is a third-person Action Game
developed by Digital Extremes
You play Hayden Tenno, an operative for an unnamed American intelligence agency. He is sent to the fictional Soviet nation of Lasria to gather information on a mysterious epidemic
. Of course Hayden has a Dark and Troubled Past
, and is angsting
about his current assignment, afraid of being infected or reliving his past misdeeds. Obviously, The Virus
is on hand to give him superpowers (as viruses that infect the protagonist are prone to doing).
Gameplay revolves around Hayden using normal weapons and his infected powers to confront enemies: other infected and the Lasrian army trying to contain the infection. Hayden's most important (and gameplay impressive) power is the use of the Glaive, a sort of three pronged ninja star he can use to do pretty much anything Xena
can do with her Chakram. Gameplay also includes taking over Lasrian military hardware and turning it against them and some minor physical puzzles that can be solved using Hayden's powers.
darkSector provides examples of the following tropes:
- A.K.A.-47: An odd example; almost all the weapons are modelled after one weapon but named after a different but similar weapon. So Hayden's Heckler & Koch Mark 23 is called the "Tekna 9mm" after the Russian SR-1 Vektor pistol, the "Vekesk Micro" is a Klin PP-9 named after the SR-2 Veresk submachine gun, the Hammer 1895 is a Webley Mark IV named after the Nagant Model 1895, and so on. The only exceptions are the AK and RPG-7.
- Awesome but Impractical: The Trooper Gun. Also the magnum and sniper rifle; they both deal heavy damage but draw from an absolutely tiny pool of rare ammo.
- BFG: The space-suited Lasrian Elites use the "Elite Trooper Gun," a massive multi-shot rocket launcher with an underslung pneumatic gatling gun. In game terms, this works out as "RPG-7 with shorter reloads and one of those godawfully inaccurate mounted guns stuck underneath," thus neatly removing the weaknesses of both the RPG (no backup weapon to deal with trash) and the mounted machine gun (piss-poor accuracy matters a lot less when you can just move the gun up close and personal).
- Big Bad Duumvirate: Mezner and the A.D., though they're not actually working together.
- Boring but Practical: The Vekesk Micro is about the best all-around gun in the game, using plentiful ammo with a huge stock and doing respectable damage.
- Boss In Mooks Clothing: Lasrian Elite Troopers are Giant Mook enemies inside bulletproof Powered Armor spacesuits, equipped with a combination minigun and rocket launcher. There are about 5 of them throughout the entire game.
- Cutscene Power to the Max: Hayden's C4. The block he throws in Viktor's lap is enough to destroy a sprawling complex that takes up most of an island (you're supposed to place more, but the game only gives this a passing mention and doesn't actually force you to do so). The block you later find during actual gameplay barely destroys a single door.
- Cursed with Awesome: Subverted, as Hayden, even upon learning how useful his powers are, does not like them, and thinks they are what he "deserves" for what he is.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The first level is pretty much in black and white. It's not really all that clear why; color immediately comes in when Hayden takes the hit that infects him in the cutscene at the end of it.
- Disability Superpower: While you'd only know from reading the previews since it isn't mentioned in game, Hayden has a condition called congenital analgesia; this results in insensitivity or indifference to pain, and is how he survives infection with The Virus without going mad. He's a fairly unrealistic depiction of a sufferer, given he hasn't managed to hideously damage himself accidentally during childhood. And the fact that he visibly shows signs of experiencing pain at multiple points during the game.
- It is notable though that we are told in the game that every one else who has been infected goes insane from the pain caused by the virus, and the only time Hayden shows any pain is when the virus has a strong reaction (initial exposure/impalement, progression of the virus, etc.)
- Eldritch Abomination: Technocyte organisms get larger and Stronger with Age, and it's heavily implied that after a few centuries they become outright huge monsters. Mezner's plan is apparently to send out a signal that will go across the globe and wake these guys up from their ancient slumber deep beneath the ocean depths.
- Enemy Civil War: Hayden is targeted by other infected and the Lasrian army, both of whom work for Mezner. But they don't like each other. In fact they are just as likely to kill each other as they are to try and kill Hayden.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: If the rumours about the stalker being Yargo's daughter are true, then the scene where the stalker uncloaks behind Yargo and proceeds to attack Hayden all the while leaving Yargo alone could count.
- Feel No Pain: Pretty much why Hayden takes the infection lightly compared to everyone else.
- Gambit Roulette:
- As well as the obvious part that Hayden's infection was part of the plan all along (which most people guessed because it's always part of The Plan) despite that it took a ludicrous chain of events including a blind leap off the side of a building to bring it about, for reasons that are entirely unclear, the AD's plan involves trying to kill Hayden with an Enferon-spiked booster shot and it not working. He didn't seem to have a "Hayden stabs me in the neck for being a fucking idiot" contingency, however.
- Yargo's the one who spiked the boosters with Enferon, to stop Hayden from completely losing it, like Mezner did. The AD's plan was apparently to turn Hayden into another Mezner. But otherwise, yeah, his master plan doesn't make much sense at all other than being a dick for its own sake.
- Gas Mask Mooks: All of the Lasrian soldiers wear gas masks, save the ones who wear space suits.
- Godzilla Threshold: Perhaps the only thing more horrifying than what the Lasrian military does in response to the infection is the strong possibility that it is actually justified considering the danger of said infection.
- Guns Do Not Work That Way:
- Hayden's "Tekna 9mm" and "Tekna Burst" have "Cal .45 Auto" stamped on the slide.
- "Ok, how about the C4?" "For Yargo, I'll give the Semtex..." Erm... Semtex is not C4, guy.
- The Hero's Journey: Referenced directly and played straight.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted; you can see exactly what weapons Hayden is carrying, aside from grenades. Additionally, you can carry at maximum three guns, but can only stow two; you have to drop the third to switch back from it.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon
- Interface Screw: Enferon turns the screen various vile colours. Also, while smoke from the Jackal is supposed to show you when it's damaged, the Jackal always gives off a ton of smoke, even at 100% health.
- Kryptonite Factor: Enferon, a chemical which is only a minor irritant to humans but will kill infected Technocyte creatures quite quickly. You can find weapon add-ons to lace your own bullets with Enferon, which nearly doubles the power of your bullets and poisons infected enemies.
- Mêlée à Trois: You have the player vs. the Infected vs. the Lasrian Military.
- Mirror Boss: Your final fight against The Dragon. By this time, Hayden's infected powers have fully developed and he is now a match for it; he's even got a cool piece of techno-organic armor just like the Nemesis. It also shows off that it's capable of doing a few things you thought you had exclusivity on, such as throwing its blade and imbuing it with lightning.
- No Name Given: Among the many things that are only brought up in previews and not the actual game is the AD's real name (Dixon).
- Noodle Incident: Large chunks of the backstory are treated this way. It's mentioned the infection got out and was contained in the past, but no details are given. Hayden went psycho and killed a bunch of people in a previous mission, but no details are given. Nadia and Hayden have history, but no details are given. In fact, everyone in the facility seems to know Hayden personally, with Mezner having looked up Hayden's record specifically.
- No Ontological Inertia: Rather inconsistent. Bodies of soldiers persist, and certain types of infected enemies will remain, but others melt away into nothing (assuming they don't explode upon death).
- Obvious Beta: The rather broken plot is the key, but there's also some weird graphical glitches; sometimes metallic surfaces (including Hayden's arm) will have only their normal map applied but not their texture, and enemies occasionally glide along the ground instead of walking (it's actually rather disturbing). Also, the game frequently crashes during the cutscene after defeating the Stalker.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Whilst the older technocyte infected tend to be superhuman type things, superpowered animals or Eldritch Abominations, the basic infected enemies are essentially metal-skinned zombies, complete with zombie gait, moaning and the occasional scene of them seemingly eating corpses.
- Plot Hole: The developers came clean about the game's plot; apparently, as they were editing the game down, the only people they had to run the plot past were already familiar with it, so the huge omissions (why Hayden alone isn't driven completely mad by the infection, his history with Nadia, Nadia and Viktor being related, etc) were never picked up on.
- Power Copying: Many of Hayden's powers wind up being similar to the Nemesis that infected him, but there's a few times where he copies the abilities of another enemy he's defeated, most specifically the giant Stalker that turns invisible.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: Literally guided with the Aftertouch ability.
- Puzzle Boss: All of the bosses have elements of this, but the Nemesis is the most obvious one, as it cannot be harmed by normal weapons and has to be killed through a very specific set of actions.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: The revolver is by far the most powerful pistol in the game. This appears to be because it loads and fires sniper rifle rounds.
- Samus is a Girl: It turns out that Mezner's Guyver-looking Dragon is Nadia inside a Technocyte suit.
- Shout-Out: The Glaive is named after the similar-looking weapon from the movie Krull.
- Spider Tank: Lasria's Jackal tanks are more "dog tank", but they still have legs.
- Tactical Suicide Boss: The Nemesis. He starts the battle with a shield that can block absolutely everything you can bring to bear. The only way to break his shield is with an electrically-charged Glaive, but there's no exposed wiring in the room. Cue the Nemesis charging up his blade with electricity, only to have you dodge his throw and use his blade to charge yours.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In a cutscene, Hayden shoots Viktor Sudek in the head. He then dumps a C4 demolition charge in his lap.
- Universal Ammunition: Ammo is by weapon class, with very little regard for chambering. Most ridiculously, the Webley revolver shares ammunition with the SOCOM 16 sniper rifle.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: To begin with, Hayden can pick up any enemy weapons he likes; however, once infected the sensors on the weapons destroy them after a brief period if he uses them. This doesn't really explain why he can't take ammo from them, though. If you watch the blinking of the sensor, most of them are very close to the weapon's magazine.
- Weak Turret Gun: The massive DshK / NSV hybrid mounted guns are practically useless, firing patterns so ridiculously wide that it's hard to hit an enemy a couple of yards away.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: You know that guy Viktor Sudek that you dropped the demolition charge in the lap of? He's Nadia's father. The script totally forgets to make anything out of this or even mention it.