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Video Game / Darkwatch

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"Evil... as old as time, spreads like a plague, corrupting the hearts of men. For millennia, there have been those who have stood against it. A secret organization to protect mankind. They are the frontline in an unholy war. They are...the Darkwatch."

Darkwatch (sometimes subtitled Curse of the West) is a Steampunk First-Person Shooter Videogame developed by Sammy Studios in 2005 (now High Moon Studios, creators of Transformers: War for Cybertron) and distributed by Capcom in the US and Ubisoft in the UK for the Playstation 2 and Xbox.

It's 1876, and an age of darkness has come upon The Wild West. You are Jericho Cross: Gunslinger. Renegade. Outlaw. Behind you lies a bloody trail of robbery and revenge. Ahead of you lies one last train to rob.

Except Jericho couldn't have picked a worse train to rob. This one's owned by the Darkwatch, and the train's cargo is not gold, but a prison cell containing a powerful vampire lord named Lazarus Malkoth, the original founder of the Darkwatch. Young Gun Darkwatch agent Cassidy Sharp tries to stop Jericho from blowing the cell open, but is too late, and Lazarus is freed—and with him comes a terrible curse, unleashing all manner of undead horrors on the Old West. Whoops!

In the process, Jericho is bitten and begins to turn. Now he must find the Darkwatch and help them hunt down and destroy Lazarus or be forever damned.

Darkwatch provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The Darkwatch has been fighting vampires and zombies since the days of the Roman Empire. Promotional material includes images of Darkwatch Regulators from all across history, including both World Wars and the present day. The main characters' backstories is only ever alluded in the supplementary material rather than the game itself.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Things go to hell for the Darkwatch Citadel after Tala's Face–Heel Turn.
  • Ancient Artifact: The Deadlight Prism, a glowing green orb that projects an aura of Hollywood Darkness around it.
  • Anti-Hero: How far down the slippery slope he goes is your choice, but the fact remains that Jericho was a notorious outlaw and remains unafraid to let bullets do the talking.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: How the Ghost Gates work.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Cassidy in the "good" ending.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Banshees can take ludicrous amounts of damage, but can be taken out with several bullets to the head.
  • Automatic Crossbows: One of the weapons Jericho can use is a crossbow that can use several bolts, and each is tipped with dynamite. Jericho doesn't need to hit the target to do damage to it, which is useful in the cases of fast foes.
  • Back from the Dead: Cassidy after being killed early on in the game.
  • Badass Longcoat: Jericho, who trades in his tan duster for a Darkwatch-issue black leather one.
  • Badass Normal: Jericho, very briefly before he gets bitten.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: The "good" ability Mystic Armor invokes this.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Blackfish carbine, a powerful repeating rifle with a generous ammunition capacity. It's found at the beginning of the second mission and is common from then on. It can easily become a Sniper Rifle when combined with Vein-o-Vision, though it doesn't hit as hard as the actual Sniper Rifle.
  • Broken Pedestal: While hitchhiking inside Jericho's head as a Spirit Advisor, Cassidy gets to see the shady side of Darkwatch she wasn't privy to as a Regulator, including breeding monsters for experimentation and using captured civilians in live-fire training exercises, causing her to realize that Darkwatch isn't the upstanding bastion of justice she thought it was. However, given the alternative is an army of the dead hellbent on bringing about Hell on Earth, the Darkwatch remain the "good guys" by default.
  • Big Bad: Lazarus, possibly of the entire setting. Curiously, he is dispatched before the game's climax and Tala usurps his position in the good path, while Jericho becomes this in the evil path, with Cassidy serving as the Final Boss.
  • Bittersweet Ending / Downer Ending: Depending on how you play as Jericho.
    • In the good ending, Jericho stops Tala from reclaiming Lazarus' powers and continue his plans. The Curse of the West is lifted, he reverts to a normal human and Cassidy ascends to Heaven with her mission accomplished. However, the Darkwatch has sustained massive losses, their HQ has been razed to the ground and their future doesn't look very good.
    • In the bad ending, Jericho rids himself from his humanity, sides with Tala and kills Cassidy. Shortly after, he kills Tala and becomes the single vampire lord, riding off into the night to further spread his evil upon the world.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: If you try to use the Silver Bullets quad damage during the Final Boss fight, she'll fly up out of your reach after the first few shots, preventing you from doing any significant damage with it. She's also immune to your other special abilities such as Fear or Vindicator.
  • Darkwatch Is Not Evil: But they're not too friendly and are fond of doing whatever it takes.
  • Dead Weight: The fat zombies (Oozers) come at you with dual meat cleavers and explode violently on death, so keep your distance.
  • Deflector Shields: The first vampiric power you obtain is the "Blood Shield." How it works is not explained, but you essentially have a Halo-like regenerating shield on top of non-regenerating health.
  • Double Jump: Another beneficial side-effect of Jericho's condition.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: General Clay Cartwright. He's fond of jabbing Jericho with his cane and blames him for Cassidy's death.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Undead Darkwatch Regulators are much tougher and can survive a lot more damage compared to regular undead Gunslingers. They're typically only encountered in areas which had a large Darkwatch presence, such as the overrun outpost.
    • "Spectral" enemies are noticeably tougher and hit harder than regular versions of that enemy.
  • Emergency Weapon: Every Darkwatch-issue weapon has wickedly-curved blades grafted on to it, expressly designed to cleave through the undead.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Tala halfway through the game.
  • Fanservice: A nude spread of Tala was printed in Playboy. For advertising purposes, of course.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final showdown takes place in a Pocket Dimension which may or may not be Hell.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Found on most zombies, except the ones that don't have eyes.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Warmonger pistols, a pair of small revolvers.
  • Heal Thyself: Jericho can pick up canteens of blood to heal himself.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: A majority of the Darkwatch wears clothing made of black leather.
  • Hellish Horse: Jericho's first (and only, if you're a nice guy) blood-suck victim is a horse, which then rises anew as his undead steed. It can be summoned and dismissed at will, and appears to feel no pain, as Jericho uses him to take cover from incoming fire during the horseback segments.
  • Hell on Earth: Deadfall, the town Lazarus uses as his base of operations, has turned into this, complete with lava flowing through part of the town.
    • Hangtown, earlier in the game, lacks the lava flows, but is still chock-full of the undead.
  • Heroic Mime: Jericho never utters a word during the entire game, but its implied he is capable of speech since one brief dialogue option is available.
  • Hub Under Attack: The eponymous organization's desert citadel becomes a Hub Level once you start working for them, and you regularly return here to prepare for the next missions. Given that the only way in is via a single heavily-guarded portal, it seems pretty safe; however, in the climax, Lazarus attacks the citadel with a little help from Tala, forcing you to battle your way through the carnage in order to stop the undead.
  • I Can Rule Alone: In the bad ending, Jericho bites Tala and drains her of her blood rather than share Lazarus' power with her.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Jericho attempts to drink some stream water early on, but immediately throws it back up.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Tala in the "Prom Night" cutscene. Jericho is still fully dressed. Kiss of the Vampire comes into play, which turns out to be a really bad idea.
  • Injun Country: One or two levels. The zombified braves come at you with throwing axes and the like.
  • Joke Item: The normal revolver you start the game with is perfectly fine for fighting humans, but is massively unsuited for fighting hordes of the undead, with only 6 shots and a long reload. Fortunately, you only have to fight about 3 skeletons with it before a dying Darkwatch regulator gives you his Redeemer.
  • The Joys of Torturing Mooks: Its possible to dismember several of your foes by shooting off their limbs or their heads. In fact, you can easily kill your enemies by shooting out both their arms and their means of attack. Its not advisable to do the same to the Banshees, or else they become even more bloodthirsty.
  • Karma Meter: Depending on if you choose the good or evil options at certain points, Jericho will either learn good spells or evil spells (and be yelled at by Cassidy).
  • Large Ham: Lazarus just loves to chew up the scenery. Lampshaded in the first chapter after the first fight against Lazarus by the subtitles reading "Triumphant laughter that swells to over-the-top laughter."
  • Mad Scientist: You speak to one between missions; he issues you your secondary weapon. You always start with the Redeemer.
  • Marathon Boss: The final boss fights against Lazarus and Tala/Cassidy are very long, as the bosses have insane health bars. You can use a damage boosting power like Silver Bullets to take out Lazarus more quickly, but this won't work on the Final Boss as they just fly out of your reach after the first few shots if you try it.
  • Meaningful Name: Lazarus gained his immortality by coming Back from the Dead.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Chapter 2's opening text, "Nice going, outlaw. Your soul is slipping away, and Hell's own horsemen nip at your heels."
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Of all shapes and sizes and a variety of armaments: guns are no exception.