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Video Game / Bulletstorm

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"This is a game where you can kick an enemy so hard in the face they go into slow motion! I think realism was dropped from a great height a long time ago!"

Bulletstorm is a 2011 multiplatform First-Person Shooter from People Can Fly, the creators of the Cult Classic shooter Painkiller, and Epic Games, also developers of the Gears of War and Unreal series, using Epic's own Unreal Engine 3.

The game's story, written by Rick Remender, comes straight from a pulp sci-fi serial, starring two former black ops soldiers/assassins, Grayson Hunt and Ishi Sato, members of wetworks unit Dead Echo. After they discover that their superior, General Sarrano, has had them killing innocent people through their entire career, Grayson and his team go rogue, Gray swearing revenge for the atrocities Sarrano used Dead Echo to commit. We join Grayson some time later when he and his crew, now Space Pirates on the run from the law, encounter Sarrano's flagship in orbit around the former tropical paradise resort planet Stygia, and Gray's subsequent (alcohol-inspired) kamikaze-attack results in both ships crashing on a planet teeming with mutated psychopathic ferals and all kinds of flora and fauna thirsting for blood. Having been injured in the crash, Ishi's new robotic implants are gnawing away at his mind, and it's up to Grayson to find the fastest way off of Stygia to get Ishi some real medical attention. Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to find Sarrano and hitch a ride on his evac cruiser.

A major feature of gameplay is the 'Skillshots' system, which rewards the player with points for finding gruesome and creative ways to kill enemies. These points can then be spent upgrading your weapons and buying ammunition, fuelling even more extreme ways to dismember or disintegrate the freaks that attack you at every turn. There's an online co-op score-attack mode.

Bulletstorm was rereleased for eighth-generation platforms in 2017 as the Full Clip Edition. One of the primary selling points for it is a DLC pack which allows you to replace Gray entirely with... Duke Nukem. In 2019, the Full Clip Edition was released on the Nintendo Switch eShop under the name "Duke of Switch Edition".

This game features examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: One gun fires rockets with drills on the end. Another fires timed or remote mines attached to a chain. That doesn't even touch on how the sniper rifle can fire directable rounds (or how enemies can react so well to them).
  • Alliterative Name: "Grenade Gag", awarded for wrapping a pair of tethered grenades around a mook's face.
  • After the End: Sorta. The local world has gone through a nasty apocalypse.
  • Alien Blood: Heavy Echo shocktroopers noticeably bleed white fluid when shot.
  • Ambiguously Human: Heavy Echo soldiers. At first glance, they look like ordinary humans in heavy armor, but they have white blood and Trishka claims that she helped "design" them.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: During the battle with the local Damage-Sponge Boss, your Peacemaker has unlimited ammo, and there's numerous crates scattered about for your other weapons. It's also worth noting that you have unlimited slide time in these cases allowing for dodging massive attacks.
  • Apocalypse Wow: The detonation of the DNA bomb at the end of the game.
  • Arc Words: "I don't hold you accountable."
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • Waggleton P. Tallylicker in Act 2.
    Grayson: "He's my favorite robot pal! Ishi was okay, but he isn't 50 feet tall."
    • Also the Hekaton, on no less than two occasions. Waggleton and the Mechatons are a miniaturized, robotic versions of the Hekaton... with guns.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: You can launch enemies into the sky with the Penetrator for a "Mile High Club" skillshot.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The detachable minigun overheats if you hold down the trigger too long. This wouldn't be so bad except that the battery constantly runs down even when you're not firing, severely limiting how much you can actually use it. There's also the fact that unless you can consistently score headshots, the only way to score a decent amount of points with a minigun is to spray and pray for the Full Throttle skillshot.
  • Bad Boss: Operation Anarchy was used by Sarrano to test Final Echo candidates. Sarrano treated his soldiers as disposable, ran the operation like it was a game, and created a system where soldiers who performed well were resupplied while not supplying soldiers who didn't, leaving some to be inadequately prepared against the Death World that was Stygia. It's stated in-game that things were still going relatively well before the Burnouts appeared, but is there any question why the operation failed when it was run with those parameters?
  • Badass Boast: Whenever you score a particularly impressive skillshot, Grayson or his current allies will make a celebratory comment.
    "Many have fallen to Dead Echo!"
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Grayson is the second most heroic character in the story, after Trishka, and he's basically a drunken Blood Knight who gets a kick out of killing people in the most outlandish manner possible. Granted, all the people he murders are terrible, awful humans or completely sociopathic mutants, so hey, he isn't completely terrible.
  • Blatant Lies: Some of the dialogue the newsbots spew forth.
    "There is no reason to panic. Ignore the rumors. There is no gamma radiation. You are perfectly safe!"
  • Bloody Hilarious: The game and Sarrano actively encourage this. Bigger and better skillshots and more Comedic Sociopathy mean better weaponry and more ammo, which means you live longer to get more... while playing it like a traditional shooter will net you less and less.
  • Blown Across the Room: A specialty of the Boneduster shotgun when fired at mid-range. Using it to knock an airborne enemy into an environmental hazard nets you a "Pump Action" skillshot. Close-up, it tends to make a mess.
  • Body Horror: The Creeps are literally rotting alive.
  • Book Ends: The prologue flashback features Grayson diving in front of Ishi to take a bullet for him. During the final battle, Ishi dives in front of Grayson in the exact same manner to take a bullet for him. With Trishka hiding nearby... Remember the little girl in Novak's office during the prologue?
  • Boom, Headshot!: The normal variety gives you a measly 25 points, but doing a Groin Attack then shooting/kicking them in the head causes this, but gives you "Mercy" for 100 points. Also, getting a headshot with certain weapons, like the Flail Gun, gets you more points.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Near the end of the game, Sarrano has Grayson at his mercy, only for his gun to jam. Instead of simply using his leash to hurl Grayson into the exposed rebar nearby, he decides to toy with him by hurling him across the room before flinging a barrel at him, which actually gives Grayson a window to kick the barrel back and turn the tables.
  • Booze-Based Buff: You get an "Intoxicated" skillshot out of your kills while drunk. There's a second version, called ''Toxic Love", which happens whenever you're exposed to green rage-inducing gas (either from plants, or headshotting green-skinned enemies). The gas creates a different intoxication which makes the player dizzy, but also highlights enemies. And you get points for killing people in this mode.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Peacmaker Carbine. It may not have the flashy functions and skillshots of other weapons, but it still has pretty good damage and accuracy. Also, ammo for it is plentiful, since it's used by most enemies.
    • There's all kinds of crazy things you can do to enemies for skillshot bonuses, but the Bullet Kick and Bullet Slide (aka killing an enemy during their Bullet Time period after being kicked or slid into) and Headshot (which is easy to do during the aforementioned skillshots unless the enemy's wearing a helmet) are the easiest and most reliable way to score skillshots, and combining either the kick or slide skillshot with Headshot gets you 75 points per kill. There's also skillshots involving persistent stage hazards that only require you to launch an enemy into them for a One-Hit Kill and are easily spammable (and usually award 100 points per kill,) and Vertigo, which is just killing an enemy via falling damage (which can easily be done by just booting them off one of the many ledges in the game, though it only gets you 50 points per kill.)
  • Boss Room: Subverted for laughs in the second Muta-Burnout encounter. The room is a large circular arrangement dominated by a huge vat of acid, indicated to be a classic boss arena... he promptly bonks himself on the head repeatedly with falling pipes, stumbles while walking in, and accidentally tosses himself into that vat of acid.
  • Bottomless Magazines: In the Full Clip Edition, performing all the skillshots for a weapon unlocks infinite ammo for it in Overkill Mode.
  • Bottomless Pit: The demo alone features this, since you're inside a collapsed skyscraper dangling over the side of a cliff about a mile down. And yes, kicking enemies into it is yet another skillshot: "Vertigo."
  • Brick Joke: In chapter 1 act 2, you spend the final section being pursued by an out-of-control grindwheel. Partway through chapter 6 act 2, you find a suspiciously similar grindwheel jutting from the wall, as if it had crashed into the underground.
  • Bridge Logic: Parodied twice:
    • The first time, Gray and co. need to cross some gaps in a hydroelectric dam facility. Gray bridges the gaps by pulling down parts with his leash...which causes a chain reaction that leads to the dam collapsing.
    • The second time, they need to cross a pit in a ruined city. Gray kicks down a sign to create a makeshift bridge...which causes a chain reaction that leads to a building collapsing.
  • Bullet Time: A weird variation. Kicking or yanking enemies into the air with your tether slows them so you can line up the perfect shot but everything else is still moving in real time.
    • The game's Sniper Rifle also plays with the trope by drastically slowing down for the last few feet of every bullet's path, allowing the player to control its trajectory, while still being an Instant Death Bullet. It looks like this trope, but any allies visible at this point will move at more or less normal speed, and the enemies try to dodge out of the way.
  • Cactus Cushion: Knocking an enemy into a cactus earns you a "Pricked" skillshot.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Grayson and Ishi are forced to work with Sarrano because they can't get off Stygia without him.
  • Character Customization: Skillpoints earned in Anarchy Mode translate to Experience Points. Character Levels unlock different suit, boot and gun colors, endgame taunts and helmets.
  • Chekhov's Gun / Chekhov's Boomerang: Remember when you drop the train on the Hekaton shortly after Last Train From Explosion Town? That is why it has the sore later on.
    • Upon reaching the Ulysses, Grayson and Ishi note that there are unused escape pods. Grayson and Trishka eventually use one as a last-ditch effort to escape the planet before the DNA bomb goes off.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Ishi has the issue of a murderous, psychopathic AI screwing with his head. Trishka is, understandably, not thrilled to be working with a drunken space pirate and said murderous AI who killed the soldiers she was comrades with, and was told were extreme war criminals.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: To say that this game is heavy on vulgar language is like saying that the planet Venus is a little warm. The apparent reason for this was the team that made the game was Polish and English wasn't their native language. When writing the dialogue, they filled it with as much profanity as they could because it didn't sound as crude to their non-native ears. Apparently when it was translated into Polish, they were horrified.
  • The Coconut Effect: Originally, the Exploding Barrels were going to be green. Then the developers realized none of the playtesters were shooting them. So back to the traditional red it went.
  • Coop Multiplayer: "Anarchy" Mode, where up to four players control members of the Final Echo team and battle waves of enemies. Much like the Single Player, the only way to succeed is to get creative with your kills. But doing this alone isn't even enough! You must work with your teammates to get cooperative skillshots, which are worth huge amounts of skill points. If the team gets enough points, they'll progress to the next wave.
  • Crapsack World: The wider Bulletstorm universe is a beautiful place full of super-science and colorful people, yet dominated by a corrupt fascist kleptocracy and presided upon by nebulous amoral corporations. The focal point of the game, Stygia, used to be a luxurious resort planet. Now it's an irradiated dump.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Grayson's stupid idea to get offworld before the DNA Bomb goes off. He admits it's crazy enough that it might not work, though... but given how Troperiffic Bulletstorm is, the fact it's a Million to One Chance is exactly why it succeeds.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • Bulletstorm is entirely about this, forcing you to be creative with your kills each time you see an enemy. Points are required for buying fresh ammo and recharging weapons, and simply shooting enemies to death the standard way will not get you back the cost. Flinging them into the sky and shooting them with a flare to trigger a "Fireworks" skillshot, however, earns you significantly more. Manage a particularly cruel combo and everyone stops shooting for a moment to admire your handiwork. This is also encouraged in multiplayer, where you only progress if your entire team works together to finish off enemies as creatively as possible. The in-story explanation: Anarchy Mode. The competent ones with Leashes get resupplied. The bad ones don't.
    • At the opposite end of the cruelty spectrum, there is a Trophy/Achievement available for completing an Echo round in the manner of a typical First-Person Shooter, without any unnecessary violence. It's surprisingly difficult.
  • Cutscene Boss: For all their mocking of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in Duty Calls, the final battle of Bulletstorm turns out to be a quicktime events fight that plays out remarkably similar to the one from the end of Modern Warfare 2.
  • Dare to Be Badass: Trishka gives Grayson a short but sweet one when Grayson laments the fact that he lost Ishi and Sarrano gets away at the end of the game.
    Trishka: So what are you gonna do about it?
  • Deconstruction:
    • It's possible to read this game as a struggle between modern "realistic" military shooters and older shooters where realism wasn't a factor. The main villains (representing the military shooter) are completely serious, faceless military men who are in a sterile monochromatic environment, all use the same gun, and their leader is an over-exaggerated Psychopathic Manchild stereotype of immature 12-year-old Call of Duty players. They even get points from killing in certain ways that they can use to buy things. You, on the other hand, play as a character who is clearly enjoying himself creating the most Cruel and Unusual Death possible, in a colorful, zany and chaotic environment against hordes of bizarre monsters... which easily represents unrealistic over-the-top shooters such as Borderlands or Doom.
    • Throughout the game Grayson makes impulsive, foolhardy decisions to take on hugely stronger enemies and tries violence as the first solution to pretty much everything. This results in most of his friends dying, other innocents being killed, and several times he ends up causing further problems for himself with his reckless destructive behaviour. It's as if the writing is pointing out how very, very bad idea it would be to actually behave like your average player character in a shooter.
      • When Duke Nukem of all people thinks you're behavior is stupid and reckless and you mistreat your friends...
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: There's a skillshot called "Sucker" for killing an enemy by knocking them into a fan.
  • Death World: Stygia used to be a beautiful resort town but a combination of horrible toxic waste, radioactive electrical storms, dangerous local wildlife and some twenty eight thousand escaped convicts turned it into the hellhole it now is. It's a beautiful hellhole though: those skylines are still amazing.
  • Deus ex Machina: Invoked by Gray, right down to saying the trope name, when Trishka comes to rescue them from Sarrano's burning flagship despite having apparently been thrown to her death by Sarrano earlier.
  • Developer's Foresight: There are skillshots for practically every single way to kill a mook, short of simply shooting them. Kicking them into a paste against the wall? "Graffiti". Knocking a hot dog stand into their face? "Fast Food". Blow the stand up instead? "Sausage Fest". Shooting them in the butt? "Rear Entry". Wrapping a mook with the Flail Gun and pulling another towards him before he explodes? "Smart Mine". Wrapping a mook with the Flail Gun and kicking him towards another enemy? "Homie Missile". Shoot an enemy in the throat and make him vomit blood? "Gag Reflex". Kill an enemy piloting a Gyrocopter without destroying said 'copter? "Skyjack". The list goes on and on.
    • Managing to leash and subsequently kill a invokedFlare Gunner mook or Creep (which can be done by binding them with a Flail Gun shot, knocking them off their feet with an explosion, shooting them in the legs, setting them on fire, kicking a Nom parasite into their faces, or stunning them with a shot to the groin) nets you the "Gotcha" skillshot. Epic Games is clearly aware of how frustrating the agile enemies are.
    Grayson: (after failing to leash an agile enemy) It ain't happenin!
    • Earning a big enough skillshot combo will cause your current companion to remark how impressive it is.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The standard assault rifle isn't so hot as a weapon on its own but its charged shot is guaranteed to vaporize enemies, leaving behind a glowing skeleton. The skillshot for shooting someone in the head this way is "Overkill," while shooting someone as soon as you see them considers them "Boned." The best way to rack up points fast, however, is shooting through a group of enemies all at once with one shot for "X-Ray" which greatly multiplies how many points you get in one go.
    • The charged shot for the Boneduster shotgun works the same way. Killing multiple enemies with one shot nets you "Burn" (if the enemies are on the ground) or "Acid Rain" (if the enemies are airborne).
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Part of the story involves Grayson having to deal with a monster the size of a skyscraper, that he managed to singlehandedly piss off.
  • Door to Before: Parodied. One of the few times you encounter this, it leads you right back to the room you were trying to escape from. Only now it's on fire.
  • Double-Edged Buff: Getting kills while drunk gives you a score bonus. But being drunk will cause your character's aim to go awry, and his vision to blur.
  • Double Entendre: One of the loading screen tips: "Reload often. No one likes getting down to business half-cocked."
    • 80-90% of the skillshot names include double entendres.
  • Elite Mooks: In the last level you fight Heavy Echo shock-troopers, General Sarrano's personal soldiers. These Gas Mask Mooks wear heavy armor and can survive almost twice as many bullets compared to the standard enemy types previously faced (they're still vulnerable to heavy weapons and skill kills, though). They also can fire a powerful charged shot that takes you from full health to almost dead with one hit.
    • Final Echo special forces would also count, only you never fight them in the game. Other than Triska, only one Final Echo operative appears in the game, near the beginning, and he gets killed in a cutscene shortly after you find him.
  • Enemy Civil War: There are at least three factions of enemies on Stygia: The mostly-human Skulls, the orange-skinned, agile Creeps, and late in the game Burnouts. They're all trying to kill each other (and you!) for food, since none of them are inclined towards agriculture.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Pretty much the entire point of the game, but without the amnesia element usually involved in the trope, as Grayson's entire initial goal is to get Ishi and himself off the planet.
  • Exploding Barrels: And exploding hot dog stands and exploding barbecues. The developers tried varying them by making the barrels green, but realized that playtesters simply weren't shooting them at all because "red=explosive" in gamers' minds, and in the frantic firefights you need to be able to quickly identify something like that.
  • Expy: The Burnouts are expys of the Mindless Ones from Nextwave. They don't shoot lasers from their faces, but they're big, nearly featureless, covered in black hard stuff, and they bleed orange goop. Oh yeah, and they explode and die instantly whenever you light them on fire. Your life has new meaning now.
    • The Creeps are very similar to the Ghouls from Fallout, being humans mutated by exposure to radiation who look like decaying corpses.
    • Echo armor looks like toned-down Gear armor.
  • Faceless Goons: Skulls and Creeps occasionally have masks, but this is played completely straight by Heavy Echo in the campaign and Final Echo in Anarchy Mode. One of the selectable helmets skirts the edge a bit by being a gas mask that leaves the trooper's eyes and bald head exposed.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Grayson, Ishi, and Trishka start off with enough flaming vitrol between them to lift a blimp, but as the game progresses and they save each others' lives repeatedly, the boiling hatred starts to simmer down enough that the foul-mouthed insults are actually partially playful and friendly.
    • In the final scene Trishka explicitly says that she is genuinely sorry for deceased Ishi (who tried to killed her at least twice) and that Grayson is her true friend.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Mostly played straight. You can't hurt your teammates, but you can disable them temporarily with Nom parasites and grenade Flails. Naturally the enemies are not immune to friendly fire. In fact, the skillshots encourage the player to take advantage of it.
  • Funny Background Event: Half of the point of the "Bulletpoints" video, the video being rather unconnected to the narration.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There's a (thankfully rare) bug that will rob the player of their ammo, weapon upgrades, and/or other purchases between levels. Very annoying, especially since skill shots give diminishing returns per execution, meaning that recuperating the losses can easily become a chore at best, and impossible at worst.
  • Gatling Good: You can pick up mounted miniguns and carry them around for a while. Their internal power supply fails after about a minute, though, plus they overheat if you shoot them continuously, and last but not least, you don't get a lot of points for killing many guys with it as compared to varying your technique. That said, it is still pretty cool.
  • Giant Mook: The Minibosses / Brutes. They're armed with huge cannons and heavy armor, and can only be killed with special moves.
  • Gorn: Since the aim of the game is to make extreme violence as light-hearted and stylish as possible, this is par for the course. You can blow off enemy heads, incinerate the skin off their bones, kick them into electric generators, and impale them on various elements around the world. Deliver a boot to your target's face and watch as he flies off limply; aiming down the irons lets you slow the action down and pick your shots on their helpless body to maximize your brutality.
  • Great Offscreen War: Not really a war, but about a year before Grayson and co. crashland on Stygia, there was an effort to eradicate the Skuls and Creeps from the planet, which Sarrano used to test Final Echo candidates. It was called Operation Anarchy, which Trishka was a part of, and which you get to play in Anarchy mode. The offensive was ultimately a complete failure, and very few of the Final Echo candidates made it off the planet alive.
  • Grenade Launcher: The Bouncer, a gun that shoots an exploding cannonball a short distance, and can explode multiple times with the alternate fire.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: "Homie Missile" requires launching an enemy bound in Flails into other mooks.
  • Groin Attack: Shooting an enemy between the legs causes them to writhe on the ground, screaming. Killing them nets you the skillshot "Mercy". Guiding a Head Hunter bullet into the enemy's crotch will net you the "Nutcracker" skillshot.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The Flail Gun is a grenade launcher that fires two grenades bound by a chain. Although normally they simply wrap around whoever they hit, its secondary fire heats the chain to the point where they slice through whoever they hit, getting you the "Chain Reaction" skillshot. There's also Meat Slicer, what happens when you fire the Flail Gun and one end catches on something solid, and the other end swings into an enemy, cutting him in half. This is a great way of dealing with gatling gun enemies, as it will wrap around the gun, and chop the person running it in half. And even if it doesn't, you can detonate the bob and kill the enemy that way.
    • Alternatively, you could just use the shotgun at point blank. There's two skillshots to be earned this way, and which one you get is dependent on which half is left intact. "Legless" for if the torso stays, "Topless" if the legs do.
  • Heel Realization: The Dead Echo members have this in the prologue when they log onto the computer of their last assassination target and learn that the "dangerous criminals" they've been killing are actually innocent people who had the misfortune of pissing off Sarrano.
  • Helicopter Blender: The helicopter has crashed and is therefore stationary in this case, with the blades preventing you from progressing. Punting an enemy into it earns you the Sucker skillshot, and Minced Meat for the miniboss; see Ring-Out Boss further down.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Popping an enemy's head or shooting them in the throat results in a geyser of blood.
  • Hope Spot: Gray and Ishi are trapped in a room with a bomb. They manage to find a secret passage... which leads right back into the same room. Then Trishka rescues them.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The Bouncer weapon fires a large explosive cannonball which you can bounce around knocking enemies over before detonating it. You can turn this up to eleven with its charge shot, which causes the ball to release an explosion every time it bounces. You can kick it around to direct the blasts!
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The names of the chapters are all dialogue excerpts from the chapters themselves, leading to names such as "I See We're All a Bit Upset...." and "That Thing Is Leaving Without Us"
  • I'm a Humanitarian: There are no farms on Stygia, but lots of humans (or once-humans). Thus, most of the terrible gangs survive by eating each other.
    Newsbot: The food supply is gone. Dr. Phylis (message glitches) suggests cannibalism. With odds of survival this low, who can blame you? Tastes just like (message glitches)
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The last weapon to be unlocked is the mighty drill-launching Penetrator, which can impale most enemies on walls, the ceiling, or each other.
    • The "Voodoo Doll" and "Pricked" skillshots require you to kick an enemy into exposed rebar/barbed wire and a giant cactus, respectively.
  • Immune to Bullets: Several mooks, so long as they're wearing helmets. Grayson's boot apparently does more damage than a bullet since the easiest way to kill them is to hit them with a slide kick first, then shoot them.
    • Burnouts play this even more straight, as they can't be killed simply by shooting them (unless you use the Boneduster); you either have to shoot them in their glowing weak spots, or kill them with explosives or environmental hazards.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon: Most of them!
  • Improbable Age: Trishka is, officially, 18. Yet she already holds the rank of Commodore/Squadron Commander and is the leader of what is supposed to be the galaxy's most elite spec ops unit. Then again, her entire character is based on Bellisario's Maxim, so it's not particularly egregious.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: The "Gag Reflex" skillshot consists of shooting the enemy in the throat.
  • Intoxication Mechanic: Drinking bottles of booze causes the screen to become blurry. Killing enemies in this state will give your shots the "Intoxicated" buff, which earns more bonus points.
  • Kaiju: The Hekaton, which can basically be described as a cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a gorilla. There's also the Mechaton, a slightly smaller robotic clone of the Hekaton that you get to control for part of one level.
  • Kicked Across The Room: Aside from Grayson, the Anarchy Mode's Final Echo goons are also graduates of the Duke Nukem school of putting your foot through things. Not only does it send enemies flying, it sends them into slow motion and does a fair bit of damage besides. More importantly, it's key to setting up many skillshots.
  • Kick the Dog: Sarrano, at every opportunity. And he's willing to make more opportunities.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Screamer's Charge Attack is ostensibly a signal flare which not only launches the mooks it hits back ten feet then explode violently, but also causes everyone else in its detonation proximity to burst into flames. This affects practically anyone in the game (Even mini-bosses!) and makes them vulnerable as kittens AND sets the player up for the Afterburner skillshot on all its secondary victims.
    • By far the best solution for Burnouts. It's also the most fun.
    • Getting hit with this by the mooks who originally wield it blinds you, and if you can kill something while blinded, you get the skillshot "Blind fire" for 100 points.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Creeps will always dodge a kick or leash attack, even if they have their back to you, unless they're bound by a Flailgun or knocked off their feet by an explosion or gunfire. Skull flaregunners are vulnerable to kicks but can still dodge the leash unless you kick or otherwise stun them first. If you manage to stun and leash either of them, you get a "Gotcha" skillshot for killing them.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Multiple times in the Duke Nukem DLC. For example:
    Trishka: Bullshit! H-how would you know that?
    Duke: Long story. There was a flashback and-*Trishka puts a knife to Dukes' throat*
  • Levels Take Flight: The final level takes place on an evac dropship escaping Stygia.
  • Limited Loadout: Normally, you can only carry the Peacemaker Carbine and two other weapons. Averted in Overkill Mode, which lets you carry every weapon in the game at once.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: It'd be easier to list the kills that don't result in this.
  • Made of Plasticine: Any enemy. Unless you simply shoot them to death with the Peacemaker, they'll come apart like a soggy paper bag hit by a thrown brick the moment they die.
  • Mama Bear: Mess with the Hekaton's eggs and she'll hunt you down.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Lashing a guy into the range of a giant Venus flytrap is yet another skillshot. There's also a giant version that serves as a boss.
  • Man on Fire: Enemies caught in the explosion of a Screamer flare or the outer edge of a barrel explosion will be set on fire. You get the "Afterburner" skillshot for killing them while they're burning.
  • Meaningful Name: The Hekaton, almost certainly named after the Hekatonkheires, giants from ancient Greek mythology that were said to have strength and fury surpassing that of the Titans. The Hekaton might not have a hundred hands and fifty heads, but it's certainly strong, and it's very, very angry.
    • Stygia is derived from Styx, the river of the dead in the Greek underworld. Doubles as Non-Indicative Name; although it sums up the planet's current state perfectly, it's not what you'd expect a paradise to be named.
  • Medium Awareness: In the Duke Nukem DLC for the Full Clip Edition, it's clear that Duke is perfectly aware that he's been abruptly inserted into someone else's video game and isn't supposed to be there. True to form, he just rolls with it.
  • Mexican Standoff: After arriving at the hotel, Trishka and Grayson have their guns trained on an unarmed Sarrano. It's a standoff because Ishi has sided with the general, as he's still hell-bent on getting off world and needs the general alive.
  • More Dakka: The Peace Maker Carbine's charged shot is explained, in universe, as the gun simultaneously firing 100 bullets at the same time, allowing more dakka in a split-second than most games would allow in one minute.
  • Mundane Utility: One of your moves sends you sliding along the ground. You can use it to evade enemy fire, get up close and personal quickly, send enemies flying... or move through crawlspaces quickly. But damned if that isn't the coolest way to move through crawlspaces.
  • My Greatest Failure: Grayson's primary motivation for seeking revenge on Sarrano is guilt over the multiple innocents he killed due to Sarrano's lies.
  • Neutron Bomb: The DNA bomb, which Sarrano was transporting to Stygia when he was attacked by Grayson's ship, effectively serves as this, being designed to wipe out all life on a given planet while leaving man-made structures intact. It creates a Race Against the Clock scenario halfway through the game, as Grayson, Ishi, and Sarrano must keep it from detonating before their evac comes. However, that turns out to a ruse by Sarrano to trick Grayson and Ishi into arming it.
  • New Game Plus: Beating the campaign once in the Full Clip Edition unlocks Overkill Mode, which starts you off with every weapon in the game.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Virtually everything that happens in this game is a direct result of Grayson's actions coming back to bite him in the ass, starting with assaulting the Ulysses, suicide-attacking it, disturbing the Hekaton's nest, and last but not least, activating the DNA bomb for Sarrano.
  • No More for Me: Instead of drinking booze, you can shoot the bottles, granting you more (immediate) points and not screwing up your vision with blurry drunkenness; however, if you do choose to drink the booze, killing enemies while under its effect grants you the "Intoxicated" Skillshot.
  • Notice This: The game actually bribes you to pay attention to crucial events by awarding extra skillpoints by holding the aim button to focus on them.
  • Off with His Head!: Headshotting an enemy with a charged shot from the Flail Gun will remove their heads. Doing it to multiple enemies with one shot earns you a "French Revolution". You can also yank the head off of a stunned miniboss with your leash, which grants you points for "Whiplash".
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Maybe not Latin, but certainly some high choral parts to accompany Awesome Music, such as Grayson and Trishka dashing to an elevator past the rampaging Hekaton.
  • One-Hit Kill: If you manage to score a headshot with the Screamer without hitting them anywhere else, you get awarded the "One Hit Wonder" skillshot. And if you do it with a charged shot, it's called Enlightenment. The charge shots on all your weapons function this way.
  • One-Hit Polykill: You've got:
    • "X-Ray" (killing multiple enemies with a single charged shot from the assault rifle)
    • "Chain Reaction" and "French Revolution (killing multiple enemies with a single charged shot from the Flailgun with bodyshots and headshots respectively)
    • "Slugfest" (killing multiple enemies with a standard shot from the Boneduster)
    • "Burn" and "Acid Rain" (killing multiple enemies with a single charged shot from the Boneduster-grounded and airborne enemies respectively)
    • "Meat Fountain" and "Sledgehammer" (killing multiple enemies with a single shot from the Bouncer-standard shot and charged shot respectively)
    • "Shishkebab" and "Wingmen" (impaling multiple enemies on a single Penetrator drill-grounded and airborne enemies respectively)
  • Overheating: Miniguns can easily overheat if you go full auto for a sustained period of time - which is odd, as the entire point of six barrels is to avoid overheating. Evidently, on Stygia, more barrels only means More Dakka. Of course, enemies with miniguns can fire as long as they want.
  • Quick Melee: Pressing the melee button (B for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, Circle for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStatation 5, A for the Switch, and E for PC) will trigger a kick attack that sends any enemy it hits flying backward in slow-motion.
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: The Monster Terror Dome is permeated with "dosoldian" euphoria, whatever that means.
  • Personal Space Invader: Once you're comfortable with the game's Skill Shot system, it starts throwing these at you to keep you from sitting back and picking off enemies with a long ranged weapon, and they come in three flavors: Knife-wielding, bomb-wielding, and superpowered mutant. The knife-wielders are never much more than an irritation. The bomb-wielders can strap a bomb around you which means you can't shoot for several seconds and will kill you on higher difficulty settings or if you're already injured. And the Burnouts are a regenerating pain in the ass that need to be killed with dismembering or otherwise immobilizing Skillshots.
  • Pocket Rocket Launcher:
    • The pistol has a rocket launcher secondary fire mode. For some reason, it's on a timed fuse, and has enough thrust to carry an enemy up into the air. Enemy mooks (Flaregunners) use this mode exclusively.
    • The Penetrator is a bizarre rifle-sized weapon that fires rocket-propelled drill bits, which can screw enemies into walls, floors, ceilings, and each other.
  • Precision F-Strike: Shockingly enough, in a game this liberal with the cursing, Ishi still manages to deliver one when he talks about what they'll do to Sarrano once they get off the planet. This is because he swears maybe two times before it, neither of which were delivered with as much emphasis.
    Ishi: We'll scalp that motherfucker.
  • Press X to Not Die: The game is riddled with quick-time events, but they are far more forgiving of mistakes. It's based more on reward than punishment, mostly giving you extra skillpoints for faster reactions, and slowing the game down further and further the longer you take to push the correct button. A more conventional version appears with the Venus Flytraps. Don't mash Y quick enough? You die.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: General Sarrano is a mix of Type C and Type F. He's basically every stereotype of Call of Duty players rolled into a single character.
  • Ramming Always Works: In the introductory segment, Hunt drunkenly rams his pirate ship into Sarrano's comparatively huge battle cruiser. The only reason the cruiser went down (and Hunt didn't get obliterated) was that he managed to go straight through the command center.
  • Reduced to Dust: This happens to every living thing on Stygia when the DNA bomb detonates.
  • Redundant Rescue: When Gray and Ishi rush in to rescue Trishka, they witness her beating the Creeps to death with her bare hands.
  • Removable Turret Gun: Almost literally, as you can't use a turret without dismounting it.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Attacking Sarrano's flagship with their small junkheap was a spectacularly bad idea, but Gray just hates Sarrano's guts that much. And he was drunk.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The Screamer, which also works as a Flare Gun with its secondary fire. An explosive flare gun.
  • Ring-Out Boss: One battle has you stunning a large enemy so you can kick him in the face and send him back. One of the few ways to kill him is to finally knock him into the helicopter blades at the other end of the walkway. Another one includes Shotgun blasts. Not as much as a kick, but they can stun him too. It's possible to kick it into the blades before your allies have finished their exposition.
  • Rule of Cool: Not only employed (liberally) but is an actual gameplay element: the more complex, outlandish, and extreme your kills are, the larger the point bonus awarded.
  • Scenery Gorn: Stygia used to be a tourist attraction until something went wrong and it was abandoned. Unlike most post-apocalyptic video game settings, it averts Real Is Brown by having a rich palette of colors, making it both an example of this trope and straight Scenery Porn. Some of the skillshots have the player exploit this trope by knocking enemies into exposed rebars or wires.
  • Scoring Points: The backbone of the Skillshot system. The better the gore, the bigger the score.
  • Secondary Fire: All the guns have one, with the carbine's doubling as a Charged Attack that can singe flesh from bone.
  • Sequel Hook: Trishka says this to Grayson as he remarks on how he let Sarrano get away. Also: "God is dead" after the credits.
    Trishka: So what are you gonna do about it?
  • Serial Escalation: Just how insane a skillshot & kill combo can you get? You thought that last one was pretty good? Bet you can score more if you try.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Shooting a puffball will release a cloud of spores that causes any enemies caught in it to turn on their comrades.
  • Shaped Like Itself: If you stop and listen to some of the Elysium Newsbots before smashing them, you occasionally get little gems like this:
    Welcome to Elysium! You are about to relax like a thing that relaxes really well!
  • Shock and Awe: The Shocker and Kill-O-Watt skillshots, for killing an enemy by throwing them into electrified scenery objects.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: While the Boneduster can send enemies flying at medium range, you have to practically poke them with the barrel(s) to get a killing shot. The charged attack averts this, being able to kill enemies at a much further range.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Boneduster is a quadruple-barreled shotgun. Its charge shot is a blast of super-heated air that can melt flesh.
  • Shot in the Ass:
    • Shooting a mook in the butt is the "Rear Entry" skillshot.
    • Doing it on a miniboss is called "Fire In The Hole" complete with burning farts.
    • If you encounter a burnout with a weakpoint on its backside and shoot it, you cause an "Assplosion".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sir Swears Alot: EVERYONE.
    Trishka: You shit piles give chase, I will kill your dicks!
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Shotgunners wear skulls over their faces. These masks must be knocked off either with bullets or a kick attack to score a headshot, though you can bypass this with the Penetrator.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: You can bring down gyrocopters by sniping the pilot, which grants you a "Skyjack" skillshot.
  • Spikes of Doom: Yanking or kicking a bad guy into rebar or similarly sharp, pointy objects nets you the "Voodoo Doll" skillshot. Hurling them into a cactus, meanwhile, gets you "Pricked".
  • Sticky Bomb: The Flail Gun. It shoots out two explosives attached by a chain that sticks to virtually anything that can be detonated remotely, allowing it to function as either a traditional mine gun or as a means to restrain enemies for use as living bombs.
  • Straw Nihilist: Parodied by the last line of The Stinger spoken by Ishi.
  • Stuck Items: You can't ever un-equip the assault rifle, which means you only really have a choice of two other weapons besides it.
  • Stripped to the Bone: The Charge Shots of the Peacemaker and Boneduster inflict this on enemies. The Boneduster's even goes through walls.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The Game.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: It's painfully obvious that Sarrano is setting up a trap for the player when he takes you to the bomb. The activation code is literally "URADUMBTIT". Unfortunately, you have to believe it for the game to continue.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Most enemies, especially those at the tail end of a skirmish.
    • The Skulls are sometimes smart enough to run away. Whether or not they do so is another matter entirely.
  • Take That!: Duty Calls, a free downloadable game made by the developers to parody "realistic" shooters.
    • Compared to the above, Halo got off easy with this.
    • In the very beginning, you have to get through a jammed door. Because of the way it's jammed, the signal lights on it form a Red Ring of Death.
  • Technically Living Zombie: The Creeps, which are living humans mutated by radiation exposure, look like walking corpses.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Grayson and Sarrano feel this way when forced to team up by Ishi. Ishi isn't happy to working with either of them either.
  • Tennis Boss: You can kick the Bouncer miniboss's cannonballs back at them.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: To say that this game revels in its over-the-top masculinity is an understatement.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: To say the least.
    • The Carbine's charged attack is a one-hit kill on its own, but you can get a headshot with it to net "Overkill".
  • Title Drop: Minigun Minibosses often exclaim "Bullet storm!" before opening up. Also, in every mission one of the characters will quote the title of the chapter, such as "Last Train out of Explosion Town" and "Worst Family Fun Vacation Ever".
  • The Stinger: Doubles with Sequel Hook above.
  • This Is a Drill: The final weapon you get in the game is a weapon that shoots drill missiles. It's an instant kill for any enemy other than minibosses or regular bosses, and if it pins a mook to the wall, you can watch as the enemy spins on the wall from the drill stuck in him, tearing off limbs as it goes, until it's just a torso. The charged attack allows you to remotely guide impaled mooks into other mooks. You can even use a charged drill as a melee weapon by sliding into enemies for a "Drilldo" skillshot.
  • Updated Re Release: Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition is an updated version of the game primarily intended for the 8th generation of video game consoles. Features include improved graphics (though not too dramatic since the difference is only about half a console generation), an unlocked frame rate on the PC (the original game was locked to 62 frames without modding), and most notably the ability to replace Grayson with Duke Nukem as the protagonist.
  • Variable Mix: Fades between highs and lows as the situation demands, with stingers for certain Press X To Get More SP events.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Not only is it entirely possible to wrap a pair of chain-bound grenades around an enemy's head and detonate them, sending other bad guys flying into space, you get rewarded for it.
  • Video Game Demake: DoomStorm, a Doom modification that takes the weapons (complete with charge functions!), leash and kick from this game, and applies them to any "vanilla" Doom WAD. Considering that we're talking about a game that was almost twenty years old now at the time of the mod's release, that's no mean feat.
  • Video Game Sliding: Bulletstorm has a dedicated slide maneuver that's much faster than crawling and great at evading enemy fire. With a little practice, it can help players get from one safe zone to the next with little danger, but it comes at the expense of being unable to use your weapon (except if you're wielding a shotgun, in which case you get a "Torpedo" skillshot).
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The rest of Gray's crew besides Ishi in the prologue and first chapter. Parodied with Waggleton P. Tallylicker's death, complete with requisite "fallen soldier" music.
  • Welcome to Corneria: Mostly averted, though there's a fight with three or four minibosses toward the end of the game where Trishka will repeatedly mention what a bullet sponge the minibosses are.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ishi repeatedly drills into Gray's head how monumentally stupid he was to attack Sarrano's flagship and how it cost the lives of their comrades.
  • Who Would Be Stupid Enough?:
    Trishka: What the hell did you do to piss this thing off? Kill its babies?
    Grayson: What? No! Well... maybe...
  • Why Are We Whispering?: Ends with you accidentally blowing up a building, natch.
  • World of Badass: Both metaphorically and literally.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The result of the DNA bomb.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!: Spoken verbatim in the chapter "Worst Family Fun Vacation Ever".
  • You Bastard!: Mocked with Sarrano, who constantly attempts guilt tripping Grayson and Ishi for killing soldiers with families and victims of an apocalypse who used to be mothers and children. Sarrano likes tossing them in with childish insults and psychopathic threats, so they don't hold much water.
  • Your Head Asplode: The result of many head shots, but this game's sniper rifle comes with a charged attack that allows you to detonate the bullet after it hits, making this trope a tad more literal than usual. You can even make heads explode by kicking enemies in the face after shooting them in the crotch.


Video Example(s):


Dick Killing Parties

Grayson and Trishka find themselves at an impasse.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / NoYou

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