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Video Game / Empire at War

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A 2006 Star Wars Legends Real-Time Strategy game developed by Petroglyph and published by LucasArts with the aim of eliminating the bad name Star Wars RTS games had acquired.

Empire at War is set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, covering how the Alliance acquired their resources and the Empire's response, ending with either the destruction of the Death Star I or the Emperor congratulating Vader on the capture of five possible Alliance bases, respectively.

The expansion pack Forces of Corruption is set between the events of the destruction of the first and second Death Stars, following the story of the intergalactic crime lord Tyber Zann and his organization, the Zann Consortium.


Empire At War contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Achilles' Heel: Imperial Capital ships have external shield generators. Destroying them will make taking down the other hardpoints an easier task. All Capital ships will be sitting ducks if you destroy their engines too.
  • Adaptational Badass: Thought not to the level of the Empire, the Alliance from this game has a variety of astonishingly powerful heavy vehicles that are not found in any other EU work. The main of them is Garm Bel Iblis's Gargantuan massive hovertank.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In their home game, Dark Troopers were treated like one-man armies capable of destroying a Rebel base in minutes (that is in the cutscenes; in gameplay, they're just incredibly dangerous enemies). In Forces of Corruption, while still quite capable of slaughtering infantry and the later phases are designed to outmatch vehicles, they aren't as destructive as the Dark Forces cutscenes portrayed them, the Phase II and III models are much slower, and are all easily destroyed by anti-vehicle weaponry (although, this may be justified for balancing reasons and different game genres, as Dark Troopers were incredibly threatening from the perspective of a first-person shooter, and the original Battlefront games' Phase Zero Dark Troopers aside, Dark Troopers had never been shown in battlefield scenarios before that).
  • Amazon Brigade:
    • The Dathomiri Witches, an all-female Force-using organisation. And their rancors.
    • The Twileks (which are represented as all-female) in both games, but particularly in FoC which, as the Consortium, you had the option of enslaving and sending into battle.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In order to take over a planet you need to destroy every enemy unit and building. To avoid the player wasting time running around the map hunting down that one elusive last enemy, the game will lift the Fog of War shortly after all the buildings are gone.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack : Proton Torpedos, Mass driver cannons, Geonosian sonic blasters, and some missiles can punch through shields, damaging the hardpoints.
  • Asteroid Thicket:
    • There are fairly small ones — but big enough to make it dangerous for anything larger than a corvette to pass through — in most space maps. In the expansion, Consortium space units are unaffected by asteroids and become invisible to enemy radar; Tyber Zann says it best:
    Tyber Zann: Asteroids? Let them come and fight me!
    • The Vergesso Asteroids are a conquerable location, and in the FoC expansion the same applied to the remains of Alderaan.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Said word-for-word by Tyber Zann as one of his attack voicelines in space.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Setting up Star Destroyers against Rebel Frigates in one on one battles looks awesome, but due to the Rebels' superior speed it is much easier as them. Their special ability to give all power to the shields is much more useful in one one duels than the Imperial special abilities making the Empire more dependant on bomber support to defeat the Rebel frigates, and it's not easy to do so, because the TIE Fighter is patently inferior to the X-Wing; the TIE Interceptor in the expansion rectifies this a little, but then there's the A-Wing and dedicated anti-fighter ships such as the Corellian Corvette and Marauder Cruiser.
    • Super Star Destroyers (or Star Dreadnoughts) are ludicrously powerful, having several dozen turbolaser platforms capable of terrifying barrages of fire, and can easily take on large fleets all by itself... unless the fleet is able to position themselves behind it, due to the majority of its weapons being placed on the front half. It requires a support fleet to protect its flank to last beyond even one such battle, which is difficult, since it takes up such a large amount of force count (the maximum amount of ships allowed to be on the field at once) that only a few other ships can come in to help. And if it's over a Rebel planet with an ion cannon, that SSD may as well be a credit sink.
    • The Zann Consortium's Ewok Handlers are a darkly comedic unit that is used for destroying bunkers and other structures. However, the handlers are infantry units that take a bit of time preparing their Ewok bombs, they don't have any other means of defending themselves, the Ewoks can be killed before they detonate, and the Consortium has access to much more mobile and better-defended artillery units in the MZ-8 Mobile Pulse Cannon and the MAL. The only advantage they have over the vehicle-based artillery is their access to infantry-only terrain.
    • True to form, the Death Stars can be this as well. While the ability to destroy planets may benefit the Empire as it will eliminate the need for ground battles, it can easily hurt them as well due to the planet having its tactical advantage removed (especially if the planet in question favored the Empire or had high income value). It also takes a very long time to get from planet-to-planet, even with trade routes, and will travel even slower with a fleet escort. In many of the vanilla game's Galactic Conquest scenarios, the Death Star's destruction is an instant lose condition for the Empire, and will be destroyed if the Empire loses in a battle with both the Death Star and Red Squadron present. In FoC, the Death Star II has the ability to instantly destroy capital ships during battle, but there is a large amount of cooldown time between shots. While its destruction isn't an instant lose condition due to the three faction war, the Empire can still lose it permanently either to Rogue Squadron in battle (same way as the vanilla game) or IG-88 hacking it (although that costs the Consortium losing IG-88 for the rest of the Conquest scenario, but at the same time, doing so blows up whatever planet the Death Star II is over, plus all space forces, and temporarily removing any heroes from play).
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier:
    • HTT-26 Heavy Troop Transports, HAV/r B5 Juggernauts, F9-TZ Cloaking Transports can all carry soldiers around, as well as some light vehicles or combat droids at the cost of some carrying space. The Juggernauts are even more awesome because they have a pair of guns that act like anti-infantry turrets and shoot down enemy missiles.
    • The AT-AT, though Gameplay-wise doesn't actually carry troops; rather, it can generate two squads of Stormtroopers. Even after Forces of Corruption introduced garrison units/structures, the AT-AT wasn't updated to be such a unit (although, it's possible it wasn't updated to avoid overshadowing the Juggernaut as a troop carrier).
    • The Gargantuan — Garm Bel Iblis's hovertank — can carry four units of infantry, which isn't even half as much of the unit capacity of non-hero transport units, but this may be justified for balancing reasons, as the Gargantuan is a mobile fortress compared to the other transports (probably for the same reason why the AT-AT wasn't updated into a garrison unit).
  • Badass Baritone: The Rebels' Nebulon-B Escort Frigates' comms officer:
    "Nebulon-B Frigate here. Coordinates received."
  • Barrier Warrior: Rebel EF76 Nebulon-B Escort Frigates, Assault Frigate Mk IIs, MC80 Star Cruisers, and Home One can divert extra power to shields at the cost of speed and firepower.
  • Bash Brothers: Tyber Zann and Urai Fen.
  • The Battlestar: Most of the larger Imperial ships carry a complement of TIE/ln fighters and TIE/sa bombers.
  • Beast of Battle: The Dathomiri Witches employ rancors as mounts and Attack Animals.
  • Beam Spam: Imperial Tartan-class Patrol Cruisers, Acclamator II-class Cruisers, and Victory-class Star Destroyers have a special ability that lets them do this, though at the cost of speed and shield regeneration. Other units with similar abilities are AT-STs, Colonel Veers' custom AT-AT Blizzard 1; in the expansion, the Admonitor and TIE Defenders can also do it.
  • BFG:
    • Tyber Zann wields a shotgun that is capable of flattening entire squads with one shot.
    • The Aggressor-class Destroyer of the Consortium is a ship version, carrying two BFG hardpoints. Lampshaded by it's quote upon completion:
    Aggressor-class Destroyer: Need a really big gun?
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's text by the developers on one of the menu screens in Aurebesh.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Playing as the Rebel Alliance you will need to "liberate" planets whose citizens wish to remain with the Empire.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Urai Fen's vibroblades are held with a Katar-like grip perpendicular to the blade.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Y-wing and MPTL-2A Artillery, which are both early-game, cheap units, but the Y-Wing is the Rebels' only way to take large capital ships down and the MPTL-2A, while squishy, has its uses both in offence and defence. Plex Missle Soldiers count too, while unable to defend themselves against enemy infantry, they're effective against enemy armor (even AT-AT's with enough units and patience.)
  • Bounty Hunter: Boba Fett, Bossk, and IG-88 all show up, and have the ability to temporarily remove enemy heroes from play. Mods tend to add the other bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back such as Zuckuss, 4-LOM, and Dengar.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In a possible goof on the part of the developers, the Aggressor-class destroyer will sometimes respond to being clicked by saying "Responds to being called?"
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Various Clone Wars-era vehicles, such as ISPs (called 'Swamp Speeders' in-game), AT-APs ('Pod Walkers'), Alpha-3 Nimbus-class "V-Wing" Starfighters, and Venator and Acclamator-class Star Destroyers are still used, whether by the Rebels, the Empire, or bands of pirates, decades after their development and initial deployment. This is downplayed, however, as while they are very dangerous weapons in the early game, they usually become less effective as all playable factions' tech trees grow and gain access to more all-around superior vehicles (or black market upgrades in the Consortium's case).
  • Bus Crash: Captain Antilles had left to tend to some business involving the Death Star plans late in the Rebel Campaign. He had a run in with Vader.
  • Cannon Fodder: Rebel Infantry, Imperial Stormtroopers, and Consortium Grenadiers
  • Captain Obvious: Several minutes into a pitched space battle, the computer will announce "Our space station is under attack!" Sometimes Justified.
  • Car Fu: It is generally more efficient to run infantry over with tracked vehicles or walkers rather than let them shoot at each other. The TIE Mauler in particular got its name In-Universe for being one of the most effective at doing this.
  • Catchphrase:
    Tyber Zann: Time is money.
  • Charged Attack: The Merciless has one.
  • Charm Person:
    • Silri, as a Dathomiri witch, can do this. Urai comments about it, noting that her Force influence is slowly affecting Tyber, leading to the latter to authorize him to kill her when their goals are completed.
    • In the base game on the Empire side the Emperor and Mara Jade can turn enemy units on to their own side. The effect is permanent, but it takes a long time to recharge and the controlled units gradually have their health fade away.
  • The Chessmaster: Tyber Zann and the Emperor.
  • The Chick: Mon Mothma for the Rebel Alliance. Compared to all the other rebels with speaking roles, she is the most logical and quiet one.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Its possible to instantly kill troops by running them over with vehicles. In fact, there are two "levels" of these crushers, with the largest vehicles able to instantly kill other, smaller vehicles, which themselves may be able to crush troops.
  • Cognizant Limbs: The Hardpoint mechanic, used with any ship bigger than a corvette and space stations in the Space battles.
  • Colonel Badass: Maximillian Veers. Promoted to Four-Star Badass in the Expansion Pack.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience
  • Combat Pragmatist: Grand Admiral Thrawn, as usual.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Tyber Zann's design was stated to have been based on Jason Isaacs, more specifically his portrayal of Lucius Malfoy.
  • Continuity Nod: Several ships and units featured in the game were created in established works, such as Dark Forces, Dark Empire and Shadows of the Empire.
  • Convection Schmonvection: While this is played straight for most volcanic planets (such as Sullust, Aeten II, and Mustafar), this is averted with Shola. The air is so hot that all non-droid infantry units take damage over time (this does not apply in the Skirmish Mode map). In another aversion, Forces of Corruption introduced partially-cooled lava as traversable terrain, which automatically damages infantry walking on it.
  • Cool Old Guy: In the original game, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Garm Bel Iblis takes this a step further by piloting a hovertank that can routinely wipe out entire armies.
  • Cool Plane: Rebel T-47 Airspeeders and Imperial Lancet Aerial Artillery.
  • Cool Ship: The expansion adds Vader's Executor Super Star Destroyer. Bow to stern, it reaches across one third of the tactical map by itself.
  • Cool Sword: Lightsabers.
  • Cowardly Boss: Moff Kalast, which runs away from you multiple times in the Imperial campaign despite having an Imperial Star Destroyer.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Squadrons lose men, tanks, or fighters, and starships have "hardpoints" which represent weapons, shield generators, engines, and fighter bays. Hardpoints can be individually targeted, reducing the effectiveness of the vehicle they're mounted on (and blowing a great ruddy hole where they used to be) when destroyed. When all hardpoints are destroyed, the ship goes "boom". Large vehicles like the AT-AT play it straight, however.
  • Deadly Force Field: In Forces of Corruption, the Gargantuan hero vehicle can use "Shield Flare", completely depleting its shields... but unleashing a shockwave that destroys most nearby enemy units.
  • Death World: While a lot of planets in the game qualify for various reasons, Shola makes all the other volcanic worlds look like habitable paradises. After an excavating accident gone wrong wrecked the world and killed all life on it, there are constant groundquakes, volcanic ash falling at all times and searing hot air. In gameplay, this translates to infantry units (barring droids) taking damage over time, averting Convection Schmonvection.
  • Defenseless Transports: Ground units are moved from system to system by unarmed shuttles. In the Empire's case ships that were quite clearly shown launching from Star Destroyers in the films.
  • Defog of War:
    • The sensor ping ability of MPTL-2A Artillery Spotter Droids and TIE Scouts.
    • Sensor Nodes, while stationary, are designed to do this indefinitely over a set distance. Imperial MDUs can have Sensor Nodes armed with discharge cannons for defense against infantry built on them.
    • In Forces of Corruption, Yoda can do a map-wide version of this.
    • Some maps have an Abandoned Sensor Array that removes the fog of war once captured.
    • As noted above, after the last enemy building has been destroyed, the fog will be lifted. If the enemy has no buildings on the planet, the fog will be lifted upon initial contact with the enemy.
  • Death from Above: If you have bombers in orbit, they can be sent on a bombing run to support ground troops. In Forces of Corruption, you can call in an orbital strike by capital ships. The trope is also reversed during space battles, as if you have the proper buildings you can fire an ion cannon or ground-to-orbit mass driver at enemy ships.
  • Doomed by Canon: In the Rebel Campagin, Captain Antilles will be murdered by Darth Vader and Alderaan will be destroyed no matter what.
  • The Dragon: Urai Fen to Tyber Zann.
  • Dummied Out:
    • The Alpha-3 Nimbus-class "V-Wing" Starfighter and Venator-class Star Destroyer (though both were included in FoC, only the Venator is controllable and only in Skirmish Mode as a bonus ship you can purchase from a Pirate Asteroid Base or Merchant Space Dock).
    • Petroglyph planned for Force of Corruption to have an ingame editor for custom Galactic Conquest maps, but it was scrapped. In a rare case of the dummied content still being plainly visible to the end user, the Custom Campaign button is still there on the Galactic Conquest menu, just greyed-out.
  • Easily Conquered World: The AI are prone to leaving many of their planets relatively undefended.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the last mission of the Forces of Corruption campaign, you gain access to the Eclipse.
  • EMP: Various units and buildings can use those to disable machines:
    • The Magnapulse Cannon for the Empire and Aggressor-class Star Destroyers for the Consortium.
    • Han Solo has an "EM Burst" special ability.
    • Y-Wings have Ion cannons as a special ability, and there are Ion cannon hardpoints on some capital ships and space stations.
  • The Empire: The Galactic Empire.
  • End of an Era: Voice-wise, this was the final game for several actors. These were:
    • Nick Jameson as Palpatine (he was replaced by Sam Witwer starting in The Force Unleashed for the video games, and by Ian Abercrombie, and later Tim Curry and even Ian McDiarmid in the TV series)
    • Scott Lawrence as Darth Vader (he was replaced in the video games by Matthew Sloan, and in television appearances by James Earl Jones reprising the role; downplayed in that Lawrence returned franchise in Star Wars Resistance, and got to voice Vader again in the 2019 VR game Vader Immortal)
    • Denny Delk as the narrator (he had also provided the narration for the Rogue Squadron games)
    • Carolyn Seymour (she had done voice acting for numerous female characters since the Phantom Menace video game adaptation; here, she voices Mon Mothma, having also voiced her in Jedi Outcast)
  • Enemy Mine: Tyber Zann briefly allied himself with the Alliance to Restore the Republic ostensibly to take out the Eclipse. Unfortunately for the Alliance, Zann had other plans as soon as he got the Eclipse.
  • Escort Mission:
    • One early mission in the Rebel campaign had you escorting some pilots to steal the prototype X-wing fighters under the Empire's nose. While they have to survive for you to win, thankfully you can control them and keep them sandwiched between your other units.
    • In another Rebel mission, you have to guard a group of transports from an ever-increasing amount of Imperial ships as a group of troopers searches a space station for information.
  • Every Man Has His Price: Tyber Zann's special ability, "Bribe". Notably how he recruits Bossk from the Hutts.
  • Evil Brit:
    • The Emperor, Tarkin, Piett, Veers, Thrawn, everybody who has their own Star Destroyer...
    • Subverted by the Rebel informant, Moff Kalast.
  • Expy:
    • The Rebel's T4-B tank (sporting twin twin laser cannons and a missile launcher) was designed as a homage to the Command and Conquer Mammoth Tank by ex-Westwood Studios staffers working at Petroglyph.
    • Regarding Tyber Zann in Forces of Corruption, he is basically Lucius Malfoy mixed with the personality of either a James Bond villain and a space pirate.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Or 'hyperspace'.
  • Fast-Roping: The AT-AT's deploy stormtroopers ability. Given how the AT-AT is designed to be an Awesome Personnel Carrier, it only makes sense that it has a lot of meat for the grinder.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Imperial TIE Mauler tank. It's unshielded (which is standard for the TIE series of vehicles) and only equipped with an anti-infantry laser, but it's very nimble which makes crushing infantry under it's treads a viable strategy.
  • Friendly Fireproof: You can safely order artillery or air strikes on your own position without the fear of harming your own troops.
  • From Camouflage to Criminal: Zigzagged with Tyber Zann. He had already managed to set up his own small crime ring in his youth. When he got caught, his father sent him to the Imperial Military Academy in an effort to straighten him out. Zann used the training, access to military equipment and the travel opportunities to lay the foundation for what would become the Zann Consortium.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Silri has a pet rancor named Cuddles.
  • Fog of War: Can be removed briefly with a sensor ping by some units or Yoda's Force Vision ability, or permanently via capturing a radar station on certain maps.
  • Game Mod: The game also has a very active modding community.
    • Of special note is the Thrawn's Revenge mod, which simulates five different eras of Star Wars Legends (which are progressed by killing the Empire's leader (which is usually mind-damagingly hard) or just set in one era, depending on whether you're in the grand campaign or one representing a particular period), re-scaled fighters to their proper size (and into being full squadrons, and making almost all non-corvettes into The Battlestar), and added all kinds of land and space units and heroes, ranging from pocket carriers to multiple types of Super Star Destroyers, all with lore-friendly armament (for example, the T2-B is actually an effective anti-infantry tank now). While it gets rid of the Game-Breaker Zann Consortium, it more than makes up for it with the fully featured Empire of the Hand Hidden Elf Village, as well as the Pentastar Alignment let by a warlord trying to Start My Own Imperium. Minor factions include Warlord Zsinj's Imperial splinter faction, the Yevetha Black Fleet, and the Hapes Consortium.
    • Another is Republic at War, which incorporates the Clone Wars and Prequel-era factions in general into the game.
    • There also exist several AU mods:
      • Return of the Clones sees parts of the Republic survive the transition to the New Order. Using Kamino as their capitol, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mon Mothma create a government-in-exile and use a clone army to fight the Empire. Meanwhile, the Rebel Alliance still forms on its own, and the Zann Consortium is made up of CIS droids.
      • Vader's New Order diverges after the Destruction of Alderaan, and sees Darth Vader and his apprentice, Darth Acris (named Darth Caezar, after the author, in the released version), successfully overthrow Palpatine, and Vader takes a much more active role in the day-to-day operations of the Empire. As a result of these changes to the timeline, Obi-Wan is still alive, since Vader wasn't on the Death Star when Leia was rescued. The Death Star is still destroyed, though. Meanwhile, the Zann Consortium, as in Return of the Clones, takes possession of Separatist assets. Future versions will introduce the Grand Imperium (led by Dark Jedi Jerec, and joined by Zsinj and Ardus Kaine), the Black Sun (led by Prince Xizor and joined by Darth Maul), the Hutt Cartel, and the Mandalorians. The current version also includes several NPC factions (namely Naboo and Corellia) meant to represent belligerent isolationist governments.
      • Rise of the Mandalorians takes place after Return of the Jedi, and explores the rise of a new Mandalorian Empire.
    • Other sci-fi universes have even gotten into the mix. Pegasus Chronicles uses the [1] universe to make their mod.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Zann Consortium's Defilers.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The artillery units for both the Empire and the Alliance pack a lot of firepower and if used correctly, can turn the entire tide of the battle. However, they're barely mobile (the Imperial SPMA-T artillery piece in particular) and don't have much armour or protection.
    • invokedThe Aggressor, a tier 5 capital shipnote  used by the Zann Consortium, deserves a special mention here. Shot for shot, Aggressors are the most powerful non-hero ship by at least an order of magnitude. They wield two 'special weapons' that fire plasma balls larger than most non-capital ships. Each shot has excellent range and can destroy unshielded ship hardpoints in a single hit. These guns can also fire once every few seconds. One Aggressor can take out a level 5 space station by itself. Only kept from being a complete Game-Breaker because:
      • a) These guns can only fire directly forward, and the ship takes about a minute to turn around.
      • b) If the main guns are taken out, they have only two weak laser cannons for defense, putting them on par offensively with a Tartan Patrol Cruiser (a tier 1 unit).
      • c) The Aggressor has a pathetically low six hardpointsnote  and can't target small ships, making it very easy to take out with bombers.
    • Also belonging to the Zann Consortium is the Vengeance, a tier 4 frigate armed with two forward-facing mass-driver cannons that can ignore shields and tear apart capital ships in groups. However, they are the only frigate-class ship in the game to not have shields. They can work around this shortcoming by use of their cloaking devices (which in Conquest and the FoC campaign, have to be bought from an Imperial black market).
    • TIE bombers. They're pathetically slow and die very easily but just a few squads can annihilate most weapon hardpoints on capital ships and stations in a single strafing run. Y-wings are somewhat better as they have ion cannons to stun their target with prior to strafing it.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: During Tyber Zann's story campaign, on two separate occasions Zann gets into guarded areas by simply walking with his huge blaster openly in his hand up to a guard who inexplicably does not find this the least bit alarming, and shooting the guard in the face. Bavarian Fire Drill at its finest.
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: Forces of Corruption expansion.
    • In the opening sequence, the holograms of Jabba the Hutt and Urai Fen both flicker while Tyber Zann is talking to them.
    • Jabba's hologram on Hypori flickers several times while Tyber Zann is talking to it.
  • Honour Before Reason: Grand Moff Tarkin considers retreat a coward's option, and a fleet cannot use the 'retreat' command if he's with them. (If he dies the rest of the fleet can retreat, which might make the player make the seemingly strange decision to sacrifice the Grand Moff to save the rest of their forces.)
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Death Star is completely unbeatable unless you have a particular hero unit in your fleet, Red Squadron.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Han Solo (human) and Chewbacca (Wookiee), and Tyber Zann (human) and Urai Fen (Talortai).
  • Invisibility Cloak: Tyber Zann, Urai Fen, Luke Skywalker, Noghri Death Commandos, TIE Phantoms, Vengeance-class frigates and F9-TZ Transports have this ability.
  • I Shall Taunt You / We Need a Diversion:
    • A-Wings have the 'Lure Enemy Fighters' ability, which increases their evasion and forces nearby fighter squads to engage them. This is useful for luring TIE Fighters and Interceptors away while Y-Wings unload on enemy capitol ships and X-Wings protect the fleet from TIE Bombers.
    • Canderous-class Assault Tanks have a similar ability in ground battles, but increase their shield strength (which is already impressive combined with their armor) while drawing fire instead.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Tyber Zann is strong-minded enough to resist a mind trick from Silri to free her, although he knows his potential vulnerability against it exhorts Urai to kill her if she attempts it again.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
  • La Résistance:
    • The Rebel Alliance. Also, depending on the planet, the local civilians will take up arms and side with either the Rebels or the Empire. This is really useful for the Rebels when combined with their special raid ability; the Wookiees seem to be the best, as their bowcasters are very powerful, easily wiping out Stormtrooper squads, and even being a match for AT-S Ts. Generally, alien races will fight alongside the Rebels (Notable exceptions being the Noghri, who fight for the Empire; the Twi'leks, who fight alongside the Consortium; the Tusken Raiders; and the Hutts, Mandalorians, Pyn'gani and Mustafarians, who oppose all three major factions).
  • Large Ham:
    • Tyber Zann is relatively cool and collected... unless he's on the battlefield. When he's on the ground, he takes part in Chewing the Scenery. When he's in space, he acts like a calm James Bond villain.
    • Silri, on the other hand, acts like this all the time, which tends to come with being a Dark Force user.
  • Left Hanging: In the ending of Forces of Corruption, Silri follows a map she found in the Sith Holocron to locate a cave containing an ancient army of Sith Warriors frozen in carbonite. But since Empire at War never received a sequel and the Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm rendered the old Expanded Universe obsolete, we never found out what happened next.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Garm Bel Iblis can wipe out entire garrisons by himself. His hovertank is shielded, has two heavy cannons, six anti-infantry batteries, a blast wave attack that does area damage to nearby units, is large enough to crush any non-hero unit smaller than it, and is pretty fast. The Gargantuan is even rated in-game as an AT-AT killer!
  • Long-Lived: As member of an extremely long-lived race, Urai Fen is old enough to have lived through one of the Sith Wars over a thousand years ago.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Rebel Marauder-class Corvettes and MPTL-2A Artillery, Imperial Broadside-class Cruisers and Phase III Dark Troopers, and Consortium MALs.
  • Mage Killer: The Zann Consortium has two units that are particularly specialized for dealing with Force-users, both of which are animals from Myrkr. One of the build options for their MDUs is cage with a Ysalamiri in it, which prevents all Force abilities from working in its presence, thus making Jedi and Sith easier to take down for non-Force users. If the Consortium controls Myrkr in Galactic Conquest, they can train Vornskrs, which use the Force to sense their prey and will prioritize Force users if sent out to hunt to targets.
  • Magikarp Power: The Rebels have the worst units in the beginning of the game. By Tech 5, they probably have the most versatile fleet, and on the ground, they can blitz planets with just Garm Bel Iblis.
  • Mecha-Mooks:
    • In Forces of Corruption, Imperials can create Dark Troopers on any system that has Rom Mohc's Arc Hammer over the planet. The Consortium can build upgraded versions of the Droidekas too.
    • Mods for Forces of Corruption tend to give the Consortium control over the Separatist droid forces of the Clone Wars.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Field Commanders and Fleet Commanders.
  • Mook Maker:
    • The AT-ATs, for some strange reason, never run out of Stormtroopers to deploy. There's a cap of two squads maximum for any single AT-AT, but the moment a squad gets wiped out, it's possible to send out a fresh batch to replace them. Justified for the Executor, which is canonically so big that it can literally house thousands of TIE Fighters. Its cap is ten squadrons at a time, and it's entirely possible to win a battle with Executor alone by tucking her in a distant corner of a map and sending wave after wave of fighters to wear down the enemy.
    • An early patch made it so that you could only send two waves of fighter total. But they still get replaced after battle for free, and AT-AT's still have unlimited Stormtroopers.
  • Mythology Gag: Because of their usage of droidekas and buzz droids in the base game, many mods that do give the Consortium units generally have them deploy more Confederacy space and ground units, if not outright turn them into a resurgent CIS themselves.
  • Neutrals, Critters, and Creeps: Native populations will either help or hinder the player's army depending on their faction alignment. Some populations will side with the Black Sun pirates or Hutt Cartel. However, xenophobic peoples (such as the Tusken Raiders, Pyn'gani, and Mandalorians) and vicious wild animals (such as Rancors, Wampas, the Sarlacc, and undomesticated Vornskrs) are hostile to all factions. Some wild animals (such as Womp Rats, Skettos, Gelagrubs, and Dianogas; Ysalamiri on Mykyr, while not directly hostile to anyone, passively shut down Force powers within a set radius of them) have no effect on the battle.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Darth Vader.
    • In space, his TIE cannot even be damaged until all his wingmen are dead, which means his special ability (instantly replacing all lost wingmen) renders him an awesome turbolaser shield. On top of that, he does bomber levels of damage to subsystems. The best way to defeat him is to pause the game and tell a few units that are strong against TIE fighters to target Vader's specific TIE Fighter or even use Red Squadron to use Luke's special ability on him. Oh, and in the expansion? He's not in a fighter anymore (at least in Galactic Conquest): he's in the FREAKING EXECUTOR.
    • On the ground, he takes absolutely ridiculous amounts of damage to be put down — not to mention his lightsaber all but immunizing him of blaster shots from a large angle in front of him, seemingly healing him with every deflection; units like swamp speeders run a very good chance at killing themselves attacking him. The only thing that can give him pause is massed artillery or several anti-infantry turrets clustered together — but even that can't kill him without casualties. Even Vornskrs — one of the Consortium's Force-killers — run the risk of getting killed by his Force Wave if sent against him all at once unless supported with a Ysalamiri cage. On top of all this, bacta heals him even faster than any other infantry unit, probably because he doesn't have many organic parts left.
  • Noble Demon: Urai Fen.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Neither plot follows canon exactly, but the Rebels get a much more film-like storyline.
  • No Warping Zone: The Immobilizer 418's "Gravity Well" ability prevents hyperspace travel when activated.
  • Only Friend: Urai Fen seems to be the only one Tyber Zann truly trusts, or at least his most loyal companion.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Aside from OHKing planets, the Death Star II's superlaser in the Forces expansion will take out any ship that's big enough to target, and will undoubtedly obliterate space stations as well. They just can't take firepower of that magnitude.
    • In space combat, Rogue Squadron's special ability 'Lucky Shot' allows Red 5 (Luke Skywalker) to take out a capital ship's hard point or outright destroy smaller ships in a single shot.
    • Captain Piett's Star Destroyer, the Accuser, can fire a proton beam that does the same damage as Rogue Squadron's ability.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Darth Vader. Aside from having Nigh-Invulnerability, his lightsaber destroys enemy vehicles faster than dedicated anti-vehicle weapons, he can insta-kill all enemy infantry near him and completely disables turrets while destroying them.
    • In the FOC expansion, Obi-Wan Kenobi has constantly recharging health, the ability to make himself invulnerable for a short period of time, he can make all units in the vicinity flee from him, and on top of all that, he can disable and destroy enemy turrets from a distance. Provided the Rebel player is sensible enough to know when to retreat and heal, he can easily take over an entire planet with an Obi-Wan raid. The only real threats to the lone Obi-Wan are enemy hero characters, AT-ATs, Ysalamiri cages (while not a threat to him directly, shut down his Force abilities and make it easier for Consortium players to deal with him), Vornskrs, and multiple turrets which protect each other. In the vanilla game, he had Force Heal, which healed not only himself, but all friendly infantry around him.
    • Urai Fen is capable of much the same thing, except he trades in the ability to stun turrets while damaging them for a personal cloaking device and the ability to stun infantry. Pair him with Zann, who also has a personal cloaking device as well as the ability to bribe units to fight for him as long as you have the bankroll, and you can win almost any ground engagement.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Lampshaded by Palpatine and Han Solo.
  • Passing the Torch: When Luke Skywalker becomes a Jedi Knight, Wedge Antilles will take over as the leader of Rogue Squadron. While Wedge does not have Luke's "Lucky Shot" special ability, he does have an ability that increases the speed and maneuverability of Rogue Squadron, making them much harder for enemies to hit in combat.
  • Penal Colony: Kessel, a dangerous prison world and spice mine that uses enslaved prisoners. It will generate extra income for the faction that controls it due to the spice running operations.
  • Planetville: Conquer the small map on the planet, conquer the planet.
  • Playing Both Sides: Tyber Zann says this during the Story Mode:
    Tyber: "I'll play both sides. We'll spread our corruption to Rebel and Imperial worlds alike."
  • Plot Armor: The Millennium Falcon actually has this as a special ability, to become invincible for a few seconds.
  • Pragmatic Hero: A Rebel tactic which rarely fails is to deploy Yoda when invading a planet, hide him in a corner of the map, and use his ability to see the whole battlefield whenever your 'bombing run' recharges. This allows the Rebel player to slowly pick apart the Imperial forces with bombing run after bombing run. It helps that the Computer AI rarely ever attempts to hunt down invading forces, and is more than content to keep all its units back at base, its army gradually being whittled away.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Tyber Zann, shortly after pulling what amounts to a cyber-theft of every single resource in the Emperor's treasury, left the Eclipse behind despite initially wanting to take it. His reason? He realized that the ship would be big enough of a target for even the Rebel Alliance to locate, and he already enraged them with his earlier betrayal in the middle of the battle. He also let the Rebel Alliance form their New Republic afterwards, since he saw it as an opportunity to "own a senator," in his words.
    • Similar to the entry above in Pragmatic Hero, a Consortium player with enough money can land Zann and Urai on a planet, construct lots of missile turrets all over the map, use their cloaking devices to evade enemy fire, and bribe enemy units one by one until they can crush the enemy base while Urai destroys enemy turrets.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Urai Fen.
  • Punch-Clock Hero / Villain: Smugglers and Bounty Hunters.
  • Reflecting Laser: AT-STs, AT-AAs, and TIE Maulers if Endor is controlled by the Empire in Galactic Conquest modes. In Skirmish, the Empire can get upgrades that give a few of their units reflective armour.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Turns out Tyber Zann is well known by Jabba, Thrawn and Xizor. Who knew?
  • Reverse Mole: Moff Kalast.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: As per the La Résistance trope, the civilian population of some planets are strong supporters of the Empire, meaning that the Alliance will be forced to gun down crowds of civilians and burn down their buildings when 'liberating' those worlds.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction:
    • Massive Battleships can be built in just a day or two.
    • Oddly, some ground units take longer to construct than spaceships which are hundreds of times larger in size, and considerably more expensive. For instance, three Rebel TB-4 tanks (length: 10 meters) take the same length of time to construct as a Mon Calamari Star Cruiser (length: 1,200 meters).
  • Running Gag: Han Solo can't keep his hand out of Rebel Alliance.
  • Savage Wolves: The Zann Consortium can train Vornskrs if they control Myrkr. Vornskrs sense their prey through the Force, and will prioritize Force users if they are commanded to hunt for targets, making them effective Jedi-killers. They can even track cloaked units like Noghri Death Commandos.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: TIE Maulers, MZ-8 Mobile Pulse Cannons, Vengeance-class Frigates, and Aggressor-class Destroyers have the "Core Overload" ability.
  • Send in the Clones / Palette Swap: Operates on two levels:
    • Firstly, all units look identical to units of the same type.
    • Secondly, the AI has a curious habit of building fleets almost exclusively formed of one unit. An Empire AI tends to spam attack the enemy with fleet after fleet of Interdictors. Conversely, the Rebel AI, usually unable to occupy the planets which allow them to build Mon Calamari Cruisers, enjoys creating dozens of MC-Gunships.
  • Shoot the Messenger: After a pirate captain working for the Consortium attacks the MandalHypernautics shipyards, despite Zann specifically telling them not to, he presents Zann with the new equipment they acquired, leading to this exchange:
    Tyber Zann: "Well, that is good news! Except for one thing."
    Pirate Captain: "What's that?"
    Blaster gunshot
  • Shout-Out: An early mission in the Imperial campaign is named 'Crush. Kill. Destroy.'
  • Single-Biome Planet: It is Star Wars, after all.
  • Slave Mooks: The Consortium can use these, including exploding Ewoks.
  • Space Clouds: Nebula fields disable special abilities when you send a ship into them. Ion storms (which look almost the same, but with Space Lightning) do exactly the same thing, in addition to disabling a ship's Deflector Shields.
  • Space Fighter: Z-95 Headhunters, T-65 X-Wing Starfighters, BTL-S3 Y-Wing Starfighters, RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptors, B-Wing Assault Starfighters, TIE/LN Fighters, TIE/sa bombers, TIE/sr scouts, TIE/IN Interceptors, TIE Phantoms, TIE/D defenders, Rihkxyrk-class Attack Fighters, StarViper-class Attack Platforms, and GAT-12h Skipray Blastboats all make an appearance.
  • Space Pirates: Black Sun.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Urai Fen. The game manual misspells his name "Urai Fenn", but the official website and in-game description proves Urai Fen is the correct spelling.
  • Splash Damage: Diamond-Boron Missiles.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Star Wars: Rebellion. Both are grand strategy games that loosely follow the events of the movies.
    • To both Force Commander and Galactic Battlegrounds. The former game was a poorly-received 3D RTS, while the latter game was better-received, but used a rather dated 2D sprite graphics engine at a time when nearly every other RTS series had gone 3D.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Just like the rest of the Star Wars universe.
  • Stealth in Space: Imperial TIE Phantoms and Consortium Vengeance-class Frigates have this ability, as does Tyber's flagship, the Merciless.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Defilers can set up remote explosives.
  • Subsystem Damage: Any spaceship larger than a corvette; as you will have to take out all their subsystems (shield, weapons, etc) before they will be destroyed.
  • Super Speed:
    • Rebel CR90 Corvettes, DP20 Frigates, and the Sundered Heart can divert power to their engines at the cost of firepower.
    • Han Solo, Chewbacca, Kyle Katarn, Mara Jade, and Phase I Dark Troopers have the "Sprint" ability.
  • Stripperiffic: Silri's outfit consists of an Absolute Cleavage vest, and a slit skirt that shows off a lot of leg.
  • The Syndicate: The Zann Consortium and Hutt Cartel.
  • Tank Goodness: T2-B Repulsor Tanks, T4-B Heavy Tanks, TIE Maulers, 2M Saber-class Repulsor Tanks, Canderous-class Assault Tanks.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Urai Fen and Silri hate each other, but they are obligated to team in order to get their goals.
  • Tempting Fate: Forces of Corruption. In the Hypori story mission, Tyber Zann and Urai Fen try to take over control over a factory and the droidekas it manufactures. After fighting their way to the control console:
    Urai: I have set the factory to manual, so we should have no more surprises.
    Bossk: <The enemy bounty hunter clicks off the safety on his weapon while standing right behind them>
    Tyber: You were saying?
  • Time Bomb: Rebel Infiltrators, Imperial Scout Troopers, Kyle Katarn and Mara Jade have Thermal Detonators, which go off after a delay.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Dathomiri Witches can drain the life force out of their enemies and use it to heal themselves and their rancors.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • When playing as the Empire, you can use the Death Star to destroy entire planets. Many of these planets have large sentient populations, and some of them are otherwise loyal to the Empire despite being under Rebel control. This includes Coruscant, which has a population of over a trillion.
      • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: That said, destroying a planet permanently erases any tactical advantage the planet may have provided, which can be especially disadvantageous if the planet favors the Empire. Advantages that could be lost include a planet's monetary value, unit upgrades, production cost reductions, ground space for a Hypervelocity Gun, and the ability to recruit/build specific units (For the Empire, Honoghr can produce Noghri Assassins, while Mon Calamari, Fondor, Mandalore, Hypori, Sullust and Kuat are the only planets that can build capital ships, with the latter two planets also providing cost reductions on Imperial ships and Hypori cutting down ground vehicle production for whichever faction controls it across the whole galaxy).
    • The Zann Consortium being able to enslave planets' inhabitants to use as Cannon Fodder aside (among other forms of criminal activity), the Ewok Handlers are this trope embodied as a unit. Their M.O. is to carry around captured Ewoks in a large sack before siccing them on a target as suicide bombers.
    • Walkers and treaded/wheeled vehicles, as well as some of the larger repulsorlift vehicles introduced in Forces of Corruption (namely the Gargantuan and the Consortium's cloaking transport) are capable of running infantry over. Complete with a bone crunching crack as you do it. The TIE Mauler in particular is designed to capitalize on this ability.
  • Villainous Friendship: Type 1 between Tyber Zann and Urai Fen.
  • Villain Protagonist: Tyber Zann, a criminal overlord, qualifies as this in the Forces of Corruption expansion campaign.
  • Walking Tank: AT-ATs, AT-STs, AT-AAs, SPMA-Ts, and Pod Walkers.
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • Aside from the Death Stars, Piett has one mounted on his Star Destroyer.
    • The Eclipse has one as well.
    • Also the Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon of the Aggressor-class destroyer.
  • Weather of War: Every planet has its own weather conditions which can affect the sight range or accuracy of your ground units. The negative effects can be ignored if you have purchased the survival training upgrade from the barracks in skirmish, or, in the expansion, controlling Felucia in Galactic Conquest.
  • We Have Reserves: A legitimate tactic for the attacking team (see Zerg Rush), especially for the Empire.note  The way battles work: You send your army to a planet, then choose a subset of that army to attack with using a point buy system.note  At any time your unit total is less than your point total, whether from unit losses or capturing more control points, you can call in reinforcements from your main army to any point on the map you control. It is important to note is that this trope is not in effect for the defending side. They are limited to whatever forces they had garrisoned on the planet before you attacked,note  with bonus troops granted periodically from the unit production buildings on the map (land) or from the hanger hardpoint of the space station (space). However, in land battles this remains a valid tactic up until the point the opposing side unlocks artillery. A small group of artillery deployed just out of retaliation range of a landing zone will destroy any arriving force not comprised of heavy vehicles before they get a single shot off. Your only hope to get out of this kind of situation is orbital bombardment. This tactic can be made even easier if you control Kamino, where all infantry (except field and fleet commanders) can be trained for one credit, though it takes 15% longer for balancing reasons.
  • Wretched Hive: In Galactic Conquest scenarios, a planet being one of these is usually a prerequisite for building cantinas and Hutt palaces, which are used to hire smugglers and bounty hunters, respectively. These planets include Tatooine (the Trope Namer), Abregado-Rae (a smuggler's haven, but only cantinas can be built here), Atzerri (a mostly lawless trading world infamous for excessive black market activity), Corellia (home to a number of gangs, but only cantinas can be built here, making it a more downplayed example), Ryloth (the Twi'lek homeworld and a frequent spot for spice mining and slavery), and Nal Hutta (the homeworld of the Hutts).
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Darth Vader does this to an Imperial officer after the Imperial attack on Thyferra in the first mission of the Empire campaign.
    • It's implied he does this to the player's 'character' if you fail to capture Leia.
    • Also implied (with those exact words) that he does that to an Imperial officer in the Rebellion ending to the Galactic Conquest mode, although it doesn't achieve much as the Star Destroyer he's on explodes a few seconds later.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After taking control of the Eclipse:
    Tyber Zann: "The Rebels have served their purpose. Destroy them."
  • Zerg Rush:
    • If you have enough credits, you can win any battle by just throwing more ships/troops at it. Pirates are especially prone to this, since their ships have fewer weapons and weaker shields.
    • The Consortium has the ability to "corrupt" certain planets and forcibly conscript their populations as troops (this namely applies to planets with unique and distinctive populations, like Kashyyyk's Wookiees and Geonosis' Geonosians). Such troops are far less expensive than their regular infantry.
    • On top of this, if a faction controls Kamino, they can train any infantry on the planet, including the enslaved groups mentioned above, for just one credit (though it'll take 15% longer to train them, for balance reasons). Not such a big deal for the Rebels or Imperials, with their relatively cheap units, but the Consortium will save tens of thousands on training. With the power of Consortium troops, there is little reason to train anything else and there also isn't any reason to bother with commanding a land battle, unless it's a story mission.

Alternative Title(s): Star Wars Empire At War


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