Front Mission is a tactical role-playing game developed by G-Craft and published by Square, and was released in Japan on February 24, 1995 for the Super Famicom.
Front Mission is a tactical role-playing game developed by G-Craft and published by Square, and was released in Japan on February 24, 1995 for the Super Famicom. Front Mission is the first main entry and the first entry overall in the Front Mission series. Front Mission is part of a serialized storyline that follows the stories of various characters and their struggles involving mecha known as wanzers. A direct port of the game was released for the WonderSwan Color in Japan on July 12, 2002.
A remake of the game developed by Square Enix Co., Ltd. was released for the PlayStation in Japan on October 23, 2003, titled Front Mission 1st. It included new content and offered a new USN scenario to play through. Front Mission 1st was then ported to the Nintendo DS with more additional content and was released in Japan on March 22, 2007. Only the Nintendo DS port, renamed as Front Mission, was released in North America on October 23, 2007. This release marked the third time that a Front Mission title was localized and published outside Japan.
A further remake of Front Mission 1st, also titled Front Mission 1st, was developed and published by Forever Entertainment for the Nintendo Switch on November 30, 2022. Ports to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S were released on June 30, 2023.
Game progression in Front Mission proceeds in a linear manner: watch cut-scene events, complete missions, set up wanzers during intermissions, and sortie for the next mission. The player travels to locations on a point-and-click world map. As the player progresses through the plot, new locations are revealed on the world map. Towns and cities act as intermission points where the player can organize and set up their units for the upcoming mission. Battle zones are where the missions take place, though they become inaccessible upon the completion of a mission.
In Front Mission, players use playable units called wanzers, a term for mecha derived from the German word Wanderpanzer, or "walking tank". A wanzer differs from the typical combat unit in that it has four modular parts: body, left arm, right arm, and legs. Each part has a specific function and its own health bar. The legs parts enable movement and evasion, the arm parts are necessary to use hand and shoulder weapons, and the body part maintains the wanzer's operability. In the event the body is destroyed, the wanzer is removed from play completely. Destruction of arm and leg parts does not remove the wanzer from play, but it severely cripples its performance. While the player fights mostly wanzers, vehicles and aircraft, mobile weapon platforms are also featured. These enemy units generally have only one part, the body, and are much stronger than wanzers themselves.
In the customization aspect of Front Mission, wanzers can be customized with a variety of parts, computers, auxiliary backpacks, and weapons. The player has full control over customizing their wanzers and can do so as long as its total weight value does not exceed its given power output. To field a wanzer in battle, it must have a complete frame of parts: body, left arm, right arm, and legs. Parts with built-in weapons in the body or arm sections can also be equipped on a wanzer. Computers improve the accuracy of the weapons equipped on the wanzer. Auxiliary backpacks and weapons are not mandatory equipment to use wanzers, but are crucial in order to progress through the games. Auxiliary backpacks serve to give a wanzer special features during combat; they allow a wanzer to carry support items such as ammunition reloads and increase the power output of the unit, allowing it to carry heavier gear.
Front Mission has other notable features incorporated into the game. The Arena is a unique feature in which the player can fight AI-controlled enemy combatants to earn monetary rewards. Likewise, Front Mission sports a briefing feature that details basic information about the composition of enemy forces for the upcoming mission. Missions in Front Mission are traditional tactical RPG fare, ranging from destroying all enemy targets or protecting a particular allied target.
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