main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Video Game: Empire at War
A Real-Time Strategy game set in the Star Wars universe. Developed by LucasArts with the aim of eliminating the bad name Star Wars RTS games had acquired.

Empire at War (2006) is set between Episode III and Episode IV covering how the Alliance acquired their resources and the Empire's response, ending with either the destruction of the Death Star I or the Emperor congratulating Vader on the capture of five possible Alliance bases, respectively.
  • Forces of Corruption (2006) is an expansion to Empire at War set between the events of the destruction of the first and second Death Star following the story of the intergalactic crime lord, Tyber Zann, and his organization, the Zann Consortium.

Empire At War contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Amazon Brigade:
    • The Dathomiri Witches, an all-female Force-using organisation.
    • The Twileks (which are represented as all-female) in both games, but particularly in FoC which, as the Consortium, you had the option of enslaving and sending into battle.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack : Proton Torpedos, Mass drivers, and some missiles can punch through shields, damaging the hardpoints.
  • Asteroid Thicket:
    • There are fairly small ones — but big enough to make it dangerous for anything larger than a squad of fighters to pass through — in most space maps.
    • The Vergesso Asteroids are a conquerable location.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier:
    • HTT-26 Heavy Troop Transports, HAV/r B5 Juggernauts, F9-TZ Cloaking Transports can all carry soldiers around.
    • The AT-AT, though Gameplay-wise doesn't actually carry troops; rather, it can generate two squads of Stormtroopers.
  • Badass Baritone: The Rebels' Nebulon-B Escort Frigates' comms officer:
    "Nebulon-B Frigate here. Coordinates received."
  • Barrier Warrior: Rebel EF76 Nebulon-B Escort Frigates, Assault Frigate Mk IIs, MC80 Star Cruisers, and Home One can divert extra power to shields at the cost of speed and firepower.
  • The Battlestar: Most of the larger Imperial ships carry a complement of TIE/ln fighters and TIE/sa bombers.
  • Beast of Battle: The Dathomiri Witches employ rancors as mounts and Attack Animals.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Urai Fen's blades are held with a Katar-like grip perpendicular to the blade.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In a possible goof on the part of the developers, the Aggressor-class destroyer will sometimes respond to being clicked by saying "Responds to being called?"
  • Beam Spam: Imperial Tartan-class Patrol Cruisers, Acclamator II-class Cruisers, and Victory-class Star Destroyers have a special ability that lets them do this. Other units with similar abilities are AT-STs, Colonel Veers' custom AT-AT Blizzard 1; in the expansion, the Admonitor and TIE Defenders can also do it.
  • BFG: Tyber Zann wields a shotgun that is capable of flattening entire squads with one shot.
  • Boring but Practical: The Y-wing and MPTL-2A Artillery, which are both early-game, cheap units, but the Y-Wing is the Rebels' only way to take large capital ships down and the MPTL-2A, while squishy, has its uses both in offence and defence.
  • Bounty Hunter: Boba Fett, Bossk, and IG-88 all show up, and have the ability to temporarily remove enemy heroes from play.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's text by the developers on one of the menu screens in Aurebesh.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Playing as the Rebel Alliance you will need to "liberate" planets whose citizens wish to remain with the Empire.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Various Clone Wars-era vehicles, such as ISPs (called 'Swamp Speeders' in-game), AT-APs ('Pod Walkers'), Alpha-3 Nimbus-class "V-Wing" Starfighters, and Venator and Acclamator-class Star Destroyers are still used, whether by the Rebels, the Empire, or bands of pirates, decades after their development and initial deployment.
  • Captain Obvious: Several minutes into a pitched space battle, the computer will announce "Our space station is under attack!"
  • Car Fu: It is generally more efficient to run infantry over with tracked vehicles or walkers rather than let them shoot at each other.
  • Catch Phrase:
    Tyber Zann: Time is money.
  • Charm Person: Silri, as a Dathomiri witch, can do this. Urai comments about it, noting that her Force influence is slowly affecting Tyber, leading to the latter to authorize him to kill her when their goals are completed.
  • The Chick: Mon Mothma for the Rebel Alliance. Compared to all the other rebels with speaking roles, she is the most logical and quiet one.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Its possible to instantly kill troops by running them over with vehicles. In fact, there are two "levels" of these crushers, with the largest vehicles able to instantly kill other, smaller vehicles, which themselves may be able to crush troops.
  • Cowardly Boss: Moff Kalast, which runs away from you multiple times in the Imperial campaign despite having an Imperial Star Destroyer.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn in Forces of Corruption also counts, as about halfway through the battle a bounty hunter that Tyber Zann hired defects, steals a valuable artifact and flies through the battle to Thrawn's flagship. Thrawn then turns and runs, ending the level.
  • Defog of War:
    • The sensor ping ability of MPTL-2A Artillery Spotter Droids and TIE Scouts.
    • In Forces of Corruption, Yoda can do a map-wide version of this.
  • Death from Above: If you have bombers in orbit, they can be sent on a bombing run to support ground troops. In Forces of Corruption, you can call in an orbital strike by capital ships. The trope is also reversed during space battles, as if you have the proper buildings you can fire an ion cannon or ground-to-orbit mass driver at enemy ships.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • It is well-known that tying up an AT-AT's legs with the Airspeeder's tow cable is a quick and easy way to destroy the big walkers by causing them to trip. But if the AT-AT stops moving while it's legs are being tied up, it won't trip and thus won't be destroyed. Eventually the tow cable will come loose and the AT-AT will be able to freely move again.
    • If by any chance Darth Vader and Obi-Wan attack each other, they will both be locked on, unselectable, and engage in unique animations for their lightsaber duel as they whittle each other's health down until one of them is defeated. Furthermore, no unit from either side interfere with their saber duel, mimicking the watching stormtroopers from A New Hope.
  • Dummied Out: The Alpha-3 Nimbus-class "V-Wing" Starfighter and Venator-class Star Destroyer (though the Venator was included in FoC, it's only available in Skirmish Mode as a bonus ship you can purchase from a Pirate Asteroid Base or Merchant Space Dock).
  • Easily Conquered World: The AI are prone to leaving many of their planets relatively undefended.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: In the last mission of the Forces of Corruption campaign, you gain access to the Eclipse.
  • EMP: Various units and buildings can use those to disable machines:
    • The Magnapulse Cannon for the Empire and Aggressor-class Star Destroyers for the Consortium.
    • Han Solo has an "EM Burst" special ability.
    • Y-Wings have Ion cannons as a special ability, and there are Ion cannon hardpoints on some capital ships and space stations.
  • The Empire: The Galactic Empire.
  • Enemy Mine: Tyber Zann briefly allied himself with the Alliance to Restore the Republic ostensibly to take out the Eclipse. Unfortunately for the Alliance, Zann had other plans as soon as he got the Eclipse.
  • Escort Mission:
    • One early mission in the Rebel campaign had you escorting some pilots to steal the prototype X-wing fighters under the Empire's nose. While they have to survive for you to win, thankfully you can control them and keep them sandwiched between your other units.
    • In another Rebel mission, you have to guard a group of transports from an ever-increasing amount of Imperial ships as a group of troopers searches a space station for information.
  • Evil Brit:
    • The Emperor, Tarkin, Piett, Veers, Thrawn, everybody who has their own Star Destroyer...
    • Subverted by the Rebel informant, Moff Kalast.
  • Expy:
    • The Rebel's T4-B tank (sporting twin twin laser cannons and a missile launcher) was designed as a homage to the Command and Conquer Mammoth Tank by ex-Westwood Studios staffers working at Petroglyph.
    • Regarding Tyber Zann in Forces of Corruption, he is basically Lucius Malfoy mixed with the personality of either a James Bond villain and/or a space pirate.
  • Fast Roping: The AT-AT's deploy stormtroopers ability. Given how the AT-AT is designed to be an Awesome Personnel Carrier, it only makes sense that it has a lot of meat for the grinder.
  • Five-Bad Band: Out of the Zann Consortium...
  • For Great Corruption: It's apparently the Zann Consortium's favorite word.
  • Friendly Fireproof: You can safely order artillery or air strikes on you own position without the fear of harming your own troops.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Silri has a pet rancor named Cuddles.
  • Fog of War: Can be removed briefly with a sensor ping by some units or permanently via capturing a radar station on certain maps.
  • Game Mod: The game also has a very active modding community.
    • Of special note is the Thrawn's Revenge mod, which simulates five different eras of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (which are progressed by killing the Empire's leader (which is usually mind-damagingly hard) or just set in one era, depending on whether your in the grand campaign or one representing a particular period), re-scaled fighters to their proper size (and into being full squadrons, and making almost all non-corvettes into The Battlestar), and added all kinds of land and space units and heroes, ranging from pocket carriers to multiple types of Super Star Destroyers. While it gets rid of the Game Breaker Zahn Consortium, it more than makes up for it with the fully featured Empire of the Hand Hidden Elf Village, as well as the Pentastar Alignment let by a warlord trying to Start My Own Imperium. Minor factions include Warlord Zsinj's Imperial splinter faction, the Yevetha Black Fleet, and the Hapes Consortium.
    • Another is Republic at War, which incorporates the Clone Wars and Prequel-era factions in general into the game.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Zann Consortium's Defilers.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The artillery units for both the Empire and the Alliance pack a lot of firepower and if used correctly, can turn the entire tide of the battle. However, they're barely mobile (the Imperial SPMA-T artillery piece in particular) and don't have much armour or protection.
    • The Aggressor, a tier 5 capital shipnote  used by the Zann Consortium, deserves a special mention here. Shot for shot, Aggressors are the most powerful non-hero ship by at least an order of magnitude. They wield two 'special weapons' that fire plasma balls larger than most non-capital ships. Each shot has excellent range and can destroy unshielded ship hardpoints in a single hit. These guns can also fire once every few seconds. One Aggressor can take out a level 5 space station by itself. Only kept from being a complete Game Breaker because:
      • a) These guns can only fire directly forward, and the ship takes about a minute to turn around.
      • b) If the main guns are taken out, they have only two weak laser cannons for defense, putting them on par offensively with a Tartan Patrol Cruiser (a tier 1 unit).
      • c) The Aggressor has a pathetically low six hardpointsnote  and can't target small ships, making it very easy to take out with bombers.
    • TIE bombers. They're pathetically slow and die very easily but just a few squads can annihilate most weapon hardpoints on capital ships and stations in a single strafing run. Y-wings are somewhat better as they have ion cannons to stun their target with prior to strafing it.
  • Honour Before Reason: Grand Moff Tarkin considers retreat a coward's option, and a fleet cannot use the 'retreat' command if he's with them.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Death Star is completely unbeatable unless you have a particular hero unit in your fleet, Red Squadron.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Tyber Zann, Urai Fen, Luke Skywalker, Noghri Death Commandos and F9-TZ Transports have this ability.
  • I Shall Taunt You / We Need a Diversion: A-Wings have the 'Lure Enemy Fighters' ability, which increases their evasion and forces nearby fighter squads to engage them.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Tyber Zann is strong-minded enough to resist a mind trick from Silri to free her, although he knows his potential vulnerability against it exhorts Urai to kill her if she attempts it again.
  • La Résistance:
    • The Rebel Alliance. Also, depending on the planet, the local civilians will take up arms and side with either the Rebels or the Empire. This is really useful for the Rebels when combined with their special raid ability. Generally, alien races will fight alongside the Rebels (Notable exceptions being the Noghri, who fight for the Empire; the Twi'leks, who fight alongside the Consortium; the Tusken Raiders; and the Hutts, Mandalorians, Pyn'gani and Mustafarians, who oppose all three major factions).
  • Large Ham:
    • Tyber Zann is relatively cool and collected... unless he's on the battlefield. When he's on the ground, he takes part in Chewing the Scenery. When he's in space, he acts like a calm James Bond villain.
    • Silri, on the other hand, acts like this all the time.
  • Long Lived: As member of an extremely long-lived race, Urai Fen is old enough to have lived through one of the Sith Wars.
  • Mook Maker:
    • The AT-ATs, for some strange reason, never run out of Stormtroopers to deploy. There's a cap of two squads maximum for any single AT-AT, but the moment a squad gets wiped out, it's possible to send out a fresh batch to replace them. Justified for the Executor, which is canonically so big that it can literally house thousands of TIE Fighters. Its cap is ten squadrons at a time, and it's entirely possible to win a battle with Executor alone by tucking her in a distant corner of a map and sending wave after wave of fighters to wear down the enemy.
    • An early patch made it so that you could only send two waves of fighter total. But they still get replaced after battle for free, and AT-AT's still have unlimited Stormtroopers.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Darth Vader.
    • In space, his TIE cannot even be damaged until all his wingmen are dead, which means his special ability (instantly replacing all lost wingmen) renders him an awesome turbolaser shield. On top of that, he does bomber levels of damage to subsystems. Oh, and in the expansion, he's not in a fighter anymore: he's in the Executor.
    • On the ground, he takes absolutely ridiculous amounts of damage to be put down — not to mention his lightsaber all but immunizing him of blaster shots from a large angle in front of him, seemingly healing him with every deflection; units like swamp speeders run a very good chance at killing themselves attacking him. The only thing that can give him pause is massed artillery or several anti-infantry turrets clustered together — but even that can't kill him without casualties. On top of all this, bacta heals him even faster than any other infantry unit.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Neither plot follows canon exactly, but the Rebels get a much more film-like storyline.
  • No Warping Zone: The Immobilizer 418's "Gravity Well" ability prevents hyperspace travel when activated.
  • Only Friend: Urai Fen seems to be the only one Tyber Zann truly trusts, or at least his most loyal companion.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Aside from OHKing planets, the Death Star II's superlaser in the Forces expansion will take out any ship that's big enough to target. They just can't take firepower of that magnitude.
    • In space combat, Rogue Squadron's special ability 'Lucky Shot' allows him to take out a capital ship's hard point or outright destroy smaller ships in a single shot.
    • Captain Piett's Star Destroyer, the Accuser, can fire a proton beam that does the same damage as Rogue Squadron's ability.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Darth Vader. Aside from having Nigh-Invulnerability, his lightsaber destroys enemy vehicles faster than dedicated anti-vehicle weapons, he can insta-kill all enemy infantry near him and completely disables turrets while destroying them.
    • In the FOC expansion, Obi-Wan Kenobi has constantly recharging health, the ability to make himself invulnerable for a short period of time, he can make all units in the vicinity flee from him, and on top of all that, he can disable and destroy enemy turrets from a distance. Provided the Rebel player is sensible enough to know when to retreat and heal, he can easily take over an entire planet with an Obi-Wan raid. The only real threats to the lone Obi-Wan are enemy hero characters, AT-A Ts, and multiple turrets which protect each other.
    • Urai Fen is capable of much the same thing, except he trades in the ability to stun turrets while damaging them for a personal cloaking device and the ability to stun infantry. Pair him with Zann, who also has a personal cloaking device as well as the ability to bribe units to fight for him as long as you have the bankroll, and you can win almost any ground engagement.
  • Penal Colony: Kessel, a dangerous prison world and spice mine that uses enslaved prisoners. It will generate extra income for the faction that controls it due to the spice running operations.
  • Planetville: Conquer the small map on the planet, conquer the planet.
  • Playing Both Sides: Tyber Zann says this during the Story Mode:
    Tyber: "I'll play both sides. We'll spread our corruption to Rebel and Imperial worlds alike."
  • Plot Armor: The Millennium Falcon actually has this as a special ability, to become invincible for a few seconds.
  • Pragmatic Hero: A Rebel tactic which rarely fails is to deploy Yoda when invading a planet, hide him in a corner of the map, and use his ability to see the whole battlefield whenever your 'bombing run' recharges. This allows the Rebel player to slowly pick apart the Imperial forces with bombing run after bombing run. It helps that the Computer AI rarely ever attempts to hunt down invading forces, and is more than content to keep all its units back at base, its army gradually being whittled away.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Tyber Zann, shortly after pulling what amounts to a cyber-theft of every single resource in the Emperor's treasury, left the Eclipse behind despite initially wanting to take it. His reason? He realized that the ship would be big enough of a target for even the Rebel Alliance to locate, and he already enraged them with his earlier betrayal in the middle of the battle. He also let the Rebel Alliance form their New Republic afterwards, since he saw it as an opportunity to "own a senator," in his words.
    • Similar to the entry above in Pragmatic Hero, a Consortium player with enough money can land Zann and Urai on a planet, construct lots of missile turrets all over the map, use their cloaking devices to evade enemy fire, and bribe enemy units one by one until they can crush the enemy base while Urai destroys enemy turrets.
  • Reflecting Laser: AT-STs, AT-AAs, and TIE Maulers if Endor is controlled by the Empire in Galactic Conquest modes. In Skirmish, the Empire can get upgrades that give a few of their units reflective armour.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: As per the La Résistance trope, the civilian population of some planets are strong supporters of the Empire, meaning that the Alliance will be forced to gun down crowds of civilians and burn down their buildings when 'liberating' those worlds.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction:
    • Massive Battleships can be built in just a day or two.
    • Oddly, some ground units take longer to construct than Spaceships which are hundreds of times larger in size, and considerably more expensive. For instance, three Rebel TB-4 tanks (length: 10 meters) take the same length of time to construct as a Mon Calamari Star Cruiser (length: 1,200 meters).
  • Running Gag: Han Solo can't keep his hand out of Rebel Alliance.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: TIE Maulers, Vengeance-class Frigates, and Aggressor-class Destroyers have the "Core Overload" ability.
  • Send in the Clones / Palette Swap: Operates on two levels:
    • Firstly, all units look identical to units of the same type.
    • Secondly, the AI has a curious habit of building fleets almost exclusively formed of one unit. An Empire AI tends to spam attack the enemy with fleet after fleet of Interdictors. Conversely, the Rebel AI, usually unable to occupy the planets which allow them to build Mon Calamari Cruisers, enjoys creating dozens of MC-Gunships.
  • Shoot the Messenger: After a pirate captain working for the Consortium attacks the MandalHypernautics shipyards, despite Zann specifically telling them not to, he presents Zann with the new equipment they acquired, leading to this exchange:
    Tyber Zann: "Well, that is good news! Except for one thing."
    Pirate Captain: "What's that?"
  • Shout-Out: An early mission in the Imperial campaign is named 'Crush. Kill. Destroy.'
  • Slave Mooks: The Consortium can use these, including exploding Ewoks.
  • Space Clouds: Nebula fields disable special abilities when you send a ship into them. Ion storms (which look almost the same, but with Space Lightning) do exactly the same thing, in addition to disabling a ship's Deflector Shields.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Urai Fen. The game manual misspells his name "Urai Fenn", but the official website and in-game description proves Urai Fen is the correct spelling.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Star Wars: Rebellion. Both are grand strategy games that loosely follow the events of the movies.
    • To both Force Commander and Galactic Battlegrounds. The former game was a poorly-received 3D RTS, while the latter game was better-received, but used a rather dated 2D sprite graphics engine at a time when nearly every other RTS series had gone 3D.
  • Stealth in Space: Imperial TIE Phantoms and Consortium Vengeance-class Frigates have this ability, as does Tyber's flagship, the Merciless.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Defilers can set up remote explosives.
  • Subsystem Damage: Any spaceship larger than a corvette; as you will have to take out all their Subsystems (shield, weapons, etc) before they will be destroyed.
  • Super Speed:
    • Rebel CR90 Corvettes, DP20 Frigates, and the Sundered Heart can divert power to their engines at the cost of firepower.
    • Han Solo, Chewbacca, Kyle Katarn, and Mara Jade have the "Sprint" ability.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Urai Fen and Silri hate each other, but they are obligated to team in order to get their goals.
  • Time Bomb: Rebel Infiltrators, Imperial Scout Troopers, Kyle Katarn and Mara Jade have Thermal Detonators, which go off after a delay.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Dathomiri Witches can drain the life force out of their enemies and use it to heal themselves and their rancors.
Aggressor-class Destroyer: Need a really big gun?
  • Weather of War: Every planet has its own weather conditions which can affect the range or accuracy of your ground units. The negative effects can be ignored if you have purchased the survival training upgrade from the barracks.
  • We Have Reserves: A legitimate tactic for the attacking team (see Zerg Rush), especially for the Empire.note  The way battles work: You send your army to a planet, then choose a subset of that army to attack with using a point buy system.note  At any time your unit total is less than your point total, whether from unit losses or capturing more control points, you can call in reinforcements from your main army to any point on the map you control. It is important to note is that this trope is not in effect for the defending side. They are limited to whatever forces they had garrisoned on the planet before you attacked,note  with bonus troops granted periodically from the unit production buildings on the map (land) or from the hanger hardpoint of the space station (space). However, in land battles this remains a valid tactic up until the point the opposing side unlocks artillery. A small group of artillery deployed just out of retaliation range of a landing zone will destroy any arriving force not comprised of heavy vehicles before they get a single shot off. Your only hope to get out of this kind of situation is orbital bombardment.
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Darth Vader does this to an Imperial officer after the Imperial attack on Thyferra in the first mission of the Empire campaign.
    • It's implied he does this to the player's 'character' if you fail to capture Leia.
    • Also implied (with those exact words) that he does that to an Imperial officer in the Rebellion ending to the Galactic Conquest mode, although it doesn't achieve much as the Star Destroyer he's on explodes a few seconds later.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After taking control of the Eclipse:
    Tyber Zann: "The Rebels have served their purpose. Destroy them."
  • Zerg Rush:
    • If you have enough credits, you can win any battle by just throwing more ships/troops at it. Pirates are especially prone to this, since their ships have fewer weapons and weaker shields.
    • The Consortium has the ability to "corrupt" certain planets and forcibly conscript their populations as troops (this namely applies to planets with unique and distinctive populations, like Kashyyk's Wookiees and Genosis' Genosians). Such troops are far less expensive than their regular infantry.
    • On top of this, if a faction controls Kamino, they can train any infantry on the planet, including the enslaved groups mentioned above, for just one credit. Not such a big deal for the Rebels or Imperials, with their relatively cheap units, but the Consortium will save tens of thousands on training. With the power of Consortium troops, there is little reason to train anything else and there also isn't any reason to bother with commanding a land battle, unless it's a story mission.

EmmanuelleLicensed GameEnter the Matrix
Star Wars: Republic CommandoCreator/Lucas ArtsThe Force Unleashed
X-Wing AllianceRecap/Star Wars Expanded UniverseStar Wars: DroidWorks
Elf Bowling One And TwoTeen RatingEmpire Earth
Empires: Dawn of the Modern World Real-Time StrategyEnd Of Nations
Jedi Knight: Jedi AcademyScience Fiction Video GamesThe Force Unleashed
Dwarf FortressUsefulNotes/Apple MacintoshEternal Lands
Electronic Super JoyUsefulNotes/SteamEmpires: Dawn of the Modern World

alternative title(s): Empire At War; Star Wars Empire At War
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy