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Video Game / Ghost Hacker

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Ghost Hacker is a Tower Defense Web Game where you play as a Digitized Hacker trying to take back cyberspace from rogue AIs. What makes it unique from other Tower Defense games is the "shape" that each tower occupies. Each tower has up to four "nodes" sticking from it, and the tower can only be placed on an area where both it and the nodes fit. These nodes are used for equipping upgrades on, which enhance the tower's capabilities.


A sequel, Ghost Hacker 2, was released in 2013.

Tropes present in both games:

  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: At first you can only use six programs in total per level; this limit can be raised to 16 via the Program Capacity upgrade.
  • Area of Effect: The Ping tower releases a circular blast that hits all enemies within.
  • Asteroids Monster: Splitters will split into smaller splitters when killed.
  • Bandit Mook: Data Leeches can temporarily steal your resources to heal themselves. Destroy them to get your resources back (but not immediately — you'll need a Recycle program if you don't want it to slowly regenerate back).
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Spiders and Bugs take the form of abnormally-sized arthropods.
  • Charged Attack: The compressor can store up to a stock of 5 shots (more if upgraded/enhanced). The charge upgrade allows a tower to store up to five shots per upgrade.
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  • Damage-Increasing Debuff: Scanners, towers with the Amplifier upgrade and the Focus script cause targets to take extra damage from attacks.
  • Damage Reduction: Reavers have this, reducing all damage taken by 3.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Tracer and Transcoder (which deal continuous damage to the target), the Infector and Memory Leak upgrade (which infects enemy, dealing damage per second), and to a lesser degree the fast-firing, low-damage towers like the Compressor and Scanner. They are the best way to deal with Avatars (which can only take at most 2 damage from any attack), but are very weak against Reavers (which take 3 less damage from all attacks).
  • Digitized Hacker: Ghost Hackers are actually people who upload their mind onto the internet.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Seekers are able to pass over corrupted squares created by Corruptors. Pathfinders can do both of this, and will calculate the shortest path to a data core, corrupting and crossing squares on that path.
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  • Elite Mooks: SuperUsers, which are resistant to Standard Status Effects, can carry 2 data cores, and have a crapton of health.
  • Enemy Summoner: The Spawn and Decoy have the ability to spawn Baby Spawn and Decoy minions, which can carry a data core each. The Baby Spawn have an actual health bar but only spawn once per 10 seconds, while the mini-Decoys can be churned out much faster but die in one hit.
  • Flunky Boss: All the boss enemies in both games have the ability to spawn regular Mooks to divert your attention.
  • The Goomba: Bytes, which are slow, weak, and have no special abilities.
  • Healing Factor: The Reassembler enemies regenerate 2 hit points per second.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Two types: Reavers (which take 3 less damage from all attacks) and Avatars (which can only take at most 2 damage from all attacks). Attacks that are effective against one are nearly useless against the other.
  • Helpful Mook: Reaper Viruses drain a huge chunk of life from nearby enemies to refill their own. Useful when they do it to a tough enemy, and it's essential for beating 2's Brutal Bonus Level.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The game is based on an Extreme Graphical Representation of the player defending themselves from foreign programs. Some levels reverse the roles with the player needing to break through the AI's own security. At one point in the second game the player hacks themselves to apply a cure for a virus.
  • Invisible Monsters: Ghosts are normally invisible and can only be detected when in range of a Scanner tower.
  • Last Disc Magic: The last program you receive on completing the penultimate level is always the Brute Force script, which temporarily buffs all your towers. The final level's hint always reads "When all else fails, use the Brute Force script".
  • Life Drain: Reaper Viruses do this to other mooks to refill their own hit points. You can take advantage of this.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Sentry and Slicer are both slow-firing towers with very high individual damage per shot; the best way to overcome the Reavers' Damage Reduction.
  • Mook Medic: The aptly-named Medics, which constantly heals nearby enemies.
  • Multi Shot: Towers with the Fork upgrade attacks two enemies at once.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted, there's a monster mode where you place viruses to steal cores from a defense system. Several mandatory levels in the second game also use this mode.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The Slicer, Transcoder and towers with the Beam upgrade fire a straight beam that deals damage to all foes on a straight line.
  • Pinball Projectile: The Linker upgrade makes attacks ricochet to another enemy.
  • Ray Gun: The attack of the Tracer, Slicer, Transcoder and towers with the Beam upgrade take the form of a laser-like beam.
  • Recurring Boss: Axon, the Final Boss of the first game, reappears as the first boss in the second game.
  • Reflecting Laser: The Linker upgrade (which causes attacks to bounce to a secondary target) will become this if combined with towers with laser or beam attacks (which fire a straight beam).
  • See the Invisible: The normally invisible Ghosts can only be attacked when in range of a Scanner.
  • Splash Damage: The Command Shell hits enemies with a splash effect. The Splash upgrade allows shots from a tower to do this.
  • Super Speed: Flamers gain a temporary 100% speed boost if they take any damage.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Both Axon and Jynx are these.

Tropes for Ghost Hacker 1:

  • Bolivian Army Ending: The game ends with the player character being mobbed by several Cypher One Ghosts intending to delete him.
  • Control Freak: Cypher One is the corporation behind the creation of Ghosts. Any Ghost not under their control is deemed a rogue AI and an enemy, which the player quickly learns after Axon forcibly breaks them out of their servitude.
  • Critical Hit: The Multiplier upgrade grants towers a chance to deal extra damage on a hit; it was removed in the second game.
  • Foreshadowing: The classified document the player discovers details the history of Alpha, the player character, but is partially censored. Astute readers can work out what it is before the twist is revealed at the end of the game.
  • Hive Mind: The Collective are a collection of Ghosts who speak as one to the player.
  • Me's a Crowd: Axon reveals that he has many copies of himself, and simply deleting one of his avatars will not stop him. Alpha is also an example — after Cypher One failed to create other Ghosts, they settled with making copies of Alpha, their only successful Ghost, with minor tweaks to personality to give the illusion of individuality.
  • Nuke 'em: In a bid to end Cypher One, Axon attempts to launch a nuclear missile at their headquarters. The Collective is opposed to that for it will also harm innocents.
  • Passing the Torch: After his defeat, Axon entrusts the player with the responsibility of protecting the Ghost community from Cypher One.

Tropes for Ghost Hacker 2:

  • Brutal Bonus Level: 30 waves that include boss versions of the normal enemies, and the final wave contains multiple Axons AND Jynxes!
  • Control Freak: Sigil developed the virus that drives Ghosts insane, allowing them to terminate the whole Ghost community should they lose control of too many Ghosts. Given that they are Cypher One under a different name, this behaviour no surprise.
  • Draw Aggro: Gravitons suck in all projectiles, so you'll need the Beam upgrade, Tracer, Slicer or Ping to hit other enemies.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: The Transcoder, a tower that combines the special abilities of the Tracer and Slicer and possesses 8 upgrade slots, is unbuildable and only appears at the start of level 21.
  • Harder Than Hard: Beating the game unlocks the Challenge difficulty for every non-Monster level, which restricts the player to a predetermined program loadout for that level.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Axon, the Final Boss of the first game, becomes an ally after you beat him.
  • Insult Backfire:
    Jynx: "You think to find me through these relays? A mouse has a better chance of finding cheese in a maze than you do of finding me!"
    Player: "Are you comparing yourself to cheese?"
    Jynx: "Why you little... You'll pay for that impudence!"
  • Interface Screw: The level select screen will regularly distort while the player is infected with the virus.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: All the Version 2.0 mooks are reddish in colour and have a reddish glow to them.
  • Mass Hypnosis: After retrieving a cure for a virus, the player hands it to Jynx so that he can modify it to be broadcast and cure all infected Ghosts on the net. Jynx further modifies the "cure" to enact this trope, planning to have an army of Ghosts under his command.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: Surprisingly, the Brutal Bonus Level is easier on Hard than on Medium, because it's harder to accidentally destroy the Reaper Viruses due to them having more hit points on Hard.
  • Noodle Incident: Something happened between the two games that brought about the downfall of Cypher One. Nobody elaborates on what it is.
  • Obviously Evil: Jynx. Glowing red eyes and an evil smirk, and the fact that he made a Slayer virus that killed many Ghost Hackers pretty much gives it away.
  • Segmented Serpent: Centipede enemies have an energy chain attached to them or other Mooks. This allows them to share a pool of Hit Points.
  • Sequential Boss: Technically, each boss consists of five individual enemies (numbered 1.0 to 5.0), each of which spawns at the even-numbered waves in their levels.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Starting Units: In level 19, you start with a Tracer and Slicer, both towers that haven't been unlocked for construction yet. In level 21, you start with the special Transcoder tower, which is never buildable anywhere in the game. All of these pre-built towers differ from normal towers in that they can't be moved or sold.
  • Synchronization: Centipedes form a chain with each other and other enemies, causing the damage taken by one to be distributed among the others.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Axon is present in this game, despite his copies being mostly deleted by the conclusion of the previous game.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Jynx when you face him in the final wave of the final stage.
    "What... but how... that shouldn't be possible... Enough already! This ends now!"
  • We Can Rule Together: Jynx tries to pull this off after his defeat. It doesn't work, of course.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out what happened to Sil, Axon, or Spook after the defeat of Jynx.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The final wave of the Brutal Bonus Level involves fighting three Axons 5.0 and four Jynxes 5.0 (the final forms of the two bosses of the game), plus their minions.

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