A woman and the man interested in her go on a date that involves spelunking. You think this would be a fun little date, right?Nope. The woman is captured by black ops troopers, and the man pursues her and her captors into an underground base, where a sinister organization called the Restoration is waiting to bring forth what it believes will be a new golden age for America and the world. Starting with only a pistol, a flashlight, and some climbing gear, the man begins to tear the base apart looking for a way out...Part of the Empire universe, by Orson Scott Card - the Empire novel was actually written for this game, not the other way around. Developed by Chair Entertainment in association with Epic Games, it was heavily promoted and released to near-universal acclaim on Xbox Live Arcade. The gameplay is essentially just like that of a refined Super Metroid: the protagonist, Jason, runs around a 2D base, gaining equipment, items, and levels as he explores more and more of the place and unravels the sinister plot that is about to be put into action. It uses the Unreal Engine 3 and notably introduces "2.5D" elements smoothly into classic Metroidvania gameplay, such as allowing Jason to shoot enemies in the background of the stage.It's short, but it's also only $15 and is easily available to anyone with an Xbox 360 and an Internet connection.
Air Vent Passageway: A fairly prominent method of slipping through the complex, both to avoid combat and just to get around. Some of the vents are reinforced with plating that renders them resistant to everything short of a missile launcher.
AKA47: With the exception of the two made up weapons, this is almost painfully true. For the most part this consists of adding some zeros to the end of the name and switching out the real company for the fictional WhiteSands, in example: H&K MP5 becomes the WSMP50, the model is almost exactly the same as well.
A Taste of Power: The game starts you off with some Colonel guy in a stolen suit of power armor, armed with the game's second-best gun. Unfortunately, the bad guys have the cheat codes to disable that suit and they cut him off, following with what appears to be his death.
Bag of Spilling: Justified. The few skills you start the game with are lost due to the player character's death. The rest of the game is played using a different character.
Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: At the end of the game, it looks like Jason shoots Lucius in the head, but then the camera reveals Claire there, with the smoking gun. Particularly amusing if Jason has the Inertial Element, as he will look at his own gun with confusion as if he thinks he could've accidentally discharged it, but the Inertial Element fires like a shotgun and wouldn't hit Lucius with the single headshot he's downed by.
Beehive Barrier: The representation of energy shields, on the large walkers and from the Fusion Helmet.
Bling Bling Bang: Finding all the Gold Bars grants you golden versions of all the weapons in the game.
Jason: Oh, crap, crap, crapcrapcrap! * runs like hell*
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Shining Jason's flashlights on destructible walls will reveal what tool he can use to destroy them: normal bullets, grenades, foam, missiles, or high-velocity collisions.
Dramatic Irony: Jason runs into a Torture Technician who tells him "You don't look like a killer" in an attempt to psych him out. (By this point in the game, the player has probably killed a few dozen Restoration goons, and a tank or two.) Jason simply shoots the guy in the head from point blank range.
Enemy Chatter: You can overhear mooks talk about this-and-that as you sneak around the base, sometimes about trivialities, sometimes about their plans for the U.S.
Expy: Thanks to Nolan North's distinctive voice as well as being highly competent in a bad situation while using sarcasm as a coping mechanism, Jason Fleming is what happens when Nathan Drake gives up treasure hunting for a steady girlfriend.
Faceless Goons: The Progressive Restoration's entire membership all seem to enjoy wearing helmets that don't even possess a visor. Glowing lights on the side of the masks seem to indicate cameras of some sort. Interestingly, the hero can become faceless should he pick up the breathing mask and/or the fusion helmet!
The Mooks don't even take their helmets off when they are sitting down to eat in the mess hall!
Fake Difficulty: The "difficulty" in shooting bad guys in the background or being shot by bad guys from offscreen.
Infinite Supplies: The gun has unlimited ammo, with reloads. Later in the game, it's possible to earn infinite foam, grenades, and missiles, either through collecting power ups or simply reaching a high enough level.
Internet Backlash: A minor one. Thanks to some anti-homosexual themes in Empire, there was brief talk of a boycott of the game. It ultimately didn't matter since the story of the game and the book barely cross over.
Jason: Killing's getting easier. Not sure if that's good or bad. [shaky breath] ...It's good.
Implacable Man: You, if you find the Fusion Helmet. As a bonus, the forcefield that allows this requires that you don't increase your movement speed beyond Unflinching Walk if you want it to stay active.
Made of Iron: Even before he gets the Omega Armor, Jason can take a surprising amount of gunfire in only a shirt, compared to the armored guards he fights who can only take one or two shots.
Megaton Punch: Taken to new heights of literalness once you get the Power Armor.
Minimalist Run: The game acknowledges two different levels of this challenge - there is an Achievement for finishing the game with 13% or fewer items, and a 'Master Challenge' for only collecting four percent - which doesn't include a gun.
Actually, the basic pistol is included in the 4%, as its required to advance (and presumably, to use the sub-weapons). However, if you've found all of the gold bars, you'll have access to the gold weapons, which don't count against you. So you can grab the best gun in the game, skip the pistol, grab the 3 sub-weapons, and an additional pickup along the way to complete the challenge.
Minecart Madness: One brief section of the game involves riding a mine cart over a cliff and jumping out, using the extra momentum to clear the jump. At the base of the complex, there is also an optional mine cart shortcut that you can use as much as you wish.
Though to be honest, by the time you have access to the shortcut, you probably have the Friction Dampner, making the minecart kind of pointless.
Mistaken for Spies: This is what happens to Claire and Jason in the beginning of the game, until the end, when it is revealed that Claire really is a spy.
Multiple Endings: If you go back to the jeep and press B, Jason will drive away, commenting that there's "plenty of fish in the sea."
Status Update: Single!
New Game Plus: Automatic, and with permanent upgrades (both levels and collection bonuses) that make subsequent jaunts through the Complex much easier.
Not the Fall That Kills You: You don't take damage from falls. Granted, this is pretty much the only way a Metroidvania can work, but it can feel a little silly sometimes when you can fall down a few stories without worrying.
Oh Crap: Verbatim, and in excess, when Lucius blows up the room that Jason is in.
Olympic Swimmer: Presumably, Jason's pre-game fitness regimen included a lot of swimming.
The Only One: Halfway through the game, Jason stumbles into the Restoration's factory, and Claire basically says "Hey, since you're doing such a good job anyway, why don't you put looking for a way out on hold and single handedly destroy the enemies' supply line." Jason points out how silly that is, but does it anyway. Claire is actually surprised when he tells her what he's done.
Story Breadcrumbs: Much of the plot can be gathered from guards who talk to one another when you're not killing them.
Super Speed: About halfway through the game you are given Friction Dampeners that triple your speed. A few of the more interesting power-up placements involve solving a few logic puzzles that can only be solved with the gravity-busting properties of the boots. Sadly, you cannot shinespark, but you can use a later triple-jump ability to abuse the boots' charge-up time.
A Taste of Power: The first segment gives you the second-best weapon and a mostly-complete suit of armor to play with before switching to Jason.
Dallas: At least... At least the Vice President is safe. [black SUV explodes in the background] Voice: Oh, that Vice President?
Ten Second Flashlight: Well, more like Two Minute Flashlight, but this is one of Jason's most valuable tools, as it will highlight destructible walls in the proper colors.
The Unfought: Lucius spends the entire climax standing in his observation tower while the player fights the final boss. He gets shot in the head in a cutscene.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: The soldiers scream when you send them flying (whether by uppercutting them with the Omega Armor, blowing them up with missiles or grenades, dive-bombing them with the Ground Pound, or plowing into them with the Friction Dampener), and there's an achievement for making a hundred of them scream.