Front Mission is a Squaresoft strategy/RPG for the SNES, it came out in Japan in 1995. In September of 2001, this game was fan translated to English by the rom hackers/translators known as F.H. and Akujin. Front Mission is like a combination of Shining Force and Final Fantasy Tactics. The battlefield is a 3/4 view field of decorated tiles, and the battles take place in a separate animated sequence. Each character pilots a war machine called a Wanzer. Strategy and excitement await you with Front Mission!
FRONT MISSION: GUN HAZARD for SNES
There were two Front Mission games on the SNES. The first Front Mission was popular enough that Square made a spin-off game: Front Mission Gun Hazard. It was released in Japan in February 1996. They changed the genre from strategy RPG to action RPG. For the most part, it's a platformer that plays similar to Metal Warriors. In August of 2004, Aeon Genesis translations released the fan-based translation of Gun Hazard, allowing us to finally be able to play it in English. You can learn more about this game in my Front Mission Gun Hazard shrine.
FRONT MISSION for WSC
In December of 2001, Front Mission was released for the (Japan-only) Wonderswan Color system (WSC for short). They didn't add anything new for it, it's just a port. Like with SNES ports to Gameboy Advance, the top and bottom of Front Mission's screen have been cropped for the Wonderswan Color. Click here for a few screenies.
FRONT MISSION 1st for PSX
In December of 2003, Front Mission was released for the Sony Playstation in Japan with the title, Front Mission 1st. Many things have been added and improved for it. There are new missions, new characters, new battle backgrounds, new parts/weapons, new songs, improved soundtrack, improved Wanzer graphics during shopping mode, and more! Click here for a few screenies.
Scan of box - front
FRONT MISSION for DS
In October of 2007, Front Mission was released in North America on the Nintendo DS. It has a bunch of new features. It includes several characters from "Front Mission 5: Scars of the War". Battle sequences are being tuned to use the DS's dual-screen setup for an easy view of the action. • The ability to access and utilize large mobile weapons previously seen as boss-type units in the SNES Front Mission and PS1 Front Mission 1st. Upon meeting specific requirements, the player can control mobile weapons such as the Seaking, Clinton Type, or a prototype version of the Bogomol I seen at the end of Front Mission 4. • The ability to control Front Mission characters from other installments such as Darril Traubel and Glen Duval. This feature is only limited to a select number of missions, however. • New additions to parts and weapons, some from other Front Mission installments like the Numsekar from Front Mission 5. The infamous Dragon Hand part, which could only be obtained by cheat devices, can now be obtained normally in the game. • New secret missions and areas that expand both sides further. Numerous bonuses await upon the completion of these secret missions, such as new mobile weapons or wanzers for usage. • Additional modes such as a high-speed battle mode where battles are done quickly via skipping and other time-cutting means. Difficulty settings are available upon completion of either side several times. Even more secrets and bonuses can be accessed through repeated playthroughs of either side.
FRONT MISSION 1st Remake
On February 9, 2022, Nintendo announced in their Nintendo Direct that a 3D Remake of Front Mission will be released in Summer 2022 for Nintendo Switch. On November 30, 2022, the remake was released worldwide only for the Nintendo Switch. Check out these screenshots. They speak for themselves - this is a true remake. It carries all of the features that were added in the PlayStation and Nintendo DS releases.
The story of Front Mission is one of loss, betrayal, and intrigue. Lloyd becomes the fall guy in a complex struggle for tiny Huffman Island, located in the neutral zone between the near-future superpowers, the Oceana Community Union (OCU), and the United States of the New Continent (USN). Sent on an illegal mission to scout a USN factory, Lloyd watches helplessly as his fiance, Karen, is captured in an ambush set up by Driscoll, the sinister USN commander. Driscoll destroys the factory and disappears with Karen, leaving Lloyd to take the blame. A year later, the disgraced Lloyd is recruited by Olson, the shadowy leader of OCU's "Carrion Crows" mercenary unit. Along with a ragtag band of Wanzer pilots, Lloyd takes on mission after mission and slowly unravels the secret of Karen's disappearance and Driscoll's true plans.
An early battle encounter
Front Mission carries characteristics from Final Fantasy Tactics and Shining Force. The battles take place on an imitation 3D battlefield, and battle encounters take place in a separate animated sequence. The Wanzer bodies consist of two hand weapons, two shoulder components (missile launchers, shields), and 7 body components (2 legs, 2 arms, body, computer, and backpack). I talk more about them in Tips & Strategy.
Various Wanzer abilities develop stronger as you use them. For example, if you have a Wanzer constantly attack with missiles, its long-range attack accuracy will increase, and towards the end of the game, it'll learn various targeting techniques that give you the option to choose exactly which enemy part you want to hit. If you have a Wanzer constantly attack at close range, its close-range attack accuracy will increase, and towards the end of the game, it'll learn various targeting techniques or weapon techniques (like multiple attacks).
After you win a battle, you'll almost always enter a new town afterward. Browsing towns is entirely menu-based. In them, you can go to the coliseum to wage battle for money, shop for new weapons/parts/items, manage your wanzers, save, and enter the local pub to talk with the townspeople.
Front Mission is so so good! If you're a fan of strategy/RPG's, then it is a requirement for you to play this game. The graphics are beautifully detailed and crisp. The storyline is as serious as it is exciting. The soundtrack has a few great tracks that I still listen to today. I think the fun factor and replay value are very high. The only thing that might annoy you is managing your Wanzers. In every new town you go to, you need to take the time to upgrade their 4 weapons and 7 body components - and you'll need to be doing that for each of your 8-12 Wanzers. But yet, as for me, I got so sucked into the game that the Wanzer maintenance wasn't as annoying.
I highly recommend this game. I just wish it were more popular. The fantasy genre attracts a bigger audience more than battle mechs.
10/10 AND once again, we give thanks to God that fan translators are around and willing to do their jobs, or games that in reality excel would forever fade into obscurity and nobody would ever miss them. Front Mission, the first game in its series, showcases Squaresoft's elite skills in conceptualizing and bringing concepts to reality.
It's a mecha strategy game with a big difference: The ability to customize your mecha ('Wanzers') in between each mission, with better parts and more powerful weapons and accessories. Battles are carried out on 2.5D isometric grid maps that have terrain features standing out (rather than just being a singular flat map like in Banpresto's Super Robot Wars). You can see the amount of effort put into the game whenever somebody attacks: the mechs and weaponry are smoothly animated, and each piece of weaponry/defense has its own unique appearance and animation, both in battle and in the mech construction interface.
Tie it all together with a masterpiece storyline based on <censored for spoilers>, decent sound effects, and a fitting music track, and you've got a friggin masterpiece. My God, Squaresoft, this would have sold big-time! Why didn't you translate it and export to the States, for crying out loud?! What were you thinking? You missed a friggin opportunity to haul in a hefty sum!! Why the hell did you let business sense override common sense until you've released the sequel and remake? Why does every frigging gaming company do this? Sigh.
First of all, Front Mission, as a game from Squaresoft, should exceed all expectations. No Company delivered more amazing and challenging RPGs to us, so we are eager to know.
• Story/Ambiance: FM is best described with “a classic Mecha StrateticRolePlayingGame.” It
you with dragoons and sorcerers, ogres, or mana. Instead, you as the mean character are thrown into a desperate war that segregates an island, the Huff Islands. Each character owns his Wanzer, a Mecha Robot, and from map to map you can equip more advanced and more powerful items, weapons, or armor. Unfortunately, you cannot buy new Mechas models. This is somehow constricting. But every character can advance as he gains experience for destroying enemy Wanzers, not only in his skills, they also gain special abilities. The Storyline keeps you somehow tangled, characters join and interact with the scenarios as they come. Disappointing is the fact that there are no secret missions all over, so the replay value is much less as it could be. 7.5/10.
• Graphics/Sound: FM is a late Square release from 1995, so I did expect rather good graphics and music. And Square did a good job, especially the fights are well animated for 1995, the main screens are dusky and futuristic. The music and sound effects do not break ranks. But, no good without the bad. When fighting on a map you wish sometimes you could turn the map into 90-degree steps, the detail level is much less than in other Square games. And some more animation could have been done. 7.5/10.
• Gameplay: Gameplay is the most important attribute a strategy RPG must-have. But, there are some flaws. The most annoying one is how you have to equip your Wanzers, each one by one. This can get boring because the graphics aren't this detailed that one gun might look very different from another. So you can't get much out of the Equipment part. Also, the main locations have always the same places to visit: shop, military office, bar, coliseum and set up. Only the maps differ a lot, which is most important to me. This is the part, where FM does catch up. If you like the mecha fighting to be the most important part of strategy RPGs, you should play this game. The maps, the fighting areas, are well balanced and vary, other boss Wanzers are to be detected, some missions have a time limit and a special assignment. At least, another little con, the AI. It could be better, a lot better, so FM isn't this hard and challenging as you might wish. Allover 7/10.
RPGamer interviewed Koichiro Sakamoto, the producer of Front Mission DS. Check out this interesting blurb from it. This is the first time I've heard such a big-name person in the industry acknowledge and praise a fan translation.
“When asked what made Square Enix decide to take a chance on bringing Front Mission to the US again (the fifth game in the series was notably skipped), the response was that there was one member of the team that was very passionate about the game, and wanted to give players in the United States the chance to experience. He felt that Front Mission 3 and 4 proved that there is a userbase, and since the DS is currently very popular, the thinking went, "Why not give it a try?" On a similar note, we told Mr. Sakamoto that a fan translation had been done some years ago for Front Mission 1, and asked how he felt about such efforts. The producer replied that he found them very encouraging -- it's something the developers should be doing, but because they're not, the fans are doing it instead. He stated that he'd like to be able to give something back to the fans, and would like to thank personally each of the fans that worked on the translation.”