Video Game / Win Back

Winback: Covert Operations (known as Operation: Winback in Australia and Europe) is a cover-based Third-Person Shooter initially released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999, with an Updated Re-release coming out for the PlayStation 2 in 2001 and a sequel, Project Poseidon, following for the PS2 and Xbox in 2006. It could be considered as an N64 analogue to Metal Gear Solid, and despite its obscurity it is effectively the Trope Codifier for many modern third-person shooter mechanics, particularly its cover system (which influenced that of Kill Switch, which itself was cited as an inspiration for the much more famous and widely-copied cover system of Gears of War) and the use of Laser Sights for aiming (which was later popularized by Resident Evil 4). Its story concerns the hijacking of a Kill Sat called the Gulf System by a terrorist group calling themselves the "Crying Lions", demanding the US government leave their nation of Sarcozia alone; the player takes the role of Jean-Luc Cougar, a member of the Special Covert Action Team, as they move in to take back the complex housing the Gulf System's controls before the terrorists can fire the weapon again.


  • Action Girl: Of the three women who actually show up in the game, two of the three qualify - Lila, the first member of the Crying Lions Jean-Luc fights against, who totes an M60 machine gun and, though relatively easy to take care of as she's the first boss, can quickly lay on the hurt if you aren't careful; and Lisa, who ends up being one of the only surviving members of the team in the good ending and jokes at one point that it'll take more than "a crashing chopper and trigger-happy terrorists" to kill her.
  • Always Save the Girl: Lisa is saved by Jean-Luc in the good ending, along with Keith. In the bad ending, she ends up being Stuffed into the Fridge.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lila, the only female member of the Crying Lion, wears an outfit with this.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Kenneth Coleman, the terrorist leader, commits suicide in the bad ending path after firing the satellite a third time, knowing he will be taken into custody by Jean-Luc and sentenced to either life in prison or execution for his actions.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The good ending - SCAT have destroyed the satellite before it could be fired again and killed most, if not all of the terrorists. However, only three people, Jean-Luc, Lisa, and Keith, survive the mission.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Matthew, the only black man of the team - and the entire game, for that matter - is the first teammate to die.
  • Bloodless Carnage: For the most part. Tom writes the security code for the elevator in his blood on the floor, but beyond that the closest the game ever has to any sort of blood is Jean-Luc claiming to see a pool of it near Law when the latter says he's "just resting".
  • Boom, Headshot: Headshots, as natural for a post-GoldenEye shooter, deal increased damage. Bosses just take a little more damage from them, though other enemies are all generally instantly killed by them. Some of the members of SCAT are also shown to be taken out this way in cutscenes.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Towards the end of the good ending path, Cecile will betray Kenneth and murder him, then take over to demand a hundred million dollars from the US government.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Only applies to your starting handgun, and even then you still have to reload it. Other than that, the game is actually rather stingy on carried ammo - on the hardest difficulty, you can only carry one full magazine for the submachine gun and shotgun (two if you find the ammo pouch at the start), while the silenced pistol and four-barreled rocket launcher don't get reloads and you have to find a new one entirely.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Some of the SCAT members have their moments, particurlarly Jean-Luc and Jake.
  • Downer Ending: The bad ending, obviously. Although pretty much all of the terrorists are dead, SCAT is brought down to two members out of ten doing so - and they failed to stop the terrorists from firing the Gulf System to destroy both the Pentagon and the White House.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Dan, the squad leader, betrays the team and his country, causing their helicopter to crash in the beginning and personally killing two of his own team members. When he is defeated. he reveals that he is from Sarcozia, and Kenneth is his brother. He technically qualifies as Evil All Along, since he notes that his treasonous thoughts began when he first encountered a group of Sarcozian rebels back when he was a Navy SEAL.
  • Final Boss: In both endings, it's always Cecile.
  • Guns Akimbo: Deathmask uses a pair of handguns. Banderas goes further by pairing up SMGs.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: While all the slain SCAT members qualify for trying to stop the terrorists, Law has one unforgettable moment when he sends Jean-Luc down to the factory to hold off the mooks, while he succeeds in killing the mooks, he is further wounded by them and then finished off by Cecile.
  • Interface Spoiler: In Versus, all the unlockable bosses wield only one signature weapon. So does Dan.
  • Jerk Ass: Cecile, he even states himself in the bad ending that nothing makes his day more than knowing he just completely ruined someone else's.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: After Jake is killed by Cecile, he tells Deathmask to "Teach our young friend here the value of making quick decisions."
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Lisa gets this twice, first from Cecile's bodyguard, Deathmask, then from Dan after he reveals his treason to her.
  • One Bullet Clips: Surprisingly realistic about this, considering its age. Reloading the handgun or submachine gun requires you to drop the existing magazine so you can replace it with a fresh one - which includes dropping all of the ammo left in it. The pistol avoids any issues related to that by having an infinite supply, but that means the submachine gun will waste any bullets you didn't fire if you reload halfway through. The plus side is that, if you do reload before totally emptying your mag, you keep the bullet in the chamber to fire first from the next mag - the ammo counters for most weapons even take the form of a side-view of the bullets in a transparent magazine, the top one slightly forward and above the actual image of the mag to indicate it's chambered (thus not falling away with all the others when you reload). The shotgun plays this straight, which is half-right - it is fed via loose shells, which would allow for topping off without wasting ammo, but it has a fixed-length reload animation like the other guns and doesn't follow the rule for chambered rounds. The silenced handgun and four-barreled rocket launcher avoid the issue by not having reloads at all, Jean-Luc simply firing off what they come with and then dropping them until he can find another.
  • Race Against the Clock: To the point that the ending you get depends on whether you're able to reach a certain point late in the game within two hours and thirty minutes or not.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Although they claim otherwise, the Crying Lions steal the satellite to use it as revenge against the United States for interfering in their civil war with the Sarcozian Government. Also, after finding Steve's body, Jean-Luc vows to "make the bastards pay" for the deaths of Matt, Tom and Steve; unfortunately, even more members of the team follow them before he does. During the bad ending path, he again vows revenge after finding Lisa and Jake's bodies.
  • Tap on the Head: Lisa gets knocked unconscious by Cecile's silent bodyguard Deathmask in order to shut her up when she is captured towards the end of the game after Jean-Luc reaches the control room. Jean-Luc can also strike an enemy from behind with his weapon's butt.
  • The Unfought: Kenneth, in both endings.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: You can never pry weapons out of dead terrorists' hands, or even ammo, and have to settle for finding your own guns and scattered ammo pickups. Several of the bosses also make use of weapons that the player simply doesn't get access to, like Lila's M60, Sgt. Thunder's flamethrower, Duke's gatling gun, and Banderas' twin Uzis.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: All the Crying Lions, especially Kenneth, think of themselves this way.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Crying Lions are revealed in the intro by the Defense Secretary's advisor that they are the last remenants of a rebel group defeated in the Sarcozian Civil War.

Alternative Title(s): Operation Winback