Video Game: Strike Series
GET TO DA CHOPPA!!!
The Strike Series
were a series of five games from Electronic Arts
, where the player took control of an Apache gunship to undertake several missions for the US government (and later on a mercenary organisation known as STRIKE), usually attempting to thwart the plans and lives of various megalomaniacal dictators or warlords threatening the world's safety.
The games were played from an isometric perspective
, and as such were more tactical than an out and out shooting game, requiring precision in 360 degrees.
The series included:
- Desert Strike, set at the end of the Gulf War where the player must thwart the Saddam Hussein-a-like General Killbaba.
- Jungle Strike, which dealt with the son of Killbaba making negotiations with the notoriously dangerous Colombian drug dealer Carlos Ortega in South America after his initial assassination attempts on the President of the United States.
- Urban Strike, whose main enemy is H.R. Malone, an insidious politician who takes control of the media and plans to convert the USA into his personal armed fortress.
- Soviet Strike, the first of two PS1 games where the newly-formed STRIKE organisation must take down a mysterious Russian terrorist called "The Shadowman" and his plans to bring back the glory of Soviet Russia through violence. That, or a elaborate plan by STRIKE to convince Boris Yeltsin of their need for a foothold in Russia.
- Nuclear Strike, which closes with the hunt for the ex-CIA warlord Colonel Lemonde in his pursuit to take down the world with the deconstruction and conquest of Southeast Asia before causing enough instability across the world, using stolen nuclear weaponry.
Oddly, it's a franchise that its publisher
hasn't yet considered for a modern incarnation, despite fairly strong sales during its heyday.
Contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ace Pilot
- Action Girl: Andrea Gray in Soviet and Nuclear is the best example. News reporter when wearing her brown wig and suit, asskicking inside field agent when in her combat togs with natural spiky blonde hair.
- Naja also counts in Nuclear Strike as the awesome rebel leader in the first mission, and your main copilot for most of it.
- A couple of the co-pilots in Urban Strike fall into this category.
- Artistic License – Chemistry: In Nuclear Strike, you're treated to the line "You mix Nitrogen and Chloride; you get salt". Nitrogen Trichloride is, in fact similar to teargas.
- The writer of that line probably was confused about the chemical formula of salt, NaCl. Na stands for Sodium (AKA Natrium), not Nitrogen, but the other half is Chlorine.
- Awesome McCoolname: The pirate Octad (triad) leader Napoleon Hwong in Nuclear Strike's second mission.
- Black Helicopter: A video used for TV commercial for Soviet Strike showed a maintenance crew pointedly spray painting over all official markings on an Apache helicopter while a broadcast in the background kept saying the government will take no action.
- Bottomless Magazines: Jungle Strike features an F-117 with literally infinite ammo. This was done because the game's mechanics weren't really designed to handle a constantly moving jet fighter.
- Captain Ersatz: General Killbaba is clearly meant to be Saddam Hussein.
- The leader of North Korea in Nuclear Strike is named as "Kym Zung-Lee", which is just a slight alteration of Kim Jong-Il.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: In Soviet Strike one mission requires you to get information out of the head of the Russian KGB....by kidnapping him and winching him down into the Moscow Zoo bear cage. He's terrified of bears.
- Critical Existence Failure: Your chopper can be shot full of holes from all manner of rocket and AA gunfire, down to 5 remaining hitpoints and still keep fighting just as good as it does at 100% health, but one stray bullet from a soldier's rifle, and...
- Same happens with the ground missions in Urban Strike (you control the pilot outside of the helicopter). You have to be even more careful in that mission because at least you can juke back and forth in a helicopter to avoid shots.
- Darker and Edgier: The PlayStation versions. To give an idea, one mission takes place in Chernobyl where you have to kill a Romanian Gulag dominatrix (yes, you read that right) who had grown to become a ruling guerrilla leader in charge of a nation, apparently powerful enough to make a play for the Chernobyl reactor to use the nuclear materials to launch rockets over Europe. Then there's The Plan detailed below.
- Deadpan Snarker: The player character in the Mission Briefing screens for Jungle Strike and Urban Strike, as well as Ivan Uralia and Nick Arnold in Soviet Strike.
- Destroyable Items: In Jungle Strike, the player can blow up half the buildings in Washington DC and still win the mission with no more than a few points deducted from the mission's final score. Just be sure not to blow up any famous monuments.... or the soldier standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
- Dysfunctional Family: Amad's family in Soviet Strike is not the most stable of families. In fact, they'll blindly murder each other with their individual units out of pure rage if they're paired against the one they hate (Though it's really uncle Nimrud that's the problem, Bessus and Delilah won't fight with each other).
- Easter Egg: Soviet Strike has Santa Claus in Crimea and a vampire Elvis in Transylvania.
- Easy Logistics: What luck that our helicopter can instantly replenish ammo, fuel and even armor just by winching up supplies that just happen to be scattered all over the battlefield!
- Elvis Impersonator: There are dancing Elvis impersonators inside the Las Vegas casino in Urban Strike. If you hang around one long enough, their dancing will generate an armor crate for you. This particular mission is extremely difficult because of how hard it is to avoid enemy fire while running around on foot, so these guys are crucial to your survival.
- Escort Mission: Happens in every game sooner or later.
- The Washington D.C. level in Jungle Strike ends with you escorting the Presidential Motorcade back to the White House. It follows a specific route, and there are enemies waiting for it at almost every corner. The one saving grace about that is that the Motorcade won't advance unless you destroy the road blockade in front of it. This lets you go clear out the enemies first.
- Soviet Strike has you escorting President Boris Yeltsin, protecting him from coup forces while he drives around Moscow in his private car. Yeltsin "hasn't driven in thirty years" and it shows. Also, he just has to stop at the local burger joint that some of the coup forces also happen to be dining at.
- FMV: The next generation titles were loaded with them. Mission briefings, intel and updates used live actors and stock footage, where enemy profiles usually used CG. All the relevant information can be read through as with the previous games, as well as political views and motivations of who you're fighting, with videos available with a button press.
- Fog of War: The later games featured this in order to justify respawning enemies.
- Fox-Chicken-Grain Puzzle: An interesting take on this happens during Soviet Strike with Amad's family: Delilah (The Fox), Nimrud (The Chicken), and Bessus (The Grain). If Nimrud's forces cross paths with either of the others, the two groups will fight. You also have to make sure they fight the right enemy units or else they will be obliterated.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: Ivan Uralia, the last copilot you obtain in Soviet Strike, is covered in burns from his rescue efforts during the Chernobyl disaster. His introductory cutscene has a long drawn out shot of the one on his face.
- Gulf War: The first game alludes to this.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted in the first game, where the Apache's weapons load-out is 100% accurate. (Yes, it can actually carry 38 rockets, 8 missiles and 1200 20mm gun rounds at once.)
- A very strange example in that the attack chopper can also carry up to six passengers. Perhaps it's best not to ask where.
- Apparently these are Super Apache and Commanche helicopters, which not only has smart armor (explaining the extra lives) but a ramp drops down out the back, below the tail. Completing the first Moscow mission shows a video of it, and numerous CG videos will show where passengers would sit (sort of where the engine would be, under the rotors, separate from the cockpit).
- Jungle Strike and Urban Strike play this mildly, with the chopper carrying one extra missile and 22 more rockets but offset this by reducing the gun's capacity by 200 rounds.
- One mission in Jungle Strike plays completely straight, see the Bottomless Magazines entry above.
- Inertia Is a Cruel Mistress: It certainly makes hovering over various pickups trickier.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Your chopper can't change altitude, so you have to fly around two story buildings or mountains. Urban Strike has you flying over the fog of San Fransisco, with the taller buildings and Golden Gate Bridge jutting above it. The Playstation games alter this slightly, having your helicopter constantly flying at a given altitude above the ground. You'll be shown flying up over hills and small buildings, but you still have to fly around larger geographic features and structures.
- Isometric Projection: for the 16-bit games; the later installments changed to a follow perspective.
- Karmic Death: At the end of the final level in Nuclear Strike, the Big Bad LeMonde is killed in an airstrike sponsored by STRIKE.
- Just Plane Wrong: The final mission of Desert Strike features C-5 Galaxy cargo plane as a "nuclear bomber".
- Made of Explodium: Every vehicle and building will come apart in a nice shower of fragments and orange fireballs.
- Made of Iron: Though not invincible, your helicopter can take a lot of missile hits and keep flying.
- Magic Tool: Your helicopter's winch can pick up all manner of objects and instantly switch between hook and rope-ladder.
- Armor Repair Toolboxes instantly repair all damage to your chopper with no explanation as to how or even what was fixed.
- Also acts as a medkit for the pilot himself.
- The Man Behind the Man: The Shadowman in Soviet Strike. Allegedly one Uri Vatsisnov, fictional former head of the KGB, though this is not 100% confirmed. The codename for a mysterious individual attempting to stage a coup in post-Cold War Russia. He hacks into your site and taunts you throughout the game. He seemingly dies in the first mission but it's quickly revealed he's alive and behind the bad guys in all subsequent missions. He is never seen except in infra-red, and his voice is electronically muffled.
- After the end credits, it transpires that STRIKE are the true masterminds behind the coup, or at least their bosses, and even allude to killing Trotsky because he didn't play ball, making them a Government Conspiracy going back decades. The coup was apparently to frighten then-President Yeltsin into obedience.
- Also, there is a strong possibility that the real Shadowman is none other than your co-pilot Nick Arnold, the Shadowman's convenient hostage for much of the game, maybe or not working on orders of the aforementioned conspiracy Hack once thinks that Shadowman must be a STRIKE member to be able to hack into their systems; his voice, though muffled, is similar to Nick's in later missions, and he has Nick's sense of humour and uses many of his phrases (eg. "viking funeral"). Not only is he Shadowman's hostage for most of the game, in the final levels Nick is seemingly with all the time, for no obvious reason as he has no apparent value as a captive.
- Muzzle Flashlight: Some of the night missions.
- Nonstandard Game Over: Fail an objective and you'll be called back to base to get shouted at by a pixelly Stormin' Norman. In the PlayStation games, you can even go rogue and have your allies hunt you down if you refuse to return when ordered. Eventually they'll push the self-destruct button for, of all things, refueling too many times after you are recalled.
- No One Gets Left Behind: "Over here!"
- Non-Lethal Warfare: News Chopper in one Nuclear Strike mission which is only armed with pellets, tear gas and smoke bombs. Somehow, this does not stop it from being able to blow up tanks.
- Only in It for the Money: Harding Cash's motivation for doing anything for you in Nuclear Strike.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: The final mission of Nuclear Strike, which involves all of your allies.
- Punny Name: One of your allies in Nuclear Strike is a mercenary named Harding Cash, with the nickname "Cold" added to the beginning.
- Qurac: The actual country involved in Desert Strike is never named.
- Ripped from the Headlines: Most obvious in Desert Strike and Soviet Strike in relation to the Gulf War and 1991 Soviet coup attempt respectively.
- Shout-Out: The terrorist combi van that's the first enemy you're likely to see in the second game is ripped right out of Back to the Future.
- Side Quest: You're given bonus points for going above and beyond the mission parameters. If your mission is to take out a power station, take out the electrical towers with it; if you only need to capture one enemy commander to fulfill your objective, get the other three anyway; and so on. Desert Strike, in particular, has an unadvertised mission to locate and rescue the MIA co-pilot during the second campaign.
- Stock Footage: Soviet and Nuclear Strike use this for pretty much everything that doesn't need to have the game's own characters shown. The scene of Strike Team Echo being caught infiltrating for example is actually from the real life Operation Nimrod.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: In Nuclear Strike, Nick Arnold is killed off-screen during the first mission.
- Tanks, but No Tanks: Jungle Strike Level 3 features US M-551 "Sheridan" tanks armed with soviet 23MM AA guns. The real Sheridan was armed with a stubby, 155mm "gun" that fired anti-tank missiles.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Several of your copilots have to be rescued by you.
- Turns Red: Inverted. At the start of each campaign, the enemy has various radars and electrical systems in operation which, while active, make their units target you faster, hit harder, and take more hits. Naturally, these radars/power plants will be among your first objectives to level the playing field.
- 24-Hour News Networks: The plot is delivered by a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo version of CNN, the GBS. As if this isn't obvious enough, GBS is basically the information arm of STRIKE.
- The 16-bit installments featured EANN (Electronic Arts News Network), in the levels and some of the cut-scenes between missions.
- Twenty Minutes into the Future: Urban Strike was made in 1994 and takes place in 2001.
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The on-foot levels in Urban Strike.
- Universal Driver's License: In Jungle Strike, Urban Strike and Nuclear Strike, the player operates additional vehicles, including a (not so) stealth fighter, a hovercraft, an armed motorcycle, a cargo helicopter and an experimental "Ground Assault Vehicle".
- Video Game Caring Potential: Trying to rescue every civilian, allied soldier, and enemy non-combatant in every mission, even after you've rescued enough to achieve the mission objective.
- Though, there is the benefit of gaining/recovering some hitpoints from dropping them off at landing zones.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: Chemical, bio and nuke weapons in Desert Strike, nukes in Jungle Strike, super-lasers in Urban Strike, nukes in Soviet Strike and Nuclear Strike.
- We Do the Impossible: Take on a battalion of tanks alone, check; sink nuclear submarines with a hovercraft, yep; destroy an air defense network consisting of Patriots, AA Guns, RPG-armed soldiers, radar and patrolling helicopters with your one chopper, no problem. And that's just in one game.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Soviet Strike had a shadowy character only known as the "Security Czar" running STRIKE, who at the end threatens Yeltsin into allowing STRIKE to act freely within Russia. In Nuclear Strike this sinister conspiracy overtone is gone, along with the entire character of Security Czar.
- After the first mission in Urban Strike you learn that the villain H.R. Malone is actually Carlos Ortega, one of the main villains of Jungle Strike who has undergone plastic surgery. This plot point never comes up again, even when you face Malone in person.