Enemy Zero

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Enemy Zero
Enemy Zero cover.jpg
European Saturn cover art
Developer(s) WARP
Publisher(s) Sega
Designer(s) Kenji Eno
Composer(s) Michael Nyman
Series D
Platform(s) Saturn, Windows
Release date(s) Saturn[1]
JP 19961213December 13, 1996

EU 1997

NA 19971031October 31, 1997
Windows[2]
  • JP November 28, 1998
  • NA November 1998
Genre(s) Survival horror, stealth
Mode(s) Single player
Distribution 1 CD-ROM

Enemy Zero (エネミー・ゼロ?) is a 1996 survival horror stealth game for the Sega Saturn, developed by WARP and directed by Kenji Eno. After its Saturn release, it was ported to Microsoft Windows. It was the second game to star the digital character Laura Lewis—the first being D—who was voiced here by Jill Cunniff of the band Luscious Jackson.[3]

Gameplay[edit]

Laura acquiring a gun during an FMV sequence

In E0, gameplay sequences alternate between interactive FMV and real time exploration, both from a first person perspective. The interactive FMV component uses gameplay identical to an earlier Warp game, D.

The real time component of E0 is unique. Enemies are invisible, and location is only possible through the use of sound, with notes of different pitch helping the player find the distance and direction of enemies. Additionally, every gun in the game must be charged up immediately before each shot, and charging a shot for too long will cause the charge to dissipate, after which the charging must start over. Since all available guns have very limited range, this makes timing crucial; beginning to charge the gun too late or too soon will allow the enemy to reach Laura, resulting in an immediate game over.

In Enemy Zero, reloading the gun and moving the character around are mechanics that have been made intentionally slow,[4] which stimulates players to avoid combat and direct contact with the alien enemies as much as possible. In the early segments of the game, avoiding detection is not only recommended; it is required, since the player has no means to defend him or herself without a gun. Enemy Zero is an example of a game containing stealth elements[5] roughly two years before the release of Metal Gear Solid popularized the genre worldwide.

Plot[edit]

Aboard the AKI space craft, a space station dedicated to biological research, Laura Lewis is in a deep cryogenic slumber. The jets of the chamber dissipate as the craft's emergency systems are activated. Laura is awakened by a large detonation on her deck. Outside a door marked with the letters E0, something of great strength is trying to break free. The door is thrown down, and the hallway is filled with a bright, incandescent light, followed by a horrific growl. Pipes and the remains of the steel door shift around, as if being stepped on. Laura, unaware of what is happening, uses the video phone located above her sleep chamber to contact one of her crewmates, Parker. Laura watches in confusion as Parker looks away from the monitor, to his room's entryway doors. A screech sends him backing up to reach for his gun. Laura watches as Parker is mutilated by an unseen enemy.

Getting dressed and grabbing her gun, Laura heads out to learn what attacked Parker. As she ventures through the ship, Laura's earring-shaped "guidance system" gives her aural warnings of invisible enemies (seen escaping in the intro sequence) roaming the ship's corridors. Laura must fight these enemies, meet up with surviving crew members, and escape the AKI.

Characters[edit]

  • Laura Lewis': Copilot of the AKI space station, Laura has lost most of her memory due to a malfunction during her awakening from cryogenic sleep. She is 32 years old, American.
  • Ronny: The ship's captain. 45 years old and American. Although Ronny holds ultimate authority over shipboard activities, it's rare that he issues a direct order. He tries not to be away from his cabin during emergency situations, transforming it into a command center of sorts.
  • David Barnard: A sub-captain of the AKI, David's duties as sub-captain keep most of his time occupied, but when he has a free moment he likes to get back to his cabin to catch up on his reading. David is 31 years old and from England.
  • Kimberly Hurd: Kimberly is a 32 year old American serving as the counselor of the AKI. She is tasked with ensuring smooth relations between the crew members.
  • Parker: Parker is the AKI's engineer. A 30-year old bachelor from America; his room on the AKI was filled with beer cans and pin-up posters. Big-hearted and friendly, but has no cleaning ability. Parker is a reference to the movie Alien which also has a character named "Parker".
  • Marcus: The ship's German physician, 39-year old Dr. Marcus tends the needs of the sick and injured, provides periodic check-ups, and even does occasional psychological counseling. He presents a solid, serious image, but some of his personal effects betray a hidden side to his character.
  • George Takahashi: An eccentric 48-year old Japanese computer Engineer. Takahashi is a workaholic and perfectionist who centers his existence around his computer. When he isn't taking a cat nap, he can usually be found staring into the monitor. He makes it a policy never to answer his video phone when he's working on a project, which hasn't won him any popularity contests with rest of the crew.

Laura, David, Kimberly, and Parker reappear and have major roles in D2. Laura previously appeared in D. However, these appearances are simply reuses of the character models and do not imply any sort of continuity. For story purposes, Laura Lewis, for example, is intended to be a different character from Laura Harris from D.

Development[edit]

Enemy Zero began life on Sony's PlayStation. Irritated by Sony's failure to meet even a third of preorders for the PlayStation version of D, at a Sony conference Kenji Eno made a shocking move. Eno showed a preview of Enemy Zero. At the end of the clip the PlayStation logo appeared, but slowly transitioned into the Sega Saturn logo.[6] Despite popular opinion that the Saturn cannot handle 3D games as well as the PlayStation, Eno commented "...the PlayStation and the Saturn aren't that different, so moving it[Enemy Zero] to Saturn wasn't too difficult."[6] Fumito Ueda, director of the cult video games Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, worked as an animator on this game, before becoming a video game director.[7] The game was in development for nine months.[7]

While Eno did the music for D, Michael Nyman, composer for films such as Gattaca and The Piano, was hired to create a score for this WARP title. In an interview, Kenji Eno explained how this came about:

...I like Michael Nyman a lot, and I like his soundtracks, so I was thinking that it would be awesome if I could get him to do the music. I thought, "That would be impossible, but it'd be great if that happened." ...then, there was a big earthquake in Kobe, Japan in 1995, and Michael Nyman was donating pianos to schools in the city. When this earthquake happened, he said that he wanted to check out how the pianos that he donated were doing, so he came to Japan. When I found out that he was in Japan, I invited him back to my hotel room and tried to convince him, for six hours, to come work with me. So, at the end, Michael was like, "OK, I'll do it, I'll do it. Just let me go back to my room." So he went back exhausted after being convinced for six hours. We didn't work out terms or conditions; he just said that he would do it.[6]

Release[edit]

Released and received with much hype in Japan at the end of 1996, E0 was released in North America and Europe in 1997 under Sega Enterprises. Despite being critically panned, it was later ported to the PC by Sega.[2]

20 copies of a limited edition of the Saturn version were produced and sold for a price roughly equal to 2,000 US dollars. These special copies were hand-delivered to recipients by Kenji Eno himself.[6] The game thus holds the record for the "Most Exclusive Special Edition" of a video game, according to the 2012 Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition.[8] Due to popularity in Japan, Sega sponsored the production of a few Enemy Zero items such as the official Enemy Zero soundtrack by Michael Nyman, a model of the in-game gun, and a strategy guide.

Soundtrack[edit]

Enemy Zero
Soundtrack album by Michael Nyman
Released April 18, 1997
Recorded August 19, 1996, CTS Studio, London
September 28–30, Abby [sic] Road Studio
Genre Soundtrack, Contemporary classical, minimalism
Length 49:54
Label First Smile
Producer Michael Nyman, Kenji Eno
Michael Nyman chronology
The Ogre
1996
Enemy Zero
1997
Concertos
1997
Singles from Enemy Zero
  1. "Enemy Zero Piano Sketches"
    Released: October 25, 2006
  2. ""
    Released:
  3. ""
    Released:
  4. ""
    Released:

The music is performed by the Michael Nyman Orchestra and Sarah Leonard. "Confusion" is a modification of material from Nyman's previous score, The Ogre, while the Enemy Zero/Invisible Enemy/Battle theme were modified into portions of Nyman's score for Man with a Movie Camera.[9]

"Laura's Theme," "Digital Tragedy," and "Love Theme" are solo piano works and are included on the EP, Enemy Zero Piano Sketches, which was released eight months before the complete soundtrack, and two months before the game.

  1. Laura's Theme 4:01
  2. Confusion 3:45
  3. Aspects of Love 3:52
  4. Digital Tragedy 2:43
  5. Enemy Zero 4:20
  6. Lamentation 3:35
  7. Love Theme 3:42
  8. Digital Complex 2:48
  9. Invisible Enemy 2:13
  10. Laura's Dream 4:03
  11. Agony 3:16
  12. Malfunction 4:02
  13. Battle 3:48
  14. The Last Movement 3:44

Reception[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Saturn version release information, GameFAQs.com.
  2. ^ a b PC version release information, GameFAQs.com.
  3. ^ "Enemy Zero". IGN. September 1997. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Hardcore Gaming 101: Kenji Eno's WARP and the D legacy". HG101.net. Retrieved 2013-01-01. 
  5. ^ "Enemy Zero for SEGA Saturn (1996)". MobyGames. Retrieved 2013-01-21. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Kenji Eno: Reclusive Japanese Game Creator Breaks His Silence". 1UP.com. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  7. ^ a b "Ico designer Fumito Ueda on emotion, missing deadlines and parting ways with Sony". Edge. Future plc. 13 December 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Reeves, Ben (December 30, 2011). "Guinness World Records 2012 Gamer’s Edition Preview". Game Informer. Retrieved 31 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Pwyll ap Siôn. The Music of Michael Nyman: Texts, Contexts and Intertexts. Aldershot, Hants: Ashgate Publishing, 2007. p. 77

External links[edit]