Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Marz
|Cyber Troopers Virtual-On MARZ|
North American (English dub) coverart for the game.
|Release date(s)||PlayStation 2
|Mode(s)||Single player/ Multi-player|
Cyber Troopers Virtual-On MARZ (電脳戦機バーチャロン マーズ Dennō Senki Bācharon Māzu?) is an action-adventure game which was first released on the PlayStation 2 in North America and Japan, with no European release. Marz is designed on the basic gameplay rules of Virtual-On Force, and uses most of the assets from Force, ranging from the stages down to the Virtuaroids. It can be considered a spiritual home console version of the 4-player Force. Marz was not well received, bringing many negative responses from reviewers and players alike. Some stores in North America, expecting poor sales, only sold the game to those who reserved it. The game was re-released on the PlayStation 3 in Japan on March 21, 2013 to commemorate the game's tenth anniversary.
Once the greedy corporate executives harnessed the extreme powers of their technological network, towering mechanized warriors known as Virtuaroids (VRs) quickly replaced the outdated warring methods of the past. The 49-foot destructive giants drew vast crowds and the conniving power hungry suits soon saw yet another way to exploit the mindless masses with industrialized combat performances known as Limited War. Mars was redeveloped as the battleground and hordes of people with an insatiable thirst for widespread destruction and carnage came from all over to gaze in awe as the battles commenced.
It wasn't long before the corporate climate disintegrated into rampant crime with heated battles over shares in this profitable new event. A Special Investigations Unit called "MARZ" was assembled in an attempt to restore order. Members of the elite team were given the very best machines available, rigged with lasers, rockets, and swords. The MARZ Virtuaroids came to rule the surface of Mars.
Virtual On Marz retains the Twin Stick control layout of the series, mapping the two stick to the analogue sticks on the DualShock controller, and the turbo and weapon buttons to the four L and R buttons. A new Auto controller layout was provided, as well as several variants, for players who did not like the twin stick format.
The match rules follow that of Virtual On: Force, that is, two-on-two matches with a leader on each team. Fallen teammates can be given half the other's life gauge through the "rescue tag" maneuver, and the first pair to fall loses the round.
The "Challenge Mode" is a single match setup that is akin to a stage in Virtual On: Force, with the player tagged with a NPC partner against two other NPC opponents or bosses.
New to the PlayStation 2 Marz is the "Dramatic Mode", which is a story mode with a linear sequence of missions with various objectives such as exploration, target destruction, beat 'em up and boss battles. When certain requirements are met, such as passing certain stages, or destroying a number of certain Virtuaroids in beat 'em up missions, new Virtuaroids are open for selection and play in the other modes. In this mode, some Virtuaroids are able to talk (in fact, some Virtuaroids are piloted by the named pilots, but the pilots' faces has never been revealed, thus making Virtuaroids able to talk).
A split-screen 2-player mode is available, with the choice of playing on the same team or against each other. The game does not feature any means to play with 4-players, and thus, falls short of making full use of the design behind the Virtual On: Force game system and rules.
In Japanese version, the Database mode is available, and the databases in this mode can be collected throughout the Dramatic Mode. These databases include stories, characters, and items associated with them. Some of the databases include a description of the particular subjects. This mode is not available in the English dub of the game.
The following characters are non-playable characters that appear in the single player Dramatic Mode and Challenge mode in the game, controlled by the computer. Most of the non-playable characters were created for use in the game, although some of them come from previous games with some tweaks in the Virtual-On franchises. The pilots of the Special Virtuaroids are taken from novelizations of the Virtual On franchise such as One Man Rescue and Fragmentary Passage. These Special Virtuaroids can be unlocked if a player meets certain requirements.
Apharmd The Hatter
This unit is the customized Apharmd T piloted by Sergeant Issy Hatter (a former member of SHBVD before joining MARZ), whose head is adorned with his trademark fedora. It serves as the player' partner Virtuaroid on several occasions, until the questionable orders of MARZ lead Hatter to go rogue, eventually resurfacing to rebel against his former faction. Unlike other Apharmd T models, this unit cannot use long-range weapons.
Temjin 747 "White Rainbow Knight"
This unit is a white-colored Temjin (VR-747-a8) operating under an independent organization "The Order of White Rainbow" (白虹騎士団), also known simply as "The White Knights", and piloted by Cliaria Vyestein of the organization's GHOST Fleet. The player first encounters him on the Moon, and he will later join the player as a partner in some missions. This heavily customized Temjin is the most powerful playable Virtuaroid in the game, and can be unlocked for play by completing the game on its Ultimate difficulty.
Sisters of the Rose
A team which consists of 3 customized Myzrs nicknamed Fair Bianca, Evelyn and Charlotte, each piloted by 3 female pilots; Silvie Fang, Deborah Bite and Jennifer Poison respectively. They have given the orders by Anber IV (a major shareholder of the plants and the RNA army) to provide MARZ with data concerning the Jupiter Crystals and Daimon, although their fiery tempers often lead to conflict between themselves and the equally short-tempered Sergeant Issy Hatter. This organization is commonly known as "Rose Sisters".
A powerful enemy also known as "the execution machine", the Z-gradt is a powerful 4-legged mobile fortress with a solar-cannon. It has a very high defense, and built-in beam weaponry. A large particle-cannon is constructed into the center of its frame. While the Z-gradt's color turns gold and defense is lowered when the particle-cannon is in use, the cannon itself is stronger than even that of the Raiden's laser-irradiators. It is the first boss the player encounters in the Dramatic Mode where Apharmd the Hatter was kidnapped in a desert. It reappeared again in several times, with last appearance being the guardians of Tangram Mansion. The Z-Gradt is somewhat related to MLTN and STRTS (known as Molton and Stratos in the English dub), which are two of the new bosses in the game. There is no visual differences between the Z-gradt used in the Operation Moongate version and the Marz version, only better armor and weaponry to increase immunity in the latter.
A-jim and Guerlain
These are pure V-crystal units taking the form of Virtuaroids, manipulating energy from the Reverse-Convert to craft solid bodies, with the apparent purpose of protecting the Jupiter Crystals.
This boss unit is heavily armed with four Laser irradiators and powerful homing bombs. It can even smash weaker virtuaroids with the mere use of its arms. While the armament has been confirmed by reports, the Jaguarandi's size and appearance has varied greatly. Respective eyewitnesses have claimed to have seen it as red, green, and many other colours. In both Force and Marz games, this Jaguarandi is larger than its original version appeared in the Operation Moongate, and is difficult to defeat due to its massive power.
Beyond the 8th Plant "Flesh Refoe" lies the 9th Plant "Tangram" and the "super-space-time continuum mechanism" (超時空因果律制御機構) of the same name, the final boss of the game's Dramatic Mode. It is a giant sphere made up of small triangles suspended in a mansion, and "chained" by V-crystals locked on the floor and ceiling. Tangram has a nearly impenetrable surface with the weakness being a section that opens up, revealing a red eye, before it fires a giant laser.
A mysterious yet villainous organization intent on destroying humanity using their creations such as Z-gradt, MLTN and STRTS. They eventually succeed in decimating MARZ' defenses and subduing the missing Tangram for their personal use. They are sometimes called as "DYMN", and often called "Dymon" in the English dub.
|Character name||Voice actor (Japanese)||Voice actor (English)|
|Sergeant Issy Hatter||Takenobu Mitsuyoshi (光吉 猛修)||Andrew Ceglio|
|Cliaria Vyestein "The White Knight"||Kōji Tsujitani (辻谷 耕史)||Abie Hadjitarkhani|
|Silvie Fang||Ai Orikasa (折笠 愛)||Corina Harmon|
|Deborah Bite||Eriko Kawasaki (川崎 恵理子)||Roberta Kennedy|
|Jennifer Poison||Fumiko Orikasa (折笠 富美子)||Carrie Francis|
|SHBVD Sergeant Leddon||Ai Orikasa (折笠 愛)||Craig Dickson|
|SHBVD Gill the 2nd Lieutenant||Shōzō Iizuka (飯塚 昭三)||Peter Kepler|
|DYMN/Daimon ("Dymon")||Norio Wakamoto (若本 規夫)||Kevin Blackton|
|Tangram||Kikuko Inoue (井上 喜久子)||Michelle Johnston|
|Operator/L'Ln Plajiner||Yukana (ゆかな)||Melissa Hutchison|
|Commander||Akira Negishi (根岸 朗)||Casey Robertson|
|Narrator||Fumihiko Tachiki (立木 文彦)||Roger Jackson|
- Perhaps due to the phasing out of the Dreamcast and also Sega's withdrawal from producing game consoles, the V-converters on the Virtuaroids's backs are no longer Dreamcasts, but simply a tray with an open top, with the spinning disc visible.
- The slower responses of all Virtuaroids, made to balance the four-player matches of Force, was explained in the Japanese manual as a side-effect of the V-converters being less efficient on Mars.
- The VR's Fei-Yen Knight (from Oratorio Tangram), Temjin, and Apharmd the Hatter also make appearances in the game Super Robot Wars Alpha 3 as playable characters. All three return in Super Robot Wars K accompanied with their storylines. Apharmd the Hatter also returns in Xbox 360 remake of the Force.
- Prior to the Xbox Live Arcade version of Virtual-On: Oratorio Tangram, Marz was the only home console iteration of the series to not feature the Twin Sticks controller.
- The connection between Marz and Force's gameplay can be found on the back of the Japanese version's packaging, which states the game "follows the rules of the arcade Virtual On: Force".
- The game allows the players to unlock many variations of certain types of Virtuaroids, such as Raidens with beam rifles rather than bazookas or with slightly improved performance. A majority of the unlockable machines include many variations of the VR Temjin series, although the only MBV-04 type is the "10/80 adv", a mass production variant of the MBV-04, and an advance of the systems used in the standard 10/80. Despite this however, most of the more-diverse virtuaroid variants introduced in Force were not included in the game, being replaced by recolored "commander" variants of several VRs in addition to the minorly-different Temjin models. Several Virtuaroid series, such as the Fei-Yen, Specineff-13, and BAL series only had their base models selectable. All of Angelan series from Force was replaced with an all-new Angelan unit. The VR Kagekiyo series was initially included in the game, but removed before the game was completed. These are due to storage constraints of the game as the PlayStation 2 being on early lifespan.