Ace Combat 04

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Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
Missing image
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies US box art

Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) Namco
Release date(s) 2001
Genre Simulation
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Everyone (E)
Platform(s) PlayStation 2

Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies is a game for the PlayStation 2 developed by Namco. It is a semi-realistic fighter pilot simulation. It is part of the Ace Combat series of games.

In Europe this game was released under the title Ace Combat: Distant Thunder.


Game premise

The player takes on the role of the top fighter pilot, Mobius 1, of the Mobius Squadron in air force of the Independent States Allied Forces (ISAF), fighting against the Erusians who have occupied almost all of the Usea continent. The Erusians have achieved supremacy via the superweapon Stonehenge, which was originally designed to destroy asteroids but is also effective against airplanes as well. Consequently, ISAF has been pushed back to the northern tip of Usea.

Between the missions the story is told through letters written to Mobius 1, from a boy whose parents were killed when a fighter jet crashed into their house. The fighter jet was shot down by Yellow 13, the Erusians top fighter pilot, and a member of their Yellow Squadron (the Erusian equivalent of the ISAF Mobius Squadron). As he is forced to move into a nearby occupied town, he befriends Yellow 13.

Game play

During the course of the game, the player has the opportunity to buy approximately 20 different planes, from those that actually exist to prototypes, and their weaponry. Every plane has two alternate looks, gained by achieving a superior, or S, ranking on a stage in hard difficulty mode, by shooting down the ace pilots which are on each stage, or by completing the challenge modes.

The difficulty mode affects how many enemies are in a stage, how smart/accurate the enemies are, how much damage the enemies can take, and how much damage the player's airplane can take. On the hardest difficulty level a single missile from the enemy will down the player's airplane, whereas on the easiest level it takes several missiles.

The player must purchase all airplanes and weapons they want to use, but only once. Identical weapons for different types of planes cannot be used interchangeably. Players gain money by destroying enemies. Once the mission objectives are complete, the player is awarded bonus money for performing above and beyond the requirements of the mission objectives. In order to purchase all planes and weapons in the game, the game must be completed at least 3 to 4 times.

The game is only semi-realistic in the sense that the abilities of the airplanes are greatly exaggerated. Some of the most noticeable issues are:

List of planes and armament

Here is a list of planes and armament in the game. Planes always have guns and missiles, and the player may choose one additional piece of weaponry at the outset of the mission. When refueling, the player can change weapons.

Name Normal Cost Alternate Cost Strengths
(Max. 20)
(Max. 20)
Guns Missiles Weaponry
F-4E 76,000 99,000 Defense (11) Speed, Air-to-Ground, Mobility, Stability (7) 650 52 Medium Unguided Bombs (6), Napalm Bombs (6)
F-5E 52,000 68,000 Stability (12) Speed, Air-to-Air, Mobility, Defense (7) 650 48 Small Unguided Bombs (12), Rocket Launcher (64)
F-16C 97,000 126,000 Air-to-Air, Mobility (12) Stability (4) 700 52 Small Unguided Bombs (14), Advanced Air-to-Ground Missiles (12)
A-10A 123,000 160,000 Air-to-Ground, Defense (20) Speed, Air-to-Air (2) 850 56 Large Unguided Bombs (12), Advanced Air-to-Ground Missiles (16), Cluster Bombs (12)
MIR-2000 111,000 143,000 Speed (15) Stability (2) 700 52 Small Unguided Bombs (16), Long-range Air-to-Ground Missiles (10)
F-14A 188,000 244,000 Air-to-Air (17) Air-to-Ground (6) 750 64 Long-range Air-to-Air Missiles (16), Medium Unguided Bombs (10)
TND-105 172,000 224,000 Defense (18) Mobility (6) 750 58 Bomblet Dispenser (12), Precision Guided Bomb (8), Long-range Air-to-Ground Missiles (12)
F/A-18C 170,000 221,000 Defense (14) Stability (10) 700 60 Medium Unguided Bombs (10), Long-range Air-to-Surface Missiles(14), Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (14)
F-15C 272,000 354,000 Air-to-Air (16) Air-to-Ground (6) 800 68 Medium Unguided Bombs (12), Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (16)
MIG-29A 259,000 337,000 Speed (16) Stability (7) 750 64 Small Unguided Bombs (18), Rocket Launcher (72)
F-117A 386,000 502,000 Defense (17) Air-to-Air (2) 650 54 Large Unguided Bombs (14), Precision Guided Bombs (14), Cluster Bombs (14)
EF-2000 351,000 456,000 Speed, Air-to-Air, Mobility (16) Air-to-Ground (7) 800 56 Advanced Long-range Air-to-Air Missiles (16), Medium Unguided Bombs (14)
R-MO1 370,000 481,000 Defense (17) Air-to-Ground (12) 800 64 Standoff Dispenser (14), Advanced Medium-range Air-to-Air Missiles (18), Long-range Air-to-Ground Missiles (16)
F-15E 505,000 657,000 Air-to-Air, Defense (16) Stability (12) 850 72 Large Unguided Bombs (14), Advanced Medium-range Air-to-Air Missiles (10), Cluster Bombs (14)
F-2A 505,000 657,000 Air-to-Ground, Mobility (17) Stability (9) 800 68 Medium Unguided Bombs (16), Long-range Air-to-Ground Missiles (18), Rocket Launcher (80)
Su-35 589,000 766,000 Mobility (19) Air-to-Ground (7) 850 72 Advanced Long-range Air-to-Air Missiles (18), Medium Unguided Bombs (16)
F-22A 643,000 836,000 Air-to-Air (19) Air-to-Ground (10) 850 74 Advanced Medium-range Air-to-Air Missiles (22), Precision Guided Bombs (16)
SU-37 618,000 803,000 Speed, Mobility (20) Air-to-Ground (8) 850 78 Quick-maneuvering Air-to-Air Missiles (8), Large Unguided Bombs (16), Long-range Air-to-Ground Missiles (20)
F-15 ACTIVE 620,000 806,000 Mobility (20) Air-to-Ground (13) 900 78 Advanced Medium-range Air-to-Air Missiles (22), Fuel-Air Explosive Bombs (8)
S-37A 889,000 1,560,000 Air-to-Air (19) Air-to-Ground (7) 900 78 Quick-maneuvering Air-to-Air Missiles (10), Large Unguided Bombs (18)
X-02 1,414,000 1,838,000 Air-to-Air, Mobility (20) Defense (11) 950 82 Advanced Long-range Air-to-Air Missiles (26), Bomblet Dispenser (24), Quick-maneuvering Air-to-Air Missiles (16)

List of missions

Here is a list of missions, in order:

  1. Sitting Duck - Six enemy bombers must be destroyed before they bomb Allenfort Air Base, the last line of defense before Northpoint, the ISAF headquarters.
  2. Imminent Threat - Enemy bombers at Rigley Air Base must be destroyed before they can threaten the ISAF.
  3. The Northern Eye - Erusian radar is making it hard for allied forces to retreat, the radar must be taken out.
  4. Blockade - Transport planes supplying the enemy Aegir fleet must be destroyed, but two E-767's are jamming radar and must be taken out first.
  5. Lifeline - Destroy the petrochemical plants that supply oil for the Aegir Fleet. Afterwards, a hasty escape will be necessary from the enemy's elite Yellow Squadron.
  6. Invincible Fleet -The Aegir fleet must be destroyed, as well as supporting defenses.
  7. Deep Strike - Solar power plants that supply power for the enemy must be destroyed. Stonehenge, the enemy's superweapon initially built to take out asteroids, is used for the first time against allied fighters.
  8. Shattered Skies - ISAF is launching a new satellite but there are a large number of enemy fighters preventing its mission -- they must be destroyed.
  9. Operation Bunker Shot - A command post needs to be established as the invasion of Usea takes full force. Ground support is needed heavily.
  10. Tango Line - Istas Fortress, an enemy stronghold, needs to be taken out so ground troops don't encounter much resistance later.
  11. Escort - Engineers who built Stonehenge are defecting to the ISAF's side and are taking planes to ISAF territory. The Erusians must be stopped from shooting down the passenger aircraft.
  12. Stonehenge Offensive - The enemy superweapon Stonehenge must be destroyed. Afterwards, the Yellow Squadron and allied forces square off, with Yellow 4 (Yellow 13's wingwoman) being shot down and killed.
  13. Safe Return - A recon plane is flying back, but radar jammers are preventing its safe return. A sufficient number of these jammers must be destroyed.
  14. Breaking Arrows - Cruise missiles have been launched at ISAF troops invading the Usea mainland, they must be destroyed.
  15. Emancipation - The city of San Salvacion is to be liberated (this is where the little boy who is telling the story lives). Air and ground support is necessary.
  16. Whiskey Corridor - Large tank columns must be destroyed in order to help the ground forces invade the capital city of the Erusians.
  17. Siege of Farbanti - The enemy headquarters must be destroyed. The Yellow Squadron's elite forces must be destroyed here. Yellow 13 dies.
  18. Megalith - With the headquarters destroyed, the enemy resorts to using Megalith, a superweapon with even more devastating capabilities than Stonehenge. A newly formed Yellow Squadron with triple the numbers has been formed, and they must be dealt with before destroying the three generators inside Megalith, as well as several giant missiles.

The mission structure is based on sets of six. That is, the 6th, 12th, and 18th missions are major milestones in the story of the game, and are relatively difficult. Cut scenes are shown after these missions.

List of characters

  • Mobius 1 - Call sign of the player-controlled hero of the game. Achieves legendary status amongst both allies and enemies following his destruction of Stonehenge. Shoots down Yellow 4 (during the Stonehenge Offensive) and Yellow 13 (during the Siege of Farbanti).
  • Yellow 13 - Enemy ace pilot and leader of the Yellow Squadron. Flies a SU-37, along with the rest of the Yellow Squadron. Shoots down a plane that crashes into the storyteller boy's house.
  • Yellow 4 - Wingwoman of Yellow 13. Trained by Yellow 13. She is the only Yellow Squadron casualty at the Stonehenge Offensive.
  • Storyteller boy - He tells the story through a sequence of letters he is writing to Mobius 1 after the war is over. His family is killed at the beginning of the war after a plane shot down by Yellow 13 crashes into his home, and he moves into San Salvacion with his uncle, who is a member of the underground resistance. Eventually his uncle is killed, so he begins hanging around the Yellow Squadron at a bar in San Salvacion, and he befriends Yellow 13.
  • Barkeep's daughter - Older than the storytelling boy, but still a young teenager, she watches over him and helps tend the bar. She also helps relay information about the Yellow Squadron to her father, who is a member of the resistance. She is revealed to be the one who bombed the air base of the Yellow Squadron late in the war.
  • Barkeep - Owner of the bar where the Yellow Squadron hangs out. Although he takes a lot of flak from the townsfolk for being nice to the Yellow Squadron, he is really a member of the underground resistance and gathers information to help the ISAF.
  • Jean-Louis - Leader of the Yellow Squadron after Yellow 13 dies. He can be killed at Megalith.
  • Gene - Field promoted to the leader of the Yellow Squadron if Jean-Louis is killed in the battle at Megalith.


This game is the fourth in the series of Ace Combat games, the first three being Air Combat, Ace Combat 2, and Ace Combat 3. The game is called Ace Combat 04 because the 04 in the title stands for the time period in which the game mostly takes place — the year 2004. The next title in the series, Ace Combat 5, returns to the old numbering scheme, as the game starts in the year 2010.

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