Iron Grip: The Oppression is a 2006 Total Conversion for Half-Life 2 by indie game developer Isotx,set in the steampunk and dieselpunk-themed fictional universe of Iron Grip. It features urban guerrilla warfare by combining elements from two different genres. A player can choose one of two sides in this game, the Rahmos City Guard or The Resistance. The Rahmos side is a Real Time Strategy game, generally played by a single player (or a very small number of players in large games). The Resistance side is played as a cooperation of several players, each playing a First-Person Shooter in a very similar manner to Half-Life 2. Available here.In 2008, it received a full-blown stand-alone sequel (built in a heavily updated version of the older idTech3 engine), titled Iron Grip : Warlord. It's more ofthe same concept (Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfitsguerilla fighters vs. The Empire), but adds a more Tower Defense feel to the RTS element of the game. As in Opression, the sequel is aimed primarily at co-op gameplay between human players, but offers various other multiplayer modes as well.The third game in the series, a Free-To-Play multiplayer TBS called Iron Grip : Marauders, is currently available on Steam since September 30, 2011.
Continuity Nod : Warlord indirectly references Opression in many ways : The premise and style of gameplay are nearly the same and some of the weapons from Opression make reappearances - e.g. confiscated Rahmos heavy machine guns used by Atelians; the rocket launcher is explicitly stated to be a newer and improved version of the one from Opression, etc. Also, there are plenty of hints that the events of both games are taking place concurrently, or at least in a very close time frame.
Crapsack World / Hopeless War : Oh. So. Much. Both Opression and Warlord explore the theme of "what it feels like when a small country is caught between the grinding forces of two superpowers".
Decapitated Army : A major gameplay mechanic based around troop morale concerns the number of the attacking army's living officers. Killing an officer results in boosting morale for the resistance fighters while simultaneously lowering the morale of the attackers. If the attackers manage to destroy/occupy the resistance's stronghold/focal defense points (and keep it that way), the morale of the guerillas quickly starts to diminish. The Keystone Army trope isn't played completely straight, since both sides only give up once their morale drops to zero - not purely because of the amount of dead officers or captured bases.
Fackler Scale of FPS Realism : Somewhere in the middle, since the RTS element forces a more arcadeish approach. The weapon-wielding is pretty realistic and each firearm has accurately portrayed drawbacks (e.g. heavy machine guns and bazookas need to be properly deployed before shooting; crouching and the use of iron sights is encouraged for more accurate aiming), but there's also bunnyhopping, quick running and other Acceptable Breaks from Reality. It's also possible to achieve occasional No Scope shots with Warlord's Sniper Rifle (they're really inaccurate though).
Syreden = A small, mountainous, western European-like country (Switzerland, the former duchy of Burgundy, etc.). The originator of the religion which served as the basis for Fahrong's Crystal Dragon Jesus. Also the apparent Hufflepuff House of the setting.
Fantasy Gun Control : Completely averted. Technically also a subversion, thanks to the presence of lots of archaic melee weaponry - in tone with the series theme of "warfare with early 20. century tech in an otherwise medieval-esque world".
Medieval Stasis : Averted. "Schizo Tech and Anachronism Stew Stasis" would probably be more appropriate. Things like motor vehicles, mechs, aircraft and zeppelins haven't always been a part of the setting and were invented fairly recently. However, it's also implied, that "fairly recently" means they have been known for several centuries and that actual progress towards breakthroughs in technology takes a fair amount of time when compared to Earth. This is all possibly justified by the Little Ice Age-like atmosphere of the whole setting.
Nintendo Hard : If you're playing alone in standard single player or multiplayer mode (supported only by allied bots with weak AI), Warlord becomes a pretty serious offender. The "easy" difficulty is truely pretty easy, but the "medium" one feels more like "hard". And it gets pretty insane from there, resulting in Harder Than HardTower Defense. The two highest difficulties even lampshade this, being appropriately named "Brute" and "God"... Playing co-op is usualy easier, since human players can obviously construct better and more cunning defences - thanks to some good old fashioned teamwork, of course.
Real Is Brown : While some of the maps/levels play this straight (e.g. "The Spiral" from Warlord), most of them subvert it in some way, while still remaining gritty and delapidated in appearance (in a reasonably varying way).
Several levels in Opression are not so much Real Is Brown as "Real Is Cold-looking Dusky Winter Blue Hue".
Spider Tank : Warlord features several of these, deployed by the Fahrong empire to storm your cities and strongholds as much as possible. They include the Recluse◊, Warweaver◊ and Widow◊ "arachs". The Widow is quite literally a gigantic self-propelled artillery piece.
Standard FPS Guns : Played mostly straight in both games, though not without a few subversions. Some of the guns have rather novel secondary firing modes (e.g. the shotgun and flamethrower from Warlord). One of the starting guns in Warlord is a simple Atelian hunting rifle, and though it looks pretty archaic, it actually fills the role of a typical war FPS marksman rifle.
Standard Sci-Fi Army : The units appearing in the series cover most of the traditional cathegories. The guerilla fighters (Kathosian townsmen, Atelians) are mostly irregular infantry, contain a lot of civilian units thrown into the mix, have very little in the way of vehicles, but own some packhorses and mounts. The standing armies are predictably more numerous, have very varied infantry, armoured cars and trains, tanks, stationary and self-propelled artillery and Awesome Personnel Carriers. The Fahrongi Spider Tanks sort of count as Mecha. Air forces are used only by wealthier countries or Sky Pirates and are generally well-equipped with fighters, small bombers, Cool Airships, Drop Shipsand Gunships. The closest thing to a Super Soldier unit are the Fahrongi officers - members of a specially bred caste of Fahrong society, who also undergo a Training from Hell organised by their country's Church Militant. In addition, they serve the role of a Political unit, boosting morale of the troops (this is also a gameplay element in Warlord). Both Fahrong and Atelian armies use suicide bombers as a variation of the Terror troop cathegory.
The Empire : Rahmos in Iron Grip : The Opression and the Fahrongi-formed Confederation of Nallum in Iron Grip : Warlord (who are essentially Rahmos Expys with a "religious fanatic" streak to them). Both represent the RTS side (the opponent).
The Squad : Your tiny group of guerilla fighters in Warlord.
The War Sequence : As insane as it sounds, every single level (multiplayer map) full stop, from start to finish ! Clearly present in Warlord (making it border on Nintendo Hard for unexperienced players), less so in Opression. The general approach to gameplay required from the player could be described as : Defend your turf in the most Crazy Awesome way possible !
Tower Defense : More pronounced in Warlord than in Opression (which is more about cunning guerilla attacks).
Videogame Flamethrowers Suck : Both averted and played straight. The flamethrowers in Warlord are really powerful and can deal massive damage to infantry - the Fahrongi flamethrowers, that is (with the Fahrong flamethrowermen taking the Goddamn Bats trope to spectacular new levels). The Atelian "Salamander" flamethrower is nearly as powerful and has a unique secondary firing mode : It can spray some of its fuel on the ground to create lightable patches of burning fire. Sadly, it's severely disadvantaged by its small and fast-depleting fuel tank, making it Cool, but Inefficient. Your best bet is to crouch behind the corner of an alleyway and start squirting flame on a fresh new row of incoming enemy soldiers. The Molotov Cocktails are still the better incendiary weapon for all occassions.
War Is Hell : Not discussed, but shown more than enough.