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Video Game: Just Cause
"I can't believe I get paid for this!"
Rico Rodriguez

Just Cause is a 2006 open world action-adventure video game developed by Avalanche Studios. It centers on the exploits of Rico Rodriguez, an operative working for the Agency (which is totally not the CIA), as he helps local guerrillas overthrow the tyrannical regime governing the (fictional) Caribbean nation of San Esperito. The player can drive nearly every vehicle under the sun, as well as climb about on them while moving at high speeds and jumping onto other nearby cars, trucks, tanks, helicopters, etc. Notable for the inclusion of a grappling hook, which allows Rico to rappel onto moving vehicles from a distance, and a parachute, which allows for all manner of aerial stunts.

In the sequel, Rico is a few years older and has been assigned to track down his mentor and superior from the first game, who has disappeared on the (also fictional) Southeast Asian island of Panau, which has recently been taken over by a ruthless dictator. Various improvements have been made to the gameplay, allowing for even more over-the-top shenanigans. Rico can now use his grapple to attach to any object, pull enemies off their feet, tether them to various objects, and essentially use it for all manner of physics-based stunts and proving that it's a bad day to be a henchman.

Rumor has it that a movie adaptation, entitled Just Cause: Scorpion Rising and a third game is in production. The second game was available for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers. On PC, a multiplayer mod was released on Steam.

A third game in the series has been announced for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. It will take place on the (again fictional) Mediterranean island of Medici.

We have a Drinking Game for the first sequel.

These games provide examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Bolo Santosi (or bo-LO san-TOH-ZEEE if you will) is especially prone to this.
    "I am da le-DAIR of da rev-ohl-oo-shun-ary ah-MEE known as da re-PAAHS."
    • ...COHM-RAYDE. (or COMB-RAID, if you prefer.)
    • There's also the joys of jumping on top of someone's car to hear: "HAY! WHAT YOU DOING!? GET OFFAR MAH CAR!"
    • Actually, EVERYONE in Just Cause 2 lightly suffers from this.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The Mile High Club, which is essentially a luxury cruise ship with wings and engines suspended from a pair of massive zeppelins, possesses a small helipad, and a rear hangar for a single jet aircraft. Planes don't so much take off... it's more fall off, and pull up before you hit the ground. Fortunately, as the name implies, it is very high up. Don't bother trying to land on it with any kind of plane, of course.
  • All There in the Manual: Both games drops you right into the action with minimum plot explanation; the main character isn't even referred to by name, except in the opening cutscenes. Essentially all you're told is that you're an American partisan, here are the bad guys, go blow stuff up.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Hantu Island is a forsaken military base manned by (supposedly) 100-year old Japanese soldiers who still think WWII is going on. They have access to modern vehicles and weapons and seem to have all the fuel, food, and electricity they need despite being isolated for decades on an island with little natural resources.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Panauan soldiers see nothing wrong with attempting to bring down a strafing helicopter with a sawed-off shotgun. They are known to bounce thrown grenades off of the roof immediately above their heads and accidentally frag themselves and their squad. And if they are at the top of a cliff, and you at the bottom, they have no compunctions about closing the distance between you and them, in their jeep, at 9.8m/s2.
    • Due to liberal use of grenades and high speed chases, the Panauan military will sometimes do your job for you. Particularly impressive when you get a message saying a Propaganda Trailer's been destroyed while you're on the other side of the village.
      • And regardless of that fact, it's still your fault.
    • The AI in the sequel enjoys beaching their own boats (often with explosive results) and crashing them into each other. Additionally, soldiers wielding rocket launchers are willing to shoot you even if you're close enough to hug them even though they kill themselves in the process.
    • The AI will sometimes try to beach their boats just as you hijack them, presumably as a last resort.
    • It's not uncommon to see AI airplanes crashing into skyscrapers. They pilots make no attempts to avoid the crash whatsoever. This has led to fan speculation that it's intended to be a 9/11 reenactment.
    • One example is notable in that it also crosses over with Artificial Brilliance: toss some C4 at a propaganda trailer and every soldier guarding it will immediately be aware of it and start shooting. Plant it on the ground right next to the trailer, however, and they won't give a damn until you detonate it.
    • In Just Cause 2, there are a number of missions that require escorting an engineer through an enemy base so he can hack their systems. The engineer never takes cover, runs straight into groups of enemies, and stands around waiting to be shot. VERY frustrating on Hardcore difficulty.
    • Civilian AI planes fly at a fixed altitude. A fixed altitude above sea level, that is, which means that they'll merrily fly right into the sides of high mountains without even attempting to avoid them.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The game runs on it. A list of examples would be twice the size of the rest of this page.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Used and almost literally quoted (they only say Attack twice) by the Panau soldiers, who will keep coming and sound extremely confident about their chances despite the fact that they often have to climb over the bodies of the last 3 waves of soldiers that they send your way.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking
    • The colonels, all of whom can take more punishment than elite mooks.
    • The foreign agents, all of whom can take and dish out more punishment than the colonels. The Japanese one has a Kill Sat!
    • Baby Panay himself, who survives a grenade explosion up close and carries a rocket launcher.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The fixed-wing military aircraft in the second game. Great for getting from one side of Panau to the other in a couple of minutes, but don't expect to do any fighting in them: actually using them to attack anything is so difficult as to render it almost pointless due to the speed such aircraft travel at, and the distance you have to actually fire them at to hit something without crashing into it is about 1 km out - not to mention they're not missiles, but just unguided rockets, of which it's been said that, were it not for gravity, they couldn't even hit the ground. Your best bet is to just spam rockets in the general direction of the target and hope at least one of them hits what you're trying to destroy. And even that is after all the trouble you go to hijack one, present in only rare and heavily guarded locations, and take them off while still under fire.
    • Yet those jet fighters pale in comparison to sport cars. Those cars are very fast, look extremely pretty... and have steering so ridiculously sensitive they become almost impossible to drive at high speeds in the PC version.
    • The AH-33 Topachula helicopter: the one attack helicopter you can find at military bases which is guaranteed to mount rocket pods, but takes forever and a day to actually take off and has the maneuverability of a brick. (On the other hand, its slow movement rate and ability to hover makes the rockets actually useful, which is more than can be said of the same weapons mounted to the game's fixed-wing aircraft.)
  • Badass Grandpa: In the second game, Tom Sheldon and the soldiers of Hantu Island.
  • Banana Republic: The dictatorship of San Esperito in the first game.
  • Battleship Raid: The atomic submarine near the end of Just Cause 2.
  • Bilingual Bonus: One location in the second game - Awan Cendawan Nuclear Plant - translates to "Mushroom Cloud Nuclear Plant". How apt.
    • In fact, pretty much every single location in the second game has a name that means something in Indonesian/Malay, and most of them are named like real locations would be (like "Bamboo Forest Village", "Town of the Rising Sun" and "Polluted Sky Factory", to name a few). There are over 300 locations, all of them with a proper name. How many developers would put effort into that?
    • The citizens of Panau speak a variety of Southeast Asian langauges (i.e. Thai, Filipino, Chinese) that are, for the most part, correct.
    • Pandak "Baby" Panay's given name means "a person of short stature" in Filipino. Meanwhile, Panay is the name of an island in the Philippines.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Of the 3 named characters that appear in the opening cutscene of Just Cause 2, the black dude dies within the first couple of minutes.
  • Black Market: They can be called up at any time to sell Rico weapons, vehicles, upgrades and even transportation services once the player gets far enough in the game.
  • Bond One-Liner: Plenty in the sequel, when you blow up something big enough, like statues and pipe-lines.
    "Don't take it personally... It was a design problem, that's all."
  • Boom, Headshot: The second game keeps track of the number of headshots you make, rewarding you with an achievement at 50. This with a sniper rifle is also an easy way to take care of the otherwise-Made of Iron Colonels; for that matter, headshots are the only way to even injure them at all with normal weapons.
  • Boss Bonanza: The Agency Mission 'Three Kings' has you taking on defectors from the Russian, Chinese, and Japanese army, each with a small army of flunkies.
    • The Chinese one throws explosives at you.
    • The Russian airlifts an APC into the battlefield and attacks you with a minigun mounted on it.
    • The Japanese one has access to a Kill Sat.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Bottomless, topless and missing the sides too, the mounted minigun has infinite ammo when carried despite Rico leaving the ammo can and belt behind on the mounting. A recurring issue, actually: the normal machine gun is also missing any sort of ammo belt or box and apparently works on a belief-based system.
    • The ammo gauge on the HUD actually shows ∞ for the minigun, as well as for vehicle weapons.
    • The default pistols in the first game also have infinite ammo.
  • Buffy Speak:
    "He's got me with his wire thing!"
  • Car Fu: The bulk of the possible stunts in the first game fall into this category. The second game ups the ante by allowing you to actually use a car as a weapon—A wrecking ball (tied to a helicopter) or a mobile bomb (leap out a car going at high speed and it will explode on contact with just about anything).
  • The Cartel: The Rioja and Montano factions in the first game.
    • The Roaches in the second.
  • Colonel Badass: The Colonels, obviously. They pack assault rifles or machine guns, have a ton of health and wear body armor, so the only ways to kill them are with headshots or explosives.
  • Color-Coded Armies: In the first game, La Résistance is Green, the allied drug cartel is Yellow, and the enemy drug cartel use violet. In the second game, the Reapers are red, the Ular Boys are yellow, and the Roaches are blue.
    • Justified as it's their gang colors. A more straight example would be the red government buildings with a white star logo on them, which only really serves as a giant "please destroy me" sign. You'd think they'd stop painting them like that after a while...
  • Coolest Club Ever: The Mile High Club, which is a giant airship decked out with bar lounges, stripper stages and loud blaring music. You'd obviously have to be pretty rich to just spend one night at it, but Rico can drop in and crash the party at any time by parachuting out of an airplane or helicopter.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Applies to settlements in Just Cause 2: You can blow up 97% of a base, and as long as that little generator you missed is still intact the base will be still inhabited by the army - but when you come back and destroy it, the base will become abandoned.
    • This might have been patched or something, but now bases are getting way less populated when the destructometer goes above 50%.
  • Cut-and-Paste Environments: Not too bad an offender since the map is huge and filled with many varied landscapes from sandy beaches and dense jungles to snowy mountains and arid deserts, but many buildings (such as lighthouses) are clearly reused several times. A more minor offender of this would be the government property Rico is always being sent to destroy. While military bases tend to have some variety in their layout expect to see countless fuel silos, generators and broadcast towers everywhere you go.
  • Cutscene Drop: While some missions require you to travel to the extraction point, there are a few that teleport you to a safe house as soon as you assassinate the target.
  • Damage Is Fire: No matter how badly beaten up a vehicle is, it remains drivable—until the engine starts smoking, in which case it's time to bail out quick.
  • Darker and Edgier: Sort of, while the second game itself is as tongue-in-cheek as the first one, Rico has gone from a suave James Bond-esque agent to the Jason Bourne-type who'll threaten to bitchslap someone with their own removed hands.
  • Dashing Hispanic: Rico himself, complete with suave one-liners and accent.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rico has quite a few of these sorts of lines in Just Cause 2. Running over someone sometimes makes him say "I was aiming for the other guy". Or after hacking into and blowing up a gas pipeline, "Nothing personal... It was a design flaw".
  • Destructive Savior: Rico. Theoretically he's there to free Panau (and San Esperito in the first game) from an oppressive government, but his modus operandi is literally to cause as much chaos as possible and assist any nearby crime syndicates. One of the most common ways to cause chaos is to blow up a village's water supply.
    • As an Ax-Crazy Devil in Plain Sight, Bolo Santosi probably counts as this in her own right. At one point she rejoices that with your help, she can turn Panau "into a smoking ruin." How this contributes to building a worker's paradise is still unclear.
    • The briefings even go so far as to say, "Collateral damage is regrettable, but sanctioned."
    • Special mention goes to the end of Just Cause 2. Rico blows up Panau's oil supply to ensure that no more wars are fought over the small nation, defying the wishes of his superiors.
    • Even though Rico stopped any future oil wars, he used a nuke to do it. Likely causing mass collateral damage in the process.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Those billboards you see of Baby Panay aren't just for show; in between blowing up fuel tanks, hijacking planes, and destroying all enemies that get in his way, Rico can also draw a silly mustache on Panay!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Soldiers will go at you guns blazing if you so much as walk into them.
    • Yet they have no problem with the guy running around with 3 guns, who just pulled a guy out of his car to run over a motorcyclist.
    • Propaganda trailers are the worst for this. If even a few bullets hit one, be prepared for an absolutely endless Zerg Rush of soldiers, jeeps, and even a few helicopters. No other destructible object in the game warrants this sort of reaction when you take it out.
  • Double Entendre - Bolo Santosi. Ranging from her plan to either use the nerve gas that paralyzes and makes victims compliant to either rape soldiers or get information out of them, or either talking about explosions or orgasms. Rapist or just a crazy so-called revolution leader? You be the judge.
  • Double Meaning Title: [A] just cause or just [be]cause? You be the judge.
    • The first game makes it a sort of triple meaning, as San Lorenzo is in the general area of Central America. The United States invasion of Panama was codenamed "Operation Just Cause".
    • The triple meaning was probably intentional, since according to the background information, the invasion of Panama was when Rico was recruited into the Agency.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Notably averted with the 3 factions Rico sides with in the game. The Roaches, Reapers, and Ular Boys all respect and revere Rico as the incredible soldier he is.
  • Dull Surprise: Baby Panay, particularly in action sequences.
  • Easter Egg: Plenty. In an empty field in the middle of nowhere, there's a tower where you can find a bubble blaster. It has 600 ammo, can't be refilled anywhere else, and firing it does nothing but attract heat. On the LOST Island, there's a mysterious Panauan soldier in the forest that emits smoke and has a massive amount of health, a crashed plane, and a hatch. There's a snowman in a ski resort that Rico will say "Hello" to if you press the action button when you're near him.
  • Eagle Land: Sheldon and Kane are a realistic mix of both types. While both of them are somewhat blase about the collateral damage Rico can inflict, and even encourage him to do so in 2, they also firmly believe that it's a necessary evil to dethrone monstrous tyrants and are quick to laud Rico's world-saving, third-option-taking quick thinking.
    • Sheldon leans a bit towards type 2 with regards to communism, stating "Real Americans hate commies!" and expressing some disappointment when Rico saves Russia from being nuked at the end of the game.
  • Elite Mooks: Literally; Just Cause 2 even keeps track of how many you kill. They take more damage and usually have more powerful weapons than their weaker friends. Get the Heat meter high enough and they'll start parachuting out of the sky around you!
    • Don't forget the ninjas! Tons of health, armed with sub-machine guns, and able to teleport in a puff of smoke.
    • Then there are the Colonels, who can only be damaged if you shoot them in the face, whip them, or use explosives.
    • There are also a few "Demolitions NCOs" who appear quite rarely. They're heavily armored, but drop all their (live) grenades when you kill them. They're not quite tough enough to call minibosses, but they're definitely as tough as any Elite Mook.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: If the names are any indication, the Colonel Badasses include Chinese, Indians, Malays and Koreans. There's also a few Occidentals and Arabs among them.
  • Escort Mission: Several. Many do not require you to protect an NPC, but rather the vehicle you're driving in. This is especially infuriating considering how easily cars can be rendered almost useless by gunfire.
    • The second game is full of them, usually tasking you with protecting an NPC. This is usually fine as long as you focus on shotgun-wielding foes first, and in some cases the vehicles may in fact be invincible. There's also a few extremely fun Escort Missions where you are expected to hang onto a friendly car during an intense car chase; however, you're quite able to hop onto enemy cars to blow them up, pop your chute to start parasailing, etc.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Cars in the second game seem to be programmed to explode if they hit something immediately after you jump out. This is not an exaggeration.
    • Extends to boats, too. Hit the beach fast enough to just go about ten feet inland and it'll explode for no other reason than the underside got scraped up a bit.
    • It's the worst with airplanes. Once you get up to cruising speed, touching almost anything will cause them to explode.
  • Everything Fades: Corpses, as well as any debris from any destruction you've caused, fades within a few seconds. This often happens right in front of you.
  • Evil Versus Evil: In Just Cause 2, there are no good guys. The Panauan government is a brutal military dictatorship, the three resistance groups are all essentially gangster groups with inflated senses of self importance, and the Americans, along with the Russians, Chinese, and Japanese, all just want Panau's oil.
  • Excuse Plot: Despite the rich possibilities that the game's premise has for ruminations on United States foreign policy and the heavy price of western security, the plot of Just Cause is a homage to cheesy Hollywood schlock. Why? Just 'cause.
  • Exploding Barrels: The second game has these. Hilariously, because they belong to the government, you get rewarded for blowing them up. Of particular note are propane tanks, which when shot rocket into the sky. If you shoot one and quickly grapple onto it, you can use it to escape hairy situations by rocketing out of them. This is as Crazy Awesome as it sounds.
  • Expy: "Papa" Panay and Pandak "Baby" Panay, much like Real Life Haitan dictators François "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
  • Firing One-Handed: Rico never uses guns two-handed if he can help it.
  • Follow the Leader: The first game was designed to capitalize on suckers that couldn't wait for Grand Theft Auto IV and Mercenaries 2. With the death of Pandemic and development of the next GTA title years in coming, there was less pressure for the dev team to make a "[game]-killer" within a certain time frame, and it shows in the sequel.
  • Foreshadowing: A lot of the buildings you blow up to generate chaos in 2 are for the production, transportation, and storage of gasoline.
  • Fragile Speedster: Motorcycles in the second game explode if you so much as graze another vehicle at top speed.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In 2, the optional mission "Black Gold" has you destroying a gas rig. If you die during the mission with the rig partially destroyed, the destruction doesn't count, but the structures remain destroyed, making the both the mission and completion of the rig Unwinnable. Quitting and restarting restores the rig enough that you can complete the mission, but now the rig itself cannot be 100% completed. The only solution around this is to get 100% on the rig BEFORE you start the mission.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: No matter how much "Chaos" you cause (Essentially the game's experience system), Panau's citizens will never show signs of rebellion. You will never find citizens battling or ousting soldiers in towns you have liberated, the populace will never offer you support and the factions you help will have their pathetic goons torn to shreds the very instant they attempt to "fight" government troops, which will almost always be by accident. Some fans might claim this is due to it all happening off-screen, when there is a far simpler explanation.
    • The Stronghold missions involve taking over bases or installations for your rebel allies. However even after you've conquered a facility, you still need to blow up all fuel tanks, chimneys, generators etc. The new owners will never object to this, even if the facility includes SAM sites which switch sides if you own the facility but still must be destroyed for 100% completion.
      • On the other hand, it's possible for you to invade and 100% complete each of the Strongholds before you even accept the corresponding mission. You probably wouldn't do so(at least not your first time through), though; it would no doubt be more difficult to complete a Stronghold before you complete its mission.
  • Gatling Good: Military bases in the second game often have a Gatling turret emplacement thing. Rico can rip the gun from its stand, of course, but it has several drawbacks: his movement speed is decreased, he can't sprint or jump, he can't use the grappling hook, and he can't move while firing it. However, it's still good for tearing up enemy bases for two reasons: it has infinite ammo and, unlike other examples of this trope, it actually has a Gatling rate of fire - point it at anything, pull the trigger, and the target will be dead in about a second.
    • It also does some pretty hefty damage per hit and boasts decent armour penetration (unlike your standard pistol, for example) so it can quite effectively chew up any vehicles, troops or structures you might come across — including structures that you can't damage with other small arms, such as SAM sites or statues. Certain vehicles (heavy APCs) may take more than a second to kill, though.
    • The gun basically has two uses: 1. Walking around a freshly-acquired base, blowing things up to complete it. (Woe betide you if you miss something and have to go back.) 2. Defending the engineer at the end of almost every stronghold takeover.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Horrible, horrible, offender. In the 400 square miles of Panau to explore, there are about 300 locations. To 'complete' a location, you have to destroy every structure marked with a red star in that location, and find every upgrade box nearby. You have a radar telling you the distance to the nearest box, but no such thing for the buildings. Including all 4 types, there are 2,700(!) boxes to find. Add on top of this 300 faction items to collect (also helpfully pointed out on the map once they're available) and 100+ different vehicles to catalog (woe betide the completionist who forgets to fly the cargo plane before they take over the only two airports they spawn from, because they aren't coming back after that), and you're going to be in it for the long haul. There's a reason the strictest achievement only requires you to get 75% of it.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Agency, an American organization which is essentially the CIA, only with more car-surfing and nation-destabilizing.
    • Don't forget gravity defying Spanish guys.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: Though in the second game it's more like a grappling hook gauntlet.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The military really doesn't care what you do as long as you don't do it to them. You can, for example, drive a sports car backwards down the highway while dragging an upside-down jet and going over the speed limit, and the military jeep behind you won't care.
    • Once they do come however, they never stop, and they cheerfully keep calling in more helicopters (even though you hijacked the previous 3) and more soldiers (even though you mowed the last few dozen down with your stolen helicopters).
  • Guns Akimbo: Possible in the second game with smaller weapons. This somehow, awesomely, includes revolver-mechanism grenade launchers.
    • Also possible in the first game, but only with the standard revolvers.
  • Gunship Rescue: What the Panau military keeps hoping for when they call in helicopters to attack you. Too bad you can easily hijack most of them within seconds of their arrival, meaning those soldiers now have to deal with an enemy in a combat chopper.
  • Harder Than Hard: Hardcore difficulty (which is above Experienced, the next step up from normal.)
  • Heart Container: Armor boxes. The HP increase is so incremental, however, you probably won't even notice it until you've collected dozens of boxes.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: All non-plot-vital characters in the game can be killed, and chances are good you'll run over more than a few accidentally while driving around. But it's all for a just cause.
    • In Just Cause 2, Rico is far more talkative, and some of his quotes make it quite obvious this is exactly what he is.
    "Mr. Theng, either you come with me willingly... or I cut off your hands and bitch-slap you with them all the way to where we're going."
  • High Speed Battle: Liable to pop up every now and then, especially in any mission that involves a vehicle.
  • High Speed Hijack: The franchise runs wild with this, because Rico's Grappling-Hook Pistol lets him get onto pretty much any vehicle with ease and then steal it with equal ease. Stealing helicopters is a favorite trick for many players, partly because it's less dangerous than trying to fight them from the ground and partly for the many benefits of having a flying gunship.
  • Hit the Ground Harder: No matter how far Rico falls he can prevent any damage by pulling himself to the ground with a grappling hook. That's right, the best way to survive crashing into the ground is to crash into it slightly faster. Must be a homeopathic thing.
  • Hollywood Darkness: It never really gets dark at night in Panau. Probably because it wouldn't be fun if you couldn't see where you were going at night.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: In the first game, Rico can carry seven or eight different weapons, and hundreds of rounds for each. This has been downgraded in the second. Not only can he only carry three guns, they all appear on his person when holstered. He can also carry up to twenty grenades and twenty explosives, although only one apiece appears on him.
    • Seems to be this way with his parachutes.
    • Don't forget the black market helicopter, which can drop entire TANKS for you.
      • And other helicopters. Of equal size.
      • Let's not forget that the black market helicopter is called to your location before you choose what you want, meaning that everything you can buy is already onboard.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted. The Panunan military are superhumanly accurate, even to the point where they make shotguns lethal at mid to long range.
    • And making it a bitch to get that 'kill 50 enemies without taking damage' achievement. At long range the dozen shotgun pellets won't kill you, but one of them is bound to hit you.
    • They are also quite good at hitting you while you are grappling over their heads at 50 miles per hour. Most normal humans wouldn't even be able to follow your movement by eye, but they can apparently aim very quickly.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Baby Panau has a whole battallion of ninjas in his army. They are all able to teleport in a puff of smoke, can't be caught by the grappling hook and harass you with submachine guns.
    Panay: Prepare to meet your demise at the hands of... my ninja!
    Rico: I hate ninjas...
  • Island Base: As both games take place on large archipelagos, there are a quite few of these.
  • It's Raining Men: Enemy reinforcements may parachute in. Of course, Rico can parachute himself in too. Using the grappling hook he can parachute himself out as well.
  • Joke Weapon: The Bubble Blaster, of course.
  • The Joys Of Torturing Mooks
  • La Résistance: Both San Esperito and Panau have rebel militias working to overthrow the government. They're not always very nice about it, though.
  • Large Ham: Tom Sheldon and Bolo Santosi. Rico has his moments as well.
  • Left the Background Music On: No examples in the game itself, but it's got to be worth something when the soundtrack for Just Cause 2 is called "Music To Blow S**t Up By".
    • Sort-of example; the music that plays whilst you're on the Mile-High Club is obviously supposed to be what would actually be playing at the club... except it takes a sudden turn for the dramatic (complete with Record Needle Scratch), the tempo increasing suddenly when you discover that a bomb has been loaded into the lower cargo area!
  • Lighthouse Point: Lighthouses are a fairly common sight along the many sandy beaches and tropical islands of Just Cause 2's massive map and will often have an item box near the top. There is even an area in the northern part of the world near an airport where two identical lighthouses can be seen facing each other on separate nearby islands.
  • Lost Forever: The infamous "MV Command" vehicle is only guaranteed to spawn in a single, required missionnote . There is an faction missing it can show up in, and it can spawn at certain heat levels, but don't count on it.
    • The Bering I-86DP plane, however, can only spawn on two specific airports, and is completely lost upon their destruction.
  • Lumber Mill Mayhem: The Seasbreeze Sawmill, which the Ular Boys task Rico with assaulting in one of their faction missions.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Baby Panay's rocket launcher in Just Cause 2. You can also do a little bit of this yourself with the Quad Rocket Launcher DLC.
    • And the G9 Eclipse with its quad rocket pods with Bottomless Magazines. Spamming rockets towards the general area of your target from a mile away is also your only hope of hitting something without crashing into it, since there's no lock-on mechanism.
  • Made of Explodium: Nearly everything, but guard towers in the second game get special mention. They explode in a massive fireball despite apparently being made of nothing more than wood and corrugated tin.
  • Made of Iron: Baby Panay. He takes a grenade point blank in the face, gets shot an ungodly number of times, but only dies via nuclear explosion.
  • Marathon Level: The Raya Race. Dear God. It takes you about a quarter of the way around the largest island in Panau, and can easily take twenty minutes to complete, while most races in the game take only three or four minutes, tops. To make matters worse, even though they give you a sports car at the beginning, you'll be driving the wrong way down a highway. You'll also need that sports car if you hope to make it through, so if you crash or get the car off road (which can easily happen thanks to the loose driving physics at high speeds), you practically have to start over.
    • The game partially makes up for this by increasing the spawn rates of the sports car you're driving, so if you happen to wreck your vehicle, it's much easier to find a replacement one. You're likely going to burn through multiple vehicles before reaching the finish line.
    • Or just buy/steal a motorcycle, which can go almost as fast, is much more manouverable and a is lot easier to drive through traffic.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe for Rico in the second game. If you idle long enough by your allies, you can hear them talking about how you "killed ten soldiers. With his bare hands!" and then it becomes "ten tigers."
  • Mile-High Club: It's not a plane, but the second game has an airborne "gentleman's club" called the Mile High Club.
  • Misaimed Realism: Aircraft have realistic takeoff runs and turning, but don't have yaw control. This tends to result in large amounts of driving off runways because the player tried to correct their angle during the run up the runway and didn't get up to speed, and / or hopelessly hanging planes up on the scenery while trying to make simple taxiing turns.
  • Mood Whiplash: In one mission, you need to help Bolo Santosi broadcast a message to Panau. Knowing her, it should be pretty funny, right? Actually, it shows an innocent man being tortured by the Panauan Army, before being executed, and literally Fed to Pigs. And what's worse, it implied this was the fate of any person on Panau that has gone missing as well. Suddenly, you see why a Heroic Comedic Sociopath, a bunch of Dirty Communists, ultra-nationalist jungle-dwelling jingos, and even the Mob are considered the 'good guys' here: the enemy is much, MUCH WORSE!!!
  • Mustache Vandalism: In the sequel, you can do this to billboards of Baby Panay.
  • The Napoleon: President "Baby" Panay.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In the “An Officer and a Hitman” mission in Just Cause 2, you’re tasked by Razak with taking out a colonel. After you take out the defences around his mansion, the colonel himself runs outside with a rocket launcher, and reveals himself to be slightly off. Once you’ve killed him, Razak comments on the fact that the colonel was a madman and commends you on a job well done, then continues reflectively:
    Razak: Although, I fear we may just have rid the military of a problem…
    They’re probably breaking out the champagne as we speak.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Alexander Mirkov in Just Cause 2 is a dead ringer for Nikolai Valuev.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Panau is a mishmash of various Southeast Asian countries - further taken with the Filipino, Vietnamese, Thai, and Singaporean accents and words.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Rico's nuking of Panau's central oil field should more or less guarantee that everyone in the country would die of radiation poisoning within a few weeks, along with everyone who should've died in the initial blast. Everyone seems content to sample Tom's succulent pig while the mushroom cloud glitters in the night sky, and not bring this up at all.
  • No Hero Discount: You're working directly for the CIA. Your black market weapons dealer also works for the CIA, and is effectively your boss. Yet he makes you pay for weapons and vehicles you need for the CIA missions!
    • Rico is provided with free hardware for the actual Agency missions, as in the plot-driving ones and not simply his antics in Panau. As for the black market gear, it's implied you are getting a pretty good deal considering you pay your contact to get the foreign-made gear off the black market in the first place, the prices are listed Panaun dollars, and Rico states the Panau buck is next to worthless.
  • Not So Above It All: The leaders of the Reapers and the Ular Boys.
    • Bolo Santosi is a well-educated child of luxury who has given up none of her former lifestyle in her struggle for the people, and is more concerned with gaining power for herself and her cohorts than bettering the people's lot - when she's not more interested in exploding things senselessly.
    • Sri Irawan is also well-educated and very charismatic to boot. He exhorts the superiority of the Ular ethnicity, while pretty clearly just using it as an excuse to be a brutal warlord and win himself glory, while the Ular Boys themselves are described as (and act like) a massive street gang.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Rico makes it clear to the revolutionaries that he aids in the story that all he wants is information about Tom Sheldon's whereabouts. Regardless of this they still test his loyalty and ask Rico about his political stance on their actions. Rico doesn't actually talk to them very much during these conversations.
  • Not Quite Flight: The grappling hook and parachute combo lets Rico glide effortlessly over Panau.
  • Not Worth Killing: A rare economic variant from Rico, after paying off an informant.
    Rico: "Considering the value of the Panauan buck, shooting you would have been more expensive."
  • One-Man Army: This describes Rico to a T. He's so badass the army has to call for air support just to deal with him. Then he steals the incoming chopper and mows the survivors down with it.
  • Only Sane Man: Panay wants to exploit Panau's massive oil fields to build a superpower military. The Russians, Chinese, and Japanese want the oil for economic strength. The US wants the oil for continued global domination. Realizing the madness of it all, Rico simply blows the oil fields to holy hell.
  • Outside Ride: Rico can surf or hang from any vehicle in the game. Including sports cars and jumbo jets. He is even the page image!
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: It should take you roughly thirty seconds to figure out that Tom Sheldon is the Sloth Demon, and that's if you spend twenty-nine of those seconds grappling a soldier to his own vehicle and driving off with it.
  • Patchwork Map: Just Cause 2 suffers from this somewhat. One of the elements improved from the original is more varied terrain, with deserts, snowy mountains, and lush jungles...all contained on an island group slightly smaller than Oahu. The southern main island is mostly desert, despite directly bordering open ocean in some places, and the northern main island is mostly snowy and mountainous, with a snowline of about a thousand feet. In the summer. Less than a thousand miles from the equator.
    • A few rivers also seem to have estuaries or deltas at both ends.
      • Here is a map, so you can see for yourself.
  • Pixel Hunt: Often getting 100% on a military base involves an extended period of hovering around with a helicopter looking for that last explodable thing (it's usually a single Generator) among the wreckage.
    • Bonus frustration points are gained if the target was actually a pipeline terminal or communication tower a quarter of a mile away from the actual base. Helped slightly by the fact that the location icons are usually placed on the map in the center of the area of pickups and destructible buildings that constitute the completion percentage of that location, so if the icon for a military base isn't sitting on top of the area of the map that the base physically occupies, there's likely to be something in that general direction you have to hunt down to complete the area.
  • President Evil: Pandak "Baby" Panay in the second game.
  • Press X to Not Die: The dreaded QTE is present in the second game, but they are relatively simple (press 1, 2, 3 or 4 in the correct order, or when they are displayed during hijacking) and do not require ridiculously fast reflexes, nor are you (usually) heavily penalized for failing. There are two types;
    • Type 1: Press all of the buttons in the right order before the timer bar runs out. Used for causing gratuitous explosions or hacking things.
      • One annoying thing is that being shot is an instafail. Being shot is also nearly unavoidable if it's not the first thing you take care of.
    • Type 2: Wait for the prompt. Press button. Watch gratuitous violence animation. Wait for next prompt. Press button. Rinse and repeat. Used for hijacking vehicles - assuming you don't opt to just shoot the driver.
  • Quicksand Box: Panau in Just Cause 2 is so huge that even the developers agree it may be too big for some players to handle. Hence, the strictest collection achievement only requires you get 75% of the map. Pity the person who needs to hundred-percent driving all the vehicles, though!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Tom Sheldon, most notably towards the end. He's very happy with Rico's reasoning for nuking the oil fields, and decides the details of the mission are "need to know only". His superiors, according to him, don't need to know.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Rico can surf cars moving at sixty mph, rappel onto helicopters as they fire rockets at him, tether soldiers to each other with high-tensile wire so they snap together in midair, attach himself to a punctured gas can and use it as a makeshift rocket to gain a massive height advantage over his enemies, pull the head off a statue with a vehicle and use it as a wrecking ball, and a plethora of other insane stunts. This game doesn't really hold back. Ever.
    • Even better, several vehicles have multiple stunt jump positions during hijacking, so you can move around to get the best angle on the occupants, or any enemies chasing you. Want to take out the guys in the passenger seats whilst hijacking a Hummer? Hang onto the back of the vehicle. Want to shoot chasing enemies? Just stand on the roof. Want to take out the driver easily? Jump onto the front bumper/grill and shoot him through the windscreen!
    • There's a neat relatively hidden feature of Stunt Jumping too; if Rico was the last driver of a particular vehicle, it's even possible to adjust the facing/direction of the vehicle (but not the speed) you're standing on top of whilst it's moving! It's very slow though, so don't expect any hand-brake turns.
  • Regenerating Health: The second title combines this with the ol' medkit system; Rico can regenerate a fixed amount of his health, but any damage taken over that needs a medkit. It's like a less rigid version of the segmented health bar some other games use.
  • The Remnant: In one mission in Just Cause 2, you're tasked with traveling to a supposedly cursed island to find a plane that the Ular Boys had recently lost contact with. You fly to the island only to have your plane shot down by a giant Energy Weapon. It turns out the island is filled with really, really old Japanese soldiers who are still fighting WWII, and had built the giant EMP tower to win the war... You make short work of it.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The second game has one, as seen here. It possesses immense firepower when fully upgraded, and can shoot down a light helicopter with relative ease.
    • It also makes hijacking said helicopters a lot easier, now that you can just shoot the pilot through the glass!
    • Rico's standard guns in the first game were a pair of revolvers with infinite reserve ammo - weak, but useful for saving ammo for your other guns. DLC for the second game brings them back as "Rico's Signature Gun", though it's not quite as good this time around - in addition to still being weaker than the normal revolver, it now has limited ammo and the only way to get more is buying it from the black market.
  • Rico Can Breathe At High Altitudes: No, seriously. The stunt jump ability allows you to stand or hang off any airborne vehicle, including plane surfing.
    • Word of God says that the highest attainable altitude is 6.8 km or ~22300 feet, and can be reached using a hot air balloon. A typical jet plane cruising altitude is around 33000 feet.
  • Riding the Bomb: The ending of the second game involves doing this. Repeatedly.
  • "Risk"-Style Map: When you perform the stronghold takeover missions for each faction, an area of the map falls under their control (as opposed to the government's) which is denoted by a faction-coloured outline surrounding the area and if you zoom the map all the way out, the outlines are filled with that colour.
  • Rule of Cool: Both games are practically built around it.
    • The absurd yet awesome endings of both games can be justified by this. Go to Crowning Moment of Awesome above and read those entries. Could you make up something that awesome if you tried?
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: Often carried by enemy Mooks and available to purchase in the Black Market after a while, but not very useful compared to the other weapons Rico has access to by that point.
  • Scenery Porn: The entirety of Just Cause 2. Lush jungle, snow-capped mountains, arid desert, the towering skyscrapers of Panau City, vast oceanic expanse, and the sky, oh the sky - all rendered beautifully. And unlike most examples of Scenery Porn, you can visit every single point on the island.
    • this is one reason the PS2 version of the first game was considered the worst of the bunch. Every other version has extremely lush visuals (even the original Xbox port) while the PS2's were dull and limited by comparison. When part of the hype surrounding your game is the graphics, that's not exactly spelling out a recipe for success.
  • Scratch Damage: Averted; some things just can't be hurt by handguns.
  • Serial Escalation: How many jeeps will they send after Rico this time? How many dozens of cars will be destroyed in a single chase? How close to the ground can Rico get after falling 20,000 feet before opening his parachute? How many parachutes are really in that backpack?
    • How many nuclear missiles will you ride?
  • Short Range Shotgun: Played straight with the one-handed Sawn Off Shotgun. Averted with the regular two-handed shotgun, which can easily hit targets at 30 metres and beyond, and when fully upgraded turns into a One-Hit Kill murder machine.
  • Shout-Out: Multiple.
    • The LOST Island in the northwest corner.
      • Even the mission where you have to go to the island is called 'Stranded'.
    • Killing several (~20) soldiers while in a helicopter will cause Rico to start humming Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries in a nod to Apocalypse Now.
    • Rico yells out the most famous quote from White Heat ("Made it, Ma! Top of the world!") if you land or climb on the summit of one of Panau's mountains.
    • One of the military boats is named the Winstons Amen 69.
    • There may even be a shout out to the famous Evil Overlord List with the descriptions of one of the colonels.
    "Colonel Saravanan is one of the most celebrated colonels in Panau's army. His men are immaculately disciplined and deadly - his secret, some say, is that he has the intelligence of a five year old ."
  • Sigil Spam: Just Cause 2 has the government of Panau's symbol, a white star on a red background, everywhere. Items include electrical generators, oil tanks, water towers, propaganda trailers, gas stations and vehicles.
  • Significant Anagram: Tom Sheldon goes by the alias "Sloth Demon" in the beginning of Just Cause 2.
  • Smug Snake: President Pandak "Baby" Panay. Need proof? Listen to the messages he makes through the Propaganda Trailers for more than 30 seconds.
    Panay: Listen most carefully, people of Panau. President Panay, your glorious and humble leader, must speak. Free photographs of the president and his staff are now available in all government buildings. REJOICE.
    Rico: (after blowing the trailer up) I can't stand that damn voice!
  • Soft Water: Played straight in the first game. Averted in the sequel; a 10,000 foot fall into water will kill you just as dead as a fall into concrete - unless you dive in head-first. If you remember to do so it's possible to high dive from the altitude ceiling and only sink three feet.
    • Hilariously, however, if you grapple into the ground just before impact, all fall damage is negated. You can't grapple onto water, so falling onto water is fatal while pulling yourself into concrete at twice the velocity won't even cause Mr. Rodriguez to break a sweat.
    • If you open up your parachute at any time before hitting the ground, all fall damage will ALSO be negated. Even if you do a 3 Kilometer freefall and open the parachute the instant before you hit the ground, the worst that will happen is that you go flailing across the ground before you can get up.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: The grass on trees in Just Cause 2 are flat sprites when viewed from afar; it's usually not too obvious unless you're flying in a helicopter over a forest, in which case the trees will visibly rotate as you pass them.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The easiest way to cause chaos in the sequel.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Okay, not Nazi Germany, but... the northwest island in the 2nd game which if you try to fly a plane there, will cause a bright flash following by your plane exploding, contains Imperial Japan's EM tower weapon, something way too advanced to be constructed in WWII. They never got past the testing stages.
    • Those guys also have modern weapons (excusable - who wants to model separate set of guns for just one mission?)... which would be alright if they didn't also have HELICOPTERS.
    • They could just be taking the weapons, trucks and helicopters from the Panauans whenever they try to colonize the island. Doesn't explain how they know how to use them though.
      • That can't be it. Nobody makes it to the island because the vehicles keep blowing up before they get there.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The little grunts will happily fire at your armored attack helicopter with just a revolver.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After certain missions in the sequel, the government-run radio news station will broadcast increasingly ridiculous cover-ups for Rico's antics. After taking over an oil refinery ("where most of Panau's gasoline is refined from Bruneian sludge") for an organized crime syndicate, the station will dismiss claims of gunfire as "hearsay" and assure listeners that "no organized crime takeover has taken place".
    • Or attempting to dismiss explosions at a nearby military base during a takeover was simply "a previously unknown volcano that was verified by government scientists" and that it will "never erupt again".
    • Or Panay stating that everything is fine and the country is peaceful, but also reminding the citizens that "martial law is still in effect and groups of three or more people will be shot on sight."
    • Or pretending that the large gunfight that happened when you capture a nuclear power plant for the Ular Boys is "just engines backfiring".
    • Or the reason there was no body for one mission was that you were "vaporized by the many accurate shots of Panau military".
    • Or that "White Tiger" does not exist, and that he will be painfully executed once he is finally captured.
  • Tank Goodness: Surprisingly, there are no tanks in the second game, but it makes up for this by having armored cars mounted with tank turrets. They're both relatively speedy and can take loads of punishment.
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Doing anything that causes heat in the second game instantly alerts the guards to your current location, regardless of where the thing that alerted them actually happened. This goes even if you just detonated a remote charge from the top of a building on the opposite side of town.
    • Depends, sometimes; hop in a military vehicle outside of town after blowing anything up and the most they'll do is go into suspicion - though if they do see you while you're in that vehicle, all bets are off.
  • The Agency Operatives Who Don't Do Anything: Tom Sheldon. The game makes a running gag out of his goofing off, and it's not until the second game that he's shown doing any actual work. Even then, most of it occurs when he's still masquerading as the Sloth Demon.
    • Except if you count roasting pigs as "working".
  • Travel Cool: Plenty of it, in both games. The Agency GP in the first game has a rocket launcher (and the rest of the Agency vehicles are pretty neat too), whilst the second game has the following Cool Plane, amongst others.
    • Cool Plane: The Panauan Military Air Force has some obviously Sukhoi-inspired, rather impressive-looking, and clearly "fifth generation" fighter aircraft at it's disposal, present in at least one of their major airbases - and there are about seven military airfields total - though one of those is merely the national airport after being locked down by the military. Most airbases, however, tend to field late third/early fourth generation aircraft... namely VTOL-less Harriers.
      • By way of example, the G9 Eclipse you can find at one or two major airbases is very clearly a Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut.
      • Regrettably, despite its awesome look, quad rockets launchers, and foreward-swept wings that should give it amazing agility (but hey, we shouldn't be expecting very realistic physics here), it steers like a cow and the unguided rockets have only a small blast radius. Unless you fire those weapons while driving the plane on the ground, you won't be able to hit anything unless you get so close to the target that you have no chance of pulling up before crashing.
      • The Silverbolt, on the other hand, looks great and flies great. Shame it's not armed, but it aces at plane races and is the fastest way of exploring.
  • Title Drop: Done by Tom Sheldon at the end of 2.
    Tom: "Hell Rico, that's as just a cause as any!"
    • Doubly so, as the final mission is also titled "A Just Cause".
  • Troperiffic: These games are basically 80s action movies in videogame form.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Made even more unnecessary by the grappling hook.
  • Up to Eleven: It's basically Mercenaries with an even bigger helping of Refuge in Audacity - albeit with much less in the airstrikes/building-flattening department. But hey, you've got a grappling hook gauntlet thing and a hyperspace parachute!
  • Variable Mix: There's a transition when you enter/exit a vehicle, although there's more rapid transition for some combat missions.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: Thanks to the improved grappling hook, Just Cause 2 has almost limitless options for being completely sadistic towards your enemies.
    • It's possible to tether people to gas canisters, then shoot the canisters so they spiral into the air as the pressure is released, dragging the poor bastard around behind it until it explodes, sending them flying.
    • One of the simplest is to tether someone to the back of a vehicle, then get in and drag them along the road at high speeds. They'll die, eventually.
    • You can tether enemies together so they smack into each other, tether them to planes which you crash into a cliffside, tether them to the tops of palm trees so they swing about in the breeze, tether them to the ground whilst they're in a fast moving vehicle (or tether the vehicle to the ground!), etc. There are more options than it would be decent to list.
    • You can also tether enemies to buildings, there's two different achievements if you kill the person with a melee attack while they are dangling or just shoot them.
    • For added hilarity, don't forget to tether enemies or passing vehicles to the spinning blades of a wind turbine.
    • As a reminder... Everything you can do above? You can also do those things to civilians.
  • Weaponized Car: The second game has several you can buy from the black market. DLC adds the Tuk Tuk Boom Boom, a tuk tuk with a BFG on its back.
  • What a Drag: With any type of vehicle, including helicopters and fighter jets. Whee!
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Rico's speech at the end of the second game that the oil isn't worth dying over is a bit weird, considering the handy in-game counter will likely show that by this point he's killed well over 1000 enemy soldiers (plus a few hundred civilians, probably) while all along he had no real idea why he was even fighting.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer: The grappling hook can be used to solve almost any situation, from quickly traversing the world to killing soldiers to climbing buildings to flipping cars on to their wheels.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Both games take place in over a thousand square kilometers of game world. You can access all of it from the start. Sure, there are story missions, but who needs those when there are untold hundreds of villages to liberate, vehicles to steal, soldiers to kill, and tons of government property to be destroyed?
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The percentages of completion work in odd ways. For instance, in a settlement where five boxes must be collected you would expect each box to be worth 20%. But the first box may actually only worth 19%, the three subsequent boxes are 20% each, and the last box will make up for the discrepancy with 21%. The code to display the completion percentage probably just used floating-point numbers and rounded them carelessly.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: When Rico confronts Salvador Mendoza on his plane, Mendoza claims, "I must warn you, I have seen Air Force One six times, and I assure you, the President always wins." Rico quips that This Is Reality; in reality The Good Guys Always Win, and he's the good guy.
  • You Bastard: Killing thousands of police and perhaps civilians all in the name of winding up the local militia? Soldiers will even use this against you word for word in combat.
  • You No Take Candle: Inverted. The Panauan characters speak way better English than the average South-East Asian.

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alternative title(s): Just Cause 2
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