Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (Japanese title Anubis: Zone of the Enders) The sequel to Zone of the Enders, the game was produced by, and is closely associated with, Hideo Kojima. The game is based around mecha combat. Most mecha were designed by Yoji Shinkawa, the character and mechanical designer for the Metal Gear series, with the exception of Lloyd and Inhert, who were designed by Kazuma Kaneko of Shin Megami Tensei fame. The sequel picks up where the last game left off. The controls and graphics are improved to enhance the gameplay. Although instead of going city to city like the first installment, the sequel is divided into sections, one after each boss.
A variety of weapons, enemies, and boss battles have been added to the game. The "Special Edition" PAL and NTSC-J versions of the game featured a variety of additions and extras to the game, including new VR Training options, added scenarios, more difficulties, a music video featuring a remixed "Beyond the Bounds" theme, improved anti-aliasing and graphical optimizations, and new Orbital Frames for Versus Mode, among other improvements to the game.
While the previous installment of the series covered themes such as the loss of innocence and the morality of killing, this game featured themes such as camaraderie, duty, vengeance, and mortality.
In a recent GameSpot interview with Kojima, he was asked about a third installment of the game. His response was: "I've been getting questions about that, and I've pretty much counted each one as a demand...I'll be sure to count that one too." An even more recent interview describes Hideo Kojima as saying: "I want to make it, but I'm so busy with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots that I have to focus on that right now." While no confirmations of a third game were made, the possibility of one has been brought to attention many times. Kojima has even stated that he "has an idea for the next Zone of the Enders game", which should please fans fearing that poor sales had put an end to the series. As of late 2015 Hideo Kojima has ended his employment at Konami, leaving the status of potential future games in the series unknown.
At Tokyo Game Show 2017, Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS[a] was announced, featuring enhanced graphics, 4K resolution support, VR headset support, new sound design and “next-gen surround sound”. It released on September 4th, 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows.
The game begins with Dingo Egret, the protagonist, working at a mining facility on Callisto. His digger soon detects a strange object underground. When he digs it up, he discovers that it is an Orbital Frame called Jehuty. About this time, the facility is attacked by BAHRAM forces. Dingo climbs into Jehuty and engages the attackers. During the battle, Dingo enters the BAHRAM battleship and continues the fight. He is finally subdued by a superior Orbital Frame known as Anubis, controlled by Col. Ridley (Nohman) Hardiman, leader of BAHRAM.
As a prisoner, Dingo is assaulted by Ken Marinaris, a female Orbital Frame runner that Dingo defeated in the previous battle. Nohman arrives moments later and asks Dingo to join him. When Dingo refuses, Nohman shoots him. Nohman orders Ken to dispose of the body.
Instead, Ken has Dingo revived and placed inside Jehuty. When he comes to, she explains that Jehuty is acting as a life-support system, and if he leaves Jehuty, he will die. She then tells him that she is a spy for the UNSF. Dingo escapes with a UNSF prisoner and heads for Mars.
On Mars, Dingo is attacked by several BAHRAM Orbital Frames, but he is saved by the white Orbital Frame, Vic Viper, who promptly attacks him afterwards. The battle goes to a stalemate, at which time the pilot of the Vic Viper is revealed to be Leo Stenbuck, the protagonist of the previous game. He orders Dingo to get out of Jehuty, but when Leo learns the situation, he decides to let Dingo stay in Jehuty. After several battles on Mars, Dingo is attacked by Nephtis, an Orbital Frame controlled by an A.I. program based on Viola's fighting style (another character from the first game). After defeating the A.I., Ken arrives in her Orbital Frame Ardjet; the A.I. then possesses Ardjet, forcing Dingo to disable the Orbital Frame to purge the computer virus. Ken climbs into Jehuty and, together, they seek out Lloyd, a friend of Dingo’s who can upgrade Jehuty, allowing it to stand a chance against Anubis.
After defeating Lloyd in combat, he agrees to upgrade Jehuty. While Jehuty is being upgraded, Lloyd tells Dingo about "Project Aumaan", a giant battle station capable of destroying everything around it, with a possible range of the known universe. Just as Jehuty is fully upgraded, Nohman flies in and attacks Dingo. Dingo is able to escape, but Ken is left behind, and Lloyd is killed.
Dingo meets up with Leo again, and they travel to where Aumaan is kept. Once there, Dingo and Leo do battle with Nohman (or so they think). In the middle of the battle, Leo is attacked by the real Nohman, and Dingo realizes that Ken is in the Orbital Frame that they were initially fighting. Nohman flees the facility and attempts to destroy it. Ken tells Dingo and Leo that Aumaan is actually on Phobos, the largest moon of Mars. The three manage to escape, and Dingo and Leo travel to Phobos.
On Phobos, Dingo does battle with Nohman again, this time destroying Anubis. Before his death, however, Nohman activates Aumaan. While Leo tries to slow Aumaan’s detonation at the core, Dingo throws a piece of Nohman’s Orbital Frame at the core, causing Aumaan to explode. Dingo and Leo manage to escape Phobos before the moon explodes.
- Dingo Egret
- Dingo is an ice miner on Jupiter's satellite Callisto. A former member of BAHRAM, Dingo disappeared after his unit was wiped out in a UNSF ambush. He passes his days as an ice miner around Jupiter's moons, until he finds the hidden Orbital Frame Jehuty.
- Just as he finds the Frame, BAHRAM does as well, and attacks the mining operation to retrieve it. Dingo activates Jehuty and takes it into battle, wiping out the BAHRAM drones and driving off Ardjet. He infiltrates the BAHRAM battleship, but is defeated by Anubis and Nephtis. Outside of their orbital frames, Nohman tries to get him to join him once more, but Dingo refuses and Nohman shoots him. The gun shot wounds destroy his heart and lungs.
- Dingo wakes up two months later in the cockpit of Jehuty, hard-wired into its life-support system. Ken Marinaris, claiming to be a UNSF spy, asks him to help the UNSF stop BAHRAM.
- Colonel of BAHRAM. His real name is Ridley Hardiman. He pursues the project of completing "Aumaan" -- the invincible military fortress to secure the victory of BAHRAM. He is the frame runner who pilots "Anubis". He is the main antagonist in the game.
- In truth, Nohman has no desire to liberate or conquer Mars. His ultimate plan is to destroy humanity, and the entire solar system with it. Aumaan is just the weapon to do that.
- Ken Marinaris
- Ken Marinaris is an Orbital Frame runner who claims to be a spy for the UNSF. She pilots the Orbital Frame Ardjet, and is the first to battle against Dingo and Jehuty on Callisto. When Dingo is seriously wounded by Nohman, Ken revives him and hides his body. As the BAHRAM fleet returns to Mars, she has him wired into Jehuty's systems, and convinces him to help her fight against BAHRAM. In actuality, Ken is no spy, she is in fact a normal BAHRAM runner, but found herself disagreeing with Nohman's motives and methods.
- Leo Stenbuck
- The main character of the previous game. Leo Stenbuck was a boy living on Antilia, a space colony orbiting Jupiter's moon Europa, when an attack on the colony by BAHRAM leaves most of his friends dead and himself accidentally in the cockpit of the Orbital Frame Jehuty. Leo found himself having to fight his way across the colony to the safety of the waiting UNSF ship "Atlantis", doing a lot of growing up on the way as well as forming a unique bond with Jehuty's onboard computer A.D.A.
- Two years later, Leo is still fighting for the UNSF, this time in the cockpit of the prototype LEV Vic Viper. Fighting a year long skirmish against Bahram with the crew of the Atlantis, Leo has endured much but come out an immensely strong hearted young man, his will matched only by his incredible prodigy level piloting skill which has further been honed. Upon realizing the UNSF intends with finality to send the Jehuty to Mars in order to self-destruct with the military fortress Aumaan (XY.. as stated at the cliff hanger of the previous game), Leo alters the course of the Urenbeck Catapult (a form of near light speed travel in the Zone of the Enders universe.) to send Jehuty to the ice covered Jupiter moon of Callisto, intending to hide it among the Metatron mines present on the moon. He then intended to use the rather powerful Vic Viper to fight against BAHRAM and Aumaan itself. He is surprised and angered to find Dingo with Jehuty on Mars, and quickly attacks him in an attempt to retrieve his old Frame believing Dingo to be an agent of BAHRAM.
- Viola A.I.
- An Artificial Intelligence based on the battle abilities and thought patterns of Viola, a BAHRAM officer who died fighting against Leo and Jehuty during the incident on Antilia orbital colony. She almost never speaks, and seems to have been programmed with a hatred or obsession with Jehuty. Many of her lines are repeats of the original Viola's in the first games, consolidating the fact that she is, as Dingo would describe, "a vengeful ghost".
- The AI built into Jehuty. Before the battles on Antilia, A.D.A. was cold and mostly emotionless, but quickly warmed up to her young pilot, who was a great influence on her. She is helpful to both Leo and Dingo, and will often help them in battle by managing Jehuty's weapons.
- A.D.A. cares a lot for Leo, a fact that Dingo often teases her about. In return, she teases him about his interactions with Ken Marinaris.
- When Jehuty was captured by the UNSF, A.D.A. was given a single directive: To make her way into the fortress Aumaan, and destroy it by self-destructing Jehuty. Leo hid Jehuty on Callisto in an attempt to prevent her from doing so.
- Runner who pilots Inhert. A BAHRAM scientist who conducts research on Orbital Frames. He's worked with Dingo when Dingo was a BAHRAM test pilot. While having doubts about BAHRAM's dictatorship, he does serve BAHRAM loyally. He has the key to filling in the gap between the performances of Jehuty and Anubis. Lloyd, along with Inhert, was designed by Kazuma Kaneko, of the Megami Tensei fame .
- A UNSF soldier who somehow finds his way onto BAHRAM's battleship. Ken tries to have Dingo use him as a contact with the UNSF. Once reunited with his squad on Mars he, along with Dingo and Leo, lead an attack on the BAHRAM super-fortress of Aumaan. Taper is a loyal soldier, but is probably too panic-prone for his own good.
- An Orbital Frame secretly developed on the space colony on Jupiter's orbit. It has escaped the attacks of BAHRAM 2 years ago, thanks to Leo Stenbuck. But it has been lost since. Dingo discovers Jehuty on Jupiter's satellite Callisto. It is considered the mech that controls the fate of the entire human race.
- Jehuty's normal form of attack is energy blasts fired from its hands. These can be either small bolts, a spread of beams that can hone in on the enemy, or a huge, powerful ball of energy that can be hurled at a target. Jehuty also has a switch-blade attached to its right elbow that can be swung forward over the hand for close combat. Jehuty can also download attack programs that give it additional weapons.
- When Jehuty is upgraded to Jehuty ver.2 by Lloyd, it gets even more powerful, and gains three "options", which also fire at enemies, and can help attack enemies in close combat. It can also use powerful weapons such as the Vector Cannon, and gains the ability to Zero Shift, compressing and releasing space in order to move great distances instantly.
- The name "Jehuty" is an alternate spelling of "Djehuty", the name of the Egyptian god Thoth, as derived from hieroglyphics.
- The strongest Orbital Frame controlled by Nohman. A twin mech developed along with Jehuty, it has similar characteristics. It has the ability to use an Urenbeck Catapult in order to propel itself at incredible speeds. Anubis's abilities are similar to Jehuty's through the use of burst attacks and its laser dash attack. Anubis is already programmed with Zero Shift at the end of Zone Of The Enders and is thus renowned as the most powerful orbital frame in existence.
- Orbital Frame piloted by Ken with a tough exterior armor. Ardjet is primarily armed with wisps, small remote drones that can act as missiles or grab onto an orbital frame or other target. Ardjet also has the capability to fire a very powerful beam weapon by cocooning itself in its armour. Ardjet is abandoned by Ken in a solar power plant, after Jehuty deletes its AI systems, in order to destroy the Viola AI which had infected Ardjet with a virus, that took control of the frame.
- Vic Viper
- Mech piloted by Leo. Morphs into humanoid mode and flight mode. The Vic Viper, also known as the V2, is not an Orbital Frame, but is an extremely powerful LEV, capable of nearly matching the more powerful Frames in combat. There were originally two Vic Vipers, however Rock Thunderheart, the runner of the other Viper was defeated in battle.
- Vic Viper is patterned off of the ship in the Gradius series, and its weapons reflect that. Aside from the Gauntlet subweapon, all of its weapons used in flight mode are powerups used by ships in the Gradius series (missiles, lasers, Ripple beams, and Options).
- Orbital Frame piloted by the Viola A.I. An enhanced version of the Orbital Frame Neith piloted by the original Viola.
- Lloyd's prototype frame. Unlike conventional Orbital Frames, the cockpit is at the head. The cockpit has a statue affixed to it of the Archangel Metatron .It uses magnetic rays in its power train. Its armor consists of a special gel (the black substance on the surface).
- LEV Phantoma
- A UNSF military LEV. This was previously the strongest of combat mechs until Orbital Frames were invented. After the creation of Orbital Frame it became an out-of-date design that proved a poor match for the newer, more efficient mechs.
- Zakat (Russian Закат, "Dusk") is BAHRAM's gigantic Orbital Frame for destroying bases. It played a central role in BAHRAM's overtaking of Mars. It is controlled by 4 runners. Zakat is spherical in overall shape, armed with a powerful shield and multiple beam cannons. Similar in looks and purpose to the Death Star of Star Wars.
Zoradius is an unlockable 3D remake of the original Gradius arcade video game found in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner. It can be found in the battle against Vic Viper, or by replaying the fight as an Extra mission, then pausing the game an entering a variation of the Konami Code.
In Zoradius, the player uses the Vic Viper in fighter mode, flying through a tunnel and shooting down various non-humanoid enemies from the game to gather powerups to increase the Viper's firepower and shields. Roughly halfway through the stage, the player has to fight through an area full of ring-shooting Moai heads, also a staple of the Gradius series. The game ends in a boss fight against the Train boss, also from the main game.
New Game Plus
Unlike the first game, ZOE2 allows the player to start the game over again with a saved file after completing it once. After loading a GAME CLEAR file, the player will be given the option to choose which form of Jehuty to start out with and to start out with all subweapons, including the optional MUMMY. Should the player choose Damaged Jehuty, the game will exclude a few parts from the main game to allow progress due to the exclusion of shot attacks.
- Yoji Shinkawa - Mechanical Designer
- Hideo Kojima - Producer
- Nobuyoshi Nishimura - Character Design 2D Animation Director
- Tsubasa Masao - Original Character Designer
- Shuyo Murata - Game Design/Scenario/Director
- Kazuma Kaneko - Guest Character/Mechanical Designer
The soundtrack to Zone of the Enders:The 2nd Runner was released March 19, 2003 in music|2003 on the album ANUBIS Zone of the Enders Original Soundtrack by Konami Music Entertainment. The album was composed by the same artists as the previous album, Norihiko Hibino (日比野 則彦), Maki Kirioka (桐岡麻季), Akihiro Honda (本田晃弘), Toshiyuki Kakuta (角田利之) and Shuichi Kobori (小堀修一).
The game's theme song, "Beyond the Bounds," was composed by Maki Kirioka and performed by Maki Kimura. (Lyrics) A remix of the song, titled "Beyond the Bounds (Mitsuto Suzuki 020203 Mix feat.Sana)" also included on the soundtrack, is played during a music video extra in the PAL and NTSC-J "Special Edition" versions of the game, and appears on Pop'n Music 8.
The game was praised by some players for its beautiful visuals and graphics, fast and intense boss battles, and excellent controls. The game received positive reviews from game sites, though its short length and awkward dialogue (due to poor software localization) have been criticized.
- GameSpot - 8.5/10
- IGN - 8.6/10
- GameTab - 83.58%/100%
- GameSpy - 3/5
- Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner - Konami Official Site
- Zone of the Enders: The Unofficial site - Unofficial Zone of the Enders site. Contains various information on Zone of the Enders media.*
- Bahram-Headquarters - Die einzige ZOE HP Deutschlands. Noch neu und in der Testphase.