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Video Game / First Encounter Assault Recon

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Now do you know the true meaning of FEAR?
"There are plausible scientific explanations for everything that followed, but I think it was really just a question of hatred. It is the way of men to make monsters; and it is the nature of monsters to destroy their makers."
Harlan Wade

First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R) is a special operations unit working for the United States government. Their purpose: to deal with paranormal threats to national security.

As the game starts, the player takes on the role of F.E.A.R.'s new Point Man. In his first briefing, F.E.A.R. learns of a secret military project, Perseus, being run by Armacham Technology Corporation in the city of Fairport. The project, the development of a battalion of telepathically controlled "Replica" Super Soldiers, has gone haywire. The Replica battalion's telepathic commander, an unstable operative named Paxton Fettel, has led them in an uprising. It is now F.E.A.R.'s job to hunt down and kill Fettel, ending the uprising. But things start to get complicated when Alma, a little girl in a red dress, shows up and starts annihilating F.E.A.R.'s 1st SFOD-D ("Delta Force," a real-life U.S. military special operations unit) escorts, then vanishes. It's now up to the Point Man to find and kill Fettel, but this proves to be a much more difficult task than originally envisioned as Alma begins to harass Point Man for unknown reasons.


F.E.A.R. is a First-Person Shooter set up as a horror movie, which released in October 2005. The player must survive long enough to unravel the secrets of Project Perseus and its parent, Project Origin, while battling the Replica forces, ATC security teams and experiencing increasingly disturbing visions. It is not a Survival Horror game, however, but a near-future sci-fi action game with strong horror elements. The main element of the gameplay is the slow-motion reflexes feature. At will, the player can slow down time for about six or so seconds before time returns to normal. In it, you can aim and fire much faster than your enemies can, but your low health means that frontal assaults with this tactic is discouraged. Instead, the game incentivizes Hit-and-Run Tactics, which are facilitated by the Replica's deceptively intelligent and persistent A.I, and their abilities to adapt and coordinate with one another on the fly. Couple this with the fact that most of the game's shootouts take place in cramped, enclosed environments, and you get one deadly game of Cat and Mouse.


Two mostly non-canon expansions, Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate, were released just about one and two years after the original game. The former chronicles the Point Man's efforts to escape the city following the events of the main game, while the latter concerns a second F.E.A.R. team's attempts to secure sensitive information about Project Perseus near the end of the original game. Extraction Point was originally exclusive to PC, but was later ported to Xbox 360 as a bundle with Perseus Mandate, which launched simultaneously on both platforms, as F.E.A.R. Files.

The sequel, titled F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, was released in February 2009. In this game, the player controls a Delta Force operative named Michael Becket, who is sent to capture Genevive Aristide, CEO of Armacham Technology. Things get worse. Becket undergoes a brutal surgery and experimentation that leaves him a target for Alma, who hunts him down while he himself tries to evade ATC troops and Replica soldiers in order to destroy Alma for good.

The Downloadable Content F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn was released in September 2009. In this DLC, the player controls a Replica called Foxtrot 813, who goes rogue after an encounter with the ghost of Paxton Fettel, slaughtering his entire squadron while hallucinating that they are dangerous creatures trying to kill him.

F.E.A.R. 3 (written as F.3.A.R. in some ads) was released in June 2011. The story opens nine months after the events of F.E.A.R. 2, with the Point Man being interrogated in an Armacham prison. Paxton Fettel appears, and the two stage an escape, with Fettel accompanying his brother back to the warzone that Fairport has become.

A Korean-developed free-to-play game, F.E.A.R. Online, was released by Aeria Games in October 2014. The game used the F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin engine and had a Combat Arms-style free-to-play model with a crafting system and a number of weapons, items, and characters that could be purchased with in-game gold or real money. The game featured both PVP (team deathmatch and various other modes), and a 4-player co-op mode taking place immediately after the ending of F.E.A.R. 2, featuring a team of Delta Force operatives fighting their way through Fairport in the wake of Dark Signal's failed attempt to stop Alma. It was shut down in May 2015 due to poor reviews and a lack of support.

CONTACT! He's trying to trope!

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  • Abandoned Hospital: Once the "tutorial level" is done with, Project Origin properly starts off this way. Until it becomes clear it's not "abandoned" so much as "hastily evacuated" and the guys they're running from are knocking on the door. Plus, as a bonus, it gets subverted when it turns out the entire hospital is itself underground with a fake holographic skyline, presumably to fool all the patients into thinking they're in a normal hospital.
    • The final levels of Extraction Point take place inside a hospital. Much like with Project Origin however, it's not so much abandoned as it is something else, and in Extraction Point's case it's an intensely eerie gauntlet of the supernatural, decorated with numerous bodies of Special Forces soldiers and enough blood to make one think the blood bank had a recent withdrawal.
  • Actionized Sequel:
    • F.E.A.R. 3 is more actionized that its predecessors. You're constantly notified of how many points you've accumulated by completing challenges, which gives the whole thing an arcade-y score attack feel. This had a polarizing effect on both critics and gamers in general: the gun combat was fun, really fun, but the scoring mechanic detracted from the creepy feel for some reviewers.
    • If an Expansion Pack counts as a sequel, Perseus Mandate qualifies. The game focuses a lot more on firefights with scary setpieces being few and far between. Its new enemies are even closer to upgrades to the Replica than they are new varieties of ghosts.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: One multiplayer mode of F.E.A.R. 3 has this involved. Believe it or not, it's titled F*cking Run.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Alma in Project Origin — at least she deserves credit for trying.
  • Airvent Passageway: The Point Man frequently has to use these to get past impassable routes, blocked doors, or other obstacles. They also are one of the most common places to find Reflex and Health boosters.
  • A.K.A.-47: Primarily in the first game, such as an H&K SL8 with a different rear sight and magazine as the "Rakow G2A2", an unmodified SPAS-12 as the "Vollmer VK-12", or a TAR-21 with a sci-fi scope and an apparent up-chambering to 7.62mm as the "Baksha ASP". Later ones started to shift more towards hybrids of two or more real guns, like the second game's "SHO Series-3" shotgun being a Remington with a Benelli M4 stock and an M16A2's bolt and case deflector, or making the straight copies into energy weapons rather than traditional bullet-shooters, like its F2000-alike firing giant blasts of flesh-searing energy as the "Type-12 Pulse Weapon"; the game does have one interesting case where it pulls this again for a gun that already had a fake name, that being the ASP rifle returns in multiplayer, now called the "Kohler & Bock IDW-15". F.E.A.R. 3 interestingly inverts this with its successor to the above G2A2, a hybrid of the Bushmaster ACR and TDI Vector named the G3A3.
  • All There in the Manual: The game developers released a great deal of background plot information for the canon game series (especially regarding Armacham, the various Projects and Alma), but only in a promotional pre-order booklet for F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
  • An Axe to Grind: One of the weapons used by cultists in F.E.A.R. 3.
  • And Call Him "George"!: Pretty much what happens whenever Alma makes physical contact with Michael Becket.
  • And I Must Scream: Alma spent most of her life locked inside of a vault underground. Even after death, she had no escape from there until her father made the mistake of letting her out.
  • Animesque: Surprisingly, the series has much in common with anime. The Mega-Corp, psychic powers, villain origins, and military personnel bring to mind more than a few similarities with anime such as AKIRA and especially Elfen Lied, and when in slow-mo, the combat has a lot in common with the techniques seen in anime, complete with subtle Speed Lines effects. Not surprisingly, a few names, weapons, and other ideas behind the series were re-used from Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, an earlier FPS from the same developers that was much more overt in its influence from Humongous Mecha anime (and which the second game nods to by dressing a character in a T-shirt advertising a fictional sequel to Shogo).
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Replica Soldiers can shred the player's health in a few seconds, especially on higher difficulties. To prevent the player from walking around corners and being killed instantly, forcing extremely careful gameplay or Save Scumming, Replica encounters are usually preceded by loud radio chatter, letting you prepare for the fight, and will rarely happen in narrow corridors or hallways or other areas with little to no cover. They are also usually unaware of the player's presence, allowing you to move into a better position before engaging.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: In the first game, different weapons have different armor penetration values, with the battle rifle, HV Penetrator, and railgun standing out. In the second game, only the penetrator and sniper rifle have partial armor penetration, while the laser rifle completely bypasses armor. In the third game, the laser has partial armor penetration, while Fettel's psychic projectiles have full armor penetration. In fact his psychic blasts are the most powerful attacks in the game against Mechs, and in a Mech fight he's actually much more effective on his own rather than possessing a body.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The F.E.A.R. A.I. is actually a good example of emergent behavior, which is programmer-speak for "we didn't program it specifically to do that, but for some random reason it does it anyway, and it's really, really cool that it does!". In other words, a relatively simple set of rules intended for a limited set of functions actually provides for more complex behavior than intended. Specifically, the A.I. is programmed for a limited number of simple behaviors: moving in coordinated squads, providing covering fire, seeking cover, and repositioning itself based on the player's movement and position. The A.I. isn't actually programmed to flank or circle behind the player, but its tendency to seek cover and reposition itself based on the player's movements results in flanking and circling behaviors occurring naturally without "conscious" effort on the A.I.'s part (mostly due to the A.I.'s high mobility combined with its preference for seeking lateral cover rather than charging the player directly). In fact, the A.I. of the Replica Soldiers was toted as perhaps the best enemy A.I. seen in a FPS game to date, and it still holds up more than a decade later. Its only failings are that the AI is not designed to fight one another (which only happens twice in the original game for this reason, between ATC security guards and a Replica squad or a single Powered Armor, plus one occasion in Perseus Mandate where friendly Delta Force soldiers assist you in fighting Replica); that, in spite of their ability to recognize and actively avoid regular grenades, they are completely blind to mines or remote bombs set by the player, even if you plant them in full view of the entire squad; and that they don't consistently know how to deal with transparent but bulletproof surfaces, often causing them to simply stare you down through them if there isn't an immediately-obvious way to navigate around it from their position.
  • Artificial Outdoors Display: The hospital in F.E.A.R. 2 where Becket wakes up after being given his Second Hour Super Power turns out to have this; it's an underground complex with a holographic skyline outside the "windows".
  • Art Shift: The character designs in all three games are noticeably different. There was a deliberate shift in design between F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2, and the shift in the third game is due to the franchise having been transferred to a different developer. Surprisingly, the art design in F.E.A.R. 3 is largely consistent with that of F.E.A.R. 2; the major, most jarring shift is that Paxton Fettel has a completely different face in F.E.A.R. 3 compared to his appearance in the first 2 games.
  • Asshole Victim: Turns out Alma had very good reasons for telling Paxton Fettell to "kill them all". After all the shit Armacham put her through, up to and including forcibly impregnating her and stealing her children, they did indeed "all deserve to die".
  • Attempted Rape: Any time Becket has to fight Alma hand-to-hand in F.E.A.R. 2. The ending, unfortunately, makes it successful rape.
  • Autosave: All games in the series autosave after reaching a certain place and sometimes before or after a especially hard fight. The first game also has an option to save manually.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Typically applies to the BFGs, especially when you're talking about ammo abundance. As such, they generally suffer from Too Awesome to Use. F.E.A.R. 2's FL-3 Laser and Type-12 Pulse Weapon are notorious examples, the former for its ammo hunger, which is only worsened by its poor aiming system, and the latter for its extreme rarity and the fact that it straight-up disappears if you drop it.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Cultists in 3. They're barely even human anymore.
    • Alma Wade is completely bonkers is this regard too. Every time she appears, she's barely holding herself back from killing someone and it doesn't take much for her to go over the edge and fry the meat off those unlucky to be around her.
  • Babies Ever After: In the Point Man's ending of F.E.A.R. 3, at least, this is implied, as he is shown carrying off his baby sibling after Alma gives birth.
  • Back Stab: In all the games, shooting an unaware enemy typically results in an instant kill; in the third game, this is literal, through the Point Man's knife or Fettel's psychic attacks. This doesn't work on the Giant Mooks, though.
  • Badass Normal: Delta Force leader Doug Holiday manages to do just fine against everything the supersoldier Replica battalion throws at him, despite not having the superhuman reflexes of the Pointman. Alma pretty much curbstomps him, though. The nameless Delta operative from the PS3 exclusive bonus mission also does pretty good until he and his team get liquified by Alma at the end.
  • Bad Boss: The Phase Commanders in FEAR 3 who, among other things, threaten dismemberment(!) if their orders are not carried out.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In Project Origin, Aristide accomplishes all of her objectives - using Becket as bait to lure Alma to Still Island and trap the both of them, letting her use that as leverage to try to get her job back - and Alma ends the game pregnant with who is essentially the Anti-Christ.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point starts Point Man off without weapons, ostensibly justified by having just survived a nuclear explosion and a helicopter crash. Less justified is that he also loses the benefits of any of the health or reflex boosters he acquired during the original game.
    • F.E.A.R. 3 starts after Point Man has been captured and imprisoned by Armacham for an unspecified length of time.
      • Each of the Intervals, if they even start the player off with a gun, always give them the Strader Mk. VII, regardless of what weapons they had beforehand or if they even had it by the end of the Interval to begin with, and their other weapons will normally be removed from the inventory, with one exception where the player also gets a Briggs SMG to start with. Appropriately, the Point Man is permanently modeled with the Strader in a chest holster.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Lt. Stokes' uniform. To be fair, her actual body armor provides about as much coverage as those worn by the male members of Dark Signal, save for the shoulder pads some of them get. It's just her underlying shirt that's a few inches too short. Genevieve bypasses the armor entirely by shooting her in the stomach at the end of the game.
  • Beehive Barrier: The Power Armor and Elite Power Armor units in F.E.A.R. 2 have these as energy shields, while the Replica Assassins have their invisibility shield look like this.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Literally, when playing as Paxton Fettel. If your host body is killed, you lose all your psychic power; burning out means you lose about half of what you need to possess someone. In a firefight, it can be better to burn out of a body instead of allowing it to be killed, because it means you can bodyhop faster, or retain some juice in order to provide support for the Point Man.
  • BFG: Many kinds to go around with. The first F.E.A.R. and its two expansion packs alone will give you an automatic 20mm cannon, a revolving grenade launcher, a multishot rocket rifle, a frickin' laser carbine, a gatling gun, a flesh-vaporizing disintegrator ray and a chain lightning gun.
  • Big Bad: Alma, though Genevive Aristide really pushes it. F.E.A.R. 3 casts a different light on the overarching narrative, painting Paxton Fettel as the true Big Bad. Non-canonically, Alma does help the Point Man repeatedly in Extraction Point by clearing away Replicas and leading the Point Man into areas to navigate his way to pick-up - or at least her child self does; her adult/emaciated self is just as bloodthirsty and much less discriminate in who she vaporizes.
  • Big Bad Ensemble:
    • In the first game, there's Alma, Paxton Fettel, and Harlan Wade. The first two are allied, the third one is not. The disturbing thing is that the ensemble is actually your family.
      • The expansion packs pit both Alma and Fettel's ghost against each other, and also add in Senator David Hoyle.
    • The second game has a similar ensemble: Alma, Colonel Vanek, and Genevieve Aristide, all opposed to each other.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Old Underground Metro Area in Perseus Mandate is populated exclusively by Alma's hostile apparitions, and is one of the scariest places in the whole series.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Dear lord. Paxton Fettel hopes to have a reunion in F.E.A.R. 3, just in time to greet the youngest sibling.. Fettel even makes a crack about it in Perseus Mandate to the F.E.A.R. Sergeant.
    Did I ever tell you about my brother? You remind me of him... I didn't like him either.
    I never met my brother, until the day... he killed me. *Eerie chuckle* We're a... complicated family... wouldn't you agree?
  • Blackout Basement: One paranormal sequence in Project Origin. Expect it to smell like horror.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Averted in the first game, where body armor only absorbs a portion of damage, based on the armor penetration rating of the gun you get hit by. Played pretty much straight in the second game, where only a couple enemy weapons could piece armor at all.
  • Book-Ends:
    • One of the first things the player hears from Fettel in the first game is "They deserved to die. They all deserved to die." One of the last things Fettel says during The Stinger in the Point Man's ending in the third game is a repetition of those lines.
    • The first game begins and ends in, or technically just outside, the same building, where the Point Man was born. The second time it's in a hallucination, though.
    • Extraction Point gives another one, beginning and ending with a helicopter crashing or blowing up followed by Paxton Fettel repeating his narration about an apocalyptic war he saw in his dreams.
  • Boring, but Practical: While you can carry 3 weapons in the first game, you're making it a harder for yourself if 2 of those weapon aren't the shotgun and assault rifle. These weapons don't do anything special, but they do the job well enough, cover short and medium ranged battles and you can find plenty of ammo. Expect to be juggling weapons as you encounter ammo for them with the cooler guns.
    • Depending on how accurate a shooter you are, you may wish to switch the assault rifle out with the Penetrator. The Penetrator has better armor-piercing ability and more accuracy at the expense of less readily-available ammunition (it tends to come in several pickups at once and then disappear for a few levels) and much slower fire rate.
    • FEAR 2 ups the number of weapons you can carry, but you're still probably going to have one of the shotguns and the SMG or assault rifle in two of those slots for the whole game, since ammo is most plentiful for those (most everything that isn't one of those tends to get treated as a gimmick weapon and only shows up in one level), and they again effectively cover most ranges.
    • The Riot Shield in the third game. You can't move very fast with it equipped, and it limits your peripheral vision somewhat, but comes with an accurate gun and provides solid protection from attacks coming at you from the front. Also, one of the most reliable ways to take on a Phase Commander is to box him into a corner and just keep the pressure on him while using the shield as cover, occasionally going into slow-mo to heal, and then running away when he's about to explode.
    • Also from the third game, the Strader Mk. VII pistol. It has readily available ammo (though you can't hold a whole lot at once), a high rate of fire that that doesn't slow down when using slow-mo, and can kill most Armacham grunts with a single headshot. It becomes a bit less useful with the introduction of the heavy soldiers, at which point the Briggs SMG mostly takes over as the workhorse weapon due to having even more plentiful ammo and making up for low damage per-shot with its fast rate of fire and larger magazines.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • Any Powered Armor unit in either game.
    • Perseus Mandate gives us two:
      • The minigun-wielding Heavy Riot Armor. Aside from having the exact same health level as a normal Heavy Armor these guys pack an absolutely impenetrable shield that covers over half of their bodies, and the guns they carry can tear you up far faster than anything in the game bar mooks with Particle Weapons, Repeating Cannons or Lightning Arc Weapons.
      • The Nightcrawler Elites have the same SloMo ability as the player, which they use to zoom around in short split-second bursts. Running out of slow-mo when fighting them is the red flag for retreating immediately, as you need it for bringing their speed down to your level.
    • The Remnants (psychic super zombies) in Project Origin.
  • Boss Rush: The bonus mission "Arena" in Perseus Mandate features most of the game's Boss in Mook Clothing enemies dropping in to beat up on you in between waves of regular Replica soldiers. First a Heavy Armor soldier, then a REV-6, then a Heavy Riot Armor wielding a minigun, and finally a huge Leviathan mech walker that serves as the final boss.
  • Bullet Sparks: Taken to a ridiculous degree. Anything you shoot that isn't concrete or flesh will create more sparks than welding. Hell, you can even create sparks by punching something.
  • Bullet Time: The Point Man and Becket have Super Reflexes, which is depicted in-game by allowing them to temporarily enter bullet time. In F.E.A.R. 3, any time Point Man uses this ability, time also slows for Paxton Fettel - allowing him to use a special psychic shockwave attack. Completing the first game's campaign without using it nets you an achievement, "Real Time".
  • Button Mashing: Some sequences in F.E.A.R. 2 require you to do this, usually to push... beings away from you.
  • Canon Discontinuity:
    • Monolith considers the two expansions, which were made by other developers, non-canon. Some gameplay and story elements have been utilized in the proper canon, however, such as the laser weapon and the ability to punch open doors with melee or explosives. Most are noticeably different, however; the cargo plane that crashes in the city comes down noticeably earlier in 2 than in the expansions, Auburn Memorial goes from a regular hospital used as the eponymous extraction point to a front for the underground Harbinger Facility, the Replica reactivate due to Alma taking control of them rather than because of Fettel's ghost, Fettel coming back by possessing a Replica soldier rather than just coming back as a ghost, etc.
    • F.E.A.R. 3 also largely ignores the events of the first-party F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn DLC, in that Fettel is still an immaterial psychic ghost and seemingly anchored to Pointman, instead of a Psychic Commander reborn in the body of Foxtrot 813. On the other hand, it is hinted that the Fettel the Point Man works with might just be another projection like the Creep, just in the shape and identity of Fettel instead of Harlan Wade.
  • Canon Identifier: The series gives the protagonist of the first and third games the title of The Point Man (distinguishing him from Becket, the PC of the second game). Of course, this also happens to be his Canon Name.
  • Challenge Run: Beating the game without using Bullet Time earns you the "Real Time" achievement.
  • Cliffhanger: Every game in this series has managed to get away with this to some degree, including the expansion packs and the DLC.
    • The first F.E.A.R. ends with the Pointman barely surviving the nuclear explosion, only to have the game cut to the credits when Alma appears crawling into the helicopter the player is aboard.
    • F.E.A.R. Extraction Point ends with the Pointman reaching the eponymous extraction point only for the helicopter to explode for no reason right in front of the player, leaving Pointman's fate in the non-canon expansion packs a mystery.
    • F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate almost gets away with a closing (and surprisingly happy) end... but The Stinger is pulled and reveals the Nightcrawlers succeeded in their mission of bringing the Senator Paxton Fettel's DNA.
    • F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is probably the biggest if not most dramatic of them all, we're left with a sudden ending of Alma being pregnant!
    • F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn ends with Foxtrot 813 being possessed by Paxton Fettel, and Fettel proclaiming he is reborn.
    • Even the supposed series finale F.E.A.R. 3 pulls one off... in both endings: Fettel's ending is him killing his brother to supposedly possess him permanently, and then goes to take Alma's newborn baby to raise as a pawn. Pointman's ending is him exorcising his brother with three bullets to the brain, and taking the baby for himself. But in The Stinger for both endings, Fettel claims he will continue his revenge against Armacham (and possibly Point Man), and asks Point Man if he has the strength to go on as well.
  • Clone Army: The Replicas you commonly fight throughout the series are clones of Paxton Fettel developed by Armacham.
  • Cloning Blues: Averted by the Replica, to the point that it makes them even more terrifying than you'd think.
    • They appear to be Fettel's clones, although the ones you actually see unmasked are horribly deformed. There's a strong possibility that those could have been messed up at some point in their development, though, since they aren't part of the main fighting force. The Replica you control in Reborn has a perfect, unmarred Fettel face.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Terry Halford who, in the middle of explaining how to survive Alma's rampage, goes off on a brief tangent about hippos and how, when they fight, "they fling shit everywhere."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Colonel Vanek from F.E.A.R 2. To quote his words when you fight him:
    • Enemies often swear when you shoot them, which can get hilarious in Slow-Mo mode. "FFFUUUUCCCKKKK!" "SSHHHIIIIIIT!" "FFFUUUUCCCKKKK!"
      • The Replica will often swear at the drop of a hat, even to each other, with things as simple as questions on whether everyone is okay or if they see anything being responded to with "shut your fucking mouth!"
    • Snake Fist gets in on it with some of the intel in FEAR 2:
      SnakeFist says: ... Anyway, did you see my conclusions? You know, the part where it says PROBABILITY OF SUCCESS: 3% / PROBABILITY OF CATASTROPHIC SIDE EFFECTS: 84%
      [Your status is now set to Away.]
      SnakeFist says: Bitch
      SnakeFist says: bitchbitchbitchbitchbitchbitch
  • Compilation Re-release: The expansion packs for the first game, Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate, were bundled together for the Xbox 360 as a stand-alone entry titled F.E.A.R. Files, which also served as a port for the previously-PC-exclusive Extraction Point.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Some enemies can dodge anything from point-blank grenade explosions to lightning. Yes, they dodge lightning. Even more blatant since this is in a game where you can slow the game down to watch your shots make contact, but still not score a hit.
  • Contagious Powers: At first, the Point Man's superhuman reflexes were what made him unique from everyone else. Now, a whole bunch of people have them... Becket, Keegan, the F.E.A.R. Sergeant, Nightcrawler Elites, the Nightcrawler Commander, even Replica clone soldier Foxtrot 813! The Sergeant and the Nightcrawlers aren't considered canon though, and it's justified in the other cases. Beckett and Keegan get their powers from experimental surgery and Foxtrot 813 is, like all Replica, a clone of Fettel. F.E.A.R. Online posits that both Armacham and the U.S. Government have a whole bunch of psychic soldiers on their payroll (who are all playable characters, natch); Alma and her progeny just happen to be the most powerful (albeit by a very wide margin).
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Genevive Aristide in particular, but all of Armacham, really. In F.E.A.R. 2, they send a virtual army of mercenary commandos to snuff out all the evidence of Projects Origin, Harbinger, and Paragon, and were ready to be involved in the killing of children (don't worry, though, Alma going nuclear already killed them).
    • Aristide isn't worried about a psychopathic dead girl trying to destroy the Earth. She just wants her job back. Stokes lampshades this.
  • Cosmic Deadline: Quite noticeable in F.E.A.R. 3. The game has a clear beginning, middle, and finale. However, it literally jumps straight from the middle to the finale without any form of transition in between. It's especially jarring since the finale pretty much wraps up the storyline for the entire trilogy of games, so you'd think there'd be more of a build-up to it.
  • Covers Always Lie: The covers for the expansion packs Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate prominently feature a soldier in the foreground with a large explosion in the background. The implication being that the soldier is the main character. However, they are not. The soldier on the cover of Extraction Point is a Delta operator, not the Point Man, and the soldier on the cover of Perseus Mandate is a Replica Tactical soldier (one of the bad guys!), not the Sergeant. They get away with this because at no point in the game do you get a clear view of your own character. Project Origin has a similar cover, but at least the character shown is actually the character you play as.
  • Crate Expectations: Introduced in the two F.E.A.R. expansion packs, where they can contain anything from weapon caches to health boosters. Strangely, they're all marked as explosive, despite very rarely actually having any sort of explosive weapon in them (though grenades too occasionally pop up in smaller metal boxes).
  • Creepy Child: The child version of Alma. Though growing up doesn't make her one iota less creepy.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Low health only makes the Point Man breathe heavier, like he does when exiting some scare sequences - once his health actually hits zero he seems to be instagibbed. The Replica are pretty easy to turn into Ludicrous Gibs, as well, especially with close-range shotgun blasts or the damage bonus from hitting an unaware enemy.
  • Critical Hit: In the first game, your gunshots will occasionally deal a bonus effect that dramatically effects your target. For some guns, like the Pistols and the SMG, your opponents can go flying or lose their head, while the shotgun causes them to explode into red mist. Fun!
  • Crowbar Combatant: Yet another weapon favored by the cultists is the crowbar.
  • Cult: The Fairport civilians who survived the nuclear explosion and were driven insane by Alma appear to have formed these, complete with body mutilations, creation of makeshift temples, and sacrifices.
  • Cyberpunk: Replace cybernetics with Psychic Powers, and this is pretty much what the entire setting is, complete with a shockingly-powerful Mega-Corp.

    D - J 
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The control scheme in F.E.A.R. 3 is identical to F.E.A.R. 2 with one exception-the crouch and melee buttons have switched places.
  • Darker and Edgier: While the blood and atmosphere was quite bleak in the first game, the disturbing factor continued to grow with each installment. An increasingly apocalyptic atmosphere, more terrifying baddies, betrayal, and rape all contribute.
  • Death by Sex: This is pretty much what happens if Becket dies trying to fend Alma off hand-to-hand. It is implied that the Telesthetic Amplifier's enhancing of Becket's psychic power is the only thing that lets him survive being raped by Alma at the end of the game.
  • Death by Childbirth: When Alma finally gives birth in F.E.A.R. 3, her body seems to burn away into red light, and she seems to relax and be at peace. It's not made clear if Alma is actually gone, however.
  • Death Glare: The Point Man's glare in F.3.A.R. could probably make Admiral Adama quail in terror.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Oddly enough, a literal example in Becket. The only reason he's dealing with Alma is because Genevieve Aristide made him a telesthetic beacon so Alma and the Replica troops would be drawn to him. The result is that while Alma is chasing Becket, Aristide can find the Point Man without interference.
  • Depth of Field: Used a great deal in F.E.A.R. 2, particularly while aiming, to make the camera focus on what the character is notionally looking at.
  • Destructible Projectiles: Stuff like grenades, mines, bombs and even mid-flight rockets can be destroyed early by being shot or getting caught in the explosion of something else. It's an effective and even encouraged mechanism, and relatively easy thanks to Bullet Time, such as shooting a grenade while the person throwing it is still within its blast radius. A more effective manner of using grenades yourself, as well, is to throw one, enter slow-mo with an accurate weapon like the Penetrator, and shoot it when it's close to who you threw it at, since it will otherwise only detonate at a convenient time (i.e. before the grenade itself bounces past the enemy or they get into cover) if you manage to directly hit them with it.
  • Determinator: Alma. Not even being in an induced coma stopped her from trying to get revenge and mind-controlling Paxton Fettel. She literally refused to die for six days without life support, and when she finally did, it didn't slow her down much.
    • The Replica also fit under this as a whole. Once a psychic commander gives them a task, they will stop at nothing to complete it, at the cost of their own lives.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: The cultists in the third game will keep attacking you even if you blast off one or more of their limbs.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A well timed kick is enough to ward off Alma when you confront her near the end of the game.
  • Diegetic Interface: FEAR 2 projects the HUD onto Becket's Cool Shades. The HUD as such goes missing in one occasion where they're removed, and getting hit by attacks with an EMP effect shorts it out temporarily.
  • Disc-One Nuke: You can obtain the Penetrator in an early level in the first game, where it'll two-shot pretty much anything short of a Heavy Armor unit.
  • Double Entendre: The final level of Project Origin is called "Climax." Guess what Alma does in that level. Even better, the Interval that level is a part of is named "Union".
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male:
    • The end of F.E.A.R. 2 averts this trope massively.
    • And FEAR 3 confirms it. Beckett's response to being raped by Alma is confused hatred and rage, with Becket demanding that the Point Man kill the unborn child.
  • Downer Ending: Paxton Fettel's ending in F.E.A.R. 3 certainly qualifies.
  • Downloadable Content: F.E.A.R. 2: Reborn.
  • Drop the Hammer: A few of the cultists wield hammers.
  • Dummied Out: This video features some cut dialogue from the Replica soldiers in the first game that indicates originally, the Armacham executive they were looking to capture was actually Harlan Wade. In the final product, it was changed to Norton Mapes.
  • Easter Egg:
    • Near the end of the original, checking out an area behind a flaming gas leak the player never actually has to deal with to finish the level leads to not only one of the final health boosters in the game, but a room with a radio playing a news report ("Five car pile-up on Maritropa route five when a completely chromed motorcycle entered traffic, apparently blinding several motorists") and then the theme song from Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.
    • There's a bit in Project Origin where you fight from a school stage that was interrupted mid-play. You can hide behind a cardboard donkey, and the Armacham soldiers will immediately say "The ass! He's behind the ass!"
    • Extraction Point has one in the Hospital level. Shooting a ventilation grate on the wall of an exam room opens up a back wall that leads to Norton Mapes doing a strange little jig. Mostly loved by players because it lets them finally shoot the bastard.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Both of the first two games have these, but the one in F.E.A.R. 2 is so huge that it encompasses a whole hospital and you spend nearly a third of the game's levels just getting to the surface. There's even a ridiculously huge underground train network.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The first game have Replica Elites, who are tough enough to (barely) survive a One-Hit Kill shot from the plasma sniper or a frag grenade, and who sometimes carry the MP-50 autocannon.
    • Replica Elites in the second game wear bulky heavy armor than lets them soak more than twice as much damage as regular Replica soldiers, without impeding their speed or mobility.
    • The Replica in general become these in F.E.A.R. 3 for ATC. Generally, most squads from Interval 05 and onward will have a mixture of both lighter ATC mercenaries and heavily-armored Replica troops who are far tougher and stronger.
    • You also have the very elite Phase Casters. These guys have Deflector Shields, a nasty laser weapon, and the ability to summon endless waves of regular Mooks unless you take them out quickly. On top of that, there's the Phase Commanders, who carry F.E.A.R. 3's jacked-up Penetrator and like to taunt you throughout the levels leading up to fights with them.
  • The End of the World as We Know It:
    • The endings of the first two games. F.E.A.R. ends with Fairport devastated by a nuclear explosion and Alma stowing away on the Point Man's evac chopper. Project Origin ends with Alma pregnant with Becket's child with the implication that the child is a strong psychic already, and she isn't even born yet.
    • The ending of Extraction Point, or at least it's a possible prelude to the end.
    "A war is coming. I've seen it in my dreams. Fires sweeping over the earth, bodies in the streets, cities turned to dust... retaliation."
  • Enemy Chatter: Replica and Armacham troops regularly communicate through radio conversations that you can overhear.
  • Enemy Mine: The Point Man and Paxton Fettel team up in F.E.A.R. 3. Fettel is playable in co-op.
    • Near the end of the first game, Norton Mapes, despite his attempts to kill you, decides to help you destroy the Origin Facility.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: At least in the case of the first F.E.A.R. game, especially when in SloMo, so you can see the rippling trails of the bullets as they sail through the air.
  • Evil Counterpart: The final battle against Keegan in F.E.A.R. 2. Well, not so much evil as succumbing to The Virus, but he has the same powers as you do (plus the ability to clone himself!) and are more or less in the same boat, so it seems to count.
  • Evil Laugh: Paxton Fettel gets in a few good ones in F.E.A.R. 3. He also chuckles evilly any time he possesses an enemy.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: In F.E.A.R. 3, a huge tower in the center of the city seems to be the focal point of the game, with Alma's portal apparently being right above it, and the cutscenes showing you progressing closer and closer to the tower with it being presumably your final destination. However, in one of the last levels the tower turns out to have absolutely no bearing on the plot, having been something of a red herring, and collapses without you even setting foot inside. The game continues on for 2 more levels.
  • Evil vs. Evil: In the first two games, the Replica soldiers and the ATC forces are hostile to each other as well as to the player, and you will occasionally encounter gun battles in progress between the two.
  • Expansion Pack: Two for the first game: Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate.
  • Expendable Clone: The whole point of the Replica Soldiers.
  • Exploding Barrels: Regular barrels, as well as fire extinguishers and fuse boxes. Shooting them is a good way to take out multiple enemies down at once, especially the barrels, which they often try to use as cover for whatever reason. Dummied Out Enemy Chatter lines indicate that they were meant to use these hazards against the player on purpose; alas, they can only set them off unintentionally with stray bullets or grenades, which more often than not cause friendly fire amongst themselves due to their tendency of staying near them.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: Some cutscenes afford the player the ability to rotate the camera, but nothing else.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Alma warps reality, can turn people nuts with her very presence and evens spawns monstrosities as she goes.
  • The Faceless:
    • The Point Man is never seen without his facemask in the first game.
    • Averted in the sequel with Sergeant Becket, though the restrooms you can view yourself in are dark.
    • The third game finally averts this, showing both former protagonists' faces.
    • The Sergeant from Perseus Mandate actually has a full model, face included, though as with the base game, you can never actually see much more than your arms and legs.
  • Faceless Goons: The Replica. Turns out later on that there is a very good reason for this (though it's not certain if it's a widespread thing or if the specific ones you see unmasked had some sort of issue during cloning).
  • Faking the Dead: In the third game, the cultists will often pretend to be one of the many corpses littering the environment, only to get up and attack when you get close.
  • Fan Disservice: Alma walks around completely naked in her "adult" form, but all of the scenes involving her nudity are rather...disturbing. We also can't forget that she ends up raping you. And she's been dead for 20 years. And in the first game she's your mother.
  • Fashionable Asymmetry: In F.E.A.R. 2, the Replica Elites have noticeably heavier armor on the left side of their bodies.
  • Fetus Terrible: Alma gets preggo via Becket, who knows what she'll spawn. The official strategy guide claims it's the Antichrist. Turns out it's actually pretty harmless. Both endings involve one of the two player characters adopting it as their own child, though one can only wonder how it'll turn out.
  • Fiction 500: Armacham's reach and power seems to be expanding with each installment. They're practically an N.G.O. Superpower by F.3.A.R., as they appear to have their own personal army, and be in military control (as in, openly flying armed helicopters, driving armored personnel carriers, and patrolling the streets with mercenaries in ATC uniforms) of the slums of an unspecified city in an unspecified Spanish-speaking country.
  • Fission Mailed: The final battle of Project Origin.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the first game several blueprints of the searcher drones can be seen on lab tables, boards, and the loading screen before you first encounter them.
    • Perseus Mandate. Done twice to enforce Chen's eventual death.
      • The F.E.A.R. Sergeant sees a vision of an underground area (which is revealed to be a research facility later on), where he helplessly watches Chen get pulled down in a puddle of black liquid.
      • During a detour to yet another underground area to survive a nuclear explosion, Chen disappears from the Sergeant's sight, only to show up dead in a pool of blood a couple of hallways later. He's pulled out of sight as the Sergeant gets close.
      • In 2, when Becket gets into the TAC chamber, his female colleague Stokes (possibly jokingly) asks whether it'll sterilize him. Aristide responds grimly that it's the least of her concerns. The game ends with Alma raping Becket and impregnating herself before he's trapped in a similar chamber. According to some theories, she may have used the injured body of Stokes' or Aristides' to do it.
    • In another example, this time from Extraction Point: you press a switch to open access to an elevator. Even though the Point Man can't see anything himself from the window in the switch's booth, the screen to the right shows Alma slowly walking towards it, and if you stay and watch, she'll make it all the way in, reach a corner of the lift, then stop. At no point does she vanish from the camera feed. Guess what happens when you board it...
    • A subtle one in the intro to 2. At the end of the hallucination/Nightmare Sequence, Becket sees Alma's music box next to him in the APC... Right where Keegan is sitting in reality.
  • Four Is Death: A (possibly) unintentional example in Perseus Mandate. Interval 4, Devastation, takes place right after the city is razed by the Origin explosion; there is only one fight with "human" enemies in the whole interval (the rest is against Alma's supernatural apparitions), and Lieutenant Chen dies early on.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Alma, of course. At one point in Project Origin she comes sprinting at you naked like a demon out of hell.
    • There's also the Abominations, which repeatedly jump at you and you have to either kick them off or hit them until they let go.
  • Fun with Acronyms: First Encounter Assault Recon.
  • Gainax Ending: F.E.A.R. 2 ends with a literal Mind Screw and pregnancy.
  • Gatling Good: The TG-2A Minigun in the Vivendi expansions. It's as heavy as the Type-7 Particle Weapon, the heaviest gun in the first game, and its ammo is rare, but needless to say things facing the business end tend to die rather quickly, be it human or ghostly apparition. Ironically, the Quick Melee done with it when the Player Character is crouching is the fastest in the franchise, even faster than bare fists.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • At the end of the F.E.A.R. 3 campaign, the points you've scored as either Pointman or Fettel will determine the ending.
    • In the Point Man's ending, he shoots Fettel repeatedly in the head until he goes down, just like all the Armacham mooks up to that point. In Fettel's ending, he possesses the Point Man, just like he's been doing to the Armacham mooks to that point.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the F.E.A.R. 3 cutscenes, it's made abundantly clear that no one else can see Fettel except for Pointman, not even a powerful psychic like Becket. In actual gameplay, every basic Armacham mook can both see Fettel and fill him full of lead.
  • Gang Up on the Human: F.E.A.R. Online's co-op campaign has ATC Black Ops and Replica soldiers fighting alongside each other against the players. The reason for this is never elaborated on, given that the game takes place during F.E.A.R. 2 when the two groups were hostile towards each other. Abominations and other "feral" enemies will still attack the ATC, though.
  • Gas-Cylinder Rocket: One particularly noisy but strangely harmless example in the Vivendi expansions, notably Extraction Point. The green gas canisters seem to be just to show off the engine's Wreaking Havok capabilities with their erratic trajectories (and make a ton of noise).
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Urban Replica Soldiers from the first game.
  • Gateless Ghetto
  • General Ripper: The Phase Commanders are clearly drunk with power, as evidenced by their callous disregard for their men's safety, and their obsession with killing Point Man.
  • The Ghost: In the first game, Iain Hives, Marshall Disler, Phil Vecchio, and Genevieve Aristide only appear via phone messages.
  • Ghost City: With real ghosts! Lampshaded in Extraction Point when Jin tries to come up with a rational explanation for the deserted city.
    Jin: There must have been a radioactive element to the Origin explosion, and the city was evacuated.
    Holiday: Cities don't empty this quick.
  • Giggling Villain: Alma can be heard giggling several times in the first game.
  • Godiva Hair: Adult Alma.
  • Gorn: Sweet Christmas. F.E.A.R. 3 in particular rivals Soldier of Fortune in terms of gibs.
  • Go Out with a Smile: In the Point Man's ending for F.E.A.R. 3, after Alma gives birth and he picks up the newborn, she visibly relaxes and seems to be at peace, before disappearing.
  • Grand Theft Me: Paxton Fettel's plan for Foxtrot 813, or, in short, you, in Reborn. In F.E.A.R 3, he can do this to enemies to fight alongside The Point Man.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • In F.E.A.R. 2, the Armacham board of directors. They were the ones who sent the black ops teams to kill Genevieve Aristide and destroy any traces of Project Origin. According to one email the board chairman sent to Aristide, they were not pleased about Aristde costing them their Fairport operations and headquarters.
    • The Senator in both the first and second games. Presumably he was the political backing for Project Origin and he sent in the both the FEAR team to contain Alma and, after that failed, Becket's Delta Team so they could be captured and used by Aristide.
  • Guns Akimbo: The Point Man can wield two pistols at once. Lampshaded in the manual, because apparently he was trained for it specifically because of his heightened reflexes. Gets really silly/fun when he's dual wielding fully automatic pistols in the Xbox 360 port - which apparently Holiday can do too. This returns in F.E.A.R. 3, as the only way to use the MP-970 machine pistols.
  • Gun Fu: Especially when dual-wielding in slow-motion.
  • Happy Place: The recurring hill, tree, and swingset in Project Origin is the closest thing Alma has to one. You come across it in Project Origin: it's small, sad and sits in the corner of a small concrete ditch. If you walk up to the swingset, Alma appears right behind you without any of the interface screw that is associated with hallucinations.
  • Harder Than Hard: Extreme difficulty in the first game. Enemies do roughly the same amount of damage you do, resulting in you having roughly the same durability as a basic enemy Mook (the difference being there's one of you and hundreds of them). Hard mode in Project Origin was transformed into this with the version 1.02 patch, which causes all enemies to do about 300% normal damage (i.e. you die in about 8 assault rifle shots or 10 submachine gun shots, and you're pretty much screwed if you take a single shotgun blast or sniper rifle shot) and their staggering animations are quickened so they're no longer incapacitated for the entirety of a fight if they get stunned.
  • Heal Thyself: The first-aid kits scattered around the levels in the first two games.
  • Heart Container: Health and Reflex boosters in the first game, Reflex boosters only in the second.
  • Hellish Copter: The choppers in this series have a recurring habit of getting blown up or crashing into things. Reaches ludicrous levels in F.E.A.R. 3.
  • Heroic Mime: The Point Man and Becket never speak, nor do any of the bonus mission or expansion pack characters (i.e. Doug Holiday, Delta Force Operative, FEAR Sergeant), when you control them. Oddly zigzagged with Replica clone soldier Foxtrot 813, who does talk (and is pretty badass) in the opening chapter of the game, but then after he murders his squad in a hallucination and is labeled as rogue, he stops speaking. F.E.A.R. 3 provides interesting variations, where Becket, as an NPC, is Suddenly Voiced, Fettel as a playable character also continues speaking (though whether he's "heroic" is another matter entirely), but the Point Man, whether in cutscenes or gameplay, is still 100% mute.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Senator David Hoyle.
  • Hiss Before Fleeing
  • Hit Points: As typical for video games with combat. The first game gives a straight number (with health boosters to add five points scattered around once per level), while the second has an abstracted bar, before the third switched to Regenerating Health.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Col. Vanek is killed by his own shotgun.
    • Alma herself in the F.E.A.R. 3 Fettel ending. It's incredibly ironic seeing Fettel possess Pointman and devour Alma alive since Alma's psychic power over him is what drove Fettel into becoming an insane cannibal to begin with.
  • Hope Spot: So, Becket's potentially as powerful as Paxton Fettel, and there might even be a 50% chance he's psychically powerful enough to fight Alma and make her head explode? Yeah right, like they'd really let you kill the series mascot. Sure enough, in the end you're not even given a chance to try.
    • In Perseus Mandate, Chen is dragged offscreen and attacked by the same creatures that killed Holiday and Jin in Extraction Point. There's a lot of off-screen shooting and screaming, then suddenly Chen emerges victorious and even manages a cocky quip. About five seconds later he's viciously killed by yet another new enemy type.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Alma progresses to one by the events of Project Origin and hits full-on Reality Warper status by F.3.A.R. Also, there's the Creep, which is so horrifying that it frightens Alma. And for good reason: it's the twisted personification of all the worst aspects of her father.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Replica battalion has a number of powered armored troopers. A new form is added for additional "fun" in Extraction Point. You get to pilot one in F.E.A.R. 2 and two more in F.E.A.R. 3.
  • I Am Your Father: As it turns out, Paxton Fettel is Alma's son. But wait! It gets better; he's also the Point Man's younger (by one year) brother, meaning that for the first game, that creepy little girl who seems like she's trying to kill you is YOUR MOTHER. This also makes Harlan Wade his grandfather and Alice Wade his (unknowing) aunt. Story-wise this would seem to imply that Alma's actions against the Point Man in the first game where all about trying to get her first-born son back (the flashback to his birth does show her screaming for them to "GIVE ME BACK MY BABY!").
  • Idiosyncratic Mecha Storage: The powered armour units in F.E.A.R. 2 crouch and open their cockpit when they're usable so the pilot can climb in, or stand up straight with a shield activated when they're in an automatic repair mode (which tends to be how you find unoccupied ones to hijack).
  • Immediate Sequel: Extraction Point starts off immediately after the end of the original game.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Alma does this while raping Becket at the end of F.E.A.R. 2. The sound itself, however, is distinctly unsexy.
  • Implacable Man: The Creep in F.E.A.R. 3 aka the psychic memory of Harlan Wade.
    • Alma herself also counts, as not even the explosion of the Project Origin facility slows her down.
  • Improvised Weapon: Most of the weapons used by the cultists in F.E.A.R. 3. Fettel can use these whenever he possesses a cultist.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The award for finishing the second game (and the name of the last level) is "Climax." This is the level where you get raped.
    • Towards the end of the third game, the Point Man falls off a bridge and into water. Fettel appears before him and says, "If this is part of your plan, I'd say things are going...swimmingly."
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Pulse Weapon in Project Origin can turn an entire room full of enemies into crispy skeletons with one shot... and you only get fifteen shots in the entire game.
  • Initialism Title
  • Invisible Anatomy: Averted. You have to put your weapons away to climb ladders and go swimming, and can see yourself while looking down and after explosions. F.E.A.R 2 expands on this with the ability to mantle over low cover, shift items to become makeshift cover, and typing on keyboards or turning valves, all of which results in you seeing your character's relevant limbs.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: A completely silent variant involving Alma, toward Becket, when he's strapped into the Amplifier.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: No matter what high explosives or rocket launchers you are carrying, you can't blow open things that aren't meant to be blown open.
    • This gets even worse in Extraction Point, where two people you could have saved stand behind a chain link fence so they cannot be reached, but at least you can open some doors with explosives.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Fettel displays some cannibalistic tendencies, mostly with the intent of 'absorbing' his victims' knowledge. Whether this actually works or not is not particularly discussed (even the one time it seems to, he admits he's not sure whether the memories he's speaking of are his own or those of Alma).
  • Interface Screw: Your interface glasses act weird whenever Alma is around or you run into a EMP grenade.
  • It's Up to You: Your SFOD-D escorts have a bad habit of being wiped out as a level loads. In Perseus Mandate, friendly soldiers do help you out in a few firefights, but they're not exactly very good.
  • Jerkass: If his phone messages are anything to by, then Iain Hives wasn't a particularly nice person. He shit talks Bill Moody to other Armacham workers, dismisses Alice Wade's sexual harassment complaints, and was one of the primary instigators of Project Origin.

    K - R 
  • Kansas City Shuffle: The background material reveals that the entire ordeal Becket goes through in Project Origin is all planned by Genevive Aristide to distract Alma so Genevive's goons can retrieve and weaponize the Point Man.
  • Kick the Dog: Near the end of F.E.A.R. 3, Paxton Fettel kills Sgt. Becket for reasons which in hindsight seem entirely pointless. It serves to remind us that, despite the sincere help he's provided (including saving Point Man's life at least 3 times), Fettel is still an insane psychopath.
  • Kill 'Em All:
    • Extraction Point ends with EVERYONE that survived the original game dead. Perseus Mandate ends on a more upbeat note; not only does almost everyone survive to the end and escape, but also the ghost of the one guy that did die shows up and seems to say goodbye and congratulate you for making it.
    • In Project Origin's endgame, everyone in Becket's squad has been killed except Sergeant Morales, with the Lieutenant's fate up in the air, as she was gut-shot and bleeding out.
  • Lack of Empathy: Genevieve "I Don't Care That There's An Insane Ghost Running Around Killing People, I Have A Resume To Protect" Aristide.
  • Lampshade Hanging: On the Red Shirt Army treatment of 1st SFOD-D: F.E.A.R.'s credits declares that "No Delta Force Operatives were hurt in the making of this game."
    • In the opening of the first game, when you're told that the primary enemies throughout the game are a battalion of cloned super soldiers, one of your teammates notes "this is why nobody takes us seriously".
    • When Terry Halford mentions his codename, "Snake Fist," Stokes' immediate response is: "...are you fucking kidding me?"
  • Landmine Goes "Beep-Beep!": Landmine detonation mechanisms in this game work like the Bouncing Betty, but the deployment and trigger mechanism... not so much.
  • Large Ham:
    • Colonel Richard Vanek.
      I don't care if it's King Tut! You fucking kill them!
    • Becket, of all people, has a moment in F.E.A.R. 3.
      Becket: Horrible...she raped me. Do you hear me, Armacham?! SHE'S! FUCKING! PREGNANT!
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The official website for F.E.A.R. 3 explicitly notes that The Point Man and Fettel are brothers and that their mother is Alma, these being the major spoilers of the first game. It doesn't say a whole lot else though.
  • Leitmotif: Alma gets a rather touching one in the sequel, which serves as the game's main music theme. The ATC faction, in particular Colonel Vanek, have a 4-note militant trumpet one.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: Instead of F.E.A.R. 3 (like F.E.A.R. 2 before) they went with F.3.A.R.
  • Light-Flicker Teleportation: Alma likes to move suddenly closer when the lights go out... more prevalent in the first game than the later ones.
  • Limited Loadout: Point Man can only carry three guns at a time in the first game, four if he doubles up on the handguns. Becket can carry four. For F.3.A.R. everyone can only carry two weapons.
  • Lite Crème: Cheezee Pooz, a favorite snack of Armacham employee Norton Mapes. Are they chips? Puffs? Crackers?
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Most egregiously with the shotgun, which sometimes tears enemies into several large pieces. Presumably it uses special high-explosive pellets. There is also the energy gun that vaporizes armor and flesh in a couple of seconds but leaves the skeleton charred but otherwise intact.
    • Basically every weapon in at least the first game is capable of doing this to enemies with the right combo of bullet time and/or enough damage already dealt to that enemy. Seems kind of appropriate, given one of Monolith's prior FPS games that introduced the engine this series uses, but it still gets ridiculous when you can turn a Replica soldier into a fine red mist with a single bullet to the foot.
    • The Elite Powered Armor from Project Origin and the Enhanced Power Armor from F.E.A.R. 3 come with infinite-ammo gatling guns that are capable of ripping apart most enemies.
    • In F.E.A.R. 3, if Fettel uses a melee attack at close range while suspending an enemy, said enemy will explode.
  • Made of Explodium: All the fire extinguishers and circuit boards explode powerful enough to kill the player and enemies up to 3 feet away.
  • Made of Iron: The Point Man survives being blasted out of a third story window by a massive explosion... and doesn't even have a scratch on him afterwards. He tops it off later in the game by surviving a nuclear blast, and in Extraction Point is actually blown out of a subway tunnel by a huge bomb, flies several dozen feet through the air, and finally lands on the roof of a nearby parking garage (granted, the last two cause him to black out for a while).
    • In Perseus Mandate, the Nightcrawler Commander final boss can survive more damage than a Power Armor mech unit!
    • While escaping an exploding facility in Project Origin, Becket steps on a collapsing floor, falls a few dozen feet, and bounces off a steel I-beam. While that'd easily be enough to break a normal person's spine, Becket pulls himself up and continues forward (granted, he does seem to pass out briefly).
  • Magic A Is Magic A: In F.3.A.R., when Becket is possessed by Fettel in a cutscene. When Fettel possess NPCs in the game they tend to explode after a while. Guess what happens to Becket a minute later.
  • Mama Bear: Alma. Do. Not. Mess with her kids. She exhibits this behavior toward Becket, too; at one point she kills an Abomination controlling Replicas trying to kill him. The reason doesn't become apparent until later on.
  • Mana Meter: The Point Man and Becket have a 'reflex' meter which allow them to enter Bullet Time mode, where they move much faster than their enemies until it drains. The Sergeant from Perseus Mandate and Foxtrot 813 from Reborn have this as well, and all four are capable of increasing the length of it by picking up reflex boosters.
  • Marionette Motion: The undead soldiers under the control of the Remnants move this way.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: In Project Origin, it's said that all communication in and out of Fairport has been cut off. It's left ambigious if the blackout is a result of the Origin facility explosion or something to do with Alma.
  • McNinja: The Replica Assassins, who having cloaking devices and move insanely fast, were apparently developed as a result of research into operating in zero gravity environments.
  • Mega-Corp: Armacham is ridiculously well-equipped and has massive resources. In the first game, it's almost reasonable, with only a few lightly-armored security troops and one Elaborate Underground Base. But by Project Origin there are no fewer than five such elaborate underground bases, the ATC Black Ops units are pretty much a self-sufficient Private Army that could probably conquer most third-world countries, and there are several thousand Replica troops minimum, with their own mixture of armored support and aircraft. And it's implied they virtually own Fairport.
    • By the timeframe of F.E.A.R. 3, the only people left in Fairport are Armacham goons.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Put together, the whole plot of F.E.A.R. from 1 to 3 is a fight between the U.S. Military (F.E.A.R. and 1st S.F.O.D.-D.), the Armacham Technology Corporation, the Replica battalion, Alma's apparitions and cultists, the Creep, and, if you count F.E.A.R.: Perseus Mandate, Senator David Hoyle's hired Nightcrawlers. Owing to Artificial Stupidity, however, any firefights between computer-controlled soldiers would be either a simple exchange of bullets between the two (the victor, outside of one fight in Perseus Mandate where SFOD-D fights alongside the player against Replica and ATC, determined by which group has higher health and better guns), or all of them ignoring each other to focus on you.
  • Mercy Kill: Keegan finally regains himself briefly during the last fight of F.E.A.R. 2 and begs Becket to put him out of his misery, which, if the player succeeds in the QTE, Becket obliges with a pistol shot to the temple.
  • Mind Rape: Often, repeatedly. And in one case, quite literally.
  • Mind Screw: The final battle and ending of F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin makes this one as literal as humanly possible.
  • Mood Dissonance: The whole series alternates between creepy "haunted house" moments and frantic gunplay against human soldiers. The tone of the two don't necessarily meld, but clash. This may be entirely intentional, because although you can wipe out a small army with ease, what good is your gun against a ghost?
  • Mood Whiplash: Latin chanting begins as you make your assault on the Amplifier, slaying dozens of Replica in your last ditch effort to destroy Alma, then you get in the APC and shoot a bunch of Replicants with the heavy machine gun to almost comical heavy metal, along with one of your squaddies cheering you on, yelling such taunts as "I hear bullets taste like chicken!" and "Sit the FUCK down!" , and then it swings straight back into Alma mind raping you.
  • Mook: The first game's Replica Soldiers are an interesting examination into this trope. They're a literal cloned army of soldiers who communicate telepathically with their squad leader, and each of them has the exact same build and voice. Despite this, the Replicas actually have a decent amount of personality to them, bickering with each other in the heat of battle and reacting to the player in various ways. They get angry, scream in terror when things go badly, and so on. Couple this with their Artificial Brilliance, and you have a really memorable enemy to fight despite how they are, quite literally, the exact same person. One could even argue they're a Deconstruction of this trope, with how the game both humanizes and dehumanizes them in equal value just to get across how disturbing an army of clones would be in real life.
  • Mook Maker: In F.E.A.R. 3, the enemy "phase caster" troops apparently teleport fresh soldiers into battle.
  • Musical Spoiler: The scare chords seem to give away more scares than they create in Project Origin. Not that the first game and especially the expansions didn't have their own issues with scare chords accompanying scares that you just plain can't see from where they're triggered from.
  • Never Found the Body: F.E.A.R. operative Spen Jankowski. In the released game, it's not even totally confirmed that he's actually dead, as the commissioner comments more than once on his life signs still being active and, at one point, showing up around ATC's headquarters. Averted in the sequel with his brother Redd, who only makes it about as far into the game as Spen before you find him torn up by an operating machine of some variety.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: So, the Point Man overloading the vault reactor and nuking Auburn helped us how exactly? Thousands of people are dead, Armacham has free reign in the chaos to destroy evidence of their involvement and Alma wasn't harmed in the slightest.
    • A much smaller example occurs when the Point Man tries to shoot a lock off a gate, only to cause a massive series of gas explosions that do damage throughout the lower levels of the Armacham building.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Some of the Point Man and Becket's hallucinations. Possibly Project Origin's ending.
  • No-Gear Level: In the first game the Point Man's equipment is often removed or disabled during some of the hallucinations, and the Point Man will have to re-arm himself at the start of the final interval. In the second game, Beckett will lose his gear twice during the course of the game and need to re-arm himself. In the third game, the Point Man will frequently lose his arsenal at the start of each interval and also need to re-arm.
  • No Name Given: The Point Man.
  • Noodle Incident: Perseus Mandate hints that F.E.A.R. used to have had hard times doing their work. This one incident is only referred to as 'Amarillo', and according to Chen's opinion, even getting dragged into the dark and almost being mauled to death by Shades isn't quite as bad as it was. Betters has a few words about it as well:
    Betters: I want [Morrison] taken into custody. That means alive... I don't want a repeat of Amarillo.
    Chen: That was an accident.
  • No OSHA Compliance: A lot of the environments seem to be designed to facilitate gameplay more than for their ostensible purpose. At one point in the first game, Point Man has to climb up a ladder in an elevator shaft, which leads to a closet, which leads to an office area. The doors are all unlocked, meaning that anyone can just mosey into the closet, misstep, and then fall to their death. Or lose an arm to the elevator.
  • No-Sell: In Perseus Mandate, Nightcrawler Elites are unaffected by your Slo Mo power, and continue to move and fire at normal speed, because they have their own Slow Mo power.
  • Not So Different: By the end of F.3.A.R, Fettel's motivations are not dissimilar from Harlan Wade's, with him echoing Wade's line regarding them becoming "like gods." It is hinted that the "ghost" of Fettel might just be an amalgam of the darker aspects of Fettel's personality and memories and given form and purpose by Alma's powers, like the Creep was for Harlan Wade's memories and personality.
  • Obvious Pregnancy: Alma at the end of Project Origin. In short Alma is quite obviously pregnant mere seconds after raping Becket. May be an aversion of the Law of Inverse Fertility since Alma clearly wanted the child and one can assume Becket didn't. This could quite possibly lead to the End of the World as We Know It since it's implied that Becket is close to if not at least as powerful a telepath as Alma, making their child an insanely powerful psychic being. Possibly justified as Alma is a psychic and her being obviously pregnant could simply be an illusion to show off the fact that she is.
    • F.E.A.R. 3's official site confirms that nine months have passed since the events of the first game, though it makes no mention of Becket. The rapidly-ticking clock seen within the final battleground would imply that Becket was sealed within the amplifier for those nine months, though it seemed to him to be a few minutes, tops.
    • Anytime adult Alma is seen in F.E.A.R. 3, Obvious Pregnancy ensues.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Most of Alma's schtick mainly boils down to this. Genevive Aristide pulls one off herself in the finale of Project Origin.
  • Oh, Crap!: When you fight Col. Vanek in Project Origin, you have to button mash to fight him hand-to-hand. The final sequence has you force his own shotgun to his head. You are treated to a close up view of the state-of-the-art face control technology slowly make his expression go from homicidal rage to a pitiful, realistic look of total fear, and if you tap fast enough you blow off his head. Manage to keep tapping fast on seeing that face?
    Nightcrawler: He's too fast!
    • ...or when you chuck a grenade.
    Replica: Fuck!
  • Older Than They Look: Chronologically, Alma's somewhere in her forties.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: Alma's music box.
  • Ominous Walk: Alma loves this one.
  • One Bullet Clips
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Several of the melee attacks on weaker foes, including the "sliding ankle kick of death".
    • Fettel has a unique one wherein if you psychic lift an enemy and then use a melee attack while close to them, they simply explode.
    • If you shoot an enemy that's unaware of danger, they die in a single shot no matter what weapon you're using.
  • One-Man Army: The Point Man and Becket. Holiday also gets this status in the Xbox 360 port, where he manages to take down several dozen Replicas, multiple Heavy Armors, and an Assassin without any slow-mo powers. In the non-canon expansions, the Sergeant is another that more than fits the bill.
  • Online Alias: Snake Fist in F.E.A.R. 2. There are also four intel items across the game showing that Genevieve Aristide's is "Mme_ATC".
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghosts are capable of forming physical bodies, becoming pregnant, and bearing children. It is not made clear if this is possible for all ghosts in the setting or simply something that Alma can do, considering her Reality Warper powers.
  • Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot: Early on, Paxton Fettel is occupied over a labcoat's body. He looks back at the camera to reveal the blood smeared around his mouth.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Alma. Justified given that she spent most of her life in stasis. Dying probably didn't help either.
  • Parental Incest: Harlan Wade supplied some of the DNA used to impregnante Alma to make both Fettel and the Point Man.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": "The password should be... Snakefist." Told to you by the guy who is using "Snakefist" as his alias. And Snakefist also happens to in universe be the title of a movie series so popular it has at least seven movies in it.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: Random corpses will occasionaly fall off of balconies or out of the ceiling. Or from pools of blood.
  • People Puppets: The "Remnant" boss enemies in F.E.A.R. 2. Well, more like zombie-puppets, but same effect.
  • Personal Space Invader: Alma does this a lot in F.E.A.R. 2. With reason.
  • Pet the Dog: Genevieve Aristide keeps Alma's music box in her apartment to remind herself of just how guilty she is.
  • Pinned to the Wall: If you kill an enemy with the Penetrator near a wall, he will be thrown away and pinned to it.
  • Pipe Pain: One of the cultists' arsenal of melee weapons.
  • Possession Burnout: Fettel's possession causes burnout in the hosts.
  • Powered Armor / Mini-Mecha:
  • The Power of Love: In a perverse way. Alma gets a third form, that of her looking normal, after falling in love with Becket.
  • Powers via Possession: Any soldier possessed by Fettel gains the same healing factor as him.
  • Private Military Contractors: ATC's Security and Black Ops units. Its Replica soldiers were intended to be marketed as a PMC. Armacham also has a more conventional PMC element that appears in F.3.A.R. that acts as a private conventional military. The non-canonical Perseus Mandate expansion also goes a step further with the Nightcrawlers, described as a "private free-standing army". It's worth noting that in the first game and its expansions, ATC's security force was roughly what you'd expect from a real-world Mega-Corp (a few dozen rent-a-cops with kevlar vests, submachine guns, the occasional assault rifle, and some unarmed cars and helicopters). It's 2 and especially 3 that made them an N.G.O. Superpower.
  • Product Placement: All of the intel laptops are Alienware and the desktops are Dell. In Perseus Mandate, nearly every computer screen has an XFX screen saver going on.
  • Protagonist Without a Past: At first, but oh, they do so much with it.
  • Psychic Powers: Paxton Fettel, Alma. The Point Man has them too, manifesting in his reflexes. Becket possesses psychic potential, but he doesn't get Bullet Time until after he undergoes the Harbinger treatment.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: When only one is used, the Rakow AT-14 pistol is but a humble popgun with actually decent damage. Going Guns Akimbo, however, doubles the ammo capacity to a lot more than the mid-game Penetrator rifle can hold without sacrificing reload speed, and increases the fire rate while still keeping it perfectly controllable. This combination makes the pistols a valuable asset throughout the first generation of games, and the best weapon to use in Slow-Mo. See Boring, but Practical above: it's no surprise to see many, many players on Youtube ignore novelty weapons (which includes most of the BFG's) in favor of the "AT-14 pistol/G2A2 rifle/VK-12 shotgun" combo from start to finish.
  • Real Is Brown: Zig Zagged: it's inverted for the most part, and justified when played straight. All the games are surprisingly colorful for modern shooters in an urban setting, and a shift to a monochromatic or desaturated color palette actually indicates that Reality Is Out to Lunch.
  • Reality Warper: Alma's Psychic Powers extend to more than Mind over Matter and messing with people's minds.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Harlan Wade... In his eyes, at least. From most other perspectives, it is hard not to see his final actions as egotistically making everything worse just for a bit of closure for himself.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In Project Origin, Alma's eyes are now a dull red.
  • Redshirt Army: The members of Delta Force (1st SFOD-D) who are assigned to assist the F.E.A.R. unit die quickly and in droves; there are exactly two Deltas in the first game who are not Holiday and not already dead when you find them or dead within a minute of meeting up, one with Jin who never actually sees any combat to die in, and one with Holiday who only survives because ATC security was more interested in shooting Bishop than the people pulling him out. Much less of a case with Dark Signal.
  • Regenerating Health:
    • The Point Man and the Sergeant in the first game and its expansions can regenerate back up 25 health points, although since this is only enough to survive 1 or 2 bullets, picking up medkits and body armor is still the primary means of restoring lost health. Entirely averted in Extreme difficulty.
    • Becket and Foxtrot 813 in the second game and its DLC are slightly better in this regard, as their natural regeneration at low health brings them back up to about 40%.
    • Played completely straight in F.E.A.R. 3.
  • Research, Inc.: Armacham Technology Corporation (ATC)
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: One city (and its outlying suburbs) and counting.
  • Rogue Agent: The Point Man is this as of F.E.A.R. 3.
    • Foxtrot 813 in the Project Origin DLC campaign Reborn becomes this due to an Alma-induced hallucination that causes him to kill his squad.
  • Room Full of Crazy: In F.E.A.R. 3, the main menu shows the Pointman and Fettel as children in their Armacham holding cell. As you level up your profile by earning points, Fettel will gradually fill the room with insane scrawls of Alma, monsters, and hellish landscapes. Once the scrawls get big enough, Pointman will be visibly frightened and ends up hiding in a corner as Fettel's scribbles take over the entire room.

    S - Z 
  • Scare Chord: All the time.
  • School for Scheming: Wade Elementary. Test subjects for TK become psychopaths. Then again, if you've played the first game, you should automatically know anything associated with the Wades is bad news.
  • School Setting Simulation: In F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Wade Elementary School is a seemingly normal abandoned elementary school, but secretly houses underground bio-research laboratories that experiment on children. When Dark Signal arrives, they must fight the vengeful Specters and Remnants that inhabit the building.
  • Second Hour Superpower: In both the second game and its DLC. Becket gets his Slow-Mo powers in the second level after his surgical operation, and Foxtrot 813 gets his after his first interaction with Paxton Fettel's ghost.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first game had somewhat slow-paced combat and claustrophobic level design. Project Origin ramped up the combat and setpieces, included a few open-air combat sequences, and even threw in two mecha-piloting sequences. The third game takes it even further, with most of the combat taking place in city streets and wide-open spaces, more insane setpieces, very intense combat, and yes, more mecha-piloting.
  • Sequel Hook: In F.E.A.R. 3, during the Point Man's ending, Paxton Fettel's monologue during the video of his synchronicity even has him swearing revenge on the Point Man for killing him again.
  • Sexy Walk: Alma tries this throughout F.E.A.R. 2 as she stalks Becket. Key word: tries.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Alma was put in an induced coma and sealed in a telesthetic suppression field after Armacham found her psychic powers too overwhelming to control. It didn't stop her. Dual credit for unsealing her goes to Genevive Aristide, who wanted to renovate or repurpose the site, and Harlan Wade, who by the time he reopens the Vault feels that Alma has "suffered enough".
  • Shell-Shock Silence: While not particularly overwhelming, mild ones will happen if you stand next to an exploding warhead.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Averted in F.E.A.R. 2. If you get close to an enemy sniper, they will drop their sniper rifle and draw a pistol.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Severely downplayed with the first game's VK-12 and the Ultra92 in Project Origin. The spread is tight enough to hit a human torso at ten meters without missing a pellet, but damage falloff dampens damage output by a lot past medium range, requiring five or six shells to put down even the most lightly armored enemy when in close range typically only one shot is needed. The SHO Series-3 in Project Origin and the EL-10 CAS in F.3.A.R. progressively play this straighter, the latter in particular being an almost perfect encapsulation of the trope - it fires far more pellets per-shell than the earlier shotguns did, but in return it has the widest spread among them, even when aiming; you can fire one shell from extreme close range that gibs your target, then step back just two or three inches and need two shells to put down another target.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The VK-12. Accurate, powerful, plentiful ammo, fast reload... several reasons, really. The Ultra92 follows the same path, being a semi-automatic leadstorm. Coincidentally, both are made by the same manufacturer, Vollmer.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The subway levels in Project Origin look exactly like the subway levels from Condemned: Criminal Origins. Given that Monolith made both games, it's highly likely they used the same level resources.
    • The games make many, many references to Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, Monolith's first fully-3D first person shooter. In the first game in particular, Armacham Technology Corporation is named after one of the three companies that merged to create the UCA in Shogo, the VK-12 shotgun is attributed to the same manufacturer as Shogo's shotgun (and is incidentally based on the same real-world weapon), and two other weapons are also based on ones from Shogo, the MOD-3 rocket launcher working similarly to the Bullgut (also being attributed to Andra, the manufacturer of the "Predator" in Shogo) and the MP-50 repeating cannon based on the Juggernaut. A secret room in one of the final levels has a texture from Shogo (a whiteboard with a silly drawing on it next to a note saying "no drawings!") and a radio that plays a radio report from Shogo (one about a pile-up caused by an overly-bright and chromed vehicle blinding other motorists), then the Shogo theme song. Several more weapons in Project: Origin are also apparently manufactured by companies from Shogo (Andra particularly again, making the submachine gun and rocket launcher), and Snake Fist wears a Shogo 2 T-shirt. Also, newspapers found throughout the game make reference to the formation of the UCA, the One World Government from Shogo.
    • The first game's multiplayer includes more shout outs to other games by Monolith in its insignias; among them is one that has Cate Archer's face, and another that has a bloody handprint on a black background.
    • While Monolith explicitly rejected the plotline of the first game's two outsourced expansion packs as non-canonical, Project Origin has several scenes and gameplay additions that echo similar ones introduced in the expansion packs, indicating there's not complete bad blood between the teams. Examples include the laser weapon, being able to open doors with melee or explosions, the hospital and subway levels, and a cargo plane crashing in the city.
    • The Reborn DLC has Fettel posessing the player Foxtrot 813's body in a church, which could be an allusion to Fettel's first appearance in Extraction Point.
    • Instead of Starbucks, Project Origin has "Boomer's Coffee". Doubly amusing in Reborn when it shows up and you're playing as a clone soldier.
    • Jin Sun-Kwon?
    • The Delta Force commander in the first game is called A. Shepherd.
    • Look carefully at the desks you pass in the first game. The mounds of paperwork include T.P.S. Reports (and a memo regarding them). One desk even has a red stapler on it.
    • Some areas of the first game show billboards of a company that use the stylized "H" logo of the H.A.R.M. organization, the antagonistic group of Monolith's No One Lives Forever games. The name of the company on the billboard is titled "Heater And Refrigerator Maintenance", a joke at NOLF's running gag of there being no solid indication on what H.A.R.M's acronym stood for.
    • One of the weapons used by the cultists - and Paxton, when he possesses them - in F.E.A.R. 3 is a crowbar. The achievement for killing 20 enemies with a crowbar is called "Head Crab Removal".
    • One of the cheats in the first game ("kfa") references the "mpkfa" cheat from Shogo and Blood, which itself was a reference to the "idkfa" cheat from Doom.
    • One of the magazines in the first game has a cover that reads "Event Horizon Found." While that might by itself refer to the black-hole phenomenon, the second game has "Liberate tutame ex infernis" written in blood, in the room in which Becket first fights Abominations. That same room also has "Can he see?" written in blood, and whomever "he" may be in-game (Becket himself?), it functions nicely as a shout-out to the fate of Sam Niell's character.
    • One of the lab machines in the first game (and the second) has the serial number "8311-XHT" stamped on it. Read backwards, it is THX-1138.
    • Fettel's Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot in the intro of the first game bears a strong resemblance of that iconic "first zombie encounter" moment in the original Resident Evil, probably not a coincidence.
    • The elevator descent into the Vault in the first game is very similar to Tetsuo's descent into Akira's holding cell.
    • The Replica's use of Hind-D helicopters and the plot point of Fettel being the Point Man's brother are likely both homages to Metal Gear Solid. Extraction Point furthers the shout-out by having a setpiece where you have to avoid one as it takes several shots at you on top of a tall building.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. Not only does it contain many similar weapons and make references to it, both are pastiches of a popular genre of Japanese entertainment (Humongous Mecha anime in Shogo vs. J-Horror movies and anime here).
  • Squishy Wizard: In F.E.A.R. 3, Paxton Fettel has less health than the Pointman and can't use guns on his own, but compensates with an assortment of psychic powers including firing psi blasts, throwing explosive barrels (plus grenades and gas tanks) with telekinesis, possessing enemies to use their weapons and abilities, and being able to see and use hidden paths.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Alma, toward Becket, though it doesn't become apparent until later in the game.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Runs the whole damned gamut.
    • Energy Weapons
    • Nail 'Em: F.E.A.R.'s 10mm HV Penetrator and its successor, the 14mm HV Hammerhead.
    • Sniper Rifle: F.E.A.R.'s Type-7 Particle Weapon and F.E.A.R. 2's KM50 Sniper Rifle. The ASP Rifle in the first game acts as a compromise between this and the standard assault rifle, having slightly higher damage than the assault rifle and firing in three-round bursts.
    • And just the entire list mentioned in BFGs above.
  • The Starscream: In F.E.A.R. 3, if Paxton Fettel wins at the end, he possesses the Point Man, promises to raise the 3rd Prototype as his pawn, then bloodily consumes a screaming Alma to gain her power. Apparently this was always meant to be his motivation, but the scenes establishing this were cut from the first game.
  • Stealth Prequel: To Shogo, possibly, considering several of the company names (Armacham, Andra, Vollmer, etc.) are borrowed from Shogo.
  • Steam Vent Obstacle: Played around with - steam itself is rarely directly harmful to you, but half the time when you do see it something invariably explodes near it and replaces it with fire, which is the real obstacle you need to get around.
  • The Stinger
    • At the end of the first game, Genevieve Aristide and the unnamed U.S. Senator discuss the fallout from the events the uprising, with Aristide mentioning that the "First Prototype" was a complete success.
    • At the end of the third, a video is shown of Paxton Fettel's first Synchronicity Event.
    • At the end of Perseus Mandate, it's revealed the Nightcrawlers succeeded in bringing the Senator the DNA of Paxton Fettel, with the casualties inflicted upon them by the second FEAR squad being deemed "acceptable".
  • Stopped Clock: In F.E.A.R. 2, all clocks are stopped as a result of the events of the first game.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: Alma.
  • Stripped to the Bone: Alma often does this to people she doesn't like. The player can do this too with the Type-7 Particle Weapon in the first game or the Type-12 Pulse Weapon in the second.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Becket dies at the end of the next-to-last level of F.E.A.R. 3.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Becket gets a few lines in F.E.A.R. 3. The Point Man, however, gets none, even though he has been given a face.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: F.E.A.R. 3's Phase Commanders have no concept of retreat (even if the city is self-destructing around them) and insist everyone Hold the Line, thinking that they're more than a match for you, even if other Phase Commanders have tried and failed.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Due to a developer oversight, swimming is a free action in the first game. You can stay underwater until your entire skin prunes, you won't have to come up for air.
  • Supersoldier:
    • The Replica soldiers, as well as the Point Man, and the entire Project Harbinger team. The Point Man takes this up a notch in 3: at the highest level, he has Wolverine's level of Regenerating Health, can kill with a single kick, enter Bullet Time for 13 seconds at a time and take shotgun blasts without flinching.
    • Elite Mooks: The Replica Elite, who carry the aforementioned repeating cannon BFG. In the sequel, they wear metal armor suits and can soak more than twice as much damage as a standard Replica soldier.
    • Giant Mook: Replica Heavy Armor soldiers are more than 6 and 1/2 feet tall, wear a heavy suit of armor plates and can absorb more than a full drum mag of assault rifle fire before dying. They're more heavily armed than most regular Replica as well, the vast majority given the HV Penetrator to cut through your armor like butter, with a few standouts carrying weapons that can paste you in a few hits (one in the base game with a Type 7 and one in Extraction Point with a ludicrously-powerful MOD-3). In the expansion packs, another variant with even heavier armor shows up, and they're armed with miniguns.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Becket and Alma's kid apparently has inherited both of their powers, squared, seeing as it has developed the ability to speak before even being born.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: Alma in the first game, when she murders your squad at the water treatment plant. A Replica Assassin also kills Snake Fist in the same sudden manner.
    • In F.E.A.R. 3, this role is played by "The Creep", a powerful, individual apparition unlike any of Alma's usual spooks.
  • Take Cover!: One of the gameplay changes in F.3.A.R. is a cover system that lets you pop a little bit around a corner and back just to peek if you don't want to just blast away.
  • Technically Living Zombie: The cultists in F.E.A.R. 3, ordinary civillians who have had their brains fried by Alma's power.
  • Tempting Fate: On the freeway battle in Interval 06 in the third game, an Armacham pilot will call out over the radio that "He can't take two of us!" right before two armored helicopters go after you while you're in an EPA. Guess what happens next.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: F.E.A.R. is one of the most serious offenders. F.E.A.R. 2 gives you an Infinite Flashlight instead, coupling with...
  • Tentative Light: When something scary is about to show up, lights go out.
  • Title Drop: In F.E.A.R. 3.
  • Tragic Monster: The final battle against Sergeant Keegan in F.E.A.R. 2.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Most of the weapons are standard firearms, but there are man-portable particle beams, powered armour and clones.
    • A document in F.E.A.R. 2 claims that Alma was first sealed in the Vault in 1987 (two days before her eighth birthday), and she gave birth to the Point Man when she was fifteen. Monolith has confirmed that the Point Man is 31 years old during the events of the first game, which sets the story right around the year 2025. This is further supported by the dates on the cameras in FEAR 3, which show both Paxton Fettel and the Point Man in November of 2005, making their younger versions that appear in the flashbacks 10 and 11 years old, respectively.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: The first and second games use this trope, which when coupled with their aversion of First-Person Ghost makes for a highly immersive experience.
  • Uncanny Valley: Alma and the Replica were deliberately designed to be this way in-universe. Even in her "healthy" adult form in FEAR 2, Alma is enough to make it clear that she's not natural.
  • Underground Monkey: The Shades in the Vivendi expansions are the supernatural equivalents to the Replica Assassins, down to the acrobatic moveset and vaguely similar Visible Invisibility (losing the flicker from sudden movements in return for any parts that you hit becoming permanently visible). They start appearing after the Origin facility goes up in radioactive smoke. Assassins are still encountered, and in bigger packs, but the Shades come up more frequently.
  • Understatement: Snake Fist, regarding Alma: "They took her babies away. She didn't like that."
  • The Un-Favourite: For Harlan Wade, the Point Man was this when compared with his brother.
  • The Unfought: Project Origin promises an incredible psychic battle between protagonist Michael Becket and Big Bad Alma. It doesn't happen. Instead, you get a somewhat anticlimactic Battle in the Center of the Mind with your Evil Counterpart, while Alma rapes your comatose body.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Alma. In fact, calling it that is probably a massive understatement. That girl is pissed.
  • Updated Re-release: The first game is rather odd in this in that it technically has four of these. The baseline for each of these was coming on DVD rather than the five CDs of the original release, alongside a "making of" documentary, a "director's commentary" video where five of the lead designers commentate over a playthrough of the game's demo, a short live-action prequel film centered around Alma, and a bonus episode of the P.A.N.I.C.S. machinima series. The "Director's Cut" version, which came out alongside the normal version, otherwise differs by including a comic adaptation of the intro cinematic by Dark Horse Comics, while the later versions are incremental updates, the "Gold Edition" packing in the latest patch for the base game and its first expansion, and the other two adding on the second expansion; these two differ primarily in distribution methods, the "Platinum Edition" being the physical release (and the name of the version) while the "Ultimate Shooter Edition" is specific to Steam.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: In the first game, the Point Man, who is the first attempt by Armacham to create a psychic commander, manages to overcome Paxton Fettel, the second and successful attempt, despite lacking overt psychic powers and thus being considered a failure.
  • Urban Warfare: The majority of battles take place in homes, office buildings, warehouses, malls and underground tunnels. Most of the setting, in fact, is in tight spaces.
  • Variable Mix: Quiet places typically have ominous ambient music, until dead apparitions or living enemies show up.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the original game each had their bonus mission starring a character who doesn't have Point Man's slo-mo powers and an exclusive weapon. On the 360, this consisted of a bonus mission starring Douglas Holiday and the SM15 Machine Pistol, which replaced half of the available RPL SMG spawns to be usable across the game and its expansions, while the PS3 had a mission starring two Delta Force operators and the Watson Automatic Shotgun, which is only found in the bonus mission and a single enemy near the end of the campaign.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: The Napalm Cannon in Project Origin has wonky hit detection, a relatively low rate of fire, and does fairly mediocre damage (although most human enemies are guaranteed to burn to death from one shot, it takes forever). The ammo's also extremely rare, starting with twenty shots in the first one you find and maybe two others much later in the game. Notably, FEAR 2: Reborn, which otherwise goes out of its way to give every weapon that the main game didn't make good use of a chance to shine, never once features the Napalm Cannon.
  • Video Game Setpiece: A lot of the really creepy hallucinations the Point Man and Becket experience, and most of the Peek-a-Boo Corpse moments.
  • The Virus: Alma gets upgraded to this status in F.E.A.R. 2, especially with regards to the members of your squad after they get subjected to the "Harbinger" treatment. And poor citizens of Fairport turned into ghosts or zombies.
  • Visible Invisibility:
    • Replica Assassins have a slight Predator-like distortion effect to the cloaking devices, but it's actually subtler and more difficult to spot compared to similar enemies in other games in the genre. This is mitigated by the fact that the Assassins will flicker in and out of their invisibility briefly when they make sudden movements, i.e. leaping to attack, punching the player, or detaching from walls.
    • In F.E.A.R. 2 the Assassins' cloaking effect is more visible, with a faint blue blooming effect surrounding them that is easier to spot if you're standing still and watching for it, but it never fades out when making sudden movements. In addition, shooting them releases some form of electromagnetic interference that blurs the area around your goggles where they're located, which can potentially let the Assassin slip away while you're disoriented.
    • Shades in Extraction Point and Perseus Mandate are similarly transparent, but unlike Assassins, they don't flicker. To offset this advantage, they sport glowing red eyes and their skin becomes a dull grey wherever it's shot, so they're both easier to see from a distance and manage, as you can focus fire on the weaker ones. You will need to.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: You get a first person view of Michael Beckett vomiting near the end of the third game.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: It's one of the Point Man's dream sequences in F.E.A.R.: Extraction Point. It's actually all scare and no pain - the floor gives out and you're dropped out of the room just as there's no more room for the walls to move without starting to crush you.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: This trope tends to happen a lot in this series.
    • Spencer Jankowski in the first game. It's heavily implied that he was killed by Alma, but the reason for seeing his apparitions throughout the game as well as his vital signs remaining active is never elaborated upon. Word of God confirmed he's dead; the player was originally intended to find his body, but it was cut when it was realized it was much scarier when it remained ambiguous.
    • Rodney Betters, your Mission Control commander, is also gone after the first game except for, again, the Vivendi expansions, where he speaks up at the very end of Extraction Point. He may have been one of the casualties of the Fairport explosion at the end of the first game.
    • Since Extraction Point is non-canon, Sergeant Douglas Holiday is also a victim of this trope (in the expansion, he gets torn apart by Alma's apparitions), as was Jin until she reappeared in the third game.
    • Norton Mapes. It's never confirmed, but most likely he is dead, between the Origin explosion and the fact that, even if he survived that, he'd have Armacham's Black Ops hunting him. The non-canon Extraction Point shows him to be still alive... though it also has an Easter Egg that lets you kill him.
    • In Project Origin, in the beginning of the second level an ATC Black Ops lieutenant named Samuels shows up briefly and is mentioned in dialogue a couple of times later. He has his own unique character model, whereas all other non-plot-important characters are carbon-copies of each other, which makes you think he'll show up again later in the game. He doesn't.
    • Manuel Morales, the driver of the Dark Signal squad, in Project Origin. After dropping off Becket and Stokes at the Still Island facility, he is never seen again.
    • Lieutenant Keira Stokes. Like Mapes and Jankowski, she is probably dead, given that the last thing that happened to her was getting shot in the gut.
    • Genevieve Aristide after the second game is not so much as mentioned. In that same vein, the mysterious Senator that she was working with, David Hoyle, also was forgotten, except for maybe an anonymous email sent to her you can read in the second game. In this case this is most likely because he's deliberately getting as far away as possible so nobody will come after him for anything related to what happened in Fairport. In the non-canon Vivendi timeline, he's the one responsible for recruiting the Nightcrawlers and the one they deliver Fettel's DNA sample to.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • At the beginning of the first level of Project Origin, Beckett's teammate Redd Jankowski calls you out if you start acting bizarrely, e.g. swimming in the fountain or blowing up cars. If you go straight to the objective, he'll still bust your balls, but it's more of a friendly jab.
    • In the first game, during the part where you use the elevator along with Alice Wade, leaving the elevator to fight the Replicas will result in getting comments from Alice like "You're going to get us killed!". And, after you've killed all the attacking Replicas, she says "You don't have to kill everyone!". Justified, as she's scared of getting killed and isn't used to the whole "getting escorted by one guy who has to kill several soldiers to make sure you don't get killed" thing, as she herself notes after the second or third time the elevator stops and you kill a dozen people to protect her. Other AI partners also have some comments if you do odd things, such as standing near the explosive Holiday sets on a wall to get around a locked gate, which will cause him to mention that it might be a good idea to move away from it before he sets it off.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The precise location of Fairport is unspecified, and the city itself is so generic that it could be anywhere in the United States. F.3.A.R. implies that it is located somewhere in the southern parts of the country, as the Point Man is able to fly a helicopter from the prison in the unspecified Spanish-speaking country to Fairport.
  • Who Forgot the Lights?: The games let the player set the light level, but encourages just barely enough light to see by. It's more atmospheric that way, after all.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Harlan Wade in the third game has extremely little affection or caring for Alma or her children, and despises them for what they have become.
    "My children... Alma... you were to be my legacy... but you are all monsters."
  • Yandere: In Project Origin, Alma, towards Beckett. Most of the "interactions" you have with her are to stave off her sexual advances, rather than her trying to kill you - not that it makes much difference. Several of your teammates and other enemies also get themselves Stripped to the Bone by her because they're endangering you or getting between you and her.
  • Your Head A-Splode:
    • In the first game, taking off heads is a possible result of a close-range shotgun blast or a burst of ASP fire, assuming the target isn't completely maimed or simply turned into a fine red mist. F.E.A.R. 2 makes it more consistent, where scoring a headshot with a sniper rifle blows an enemy's head clean off. In F.3.A.R., this can be done with any sufficiently powerful weapon.
    • In The Stinger of the third game for the Point Man ending, which shows the events of the first synchronization event between Fettel and Alma, this is taken to hilarious extremes, as soldiers pour into the room with tranquilizer guns and repeatedly have their heads blown up by Fettel.

Alternative Title(s): FEAR, FEAR 2 Project Origin, FEAR 3, F 3 AR, Fear Files, Fear Extraction Point, Fear Perseus Mandate


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