Zone Of The Enders: Fist of Mars - GBA

Also known as: ZOE: 2173 Testament

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Viewed: 2D Combination Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Konami Soft. Co.: Winkysoft
Publishers: Konami (GB/US)
Released: 2002 (US)
7 Jun 2002 (GB)
Ratings: 11+, ESRB Everyone
Connectivity: Link Cable


Konami’s Zone of the Enders was well received on PlayStation 2, so it’s only natural that the Game Boy Advance incarnation is highly anticipated. But be warned, it’s very different from its 128-bit counterpart.

It’s 2173, and you assume the role of a boy named Cage who finds himself in control of a fully armed prototype mech. Mars has become a battlefield, and you have been charged with an anti-terrorist mission: to prevent the hijacking of a colony situated on the red planet.

Fist of Mars is undoubtedly a role-playing game of sorts. The first ten minutes of play is simply spent scrolling through page after page of dialogue, developing characters and telling you exactly what to do and what your goal is. 50 pages of text later, you encounter your first battle...

In a similar vein to Vandal Hearts and Final Fantasy Tactics, this RPG’s not-so-random battles take place on a grid-based environment and incorporate heavy elements of strategy and forward thinking into the gameplay. In a typical conflict, your ally units begin on one side of the grid and your enemy begins on the other. Controlling armies of trucks, tanks, fighters and other giant mechanised fighting machines, you must strategically position your units for maximum damage whilst leaving the enemy only a slim opportunity to counterattack. Each unit has it’s own field of movement and attack range. Once you make the decision to attack, you will engage the enemy in a 3D-like battle area. Here, you have a limited time to manually target the enemy and deal a precise blow. Positioning your fighters close to the enemy can deal greater damage, but conversely, the enemy can deal an equally painful jab.

Emerge victorious, and you will be rewarded with a variety of upgrades and experience points which help to make your attacking force even more formidable.

Technically an RPG, though more of a strategy game, Fist of Mars is a welcome addition to the Zone of the Enders Saga. We can hardly wait for the next instalment.