The official plot synopsis is as follows:
"During the IP Wars, the Terrans designed a race of bionic warriors known for their cunning and their brutal strength. Physically superior and ruthlessly aggressive, a single troop of Bions could eliminate the inhabitants of a planet within days.
The Bion war effort saved the Coalition, but nearly destroyed Terran. After the war, Bion aggression could not be contained. Peaceful coexistence between Bions and Terrans proved impossible. The ensuing Bion Wars are known for their brevity - and violence.
In 2832, the Coalition ordered complete Bion dismantlement, and instituted Terran's renowned Council of Peace - a military defense force inferior to none. Unknown to the Coalition, a few Bions survived and have assembled on a distant planet called Fury.
Their plan is to seize seven more Coalition planets whose resources will help them attain their ultimate goal - total domination of space from the Bion Fury outpost.
As a member of Terran's Council of Peace, it's your mission to stop them. Welcome home, <Councilor>."
This game provides examples of:
- Ace Pilot: The Councilor and, in Hellbender, Nyx.
- Action Politician: The Councilor.
- Alien Sea: Tiamat is almost entirely water. In gameplay terms, the normal planet atmosphere is treated as being under the ocean.
- Alien Sky: Played straight with L24-D and New Kroy. L24-D is a Venus-esque planet with orange-ish fog and a dark red sky while New Kroy's sky is gray. Subverted with Terran, Sebek and Fury who all use a earthly light blue sky, played with with Tiamat, where the atmosphere is water, and averted with the other planets due to lack of any atmosphere.
- Back from the Brink: The game starts like this. The whole Coalition millitary is destroyed and the Bions are on a rampage on Terran and it's up to you to stop them.
- Big Bad: FX4, the leader of the Bions. More disturbingly, your dead father, Felix Wannamaker III, had his body exhumed and his genes spliced to create him; see Meaningful Name below.
- Big, Bulky Bomb: The FFF smart bomb stands for fission-fusion-fission
- The Bion fury missile also qualify because being made of carbonium which is described as being even more powerful than a fusion bomb.
- BFG: The Bion Fury Missile.
- Chekhov's Gun: Very easy to miss, but the opening cutscene of Hellbender mentions that there are two surviving prototypes of the Hellbender attack craft. If Nyx defeats you at the end of the Tricerius Asteroid Belt, you eject from the crippled Hellbender, wake up in hospital and then use the second one to finish the game, albeit without all of the weapons you collected beforehand.
- City Planet: New Kroy.
- Collision Damage: With everything that is not air or power-ups. Hellbender removed collision damage on terrain, probably because the underground sequences are MUCH more expansive.
- Cutscene: Everytime you enter and leave a planet. Sometimes narrowly escaping. Completing the Ares mission also triggers a scene of your ship flying through a wormhole.
- Crapsack World: Nearly every planet to be occupied by the Bions tends to fit the bill, but Terran in particular is a sad case; the world has been wracked by centuries of nearly nonstop warfare, is enduring yet another invasion at the opening of the game, and is in the midst of a crippling depression after Fury's destruction. With their cities aflame amidst rioting and protests against the military and the population restless after what was a costly victory, Terran's been at a near-complete loss to find lasting peace.
- Difficulty Levels: From easy to furious. In Hellbender, it goes from easy to hellbent.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: L24-D, Vestra and Fury explodes after you are done with them.
- Easter Egg: In Hellbender's multiplayer menu, selecting ships in the right order (start on Sand Tiger, select Deathbringer twice, Sunfire, and finally Sand Tiger) will let you fly a camper van.
- Enemy-Detecting Radar: The radar shows you the terrain type that you're flying over, enemy ships and stationary targets (orange and green dots respectively) and the height of your enemies (o shaped dot if below or above you. + symbol if they are on the same level). It also doubles as a objective marker.
- Encyclopedia Exposita: The in-game help menu includes background information on all eight planets, the Bions, and various technologies used in the game, complete with references to fictional books.
- Evil Counterpart: Nyx is this to the Hellbender pilot, and actually has his own base of operations and a number of spare ships in the Tricerius Asteroid Belt, although he doesn't so much as fly skilfully but rather possesses very strong shields, a battery of Viper Missiles, a rearward-firing laser and, in his final duel against you, a cloaking device. He's especially vulnerable to Doomsday Mines and the VorTEX superweapon if you manage to find all eight parts.
- Expansion Pack: The obscure and weirdly named mission pack: F!zone offers 3 new levels: Belazure, Futro colonial center, and a big-honking destroyer that you must destroy.
- Featureless Protagonist: The Councilor. Revealed to be the son of Felix Wannamaker III in the final cutscene of Hellbender.
- In Hellbender, there's a reason why Nyx is a TGT and not a GRD (boss) objective when you finally Duel to the Death against him, and when you do defeat him, he jettisons the cockpit in the cutscene just before the missile destroys the craft. He reappears as the last line of defense between you and Shiva, this time as a GRD.
- On the same subject, you find one of Nyx's spare ships alongside the secret weapon component for the Tricerius Asteroid Belt - maybe your mission objectives didn't account for all of them...
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The Servo-Kinetic and Rapid-Fire Lasers.
- Fun with Acronyms: The weapons are identified that way on your HUD (SKL stands for Servo-Kinetic Laser. RFL-20 stands for Rapid-Fire Laser 20 and so on).
- Game-Breaking Bug: after you destroy the City-generator in New Kroy, the game sometimes freeze when you exit the tunnel and randomly start playing the boss battle music of the last planet you visited forcing a reload.
- Also after the cinematics that show you leaving Terra, the game freezes.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Shooting the temples on Kresh redirects the damage to whoever caused it, player or not. The player is usually the victim due to missed shots, but considering the swarms of fighters you encounter there, don't be surprised if a few of them accidentally destroy themselves.
- Homing Projectile: The Viper heat seeker missile and the Bion fury missile. The latter is slightly faster.
- Level Editor: F!zone has one. A very frustrating one.
- Made of Explodium: L24-D is full of carbonium ore, a substance that is 48 times more destructive than a fusion bomb. You can guess what happens to the planet after the 3rd mission.
- Informed Equipment: You can have 7 different weapons. None of them actually appear on the ship.
- Made of Iron: The Councilor's ship is able to fly straight through ships, crash on mountains, ground, water and still fly. The Bions ships? Not so much...
- Meaningful Name: Bordering on Fridge Brilliance, FX4: His genes are spliced from the dead Felix Wannamaker III, so his name is short for Felix IV.
- Military Mashup Machine: The player fighter in Fury3 handles just as well underwater as it does in the atmosphere, if its performance on Tiamat is any indication. See Alien Sea for why this is the case.
- Missile Lock-On: Viper Missiles and Legion Missiles lock on to enemy fighters. Just be careful because SAM sites and bosses can return the favour.
- Nitro Boost: Turbo.
- Non-Indicative Name: It's not the third installment of a series. In fact the name is a weird mixture of Fury, the home planet of the enemy, and the ultimate weapon in the game called the "FFF" or "F3" (or, as used in the title, "F cubed").
- No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted: there are two surviving prototypes of the Hellbender, and Nyx has a number of spare Nemesis ships in his base of operations.
- One-Man Army: The Councilor annihilates the entire Bion army with no assistance whatsoever.
- Power-Up: Usually in bunkers that you have to blow up and sometimes dropped by a fighter. Lasers are a special case, because when you pick up 1 laser upgrade of an already owned laser, it will enable you to fire 99 shots of twin lasers, picking up another one while you still have ammo will enable you to shoot 4 lasers simultaneously.
- Recurring Boss: In Hellbender, Nyx appears several times to give you a hard time: first on Iowah, then on Chimera, and a few times in his base of operations, the Tricerius Asteroid Belt, where you finally Duel to the Death with him. And then he reappears once more protecting the Shiva Battleship in a spare craft.
- Recycled In Space: The planet Sebek is Ancient Egypt IIIIN SPAAAAACE.
- Single-Biome Planet: Tiamat is a water world. Sebek is a desert world and Fury is a Metal planet protected by a force-field.
- And then Hellbender brings us Snow City and Chimera, the latter being entirely volcanic and the former needing no further explanation.
- Smart Bomb: The FFF (fission-fusion-fission) weapon destroys everything around you and also recharges your shields.
- Spiritual Successor: to Terminal Velocity.
- Spread Shot: The DC-14 works this way. basically a giant shuriken shooting shotgun.
- The Mole: In Hellbender, a mole named Coyote sabotages a jump zone that very nearly strands the Hellbender on Iowah after getting distracted by Nyx. It's also strongly implied that she sabotaged the Amatsu's shields, your mothership, allowing it to be destroyed by Shiva.
- Rishi acts as a mole for the Council of Peace, providing intelligence for the Hellbender and going as far as spying on a meeting between FX4, Nyx and Coyote. On Iowah, you have to rescue and escort his ship to safety while avoiding Nyx.
- Tunnel Network: An important part of the game. Tunnels are mission critical objectives that must be explored in order to complete your mission be it a simple enter/exit tunnel or killing the planet's boss lurking inside a room. Hellbender, benefiting from engine improvements, moves to full on...
- Underground Level: Often fully half of a given Hellbender level will take place in a sprawling underground complex full of tight corners and hidden rooms. Rather than the obvious jump-cut in Fury3, transition underground is seamless. Not all of these areas are mandatory, and of them some are extremely difficult. One optional cavern on Iowah contains an absolute haul of equipment and a bona-fide dragon.
- Video Game Geography: Type 1 donut-shaped example.