Duty Calls: The Calm Before The Storm is a playable parody of the Call of Duty franchise (specifically the Modern Warfare games) and those that follow in its footsteps such as Battlefield: Bad Company and Medal of Honor, poking fun at some of the most pervasive, cliched tropes in modern military shooters with an extremely short campaign (roughly five minutes in length). You, the player, must storm an enemy base, witnessing the brutal horrors of war and the unending monotony of shooting uniform-clad soldier after uniform-clad soldier with the same boring weapon, ranking up before taking down the enemy leader and securing the nuclear missile bomb, ensuring the United States' victory over enemy forces once again.
In actuality, the game is a covert advergame developed by People Can Fly, developers of Painkiller, to advertise Bulletstorm, a game that couldn't possibly be farther from yet another boring military shooter game, showcasing the monotonous predictability of modern military shooters in contrast to Bulletstorm's own take on brutal videogame violence. It's been speculated that Duty Calls was the developers' way of compensating for the lack of a PC version of the Bulletstorm demo, though how much better a job Duty Calls does in advertising Bulletstorm is debatable. It's still funny, though.
This game features examples of:
- Advertisement Game: It advertises another game, Bulletstorm.
- America Saves the Day: "U.S.A. Is Dominate!"
- Cue the player character giving a thumbs-up with American flags and fireworks sprouting out of them.
- Artificial Stupidity: The enemy A.I. is limited to standing in one spot and shooting at you. It is a 5-minute promotional parody and not an actual game, after all.
- Bad "Bad Acting": The characters grossly exaggerate how voice acting in shooters can fail to be as dramatic as they try to be.
- Big "NO!": The mook in the Jeep does this when the game goes into slow motion for some reason.
- Blah Blah Blah: The briefing."Here's your objective: Blah blah blah blah, Secret Base. Blah blah blah, plans. Blah blah blah Nuclear missile bomb. Blah blah blah counting on you, utmost importance, win, good luck."
- Bullet Time: The game goes into slow motion so you can defeat an enemy who killed one of your allies.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Most of the mooks you encounter declare themselves as enemies.
- Cliché Storm: Parodied.
- Cutscene Incompetence: Lampshaded.
- Death Is Dramatic: One of your allies tries to advance the story about halfway through, but gets killed by an enemy in a Jeep. He dies, then says that he has died and laments about how this has increased the drama of the story after dying.
- Deconstruction Game
- Department of Redundancy Department: The ranks you go up in, starting with "Master Sergeant Shooter Person" and culminating in "Sergeant of the Master Sergeants Most Important Person of Extreme Sergeants To The Max".
- Earned Stripes: Parodied, as the chevrons just keep piling on the Sergeant rank without moving onto the Lieutenant equivalent.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: The military vehicle that can be shot, explodes.
- Excuse Plot: See Blah Blah Blah.
- Eyepatch of Power: The Leader Enemy Boss.
- Foregone Victory: All the enemies never attack on their own (two of them only attack through scripted events), and you can never run out of ammo.
- Guttural Growler: Leader Enemy Boss. It's how you can tell he is the leader of the bad guys.
- Hitbox Dissonance: The hitbox of the enemy soldiers are much smaller than it looks like.
- Hypocritical Humor: While they avoided this for the most part, there are still a couple of glaring instances.
- The "B-B-B-B-BLOODY SCREEN!!!" and regenerative health are used in Bulletstorm, no satire involved.
- The game parodies scripted events. Bulletstorm, unfortunately, has a few of these. Again, no satire involved.
- Also, it's rather ironic that in Duty Calls you can only jump an inch off of the ground but in Bulletstorm you can't jump at all.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: It's impossible to jump over the sandbags.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: For no good reason, you can pick up a small meaningless stick and 500 sheets of wide ruled notebook paper when you find them.
- Lampshade Hanging: Frequently.
- MacGuffin: The Russians have the nuclear missile bomb. They will never give it to you!
- Major Injury Underreaction: When enemies get hit, they say a delayed "ow".
- Medium Awareness: Multiple times. An example:U.S. Soldier: Hey Foxclub Niner, I'm gonna point at you and say something serious to further develop the game's storyline.
(Jeep runs over him)
U.S. Soldier: Ow! I'm dead, increasing the drama of the story.
Russian Soldier: Ha ha! You cannot stop me, unless the game goes into slow motion and I become easy to shoot.
(the game goes into slow motion and he becomes easy to shoot)
Russian Soldier: Ooooohh noooooo.
- Mundane Made Awesome: "B-B-B-BLOODY SCREEN!!! So real..." Doubles as Hypocritical Humor as the game it's promoting does the exact same thing.
- No Fourth Wall: Almost every character heavily implies that they are video game characters, with three of them outright stating that they are in one.
- No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: The game takes place in a very linear area.
- Rank Up: Once every one or two kills.Rank up! Master Sergeant Shooter Person!
Rank up! Master Sergeant Shooter Sergeant Person!
Rank up! Sergeant Sergeant Master Sergeant Shooter Person!
Rank up! Master Sergeant Shooter Sergeant Important Person of Sergeants Extreme!
Rank up! Sergeant of the Master Sergeants Most Important Person of Extreme Sergeants to the Max!
- Real Is Brown
- Regenerating Health
- Stealth Pun/Pun-Based Title: Duty Calls.
- Take That!: A big one to military FPS games like Modern Warfare that focus on "gritty realism" at the expense of "fun". Ironically, Modern Warfare was a big take that to fun, jingoistic war shooters in the first place, deliberately (and subtly) subverting many of those cliches like America Saves the Day and Patriotic Fervor. Essentially, Duty Calls is the parodic Scary Movie to Modern Warfare's satirical Scream.
- Tempting Fate: Invoked by the Jeep driver, as noted above.
- That Makes Me Feel Angry: "I am crying tears."
- Totally Radical: TO THE MAX!
- Unsound Effect: "Bo-ring! Bo-bo-bo-bo-bo-ring!"
- Wham Line: Parodied. "I'm gonna point at you and say something serious, to further develop the game's storyline."