"The hull has been breached and the science is leaking out!"
— Unknown Scientist
Space Pirates And Zombies (And Bounty Hunters) is a top-down action/strategy/RPG game in the vein of Star Control II, Starscape and Escape Velocity, made by Minmax Games. It can be found on Steam, Impulse, and several other digital distribution platforms. In March 2012, it got a free Expansion Pack update that adds a Bounty Hunter faction to the fray, hence the new subtitle And Bounty Hunters.The plot follows Don Gibson, Elsa Young, and Dr. Carl Memford as they embark on a quest to the center of the galaxy in search of a mythical motherlode of Rez, setting out from the ruins of Earth-that-Was in their cobbled-together starship known as The Clockwork. Assembling a band of followers from outcasts, press-ganged prisoners of war, and anyone else who wanted to join them, they put together a small fleet of additional vessels and set forth on a voyage that will have consequences nobody could have foreseen.Humanity has spread all across the galaxy but is split into hundreds of unorganized factions, loosely classified as the United Terran Alliance and the Civilians. As mentioned above, there is also the new Bounty Hunter "faction" to contend with. They'll be after you as you rack up bounties for wrecking UTA and Civilian ships, clear gates, and complete certain missions. Compete in their arena matches, destroy zombies, and their ships, to earn Respect and lower your Bounty level - or hire them to help you in missions and clear particularly tough blockades.The cutscenes/intermissions were narrated by TotalBiscuit, aka The Cynical Brit. It has its own wikihere.
Absurdly High Level Cap: In order to research every single possible upgrade in the research table, you would need to reach tech level 261. Technically, it is possible, but you must be incredibly grindy, since you will usually be nearing the end of the game before you are even close.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: You have to be friendly with whatever faction has upgrade plans you need to buy. And if they don't already like you it can take a while to earn their trust via missions, or a whole lot of rez. Then again, if you're strong enough, or the base is a weaker one, you could always just attack the station, then steal the technology after destroying it.
Alliance Meter: One for the UTA and the Civilians. In general, you'll more often than not have good relations with Civilians and hostile ones with the UTA.
Averted once you hit Act 4. The humans are no longer fighting each other, since they now have a common enemy in the zombies. Instead of buying their loyalty, you now give them resources to increase their defenses, so that they can better withstand zombie attacks.
Artificial Stupidity: Your AI wingmates are... not exactly the most intelligent pilots out there, to put it nicely.
Attack Drone: Several ships can use 'Drone Hives', which deploy around a dozen automated attack drones. They come in three main types, and each have a variant that can cloak at the expense of health.
Awesome Yet Practical: You might think that the Titan Beam, used to power/open the special warpgates between the core and rim sectors, is little more than fancified door opener... but no! It also doubles as a mindbogglingly powerful Wave Motion Gun when the Clockwork comes under attack. You'll wish it didn't while trying to take down the Level 4 Bounty Hunter base for 100% Completion, which has one mounted on a turret.
Also, Particle Cannons. Rapid fire, low power consumption, good damage against all types of protection, and look awesome when unleashed in broadsides. Fit some on double and triple turret mounts and watch as your enemies disintegrate under an unending storm of fire.
The Battlestar: The UTA Sunspot and Civilian Carrier both employ drones, but that doesn't stop them from packing in a respectable amount of firepower. On a larger scale, the Clockwork itself, as it can field up to four ships of varying sizes and capabilities as well as being very well armed, especially once it gains the Titan Beam.
Larger Starbases also have their own drones, and several other weapon systems to defend themselves.
Beam Spam: Ships equipped with lasers can do this.
He's more of a Mole, as his mind has been corrupted and is a puppet for the Zombies.
Boarding Party: Delivered either by the "Suicide Cannon" (which essentially fires a modified escape pod that drills into the enemy ship) or the Grunt Shuttle. Ships with enemies aboard move slower and their weapons fire more slowly. If there are no defenders, they take hull damage and eventually explode... or get turned into zombie ships, if the boarding party are zombies.
Boring, but Practical: In Act 4, plain old vanilla missiles. Missiles are strong against hulls, but weak against armor and shields. Since zombie ships (the majority of what you'll be facing in Act 4) have no armor or shields but very high hull strength, this makes missiles fantastic zombie exterminators. It doesn't hurt that they consume almost no power, have very long range, and can track targets.
Critical Existence Failure: Mostly averted, as ships will suffer from hull breaches as they take damage, venting hapless crew and stored resources in great plumes. Crew loss will have a serious impact on the ship's self-repair abilities if it did have any crew beforehand. Shields never let damage through until they fail completely, although armour does. Ships closing to destruction or being invaded also get slowed considerably, to a crawl when about to be destroyed.
Deflector Shields: One of the two lines of defense. As mentioned above, they block all incoming damage until broken, at which point they require some time to recover. Variants offer faster recharge time at the cost of lower overall capacity and vice versa.
Can be switched for a cloaking device, which acts as a much weaker shield that hides the ship from view until depleted.
Earth-that-Was / Earth That Used To Be Better: Earth is now a highly toxic backwater planet, all but forgotten. The situation is never explained in detail, but the system itself is pretty much abandoned, save for a small mining base and a tiny UTA outpost.
Sort of justified in that Rez is much more plentiful the closer you get to the galactic core, so most of humanity migrated closer to it.
Enemy Civil War: Can be invoked prior to Act 4 should you end up being hated by both the civilians and the UTA in a star system, then enter an area where they're fighting each other.
Enemy Mine: In Act 4, the UTA and the Civilians band together against the Zombie invasion
Everything Grinding : Prepare to play a game that's Unwinnable by Design unless you spend most of your gametime mindlessly grinding levels and Rez. It's one of the most common criticisms of the game, because the grinding is so tedious.
Fixed Forward Facing Weapon: The Clockwork's Titan Beam, when used as a weapon. Additionally, any time you fit a ship with a Fixed Turret Mod. Most weapon slots not placed onto a turret, for that matter.
From Bad to Worse: Implied in the ending. With no more zombies, there's no more Rez being created. With Rez suddenly finite and limited, humanity is going to become much worse than the zombies ever were.
Goons taken by one of your ships that refuse cooperation also get tossed out without hesitation.
Gang Up on the Human: The zombies seem particularly fond of this, and will often attack whichever ship you're controlling at the time.
Guide Dang It: Fighting the zombies requires a vastly different technique than fighting against non-zombie opponents. With non-zombie ships, you only have to worry about their shots. With zombie ships, or zombie-infested areas, the zombies in space that aren't shot first can hang around outside the ship, and if there's enough of them, they'll eventually overwhelm your ship and take it over. And if this happens too quickly, you'll end up fighting against too many ships at once.
Holiday Mode: 2011 saw the addition of a Halloween and a Christmas mode. Both can be played outside the actual holiday, but they were the default for them. Both modes modified the three main character portraits and the graphics for rez, asteroids and other objects to suit the theme. Halloween also lets you "Trick or Treat" friendly starbases, which can cause various effects. The Christmas mode spawns milk and cookie pickups from destroyed ships, which in turn summon Santa to drop a bunch of presents (and a Specialist elf, if you're lucky).
Human Resources: It is implied that Goons who are recruited get equipped with an exploding collar and are freely used as payment for various tech and favors. 'Retiring' a specialist is shown to be ejecting them out the airlock.
Lightning Bruiser: The Hammerhead is fast and packs a lot of firepower, but lacks crew capacity and has relatively low hull strength. The Manta Ray has more firepower, is still reasonably mobile, and is more durable than the Hammerhead; its trade-off is having so many gun mounts that it easily drains its capacitor.
Volley is a dedicated missile ship. It has no other slots than missiles mounts. Combined with micro-missiles, this lead to a lot of missiles in a single volley.
Metaphorgotten: "In space, no one can hear you scream... unless you're broadcasting on the right frequency"
Mighty Glacier: The Star Cruiser is tough and packs a lot of firepower... but lacks speed and maneuverability.
More Dakka: The Particle Cannon. Especially if combined with Cannon Boosters. Ship-wise, the Claw is this for the Tiny-sized hulls, the Cyclops is this for Small-sized hulls, and the Manta Ray is this, period.
Mystery Meat: Some optional missions have the crew pick up some supplies for a burger meat company; such as toxic waste and zombies. Dr. Memford reasons that the material is safe to eat given proper preparation, but cautions against drinking the smoothies.
Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies themselves are the Parasite type, while their ships are the Constructed type, as they cobble together wrecks and infest human ships.
The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The amount of pirating you choose to do is entirely up to you. If you want to, you can go around bribing everyone and essentially trading and mining your way through a lot of the game.
Then again, trading is largely based on slavery in this game.
Punny Name: In many sidequests, a UTA officer by the name of Major Dickens warps in to stop you from doing various things, such as picking up alien artifacts, or violating UTA health codes.
Pungeon Master: Every time Admiral Jamison shows up, Dr. Carl Memford has to poke fun at the fact he's missing an eye.
Schmuck Bait: A cache of survivors is discovered from the original Clockwork. Dr. Memford immediately points this out. Don even lampshades it
An early optional mission offers great rewards for responding to a distress call. Turns out the message comes from a bunch of spam satellites.
"In space no one can hear you scream, unless you're broadcasting on the right frequency."
Space Mines: A fairly effective support weapon if you invest in them, but a little too situational for most players to use seriously.
Space Police: The UTA was formed to help control the flow of traffic and minimize the risks of potential disease outbreaks... supposedly.
Stealth In Space: Cloaking devices hide ships from view and allow them to deal as much as three times their normal attack damage with proper research investments, but reduce movement speed and maneuverability. They can also absorb damage like shields, but are much weaker. Until you get to a fairly high research level, of course. Then the speed negatives are removed and your 'shield' strength is enough to survive most enemy assaults.
For some reason, cargo containers with cloaking devices are fairly common.
Some missions require a stealthed ship in order to successfully complete it. Thankfully they're optional, so you can skip them if you so choose.
Stern Chase: After Admiral Jamison [catches wind of/figures out] what you're trying to do. It's more of an Informed Chase though, since you aren't harassed by the UTA any more than normal apart from a couple of optional missions. His reaction to you tearing his new Clockwork-esque super-capital ship a new super-sized exhaust port is priceless.
Terminally Dependent Society: Since Rez is so vital for space travel and construction, there is a 'gold-rush' of richer and richer deposits of it. The zombies create Rez as a lure for sentient species across the galaxy.
This Cannot Be!: Jamison's reaction when you defeat the UTA's version of the Clockwork in a sidequest.
Villain Protagonist: Let's see, Don is extremely ruthless and is actually The Dragon to the zombie hordes, Memford is basically Space Mengele, and even Elsa, who is by far the most moral of the trio, has a Hair-Trigger Temper when it comes to men flirting with her. Even after the zombies overrun the galaxy, its made pretty clear that the "heroes" are motivated purely by self-preservation.
Welcometo Corneria: The random radio squabbles might be a funny joke or [[Foreshadowing hinting about the zombie threat you'll eventually meet]]. You'll hear them all. Over and over. For the rest of the time.
Wham Episode: "Opening Pandora's Box". The Rez Motherlode turns to be a trap by the Zombie Essence, Don reveals that he's been a Zombie sleeper agent all along, and has been for centuries, the Zombies pretty much overrun the galactic core, and the Clockwork is destroyed, stranding the protagonists on a backwater planet for five years. When they're finally able to build a new ship and escape, they find that both the UTA and the Civilians are in tatters and the Zombies pretty much control everything. This all occurs in the span of a few minutes.