Video Game / Conquest Frontier Wars

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Your fleet, your repair bills
A brave attempt to do something different with the Real-Time Strategy formula, Conquest Frontier Wars featured three sentient species and a different take on resource management. Probably the only game to proclaim 'Fleet-based Real-Time Strategy' on the cover (Yes, we know what you're thinking!), CFW had you commanding Terrans (Humans), the Mantis (Bug-like aliens) and the Celareons (Energy beings in robot armour).

Battle could be waged across multiple solar system connected by wormholes, with variety of navy inspired warships.

Featuring a voice cast of British, American, Japanese, Russian and others, CFW also had good quality cut scenes to aid plot progression.


This game provides examples of:

  • Cool Ship: The Celareon Monolith-class ships look like giant stingrays which rake enemies with bright-blue beams.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Whilst by no means a large ham, Admiral Halsey has a scene chewing moment during one of the briefings where he declares that he wants, "every weapon, every outpost, every stinking insect carrier, from here to Hell reduced to molten SPACEBORNE SLAG!" Justified in that he did just witness, The Mantis attack and try to destroy the Earth, lead by Smirnoff, recent Terran turncoat and formerly one of his own commanders.
  • Civil Warcraft:
    • Early on in the campaign the Mantis queen's sister Ker'Tak is leading a rebellion. The rebels side with the Terrans.
    • The first mission where you fight alongside the Celareons is also the mission where you fight against them.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Blackwell to Smirnoff when he shows up leading the Mantis invasion of Earth. The fact that all the swear words are bleeped out makes Blackwell's rant arguably all the more amusing.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The intro shows a Terran survey ship arriving through a newly-discovered wormhole moments before they are caught between an escaping Mantis rebel ship and a large Mantis Imperial fleet.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: None of the carrier ships (Terran or Mantis) have any other weapons. So if their fighters are destroyed, and the enemy gets close, the carrier is a sitting duck. This even includes their most powerful ship, the Tiamat, which is also a carrier. This requires bringing in escort ships. The Mantis don't have many ships with direct-fire capabilities.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As long as they have enough supplies to fire their weapons, it doesn't matter how many hitpoints a given ship or defence platform has untill they hit zero, at which point they explode...
  • Deflector Shields: The Terrans have the weakest shields, as this technology has only recently become available to them. To compensate, their ships have very thick armor.
    • Ironically, the Terran Dreadnought is the unit that can temporarily activate nigh-impenetrable shields as its special ability.
  • Defiant to the End: Malkor first attempts to flee when he sees the Ion Cannon preparing to fire; when that fails, he throws one last spiteful insult before his death.
    Malkor:"Yield will not I to kiss the ground before Ker'Tak's feet! Lay on-"
  • Easy Logistics: Averting this was the game's main shtick, with combat ships also having a "supply" bar in addition to the standard health bar. This bar would tick down whenever the ship fired its weapons or activated (with a few exceptions) its special abilities and the ship would be left unable to fire or use its specials when it ran out of supplies. To get more supplies, the ship would have to be stationed near a headquarters, supply building, repair building or supply ship (a vulnerable and unarmed but highly neccessary type of ship that itself only carries a limited amount of supplies, though a far larger amount that what any combat ship carries). The player also had to have "supply lines" open into a star system in order to build operational platforms in the system, either by building a headquarters in that system or by connecting the system to a sytem with an HQ via building a jump gate over the wormhole that leads back to the system with the HQ (note that a string of jumpgated wormholes can connect an HQ to a system any number of wormholes away).
  • Energy Beings: Celareons, artificially evolved by an even more powerful species.
  • Everything Fades: Even though ships leave behind wreckage that can be salvaged for ore resource, this is still played straight as the wreckage itself is just a generic construct that looks nothing like the chunks of starship or space station that are seen flying away from the epicentre of the ship or station's explosion right before those chunks fade into nothingness...
    • And the mineable wreckage itself eventually fades if it's not collected.
  • Fog of War: Made even more difficult as you have to keep an eye on multiple systems.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The enemy Mantis in single player will never use the Enemy Exchange Program against you, though you are expected to do so against them. While you presumably convert Mantis to your side by "convincing" them that Ker'Tak would be a better leader, the Terrans and Celareons know where their own loyalties lie, Smirnoff and Natus notwithstanding. There are also differences between the campaign and skirmish/multiplayer in terms of how Admirals/Warlords/Magistrates work. In the campaign, they have Ace Custom ships that look different from base models. In skirmish/multiplayer, they fly around on small unarmed ships that can then dock with any of the player's ships and name it as their flagship.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Mantis.
  • Humans Are Special: Turning the tide of the mantis civil war and working towards bringing peace to the galaxy, Mantis and Celareon alike learn to both respect and fear them.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Carved out a huge empire against established races the first time they left their home system.
    Ker'Tak: "Eager to kill- Good trait!"
  • Informed Ability: At the end of the first mission, Admiral Halsey says, "...so you survived both a hostile alien attack, and your first encounter with Captain Blackwell. I'm not sure which is worse." This, even though Blackwell has not up to that point and never will act like much of an ass to the player during the campaign. Blackwell's personality 'is' a little rough around the edges, but its actually relatively mild.
    • He does have one or two sarcastic lines at the beginning. While teaching you the UI, the first time he has you click on something, he observes, "Well, good, the Commander can work a mouse."
  • ISO Standard Human Spaceship : Not fully implemented but human ships are often very angular compared to their alien counterparts.
  • Laugh Track: When Admiral Halsey's flagship arrives on the scene during the campaign, Benson quipps, "I thought that thing was still in mothballs!", which accompanied by some very forced sounding canned laughter in the background (presumably intended to be from her bridge crew).
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: The game makes it looks like there are campaigns for all three races. However, the campaigns for the Mantis and the Celareons consist of a single tutorial level each, pointing out the differences with playing as these two races. Some Terran campaign levels involve an Enemy Exchange Program, so you can play some levels as Mantis or Celareons.
  • No Recycling: Partially averted. Destroyed ships leave behind wreckage that resource gatherer ships can harvest for ore, but stations do not do this.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: Wormholes are how the ships of Conquest get around, using the numerous wormholes present in the galaxy to jump between hundreds of different star-systems and then maneuvering through those systems on what appear to be sublight-only drives. The strangest thing about these wormholes (aside from the very large number of them) is that it is possible to build a device called a "jump gate" around the wormhole's event horizons, which locks down the wormhole and prevents hostile vessels from jumping through untill they have destroyed the gate (the gates also provide supply lines into the systems they are connected to, allowing platforms to operate in sectors that don't have HQs as long as they are connected to systems that DO have them via a jumpgate or series of jumpgates). Celareons are also able to create temporary artificial wormholes. In the storyline, this is why Queen Ver'Lak of the Mantis is attacking them. Magistrate Natus makes a deal with the Mantis, who promise him peace in exchange for the technology. Everyone else thinks he's an idiot for falling for this.
  • Pluto Is Expendable: Subverted. Mission 13 takes place in the Milky Way galaxy, but it's not Pluto that's absent, it's Uranus for some reason.
  • Point Defenseless: Each race has only a single ship (usually, the most basic warship) capable of shooting down Space Fighters.
  • The Quisling: Admiral Smirnoff.
  • Rebel Leader: Ker'Tak was supposed to be the Mantis queen, after the death of her mother. However, her slightly younger (as in, by a fraction of a second) sister Ver'Lak was determined not to let this accident of birth stop her from ascending to the throne, so she conspired to overthrow Ker'Tak and declared herself Queen. Ker'Tak leads the forces that have remained loyal to her, but they are considerably outnumbered by the might of the Empire. This seems to be the only reason Ker'Tak is even contemplating allying with the Terrans.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: The beginning of the first Terran theme is almost identical to the beginning of the Starship Troopers theme while part of the Mantis theme is lifted from Alien.
  • Rousing Speech: Admiral Hawkes just before the Mantis begin their attack on Earth.
  • Send in the Search Team: In the intro, a ship was lost shortly after going through a wormhole. After that, a small search team sent through the wormhole was also lost. Now, they're sending in you.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Used and Averted.
    • Space Is Noisy: There is no shortage of rockets wooshes, laser zapping sounds and big booms when ships go up.
    • Space Is an Ocean: Battleships (complete with cannon turrets intended for broadside-based attacks) and even aircraft carriers (complete with runways), In space!
      • Strangely, according to the campaign, the Terrans got their plans for an aircraft carrier (the one with runways) from the rebel Mantis, even though the Mantis carriers look nothing like it.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Ships and orbital stations explode in impressive fashion when they run out of hitpoints.
  • Translator Microbes: A translator is used in some sections and ignored in others.
    • More or less: The Mantis and Humans need it to talk to each other, it's buggy at best, the Celareons just learn your language in two seconds.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Captain Blackwell tests an unknown wormhole and disappears. The Mantis claim he was sucked into a black hole, but he was saved by the Celareons, who created a temporary wormhole in his path.
  • The Unfought: Malkor is the only Mantis Warlord you face in the campaign. Despite being set up as the Big Bad, Queen Ver'Lak is never fought nor even seen. Neither are Thripid and Mordalla.
  • Units Not to Scale: Some units are bigger than the planets they orbit.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Ion Cannon.
  • You No Take Candle: The Mantis speak Yoda-Style due to bad a translator.
  • Zerg Rush: The Mantis, big shock. Even their scouts carry fighter swarms.
    • They can be fairly easily countered by several Terran Corvettes, which is the cheapest ship they have, with their flak cannons.

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