The second game in the Saints Row series.It turns out that "Playa" survived the blast that ended the first game, but has spent five years in a coma - the game begins just as he (or she — you can now play a female character) wakes up. Upon busting out of prison and rescuing homie Johnny Gat from the electric chair, he/she discovers that four forces have risen to fill the void in power left by the Saints' disappearance:
The Brotherhood (red), a gang consisting of white trash rockers and punks who favor tattoos, heavy metal and big trucks. They specialize in arms dealing and trucks.
The Sons of Samedi (green), college kids and hippies led by Haitian voodoo witch doctors and ex-military men. They deal drugs, particularly the popular Loa Dust.
The Ronin (gold), a presumably Yakuza faction led by the petty son of one of the Japanese leaders. Favor katanas, motorcycles and import tuners. They specialize in vice of prostitution, pornography, and gambling.
Ultor Corp (orange), a powerful Mega Corp. that has taken over and completely renovated the Saints' old 'hood, in a project spearheaded by Dane Vogel... who has plans for the rest of the city.
Alive, pissed, a lot more talkative, and with a thirst for vengeance against those behind the explosive attempt on his/her life, "Playa" becomes "Boss" as he/she rebuilds the Saints from the ground up and embarks on a mission to destroy the other gangs, and eventually become the kingpin of the city.
Provides Examples Of:
Actor Allusion: In an early cutscene that finds the Boss watching the news shortly after escaping from prison, pay close attention to the news ticker on the bottom of the screen. It's mentioned that Benjamin King wrote an autobiography that would be made into a movie, where he'd be played by Michael Clarke Duncan. Michael Clarke Duncan is King's voice actor.
Ambiguously Gay: Playing as a male leads to some rather odd moments with Pierce where he jockeys with Shaundi for the Boss' attention. And there's also his love of classical music and his reaction to seeing a female stripper: "Damn, those are some nice shoes!"
Right before a bar is raided by an Ultor SWAT team, the female main character can be seen welcoming a female bartender's flirts... until SWAT breaches and Boss flings the bartender toward the bullets to shield herself, then blows her corpse up with gas to kill the members.
In addition to that moment, there's the cutscene mentioned above with the stripper, in which she (the Boss) is laid back, taking in the show with as much satisfaction as a dude would. And the various comments early on in favor of a stripper pole in the Saints HQ. And for at least one of the voices, she has definite chemistry with Shaundi. She's definitely bi, if not an outright lesbian.
Not to mention the way Boss ogles Shaundi when she's running on the treadmill, Jiggle Physics included.
It seems that people in the game see it too; a Saint inquires about the female player getting it on with Shaundi.
Playing a female Boss, homies made these comments:
You can literally jumpstart motorcycles. Start a wheelie then hold the accelerator, handbrake and keep pulling your weight back (you may also want to hold the view back button to avoid the camera pointing into the sky). Now the bike is doing a standing wheelie, while spinning the rear wheel. Let go of the handbrake and the bike will literally jump forwards.
The way the player get thrown around in the "Insurance Fraud" missions.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Pimp Cane shotgun. It looks very cool, holds more rounds than any other shotgun, and deals quite a respectable amount of damage, but it has the lowest rate of fire of any gun in the game and you receive it so late in the storyline that, if you don't already have the AS 14 Hammer automatic shotgun (or even the unlockable XS-2 Ultimax) by that point, you're probably doing something wrong.
Bare-Handed Blade Block: Johnny Gat does this a couple of times while fighting the Ronin in Saint's Row 2. Although he uses a much more practical and realistic version, instead of grabbing the blade itself, he grabs the wrists of the person holding the sword.
Battle in the Rain: Occurs during the Ronin storyline when Shogo Akuji leads an attack on Aisha's funeral in a desperate attempt to kill Johnny and the Boss. Even if the weather was cloudless and sunny it turns to rain as soon as the opening mission cutscene begins.
Big Eater: Habitual stoner Shaundi insists on stopping for fast food on each level of her Heli-Assault Escort Mission. While being relentlessly pursued by swarms of Ronin with full intent of blowing her up.
Black Comedy / Nightmare Fuel: The various radio ads for Ultor products and services don't so much straddle the line between the two as hop gleefully back and forth over the line while chanting "Bet you can't guess which one!" in a disturbingly cheery, singsong voice.
Brick Joke: After the completion of Down Payment (mission number three in the prologue), we get this exchange in the ending cutscene.
Boss: (with regards to using the abandoned hotel as the Saints' new base) I don't know, man. Johnny: Oh, come on. A stripper pole, some flat screens, maybe some nicer furniture... Boss: You had me at "stripper pole." Johnny: Fuckin' a.
At the ending cutscene of the next mission; this bit of dialogue comes.
Carlos: You guys actually hang out down here? Shaundi: I dunno; add a flat screen, some throw pillows, and a hookah and this place would be alright. Pierce: You definitely need a stripper pole in this bitch.
The brick joke goes even further; as you progress through the game, the hotel undergoes renovations as it becomes more of a proper hideout. When it's fully refurbished, the Saints' HQ gets three stripper poles.
Bond One-Liner: At the end of the Brotherhood storyline, this exchange.
Boss: (points a Vice 9 at Maero's temple) Any last words? Maero: Go to hell. Boss: (pulls the trigger) Sorry; didn't catch that.
Book Dumb: The Boss is fairly ignorant. He/she acts puzzled when Tara explains that she is a micro-biologist to which Tara replies "read a book".
Bottomless Magazines: Certain activities, once fully completed, reward you with infinite ammo for a specific weapon type, so long as it's bought from Friendly Fire or taken from your cache. And while the magazines themselves aren't bottomless in the above situation, actual bottomless magazines are available through cheats. In addition, some weapons hold more rounds at once than their real-world counterparts can (shotguns in particular, with the double-barreled Tombstone holding 6 shells and the pimp cane holding 16).
Buffy Speak: Fittingly provided by Eliza Dushku as Shaundi; when she contacts Boss about the shipment mentioned heavily in the Brotherhood storyline, she describes it such: "Maero's got enough guns to take over... something that needs a lot of guns to take over."
Bulletproof Human Shield: Taking a Banger for cover causes the other members to open fire and kill their friend while you take them apart.
Buried Alive: Shogi Akuji, son of the leader of The Ronin, gets buried alive by Gat and the Player Character after interrupting Aisha's funeral.
But Thou Must: The obligatory sword-fighting sequences in the Ronin story thread.
Also, the whole Brotherhood arc. Alliance that Maero proposes (likely to be honest, as Maero is a far cry from Smug Snake) is what would seem the only rational option for the underdog the Saints are at the beginning of the game (see Disproportionate Retribution below). But the truce is not an option.
Butt Monkey: Pierce. Between competing for Boss' approval with Shaundi and fighting over what to listen to on the radio, he just can't seem to catch a break. Though being the Butt Monkey means that he can stick around. Unlike poor Carlos and Aisha.
Call Back: In the final confrontation with the Ronin's leader, on an exploding boat, the Boss quips: "Can we hurry this up? I wanna hit TGI!"
Both of the Drug Trafficking activities reference events in the first game:
The instance in the Hotels and Marina district has the mission's contractor as Luz Avalos, who will make passing references to the time she spent with Los Carnales.
The instance in the Airport District has the player escort Tobias' cousin as he makes deals, who regularly mentions the Boss doing the same thing with Tobias himself in Saints Row.
The final cutscene at the end of the prologue references the first game, with the leader of the Saints telling various lieutenants to watch certain gangs and one of them complaining about which gang s/he was given. The Boss even says the same phrase Julius used in response.
Canon Welding: Ultor later goes on to oppress miners on Mars. In one of the DLC packs, a character is asked where Ultor is planning on mining, anyway, while you're pursued by Ultor's turreted vehicle prototypes, and the character states "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
Capoeira: The Sons of Samedi fighting style resembles this.
The Cartel: The Sons of Samedi's main means of revenue is selling their trademark drug: Loa Dust.
Checkpoint Starvation: There are a number of missions that are conspicuously lacking in checkpoints, given their length and complexity. The ones that really make many players tear their hair out are "Bank Error in Your Favor," "Assault on Precinct 31," and "Salting the Earth...Again."
Cluster S Bomb: How Male Voice 2 demonstrates his love of "Sister Christian".
Male 1 voice sings to "The Final Countdown" Male 2 voice sings to "Sister Christian" Male 3 voice sings to both "Working for the Weekend" and "Don't you Forget About Me" Female 1 voice sings to "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" Female 2 voice sings to "The Reflex" Female 3 voice sings to "Down Under" Allof them sing to "Take On Me"
Cluster Mother F-Bomb: Several songs on the soundtrack, particularly the signature I Luv It which in parts drops one every second word.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Multiple, multiple examples. Apparently rival gangs have a GPS tracker on you at all times, because with your notoriety through the roof, they'll all be on you at once, even if you're driving one of their vehicles. Similarly, the computer loves creaming you with a swerving civilian in the middle of a firefight, having random civilians actively pursue and slam onto your vehicle in chases, obliterating you with one shot with a rocket out of nowhere from an attack helicopter, and so on. Most likely the most egregious example, though, is the aforementioned Escort activity, where you discover that a lightning-quick sports car is no match for... a news van from the 1980's, which will ride your bumper at 100mph.
The cars exhibit rubberbanding capabilities that would be more at home in Mario Kart. Enemy gangs will find the way to ram your car from behind, even if you are driving an exact clone of the car they are driving on a highway at top speed.
Continuity Nod: Many characters are reused in the sequel; sometimes without any re-introduction, so they could only be recognized by players of the first game. And because of the PC's expanded customization options (including another gender) and voiced character in the second game, as a Running Gag characters remark on how different the player looks and acts before continuing to treat them as a familiar homie or acquaintance.
And when factoring in the Canon Welding, one of the radio ads is for a show called "Red Planet, Red Passion". Second half sound vaguely familiar? The two names you hear most are Parker and Eos, as to remove all doubt. (Could be more of a Shout Out or Mythology Gag due to how it twists the story of the original Red Faction from a miner's rebellion into a sappy love story/soap opera thing.)
There are still gang tags for the gangs in the first game scattered throughout the city, usually with tags for one of the new gangs painted over them.
Cool Versus Awesome: Later levels of the Fuzz activity have you breaking up random fights between pirates and ninjas.
Break up the battle of the century. Dispatch: Pirates are fighting ninjas. I repeat, pirates are fighting ninjas.
Cutscene Drop: The second mission, Appointed Defender, has you approach the courtroom. When the cutscene starts, you burst into the room through a door that otherwise leads to a dead end.
Cutscene Incompetence: The Boss Fight against Kazuo Akuji ends with a Finishing Move of the Boss stabbing him through the heart...then immediately cuts to Akuji gaining the upper hand, effortlessly disarming the Boss, and mocking him/her for thinking he/she could beat him in a sword fight.
Darker and Edgier: The plot of the original game has the player very much as "just another gangster" although trusted with more difficult tasks, working with the leader Julius to make the Saints the sole gang in the city, somehow making things safer. However, the sequel makes the hero the leader of the bunch and his/her actions disturbed some players. The tit-for-tat violence with Maero resulting in Carlos' death, and the player's retaliation (locking Maero's girlfriend Jessica in the trunk of her own car, then bringing said car to a monster truck derby, where Maero unknowingly crushes it).
Also, when the player meets Julius, he is trying to leave the past behind him. Trying to convince the player to stop the madness and killing, he is ignored, sneered at, and killed. Benjamin King was right in saying the gangs never leave you...
Darkest Hour: Assuming you play all of the gang plotlines concurrently, Mission Four involves Aisha being murdered, Shaundi being kidnapped, Gat being hospitalised and Carlos being tortured to the point that The Boss is forced to Mercy Kill him.
The best pistol, submachine gun, and shotgun in the game are awarded for completing Level 3 in the Projects Fuzz, Downtown Snatch, and Airport Drug Trafficking minigames, respectively, so you could theoretically get them before you've even completed the game's prologue. (Completing Level 6 in those minigames will give you unlimited ammo for your new weapons as well, although that's a lot tougher.)
As soon as you have your first "crib" (meaning, as soon as you've completed the second mission of the game), you can raise your Wanted Meter rating to four stars, steal a Bear (an Awesome Personnel Carrier with a mounted turret and enough armor to shrug off several guided missile blasts), and take it to your garage, thus ensuring you'll have it for the rest of the game. And once you've killed your notoriety at the nearest Forgive and Forget (or gotten "smoked," whichever), you can take it back out to customize it with improved durability and a nitrous boost for speed.
And there is also the Attack helicopter spawning on the roof of police station. It spawns there rarely, but from the very beginning of the game. And your second crib awarded for storyline prologue has landing pad for storing helicopters. And though you are not allowed to take vehicles from storage during mission, this is easily bypassed by bringing your chopper to the mission site. And results are...well, lets just say that 90% of storyline missions are conceived to be challenging for someone walking on foot/driving car.
Disproportionate Retribution: Averted during the 'Fuzz' activity, which requires you to shoot, beat, chainsaw, and/or burn to death various "criminals", some of whom are just peacefully protesting or skateboarding around town. The reason for the aversion is that A) you're not a cop and thus not worrying about dispensing actual justice and B) the camera crew following you around knows this. They're the ones to hand the player chainsaws and flamethrowers to take to hippies because they know it'll get them the best ratings.
The whole Brotherhood plotline begins with this. Maero tries to push a blatantly one-sided deal for the control of Stillwater to the Boss. His response? Sneaking radioactive waste into his personal tattoo artist's ink supplies, causing him to unknowingly burn half of his chief's face off.
The revenge gets even more disproportional the sooner the player starts the Brotherhood questline. If you start the Brotherhood missions first, your gang contains three rookie lieutenants, 20 mooks and controls NO territory. That means that Maero is offering a solid part of the city to a gang whch has NOTHING more than memories of past glory, just to avoid trouble.
Does Not Like Shoes: Some pedestrians, most notably the ones dressed like hippies. The hippie clerks at On the Rag also count. Most pedestrians in the Marina district are barefoot but in swimsuits (don't know if that counts). As always, it's up to you whether or not this applies to the Boss as well.
Downer Beginning: From the very beginning of the game to the start of the story proper when you strike back against the new gangs, the only real high note is that The Boss turns out not to have died at the end of the first game.
The Dragon: Jyunichi for the Ronin and Mister Sunshine for the Sons of Samedi.
Drive-In Theater: An old run down one is located next to the Samedi drug farm. It doesn't have any importance to the plot, but is the spot where one of the hitman targets show up.
Easy Sex Change: You can visit a plastic surgeon at any time and completely change your character's appearance, including gender. And voice, somehow.
The Saints' headquarters, an abandoned hotel that collapsed beneath street level after an earthquake some years back. As the Saints grow in wealth and power, it is eventually renovated from a burnt-out hellhole to a sumptuous, neon-lit nightclub called "Purgatory."
The Pyramid serves this purpose for Ultor.
Enemy Mime: In a DLC mission the Boss is attacked completely out of nowhere by a whole gang of mimes.
Et Tu, Brute?: It's revealed in the final mission in that Julius was the one who tried to kill the Boss by planting a bomb in Hughes' yacht while the both of them were having a meeting.
Even Evil Has Standards: The one time the idea of racism really comes up, everybody in the room except the person making a racist joke is offended. Which includes two gang bosses, a lieutenant, and a gang boss' closest friend. Apparently, "Saint's Row" takes place in a universe where racial tensions have nothing to do with gang wars.
What makes it more interesting is the fact, that many gangs, especially Carnales (Latino), Ronin (Japanese), Brotherhood (Caucasian) and to large extent also Sons of Samedi (Haitian) are clearly racially defined and based on real-world ethnic gangs.
Evil Brit: One of the possible voice options is a rough English accent. You may recognize it as Mr. Sheffield from The Nanny.
It's particularly hilarious for anyone who's seen that show before because the Boss does some very, very, very bad things in this game (things Max Sheffield wouldn't even want to hear about), so the "Evil" bit qualifies.
The second DLC, Corporate Warfare, centers around a conflict that pits current Ultor chairman Eric Gryphon against Dexter "Dex" Jackson, your former homie who moved from the Saints to a position as head of security at Ultor.
Fake Longevity: A lot of missions require you to drive to their starting point, then drive across a considerable portion of the city to reach the actual first objective. Fail the mission early enough, and you get to do that drive again.
The missions in which the Boss rides shotgun while an NPC drives usually involve a scenic tour of Stilwater, rather than a direct route from point A to point B. Particularly noticeable in "Bleeding Out," in which the car drives over seemingly every inch of the city's North Side before heading to the hospital, even as Johnny Gat is supposedly bleeding to death in the passenger seat.
Fantastic Drug: The Sons of Samedi deal Loa Dust. It's made up primarily of high-grade marijuana, but treated with various other chemicals. They never say exactly what the effects are, though it seems to be very popular. During the Mushroom Samba mission all it does is warp the visuals - similar to what happens to the player when attacked with pepper spray or a flash-bang.
Five-Token Band: The Saints leaders in the second game. Shaundi, the white woman; Johnny Gat the Asian, Carlos the Hispanic, Pierce the African American, and the Boss who can be any race or gender or anything in between. You may be a nutty psychopathic crimelord, but you're a non-discriminatory employer.
Four Is Death: Each Mission chain has a moment that punchs you in the gut (the Samedi mission chains moment being admittedly tamer than the others), all of which happen on the fourth story mission in the chain.
Fragile Speedster: The Ronin are partial to fast cars and faster motorcycles...neither of which hold many soldiers and both of which are unusually prone to exploding, even by this game's standards.
Funny Background Event : During a brotherhood mission, prisoners are seen being loaded onto a prison bus during a news report. One of them stops to mug for the camera...and gets a rifle but to the gut. Then he does it again...and gets it in the nuts the second time.
Game-Breaking Bug: Poor pathfinding AI. Several of The Siege missions can be failed if one attacking enemy gets caught on something and you can't get to them because they are outside a certain radius from the building you're supposed to be defending. Similarly, any situation in which the Boss rides shotgun while an NPC drives can be failed if the NPC driver gets caught on something or crashes into a randomly generated car.
Zombie Uprising. Oh god Zombie Uprising. from unfair spawns, to the pathfinding breaking, so that last zombie is so far out of the gameplay area they may as well be in blue hell, discovering you're utterly boned when you have one final zombie to kill is slightly frustrating.
Gameplay and Story Segregation: The game will often allow you to bring along specific "homies" on missions where the story explicitly states that they are supposed to be somewhere else. So you get scenes like the Boss calling Pierce on his cell when Pierce is sitting in the same car, the Boss splitting up the party and then completing the mission with the characters who were supposed to be off creating distractions elsewhere, and Pierce and Shaundi arriving just too late to the Final Battle...even though they were with the Boss all the time.
Same goes for vehicles, due the Sandbox nature of the game. At the beginning of each mission, game puts in front of you vehicle you should use. This is however completely optional. You may bring APC/Gunship to the beginning of the mission, and use it all along. However when you kill some boss this way, and cutscene starts, expect yourself be in the vehicle you should. You can also spend more time behind the stick of gunship then walking on the ground, but when you are scripted to fly chopper in the story, expect characters to make fun/have worries about your lack of skill.
In a more prosaic example, you can find yourself distracted for hours hunting down and killing all the Hitman targets, or chasing after all the cars on Chop Shop lists. The game really twists the knife as you get bonuses with the first, third and fifth lists you finish, all of which are either incredibly useful or ridiculous. Finish all the hitman missions and you'll have hand grenades, satchel charges and unlimited rifle ammo. Finishing all the chop shop lists gets you a go-kart, combine, and 75% discounts at all car repair & mod shops.
Gratuitous Japanese: When Johnny beats a Ronin into telling him Kasuo's coming to town, he refers to him as "the oyabun," Japanese for "boss."
It also rains during Aisha's funeral, even if it was a bright, sunny day a few second previously when you showed up to the mission site.
Guide Dang It: There's a Hitman target who you're supposed to find at "the highway exchange in the Factories district" and lure out by drinking beer. Note that said district is pretty wide and covers a good stretch of highway, including a particular Spaghetti Junction-esque part near the middle of the map, so that's the first place you'd think to look...except it's the wrong area. Instead, you're supposed to head to the stretch of highway more toward the east to meet and kill him.
Guns Akimbo: The game allows you to carry dual submachineguns and dual pistols.
Happy Ending Massage: One of the Snatch activities involves Boss heading to a massage parlor in Chinatown (that they have apparently been visiting regularly since high school) looking to get one of these after all those years in a coma. Unfortunately, the owner has lost all her workers and needs the Boss to pick up some girls for her before the place goes out of business. The game never does say if the Boss actually went back for that massage after completing the activity though...
Hollywood Tone-Deaf: During one mission, Pierce changes the radio station in the car to Neyo's So Sick and sings along, much to Boss's chagrin. Worse still, if you want to change it back, prepare for a war over the radio...
Similarly, every voice available for the player character has a different song that, when it comes up on the radio, they "sing" along with it.
And, as mentioned further down, they all sing along to Take On Me by a-ha.
Hot Coffee Minigame: Throughout Stilwater, you can find areas that let you unwind through a minigame using the control sticks. It's offscreen, but it's certainly audible, and the accompanying prompts for supposed sexual maneuvers are comic gold.
And, like many other diversions in the game, fully completing it unlocks a free Saints-colored pimp outfit.
Otherwise, totally averted. The cops honestly don't care about gangster-on-gangster violence or car crashes (unless you crash into one of their cars, and even then they won't chase you) and it takes a surprising number of civilian deaths before they'll even give you a one-star wanted level.
Interestingly, this massively depends on whether you commit criminal acts while being seen by a police officer. While out of sight, you can kill civilians, steal cars and vandalize your surroundings nearly to your heart's content - when a beat cop sees you stealing a car, on the other hand side, that's almost an instant Wanted level.
Incredibly Lame Pun: Halfway through the game, the radio station Ezzzy FM is bought out by Ultor and renamed The World. This is announced on the station itself with Dane Vogel stating "Ultor is proud to own The World!"
Inksuit Actor: Dane Vogel looks almost exactly like Jay Mohr with a ton of hair gel. Shaundi also somewhat resembles Eliza Dushku with dreadlocks.
Intrepid Reporter: Jane Valderama plays one with pithy comments such as, "Unfortunately for the Brotherhood not only justice is blind, but she's also a cruel spiteful whore." She's also perfectly willing to finance chaos so she can cover it on the news, and occasionally goes 'embedded' with the Saints to cause some mayhem herself.
Ironic Echo: At the end of the starting cutscene in Red Asphalt (Brotherhood mission number four), Jessica ends a phone call with the Boss by means of this tidbit:
Jessica: Do me a favor. When you're scraping your buddy's face off the pavement, just remember, Maero gave you a chance to be his partner.
At the very end of the next mission, after Maero crushes a car with Jessica trapped in the truck, the Boss hands Maero the car keys, leading to these lines:
Maero: What's this?
Boss: Do me a favor. When you check the trunk, just remember you should've offered me something better than 20 percent.
It's Personal: Each of the gangs give the Boss and his crew a personal motive to take them down: the Sons of Samedi kidnap Shaundi, the Brotherhood brutally torture Carlos to the point that a Mercy Kill is in order, and the Ronin decapitate Aisha.
Maero, the leader of the Brotherhood has this with the Boss as well, as s/he caused him to unknowingly kill his girlfriend and later crippled his best friend.
Karmic Death: Considering all the crap the people behind the rival gangs, Ultor, and others pulled note (The Brotherhood torturing Carlos, the Ronin killing Aisha and almost killing Gat, the Sons of Samedi ordering Shaundi be killed, Ultor's plan to Kill the Poor, Julius Little almost killing the Boss in the first game), it only seems natural that they get what's coming to them.
Kill the Poor: Ultor's ultimate plan for Stilwater: Get rid of the gangs, and then get rid of all the other "undesirables". Too bad the Saints gets rid of the gangs first...
Lampshade Hanging: After killing about fifty Sons defending the Saints hideout Shaundi pops this question of how many there are.
How can this many people think that voodoo is cool?
At the end of the Ultor Exposed DLC, Tera Patrick swears vengeance on Ultor. She hasn't appeared in the Saints Row storyline since.
At the end of the Corporate Warfare DLC, Dex Jackson flees Stilwater and goes into hiding, but the Boss vows to track him down and kill him. He didn't show up in The Third and may never show up again, since Word Of God has expressed a reluctance to do missions that depend on the player having played Saints Row 1 and Corporate Warfare for context.
Lighthouse Point: The northern area of Stilwater has a lighthouse that is used to hide a CD. The player also has the option of buying a lighthouse crib on the prison island.
Loony Fan: The Crowd Control activity has you protecting a celebrity from these. From the Saints Row wiki:
Luck-Based Mission: Trail Blazing. It's not about how much you can hit, it's about how much you have available to hit. Not to mention that the explosive barrels you can use to take out large groups often have a completely barren blast radius.
A lot of diversions can end up like this, most notably Insurance Fraud, which requires a large number of vehicles to successfully complete. For some strange reason, otherwise-bustling streets suddenly become near-completely abandoned, and when a vehicle does show up, they like to hit you before you can hit the fire button and get money from it.
For Insurance Fraud, it's always best to head for the closest freeway/highway, as there's always a ton of vehicles there. You can also rack up an easy $50K by sky-diving onto the highway from a helicopter at max elevation if you bring one to the mission-start site.
Trail Blazing is also incredibly easy when played in co-op, where the second player can freely throw molotovs wherever he pleases, meaning you're performing badly if you end the run with less time than you started with.
A better example is any of the missions with an AI driver partner. Enemy spawns are random, your partner's pathing is scripted. Often times enemies come from angles that cannot be targeted, are extra aggressive, or armed with random weapons that cannot be anticipated for. Good luck completing a mission if you take an RPG from nowhere, or your partner gets stuck, or you get rammed from head-on.
Limited Wardrobe: Poked fun at. Wear the same clothes long enough, and people on the streets will take notice, probably via the clothes' stench from being worn so long.
Mushroom Samba: During the "Bad Trip" mission in the Sons of Samedi storyline, the Boss receives a blow to the head from a baseball bat and a Loa Dust hotboxing inside the General's limo. The rest of the mission has warped visuals and wonky steering.
The Musical: This video. Also, any time your character listens to certain songs over a long period of time on the radio, you also get this Trope.
Mercy Kill: After you lace Maero's tattoo ink with radioactive waste and disfigure him the Brotherhood retaliates by kidnapping Carlos and towing him around the city from their car's rear bumper. When the Boss finds Carlos he/she can't break the chain connecting him to the car and realizes that he'll die anyway, the Boss pulls out his/her pistol and finishes Carlos off.
Even worse The Boss holds Carlos's hand when s/he is doing it. Then his hands goes slack. You can feel The Boss' heart breaking at that.
Mythology Gag: During the news report on Gat's trial a ticker reports that Michael Clark Duncan will play former gang leader Benjamin King. Duncan played the leader of the Vice Kings in the first game.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Maero, at the beginning, sees the Boss as a "washed-up gangbanger" and for this reason offers him/her only 20% of his shipment and by extension, 20% of Stilwater. And after the Boss angrily turns him down, he barely does anything in response, still seeing him/her and the Saints as a nuisance. Then he gets his face burned with radioactive waste, his girlfriend killed, and his best friend crippled, and he then devotes all energy to destroying the Saints.
Non Sequitur: Getting your character drunk generally results in them spouting off one or two.
Also, shortly after the starting cutscene in Bad Trip (the sixth mission in the Sons of Samedi storyline), Shaundi contacts the Boss asking him/her what they did to cause the Samedi to attack the Saints' hideout and afterwards, if he/she is high. Both of her questions are met with a non sequitur.
Oh Crap: File in the Cake (Sons of Samedi mission two) has a moment in which a bomb the Boss needs to re-enter Stilwater Penitentiary is activated early; the moment the countdown starts, Shaundi and the Boss look at the bomb with an expression that fits the trope perfectly before Shaundi says "You might wanna hurry."
Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The Male English voice tends to switch between British and American pronunciations at random. Which is odd, considering the voice actor actually is British.
Outside-Context Villain: You, as the leader of the Saints, are essentially a Batman-style supervillain running on comic-book style physics operating in a world without superheroes restricted to rather mundane means of attempting to deal with you.
Overreacting Airport Security: Inverted. (Yes, inverted!) Wardill Airport puts security in its passengers own hands and even encourages them to bring along any and all manner of weapons from home in an ad on the radio.
Panty Shot: Inevitable if your character enjoys short skirts, motorcycles, and reckless driving..... unless you choose not to wear panties, of course.
Pay Evil unto Evil: Jessica's horrifying death would be utterly inexcusable, were it not for her own direct involvement in Carlos' own nightmarish end, and her active participation is leading the Brotherhood itself, making her a legitimate target.
Pet the Dog: Despite being a sociopath for most of the game, several scenes reveal that the Boss has a softer side. Most notably, his/her reaction to having to mercy-kill Carlos. And in the first mission of the "Ultor Exposed" DLC, the Boss is horrified by the mutilated corpses of people who have been experimented on by Ultor.
Phrase Catcher: The Boss, as a way of lampshading his/her (sometimes) extreme difference in appearance from the previous game:
Johnny/Aisha/Julius: Did you do something to your hair?
Police Brutality: The activity Fuzz is all about this, as you star in a Cops parody and use... well, excessive force to bring in high ratings. Crimes do get solved - if you count the perpetrators being dead as 'solved'
Cameraman: "Flamethrowers are standard issue...right?"
Goes Up to Eleven when the camera man issues you a chainsaw.
(generic banter) "Awww yeah bitches! I am the baddest mack daddy gangster in Stilwater!"
(when the Boss crashes into an object while driving) "You ride yo' cars harder than I ride my hos."
Product Placement: Stuff downloads off of your Xbox Live account onto your game's billboards automatically. And it's still going on. As of 2010, you can see advertisements for Ugly Americans.
Purple Is Powerful: Male voice 2 (while drunk): "Yeah, my gang wears purple. You wanna say something 'bout that?"
Which is ironic, considering what he says while sober.
"Purple... who the fuck came up with that shit?"
Railroading: The DLC missions are so full of this you'll want to vomit. You have to do a timed mission in this fishtailing truck, not one of your modified cars. You have to use a machine gun to complete these Escort Missions, rather than the Annihilator RPG that both deals more damage and has a lock-on capability. And you have to defend these hazardous waste trucks from behind the stick of one of the game's clunky helicopters, rather than trying you luck on foot. (That last one is especially infuriating, because it describes the helicopter as being sent to "help you.")
Rasputinian Death: Mr Sunshine, from the Sons of Samedi arc is gunned down (as a Boss Fight), arises only to be shot again, gets up again causing Boss to unload their pistol into him, then has his head chopped off and thrown into a meat processor, just to make sure.
Real Estate Scam: One of the Septic Avenger missions is to lower property values.
Retcon: Word Of God states that if you choose to start the second game as a woman then Playa has always been female.
Ret Irony: Cops nearby will sometimes mention that the cop that you just killed was "about to retire"
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The entire Brotherhood storyline. It starts with the Boss getting revenge for being completely shafted in a potential deal with the Brotherhood and insulted. Then revenge for them dragging Carlos behind a truck until he is bleeding heavily and is missing a good part of his face. This results in the Boss having to Mercy Kill Carlos.
Also the Ronin storyline after they killed Aisha, nearly killed Gat, and then tries to kill the Boss and Gat at Aisha's funeral.
Rooftop Confrontation: Late in the Brotherhood storyline the Boss leads a siege on their hideout that ends with them and Maero himself duking it out on top of the roof. Unfortunately, just as the Boss is about to kill Maero with a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown Matt steps in to save him and allows him to make a narrow escape before the Boss can finish him off.
Running Gag: Various folk (such as Gat, Aisha, etc. etc.) commenting on the Boss' appearance by asking whether or not they've done something with their hair.
Lampshaded in a later mission where you meet up with Julius at the Saints old hideout.
Julius: Hey, you look different. Did you-
Boss: *pulls out a pistol* I didn't do shit to my hair!
And Pierce's Butt Monkey moments and his ideas thwarted. Also Shaundi really getting around... and it helps.
Boss: Hey Shaundi, you ever date somebody who works at a place called the Pyramid?
Shaundi: [Thinks] No.
Pierce: For real?
Sarcastic Clapping: The Boss does this to Maero after Boss arranges for Mareo to unknowingly run over Jessica, his girlfriend. Boss even steps out of the shadows while doing it.
Score Multiplier: Several activities, such as Mayhem and Insurance Fraud, require you to gain these in order to succeed.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When the boss and Maero come crashing through the roof, into the room where Donnie and Matt are hiding, Donnie, who had been that campaign's Butt Monkey, decides hes had enough and makes a quick exit stage right. He doesn't appear again. Contrast to Matt, who stayed and got a brick to his head
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The Ultor Exposed DLC. After all the crap the Boss goes through to get Jane Valderamma the story about Ultor's Zombie Apocalypse experiments, she takes a payoff from Ultor to put all the blame on Tera.
Shout Out: The prison doctor you kill right at the beginning may say "I'll figure out the secret to Dr. Stiles' healing touch if it kills me!" To which a nurse will reply, "It's the procedure that kills you."
Not sure whether this is a coincidence or a shout-out: Dane Vogel happens to be the name of a character on VA Michael Rapport's former FOX sitcom The War At Home.
The Siege: Each gang story arc contains at least one mission that consists, in whole or in part, of the Boss (and any accompanying homies) having to defend a particular location against waves of attacking gangsters.
Slaughterhouse Fight: A late Sons of Somedi mission has the player wipe out a group of Somedi guarding Mr. Sunshine at an old slaughterhouse in the factory district. Since the gang has a heavy voodoo theme and covers the walls with weird symbols and markings it really bumps up the creepy factor.
Soundtrack Dissonance / Suspiciously Apropos Music: The Klassic 102.4 channel can be like this. Sometimes it's weird running down gangbangers while a light piano piece plays, and sometimes you get to chase down vans in an attack helicopter while "Flight of the Valkyries" plays in the background.
Stealth Hi/Bye: Several Masako members pull one on Maero when he bursts into Vogel's office the second or third time, he doesn't notice until Vogel draws his attention to them.
Maero: What's my problem is your problem. Or do you need som "fresh air" to remind you?note Maero had previously held Vogel out the window of his own skyscraper in order to "persuade" him to support him against the Saints.
Vogel: No, you see, my problem is that a freak with tattoos is messing up my paperwork. Your problem is that there is the squad of men with assault rifles pointed at your back.
Sword Cane: Actually a shotgun cane, awarded for completing the second of the Epilogue missions.
Take That: The cutscene for one of the Rampage activities involves reporter Jane Valderama asking you to go on a rampage so that she can cover it and get more viewers than Zack Johnson, a "nutjob lawyer who gets hard at the idea of a lawsuit" crusading against media he deems to be offensive. He doesn't have a lot of support, but apparently makes a big enough ass out of himself that whenever he pulls some stunt, people listen.
There was also the ad for the game where it compared GTAIV's mundane activities to the Jackass-style flaming ATV riding, sewage spraying, over the top activities you can do in Saints Row.
Two-Faced: In the mission "Waste Not, Want Not", the protagonist puts radioactive waste in Maero's tattoo ink, which leaves a very large, very nasty scar on the left side of his face. Just try watching the scene at the end of the mission and try not to cringe. " Jessica...How'd you like Maero's new tattoo?"
UST: The Boss thinks that there's some of this between Pierce and Shaundi, at least with the British voice set.
"I wish Pierce would quit bitchin' about Shaundi and just fuck 'er already."
Vapor Wear: Like the first game, you can customize your underwear. Unlike the first game, no underwear is an option (and depending on what else you wear, this may be obvious).
Vulnerable Convoy: One of the Brotherhood missions has the Boss attack a police convoy that is transporting the titular gang members to freedom. When the Boss blows up all of the buses they wise up and try moving the prisoners by boat... no luck though.
Wall of Weapons: The inside of The General's limo is a small example; his side of the car is filled with NR4 pistols and K6 Krukov rifles.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Kazou Akuji really doesn't like his son Shogo, and doesn't seem to particularly upset about his death so much as getting back at the Saints for stealing the Ronin's territory.
When Elders Attack: The elderly of Stilwater will occasionally attack you if you piss them off. Applies to some enemies, such as Kazuo Akuji, and The Boss as well if you made him/her old.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The game answers this question with "actually, I just did" in the final mission against the Ronin. What had been up until then a straight up sword fight ends with Boss shooting Akuji after losing their sword and Akuji taunts him/her for their lack of skill.
Akuji: Did you really think you could match my skill?
Why Won't You Die?: Despite Mr. Sunshine taking God-knows-how-many-bullets to the chest, he still gets up. Twice. The Boss makes sure that he stays down by unloading an entire magazine into him after an irratated "For fuck's sake, die already!". Then just to be sure s/he lops his head off and throws it onto a meat grinder conveyor belt.
Word Of God: Volition confirmed that if you started Saints Row 2 as a female, then, canonically, The Protagonist was female in the first game.
Worth It: After completing a level in Escort, one of the clients will exit the car after saying "I don't have enough money to pay the rent, but it was worth it!"
Wrestler in All of Us: You're able to learn wrestling moves after destroying the Brotherhood. The main ones that stick out are the Death Valley Driver and Side Slam during the course of the Brotherhood missions.
Xanatos-Gambit: Dane Vogel pulls off a pretty good one in "Salting the Earth...Again": either the Boss will be killed by Ultor security, in which case he gets credit for breaking the Saints, or the Boss will wipe out the Ultor board, in which case he gets promoted to chairman of the company.
You Bastard: The secret mission "Revelation", in which you gun down Julius and swear to take over the city.
The newspaper articles you collect at the end of every mission emphasize the civilian casualties (which are usually the Boss's fault, since he/she starts most of the fights). There are also frequent references in bystander dialogue to particularly heinous actions taken by the Boss, such as burning down the Shivington projects in one of the Sons of Samedi missions and burying Shogo Akuji alive.
: either the Boss will be killed by Ultor security, in which case he gets credit for breaking the Saints, or the Boss will wipe out the Ultor board, in which case he gets promoted to chairman of the company.