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Video Game: Vanquish
Now this is cool!

War has accelerated.

Vanquish is a Third-Person Shooter from Platinum Games, the brain child of Shinji Mikami. Said by many to be what it would be like for Master Chief and Bayonetta to have a child and get him raised by the folks of Gears of War, living next door to an arcade mecca.

The plot revolves around a massive space colony named Providence, established by the United States and outfitted with a massive solar-powered microwave energy array designed to collect energy and transmit it to Earth. However, the Order of the Russian Star, a militant regime that has recently seized control over Russia in an armed coup, invaded the colony. They have turned the colony's microwave transmitter, meant to transmit power to ground-based collector stations as a limitless energy source, into a weapon of mass destruction, and fired it at San Fransisco, vaporizing its entire population. Following the attack is a prompt ultimatum: the United States will surrender to Russia, or they'll turn their new superweapon on New York City.

The United States' response is to deploy a massive counterattack on Providence, spearheaded by the U.S. Marines led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns. Accompanying Burns is Sam Gideon, a researcher from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who is testing out a prototype suit of powered armor. It falls to Burns, Sam, and the Marines to secure the colony before the Russians can fire the weapon again.

Vanquish was delivered to the world on October 19, 2010 for PS3 and Xbox 360.


This video game provides examples of:

  • Artificial Limbs: Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns with his mechanical right arm.
    • Not just his arm, over half his body is cybernetic as a result of the many tours of duty he's seen in his Marine career.
  • All There in the Manual: Only in the instruction manual is the player told that, if playing on Normal difficulty or higher, the player character's current weapon will downgrade upon death as a penalty.
  • Badass: Sam and Burns, natch
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Played straight after you fight the first Bogey. Played with during the finale, when you defeat both Bogeys, but find out that Zaitsev was only remotely controlling them.
  • BFG: Lieutenant Colonel Burns' giant Vulcan cannon even has a pop-out shield on it to provide him with cover as he destroys everything.
  • Big Bad: Victor Zakharov Zakhaev Zaitsev, agent of the Ultranationalists Order of the Russian Star.
  • The Big Guy: Lieutenant Colonel Burns, whose forearms are bigger than his head.
  • Boring, but Practical: While you can do all those awesome maneuvers in the game, you still have standard cover shooting as an option.
  • Bullet Time: Called "Augmented Reality", it's triggered when you're near death in order to give you time to find a safe zone. You can trigger it manually in several ways.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Going into cover and smoking. It's cool and can distract certain enemies, but is otherwise just for show.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: As Badass as Sam is in the ARS, he'd be significantly less so outside it.
  • Creator Cameo: One of the soldiers in Act 3 is named S. Mikami.
  • Cyber Punk Is Techno: The soundtrack is predominantly industrial techno, with a touch of orchestra.
  • Death Equals Redemption: After defeating Burns, he decides that Sam has fairly won and prevents other soldiers from killing him..
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The death animation that doesn't have Sam Blown Across the Room has him collapse before his suit detonate from overheating.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the intro, Sam offers Burns a position at DARPA while smoking. His response? Suddenly swing a large knife at Sam's face close enough to cut his cigarette in half because smoking isn't allowed.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Because every enemy bullet is rendered and has a trail, and because of the prominence of BulletTime, there's plenty of opportunity for this.
  • Driven to Suicide: President Winters.
  • Eagle Land: Who You Gonna Call? when rascally Russians hijack your space station? A football player turned super soldier and his grizzled old Sarge (OK, Lieutenant Colonel, but he's got all the trappings of a Sergeant Rock).
    • Initially presented as Type 1, shows shades of Type 2 as the plot progresses...
  • Easier Than Easy: "Casual Auto" mode, which is just like casual except that your crosshairs automatically focus on the nearest enemy when aiming.
  • Easily Forgiven: Sam to Burns, which may be why Burns helps him out right afterwards.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Sam yells at Elena to disable the limiters on his suit so he can fight Zaitsev more effectively in the final boss battle. This greatly boosts your sliding speed and doubles your boost meter, allowing you to spend twice as long in AR Mode and/or powersliding.
  • Elite Mook: Gorgie-USG and USR variants, which are more heavily armored and equipped with shotguns and jetpacks, as opposed to the USN model which only has a machine gun. The USS variant doesn't really count, since it's just as fragile as the USN and the only difference is that it uses a sniper rifle.
    • The traitorous U.S. Marine squad in Act 5.
  • Exploding Barrels: Every now and then, but they're surprisingly uncommon for such an action-packed shooting game.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sam lights a cigarette upon reaching Zaitsev, and he stops to both let him finish it and talk a while.
  • Gatling Good: Burns's Weapon of Choice is a massive gatling gun that comes with a deployable blast shield.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: And you Attack Its Weak Point so you can attack its OTHER weak point For Massive Damage. Justified in-universe; Elena states that the robot's armor plating was deliberately reduced to enable it to carry more ammunition. And considering how many missiles it fires...
  • Giant Mook: The Romanov. This big guy is fond of blowing people apart with his missiles, frying them with his eye laser thing, and simply tearing people in half. And oh yeah, did I mention he can kill you in one hit with his Chest Blaster?
    • And there are multiple versions of Romanovs, like the standard gun and missile, the drill arm Romanovs, and the flamethrower Romanovs.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The civilians that explode in the intro do so off screen.
  • The Gunslinger: Sam Gideon is a Type B - The Vaporizer and Type C - The Woo.
  • Guttural Growler: Sam Gideon's voice is something like the animated Wolverine filtered through Dirty Harry. Col. Burns takes this even further, sounding like all that stuff meets a rock-tumbler with the bass turned up (of course it's Steve Blum, so they got the right man for the job).
  • Harder Than Hard: God Hard.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Sam manages to get Zaitsev's rail gun away and finishes him off with it. Well, his empty remote-controlled armor suit, at least.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels:
  • I Know Madden Kombat: When moving around, Sam's grenade toss animation is similar to a football toss. Justified — an in-game document explains that he played college ball before joining DARPA.
  • Justified Tutorial: The game begins with Sam testing the ARS. Thankfully, you can cut the session short, but you have to do a few of the exercises before you get the option to do so.
    "Look, I know you're in a rush to get to the bar, but we've got a lot to go over..."
  • Kill Sat: The "peaceful" space colony Providence can use its solar energy to destroy entire cities, as the Russians demonstrated by cooking San Fransisco.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much every single thing Burns says.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "This sounds like a bad video game!"
  • Leap and Fire: Holding the aim button while vaulting over a chest-high wall triggers a brief spurt of Bullet Time, allowing you to pick off enemies or get height on others.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Argus bots and Buzzards like doing this.
  • Make the Bear Angry Again: The Russian Star regime.
  • The Man Behind the Man: President Winters was the one who supported Zaitsev's coup in Russia, so that the United States would have a legitimate reason to go to war against a "bad guy" and stimulate the weak American economy.
    • Zaitsev's boss, who is apparently a high-ranking member in the Order of the Russian Star.
  • Male Gaze: When a scene focuses on Elena there are times when the camera shifts it's focus towards her legs.
  • Mecha-Mooks: 99% of the enemies in this game are robots.
  • Mission Control: Elena Ivanova
  • Mini-Game Credits: Shooting asteroids with the development team on them.
  • Mood Dissonance: For a good 95%+ of the game, you're blowing up somewhat cheesy-looking robots with goofy names like "Romanov," "Gorgie," and "Bia" and are probably pretty used to the bright blue explosions and flying scrap metal that are the result of defeating your enemies. Then Act 5, Mission 2 comes along, and there are no more robots: from then on you're fighting flesh and blood human beings. It can be very jarring to suddenly begin seeing blood bursting out of the targets you're shooting instead of sparks and metal parts. What's even more unsettling is that your human enemies (except for Burns) never speak a word, making them Not So Different from the robots you've been blowing up. It doesn't help that they're also Faceless Goons.
  • Mood Whiplash: A long, lingering shot of the president after she shoots herself in the head...followed by cheery space adventure music as you shoot asteroids with the development team's faces on them.
  • Morph Weapon: The Battlefield Logic ADaptable Electronic weapons system(BLADE) not only transforms into up to three different weapons on command, it can store itself in Sam's arm. How does it work? Who cares?
  • Nintendo Hard: Hoo boy. The campaign is manageable, but the Tactical Challenges... Challenge 4 is essentially self-punishment, and the secret Challenge 6 is even harder.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted. While Sam is falling from a long distance in a cutscene near the end of the game, he uses his boosters to slow himself down enough so that he won't rip his arm off when he grabs a ledge. And while hanging, the first thing he does is light up a cigarette and then pull himself up.
    • Played straight, though, in Act 3's ending. As Sam leaps off of the exploding Kreon, he falls for a while until Burns catches him and swings him into the dropship. Justified for Burns since he caught Sam with his mechanical arm; not so much for Sam since he didn't even activate his boosters when falling.
  • One-Hit Kill: Quite a few things can push you right past forced AR activation and into death, regardless of how much damage you've soaked up to that point. Most notable is the Unknown's instant-kill attack, which WILL catch you off guard the first time it does it.
  • Palette Swap: It's not obvious at first, but the Marines and the basic mooks. It also doubles as a bit of Foreshadowing
  • Powered Armor: Sam Gideon's shtick. He's testing it for DARPA.
    • Zaitsev's also got one. Sam mutters that it's "patented."
  • Power of the God Hand: As noted in Shout-Out, there's an achievement called "The Hand Of God."
  • The President's Daughter: One of Sam's primary objectives is to save Dr. Candide. The macguffin aspect comes full circle when he dies as soon as Sam reaches him, allowing the focus to shift back to stopping Zaitsev.
  • Pummel Duel: Sam Gideon's Fight against the Leader of the Order of the Russian Star.
  • Rated M for Manly
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Returns once again as a Platinum Games Tradition, between Sam and Victor Zaitsev in the final boss fight.
  • Recursive Ammo: The Buzzard mini-boss's cluster missiles.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Marines have pathetic lifespan expectancies. Everyone, including them, seem to be aware of this.
  • Reds with Rockets: Enemy war droids are even painted red.
  • Robo Teching: The Lock-On Laser. Lasers go up, then down, kind of like a high-tech version of the Javelin Missile Launcher. It's nowhere near as powerful as that, though.
  • Robot War: The only non-robot Russian enemy is Big Bad Victor Zaitsev. The exception occurs in Act 5-2 when Sam gets into a lethal conflict of interest with genocidally patriotic American Lt. Col. Burns and the covert-ops U.S. Marines in Act 5.
    • And as it turns out, even the two battles against Zaitsev play this trope straight: yeah, they're suits, but they're empty, and are being remote-controlled. Simultaneously. Zaitsev is also a cyborg and this is his ability.
  • Reverse the Polarity: Invoked word for word by Elena when instructing Sam how to destroy the Kreon's energy source. Of course you're trying to cause a malfunction rather than a miracle in this case.
  • Rule of Cool: Is the US government designing a Powered Armorsuit that lets the user slide around at 50 mph on their knees? Doubtful. Would they ever consider such a venture to be a practical evolution of warfare? Probably not. Does it still make a good gameplay feature in spite of that? You better believe it.
    • How many video game protagonists are there who can rocket slide into a wall, kick off it, perform a backflip in the air, pull out a sniper rifle and snipe two guys in the head while still descending from the backflip?
  • Scenery Porn: Readily available at nearly any point in the game. Just look up.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Played straight at the final battle when you battle two Russian ARS knock-offs like the one fought at the end of Act 1: one red, one blue. Whichever one you destroy first, Zaitsev will contact you and say: "The wrong one, I'm afraid". Subverted when both are revealed to be empty remote-controlled drones.
  • Serial Escalation: You can grab the artillery of a Giant Enemy Crab transformer and slam dunk it back in its gun barrel. It only gets better from there.
  • Sequel Hook: Zaitsev gets away, and is revealed to be merely an agent for his organization, the Order of the Russian Star.
  • Shout-Out: If you mash the melee button with the assault rifle equipped, you'll pull off a barrage of punches akin to Gene. His fists even glow orange.
    • "C'mon, you apes! You want to live forever?!
    • One of the achievements is called "Fisher is the other Sam".
    • Another nod to God Hand are the dancing enemy robots atop the Kreon in Act 3. Complete with a huge boombox.
    • If you wait for a while outside of combat, Burns talks about his "Whiskey-a-Go-Go". He also mentions his "old pal Jack".
    • This amusing exchange after an ambush in Mission 2:
      Elena: IT'S A TRAP!
    • One of the achievements is called Helloooo, Nurse.
    • The ship that the protagonists board the space colony with looks like a Blockade Runner from the Star Wars verse.
    • More from that ball-bustingly hard game: An achievement called "The Hand of God", awarded for finishing two Romanovs in a row with nothing but melee attacks.
    • Sam drills through a robot by activating the suits jets and spinning insanely fast. Unsurprisingly, Mikami has gone on record as saying that Vanquish was a bit of a tribute to Casshern.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Oh so much with Sam.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Burns
  • Space Marine: Your allies are the U.S. Marine Corps, IN SPACE! Averted with Sam and Elena, who work for DARPA. This causes some Jurisdiction Friction between Sam and Burns over whose orders take precedence during the operation.
  • Spiritual Successor: To P.N.03, according to Mikami.
  • Skewed Priorities: After barely catching a ledge in a cutscene, Sam continues hanging over a death drop by one arm to light a cigarette.
  • Smoking Is Cool: So much so there's a button to light up in cover. A sign that it's simply for awesomeness is that Sam rarely takes the time to smoke a full cigarette.
    • It also tends to act as a distraction.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Sam and Burns run on this:
    [Burns descends from a chopper]
    Burns: Miss me, sweetheart?
    Sam: Jesus, you? I liked you better when I thought you were dead.
    Burns: And I liked you better when I didn't have to hear your shit.
  • Stealth Parody: The writer of the review of Vanquish on Gamespot seems to think it is this.
  • Stock Scream: There's a Wilhelm Scream towards the end of Act 1.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The microwave emitter on Providence was not intended as a weapons system, but the Russians got creative.
  • Swiss Army Gun: The BLADE.
  • Take That: One ad pokes fun at Halo stating, "If it takes a decade to finish the fight, you should probably switch tactics."
  • Take Cover: But you probably won't; you'll be too busy powersliding around the battlefield. Plus, you're more robust than most protagonists who take cover. The protagonist has a number of high-speed moves that allow you to easily dodge enemy fire while retaliating. When you're dangerously low on health, Bullet Time kicks in, allowing you find the necessary chest-high walls easily.
    • The game's developers had already experimented with cover mechanics years before they became popular, such as Shinji Mikami's Resident Evil 4 and Sega's Bonanza Bros, and are now doing the same with Vanquish.
      • Of note is actually how good said system is. You can boost out of cover, dive into a slow-mo shot, hop over it for another slow-mo shot, throw a distraction out to draw fire, and there are even 3 kinds of cover. Walls give you the most protection but have a hard time being boosted from, near-the-floor cover means little space to hide and standing straight up to shoot, but being able to boost in a second, and chest-high cover is somewhere in the middle.
  • Taking You with Me: Burns' death; demanding Sam leave him, he stays behind to detonate a bomb in his arm and kill several Elite Mooks.
  • Technology Porn: Sam's ARS suit constantly shifts and reconfigures, as does the BLADE weapon. The tutorial zone also qualifies, featuring huge weapon benches that fold out of tiny tiles on the floor.
    • Elena's holographic support console qualifies, with all kinds of free-floating, touch-sensitive displays that can be pulled and slid around in a Minority Report-esque fashion.
  • Tele-Frag: The robots can teleport in reinforcements. The Marines... not so much. Sam states that living things won't survive the process, and that a rat that got caught in a teleportation experiment ended up with its head "literally shoved up its ass" and "it'll be another three years before (they) can get a human to the same state."
  • Took a Level in Badass: The red shirt soldiers that accompany you, during the fight against Burns.
  • Trapped in Containment: The majority of the Marines on the Providence asphyxiate to death when they are unable to get past a blast shield that was closed to contain a breach in the colony's outer hull.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Argus bot is a four-legged robot that can turn into a Humongous Mecha.
    • The Bia bot is a robot scorpion that can transform into a mech wielding a massive axe.
    • The Buzzard has flight and land modes encountered at different points in the game.
  • The Unfought: Zaitsev. Those suits he was supposedly in were actually empty, and he escapes the space station anyway.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: A space station has a massive middle section.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sam and Burns, Type II. Probably the best explanation for Sam trying to help Burns in Act 5 even after Burns betrays him and Sam is forced to gun him down, and Burns doing the same in buying Sam time with his explosive death.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Elena Ivanova.
  • We Have Reserves:
    Burns: Screw it! Leave 'em! Elena, close this door!
    Burns: Marines complete the mission. We don't get the luxury of choosing how.
  • X Meets Y: Wanted wearing Powered Armor as a Third-Person Shooter.

Unreal Tournament IIIXbox 360 Velvet Assassin
Time ShiftPlay Station 3 Watch_Dogs
Urban ChaosThird-Person ShooterVelvet Assassin
Infinite SpaceCreator/Platinum GamesAnarchy Reigns
Valkyria ChroniclesCreator/SegaVectorman
Umineko: When They CryThe New TensVector Thrust

alternative title(s): Vanquish
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