Armored Core (video game)
|This article does not cite any sources. (January 2009)|
European cover art
|Genre(s)||Action, third-person shooter, mecha simulation|
|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer|
In the presumably distant future, the vast majority of Earth's population is wiped out by a cataclysmic war known as the Great Destruction. The harsh conditions that result force the few remaining survivors to live underground for fifty years, during which time corporations come to power. The two largest corporations, Chrome and Murakumo Millennium, constantly battle each other for supremacy, causing significant strife among the populace. However, the competition provides endless opportunities for the Ravens, mercenaries who exist independently of the corporations. You, the protagonist, pilot an armored core (AC), which is a giant mecha robot.
- Chrome - This corporate conglomerate is based in Isaac City. It is one of the largest corporations in the world. Although they are not shy in publicizing the strengthening of their monopolistic system of exerting control over the city, few dare to speak publicly against them because of the magnitude and extent of their power. In the field of pharmaceutical research and development, they have a partnership with the leading firm "Chemical-Dyne Co."
- Murakumo Millennium - This large corporation based in GAL City is mainly involved in industrial manufacturing. Their reputation is particularly strong in AC-related products, and their technical prowess is said to exceed even that of Chrome. They are also one of the few corporations who have made clear their opposition to Chrome's plans for monopolistic rule. For this reason, military confrontations frequently occur in the vicinity of Isaac City.
- Guards - The guards are security organizations in the service of each corporation, charged with maintaining public order in the regions ruled by each corporation. While their armaments differ slightly depending on their corporate parent, they seem to be somewhat at a loss when pitted against the terrorist groups who have begun running rampant lately.
- Isaac City - The largest of all Earth's subterranean cities, Isaac City is a center of power, industry and trade. The corporation Chrome is located here.
- GAL City - Another large subterranean city and economic/industrial center. Home of Murakumo Millenium.
- Ravens' Nest - For a price, this mercenary organization will take on any mission, be it legal or otherwise. The Ravens' Nest has no discretion with regard to the content of the mission or the requesters, and no details at all are known with respect to who runs it or how it came to be.
- Ravens - These are the mercenaries affiliated with the Ravens' Nest. Once one registers as a Raven with the Ravens' Nest, their private computer network is used to dispatch missions, buy or sell AC parts and the like. This affiliation to the Nest, however, places no restrictions on the Ravens.
- MT/AC - As mankind moved underground, one pressing societal need was to improve the efficiency and performance of machines. A rapidly developing robot technology called Muscle Tracer (MT) technology permeated society. The MT technology advanced steadily until a breakthrough was achieved with the establishment of the standard "core concept."
- Centered on the basic chassis design called the "core" or the torso, other common standards were soon adopted for various parts to be attached to the core. With the birth of a standard that permitted adaptations to various circumstances, the scope of activities of the MT was expanded even further. Naturally, the first applications were adopted along military avenues. As corporations vied for ownership of the CMT (Cored MT) and strengthened their armaments, people began referring to such heavily armed and modified MTs as Armored Cores (ACs).
The game starts with the player engaging in a test to become part of the "Raven's Nest". It simply involves destroying two Muscle Tracers (MTs), before being destroyed oneself. Upon passing this test, the player receives mission requests from corporations and other groups. Missions generally pay higher as difficulty increases. Depending on which missions are chosen, the story progresses differently. The player can also read mail from various senders, and observe the rankings, which are based on mission success rates.
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.
This version of Armored Core utilizes the "Human Plus" concept where humans were altered by Murakumo in order to make them more effective. Unlocking the ability required players to purposely lose missions until they had acquired a significant debt (-50,000 credits). The maximum number of plussings hovering around 9 times, the skills acquired range anywhere from gridded radar showing colored dots for elevation differences (or not even requiring a head that has built in radar) to being able to fire shoulder mounted cannons while in full bipedal motion. The more bizarre effects would be the ability to fire plasma bursts from the laser blade and having increased effective generator power.
Successfully becoming "Human Plus" takes the player back to the beginning of the storyline along with their current Armored Core unit as well as their full inventory of purchased AC components, and with one of the "Human Plus" upgrades.