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Video Game / Broken Helix

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The name's Jake. Welcome to my world.

Broken Helix is a 1997 PlayStation third person shooter game by Konami's short-lived Chicago studio.

The year is 2026. Fitz, a renegade scientist, has taken over Area 51 and threatens to blow it up unless his demands, 2 million dollars, a private jet, and a televised interview are met.

The government responds by sending a U.S. marine platoon to infiltrate the facility. Escorting them is another marine, demolitions expert Pvt. Jake Burton (the Player Character, voiced by Bruce Campbell), who is ordered by an unknown man via telephone to defuse the bombs located in the facility.

And the game begins from there.

The game's main claim to fame is that all of it happens in real time (something referred to as "4D" in promotional material); enemies and NPCs in the game world are always "active" and the clock for time-based events ticks down even when it's not obvious to the player.

This game provides examples of:

  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Burton at one point in the game.
    "Oh c'mon, you call this a game design?!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the start of the game, Burton has a photo of his father. Burton can only be granted access to Reese's lab if he shows him (Reese) the photo.
    • The diamond given to you by one of the hybrids, which is later used to turn you into a hybrid.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Jenkins in the first and second plot lines. He's one of the scientists Burton sees after entering Level 8.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Fitz's scientists where green jackets, while neutral scientists wear white and Reese's scientists wear blue.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Occurs if Reese dies and the queen is still alive, at least in the first plot line. The aliens escape from Earth and she (the queen) orders its destruction.
  • Escort Mission: Present in all of the plot lines.
  • Expy: The sergeant is clearly a Gunnery Sergeant Hartman-wannabe. The marines (except Burton, Black Dawn, and Jenkins) are spoofs/imitations of the colonial marines from Aliens.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The hybrids are essentially zombies. Except, they don't infect each other with a virus, and they can talk like a normal human, albeit with a distorted voice.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played with. The government is more than willing to kill the aliens just for the sake of maintaining national security. Reese's scientists on the other hand attempts to protect the aliens to give them a new life and to develop a cure for the mutants. The government however, is right; if Burton fails to protect Reese (if he chooses to help him), the aliens will flee from Earth with their queen. Then she orders the nearby alien ships to destroy it.
  • Large Ham: Fitz and Burton. Even more so when they're angry. And obviously, the sergeant.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Averted; while killing an enemy with ANY weapon (and that includes stomping) will cause him/her/it to explode to pieces, they leave no blood pools.
  • Mle Trois: The game features three-way fights between marines, renegade scientists (Fitz's or Reese's), and aliens. Burton can join either of them.
  • The Mole: Jenkins, who is a marine double agent.
  • More Dakka: Of the rapid-firing plasma variety.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • If Burton defuses the bombs, Black Dawn and his platoon will be given orders to eliminate him. From there, he can either:
    • Plot Line 1: find the files for Project Broken Helix, give them to Fitz, and meet up with Reese. Then he must blow up the facility, kill both the marines and the alien queen, and finally evacuate the facility as the alien mothership departs. Burton and his wife retire to a tropical island while Reese disappeared, never to be seen again.
    • Plot Line 2: help the aliens (becoming a hybrid in the process), rescue an alien warrior, and escape with them to their homeworld.
    • Plot Line 3: escort a reporter to interview Fitz, then protect Fitz and evacuate the facility, only to be killed by a nearby fighter plane.
    • Plot Line 4: However, if Burton chooses to lead the marines and NOT defuse the bombs, he and Tonka capture Fitz, meet Jenkins, and kill both Reese and the aliens. Burton ends up back-stabbed and blown up in a helicopter.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: See Everything's Deader with Zombies.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": Played straight. The password for the Broken Helix file computer is "Contact". See also Highly Visible Password.
  • Plasma Cannon: All of the game's weapons, sans grenades, flamethrowers, and stun beams.
  • Plot Armor: Averted, and somehow played straight with Black Dawn; the game justified/handwaved this when Burton is told that he (Black Dawn)'s wearing an experimental armor that protects him from all forms of attacks, except the alien weapon.
  • Schmuck Bait: Be careful using those two elevators that are wired with explosives. Fortunately, in the first three plot lines, Fitz disables the charges, allowing you to proceed further.
  • Semper Fi: Subverted. The marines are the villains. Still, they're very powerful and hard to beat.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Suicide Attack: Some of Fitz's scientists, accompanied by yelling and cussing.
    "Oh, this is gonna get messy!"
  • Timed Mission: Once the game starts, Burton has 20 minutes to find and defuse the bombs. Other instances include escaping the facility with Jenkins as it begins to self-destruct.
  • Title Drop: The title refers to Project Broken Helix, a biological experiment to create alien/human hybrid Super Soldiers.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The game came out in 1997 and is set in 2026.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Can occur if one of the female marines were killed.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Attacking one of Fitz/Reese's scientists in their command centers will result with him and other scientists nearby retaliating. The same goes to the marines and the aliens.

There was a better way...