It's an alternate early 20th century where The American Civil War has dragged on for decades, and steam engines rule the day. A powerful businessman, Lord Prescott, whose company, Prescott Standard Industries, supplies deadly weapons to both sides, has decided that he would like to Take Over the World. To that end, his armies begin a campaign of conquest across the western US.
While primarily a Third-Person Shooter, the game featured frequent jumping and climbing segments similar to Uncharted, including gun-fighting while suspended possibly several hundred feet in the air. The levels were massive, to the point where most of the game was spent simply getting from one place to another, while fighting, climbing and riding high speed steam-bikes.
Despite looking and seeming very cool, the actual game fell flat, and garnered mostly negative reviews. Damnation's failure forced its development studio, Blue Omega, to shut down a month after the game's release.
Tropes that appear in Damnation
- Abnormal Ammo: Why fire bullets when you can fire railroad spikes?
- Alternate History: Specifically, an early 20th century where The American Civil War drags on, and combustion engines never took off- instead, steam powers everything.
- Artificial Stupidity: The enemy A.I. is quite limited considering the game was released in 2009. Enemies mostly stay in one place and occasionally strafe left and right a bit and make minor use of cover. Enemies can do traversal moves such as leaping from one roof to another, or sliding down a pole or zipline, but these moves are fairly scripted and generally only occur under very specific circumstances.
- Ax-Crazy: Commander Selena is quite the psycho. Her lover Jack initially thinks her use of Serum is responsible, but it's most likely she's just an asshole.
- Blood Knight: Happens to anyone who becomes infected with the "Serum"
- BFG: The Automan Cannon, a revolving launcher that fires nitroglycerin-tipped rockets.
- Cool Airship: The Corsair, a small, maneuverable craft with dual envelopes and six maneuvering propellers. It serves as the Peacemakers' home and headquarters. Comes complete with a set of steam gliders.
- Cool Bike: The steam motorcycles (and tricycle) that the crew ride, which among other things are capable of reaching speeds of about 160 MPH and driving sideways on walls.
- Defector from Decadence: Professor Charles Winslow, formerly of Prescott Standard Industries. The last straw was converting Automen for military use- he'd intended them to help reconstruction efforts. He designed a lot of other tech including the bikes, the Corsair, and Autorevolvers.
- Depraved Bisexual: Commander Selena, Chairman Prescott's The Dragon, is Prescott's lover and also keeps Winslow's daughter Jack around as a sex toy.
- Development Hell: Damnation began as a total conversion mod for Unreal Tournament 2004. It missed its original scheduled release date by several months and was released in an obviously unfinished state.
- Fun with Acronyms: PSI for Prescott Standard Industries. Those who know their steam might recognize that it also stands for Pounds per Square Inch.
- Divided States of America: The game takes place in an alternate history setting in which the civil war dragged on for decades, during which the Union and Confederacy split into additional sub-factions including the Coalition and Federation, as well as a number of neutral independent city-states like Terra Verde. PSI moves to take over the entire country once everyone else is weakened from all the fighting.
- Hand Cannon: The multi-chamber revolver probably counts, but there's the Golden Eagle: a double-barreled, .729 caliber hand-shotgun. And not a Sawed-Off Shotgun, either- a shotgun in the shape of a Hand Cannon. The Vorpal Mechanical Repeater is an even better example, being what looks like a flaregun that instagibs anyone hit by the shot (of course, it's only unlockable with a cheat code).
- Historical In-Joke: During the Opening Narration, a newspaper that primarily displays that PSI is now the exclusive weapons supplier also reads "Inventors Edison, Tesla charged with sedition"
- Killer Robot: "Automen", coal-fired, steel-armored walking tanks that come armed with repeating cannons, that apparently have miniaturized Babbage engines for brains. At one point, the heroes make use of a damaged one to clear some rubble, opening the way forward.
- La Résistance: Rourke and his allies.
- Magical Native American: Native Americans in this setting can use magic, which is accepted matter-of-factly by everyone else as just a normal part of daily life. This serves as an early hint of the Revenant's true identity when they use healing magic to bring Commander Selena back to life after your first boss fight against her.
- More Dakka: This game has not one but two steam-powered automatics: The Revenant Gun delivers high damage, while the PSI machine gun has a blistering fire rate. The latter even has two separate pressure canisters, one to power the firing mechanism and another for the magazine feed.
- One-Word Title
- Outside Ride: The trikes have rear rollcages that double as handlebars, allowing your AI buddies to provide you with cover fire.
- Psycho Serum: The "Serum", which grants the user increased strength. It also tends to make them rather Ax-Crazy.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: Especially when they have four cylinders. And are semi-automatic, besides.
- Sniper Rifle: The Dark Seraph Rifle. Steam-powered. Yes.
- Steampunk: Though Darker and Edgier. Word of God is they dropped the "whimsical surface decoration" typical of the genre and designed weapons and machines built to withstand a brutal frontier world. Damn near everything runs on steam, including many of the guns.
- Stripperiffic: Yakecan has one of the least practical outfits◊ in video game history. Unsurprisingly, she showed up in a lot of "girls of gaming" articles in 2008/2009. Her brother wears even less, but this is due to his Braids, Beads and Buckskins outfit. Jack and Commander Selena also have fairly risque outfits, but which are at least consistent with Wild West burlesque style.
- Title Drop: "From the lawless chaos, a new power arose, and spread across the land, leading us all... into Damnation."