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Remilitarized Zone

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Stand to attention, player! You're not in Green Hill Zone any more! 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.



  • 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.
    • A subversion is Bob-omb Battlefield in Super Mario 64, which 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, 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).
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    • 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.
    • Wario's Battle Canyon from Mario Party. 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.
    • Paper Mario: Sticker Star has Bowser Jr.'s Flotilla, the penultimate stage of the game taking place on an airship.
    • Cobalt Base in Paper Mario: Color Splash likely because Ludwig and his gang have built the base over the natural landscape.
  • Piranha Tank in the Rom Hack Super Mario World: Piranha Island 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.
  • Spyro the Dragon:
    • The final regular level of Gnasty's World in the first game, Twilight Harbor.
    • 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.
    • The Zephyr stage from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! features the war between the Breeze Builders and Land Blubbers. The main goal of the level is to capture an enemy building.
  • The Sonic the Hedgehog games use this every now and then.
  • The Rikti War Zone in City of Heroes. Also the Shadow Shard, though not as well known for it...
  • In 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 in the level.
  • Warcadia in Folklore. 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.
  • When the Army comes in Half-Life, and some places of Half-Life 2.
  • The War levels of Mischief Makers had lots of tanks and bombs. You even rode a missile at one point!
  • The very first level in Psychonauts, 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.
  • The Kingdom of Anger, Volk, from Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil, a kingdom consisting entirely of people who do nothing but fight all the time.
  • The War chapter of Conker's Bad Fur Day, and by extension the multiplayer stages based on it.
  • Technoir in Jazz Jackrabbit.
  • Napalm Man from Mega Man 5 has this for the second half of his stage.
  • The aptly named Planet Batalia in Ratchet & Clank (2002) (the first one).
  • All Metal Gear games feature these prominently, of course.
  • The Shadow Moses stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl brings the military setting of the Metal Gear games. The Subspace Emissary has the stages set within Halberd.
  • Sometimes Inverted in Metal Slug: while the game is about (at times wacky) war, some areas have little to no killing machines trying to kill you. Of course, there are always something else trying to kill you...
  • Military base in Painkiller.
  • Moon Kronor in Serious Sam II.
  • Planet Norion and Pirate Homeworld in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. 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.
  • Ichor in Jet Force Gemini 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.
  • World 2 ("Combat Island") in Rainbow Islands. With cute, cartoony-looking bomber planes and tanks, no less.
  • The Halberd in the Kirby series. Meta Knight's airship is probably the biggest example of Mood Whiplash in the series that doesn't involve a Cosmic Horror.
  • Planet Helghan from Killzone 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).
  • Cratermaze has the Wartime levels, where the enemies become World War II soldiers. In Booby Kids for the Famicom, the collectibles also become radios.
  • Double Dragon Neon has the Assault Zone (Mission 6), whose boss is a Giant Tank.
  • Non-Videogame example in the Pathfinder Adventure Path: "Reign of Winter Part 5: Rasputin Must Die!", in which your Medieval European Fantasy-ish party travels to Red October-era Russia to take on soldiers, vampires, tanks, and clouds of sentient mustard gas in a prison camp before trying to give Rasputin the Mad Monk himself another brutally overdone death.
  • Code C.H.I.M.P., the penultimate level of Ape Escape 2 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.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has 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).
  • 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.
  • Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus features the Slig Barracks, the training ground of the game's Mooks and the headquarters of General Dripik.
  • Cuphead: Werner Werman in Murine Corps
  • At first, the fourth mainland in Etrian Odyssey IV (Cloudy Stronghold) is heavily patrolled by the aerial forces of the Empire. Being spotted by one of them will result in the party's skyship being 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 have them chase you as they're obstructing the path to the boss room).
  • 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 many 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.
  • After spending the majority of the game exploring ancient ruins, the climax of Evolution: The World of Sacred Device takes place on the 8th Empire's battleship, the Crown Prince/"KronPrinz".
  • Week 7 of Friday Night Funkin' 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.


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.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / RemilitarizedZone

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