Armored Core: Master of Arena
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009)|
|Armored Core: Master of Arena|
|Genre(s)||Action, third-person shooter|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
Armored Core: Master of Arena (アーマード・コア マスターオブアリーナ Āmādo Koa Masutā obu Arīna?) is a PlayStation video game. It is part of the Armored Core series. Master of Arena is the last Armored Core game to appear on the original PlayStation.
Behind the scenes in Isaac City, two corporations are embroiled in a vicious fight for control and supremacy over the general populace. During one of the most violent encounters between the corporations, a large number of innocent civilians are caught up in the chaos and perish. One survivor, a young man, loses his entire family. A few months later, the embittered survivor decides to take action and exact revenge; his target is the pilot of an AC. That pilot is simply known as "Hustler One", and he pilots the AC around which events on that tragic day played out. In order to discover more and track down his quarry, the young man seeks out recruitment with the Ravens' Nest. And so, another Raven enters the fold…
- PROGTECH - PROGTECH is a research company rapidly gaining influence and power. Their rise within the corporate ranks is largely attributed to groundbreaking achievements in AC related development. The firm's central player is a brilliant scientist and the head of R&D named Elan Cubis.
- Hustler One - The pilot of the AC, Nine-Ball, he has been the top-ranked Raven in the Arena since its inception. Not much is known about this figure, as few Ravens are willing to challenge him and he rarely accepts missions. However, one fact remains undisputed - he is a force to be reckoned with and displays few, if any, weaknesses.
- Lana Nielsen - An operator working for the Ravens' Nest. Seemingly sympathetic she seeks out the player's character after he becomes a Raven and serves as his manager, promising to eventually lead the player into a confrontation with Nine Ball. However, as the game goes on her motivations come into question and like many things in the AC universe, she's not exactly what she seems. In the final fight where the Raven fights against Nine-Ball in his final form, she appears to be the first Hustler One that you fight.
- Elan Cubis - PROGTECH's chief of R&D and a major sponsor of the player's character. Cubis suspects that all may not be right within the Raven's Nest and he wants the player's character to help him with his investigation. However, as he begins to uncover more and more information it puts himself and his Raven partner in greater and greater danger. He even eventually finds himself in Nine-Ball's crosshair.
In the original Armored Core, the player was challenged by Nine-Ball in a seemingly endless level within the Raven's Nest. The mission title held the promise of clearing the nest of floating mines, rather the nest was full of forceful ACs and several ranking Ravens to be reckoned with. There is a haunting voice in this level of gameplay, "Turn back, it's not too late.". After defeating Nine-Ball the level goes on. If the player died within this level there is an animation saying that the death was planned, an assassination.
Master of Arena took the Arena set up, which was an optional feature in Project Phantasma and made it integral to the game’s plot. In addition to playing missions to advance the storyline Arena matches were also requisite to advance the plot. Like Project Phantasma before it Master of Arena allowed players to import save data from previous games and allowed them to carry over parts and credits to help them when starting a new game. Master of Arena was the first AC game to be split onto two discs with the first disc consisting of mission and story-based Arena portion of the game. The second disc held the "EX Arena", a large-scale Arena set up that allowed a player to face off against multiple opponents in multiple Arenas and unlock even more secret parts and earn even more credits. A "Ranker Maker" even existed which allowed players to create their own Arena stable with up to 10 fully customized opponents of their own making.
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 (500 in Master of Arena), 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 (four in Master of Arena) as opposed to the current four, and was the longest range missile of the first generation (except in Master of Arena).