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Video Game / Geometry Wars

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A pretty standard moment for any of the games in the series.
Geometry Wars is a Shoot 'Em Up series by Bizarre Creations, similar to Robotron: 2084, where you control a claw-shaped concave octagon in a quest to destroy many other shapes. Primarily notable for reinvigorating the stale genre and for having insane amounts of stuff on the screen at once (due to the minimal computational power required for each object).

Originally an Easter Egg in the Project Gotham Racing series for the Xbox. The series' second incarnation, Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, and its sequel have been released as stand-alone games for the Xbox 360 Arcade, in 2005 and 2008, and were eventually made available on PC via Steam. Before that, it had clashed with the creators of Grid Wars, which started out as a pretty clear clone (but with more features): its development was reportedly stopped at the request of Bizarre Creations, but the issue was eventually sorted out, by making Grid Wars 2 free to download. Lastly, the game has a DS and a Wii version, Geometry Wars: Galaxies.

At Gamescom 2014, Activision announced that Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions was in the works, being developed by Lucid Games, a company made up of former Bizarre Creations staff, including the actual people behind Geometry Wars. It was released under Activision's revived Sierra label on November 25, 2014.

This series provides examples of:

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    Tropes that apply to the whole franchise 
  • Arrange Mode:
    • 2 has six different game modes:
      • Deadline: Unlimited lives, limited time per game.
      • King: Three zones are active at any given time. Players outside the zones cannot fire. Enemies and geoms cannot enter the zones. Said zones shrink a few seconds after being entered, and a new one will spawn to take its place.
      • Evolved: A spin on the original Retro Evolved, no special rules are applied to this game mode. You start with 3 lives and 3 bombs, and gain 1 of each for every power of 10 (starting at 100,000) your score reaches.
      • Pacifism: You cannot shoot. You must run through gates and lure enemies into the ensuing explosion.s
      • Waves: Rockets spawn in long lines, taking up the entire side that they spawn on. (This game escalates very quickly. Do not expect to survive more than a minute.)
      • Sequence: You are given a series of 20 levels, and 30 seconds to complete each level. Each level spawns the exact same enemies every time you play. Dying in a level skips it, but if you lose all your lives, the game ends early. You start with 3 lives and 3 bombs, and gain 1 of each for every power of 10 (starting at 100,000) your score reaches.
    • 3 adds a multitude of extra ones:
      • Boss: A boss must be defeated to win. Your score is not counted if you do not kill the boss. Each boss has multiple timed phases, and if you run out of time, the boss unleashes a shockwave that kills you instantly.
      • Checkpoint: A variant of Deadline, you have unlimited lives, but a much shorter amount of time (usually between 1 to 15 seconds.). Enemies spawn in waves. Killing all enemies in a wave extends your time by a small amount. Dying incurs a small time loss penalty.
      • Titan: Enemies spawn as large, passive titan versions of themselves that need to be broken down into smaller forms. When small enough, enemies behave like their normal selves.
      • Rainbow: Special painter enemies spawn in and will paint the grid behind them as they move. The game ends when either you die, or the painters cover a set amount of grid.
      • Sniper: You are given a set amount of ammo. Run out of ammo or die and the game ends.
      • Claustrophobia: The walls slowly close in, restricting the play-field size over the course of the game.
      • Scorpion: A variant of Pacifism, instead of using gates to kill enemies, you trail a laser tripwire behind yourself.
      • Stock: A variant of Sniper, you must run around collecting ammo packets to replenish your supply of bullets. You won't lose the game if you run out of ammo.
  • Asteroids Monster:
    • Spinners split into three Tiny Spinners when shot.
    • Gravity Wells, if they consume too many enemies without getting shot at, explode into a bunch of swift, chasing Protons that can bounce cleanly off of walls.
    • The Asteroids/Titans in Galaxies and 3 are hefty enemies that slowly bounce around. They can be broken into smaller versions of themselves, which can then be broken into several of a corresponding normal enemy.
    • The Battenberg in 3 splits into 4 separate entities, 2 stationary blockers, and 2 tracking darts. The tracking darts move absurdly fast and while not perfect, can home in on you extremely competently.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Most of the shapes' strategy is generally "charge at the player in a straight line". Weavers are notable for being the only enemy (outside of NUF Os in Galaxies) to attempt to dodge your shots, slowing to a possible stop should you even aim in their direction. In waves they most opt to sweep every single part of the screen rather than attack directly.
  • Collision Damage:
    • Pretty much all other shapes other than the harmless NUFO targets; walls are usually safe however. There is a group of red enemies that will shoot you if given the chance. Luckily their range is shorter than yours. Also, your shots will bounce off gates so you have to run into them.
    • The Ram drone in Galaxies and 3 turns this trope on your enemies, which rams into enemies, but needs a little cooldown between uses.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Weavers (green squares) will attempt to dodge any shot that isn't directly aimed at them, and they can move fast when dodging.
  • Elite Mook: Several enemies that spawn later on can require a bit more thought to deal with, rather than just "shoot directly at them".
    • Snakes move in a sidewind motion, making their vulnerable head rather hard to hit. Attacks on their body do nothing.
    • Repulsors/Rhinos have a shield in the front, which redirects/completely blocks shots from the front, making it necessary to flank them.
    • Battenbergs split into four components, two stationary blockers and two tracking darts, which makes taking on groups of them extremely dangerous.
  • Endless Game: Except for sequence and deadline.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: While not on the level of Beat Hazard, 2 can get pretty crazy with the visuals.
  • Every 10,000 Points: In the original Retro Evolved, you earn an extra life every 50,000 points, and a Smart Bomb every 75,000 points. In 2's evolved and sequence mode, you gain an extra life at every power of 10, starting at 100,000.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Except for the NUFOs' Galaxies version, who simply avoid you once fired on.
  • Mercy Invincibility: A protective bubble that blinks out a moment later appears when a player spawns.
  • Mighty Glacier: Slow-moving little circles surrounded by many bubbles are slow, but tough to destroy.
  • Mooks Most of the enemies are relatively straightforward and simple to deal with. Even a novice will end up killing thousands on their first go.
    • Wanderers are shaped like purple pinwheels and passivley wander around
    • Ducks are two rectangular prisms stuck together, and slowly flip to move randomly like the wanderer.
    • Grunts are shaped like blue diamonds and slowly home in on the player. If left alive for an extended period of time though, they will speed up.
    • Spinners chase the player like grunts, but are much faster. However, they don't home in as hard. When killed they split into 3 tiny spinners.
    • Jacks/Mayflies spawn in the hundreds and chase the player erraticaly, making them hard to hit individually.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: In Retro Evolved, gravity wells that explode from eating too many enemies and smart bombs are punctuated with a temporary silence.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: In "King" you have bubbles the enemies cannot pass through, but you and your shots can (though they don't last for long). Galaxies turns this around on you for a few levels.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: You are a claw-shaped object inserted into the game grid. Other simple geometric shapes are generated, and they try to destroy you. What would you need more for?
  • One Game for the Price of Two:
    • The DS and Wii versions of Galaxies unlock content on each other - the same content on both - but are otherwise identical.
    • Inverted in that Geometry Wars started out as a game inside Project Gotham Racing, and has since had some form in its games. Geometry Wars Retro in PGR2, Evolved in PGR3, and waves in PGR4.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: The protagonist and most enemies in all games. However, you can get extra lives through a 1-Up equivalent.
    • Even more so in Galaxies's "Sur-" (Survival) stages, where you get one life, no bombs, and no way to get more of either.
  • Pinball Scoring: The "Min-" levels in Galaxies. Using the mines in conjunction with a maxed-out (x150) score multiplier, a Mook Maker, and the harmless NUFOs will allow you to rack up hundreds of millions in points within seconds. Heck, on the earlier "Min-" stages, you can go from below Bronze to exceeding the requirement for a Gold medal in the span of less than three seconds.
    • Gravity well enemies have a decent point value on their own, but for every enemy they consume, they add that enemy's point value to itself. Let it eat a sufficient amount of enemies and you can easily get 3 million points from a single gravity well.
    • Gates explode when you run through one, and the explosion multiplies an enemy's base point value by 5. Combine that with the geom multiplier or a well fed gravity well for truley massive point values.
  • Scoring Points: The point of Retro Evolved and Retro Evolved 2, and what you need to do to advance in Galaxies and 3.
  • Segmented Serpent: Snakes have visible segments, and the only bulnerable one is the head.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: Repulsors have frontal armor and can only be hit where they are not shielded.
  • Shout-Out: The "Wax On" and "Wax Off" Achievements.
  • Sinister Geometry: In a game called Geometry Wars, what did you expect?
  • Smart Bomb: You have a limited supply of boms that destroy all onscreen enemies. Unlike many other games with a bomb system, your bombs don't reset count each time you die. Instead, the only way to gain bombs back is through points or geoms, and that's if the game allows extra bombs.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Each enemy has its own spawn sound, cluing you in to what's about to come after you if you can't see what spawned.
  • Spread Shot: Like many other games it the genre it gets wider as you do better in Retro Evolved and Galaxies. Unlike others it periodically switches between wider spreads and More Dakka.
  • The Swarm: Mayflies usually spawn in the hundreds, move towards you erratically and are rather tiny. If you aren't careful or paying attention, a single one can easily end you. While they don't score much themselves, they can easily increase your score multiplier.
  • Tele-Frag: You usually get a split second to move away should an enemy spawn in your exact location.
  • Timed Mission: Deadline obviously while sequence throws a sequence of these at you. Checkpoint in the sequel gives you a short amount of time to kill all enemies in the allotted time, with each wave wiped out granting you more time.
  • Variable Mix: King's soundtrack in 2 and 3 becomes dulled whenever the player is out of a king zone, and becomes clear when inside of one. Checkpoint alternates between two different songs as you clear each wave, and the songs get more intense as the timer approaches 0, but it rewinds a bit if you clear a wave. Sequence's music fades out for a brief moment whenever you complete a wave/die/run out of time, but fades back in when the next wave starts up. Additionally, the song is broken up into several segments. A new segment is played each time a new wave starts.
  • Weapons That Suck: Gravity wells are common enemy type in Galaxies. Fortunately, they affect all shapes, even each other and they do not start until you shoot them. Described in more detail on Unrealistic Black Hole.
  • Zerg Rush: The screen tends to get insanely crowded with enemies, forcing you to use precise maneuvers while simultaneously destroying anything in your path.

    Tropes exclusive to Galaxies and/or 3: Dimensions Evolved 
  • Attack Drone: Several in Galaxies, but they have to be bought.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Sweep drone in Galaxies. It doesn't fire, instead sweeping around your ship and damaging any enemies that happen to touch it. At higher levels, it makes faster and more precise circles around your ship, serving as a very useful defensive barrier.
    • Attack and Defend fire forwards and backwards respectively. They don't do much else, but more importantly, higher levels of these drones can help augment your firepower very effectively. A max-level Attack drone effectively doubles your firepower, while a max-level Defend drone keeps you covered in large, crowded spaces.
  • Cap:
    • The highest composite score obtainable on Galaxies is 26,843,545,575.
    • The DS version of Galaxies also has some unfortunate (or maybe fortunate) limits to onscreen objects.
  • Embedded Precursor:
    • Retro Evolved's Evolved mode is playable in Galaxies.
    • 3's Classic Mode houses Retro Evolved mode (with some of the later games' mechanical differences) and all modes from 2 except Sequence.
  • Flying Saucer: Comes in 3 flavors, the yellow NUFO, the red UFO and the blue UFO
    • NUFOs are harmless in Galaxies, but will attempt to dodge any shots aimed at them. In 3 however, they move in a straight line and gain collision damage.
    • UFOs in Galaxies spawn with an alert sound, zoom relativley close to you, then immeidetly flee in another direction. 3 has them spawn and directly charge you down in a straight line extremley fast, and can easily kill you if you don't pay attention.
    • Blue UFOs are exclusive to 3 and behave similarly to UFOs, but take multiple hits to kill. However, they move much slower.
  • Hard Mode Filler: The aptly named Hardcore mode in 3: Dimensions Evolved. It is composed of 20 levels from both the regular Adventure mode and Ultimate mode, and increases/changes the enemy spawns, dramatically increases the score threshold, changes the gimmick of the level, or all three at once. And the kicker? You don't get your drone to help you out (Super Sequence in Adventure mode requires 150 million points to three star. In Hardcore, the three star score is doubled to 300 million points.)
  • Helpful Mook: Minelayers roam about, stopping occasionally to drop mines. These mines don't harm the player, but can kill enemies. Enemies destroyed by mines have their points multiplied. Just make sure you don't make contact with the minelayer itself.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: Flippers/Rocks in Galaxies and 3 are completely invincible, but they can only kill you in the latter game. However, they do let enemies pass freely through themselves while blocking you and your shots.
  • Level Grinding: Playing stages is required to level up drones.
  • Money for Nothing: You'll unlock everything in Galaxies long before you receive all the bonus geoms for hitting score plateaus.
  • Mook Maker: Spawners cause more of a certain type of enemy to appear.
  • Mythology Gag: Super Sequence in 3 is a reference to the Sequence mode in 2.
  • Piñata Enemy: In Galaxies, you'll occasionally stumble upon a red UFO that swoops in, then vanishes very shortly afterwards. Hitting it will yield a large sum of points and geoms.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: Galaxies uses "Particle Man" in this trailer.
  • Super Mode: 3 introduces super states, a cluster of small stationary enemies that spawn in a formation. When killed, they will greatly enhance the player's weapon or ship in some way.
    • Quad Fire: Gives you significantly more firepower.
    • Split Fire: Gives you two additional projectiles per shot to the front of the player's ship that fire at a 45° angle from the main gun.
    • Reverse Fire: Gives you an additional weapon that shoots directly behind where you are aiming.
    • Missiles: Gives you a pair of homing missiles that are automatically shot out from your ship.
    • Magnet: Increases your geom collection radius by a very large margin.
    • Trail Bombs: As you move, you leave behind explosions.
    • Shield: Makes you temporarily invinicble.
  • Theme Naming:
    • Levels in Galaxies follow a strict format - three letters for the type, then something denoting a cardinality; e.g. MinDuo is Mine level 2.)
    • Rainbow levels in 3 are all named after various art styles.
    • Scorpion levels in 3 are all named after... well... scorpion species.
  • Third Is 3D: Well, its not exactly the third game in the series, but Geometry Wars 3 changes the formula up by adding levels where the playfield warps around several 3d objects while maintaining the top down 2D movement and shooting.
  • Viral Transformation: Mutators seek to turn different enemies into Mutated, which beeline straight at the player faster than they can move.