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Video Game / Blacklight Retribution

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Welcome back, Agent.

"Objective: Eliminate All Hostile Agents."
In-Game Announcer, before starting a Deathmatch/Team Deathmatch round.

Blacklight: Retribution is a free to play sequel to Blacklight: Tango Down. Created by the folks at Zombie Studios (and later Hardsuit Labs when the former went defunct in January 2015) and published by Perfect World Entertainment, it's your standard First-Person Shooter powered by the Unreal Engine, though it's got some interesting features to set it apart from the pack:

  • Everybody has the Hyper Reality Visor (HRV), which let players see enemies and objectives through walls. This comes with a downside, though - you can't use any weapons while it's active and it has to be fully recharged before it can be used again.
  • The game features weapon depots scattered around the maps that lets players restock their ammo and regain lost health, as well as bring heavy weapons such as a flamethrower, a rocket launcher or even a Hardsuit into the fight in exchange for Combat Points (CP) gained from kills, assists or completing gamemode objectives.
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  • Players receive GP and EXP at the end of each match, the amounts of which are dependent on how well they have performed during one, the former mainly being used to acquire or rent equipment such as new weapons, armor, utility gear and more. Of course, using ZCOINS to buy them instead is much faster.

The game features classic game modes like Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Domination and King Of The Hill, alongside new ones like NetWar (a combination of CTF and DOM), Siege and Kill Confirmed. A recent update added Search & Destroy, Last Man Standing, Last Team Standing and Onslaught, while another update sadly removed NetWar and Siege from the gamemode playlist.

In 2015, the game made a transition to Perfect World's ARC Games platform (where it unfortunately entered a long period of content drought due to the dissolution of Zombie Studios and a lack of updates), before it eventually migrated to Steam under the development and publication of Hardsuit Labs and a new server provider (the Russian-based, which also hosts Warface) in late 2017.


However, the game is no longer available through the Steam platform, with all the PC servers having been shutdown as of March 12th, 2019, due to low playerbase activity and Hardsuit Labs focusing on other projects.

Nowadays, it's only available on the PlayStation 4 thanks to having no game servers being hosted through the console's peer-to-peer network.

This game provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Artemis's and Lilith's specialities before the Parity Patch hit; the two of them are the game's Hardsuit Pilot Heroes, and their equipment sets means they will only be at their best when they're inside their natural habitats.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The game has a few, considering how far into the future it is set.
    • Electro Rounds does less damage to players (unless they've been Stunned first), but instead deals extra damage to mechanical targets like Hardsuits, Turrets and Assault Bots.
    • Explosive Rounds jars enemy vision to throw off their aim, and also prevents killed players from being quickly Revived.
    • Magnum Rounds increases damage dealt at the cost of increased recoil and reduced range, thus limiting players to fight only from close- to mid-range combat.
    • Toxic Rounds obscures enemy vision and does mild Damage Over Time, which also lowers their maximum health for a while.
    • Incendiary Rounds sets your enemies on fire and also does mild damage over time, but in exchange for dealing less damage up-front.
    • Standard Rounds deal full direct damage to enemy targets, but are extremely limited against heavily armored targets such as Hardsuits.
      • The August 18th 2015 Parity Patch Update, however, limited the ammo types to just Toxic, Incendiary and Standard Rounds.
  • A.K.A.-47: Several weapon parts in this game can easily be identified as having come from real firearms, or at the least are very visibly based off certain parts from them.
    • The Heavy Pistol is clearly based off the old Colt M1911.
    • The Burstfire Pistol is some manner of Glock.
    • The Heavy Assault Rifle resembles the FN Carbine.
    • The complete standard equipment Assault Rifle bears a remarkable resemblance to the SIG 550.
    • One foregrip/barrel segment is highly similar to the MP7, whilst another resembles the FN MAG.
    • The Snubnosed Revolver is nearly identical to the snub-nosed Chiappa Rhino.
    • The AK470 and M4X Rifles don't even try to hide what guns they're based from, and their flavor text states they're modernized versions of them. You can even equip them with weapons parts that are the exact matches of their real life versions too!
  • Allegedly Free Game: Originally, you could play the game without buying ZCOINS (which is only obtained by paying real money or doing surveys and offers for them). Players just had access to high-level equipment at a slow but steady rate. Even then, some items could only be rented with GP. For example, the ammo types listed above could only be rented up to 7 days with GP (after reaching level 30) or up to 30 days with ZCOINS, but with no way to permanently purchase them. However, some decorative items which have no effect on gameplay (like certain helmets, weapon and armor camouflages, trophies, tags, taunts, titles and emblems) are only available with ZCOINS, and weapon parts that are also ZCOINS-only tended to have some niche advantages.
    • The first year anniversary of the game being on Steam gave the developers an excuse to sell Anniversary Packs. Purchasing the Gold Pack for 10000 ZCOINS ($100 US) and later for 8000 ZCOINS unlocked all first year items with the exception of taunts, titles and tags. This included the permanent unlocking of elemental ammo for those weapons. The second year anniversary also brought out a Platinum Anniversary Pack for 10000 ZCOINS too, which also unlocked second year items sans the taunts, titles and tags.
    • Somewhat averted after the Parity Patch Update (which made the PC version work like the PS4 version and allowed cross-platform play): All items that weren't cosmetic in nature became available for purchase with GP and now doesn't require levels to unlock. Nowadays, ZCOINS is considered as just a quick way to buy weapons, armor, gear, taunts, tags, titles, weapon and armor camouflage as well as special editions of normal armor if one does not have the time, effort or GP needed to buy any of them instead.
    • There's also the new GP Duplicator that can only be bought with 1000 ZCOINS - replacing the Blacklight Prime Pack - where owning it nets you twice the amount of GP normally gained per any match as well as a free title.
  • All There in the Manual: Where the heck are those zombies in Onslaught coming from, and who are those hostile soldiers backing up said zombies? Both are holdovers from the co-op mode in the first game, which explained the zombies as victims of the Sentient Insanity Virus (SIV), a widespread but mostly unknown virus that rots flesh and turns infected victims homicidally insane, while the soldiers are Agents of The Order, a mysterious terrorist group with implied financial and military backing coming from all around the world, who are helping the SIVs attempt to kill you and your teammates for reasons unknown.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Sonic and Exploding Tomahawks melee weapon utility gears, both of which can also be thrown at distant targets. The former allows for a quick way of dispatching most enemies in a single hit, while the latter can also be used as a makeshift mine or grenade by way of remote detonation.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: If you're skilled, crazy or stupid enough, you can hit the weak points on a Hardsuit for ten times the damage your weapon will usually deal. For best results, use a Shotgun equipped with Incendiary or Toxic Rounds while you're at it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Rhino Hardsuits. They're good to use against regular players, but are slow to manoeuvre, making it incredibly easy to leave them wide open for Flamethrower or Rocket Stinger ambushes - and they're near-useless in Onslaught too, because by the time you get enough CP to call down one, the game will already have begun to spawn Order Agents wielding both.
    • The Anti-Materiel Rifle. It has a very slow reload speed, which doesn't help it much as it needs to chamber in another round after every single shot, on top of having a long scope-in time and slowed down aiming speed. Although it is indeed very powerful, it is not commonly used and is rarely seen only in the hands of a competent or experimenting player. Even the gun's flavor text acknowledges this:
    No man should have all this power!
  • BFG: The guns in this game are a lot bigger compared to their real-life counterparts. There are also a few of these available, though they mostly come in the form of Railguns, Miniguns and Auto-Cannons attached to the Hardsuits. For the small arms versions, it's the Anti-Materiel Rifle, the Bolt-Action Rifle, the Light Machine Gun and the two depot weapons T56 Trident 'Minigun' and RG057 Ghost 'Railgun'.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Metallic gold, silver and bronze 'camouflage' patterns are available for your weapons and armor, the Prestige versions of certain armor and gear notwithstanding. They also include some of the available weapon tags; (gold) dollar signs, pots of gold and so on.
  • Blown Across the Room: Pellets from the two Shotguns and rounds from the Anti-Materiel and Bolt-Action Rifles can throw the corpses of killed players a fair distance away, often causing a slightly more conventional Railing Kill.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: In this game, wearing heavier armor pieces increases your maximum health; inversely, wearing lighter armor pieces reduces it. Be prepared to spend hours looking for the perfect set of armor for your Agent to wear if you want to have a certain amount of maximum HP.
  • Boom, Headshot!: As is typical with FPS games, shooting someone in the head is usually fatal and will earn you extra CP. Wear a helmet with high Headshot Protection to lessen the likelihood of this happening to you.
  • Broken Faceplate: Battle-damaged variants of certain helmets are available in the game - though in this case the damage on them are purely cosmetic and they still have the same stats as their undamaged versions. But whether or not they make your Agent look badass, however, is up for you to decide.
  • Call-Back: After killing an enemy player, your Agent will sometimes say, "Tango Down! Heh. That's appropriate."
  • Cold Sniper: Duchess and Ghost, the two Sniper Heroes whose weapons and equipment sets before the Parity Patch hit means they are well-suited for prolonged long-range combat, with the latter even more so than the former.
  • Color-Coded Elements: The ammo types listed above tend to have unique impact effects and each of them has a color-coded warning notice and symbol to indicate the type of damage that they deal. Equipment that protects against these types of damage also have the latter things to indicate what they make you resistant or immune against.
    • Electro is blue.
    • Explosive is orange.
    • Magnum is purple.
    • Toxic is green.
    • Incendiary is red.
    • Standard is white.
    • Infrared is yellow.
      • As of the Parity Patch Update, the color purple is now associated with the Melee Protection Gear, as the Magnum Rounds ammo type is no longer available in the game.
  • Combat Medic: Crusher and Lazarus, the game's resident Medic Heroes before the Parity Patch hit. Crusher is geared towards healing injured teammates, while Lazarus - living up to her codename - specializes in Reviving her killed teammates.
  • Cherry Tapping: Jumping onto other players directly from above will cause exactly 1 HP's worth of damage to them, and likewise hitting them with a thrown but not yet exploded grenade will also do 1 HP's worth of damage. It's rare, but still possible to kill a player that way.
    • Sometimes jumping and landing on the head of another player can quickly kill them - regardless of their team alignment - as if they were crushed by a Hardsuit. The game will still count this as a kill and the slain player's killcam will then proceed to follow the player who killed them this way.
  • Crowbar Combatant: The Black Mesa Crowbar melee weapon utility gear, as well as it's Silver and Gold variants. Added to the game in celebration of Blacklight: Retribution being released on the Steam platform, all three crowbars are essentially the Combat Knife Mk.1, but with a different model and more skins.
  • Cyberpunk: Between the game's Blade Runner-style scenery that consists of most if not all the maps, the cool and futuristic weapon and armor designs and the electronics-based warfare, it's definitely fitting aesthetically and thematically.
  • Death from Above: The A36 Brimstone 'Airstrike' depot weapon, of course. It's a signal flare launcher that, when fired, calls down an airstrike at the area it was pointed at after a short delay.
    • Let's just say you don't want to be standing at where a Hardsuit is going to land - whether from it's initial drop-in to the map, or if some player inside one just decides to drop off a ledge.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: One of the core mechanics of Blacklight Retribution, players are allowed to customize their weapons, armor and gear to their heart's content using a surprising variety of items that can be bought or rented, resulting in Agents armed with a multitude of equipment with each looking different than the last.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: There are weapons in the game that are rather hard to handle, but once mastered, have proved to be quite effective at what they were designed to do. Here are a few examples:
    • The Combat Rifle. It is a semi-automatic rifle, making it quite nice to use for distant targets. The trouble is, however, at any range there's another receiver that can do it's job better. It's very low ammo capacity also tends to cause it's users a few problems too. But in the right hands, it's capable of downing ANYONE in quick 2-4 shots, assuming it's users are careful about it's weapon spread and have also opted to fire it in bursts.
    • The Light Recon Rifle. The short-ranged counterpart to the Combat Rifle, this receiver functions similarly to the weapon above, with decent stopping power and burstfire capability. Unfortunately, it also comes with high recoil, low ammo capacity and limited range, all of which have turned off most players from even considering to use this receiver in the first place. But play to it's strengths - as well as equip the right weapon parts - and you'll find yourself with a rifle that WILL decimate your enemies for you so as long as you aim down it's sights and fight within it's effective range.
    • The Light Machine Gun. Even before the Parity Patch Update, it's highly inaccurate against other automatic rifles at most ranges, leading to itself being more useful in defensive or ambush situations. However, it boasts the highest base damage per shot and ammo capacity out of all the primary receivers - and with the right weapon parts, it can even be used as a long-ranged weapon capable of out-damaging or suppressing enemy fire. Just make sure to crouch in order to balance out it's recoil while you're shooting at distant targets, or at least remember to use weapon parts that lowers it's recoil to a more manageable level.
    • The Compound Bow. While it's seemingly out of place in a game like this, it still has all the advantages of using a bow on it's side, as well as all it's disadvantages. But when used correctly, it becomes one of the most deadliest weapons anyone can encounter in a match, allowing for long distance silent kills or even headshots on the fly once you've gotten used to aiming or timing your shots with it. Additionally, you can pick up and reuse your fired arrows so as long as they aren't too far for you to reach.
    • The Stun Shurikens. While stealth builds mostly use them and still can be thrown well by other builds, even if they miss a target and hit a wall or the floor instead, the three thrown projectiles will still go off in proximity to an enemy and either stun or kill them as though they were blown up by a stun mine. Since they are small in size, it is also extremely difficult for opposing players to blow them up from a safe distance.
  • Drop the Hammer: The normal and Toxic Breach Hammers melee weapon utility gears. The former is an extremely powerful tool that instantly kills enemies on contact (provided they aren't wearing the Melee Protection Gear) but comes with the downside of having a slow swinging speed, on top of having to re-arm itself after every successful strike. Meanwhile, the latter has a weaker strike with the same swinging speed and re-arming problems - but comes with a small Toxic Grenade-like timed warhead that detonates after a short delay, whose gas cloud will actually cling to a struck target while simultaneously afflicting other enemies within a certain range of it's initial victim.
  • The Engineer: This is Deacon's role before the Parity Patch hit, as he is the sole Engineer Hero introduced in the game. With his Repair Tool Tactical Gear, he can easily fix and reinforce anything that's mechanical in nature, especially the Scorpion Tank in the Siege gamemode.
  • Faceless Goons: Almost everyone. But all the helmets are awesome-looking, so it's forgiven. Most hero characters, however, have an option to go helmet-less, or at least have some form of skin exposure (Viper only ever shows off his mutated arm, while MARS is all-robot).
    • Apparently the non-hero characters do have faces beneath their helmets, which can rarely be seen through clipping. They are low res compared to the hero characters' faces, however, and only the area around their eyes are not covered by a balaclava.
  • Flare Gun: The Breech-Loaded Pistol works like this, and it has three ammo types. The first is the HE Round Bore, a yellow flare that deals explosive damage to enemies in the vicinity it was shot to, and the second is the Incendiary Round Bore, a red flare that quickly incinerates anyone and anything it sticks to. It's third ammo type, the Flechette Chamber Boring, converts it into a powerful handheld shotgun instead, for use against tight clusters of enemy Agents.
  • Fragile Speedster: Speed-oriented builds, as you have to sacrifice your maximum health in return for increased movement speed. Pure speed builds are uncommon, as most feel they sacrifice too much and gain too little. This is also Viper's gimmick - before the Parity Patch hit, he is extremely fast and stealthy thanks to his equipment set, but one good shot from even an SMG will kill him dead.
    • This can be mitigated somewhat with the Cloak Mk.I Tactical Gear. A common tactic for some players using this build is to combine light armor, 'The "Speed Demon"' boots and the Cloak Mk.I Tactical Gear, as well as either one of the Combat Knives or the Breach Hammer, in order to earn easy silent kills from behind.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Although you can shoot enemy mines, setting them off next to nearby allies can injure or sometimes kill them. Unoccupied Hardsuits can be damaged by both teams too, and the resulting explosion will hurt any player who happened to be close by.
    • This has led to some clever schmucks doing things like sticking an Airstrike's signal flare or an Explosive Tomahawk on their own teammates, causing havoc when their enemies least expect it.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Since the Anti-Materiel Rifle is too heavy and large to use it as a makeshift club in close quarter combat, the player's Agent will simply punch the enemy instead as it's melee attack.
  • Grenade Spam: Mostly averted, as you can only carry a single grenade of any given type at a time, though with the right gear setup and a lot of GP or ZCOINS, you could feasibly carry up to four different kinds.
    • Of course that all goes out the window if someone gets their hands on the GL-7 Bear Claw 'Grenade Launcher' depot weapon, which can fire a total of twelve grenades...
  • Gun Porn: Players have praised the game's customization features. Want a metallic pink automatic death spewing machine with an attached 1.8x zoom holographic scope, a short damage-enhancing barrel which is completed with a foregrip and silencer, anyone?
    • Gun Accessories: This game doesn't have any underbarrel attachments or anything else that's too fancy, but other than that? It has different kinds of muzzles, barrels, magazines, scopes, stocks and weapon tags... and there are simply plenty of each to put on most of your weapons. And as mentioned above, many of them are clearly based off actual real-life gun parts. Some of which have never entered widespread production.
  • Have a Nice Death: Happens if one leaps off the deadly drops of the maps Vertigo and Rig, walks off the docks on SeaPort or when one jumps down from quite the height while on low health (and even when quitting in the middle of a match!):
    [Player name] thought they could fly.
    • The Compound Bow's Cupid's Arrow, which is a cosmetic obtainable only on the days leading up to Valentine's Day, also gives off a fair four of these:
    [Player name] broke up with [Player name].
    [Player name] spiced up [Player name]'s love life.
    [Player name] loved [Player name] right in the face.
    [Player name] shot [Player name] with love.
  • Hazmat Suit: The Prex Chemical / Hazmat Respirator helmet, which was added in the Evacuation Update. It claims to reduce damage taken from explosive attacks however, not chemical weapons. And unfortunately, the bright yellow-orange visor it sports also makes your head very visible to enemy players.
    • There's also it's two other variants, in blue/green and red/orange visor colors, for reducing Toxic and Incendiary damage respectively. Both are just as eye-catching (and headshot inducing) as the first helmet variant.
      • As of the Parity Patch Update, the helmet and it's variants no longer provide additional protection against the elemental damage they were made for, and these days are considered a rare sight when worn by players of the game.
  • Heal Thyself: The Heal Injector Mk.1 Tactical Gear, which holds 15 'charges' and slowly regenerates them over time. It restores 50 HP at the cost of all 15 'charges' if you use it on yourself, or 100 HP at the cost of 3 'charges' if you use it on your teammates. It is much more team-oriented than it used to be.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Played with. Standard characters can't remove their helmets (the closest one can get to being helmet-less is by wearing a face-covering goggles getup, with a balaclava covering the rest of the head). However, a few of the hero characters have the option to get their helmets removed, while certain heroes like Duchess don't even come with one.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: The camouflage patterns available in this game would have all worked fine if not for all those team-indicating neon highlights on your Agent's armor. Also, the fact that your username can sometimes appear over your Agent's head, and even while you're under the effects of an item that hides your presence.
    • There's also the various 'camouflages' you can buy with ZCOINS or get as a reward from Chance Packs, certain events or promotions. Purple, red, baby blue, bright pink, metallic gold/silver, solid white... you take your pick.
    • It gets even more ridiculous when it comes to the special event and holiday camouflages, but as they are not meant to be taken seriously, they end up being hilarious instead. There's nothing like seeing players in cupid pink camouflage running around the map showing the others how much they love them by shooting them in the face with their Christmas-themed guns!
  • Hollywood Silencer: There are four of these in the game, each reducing damage and having some other minor effects. Their quieter audio cue can often give you an extra edge over an unaware enemy; by the time they've figured out where you're shooting them from, they're most likely already dead.
  • The Horde: Your goal in the Onslaught gamemode, is to survive facing off an increasing number of SIVs (and Order Agents) for 10 waves straight. And depending on how many players are in an Onslaught match, you and your teammates might even kill off a total of over a thousand of them.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: In-universe, nobody knows who - or what - Viper is. Flavor text ranges from rumors that he's either undead, a mutant or not even human. What doesn't help is the appearance of the armor he's wearing, making him seem like an otherworldly alien too.
  • Interface Screw: Digi Grenades act like a smokescreen by creating a cloud of digital interference; entering it will obscure your view. Toxic Grenades leave a lingering green haze around the edges of your screen if you ever walk into their deadly gas clouds. Shock Grenades, Stun Mines and Stun Shurikens makes your Heads Up Display act all fuzzy while stopping you from quickly moving around. Being hit with explosives will jar your vision as you'd expect. EMP Grenades are the worst, throwing the Blue Screen of Death all over your interface!
    • If you look closely at your HUD when it restarts, you can see your own Agent/player name being entered into a login and password bar. These are both carryovers from Tango Down.
    • The 'new' animation displayed when entering into a map or respawning Back from the Dead is considered a very negative use of this by some players as well. Fortunately, it can be disabled in the Settings menu.
    • The Gunman Hardsuit's Digi Grenade Clusterbomb Launcher, which leaves a large cloud of digital interference behind it when fired. It's perfect for making a quick getaway and for making it extremely difficult for enemy players to get a clear shot at you.
  • "I Regret Nothiiiiing!": One of the death sounds for SeaNanners' bonus voice pack.
  • I Shall Taunt You: While some are only available with ZCOINS, a couple are free and most of them can be bought with GP. They can be used in-game, and give you a small CP bonus, the value of which is dependent on their taunt duration and type, with longer stationary taunts (during which the taunter is completely defenseless) providing a greater CP bonus than one of the quicker taunts that allows movement. Here are some examples:
  • Invisibility Cloak:
    • The Cloak Mk.1 and Mk.2 Tactical Gears, though the former doesn't hide you from infrared scopes or the HRV for both, and you're still somewhat visible while using them (especially when you're sprinting).
    • The HRV Blackout utility gear will prevent anything in it's vicinity from appearing on the HRV (unless it was used within a certain range), though to the naked eye, it has a very noticeable distortion field. It's often used to hide mines, snipers, turrets or all of them at once.
    • The HRV Cloak is a Tactical Gear that hides it's user from being seen on the HRV from a distance. It's a good way to screw with most players, particularly those who thought no hostiles were in the area until you proved them wrong. But you'll still appear as a slightly shimmering figure if you happened to be close by when someone used their HRV.
    • A lesser one is the Infrared Protection Gear, which allows someone to not be seen easily by those who are using infrared scopes on their guns.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: The KTN8 Katana, which is only available as a depot weapon. It costs 350 CP to be used during a match, but it does a lot of damage, has a fast swinging speed and it increases your movement speed when it is actively being used. Plus, it has a special lunge attack that can kill multiple foes in one swift assault. It also throws a nice diagonal blood splatter across the screen whenever an enemy is killed by it, with their corpse gushing out blood before falling over.
  • Kill All Humans: It's very easy to miss, but the Assault Bots in Practice sometimes say this and other similar phrases. So do the Assault Bots that are called down in other gamemodes.
  • Kill It with Fire: The FT18 'Flamethrower' depot weapon, of course. Effective against players and especially against Hardsuits - it cooks their pilots alive through their armor. However, don't even think about stealing that Hardsuit you just emptied out while it's still glowing red-hot.
    • Incendiary Rounds, to a lesser degree. Whilst bullets do less damage per hit, the target takes more damage over time as mentioned above.
    • The Flare Gun's Incendiary Round Bore. Anyone or anything the red flare touches, they're as good as dead. It's especially useful against players piloting a Hardsuit as well.
  • Kill Streak: Players are rewarded extra CP for killing set numbers of enemies under a certain amount of time. Double-Kill, Triple-Kill, Over-Kill and Clean-Swept are your typical kill streaks that are earned when you have strung together 2, 3, 4 or 5+ kills within seconds of each other. There's also a special but much harder to earn kill steak called Beast Mode that is only attainable after you have killed a total of 20 enemies without dying once.
  • Kukris Are Kool: The Machete melee weapon utility gear has an inward bowed blade, that resembles a kukri much more than an actual machete. Fittingly, it has a much longer effective range compared to the Combat Knives.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": The Proximity and Stun Mines, in delicious Frag and Stun flavors! They both make a nice little beep-beep noise just before they explode, so sometimes you can at least avoid dying to them. Keep an eye out for them on your HRV too; the mines are marked with an exclamation symbol. Also, you can safely detonate them using gunfire or grenades to earn a few CP for your troubles, and perhaps even hurt any enemies standing close to them.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • The Burstfire SMG used to be one of these (or just a Scrappy Weapon depending on who you ask), as it's recoil and spread usually had it's third and fourth (sometimes even the second!) shots going way off target, essentially wasting them. Then the new spread/recoil system came along, and it's turned deadly all of a sudden, able to put all four rounds into a target - with the recoil only really kicking in around the end of the burst-fire.
    • The modernized Compound Bow might seem primitive and out of place in the futuristic setting filled with firearms the game is taking place in, but make no mistake: A fully charged arrow attack will kill all but the most heavily armored players with one hit alone. Those who master this weapon will find it on par with the deadliest receivers the players can get their hands on, and even then 2-3 uncharged arrows can still easily make short work of most players.
  • Letters to the Editor: Not exactly. But Zombie Studios once answered questions through the Blacklight Retribution Patch Minutes videos which came out with every game update, up until they stopped updating the game. Here's one from version 0.964 of the game.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Gunman Hardsuit trades in the Rhino Hardsuit's Railgun and Anti-Personnel Minigun for lighter armor, an Auto-Cannon, a Digi Grenade Clusterbomb and a freakishly fast movement speed, making it a nightmare to fight in close quarter combat. However, it's lighter armor also means it's more susceptible to Rocket Stingers and small arms fire. Have fun hitting one without getting killed by it a few seconds later, though.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Like Black Ops 2, you can wield or deploy a Barricade Tactical Gear to provide cover for yourself on the spot, with a small gap in the barricade for you to safely shoot your enemies through. The barricade isn't invulnerable however, and if takes too much damage it will get wrecked, exposing you to enemy fire.
    • Some SIV infectees and Agents of The Order also carry these in Onslaught, often to lethal effect. The latter are the worst offenders - their shields are completely bullet-proof and their users are notoriously hard to put down.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Seriously, just don't get in the way of any sort of Railgun.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Rhino Hardsuit. Though it has a 'boost' function, it can't move, turn or fire it's weapons for a few moments after using it, and players can usually and easily outrun one - allowing for their teammates to throw explosives behind or strafe circles around one as they explode, cook or avoid the pilot inside.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Rhino and Gunman Hardsuits are combat mecha, and come equipped with either a Minigun and a Railgun or an Auto-Cannon and a Digi Grenade Clusterbomb Launcher. These things are very dangerous and the former can even run you down with it's boost. They do, however, have a randomly generated weakpoint. Hitting it causes your weapon to deal ten times it's normal damage to the Hardsuits. Also, the former has slow turning rates, making teammate backup pretty much mandatory in taking one down, while the latter is a nightmare in close quarter combat as stated above, and must be dealt with quickly before bodies start piling up.
    • Played with in Onslaught; while they are seemingly perfect for taking on waves of SIVs, Agents of The Order armed with Rocket Stingers or Flamethrowers will begin to spawn later in the gamemode as a hard counter to them, and will start coming in increasing numbers to deter players from calling one down. Also, the sheer number of SIVs attacking a Hardsuit will usually slow it's movement speed down to a crawl, making it trivial for the Order Agents to destroy one. On the other hand, using their considerable firepower and thick armor to mow down waves of SIVs will make surviving their Onslaught easier, assuming of course enemy Agents are killed on sight.
  • More Dakka: The Rhino Hardsuit's Minigun and the Gunman Hardsuit's Auto-Cannon. For the small arms versions, it's the Light Machine Gun, an Assault Rifle equipped with the biggest ammo capacity magazine available and the T56 Trident 'Minigun' depot weapon.
  • Nerf: Oh, a lot.
    • There was an era when the Assault Rifle would kill anyone it was pointed at, regardless of how far they were or how bad it's user modded it's accuracy.
    • The Heavy Assault Rifle made using a Bolt-Action Rifle for sniping pointless, due to it's very predictable recoil pattern; it also had ridiculously high damage, so much so that it could beat an SMG in close quarter combat. Now it got reduced to a more balanced level with a smaller magazine, lower damage and slightly less range.
    • During the closed beta, by either bug or by poor design, the SMG had such a low weapon spread that it's 10 points of damage at longer ranges could kill easily a target with no issue, even with full-automatic fire. Which is pretty impressive for the 9mm round of the future.
    • The World's End Update brought some long-overdue (or at least as far as many players are concerned) nerfs to the Exploding Tomahawk, Machine Pistol and maximum-damage oriented Bolt-Action Rifle builds. The Health Injector got adjusted around the same time too, and now players aren't quite sure about the results.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Played straight and subverted. Players who charge at their enemies with only their Combat Knives or their choice melee weapon utility gear will quickly be shot dead. But it's played straight when one uses the right tactics, as skilled or lucky players can pull off killing multiple enemies in a short amount of time with just their Combat Knife.
  • Noob Cave: New players can choose to play on the Proving Ground gamemode, where players up to a certain level (35 as of this time of writing) are only allowed to play in. Playing on these servers is a good way to get a handle on the gameplay mechanics without having high level players kicking your ass while you're still learning.
    • There's also Practice, which allows the player to go head to head with a mob of hostile AI-controlled robots on one of the most hectic close quarter maps in the game, Containment. It also allows players to try out things they have pinned to their equipment slots, though obviously you can't keep those things around outside of it. And sadly, you don't earn much XP or GP for fully playing through a match in this gamemode.
    • Onslaught was intentionally designed as something of one, with decent XP and GP payouts even on Easy Difficulty, so that new players can level up and unlock gear without mercilessly being hammered by veterans. One should also keep in mind that it goes all the way up to Hardcore Difficulty (which makes only headshots deal any damage to the enemies), so it's not just for rookies.
      • Averted for now. Currently, Onslaught has no changeable Difficulties, and the Bronze, Silver and Gold tokens that can be picked up from killed SIVs and Order Agents don't do anything that noticeable.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: This game is supposed to be a sequel to Blacklight: Tango Down. But as of yet, it still doesn't have much in the way of an official storyline. Not that the players care.
    • The world seems to be going to hell in a hand-basket, with no real governments being in power for long, and the players are the best of the best picked out by Blacklight to help protect the world. Meanwhile, a virus of some description is ravaging the civilian population, with automated broadcasts recommending people stay in their homes as much as possible. See the Fridge page!
    • A popular player theory is that the 'game' is actually a virtual reality simulation in which Blacklight uses to train their recruits and hone their skills without putting them in real danger.
    • Another popular theory says that after the events of Tango Down, Blacklight failed to maintain world peace. Now many Blacklight/Order Agents (like yourself) went rogue, each fighting the other for their own interests.
    • The Order returns in the Onslaught gamemode, as the hostile Agents attacking you and your teammates while you're all busy fending off SIV infectees.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The people who were infected by the Sentient Insanity Virus in Onslaught are called SIVs, and there are no indications of them acting like your typical flesh-eating zombie. Aside from their hostility, they won't even try biting you - instead they will claw and swing at you and will even resort to using shields to bash you to death. There's also a King Mook variant of the SIVs that you need to look out for too.
  • One Bullet Clips: The Breech-Loaded Pistol and the Anti-Materiel Rifle. The latter is worth every shot though, if it hits someone that is.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If you haven't beta-tested or played the game in the first few months or years since it got released on April 3rd, 2012, expect to come across this a lot.
    • There are many camos, tags, armor, trophies, gears, taunts, titles, emblems and voice packs that are now forever locked out to players new to the game. Many of them were given out or earned through redeemable codes or in limited time events that can no longer be repeated, due to the game developers being unable to do so (or not giving enough of a damn).
  • Pink Mist: While present in the game, it can be averted with the "Gore" setting being set to either Full (heads are removed with headshots) to Mid (heads remain intact but a red mist is shown) or to None (the blood is replaced with splashes of a glowing blue liquid).
  • Pistol-Whipping: The Handguns' and the Revolvers' melee attack. Oh, and the Machine Pistol's too.
  • Playful Hacker: Chronos, the game's only Hacker Hero before the Parity Patch hit. He thrives in the Domination and NetWar gamemodes, thanks to his Tactical Gear significantly increasing his point capture and hacking speed.
  • Powerful Pick: The Tactical Ice Axe and the Nor'Easter melee weapon utility gears. They are essentially the Machete with a different model, with the latter weapon also having a cool blue flame wreathing it's blade.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Played with. With the "Gore" setting put to Full, scoring a shotgun blast to somebody's face - or landing a headshot with the Bolt-Action Rifle and Anti-Materiel Rifle - will result in a satisfying explosion sound and a red cloud. Other weapons may or may not cause this; it seems to be random, or based on damage.
  • Quick Melee: Pressing the melee button will make you melee with your gun's stock or pistol's grip. The game also has a number of stronger dedicated melee weapons like the Combat Knives, the Machete, the Tactical Ice Pick, the Tomahawks and the Breach Hammers - all of which can be a guaranteed kill on most players.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Aplenty, which may cause corpses to spin or breakdance on their own. Especially if they get one of their limbs stuck into something.
  • Rare Guns: Along with many gun parts that can be attached to your weapons, the Snubnosed Revolver has it's barrel aligned with the bottom chamber, likely drawing inspiration from the Mateba Autorevolver and it's kin.
    • The M4 and AK47 rifles are considered this in-universe, judging by the M4X Rifle's and AK470 Rifle's flavor texts.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The SIVs have glowing red eyes. As if the fact they're charging at you while basically foaming at the mouth because they think you look tasty or something wasn't enough of a warning.
  • Regenerating Health: If you get your health knocked below half, you can regenerate it back to half your maximum health simply by waiting - but for a full heal, you may want to visit a depot or get a teammate to heal you using the Health Injector Mk.1 Tactical Gear.
  • Reverse Grip: How Agents hold the Combat Knives and the Machete.
  • Robot Girl: MARS, the only Robot Hero of the game before the Parity Patch hit, who uses a female voice and is referred to as a 'she'. Her role in the game is to act as fire support to her fellow Agents, and can also help replenish their low ammunition through the use of her Tactical Gear.
  • Scary Black Man: Grendel, the Heavy Hero of the game before the Parity Patch hit. He has the maximum possible health - 250 HP - and fittingly, is equipped with the maximum quantity of explosives: Three Grenades and a Proximity Mine. Aside from his demolitionist duties, his role also doubles as fire support like MARS, but unlike her, he is able to do it easier - which means anywhere and anytime - with his Tactical Gear.
  • Sentry Gun: The AT-D4 Deployable Turret depot item. While it has a fairly limited firing arc, it's fast firing speed and considerable maximum range makes it a useful tool for area denial against the enemy team, but savvy players can use Shock and EMP Grenades to temporarily disable it. It's pretty useful in Onslaught too, netting you twice the amount of CP you usually gain from SIVs who are killed by it.
    • Humorously, it used to love shooting at walls thanks to a bizarre glitch in it's coding, though it has since been fixed by recent patches.
  • Shield Bash: Players equipped with any of the Barricade Tactical Gears can kill opponents by simply slamming them with it. While extremely hard to pull off, it can be worth it as actively using them provides their wielders an ample degree of protection from bullets... but only in the direction they are looking at, and their feet are fair game.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The two Steam achievements related to destroying turrets are "Sapper" and "Are You Still There...?"
    • The Black Mesa Crowbar that was available for purchase in celebration of the Steam platform launch, and the Headcrab weapon tag that became available for playing the game prior to a certain date. There were also limited-edition Portal Gun weapon tags.
    • One weapon tag you can equip on your gun is a suspiciously familiar red mushroom with white dots.
    • Chain enough headshots together, and your character will yell BOOM, HEADSHOT!
    • A late 2012 update introduced 3 taunts/post-round emotes that reference 3 different dance moves from the Gangnam Style music video, backed by a copyright-friendly version of the tune.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Currently the pump action and automatic Shotguns are around the most popular secondary weapons, especially after the Machine Pistol was nerfed. They offer good damage over a short range and are also ideal for detonating mines, particularly those pesky Stun Mines and Shurikens whose hitboxes are annoyingly small.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: They start losing damage beyond around 10 meters, and begin to hit minimum damage by around 20. Combine that with the way the shot cloud spreads outm and you might as well use harsh language at longer ranges. On the other hand, they're extremely deadly within their effective range.
  • Skull for a Head: The Bonebreaker helmet and it's variants have a stylized faceplate that resembles the upper half of a skull.
  • Sniper Pistol: You could make one, thanks to the plethora of customization options available in the game... but it's not very effective - damage falloff kicks in pretty quickly for most types of secondary weapons (especially the Light Pistol and it's variants), to the point you might as well not use them at all in the first place.
    • Even the Revolver has an optimal range of 40 meters and effective maximum range of 60 meters, but it's a different story if you armed it with a 6x zoom sniper scope, crouched and then took careful aim before shooting someone in the head...
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Sometimes, throwing out an HRV Blackout with the bonus voice pack results in this gem;
    Agent: "Jammer is live...! [BLEEP!]"
  • Sprint Meter: Wearing heavy armor to increase your health decreases the sprint speed and the amount of time you can sprint, while wearing light armor (thus decreasing your health) increases your sprint speed and time. It's a balancing act.
    • Averted with the Parity Patch Update. Anyone can now sprint for as long as they want, and as fast as they want depending on the weight of the armor they are wearing, with the equipped weapon's weight also put into consideration.
  • Starter Equipment: Everyone is given a set of basic armor, the Light Pistol and the basic Assault Rifle equipped with the Titan Rail Sight. They are pretty reliable, mind you. It's not unusual to see BLR newcomers kicking the snot out of multiple level 30+ veterans using these things, and some vets even like to go back to using them time to time just for the fun of it, if they're not already maining it that is.
    • Thanks to recent updates, players old and new were also given the Submachine Gun, Bolt-Action Rifle and Burst-Fire SMG for free as starting equipment, each basic primary weapon deadly in their own right.
    • In Onslaught, some SIVs and Order Agents will drop "Grasshopper" Assault Rifles, Submachine Guns and Shotguns, just in case anyone ran out of ammo or happened to have inferior equipment.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Though it should be noted that the role of your primary receiver mostly depends on how you configured it to do based on which parts you used. You can have a compact Assault Rifle that's good at close quarter combat, or one with a powerful scope better suited for mid- or long-range combat. A Bolt-Action Rifle ideal for high-damage long-range shots, or built for short-range engagements and quickly moving between vantage points. And so on.
    • The Assault Rifle. A Jack-of-All-Trades, it can be customized and tuned to suit almost any role - although there's usually a more specialized weapon out there that can do it's job better.
      • The M4X Rifle. Based on the M4 Carbine. Increased rate of fire, but reduced damage, range and accuracy. Better for up-close combat. A mix between the AR and the Submachine Gun, retaining some of their strengths.
      • The AK470 Rifle. Based on the AK47. Increased damage and accuracy at the cost of increased recoil.
      • The Heavy Assault Rifle. Increased damage and accuracy at the cost of increased recoil, lower rate of fire and reduced ammo capacity. A mix between the AR and the Light Machine Gun, statistically speaking.
      • The Tactical Assault Rifle. Another heavy hitter that fires even slower than the HAR, but has better overall accuracy and recoil, making it more reliable at close range. Somewhat of a hybrid between the M4XR and HAR.
    • The Burstfire Rifle. Bullpup config, three-round bursts. Exceptionally accurate with the recoil only kicking in at the end of each burst. A patch in late 2017 made it's clip size smaller to compensate for it's amazing accuracy.
    • The Bullpup Full Auto. Seems like a Bullpup config again, but is actually more a hybrid of the AR and SMG than a long range gun like the BFR above.
    • The Bolt-Action Rifle. Very small ammo capacity and low rate of fire, but has high damage and generally pinpoint accuracy. Lower damage builds have a higher rate of fire, whilst high damage builds tend to have an even lower rate of fire or reduced accuracy. Or both.
      • The Combat Rifle. Semi-automatic. A 'lite' edition of the BAR; has a much better rate of fire and higher ammo capacity, but does less damage in turn. Somewhere between the BFR and BAR, in theory. The BAR's lighter and faster younger brother.
      • The Anti-Materiel Rifle. Single-shot. Very slow reload speed. Long scope-in time. But will always kill regardless of where you hit a target. The BAR's bigger and badder brother.
      • The Light Recon Rifle. Burstfire. Great damage and accuracy. High recoil, low ammo capacity and limited range. A rifle version of the Burstfire SMG, but beefier. A cousin of the above family, also related to the Burstfire family.
    • The Submachine Gun. Very good at close quarter combat, but less effective at longer ranges; and the Machine Pistol, it's smaller and less damaging secondary receiver cousin.
      • The Tactical SMG. The faster but weaker version of the SMG. Deadly in close quarter combat. Has even More Dakka. Looks vaguely like a P-90 for some reason.
      • The Burstfire SMG. Exactly what it sounds like. Once thought to be weak and ineffective, now proving to be surprisingly deadly in the right hands.
    • The Light Machine Gun. Fast fire rate for suppressing enemies. Has the most Dakka out of any primary weapon in the game, sitting at 80 rounds per clip. But it's recoil is high, reducing the effectiveness of short bursts, although it decreases during prolonged firing.
      • The LMG Recon. Slow rate of fire compared to the standard LMG. Has exceptionally high accuracy when correctly configured. Works best when you have a significant range advantage and are crouching to make use of it's low recoil.
    • The Light Pistol, Heavy Pistol, Burst-Fire Pistol, Breech-Loaded Pistol, Revolver and Snubnosed Revolver. All fairly competent light secondary weapons, when configured properly.
    • The pump-action Shotgun, an 'up close and personal' secondary weapon. Straight out of the Short-Range Shotgun school of thought.
      • The automatic Shotgun AR-k (or SAR-k for short). Basically the Shotgun, but with less recoil, fewer pellets per shot, and a massively increased rate of fire. Oh, and a very silly firing noise.
  • Technicolor Blade: The Combat Knife Mk.II, Throwing Knives Mk.1, Exploding Tomahawk and the KTN8 Katana all have neon outlines implying a high tech nature, explaining their presence amidst the futuristic fighting of the game.
  • Tournament Play: The general community's clan vs clan scrim ruleset ban the use of Hardsuits, elemental ammo and depot weapons. Other weapons may apply depending on their current status within the community.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: It's entirely possible to kill an unsuspecting enemy player who had just called down a Hardsuit to the map, then climb into said newly arrived Hardsuit to use it for yourself. Woo-hoo, free Mini-Mecha of Doom!
    • It's also possible to destroy a Hardsuit by deploying your own to fight it.
    • You can also abandon very badly-damaged Hardsuits and use them as bait to draw in oblivious enemy players before blowing both of them up.
    • Mines can also be used to boobytrap depots and spawn points, often enraging the unfortunate victims.
    • Taunting a killed player is also a quick way to get under their skin.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Not exactly. The FT18 Flamethrower can kill players faster than an Assault Rifle and a Submachine Gun can, due to releasing a steady stream of accurate and recoil-less flames when fired with. It is also very capable of cooking Hardsuit pilots alive through their armor (unless they're using the Hardsuit Battle Mode Tactical Gear) - and in Onslaught, the Flamethrower can bypass shield-wielding enemies and kill regular Order Agents and SIVs fairly quickly. However you can't spread fire to deny areas to the enemy, and your victims don't visually catch on fire, though admittedly they do suffer some damage over time after being burned.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Of the Counter-Strike kind: Simply equip any light secondary weapon or melee weapon utility gear in order to move faster.
    • Most weapons can be tuned to increase your sprinting speed as well, at least by a little. This usually comes at the cost of low accuracy, high recoil and low damage though, so sometimes it's just not worth gimping your weapons' stats if you want to sprint even faster. You'll usually be better off changing your Agent's armor pieces instead.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The whole SIV virus crisis caused by The Order back in Tango Down, the effects of which can be clearly seen in the map Containment and the metro tunnel in Convoy.
    • Onslaught pitches you against ten waves of increasingly difficult foes, with four possible difficulty levels (no longer available thanks to the Parity Patch Update), and assorted GP and EXP rewards for collecting special three tiered tokens during the match.