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->''You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of War.''

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->''You ->''"You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of War.''"''


The brainchild of Julian Gollop and assorted Creator/{{MicroProse}} personnel, ''X-COM'' is a European series of TurnBasedStrategy games created in 1993. Players are put in charge of X-COM, a planetary defense agency, and tasked with maintaining X-COM's budget and catching {{flying saucer}}s (either by storming their landing sites or shooting them down). What follows is a mix of [[TacticalTurnBased turn-based tactics]] and [[ResourcesManagementGameplay resource management.]] Although the games have a fair amount of [[UsefulNotes/RandomNumberGenerator randomness]], the better player will tend to win.

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The brainchild of Julian Gollop and assorted Creator/{{MicroProse}} personnel, ''X-COM'' is a European series of TurnBasedStrategy games created in 1993. Players are put in charge of X-COM, a planetary defense agency, and tasked with maintaining X-COM's budget and catching {{flying saucer}}s (either by storming their landing sites or shooting them down). What follows is a mix of [[TacticalTurnBased turn-based tactics]] TurnBasedTactics and [[ResourcesManagementGameplay resource management.]] Although the games have a fair amount of [[UsefulNotes/RandomNumberGenerator randomness]], the better player will tend to win.


* BizarreAlienBiology: Autopsy results. Some are fairly mundane, some are heavily cybernized, and some who by all means should have been dead when they were alive.

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* BizarreAlienBiology: Autopsy results. Some are fairly mundane, some are heavily cybernized, and some who by all means should have been dead when they were alive. [[note]]Many of the aliens are described as having "severely atrophied" or vestigal internal organs, suggesting that it's some other force besides biology that keeps them going. This is especially true of Ethereals, whose bodies have withered considerably since it's implied they use their psionic powers for virtually everything. [[/note]]

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** Interceptors in ''UFO Defense'' and Barracudas in ''Terror From The Deep'' are your initial vehicles for shooting down [=UFOs=] and [=USOs=] respectively. They have a maximum health of 100. Battleships (and Dreadnoughts in ''TFTD'') have weapons that do ''150'' points of damage, and ''greater range than every craft weapon''[[labelnote:*]]The exception is the Disruptor Launcher and the Pulse Wave Torpedo, which have the greatest possible range, but still don't have enough damage potential to shoot down a Battleship/Dreadnought alone[[/labelnote]]. CurbStompBattle is the only possible outcome.


** With this bunch of folks who would have failed the physical for any self-respecting military and have the reflexes of a dead fish, you must save the world...
** The standard-issue X-COM rifle is supposedly based on the best traits of a variety of human firearms, combined into one package perfect for your work. Unfortunately, it was built by the lowest possible bidder.
** Played even straighter in ''Terror from the Deep.'' The standard equipment you get is ''worse'' than their UFO counterparts, and about half of them only work underwater. In this game, it reaches Wallbanger levels: At first you're limited to your subs, darts guns and some harpoon launchers, since nothing you had before would work underwater. Then, you can have to fight the aliens on dry land, due a crash, a landing or a terror mission. Why, oh why you must still carry dart guns, instead of old Earth-made laser weapons, and wear a heavy submariner suit when you could have crates and crates full or armor from the first alien war? Heck, local millitias should be better armed and prepared than you at this point!

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** With this bunch of folks who would have failed the physical for any self-respecting military and have the reflexes of a dead fish, you must save the world...
world.
** The standard-issue X-COM rifle is supposedly based on the best traits of a variety of human firearms, combined into one package perfect for your work. Unfortunately, it was built by the lowest possible bidder.
bidder[[note]]It is, in fact, ''more accurate'' than any other projectile weapon ''in the game'', but only when fired with an Aimed Shot. Since most shots will be Auto or Snap shots, the rifle suffers tremendously (as it has lower Snap Shot and Auto Shot accuracy than most other projectile weapons)[[/note]].
** Played even straighter in ''Terror from the Deep.'' The standard equipment you get is ''worse'' than their UFO counterparts, and about half of them only work underwater. In this game, it reaches Wallbanger bang-your-head-on-the-wall levels: At at first you're limited to your subs, darts guns and some harpoon launchers, since nothing you had before would work underwater. Then, you can have to fight the aliens on dry land, due a crash, a landing or land as part of a terror mission. Why, oh why you then, must still you ''still'' carry dart guns, instead of old Earth-made laser weapons, and wear a heavy submariner suit when you could have crates and crates full or armor from the first alien war? Heck, local millitias should be better armed and prepared than you at this point!



** In ''Apocalypse'' your starting weapons are a bit better, and Earth has some weapons on a par with alien ones. Money are short, but you can raid Cult of Sirius. But you can only buy what is available in the city stores, which get new shipments only on Mondays. You cannot buy best weapons and equipment (flying armor, mini-launcher, plasma pistol, plasma sword, powerful vehicle computer and engines, heaviest vehicles) until the start of the second or third week. And if you try to ZergRush [=UFOs=] with rocket and plasma hoverbikes, Megapol, Marsec and Solmine quickly run out of missiles and elerium to sell to you.

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** In ''Apocalypse'' your starting weapons are a bit better, and Earth has some weapons on a par with alien ones. Money are is short, but you can raid the Cult of Sirius.Sirius since they'll never like you anyway. But you can only buy what is available in the city stores, which get new shipments only on Mondays. You cannot buy the best weapons and equipment (flying armor, mini-launcher, plasma pistol, plasma sword, powerful vehicle computer computers and engines, the heaviest vehicles) until the start of the second or third week. And if you try to ZergRush [=UFOs=] with rocket and plasma hoverbikes, Megapol, Marsec and Solmine quickly run out of missiles and elerium to sell to you.



** That being said, it's ''possible'' to recover from just about any supposed fail state, since the only things that will end the game immediately are losing your last base, or losing your last funding nation. Everything else can be recovered from. ''[[HarderThanHard Maybe]]''.




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** However, ''do not'' attempt to Zerg Rush a battleship with Interceptors (or Barracudas in ''Terror From The Deep''). Yes, you can send as many as four Interceptors against the same target, and if you're lucky, you can use the Disrupter Launcher (or Pulse Wave Torpedo) to do horrendous damage to a Battleship. But holy cow, you'd better believe that the Battleship ''will'' OneHitKO an Interceptor.


** Also technically averted in ''Interceptor'': in theory, the aliens are constantly working towards their goal of [[spoiler: building the Planet Destroyer to raze Earth]]. In practice, you can take as much time as you need, as long as you don't go bankrupt[[note]]There ''is'' a time limit that can be extended by destroying alien Ore Processing Platforms, bases, and supply convoys, but the time limit is so generous as to be functionally meaningless anyway[[/note]].



* TotalPartyKill: Get ready to get used to these because it'll happen a lot throughout your playthrough.
* TrickBomb: Smoke and Proximity Grenades. The former are for obscuring vision, the latter are throwable mines.

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* TotalPartyKill: Get ready to get used to these because it'll happen a lot throughout your playthrough.
X-COM soldiers are not the most durable of people. Bad tactical decisions (or even ''good'' tactical decisions) can result in an entire squad being wiped out quickly and without remorse.
* TrickBomb: Smoke Smoke[[labelnote:*]]Dye in ''Terror From The Deep''[[/labelnote]] and Proximity Proximity[[labelnote:*]]Particle Disturbance in ''TFTD''[[/labelnote]] Grenades. The former are for obscuring vision, the latter are throwable mines.

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** The Tech Tree in ''UFO Defense'' is generally pretty straightforward: if you capture alien alloys, you can research alien alloys, for example. However, the Tech Tree in ''Terror From The Deep'' is extremely complicated: you can't research the equivalent of alien alloys (Aqua Plastics) until you researched a Deep One Corpse[[labelnote:*]]Specifically because the Deep One is using Aqua Plastics as a type of integrated armor, prompting the study of how the plastics work[[/labelnote]], for example. Given the fact that the first game had just about every autopsy be completely optional, the sudden shift of importance to the study of corpses and interrogations, as well as the implied extra time required to do so, makes ''Terror From The Deep'' much harder as a result.


** In ''UFO Defense'' it's Sectoids and Floaters and early Snakemen if you're unlucky > Snakemen if you're lucky > Mutons > Ethereal.
** In ''TFTD'' it's Aquatoids and Gillmen > Tasoth and Lobstermen.

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** In ''UFO Defense'' it's Sectoids and Floaters and early Snakemen if are the lowest threat enemies[[labelnote:*]]Though you're unlucky > likely to meet Sectoids first, since they're the stereotypical "Little Gray Man"[[/labelnote]], followed by Sectoids. Sectoids are one-upped by Snakemen, who are themselves outclassed by Mutons, and finally Ethereals. Psionics mess with the algorithm a bit, however[[labelnote:*]]Mutons are incredibly weak to psionic attacks, while Snakemen if have a bit more resistance, swapping their positions in the sort...though you're lucky > Mutons > Ethereal.
unlikely to have psionics the first time you run into Mutons; similarly, Sectoids can use psionics, making them more of a threat than Floaters, even though Floaters are technically stronger than Sectoids[[/labelnote]].
** In ''TFTD'' it's ''Terror From The Deep'', Gillmen are the lowest threat enemies, followed by Aquatoids. Aquatoids and Gillmen > are displaced by Lobstermen, who despite their early appearance, remain the top tier of enemy even after the Tasoth and Lobstermen.are introduced later.
** In ''Interceptor'', Sectoids are the least capable pilots, followed by Mutons, with Psi-Lords at the top of the list.



* SpiritualSuccessor: Many. The ''UFO: Afterblank'' trilogy to name one.
* SplashDamageAbuse: The great vulnerability of ground-based vehicles in ''Apocalypse'', including the tank. Also, most units take more damage from explosives that go off at their feet because of lower under armour.

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* SpiritualSuccessor: Many. The ''UFO: Afterblank'' ''VideoGame/UFOAfterBlank'' trilogy to name one.
* SplashDamageAbuse: The great vulnerability of ground-based vehicles in ''Apocalypse'', including the tank. Also, most units take more damage from explosives that go off at their feet because of lower rated under armour.armor.



* TacticalWithdrawal: When the situation gets hopeless on the battlefield there is a option of retreating. The good side of this is that your soldiers live to see another day, the sponsors will be less angry than with total defeat and thus complete loss of expensive equipment, and that you could yoink some alien artifacts. Just be aware that everything that was outside the X-COM transport will be lost and MIA.

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* TacticalWithdrawal: When You always have the situation gets hopeless on the battlefield there is a option of retreating. The good side of this to abort a tactical mission, and it is that your occasionally the best available option. Aborting a mission preserves the soldiers live to see another day, the sponsors will be less angry than with total defeat and thus complete loss of expensive equipment, and that you could yoink some alien artifacts. Just be aware that everything that was outside are on the X-COM transport craft, lets you take home any artifacts they managed to recover, and keeps you from losing the X-COM craft itself[[labelnote:*]]a costly proposition, since you lose the craft and all the soldiers and gear on it, which all has to be replaced. You also have to pay to "buy" the new craft, and will be lost without one for 3 days. ''And'' you'll have a huge penalty to your mission score (and therefore your end-of-month score) for all the soldiers killed, the gear lost, and MIA.the special penalty for losing the X-COM craft[[/labelnote]]. The downside is that the mission is considered a failure, which the funding nations will hold against you at the end of the month. The immediate consequences are also a potential concern[[note]]Landed [=UFOs=] will take off immediately, preventing you from launching another assault and losing points for an "unintercepted UFO flight"; bases will continue to operate and will restock all their soldiers, meaning the mission isn't getting any easier; Synonium sites in ''Terror From The Deep'' disappear, which advances alien plans tremendously; and so on[[/note]]. The best case for aborting a mission is when you are not prepared to handle a terror mission: ignoring the mission entirely results in a -1,000 score penalty. Landing at the site and then immediately aborting only has a penalty equal to the total number of civilians killed times 30 (maximum is -360), which is far more manageable.


* ImmuneToBullets: Because of how armour works and damage is rolled, certain enemies are actually immune to standard rifle or pistol rounds. Some are even highly resistant to otherwise powerful alien weapons (hello, Sectopods and Lobstermen).
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: About 75-90% of gameplay revolves around the acquisition, understanding, and implementation of cool alien toys. Or in the RPG terms: Kill them, take their stuff, reverse-engineer it, Repeat. Reversed in ''Apocalypse'': when you sell some of your stuff to a MegaCorp that's been infiltrated by aliens, the aliens will import ''your'' phlebotinum.

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* ImmuneToBullets: Because of how armour armor works and damage is rolled, certain enemies are actually immune to standard rifle or pistol rounds. Some are even highly resistant to otherwise powerful alien weapons (hello, Sectopods and Lobstermen).
* ImportedAlienPhlebotinum: About 75-90% of gameplay revolves around the acquisition, understanding, and implementation of cool alien toys. Or in the RPG terms: Kill them, take their stuff, reverse-engineer it, Repeat.repeat. Reversed in ''Apocalypse'': when you sell some of your stuff to a MegaCorp that's been infiltrated by aliens, the aliens will import ''your'' phlebotinum.



* MeetTheNewBoss: Pretty much every knew alien threat faced in the original series, when it comes down to how they act and what they're goals, are essentially same product new packaging of the original aliens.

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* MeetTheNewBoss: Pretty much every knew new alien threat faced in the original series, when it comes down to how they act and what they're their goals, are essentially same product new packaging of the original aliens.aliens: aliens want Earth, humans in the way, destroy all humans. ''Apocalypse'' throws a bit of a curve in that [[spoiler: the interdimensional invasion is from aliens desperate to escape their dying world.]]



* PlayerMooks: Soldiers, available in unlimited quantity and variable quality until trained in battle.
* PoweredArmor: Later armor suits in ''UFO Defense'' (and the whole lot of 'em in ''Apocalypse'') use Elerium-115 to power shielding, muscle enhancers, and the occasional flight module. Flight and protection are the only benefits; armour has no bearing on a soldier's strength or other stats (the muscle enhancers are just [[InformedAbility fluff that indicates a lack of weight-related decrease in soldier performance]]).

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* PlayerMooks: Soldiers, available You can hire as many soldiers as you want, as long as you have the money for it. Try not to get too attached, they don't have very good life expectancy.
** FacelessMooks: Once you get Power Armor
in unlimited quantity and variable quality until trained in battle.
''UFO Defense'', all of your soldiers become this.
* PoweredArmor: Later armor suits Power Armor (and Flying Armor) in ''UFO Defense'' (and the whole lot of 'em in ''Apocalypse'') use uses Elerium-115 to power shielding, defenses and muscle enhancers, and enhancers (and in the occasional case of Flying Armor, the flight module. ability). Flight and robust protection are the only benefits; armour Power Armor has no bearing on a soldier's strength or other stats (the muscle enhancers are just [[InformedAbility fluff that indicates a lack fluff, since they don't affect anything directly]], [[GameplayAndStorySegregation not even carry weight]]).
** Ion Armor (and Magnetic Ion Armor) serves the same purpose in ''Terror From The Deep'', with the added benefit
of weight-related decrease in soldier performance]]).an actual strength bonus for carry weight when it is being worn.
** ''Apocalypse'' provides Flying Armor for purchase right from the start, and provides additional armor upgrades from there. The basic Marsec Armor, however, is unpowered.


* PlayerHeadquarters: Though there is no HQ in the strict sense once you have multiple bases, the cost and time associated with building bases and the subsequent maintenance fees will make the first starter (and already developed) base your main base of operations. Which is ''bad'', because it's the most likely base to be attacked, and has an ''extremely'' difficult-to-defend layout.

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* PlayerHeadquarters: Though there is no HQ in the strict sense once you have multiple bases, the cost and time associated with building bases and the subsequent maintenance fees will make the first starter (and already developed) base your main base of operations. Which is ''bad'', because it's the most likely base to be attacked, and has an ''extremely'' difficult-to-defend layout.layout[[labelnote:*]]As a general rule, ''because of'' the difficulty of defending the base, it makes the most sense to cram as much base defenses into the first base as possible, especially once you know that the aliens are searching for the base. While this takes up valuable space for other facilities, that can be solved by diversifying your bases elsewhere (setting up a dedicated manufacturing base, for example). The only problem is that constantly replacing the base defenses with upgraded defenses is time-consuming, expensive, and provides periods of vulnerability while the new defenses are being set up. As a result, it's important to rush either the second or third tier defenses (laser/gauss or plasma/sonic, depending on the game) as quickly as possible so that you don't have to replace them later[[/labelnote]].


* MercyMode: Having a particularly bad month performance-wise or worse, a string of bad months, will make the game take pity on you by making the "X-COM agents discover the Alien Base". Technically possible even if you're doing fine, but much more common when you're doing bad.

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* MercyMode: Having a particularly bad month performance-wise or worse, a string of bad months, will make the game take pity on you by making the "X-COM agents discover the Alien Base". Technically possible even if you're doing fine, but much more common when you're doing bad.bad[[note]]If a base is undetected for several consecutive months, someone else does the recon for you and points it out, regardless of your score. However, if you're having a bad string of months, the game ''specifically'' spawns a base and then points it out to you to give you a chance[[/note]].


** Since all of the world governments have tried and failed to handle the aliens, it's up to X-COM to get things done. Although it wouldn't hurt if the local governments lent a hand during Terror Missions.
** ''Terror from the Deep'': X-COM was disbanded after the end of First Alien War, and the world governments don't have the advanced technologies they developed to confront the new alien threat. Once again, it all comes down to X-COM.

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** Since all of the The world governments have tried to stop the alien threat individually, and failed (some had initial success, like Japan being able to handle the aliens, it's up shoot down a UFO, but failed to be good enough at everything to be effective). As a result, X-COM to get things done. Although it wouldn't hurt if is given the local governments lent a hand during Terror Missions.
best of ''everything'' from every country (people, tech, etc) and told that they're the last hope.
** ''Terror from the Deep'': X-COM was disbanded after the end first war due to the lack of First Alien War, a viable threat, and went corporate. When the new alien threat emerges, the world governments don't have turn to the advanced technologies they developed company best suited to confront the new alien threat. Once again, it all comes down to X-COM.handling it: The X-COM Corporation.


* GunsAkimbo: Doing this in ''UFO'' and ''TFTD'' only gave you another weapon to fire from with penalties. Expended in ''Apocalypse''.

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* GunsAkimbo: Doing this in ''UFO'' and ''TFTD'' only gave you another weapon to fire from with penalties. Expended In ''Apocalypse'', it greatly increases the fire rate of the soldier, but only pistol weapons can be dual wielded. However, it only works in ''Apocalypse''.Real-Time mode.



** The aliens in ''UFO Defense'' take orders from one, another in ''Terror from the Deep'' tries to tell a CosmicHorrorStory while it's at it, and the Biomass in the ''UFO'' games is a weapon designed to [[GeniusLoci turn a planet into one]].

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** The aliens in ''UFO Defense'' take orders from one, another in ''Terror from the Deep'' tries to tell a CosmicHorrorStory while it's at it, and the Biomass in the ''UFO'' games is a weapon designed to [[GeniusLoci turn a planet into one]].it.



* HoistByHisOwnPetard: This is a theme in all X-Com Games. The aliens invade with superior technology.... X-Com captures and reverse engineers that technology... and ultimately X-Com improves on the design and uses that technology against the invaders with great effect.

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* HoistByHisOwnPetard: This is a theme in all X-Com X-COM Games. The aliens invade with superior technology.... X-Com technology; X-COM captures and reverse engineers reverse-engineers that technology... and technology; ultimately X-Com improves on the design X-COM adapts and uses that technology against the invaders with great effect.


* SettlingTheFrontier:
** ''Apocalypse'' is based on an alien planet in the process of being colonized by earth corporations.
** ''Interceptor'': One of our side jobs is to protect the developing outposts that will later mine Elerium.



** The reboot timeline,''Enemy Unknown'' and ''XCOM 2'' has the "Aliens as Religeous Extremists" version. [[spoiler:The Ethereals are stuck between physical bodies and evolving into EnergyBeings with immense psionic powers. Despite their failure to uplift, to the point where their bodies are decaying due to their powers, they see themselves as literal gods. Their ultimate plans are to create ideal bodies for themselves from human genetic material, loot the Earth for everything it's worth, and get out of dodge before the arrival/awakening of an enemy that they has them utterly terrified.]]
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: While X COM is supposed to protect the whole world from the aliens, you'll quickly find that selling the extra stuff you find gives more money than the supporting nations ever can. Thus, as long as one country remains protected, you can let all the others rot.
* SecretWar: All of them start as one, but according to the manuals all of them become open secrets later.
* SensorSuspense: Motion detectors: a good way to avoid becoming Cannon Fodder when facing alien weapons, but since you don't know whether the blip is from alien or civilian and on which floor, dealing with the results can be... interesting. Two words: Hidden Movement.

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** The reboot timeline,''Enemy Unknown'' and ''XCOM 2'' has the "Aliens as Religeous Extremists" version. [[spoiler:The Ethereals are stuck between physical bodies and evolving into EnergyBeings with immense psionic powers. Despite their failure to uplift, to the point where their bodies are decaying due to their powers, they see themselves as literal gods. Their ultimate plans are to create ideal bodies for themselves from human genetic material, loot the Earth for everything it's worth, and get out of dodge before the arrival/awakening of an enemy that they has them utterly terrified.]]
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: While X COM X-COM is supposed to protect the whole world from the aliens, you'll quickly find that selling the extra stuff you find gives more money than the supporting nations ever can. Thus, as long as one country remains protected, you can let all the others rot.
* SecretWar: All of them start as one, but according to the manuals all of them become open secrets later. \n* SensorSuspense: Motion detectors: The backstory in the manual for ''Terror From The Deep'' is explicitly a good way to avoid becoming Cannon Fodder when facing former high-ranked X-COM soldier being interviewed about the first alien weapons, but since you don't know whether the blip is from alien or civilian and on which floor, dealing invasion, ending with the results can be... interesting. Two words: Hidden Movement.ominous warning that he's being called back to service. [[spoiler: He's the poor sap killed in the video intro.]]



** Zero loss run: No X-COM agents lost, no civillians lost. Hope you have a few months spare.
** [[http://ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=User_talk:Arrow_Quivershaft#1_Mission_X-COM One Mission X-COM]]: It's possible to complete the game after completing only one mission: a well-executed UFO Ground Assault on a battleship can yield all the alien prisoners and raw materials needed to research Cydonia and complete the game. The difficulty is in pleasing the Funding Nations (no terror missions or alien base assaults allowed), and in keeping away from bankruptancy.

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** Zero loss run: No X-COM agents lost, no civillians civilians lost. Hope Difficult at best, since Terror Missions ''will'' kill civilians on turn one that you have a few months spare.
can't see. Don't try to Iron Man this one.
** [[http://ufopaedia.org/index.php?title=User_talk:Arrow_Quivershaft#1_Mission_X-COM One Mission X-COM]]: It's possible to complete the game after completing only one mission: a well-executed UFO Ground Assault on a battleship can yield all the alien prisoners and raw materials needed to research Cydonia and complete the game. The difficulty is in pleasing the Funding Nations (no terror missions or alien base assaults allowed), and in keeping away from bankruptancy.bankruptcy. The other problem is that battleships usually ''won't spawn'' for ''months''.
* SensorSuspense: Motion detectors: a good way to avoid becoming Cannon Fodder when facing alien weapons, but since you don't know whether the blip is from alien or civilian and on which floor, dealing with the results can be... interesting. Two words: [[NothingIsScarier Hidden Movement.]]
* SettlingTheFrontier: The region of space in which the game takes place in ''Interceptor'' is explicitly called "The Frontier", and is stated to be a particularly resource-rich area, which is why the corporations of Earth are trying to set up resource outposts and more permanent installations. Unfortunately, it's also why the ''aliens'' are trying to set up resource outposts and more permanent installations, and why X-COM is there to fight them.


* EnergyWeapon: Laser and Plasma weapons.

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* EnergyWeapon: Laser and Plasma weapons. Sonic weapons are clearly energy weapons as well, just a different kind of energy, and Gauss weapons fire a form of "bullet plasma", making them qualify as well.



** Brainsuckers attach onto people's heads and empty their innards down their throats.

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** Brainsuckers attach onto people's heads and empty their innards down their throats. If you're lucky, you'll be fine (your armor will protect you). If you're unlucky, you're immediately dead.

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