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Video Game: Condemned
A rare non-vague horror cover.

"You know better than most that there is scum in this city. Violent, hate-filled, fucking insane scum. There's no talking, no reasoning, just killing... Kill first, or be a rotting corpse for the birds."
The Masked Man, Condemned 2: Bloodshot

A two-part series of games by Monolith Productions - Condemned: Criminal Origins, and Condemned 2: Bloodshot. Their selling point is their vicious and brutal melee combat, which combines with (at times barely comprehensible) storytelling.

Condemned: Criminal Origins takes place in a fictional U.S. city. named "Metro City". Ethan Thomas, rising star in the FBI's Serial Crimes Unit gifted with incredible forensic instincts, is framed for murder when investigating a crime scene. The next morning, an enigmatic man claiming to be a friend of the family comes and warns Ethan to flee, before the police arrive. This prompts Ethan, at this man's urging, to begin searching for the serial killer that set him up. As the game progresses, a trail of dead birds and murderous hobos begin hinting that something is wrong in the city, more wrong than he might have ever hoped.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot takes place in the same city, one year later. Ethan has slipped into a drunken stupor, quitting his job at SCU despite clearing his name after hunting down the serial killer that framed him. When the enigmatic man from last game calls his old partner, begging to know where he is, she is sent to find him, and he is brought back to help in solving a new series of cases, seemingly related to the serial killings of yesteryear. In doing so, he begins to find out both about what makes him so special, and why everyone is always so berserker...

This series contains examples of:

  • Action Commands: Bloodshot has chain combos.
  • Actionized Sequel: Bloodshot places a slighty bigger emphasis on firearms and enhances the melee system with combos and chain attacks.
  • Air-Vent Passageway
  • An Axe to Grind: Not only are axes one of the best melee weapons, but they are required to break through certain doors.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Oro.
  • Art Shift: Almost every returning character in the sequel looks different, sometimes radically so.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Averted. You would think a trained police officer would be a stronger asskicker than a jacked up homeless person, but they're on even level. Ethan does have much better stamina, but see Made of Iron as to why.
    • Played straight with the Dark Watchers in the first game; their leader takes a hellacious amount of punishment even when compared to the other Watchers.
  • Bald of Evil: Serial Killer X sports a shaved head in Bloodshot.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Part of Ethan's whole Grunge make over in Bloodshot.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The chase in the Black Lake Lodge in Condemned 2.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Revealed in the climax of the 2nd game.
  • Black Bug Room: In the second game, Ethan's hallucinations mysteriously go to a place filled with oily black monsters, getting progressively worse as black oil starts covering everything in that place, and then never show up again.
  • Blatant Item Placement: In the second game, a bottle of alcohol-which Ethan requires to steady his hands when aiming-is a sure sign a shootout is coming up.
  • Boom, Headshot: An instant kill against any enemy in the second game, including bosses-complete with an exploding head effect. Considering how rare ammo is, it's a very efficient way of using firearms.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Can be unlocked in the second game by finishing it on any difficulty.
  • Breakable Weapons: In the original, only firearms could break after being used as a melee weapon, while in Bloodshot, anything will break if used long enough.
  • Brown Note: The sonic resonators found throughout the second game are what is driving people insane.
  • The Can Kicked Him: One of the weapons in Bloodshot is a toilet seat. You can also kill downed enemies by slamming their heads against a toiler bowl.
  • C.A.T. Trap: One full level of Condemned 2 is a hallucination Ethan has while in a CT tube.
  • Clear My Name: Ethan's goal in the first game.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Condemned 2, which features almost every principal character saying "fuck" at least once.
  • Combos: Bloodshot has melee attack combos, some of which get surprisingly complicated.
  • Comic Book Fantasy Casting: The Obi-Wan Malcolm Van Horn looks uncannily like Max von Sydow, especially in the second game. This is particularly obvious in the concept art.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Unlocked bits at a time by picking up dead birds and pieces of metal. Yeah...it's that kind of game.
    • That's nothing. You can unlock a few 50 point achievements by watching television. And by "watching television" I mean walking up to a special tv and pressing the "A" button. (In comparison, beating chapters only give 10 point achievements.)
  • Cop Killer: In Criminal Origins the mass murderer the player is following kills two cops at the start.
  • Crapsack World: And how! You rarely visit anything apart from long-disused, run-down and mostly destroyed buildings.
  • Crazy Homeless People: The Game.
  • Creepy Doll: The sequel has a level of this. It's an abandoned doll factory that is not quite so abandoned after all; its new "owner" is some kind of crazy clown woman manufacturing walking, talking, exploding doll robots.
  • Darker and Edgier: Somehow, Bloodshot manages to be darker than Criminal Origins.
  • Dead All Along: The Agent who helps you fight through the nightmarish version of SCU Headquarters turns out to have been killed months ago.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: The level set in the mega-store which is decrepit and abandoned From the décor and the faint ghostly music you can hear playing the store closed down one Christmas. This is arguably one of the most atmospheric levels of the game largely due to the out of place Xmas setting.
  • Disturbed Doves: Well, disturbed pigeons.
  • Doing in the Wizard : Condemned 2 changes the Oro from mysterious supernatural enemies to government infiltrators using sonic technology to perform all their apparent weirdness.
  • The Dragon: Agent Dorland in Bloodshot.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Torturer's method of "killing" is to drive his victims to suicide.
  • Drop the Hammer: The mighty (yet slow) sledgehammer is not just useful for breaking in skulls, but breaking through locked doors. The second game supplemented it with a ordinary claw hammer.
  • Drunken Master: Ethan Thomas in the second game when it comes to shooting.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Voice. Made infamous by Zero Punctuation citing it in the review.
  • Enemy Mine: Serial Killer X and Ethan briefly team up against the Oro in Condemned 2.
  • Enemy Within: Ethan gets one in the second game in the form of the Alcohol Demon, although he's more along the lines of a particularly violent and cynical Trickster Mentor.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted. Serial Killer X turns out to be the nephew of Malcolm Vanhorn, who tries to help him snap out of his psychosis-but to no avail. It's a subversion because SKX doesn't give a fuck about Vanhorn; strangling him in Condemned and killing and dissecting him in Bloodshot.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: In the original game, whenever Ethan receives a call on his cellphone the player is slowed down to a walk, cannot attack (as he is holding his phone in his hand) and Invisible Walls appear around Ethan, significantly limiting the player's progress. Normal gameplay resumes once the call is over.
  • Fingore: At the end of the first game, you get to watch SKX cut off Ethan Thomas's left index finger.
  • Fingerprinting Air: The level of details you get from analyzing crime scenes with just your on-site equipment is improbable, and gets more improbable in the sequel, where Ethan's smartphone is practically a tricorder from Star Trek. Once, he scans a severed arm in the mountains and Rosa is able to detect animal saliva all over it and also signs that the animal in question is rabid.
  • Flunky Boss: Instead of fighting you directly, the final boss of Bloodshot just hangs back and uses an area-of-effect life-draining sonic attack on you, while his Oro Giant Mooks jump into the arena and to fight you.
  • Fragile Speedster: The pale, skinny enemies you encounter in the subway tunnels move very fast, but die in one hit from any weapon (including the tazer). They do get tougher in the latter part of the level, but not by much.
    • The "slime creatures" in Bloodshot move and attack incredibly fast, but die in one hit.
  • Giant Mook: In both games,
    • Criminal Origins has large men in firefighter coats and giant burn victims wielding flaming 2x4s
    • Bloodshoot brings us huge drug addicts and muscular cultists.
  • Hammerspace: Averted for the most part. In the first game Ethan is always seen carrying a large bag storing all of the forensic tools. Doesn't explain why he can't carry med-kits with him though.
  • Hate Plague: The reason why everyone is trying to kill you.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The Museum level in Bloodshot has many enemies wearing partial plate armor stolen from the museum exhibits. They can take a lot of damage before dying, and are armed with some of the most damaging weapons in the game (swords and battleaxes).
  • 100% Completion: In the first game, getting all the collectibles slightly changes the ending to reveal that an ancient cult was behind everything. Ethan still appears to turn into a metal monster at the end, though.
  • Idiot Hero: Some of the dialogue options in Bloodshot give this impression of Ethan / the player. For example, when told by Rosa that the Oro have been around for more than two thousand years, one of Ethan's possible reply questions is "were humans even around two thousand years ago?" You can practically hear Rosa Head Desk if you have Ethan say that.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Some of the weapons are absolutely ridiculous, from subway signs and desk tops in the first game, to freaking gumball machines and deer antlers in the second game.
  • Improvised Weapon: all of them, from pipes to electrical conduits to explosive dolls (!).
  • Infernal Retaliation: A few enemies in the factory level of Bloodshot are on fire. Contact with them will do massive damage. Fortunately, they die in one hit and will eventually burn to death if you avoid them long enough.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The "Metal Junkies" in Bloodshot are giant enemies wearing metal armor made out of scrap. They're completely immune to all normal attacks, and can only be killed with the sonic crossbow or by using a magnet to drop them into a crusher.
  • Made of Iron: Justified towards the end of the first game, when you come across a classified medical report that shows Ethan having "abnormally high" muscle and bone density. Your enemies, meanwhile, presumably have adrenaline and the hideous strength of the insane going for them.
    • Look at PCP users: cops testify consistently that PCP can make a normal man powerful and a strong man into a juggernaut. And the enemies of Condemned are hardly long-term planners when it comes to their physical well-being.
  • Madness Mantra: The bird knows best when roosting in its nest. The bird knows best when roosting in its nest.
  • Meaningful Name: Criminal Origins, the subtitle of the first game, is explained in the sequel as meaning that the Oro are indirectly behind most if not all of humanity's atrocities.
  • Monster Closet: Happens once in the subway level of Criminal Origins-the player opens a locker and gets jumped by a pale, emaciated woman wielding a rebar.
  • Mundanger: Possessed dolls? No problem. But a single bear...?
    • Hardly. It's half a ton of muscle, claws, and murder-frenzy. Even if we know that it's called a bear, it's still a non-metaphorical monster. Does genuine monster status only qualify for fictional things?
  • Murderous Mannequin: Subverted. Though several mannequins appear to follow you around in the department store level, even completely encircling you when you fall into a dark pit, they never actually attack you.
    • But there are a bunch of crazies impersonating mannequins in that level as well. They have a different, more "relaxed" pose from the real mannequins, but without careful examination (or having never played the level before) you'd never be able to tell until they started clubbing you in the back of the head. Or you turned around to find that the mannequin on the pedestal behind you has walked off.... A paranoid player may have attacked every single mannequin as a precautionary measure from the start of the department store level.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Enemies can reload their guns, while you cannot (although not every enemy carries spare ammo).
  • Neck Snap: One of Ethan's four finishing moves that he can perform on a weakened opponent.
  • New Game+: FPS Mode in Bloodshot, which gives the player a gun at the start of most levels, and infinite ammo.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Plenty in the first game. The first and fifth levels of Bloodshot also count.
  • Nostalgia Level: Condemned 2: Bloodshot returns to the abandoned school you tried to track down SKX in in the first game. It's even worse for the wear, somehow. And the corpse of the boss you fought in the kitchen is still there!
  • Not of This Earth: Subverted. The metal fragments that The Oro use to enhance their power are suggested to be of alien origin by a TV reporter, but the scientist she's interviewing says that they ARE of earthly origin, but made with a previously-unknown manufacturing technique.
    • May be related to Doing in the Wizard above, as the origin of the Oro may have been tweaked between games.
  • One-Man Army: Ethan. Over the course of two games, he fights his through an army of psychos with things like pipes, boards, wrecnches, and the occasional firearm.
    • Justified, because almost all of Ethan's enemies are crazy hobos with little to no strategy in melee combat or sense of self preservation, and Ethan is a trained FBI agent with "abnormally high" muscle and bone density.
  • Pistol-Whipping: You can use firearms as melee weapons, but it's not recommended as you'll break the firing mechanism after just a couple of swings. Pistols are also pretty much the worst melee weapons in the entire game, which is understandable since a small bit of metal doesn't compare well to a pipe or 2x4.
  • Race Lift: Between the first and second games Ethan went from being distinctly Hispanic/Samoan to pasty white.
    • Could be justified because he's been a sickly wreck since the end of the first game. Becoming a reclusive alcoholic doesn't do good things for your looks.
  • Regenerating Health: Bloodshot uses a segmented health regeneration system similar to Resistance: Fall of Man.
  • Scenery Gorn
  • Schizo Tech: Ethan has a forensics lab in his cellphone, and yet all the televisions he comes across use antenna. Admittedly it's because Ethan is going through places that have long been abandoned, but that just brings up the question of why the televisions still work at all.
  • Secret Legacy: Ethan is the legendary Remedy to the Oro, a human with naturally tuned vocal cords capable of destroying the heads of those who hear his voice.
  • Serial-Killer Killer: Serial Killer X, the main antagonist. In fact, your first investigation (of the game, not for Ethan) is investigating the murder site of the Matchmaker, who, up until then, had only been killing women and posing them with male mannequins at macabre dinner scenes. You find a man posed with a female mannequin, and quickly discover that the dead man is the Matchmaker. Couple that with the still-smoking ashtray...and you realize you're just minutes behind the killer.
    • Unlike many other examples of this trope, this guy is not doing it out of any sense of altruism or justice. He seems to be doing it as a way of "absorbing" the power of murderers or something like that.
  • Serial Killer: The first game also has a variety of other serial killers who X is hunting down and killing.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Guaranteed to happen at least once while you're playing, even if you aren't aiming to do it.
  • Shock and Awe: The basic taser stuns enemies just long enough for you to steal their weapon. After getting upgraded in the library, it takes a huge chunk out of the enemy's health and causes them to collapse, allowing the player to kill them with a single hit. The second game nerfed this by requiring the player to find batteries to keep the taser charged.
    • In Bloodshot, throwing an alcohol bottle at an enemy then using the taser on them will set them on fire.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Averted and played straight. Pump-action shotguns usually come with enough ammo to help you get through a tough fight or at least keep you alive long enough to find a decent replacement weapon. Double-barreled ones on the other hand only come with 2 shots and are only useful for killing a single powerful enemy. In a game where you are constantly attacked by large groups of murderous hobos this makes it almost useless.
  • Shovel Strike: The shovel is a fairly rare and powerful weapon. It can be used to bypass certain types of locked doors.
  • Sinister Subway: Two levels in the first game.
  • Soft Glass: Zig-zagged in Bloodshot. Ethan can punch glass without injury, but using a glass pane as a finisher results in shards fatally jammed into the enemy's face.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability
  • Stage Magician: The Magic Man, an Oro outcast who holes up in an abandoned theatre and has a squad of insane showgirl assistants.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: The subways in the first game have several female enemies that bear a resemblance to this trope-most likely due to the squalid living conditions one would expect in a subway.
  • Subways Suck: They're apparently infested with pipe-wielding psychotic maniacs.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Malcolm Vanhorn in Bloodshot.
  • Survival Horror
  • Title Drop: In Condemned 2 Rosa refers to the Oro as potentially "the origin of crime itself".
    • Condemned 2 also has a news report advertised by Tony called "The Condemned City".
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: Serial Killer X kidnaps serial killers and uses their own methods to kill them.
  • Throw Away Guns: Firearms cannot be reloaded, and must be discarded after using up all the pre-loaded bullets.
    • In the sequel, you still can only carry one magazine's worth of ammo for your guns, but you CAN reload that magazine from enemy guns dropped on the ground, the occasional ammo box in an SCU locker, or a second copy of the gun in a holster you can unlock about halfway through the game.
      • And when you finally run out of ammo you can bean someone in the head with it.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The second game has a few levels which ditch the melee combat mechanic for assault rifle vs assault rifle shootouts against SWAT soldiers. These seem more fitting for FEAR than Condemned. Unfortunately, booze isn't nearly as useful as Bullet Time.
  • Unique Enemy: Most special enemy types only appear a handful of times, and usually only in one or two levels.
  • Verbed Title
  • Vice City: A Deconstruction in that it shows just how frightening a decaying, crime-filled city, in which the cops don't really do anything unless they have to, would be.
  • Vigilante Execution: SKX's modus operandi.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: In the course of proving his innocence in the murder of two police officers, Ethan flees from the police (twice), breaks into multiple closed or condemned buildings, and bludgeons a small army of hobos, drug addicts, and assorted other lunatics to death. Then again, it's entirely possible Malcolm Van Horn or the Ancient Conspiracy pulled strings to get him off the hook.
    Shadrouge: Isn't the whole reason that you're sneaking around down here is because the police think you've killed someone and-
    Shadrow: Hey, look, the police are outside! Yay!
    Shadrouge: "I didn't kill anyone so I think I'll go run off and kill a bunch more!"
    BigPhyll: Like I pointed-out before, yeah, this cop is just going on a killing spree with weapons like sledgehammers and axes!
    Fertro: No, they attacked him first.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: Metro City, in which the games are set, is what appears to be a "Rust Belt" city, due to it's large amount of abandoned factories and cold winter. However, the Rust Belt area is quite large.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted in Condemned 2. If you lose the final Action Commands combo punching sequence at the end of the final battle, the Big Bad just whips out a gun and shoots you in the head. Why he didn't just do this earlier in the final fistfight, though...
  • Your Head Asplode: It's incredibly easy to pop heads with guns in the sequel, but most importantly, it's the most visible manifestation of the Oro's power. They need special training and metal implants to do so, but Ethan Thomas can do this at will.
    • One part of the Doll Factory level has an industrial vise you can use to crush enemy heads.

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alternative title(s): Condemned
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