main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Video Game: Shank
Shank is a 2D beat 'em up released on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network on August 25, 2010 and on PC October 26. It was developed by Klei Games and published by Electronic Arts.

Betrayed by the only family he ever knew and left for dead, Shank feels the need to seek revenge for the death of his beloved at the hands of the underworld's deadliest assassins. Utilizing his knowledge of gang warfare and weaponry, Shank must battle his way through the criminal underground in order to seek revenge against the people who brought his world crashing down around him.

A sequel was released on February 7, 2012. Shank's attempts to settle down and leave his past behind him is abruptly ended when a new crime group called The Militia appears and threatens the lives of those closest to him. Now, Shank has to once again take up his weapons and take the fight to the enemy.

Tropes used in this game:

  • Action Commands: More for bosses than anything really...
    • And countering attacks in the first game.
  • All There in the Manual: Some of the backstory for Shank 2 is contained in the interquel comic and the Rebel Intel found in-game.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The second game has you play an entire level of the main story using Corina.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Completing certain side objectives will get you new costumes. Semi-averted in Shank 2, though: while skins do nothing in the single-player game, every skin has different stats in Survival Mode.
  • Anti-Hero: Trying to say Shank is a good guy is a bit of a stretch, but he could be worse.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The katana's grapple move, while visually pleasing, does little damage and leaves you open during the animation.
  • Back Stab: No matter what you hit an enemy with, as long as their back is turned it's a one hit kill.
  • Backstory: Accessible by playing the co-op mode.
  • Bag of Spilling: A variation; at the start of the second game, Shank starts off with a pair of machete (likely the same pair he used in the first game) as his "heavy" weapon, and throwing knives for ranged attacks. He eventually gets his starting combo from the first game (pair of handguns and a chainsaw) as he progresses.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The aversion thereof is the reason for Cassandra's vendetta against Shank.
    • Played straight in the second game with the fact that you can cut arms and legs off normal enemies, but not female enemies. You can still gib them tough. Also, female bosses die much less violent deaths when they bite the dust ( Cassandra in the first game gets a hole in the forehead, despite that Shank shot her at point blank and the bullet should have punched a big chunk of her brains out of the back of her skull and the cult leader in the second game get Eaten Alive by wolves offscreen).
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: Shank does so with Cassandra's sword in a flashback.
  • Booze-Based Buff / Hyperactive Metabolism: Shank doesn't get drunk, he gets healthy.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: Every boss fight in the game has this. Except the last fight in co-op mode.
  • Boss Subtitles: Each boss in both games has their name revealed either when first introduced or before the start of the battle. Shank himself gets one at the start of the first game.
    • Played with in the second game when, at the start of an Indiana Jones-esque sequence, the Boss Subtitle is given to the giant boulder that starts chasing Shank.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted for the player's guns, played straight with enemy guns, miniguns, and Cesar's flintlock pistols.
    • The player still has infinite reserve ammunition, however.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: While Shank has a Mook snagged with the chains in a choking attack, incoming gunfire will not harm him.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Fake Butcher / El Raton also Giant Mook from nowhere Toro.
  • Chainsaw Good: You get a chainsaw at the beginning of the game. On the enemies's side, General Magnus has dual chainsaw knives!
  • Clean Cut: In cutscenes and when used to deal the final blow in the second game, the machetes can cleanly sever limbs. Done egregiously in a cutscene in the second game when the shank is used to sever someone's head in one stroke.
  • Combination Attack: Possible in the multiplayer.
  • Combos
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Shank's choice of Eva vs. the cartel.
    Shank: You taught me nothing comes before family.
    Cesar: I was your family!
    Shank: So was she!
  • Continuity Nod: In Shank 2, some of the unlockable costumes include Shank as he was in the original, Falcone, and Cesar.
    • In the same game, there is a picture of Shank and Falcone located in the Hotel level.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: the first game has it, serving as a How We Got Here prequel to the events of the 1P campaign. The trophy for completing it is even called "Backstory."
  • Death Cry Echo
  • Determinator: Shank holds his own next to Max Payne for sheer iron plating; he's in potentially worse shape by the end of the game, and is running on his own badassitude and booze.
  • Dies Wide Open: Most bosses. Shank leaves them like that most of the time, but he closes Cesar's eyes.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Arguably Corina in the sequel.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A guy left for dead by the gang he worked for, comes back to seek revenge on said members. Hmmm.
  • Do Not Call Me Paul: Shank's real name, according to one of the Rebel Intels, is Robert Torres, but even those closest to him, such as Corina and Elena, still refer to him by his nickname.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even while working for the cartel, Shank still had a few lines he wouldn't cross. He's unflinchingly loyal and kind to his girlfriend after she sees him and his partner trying to kill the Deputy Mayor, and has to be restrained from attacking Angelo after he casually shoots a priest. Even Cesar has a hint of this when Shank reveals that Eva was pregnant when they killed her, telling Shank, "Had I known she was with child, that would have changed things..."
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Not literally, but something greatly resembling it as Shank escapes from the catacombs beneath a church, having just killed Sinister Minister Angelo via an electric chair. Probably symbolic of... something.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Gatling Good: The bigger mooks sometimes carry miniguns. These can be picked up and used by Shank.
  • Giant Mook
  • Grenade Launcher: The larger enemies sometimes carry these.
  • Guest Fighter: DeathSpank ! And Kratos!
  • Guns Akimbo: You start off with two pistols in the first game.
  • Homage: To the bloody B-level action movies of the 1970s, most likely, a la Machete.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Extreme example at the end of the first game. After Shank is sucker-punched and shot at point-blank range by Cesar, he just gets up, effortlessly dodges every other attack, finishes the job, and walks away without so much as a limp.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: pretty much standard for any female character in the game.
  • Improvised Weapon User: Shank wears chains around his hands to pulverize and strangle enemies.
    • Any of the temporary weapons in Shank 2 count, which include a kitchen sink and A FISH.
  • Jiggle Physics: The female mooks are all buxom. First place goes to the cold-hearted Cassandra.
  • Katanas Are Just Better
  • Karmic Death: If Shank kills somebody major, it's always justified (and ironic).
  • Klingon Promotion: According to the interquel comic, this is one of the cartel's rules.
  • Knife Nut: Besides being the character's name, Shank uses two knives as his main melee weapons. Big Bad Cesar has shiny engraved ones.
  • Kung-Fu Sonic Boom: A classic example at the end of the fight with Cesar.
  • Lag Cancel: Holding the block button while using the shotgun will make it fire more quickly. In the sequel, most actions can be cancelled by rolling - including pouncing on somebody.
  • Left for Dead
  • Locomotive Level: Consisting of one long Traintop Battle.
  • Machete Mayhem: Two of 'em in both games.
  • Made of Iron: All enemies, as well as Shank himself. Enemies can easily get up and start shooting you again even after you've rammed a chainsaw into their stomachs. The big guys can take several grenades to the face and still come charging after you.
  • Masked Luchador: Many Giant Mooks from the first game are this.
    • The second game features this as a costume for Shank.
  • Meteor Move: Type A can be done in the sequel.
  • Mook: of all shapes and sizes.
  • More Dakka: From SMGs to freaking miniguns!
  • Mirror Boss: Cesar is more-or-less this for Shank, fighting in almost the same manner. Including pouncing on you near the end of the fight.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Shank. He certainly does.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Cesar's death ignites a gang war that becomes big enough to require an entire extragovernmental militia to stop it. Said militia then overthrew the government. Nice one, Shank.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: You can continue to beat up enemies even after they've died.
  • One-Man Army: By the end of your first run, you'll have amassed at the very least 500 kills.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: And how. Pretty much everyone bleed profusely with no regard for the laws of biology.
  • Palette Swap: Shank's partner, Falcone who is Cesar's son.
  • Platform Game: Though predominantly a Beat 'em Up, many levels include sequences of climbing, jumping and wall-running.
  • Precision F-Strike: Swearing is a lot less common in the second game than in the first. This allows Shank to emphasize that right before he executes Magnus, he is not happy.
  • Rated M for Manly: It's fundamentally a game about a muscular, gravelly-voiced badass called "Shank" tearing through hordes of Mooks with knives, so this is a given.
  • Reverse Grip: How Shank holds his knives.
  • Remember the New Guy: The second game starts with Shank reminiscing over a photo of him with two women (Elena and Corina). When he finds them they act as if they've known him for a long time, and according to Rebel Intel they were his family of sorts as he grew up in an orphanage. Of course, none of this was evident in the first game.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In its purest form.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Shank suprisingly pulls this in Shank 2 after seeing the cannibals eating their own leader.
  • Sinister Minister: Angelo
  • Sinister Scythe: Not exactly sinister, but Corina obtains and uses one in the sequel.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Shank does to Cassandra after you win her boss fight.
  • Wicked Cultured: Cesar lives in a fancy mansion decorated with antiques, wears an ascot, and fights with pearl-handled knives, a saber, and a pair of dueling pistols.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Gender matters not to Shank.

Mark Of The NinjaCreator/Klei Entertainment    
Shadow ComplexXbox LIVE ArcadeSine Mora
NightSkyHumble BundleMeat Boy
Senran KaguraBeat 'em UpShatterhand
Severance: Blade of DarknessHack and SlashSwords Of Destiny
Shadow Warrior (2013)UsefulNotes/SteamShantae

alternative title(s): Shank
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy