The OF-1 Daedalus (OF stands for Orbit Fighter) is the protagonist of the 1988 Shoot 'Em Up video game Image Fight and one of the two protagonists (in an early arc) of its 1992 sequel Image Fight II: Operation Deepstriker. It is an advanced orbital fighter craft created by the western part of Earth to battle MARIKO, a supercomputer gone rogue that is located in a lunar station. It is considered to be one of the main predecessors to the R-9A Arrowhead.
Profile and Background
The Earth in the universe of Image Fight before the mysterious explosion of the Moon was subject to endless arms race between Eastern hemisphere and the Western hemisphere. The Western Hemisphere first developed plans for a set of sophisticated crafts in the year 20XX A.D., the project was titled the 'OF Series', after eight years of trial and error, the first craft, the OF-1 Daedalus was created. It was the first to be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere, essentially making it the first spacecraft. Daedalus is also capable of altering the structure of the fighter in order to adjust the craft's different level of speeds and to properly control the stability of position of sitting pilot.
Daedalus is equipped with interface systems called Cyber Connector and PLD (Psychic Linkage Drive) in which both can be utilized by the pilot jointly to manipulate unmanned weapon systems called Pods (Psychic-operated Offence Devices). By utilizing up to three Pods, Daedalus' pilot is capable of launching simultaneous attacks on multiple directions.
Daedalus is further equipped with PEC (Pan Energy Connector) that enables it to connect onto various OF Force devices (Parts in Japanese translation), which are mechanical energy weapon converters. Ability to connect onto OF Force devices allows Daedalus pilot to perform various attack formations.
By the time Daedalus is released, an unnamed alien force from the Boondoggle Galaxy attacked the Solar System, destroying Earth's moon in the process whilst using a military computer called the MARIKO to produce new crafts in an attempt to invade the Earth.
The Western Hemisphere's new fighter was not ready for combat with the Daedalus, so they quickly decided to put it through various holographic combat simulations as quickly as possible so that it would be ready for real-time combat.
After going through five holographic combat simulations against holographic imitation forces of the Boondoggle alien crafts (and an optional six simulation if the player got a failing score), the OF-1 Daedalus was considered ready for combat and launched to counter the imminent invasion.
Despite only being recently released craft, the Daedalus proves itself to be more than up to the task, and defeats the alien forces before they can successfully attack Earth. But Daedalus did not come out of this fight unscathed either; it was badly wrecked and further commission was impossible. All it could do was send its transmission to Earth that it successfully destroyed the enemy forces. Fortunately after having completed its mission, its totaled wreck was rescued by a salvage craft sent from Earth to tow damaged Daedalus back to Earth to prepare for future combat missions. After that, the player is told to play the game one more time called Special Game - tougher and harder. Special Game must be completed in order to see the true outcome of Daedalus' battle against MARIKO and Bondoggle Aliens.
In the game's 2nd loop Daedalus is once again badly wrecked, rendered inoperable after its mortal battle against MARIKO and Bondoggle. As in the first gameplay, the pilot of Daedalus sent its transmission to Earth that it succeeded in destroying the enemy. But that transmission was to be Daedalus' last: unlike the first play, the wreckage of Daedalus after its battle with MARIKO supercomputer and Bondoggle finally took on its toll and got destroyed when the salvage craft from Earth reached Daedalus, making it ambiguous whether the pilot of Daedalus boarded onto the salvage craft before the fighter detonated or he/she died with the starfighter - leaving the pilot's fate to players' imagination.
But Daedalus is not to fade into history just yet. Following the battle against Bondoggle Aliens and the prior to the Image Fight II 's main story, there was another OF-1 fighter existent and is named Daedalus, apparently having an honor of inheriting the name of the heroic OF-1 starfighter that saved Earth from Bondoggle Aliens in the first Image Fight. This 'Daedalus' is to be piloted by Sho Sawamura, a protagonist of Image Fight II in the first three stages of the game. In time, Earth began to produce more OF-1 fighters such as OF-1G, OF-1Z and OF-1E after Daedalus. These OF-1 crafts are more specialized variants: OF-1Z is specialized in restricting zero space, OF-1E is equipped with electronic warfare systems, OF-1G is specialized in operating in planets with severe gravity shifts etc.
Three years after the destruction of MARIKO and the defeat of Bondoggle Aliens, an unnamed alien force located between Saturn and Uranus creates an armada and is prepared to invade the Earth. Earth this time deploys subsequently built OF-1 successors of Daedalus to counter the forces. But despite their best efforts, they are defeated and only one OF-1 managed to escape. This story was revealed by Gregory Klaus, who was then the survived pilot of OF-1, now a mechanic in the military.
Daedalus is finally seen in full after Sho Sawamura, piloting Daedalus, rescues a military convoy from alien ambush. Then Sho uses Daedalus for the first two simulation training missions. Following the two simulations, Sho and his military companions are summoned by Admiral Neil L. Fargason who introduced a new OF-3 starfighter named Garuda. After the admiral explains the new craft's powers, Sho was chosen to be its pilot, an assignment Sho took without much enthusiasm. From here on, OF-3 Garuda takes over the role of the protagonist for the rest of the game.
OF-1 series was not seen again until later in the game. Sho's father, Masaya Sawamura who was once thought to have been dead during the unsuccessful preemptive strike against alien armada early in the game, was revealed not only to be alive along with his OF-1 craft, but is also the leader of alien spearhead forces much to the shock of everyone including his son. Infected by alien influence, Masaya still had enough willpower to maintain his own will and told his son to move out of the way as the main alien spaceship was about to launch a destructive cannon wave. Dodging the blast just in time, Sho riding on the OF-3 resolved to put his infected father out of his misery by riddling Masaya and his OF-1 with dual vulcan cannons, destroying them both.
OF-3 then flew into the core of the alien armada, to finish what the Masaya and his OF-1 failed to complete, and succeeds.
The OF-1 Daedalus is equipped with several weapons that were developed in the case of different enemy attack patterns.
- Vulcan Cannon - a standard rapid-fire cannon that can deal with small enemies quickly.
- OF Force/Parts - an early version of the Force mechanism that later R-Crafts were designed to use in combat. These are mechanical weaponry converters that attach to Daedalus. It provides extra firepower and protection. Once combined with Daedalus it is unable to be removed unless it is destroyed through enemy shots: As more durable enemies with more powerful attacking projectiles can destroy Daedalus in addition to getting shot at any part of the plane other than front will destroy both the starfighter and the OF Force, discarding already attached OF Force from Daedalus requires extremely precise and delicate maneuvering. Image Fight, like R-Type series, relies heavily on memorization of stage patterns and enemy locations. Knowing what OF Force works best in which areas is crucial to survival. All OF Force has their own strengths and weaknesses. It is up to the player to understand, negotiate, balance them and employ most suitable OF Forces in different situations. Depending on the power-up the Daedalus obtains, the Force will provide one of the following weapons:
- Drill Cannon - an upgraded version of the vulcan cannon, it fires pulse lasers, which deal more damage than the standard cannon. Its weakness is that without secondary support from red pod devices it has no defense against flank attacks.
- V-Vulcan - fires the Vulcan Cannon in a v-shaped pattern, providing more overall firepower than the standard vulcan cannon but leaving the front vulnerable without secondary support from the pod devices.
- Side Shot - fires two shots to the left and right of the Daedalus, useful against flank attacks, but leaves the Daedalus vulnerable to front attacks without secondary support from the pod devices.
- Ring Laser - fires a semi-waving circular ring-shaped laser which travels in a v-shaped pattern. It can be fired straightforward if the fire button is held down. While efficient at wide open areas this device is troublesome to use in tight areas blocked with indestructible structures and objects.
- Reflection Ball - fires several ball-shaped projectiles in a v-shaped pattern that are capable of bouncing off walls and enemy crafts. While extremely useful in cramped areas brimming with indestructible obstacles and structures that restricts Daedalus' movement, this is not good to use in wide open stages.
- 7-Way - fires seven vulcan shots straightforward in a wide pattern. Its weakness is that its shots have limited range and do not travel afar, risking players to engage foes at closer range.
- Homing Missles - fires several missiles that track down and explode on nearby enemies. Its flaw is that missiles travel slowly and its firepower, while still higher than default dual cannons is weaker in comparison to other OF Forces.
- Search Laser - fires small lasers that travel forward before turning left or right in a 90 degree angle to hit side targets. But when in situation crowded with enemies, shots turning directions can be an unexpected liability.
- Shield - creates a circular shield that blocks out certain projectiles fired by enemy forces, but requires the fire button to be held down in order to activate it. Its major weakness is that with this OF Force, Daedalus cannot fire dual vulcan cannons at all and is therefore susceptible of more dangerous and/or durable enemies that needs to be taken care of from afar. But with Pods this flaw can somewhat be mitigated.
- Pods - Small satellite-like devices can be obtained by the Daedalus to provide extra firepower in combat. The Daedalus can obtain up to three pods, with two stationing to the left and right of the craft, and a third stationed behind it. Just like OF Force device, knowing what type of Pods works best in which areas is essential for survival and smooth game play. Depending on the color of the pod, the attack pattern will be different:
- Red Pod - the pods will change direction according to the direction that the Daedalus travels. This attack pattern makes these pods versatile in combat, as many enemy units will appear and attack in all possible directions.
- Blue Pod - the pods will fire straightforward, no matter what direction the Daedalus travels. They are great for direct confrontations, but not as useful in overall combat.
- Pod Attack - with either one or both of the side pods, the Daedalus has the ability to fire the pods to confront enemy forces ahead of the craft. The pods will then circle around an area of the battlefield, destroying or damaging any enemy they make contact with before returning to the Daedalus, the rear pod will not participate in the attack.
- Thrusters (called affectionately as 'farting' by some gamers) - afterburner flames emitting from dual engines of the Daedalus can be used as a black blast weapon to any rear enemies that are unfortunate enough to come in contact with the craft. Since it had to be used in close range this technique can be risky to employ (especially against more durable enemies and foes with faster shots), but can be very efficient if used correctly. Expert players often use this technique to deal with enemies pestering from behind.
OF-1 also (somewhat) appears in R-Type series after Final, in a form of R-Craft split from TX-T Eclipse models, with Pods being re-fitted into weapon systems fit for R-Fighters.