Red Faction is a video game series developed by Volition where Earth has exhausted its supply of natural resources, and depends on mining operations on Mars for the survival of its economy. The main gameplay draw of the Red Faction series is the Geo-Mod engine, a Stuff Blowing Up simulator par excellence. Geo-Mod 1, used in Red Faction 1 and Red Faction 2, was based primarily around terrain deformation: Rock could be torn away with your weapons, but metal surfaces were usually safe. Geo-Mod 2, used in Red Faction: Guerrilla, reverses this, enabling the player to destroy buildings using a physics system so realistic the game developers actually had to study architecture to get the buildings to stand up.All five games take place in the same universe, although Red Faction 2 has very little to do with the others:
Red Faction: Guerrilla is a departure in terms of gameplay - a Wide Open SandboxThird-Person Shooter similar to Volition's Saints Row, as opposed to a First-Person Shooter - but a return to the continuing narrative. Fifty years after the original Red Faction, the Earth Defense Force have turned from liberators to oppressors, more concerned with exploiting Mars than helping it rebuild. A newcomer to Mars, Alec Mason, joins the reborn Red Faction to fight against the EDF after his brother is gunned down by an EDF gunship.
Red Faction: Armageddon is the fourth game in the series and takes place fifty years afterwards Guerrilla. It's a Third-Person Shooter, but features tighter Gears of War style corridor-shooter gameplay in contrast to the Grand Theft Auto style Wide Open Sandbox gameplay of Guerrilla. After the planet's atmospheric terraformer is destroyed by cult leader Adam Hale, a descendant of the defeated EDF and long-time nemesis of the Mason family, the people of Mars are forced to take shelter underground from the now hostile surface. The game stars Darius Mason, the grandson of Alec Mason, who is tricked into opening an ancient sealed Martian temple by Hale, releasing a long-buried malevolent alien species and unleashing armageddon upon Mars.
There's also Red Faction: Battlegrounds, a top-down, twin-stick Shoot 'em Up for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 designed as a tie-in to Armageddon. It consists of various challenges narrated by Armageddon's Sergeant Winters, and multiplayer where up to four players can control a variety of vehicles from Guerrilla and proceed to blow up everything.
In July 2011 THQ cancelled the series, due to dramatically poor sales of Red Faction Armageddon. In late 2012 THQ declared bankruptcy and had its assets sold off: Although Koch Media has bought Volition, they did not buy the Red Faction IP, which leaves it in limbo.
The franchise provides examples of:
All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In the middle of a Guerrilla mission, the game pulls a swerve: without warning the mission is aborted and you have to race to save a safehouse from a full-on assault. The safehouse is wrecked and your commander is killed.
A popular game mod contained a modded gun that fired the explosions from singularity bombs. Armageddon contains a weapon that does the exact same thing.
As You Know: In Guerrilla, Samanya is all about this trope. Because you'll be popping in to buy upgrades roughly every twenty to forty minutes throughout the campaign, the game feels that this is a good time to remind you of vital plot points. Unfortunately this can lead to Sam telling you that the Hydra is coming and that we're all doomed about thirty times, and Mason demonstrates repeatedly through his actions that he's aware of the plot points in question.
Awesome Personnel Carrier: Guerrilla has drivable APCs, mounted with machine guns, rail guns and other futuristic weaponry, forming an integral part of the enemy EDF's presence on Mars. They are notable for the loving detail of their models and are undoubtedly cool.
Ax-Crazy: Jenkins in Guerrilla seems fairly harmless (albeit completely nuts) at first, possibly even a little bit Crazy Awesome. However, the more missions you do with him, and the more he talks to you, it becomes more and more obvious something is very wrong with him upstairs, and that he is in fact a dangerously unstable individual who is as much a threat to the Faction as he is to the EDF.
Some of his crazy talk is even his own made-up Martian language; one of the things he says when you attack him (being the indestructible NPC he is, you can keep doing this) is "Zooblah-bee-bop!".
Bad Ass Longcoat: Mason's outfit in Guerrilla, apparently a thick safety coat of the type worn by firefighters and certain miners and construction workers. In Armageddon, your Powered Armor has one.
Bald of Awesome: A completely shaved head seems to be the cultural norm for all men in the 22nd century, including all of the heroes and villains of Guerilla and Armageddon.
Bare Your Midriff: Quill, your sniper in Red Faction 2. Also, the Team Blue Female and Team Red Female (multiplayer only) have a variant on the Cleavage Window - except in this case, it's a belly window.
The Cavalry: In the last level of Guerrilla, at the very end of the game, a huge swarm of Maurauders suddenly show up to help you fight the last group of EDF soldiers guarding the route to the final boss. They usually end up getting wiped out by the EDF Elite Mooks and their gunship air support unless you intervene, but it's still appreciated.
Canon Welding: There are several clues (most notably Ultor) that indicate that Red Faction takes place in the future of Saints Row. For example, in Guerrilla Mount Vogel is named after the Big Bad of Saints Row 2. It is also suggested that the Freespace series takes place in the same timeline, with a reference to one "Subach Industries" after you destroy the AAX gunships in the Badlands mission Air Traffic Control. On the other hand, it may just have been a passing Shout-Out. (Ahaha... there is a Radio Tag that belonged to Shaundi, a perpetually stoned Saint in Saints Row 2 that essentially acted as the Player Character's intelligence officer. It includes both her portrait and, unlike the rest of the Radio Tags, ONLY her first name. It's unfortunate that the Tag is found on a skeleton, though...)
The gear and vehicles that the secondary antagonists of Saints Row: The Third, STAG, use, are very similar to the stuff the EDF uses in Guerrilla.
Continuity Nod: Red Faction: Guerrilla has many references to the original game. The major cities are all named after Red Faction 1 characters, the defunct Ultor corporation plays a role in the game's plot, and there's an Easter Egg where Parker from the original game has a cameo appearance as an old miner.
In the Ultor Echo mission, the first building you come across in the Maurauder ruins is the chamber in which Parker fought his boss battle against Capek. Mason will even hear garbled, ghostly speech throughout the level; the speeches are actually lines spoken by Capek in the first game.
Capek is mentioned often in Armageddon. You even encounter a holographic bust of him early on. Also, there are a number of implications that the plague miners suffered from in the original Red Faction stemmed from Armageddon's aliens.
Coop Multiplayer: Armageddon introduces "Infestation" mode, similar to the "horde" or survival modes seen in other shooters. Up to four players can battle against increasingly nasty waves of aliens, using whatever upgrades they've obtained in the campaign thus far. In addition, you earn salvage for killed enemies and can purchase more upgrades, which then can be used in the campaign. These battles depict events that apparently occur concurrently with the campaign.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Both literally and figuratively: Darius can use a melee finisher on some enemies, such as the scurrying Creepers. On them, he simply stomps their heads in for a One-Hit Kill.
Crapsack World: Nothing ever really gets better in this series; Earth is starving for resources so we mine Mars... but the corporation with a monopoly on it has zero interest in basic human rights. Parker brings them down... and then Earth itself puts things right back where they were. Mason liberates Mars...then the terraformers go down, forcing everyone to live underground while everything Parker and Mason fought for on the surface is buried in red dust. Then the underground is harboring a Sealed Evil in a Can and it turns into something that looks a little like Dead Space. And if you take the shared universes into account? Everything you did in Saints Row is irrelevant, because all of this comes next. Everything you do here is just going to lead to Sol being cut off from the rest of the galaxy,thus exacerbating the resource problem, while five-legged omnicidal aliens destroy everything else.
Earth itself by the events of Guerrilla, even. The Council is going ahead with a "Forced Sterilization Act" due to rampant overpopulation, London is now several feet below sea level and relies on a complex network of dams, pumps, levees and reservoirs to avoid flooding (which is becoming more and more frequent), countries that don't join the Earth Defense Council are pretty much on their own if they aren't wiped out and/or annexed by the Council, a passenger shuttle crashes in the "Amazon Desert" with the loss of all aboard, rescue operations are grounded due to severe storms... Earth is pretty much a terrible place to be, it's no wonder Alec left.
Crazy Survivalist: Jenkins from Guerrilla. While the player performs Rail Shooter missions from the back of Jenkins' trike-car, Jenkins relates his survivalist philosophy. He wants total independence of Mars from "them" (Earth), to the point of inventing his own "Mars words" to replace English. He also claims he has "taught himself" to breathe carbon dioxide and thinks mankind will eventually merge with their cars. Upon blowing up a target he will frequently cry out that he is "Clean and Righteous." At other points he announces that while everyone thinks he is crazy, he is the only sane man, and that "they" are always watching. Jenkins eventually goes right over the edge, deciding the Earth forces exist because of the rebellion, so the only way to be Clean is to betray the rebellion.
Critical Existence Failure: In the original game, no matter how many bullet holes your envirosuit acquires, as long as it has 1 unit of armor left, it will still protect you from the Martian atmosphere. Once it hits 0 units of armor, though, you can kiss goodbye to oxygen.
Dead Character Walking: A glitch in multiplayer mode when the invincibility cheat was active; the flamethrower's alternate attack would set CPU-controlled players on fire, but never let them die. They would run around forever screaming in agony until you turned the cheat off. It was possible to inflict this cruelty on an entire level's worth of bots.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In Guerrilla, all death does is subtract a mere four morale points and send you back to the nearest safehouse. When you die, you get credited for current kill streaks, property destruction and so on. It is common to have the "death penalty" refunded with interest before you even respawn. The only real penalty is losing progress on a difficult mission.
Destructive Saviour: All of the games to some extent, but especially Guerrilla, where Stuff Blowing Up pretty much advances the plot. It lowers EDF control in the region, which unlocks main story missions.
The best part is the game actually permanently saves every bit of damage you do to the various buildings and structures scattered around the game world. By the end of the game the Mars colony may very well be a smouldering wreck thanks to you.
"The best part?" That's the worst part! It means you can't go back and destroy it all again. Unless you have the PC version and enable the Reconstructor in single-player...
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Guerrilla's finale, in which the ragtag Red Faction take out the most powerful space-faring vessel ever designed with a single missile. This vessel has sufficient firepower to "cleanse" entire planets and weapons accurate enough to hit individual people from orbit, yet can't shoot down a missile.
Disaster Scavengers: The Marauders in Guerrilla live like this, with structures, weapons and vehicles that appear to be cobbled together from bits and pieces of scrap. It is however, a facade. They do this to hide their identities as former Ultor scientists, and descendants thereof. And they know very well how their Lost Technology works, thank you very much.
Doom Magnet: Darius Mason, hard. Lampshaded by Frank Winters:
Sgt. Winters: You ever notice how when bad things happen - I mean the absolute WORST things imaginable. Horrible stuff - there's always a Mason around? Now I'm talking about shit you couldn't even dream of happening... y'know, it never fails!
Dragon Their Feet: Capek, the Big Bad of Red Faction, dies about halfway through the game, with the rest of the game being spent fighting Colonel Masako and her Merc soldiers.
Drop the Hammer: The sledgehammer in Guerrilla. It can can singlehandedly destroy enormous buildings with enough swings and one-hit kill many mooks in the game...
Elite Mooks: The Elite Guard and Merc soldiers in the original Red Faction, and the Sopot Elite Guard and Nano Elite in Red Faction 2. The Merc soldiers in RF1 are particularly elite. As in, you could be running around with a shotgun and an assault rifle gunning down Ultor guards left and right, and you'll be just fine, but when the Mercs roll in, it's a severe shock to the system when half of them are carrying Heavy Machine Guns and the other half carry the Rail Driver, which can kill you with one shot, through walls and on any part of your body. Apparently, Parker has vital organs in his feet.
Try multiplayer mode on impossible and watch the comp get a sniper rifle, I didn't know computers could hit you with their back facing you so well... yea...
Guerilla have EDF Heavy Troopers, 7-foot tall guys in white power armor. They have twice as much health as standard EDF soldiers, and only show up in the final region of the game, Eos.
Armageddon has the Wraith, capable of cloaking and blurring your vision with a psychotropic cloud. Also the Berserker, who aside from having a bit too much health has a nasty habit of exploding when you kill one.
Enemy Mine: At first, the EDF, Red Faction and the Marauders are all at each others throats. Samanya's status as the sister of the Marauders leader, Vasha, helps to convince her that the Faction and Marauders need to work together against the EDF.
Everything Breaks: One of the main draws of the series is the endless destruction made possible by the detailed graphics engine.
Exposition Fairy: Armageddon has one in the form of Darius' wrist-computer AI, S.A.M. He's frequently exasperated with her. To her credit, she occasionally snarks back.
Faceless Goons: The EDF drones of all types. The field officers wear the least headgear, but even then they have berets, goggles and a mini gas-mask.
Foreshadowing: Unknown if it's intentional or not, but the old coot in the Badlands (Parker) mentions that there aren't any monsters left on Mars, unless you look real hard. While there are none in Guerrilla, guess exactly what happens in Armageddon...
Full-Circle Revolution: Red Faction 1's revolt wound up not changing much for the poor miners in the long run.
Game Mod: What enterprising users are doing with the PC version despite the lack of official tools. It's pretty primitive right now, but they're starting to make some headway. What's more fun than destroying that gigantic bridge in the Badlands? Painstakingly rebuilding it piece by piece as the EDF try to kill you, and then blowing it up all over again!
Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Red Faction, mercenaries use Rail Drivers in space station. Seriously, would anyone use a rifle that can punch through multiple walls when the vacuum of space is outside and there are plenty of windows that could be broken by stray weapon fire?
Glass Cannon: The major bosses in the first Red Faction can't take that much damage (at least by FPS boss standards), but deal massive damage themselves and can kill you in just 2 or 3 shots on Normal difficulty.
Goggles Do Nothing: Darius, though he does actually put them down over his eyes when he's out in the Martian air.
Gory Discretion Shot: An absolutely bizarre one in Armageddon. After Darius battles Hale's spider tank to a standstill, Hale is shown sitting still in the cockpit, apparently without severe physical injury. After a brief cut to show Darius standing outside the tank wondering if the battle is over, Hale's head suddenly rolls out from under the tank. No explanation is given for this, although it most likely is a visual joke regarding the character's Staying Alive tendencies and the sudden expiration of his Joker Immunity.
Gravity Screw: The wondrously entertaining "Magnet Gun" in Armageddon allows you to hurl almost anything through the air using two "anchors". The first does nothing until you shoot a second, at which point whatever was shot the first time (such as an unfortunate enemy) will be hurled headlong at the second target. There's also the "Shockwave" power, which hurls nearby enemies into the air and suspends them there temporarily.
Guns Akimbo: Darius can do this in Armageddon, either with a pair of low-damage pistols or Banshees, which are high-damage, but slow-firing Hand Cannons.
Hand Blast: Red Faction: Armageddon has this, coming from the nano-forge.
He Who Must Not Be Seen: Averted with the rebel leader in the third game; he appears in several cutscenes, and you can also see him in-game at the rebel camp in the Badlands, where he has an office.
Hero of Another Story: Listening to the radio operators at Red Faction bases in Guerrilla will reveal that the Faction has several lone agents much like Mason out in the populace, doing much the same thing he's doing (it's possible to hear an individual being called in to attack a convoy, for example, or track down a courier). You never actually see them, though.
Highly-Visible Ninja: Both played straight and subverted in Guerrilla. Played straight with the Red Faction's technicals, civilian vehicles openly mounting machine guns, anti-tank cannons or rocket launchers that you can casually drive right through an EDF checkpoint with no one batting an eye. Subverted with Mason himself. By the late game you'll be openly wearing an obvious suit of makeshift body armor over the top of miner's clothes, and you'll be operating in areas of the planet where miners are rare in general - and people will notice this, with EDF soldiers often treating you with suspicion and eventually firing on you even in entirely safe areas.
Hit-and-Run Tactics: Guerrilla heavily encourages this. In fact, some structures and bases are nearly impossible to take down without using such tactics, as unless you're using a Walker, the EDF will swarm you and gun you down, even with the best weapons and armor, and given the nature of this game, cover never lasts long. As opined in Zero Punctuationnote "You get enough ammo to worry half a scout troop.", you run out of ammo in long battles when starting out. Even later, you tend to run out of the good stuff.
Humongous Mecha: Mining Walkers are very fun whenever you can get them. Heavy ones trash buildings like a walker through a butter factory. There's also the Light Walker, which is a fun runaround and has jumpjets, and the Combat Walker, which is... pretty much a Macross Missile Massacre on legs, what with the rocket pods.
Idiot Hero: Parker in Red Faction is pretty damn dense, not to mention rather hotheaded. Funnily enough, he was accepted into Harvard before the events of the game. He decided to become a miner to spite his parents. In Guerrilla, it is fortunate Samanya is the brains of the outfit. Mason has the hitting power and intellect of a sledgehammer. This introduces an odd note of humour when giving him the nanoforge is seen as putting it "in safe hands."
Fridge Brilliance: If the EDF knows Mason have it, they'll devote more of their resources going after him instead of the rest of the Faction. His erratic movements between sectors and strikes using civilian vehicles as cover force the EDF to stay alert and not commit too much to any one offensive because they never know where he will strike next. He is also the best equipped and most experienced combatant in the Faction, by the sounds of things.
Improvised Weapon: Much of the Red Faction's own weaponry in Guerrilla is like this. Some of the Marauder's weapons are too. Examples;
The Arc Welder, which shoots streams of electricity, incapacitating enemies and letting you hijack vehicles. Upgrades include allowing the streams to discern friend from foe, and an additional stream for extra damage.
The Grinder, which shoots dinner-plate sized sawblades fast enough to take your head off. It can be upgraded to charge faster, and to make its sawblades explode on impact.
The Rocket Launcher, which shoots rocket-propelled mining charges using an initial burst of compressed gas. It can be upgraded with heat-seeking capabilities and the ability to shoot multiple rockets/missiles at once.
Mining charges from Red Faction blows up more things than just rocks...
In-Vehicle Invulnerability: Even if you are one shot away from death, the moment you get into a vehicle, it takes all the damage which comes your way. Don't be inside a vehicle that is taken to zero hit points though: it will explode and hurt and/or kill you.
Iwo Jima Pose: In Guerrilla, an Iwo Jima-like monument can be found in Eos, commemorating the EDF soldiers who died liberating Mars from the Ultor Corporation, complete with a plaque listing all their names. There's a mission toblow it up.
Jet Pack: Mason gets one in Guerrilla after liberating Oasis, and the Light Walker has one. Nope, sorry, it doesn't play Dixie when you hit the jets. Both of them have limited flight time, but automatically recharge.
Kaizo Trap: In Guerrilla, after you kill General Roth in the game's final battle, you need to clear the missile launch tube to finish the game. If you just dick around, maybe taking cover to regenerate the health you lost fighting the General, a pair of airships will appear behind you and riddle you with bullets, forcing you to restart the entire 20-minute long level over again.
Large Ham: Evil Overlord Victor Sopot in Red Faction 2, especially in his big speech that plays during the game's title menu.
Macross Missile Massacre: The Missile Tank and Combat Walker in Guerrilla. The Combat Walker fires a constant hailstorm of rockets from its mounted rocket pods, and the Missile Tank can unleash a long, staggered barrage of missiles over a few seconds, pulverizing vehicles, buildings and infantry alike in a Katyusha-esque fashion.
Made of Iron: Colonel Masako (well, at least if she has still her shield) and Secretary of Defense Molov can both take multiple rocket launcher shots (and your entire stock of small arms ammo, railgun rounds, and... well, you get the idea) to the face before dying, even on the easiest difficulties. This is averted in Red Faction: Guerrilla, where Big Bad #1 General Roth drives a tank to fight you for the game's final battle, and Big Bad #2 Admiral Kobel is killed in the ending cutscene. It's very satisfying to shove several rockets up Roth's tailpipe whilst he's in the middle of his speech... You can also snipe him with a railgun through the tank's armor. Or electrocute him with the Arc Welder.
Magikarp Power: The Grinder in Guerrilla. Mostly useless at first, but far more effective with rapid charging and explosive blades. In online play however the grinder is more immediately effective and affectionately referred to as a giant sniper rifle.
Mars: No, really. In Guerrilla it's a blueish, greenish and yellow planet, too, with perplexingly distinct mood lighting boundaries. You may occasionally forget you're on Mars in Armageddon, as a large portion of the game is spent underground in Amazing Technicolor Caverns.
Meaningful Name: Alec Mason carries a big hammer. Captain Gunnarsen meets protests with lead. General Bertram Roth is not calm and reasonable.
Mega Corp.: Ultor is the most prominent example, but there are several smaller Mega Corps, primarily the AmRuKuo Corp. and Kuroari Industries.
Mini-Mecha: Armageddon substitutes these for Guerrilla's much larger mining walkers, likely due to the cramped conditions of most of the levels. They may not be quite as destructive, but they do the job well- especially the Leo, a uniquely-styled mecha with flowing skirt-armor, a heavy machine gun and rocket pack.
The Mole: In Guerrilla. An interesting case as the "traitor" is not actually a member of the other side, but simply batshit insane. It's Jenkins: see Crazy Survivalist, above.
There are several "Guerrilla missions" where you are asked to hunt down a traitor who is going to sell out the location of the Safehouses to the EDF. Interestingly, even if you do all of these, they still know where the Badlands Safehouse is
Maybe someone at EDF command finally discovered they have a woundrous invention called "satellite imaging."
Moral Dissonance: Colonel Joseph Broga is painfully (and loudly) tortured in the Catch and Release mission, before being dumped off a cliff. Apparently, this is A-okay, because Broga himself tortured people.
Mundane Utility: The Nano Rifle, the technological wonder containing the "future of Mars", is also extremely handy for salvaging crystals. Unlike mining charges or the sledgehammer, it doesn't send the valuable bits scattering all over the place and cleans up its own mess.
Names to Run Away From Really Fast: In the Path to War DLC for Armageddon, the interleaved story of mission 1, 3, and 4 (2 is just a cathartic break to wreak havoc as a Red Faction tanker,) is that of a Cultist lieutenant named "Mallus." His name is one to run away from exceptionally quickly. At least until you start substituting "Ph" for the "M", which Inverts it completely.
Nanomachines: The Nano Forge, a key MacGuffin in Guerrilla, is among other things what enables the Red Faction to destroy the EDF Flagship Hydra at the end of the game. It returns in Armageddon, now strapped to Darius' left arm, and can be used to repair destroyed objects as well as granting him various abilities. In both games it's also the basis for the Nano Rifle, a powerful weapon that can disassemble whatever it hits.
Nintendo Hard: In the first game, some of the late-game levels where you fight against the Mercs can be this, as many of them are armed with one-hit-kill railguns, and even their normal weapons can kill you in just 4 to 8 shots. Guerrilla can often be Nintendo Hard, with its large number of Escort Missions and the fact you're often expected to fight 10-20 enemies at the same time with a character who really isn't particularly durable by shooter standards.
The final two regular levels in Red Faction: Armageddon qualify as this. With truly countless enemies spawning left and right (including at least one Behemoth boss) and being stuck to tight corridors with little environment to destroy, playing the levels, even on normal, can be enough to induce a lot of rage. Some even consider the final boss to be a Breather Level!
No OSHA Compliance: What did you expect from an evil corporation with no regard for human safety, anyway?
Seen again in the underground shanty-towns in Armageddon.
Notice This: In Guerrilla a wave of shine will highlight scrap on the ground. Periodic shine also occurs on dropped weapons. This effect can be jarring: while target arrows look like HUD symbols, this is inexplicably "in world".
Offscreen Teleportation: In Guerrilla, no matter how fast you drive between safehouses, Sam will be there to exchange salvage for goodies.
Fridge Brilliance: She uses the same teleportation function that you can buy to warp between safehouses after a certain point in the game.
One-Man Army : The great majority of the of destruction and salvation that occurs in Red Faction one and two is the result of one person. In Guerrilla, NPC Guerrillas fight alongside the player, but Mason is still very much a One-Man Army. Lampshaded in Guerrilla: After purchasing an upgrade, Sam will sometimes say "We'll turn you into a one man army." Darius at least has an excuse: The Nano Forge affords him an array of powers.
Pay Evil unto Evil: What happens during Catch and Release in Guerrilla. You might almost end up feeling sorry for Colonel Broga, but given that he seems to have done a lot of torturing of the kind he is now receiving, it's a bit of sorely overdue Revenge.
Poor Communication Kills: Darius Mason decides to wait until after the miners are riled up and ready to kill him to try to explain his side of things. Of course, these miners are already very surly and they might have taken it out on him anyway, which is why he held back in the first place.
Admiral Kobel:This is Admiral Kobel of the EDS Hydra. What is your status?
Alec Mason:Just fine, Admiral, but yours is about to go red.
Propaganda Machine: The Voice of Mars Broadcasting System. The loudspeakers scattered around work for the EDF as well, until the EDF are driven out and the loudspeakers begin saying to join the Red Faction. And oh what a propaganda machine it is...
Rail Shooter: The missions on Jenkins' trike-car, popping off rockets at EDF assets while the game controls the car and keeps count of the damage cost to the EDF. In Red Faction 2 you occasionally take the gunner position in a tank or aircraft.
Armageddon has a few sequences like this, most notably while riding a barge down river of lava.
Reality Ensues: In the very beginning of Guerrilla your character presents his ID to the immigration officer upon arriving on Mars...a photo ID. Once the EDF find out he has joined the Red Faction midway through the game, his face ends up plastered all over every media outlet on the planet, and EDF soldiers will occasionally recognize you and attack you on sight, shouting things like "I've found him!"
In Red Faction your allies have literal red jumpsuits. And yes, in both of the first two games, your allies are beyond completely useless. Enemies will kill off your buddies before they can fire off a shot. Even if they somehow survive the gunfight they'll contrive to drop dead for no reason anyway.
In Guerrilla, your fellow rebels can occasionally hold their own. Still, the average rebel devotes much of their time to a) shooting other rebels by accident, b) complaining because another rebel shot them, c) walking into the player's line of fire, or d) seeking cover by huddling in front of the vehicle you are driving. They get cover — from the top as you bump over their brave rebel skulls. Rebels in Guerilla actually have more than twice as much health as EDF soldiers, but they're usually outnumbered at least 10 to 1, not to mention the fact that EDF have seemingly limitless reinforcements.
The Revolution Will Not Be Villified: Subverted in Red Faction 2. Played mostly straight everywhere else, with some notable exceptions. In Guerrilla, most of the Red Faction's actions are either in self-defense or attacks against legitimate military targets of the cartoonishly evil EDF, but there are a couple missions which are a bit more...grey, like blowing up a shopping mall and coffee shop which are popular with civilian supporters of the EDF, destroying a war memorial commemorating the dead from the first Red Faction rebellion, stopping a corporate contract negotiation by killing all the negotiators, or wiping out the civilian government apparatus of the Mars colony (who, granted, are a powerless puppet state, but still). The Red Faction also really doesn't treat suspected collaborators well.
Rewarding Vandalism: In Red Faction: Guerrilla, upgrades to your weapons and other assorted things, such as body armor and safehouse warps, are earned by trading in scrap metal for it (presumably used to improvise weapons and armor). This scrap is earned by destroying EDF buildings, their vehicles, hell, anything that says EDF on it. Since damn near everything short of the environment is destructible in this game, there are also some indirect ways that the game rewards you for vandalism, such as destroying a wall separating you from EDF soldiers to ambush them, busting a hole through a wall to escape through if you find yourself trapped, or cracking holes into pipes in order to find a safe way into otherwise well-guarded structures.
The first game takes advantage of this from time to time. Blowing up some suspicious walls can yield you hidden supplies and once a beam of light that heals you instantly, along with a Fusion Rocket Launcher (obtained much sooner than it would normally be).
Ridiculously Fast Construction: Darius Mason in Armageddon has a more powerful, arm-based version of the Nano Forge, and he's able to repair or rebuild just about anything (except explosives or explosive machinery) in a matter of seconds. This is actually quite necessary since odds are good you'll wind up destroying a bridge or staircase you needed to get to the next area.
Roboteching: The Missile Tank can fire its rockets like this.
Sticky Bomb: The first game gives remote charges that can be thrown on enemies to panic and kill them, but is less effective against late-game mercs. In Guerrilla, mining charges can be stuck to EDF soliders, who then flail about in a panic before the player sets the charge off. ''Armageddon' gives the player a Grenade Launcher that fires similar charges, up to four at once.
Shock and Awe: The Arc Welder in Red Faction: Guerrilla. Quite a useful little weapon, since Mason seems physically incapable of hijacking vehicles.
It's realistic, in the sense that high-end military vehicles like tanks etc. should have some kind of door lock to prevent people from exactly that. And hey, without that, you wouldn't have an incentive to use the welder to electrocute an entire APC worth of troopers.
Shout-Out: References abound to other Volition games, movies and so on and so forth in mission names, dialogue and news reports.
One of Armageddon's new vehicles is the Inferno GX space fighter, so named and designed (it even has the same aiming reticule and twin lasers) as a nod to the legendary space shooter Descent. Not surprising considering Volition's origins as Parallax Software, which they shared with now-defunctDescent 3 and Red Faction II developers Outrage Entertainment.
Strictly Formula: The Red Faction franchise averts this. None of the games play similarly to the others, even when they share the same genre. Red Faction feels like a Spiritual Successor to the first Half-Life in several ways (i.e., the one-level world feel, the second section's science-gone-awry angle, and the merc-heavy final third of the game). Red Faction 2 goes more for Halo, down to the super soldiers, quick toss grenades, and regenerating health. Guerrilla puts a destructive spin to the Wide Open Sandbox genre Grand Theft Auto popularized, and Armageddon evokes the Gears of War-esque third person shooter. The only things these games share are the geo-mod system, and Mars (except Red Faction 2, which takes place on Earth). Interestingly, this series shows how this can be a good thingand a bad thing.
Stuff Blowing Up: A major raison d'être for Guerrilla. The storyline may as well be "Save the planet, here's a rocket launcher"
Stuffed In The Fridge: Even Yahtzee, who's about as far down the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism as you can get, found it jarring how quickly Kara goes from being upgraded to love interest to being gruesomely killed off in order to give the hero something else to angst about, remarking that the elapse in time between the two events (probably less than 15 seconds) must set a new record.
Stuck Item: In Guerrilla, Mason's sledgehammer fills up a slot and can't be exchanged for a more useful weapon. This is because there isn't a more useful weapon. It becomes unstuck in Armageddon.
Suicidal Overconfidence: In Red Faction and Red Faction 2, injured enemies may turn around and start to run away, but after a few seconds they'll immediately spin around and resume shooting at you as though nothing had happened. In Guerrilla, trying to attack a base head-on like Master Chief will leave you and your idiot friends dead before you even get into firing range. Mason himself doesn't help matters: when an army comes in to help him at the end, he whines "I thought I was the attack force." The aliens in Armageddonnever retreat.
Sword of Plot Advancement: The matter-dissolving Nano Rifle in Guerrilla, which contains the one-of-a-kind Nanoforge which is the Martians' only hope of defeating the EDF. Your female sidekick outright states "It's not just a gun; it may be the future of Mars". note "So... can I have my gun back?"
Take Your Time: Generally, the player advances the action when they want to in Guerrilla. The commander thinks Sam might be walking into an ambush... get over there right now! Or later! When you feel like it!
There Was a Door: Guerrilla provides the player with a sledgehammer of unlikely power. You have the option of bashing your way through walls and windows rather than go through the doorway. This can be a lifesaver when rescuing hostages, running from a horde of drones, and so forth.
Third Act Stupidity: In Guerrilla, when you start the final invasion of Eos. You're in Eos to start with, but your commander first sends you to Dust as you can go to pick up a no-name band of Rebels to join you (in the south), then sends you to meet the army in the Badlands (way in the east). Both areas are about as far as you can get from your goal in the northwest. Sure enough, while you're running around the boondocks of Mars the Badlands base is attacked and the Eos attack called off. You race to its defense to no avail: All Your Base Are Belong to Us. As a result of this stupidity the ending gets stretched out for a few more hours.
Tournament Play: Since the addition of the Major League Gaming Playlist to Red Faction Guerrilla.
Translation Convention / Translator Microbes: Not in Guerrilla! Whilst practically all colonists speak English (or what is presumably English) it is possible to hear Russian, French and other languages as well, usually from the citizens you rescue during House Arrest events. The emergency vehicles have reflective panels that read 'AMBULANCE' or 'EMERGENCY' in three different languages as well, depending on which angle you look at them from.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: the nuclear bomb in the first game. The clunky overhead-view protect-the-truck-with-artillery mini-game in Guerrilla.
Depends. The amount of destruction you can unleash on the EDF with the artillery is well worth the clunk.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Most apparent in Guerrilla, a wide-open sandbox-style game in which literally anything built by human hands can be destroyed. In fact, the Cruelty Potential is so blatant in Guerrilla that it's actually had a song written about it: Space Asshole takes the point of view of a colonist who is afflicted by Mason rampaging though Mars.
Red Faction 1 wasn't without its share. Use flamethrowers on medics and unarmed civilians! Attach mining charges to the faces of security goons and watch them flail about helplessly to try and get it off! Blow out bridges to send people to their deaths!
Video Game Cruelty Punishment: None in the original Red Faction. Red Faction 2 had a Karma Meter, and killing too many civilians would get you the bad endings. In Guerrilla killing civilians results in a minor morale penalty.
Vulnerable Civilians: In Guerilla,EDF patrols will randomly stop civilians for questioning. These encounters inevitably escalate to the EDF troops just mowing down the unarmed civilians, unless you intervene.
Walk It Off: Red Faction 2 has regenerating health, although it's justified by your character's status as a nano-augmented Super Soldier. It's noticeably slower than the regenerating health seen in more modern FPS games picking up medkits, usually, restores lives not health as such. Guerrilla has straightforward regenerating health: Mason regenerates health very fast once he can catch his breath.
Warp Whistle: By the time you reach the 3rd zone, you can purchase an upgrade that lets you instantly travel to any safehouse, as long as you haven't triggered an alert level. It dramatically cuts down on the transit time, although you still have to slow-travel to all non-safehouse locations.
Weaksauce Weakness: The aliens in Armageddon have but one weakness: Earthlike air. Reactivating the dormant terraformer is the killing blow.
Wide Open Sandbox: Red Faction: Guerrilla. One of the nice features is the modicum of active events such as EDF raids and spontaneous firefights that break up the usual passive sandbox mission-supermarket vibe.
Wreaking Havok: In one mission, you have to assassinate a group of corrupt government officials. You can sneak in and stealthily take them out, attack from long range with a sniper rifle. Or you can destroy the roof supports from long range and watch a growing cascade of rubble smoosh your targets.
Or you can attach a shitload of demolition charges to a truck, crash the truck into the building, blow up the truck, then fire off rockets in every direction until the building is a pile of smouldering rubble, then hijack an enemy APC and drive off into the Martian sunset. Basically, Guerrilla doesn't often tell you how to do something. You want to smash a back door into an enemy base and steal a tank or two? Sure why not? You want to charge into an outpost and hammer away at the support struts until the entire thing comes tumbling down with you inside it? Go nuts. Just try not to die in the process.
We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Every mining operation in Guerrilla consists of a bunch of people literally digging out the ore by hand with picks and shovels, then carrying it by hand to a loading hopper. The all-powerful EDF has access to energy weapons, terraforming engines, and super-advanced VTOL aircraft, but not mining drills or excavating machines.
Fridge Brilliance: If you'd just helped a bunch of freedom fighters rebel using sophisticated machinery and weapons (Red Faction), why would you let them have them now that you're an oppressive regime? You wouldn't! The EDF purposefully hamstrung the miners...giving them tunnel-boring machines to dig into your own bases doesn't make for a good defensive strategy! Anyway...manual labor probably kept more Martians from joining the Red Faction, being basically slaves and whatnot.