Zone of the Enders (2001)

by Christopher
6 minutes read


Experience the thrill of mech combat in Zone of the Enders, a game that blends high-speed action with a compelling narrative. Pilot the powerful Jehuty and embark on a journey that questions the essence of warfare, set against the backdrop of a futuristic space colony.


In Zone of the Enders, players step into the shoes of Leo Stenbuck, a young pilot navigating the complexities of warfare within the confines of a space colony. As Leo pilots a fully armed prototype mech, he faces not only the enemy but the moral dilemmas of life and death.


“Zone of the Enders” is a video game franchise created by Hideo Kojima and Konami, with the original game released for the PlayStation 2 in March 2001. The game is set in the late 22nd century, where mankind has colonized Mars, and space colonies are set up in orbit around Jupiter.

The game’s plot revolves around two specific Orbital Frames: Jehuty and Anubis, created as the two “keys” of a superweapon called Aumaan. The story begins when Bahram forces attack Jupiter’s colony Antilia to secure the two Frames, killing several civilians in the process. One of the few survivors, Leo Stenbuck, finds Jehuty and uses it to stop the Bahram soldiers.

Leo is hired by the Space Force to deliver Jehuty back to their ship. On his way to the Space Force, Leo rescues several civilians and often talks with Jehuty’s artificial intelligence, A.D.A., regarding the value of life. When succeeding, Leo is requested to work for the Space Force to protect the colony from a terrorist attack. Although Leo succeeds in saving the colony, he is saddened by the revelation that A.D.A. is programmed to self-destruct Jehuty in Bahram’s fortress Aumann.

Fueling the expansion of mankind into space are two scientific advances: the development of the Laborious Extra-Orbital Vehicle, or LEV, a mecha used for labor and military use, and the discovery of Metatron, a high-energy ore found on Callisto. Those in power on Earth begin to take a dim view of the colonists of Mars and Jupiter, calling them “Enders”, and imposing harsh and exploitative laws and taxes against them.

Eventually, different groups on Mars begin to rise up in opposition to Earth, the most well known of these called Bahram. A new weapon given to these rebels is the Orbital Frame, a mecha which makes extensive use of Metatron-based technology. These Orbital Frames come to shape the destiny of Earth and its colonies, for both good and evil.

Throughout the Zone of the Enders series, a number of themes and dramatic devices show up prominently. The story usually revolves around the two specific Orbital Frames: Jehuty and Anubis. In the first game, Bahram forces attack Jupiter’s colony Antilia to secure the two Frames, killing several civilians in the process. One of the few survivors, Leo Stenbuck, finds Jehuty and uses it to stop the Bahram soldiers.

“Zone of the Enders” is a game that explores themes of colonization, rebellion, and the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. It presents a rich and complex narrative that is deeply intertwined with its gameplay mechanics, making it a standout title in the mecha genre.


Main characters include Leo Stenbuck, the reluctant young hero; Jehuty, the Orbital Frame with AI capabilities that Leo pilots; and a cast of friends and foes Leo encounters throughout his journey.


Zone of the Enders features fast-paced mech combat, utilizing Jehuty’s vast arsenal against enemy Orbital Frames and other threats. The game is known for its smooth controls, strategic combat elements, and dynamically changing mission structure. Additionally, it offered a versus mode and included a demo of Metal Gear Solid 2: Snake Eater in its first-run production copies.


Despite its flaws, Zone of the Enders remains a landmark title in the mech gaming genre, fondly remembered for its engaging storyline, innovative combat, and contribution to the PlayStation 2 library. Its legacy continues to influence mech games and action titles alike.

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