Global A Entertainment, Inc are a Japanese development & publishing studio that were established on the 12th of September ’97 and were based in the Musashino-Shi district of Tokyo, Japan. As i can’t find any accredited development work for the company before ’00 i’ll presume that they functioned as a development studio that took on contract work for other publishers before developing and publishing their own as well as other developer’s software titles. The company is currently active developing iOS & Android titles for the Japanese mobile market. While the mobile market is the current focus of the company they have in the recent past developed handheld titles for both Nintendo & Sony platforms.
In early 2000 Global A Entertainment announced that their first games published under their own name would be displayed on the Konami booth at the upcoming Spring Tokyo Game Show which was held between the 31st of March to the 2nd of April 2000. Three titles were showcased at the trade show MatestroMusic for the Sony PlayStation, Imperial Fighter of Zero for the Dreamcast as well as Innocent Tears for Japanese Windows 95/98 systems. They also announced that a Dreamcast conversion of Innocent Tears would be released later that year for the Dreamcast. Below is the official announcement of Global A Entertainment’s first titles to be released under their own name. © 2000 Global A Entertainment, Inc.
The first title to actually be released was ンペリアルの鷹 FIGHTER OF ZERO or Imperial fighter of Zero on the Dreamcast which was published on the 29th of June ’00 & retailed for ¥5,800. As well as being the companies first software release under the Global A Entertainment, Inc banner. It’s the only title that they’ve published to be released outside Japan. The game was localised and published in both Europe & North America by Xicat interactive, Inc where it was renamed to Iron Aces. You’ll find the games official Dreamcast catalogue entry linked to below. ©2000 Global A Entertainment, Inc. ©2000 MARIONETTE, Inc. ©SEGA
Imperial fighter of Zero wasn’t actually developed by Global A Entertainment but by a company called Marionette, Inc. They had been previously involved in the development and enhanced conversion of ORIGIN Systems, Inc’s DOS computer title Pacific Strike for the Japanese PlayStation entitled Zero Pilot – Ginyoku No Senshi better known as Zero Pilot Fighter of Zero Wing. This was released in late ’97 exclusively for the PlayStation & was published by Sony Computer Entertainment Interactive.
Marionette, Inc continued to work on the series and developed the next instalment of the franchise which was the Dreamcast exclusive Imperial fighter of Zero. Because of Sony publishing the previous entry of the series the Dreamcast sequel was unable to use the Zero Pilot moniker due to licensing issues.
Imperial Fighter of Zero is set in alternative World War 2 setting that does feature realistic depictions of twenty different planes of the era including the German Junkers Ju 87 “Stuka” dive bomber, North American Aviation P-51 Mustang & the Japanese A6M2 “Zero” Model 21. While the games setting is fictitious the game does feature most of the major combatants of the second World war with one major exception the Russian air force.
The game begins with the German forces on “Blocken” having aspirations for the invasion and domination of the British forces on “Trinicer” Island. The game also features the American air force based on the Island of “Valiant” & the Japanese air force on “Yamato” respectively.
The game doesn’t have many modes outside the main campaign mode which is obviously where the bulk of your time will be spent but it does feature a versus mode for local multiplayer. Sadly, even when the game was released it didn’t feature online multiplayer which is a shame as this would have really elevated the game and been a key selling point. As even today nearly twenty years after Imperial fighter of Zero’s release World War two era air combat titles are few and far between.
To ease you into the game Imperial fighter of Zero features a comprehensive training mode which does a good job of preparing you for the campaign mode. You’ll learn basic controls for flying as well as specialised controls and manoeuvres such a bombing stationary targets to engaging slow moving ground-based enemies. I’d definitely recommend spending some time doing the training missions to get you used to used to the games nuances.
Marionette took the if it’s not broke approach to Imperial fighter of Zero’s campaign structure which will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s played the previous game in the series. You’ll find yourself in the pilots lounge with your comrades representing different options like saving & loading your game, picking the plane for the next mission and you can attend a briefing which outlines the upcoming mission objectives. The greatest variance between the Japanese version of Imperial fighter of Zero & the English localised version is in this section where your comrades have been completely replaced by basic icons representing their function. This sadly also has the effect of leaving the room very empty & rather bland feeling i’m not sure why it was changed by Xicat Interactive. The Japanese version of the game certainly does a better job of presenting the game options but i still think it’s actually inferior to the original Zero Pilot Fighter of Silver Wing.
Imperial fighter of Zero’s missions are varied and include air interception, bomber escort, through to attacking naval ships by bombing runs. You’ll find the arial combat fairly easy to get used to as the game is based more on an arcade style handling model rather than a traditional flight simulator although the bombing missions take some practice to master. As well as the different mission types you’ll have to contend with operating at night as well as during the day this helps to keep repetition at bay and the variety of skills needed in different mission types helps to allay this.
The game also features a co-op mode for two players in which you can have up to four different aircraft in your squadron under your control. I’ve not had much experience of this mode but it seems to work well. There’s also the option of engaging in arial combat against a computer-controlled opponent to practise your combat skills in anticipation of a human opponent.
The previous game in the series Zero Pilot Fighter of Sliver Wing was no doubt an impressive title considering the limitations of the original PlayStation hardware but the Dreamcast exclusive Imperial Fighter of Zero is a clear generational leap above its predecessor. While not technically considered a graphical showcase for the Dreamcast the increased power of the system allows the game to run at a steady frame rate and everything feels much smoother & all together much more solid with no texture pop-in or warping & much better texture work.
Global A Entertainment still maintains an archive of all their released games and Imperial Fighter of Zero is listed under the other category. I’ve linked to the listing below if you’d like to find out some more information about the game. © GAE inc.
The second of Global A Entertainment’s titles scheduled to be released for the Dreamcast was Innocent Tears which would have had the catalogue designation T-43502M. When it was initially announced Innocent Tears had more confirmed information about the game than the upcoming Imperial Fighter of Zero which was the first of Global A Entertainment’s titles to be released. Sadly, the Dreamcast version of the game was quietly cancelled around late ’00 and early ’01 where it was ported to the XBOX system as a Japanese exclusive.
While researching for information on the game i found one of the few articles about the game in English from IGN which is from the 28th of January ’00. This article isn’t particularly informative even mistaking the developer as Global and saying they weren’t aware of their previous work. Still i’ve linked to the article below as it’s an early report about the game. © 1996-2018 Ziff Davis, LLC
Innocent Tears was listed as a tactical simulation RPG and was confirmed to be VGA compatible and was set to retail for ¥6,800. While the game was listed as an upcoming title by both Sega of Japan & Global A Entertainment themselves it seemed to slip from its planned release date. However the game did receive a promotional campaign in support of its upcoming intended release. Interestingly the last information i could find about the Dreamcast version of the game it had a 2001 copyright date not just for Global A Entertainment, Inc but also a copyright for KOBI Co.,Ltd who would publish the game on the XBOX & Utatane Hiroyuki who was the games character designer.
While the reason for the Dreamcast version of the game being cancelled isn’t currently known personally, i suspect that Sega’s announcement of the Dreamcast’s discontinuation in March ’01 was probably the cause. The fact that Global A Entertainment, Inc were a small company and probably thought releasing on a new system would probably generate the best chance of sales success is perfectly understandable.
The XBOX version of the game was released on the 5th of December 2002 in both standard & limited editions. It was co-published by KOBI Co., ltd & Utatane Hiroyuki / Production Committee. Even through the game had two editions released sadly it wasn’t a commercial success. Softbank Games did a special report on the game where it mentions the change of platform from Dreamcast to XBOX as well as covering the basic story & screenshots of the game. The special report is linked to below if you’re interested in finding out information about Innocent Tears. © 2002 by Softbank Publishing Inc. All rights reserved.
The question if Innocent Tears would’ve sold more if it had been actually released on the Dreamcast as intended is a contentious one. My personal view is that even after the announcement of the abandonment of the Dreamcast system by Sega it still saw some major releases and remained commercially viable. With the Dreamcast’s larger installed user base & the genre of the game better suited to Sega’s system than the Microsoft system i think it would have sold better. I’m not sure why unless Microsoft paid for the game to be an XBOX exclusive why it didn’t see a release on both systems as this surely would have been the ideal option. I completely understand Global A Entertainment, Inc’s predicament & being one of the first games on the new XBOX system would have been enticing prospect. Obviously even in hindsight it was impossible to predict just how much of a commercial failure the original XBOX system was in the Japanese Market.
T-43501M ンペリアルの鷹 FIGHTER OF ZERO
(NOT FOR SALE) 非売品 discs & other media
Unfortunately, not much seems to exist for ンペリアルの鷹 FIGHTER OF ZERO or Innocent Tears but ンペリアルの鷹 FIGHTER OF ZERO does have an official guidebook available which is presented below.
インペリアルの鷹 コンプリートガイドブック (ドリームキャスト必勝法スペシャル)
Imperial Fighter of Zero complete guidebook (Dreamcast victory special) was published by ケイブンシャ & was released on the 10th of August ’00 and retailed for ¥1,480. The guidebooks ISBN catalogue codes are ISBN-10: 4766935675 & ISBN-13: 9784766935677 and is still available from Amazon Japan at the time of writing this article.
Dreamcast Express Vol 6 has a promotional video of the cancelled Dreamcast version of Innocent Tears & it looks exactly the same as the released XBOX version.
If anyone could help with more information about Global A Entertainment’s Dreamcast titles please get in touch i’d appreciate it.
As always thanks for taking the time to read this entry on Global A Entertainment any comments or corrections please contact me either through the site or on Twitter @dreamcastcollector.