Armored Core: Project Phantasma
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2007)|
|Armored Core: Project Phantasma|
|Genre(s)||Action, third-person shooter|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Armored Core: Project Phantasma is a 1997 video game for the Sony PlayStation. It is part of the Armored Core series. The storyline follows the original Armored Core. The game was not released in Europe.
A Raven operating out of Isaac City receives an unusual request. Not only is the request both vague and cryptic, stating simply: "Infiltrate the underground urban complex, Amber Crown,", but it also bypasses normal channels of communication and is sent directly to the Raven in question, without anyone else seeing the message. No sender name or corporate affiliation is mentioned, but the monetary reward promised is massive. Because of the amount, the mission will obviously be intensely dangerous, but Ravens aren't the type to shy away from any challenge. With interest piqued, the Raven climbs into the AC and heads toward Amber Crown.
- Amber Crown - A mid-sized subterranean complex, large parts of which have fallen into disrepair. Rumors persist that a shadowy research group, known only as the "Doomsday Organization," is taking advantage of the neglected portions of the city and using them as sites on which to build and operate their facilities.
- Doomsday Organization - Shrouded in mystery, it is rumored that this so-called research organization is the beneficiary of financial backing contributed by a conglomeration of companies and the driving force behind "Project Phantasma."
- Project Phantasma - The codename believed to be assigned to a top-secret development project geared towards creating a new type of weapons system. The little information that exists regarding "Phantasma" points to a group known as the Doomsday Organization and strange happenings in Amber Crown.
- Sumika Juutilainen - A female Raven operating in Amber Crown who was captured by the Doomsday Organization. She was supposed to serve as an unwilling test subject for the mysterious Project Phantasma, but escaped just in time, and came back for revenge. Sumika is the player’s primary client and partner throughout the game. She pilots a unique pink and white AC known as "Ariake" which is lightly armored, highly mobile and uses a light (now known as PIXIE3) machine gun as its only weapon. She is completely against the Doomsday Organization and all of its motives.
- Stinger - An "irregular" Raven working for the Doomsday Organization on Project Phantasma. Stinger serves as the game’s primary antagonist. His maniacal personality and mental instability make him a very dangerous threat. Stinger pilots a custom white, grey and purple AC called "Vixen", which uses a powerful energy rifle (now known as DRAGON) and a special dual-bladed energy sword (TAROS).
Storyline compared to other Armored Core games
Project Phantasma, in addition to Armored Core 2 is considered as being one of the most "personal" AC games. Despite its short length of its story (less than 30 missions, total) the game has some of the most defined characters in the normally detached Armored Core world. The story follows a single plotline throughout the game instead of dangling story threads connected to an overall arc like in the original Armored Core.
Sumika is present right through the game's storyline either as a friendly AC pilot or an ad hoc operator for the player's character. She is in some ways the prototype for the later operator characters like Lana Neilson, Nell Aulter, Laine Meyers, Emma Sears, Sheila Caldwell and the unnamed operators of Another Age, Nexus and Nine Breaker.
Stinger is another character that is ever present in the game from the third mission onward. He is the most recurring and most-fought villain in any single Armored Core game. Only Nineball has appeared more often, albeit across the span of multiple games. A criticism of his character however has been that he has no revealed motivation for his actions. He has not explained reasons for wanting the Phantasma technology beyond sheer self-obsessed megalomania and a lust for power.
These elements make a return in Master of Arena and Armored Core 2, but appear to slowly drop off in Another Age through Nine Breaker, which has no storyline and no characters beyond the training program's various operators and the mysterious author of the emails that open and close the game.
Project Phantasma continued from where Armored Core left off. Players could either start a new game or convert their previous save data from Armored Core. Converting data allowed a player to carry over a number of parts that would otherwise be unavailable to a player who starts a new game like the powerful "Moonlight" laser blade. Project Phantasma was the first AC game to introduce the concept of an Arena; the player was given the opportunity to face off against over 50 opponents of varying difficulty. The Arena was an optional feature, but if a player competed in the Arena they could earn extra credits and unlock new parts for their AC.
One notable aspect regarding the parts (particularly weapons) in the original Armored Core and its two PS1 expansions is that they are by far the most powerful in the series. For example, the original KARASAWA fired faster than most AST Rifles and Pulse Rifles in later games. The FINGER had 3000 ammo, and the Large Missile came in two styles, one that flew like a regular missile (discontinued after Master of Arena), and the traditional slow (though roughly twice as fast as later versions such as those in Last Raven) version. The slow version had ten missiles as opposed to the current four, and was the longest range missile of the first generation.