The Game Boy Advance seems to be THE system to go to in order to play top caliber strategy games. It has seen numerous hits with Tactics Ogre, Fire Emblem, Advance Wars 1 and 2…the list goes on and on. Even dubious titles, such as Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, are still considered quality titles. When all is said and done, the GBA has received a great deal of excellent strategy titles.
Zone of the Enders: Fist of Mars is the story of an anti-Earthling ‘terrorist’ organization. It begins with you, the main character, escaping an exploding liner, utilizing a mech as an escape pod. You go on to join the terrorist organization and subsequently go on missions with them. The story itself is nice and detailed, and any description I could possibly give would be inadequate with the eloquence it is conveyed. It simply is one of those games you must play yourself in order to capture the enormity of what is occurring.
Graphically, the cut scenes that let the story play out are actually nicely drawn with great backgrounds and very detailed, anime portraits. As for the battlefield itself, it is your typical grid battlefield with a variety of terrain in which to do battle in. Cities and mountains and such impede your path, making travel more difficult. Unfortunately, it is nowhere near as beautifully rendered as other entries into the strategy genre, such as the Advance Wars series or FFTA. The mech sprites are nothing to write home about either, being mostly small and generically recolored to fit their respective teams.
The gameplay is actually kind of interesting. The Mechs possess a wide variety of attacks and abilities, each with their own range and power. It is menu based combat, but in order to land a hit, you are taken to a targeting reticle while you attempt to hit your target within a given amount of time. In order to get a crit, you must actually get the reticle dead center. I definitely loved this portion of the combat.
Once again, the sound seems to diverge in quality depending on what portion of the game you are currently occupying. During battle, there are your average explosions, gunshots, and such. These can get repetitive if you let it annoy you, but this can be said for just about any game. During the explication of the story, the attention paid to detail is top notch. For example, ambient sound effects are present if they are mentioned (if a clock ticking mentioned during conversation, you will here it in the background). Overall, the music is rather addictive too. Not top notch quality, but good.
As for replay value, well, there isn’t much, really. How many times can you play the same game with no deviations?
In the end, it all depends on whether or not you enjoy this genre in order to enjoy this title. It is definitely a worthy entry into the strategy genre, with one of the best stories I have seen to date. While it may be somewhat difficult to find, you can probably find it used for about five dollars at an EB. So what are you waiting for? Pick it up!
-Originally Posted by Getahl