|This article is about a/an episode in VR Troopers.|
|Defending Dark Heart|
|VR Troopers, Episode 31-34|
|Air date November 14-17, 1994|
Small but Mighty
While cross-training, the Troopers stumble upon a large group of Grimlord's virtual army undergoing a competition. A scan of the crowd determines that one of the mutants is actually a human, the only human they know to be trapped in virtual reality is his father, so this leads him to believe it is him. Dark Heart, the source of this human DNA, proves himself most worthy of Grimlord's forces, and is sent on a mission to destroy Ryan. Can Ryan stand a chance against an enemy he's afraid to harm, but has no restraint in return? And, will Percy's search for a news scoop land him, and JB & Kaitlin, in virtual hot water?
Trapped in a deadly trap in virtual reality, JB & Kaitlin must think fast to save themselves without exposing their secret identities as VR Troopers to fellow captive Percy. Meanwhile, while being prepared for termination, Dark Heart rebels against Grimlord's forces and flees. Ryan must save him to learn the truth about his father, Tyler Steele. But will it lead to a joyous reunion or will it put the Troopers into even more danger?
The team works overtime trying to find a way to de-virtualize Dark Heart and restore Tyler Steele back to normal. But the link they discover between him and Grimlord will make things even tougher for the Troopers. Soon, Dark Heart is captured and used as bait to lure VR Ryan to his ultimate doom, and his teammates to an equally dreadful one. Meanwhile, Percy buys a reality break detector.
As JB & Kaitlin attempt to restore the VR Lab and get Professor Hart back online, Ryan aids Dark Heart in repairs. Grimlord's forces launch continued assaults on the pair, but their renewed vigor leads them to make a desperate ploy by leading the fight directly towards Grimlord. Can Ryan's father be returned to normal, and the team reunited safely? Even if they survive facing Grimlord, they'll still have to get out of the vapor-filled Dungeon.
The Troopers and Professor Hart discover that one of Grimlord's mutants actually possesses human DNA. They learn that there is a hole in the Reality Barrier, that said hole is guarded by Darkheart...our "human" mutant. Ryan volunteers to face Darkheart and repair the hole. As the two fight, Percy - who has been all but forgotten - sees them and takes their pictures. Before Percy can leave the scene, he is captured by skugs and thrown into Grimlord's Virtual Dungeon. Ryan defeats Darkheart, who demands to be finished off. Ryan refuses to do so, because he suspects that Darkheart is really his father Tyler Steele: Hart's long-time colleague, who entered virtual reality years ago and never returned. Darkheart returns to Grimlord, who sentences him to Virtual Termination for failing to destroy Ryan. Meanwhile, J.B. and Kaitlin search for Percy and are sucked into the Virtual Dungeon. The chamber is lined with giant spikes and the walls are slowly coming together - threatening to crush the threesome, who barely escape with their lives. Grimlord's Mutants prepare to execute Darkheart...who is injured but escapes by using Toxoid as a shield. Ryan fights off skugs to reach Darkheart, whom he takes to Hart's lab for repairs. All three Troopers learn that Darkheart is indeed Ryan's father, albeit thoroughly reprogrammed to the point of amnesia. The Professor transfers Ryan's childhood memories to Darkheart/Tyler in order to undo the brainwashing. Tyler, who remains more machine/mutant than human, re-enters virtual reality to seek a cure. He is recaptured by Grimlord, who uses him as bait for Ryan and his fellow Troopers. Professor Hart and J.B. discover that Darkheart is connected to Grimlord both chemically and electronically. The only way to break said link is by destroying Grimlord! Then Grimlord appears on the lab's screens and gives Ryan specific coordinates on the Reality Grid; there he will find his father, who will be destroyed if Ryan does not show up and show up alone, without the aid of his two fellow Troopers. Ryan keeps the appointment; he and his father battle several mutants bent on destroying them both. Father and son escape on Ryan's VR Turbo Cycle; however, Grimlord launches a full-scale aerial assault on Professor Hart's lab. But Ryan takes his father to a second, long-forgotten lab deep in the mountains. Tyler and his son are cornered by Grimlord's aerial troops when J.B. and Kaitlin rush to their aid. Ryan and his dad challenge Grimlord face-to-face on the latter's own turf. Grimlord initiates a self-destruct sequence for his Dungeon, nearly wiping out both our heroes. Tyler helps the Troopers fight off Decimator and more of Grimlord's mutants before being recaptured by Grimlord and zapped back to the Virtual World.
- Brad Hawkins As Ryan Steele
- Sarah Brown As Kaitlin Star
- Michael Bacon As JB Reese
- David Carr As Tyler Steele
- Gardner Baldwin As Karl Ziktor/Grimlord (voice)
- Julian Combs As Professor Hart
- Zeb As Jeb
- Farrand Thompson As Young Ryan Steele
- Mike Reynolds As General Ivar And Minotaurbot (voice) (As Ray Michaels)
- Richard Epcar As Colonel Icebot, Chrome Dome And Tyler Steele/Darkheart (voice) (As Richard George)
- Aaron Pruner As Percival Rooney III
- Michael Sorich As Woody Stocker, Decimator And Tankatron (voice)
- Dave Mallow As Air Stryker, Fistbot And Magician (voice)
- Scott Page-Pagter As Renegade, Venobot And Bugbot (voice)
- Brad Orchard As Slice (voice)
- ??? As Rabidspore (voice)
- Douglas Sloan As Skug Cowboy
- Dark Heart was the only Metalder enemy costume to appear in the US footage.
- Torpedo Agmis VS Navy Second Lieutenant Metalder - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 1, Dark Heart debut and fight footage)
- Hold on! Never-Missing Gunplay - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 1, VR Ryan vs. Dark Heart)
- Anger! Knockout the Heavyweight King Galdos - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 2, Dark Heart's betrayal)
- Love's Rival is a Cruching Biker Family - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 2, Renegade's debut)
- Mai at Risk! Running One-Eyed Dragon Top Gunder - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 2, Dark Heart vs. Renegade fight footage)
- Big Siege Network, Escape of Heated Friendship - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 3, Dark Heart's capture and fight footage)
- Big Counteroffense! The Robot Army's Showdown - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 4, Dark Heart vs. Mutants fight footage)
- Great Collapse! Neroz Empire - counterpart in Choujinki Metalder. See comparison page. (Part 4, Dark Heart's death and fight footage)