Front Mission (video game)

Last updated
Front Mission
Front Mission.jpg
Super Famicom cover art
Developer(s) G-Craft
Square Enix (PS1)
Publisher(s) Squaresoft
Square Enix (PS1)
Director(s) Hideo Iwasaki
Producer(s) Toshiro Tsuchida
Shinji Hashimoto
Artist(s) Yoshitaka Amano
Writer(s) Toshiro Tsuchida
Composer(s) Yoko Shimomura
Noriko Matsueda
Series Front Mission
Platform(s) Super Famicom, PlayStation, WonderSwan Color, Nintendo DS
ReleaseSuper Famicom
  • JP: February 24, 1995
WonderSwan Color
  • JP: July 12, 2002
PlayStation
  • JP: October 23, 2003
Nintendo DS
  • JP: March 22, 2007
  • NA: October 23, 2007
PSOne Classic
  • JP: November 12, 2008
Genre(s) Tactical role-playing game
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Front Mission(フロントミッション,Furonto Misshon) is a tactical role-playing game developed by G-Craft and published by Squaresoft, and was released in Japan on February 24, 1995 for the Super Famicom. Front Mission is the first main entry and the first entry overall in the Front Mission series. [1] Front Mission is part of a serialized storyline that follows the stories of various characters and their struggles involving mecha known as wanzers. [2] A direct port of the game was released for the WonderSwan Color in Japan on July 12, 2002.

Tactical role-playing gamesHow is the video l are a genre of video game which incorporates elements of traditional role-playing video games with that of tactical games, emphasizing tactics rather than high-level strategy. The format of a tactical RPG video game is much like a traditional tabletop role-playing game in its appearance, pacing and rule structure. Likewise, early tabletop role-playing games are descended from skirmish wargames like Chainmail, which were primarily concerned with combat.

Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

Japan Constitutional monarchy in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

Contents

A port of the game developed by Square Enix Co., Ltd. was released for the PlayStation in Japan on October 23, 2003, titled Front Mission First (フロントミッション ザ・ファスト). It included new content and offered a new USN scenario to play through. The PlayStation version was then ported to the Nintendo DS with more additional content and was released in Japan on March 22, 2007. Only the Nintendo DS port, renamed as Front Mission, was released in North America on October 23, 2007. This release marked the third time that a Front Mission title was localized and published outside Japan. It was released as a PSOne Classic in Japan on November 12, 2008.

Square Enix Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling over 115 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

PlayStation (console) Fifth-generation and first home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment

The PlayStation is a home video game console developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment. The console was released on 3 December 1994 in Japan, 9 September 1995 in North America, 29 September 1995 in Europe, and 15 November 1995 in Australia. The console was the first of the PlayStation lineup of home video game consoles. It primarily competed with the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn as part of the fifth generation of video game consoles.

Nintendo DS Nintendo handheld game console

The Nintendo DS, or simply DS, is a dual-screen handheld game console developed and released by Nintendo. The device released globally across 2004 and 2005. The DS, short for "Developers' System" or "Dual Screen", introduced distinctive new features to handheld gaming: two LCD screens working in tandem, a built-in microphone, and support for wireless connectivity. Both screens are encompassed within a clamshell design similar to the Game Boy Advance SP. The Nintendo DS also features the ability for multiple DS consoles to directly interact with each other over Wi-Fi within a short range without the need to connect to an existing wireless network. Alternatively, they could interact online using the now-defunct Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. Its main competitor was Sony's PlayStation Portable during the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was likened to the Nintendo 64 from the 1990s, which led to several N64 ports such as Super Mario 64 DS and Diddy Kong Racing DS, among others.

Gameplay

Game progression in Front Mission proceeds in a linear manner: watch cut-scene events, complete missions, set up wanzers during intermissions, and sortie for the next mission. The player travels to locations on a point-and-click world map. As the player progresses through the plot, new locations are revealed on the world map. Towns and cities act as intermission points where the player can organize and set up their units for the upcoming mission. Battle zones are where the missions take place, though they become inaccessible upon the completion of a mission.

Overhead view of world map during a mission Front mission super famicom gameplay.jpg
Overhead view of world map during a mission

In Front Mission, players use playable units called wanzers, a term for mecha derived from the German word Wanderpanzer, or "walking tank". [1] A wanzer differs from the typical combat unit in that it has four modular parts: body, left arm, right arm, and legs. Each part has a specific function and its own health bar. [1] The legs parts enable movement and evasion, the arm parts are necessary to use hand and shoulder weapons, and the body part maintains the wanzer's operability. In the event the body is destroyed, the wanzer is removed from play completely. Destruction of arm and leg parts does not remove the wanzer from play, but it severely cripples its performance. [1] While the player fights mostly wanzers, vehicles, aircraft, and mobile weapons platforms are also featured. These enemy units generally have only one part, the body, and are much stronger than wanzers themselves.

Modular design, or "modularity in design", is an approach that subdivides a system into smaller parts called modules or skids, that can be independently created and then used in different systems. A modular system can be characterized by functional partitioning into discrete scalable, reusable modules; rigorous use of well-defined modular interfaces; and making use of industry standards for interfaces.

Health (gaming) gaming-related attribute

Health or vitality is an attribute assigned to entities such as characters or objects within role-playing games and video games, that indicates their continued ability to function. Health is usually measured in hit points or health points, shortened to HP which lowers by set amounts when the entity is attacked or injured. When the HP of a player character or non-player character reaches zero, that character is incapacitated and barred from taking further action. In some games, such as those with cooperative multiplayer and party based role playing games, it may be possible for an ally to revive a character who has reached 0 hit points and let them return to action. In single player games, running out of health usually equates to "dying" and losing a life or receiving a Game Over.

In the customization aspect of Front Mission, wanzers can be customized with a variety of parts, computers, auxiliary backpacks, and weapons. The player has full control over customizing their wanzers and can do so as long as its total weight value does not exceed its given power output. To field a wanzer in battle, it must have a complete frame of parts: body, left arm, right arm, and legs. Parts with built-in weapons in the body or arm sections can also be equipped on a wanzer. Computers improve the accuracy of the weapons equipped on the wanzer. Auxiliary backpacks and weapons are not mandatory equipment to use wanzers, but are crucial in order to progress through the video games. Auxiliary backpacks serve to give a wanzer special features during combat; they allow a wanzer to carry support items such as ammunition reloads and increase the power output of the unit, allowing it to carry heavier gear.

There are four classes of weapons: melee weapons, short-range weapons, long-range weapons, and support fire weapons. Melee weapons are weapons used at melee range and have a tendency to strike the body part of its target. Tonfas and rods are examples of melee weapons. Short-range weapons are weapons used at close range and deal damage to all parts of a target. Machine guns and shotguns are examples of short-range weapons. Long-range weapons are weapons that have long firing ranges and are ideal for avoiding counterattacks. Bazookas are examples of long-range weapons. Support fire weapons are indirect fire weapons; they can never be counterattacked, but have limited ammunition supply and minimum firing ranges. Missile launchers are examples of support fire weapons. Lastly, shields can be equipped on wanzers to absorb some of the damage taken from incoming attacks.

Front Mission has other notable features incorporated into the game. Arena is a unique feature in which the player can fight AI-controlled enemy combatants, or face another player to earn monetary rewards. Likewise, Front Mission sports a briefing feature that details basic information about the composition of enemy forces for the upcoming mission. Missions in Front Mission are traditional tactical RPG fare, ranging from destroying all enemy targets or protecting a particular allied target.

Story

Set in 2090, the story of Front Mission takes place on Huffman Island, a fictional Pacific Ocean island roughly the size of Oahu, created by volcanic activity south of Mexico's west coast in 1995. [3] In 2002, the land mass was classified as an island, and was ceded to United Nations control. However, in 2020, the United States of the New Continent (USN), a unification of North American and South American countries, made a bid for control of the island after withdrawing from the United Nations. [4] The Oceania Cooperative Union (OCU), an alliance of Oriental Asian nations and Australia that was created in 2025, dispute this claim when the two superpowers colonized the island in 2065. [5] The tensions heat up and eventually lead to the 1st Huffman Conflict in 2070, with Huffman Island being divided into two halves at the end of the war. An uneasy peace is maintained until the Huffman Crisis in 2086, when a series of skirmishes across the island causes chaos. Tensions flare up and end in war when the OCU is blamed for inciting the Larcus Incident on June 3, 2090. [6]

Oahu The third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands and site of the state capital Honolulu

Oʻahu, known as "The Gathering Place", is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands. It is home to roughly one million people—about two-thirds of the population of the U.S. state of Hawaiʻi. The state capital, Honolulu, is on Oʻahu's southeast coast. Including small associated islands such as Ford Island and the islands in Kāneʻohe Bay and off the eastern (windward) coast, its area is 596.7 square miles (1,545.4 km2), making it the 20th-largest island in the United States.

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

United Nations Intergovernmental organization

The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.

Plot

The plot of Front Mission revolves around OCU captain Lloyd Clive. An OCU reconnaissance platoon led by Lloyd is assigned to investigate a USN munitions plant in the Larcus District, located on eastern Huffman Island. Upon reaching the premises, the platoon is ambushed by USN wanzers led by an officer named Driscoll. He quickly ambushes Karen Meure, Lloyd's fiancée, and destroys her wanzer. As the two forces engage in battle, Driscoll detonates explosives inside the plant and escapes. The USN accuses the OCU of the attack, later known as the Larcus Incident, but the OCU insists that the incident was a set-up. Both sides soon declare war, setting off the 2nd Huffman Conflict. The OCU pins the blame of the incident on Lloyd's platoon, discharging them from the military indefinitely. One year later, OCU colonel Guri B. Olson seeks him out at a wanzer fighting arena in the town of Barinden. Dangling the prospect of killing the person responsible for Karen's death, he manages to recruit Clive to the Canyon Crows mercenary outfit. With the Canyon Crows, Lloyd is assigned to help the OCU military reverse its fortunes and win the war.

In the Nintendo DS version and the PlayStation remake Front Mission First, the player can also play a second scenario revolving around USN officer Kevin Greenfield. Months before the Larcus Incident, Kevin and his teammates in the Black Hounds special forces unit are participating in an operation against a terrorist organization known as "The Star of Freedom". Upon finding out the location of their headquarters in the Andes Mountains, the Black Hounds execute an operation to eliminate the group. A grave mistake on Kevin's part gets him fired from the unit and arrested by USN MPs. In a last-ditch effort to remain in service, Greenfield accepts a post to the USN special weapons research division known as the "Nirvana Institute". He is then deployed to the Nirvana branch on Huffman Island, which is led by Driscoll. After a few operations with the division, the 2nd Huffman Conflict breaks out and Kevin is recalled to active duty. As the new leader of the Silver Lynx strike force, he aids the USN offensive to defeat the OCU and help end the war quickly.

Military police Police organization part of the military of a state

Military police (MP) are law enforcement agencies connected with, or part of, the military of a state.

Understanding Front Mission in its entirety requires playing through both the OCU and USN campaigns. They each have their own unique events and mysteries, the latter of which is fully explained only by playing the other scenario. The two scenarios also have a plot connection when a link between the Larcus Incident and the Nirvana Institute is established.

Characters

Development

Ports

Front Mission was ported to the PlayStation on November 23, 2003 with the title Front Mission First. This port included new content and offered a new USN scenario to play through. [7] Front Mission First also included new characters that would later be seen in Front Mission 4, namely Darril Traubel and Billy Renges. This port served as the basis for the Nintendo DS port, which was released in Japan on March 22, 2007, and in North America on October 23, 2007.

Simply titled Front Mission, the Nintendo DS version features battle sequences that make use of the console's dual screen setup for an easy view of the action. [8] The port also includes a number of new additions. A number of characters from other Front Mission titles were added to the game's storyline, such as Griff Burnam and Glen Duval. New parts and weapons from other Front Mission entries were added. This version also boasted nine secret missions that further expanded the storyline. [9]

Music

Front Mission's soundtrack was composed by the joint team of Noriko Matsueda and Yoko Shimomura. Shimomura's work on the soundtrack was requested by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the vice-president of Square, due to the need for a more experienced composer to work on the project along with Matsueda. While Shimomura intended to turn down this request due to her preoccupation with the Super Mario RPG soundtrack, she changed her mind after encountering the company president, Tetsuo Mizuno, and being embarrassed to decline the request in front of him. Shimomura mainly composed the action themes, as well as the opening theme, describing the soundtrack as "passionate" due to their "motivated" work. [10] The score was arranged by Hidenori Iwasaki for the PlayStation and DS remakes. [11] The promotional album, Front Mission 1st Special BGM Selection, arranged by Isawaki, was released in 2003. [12] Two songs composed by Shimomura from Front Mission, Take the Offensive and Manifold Irons, were orchestrated for the Drammatica album. [13]

Reception

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic DS: 72/100 [14]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Famitsu SNES: 31 out of 40 [15] [16]
Mega Fun86/100

The original Front Mission was a huge success in Japan, selling over 500,000 copies in the first week. [17]

On release, Famitsu magazine scored the WonderSwan version a 30 out of 40 [18] and in April 1995, Famitsu magazine gave the Super Famicom version of the game first a 9 out of 10 [19] and later an 8 out of 10 in their Reader Cross Review. [20] Mega Fun gave the game an 86 out of 100 score, and gave it a Gold for an import game. [21]

The Nintendo DS port of Front Mission received average reviews from critics. IGN's Mark Bozon rated it at 78%, commending its "options", "depth", and "customization" compared to other DS tactics games, but was disappointed at the lack of online play, calling it a pure port. [22] Front Mission received a 65 out of 100 from Nintendo Power , which called it "a stark, futuristic 'Advance Wars' without the happy combatants and vehicle variety." [23]

By the end of 2007, the Nintendo DS version sold 57,153 copies in Japan. [24]

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  24. Takahashi (2008-06-18). "Famitsu Top 500 of 2007". Gemaga.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2009-01-01.