is a 2003 sci-fi First-Person Shooter
for the PC developed by Techland, best known for the Call of Juarez
and Dead Island
series of video games. It was the first major release by Techland, and the Chrome engine has been used in all of their major games since then. A prequel, Chrome: SpecForce
was released in 2005.
The game focuses on the adventures of Bolt Logan (voiced by Jon St. John, best known as the voice of Duke Nukem
), a space bounty hunter in the distant future. Partnering with a drifter/computer hacker named Carrie after his old Space Marine
partner Pointer betrays him, Logan embarks on a series of bounty missions in a distant sector of colonized space, eventually being caught up in a power struggle between the Zetrox and Coretech Mega-Corporations over the valuable resource Chrome, a substance that makes terraforming human-habitable planets possible. The prequel, Chrome: Specops
takes place during Logan's past as a member of the Space Marine special forces.
The game features massive wide-open outdoor maps, drivable vehicles (including mech walkers), an inventory system, and "bionic implants" that can be activated for various enhanced combat abilities (visual zoom, decreased bullet spread, increased damage resistance, bullet-time, etc.) It can be thought of as Crysis
meets Deus Ex
, or alternatively as S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
Both games are available on Steam
. The fan-made HD patch to help the game run on modern systems is highly recommended.
and Chrome: SpecForce
provide examples of:
- Actionized Sequel: SpecForce is this compared to the original Chrome. Because you have a suit of Power Armor, you can survive a lot more hits. The suit also automatically marks enemies in your HUD when you zoom in, and reduces bullet spread when firing while zoomed. Enemies also drop a lot more ammo and health. This all makes it much more viable to Rambo your way through the levels instead of having to play more sneaky/tactically like in the original game. SpecForce also simplifies the controls a bit, as some abilities (such as zooming your aim) that previously had to be activated as a bionic implant now function automatically as a passive ability of the suit.
- The All-Seeing A.I.: Enemy A.I. can spot you through foliage, making the jungle sections fairly annoying. This is especially true of enemy snipers, who can spot you across the map and snipe you through a jungle's worth of trees and foliage. Since you can't see through trees and foliage, this means you can't even see them while they snipe you.
- Bullet Time: The last bionic implant you unlock lets you go into bullet-time. In SpecForce, a similar ability is included as one of the four functions of your Powered Armor.
- Deadpan Snarker: Logan does quite a lot of this.
- Defector from Decadence: Nicole Parker, the first Coretech representative, will defect from the company and come to your aid after she learns of their wrongdoing and plans for mass murder. This leads to...
- Redemption Equals Death: Nicole gets killed by Pointer for her trouble, though Logan manages to avenge her by killing him. Can turn into a Shoot the Shaggy Dog sacrifice if Logan ends up siding with Coretech and massacring the colonists anyway.
- Elite Mooks:
- Enemies wearing heavy, full-body suits of Powered Armor appear in the later missions. They have about twice as much health as regular soldiers, and unlike regular soldiers can survive a torso shot from a high-powered rifle. They are also often equipped with the best weapons, most notably the heavy rifle and heavy assault rifle. In SpecForce, they're mixed in with the regular troops from the very beginning.
- Zetrox executives, oddly enough. Despite only wearing business suits, they can survive a lot of damage (4 to 5 times as much damage as regular soldiers, meaning it can take 3 or 4 shots from a high-powered anti-materiel rifle specifically designed for hunting dinosaurs to kill them), and are equipped with Hand Cannon revolvers that can kill you really quickly. Presumably they're equipped with some really expensive bionic implants.
- Cyborg Assassins in SpecForce. Bald women in spy catsuits, like Zetrox executives they have high health and are armed with Hand Cannon revolvers. In addition, they move at superhuman speed and are equipped with cloaking devices.
- Towards the end of the second-to-last level of SpecForce, you start fighting regular enemies (mostly security guards) who are overdosed on LoreGen's performance enhancing stimulant. They behave mostly like they usually do, but have significantly increased health (about 3 times as much as normal).
- Eviler Than Thou: Coretech turns out to be this to Zetrox. Zetrox is planning to seize the colonists' valuable land and dump them somewhere else, after paying them pennies as "fair and adequate compensation". Coretech can't even be bothered to do that, and is planning to simply exterminate the colonists with a nanovirus. After you foil their plan, they offer to pay you to wipe the colonists out personally. Choosing to side with them is considered the darkest possible ending, and your Mission Control will quit on the spot if you do.
- Guide Dang It: Some of the scripting required to advance the mission is fairly unintuitive. For example, in the prologue there's an area where you get locked into a room, with none of the doors working. You need to try every door to trigger Carrie into contacting you and opening one of them. Since unopenable doors are usually clearly marked so that there isn't any reason to try them, this isn't intuitive.
- Humongous Mecha: Mech Walkers are some of the drivable vehicles that can be found in the game.
- Made of Iron:
- Most bosses are regular humans, but can withstand truly impressive amounts of bullets due to being bosses. Each boss battle even has a health meter. The later bosses can take more than 100 rounds from the standard assault rifle to put down.
- General Stanton in SpecForce takes the cake on this; he can survive at least 2 to 3 times as much damage as the bosses from the first game. Justified in-game by him wearing a Super Prototype suit of Powered Armor.
- Mirror Boss: General Stanton in SpecForce has a suit of Powered Armor that has the same special abilities as your own suit, most notably super-speed and cloaking.
- Mission Pack Sequel: SpecForce is actually a stand-alone expansion pack to the original game. That said, while the game code, engine, weapons, and basic enemies are the same, the combat mechanics have been tweaked enough (you have a lot more health, guns are more accurate, and commands have been simplified/consolidated) that it feels reasonably different from the original game.
- Multiple Endings: At the very end of the game you can choose whether you'll side with Zetrox, Coretech, or the colonists. Each faction has a completely different final level and ending.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Zetrox's tactics to get what they want involve sabotage, piracy, and harassment. Coretech, in contrast, has one and only one tactic to get what they want: mass murder.
- Nintendo Hard: The original Chrome is this if you play on Medium difficulty or higher. Enemies can cut you down in a second or two, and have aimbot-like perfect aim even at long range. It's also very easy to run out of ammo if you didn't bring enough during the initial mission loadout. Chrome: SpecForce has much more "mainstream" difficulty, for a number of reasons that can be found below under Sequel Difficulty Drop.
- No Item Use for You/Power Nullifier: In the second boss fight against Dexon, he'll use a bionic implant that overloads your bionic implants, preventing you from using any of them during the fight. This can make this potentially the hardest boss fight in the game.
- One-Man Army: Logan, the player character, is this of course. His Arch-Enemy, Pointer, also seems to be one, given that he singlehandedly kills every member of a small corporation about halfway through the game.
- The Other Darrin: In SpecForce, Logan doesn't talk very much, but when he does it's clear he's no longer voiced by Duke Nukem, unfortunately.
- Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: Most of the firearms are pretty boxy, this is partially a function of the "futuristic" design, and also partially to save on polygons.
- Powered Armor: In SpecForce, Logan has a suit of Power Armor rather than bionic implants. The suit has 4 special functions; enhanced speed, energy shields, active camouflage, and slow motion bullet-time, all of which use up suit energy. The suit also has a few passive abilities; it automatically designates enemies on your HUD when you zoom in, provides a built-in zoom function for targeting distant enemies, reduces weapon spread, and lets you survive a lot more hits than your could in the original game.
- Punch Clock Hero/Not in This for Your Revolution: In Chrome, Logan's a merc who does covert ops for pay. When he gets mixed up in the intrigue revolving around the Terbon colony later in the game, his primary motive isn't helping the colonists, but rather tracking down his old partner Pointer (who's working as The Heavy for the bad guys) and getting his revenge for Pointer's betrayal at the beginning of the game.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: The revolver is a Hand Cannon that fires 12mm bullets; each one does 3 times as much damage as an assault rifle bullet, and can kill enemies with one shot at close range. On the downside, it takes up more space than the regular pistol and only holds 6 shots.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: A large amount of the game is spent gathering evidence of Zetrox's wrongdoing so the government can shut them down. Near the end the Zetrox representative brags that they're wealthy enough to simply bribe the government into losing the evidence, taking great pride in being so powerful as to be above the law. Averted with Coretech, they're more evil than Zetrox, but apparently not as wealthy. If you side with the Colonists you only have to fight Zetrox, and it's mentioned that the government will take care of Coretech for you.
- Sequel Difficulty Drop: In the original Chrome, you can survive relatively little damage, and an enemy with an automatic weapon can cut you down in a second or two at close range. In SpecForce you're wearing a suit of Powered Armor that lets you survive a lot more damage, marks enemies on your HUD, reduces bullet spread, and has various other useful features. This all makes SpecForce noticeably less difficult than Chrome. (For comparison, on Medium difficulty you have 800 health in Chrome, and the equivalent of 2000 health in SpecForce).
- Short Range Shotgun: It has an effect range of about 20 to 30 feet; even then, damage is surprisingly random. Particularly egregious since most of the combat in the game takes place at long range.
- Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Bosses (most of whom are regular humans with plot importance) can survive more damage than vehicles; in fact, only the heavy walker, the toughest vehicle in the game, can survive more damage than a boss. Also, executives in business suits and female assassins wearing spy catsuits can survive at least twice as much damage as soldiers in full Powered Armor. In the latter case it's implied they have expensive bionic implants protecting them.
- Super Powered Mooks/Boss In Mooks Clothing: In SpecForce, LoreGen's SW4 super-soldiers, appearing in the last couple of missions in the game. They wear Powered Armor, move at superhuman speeds (although it seems only the first one you fight does this), and can take a lot of hits (having nearly boss-level health).
- Treacherous Quest Giver: A large part of the game is spent helping the seemingly benevolent Coretech against Zetrox. Towards the end it turns out Coretech is even more evil than Zetrox; they even send you into a setup to get killed; it doesn't work, of course.
- Unique Enemy: There are only about 8 Cyborg Assassins in SpecForce, despite them being on the level of Elite Mooks.
- Unwinnable by Mistake:
- If you don't bring enough ammo into a mission, or bring the wrong weapons, it's entirely possible to be unable to progress due to running out of ammo and not being able to get a functional amount from killed enemies. As a general rule it's better to bring too much ammo rather than too little; you can always just drop the extra ammo if you need to clear inventory space.
- Your NPC allies don't regenerate their health; instead, the game simply gives them a very high amount of health at the beginning of the mission (about as much as a boss), and trusts that is enough to get them through it. This isn't a problem in Chrome since your allies almost never appear in combat, but it can be an issue in SpecForce. If your ally takes too much damage at the beginning of the level, they simply may not have enough health to get through the end of the level, forcing you to have to restart the entire level. Fortunately, this usually is only a problem on the highest difficulty and only if you hide behind your ally in combat too much instead of killing the enemies yourself.
- X Meets Y: The game has wide-open maps similar to Far Cry or Crysis, combined with an augmentation powers and inventory system similar to Deus Ex.