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Zone of the Enders
Preview By: Joe Rolfe
Developer:   Konami
Publisher:   Konami
Genre:   Action
# of Players:    1
Release Date:   Q4 2001
Posted:   11-09-00

With the American release still up in the air, not a whole lot of official information has been acquired about Konami’s next cinematic stunner. Led by legendary designer (and creator of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty) Hideo Kojima, Zone of the Enders (Z.O.E) looks like another visual and aural masterpiece from Konami. Z.O.E borrows heavily from anime influences, as apparent from the character and mech designs. A dramatic action adventure game in which you feel and experience the spectacular story while fighting the enemy in space with Jehuty -- a gigantic humanoid weapon "orbital frame". Can you save the space colony from the terrorist hijackers? The main story is as follows:

"The 22nd Century, Solar System. The inhabitancy area of human beings has gone way beyond the lunar orbit and has expanded to the surface of Mars. Humans have also started to reach out to Jupiter for the procurement of natural resources. The laborers work at the space colony ‘Antilia’ which is located on the satellite orbit of Jupiter. These people living at the ‘End of the World’ are referred to as ‘Enders’.

Leo Stenbuck, an Ender boy and introvert living on Antilia, was forced to accompany his bully friends to the UN Space Force (UNSF) facility to steal from the junkyard and gets caught. At the same time, the fanatical military regime of Mars known as Z.O.E. takes military action in the form of a colony hijack. Antilia instantly turns into a battlefield. The other boys lose their lives right in front of Leo. Leo cannot deny that he has thought that "now that these guys are gone, I'd never get bullied again." He then blames himself for not being able to save them. He panics and runs from the spot.

Leo ends up in a place where lies the true reason of the colony hijack and the key to the survival of mankind -- the gigantic humanoid weapon -- orbital frame – ‘Jehuty’... "

Z.O.E’s dramatic and compelling storyline intertwines with a deep action gameplay full of splendid mech battles that will make any magna otaku jump for joy. Playing the game involves battling on multiple planes (dimensions, not actual planes…) and axis’s, giving the player total control over his mech’s movements even with the controls being said to be of a complicated design. The use of the analog stuck and two buttons enables free aerial movement. The game allows the best camera angle when locking onto the enemy and not losing it from sight, enabling easy, refreshing, but strategically deep robot action. The game controls directly lead you into the story, and you will enjoy an exhilarating and dramatic VR experience. As Konami says –"This is no ‘Robot Simulator.’ This is a totally new ‘Robot Animation Simulator’."

Unquestionably, Zone of the Enders sports some of the slickest, most awe-inspiring graphics of any upcoming PlayStation 2 titles. Like it’s in-house brother, MGS II, Z.O.E will have visuals unmatched by any other game on the market. Beautiful lighting effects, detailed textures and particle effects will really separate Z.O.E from the competition. An interesting use of motion blur and the ability to keep the frame rate consistently fast shows off how robust the game’s engine is.

Zone of Enders is set to hit the Japanese market in February, so a stateside translation should appear shortly thereafter. Not much would be in the way of Konami publishing it here in the US, so just keep an eye out for this mech splendor. We’ll be sure to pass along any new information we receive on this stunning title.
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