The Laser Guide Kit and Guide Beacon Gun are target-designating "weapons" in Earth Defense Force 2025 and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. They are used exclusively by the Air Raider class.
The Guide Kit and its cousin the Guide Beacon Gun are support devices which have no offensive function on their own. They work in concert with weapons that lock on to targets, and are very powerful and useful devices if employed correctly.
Both devices create a red lock-on marker for homing weapons in the same way an enemy would, and this is locked on to in the same way, using the red bounding box for the weapon being used. Small boxes appear in the Air Raider's HUD next to the point of aim of a Guide device to show if the lock is being used, presumably so they do not accidentally stop lasing a target or reload a Guide Beacon Gun when their allies are trying to lock onto it; a red box indicates a weapon trying to acquire a lock, a green box a weapon that has one. The markers created by Guide devices have a higher targeting priority than normal targets. The markers also provide a multiplier bonus to the lock-on speed and lock range of the weapon in question.
For example, say a Ranger is using an Air Tortoise ME. This launcher normally has a lock-on time of 5 seconds and a lock-on range of 600 metres. Using the target from a High-Speed Guide Kit (lock speed x5, range x5) this weapon would lock on in 1 second and would be able to "see" the target marker from 3,000 metres away (larger than the diagonal distance across any map in the game).
It should be noted that a Guide device does not increase the duration of the projectiles a weapon fires; while the above Guide Kit would allow a Wing Diver to lock on her Ghost Chaser weapon at 3,000 metres, since Ghost Chaser projectiles only last for two seconds it would still be useless against any target more than 200 metres away.
Another major advantage of these devices is that they allow normally multi-target weapons to lock onto the same target multiple times. Normally a Naegling Self-Propelled Rocket Launcher could only lock one of its ten-missile volley onto a single target, but if it places a Guide device lock cursor in its targeting box it will generate ten lock-ons on that cursor. This allows weapons that normally spread out their damage to perform powerful focused attacks.
Specific notes on the two types of Guide devices are detailed in the Variants section below. In general, these devices are best suited to use in co-op and online mode, since they take up one of the Air Raider's weapon slots with a device that has no offensive function, but a Guide Beacon Gun can be powerful even in singleplayer with the right vehicle.
It is worth noting that NPCs are quite fond of walking in front of a Laser Guide Kit, which can disrupt aiming. Using a vehicle as a vantage point is a good idea, with the BM03 Vegalta being very well suited to this if the player knows how to climb up on its back. Also, the beam of a Guide Kit will not pass through one of the Air Raider's Bunker forcefields, or the Shield Screen of a Shield Bearer; the latter is mostly important when trying to mark a strike target behind the Shield Bearer, since nothing inside the Shield Screen will be damaged by something the Air Raider can guide anyway.
All Guide devices feature a scope with 4x zoom as their alt-fire mode.
Laser Guide Kit
The Laser Guide Kit is an active guidance system that requires the Air Raider to lase the target continuously to maintain a lock; if they stop "firing" the device, the lock-on cursor will disappear and after a short time missiles will stop tracking it and fly straight in whatever course they were going in when the lock was broken. They will re-acquire the target if the Air Raider starts lasing it again, however. Since the Air Raider cannot move while lasing a target, this device renders him vulnerable, particularly since he requires unbroken line of sight to his target.
This is balanced out by the advantage that the Air Raider can move the target marker around at will, even when missiles are locked onto and tracking it. This means, for example, that they can aim at a patch of open ground that an ally can see to get the lock set up, and then shift the target to an enemy only the Air Raider can see once the missiles are in flight. They can also sweep the laser to make a group of missiles hit multiple targets.
The one oddity in this series is the High-Speed Guide Kit, which has some of the best bonuses of any Guide Kit but pathetic range. It should be noted this is the range of the Kit itself rather than things that lock onto it; it appears to be designed for an Air Raider to move in close to enemies in support of a distant ally, and may lead to plans involving the SDL1 that are not easily carried over to reality.
The Guide Kits have no real function outside of multiplayer modes since it is impossible for the Air Raider to lock anything on to his own Guide Kit, and NPC soldiers do not tend to use lock-on weapons.
|Level||Name||Range (m)||Lock speed multiplier||Lock distance multiplier|
|0||Laser Guide Kit||700||x3.0||x3.0|
|6||High-Speed Guide Kit||200||x5.0||x5.0|
|34||Laser Guide Kit T2||800||x3.5||x3.0|
|57||Laser Guide Kit T3||900||x4.0||x3.0|
|81||Laser Guide Kit T4||900||x6.0||x4.0|
Guide Beacon Gun
The Guide Beacon Gun offers inferior boosts to the Guide Kit, with the big advantage that the Beacons it fires create a constant targeting point without the need for the Air Raider to maintain them in any way. This also means the Air Raider can use a Guide Beacon Gun for his own lock-on weapons, such as the aforementioned Naegling or the missile pods of a Vegalta.
The Beacons work like the mini-posts fired by Assist Guns and can be affixed to anything; terrain, structures, vehicles, enemies, NPCs and other player characters. Like Assist mini-posts they remain stuck to the target and will move with it.
Once placed, Beacons last forever if left alone; they will even remain active if the Air Raider is downed in co-op or online, only being deleted if the thing they are attached to is destroyed. If a beacon is misplaced or players want to use multi-target weapons on multiple enemies, the Air Raider can at any time delete all placed Beacons by reloading the weapon.
|Level||Name||Magazine size||Rate of fire (shots / sec)||Reload (sec)||Range (m)||Lock speed multiplier||Lock distance multiplier|
|2||Guide Beacon Gun||4||1.0||5.0||400||x1.0||x1.5|
|14||Guide Beacon Gun M2||5||1.0||5.0||500||x1.0||x1.8|
|40||High Output Beacon Gun||2||1.0||5.0||800||x1.5||x4.0|
|51||Guide Beacon Gun M3||7||1.5||5.0||600||x1.3||x2.0|
|64||Power Beacon Gun||1||-||5.0||1000||x2.0||x4.0|
|77||Guide Beacon Gun MA||10||2.0||5.0||600||x1.5||x2.5|
Laser Guide Kits are also issued as the target markers for missile strikes from Whale and all strikes from Fortress Aircraft Carrier Despina and Nothung. One is also used to target the Rule of God weapon. These "Guide Kits" lack any function except to target the strike itself and cannot generate a lock-on cursor for homing weapons.
Guide Kit strike markers essentially work in reverse; rather than requiring someone else lock on to the cursor, they must be held in place for a set period of time as the circle around the aim point shrinks; when it is fully "focused," the strike will fire. In some cases further guidance is required; the Satellite Blaster and Laguna Blaster respond to further guidance by shifting their aim point, while missile strikes effectively use the Guide Kit as a lock-on marker and their missiles will fly harmlessly over the map if the beam is not maintained. Missile strikes will only ever show red lock-on indicator boxes; these indicate missiles are homing in on the beam.