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Video Game: Iji

Iji is not having a good day.

An inspired twist on the "lone warrior fights against impossible odds" story rehashed by so many other video games, Iji is a freeware action/adventure platform game created by Daniel Remar. Iji is a 20-year-old girl who accompanies her family on a tour of the military research facility her father works at, when strange lights lance through the clouds outside.

Iji awakens six months later to discover that her father and most of the researchers are dead and that a handful of scientists implanted her with nanotechnology in hopes of battling the alien threat that has taken over the facility. Her little brother Dan is hidden in a control room, which allows him to help Iji understand her new abilities and direct her to objectives.

The game features an awesome soundtrack and stylized graphics that create an atmosphere that's easy to get immersed in. Unusual in the combination of straight action with adventure and RPG elements, it also tells an emotionally complex story. Iji questions the necessity and effectiveness of violence, and either extreme is a valid strategy.

As a freeware game, it is available here.


This game provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: At one point, Dan lampshades the ridiculous lengths the player must go to in order to enter the secret areas. Iji celebrates finding the last bonus poster but is embarrassed and at a loss for why when Dan asks her about it. Also, the Null Driver weapon requires you to get all 10 posters and ribbons (the ribbons which there isn't much indication that you're meant to find), beat the game on all difficulties, get two special ranks, beat all ten of the Sudden Death Sectors, find 4 logbooks detailing secret "hidden skills", find the secret level, and then solve a puzzle in said secret level. And then you need it to unlock yet ANOTHER secret level.
  • Ace Custom: Iosa's annihilator armour.
    • Also, Ansaksie's Massacre which she uses in the boss fight against Iosa if you play as Pacifist. If you manage to reach the end completely kill-free, she even gives you the gun to fight Tor.
  • Action Girl: Most of the named characters are female and know how to kick decent amounts of ass. Also, all the Tasen soldiers you fight are female (with the exception of some of the log writers and Yukabacera.)
  • Aerith and Bob: The first two humans in the game are named Iji and Dan.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Lampshaded when Iji comments on how easy it is to get around security measures this way.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: When they aren't being bastards to humans, they're being bastards to other aliens, who are themselves bastards.
  • Alien Blood: While there isn't too much to go by, hitting aliens with a turret head or certain weaponry reveals Tasen blood is a bright lavender colour. Komato blood is a dark shade of teal.
  • Alien Invasion: Multiple subversions: Dan tells Iji the Tasen have performed a stealth strike on the facility, but it turns out they've Beam Spammed the Earth's surface before starting colonization. Then it turns out that they're running for their lives and this colony is their last chance to avoid extinction. Iji and Dan hope that the Komato will stop the Tasen from eradicating humanity, but most of them would gladly wipe out all life on Earth along with the Tasen.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • As a teaser just before releasing the game, the author put up a very silly series of pages on his site claiming to be from one of the characters whose logbooks you read, having hacked into our internet for fun and to communicate around blockades. It includes many jokes along the same lines as the games and offers backstory about most of the bosses and the Tasen in general.
    • Iji's surname, revealed in the unlockable enemy encyclopedia, is Kataiser.
    • The trailer shows off some hidden skills if you watch closely.
  • Alpha Strike: It's a special-purpose weapon installed on certain warships that automatically synchronize with each other, allowing thousands of ships to Strike a planet's surfaces simultaneously. Even a low-power Strike (like the one in the intro cutscene) can rank as high as a planetary scale class 3 disaster, and a more thorough one can go up to class 5, completely sterilizing a planet.
  • Alternative Number System: The aliens use a ternary number system, though logbooks mention that they use at least a little bit of decimal. Most of the numbers aboard their ships are still in ternary, though.
    • This is lampshaded in one of the logs you find, by one of the aliens informing their team about a bounty on Iji's head in decimal, and then adding "For you ternary dorks" before stating the bounty in ternary too.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted; sprites are not simply mirrored.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Beating Extreme unlocks the option of "Alternate Outfit", in which Iji is wearing the same clothes as in the intro cutscene.
    • The creator also noted he wanted to avoid that kind of thing for beating the lower difficulty level, saving the more frivolous rewards for higher difficulties, and the more interesting rewards for lower difficulties.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: In a humorous log, the reason why anti-Blit spray hasn't actually been tested on Blits yet is that there is a very heavily armed and very angry anti-animal testing group in the vicinity. Sorry!
  • Apocalypse How: A Class 2, though Iji thinks it's only a localized apocalypse, as Dan tells her that only the facility is under attack, though any Genre Savvy player knows he's full of shit. at the start. By the end, you're trying to stop a Class 5. The Komato are also working towards being able to pull off a Class X, and you can get a weapon made to test one of the concepts involved.
  • Apocalyptic Log: A few human logbooks, then Tasen logs especially if you've been killing them all, upon which you encounter the last logs of the last Tasen, then the Komato going to leave Earth to prepare for the Alpha Strike - doubly so if you're on a lethal playthrough, as the Komato are as glad as Hell to get away from the thing that killed a supposedly invincible soldier.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Iji is this, until she kills a certain amount of enemies.
    • In a weird variation, a Komato soldier expresses regret that the standard procedure for any Tasen-invaded world is to glass it in a diary.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: nanotechnology explains just about all the game mechanics, from Iji's weapon, Translator Microbes and Deflector Shields to the attribute leveling system. In an aversion of Gameplay and Story Segregation, it's possible to hack yourself, causing Iji's security system to reset her attributes to prevent tampering by the, uh, "Malicious Cracker".
  • Arch-Enemy: Asha the Assassin decides he has some kind of blood vendetta with Iji after she first beats him. Iji isn't quite as murderous about it, unless Asha kills Dan. Even if Dan survives she's still furious at him and determined to make sure that he's never a threat to Dan again. Skipping the last fight with Asha leaves him so very upset and completely humiliated that he commits suicide, as he's turned into the laughingstock of the assassins.
  • Artificial Brilliance: If the Final Boss hits you with a certain attack combo, expect it to be showing up a lot more.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Komato Annihilators are not very bright. They will happily fire Splintergun shots into walls if you're above them, even when they're in point-blank range (at which point they start damaging themselves). This is sometimes necessary to get into hidden areas.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: This seems to be how the ranks among the aliens work.
  • Attack Reflector: As implied by its name, the Resonance Reflector.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The higher-ranked Komato are the ones who get the best equipment; the best troopers get Berserker cybernetics and training, the best Berserkers get stuck into Annihilator exoskeletons. The Tasen appear to work the same way.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Almost every single weapon in the game. Yes, the higher-tier weapons cause impressive explosions and overkill is always fun; but out of seven bosses, the first appears before you can obtain most high-tier weapons; three are explicitly immune to all of them; and the last three have so many hit points that none of those weapons make a big difference, and are instead defeated through Boss Arena Idiocy or Playing Tennis with the Boss. In the levels themselves, it is generally easier (and in some difficulty modes, mandatory) to run and jump past the enemies rather than to stand and fight.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: In version 1.6, the Massacre becomes this thanks to its reduced charge time and increased power.
  • Background Boss: The Final Boss will temporarily jump into the background during certain attacks.
  • Badass Boast: Iosa will not sit around and let you trash-talk THE MOST POWERFUL KOMATO IN THE UNIVERSE. She's done mincing words, insect(s). Now you die!
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: If you are faithful to the pacifist path, two bosses will be backstabbed by their own minions, so that you don't have to kill them. This was actually added in version 1.3: originally, you had to kill them.
  • Barrier Warrior: Technically, everyone with a nanofield qualifies for this, due to nanofields being a sort of invisible armor, but the biggest example is Iosa, who, due to a very lucky scientific procedure, has a shield that can survive a planetary destruction weapon.
  • Beam Spam: Asha and Tor are the worst offenders on higher difficulties. For extra fun, Asha spams you with a hail of Laser Blades. Also, the Alpha Strike is designed to Beam Spam an entire planet at once.
  • The Berserker: Komato Annihilators are feared by both the Tasen and the Komato, due to an incident where an Annihilator became so obsessed with his kill count that he completely decimated his enemies and his own allies. While they're now given drugs to keep them from killing other Komato, it's obvious from the logbooks that they are still feared, and they devastate anything in their path, including Komato (due to friendly fire). Also, there's the identically named Komato Berserker, who, due to a special technique, can take shots that blow them the air and then land on their feet, unfazed. Iji herself could probably be considered a Berserker later in the game if you've been particularly trigger-happy.
  • BFG:
    • The MPFB Devastator.
    • The appropriately named Massacre in later versions.
    • The Velocithor, a weapon normally reserved for space combat.
    • The biggest BFG of them all is the Phantom Hammer, a Wave Motion Gun normally mounted to a battleship and used as part of an Alpha Strike. The Final Boss carries one. Better hope he doesn't get to fire it.
  • Big Red Button
  • Bittersweet Ending: The earth is in ruins and awash in acid rain, but life returns and humanity survives. In the best ending, the future is shown as a bit brighter than in other endings, Iji's not alone as Dan's still alive, and as of 1.6, it's possible to save a lot more Tasen than just Vateilika, the Diary Writer, and her girlfriend.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Scrambler contains an earlier version of your Translator Microbes, so if you switch it on, the entire game becomes this (even the text that's ostensibly already in English).
    • There are specific lines that, when scrambled, are replaced by jokes or non sequiturs instead.
  • Bluffing the Advance Scout: The Tasen do this after they shoot down a Komato scout team, sending a faked report back to the main fleet. It doesn't work. Worse, General Tor himself outright states that they would have assumed the scouts had fallen prey to a routine accident, if they hadn't received an obviously phony report mentioning technology that only exists as propaganda. Whoops.
  • Body Horror: Beasts. One would assume they are robots or trained animals. The reality, as the enemy encyclopaedia reveals, is much worse. Those things used to be ordinary Komato.
  • Bonus Boss: Yukabacera, a Playful Hacker who looks like a standard Tasen Soldier, but has a crapload of health and a seriously overpowered gun, as well as being much faster.
  • Bonus Dungeon: Sector Z.
  • Boom, Headshot: If you defeat Iosa without Ansaksie's help, you finish her with a shotgun to the face. If you defeat Iosa with Ansaksie's help, she winds up with a Laser Blade sticking through her skull.
    • Inverted with Asha, who gets everything BUT his head vaporized.
  • Bootstrapped Theme: The track "Face to Face" is used for every boss battle except the final one, but it seems to be associated primarily with Asha by the fanbase. Especially strange given that he already has his own theme song.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Except on the highest difficulty settings, red nanofields (healing pickups) appear in all boss fights.
    • In some (like the last one), they are spawned during the boss's attack cycle or when the player damages him; in others (like Proxima) there is a limited number of them laying in the arena.
  • Boss Bonanza: The game starts with having bosses every other level, until a Sequential Boss in the penultimate level and two bosses (one of which is skippable) in the last one.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Komato Annihilators. Lots of HP - eight times that of the next toughest non-boss, and tougher than half the bosses. Check. Does a lot of damage with lots of varied attacks - four attacks, all of which are close to the best in their category. Check. Lots more strategy to defeat - unless you're REALLY optimized for combat, you pretty much have to hack them first or be insanely good at dodging. Check. Lots of rewards - four times as much nano as any other enemy and a huge amount of ammo. Check. Appears only in large rooms, with the other inhabitants puny compared to it. Check.
    • Also, Komato assassins. Their health is kind of lousy but they make up for it by being immune to almost all of the strong weapons, and have basically the same attack pattern as the sector 5 boss. However, they can be destroyed in one hit with the nuke and can all be fled from (though fleeing the Deep Sector is hard as the assassins there can interrupt your cracking of doors).
  • Bottomless Magazines: For the shotgun, resonance burst and resonance reflector only. Lampshaded in one of the Tasen logs, where a trooper finds Iji's endless supply of shotgun shells somewhat alarming.
  • Break the Cutie: Oh, Iji. First, she has to adjust to being thrust into a warzone. Then she has to adjust to the Tasen carpet-bombing (well, carpet-lasering) Earth. It comes to a head if Dan gets killed, at which point she begins talking to an imaginary Dan...
  • Brick Joke: "CIRETAKO!"
  • Brutal Bonus Level: Sector Z.
  • But Thou Must: Played straight with two plot-dictated deaths until version 1.3 averted it by making it possible to win with zero kills. Inversely, the player can go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and still win the game.
  • Butt Monkey: Asha, in a meta way. With his Scrambler dialogue (PEW PEW PEW!) and some video subtitles Daniel Remar completely makes fun of him. And his Leitmotif is actually a distorted rant about beer:
    "Total destruction is imminent. This is without a doubt the final battle for Peroni & Son. We need everybody to evacuate, and bring all your Carlsberg to the front desk. I repeat, bring all your Carlsberg. System shutdown."
  • Camera Abuse: Die in most circumstances and the screen gets white cracks in it.
  • Cap: Iji can only gain a certain number of levels per sector, which decreases on higher difficulty levels.
    • The cap for weapon ammo can be increased by leveling up the Assimilate stat.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Massacre weapon.
  • Charged Attack: Except for Skysmasher drones, Komato Generals with a certain nanogun and Iji (who uses the same type of Nanogun), nanogun users have to wait for their nanoguns to create a heavy projectile before they can fire it, resulting in a similar delay.
  • Cherry Tapping: You don't have to break out the big guns or pump your Attack stat through the roof. Most enemies can be killed with the basic shotgun, or even by kicking them repeatedly (you are even forced to play the entire game this way on Ultimortal difficulty). One of the boss fights requires you to only use the shotgun, as Asha considers it demeaning to dodge such "antique weapons".
  • Classic Cheat Code: Go ahead and try entering the Konami Code on the title screen.
  • Collision Damage: Contact with an enemy causes rapid armor damage to you.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: The logbooks depict ridiculously over-the-top weapons advertisements, Tasen soldiers creatively coping with boredom (such as demanding that their thermos be made of the same battle plating as killer robots so they can drink scaldingly hot coffee) and the Komato turn anything into a game, from rocket juggling to soccer with gun turrets to Marco Polo in a minefield. It's lampshaded in one of the Komato cracker's logs, in which he hates how overblown and silly the Komato weapon commercials are.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Banana Gun, once you have access to weapon stats.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Getting the best ending requires Iji to prepare for something she couldn't possibly anticipate normally, and to ignore an instruction she receives earlier on. This averts Guide Dang It, as meeting certain conditions will lead Iji to realize how to get the ending on her own, and it's also possible to work out through Genre Savvy or if you've played the game before.
    • Ironically, if you want to remain a complete, 0 kills pacifist, you have to acquire the most powerful weapon in the game in order to skip a boss that, if fought, must be killed.
  • Crosshair Aware: During the later boss battles the game often tells you where you should go to evade an attack, via direction arrows with a 'SAFE' caption. Some of General Tor's attacks even show actual crosshairs.
  • Cruel Mercy: Bypass the duel with Asha and he will kill himself in despair.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • The game makes it very clear that the Tasen are totally screwed against the Komato, much like when the Tasen easily conquer Earth. Also, Iji can defeat Asha in their first battle by firing the Nuke weapon once.
    • With the right skill setup and a willingness to spend ammo, Iji can do this to others. Watch the creator of the game completely own Krotera about six minutes into his speedrun.
    • Sudden Death Sector mode turns almost every battle into this.
  • Cut Song: "Organ Smash".
  • Cycle of Hurting: Since the Velocithor bypasses your Mercy Invincibility, it causes stun-lock if you ever get caught in its beam. The good news is that the Velocithor is only used by two people besides yourself, and one of those is hidden. The bad news is that, on the harder modes, the beam can last longer than even a completely full health bar.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Dan, and later Iji, are badly affected by the death of the rest of their family in the initial attack, especially their little sister Mia. Dan in particular is much more trigger-happy than he would be otherwise, and the scientist logs state that the invasion had to turn them all into stoics. For Iji going down the lethal route, it's her gradual warming up to killing, and especially Dan's death that makes her go off the deep end.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The sentinel is normally a Puzzle Boss because there are environmental hazards you are supposed to knock it into for massive damage. However taking the easy way out means you miss out on a supercharge. If you want to beat it the hard way, you'll have to start stocking up on ammo long in advance.
  • Decapitated Army: Subverted, as neither of the two alien races will stop fighting if their leader is taken out, and the Final Boss even discusses the trope with you, reminding you that only a word from him will call off the Alpha Strike.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Even though it consists solely of Daniel Remar, he pretty much does. Chances are, if you think of some sort of exploit to use such as using certain secret weapons on certain bosses, either a character will comment on it or it will end up being the way to get an unlockable.
    • Enemies will write in their logbooks about how little sense it makes for you to collect all their ammo but not use it if you're on the pacifist path.
    • If you die to Asha in sector X, but have a checkpoint, fighting him again will cause him to express his delight over getting to kill you twice. But if you are very, very willing to go out of your way for an easter egg, finding a second checkpoint and fighting Asha again will cause him to flip out. The latter was added in a later patch after someone pointed out it was possible.
    • Some of the sectors have ceiling lamps that can be broken. In Sector 1, breaking about twelve of them triggers some dialogue with Dan at the end of the sector - and Iji has glass shards in her hair.
    • If you kill Tor with the Banana Gun, during the ending cutscene, he has a banana balancing on his head.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Somewhat. Iosa is the only known being to survive a full force Alpha Strike without a bit of damage, and is known to be the most powerful Komato in the Imperial Army even without any armor. You end up killing her by shooting her in the face, or letting an Assassin with a grudge against Iosa stab her in the head, after stunning her with kicks and deactivating her nanofield.
  • Die Hard In A Military Facility During An Alien Invasion
  • Digitized Sprites
  • Disc One Nuke: You can actually make a nuke during the first half of the game. It oneshots every single Assassin in the game, including Asha. Except for his second fight, where, due to being on familiar territory, actually manages to dodge a nuke in an enclosed space.
  • Discount Lesbians: Two of the female Tasen soldiers in the game are lovers. None of the Tasen soldiers (except Yukabacera) depicted on screen are male.
  • Doppelgänger Spin: The second fight with Asha has doppelgangers of him moving around, doing his various attacks— mercifully, they're partially faded out, so it's easy to tell the difference, but they're distracting enough to throw you off every once in awhile.
  • The Dreaded: According to the enemy logs you find throughout the game, it becomes increasingly clear to them that you are death on legs, and some of them even choose desertion rather than facing you.
  • Driven to Suicide: Assassin Asha if you don't fight him, as he's violated numerous orders to go after Iji, turns every ally against him, and is made the laughingstock of the assassins. General Tor also commits suicide in the ending, regardless of the path followed in game, as he does not want to live to see Earth suffer a second extinction.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Utterly averted. The fact that Iji keeps surviving encounters with two alien armies and has combat technology that's advanced even by their standards is not lost on people. By the end even many of the Komato are soiling themselves at the thought of facing you, even on a zero-kill pacifist run.
  • Dungeon Bypass: You can often cruise right by packs of enemies if you have the right weapons or a high enough strength or crack skill to open alternate pathways.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Version 1.6 has the closest thing to a happy ending we've seen yet.
  • Easter Egg: All over the place, but the worst offender is in Sector 8; triggering it reveals a power-up and... an Easter egg. Literally. Said easter egg is a Guide Dang It unless you found another Easter Egg in the form of the Cracker's Hideout. Of course, the Cracker's Hideout is pretty damn hard to find itself, and doesn't even exist unless you've already beat the game at least once.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The Massacre, given to you by Assassin Ansaksie at the end of a perfect Pacifist Run.
  • Emergency Weapon: Your shotgun and Resonance Detonator eventually become this if you use weapons at all.
  • Empty Levels: The Tasen and Komato weapon stats only have an effect at levels three, six and ten.
    • Once you hit Lv. 9 on Ultimortal, all remaining levels become this due to having nothing to spend them on.
  • Enemy Mine: It is possible to get Komato Assassin Ansaksie on your side for a late-game boss fight.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Both averted, in the humans' and players' point of view, and subverted, in the aliens' point of view. A large research facility is invaded by hostile aliens, killing most of the humans inside. Iji, the heroine, wakes up in a small room, only to discover that everywhere beyond the room is overrun with aliens with orders to kill humans on sight. As you fight through the chaos, you notice things in the background, like blood-smeared walls, bloody handprints, and the word 'Help' written in blood, along with many knocked over computer chairs. However, this trope is averted since the player, and Iji, are told in the very beginning that the mission isn't to escape, but to confront the ones responsible. At the same time, it's subverted in the Tasens' perspective during the pacifist run, when Vateilika, a Tasen who helps you, is completely shocked that Iji isn't trying to find a way out, and is instead trying to find their leader.
  • Essence Drop: The piles of nano that dead enemies drop.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Parodied given that some logs of the Tasen complain about things that pale to things like alpha striking Earth.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: All the aliens (even the friendly ones!) refer to Iji as "(the Human) Anomaly". Only Tor even goes so far as to address you as "Human". There's an exception in the pacifist run in 1.6. When you meet Ansaksie right before Tor, Iji will get annoyed at Ansaksie calling her "Anomaly" and tell her her real name. Anasaksie, in her final sentence, calls her Iji.
  • Everything Fades: Subverted. All the Tasen and Komato have self-destruct devices that trigger when they die. The in-game explanation is that they don't want their weapons to fall into enemy hands (each side generally uses its own weapons, though some Komato units do have Tasen guns). Consequently, although Iji can use all the weapons her enemies have, she can't take them from dead bodies and has to get them from supply lockers or something similar. The power of the explosion is also directly related to the rank of the soldier; this is also deconstructed and lampshaded in one logbook which mentions that they reduced the power of the Generals' self-destruct devices after a malfunctioning detonator leveled two cities.
  • Evil Is Easy: Daniel Remar stated that he intentionally made a Pacifist Run harder to play than a killer runnote  because, realistically, it would be hard for a pacifist to survive in the middle of a battlefield.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Strongly correlated with aggression, naturally near all the Komoto race fits this. Pretty much all bosses qualify. Iji even joins in on it with high kill counts.
  • Experience Meter: There's a gauge on the far right that tracks your Nano count.
  • Exposition Fairy: Split between Dan, the logbooks and the dialogue triggered by Mia's ribbons.
  • Faceless Goons: Subverted: while we never see an alien's face (the closest we get is a close-up of General Tor's shattered helmet, which only reveals the inner layers of the visor), a few grunts are given names and are fleshed out into full characters.
    • In one possible outcome, Iji finds a dead soldier who she realizes is the writer of several diary logbooks she read. As Iji is overcome by grief, she invokes this trope and contemplates whether there is any difference between that soldier and the ones she killed herself. In fact, the way to avoid this scenario is to keep a specific Mook alive: the soldier's lover.
  • Fan Fic: A rare example of one read and enjoyed by the author: Webcomic.Iji
  • Fantastic Racism: The genocidal Komato pursue the Tasen for deliberately going against the increasingly militant Komato values, and for genetically rewriting themselves to resemble the Komato before they had left Origin. Tor basically states that the Empire's herd mentality undermines any effort by the government to control the populace just by sheer virtue of overwhelming numbers.
  • Final Exam Boss: Annihilator Iosa fits this pretty well, despite only being the third-to-last boss. Guns work, but not well, so to hurt her Annihilator exoskeleton, you need to use the computers to activate laser arrays and dodge at the right moment to let her get hit. And after you beat the exoskeleton, you need to use Iji's kicking and cracking skills to deliver the final blow.
  • Freudian Excuse: Iosa's hatred of the Tasen is a little more personal than the general racism that most Komato have: They Alpha Struck her planet. She was the only survivor, and spent a year wandering the wasteland ruins before she was picked up.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Downplayed, most shots from enemies will go straight through their allies, but splash damage of any kind will put everything caught in a world of hurt. It leads to a hilarious way of getting extra nano (XP) during a pacifist run: instead of shooting the aliens yourself, stand next to them and block a missile with your face. This is definitely not subverted in the case of the nuke, however. Iji can set off a nuke at point-blank range and be just fine. A log does mention that it's designed to shield the user from damage.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Komato Imperial Weapon Industries. There's also a logbook for Komato Imperial Army Information. Less humorous is the Komato Imperial Army (as in, Killed in Action).
  • From Bad to Worse: Her family is dead except for Dan, the Earth is a charred husk, most of humanity has been slaughtered, Plan A to deal with the invasion fails miserably, and Plan B is to call in another race that turns out more vicious than the first. Suffice to say, this is not a happy story.
  • Gag Dub: The Scrambler, particularly its predefined replacements for certain lines.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Largely absent. Your experience, stats, and other abilities are all acknowledged in-universe as part of nanotechnology, down to ability names and strength ratings. Furthermore, actions in gameplay affect the story and dialog in many ways, some of them rather subtle.
  • Game Mod: Daniel Remar's release of the source code allowed this. One of the first is for the MSPA Fan Adventure that cranks the Silliness Switch Up to Eleven.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Inverted. Both alien races will prioritize shooting the other race over shooting you.
  • General Ripper: Subverted by Krotera: he has very good reason to be concerned about a certain human wandering around his base. Far more properly subverted by Tor, as you learn if you read his logs.
    • Krotera was a General Ripper well before he ever saw eye or ear of Iji or Earth.
  • Genocide Backfire: The Tasen attempted to but didn't manage to exterminate humanity. The result: one of the survivors contacts the Komato to try to get help. Whoops. As of version 1.6, Dan won't contact the Komato on a pacifist run, but it doesn't change anything anyway.
    • Not really genocide, but the Tasen Alpha Struck a Komato homeworld in the past, leaving only one survivor. That survivor would later become Iosa the Invincible, who is one of the main reasons why the Tasen are almost extinct, and in a killer run, exterminates the last of the Tasen race. Again: whoops.
  • The Goomba: Poor, poor Tasen Scouts.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: One involved Iosa the Invincible swiftly slaughtering the remaining Tasen (which only happens on a non-pacifist run after 1.6). The other involved her getting killed after her Nanofield was deactivated. Considering the geometrical graphics style of the game, it most likely wouldn't have been gross for the viewer, but it's the same anyway.
  • Grey Goo: Played with by Blits, who are alien parasites that are self-evolved nanotech, becoming sentient, small animals that are little more than nanite amoeba. They only consume nanites, though - which is bad news for anyone with nanomachines or wielding nanite-powered weaponry.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • Sector Z can be one if you didn't find one of the two logbooks (neither trivial to get to) telling you where it is. The Null Driver only has one, very well hidden logbook mentioning it. Sector Y has none. Remar actually intended for Sector Y to be found a long time after it actually was, and because of this he said he was adding in another super-obscure secret.
    • In order to perform a true pacifist run, you'll need to obtain and create the most powerful weapon in the game. This also requires you to completely restat (which you can do, although using it sets your health to minimum), unless you for some reason felt the need to arm your pacifist with enough weaponry to take down a small city. The weapons (and especially the superweapons) can be used to bypass all manner of obstacles, however.
    • The reallyjoel's dad difficulty was something that wasn't found out until Daniel Remar released the official guide for Iji.
  • Guns Akimbo: Komato Assassins. This effectively forces you to jump their plasma cannon attack, since they don't have to worry about going high or low. It's also how they do the rapid fire beam attack at torso level that looks like just one gun. Asha can do the rapid fire too, despite only having one arm. The bio reveals he does this by teleporting several different plasma guns into his hand in sequence.
  • Heavy Metal: A lot of the soundtrack noticeably draws from this genre. The boss theme, Face to Face rates as high as 9 on Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness.
  • He Knows About Timed Hits: Lampshaded several times:
    • A logbook found early on has the writer wondering why the general told him to press "escape" to enter the menu. He thinks it might be a new helmet interface the Soldiers are hiding from the Scouts.
    Author: Tasen Scout KT581:PKBE
    Subject: What's a `Pause menu`?
    Seriously. Commander keeps telling us, 'if you ever forget about your weapons, enemies or abilities, check the Pause menu by pressing Escape'. If this is some new helmet interface upgrade, I bet the Soldiers are keeping it from us Scouts.
    • When playing Sector 1 in Sudden Death Sector mode, Dan tells you shortly before you start that no unlockables are found this way. Iji asks him what he's talking about, and Dan tells her to forget it.
    • A logbook found just inside the door to Tor's maximum charge terminal mentions that it can only be opened if you've beaten the game once; the writer wonders what it means, and decides it doesn't matter as long as it keeps people out.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Early on, Dan exhibits this before Iji knows the full scope of what's happened.
  • Heroic BSOD: If Asha kills Dan, Iji is so traumatized that she keeps talking to him as if he's still alive. There's a little bit of this present from the very start of the game, but you don't find this out unless you find a highly Spoileriffic logbook in a secret area: In the log, one of the Komato discusses all of the secrets found in the game, and mentions that the ribbons Iji's been finding throughout the complex aren't real. Iji's been hallucinating them all along.
    • Lampshaded by Iji herself after finding a number of them: She recognizes that she's likely making them up in her head, but doesn't care either way.
  • Hidden Eyes: After chapters with particularly bad emotional trauma inflicted on Iji, her eyes will be hidden under a shadow in the Sector Complete screen.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Deflector Shields that can withstand orbital bombardment exist, but prolonged proximity fries organics. Except one, Iosa the Invincible. Once you destroy Iosa's exoskeleton, you stun her with a boot to the head and then hack her field controller.
  • Hollywood Encryption: Averted. The eponymous Nanotech cyborg can hack her way through a lot of low-security doors, but some doors are just too securely encrypted for her to ever hope to open.
  • Honor Before Reason: Two of these:
    • Asha in the Sector X rematch. He can dodge anything, even instant hit attacks, but chooses to ignore shotgun blasts. Even when he's been beaten to within an inch of his life and will die in one more hit. He could easily have been a Hopeless Boss Fight if his planet-sized ego didn't get in the way.
    • Tor. He repeatedly proves that he can jump a mile in seconds, which is orders of magnitude faster than Iji could ever keep up with. All he has to do to defeat her is leave, and let the alpha strike finish her off. Instead he keeps fighting no matter how badly Iji is mauling him.
  • Hope Sprouts Eternal: One of the shots of the ending.
  • How to Invade an Alien Planet: The Tasen hit about 4 of the tropes on this list and make a point of following some of the others, too. However, it is worth noting that they violate phase 6 step 2. Badly.
  • Humongous Mecha: Komato Annihilators might qualify, Tor's exoskeleton definitely does.
  • Humans Advance Swiftly: Human scientists were able to create Iji's gear, something that rivals Komato Generals, with just about 6 months of research while hiding. The Tasen and Komato have been working on this stuff for millions of years. Having nothing to do but make a super solider to fight off invading aliens was probably a big motivator.
  • Humans Are Special: Most of the aliens couldn't care less about the humans, but General Tor almost plays it straight (you do have to beat him within an inch of his life before he acknowledges it, though.)
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Explained by your nanoweapon materializing different types of ammunition as necessary. Lampshaded several times: one logbook lists one of the primary threats to the Tasens as Iji accumulating so much ammunition that she creates a black hole and consumes the solar system; while on a pacifist run, another logbook wonders if your plan is to collect all the ammo in the facility so nobody can fight. Assassin Asha also has a stock of several plasma guns that he teleports into his hand alternately to let him to shoot rapidly.
  • I Can't Do This by Myself: Inverted. After Dan and Iji's family is killed by an alien invasion, Dan urges his sister to forget about family bonds and throw away her feelings so she can focus on the mission, but in the end, it is Iji's love for her brother and her memories of her dead sister that sustain her through her fight against the invasion. Dan realizes this later in the game and acknowledges that neither of them can do it by themselves.
  • Implacable Woman: After reaching certain levels of health and shields, Iji herself.
  • Infinity–1 Sword: The Plasma Cannon, which cuts through most early enemies like butter and can be gotten in the 5th sector. There is also the MPFB devastator, which does the most damage of any normal weapon and is the only reasonable way to kill Annihilators or the Sentinel. However, it has a knockback effect, and ammo is scarce.
  • Infinity Plus One Gun: The Massacre, picked up after getting a zero kill win., and the Null Driver, for which you must unlock ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in the game and get EVERY possible achievement. In regular playthroughs, however, this role is taken by the Velocithor V2-10. Deals incredibly fast, constant damage to anything in its path, and it can even shoot through walls. With it (and its little brother, the Cyclic Fusion Ignition System), you can stun-lock pretty much everything except Annihilators into oblivion. Only downsides are that it eats through ammo like popcorn and requires you to expend 27 stat points to even get a chance at obtaining it.
  • Inescapable Ambush: Somewhere in the middle of Sector 8, when you are locked up in a room with a couple of Komato Elite Mooks and more of them arriving with a teleporter. To unlock the door, you don't need to kill them but just have to survive for some time, but the principle is the same.
    • If you're doing a pacifist run, you can make this part a little bit easier as long as you have the MPFB Devastator, which knocks Iji over when fired. Fire the weapon after activating the console and play dead until the door opens. Unless a Komato steps on you, they'll ignore you completely.
  • Informal Eulogy: Being defeated by a boss nets a snarky comment from his part about your death.
  • Interface Screw: Iji's Easter Egg weapon, The Null Driver.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: BLITS. However from Version 1.4 onwards, firing the Null Driver kills them, turning them into piles of blue nano.
  • Invulnerable Attack: Retribution.
  • Joke Item: The Banana Gun. It does quite a bit of damage, but in order to get it you must already possess every other weapon, quite a few of which are better. It does have one thing going for it though; it's the only gun that's affected by gravity, allowing you to safely bomb enemies from a high ledge with it.
  • Jump Physics: The ability to jump several times her height is justified by the "motion amplifiers" in her legs; the ability to steer is just here because it's a platform game and you really need it.
  • Just Hit Him: Aversion: the Komato Annihilator's grab attack is an instant kill on Tasen. Against Iji, however, it only does a lot of damage. Ironically, the Tasen Commanders and Elites do more damage per second with their melee attacks than with their rocket launchers.
  • Karma Meter: Averted, Remar has explictly stated he wanted to not use an object karma system. Despite this, the kill counter is like one, somewhat.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: How Iji - or Ansaksie - kills Iosa. Because of Iosa's shield system this is the only way to kill her, though.
  • Kill 'em All: Yukabacera, the Playful Hacker? The various Tasen NPCs whose increasingly panicked logs you find? Most of them are doomed whether you go guns-blazing or pacifist. Version 1.6 increased the number of potential Tasen survivors from three to a handful.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Somewhat. Energy Weapons do exist and are extremely powerful, but they are very expensive and eat through ammo like popcorn. This means that only the very best soldiers are equipped with them; most Tasen and Komato use kinetic weapons (Tasen especially, whose weaponry looks very similar to Earth's for the most part).
  • Knockback Evasion: Teching.
  • Know When To Fold Them: Komato Assassins know when they're outmatched, and will teleport away when damaged enough, making them the only non-robot enemies that Iji can "kill" without them getting added to her kill count.
  • Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: It's implied the majority of the Komato soldiers disrespect all civilians, regardless of role.
  • Lag Cancel: You can instantly stand up during some animations, as Daniel Remar mentioned himself during his Speed Run.
  • Large and in Charge: Tasen soldiers and scouts are 2.0 meters, commanders 2.5 meters, and elites 2.9 meters tall. That's roughly seven, eight and nine feet, respectively. Guess what the chain of command is? For the Komato, there are the 4.7m (15 feet) tall Annihilators, and a General's exoskeleton is 13.2m (43 feet) tall
  • Last Of Their Kind: In the Pacifist playthrough, only the three Tasen who escape the final outpost remain alive, according to Word of God. All are female, too; the creator said this is explicitly to avoid any Adam and Eve Plot. (Well, and out of necessity since their base soldiers all have female voice actors.) As of 1.6, In a pacifist run, the Tasen in Sector 9 open up their stronghold for Iji, basically allowing you to take down Iosa before she kills them all. So you have several more Tasen surviving, thanks to Iji.
  • Laughably Evil: With the exception of Asha, Iosa and Tor, the enemies you face usually range from Tasen obsessed with thermos mugs and Komato script kiddies goofing around while on duty.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Until you max the strength stat, the MPFB Devastator will knock Iji down as well.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: One of the most obvious examples would be the dialogue you get when you return from Remar's Secret World of Mindfuck.
  • Let's Play: Some of them
  • Level-Map Display: There's a map for completed levels, as well as a specific computer terminal in level 6 that reveals the map before you complete it.
  • Limit Break: Retribution. Have all eight of the basic weapons, get knocked down while you have 5 or less health, and hold C while you stand back up. It Only Works Once per sector/boss, though.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Glass Soldier".
  • Lost Superweapon: The Velocithor V2-10 is modelled after one from a lost precursor civilization that destroyed itself "due to arrogance and rabid technological advancement", known as "Zentraidon" among Tasen and Komato, the Velocithor antetype and similar weapons likely having been a contributing factor.
  • MacGyvering: You can use the "Crack" skill to combine weapons. And you have to do this if you want to skip a certain boss.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Two of Tor's attacks, "Megamissile" and "Fractal Rocket".
  • Magnetic Weapons: According to the Velocithor's entry in the official guide, it's a fusion-powered coilgun that fires thousands of rounds every second.
  • Marathon Boss: Proxima and Tor feel like it, and the creator even describes Proxima as "an endurance test". Both are Nigh Invulnerable until they do one specific attack which allows you to easily damage them. The problem is that neither does this attack very often, making 95%+ of each fight simply about dodging their multitudinous projectiles and hoping you don't run out of health.
  • Mars Needs Women: Iji can find a diary of a Tasen Scout who has a crush on her. Even if she killed everyone in sight. Word of God states that she would have called this creepy if not for technical issues.
  • Meaningful Name: Kinda, the creator of the game says he just made up names. In any case, "Iji" means "determination, willpower", which quite describes her. "Tasen" is almost identical to "taisen", which means "war".
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: The primary ones used by Komato soldiers are "Annihilators", while the generals use "Eidolons". The generic collective term seems to be "Exoskeleton".
  • Mêlée à Trois: The game eventually becomes Iji vs. the Tasen vs. the Komato
  • Metroidvania: Almost, but not quite: the game is linear, divided into sectors, but each sector is huge and holds at least 3 secrets.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Maxing out your Strength actually extends this. Some powerful attacks (such as Proxima's Nuke) bypass it, to prevent clever players from "choosing" to be hit by a smaller attack.
  • Mercy Kill: As it turns out, the Komato always do this to each world the Tasen has colonized, often because the Tasen have reduced whatever civilization there was to little more than a handful of survivors who won't survive very long. Some Komato, such as the scouting party, hate doing it, but think it's necessary and far better than prolonging the extinction of a race that'll die out within generations, and others take extremely unnecessary glee in it, justifying it as one less race to worry about in the future.
  • Microts: The Tasen and Komato both seem to use "cycles," "pulsecycles," and "starturns" as units of time.
  • Mini-Game: Using the Crack skill opens a 5-10 second maze game, and one of the Tasen program a simple but fun Hero-like wire-frame maze shooter into a computer terminal. One soldier proposes putting it in front of Iji in hopes that she will get addicted and zone out so they can capture her.
  • Minimalist Run: Ultimortal, the highest difficulty, enforces this by removing all health pickups and limiting you to upgrading only your health, as well as by imposing a harsh time limit.
  • Minus Level: Parodied with Sector Z, complete with a The Missingno.-like uncanny poster.
  • Mission Control: Dan.
  • Mood Whiplash: While the main plot of the game is very dark and serious, some of the logbooks, secrets, and unlockables... are not. It's lampshaded in one of the Komato crackers' logbooks, stating that he hates how humorous the Komato weapon commercials are.
    • You can find a Tasen who collects thermos made of the same armor plating the Komato use on their near invincible killer robots from an intergalactic coffee shop that uses railguns to fire their beverages at customers (literally). He's incredibly silly. Later, as the Tasen are near extinction, in an otherwise tense chapter, he bemoans the fact he'll die soon, and that his thermos collection will be collecting dust.
  • Morph Weapon: Iji's nanogun fires shotgun shells, rockets, plasma beams and several types of explosive energy bolts. Also, a banana bomb.
  • Musical Spoiler: When Asha kidnaps Dan, he comes up as ???, but his theme music gives him away. However, observant players would already suspect Asha anyway, given events up to that point.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: General Tor and the Komato High Command, all of whom are against wiping the Tasen out, but the xenophobic and increasingly conservative and imperialist Imperial Army and public-a-large would overthrow them all and Ansaksie.
  • Mythology Gag: Sector Z is basically one giant Mythology Gag. Also, numerous references to Remar's earlier game, Hero, most notably in the minigame Hero 3D, but also with sprites from the game hidden in the background in several areas.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: "Iosa the Invincible"; "Human Anomaly"
  • New Game+: Absolutely necessary, you cannot get 100% completion on your first try. It's facilitated by many of the skills you learn, especially the ability to hack your own nanofield. Even though you don't get to keep your skill points from the first playthrough, you can reset them to max out one skill by the second or third level. And you also know all of the weapon modifications the second time around.
  • Neck Lift: Makes a little more sense when it's a cyborg doing it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: After Iji's talk with Elite Krotera, Dan suggests to warn the Komato about the Tasen's presence on Earth and sends his sister to make a distress call. Unfortunately, the cure turns out to be worse than the illness.
    • Subverted during a pacifist run as of 1.6 where Iji refuses to call the Komato because she doesn't want to kill the Tasen after making the truce with some of them. The game would've likely ended there except that Iosa convinces Tor to attack anyway despite his own personal misgivings on attack Earth, placing the fault ENTIRELY on the Komato and making this a villainous example.
  • The Neidermeyer: We don't see Krotera mistreating his troops, but given that one of them blasts him to bits during a Pacifist Run, it's a pretty good bet that he did. In Yukabacera's hidden web pages we get to know that Krotera said in front of an audience that it's a GOOD THING that the Komato pulverized one of their homeworlds because they'll have to worry about less of their kind now. Then the legendary Tasen hero Hel Sarie punches him in the face and questions his morals, in full view of the audience.
  • Nintendo Hard: In order of increasing difficulty: Sudden Death, Ultimortal and reallyjoel's dad modes. And that's without Tor's Humongous Mecha being fully charged.
    • By beating Ultimortal difficulty, you unlock Turbo Mode. If switched on, everything (Including yourself) moves at a dramatically increased speed. Even Remar himself can't beat the second fight with Asha on Ultimortal Turbo Mode.
  • Non-Action Guy: Dan.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Alien elevators. Lampshaded in several logbooks. At least that nasty bug that splats people into ceilings was fixed. Probably.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Sector Y is made of this. It's Sector 1, only all the enemies and items are gone, most of the logbooks are blanked, the exits are blocked off, and starting in 1.5 you can't even fire your Nanogun. Also the walls and stuff are messed up because you had to fire the Null Driver to get there.
  • Not So Different: If your kill count surpasses a certain point, your adversaries will question your moral high ground, although the Komato are impressed. Asha calls Iji insane for hoping that she can reach a peaceful resolution by shooting her way to the general, Iosa mocks Iji for trying to justify her murder of every aliens she's come across as something beyond simple revenge and even compares the two for a moment.
    • The Tasen in turn, however, are Not So Different from the Komato. He Who Fights Monsters, indeed.
    • Iosa was a girl at a military research facility when the Tasen came and Alpha Struck her planet, killing everyone but her. She only survived by way of cutting edge nanotechnology, and proceeded to gain a healthy bloodlust against the enemy that destroyed all she knew. Gee, who does that sound like? She even taunts Iji in a way that Iji does to slain troopers.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The unlockable Sudden Death mode. You still have a full armor meter, but all the armor pickups are gone leaving only blue nanofields as your means of recovery. At least it makes everything else a One-Hit-Point Wonder as well...
  • Oh Crap:
    • CIRETAKO! Your first encounter with an Annihilator is... sudden. For bonus points, this encounter happens right after the logbook describing just how much of a Determinator they are and how pointless it is to fight them. Oh crap indeed.
  • Ominous Floating Spaceship: The Tasen fleet in Earth's atmosphere as The Reveal hits Iji, as well as the Komato ship above the complex.
  • One Woman Army: The game awards you this rank for racking up 300 kills. The trope in general gets deconstructed throughout; while you can play as a one woman army, Iji will go through severe personality changes, and by the end will have become a Blood Knight (and possibly be insane with grief as well).
    Iji in the beginning of the game: (after killing an enemy) ... I'm sorry...!
    Iji after a huge bodycount: (after killing an enemy) Huh, you die!
  • One-Hit Kill: The Phantom Hammer. If you get hit by one, you are utterly vapourised. All your stats, as well as your health, go to 0, and there are no cracks in the screen during the game over animation.
  • One-Liner: Of the cryptic kind.
    Iosa : Now the burden is not on your shoulders.
  • Origin All Along: Doesn't really happen to Iji, but to the Tasen, who didn't realize that Earth was actually their and the Komato's birth planet Origin until after they hit it with an Alpha Strike.
  • Our Weapons Will Be Boxy in the Future: All of the weapons, except for the CFIS.
  • Outscare the Enemy: The unnamed author of a certain text log in Sector X seems to take this approach to leadership, ending his message to his troops with "If you're more afraid of [the title character] than ME, you're a TRAITOR."
  • Pacifist Run: It is entirely possible to complete the game without personally killing a single enemy. (Earlier builds of the game had two plot-required kills.) Iji's emotional state and characters' reactions to her are influenced by your choice to rampage or avoid bloodshed.
  • Pardon My Klingon: In 1.6, "Zentraidon" is revealed in a Komato text log as meaning "self-annhiliation due to arrogance and rabid technological advancement", the fate that the Precursors whom the Komato discovered succumbed to, research of said race leading to the Velocithor V2-10 and Annihilators. It has become a taboo to even suggest that the Komatos' research in these lost technologies, that clearly were the cause of one civilization-ending backfire already, will lead to Zentraidon.
    • One text log uses the curse "What in Zentraidon...?"
  • Photoprotoneutron Torpedo: The Komato have "pulse cannons" and "plasma cannons". Justified by those names being approximations by the translation nanites used to substitute for a term from their language.
  • Pillar of Light: The Alpha Strike, which is this combined with Beam Spam. The shimmering effect you see on the clouds prior to it firing is even more terrifying when you know what's going to happen.
    Iji: (Scrambler) NO WAY! THOSE ARE THE TARGETING LASER THINGIES FROM THE INTRO CUTSCENE!
  • Player Nudge: Dying to a boss and choosing to retry will generally get some sort of hint message in the dialogue right before the fight starts again.
  • Playing Tennis with the Boss: Or with any foe, once you make the Resonance Reflector. Sadly, extended volleys are impossible due to the reflector's long recharge... unless you manage get the automatic reflect buff from a Super Mode item.
  • Player Tic: Breaking the ceiling lights. This is acknowledged in sector 1 if you break enough ceiling lights.
  • Playful Hacker: The Komato crackers who leave instructions on how to combine weapons write in an affectionate homage to warez-scene lingo, complete with populist rhetoric about the products they pirate being unjustly overpriced.
    • The Tasen hacker, Yukabacera is described as this in the logbooks. He creates more difficult coding and security measures on his devices, just so he can challenge himself to bypass them. The Scrambler was created when he invented a Tasen-Komato to Human translator, but ruined it due to the constant cracking and reinforcing.
  • Plucky Girl: Action Girl or pacifist, Iji's determination is her defining characteristic. No matter how much worse it gets (and it does), she will not stop.
    "You're not much of a warrior, but your will is so strong it doesn't seem to matter..."
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Both Iosa and Iji.
  • Post-End Game Content: The Ultimortal difficulty, the Null Driver...
  • Power at a Price: Certain weapons have this, specifically the overpowered ones. The Massacre fires at the expense of your health. The Null Driver, while extremely powerful, has multiple side effects. The most confusing one being its tendency to replace various parts of the environment with random tilesets from the game, even tiles from the cutscenes.
  • Precision F-Strike: If you saved Dan from Asha in Sector 8, when Iji kills him in Sector X, she bellows, "That's what you get, you bastard! THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR TRYING TO KILL HIM!" Notably, this line goes through the Scrambler almost completely intact.
  • Press Start To Game Over: What you're asking for when you play on "Reallyjoel's dad" difficulty.
  • Public Secret Message: Dan communicates with Iji by speaking, in English, through every speaker in the complex. Since the aliens never bother to learn any human languages, they can't understand him, and since he uses every speaker, they can't use the active speakers to track Iji.
  • Punch Clock Villain: General Tor, many of the Tasen.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: The Massacre solidly belongs here, what with it being usable only in the battle against General Tor, during a flawless Pacifist Run. Additionally, several logs mention the consequences of letting it be misused as one of the worst fiascos in Komato history.
  • Puzzle Boss: Iosa the Invincible. The Sentinel has elements of this, but can be beaten by superior firepower.
    • You even get a Supercharge for brute forcing your way through the Sentinel fight.
  • Real After All: Up until the official game guide was released, it was believed that reallyjoel's Dad mode was only a joking Urban Legend of Zelda created by Remar. It's not.
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Iji frequently stammers, repeats stuff, and cuts off herself to start her sentence over again.
  • Reality Ensues: So you thought you could slaughter everyone in your path and then convince the General Ripper to a peaceful talk? Fat chance. So you thought you could slaughter everyone in your path and convince anyone to a peaceful talk? You're kidding me, right?
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Sort of. The sky turns red after the Alpha Strike. However, it's white spots in the sky that you really want to watch out for. Also, it's not the Alpha Strike that caused it, just that all the levels with outdoor sections happen to take place during sunrise or sunset - when we first get a look at the post-Strike world, the sky is bright blue.
  • Road Runner PC: One of Iji's first and most important powers, especially for the pacifist run. It's explained in-game - the scientists weren't able to find a suit of armour to put under her nanofield, so they focused on mobility instead. Not on Ultimortal mode though: everything's far faster than normal, to the point that a lot of enemies can outrun you. Fortunately for you, they still mostly can't jump.
  • Rocket Jump: To a ridiculous degree. To access one secret area, you have to blow yourself up with the MPFB Devastator nine times. Afterward she comments, "Damn... that... HURT! There BETTER be something good up here." (There is. Your reward is every standard weapon in the game, plus a secret weapon, the Banana Gun.) In other spots you have to jump and let an enemy's rocket hit you, so the explosion knocks you to inaccessible areas. There are also gaps you can only cross using the recoil from the aptly named Nuke weapon.
  • RPG Elements
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Averted in the "no one notices" aspect - the Tasen start thinking up odd explanations for their resemblance to humans. Also averted earlier, when Iji first sees the Tasen and begins to comment on their humanoid appearance and Dan cuts her off, telling her not to think too hard about it.
  • Rule of Cool: The author reveals in his speedrun video (spoilers) that his bosses' voices were chosen for tone rather than for what they say, so even though the last boss is almost incomprehensible, it doesn't matter because his voice sounds cool.
  • Sanity Slippage: Iji, if... certain conditions are met. Namely, if Asha kills Dan, Iji continues talking to him as though he's there.
  • Scare Chord: When the Tasen Alpha Strike Earth, when Iji first sees the Tasen, when Iji sees that the Tasen have a whole armada, when Asha first appears, when Asha kidnaps Dan, when you confront Asha, when Asha appears to duel you, if Iosa kills all the remaining Tasen and finally, when the Komato begin charging their Alpha Strike.
  • Schmuck Bait: Subverted. The button to charge Tor's exoskeleton to full power is marked as such by two logbooks, it's the only terminal in the game that requires an additional push for confirmation, and you can only do it if you've beaten the game already.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: If they survive, the lesbian couple leaves for this reason. Good thing, too, as shortly after, Annihilator Iosa comes calling. Thankfully, you can save the other Tasen in the stronghold in a pacifist run in 1.6. In a killer run, after killing Iosa, you can find a log from a Komato trooper stating that he is NOT going to stay on the planet that contained someone who just murdered the best Komato trooper in the entire galaxy, one who was literally invincible to nearly everything. One of the assassins also tells everyone (but Asha) to get the hell off the planet upon learning of Asha's intent to collect the bounty on Iji.
  • Selective Condemnation: Mostly averted. All biological enemies contribute equally to your kill count and killing anyone - be it a plot-relevant high-rank Komato or a Tasen Scout - prevents you from getting the 'Full' pacifist-run storyline.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: All Komato warriors, with the exception of the standard troopers, have these. They explode so the Tasen will have a harder time reverse-engineering their technology.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: After you beat the game once it is possible to access a terminal that sets the Final Boss at maximum power from the beginning of the battle. Have fun avoiding his Beam Spam...
  • Serious Business: The Tasen seem to have a bit of an obsession with "hot drinks" ("you haven't had real taste unless you couldn't tell if you were having a hot drink or getting hit in the face with a plasma cannon").
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Iji can take control of an Annihilator by hacking two terminals late in the game. CIRETAKO!!
  • She Who Fights Monsters
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: The battle with Iosa. Without her exoskeleton, she's at least as fast as an Assassin.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The room where you fight Asha the second time has an identical layout to Ridley's room in Super Metroid.
    • If you're on a Pacifist Run, one Tasen logbook makes a direct comparison between Iji and Perfect Dark's Peace Sims, multiplayer bots who gather up any weapons and ammo they see and never attack anyone.
    • Iji's normal outfit looks very similiar to Heero Yuy. Similarly, Tor's appearance prior to summoning his mech resembles EVA-01.
    • Several of the weapon names are shout-outs to Tyrian.
    • One of the songs is called "Welcome to the Party, Pal", a quote from Die Hard.
    • Not to mention several Sector Z shout outs, considerably The Unknown Castle of Elite level. Naturally, apart from Metroid, all the remaining three games referenced there are also by Daniel Remar.
    • Alpha Strike, which consists of every ship in low-orbit dumping all their weapons in concert onto a single target (in this case, a planet).
    • Tasen Elites resemble Hunters.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Depending on your kill count this could be how Iji responds to the accusations of bosses.
  • Sidetracked By The Golden Saucer: Invoked Trope—The Hero 3D minigame was created by one of the Tasen in their spare time, hoping that Iji might look at the game and get sucked into it so much that the Tasen can just walk up to and capture her. While you certainly can get sucked into it, don't worry. You won't have any Tasen on your back.
  • Silliness Switch:
    • Yukabacera's Scrambler turns the game into a "Blind Idiot" Translation—except in certain scenes, where it turns even sillier.
    "You promised me a pony... With missiles!"
    "Mindgames, son."
    "Protip: Stop talking."
    "That's just about the stupidest thing I've heard this starturn."
    "I have the best Scrambler quotes. I win."
    "Your socks are just fine and still placed firmly on your feet. They just turned invisible."
    • It also randomly inserts "my boy" and "my stuff" into lines. According to the game's creator, he wanted to put in YouTube Poop references while avoiding overt, cliched Memetic Mutation. All of Asha's lines are replaced by various sound effects, symbols, and emoticons, such as "TOOT TOOT", "PEW PEW PEW", ">:(" and so on. This makes him seem completely batshit, and the fact that the other characters understand him completely is even funnier. All of his logbook entries are changed to have "* indecipherable scribbles* " as their content too.
    • Clown Mode. Firing the Null Driver might be considered this as well.
  • Simultaneous Warning And Action: Tasen scouts and soldiers.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Nanofields give their users superhuman resistance, allowing Iji, Tasen and Komato to take several rockets head-on. Not to mention MPFB shots, slugs of supersonic velocity or hundreds of machine gun bullets...
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: She's not that small, actually. She's said to be 6'3". It's a big gun, though, since it was originally made for a race that are larger than humans (see Large and in Charge above).
  • Soft Glass: Iji likes smashing ceiling lights with her head.
  • Solemn Ending Theme: The game ends with a cover of the VNV Nation song "Further".
  • Speedrun: The game has an optional on-screen timer, and even a speedrun up by Remar himself.
    • Remar made a new speedrun for version 1.5 that's about a minute faster.
  • Space Clothes: The Komato's armour resembles essentially no form of human fashion whatsoever. Special mention goes to Asha's belt around his chest and Detached Sleeves and Iosa's spiked leotard with shin and calf guards.
  • Spent Shells Shower: The shotgun drops several shells every time it fires, while the machine gun throws them out constantly while firing. The Buster Gun, the combination of the two, hurls shells around like they're going out of style.
    • The Splintergun and the Assassins' rapid-fire Plasma Cannons also qualify.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Komato. Especially General Tor who has two sets of knee spikes, and shoulder spikes of no obvious purpose.
  • Spiritual Sequel: To System Shock, but also to another, scrapped game Daniel Remar made, satirically titled Killman. It's available in the second scrap pack.
  • Splash Damage: The main exception of Friendly Fire Proof - which comes in very handy in a Pacifist Run, especially prior to version 1.6.
  • Stop Poking Me: Vateilika in Sector 7 (only appears if you made the truce in Sector 3) will have a psychotic breakdown if you keep poking her.
    Vateilika: Okay, I'm serious - dead serious - STOP DOING THAT! You wanna know how annoying that is? That you just keep poking me when you should've been outta here way long ago? I'm really super Blit-eating TIRED of people POKING ME! Okay look, how's this? Poke poke! How's this? Huh? Is that fun? Is that fun?
    Iji: Sheesh, calm down, I was just-
    Vateilika: JUST POKING! I loved Yuka, but his constant poking was what tore us apart! Such a great guy with just one little flaw! It's, it's so unfair that we couldn't be together just because of that poking! It's so unfair! Backflipping rocket-jumping POKING!
    Iji: Uh, I think I'll just leave you alone with this-
    VATEILIKA: JUST! POKE! ING! Like it's nothing at all! Let me tell you, let me tell you about the escape fleet! It was me, Yuka and Naot, right? And Yuka suddenly asked, `Hey, what's more annoying, this or this?` And first he poked Naot rapidly, then he just held his finger on his shoulder constantly, and Naot said the second one was the worst but it's nothing compared to the completely unexpected, completely random POKE on the shoulder that comes up from nowhere just when you're about to relax, just when you thought you couldn't be worse off than having your homeworld Alpha Struck, just when you thought you'd never feel just one more POKE that's like it's piercing through your Nanofield and shoulder pads! NOTHING! It's- it's. Just. *Sigh*" (Deep breaths) I'm sorry... just... just don't do that again. I'm sorry."
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Tons of them.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Oh, yeah. Especially notable is a giant shotgun with exploding buckshot, and a gun fueled by the wielder's Armor energy that leaves a wake of explosions in the (also explosive) round's path. And the wonderful Explosive Shotgun random buff given by the nanopack. Rocket-strength detonations if a shotgun pellet hits an enemy!
  • Stylistic Suck: One of the logbooks from a Tasen soldier facing death turns into badly misspelled words, as the Phantom Hammer keeps screwing up his typing.
  • Sucking-In Lines:
    • The Sentinel, when it's charging the Nuke.
    • All enemies do this before firing their higher level weapons. One logbook accuses Iji of cheating because she doesn't have to charge her attacks before firing like thisnote .
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Before Iosa, Asha, and Tor, there are rooms full of weapons and health/nano pickups. There's another before the barricade in Sector X.
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Dan's backup plan is this. Iji may question the safety of such a ploy, and may even stop him from doing it as of version 1.6, depending on your actions up to that point. In any case, the Komato certainly show up, and certainly wipe out the Tasen... but they plan to Alpha Strike Earth into dust as a publicity stunt to their hypermilitarised populace.
  • Swiss-Army Weapon: Iji's Nanogun, capable of using nineteen different weapons.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: Many of the aliens are weary of war, and one even calls a truce with Iji. Later it's revealed that the Tasen are fleeing from their genocidal relatives, the Komato (and even they still are granted a measure of depth)
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: General Tor, the final boss, who has a fixed cycle of attacks during which he shoots a very powerful and easy-to-reflect projctile. This allows those who, for one reason or another, didn't pick up anything capable of directly hurting him over the course of the game to beat him. It's also often the easiest method of beating him regardless of how you've played, so it quickly becomes a waiting game, but the music and the atmosphere and the pretty lights will keep you entertained until the ending cutscene.
  • Takes One to Kill One: It's Iji's nanofield and nanoweapons that allow her to fight and win. Nothing else can even dent the alien's armor.
  • Talk To The MPFB Devastator: What happens if you reach Krotera with the truce intact in 1.3 or later.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Iji tries to convince the aliens to leave three times. It only works on the Komato general the second time, and that's after she beats him to a pulp (although he says it is her determination that changes his mind.
  • Technical Pacifist: Kills are only counted if you inflict the killing blow. Crossfires and knocking an enemy into harm's way are fair game. As is programming their weapons to explode, then hurting them to almost dead, and letting them fire their defective weapon. Also includes dropping speeder bikes or broken turrets on their heads from two stories up which only counts as a kill if it hits them within the first second or so of you getting off — after that, you're fine. So is attempting to murder assassins the old-fashioned way, since they always teleport off when close to death and thusly don't count as kills. It's interesting to note that despite being the hero, Iji actually gets the villainous version of this trope. You can arrange the slaughter of hundreds of people while still finishing with a kill count of zero, and no one calls her on it. It's made even easier in version 1.6 as reflected enemy shots do not count as kills (lampshaded by the aliens, who consider it "semantic"), meaning you can go on a killing spree of deadly tennis matches without getting a mark on your kill count. The explanation is that this is self-defence, but abusing the rule for Nano is always tempting...
  • Techno Babble: Some of the nanofield explanations and the hackers' logs about how to modify nanoweapons.
  • Tele-Frag: The main reason why Komato Assassins only chase you so far, as they only map out the area they're stationed to and will stop if you get past it, lest they wind up in a wall. Asha actually lost an arm this way.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: A group of assassins after you take a certain supercharge. Literally.
  • Teleport Spam: The Komato Assassins, especially Asha during the second fight.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Komato Berserkers can spam their Resonance weapons (compared to the massive downtime between Iji's Resonance shots), leading to such hilarious situations as one of them vs a Tasen Elite in melee range. Many enemies will also simply duck under rockets and other projectiles, limiting their usefulness. And, of course, the Assassins, who have automatic Resonance Reflectors and are very difficult to hit with other weapons. Lampshaded in a logbook, where enemies call Iji a cheating bastard because she can shoot any bullet from her weapon without warmup time or any kind of warning!
  • The Cracker: Three Komato leave logbooks on how to get advanced weapons if the advertisement logbooks don't tell you. By the time you reach Sector X, they've been arrested for illegal Cracking and get slaps on the wrist - the worst they get is... guard duty.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: Partially averted. Many logbooks and the dialogue triggered by most of Mia's ribbons aren't related to gameplay or the direct plot and merely add more atmosphere. Dan's comments about strange noises in his control room, however, are NOT there for show.
  • This Cannot Be!: If you're playing on Ultimortal, activate the console that supercharges Tor's exoskeleton, and then beat him anyway, his dialogue is along these lines.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Dan tries to convince Iji that this no longer applies. The final choice is left to the player.
  • Timed Mission: On Ultimortal difficulty you have a time limit to clear levels; if you can't make it to the exit in time, Iji explodes due to a malfunction of her nanofield.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Lampshaded about the trapmine if you find the ribbon in the same stage.
  • Too Quiet: The name of a Tasen logbook found right before Annihilator Iosa finishes off the last of the Tasen. If only they had studied Earth culture more they'd have lived. Though, on a pacifist run, when they let Iji into the stronghold, which basically ensures their survival, the trope is averted, as they mention that they know Iosa is coming, as they heard her. Apparently the only thing less subtle than Iosa is a murderous Iji.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Near the end of the game, you may come across the body of "PAIE", the Tasen diary-writer with a girlfriend. If you've killed her girlfriend and read at least one of her logbooks, Iji recognizes her and assimilates her nanofield, promising to 'keep her warm'.
  • Translation Convention: Just about everything in the game, save for Iji's conversations with Dan and the scientists' talk in the beginning, are actually being spoken in the Tasen/Komato language. Iji's nanofield translates that language into English for her benefit, and vice-versa. It's why Dan can talk to Iji safely (all the Tasen hear from him is English, which is gibberish to them), and why some of the weapons have mundane names, like Shotgun (the scientists translated not for fidelity to the Tasen language, but so that Iji could understand what to expect from each weapon.)
  • True Final Boss: On a New Game+, you have the option of charging Tor's Nanofield to full power, giving him even more levels in Bad Ass. Needless to say, this both makes him That One Boss and the Best Boss Ever.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: One of the ribbon conversations, which is by its nature hidden, optional, and easily missed, alludes to the Kataiser family owning a robot, but other than that, there's nothing whatsoever that would indicate the game takes place in the future. And even then, the text implies it's only a toy.
  • Ultraterrestrials: The Komato actually originate from Earth (though they abandoned it long ago), and the Tasen are an off-shoot species of them, as they're essentially Komato de-evolved to what they were when they began to leave Earth. All the Komato you see are the results of genetic engineering made for waging war, which is why so many of them look different from each other.
  • Unblockable Attack: The Nuke and Velocithor can hit you even during Mercy Invincibility to prevent exploitation of a lesser attack.
  • Uncommon Time: Two examples: The final boss theme uses 7/4 as well as 5/4, and the Sector 5/X theme, which is entirely in 7/4. The song, fittingly enough, is even titled Seven Four.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The final boss. What the Bullet Hell?!?
  • Unfriendly Fire: This, during a Pacifist Run:
    Krotera: Truce? You mean my troops declared a TRUCE behind my back!? TREASON! I bet it was that worthless Vateilika - I'll take care of her, once I've taken care of you! You should be thankful that yours is the last civilization to ever fall for us... Now DIE!
  • Unwinnable Joke Difficulty Level: reallyjoel's dad difficulty has so many enemies that will constantly attack, you are guaranteed to die. According to the creator, even if you manage to get through it, there's a barrier at the end of the first level (no-one's even gotten this far) saying "100% Kills Required". Even if you manage to kill all the enemies within the two minute time limit, the barrier will still be there. The invincibility from a nanofield reboot is also unavailable, so no getting past the barrier.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: You can trick various enemies into fighting and/or killing each other, unleash indestructible parasites on them at certain points, or just kick them around like rag dolls if your strength is high enough. You can also mock some Tasen at one point by performing a crack job they couldn't in a secret area. Iji leaves an insulting message, although whether they ever return to actually read it is debatable. Or you can do what they were doing before you cracked their terminal and shoot random birds for fun...
  • Videogame Cruelty Punishment: What's that, you want to play as an alien-killing Action Girl One Woman Army? You got it. Enjoy your psychopath. Please note however, that sanity is not a battle stat in this game. Also, failing to save Dan affects it much more than the repeated mass murders.
  • Villains Never Lie: Averted as Asha tries to convince Iji that Dan has been working with him in one of the logs, but she isn't fooled. Also averted with Tor, if Dan was killed. Once he realizes that Iji is too traumatized to accept it yet, he plays along with her delusion out of compassion.
  • Villain World: When Iji wakes up, it's the Tasen's world and she's just living in it.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Iji can use a computer terminal to power up General Tor's exoskeleton before contronting him. See also: Rocket Jump. So many secrets require you to not only get yourself blown up in mid-jump, but to strategically maneuver enemies so that they can blow you up in just the right position.
  • Violence is the Only Option: Averted by the viability of pacifistic tactics, and General Tor struggles with this; he knows the scouting report was faked and that the Tasen are on Earth, but only after receiving Dan's transmission does he decide he must carry out the will of the people and annihilate the planet (or, in 1.6, if he doesn't get Dan's transmission, he's convinced by Iosa to attack anyway). Once confronted with Iji's determination, he declares his weariness of genocide and calls off the final strike.
  • Waif-Fu: Given enough Strength upgrades, Iji can kick almost anything to death. A spherical robot boss that is best defeated by kicking it into an electrified net gives the the player a rare opportunity for Playing Soccer With The Boss.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Krotera can be this, especially if you didn't consider that you might have to fight him. If you know how to deal with him, on the other hand, you can easily take him down without taking damage.
  • War Is Hell: The whole point.
  • Wave Motion Gun:
    • The Phantom Hammer, which threatens to punch a hole through the facility and destroy the last shield generator. You break one, but they bring another one to do the job. Just to drive home the Phantom Hammer's power, the final boss can use it. The logbook that says that the Phantom Hammer can vaporize a nanofield entirely in one shot is NOT KIDDING.
    • Also, the Alpha Strike that razes planetary surfaces at half strength and kills everything, even bacteria, at full strength.
    • The Velocithor is a small-scale Wave Motion Gun too, firing a thick yellowish-white beam that's capable of damaging enemies and objects that are behind doors or walls that would normally block other attacks.
  • Weak Turret Gun: Although the turrets pack serious firepower (all the way up to the MPFB Devastator), their support is weak enough for a single kick to break the head off. This is actually important in a certain boss fight, since kicked turret heads can damage enemies.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Sector Z. There's a reason behind it, but if you don't know what that is...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Played straight by Dan, subverted by Iji. Also inverted by most of the Tasen and Komato.
  • Woolseyism / Too Long; Didn't Dub: An In-Universe example with the weapon names. The scientists who created Iji's nanofield translated the Tasen language for her, but instead of trying to be faithful to the language, they translated certain weapon names as idiomatic English equivalents (Shotgun, Machine Gun, Rocket Launcher) so that Iji could understand what to expect from them. Some of the weapons and their names were too alien to translate properly, so they just left those alone.
  • Worthy Opponent: At first, it seems like Iji is seen as this to Assassin Asha after their first meeting. In a Subversion to the original formula, Asha is furious that anyone, nevermind a human girl, can be as good as he is, and tries to set up a rematch with her so he can beat her and prove once and for all he is the greater fighter. If the fight is skipped, it's revealed in a log that Asha offed himself out of despair. Also worth noting is that it's only Asha who thinks this way; Iji just hates him, and for good reason.
  • The Worf Effect: On a species-wide scale. In fact, the first glimpse we see of the Tasen-Komato War is a Tasen being thrown across the room Worf-style.
  • You Bastard: What happens if Iji if you treat this as a traditional kill-everything-in-sight game. Any attempt at peace and her attempts to convince the Tasen or Komato to stand down are shot down and mocked. After all, who wants to accept a peace offering from the girl waging genocide on your troops?
  • Your Head Asplode: Inverted, your everything but head asplode. Taking down Assassin Asha causes his entire body to turn to flash-fried atomic meat, except for his perfectly preserved head that bounces around for a few seconds.

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