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Video Game / Codename Panzers

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Codename Panzers, a series of Real-Time Strategy games by Hungarian developer Stormregion, was a trilogy that primarily covered World War II and the early Cold War. The games were:

  • S.W.I.N.E.: Codified the gameplay that the games would use, but otherwise unrelated to the Codename Panzers series.
  • Codename: Panzers: Phase One: The first game in the series, it focused mainly on the war in Europe. The game is told from the points of view of Hans von Groebel, Alexander Vladimirov and Jeffery Wilson.
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  • Codename: Panzers: Phase Two: The sequel focused mainly on the Mediterranean war, including North Africa and Italy, and had a campaign set in Yugoslavia. The game is told from the point of view of Dario DeAngelis, Hans von Groebel, James Barnes, Jeffery Wilson, the Wolf and Sergio DeAngelis.
  • Codename: Panzers: Cold War: The third and probably final game to bear the CNP title, Cold War is... well, set in an alternate Cold War where the Berlin Airlift goes horribly wrong. The game is told from the point of view of Douglas Kirkland. It was panned for its simplicity compared to both prior titles and modern games.


Codename Panzers provides examples of:

  • A.K.A.-47: Generally averted, making the examples of it rather glaring: The M3 Halftrack AA, for instance, is actually designated the M16 self propelled anti-aircraft gun. Atop that, the M3 is referred to as the M2, though that could possibly be a typo that was missed by the testers.
  • Anti-Air: All three sides have a mobile AA vehicle - the Allies get the M16 SPAAG (and its quad .50 cal machine guns), the Russians get the Gaz-AA (and a pair of Maxim machine guns), and the Germans get the Sd.Kfz. 7/1, with a 2cm automatic cannon. The Germans also get the infamous 88mm AA gun (which is also useful as an anti-tank gun, if one looks past it being a glass cannon), and the Allies get the Bofors 40mm AA gun, which is also reasonable against enemy tanks. In this regard, the Russians have no counterpart.
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  • Armor Is Useless: Averted for vehicles, as their armor prevents a certain amount of damage from being done to their hitpoints, and strong enough armor will completely soak up damage from other weapons. This doesn't mean that a 37mm cannon can't kill an King Tiger heavy tank, it'll just take a while.
  • Armor Plating As Hitpoints: How much damage a tank can withstand isn't a function of how much health it actually has - but instead how much armor it has, since (nearly) all vehicles flatly have 200 health. This acts as both the tank's health (a more damaged tank has less armor) and as a damage-reducing mechanic. Damage is done according to how much "left over" damage is after a hit, meaning that a gun that does 37 damage wouldn't do squat to a unit with 110 armor until the armor is low enough that the 37 points of damage is greater than the armor. For a better example, see an IS-2 shooting at a Tiger, a historically more or less even match up. The IS-2's gun, dealing 122 damage, exceeds the Tiger's 110 frontal armor rating from the front, while the Tiger's 88 damage doesn't exceed the IS-2's 110. The Tiger thus has to fire an extra round to wear down the IS's armor enough to hurt it, while the IS-2 is hurting the Tiger on the first shot. Additionally, damage dealt to the armor moves the decimal to the left and rounds to the nearest whole - not only did the IS-2 immediately start by doing 12 damage to the Tiger's hitpoints it also reduced its frontal armor down to 98, so the next shot will do 24 damage instead and still reduce the armor by 12. The Tiger, doing 9 armor damage per shot, has to fire three times before it starts hurting the IS-2, when the IS-2's armor would be whittled down to a rating of 83, where it would then deal 5 damage to the IS-2's hitpoints.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Tanks with machine guns mounted on the back of their turret. They will never use them unless their main gun is pointed at something else - and if it's pointed at something else, it's firing. The end result? The crew will burn up all its main gun ammunition shooting at infantry squads, instead of just turning the turret the other way around, so all they do after they burn up their ammo shooting at infantry squads is look threatening. The only time they don't turn their turret to shoot at things automatically is when they're set to passive - which means they outright don't use their machine gun.
  • Anachronism Stew: In Cold War. The game story takes place from 1947-1953, but vehicles first produced in the 60's show up, such as the T-62 tank (produced in 1961) and most of the helicopters, which are late 50's/early 60's vintage. Also, one mission takes place in 1947 but Green Berets are seen in use, despite them being formed in 1953.
    • Averted for the rest of the games, save for comparatively minor details - for instance, the camouflage of given tanks, Soviet tanks having red stars (in reality, red stars were reserved for parade markings), and tanks appearing a few months earlier or later than they actually did. However, the appearance of the Sherman Firefly in American colors is quite ahistorical, but is likely supposed to represent the identical-in-gameplay-terms 76 mm-armed Sherman. The choice of the BA-12 instead of the BA-10 armored car is an odd choice given the physical similarity of the vehicles.
  • Anyone Can Die: Granted, you'll fail if a hero dies, but you might want to restart if you lose your more experienced units. Even on Easy mode, where you get them back or receive trained recruits at the end of the mission. However, from a storytelling standpoint the game only has four characters (the Heroes), all of which are mission-critical. This means that any importance placed on the units is entirely up to the player, though you WILL regret loosing that four-star crew that you had with you since your best tank was a Panzer II.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Rocket Artillery. They saturate the area and do a fair amount of damage - at the expense of blowing through their ammo insanely fast, and having shorter range than regular artillery.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Western Allies and Germans have this in the form of their M3 Halftracks and Universal Carriers for the Allies, and the Sd.Kfz. 251 for the Germans. While not as tough as a tank, they can haul a gun of any type from a 37mm antitank gun to a 150mm howitzer, carry a squad of infantry, are armored (if only just barely), and the infantry squad placed in them can use their mounted Machine Gun to help deal with enemy infantry.
  • BFG: Present in many forms - naturally, a lot of the units are tanks and towed guns. The largest in the game is the 800mm Schwere Dora railroad cannon, which appears in the German campaign, and the largest controlled directly by the player is the 380mm mortar used by the German Shturmtiger. The majority of the units have guns sitting somewhere between 75mm and 150mm - which is pretty big, compared to the average person!
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: While the games generally have good English barring some typos, during Phase One, characters tended to refer to ALL tanks as Panzers. Germans calling the BT-7M a "Damned Russian Panzer", British soldiers calling the Tiger tank the "Tiger Panzer", etc. Justified for the Germans though, since it's their word for tank.
  • Boring, but Practical: Many units fill this job, mostly Medium Tanks and Tank Destroyers. Sure, you could use a Tiger or Panther - or, you could use two Panzer IVs and a Krupp filled with Riflemen towing a antitank gun.
  • Cain and Abel: A rather indirect example, but Dario and Sergio DeAngelis from Phase Two: the former a fanatical but naive worshiper of Mussolini and Fascism, and the latter anything but, to the point where he defects to the Allies, though he takes great pains to hide that from Dario.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: For infantry, at least. A German rifle squad does the same damage as its Russian and Western Allied counterparts note . Not in play for tanks, though. While there are many vehicles that fill a similar role (Both versions of the Panzer IV, Sherman, and T-34), they often have different attributes. Incidentally, the Western Allies (a three for one faction with the United States, Britain and France, though the latter is unplayable) can have one of two versions of the Sherman Firefly in multiplayer, which are identical aside from their colors. You can pay a single prestige point to have an American accent and a green paint job (as opposed to a British one with a tan paint job).
    • The Italians definitively get the short end of the stick here, as even their INFANTRY is below par, though their best tanks do remain competitive with their counterparts until you get access to Panzer IVs.
    • Logistical units - Ammo and Repair trucks, as well as troop carriers - are all identical save for appearance. The Russians, however, lack an "Armed Transport" like the M3 Halftrack and Sd Kfz. 251, while the Allies lack a "heavy truck".
  • Continuity Nod: The Allied campaign has at least one to the German one in Phase One: The player character, Jeffery Wilson, happens across a prior PC, Hans von Groebel, twice.
    • The games tend to do this quite a bit by referencing each other, with Phase Two including several Shout Outs and Continuity Nods to Phase One. Cold War also references several. For instance, Hans von Groebel fighting alongside you in his modified Tiger tank (and in the final mission, a Maus) against the Soviets and Jeffery Wilson leading the unit your group is a part of.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Often inherited from the real-life vehicles. Self-propelled anti-tank guns (and anything else without a machine gun) will struggle against infantry.
    • The game has a degree of Rock Paper Scissors balance in this regard - cannons counter tanks and buildings, machine guns counter exposed infantry, gun-equipped infantry counter anti-tank infantry, and artillery is reasonably useful against all of them. The only problem here is that the list of tanks that don't have some means of machine gun is a very short one. Most tanks have at least two - one mounted with it's cannon, and the other mounted in the hull. Beyond a certain point in the game, many game guides actually recommend you simply stop using infantry period.
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Defeated troops will simply continue to either relentlessly attack you or flee until they reach the border of the map - if only because they can't surrender or leave the map, meaning you have no choice but to kill them to remove them from the field.
  • Cherry Tapping: After a certain point, Anti-Tank Riflemen and light tanks become almost totally useless in combating enemy tanks, only able to wear away at an enemy tank's armor rating slowly before even being able to get damaging hits. Needless to say, losing the likes of a King Tiger to a Matilda II is very humiliating.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Played so straight it hurts. You'll see tanks shrugging off damage that would have killed them in-game. On the other end of the scale, we have the 88mm Flak guns one-shotting Matilda IIs, which is capable of shrugging off several 88mm rounds in-game.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Wolf from Phase Two is referenced in a German mission involving dealing with partisans in Phase One.
  • Easy Logistics: Subverted. While everything that isn't a machine gun consumes ammunition (which is finite, limited to 5000 "units" of supply per ammo truck), any unit can be resupplied from an ammo truck (be it your own small-caliber antitank guns or captured enemy heavy artillery, though more powerful and larger guns consume more supply per replenished round). Infantry don't consume ammo regardless of what their weapon is, and things like grenades and molotovs can't be replenished after use. Additionally, unlike SWINE, the series' predecessor, vehicle units don't require fuel.
  • Enemy Exchange Program: Tanks and most vehicles, as well as field guns, can be captured after their crew is killed. In the former, they need to be burned out first, while the latter only requires liberal application of bullets. Also, unit construction buildings can be captured in Cold War, which can have vehicles from the opposing side available for production.
  • Faction Calculus: A rather odd case, in that all three factions have the same formula: they start out as Subversive, but become Powerhouses the later in the war you get, and hence the more powerful heavy tanks become available. A strict unit cap of 25 units total (and lower caps for armor, trucks and guns) keeps mass hordes down, meaning nobody is a spammer outside domination mode. However, most factions have "leanings" beyond this:
    • The Allies beyond Poland (that is, the UK, France and Soviet Union) weigh heavily towards being Powerhouses over most of the German campaign (With Matildas and R35s being much more well armored than their German counterparts), frequently forcing the player to use more subversive tactics against them (as a Matilda can and will take on several Panzer II Is and stand an appreciable chance of winning, but anti-tank guns and anti aircraft guns can punch open its armor easily). The Russians are significantly more so, as the likes of the KV-2 and T-34 show up quite a while before you have units that can effectively deal with them.
    • The Soviets soon cement themselves as a having a more Powerhouse lean. After spending the first two missions with rather anemic cavalry tanks that have little in the way of armor or firepower, you soon find yourself commanding T-34s with long-barreled German tanks being relatively few and far between, and get access to the KV-2 for a mission. It isn't for long that the Germans enjoy a temporary advantage over you in the firepower department, as you are soon able to deploy the capable T-34-85 and the powerful IS-2, which together can deal with most threats, as well as the SU-85, SU-100, and SU-122 (the last one actually being an artillery unit) for emergencies. Together, you'll soon be making your way into the heart of Berlin.
    • Conversely the Western Allies soon cement themselves as a more subversive faction - the M4 Sherman is merely comparable to the Panzer IV, and the numbers of Tigers and Panthers running around through most missions means you'll never want to get into a stand-up fight with them unless you grossly outnumber them. You also get very sparse access to heavy tanks, with the Churchill and Pershing only becoming available just in time to lose them due to predetermined unit loadouts. The most powerful Allied units? Tank Destroyers, like the Archer and the M36 Slugger.
  • Fanservice: The only reason Michelle exists.
    • Fan Disservice: However, it's painfully clear the Developers weren't very good at modeling high-res human characters, meaning her promo shots look like something out of the Uncanny Valley, and her in-game appearances are just as low-poly as the infantry she fights alongside.
  • Game Mod: While it never built up much of a community, Phase Two has a handful of unit mods. Both games also feature surprisingly robust modding and map creation tools.
  • <Hero> Must Survive: Save for an optional side mission disconnected from the campaigns, the Player must keep any heroes alive. It's probably because it's implied that you become the Hero for the mission, and you can't exactly issue orders when you're dead. Otherwise mission-critical personnel will have this apply too.
  • Franchise Killer: Cold War was panned and wasn't very good commercially. Combined with Stormregion being defunct, it's likely the last game that will bear the title.
  • Interquel: Phase Two's coverage of the war in the Mediterranean takes place almost entirely right smack dab in the middle of Phase One, nestled after Phase One's German campaign, before its Western Allied campaign, and concurrent with its Soviet campaign. Not surprising, because it frees up the established characters to come back in.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the final mission of Cold War, Beria is facing increasing pressure from the military due to the worsening situation of the war. Not wanting to be deposed in a military coup, he decides to use a nuclear weapon on Berlin to finally rout NATO as their forces begin its liberation. NATO commanders, fearing just this occurrence, decide to surround the city and cut off the vast bulk of the Soviet forces still inside, effectively using them as human shields. In one last act of desperation, Beria orders the nuclear weapon to be dropped anyway, but the bomb fails to detonate thanks to sabotage by a few Soviet officers not wanting the war to go nuclear. Once the Soviet government realizes that Beria almost killed off tens of thousands of his own soldiers, he's quickly arrested by the NKVD and is summarily executed for treason, which then leads to the Soviet Union agreeing to a armistice with NATO forces and an end to the war.
  • Killed Off for Real: Dario DeAngelis in the Allied campaign of Phase Two, by a random artillery shell.
  • Kill It with Fire: Flamethrowers and Molotov Cocktails abound. Effective at taking out infantry, and for burning out tank crews so you can capture their vehicle. Phase Two introduced flamethrower tanks.
  • RPG Elements: Managing your core forces and gaining XP a la Steel Panthers or People's General.
  • Selective Historical Arsenal: Some vehicles that made up rather large numbers of their army's strength are conspicuously absent, while other, less common vehicles (or even vehicles based off them) are present - for instance, KV-2s are present (though mainly only for the Germans, where they are holy terrors, though you get to control one in the Russian campaign), while KV-1s are nowhere to be seen. The lack of multiple-turreted vehicles, such as the M3 Lee, T-28 and Char B1, is excused since the game engine can't seem to handle having more than one cannon or turret on a unit. Lend Lease vehicles, such as the many Sherman tanks and M3 Halftracks sent to Russia, are absent as well.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: In Cold War. And by the "The Bomb", we mean ''THE Bomb'', as the final mission consists of fighting like hell to try and prevent Lavrenty Beria from turning Berlin and everybody and everything in it into radioactive ash.
  • Spiritual Successor: To S.W.I.N.E., an equally-obscure RTS game. To an extent, CDV (Phase 1 and 2's publisher in Europe and the US) likely intended Joint Task Force to be this to Codename Panzers, with similar gameplay in a Modern Warfare setting, while also expanding upon the RPG "Leveling Up" elements of Codename Panzers - unfortunately, critical response to JTF was "meh", meaning it'll likely not see any sequels.
  • Stop Poking Me!: "Leave. Me. ALONE!"
  • Lethal Joke Unit: Rocket Soldiers. They become available after most other infantry have fallen by the wayside. Like other infantry, they don't have much durability, and they only come in squads of two... and have a hard-hitting attack that ignores a unit's armor rating, be it a run of the mill Panzer IV or a King Tiger's frontal armor.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The three Rocket Artillery units note . While they are shorter ranged than regular artillery and don't deal much damage per rocket, they make up for it by firing one-third of their ammo stocks per salvo.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy Tanks are the slowest machines in the game, but have the firepower to make up for it.
  • Molotov Cocktail: You can equip all infantry save for Tank Crews with them. They instantly kill exposed infantry, and set enemy vehicles on fire, letting you force out their crew.
  • More Dakka: Most tanks have some flavor of machine gun - most have two (one in the hull, one on the front of the turret. A few vehicles - like the Panzer I, and M3 Halftrack AA - are armed only with a pair (for the M3, a quartet) of machine guns, making them the only units that fire a stream of bullets. They will eat infantry alive.
    • Taken even further with the German AA Halftrack and Allied Bofors AA guns, which both have the notable distinction of being the only two automatic cannons in the game. Naturally, they chew through anything you put in front of them, but are both made of paper.
  • Multinational Team: Everybody as in history, but particularly in Phase Two. The Western Allies have the US, the British Commonwealth and France (albeit largely in a few cameo roles like manning your fast attack aircraft), the Axis have the Germans and Italians, and the Communists have the Soviets and Tito's Yugoslav partisans. In Cold War, many volunteers and ex-Axis personnel join the Western Allies in the fight against the USSR.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: You get this vibe from Hans von Groebel from his journals.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. The Germans not only have a campaign in Phase One, but it's CANON as well. However, it only covers the Invasion of Poland to Stalingrad (about 1939 to 1941-42).
    • Also averted in Phase Two, as the Italians and Germans have a campaign which covers the early years of the war in North Africa.
    • Played straight in Cold War, as the Western Allies are the only playable faction in the campaign.
  • Poirot Speak: Averted in combat, units will only speak in their native language. In cutscenes and for faction heroes, however, Translation Convention is applied (give or take some phrases that don't have an English counterpart, such as "Herr...").
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: James Barnes. Enough said.
  • Tank Goodness: Tons of it in all the games. It is, after all, right there in the title.
  • The Von Trope Family: Invoked by Hans von Groebel, the German player character.
  • Un-Cancelled: Phase Two was supposed to be the last game, though there were rumors at one point of there being a Phase Three, which likely became Cold War.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Played with. Tanks and most other vehicles (aside from trucks), along with field artillery and antitank guns can be readily turned on their former owners (tanks by using fire-based weapons to burn the crew out, field guns by killing the crew with bullets). Infantry weapons, however, cannot be captured. However, there are some units that are "Enemy Only", and cannot be used in multiplayer without mods, like the French and Polish vehicles, as well as a Hungarian SPG.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: As the campaign goes on, the player's units level up the more use they get, increasing their various stats. It's hard not to care for a crew that's been with you from the beginning of the campaign to the very end.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Wilson and Barnes. Every Allied mission, where the German and Russian campaigns had Hans and Alekzander sharing their thoughts on the war and memories, is bookended with Wilson and Barnes giving each other flack instead.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: An important character who isn't Barnes, Wilson, Vladimirov, von Groebel or Michelle? He probably uses a regular unit's model. Particularly grating with some of the German "heroes", such as Walther and Karl, who Hans can easily pick out of a crowd but appear as a bog standard paratrooper and tank crewman to the player, respectively.
    • The same applies to Phase Two.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Certain tanks lack co-axial machine guns, and some vehicles don't have any at all. This makes them very vulnerable to infantry bearing Molotov Cocktails, flamethrowers and explosives, which are things which a tank with a coaxial machine gun would deal with in short order.
  • We Have Reserves: Discouraged. Sending your men to die haphazardly lowers your ranking, which gives you less prestige to buy new units with. As such, the general rule is to keep units alive - if, for no other reason, because it lets you buy a Tiger Tank instead of having to convert one of your other crews to it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Vladimirov is nowhere to be seen in Cold War, even though he lived through Phase One. It's possible he's merely out-of-scope given there's no Soviet campaign, however.
  • World War III: The setting of the third, in which the Berlin Airlift goes terribly wrong and Stalin launches an all-out assault on the West.
  • Zerg Rush: While not possible in the campaign, it is possible in multiplayer Domination games to amass a large horde of rifle infantry, who can use grenades and Molotov Cocktails to attack enemy vehicles, and their rifles (duh) to attack everything else. Because they only take 20 seconds to train (compared to upwards of a minute for even the most quickly built tank), large numbers can be built up quickly. Managing to continually recapture Radar Stations allows you to supplement them with paratroopers.


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