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Remilitarized Zone

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"Son, do you realize that to take my course I will have to pull you into my mind... And you will have to relive every bullet-scarred memory of every battle I have ever faced? It won't be pretty."
Coach Oleander, Psychonauts

Stand to attention, player! You're not in Green Hill Zone anymore! This videogame setting suddenly has a lot of guns, bombs, tanks, warships, soldiers, barbed wire, trenches, smoke, and mines, often in stark contrast to the rest of the game. Often seen in platformers to mix up the usual mix of generic level types.

The music will generally switch to a more sinister theme to warn you, if not a straight-out military marching tune.

Don't be surprised to see Schizo Tech, Super-Soldier enemies, a Military Mashup Machine for a boss, and for the battlefield to resemble Mordor. Compare Battleship Raid.

Note that if the game's whole setting is already military, then it doesn't count (for the same reason a Survival Horror game isn't eligible to count as an example of Big Boo's Haunt). This trope is a Video Game Settings trope in the same sense as Slippy-Slidey Ice World or Band Land.


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  • Folklore: Warcadia. Particularly noticeable since you head there directly from the Faery Realm, a fairyland filled with friendly little elves, breathtaking architecture, and lots of big, green trees. Whereas Warcadia is filled with monsters based on soldiers and WWII-era weapons, craters, burning buildings, and at least one Military Mashup Machine.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption: Planet Norion and Pirate Homeworld. The former is a force-of-good version, as it's run by the Galactic Federation and only becomes a threat for Samus when the Pirates invade it during the game's prologue. In contrast, Pirate Homeworld is definitely an evil place as it's filled with Space Pirates and mechanical enemies; the environment is another enemy, due to the acid rain.
  • No More Heroes III: One of the main overworld areas is Call of Battle, a desolate city that used to be the setting of a fierce warlike conflict, and still retains much debris from those days. The atmosphere is much bleaker than that of the other hub areas of the game, mimicking the tone of many shooter games like Call of Duty. Fortunately, by default, the place is quite peaceful. The southern coast is where Travis eventually goes for the Rank 4 fight: It's supposed to be Sniping Lee, but a supporting character kills him right before he attempts to do the same to Travis; the real boss ends up being Destroyman, who was previously defeated in the first two games and now commands an army of robots having his likeness to take revenge; Travis first dispatches the robots and then meets his nemesis in a military laboratory located right under the coast's sand.
  • Psychonauts: The very first level, Basic Braining. You're in the mind of your coach, who had served in the military, and everything in his mind that you can see so far is war, war, war. Explosions, war-themed figments, minefields, cannons, camouflage. Even the trees are made of bullets and the rabbits are wearing soldier's helmets. If you revisit his mind, you discover that he never served in the military in the first place, as he wasn't accepted due to his short stature.

    Fan Games 
  • Super Mario World: Piranha Island: Piranha Tank is a fleet of the Piranha Wizard's finest tanks and battleships used to protect Piranha Castle. The tanks are constantly moving, so if Mario touches the ground, he gets squished flat and loses a life.

    Fighting Games 
  • Guile's iconic Air Force Base stage from Street Fighter II with the F-16 Fighting Falcon jet and Guile's cheering mates in the background. It was brought back in V as well.
  • Super Smash Bros. Brawl: The Shadow Moses stage brings the military setting of the Metal Gear games.

    Maze Games 
  • Cratermaze: The Wartime levels, where the enemies become World War II soldiers. In Booby Kids for the Famicom, the collectibles also become radios.

  • Ape Escape 2: Code C.H.I.M.P., the penultimate level, fits this quite well. Most of the Monkeys in the level are heavily armed and decked out in military uniforms, the Mooks are either rocket-happy robots or Porkies dressed up as Tanks (in a game where the grand majority of non-catchable enemies are assorted Mix-and-Match Critters), and the soundtrack is a sinister military beat. Plus, it's the second of two levels in the game where you get to use a Tank yourself.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: The War chapter, and by extension the multiplayer stages based on it. The former takes place in the middle of a war between the Squirrel High Command and the villainous Tediz, set on the latter's island base. A good portion of the chapter sees Conker Dual Wielding guns and switching to first person shooter mechanics.
  • Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil: The Kingdom of Anger, Volk, consists entirely of people who do nothing but fight all the time.
  • Pizza Tower: The final regular level, WAR. The first half is set on a battlefield with jets and bombs on parachutes visible in the background. Enemies include tanks and helmet-clad pizza slices that hide in false bushes. The second half is some sort of cloning facility. The stage sees use of the shotgun mechanic to mimic a war, and its unique mechanic is that a bomb's timer is constantly ticking down and needs to be replenished by destroying terminals.
  • Rainbow Islands: World 2 ("Combat Island"). With cute, cartoony-looking bomber planes and tanks, no less.
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse: Scuttle Town becomes this at the start of the game when the Ammo Baron performs his invasion, with plenty of soldiers, Gatling guns, missiles, and mines to go around.
  • Sonic Adventure 2: The Prison Island portion is big on this one. Metal Harbor, Weapons Bed, Security Hall, Iron Gate, and Prison Lane all fall under this trope. The first two take place on the island's G.U.N. naval base (Sonic even climbs up an ICBM launch pad and hitches a ride on the missile); the other three are more accurately within the The Alcatraz trope. They are in a top-secret military-level prison, however...
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The games use this every now and then.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • Spyro the Dragon (1998): The Peace Keepers Home bases its theme on the open warfare style of the 18th and early 19th Centuries. It has background music that sounds like a military march with bugles and snare drums, the enemies are dressed like old-fashioned soldiers with fancy Highly Conspicuous Uniforms, and there are some cannons sitting around that can be fired. None of the actual Peace Keeper worlds you visit from there continue this trope, though.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!: The Zephyr stage features the war between the Breeze Builders and Land Blubbers. The main goal of the level is to capture an enemy building.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 combines this with Levels Take Flight in the form of airship levels, which sees Mario take on Bowser's air force and confront the Koopalings. Super Mario Bros 3 also has the terrestrial (tank) and naval (warship) military levels of the Dark World.
    • Super Mario 64: Bob-omb Battlefield is a subversion. It contains references to a war between two groups of Bob-ombs, but the only actual fighting seen is when the Bob-ombs on the mountain shoot bubble cannons at Mario in the first episode. After that (and even before it), it's a pretty standard Green Hill Zone.
    • Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2 have both several examples of this (such as Battlerock Galaxy), which become difficult to tackle when it comes time to collect Purple Coins in them (except the Bowser and Bowser Jr. levels, which only have 1 star each in the first game and 2 in the second).
    • Airship levels are present in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, U and Luigi U, but only appear in plot-critical moments. The boss fought in all of them is Bowser Jr.
    • Super Mario 3D Land alternates between having castles (where Bowser is the boss) at the end of some worlds, and airships at the end of others; in turn, in some airship levels, the boss is Boom Boom, and in others, it's Pom Pom (in the case of World 7's airship, both are). The game also has World 8-1, a metallic fort that heavily features spiked balls.
    • Super Mario 3D World: The game primarily has Bowser's Bullet Bill Brigade and Bowser's Bob-omb Brigade, which contain the goosestepping Blockstepper Mooks and also mark the return of the tanks from Super Mario Bros. 3. There's also Bullet Bill Base in World 6, a tower filled with many cannons, and The Bowser Express in World 8, which is a train-based military level. Lastly, Cosmic Cannon Cluster is a Space Zone variant, where Bullet Bills and Cannonballs are the most common threat (alongside Parabones).
    • Airship levels can be created in Super Mario Maker and Super Mario Maker 2, even in the game styles that originally didn't have them (namely Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario World). In the second game, in night mode, enemies and items behave as if they were underwater, though Mario and his friends move normally.
    • Mario Kart DS has Airship Fortress which, true to its name, harkens back to the SMB3 Airship levels while also incorporating the Fortress motifs. It returns in Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart Tour as a Nostalgia Level.
    • Mario Party: Wario's Battle Canyon. In this board, the Red and Black Bob-ombs are at war with each other over which army is better, and the only way to get them to settle their differences is by collecting the most Stars. This board's gimmick is that the Bob-ombs load the players into cannons and shoot them to other islands. Landing on the Happening Spaces changes the positions of the cannons so that the players can be shot to different islands.
    • Mario Party 6: The minigame Shoot Yer Mouth Off puts three characters encased in a street that has been taken over by Banzai Bills, Bob-ombs, and Thwomps. The fourth player can input commands (namely say numbers with the Mic) to order the Shy Guys to unleash the mooks that are waiting in line to attack the others. If the fourth player manages to eliminate all three players, they'll win; but if at least one player from the trio manages to survive for 60 seconds, then the trio wins.

    Puzzle Games 
  • Mischief Makers: The War levels have lots of tanks and bombs. You even ride a missile at one point!

    Rhythm Games 
  • Friday Night Funkin': Week 7 takes place on a battlefield where Newgrounds mascot Tankman is holding Girlfriend hostage unless Boyfriend can beat him in a rap battle. Aside from the two soldiers pointing their guns at Girlfriend, a sniper tower, and ruined buildings, there isn't much "military" until the final song where Pico appears and starts battling a whole army in the background.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan: At first, the fourth mainland (Cloudy Stronghold) is heavily patrolled by the aerial forces of the Empire. Being spotted by one of them will cause the party's skyship to be gunned down, resulting in the characters being brought back to Tharsis with critically low health and any food gathered lost. By the time you complete the fourth Stratum (Echoing Library) things change for the better, as you'll not only be able to wander around the Stronghold freely but also hire Imperial-class characters for your party. The Echoing Library itself remains an example of this trope, however: Those robotic F.O.E. will continue patrolling the rooms like they own the place (which is why the stratum revolves around sneaking through the corridors without being spotted, though in one instance you have to make them chase you as they're obstructing the path to the boss room).
  • Evolution: The World of Sacred Device: After spending the majority of the game exploring ancient ruins, the climax takes place on the 8th Empire's battleship, the Crown Prince/"KronPrinz".
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Sword Valley and Galahad Fortress, one explored early on in the game, and the other a lot sooner. There is a much larger number in Xenoblade Chronicles X, in the form of Ganglion bases scattered through the five continents of planet Mira (among which Cauldros is by far the most occupied).
  • Wrestle Quest: A war field called the Glory Fields is home to things that scream military, war zones, military bases, and sniper rounds.

  • Jet Force Gemini: Ichor is the planet where Mizar's insect drones are trained and, from there, carried by the large vessels to the planets they aim to invade. Vela is the first character to storm the facility, and much later in the game Juno and Lupus follow suit.
  • Killzone: Planet Helghan looks like this beside all the other stages in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (at least until it gets invaded by Ape Escape's Goliath and an army of Pipo Monkeys).
  • Metal Slug: Aside from actual military bases, the games and levels are known for their quirky settings, but when up against General Morden's Rebel Army, you can be sure that they've fortified their positions in anticipation of the players. Hell, they've in the past, militarized a sea plane wreck, mosques and even an actual Giant Enemy Crab by festooning them with armour plating, rocket batteries and the occasional giant Ray Gun.

    Strategy Games 
  • Desperados: The mission Piggies in the Middle has the team return to a town in a battle between the Big Bad's men and the US cavalry. Artillery fire from the Cavalry is a hazard in some places on the level.

    Tabletop Games 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Remilitarised Zone


Bowser's Bullet Bill Brigade

A level with tons of tanks, Bullet Bills and goose-stepping army mooks.

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Example of:

Main / RemilitarizedZone

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