Medal of Honor: Allied Assault (add-ons Spearhead and Breakthrough)
Medal of Honor: Frontline
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
Medal of Honor: Infiltrator
Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Medal of Honor: Heroes and Heroes 2
Medal of Honor: Vanguard
Medal of Honor: Airborne
Medal of Honor (2010; a modern reboot of the series)
Medal of Honor: Warfighter
Though notable in its own right, Medal of Honor is also known for having spawned Infinity Ward, who went on to make the more popular Call of Duty series. A distinct difference between the two is its narrative focus:
In Medal of Honor, you often play as a pivotal American frontline soldier in a particular theater of battle. Though More Dakka is generously provided, you often fight alone (main exceptions being Pacific Assault were you control a team of at least three allies, Airborne where you always have a few paratroopers on your side, although apparently they can run out, and the 2010 game, where most missions find you with at least 1 companion). In any case, most of the action serves to drive you from one iconic action scene to another. The series is noted for great realism and respect for real soldiers in real wars.
In Call of Duty, playership is usually divided between a number of nationals, and any number of compatriots fighting alongside you. Though just as pivotal in terms of gameplay, more focus is put on your comrades and where you fit into this particular unit. The series, especially the later games, tends to have a far more "arcadey" feel to it, especially apparent in its somewhat bizarre Nazi Zombies survival game mode.
Air-Vent Passageway: Allied Assault's second mission had you crawling through the vents, subverted by the fact that when you get out, you're still inside the base you're escaping from. Rather notably, the Germans find out you're in there and actually try to follow you in.
The hydroplant level in the first game had a part where an air vent was the only way to get into a room you had to get into, and if the Germans saw or heard you, they'd start pitching grenades in after you.
Armor Is Useless: Averted in the 2010 game. Adams and his Ranger squad get hit by an IED planted in a house they are about to breach and credit their kevlar with preventing their deaths.
The multiplayer 'bots in Rising Sun are some of the stupidest ever. If you pick any weapons choice that has bazookas, expect to see them inflict a lot of friendly fire casualties on one another as they all try to gang up on you at close range.
The enemies in Warfighter are noticeably faster and more agile than the norm in Modern Military Shooter games, able to scramble into cover when shot at or swap from cover to cover when flanked. A lot of the time they just stand out in the open like idiots and go full-auto until killed, though.
Additionally, your elite Tier 1 allies in Warfighter are extremely ineffective; often exchanging full-auto fire with enemies at close range without a single hit. Enemies will often just walk right past them and shoot you in the back.
Authority Equals Asskicking: Sturmgeist in Frontline and the Nemesis Officers and Von Schrader in European Assault can all take significantly more damage that the basic Mooks under their command.
The player characters themselves are usually officers in the Allied army and more often or not end up taking on the entire Axis by themselves.
Attack! Attack! Attack!: The player is tasked with holding off a full-scale German charge in the 6th level of Spearhead.
Badass: Dusty, from Medal of Honor (2010). Yes, he's based on Dusty Hammer. Yes, he's on the cover art. Yes, he's a Tier 1 operator.
Jimmy Patterson. So badass that Nazi Mooks would address him by name. Hell, the German Army declared war on him! Just look at those wanted posters of him all over the place in Frontline.
The Tier 1 operators know that they would have serious difficulty in doing the same thing and in fact, AFO Neptune does. Their focus is much narrower, based on speed, stealth and tactical exfil at the end of the day. Tier 2 Rangers are more focused on conventional warfare, and they're better at it.
Badass Beard: A lot of the initial response to the reveal of the 2010 game was joking about the "biker" look of the Tier One Operator to the point that the devs eventually blogged about the beards.note Most SF operators in Afghanistan and Iraq grow beards to blend in with the populace a bit better.
General Flagg, from Medal of Honor (2010). Not only does he seem dead set on not letting the commander on the ground run the operation, he's giving orders by teleconference from an office somewhere, in a business suit. What makes it worse is that he's just not any good at it, attempting to abandon his forces on a whim.
Warfighter has General Barrera, who insists in "leading from the rear," as Mother puts it. His hastiness and incompetence nearly jeopardizes the mission and costs the hostages their lives.
Based on a True Story: Most missions in Warfighter are "inspired" by true events. The extremely short "Hat Trick" mission in particular is a complete recreation of a famous incident where U.S. Navy SEALS sniped 3 pirates holding a boat captain hostage.
Check Point Starvation: The first three installments that were released for the console had no in-level checkpoints. This was a major problem with the longer levels in Frontline. However, Allied Assault was based off the Quake 3 engine, and supported Save Scumming through quick save.
Chekhov's Gunman: In Warfighter, the bespectacled trainer of new terrorist recruits turn out to be the "Cleric," mastermind of the PETN attacks on the West.
Cherubic Choir: The WW2 era games often had them as part of its soundtrack, especially in Frontline (notably the Operation Market Garden theme and Arnhem.).
Code Name: In Medal of Honor (2010), we have the two Tier 1 squads, AFO Wolfpack and AFO Neptune, Sgt Patterson's Ranger squad is Bravo One, and the Apache crews go by Gunfighter Six and Eleven.
Collapsing Lair: In Allied Assault, the player must escape from Fort Schmerzen as the whole fortress is rocked by explosions.
Communications Officer: The ununiformed technician, Jimmy, who runs the communications equipment in Colonel Drucker's HQ. Tech Sergeant Ybarra fills this role for Sgt Patterson's Ranger squad, along with his duties of calling down close air support.
Continuity Nod: The 'Leave a Message' trailer for the reboot mentions Jim Patterson and his family. Jimmy Patterson as many know was the protagonist of the first game, Frontline, and others.
The fact that he is Jimmy Patterson's grandson has been confirmed. The blog post confirming this also confirms that he is as Bad Ass as his Badass Grandpa.
During Vanguard's first mission, one may recognize parts of the background music from the Manor House level in Frontline.
Cosmetic Award: Averted and played straight in the first game. Bronze, silver, and gold medals are granted on how much enemies you kill and how much objectives you carry out, and often netted new player models for multiplayer and cheat codes, but the decorations themselves, earned by progression in the game and all the way to the Dreamworks Medal and the Congressional Medal of Honor, did nothing at all.
Allied Assault has the same decorations, but you get them for things that aren't part of the actual mission but help anyway, such as saving an American POW, grabbing a manifest and destroying two King Tigers with explosives you have to find first. Like the first Medal of Honor, they did nothing but give you a sense of accomplishment.
Curbstomp Battle: When Preacher finally catches up to Sad Al-Din near the end of Warfighter, he proceeds to lay a complete beatdown on the guy, who had just murdered Mother. Despite being The Dragon and The Heavy, he doesn't even manage to throw a single punch as Preacher pounds him into the ground.
Custom Uniform: Depending on the mission, the AFO teams may wear anything from full uniform and body armor to traditional Afghan garb or an FDNY baseball cap. TSgt Ybarra seems to have a custom uniform of his own, being the only guy in the Ranger missions to wear the DCUs, even though he was technically the only one wearing the correct uniform for the time period.
Crapsack World: When a goat herder seems unimpressed by a heavily armed man in a pickup truck screaming at him to get out of the road, that says much about Afghanistan in the Medal of Honor (2010) setting. The country is already torn by civil war even before the Americans become directly involved.
Death from Above: Medal of Honor (2010): Air Force Technical Sergeant Ybarra, whose job it is to fight alongside the Army Rangers and invoke this trope when necessary.
Distress Call: In the first game, the objective of the first mission is to follow a distress call from a G3 officer who had survived a crash, following him all over enemy territory to try and rescue him.
Same reason for the bonus mission in Underground.
And AFO Neptune's distress call is the impetus for the last Ranger mission in the 2010 game.
Downer Ending: The reboot has one of the main characters captured by the terrorists. A friendly squad comes in at the last minute and extracts him and his friend, and the point of view switches to the injured protagonist's first person view again, as he keeps blacking out and his squadmates try to encourage him to hold on to life, as a rescue helicopter is coming. The audience expects him to get better. He doesn't. Cue white-out...
Also happens in Rising Sun. In the last mission, the Big Bad slits the throat of fellow soldier Tanaka right after he frees you from captivity aboard a supercarrier. He also manages to escape with your kidnapped brother
Dramatic Irony: From the intro of the 2010 game, you can overhear a radio broadcaster saying "It's another quiet Tuesday morning in the Big Apple..." The next thing you hear is another news broadcast talking about a plane crash in Lower Manhattan, and how this must be a terrible accident...
Drill Sergeant Nasty / Expy: In Pacific Assault, there's a drill sergeant who looks and acts suspiciously like R. Lee Ermey.
Driven to Suicide: On Nijmegen Bridge, if you shoot all but one of the snipers off the top of the bridge, the lone sniper will take his chances and jump off the bridge.
Sometimes he'll start shooting at the Germans below instead!
Drought Level of Doom: In Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, medkits are much scarcer on the Hard difficulty setting, which can make certain sections unwinnable if you blunder away your health beforehand.
Specifically, the developers worked with ultra top secret Tier 1 operatives who were so closely guarded they had to wear hoods and be given assumed names for speaking with the press, and so dangerous that when EA was going to have a scene in the game where one of them dies without a hint of threat or menace these real life Rambos said, "That's our story and ours alone to tell": the scene was immediately removed.
Emergency Weapon: The pistol in all of the games, reserved when you had depleted your ammo for all other weapons. It was also selectable from the start. Despite being an Emergency Weapon, it is quite accurate.
Averted in Airborne, where the Mauser C/96 becomes a compact SMG with a blazing rate of fire through the power of upgrades.
Additionally, Airborne and all subsequent games gave the pistol infinite extra ammo.
The Faceless: In Warfighter, Dusty is only shown from the neck down, until the last couple missions of the game.
Fake Static: Late in the game, General Flagg is about to order Colonel Drucker to leave AFO Neptune to die rather than sending in a rescue team. The technician, Jimmy, hits a button and disconnects the General.
Falling into the Cockpit: During the Flyboys mission in Pacific Assault, you are forced to take control of a dive bomber after your pilot bails out. Slightly foreshadowed as the cutscene before this mission informs us that Tommy Conlin (the player character) recieved some flight training from the pilots at Henderson Field.
Franchise Killer: Warfighter, due to poor sales and reviews, has been taken out of EA's rotation and will probably won't be seen for a while.
Gameplay Ally Immortality: Usually played straight with important NPCs, but averted in Allied Assault and Frontline, where they can be killed and cause mission failure.
Genre Savvy: In Medal of Honor (2010), a Ranger is sitting right next to the ramp in the Chinook as they're about run out into combat.
Glasses Pull: Dusty removes his trademark shades just once in Warfighter. Yes, the scene is suitably dramatic.
Gunship Rescue In Dantes first mission after holding off against Taliban, they run out of ammo and even call of the other Rangers heading towards them realizing they aren't going to make it two Apache gunships appear and save them.
Handicapped Badass: In Warfighter, it is revealed that Dusty had lost a leg during his time in Delta. Doesn't stop him from HALOing in with the SEALs and providing sniper support.
Heavily Armored Mook/Giant Mook: In Airborne there are the Nazi Storm Elites, gas-mask wearing SS wielding MG 42 machine guns and heavy body armor that lets them survive almost half a mag of assault rifle fire or up to 3 headshots from the sniper rifle. Warfighter has a handful of Heavy Gunners, terrorists wearing body armor and equipped with PKP machine guns, who are resistant to headshots and can take about half a mag of assault rifle fire before falling. The Demolitions class in multiplayer has a special ability that lets them turn into one of these, at the cost of reduced vision and movement speed.
Hellish Copter: The 2010 reboot takes this to such an extreme that half-way through the game, you start cringing every time a helicopter shows up, knowing it's about to be shot down. In fact, the game starts with your helicopter going down, leading to a How We Got Here.
How We Got Here: Pacific Assault starts at the Battle of Tarawa in 1943, then flashes back to Marine boot camp.
Hyperspace Arsenal: The early games give you multiple weapons slots, allowing the player to carry a pistol, rifle, SMG, machine gun, grenades, and a rocket launcher.
Averted starting with Pacific Assault, though Airborne's pistol and two weapons slots plus grenades still meant that the character could carry a 20-lb rocket launcher (with 14 rounds!), a 18lb BAR, and 48 hand grenades.
Iconic Item: In the 2010 game, Rabbit's Lucky Rabbit's Foot, which we get to see him pull out just before making any Leap of Faith and when Preacher is mourning his death.
In Airborne, the screen goes grayscale and blurry when you are meleed, and is filtered red with muffled sound effects when you are near death.
Interservice Rivalry: A mild, playful variation in Warfighter. Stump gets flak for being a Marine before he transferred to the U.S. Navy SEALs, and then there's this exchange with Delta operator Dusty among the SEALs:
Dusty: This OP's too important to leave up to a bunch of frogmen.
Dingo: Yeah, well, last time I checked, there's no handicapped parking at the DZ.
It's Raining Men: The whole point of Airborne, and the player can control their descent to land almost anywhere on the map. The Allied players in multi-player could do it too.
Justified Tutorial: The second mission of Warfighter has the player as a double agent infiltrating the main enemy terrorist network, and has the player run through a training course as part of their terrorist training.
Killed Mid-Sentence: Happens to an Allied soldier via sniper fire in the Battle in the Bocage level of Allied Assault.
Lethal Joke Character: The first game had unlockable multiplayer characters, such as the German attack dog, a wooden toy soldier, William Shakespeare, two of the game developers, Werner von Braun, and a velociraptor named Steven, a Shout-Out to the game's producer. Their accuracy isn't affected.
Med Kit: Three types - bandages, "battle rattle", and a canteen in the first game.
Moral Guardians: Caused quite a flap that nearly kept the reboot from being released when it was revealed that in multiplayer you'd get to play as the Taliban. The military went as far as to ban its sale in any military compounds, and eventually the developers chickened out and just copied Modern Warfare by changing the name to "OpFor" (short for 'opposition force').
My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In Allied Assault, enemies can blindfire (with remarkable accuracy) and go prone (sometimes even dolphin diving in the middle of a firefight), both very useful moves that you yourself cannot perform and which can be very annoying when they do it.
The end of Operation Rapunzel, where you must push Geritt off a balcony, then jump off yourself into a hay wagon. Oddly, he can survive without landing in the wagon, while you die if you don't.
Nom de Guerre: The Tier 1 operators all go by callsigns, even when introducing themselves to other American soldiers.
Which they are required to do. Currently active SpecOps soldiers are not allowed to tell people what they do, and so have two personas: civilian and military.
Noodle Incident: The Allied operative in The Golden Lion tells you about a funny story involving the mermaid statue the two of you pass near the end of the level. As he is killed soon afterwards, we never find out what was the story.
Averted with the M1 Garand, which the games simply don't let you reload at all until you've used up all the ammo in the current clip.
This is true to history, US military training stipulated emptying the magazine rather than trying to manually eject the clip and replace it with a new one, or topping off the half-used clip with loose ammo.
One-Man Army: In the first game, very specifically done as an agent of the OSS. You stop a prototype rail gun, sink a prototype U-Boat, kill Hitler's favorite colonel and destroy his mustard gas facility-slash-fortress, and then wreck his rocket facility.
And that's just the first game.
The 2010 game is somewhat more realistic. You still rack up hundreds of enemy kills, but you're in a squad, against mooks with little practical training, and when the time comes for more explosions, you have to all in other assets. In the end, all that happened in a two day period is that some of your soldiers died, and a lot of theirs died.
Parachute on a Windmill: In the Rough Landing level of Frontline, a paratrooper who jumps with you is caught on a windmill, and is razed by machine gun fire while trying to free himself. A Call Back to this occurs in the first level of Call of Duty, where your CO is hung up on a tree and killed.
Poirot Speak: Klaus in Breakthrough loves to slip German phrases whenever he speaks in English.
Pragmatic Adaptation: It's a minor point albeit a historical inaccurate one, but Canada's marker for the map for the D-Day invasion is the modern Maple Leaf Flag, which was not adapted until 1965. Most likely the game designers decided that having the Red Ensign flag of that day would too confusing for gamers and not worth the trouble to explain.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Preacher has one in Warfighter after the death of Mother, and proceeds to single-handedly lay waste to an entire ship full of terrorists. The game even drives the point home by giving the screen a tunnel vision effect at the beginning, and the first few unarmed kills are brutal and accompanied with discordant screeching that wouldn't sound out of place in a horror game, showing Preacher's furious state of mind.
RPG Elements: Only in Airborne's campaign, where you gain XP for using weapons, which levels that weapon up, giving it a new accessory per level.
Scenery Porn: Medal of Honor (2010): It's a shame that Afghanistan has been torn up by war for so long, because the place looks absolutely gorgeous.
Shaggy Dog Story: The G3 officer in the first mission is dead. You're stuck to deal with the angry Nazi search parties.
Frontline and Allied Assault also recreated the Normandy landing from Saving Private Ryan. Reviews picked up on this and treated it as evidence of this being the game of the film, and is undoubtably the Trope Codifier for WWII games.
The ending to Warfighter with Mother's military funeral is very much like the ending to the film Act of Valor, which also ended with a funeral
Silliness Switch: Panzerknacker Unleashed! for Underground featured dogs dancing, driving jeeps, and wielding guns, German knights, zombies, and evil terminator nutcrackers. Did I mention the dancing dogs?
The knights were in another mission, so seeing them wasn't very unusual.
There was also "Civil War" mode which caused enemies to fight one another.
The "Men with Hats" cheat in Frontline and Rising Sun. Nothing better to lighten the mood than watching a German soldier run around with a fighter plane glued to his head. And it even gets more hilarious as the game progresses. First, it's just random in-game models, but soon, you'll be fighting person-sized fried eggs, sausages, and giant rendered 3D models of the game developers' heads.
Tends to be game-breaking when enemies get full-size submarines as hats, leaving you wondering where, exactly, the guy is.
The first cheat in the original game granted wacky, superhuman power ups in multiplayer - and, of course, there were the hidden characters, ranging from a German attack dog, to a velociraptornamedSteven.
Allied Assault - Mission 5 has two. Sniper's Last Stand - Outskirts is a sniper versus sniper battle, made difficult since the The All-Seeing A.I. can shoot through concealment without difficulty. The Bridge is the other sniping mission, although you aren't sniped back.
Medal of Honor (2010) - Any mission where you're playing as Deuce of AFO Wolfpack, you're going to be equipped with TWO Sniper Rifles- a man-portable one, and a .50 caliber you WILL use. At least the .50 cal has thermal sights.
The Medic: In Pacific Assault, Jimmy Sullivan is your team's medic in most missions, and your primary way of healing.
The Sociopath: Warfighter's Sad al-Din, who shoots one of his own men for stepping out of line, one that was trying to calm him down at that.
Standard FPS Guns: Omits the knife, but you get a pistol, an automatic weapon, a rifle, a shotgun, grenades, and a Panzerfaust.
Stereotype Flip: One of the game's first cutscenes is a passenger-eye-view from the interior of a pickup truck driving into a villiage in Afghanistan. The driver has a turban and a beard, and the stereo is blasting out appropriately ethnic-sounding music. Then the driver turns off the stereo and complains about your choice in music. Both characters are revealed to be American military personnel.
Stillborn Franchise: Not the series in general, but rather Rising Sun. It was hyped as the be-all, end-all of games set in the Pacific Theater, and was all set up to have a direct sequel with an ongoing character-driven story about two brothers, Joe and Donnie Griffin, with the original starring Joe and the planned sequel starring Donnie. But after Rising Sun was greeted with a pretty chilly critical reception, not only was the sequel canned, but it left the original with a Cliff Hanger ending that was never given a full sequel. One of the lesser played ports (Heroes) resolved it off screen by saying that Joe and his friends were rescued.
Un-Person: A variant is used in the very first game. After James Patterson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his participation and rescue of others in the disastrous recon that preceded D-Day, he suddenly disappears from his barracks and isn't heard from again. It turns out OSS essentially kidnapped him to send him on one-man wars.
Unreliable Narrator: In one of the trailors for the 2010 Medal Of Honor, Sergeant James Patterson is leaving a voicemail for his wife back home, reassuring her that he's in no danger, and that all of the action is happening far away from him and his troops. Cue Sgt Patterson leading his men down the ramp of a Chinook into battle in the Shah-i-Kot Valley during one of the biggest American offensives in the early part of the war.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: The first game was renowned for enemies reacting to body part specific damage. Shooting them in the crotch often caused hilarious results. On the other hand, it was totally "clean". There was none of the gore and violence associated with most modern FPS games.
The War on Terror: Medal of Honor (2010) takes place in the early years of the American offensive in Afghanistan. Though you are ambushed by IEDs on a couple of occasions, no direct reference to terrorism is made. Warfighter deals explicitly with terrorism and the War on Terror, with some Somalian piracy thrown in as well.
We Have Reserves: General Flagg, who insists on committing the Rangers and the 10th Mountain Division to fight in a heavily contested region rather than letting the Tier 1 troops do their job first.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Argyrus, the undercover operative inside the Cleric's terrorist organization in Warfighter, is playable for one mission (where he runs through a terrorist training course), then disappears for the rest of the game and is never mentioned again.