calling...
  • It's Up to You
  • Jack of All Stats: Several mobile suits from Universal Century, especially the GP01.
  • Jedi Truth: Recall Author's Saving Throw: it turns out Terada was just referring to characters, resulting in a large number of secret units being downgrades (for example, Crossbone X-1, Sousuke Sagara's M9 Gernsback, and the original Lancelot and Guren MK II), apparently because they weren't willing to expand beyond the "core characters" despite the surprising number of peripheral characters who get full voice acting AND their mecha worked into the game.
  • Joke Character: Marina's Feather Ark in Another Century's Episode 2, the RX-78-2 Gundam and the Gatchko in Another Century's Episode 3.
    • The Gespenst MK II M in the original game isn't quite a joke character, but is hands-down the weakest machine in the game, thus treated as such by the fan community; beating the game with an stock Gespenst is considered the "ironman" challenge.
    • The RX-78-2 is more a Lethal Joke Character, considering it's hideously overpowered to the point of Game Breaker: while it shoots slow for most weapons and has insanely long reload times, the damage is absolutely insane to the point where even bosses go down in a few well-placed shots.
    • Bonta-kun in Another Century's Episode: R.
      • Bonta-kun is a god compared to Luca Angeloni's RVF-25. Absolutely pitiful damage from its primary ranged weapon, an almost nonexistent melee combo string, and its only Tension ability being to futz with enemy missiles make for a difficult time fighting just about anything. It gains some useful skills in its "Super" configuration, but said configuration is only available for five levels at the tail end of the game, one of which is the Scrappy Level.
  • Kill Sat: The Guardian System for the Gun Ark and Buster Ark in Another Century's Episode 2.
  • Latex Space Suit
  • Loading Screen: Another Century's Episode: R runs a unique tutorial during the hard drive installation to keep the player busy.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Fidel Barkholz in Another Century's Episode 2. He acts as The Professor while in front of the Albion's crew and regularly sends Tak information via e-mail, but turns out to be a Treacherous Advisor and the one responsible for giving Marina the Buster Ark and sending her and platoons of Mecha-Mooks off to get in the way of the Albion's forces.
    • Dr. Shiki in Another Century's Episode: R. Although both the Doctor and the Seasons want all humans on Eria dead, they have different reasons for this - equally-twisted, but different - and Winter One wasn't very happy to find out that Shiki isn't quite dead as everyone was led to believe.
  • Mask Power: Belkt, during the first half of Another Century's Episode 3: The Final.
  • Meaningful Name: Autumn-Four's mecha is named "Alpheart" because it's the heart of the Ark-Alpha.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: Subverted in Another Century's Episode 2, wherein the Gun-Ark receives various weapon upgrades that don't alter its appearance in any way.
    • Played totally straight in Another Century's Episode 3, with the Ixblau given four expansion packs: Blade, G-force, Heavy and Telekinesis.
  • Mook Maker: Just about every enemy ship and/or base.
  • More Dakka: Several mechs shoot A LOT of stuff, but the Heavyarms in Another Century's Episode 1 and Another Century's Episode 2, and the Alteisen Reise in Another Century's Episode: R take the cake.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In Another Century's Episode: R: Arm Slave Units cannot fly (And thus, cannot use the boost gauge), but Arbalest can go to pretty much any enemy you want it to using only its knife, and it has a handy dodge roll which can be abused to gain speed.
    • Then when you get to the space stages the Arm Slaves gain flight (Presumably due to the lack of gravity), they also gain the ability to boost without using any sort of visible booster.
  • Oh Crap: While there are many times, being a cross-over series, in Another Century's Episode: R, any Armored Core player will be terrified to see Nineball Seraph appear as a cameo boss battle. Can also diverge into This Is Gonna Suck when the fight actually begins.
  • Only Six Faces: Meta-example: Barrel and Fei strongly resemble the male protagonist and Elizabeth from Persona 3.
    • That's because they share the same character designer Shigenori Soejima.
  • Ordinary High School Student: Barrel.
  • Original Generation: Tak Kepford, Marina Carson and the Ark series from Another Century's Episode 2; Barrel Orland, Fei Roshande, Belkt and the Ixblau from Another Century's Episode 3; Autumn-Four, Ark-Alpha, Alpheart and Season from Another Century's Episode: R.
  • Overly-Long Fighting Animation: Strange for the type of game, but Cybuster's specials are completely overdone in Another Century's Episode R to insane levels, espcialy Cosmo Nova.
  • Personality Chip: Autumn Four has the "Sentimental Circuit", which was damaged in the prologue, leading her to being an Emotionless Girl with occasional moments of "noise" from the Circuit (like her finding Bonta-kun adorable). As it turns out, all Season androids have the same Circuits in order to let them work better with humanity; obviously, it didn't work.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: All over the place, with the most glaring example being the Shin Getter Robo in Another Century's Episode 3: The Final. The Super Robot capable of cutting stars in half in its home series is FAR outclassed by the likes of Kira "Jesus" Yamato and Heero.
    • Justified since the Shin Dragon isn't there to pump up its energy, and the machine got trashed a few times, anyways
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Deathscythe Hell and Sandrock are the original perpetrators, since whenever they throw their weapons, they come right back, then Another Century's Episode 3 went and made weapons of that sort, able to lock-on to and destroy tens of enemies all at once.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Part of the reason Marina's so eager to go the whole Heroic Sacrifice route in Another Century's Episode 2, but Belkt does this for real at the end of Another Century's Episode 3: The Final.
  • The Remnant: Meio Plato's Ex-Giganos group in Another Century's Episode 3, brought about due to prodding from Neo-Zeon and the Martian Successors.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: All of the Original Generation characters appearing in Another Century's Episode: R, Autumn Four included.
  • The Rival: When Mikael Blanc introduces himself as a sniper, Kurz Weber cheerfully remarks "I guess that makes you my rival", which Mikael cheerfully confirms.
  • Sadistic Choice: The climax of the original game, thanks to Char: since he can't drop Axis (it having got stuck with A Baoa Qu after he tried to ram the latter as per Zeta Gundam), he instead sends an E2 bomb, which would cause MORE damage than Axis, to Earth. The problem is... it's in a civilian shuttle... which is a part of a giant fleet of refugee shuttles headed to Earth under Relena Peacecraft's auspices. This means you have to go on a rampage, destroying the ships and killing innocents because letting that bomb reach Earth would be much, much worse.
  • Saving the World: The first two games.
  • Scoring Points: To wit the points can be used in exchange for upgrades and new mecha.
  • Scrolling Text: Done in order to get the exposition out in Another Century's Episode 3: The Final.
  • Secret Character: Half the fun is collecting them all.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Belkt killed his "father" Gil before the latter could attempt to return to his home world.
  • Set Swords to Stun: Mostly only on bosses.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In Another Century's Episode: R, Zero's attempt to convince Suzaku Kururugi to join up with the "Irregulars" rather than Season includes a thinly-veiled reference to their mutual past (saying they mustn't repeat their past mistake of ignoring the situation to focus on each other), which confirms to Suzaku this Zero is indeed Lelouch.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness
  • Super Prototype: The Gun Arks and Buster Ark in Another Century's Episode 2 and the Ixblau in Another Century's Episode 3: The Final.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: Tak obtaining access to the Guardian System in Another Century's Episode 2, and Barrel learning he's the biological son of the creator of the Baldona Drive, thus able to bypass its security measures and activate it himself in Another Century's Episode 3.
  • Theme Naming: The villainous organization in Another Century's Episode: R is named "Season", and its members include Spring One, Summer One, Autumn One and Winter One. Our protagonist, however, is Autumn Four.
    • Each Season member also have huge bases called Plants: Spring has the Sea Plant, Summer has the Geo Plant, and Autumn the Sky Plant. Winter, however, uses the A.C.E. Core.
  • There Can Be Only One: The planned route of development for Tak's Gun-Ark and Marina's Buster-Ark is they become more powerful by fighting each other and will reach their full potential when one destroys the other, which will give the survivor enough power to blow away the Zentraedi fleet. Tak chooses to eschew this reasoning, opting instead to bring Marina around to his side and working together with everyone to bring down the Zentraedi. It works
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Cybuster's Ranbu No Tachi, Akaskic Buster and ESPECIALLY Cosmo Nova attacks are INSANE in Another Century's Episode: R, to the point where you wonder if these animations are instead for some new Super Robot Wars game. Cosmo Nova is pretty much guaranteed to hit For Massive Damage.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works
  • Timed Mission: Quite a few in the series.
  • Title Drop: R's plot heavily involves "System A.C.E.". In fact, it's the second-last boss. In the epilogue, Autumn prepares to seed life on mankind's new home, saying that it's the beginning of "Another Century's Episode", while speaking in Gratuitous English. However, this could be what System A.C.E. was intended for, in the first place...
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the first game, the Gespenst MK II M is almost useless. Say hello to its Mid-Season Upgrade in Another Century's Episode Portable, all three of them.
  • Turns Red: Done in the latter two, primarily by antagonists from Aura Battler Dunbine/The Wings of Rean, who grow to gigantic proportions. Belkt's Grave Ark does this by purging its extra armor.
    • A literal example in Another Century's Episode: R, as, for whatever reason, every mech turns red when using a Limit Break (and yes, they do call it that).
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The "Swift Chase" segments introduced in Another Century's Episode: R, which turn the game into a Rail Shooter with fairly bad targeting.
  • Updated Rerelease: The "Special Vocal Version" of Another Century's Episode 2 includes versions of each series' Anime Theme Song with lyrics intact (the original was strictly instrumental).
  • Villain Team-Up: Usually ends with both sides double-crossing each other.
  • The War Sequence: Done at least once every game.
  • The World Is Always Doomed
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Other than all the included series, the originals in Another Century's Episode: R have some wild colors. Autumn plays it the straightest though with light-blue hair.
  • You Killed My Father: The major reason why Barkholz is so pissed off at the UCE in Another Century's Episode 2 is that they were responsible for killing off his father Albert Reinen. So he decides that not only will he throw a monkey wrench in the UCE's plans by aiding their enemies via timely interruptions, but he'll also be the one to wipe out the Zentraedi through the Ark Project's There Can Be Only One development cycle.