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Delta Force is a series of Tactical Shooters focused on the US Army's Delta Force, developed by NovaLogic. An early example of a first person shooter on the realistic side of the Fackler Scale of FPS Realism, it allowed players to choose from a number of campaigns and even smaller self-contained missions.

Unlike many shooters of its day, Delta Force had large open spaces, rather than have the player always fight in close quarters. Players and enemies alike were capable of taking a lot less damage, forcing the player to tread carefully and think tactically. Due to these factors, sniping is a viable game strategy, especially since the gameplay mechanics allow the player to go prone. In many ways, Delta Force was a precursor to Operation Flashpoint.

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Games in the series include:

  • Delta Force (1998)
  • Delta Force 2 (1999)
  • Delta Force: Land Warrior (2000)
    • Delta Force: Task Force Dagger (2002)
  • Delta Force: Black Hawk Down (2003)
    • Delta Force: Black Hawk Down - Team Sabre (2004)
  • Delta Force: Xtreme (2005)
  • Delta Force: Xtreme 2 (2009)


These games contain examples of:

  • Action Girl: You get the option of making your player character female from the second game onwards. Two of the selectable soldiers in Land Warrior are women.
  • African Terrorists: The antagonists of the Chad campaign are a violently anti-American terrorist faction that has an American oil CEO taken hostage.
  • A.K.A.-47: Generally averted. Most guns appear under either their real names or their US military designations. The only exception is the 1911, which is given the generic designation of "Spec Ops .45" in the first game and misidentified as the Mk 23 SOCOM in the second.
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  • America Saves the Day: The series is named "Delta Force", and that's exactly who you're playing as and who's responsible for clearing up whatever threat is at hand. The second game, however, allows you to choose from various nationalities for your arm flash.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI of the squadmates is rather primitive, given the era. In the earliest version of the original game, they never even seemed to be armed, and even in later versions, some missions have them happily making a beeline past several enemies and inevitably getting shot. The squadmates in Land Warrior are probably the most useless of all, as they're almost guaranteed to get themselves shot up, will only assist to a certain point and wait around doing nothing, or, in one extreme case, happily sit in the chopper while you do all the donkey work.
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    • On the flip side, enemies aren't that much better - they'll usually just stand around in the open firing in your general direction, not even attempting to move or take cover. Some enemies will actually attempt to go prone when you open fire on them... and then promptly try to shoot through the ground. Land Warrior tools some of them up with explosive weaponry, which ends up having disastrous consequences for them.
    • Special mention goes to vehicle convoys, who will not deviate from a set route; Taking out the lead vehicle will stop the entire convoy, leaving it ripe for the taking.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The M249 comes with a 200 round clip to put down just about anything in front of the barrel, and has enough firepower to take down armored vehicles. However, it doesn't come with a scope, and considering that most gunfights take place at ranges of about half a kilometer, you'll generally need one to actually hit something without getting shot down yourself; as such, it's rather situational. Same goes for the MP5SD, which is useful for stealth missions for getting the drop on unaware enemies, but is pretty useless at range, and if you set off the alarms... well, have fun trying to snipe with a short-range weapon.
    • The Barrett Light 50 has the opposite problem. While it comes with a scope and is powerful enough to take down vehicles, being an anti materiel rifle, it has a relatively small number of reserve magazines, to the point where running out of bullets is a very real concern without doubled ammo. Additionally, its slow rate of fire means that the player will be at a disadvantage during the inevitable close quarters mopup that tends to occur towards the end of most missions, forcing the player to either tread with extreme caution or switch to a sidearm. Land Warrior attempted to alleviate this last part by allowing the player to take a submachinegun as an additional weapon.
    • The M4's three round burst fire setting. Since most enemies will go down with a single shot and most combat takes place at a fairly long distance semi auto is by far the better option, especially since it can actually give the player a faster rate of fire if the player can shoot quickly enough.
    • Grenades, at least in the first game. They have a deceptively large blast radius and explode on contact, making them quite tricky to use without blowing yourself up.
    • The shotgun attachment for the M4 from 2. In a game where most combat is done at between 100 and 300 metres, a Short-Range Shotgun is an extremely situational weapon. You're better off sticking with the Grenade Launcher attachment.
    • Claymore mines. Again, due to the majority of combat taking place at long ranges, setting up mines will rarely result in any payoff that simply shooting someone won't achieve better.
    • Underwater firearms in 2 and Land Warrior. Since most guns won't work underwater, these perform a niche role of giving the player some offense while swimming. Unfortunately, very few missions require being underwater for any length of time and fewer still require shooting anybody while swimming. Outside of this, their effective range is limited and, frankly, why would you want a gun that isn't the M4 in these games? By extension, the rebreather also falls into the same category due to how little time players will spend swimming.
  • BFG:
    • The Barrett .50 anti-material rifle appears in most of the games as a choice of Sniper Rifle. If dakka is more your thing, you can chose an M249 SAW as your primary weapon also.
    • On the secondary weapon front, the LAW has the highest damage output per shot per weapon, being a handheld rocket launcher. If the game recommends it for a mission loadout, it's generally a good idea to take it.
    • Land Warrior introduces mounted turrets, such as the Browning M2 and the Mark 19 grenade launcher. Unlike other shooters, these do not come with Bottomless Magazines.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Opting to take body armour in lieu of a supplementary weapon allows the player to take one or two extra hits. Literally.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • In the earlier games, you can bring along additional ammo for your primary weapon at the cost of forgoing a secondary weapon. As the only ammo you get in these games tends to be whatever you have on you at the beginning (unless you toggle on the option for ammo crates/medkits in maps), this can go quite a long way. Not to mention, the M4 is versatile enough that 90% of the time you won't need a secondary weapon anyway.
    • Body armour starting from the second game. In a series where you can be killed in a few hits, being able to tank an extra bullet or two can make a huge difference.
  • Call Sign: The player uses the callsign "Bravo", while squadmates are "Alpha" and "Charlie". Mission Control is "King Six", the extraction chopper is "Black Widow", while fire support is "Whiskey One". The various playable characters in Land Warrior have their own callsigns.
  • Camera Perspective Switch: The games allowed to switch over to third person view, which a lot of first person shooters tended to in the late nineties. However, much like other games at that time, it isn't all that useful.
  • The Cartel: The Peru campaign from the first game involves raiding and shutting down a Peruvian drug ring, culminating in storming the drug lord's mansion.
  • Cast Speciation: Land Warrior introduces a cast of different playable characters, each with their own special abilities, in contrast to the player's self insert of first two games.
  • Checkpoint Starvation: There are no checkpoints, and saving mid-mission is not allowed in some of the games. Die or get a Non Standard Game Over and you have to start the mission all over again.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: An Averted Trope as the series went on. One of Delta Force 2's selling points was that players could shoot enemies hiding in certain buildings by firing through thin walls. It was in full force in the first game, where even camouflage netting you could see through stopped bullets.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Other human players could take the place of the AI squadmates.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The APS Underwater Assault Rifle and P-11 Underwater Pistol are specifically designed for underwater combat and while they can be used on land, they're not nearly as effective as their more conventional counterparts. Not to mention that there's so little swimming in these games that it's fairly pointless to bring them along in favour of better weapons.
  • Crouch and Prone: An early example of allowing both in a first person shooter. Crouching allowed the player to drop their stance while stationary, automatically standing up to run and crouching back down when stopped again. Going prone allowed the player to hide in grass, making it great for sniping. The second game introduced the ghillie suit for this purpose.
  • Death from Above:
    • The Laser Designator allows the player to call in artillery missions to destroy targets. In some missions, this is actually a requirement for completion, but it's unfortunately unusable most of the time.
    • While it's rare to see, if enemies are occupying an extraction zone, Black Widow's door gunner will open fire on them. One mission in the first game also has Black Widow providing air support for the player while they escort a convoy.
    • On the enemies' side, some missions involve raiding enemy bases defended by helicopters. Naturally, if not dealt with quickly, they're fully capable of raining bullets down on you.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: In each of the games, the player is a member of the titular Delta Force, except in Task Force Dagger, where the player can choose from one of a number of different special forces, and the first couple of missions of Black Hawk Down, where the player starts out as a Ranger, before getting assigned to Delta Force.
  • Emergency Weapon: The earlier games give a knife to the player, allowing for stealth kills if necessary. Of course, charging in with it towards an alert enemy is tantamount to suicide.
  • Empty Quiver:
    • The enemies in the Novoya Zemlya campaign in the first game eventually get their hands on nuclear weaponry and use them to make threats as a last resort; eliminating the nuclear threat forms the crux of the last few missions.
    • The second game's second campaign, Global Enforcement, culminates in assaulting a facility with an ICBM. This mission has two objectives: Firstly, to clear the control facility to prevent the launch and then onto the missile platform itself to secure it for disarming.
    • Land Warrior has dirty bombs as part of the terrorist threat, one of which is detonated offscreen as a shown of force, the other of which has to be disarmed in the game's penultimate mission.
  • Escort Mission: Some of the missions involve escorting vehicles or rescuing prisoners. Due to the limited AI of the day, these can be downright frustrating.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: And they're Color-Coded for Your Convenience; Your own shots have blue tracers, while enemies fire Red. This can be disabled in the options menu.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Shooting most vehicles enough times will destroy them eventually, though with small arms, this can take a lot of bullets. Still, it's good to know if you have a helicopter bearing down on you if you've missed with it both the LAWs you brought with you.
  • Excuse Plot: Most of the plot you'll get is in the mission briefings, telling you who you're shooting and why you're shooting them. These can be mostly skipped over if you don't feel like reading a wall of text. There's not even a large story arc to most of the games with the games being broken down into several mini campaigns. The second game introduces standalone missions. It wasn't until Land Warrior that an overarching plotline was introduced and even that is still confined to the mission briefings.
  • Exploding Barrels: Fuel barrels are often left lying around, often near targets or with enemies hanging around next to them. Shooting them causes them to explode. Some missions have a requirement for a facility to be taken intact and the presence of volatile fuel barrels makes this more difficult.
  • Glass Cannon: A player armed with a grenade launcher or LAW can take out armoured vehicles and helicopters, but can easily get shredded to pieces by said vehicles or anyone else.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: The enemies are generally armed with Kalashnikovs, while Delta Force themselves have a variety of traditionally "good" guns, most notably the M4. Land Warrior and Task Force Dagger zigzag this, though less by giving the player more non-Western options than by giving the enemies more of the guns you can take, leading to every other random Eastern European terrorist having a G11 or Jackhammer.
  • Grenade Launcher: The M203 is available for the M4 by default in the first game and as an option (with the Masterkey shotgun as an alternative) in the second. It's one of the reasons the M4 is so versatile, as it makes secondary weapons such as satchel charges and hand grenades completely redundant.
  • Hostage Situation: Given the emphasis on putting terrorists as your enemies, a few of these pop up throughout the series for you to defuse (and to make you double-check what you're shooting at).
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Enemies are, to a man, generally terrible shots. Somewhat justified given the emphasis on sniping and the fact that most of them use weapons with only iron sights (either an AK-47 or a pistol), but it's less excusable for the occasional enemies that show up with sniper rifles. By contrast, AI squadmates do tend to be decent shots and are generally armed with M4s or sniper rifles... when they're not trying to shoot through walls, anyway.
  • It's Raining Men: Some missions in 2 have the player and their team insert by parachute with the descent controllable. Enemies start doing this in Land Warrior and it's possible to shoot them mid drop.
  • It's Up to You:
    • The majority of the legwork is done by Bravo team, which consists solely of the player, while Alpha and Charlie are two man teams of AI squadmates provided as support. While they can assist with general pacification missions (if they're not running into walls or attempting to shoot through solid objects), the player is generally left to complete the objectives by themselves. This can be subverted with Co-Op Multiplayer.
    • Land Warrior occasionally supplies a lone squadmate, but the majority of campaign missions are solo ops. Oftentimes, they're even less useful than Alpha and Charlie teams from the previous games due to being less numerous and having wonky AI that's so bad that in one mission, they'll just sit in the helicopter while you do everything.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The M4 carbine is one of the most versatile weapons in the game due to its scope, thirty round magazine, large number of spare magazines and attached secondary weapon (a Grenade Launcher in the first game, but the Masterkey shotgun is provided as an alternative in later games).
  • Level Editor: Included from the second game onwards, players could modify existing maps with custom missions.
  • Level-Map Display: Each mission briefing shows a map of the mission area, complete with checkpoints, objectives, and projected enemy strength. The map can be accessed ingame by pressing the M key by default, which can give the player real time data on their position, squadmates, and projected enemy forces, though some enemies do not appear, probably to represent fact that the intel provided isn't perfect. In a nod to realism, accessing the map does not pause the game, so checking the map during a firefight is not recommended.
  • Limited Loadout: Before embarking on a mission, the player is required to choose a loadout. A knife is always available and the player must choose one pistol, one rifle and a couple of extra supplementary weapons. Land Warrior changed it up by adding a secondary long gun slot, allowing the player to carry a submachinegun in addition to their primary weapon.
  • Little Useless Gun:
    • Averted by the Ruger Mark II in the first game; it's just as effective as the 1911 in terms of stopping power, despite being chambered in .22 and comes with a larger magazine and inbuilt suppressor to boot. This is probably why later games just offered a standard sidearm (usually the H&K Mark 23) with an optional suppressor.
    • The P-11 Underwater Pistol is by far the worst sidearm in the series because its effective range is a paltry 15 metres. For comparison, every other sidearm has an effective range of 50 metres.
  • Master of All: Sure, you could choose weapons specifically for sniping, close combat, or situations requiring heavy firepower or explosives. Or you could just take the M4, which covers all of these, especially with the grenade launcher attachment (which is mandatory in the first game and optional with the shotgun as an alternative in the second). The only thing it can't do is stealth kills, but this can be covered by taking a silenced pistol in the sidearm slot.
  • Meaningful Name: Each of Land Warrior's operators has a Call Sign that reflects their role. Longbow is a Badass Native sniper, Pitbull is The Big Guy, Gascan is the grenadier, Snakebite is the Stealth Expert, and Mako is the underwater specialist.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel:
    • Aside from some new weapons and a couple of features, Delta Force 2 doesn't change up the formula much from the original game.
    • Task Force Dagger is likewise a standalone expansion to Land Warrior, differing mostly in that you can select characters from multiple organizations other than Delta Force, and you're now typically sent in alone.
  • Nerf:
    • The extra ammo option reduces the amount of extra magazines unless you take it for both slots. However, doing so means you can't take the extremely useful body armour.
    • Land Warrior removes the option of taking a Grenade Launcher for the M4, leaving only the Masterkey. However, you can still take the Grenade Launcher attached to the Steyr AUG, which also has superior range and a 42 round magazine, at the cost of a smaller scope magnification. Task Force Dagger reverses this by putting the M203 back on the M4 at the cost of taking it off the Steyr.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Delta Force 2 reuses many of the same assets from the first game, most notably with the returning weapons. Egregiously, NovaLogic didn't even bother to change the ingame model for the unsilenced pistol, which, despite being a Mark 23 in the menu, still appears as a 1911 in-game. Which is very strange considering they already went to the trouble of creating an in-game model for the Mark 23 with a suppressor to replace the .22 from the first game.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: Night Ops give the player these by default, with the inherent green filter that comes with it.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted. Bullet drop occurs in these games and the player must compensate for this if firing outside a weapon's effective range.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. Your reserve ammo is counted in magazines, as opposed to individual rounds. The caveat about chambered rounds is usually taken to an extreme, however, with Land Warrior and Task Force Dagger at least even applying it with weapons that it shouldn't, such as open-bolt weapons (the machine guns) and ones with multiple barrels (the P11 underwater pistol) or chambers (the Jackhammer shotgun, the MM-1 grenade launcher).
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Most enemies will go down with a single shot. The Player Character doesn't fare much better in this regard. Even taking body armour only allows for a couple of extra hits.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Due to the way bullet penetration works, it's possible to line up multiple enemies with a single shot.
  • Optional Stealth:
    • Enemies are initially unaware of your presence, allowing you to get the drop on them. One they spot you, though, their comrades are alerted. The game provides a number of silenced weapons, such as the Ruger Mark II and the MP5SD, to allow for stealth kills.
    • An early mission in the first game provides a great example of this. The mission objective is to retrieve a codebook that will allow you to track down the first campaign's Big Bad and to do so undetected. Being spotted by the enemy simply prompts Mission Control to tell you to carry on with the mission anyway.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: Averted. While pistols are capable of One Hit Kills and a silenced pistol is a useful tool for stealth kills, their lack of spare magazines, small capacity, and limited range make them a poor choice as a primary weapon.
  • Ranged Emergency Weapon: The pistol, due to its small magazine, small amount of spare mags and short range, is not really a good choice for protracted combat. Although, if you choose a silenced pistol, it makes a decent stealth weapon for close range kills.
  • Rare Guns: Land Warrior adds some pretty obscure guns, like the Pancor Jackhammer, the H&K P11, the APS Underwater Assault Rifle and the H&K G11 to its arsenal. The H&K Mark 23 SOCOM appears regularly throughout the series as a standard sidearm from the second game onwards.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Defied. Guns have a realistic effective range in line with their Real Life counterparts. This is part of what makes the M4 so versatile, as thanks to its scope, it can be used for improvised sniping at a decent distance.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Delta Force was one of the earliest games to depict the original M4 with options of firing semi-auto or in three-round bursts, compared to most games before and since featuring the full-auto capable M4A1 and not featuring any other fire mode. The MP5 and M249 can also be toggled between full-auto and semi-auto (with the MP5 also having a three-round burst mode).
    • You can actually fire a single shot while reloading a weapon set to semi-auto or burst fire, simulating a round being left over in the weapon's chamber; the extra shot is then deducted from your next clip, with a slight delay upon completing the reload to chamber a new round.
    • Standard weapons will not fire underwater. Specialist firearms appear for underwater combat and, just like their real life counterparts, they suffer from the Crippling Overspecialization of being a lot less useful on land.
  • Simulation Game: Unlike its contemporaries, Delta Force requires relatively methodical fighting. Sniping is a far better tactic than running and gunning and making use of the high ground is recommended. The player is generally part of a team, as opposed to a One-Man Army, with a few exceptions. Players and computer controlled characters are fragile and cannot absorb walls of lead. Ammunition is limited and must be spared.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Whiskey One, the artillery officer that provides fire support in certain missions, is the only female NPC present.
    • The second game adds a female voice for the mission briefings. The player has the option of being female as well, making her the lone woman in a squad of men.
  • Sniper Rifle: The early games give two dedicated weapons for sniping; the M40A1 and the Barrett. The M4 comes with a scope, allowing it to be used for sniping, albeit at shorter distances, but adequate for the game.
  • Sniping Mission: The not-quite-sandbox nature of the games provides lots of wide open spaces which makes sniping a viable tactic for many missions. In fact, due to the player's relative fragility, it's pretty much encouraged.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: This was one of the earliest first person shooters where the enemy doesn't start out guns blazing, nor do they all immediately go to that as soon as the first one detects you, instead patrolling around or standing guard calmly. Silenced weapons allow for Optional Stealth, but eventually, the mission inevitably turns into a full on firefight.
  • Stopped Numbering Sequels: Delta Force 2 was the only traditional numbered sequel in the franchise, although Xtreme 2 is also a numbered sequel.
  • Storming the Castle: Many missions involve simply assaulting an enemy base and securing whatever assets are present. A notable instance occurs at the climax of the Peru campaign in the first game. After dismantling his operation, you're tasked with assaulting the Big Bad's fortified mansion in order to capture him. The game recommends you bring LAWs with you and there's a sweet spot in his perimeter wall for you to blast open.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Several missions involve demolitions, mostly of vehicles and ordnance in the first game, but extending to buildings as well in the second. You're provided with a number of explosive weapons ranging from grenades (both thrown by hand and launched from a grenade launcher), to satchel charges (which won't detonate in the first game, due to a bug, but fixed for the sequels), to LAW rocket launchers, to the laser designator (which is only available for certain missions).
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The M4 Carbine in the earlier games can be used as a close quarters weapon and to pick off enemies at a distance with its scope, comes with either a Masterkey or a Grenade Launcher depending on which game you're playing, and has semi auto and three round burst options. About the only thing it doesn't have is a silenced option. In Land Warrior and Task Force Dagger, the OICW fills this role, having a decent rate of fire in bursts for close-quarters, a 6x scope for long range, and its integrated multi-shot grenade launcher to take care of heavier threats. To a lesser extent, the Steyr AUG falls into this category, but has a smaller magnification scope and, in Task Force Dagger, no grenade launcher, in return for a larger magazine.
  • Timed Mission: "Operation Flashpoint" in Land Warrior has a strict five minute time limit, the first minute of which is used for the helicopter ride in, after which the dirty bomb the player is supposed to find and disarm is detonated.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Depending on the game, you cannot take weapons or restock ammo from fallen enemies (the latter is justified in the first game due to 99% of enemies wielding AK-47s), though sometimes you can find ammo caches for your own weapons within enemy bases.
  • Vapor Ware: Delta Force: Angel Falls was announced in 2008, and as far as anyone can ascertain was apparently quietly cancelled sometime around 2012.
  • Video Game Remake: Xtreme recycles the Peru, Chad, and Novoya Zemlya campaigns from the original game.
  • Weapons of Mass Destruction: Several missions involve the recovery of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons from various terrorist groups and rogue states. Some missions have the destruction of these weapons as a failure condition, since they would contaminate the region in such a scenario. The recovery of nuclear weapons typically makes up the climax of a campaign.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: For whatever reason, only the player character can accomplish mission objectives, and dying results in the mission being aborted for all of your squadmates.
  • A Winner Is You: The original game only gave a small debriefing text upon completion of a mission. The second game didn't even have that.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The first Chad mission in the first game requires you to rescue a hostage... but when you get to the enemy base, the hostage isn't there and you're told to get out right away. The rest of the campaign has you taking on the terrorist cell responsible while tracking the hostage down.
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