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Zone of Endless

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"A red aircraft... I've never seen a paintjob like that before."
Ulrich Olsen

Zone of Endless[1] (abbreviated as Z.O.E.) was an artificial intelligence developed by Gründer Industries. It was installed onto various aircraft and utilized in secret during the Usean Continental War in 1998.

Z.O.E. supported advanced maneuvers and was equipped with next-generation technology, including the ADF-01 FALKEN. Despite this, all Z.O.E. units were destroyed by Phoenix, and the AI is believed to no longer exist.

History

Development

The Zone of Endless project was launched in complete secrecy by Gründer Industries just after the Belkan War, as a potential solution to the Belkan Air Force's crippling lack of professional fighter pilots. The program was based off of the combat data obtained from the ADFX-02 Morgan's flight recorder following Larry Foulke's duel with Cipher.[2]

Zone of Endless is believed to be Gründer's first program of major significance following the Belkan War. In fact, high-ranking members of the company's UAV program were directly involved in Z.O.E.'s creation - including Theodor Sander, a Belkan War veteran.[3]

By late 1997, Z.O.E. had been installed onto five aircraft: an F-14D Super Tomcat, an F/A-18E Super Hornet, a YF-23 Black Widow II, an F-15 S/MTD, and a newly-developed ADF-01 FALKEN. All of these aircraft were painted in a distinctive crimson finish. Each successive model displayed improved intelligence and increasingly improved capabilities, including the use of electronic jamming and counter-maneuvers against enemy aircraft.

Usean Continental War

Through unknown circumstances, the five Zone of Endless aircraft arrived on the Usean continent. They were used to fight for the Usean Rebel Forces, though most of the rebels were unaware of their existence.[4]

All of the Z.O.E. units were encountered by Phoenix and the Scarface Squadron during their missions against the rebel forces. Most notably, the ADF-01 unit defended Fortress Intolerance in the rebels' last stand. However, Phoenix either forced all Z.O.E. units to retreat or outright destroyed them.[5]

Zone of Endless has not made any appearances since the ADF-01's destruction, leading to the belief that it no longer exists.

Gameplay Info

Ace Combat 2

See also: Ace Combat 2/Aces

Z.O.E. originally appeared as a recurring group of aces in Ace Combat 2. Destroying each of them would reward the player with a medal. The ZOE units also had generic rank callsigns.

The full list of Z.O.E. aircraft in Ace Combat 2 is as follows:

In order to take down all of the Z.O.E. aircraft, the player would have to destroy each one in the order they appear without missing any. If the player misses one, it will take the place of the next one. For example, missing the F-14A in Sledgehammer would result in the F-14A spawning again in Seagull rather than the F/A-18E. The ADF-01 will only spawn in Fighter's Honor if the player destroys all prior Z.O.E. aircraft at their first appearance.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy

Zone of Endless was changed in the remake, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy. Instead of acting as hidden aces (which the game does still feature), Z.O.E. was changed to be an integral component of the story, and featured in Mission Updates as required targets. It is impossible to miss any of the Z.O.E. aircraft in Legacy. Despite this, the player will still earn a medal for shooting down all five of them.

All five Z.O.E. aircraft are capable of performing advanced maneuvers, even the initial F-14D. In addition, the F-15 S/MTD and ADF-01 units are capable of radar jamming that will disrupt the HUD and create fake targeting boxes like those seen in Blind Spot in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. The ADF-01 is also capable of firing missiles and machine guns backwards until it is severely damaged. Finally, the four ADF-01 units at the end of Extra Mission 4 are also capable of firing the aircraft's Tactical Laser System - the first time Z.O.E. has been capable of using laser weaponry.

The full list of Z.O.E. aircraft in Legacy is as follows:

Gallery

Trivia

Zone of Endless F-35
  • A Japanese trailer for Assault Horizon Legacy features a Z.O.E. F-35C Lightning II. However, this does not appear in the final version of the game. Due to the environment in which it appears, the YF-23 may have replaced the F-35C.[6]
  • In Extra Mission 2, the ADF-01 Z.O.E. uses the ADF-01's Color 1 instead of the typical crimson red.
  • In Extra Mission 4, the four ADF-01 Z.O.E.s at the end use the ADF-01's Color 6 instead of the typical crimson red. If the player has customized Color 6, it will be reflected on the Z.O.E. aircraft.

References

  1. Zone of Endless medal, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
  2. Aces At War: A History, page 66.
  3. Ace Combat Zero Assault Records, #124 - Theodor Sander.
  4. Seagull, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
  5. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
  6. エースコンバット 3D クロスランブル 本告PV. YouTube. Uploaded on December 21, 2011.

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