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Video Game: Red Orchestra

Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 is yet another First-Person Shooter that is based around World War II. However, there are two key differences: it focuses entirely on the Eastern Front with conflicts between the Germans and Soviets (a setting usually forgotten by WWII FPS, probably because of the usual America Wins the War portrayal); its focus is entirely on realism. There are no crosshairs, no health kits, and bullets follow the standard laws of physics (mostly).

It started out as a mod of Unreal Tournament 2003. As an infantryman, you have the choice of playing several different classes: an assault trooper with a sub-machine gun; a sniper with a scoped rifle (the rifle shakes like crazy unless you're bracing it against something, and you have to account for bullet-drop when firing a long distance); a machine gunner (depending on the type, the barrel can overheat and you will have to manually replace it with another barrel); a bolt-action rifleman (the only class which has unlimited slots); a semi-automatic rifleman; and the squad leader, who is basically just an assault trooper with smoke grenades. On maps where there are tanks, you also have the option of playing as a tank crewman, a tank commander (the only classes that can drive tanks), or an anti-tank trooper who starts out with a gun that can destroy tanks with one or two shots to less armored areas. Tanks are also handled realistically in that you either need at least two people to drive them (one to drive, one to fire and reload the gun), or one person who switches very fast between the two positions (which is an Acceptable Break from Reality, since waiting 30 seconds to switch from the driver's seat to the turret does not make for exciting gameplay).

Maps consist of either pure infantry battles, pure tank battles where everyone has to play a tank crewman/commander, and combined arms battles which use both infantry and tanks. Strategy revolves around capture points, where one side has to capture a certain amount of area in a given time and the defenders have to stop them. Each side is also assigned a number of 'reinforcements,' which indicate how many times a player can respawn after death. Once they reach zero, no one can respawn anymore. If any side is at 0% reinforcements and has all of their members killed, then they lose regardless of any other factor.

The game itself, as a mod, was released in the Editor's Choice Edition of Unreal Tournament 2004, (alongside Alien Swarm, itself another Ascended Fanfic) and sprang from an entry in a mod contest held by Epic Games, with first prize being a million dollars and free Unreal Engine 2 licenses. They won, and founded Tripwire Interactive on the spot. There are two mods for Red Orchestra called Darkest Hour, which focuses on the Western Front after D-day, and Mare Nostrum, which focuses on the battle in the Mediterranean and features Italian troops.

The sequel was released in September 2011.

The sequel's stand-alone expansion Rising Storm was released in May 2013, set in the Pacific and featuring much more asymmetrical gameplay between the American Allies and Japanese Axis factions - the former having generally more direct firepower in their weapons (such as the basic rifleman being able to equip themselves with a semi-automatic rifle as opposed to the bolt-action rifles every other faction's riflemen uses, and a flamethrower class) while the latter utilizes special grenade uses for Suicide Attacks or Booby Traps, a player-held mortar class (while all other factions have to mark locations for the team's commander to call in fire missions on the location) and Banzai charges.

This game took its name from the Soviet Union's espionage network during the war, which was called the Red Orchestra by the Gestapo. This game otherwise has no connection to spying.


This video-game provides examples of:

  • And This Is for...: In Rising Storm, both American and Japanese player characters may say something in this vein after killing an enemy.
    That was for Pearl Harbor!
    Manila no fukushu ja! (Revenge for Manila!)
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI bots that play the combat engineers have a nasty habit of dropping their timed det packs in the middle of a group of friendlies.
    • Pretty much all AI bots in Red Orchestra 2 are pretty bad, especially in the single player campaign. Machine gunners will abandon their role entirely and fire their pistol at a horde of oncoming troops, Assaults will fire their gun into the ceiling while an enemy soldier clocks them in the face, soldiers will run around blindly while the point they're supposed to be defending gets taken, etc.
  • Artifact Title: Inverted in regards to the "Orchestra" part at least. The maps originally had no music playing when the game was first released, a later update added music as an option.
    • Averted with Rising Storm, which is considered part of the franchise but doesn't have "Red Orchestra" in the title at all because it's set in the Pacific theater.
  • Battle Cry: Holding down the melee attack button while sprinting can cause your character to elicit a battle-cry.
    Aaannnnngrrriiiffff!
    • In Rising Storm this also gives buffs to the Japanese:
    BANZAAAAAAAIIIIIII!!!
  • BFG: Treated realistically in Heroes of Stalingrad - machine gunners need to be prone or on cover to place their weapon down to fire it fully automatically. It may be fired from the hip, but very slowly. Anti-tank rifles in both games have an even stricter requirement by being impossible to fire when not set up.
  • Boom, Headshot: A One-Hit Kill.
  • Break Meter: Heroes of Stalingrad has a a suppression meter shown for yourself. When it depletes, your screen greys out making it impossible to see (and therefore shoot) very much past twenty feet and prevents you from zooming in and focusing while using iron sights.
  • Bottomless Magazines: An interesting example - the fixed machine guns (for the Russians, a Maxim M1910, and an MG34 on a tripod for the Germans) need to be reloaded, but they have an infinite number of ammunition belts to do it with.
  • Character Class System: Present in its games.
    • Heroes of Stalingrad has these (limits may vary based on the given map):
      • Rifleman: Armed with a bolt-action rifle and anti-personnel grenades, this class is a filler one that always has a limit equal to the team's highest possible player count (in other words, really none). Serving as the Jack of All Stats, they aid more specialized members with whatever's needed - accurate covering fire, guarding flanks, providing more bodies into a capture zone and the like. While their equipment isn't as impressive as other classes, a high-powered rifle bullet in one's torso will easily kill anyone, leaving them to still be feared regardless.
      • Elite Rifleman: A limited class, using a semi-automatic rifle and anti-personnel grenades, this is essentially strictly a superior version of the Rifleman class, with their higher fire-rate leaving them a more potent threat to more individuals at once and in closer combat.
      • Assault and Elite Assault: A limited class, using a handheld automatic weapon and anti-personnel grenades, the Assault class seeks to close with enemies to engage. Their weapons' high fire-rate and decently large magazines easily give them the advantage of shooting first in close-combat and killing multiple enemies in quick succession. Lacking accuracy at range, they rely on maneuvering and teamwork to get to the close distance they want to be at with the enemy. The Elite Assault is a specific variation of the Assault being capable of getting an automatic rifle instead of just a sub-machine gun - in Realism mode, all Assaults are Elite Assaults.
      • Engineer: A very limited class containing some overlap with the Assault class due to also using a sub-machine gun, the Engineer's real unique advantage is the satchel charges they carry to destroy walls and defences to aid their comrades' attacks.
      • Marksman: A usually highly limited class, they use a bolt-action rifle with a scope (they can also use a semi-automatic rifle with a scope in some game modes) shoot accurately from farther away, though they also have a pistol and anti-personnel grenades. Also strictly better than Rifleman, their long-range scopes combined with their limited numbers make them best deployed to strike at valuable targets (such as commanders, squad leaders and machine gunners) instead of aiding frontline offence or defence with much greater risk to the individual.
      • Anti-tank: A limited class only available on certain maps with tanks on them, they use a large-caliber anti-materiel rifle and anti-tank grenades to destroy enemy tanks. While their rifle is perfectly usable against infantry, its requirement to be set up against ground or cover before firing makes the weapon a lot less easy to deploy compared to other rifles and an anti-tank rifleman getting their position exposed to die fruitlessly can cause enemy tanks to really tear through their team, making the class require a lot of discretion. They also have a pistol to defend themselves against closer enemies and while moving to a better position.
      • Machine gunner: A usually highly limited class, they use a heavy machine gun to serve as their team's larger source of static firepower. Machine guns can fire much more slowly while moving or standing still, but may fire much faster while set up against ground or cover. A well-chosen position while set-up lets them distribute death in copious amounts to enemy infantry in their sights, but they lack grenades and the necessity to set up causes them a certain predictability leaving them vulnerable to flanking or marksmen.
      • Squad leader: A limited class, these non-commissioned officer have command of squads to order them, have clearance to mark positions for fire support at the decision of their team's commander, count as extra for in objective zones, and squad members can elect to respawn at their position. While armed with anti-personnel grenades and another gun, their class' most valuable "weapon" is their smoke grenade which can be used to screen allies so they have clear routes with which to run by enemy positions and attack. They also have binoculars to aid in spotting enemies and finding desirable coordinates for indirect fire missions. Squad leaders can elect to use a sub-machine gun to aid in attacking with other Assaults or hang back with a semi-automatic rifle to provide covering fire (and more safely provide a spawn point closer to the front).
      • Commander: The most limited class in that your team always can only have one, these commissioned officers can command the team's squads and are the only ones with the clearance to use a radio to call in mortar, artillery or rocket fire support on positions. These require a mark on a coordinate set by the eyes/binoculars of the commander himself, or the team's squad leaders. The radio can also be used to call in aerial recon to report enemy positions to the entire team, or instantly respawn all allied players waiting on the queue. The radio's options all have cooldowns associated with them, requiring decisive and appropriate use to them - a commander must watch the battlefield and work with their team and vice-versa to ensure victory. While armed similarly as squad leaders (even having an extra smoke grenade) and also counting twice in objective zones, it is certainly risky for the team to be without the support sent by the radio should their commander be dead, and so commanders are better off staying alive to call in support for their team with the radio and laying down smoke rather than shooting at the enemy themselves.
      • Tanks: Operated by a commander and crewmen - a driver, a hull gunner, main gunner (commander and main gunner are overlapped by the Russians) and an AI to do the boring job of loading the main gun. Should any of the crew die, the survivors must cope by taking time to swap seats as necessary to perform the dead's duties.
    • Rising Storm also added a few classes:
      • Flamethrower: US only class. Equipped with a heavy flamethrower and pistol, he is slow and the flames he uses are very visible with limited range (this is somewhat alleviated with later ranks letting the class carry a carbine rifle instead of a pistol). Hard to use around anywhere open on account of this, but potentially incredibly effective on both offense and defense with his flamethrower bringing down his unfortunate enemies nigh instantly.
      • Mortar: Japanese only class. Rifleman loadout, but carries a knee mortar that can be used for direct and in-direct fire. Effective at medium-long ranges, bombarding enemies whose weapons usually make it difficult for his team from having any chance in a straight shoot-out.
      • Recon: US only. Available only on a few maps, the recon is a sniper who can set artillery targets for the commander.
      • Automatic Rifleman: US only, replacing Elite Rifleman. Since the US has semiautomatic M1 Garand for Riflemen, this class instead get to use the Browning Automatic Rifle (a lighter, slower-firing machine gun with a smaller magazine that can fire automatically without being set-up) and a pistol.
  • Charged Attack: Melee attacks in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm can be swung fast to do some damage or have the button held down to ensure a kill with a hit.
    • Doing this while sprinting also causes the attack to cause some suppression. There are faction-specific benefits to doing this - Germans suppress more after having already killed enemies, Russians resist suppression and suppress more if done simultaneously with nearby allies, and the Japanese also suppress better if done simultaneously with nearby allies while letting the chargers ignore some damage that otherwise would kill them. Americans have no faction-specific benefit to charging.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted Trope in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm. The standard high-powered rifles easily pierce through the thin walls of houses or sheet metal to One-Hit Kill the poor bastard behind it. Think carefully about firing and potentially exposing your position... being unable to see and shoot at someone isn't necessarily mutual.
    • Anti-tank rifles are even capable of destroying some light obstacles or trees.
  • Death from Above: Commanders in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm can call in mortar, artillery and rocket fire missions on positions marked by themselves or allied squad leaders - proper use of these are vital to attacking and defending alike, obliterating enemies hit by them and strongly suppressing the survivors close by. The Japanese team in Rising Storm also has a Light Mortar class which includes a small mortar for the class to direct-fire or over an arc onto a location.
  • Determinator: In Rising Storm, enough Japanese players performing a Banzai Charge together render its participants more resistant to damage, which gets further enhanced with even more players.
  • Easter Egg: Statues of Stalin from Heroes of Stalingrad can be found hidden around maps in Rising Storm.
  • Excuse Plot: Don't buy Heroes of Stalingrad for it's singleplayer campaign unless you want to be very underwhelmed. Although that's still a step up from the first game: your only non-multiplayer option was practice mode, which was exactly the same as multiplayer except with retarded bots instead of human players.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Very, very much on the realistic end.
  • Friend or Foe: The games' sides have different uniforms and sprint in noticeably different manners (Germans hold their weapon with just their right hand while Russians hold it with both) but the uniforms are of a fairly dull palette and you can die really fast should you be mistaken that an individual is an ally - some game modes allow you to see your allies on your map but this may require pressing a button first to check which a player may not want to take the time to utilize in a tense battle. Shooting your own side is so common there is a simple mechanic in 2 and Rising Storm for forgiving an ally who has killed you by typing "np" in chat to give them back the points they've lost from killing you - players would be best to try to not take such incidents too seriously.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The Americans of Rising Storm have a class called "Flamethrower", which predictably uses a flamethrower as its main weapon.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The suppression mechanic is reaaaalllly bugged. As an example, allied fire can cause it if you're too close to them, rendering your screen blurry and and cause your weapon to shake around the screen like you're in a bouncy castle from a teammate shooting his sub-machine gun at enemies down range while next to you.
    • Penetration for shots depends on the material shot through first for the firing player, potentially letting them shoot through some thick walls and hit enemies on the other side if flimsy metal sheets or wood planks is between the wall and the player's bullets.
  • Game Mod: Began life as one, and won one of the "Make Something Unreal" contests. The retail version has two mods itself - Darkest Hour and Mare Nostrum.
    • And the developers hired the Darkest Hour team to create an expansion for Heroes of Stalingrad set in the Pacific with the American and Japanese armies. Apart from this, the developers already released the SDK to several modders so they could create mods early: there is a Vietnam War mod and a WW1 mod. This all before the game even released.
      • The remaining Darkest Hour developers formed Jackboot Games and are now working on their own standalone WW2 game: Festung Europa.
    • Most of the mod development for RO 2 stopped. In Country: Vietnam and the official mod, Rising Storm are the ones in production.
  • Groin Attack: A killing shot to the groin has the unique kill-icon of an acorn lying on its side, cracked all the way through it.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Officers of the Japanese in Rising Storm have a katana they can use as a melee weapon - to give the trope what it expects, it has the bonus of better inspiring the participants of a Banzai Charge to resist more damage and intimidating enemies to suppress them more severely.
  • Hit Scan: Averted. Ballistics need to be taken into account for every ranged weapon.
  • HUD: There is one, but it provides neither crosshair nor exact bullet count, unlike most other FPSs.
    • Realism mode in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm limits the HUD to the sprint and suppression meters without holding down the tactical display button.
  • Instant Death Bullet: An Averted Trope in Heroes of Stalingrad - if you are fatally wounded, you may conk out instantly (likely from a Boom, Headshot), but occasionally instead you may still survive some seconds more to continue firing before your character blacks out. As well, being non-fatally wounded requires your character to bandage themselves before they bleed to death (you get two). The kill messages appearing on the top right also coordinate with this, taking a bit longer after a kill is scored as opposed to instantly.
  • Meaningful Name: In addition to the above about the name "Red Orchestra", Ostfront is German for "eastern front".
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in the sequel, where there is a single-player campaign for both the Russians and the Germans.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. In fact, you don't even HAVE an exact bullet count on the HUD - just the number of remaining clips or magazines and some text describing the weight of the current mag after a reload. Kind of like Trespasser, but without the voices. In Heroes of Stalingrad, characters will reload box magazines on weapons that use them and toss out the last clip, but will insert rounds one by one into rifles, unless the rifle is totally empty, in which they will insert a full magazine via stripper clips. With the telescopic scope getting in way for the Marksman class' rifles, they always insert rounds one by one for reloading.
    • Classes with Magazines keep half empty magazines on them instead of tossing them, and you can also swap those mags out again if you feel you need more ammo. Always make sure to check your ammo before attacking, or you might run into the enemy with two rounds left in the mag.
  • One-Hit Kill: Very likely, though not always. Along with Boom, Headshot being a One-Hit Kill common with other games, a shot to the heart is also guaranteed to be fatal, and both headshots and heartshots have a special kill-icon specific to them, independent of weaponry.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: The Germans call their enemies Bolsheviks and Ivan. The Russians reciprocate with fascists and Fritz.
  • Nintendo Hard: To be expected with all the focus on realism.
  • Poirot Speak: Used by both Germans and Russians, but there is an option to allow all vocalizations to be made in the native language. Averted in Rising Storm where the Japanese only speak Japanese, except for the announcer who speaks English with a heavy accent.
  • Shown Their Work: The second game's contents are very authentically portrayed. Weapons have their sights very faithfully reproduced (such as rifles being capable of dialing their iron sights for over 1000 meters despite how the actual gameplay renders being able to even see enemies that far probably impossible), and tanks have some very complex calculations behind anti-tank rifle shots penetrating their armour.
  • Smoke Out: Proper use of squad leaders' smoke grenades onto enemy positions to cover your flanks is vital for attacking. Poor use is likely to just blind yourself and your own allies.
  • Sprint Meter: In both games.
  • Suicide Attack: A game mechanic for the Japanese of Rising Storm - being killed by your own grenade will not cause your team to lose a ticket as long as the grenade killed at least one enemy.
  • Translation Convention: In Heroes of Stalingrad, after the Bilingual Bonus from the original. There is an option for you hear all combatants speak in their native languages, however.
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted. Not only do you need to be a tank commander to drive a tank, tanks need multiple crewmen to function efficiently.
    • However, a player going it alone can drive, then switch seats to the gunner position when needed. Many players do this almost exclusively. Solo tankers can use the movement keys from the gunner/commander positions to direct their driver, though there's naturally a delay between pressing the key and the driver responding, unlike controlling the driver directly. Of course, driving-by-order from the gunner/commander position also makes it hell to navigate unless you take the very risky measure of popping your head out the top hatch and subsequently having every sniper in the area trying to see who can hit closest to your nose.
    • Similarly, there is only one commander on each team in Heroes of Stalingrad, and only they have the clearance to call in support with the radio.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Averted Trope by the one of Rising Storm - while its short-range is a certainly noticeable drawback and it only carries one tank of ammunition, the weapon is nearly unstoppable within that range by nigh-instantly killing any targets hit by its flames, the flames' area of effect allows success with less precise shooting than other weapons to give the user an easier time shooting first before enemies, and the fuel tank is fairly deep considering its impressive killing power which will make it unlikely you'll run out in a desperate close-up fight with careful bursts. There is simply no better weapon to be used on an enemy's flank in close-quarters, clearing a tight room... or stopping a Banzai charge cold (or rather not very cold at all).
  • War Is Hell: While it never outright says it, this series never flinches from the fact that combat was often short, terrifying and brutal.
    • As can be listened to in the YMMV section, the lines for dying men's screams, whimpers and gurgles in 2 and Rising Storm are frequently... well, soul crushing.
Out Of HellGame Mod IndexDefense of the Ancients: All-Stars
Redneck RampageFirst-Person ShooterRed Steel
Killing FloorHumble BundleThirty Flights of Loving
First-Person ShooterWorks Set in World War IIUnity Of Command
Red FactionUsefulNotes/SteamRedshirt

alternative title(s): Red Orchestra; Rising Storm
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