Heaven's net is wide, but lets nothing through.
—Norio warns his enemies
After graduating from Waseda University, Tomokawa initially found employment as a police officer assigned to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department's Anti-Riot Squad division before joining the Japanese Rocketeer division. Due to his outstanding acts of courage in the field, Norio quickly rose through the ranks, eventually being selected as the prime candidate for the Pacific Front's latest developments in armored flight suits, possible thanks to the Kanegawa Industries' involvement.
Norio uses the "Garuda" power armor of which only a few were made. Capable of flying at incredible speeds, Norio is well-equipped to deal with air and ground threats, freezing enemy infantry with a built-in cryo rifle and destroying enemy armor and aircraft with a burst of guided missiles. The suit allows Norio to resist an amazing amount of anti-aircraft fire, though concentrated fire will eventually overwhelm him.
Behold, the sun rises!
—Norio on the offensive
Hailing from the Pacific Front, Norio is what one would expect from a jack-of-all-trades hero unit. He is able to effectively fight almost any threat in the game on an one-on-one basis and easily emerge as the victor, provided his target is not equipped with heavy anti-air ordnance.
Norio can be easily described as a Rocketeer on steroids. He is among one of the fastest units in the game (his flight speed rivals that of the Hummingbird) and his arsenal is kitted towards devastating hit-and-run attacks from the air while leaving his opponents almost no opportunities to react if they are not prepared for his arrival. The Garuda Power Armor he wears is also relatively more durable than the Rocketeer's flight suit which allows him to shoulder anti-air fire for longer periods of time, at least to a slight degree.
The Thermal Inversion Rifle that Norio utilizes easily devastates all but the heaviest infantry units while adding a side effect of temporarily slowing them down. Even squads of foot soldiers capable of firing back at him will not be able to retaliate effectively, as Norio can easily out-range and out-maneuver their projectiles provided his commander can micromanage his movements constantly. He can also engage other flying infantry units, such as rogue Rocketeers and Gyrocopters, with them and with deadly efficiency. His other weapon intended for anti-armor incursions, the Arashi Missiles, are universally effective against all other non-infantry units and structures - even the Soviet Union's mighty Kirov Airships will be destroyed by them in a handful of barrages.
Thanks to this flexibility and speed, Norio can be a force to be reckoned with in the hands of a competent Pacific Front commander. All these advantages do not make Norio invincible however. Despite being more durable than Rocketeers, it is still wise for him to avoid units that specialize in heavy anti-air, such as Sentinels and Gehenna Platforms. While he is decent against buildings, he can't out-range AA defences and cannot expect to duel them without risking himself being shot down or suffering immense damage in the process.
Commander, the Pacific Front's veteran sky soldier Norio has arrived to support you. You'll find his cryoblaster and missile packs to be a very effective quick reaction weapon.
—Allied intel during Operation: Stormbringer
- In Unshakeable, some time after the Tech Center is infiltrated, Norio will start to send warnings to the Soviet General, before taking temporal joint action with Russians when they reach the Seismic Stabilizer. He can die without compromising the mission.
- In Stormbringer, Norio alongside Siegfried help protect the first Weather Controller and later help clear the Virgin Islands of the PsiCorps' presence. Both heroes can die without compromising the mission.
- Norio accompanies Tanya in Paranoia to neutralise two Epsilon Tactical Nuke Silos and a Psychic Amplifier in that order to keep the Weather Controller and the Paradox Engine safe. Both heroes must destroy the Nuke Silos within 30 seconds of each other and survive throughout the mission.
- In Insomnia, Norio will arrive just before the Paradox Engine does and falls under control of the player; he's the last of the three Allied heroes to arrive. If he dies, he'll be warped back to the Paradox Engine and returned to the battlefield after a few minutes. After Epsilon forces are destroyed and the Paradox Engine heads further south, Norio will volunteer to intercept the Epsilon forces currently being recalled to Antarctica from the rest of the Southern Hemisphere, and is seen fighting off a group of mind-controlled Wolfhounds and Seawolves.
- In Digital Demon, Norio will lead a small task force to get in touch with the local Kanegawa Industries personnel, and together with the Pacific Front loyalists to destroy the local Chinese and traitors' forces. They disintegrated the opposed Shin Tsurugi Decimator, protected the KI Scientist to extract all the technology and lead the army to retreat to Australia. He must stay alive throughout the mission.
- In Eclipse, Norio will appear as enemy unit and attack the player's forces, the player needs to defeat him.
- In Convergence, the commander can command Norio to destroy the Tech Artillery Bunkers and Coal Plants aside the Panama Canal. Norio must stay alive before evacuating.
- In Gridlock, shortly after the MCVs deploy, Norio and Tanya will arrive via chronoshift to aid Allied forces. Defeat of both heroes will not compromise mission failure.
- At the end of Parasomnia, Norio will arrive to guard the captured Libra Clones with local divisions.
- He is a direct reference to the Japanese voice actor Norio Wakamoto: his last name is a simple reversal of "Wakamoto" and his voice and background closely resemble that of Wakamoto's.
- Norio is the only Allied hero that is not available in the Infantry Only game mode.
- Norio is the only hero unit that does not have specific panic quotes when he comes under intense fire.
- Despite of being written in Chinese characters, the rendering is correctly pronounced as "Tomokawa Norio" in Japanese kanji (characters). In fact, as we all known, the Japanese kanji are developed from Chinese characters. See also:
- Allied Infantry page on the official Mental Omega website