Chromehounds is a squad-based Massively multiplayer Mecha Game for the Xbox 360, developed by FromSoftware. The game is set in an Alternate History version of 2006, on the south shore of the Black Sea- as 3 countries battle it out for control of a region known as Neromius. Of course, how the war turns out is up to the players, and thus, the story of the war is reset every so often, so that new players can join in.
The game's single player, is more of a tutorial on the role-types, which do come into play in the multiplayer, is about how the "Neromius War" got started. That said, the single-player part of the game is severely lacking in comparison to the excellent multiplayer mode.
Regarding the minimal story the game has: The cold war combined with solar flares caused America to become extremely isolationist, and several wars broke out as a result, leading to the independence of 3 nations within Neromius: Tarakia, which does have America's backing, Morskoj, a nation that broke away from the USSR, and a stereotypical middle-eastern nation- Sal Kar (backed by South-east Asia). (Oh, there's some other groups, too: Rafzekael, a sort of "Mercenaries R Us" business the player works for, and a mysterious organization on level of the Knights Templar, called Cerberus. But they don't matter that much, outside of the fact that they're responsible for starting the Neromius war.) Also- these wars lead to the development of a new type of tank: the Advanced Combat Vehicle or ACV, which could interchange weaponry parts based on a standard hexagonal frame. This in turn lead to the development of the titular weapon, the Hound, an advanced ACV that could interchange all of its parts. With this, mercenaries took to the field in the Hounds, and soon began a series of events that lead to war...
This game gives examples of:
- Alternate History: The game is set in an alternate 2006 where Humongous Mecha are commonly deployed in warzones. A litany of differences abound between then and 1945, when international arms manufacturer Rafzekael is founded following the end of World War II:
- The United States designed a bipedal tank to be used in the Vietnam War, but its research lab was raided and the blueprints fell into Rafzekael's hands. A decade later in 1980, Rafzekael debuts the Advanced Combat Vehicle.
- In 1981, Earth is struck by a series of devastatingly intense solar flares, crippling electrical infrastructure, inflicting new health problems on humans, and provoking chaos everywhere. Rafzekael sells ACVs to every major power, and they are quickly developed into more powerful HOUND mechs.
- During the conflicts of the 1980s, America withdraws most of its military forces abroad to maintain order at home and becomes quasi-isolationist. Then the Soviet Union collapses under Mikhail Gorbachev in the early 1990s, only for hardline Russian communists to launch a successful coup and split Russia in two: the western half becomes the communist Great Soviet Socialist Republic, while the eastern half becomes the democratic Republic of Russia. There are also major geopolitical shifts in Asia and the Middle East.
- By 1992, three new countries have formed in the Neroimus region adjacent to the Black Sea: the Democratic Republic of Tarakia (a multi-ethnic democracy that is economically backed by America), the Republic of Morskoj (a former Soviet state plagued by communist insurgents who are supported by the GSSR, which wants to re-annex the country), and the Kingdom of Sal Kar (a monarchy built by an ethnic minority in what was the northwestern corner of Iran which is rich in mineral resources).
- Amidst all of this upheaval, countless people become refugees. Countries seeking to shore up their military forces to protect themselves and stifle unrest turn to private military corporations, which recruit extensively from the refugees. Rafzekael builds a reputation as having the best mercenary division and HOUND pilots in the world, and deploys into Neroimus in 2003 as the three countries begin organizing their own HOUND units.
- A Mech by Any Other Name: Hounds.
- Art Major Physics: The most obvious liberty that the game designers took was omitting the effect of height on a Hound's center of balance. Because of this, even basic designs tend to be absurdly top heavy. Competitive players arrange their guns in tall and narrow stacks to make them harder to hit. Recoil from hits also seems to be absent no matter how large a caliber the shots are. A Hound that gets destroyed by a single absurd volley simply explodes in an upright position.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Morskoj Unidentified Weapon, the MSK-X0, which is GIANT HOWITZER that fires shells that are larger than people, while still incredibly tough, never seems to be able to fire at hounds (with the main gun, anyways), because the cannon can't rotate.
- Battleship Raid: When one of the nations is suffering online, but manages to retake a foothold, they'll deploy an "Unidentified Weapon", and the other nation's players will be able to commence one of these type missions against it.
- Boom, Headshot!: Snipers.
- Breakable Weapons: Every part. And when it's broken shooting it makes the damage that would be done, done to the cockpit instead.
- Difficult, but Awesome: The lances. In the realm of multiplayer where most players followed a strict tower-stacked design with a cockpit obstructed by an armor plate, they were nearly impossible to use effectively, as they required the player to be at close range (good luck) and, even if a player managed to get close enough, a direct hit to the cockpit was necessary to even make such a suicidal endeavor worth it. But, nevertheless, some Hound designs and their players employed lances very effectively.
- Downer Ending: Despite defeating your traitorous commander and destroying Cerberus forever, what little peace in Neroimus dissolves and all three nations go to war. Cue the multiplayer mode.
- Elite Tweak
- Enemy Mine: Given Squads and players alike can switch sides every now and then, the country you were fighting for could be your enemy in your next deployment.
- Featureless Protagonist: The Player Character is one.
- For Want of a Nail: Solar Flares disrupting global communication lead to Humongous Mecha.
- Kill It with Fire: Some howitzers are equipped with incendiaries, good for causing lots of damage to those Stick Mechs.
- Humongous Mecha: ACVs and Hounds. Even bigger: Ghalib, Sal Kar's Unidentified Weapon.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The unguided Rocketlaunchers, which fire in an arc to saturate an area with HE rockets. They fire six at a time with a slight dispersion and high rate of fire...mounting 4 of these spams rockets everywhere. They are probably THE strongest close combat weapon, as the damage output is very high and the enemies Cockpit goes massively off target.
- Military Mash Up Machine: The Hounds themselves, and a true example of the Land Battleship type: Tarakia's Unidentified weapon: the M-99 Super Patriot.
- Mission Control: The entire point of the Commander Role-Type is to be this to the rest of his/her squad.
- More Dakka: Machine guns and more Machine guns.
- You can actually mount 4 normal Machine guns and supplement them with Gatling guns that weight next to nothing and fire in a 120 Round burst, even when you switch weapons. So you could potentionally fire up to 8 Machine guns at the same target, at the same time.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Alexei on the Scout Campaign— he knows countless Sal Kari will suffer and die because he blew up their water treatment plant, but he did so to protect Morskoj.
- Oh, Crap!: Any new squad's reaction to "Unidentified Weapon Appears" and watching the intro of said Unidentified Weapon.
- Real Robot: Gives Patlabour a good run for its money on how real. The mecha even have fuel gauges. though they don't really have that great an effect on gameplay unless you
take a really long timeplay command-centre games, though.
- The Remnant: The player could actually become a remnant soldier in the online mode of the game. If your nation was the first to be taken over, you could then elect to either join one of the remaining two nations or strike out on your own, fighting against both in hopes of liberating the conquered third.
- Schematized Prop Like its cousin, Armored Core, every part.