Released in 2001, Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis is a Tactical Shooter/Soldier Sim that was quite revolutionary for its time, earning critical acclaim for its innovative open world gameplay and consistent focus on realism (so much so that the engine was even adapted for real militaries to use as a training simulator). OFP let players roam on massive islands tens of square kilometers in size and use a wide variety of vehicles however they see fit, and all this at a time when most FPS games limited the player to oppressive indoor settings and small outdoor arena-style maps, and typically only featured usable vehicles in on-rails shooting sequences, if at all.Being the first ever game of Czech developer Bohemia Interactive Studios, OFP was a bit rough around the edges graphically and had more than its fair share of bugs, but its gameplay innovations and the sheer scope of the game won it favor with gamers and critics. Two expansion packs and an XBOX port later, its developer Bohemia Interactive Studio and publisher Codemasters split ways; BIS took the rights to the engine, Codemasters got the rights to the name. BIS has since released two sequels based on this engine, Armed Assault and ARMA II, while Codemasters developed its own "official" sequels, Dragon Rising and Red River. Essentially, the BIS sequels closely resemble the original, except they have much better graphics and improved gameplay, while OFP: DR and RR feel, well, different from the original OFP, and a lot of old veterans seem to think that it suffers from New and Improved Syndrome.
Works within this series:
Operation Flashpoint: Cold War Crisis (2001): The game that started it all.
Red Hammer (2001): Mini-expansion pack by the publisher, Codemasters, that contains a new campaign depicting the conflict from the Soviet side.
Resistance (2002): Major expansion pack by BIS. Contains significant engine updates, a new island, and a new campaign.
Operation Flashpoint: Elite (2005): A slightly modernized Xbox port of the first game that was met with lukewarm reviews on release.
Virtual Battlespace (2002): Taking the Operation Flashpoint engine, BIS developed this engine to sell to the United States Marine Corps, the Australian Defence Force, and other military organizations as a training tool. It was eventually sold to many modern militaries all around the world... although according to BIS, it was ironically competing at one point with a modified version of Operation Flashpoint.
The Operation Flashpoint series provides examples of the following tropes:
Ace Pilot: Sam Nichols is actually a subversion. While he's pretty skilled in piloting various transport and attack choppers, he himself admits (and even lampshades) his inexperience in flying the A-10 Thunderbolt and other fixed-wing aircraft.
A.K.A.-47: Averted. All firearms and vehicles in the unmodified games use their real-world names.
The only exception to this would be Vz. 58 (aka SA-58), the Czech standard infantry rifle. Despite being completely unrelated to any Kalashnikov design it's referred to as "AK-47 CZ" in-game (although it still shows up as "SA-58" on the weapon selection and mission planning screens).
Another Side, Another Story: The missions and overall story of the campaign in Cold War Crisis alternate between four main characters: An infantryman (Armstrong), a tanker (Hammer), a Special Ops soldier (Gastovski) and a fighter pilot (Nichols). The opposing side also gets a P.O.V. Sequel in the form of a separate campaign from the Red Hammer expansion pack.
Anyone Can Die: And they do, mostly. The only unique characters are either player characters or simply kept out of harm's way entirely (Colonel Blake, for instance, is only seen in cutscenes). The minor exception is the player's squad in the first half dozen missions. They can die too, but they just reappear in the next mission until they're killed off for good later on.
Artificial Stupidity: To varying degrees. The AI soldiers generally handle themselves pretty well given the complicated circumstances they often find themselves in, but they get confused in tight spaces (sometimes to the point of getting stuck), their driving is terrible and their flying skills are even worse.
Several mods exist that that "fix" or tweak AI capabilities, and in addition to the latest stable patch (v1.05 as of this writing) BIS occasionally releases "beta patches" whose changelogs claim specific AI fixes, i.e.
A-Team Firing: Averted. Enemies are plenty accurate, sometimes shooting you from a few hundred yards off. Your own soldiers have the same abilities as enemy soldiers. Try to shoot from anything but point-blank range with the crosshair turned off and not using iron sights, and this trope is played horribly straight.
Attack Pattern Alpha: Groups of soldiers usually use various formations, even when moving around on foot. As squad leader the player can order their men to assume any one of several formations at any given time. Each one is suitable for a different situation - column is best for fast movement, wedge is the general-purpose combat formation (for when you're not sure where the enemy are), line concentrates fire to the front, and so on.
In their default "aware" state, groups always move in a formation. This was slightly goofy in the Tonal mod for the original OFP: Even groups of "disorganized" civilian militias would move in perfect formation.
Awesome Personnel Carrier: APCs feature heavily, from the M113 to the BTR. Infantry fighting vehicles such as the Soviet BMP and its American equivalent - the M2 Bradley - fit the bill in particular. The BMP is a common sight throughout and a very capable vehicle in good hands, being relatively fast, amphibious, and well-armed. The Bradley is similarly capable and its TOW missile launcher makes it an appreciable danger to even the strongest of Soviet tanks.
Broken Bridge: If you stray well beyond the initial warning to get back in formation (usually 1km away), most early missions will instantly kill you and justify it by playing weapon fire noises after you die.
But Thou Must: The second mission in the Resistance campaign offers the player a choice to either help the invading troops' army by revealing the location of a member of the titular resistance, or be summarily executed. You can actually choose to help the invaders, and you're even given a unique mission to find the location of the resistance base. When you do, you're again given the choice to join them or carry out the mission. Of course, since the leader of the invading army is not a very rewarding leader, he'll execute you if you carry out your mission anyway, so it's pretty much in your best interests to join the resistance.
Averted the rest of the time - although there's a set plan for each mission, and you'll get constantly nagged over the radio if you don't carry it out, the game never actually forces you to obey orders. 'Course, those orders are usually given for a good reason, so it's generally a good idea to follow them regardless unless you like high-angle shots of your own dead body.
In the original game, you are forced to miss the evac from Everon and be captured by the Soviets. This is despite the fact that you can actually reach the evac point in time if you manage to hijack a Soviet vehicle (you'll just find an empty town if you do).
Cain and Abel: A map created by the in-game editor is stored on the disk in a directory. The directory name extension is a code to identify which map a mission belongs to: Eden for Everon, Abel for Malden, and Cain for Kolgujev. The desert island received Intro, and Nogova received Noe.
Fridge Brilliance: Abel harbours an American garrison, Kolgujev harbours a Soviet one, and Everon is a neutral state at the beginning. So, the beginning of the campaign can be summarized as "Abel fights Cain to protect Eden".
The Cold War: The setting of the series, complete with a very "Eighties Cold War era" feel to it.
Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. While hiding in bushes or tall grass makes you effectively invisible unless somebody directly stumbles upon you, giving away your position will still result in enemy troops targeting your hiding place. Hiding behind tree trunks, rocks, buildings, sandbag barriers or even just vehicles or dead bodies is the way to achieve cover (of course, stuff like vehicles can still be destroyed by anti-tank weapons, so they're not fully reliable protection against enemy fire).
Continuity Nod: A lot in Resistance towards Cold War Crisis, courtesy of Resistance being a prequel to the latter and all... If you pay enough attention, you'll find out why Gastovski retired and where the Everon resistance got their weapons and equipment from. OFP also gets a lot of these nods from its successor ARMA.
Contractual Boss Immunity: Averted. When you finally catch up with the defeated Big Bad General Guba in the penultimate mission of Cold War Crisis and disable his vehicle, he's not even armed and you can either take him into custody or gun him down when he tries to escape. You can even get him to act as your driver!
Crew of One: Utterly averted. Tanks have the full crew of three (driver, gunner, and commander), though you can do without a commander in a pinch (and suffer impaired visibility as a result). In the tank missions the player typically acts as a tank commander, giving movement orders to the driver and targeting and firing orders to the gunner over the radio.
Usualy played straight with most aircraft, though, as the pilot can set forward-facing weapons to manual fire, but he'll still need other people to use any side-mounted guns.
Do Not Run with a Gun: It is possible to fire while running, but it's so terribly inaccurate that hitting anything is akin to winning a lottery. Nevertheless, AI soldiers can sometimes be seen doing it. Firing while walking is somewhat more practical, but only at the closest of ranges.
Part of the issue with firing on the run is that unless you actually raise the weapon (as if aiming down the sights in first person view), two-handed small arms will be pointed down and to the left while you're running, so that's where the bullets will go.
Easy Logistics: Completely averted. No weapon in the game has unlimited ammo, not even stationary weapon emplacements, and as such everything must be resupplied from an ammo truck or crate during extended engagements (and these, too, have limited supplies). Additionally, vehicles need fuel, and infantrymen can only carry a realistically limited amount of ammunition and other supplies.
Enemy Exchange Program: Played straight. Since everyone has a Universal Driver's License, there's nothing to stop the player from making use of any vehicles the enemy are foolish enough to leave lying around. Some missions even require you to steal vehicles such as tanks, helicopters and boats from the enemy.
One or two missions in the Resistance campaign focus on this. The problem: The ill-equipped resistance forces lack tanks or any other appropriate combat vehicles. The solution: Steal several from the enemy !
Of course, some mods will avert this and require that you be playing a character of the appropriate role, i.e. crewman or pilot.
Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Very far towards the realism end of the scale, especially for its time. Ballistics are realistically simulated - incorporating bullet travel time and drop, a single shot to the head or a few to the torso from any gun can kill any character (including the player), and even sound travel time is simulated, meaning that it's possible to be killed by a bullet before you hear the report of the rifle that fired it. This is about as realistic as you can get in a game that simulates Real Life combat.
Subversive: The guerilla fighters (focus on stealth and clever ambushes; very little heavy weaponry and vehicles, often substituted for by civilian firearms and cars or by captured weapons and military vehicles).
Powerhouse: The Soviet troops (more variety in tanks; more versatile and hard-hitting AP Cs and helicopters, but with little variation).
Balanced: The U.S. NATO forces (only two types of tanks, but one of them is the strongest in the game; weaker and overspecialized but somewhat nimbler AP Cs; better overall airpower, including troop-carrying helicopters of two different crew capacities).
However, note that some of the more unique aspects and strengths/weaknesses of the U.S. and Soviet faction have been balanced out in the final, latest versions of the game by official patches with various official addons by the developer (e. g. the NATO forces originally lacked an AA vehicle like the Shilka, so they were given Vulcan M113s to balance it out; the Soviets lacked a good ground-attack helicopter comparable to the American Apache, so they were given an early version of the Kamov Ka-50, the V-80, etc.). With these changes, the more unique imbalance of the factions from the very first release has been heavily diminished. This made the NATO and Soviet armies a bit closer to Cosmetically Different Sides - but both of them still have enough strenghts, weaknesses, differing specialties and unique units to subvert the aforementioned trope.
First-Person Ghost: Averted, with both a third-person view mode and a free look option available in both first-person and third-person view modes, the camera's "pivot" point being at the character's head/neck area.
Fission Mailed: In one mission in the first game's campaign, the player's job is to take a major town, Montignac. Regardless of whether the battle is a success or failure, the order soon comes to abandon the mission and evacuate the whole island. In the process of doing so you're ambushed and end up alone in enemy territory with your entire squad killed in action. You then have to sneak your way about a kilometer through enemy territory to the last remaining safe zone on the island, which is overrun just before you get there. You're then diverted to an alternate extraction point, which is also overrun just before you get there.Then you're taken prisoner.
For Massive Damage: It's more than possible to defeat some vehicles using just small arms; for example, a helicopter can be forced into a crash landing by shooting out either of its rotors.
Game Mod: Literally thousands, and more are being released every day, ranging from simple unit retextures to full-length campaigns complete with voice-acting, including a Vietnam War total conversion and a Stargate SG-1 total conversion.
Gatling Good: While there are many powerful weapons in the games, the GAU-8 Avenger on the A-10 Warthog is probably the single most devastating anti-tank gun in the game. Its ammo is powerful and BIS does not downplay the firing rate. All you have to do is aim your gun sight slightly below your target, then the nose a slight nudge up while firing a half second burst. This will destroy any tank in the game, virtually every time you do it.
Additionally, the A-10 is built like a brick and is virtually impervious to anything except guided missiles or heavy AA fire. However, there aren't many AA infantry in most missions, and the A-10 has Maverick missiles that can knock out AA guns from several kilometers away.
Genre-Busting: Especially when it first came out in 2001. There were nearly no serious war-themed simulation games back then. FPS games were still getting the hang of things like vehicular combat sections or adding more realism to the way weapons were used in-game. OFP already had things like huge continuous sandbox-style maps with no loading during a mission, both stealthy and confrontational infantry combat, iron-sighting, a slew of different ground-based, water-going or aerial vehicles available to the player, and showed the modern battlefield as an eeriely tense and chaotic place, not a big pre-scripted set piece extravaganza centered around the player.
Good Guns, Bad Guns: Pretty much averted, particularly in the campaign of the Resistance expansion pack, where you act as the leader of a resistance groupfighting to liberate his homeland from a recent Soviet invasion. Practically all the standard guns of your partisans are either Warsaw Pact or civilian/hunting models. Most of your arsenal is therefore identical with that of the Soviet soldiers. On the other hand, there is a subversion later on, when the freedom fighters manage to acquire aid from a local NATO garrison: After this, they can also use a small supply of western firearms (e. g. FN FA Ls, Steyr Augs and M21 sniper rifles).
Gun Porn: A more tame example, but there's still lots of Cool Guns to admire (especially if you throw in some quality fan-made addons to expand the game's basic arsenal).
Rare Guns: The Russian Bizon SMG and some of the grenade and rocket launchers are pretty good examples. The Bizon is unfortunately an example of...
Anachronism Stew: Some of the firearms present. The M16A2 is the standard assault rifle of the American NATO soldiers in Cold War Crisis, whereas in the real 1985, it was a brand new version of the more ubiquotous A1 and hadn't been fully distributed en masse to the regular branches of the U.S. Army. Also, in the Resistance expansion, set in 1982, James Gastowski supplies Viktor Troska's partisan group with a few Steyr Aug rifles - even though they still aren't very widespread in the U.S. armed forces and were fairly new back in the early 80s (the first marketed version was produced in 1977). Another firearm seen too early is the aforementioned Russian Bizon SMG, used by the Spetsnaz soldiers since the Resistance expansion. It's a pretty awesome gun - except for the fact it started being produced in the early 90s and couldn't possibly be used by Soviet troops ten years earlier. The Bizon was probably included because of balancing issues (to give the Soviets their own silenced SMG)... or just because of Rule of Cool...
The Heckler & Koch G36, added into the game via one of the later official patches, is a subversion. Even though it couldn't have existed in the 80s (since it's been manufactured only since the 1990s) it doesn't appear in the story-relevant missions, so it's apparently not meant as deliberate Anachronism Stew.
Have a Nice Death: A YOU ARE DEAD screen, plus a quote about war from various famous personalities underneath it.
Heroic Mime: Averted. The protagonists of the campaigns regularly speak outside the cutscenes during crucial moments.
Hide Your Children: Many civilian characters appear in all the games, but there are no young ones to be seen.
Holiday Mode: In the first game, around Christmas time all of the small pine trees turn into Christmas trees, complete with presents. Also, some community members have made addons with Santa Claus and Jack Frost as playable units.
Basically, when the player exits any aerial vehicle that flies above a certain altitude, he will magically be attached to a parachute. On the other hand, jumping e.g. from a car you just drove over the edge of a cliff will result in the player falling to death.
However, the parachuting itself appears quite realistic. The parachute takes time to fully open and landing in rough terrain may result in severe injuries.
In Real Life, crews of helicopters are not equipped with 'chutes as helos, especially thos for close air support, mostly operate below the safe opening altitude of a parachute. Crew safety in helicopters instead relies on passive shock-absorbing techniques to dampen the impact. In OFP however, you quite often see parachutes from crippled helos.
An additional issue is the fact that some jet planes mimick ejector seats by blasting player plus parachute dozens of feet into the air in order to allow for parachute opening even from lower altitudes. However, if not destroyed such aircraft can be re-entered again, though technically the whole pilot's seat would have been gone.
Hyperspace Arsenal / Bottomless Magazines: Severely averted. In the original game, you could carry 1 rifle, 1 optional missile launcher, and you had 10 ammo slots (and a pistol holster with 4 ammo slots in the Resistance expansion). That meant that you were carrying a maximum of 300 rounds, and quite often you could be reduced to crawling around the battlefield frantically looking for more ammo.
In-Joke / Shout-Out / Creator Provincialism: BIS threw tons of shout outs to both Communist-era Czechoslovakia and the late 20th century Czech Republic into the original Operation Flashpoint installments. Traditional Czech rural architecture and East Bloc era concrete buildings are practically everywhere, along with 1960s Czech buses, motorbikes, Praga V3S army trucks◊, 1980s koda passenger cars and Zetor tractors. The local resistance groups use the Sa 58 as their standard assault rifle. The Resistance expansion in general takes the references Up to Eleven.
There's also an Easter Egg referencing Mash. You can find it on the medic tent.
One of the most fondly remembered fan-made game mods added the Communist-era Czechoslovak army to the whole NATO-USSR conflict of the original games. This faction's campaign story was generally... less serious than usual...
La Résistance: Cold War Crisis had a number of missions in which your character worked alongside the Everon resistance. In the Red Hammer expansion, you fight against them but later join them. The Resistance expansion went one step further and centered its entire campaign on one resistance member. Furthermore, your character in that expansion, Victor, initially doesn't want to fight the invading Soviets, but he is eventually convinced to because the Commies are so horrid. He joins a rag tag outfit, becomes its leader, succeeds in defeating the enemy, and then gets blown to pieces in a noble effort to save the island from being napalmed.
Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted. Everything but rocket launchers has appropriate amounts of recoil (depending on the weapon).
Life Meter: There is no health indicator at all, to determine the extent of your injuries you simply check your body for wounds. Any wound to a vital area has a good chance of killing you outright, and wounds to the limbs affect your movement and accuracy. If the player character is shot severely in the legs, he'll even have difficulties standing up and will be effectively crippled, unable to walk and forced to grovel all the way. Though there aren't any health packs as such, you can get the wound treated by a medic if you can find one. If the last medic in the platoon just bought it and a tank ran over the field hospital tent, however, tough luck!
Mad Libs Dialogue: The games are infamous for this. They don't just insert words into otherwise prerecorded sentences, they create entire sentences out of individual words. This leads to dialogue like this: "OH NOOO, two, IS DOWN ! CONTACT ! ENEMY, tank, AND, missile soldier, TO OUR, front, DANGEROUSLY CLOSE ! ALL, GO TO, that, BUSH, at, 4 O'CLOCK ! BE ADVISED, unknown, MAN, AND, MAN, AND, UAV, at, GRID, 132niner81..."
Every geographic name on Nogova is this to an extent (considering the locals and their culture are sort of a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Commie Land era Czechoslovakia). It appears quite a lot of these names were made up for sheer Rule of Funny. The most obvious examples would be the villages of "Vidlákov" (which in English means something like "Hickton / Hicktown"), "Mokropsy" (lit. "Wetdogs"), "Dolina" ("The Valley") or "Kvilda" (probably from the verb "kvílit"-"to wail"; which seems pretty fitting, since it's a seaside hamlet with wailing winds). Some of the settlements have much more typical Czech names though (e.g. Modrava, Petrovice, Lipany).
Military Alphabet: Used regularly by your squadmates, as well as the voiceover of your character when you're commanding a squad.
Missing Backblast: In a game which generally does its best to be realistic, the lack of backblast is somewhat jarring. Many mods add this, though.
More Dakka: From light machine guns to large stationary ones to the ones mounted on tanks and aircraft. You name it...
Multitrack Drifting: Possible at sufficiently high speeds in tanks, due to somewhat slippery physics.
Necessary Drawback: The way the game achieves its high level of realism. Going prone while running doesn't make you stop instantly, but allows you to feel the inertia of forward movement. Movements like gun reloading or putting aside your main weapon and pulling out an anti-tank weapon (or even just a pair of binoculars) all take a believable amount of time to execute, much like the ones you'd experience in real life. The rest of the realistic drawback aspects are covered in various entries on this page. Simply put, you don't behave like a run-and-gun superhero, but like a real human being who just happens to be a soldier.
New Meat / Ensign Newbie: Private David Armstrong and tank commander Robert Hammer, the starting protagonists of the first installment's campaign.
Night-Vision Goggles: Along with binoculars, a staple of optional special equipment. Handled believably, since the games try to be realistic military simulations. The characters can use real military night vision devices, a.k.a. "noctovizors", which render one's vision in grainy green hue and via a somewhat claustrophobic lens-like shape. The goggles are of course useful for missions set at night time, but even this gets subverted in an interesting fashion: If the visual field gets flooded with light or the night background is illuminated by stars, the goggles become actually less effective than the viewer's own eyes.
Nintendo Hard: Thanks to how realistic the game is, you'll have to do your best imitating military tactics to win the game, and no one ever says their jobs are easy.
Also, the Wham Episode mission from the campaign of Cold War Crisis, where private Armstrong manages to hide in a forest after his entire squad has been ambushed and gunned down. His two-way radio is malfunctioning, so he can't contact the nearest NATO camp and hears about NATO forces evacuating the island. Worse yet, some of the Soviet soldiers readying the area for re-occupation are out to hunt him down. Good luck crawling it out of the forest and then trying to sneak through a highly visible meadow and through several groves and forests to the nearest evac site. It lies several miles from your starting position and is surrounded by enemy-infested terrain...
One Bullet Clips: Averted. Ammunition is divided into tangible magazines, and if you reload when your magazine still holds any ammunition (even if it's only one round) it goes back into your inventory to be used later when you run out of full magazines. This can be a headache for compulsive reloaders, because they'll soon end up with half a dozen half empty magazines.
P.O.V. Sequel: The Red Hammer campaign from the eponymous mini-expansion pits you on the side of Guba's army, where you play the role of recently demoted soldier Dmitri Lukin.
Prequel: The Resistance expansion, taking place in 1982, three years prior to the events of Cold War Crisis.
Real-Time Strategy: The game engine can technically handle the player commanding forces as large as battalion-sized, although this is never actually put to use in the vanilla game, which never has the player commanding anything larger than individual squads or tank platoons. There are multiple Game Mod campaigns which take more of a strategy approach, though.
RPG Elements: Going with the whole "build up a guerilla army" theme, the Resistance expansion added new features like the ability of soldiers to gain experience (and get promoted) after each successful mission, the possibility to carry over captured weapons and equipment from one mission to the next, and more dynamic management of your equipment stockpile and loadout than in Cold War Crisis or Red Hammer.
Ruritania: The Malden islands in Cold War Crisis and Nogova island from the Resistance expansion are a non-monarchic, more modern, Cold War era version of this trope. They generally resemble the more rural regions or countries of the former East Bloc. In a Played for Laughsstereotypical way, no less.
This is a slight exaggeration. It is actually quite possible - albeit fairly difficult - to fight and triumph. Indeed, this is the preferred method for veterans to begin building up their arsenal early by taking out the mooks doing said threatening. That being said, there is a reason it is mainly done by the veterans.
Simulation Game: The games are both tactical shooters and ground and air combat sims.
Sniper Pistol: More or less averted, but the more powerful sidearms can act like this if you are really good at taking accurate headshots. Otherwise they're purely emergency weapons used in combat at close distances (and are therefore particularly useful for snipers, who can't rely on their rifles for self-defence).
Sniper Rifle: The Americans have the M21, while the Soviets use their well-known classic, the SVD Dragunov. The Resistance expansion added one for the resistance fighters as well. Since they're understandably lacking a lot of purpose-built military equipment, they use a scoped Remington hunting rifle to fill in the role.
Stealth-Based Game: Stealth is a viable (and vital) infantry tactic and there are lots of Stealth Based Missions - for regular soldiers and commando units alike. One of the four playable characters in the first game is a special forces saboteur that specializes in sneaking around behind enemy lines, but other characters get to be stealthy as well, depending on the situation. Regular infantry assaults are usualy preceded by stealthy crawling and maneuvering towards the target. One of the Attack Pattern Alpha commands for your squad is literally "use stealth". Since the game is a realistic soldier sim, the stealth is purely line-of-sight (no chance the enemy soldiers will forget about you once you alert them of your presence).
Of course, as with much about the games, this can be adjusted and modded.
Subsystem Damage: Both infantry and various armoured fighting vehicles have this.
Super Drowning Skills: Unlike in its successor ARMA, no one can swim. Even though drowning isn't instantaneous, being underwater damages you (and this somehow results in bloody wounds just like if you're shot) and submerging any non-amphibious vehicle inexplicably causes it to explode.
Take That: To Codemasters with the 10th anniversary patch, which removes the Red Hammer campaign made and released by them between Cold War Crisis and Resistance. A justified Take That, since that campaign was made by Codemasters on their own and BIS can't take credit for it or release it with its own installments.
Tank Goodness: So many tanks. The Abrams in the original was particularly fun, due to its incredibly resilient armor.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: And how. While you do spend much of the game as an ordinary infantryman, depending on the mission you can be doing anything from driving a tank to sneaking around behind enemy lines doing reconnaissance to flying various aircraft or any combination of these and more, to say nothing of commanding units on top of all of the above.
Universal Ammunition: Averted. Unless the type of ammunition is used in a closely related family/series of firearms, you'll have to find appropriate ammo for each gun. You won't have much luck trying to fire an AK-74 with an M16 magazine.
Unwinnable: A glitch in the last mission of the Red Hammer campaign can prevent the final credits and a "proper" ending from being unlocked. It CAN be bypassed, but the conditions to do so are a bit murky.
A glitch in one of the mid-campaign missions causes your helicopter to teleport and/or fly upside down, usually resulting in it crashing into the ground.
Villain-Based Franchise: Arguably so, since Guba is the only character to appear in all three installments and there wouldn't be much exciting action going on if he wasn't up to his old antics again...
When the player dies - which happens quite often - the camera pulls back from his body whilst showing one of a selection of quotes on the futility of war. The authors range from Pink Floyd ("Stay out of the road, if you want to grow old") to Bertrand Russell ("War does not determine who is right - only who is left").
What Could Have Been: The game was first designed with the intention of creating a purely non-public military sim, but the devs changed their plans already in the late 90s and made the VBS versions of the game only after it achieved significant commercial success. Also, EA Games and other big publishers declined to publish the original OFP, with the general reasoning being that war-themed FPSs and other games have no real following or future. After the release of OFP, a suspicious number of exactly such games flooded the video game market. And the genre is still going strong. The use of "iron-sighting" in FPSs also became more popular after OFP than ever before.
Where I Was Born and Razed: Happens in varying degrees in the city liberating missions of the Resistance campaign. Since all of them involve some tank warfare, expect the Nogovan resistance being forced to shell their own former homes and public buildings in order to smoke out the Soviet soldiers from their well-protected defences and hiding places.
Wide Open Sandbox: None of the games have "maps" in the traditional sense. You load an entire island, of perhaps 200-400 square kilometers, and then you play a mission on that island. It's essentially the same concept but on a much larger scale and uses the surrounding oceans, rather than walls or cliffs, to prevent the player from leaving. While you're often restricted from just going anywhere you want on the island in the missions (because disobeying orders gets you in trouble and wandering deep into enemy territory is generally a bad idea anyway), many missions are set up in a sandbox manner, allowing you massive space to roam and a wide variety of equipment and support options. Occasionally, fan-made missions will put you in a Call of Duty-ish linear mission.
World War III: Subverted. In Cold War Crisis You're trying to stop Guba from sparking it at all, since the consequences of him succeeding in his provocation would be downrightcatastrophic.
Yanks with Tanks: While the games keep changing the opponents you fight, you're almost always fighting under the Stars and Stripes. Unless you're playing Resistance. Which was awesome, incidentally.
Of course, the Red Hammer campaign developed a particularly contrived plot towards the end, where Dimitri Lukin discovers that the Soviets have killed civilians (something that he expressed disgust for at the start of the campaign with some rookie soldiers) and decides to abandon his army in order to join the resistance. The last mission involves helping NATO forces take a small base after planting some charges there yourself. Appropriately enough, they have tanks too!
You Always Hear The Bullet: Soundly averted. Sound itself takes time to travel through, meaning it's possible to get killed by a bullet before the report of the weapon that fired it reaches you. The same goes for any other sound; if a huge explosion from several miles away takes place, the auditory effects will come seconds later.
You Are in Command Now: During many of the more intense firefights, your commanding officers quite often get killed. So, does your squad immediately rout ? No, not to worry: You hear a "this is (number of troop), I'm taking command !" message on your radio and continue fighting. Your character will do this too, if his rank is the highest in the squad once your superior bites the dust.