Cyber Troopers Virtual-On MARZ (電脳戦機バーチャロン マーズ Dennō Senki Bācharon Māzu) is an 3D mecha action-adventure game which was first released on the PlayStation 2 in North America and Japan, but which was never seen in Europe.
MARZ is designed on the basic gameplay rules of Cyber Troopers Virtual-On Force, and uses most of the assets from Force, ranging from the stages down to the Virtuaroids. It can be technically considered a spiritual home console version of the 4-player Force.
The game was not well received, garnering many negative responses from reviewers and players alike. Some stores in North America, expecting poor sales, only sold the game to those who reserved it. The game was re-released on the PlayStation 3 in Japan on March 21st, 2013 to commemorate the game's tenth anniversary.
MARZ retains the Twin Stick control layout of the series, mapping the two sticks to the analogue sticks on the DualShock 2 controller, and the turbo and weapon buttons to the four L and R buttons. A new Auto controller layout was provided, as well as several variants, for players who did not like the twin stick format.
The match rules follow that of Force, that is, two-on-two battles with a leader on each team. Fallen teammates can be given half the other's life gauge through the "rescue tag" maneuver, and the first pair to fall loses the round.
The "Challenge Mode" is a single match setup that is akin to a stage in Force, with the player tagged with a NPC partner against two other NPC opponents or bosses.
New to MARZ is the "Dramatic Mode", which is a story mode with a linear sequence of missions with various objectives such as exploration, target destruction, beat 'em up and boss battles. When certain requirements are met, such as passing certain stages, traveling a certain amount of miles, or destroying a number of certain Virtuaroids in beat 'em up missions, new Virtuaroids are open for selection and play in the other modes.
A split-screen 2-player mode is available, with the choice of playing on the same team or against each other. The game does not feature any means for a 4-player mode, and thus, falls short of making full use of the design behind the Force game system and rules. This is due to the PlayStation 2's hardware capabiltiies
In Japanese version, the Database Mode is available, and the databases in this mode can be collected throughout the Dramatic Mode. These databases include stories, characters, and items associated with them. Some of the databases include a description of the particular subjects. This mode is not available in the English version of the game.
The following characters are non-playable characters that appear in the single player Dramatic Mode and Challenge mode in the game, controlled by the computer. Most of the non-playable characters were created for use in the game, although some of them come from previous games with some tweaks in the Virtual-On franchise. The pilots of the zpecial Virtuaroids are taken from novelizations of the Virtual-On franchise such as One Man Rescue and Fragmentary Passage. These special Virtuaroids can be unlocked if a player meets certain requirements.
MZV-36T-H Apharmd the HA-T (the Hatter)
This unit is the customized Apharmd-T piloted by Sergeant Issy Hatter (a former member of SHBVD before joining MARZ), whose head is adorned with his trademark Stetson hat. It serves as the player's partner on several occasions, until the questionable orders from the top brass during the Earth missions lead the hot-blooded Hatter to go rogue, eventually resurfacing to rebel against his former faction. Unlike other Apharmd-T models, this unit cannot use long-range weapons, but is devastatingly effective in CC. It is unlocked by completing Dramatic Mode on Very Hard difficulty.
VR-747-a8 Temjin 747a8 "White Rainbow Knight"
This unit is a white-colored Temjin with Glimpe Stabilizers operating under an independent organization "The Order of White Rainbow" (白虹騎士団), also known simply as "The White Knights", and piloted by Cliaria Vystein of the organization's White Fleet. The player first encounters him on the Moon, and he will later join the player as a partner in some missions against Shadow VRs. This heavily customized Temjin is the most powerful playable Virtuaroid in the game, and can be unlocked for play by completing the Dramatic Mode on its Ultimate difficulty.
Three Sisters of the Rose
A three-man VR squadron which consists of three customized Myzr series VRs nicknamed FairBianca, Evelyn and Charlotte, each piloted by three female pilots; Capt. Silvie Fang, Flight Lt. Deborah Bite and Flight Lt. Jennifer Poison, respectively. They were given orders by Anbel IV (a major shareholder of the plants and RNA) to provide MARZ with data concerning the Jupiter Crystals and Daimon, although their attitudes (save for Jennifer poison) often lead to conflict between themselves and the equally short-tempered Sgt. Hatter. This organization is commonly known as the "Rose Sisters".
A powerful enemy also known as "the execution machine", the Z-Gradt is a powerful quadrupedal mobile fortress/ weapons arsenal with a solar-cannon. It has a very high defense, and a devastating built-in arsenal. A large particle cannon is constructed into the center of its frame. While the Z-Gradt's color turns gold and its defense is lowered when the particle cannon is in use. The cannon itself is stronger than even that of the Raiden's laser-irradiators. It is the first boss the player encounters in the Dramatic Mode where Apharmd the Hatter was abducted in the Equatorial War Zone. It reappeared again in several times, with last appearance being two units acting as a security force in the Antimatter Fortress. The Z-Gradt is somewhat related to MLTN/MTN and STRTS (known as Molton/Moton and Stratos in the English version), which are two of the new bosses in the game. The only visual difference between the original game and MARZ is the V-Converters on its legs.
Ajim and Guerlain
These are War Crystals taking the form of Virtuaroids, manipulating energy from the Reverse-Conversion process to craft solid bodies, with the apparent purpose of protecting the Jupiter Crystals.
This boss unit is heavily armed with an eight-way spreading laser and powerful homing bombs. It can even smash weaker Virtuaroids with the mere use of its arms. While the armament has been confirmed by reports, the Jaguarandi's size and appearance has varied greatly. Respective eyewitnesses have claimed to have seen it as red, green, and many other colors. In both the Force and MARZ games, this Jaguarandi is larger than its original version appeared in the Operation Moongate, and is difficult to defeat due to its massive power.
Beyond the 8th Plant "Flesh Refoe" lies the 9th Plant "Tangram" and the "super-space-time continuum mechanism" (超時空因果律制御機構) of the same name, the final boss of the game's Dramatic Mode. It is a giant sphere made up of small triangles suspended in a chamber, and "chained" by RST Units, V-Crystals that are locked on the floor and ceiling. Tangram has a nearly impenetrable surface with the weakness being a section that opens up, exposing a red eye, before it fires a giant laser.
A mysterious yet villainous organization intent on destroying humanity using their creations such as Z-Gradt, MLTN/MTN and STRTS. They eventually succeed in decimating MARZ' base and capturing the missing Tangram as their ultimate weapon in the Antimatter Fortress. They are sometimes abbreviated as "DYMN", and often called "Dymon" in the English version.