Saturday, July 16, 2011

THEPLAYGAMER3: ZONE OF THE ENDERS









Zone of the Enders (ゾーン オブ エンダーズ Zōn obu Endāzu?), commonly referred to by the acronym Z.O.E., is a franchise created by Hideo Kojima, owned by the video game publisher Konami, and expanded on by the animation studio Sunrise. The original Zone of the Enders is a game created for the launch of the Sony PlayStation 2, which has so far spawned a single PS2 sequel, a Game Boy Advance side-story, an OVA movie and a twenty-six episode television anime series.

Setting

The Zone of the Enders series is set in the late 22nd century. Humankind has colonized Mars, and space colonies are also set up in orbit around Jupiter. Fueling this expansion are two scientific advances: the development of the Laborious Extra-Orbital Vehicle, or LEV, a mecha used for labor and military use, and the discovery of Metatron, a high-energy ore found on Callisto.

However, those in power on Earth begin to take a dim view of the colonists of Mars and Jupiter, calling them "Enders", and imposing harsh and exploitive laws and taxes against them. Eventually, different groups on Mars begin to rise up in opposition to Earth. A new weapon given to these rebels is the Orbital Frame, a mecha making extensive use of Metatron-based technology, These Orbital Frames come to shape the destiny of Earth and its colonies, for both good and evil.

Plot

Throughout the Zone of the Enders series, a number of themes and dramatic devices show up prominently. The story usually revolves around two specific Orbital Frames, created as part of the same project. Each frame ends up on opposite sides of the conflict, and the final confrontation is between the two and their pilots. The two main Orbital Frames in each series, such as Jehuty and Anubis, are named after Egyptian gods. Also, many of the bosses and enemies in the series (like the Mummyhead), are linked to ancient Egyptian culture and myth.

The main character of the story usually comes across the Orbital Frame by accident. The main character's Orbital Frame comes with an advanced, intelligent, female A.I., who becomes a major character in her own right. A subplot throughout the series is the growth and development of the A.I., as well as her attachment to her runner. However, IDOLO reverses this concept; the Metatron's "consciousness" takes over the mind of the Frame's pilot, causing him to go insane.

There is often a clear ethical distinction between protagonists and antagonists that is determined by their respect, or lack thereof, for human life. The heroes are typically the ones who attempt to save other people and spare lives when possible including the lives of their enemies, while the villains can be identified by a disregard for human life and a willingness to sacrifice innocent people to further their cause.

Games

Zone of the Enders, the first game in the series, details the story of a boy named Leo Stenbuck, a colonist from Jupiter who accidentally finds himself piloting the Orbital Frame Jehuty.

In Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (known as Anubis: Zone of the Enders in Japan), a new pilot, Dingo Egret, finds Jehuty on the Moon of Callisto two years after the events of the first game and travels to the superweapon Aumaan in order to defeat Colonel Nohman of the BAHRAM army, who pilots Jehuty's sister craft, Anubis.

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars (known as Zone of the Enders: 2173 Testament in Japan) is a side-story released for the Game Boy Advance, about a conspiracy involving the construction of Orbital Frames for Earth. The protagonist, a young man named Cage Midwell, finds himself getting involved with a resistance organization known as BIS.

Hideo Kojima has promised that he would produce the next game in the series, Zone of the Enders 3, at an unspecified point in the future.

At E3 2011, Konami announced the 'Zone of the Enders HD Collection', a re-release of the two main Zone of the Enders games on the PS3 and Xbox 360 due out in 2012. It includes updated interfaces for the HD resolutions, redrawn art, Trophy/Achievement support, improved audio and rumble support.



Anime

Zone of the Enders: 2167 IDOLO is a prequel for the entire series, telling the story of Radium Lavans, the pilot of the first Orbital Frame. Zone of the Enders: Dolores,i is a followup to IDOLO, following the exploits of James Links, an alcoholic trucker, who, while trying to reunite with his estranged family, discovers an Orbital Frame hidden in one of his shipping containers. The frame, calling itself Dolores, seems to consider James her prince.

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