Video Game: Freedom Fighters
A Third-Person Shooter
released in 2003 by the makers of Hitman
. An Alternate History
began when the Soviet Union
developed the first atomic bomb
, shifting the balance of power firmly in their favor. The USSR steadily expanded
to encompass most of the world, with only the United States
opposing them, until a massive invasion quickly overwhelmed the US. The player takes control of former plumber
Christopher Stone, now the "Freedom Phantom", as he fights against the invaders
to liberate New York City
Well-received critically, though something of a Sleeper Hit
, this game is notable for having a surprisingly intelligent ally system. The player, being a leader of La Résistance
, can get up to twelve fighters under his command, and order them to attack specific targets or areas, secure and defend areas, or just follow the player. Allies (and enemies) will take advantage of cover and mounted machine guns
. Also, it had a really great soundtrack
A sequel was announced in 2004, however, there hasn't been much said about it since that time
This game features examples of the following tropes:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: It's your underground base, a raft big enough to fit a dozen men can float comfortably along, and it's the resistance's preferred mode of travel for bypassing Soviet roadblocks. The game IS set in New York City after all, which really does have sewers that big (some even describe the network as an underground city).
- Action Survivor: Chris was a plumber before becoming a freedom fighter.
- A.K.A.-47: All the weapons are obviously real, but none are mentioned by name, just "assault rifle" or "shotgun".
- Apathetic Citizens: Averted — any civilians you encounter will by happy to tell you where the enemies are or any points of interest.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Even when you become the de facto leader of the resistance you can only bring a small squad with you.
- Relatively small, anyway - twelve men is usually more than enough to deal with most threats. With the maximum squad size you can often overwhelm most Soviet positions with sheer weight of numbers.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to the Soviets' propaganda, "Last three American president were corrupt, involved in assassination of foreign countries' leaders, and cheated on their wives."
- A-Team Firing: It's rare that the friendly AI hits anything beyond a few feet, especially if there is cover, unless they are using a sniper rifle, or a machine gun. It's justified in-game due to the fact that none of them are trained soldiers, and thus lack firearms training.
- The player character's accuracy starts off pretty terrible at first too, with more than half your shots ending up nowhere near where the crosshair is pointing. He gradually gets better over the course of the game.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Realistically averted. General Tatarin goes down from a single sniper shot to the face from a few hundred feet away. Even if you do fight him directly (and you're not even supposed to), he's no tougher than a basic enemy soldier, and the only challenge is the fact that he's protected by a dozen or so Elite Mooks and a heavy machine gun-wielding Giant Mook.
- Played straight in that Soviet officers and other higher ranking units can survive noticeably more damage than basic Soviet soldiers.
- Awesome but Impractical: The sub-machine gun. It has considerable stopping power, but it's only accurate to pistol range and it's high rate of fire is a mixed blessing, since ammunition for it is quite hard to find.
- BFG: Chris can wield a PKM machine gun (over 16 pounds unloaded) like an assault rifle.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Soviets really speak Russian. They gain a rudimentary understanding of English if you heal them when they're wounded.
- Bittersweet Ending: The Soviets are gone for now, but the city's been destroyed and they'll be coming back...
- Bloodless Carnage: Though with the stacks of bodies that accumulate after some especially spectacular set-piece battles you'll barely notice.
- Boring but Practical: The assault rifle is going to be the weapon of choice for almost the entire game.
- Brick Joke: Seen in the SAFN
news propaganda ticker: "Trouble with your pets? Take them to Pets4Free at Lincoln Tunnel, and we will take good care of them for you". A bunch of unrelated propaganda later: "Trouble feeding your family? Registered workers can exchange food vouchers for 1 kilo of unspecified minced meat at Foods4Free at Lincoln Tunnel."
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The opening cinematic of the final assault on Governor's Island is deliberately invocative of the famous painting Washington Crossing The Delaware: the only real differences are that this crossing is in (an ice floe-littered) New York Harbor and the Soviets are actively shooting at the Americans.
- Dragon with an Agenda: Colonel Bulba is almost personally responsible for the resistance's existence, helps you obtain several key victories, and directs you to assassinate his own superior before showing his True Colors and taking the reins as General Bulba. Said assassination the assassination might have been intended as a Uriah Gambit to get rid of Chris -it's certainly one of the harder missions- and the ensuing Klingon Promotion was simply a happy accident.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: It's shown right there in the corner. By completing missions and objectives, you gain charisma, which lets you get more allies to command. But if you try to recruit more people then you're allowed, they blow you off, which is a little insulting after you infiltrate the enemy command center and shoot the supreme leader in the face.
- Dummied Out: Subverted. The Liberty Island bonus level can be unlocked and is perfectly playable, but is quite obviously nowhere near finished. The alternate version of the Giant Mook enemy doesn't appear anywhere else either.
- Exploding Barrels: And cars, too.
- Five-Man Band:
- Friendly Fireproof: The other freedom fighters are invulnerable to their ally's bullets (but not the player's grenades).
- Gameplay Ally Immortality: Mr. Jones in the first level and Isabella in the last one are completely invincible. Your freedom fighter allies can be incapacitated, but can only be permanently killed by explosives, vehicles, Elite Mooks, or water.
- Harder Than Hard: The Revolutionary difficulty, in which you have the exact same amount of health as the weakest enemy mooks. And there are hundreds of them, and only one of you. Hope you know how to use cover and put your squad to good use.
- Heal Thyself: With nice red medkits. You can also heal injured allies and civilians.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: In a happy little Shout-Out to Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, General Tatarin is voiced by the guy who played General Vladimir, while Mr. Jones/Colonel Bulba is none other than Premier Romanov himself!
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Your primary weapon is on your back when it's not used, but your backpack apparently holds your ammo, pistol, wrench, twenty grenades and Molotovs, four packs of C4 explosive, ten medkits, and your binoculars. All of which can be accessed easily.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Demonstrator, Rebel, Freedom Fighter, and Revolutionary.
- Made even worse by the fact that save games use an entirely different set of names for the 4 difficulty levels: "A walk in the park"; "Have a blast"; "You got what it takes?"; and "Against all odds".
- Island Base: The Soviets reappropriate Governor's Island as the headquarters for local occupation forces.
- Instant-Win Condition: It doesn't matter how many Soviet soldiers are left in the level (or even if there are other objectives yet to be completed), as long as the player can raise the flag, it's mission accomplished.
- Invisible Wall: Often found near an Insurmountable Waist High Fence. The latter are actually less common, as the player can mount ledges and boxes.
- It's Up to You: Even surrounded by allies and part of an organized resistance movement, Chris seems to do everything important, from demolition to assassination. Even when he becomes the leader of the movement. Although, to be fair, he's never actually alone on any of his operations, with anywhere from two to twelve friendlies directly supporting him at any given time.
- Jumped at the Call: Chris, and probably most other freedom fighters.
- Justified Tutorial: Chris is a plumber. He needs the help.
- Karma Houdini: Colonel/General Bulba is nowhere to be found by the game's ending after having your hideout destroyed and revealing himself as the mole. Of course, that doesn't mean he got off scot free, due to the probable response of the Soviet Command to his formation of a resistance group in New York for personal glory that actually THREW him and the Red Army out of the state?
- La Résistance: It's right there in the title.
- Large and In Charge: General Tatarin, the leader of the Soviet invasion force, is a 7-foot tall giant. He's a rare realistic example of the trope in that, from his facial features, he shows indications of having giantism and acromegaly, rather than simply being abnormally tall for no apparent reason.
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted. Chris' outfit changes to match the weather and his objective, and his hair grows longer as the game progresses.
- Lost Forever: Once you complete the primary objective in an area, you cannot come back to that area for some reason, and any bonus objectives, supplies, or useful equipment there is permanently lost.
- Made of Iron: The Soviet heavy machine gunners take about 3 full magazines of assault rifle fire to bring down, and can even survive several direct frag grenade hits. Hint: A direct hit with a Molotov will sap their health to something manageable over time. Grenades can help too, if they get knocked over; you can pump them full of lead or beat the crap out of them while they're down and unable to respond.
- Allies that can join you (other freedom fighters and defecting Soviet soldiers) also seem to be able to take a good deal of damage as well.
- Magnetic Hero: A gameplay mechanic, even. You can even get some wounded Soviet soldiers to follow you if you're kind enough to patch them up.
- Monumental Damage: A bonus map in the game is Liberty Island, with the Statue of Liberty in pieces and scattered all around it.
- Molotov Cocktail: Quite realistic ones too.
- Mooks: It's raining Soviets!
- Elite Mooks: Two different types of Soviet special forces, both armed with blistering-quick submachine guns; burly men wearing orange scarves who roll around and choke your rebel allies to death, and female Splinter Cell ninja wannabes who cartwheel around and can take almost a full magazine from an AK-47 before dropping.
- Giant Mooks: Huge Soviet supermen wearing full plate armor and carrying heavy machine guns, who can eat 2 rockets, at least 3-4 sniper rifle shots to the face, or 2-3 mags of AK-47 fire before finally dying. In the bonus level, a different variant appears with automatic shotguns and white armor. Run. Away.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Chris Stone becomes such a headache for the Soviet occupation forces, he earns the name of Freedom Phantom. Cross him at your own peril.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Chris himself wonders about this at the end, if he's destroyed so much to defeat an enemy that will just be back with even more troops.
- Nintendo Hard: The game gets like this after the Sewer Level even on the lower diffuculties.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Subverted all to hell on the Soviet side, as you'll often find wounded Soviet soldiers that have been left behind to die.
- Heel-Face Turn: If Chris patches them up, they'll join the band (assuming you have the space for them).
- Ominous Russian Chanting: Based on the Soviet Army Choirs, nonetheless!
- One Bullet Clips: To the point where the game automatically reloads for you if you go more than a couple seconds without firing, whether you want it to or not.
- Optional Stealth: Stealth is crucial in earlier missions, and mission descriptions typically warn you to stay out of Soviet floodlights, but with a large enough squad and some good weaponry you can easily just charge straight through enemy defenses.
- Ornamental Weapon: At some point in the game, Chris gets a knife on his left shoulder. You can't equip it.
- Pinned Down: The AI tends to take cover when under fire. Using your squad to lay a suppressive fire on the enemies, making them take cover, then flanking them, is an extremely effective tactic.
- Player Mooks: The other freedom fighters.
- Player Headquarters: Three of them: the sewers, the subway tunnels, and the interior of one of the vent shafts beneath Governor's Island. They gradually evolve over the course of the game, becoming better equipped, more populated, and more sophisticated as the resistance grows in strength.
- Ragdoll Physics: Present, but rather subdued. Until you switch on the FlyMo-Ragdolls and/or Nailgun cheats.
- Rare Guns: The Bizon submachine gun, which has only seen limited service in Real Life, is occasionally carried by Soviet special forces. However, it shows up too rarely to ensure a steady supply of ammunition, so the player usually won't get a chance to use it.
- Respawning Enemies: In some levels an armored car or transport helicopter will periodically bring in reinforcements.
- Defied Trope: You can blow up the helipad/bridge with C4, preventing reinforcements from coming in. Or, if you're feeling particularly vindictive, you can just blow up the transports as they come in.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Nope. Even disregarding how difficult it is to find ammo for them, they kinda suck. The only advantages are that it has more power and is more accurate.
- Rousing Speech: After the resistance takes back the news studio in times square, Chris addresses his fellow Americans - turns into a Balcony Speech at the end.
- Save Point: The manhole covers allow you to return to the rebel base and save or quicksave in the mission.
- Short Range Shotgun: Almost every gun has poor accuracy at long range, but the shotgun is useless beyond a few feet.
- The Mario Bros. uniforms worn by the game's protagonist plumber brothers.
- He is a plumber, who teleports through sewer pipes and can throw fireballs (molotovs). This is probably why they make a Mario reference.
- In the beginning of the game, there's a movie poster starring Agent 47 from Hitman, IO Interactive's more well-known franchise.
- When someone decides to kill the Big Bad, Phil says "Sure! Let's sneak into his cocktail party and put some cyanide pills in his glass!". This is exactly what you do in Hitman 2 to assassinate a Russian general.
- Some trains carry the name "47 United".
- In one of the news tickers, it's mentioned that newborn babies will have their Socia Security numbers tattooed to their necks; Agent 47 has a barcode tattooed in the same place.
- One of the lines your allies can call out when taking control of a mounted machine-gun is "Say 'ello to my little friend!"
- Sniping Mission: You can also drop the sniper rifle for another weapon in the beginning; you'll be able to get another one later on.
- Sleeper Hit
- Squad Controls: It might have been the Trope Codifier.
- Storming the Castle: Done twice, though the first is more of an infiltration.
- Really kicks in during the final stage when you take Fort Jay on Governor's Island.
- Pretty much every area of every level save three has this on a more subdued level, as it is necessary to knock out the local Soviet field HQ in order to clear an area.
- Super Drowning Skills: Everybody except Chris dies instantly if they fall in the water.
- Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Rocket Launchers and Sniper Rifles generally appear only where they would be the most useful, and generally only with enough ammo to be immediately useful.
- The Unfought: Colonel/General Bulba disappears after The Reveal 3/4ths of the way through the game, and is nowhere to be seen during the final battle on Governor's Island.
- Took a Level in Badass: Chris was just an everyman plumber to begin with. But when Chris gives his Rousing Speech to all of New York City, and when he and his men approach Governor's Island for the final assault, you can see just how far he's come as the leader of the American resistance. So much so that in the final fight, you cross the frozen water on a boat with Chris standing on the bow. Whatever the ultimate outcome, Chris becomes a very significant player in this Alternate History.
- Treacherous Advisor: He was really the Big Bad all along, building La Résistance up so he could destroy it later and get the glory.
- What If?: ...the Soviets got the bomb first?
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: Averted. All of the weapons come from the enemy.
- Vapor Ware: A sequel was announced six months after the game's 2003 release. It was supposed to have come out in late 2005. Little is known about it except for an IO Interactive representative saying in 2007 that it was on the to-do list.
- Wrench Whack: Your plumber's wrench is actually the best melee weapon in the game. And is also the one you score your first kill with.
- You ALL Look Familiar: There are about a half-dozen different models for freedom fighters, and only one for each enemy type. A bit less noticeable for the latter, ironically, since they're all in uniform.
- Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Duh. The resistance movement is called a terrorist group on the Soviet propaganda channel, SAFN.