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Video Game: Halo Wars

A Real-Time Strategy spin-off of the main Halo games by Ensemble Studios. It was toted as an ambitious attempt to bring the RTS genre to consoles—although critics are split on whether it did a good job at that. It was not the only console RTS game, though, with further examples including Stormrise, Universe at War, and arguably Supreme Commander 2.


Halo Wars provides examples of:

  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Halo Wars has a quite restrictive limit on the number of units you can have at a time. Not that you can't kill your way through several dozen Covenant with Scorpions, Hornets, Spartans, Warthogs, and MAC Blasts.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Some vehicles such as Scarabs are unable to attack extremely close range opponents.
  • Axe Crazy: The Arbiter.
  • Badass Normal: Sergeant Forge. Not just any marine can face an Arbiter one-on-one and WIN.
    • That's not all. One of the game's unlockables hints he got into fight with a Spartan and held his own.
    • Marines you can purchase in-game fit as well, but the ODST's take the cake.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Spirit of Fire crew manage to destroy the Shield World and prevent the Covenant from acquiring the Forerunner ships on the planet, but they had to sacrifice the slipspace drive to do so, meaning that they have to go into cryo-stasis without anyway of getting home.
  • Bond One-Liner: "And for the record, I'd have kicked your ass the first time if the lady hadn't stopped me!"
  • Boring, but Practical: Warthogs. while they start off like dung, they can be outfitted with Gauss Cannons and Troopers on the side with Grenade Launchers. Also the basic Marines, which can be turned into ODST Troopers.
  • Build More Pylons: The only way to get the additional resources needed to build the upgrade buildings and factory buildings needed to get more military manpower.
  • The Cavalry: 20 minutes into "Arcadia Outskirts", Spartan Omega Team will come to give your army a hand.
  • Cold Sniper: Jerome-092 is listed as a Sniper in the game. He actually uses a Spartan Laser, but due to its long range and pinpoint accuracy, it acts like a sniper rifle.
  • Clown Car Base: The Elephant. You can train 40 squads - that's 80 flamethrowers or 240 marines out of it. despite the fact it looks like it can hold no more than 20, maybe 30. and even that's pushing it. In fact, if you kill off your guys, you can train even more units out to infinity from this wondrous pachyderm. An achievement requires you to train 100 infantry out of an elephant in a campaign level.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Serina.
    "Recalling surface squads so we can all die together, aye sir."
  • Death by Irony: After the Arbiter almost beats Forge to a pulp, he gets ready to run Forge through with an energy sword, when Forge tells him to look him in the eye. The Arbiter grabs Forge by his head, lifts him up, and says, "My face will be the last thing your pathetic eyes ever see." Forge promptly stabs the Arbiter in the face with a knife, steals the energy sword, and runs the Arbiter through with it, not only killing the Arbiter the same way the Arbiter intended to kill him, but making his face the last thing the Arbiter sees.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: A collectable Black Box reveals that Douglas-042 got into an argument with Forge after Anders was captured by the Covenant. The Spartan recommended that the Covenant ship be destroyed to prevent classified information from getting out, leading Forge to fight him and hold his own against the Super Soldier. From then on, Forge and Douglas always ate together in the mess hall.
  • The Dragon: The previous Arbiter on Harvest seems to have taken up this role for Regret and the other Hierarchs.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom
  • Elite Mooks: Spartan Group Omega; Spartan II super soldiers. Distinguished by their roughly 7 ft. height, olive-colored Powered Armor , and ice-cold combat dialogue.
    • ODSTs as well, who are basically space Force Recon Marines.
  • Enemy Chatter: In true Halo fashion, units (infantry in particular) have a staggering array of context-sensitive lines - they complain about the cold on snow-filled maps, they cry out in panic when a friendly leader or powerful unit dies or an enemy leader attacks them, and they cheer when they're winning.
  • Expy: The Grizzly Tank=Mammoth Tank. They each have 4 sets of tracks, 2 cannons, and crush anything when deployed en masse.
  • Embarrassing First Name: The Arbiter's given name is jokingly stated to be 'Shirley' in the Main Menu tips. His real name is Ripa 'Moramee.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told
  • Harder Than Hard: Legendary difficulty, which features endless respawns of Covenant dropships every minute and dropping a dozen Hunters outside your base.
    • Gold medals require you to lose none of your units.
  • Heroic Sacrifice / Unplanned Manual Detonation: Sergeant Forge stays behind to detonate the Shaw-Fujikawa drive bomb.
  • Hot Scientist: Anders is a decided example.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Cyclops.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Jerome to Sgt. Forge.
  • Large and in Charge: The Arbiter is noticeably larger and more muscular than even the normal Elites.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Spirit of Fire", the leitmotif of the eponymous ship.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Vultures especially after the upgrade. Likewise with the wolverine units.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Vultures and Scarabs are already so powerful that they can not be driven by Spartans (aside from one campaign mission for the latter.)
  • Orphaned Series: Or game at least, as soon as Robot Entertainment left 343 industries treated it as a distraction at best.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Ensemble wasn't even going to consider having a Covenant campaign in Halo Wars unless they were some kind of rebel heretic faction, and therefore presumably not evil enough to fall under this trope.
  • Planar Shockwave: When the Shield World is destroyed.
  • Powered Armor: The Cyclops powered exoskeletons, and the Spartan MJOLNIR suits of course.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The perspective from which the game is played created some necessary exaggerations. For example, Spartans commandeering vehicles do a lot more elaborate gymnastics in the process of doing so, because more subtle animation would be hard to pick out at that scale. Likewise, the Cyclops's original design called for something similar to the early, pre-Spartan, MJOLNIR Powered Armor as Mighty Glacier infantry. However, this was changed to make it a Mini-Mecha because the scale made it difficult for players to identify them at a glance on a busy screen.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Arbiter, who is described by his own friends as "Evil" and picked up right out of prison, to boot.
  • Shout-Out: The Pillar of Autumn is mentioned when the Spirit Of Fire arrives at Arcadia.
  • The Stinger
  • Stop Poking Me: Grunts will sometimes say "Yee! Tickles!" when they're selected.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Infantry are cheap Zerg Rushers who can fielded by the dozens, but are wiped out by vehicles who are rarer, more powerful, and durable. Said vehicles are then weak to aircraft, who tend to be weaker but faster with a healthy range of firepower, and then those aircraft are trumped by the infantry.
  • Units Not to Scale: Due to gameplay limitations, the Scarab is much smaller here than in Halo 2 and Halo 3, but everything else is the same size the rest of the series depicts it as.
  • Wake Up Call Mission: The first three missions won't give you too much trouble. Mission 4, Arcadia City, will come as a shock - protecting multiple fragile targets and managing at least 2 bases, all whilst under almost constant enemy attack, serves as a notice to players that things only get harder.
  • War Is Hell: The opening of the game really drives this home:
    "Captain's Report, Feburary 4th, 2531: Five years. Five, long, years. That's how long it took us to get Harvest back. At first it was going well. Then setback after setback, loss after loss, made what was going to be a quick and decisive win into five years of hell. Of course that's all Harvest is today. It's hell down there. But now it's ours again."
    • The Spartans manage to turn this into a Badass Boast: "War Is Hell. And I'm the Devil."
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Might be the fate of the crew of The Spirit Of Fire.
Halo 3: ODSTCreator/Microsoft StudiosHalo: Reach
Age of MythologyCreator/Ensemble Studios    
Halo 3Xbox 360 Halo 3: ODST
Halo: ReachUsefulNotes/The Seventh Generation of Console Video GamesHalo 4
Ground ControlReal-Time StrategyHarpoon
Halo 3Science Fiction Video GamesHalo 3: ODST
Halo 3TurnOfTheMillennium/Video GamesHalo 3: ODST
Halo 3Franchise/HaloHalo 3: ODST

alternative title(s): Halo Wars
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