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Video Game / Ground Control

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Ground Control was a groundbreaking tactical RTS in 2000; games like it are frequently referred to as RTT's, Real Time Tactical, for the fact that they eliminate any in-mission economy element and give you only the forces you started with to work through the mission. The shifts the focus of the gameplay to soundly employing what you have, rather than rushing more tanks. It was released as freeware to promote its sequel; get it here.

The storyline involves two factions, the Crayven Corporation (aka. "Crays") and the Order of the New Dawn (aka. "Dawnies" or "The Order"), fighting for control of an extrasolar planet called Krig 7-B, in a vaguely Used Future setting where war has been outlawed on Earth since 2177, but conflicts continue to happen on distant human colonies such as Krig.

The two campaigns - the first one in which the player plays as Crayven, and the second one as the Order - are sequential with the second's story following the first. Although it initially appears as if Crayven just wants to take over the planet to establish a One Planet Under Copyright, the protagonists soon learn the true reason as to exactly why they are fighting - both factions are trying to seize lost alien phlebotinum (called Xenofacts) with which they plan to exert control over all the colonies and even Earth itself. The Xenofacts would, upon total activation, unleash an army of ancient alien war machines which the Precursors had built to defend themselves in some war millions of years ago, but never got a chance to use. Any mistake or misunderstood detail during the activation would result in the inevitable eradication of humanity.

Thanks to Major Sarah Parker (the player in campaign 1)'s campaign, Crayven nearly takes over the planet and forces the Order's cruiser to flee its orbit. But the Order does not give up and, with the help of guerrilla attacks conducted by Paladin Magnus and Deacon Jarred Stone (the player in campaign 2), is able to bring in a second cruiser and counter-attack, leading to a stalemate with neither side getting anywhere. The two sides declare a ceasefire, deciding to work on the Xenofacts together. This causes Major Parker and Deacon Stone to join together in order to sabotage their efforts and destroy the Xenofacts.

The Dark Conspiracy Expansion Pack followed later in 2000 and added a new faction, the Phoenix Mercenaries, former Crayven employees who decided to strike out on their own, working for the highest bidder. They have managed to come up with a sizable military using scrap metal given as payment. Major Parker is hired by the Order to eliminate a rogue faction of theirs called the Second Dawn with the help of the Mercenaries.

The second game, Ground Control 2 : Operation Exodus, was released in 2004, and takes place around two hundred years after the original. The corporations are gone, the Order of the New Dawn is probably gone as well. In their place is the Terran Empire (the bad guys), the Northern Star Alliance (the good guys), and the Viron Nomads (the freaky aliens). The plot revolves around the Terran Empire trying to take over the the Northern Star Alliance's home world Morningstar Prime, and the Virons being used as a slave race. The gameplay has been changed to be more RTS-like with reinforcements being a standard part of gameplay. This mechanic is later reused in the Spiritual Successor World in Conflict.

Ground Control provides examples of :

  • All There in the Manual: the manual goes into a lot of detail regarding world history, the two factions, the two main characters Parker and Stone, and the various units and weapons at your disposal.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Order of the New Dawn's Templar units. Firing homing antitank missiles from launchers they carry on their backs, they can decimate whole columns of armour, and fast. If one zooms in really close, then blonde hair, generous breasts, and skin-tight combat suits can be discerned.
  • Apocalypse Cult: Where The Order of the New Dawn started. They grew to their current size when, out of sheer luck, their apocalypse happened pretty much on schedule.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Order of the New Dawn uses loads of this, complete with anti-gravity tanks, energy weapons, deflector shields, cloaking fields, and eight-legged kill-bots. The Crayven Corp is not free from phlebotinum either - given that their main sources of business are their Terraforming projects, and their supposedly mundane weapons and equipment are well capable of giving a match to their Order counterparts.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The game's AI is pretty simple-minded, although it probably isn't deliberate. It cannot control several squads in a coordinated manner, but rather has them sit idle or patrol on a pre-set path. Said squads will engage an opponent if they see one, or if they are aggroed by weapons fire. The AI has no concern whatsoever for preserving of its units either, thanks to which the player can easily achieve incredibly skewed kill ratios in the campaigns (given that the AI needs a huge numerical advantage to put up a challenge).
  • Attack Drone: These are the main weapon of the Order's Orion drone carrier. The eight-legged bots are capable of traversing complex terrain to conduct non-line-of-sight attacks, tracking and chasing down enemy terradynes, and exploding when they get close to deal major damage. However, they cannot lock on to infantry, and cannot be used for suppressing fire.
  • Beehive Barrier: The Order's Energy Shields.
  • Big Bad: Cardinal Aegeri and Enrica Hayes.
  • Big Good: Paladin Magnus, who is also the mentor to Deacon Stone.
  • Bottomless Magazines: No unit ever runs out of non-special ammo.
  • Call A Tank A Terradyne: All over the place. Tracked and wheeled combat vehicles are called terradynes. Hovering vehicles are hoverdynes. Jet fighters and bombers are aerodynes. The sequel adds helidynes for air units capable of hovering (they replace aerodynes) and centruroids for the Virons (they're basically organic hover tanks).
  • The Cavalry: Lampshaded, and played straight, by Major Thomas in the Crayven mission, "No Win Situation".
  • Church Militant: The Pax Dei ("Peace of God" in Latin), the armed forces of the Order of the New Dawn.
  • Corrupt Church: The Order of the New Dawn, although according to the expansion pack they where a splinter group called The Second Dawn.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Enrica Hayes, and her successor Wallace Davidson in the expansion.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Subverted. At glance both factions have the same unit categories, like basic/specialist infantry, scout vehicle, light/medium/heavy tank, artillery/fire-support/anti-air unit, and recon/fighter/attack aerodyne, with just a single unit with no equivalent (Order drone carrier and Crayven bomber aerodyne). However, the 'equivalents' are always somewhat different and may have different advantages and disadvantages. The scale of this difference also varies - for example, Crusaders and Marines are nearly identical in function and use, while Templars and Jaegers have entirely different roles and abilities. Additionally there are differences between 'equivalents' available special weapons and equipment options. Overall, the faction differences can feel fairly minor when playing against the fairly simple AI, but become very apparent when playing against human opponent, as Order tends to dominate flat open ground with fast hit-and-run tactics, while Crayven has to rely on hillier terrain.
  • Crapsack World: While military conflict is banned on Earth, the colony worlds are constant battlefield between different megacorporations and the Order of The New Dawn.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The 13th mission of the Order campaign, in which Deacon Stone(the player) must fight off endless hordes of enemy terradynes and try to defend his base. It culminates with Paladin Magnus holding a You Shall Not Pass! to cover the player's retreat.
    • Also in the aptly named No Win Situation scenario in the Crayven campaign, where you're holding a Crayven base against a horde of Order units, and Hayes eventually has to send a whole brigade to assist you in holding back the Order hordes. Then the base is overrun anyway and the mission turns into a desperate escort mission with your surviving units fleeing for the alternative pickup zone through jungle thick with Order forces.
  • Deflector Shields: Most Order hoverdynes and aerodynes can be equipped with shields which have limited uses and can make units completely invulnerable for short (10 seconds) amounts of time.
  • The Dragon: Major Thomas, in the Order campaign.
  • Drop Ship: every campaign mission begins with the player dropping his or her units to the planet via one or more drop ships. Some missions require the player to leave the battlefield by dropship by making it to a pickup zone with their troops.
    • In the sequel, dropships remain on the battlefield for a short while after depositing reinforcements. They can also be upgraded to be a formidable force, although still vulnerable to AA fire.
  • Easy Logistics: No fuel concerns. No ammunition concerns (except for special weapons). No fatigue, no morale issues. Rapid and unlimited repairs available from the APC and Deployable Repair Stations. And, although they're expendable, there are Medikits/Repair-kits which instantly heal 40% of a squad's HP. All in all, logistics is almost a complete non-issue in this game. No reinforcements either.
  • Enemy Mine: Near the end of the Order campaign, the two main protagonist teamed up after learning more about the goal of Project Garm and the xenofacts.
  • Energy Ball: Many of the Order units' weapons manifest as this.
  • Energy Weapon: The Order of the New Dawn uses directed-energy weapons (lasers and particle beams) on nearly all of its units, with the exception of the missile-armed Templars and Dracos, and the drone-armed Orions. However, their energy weapons act incredibly similarly to the Crayven kinetic weapons, with the biggest difference being that they do slightly more damage.
  • Expansion Pack: Dark Conspiracy
  • Flying Brick: The Drop Ships.
  • Fog of War
  • Fragile Speedster: Scout units are one kind, which rely on stealth and speed, and die quickly if they are spotted. Aerodynes are another kind, which get ripped to shreds whenever they get too close to any hostile Anti-Air unit or turret, and cannot be repaired (although they can be protected by expendable anti-missile point defenses or energy shields for a short time).
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted on Normal and Hard difficulties. As a matter of fact, friendly fire is one of the potentially biggest annoyances of the game. Your units will happily fire at any target within their range, regardless if the line of fire is obstructed by vegetation, buildings, or friendly units, and it's up to you to position them correctly and/or tell them to hold fire to avoid casualties. Possibly due to the memory demands it would put on the game if units were to check constantly to see if they have a clear line of fire. Especially since they will be firing at the rear of friendlies. For vehicles this means their weakest armor. A poorly-placed heavy terradyne can cost you a light terradyne in front of it in just a few shots.
  • Geo Effects:
    • Realistically implemented. Units can use the shadows of cliffs and trees to help conceal themselves. Rocks can provide some degree of cover for infantry. Hiding under trees can protect ground units against aerodyne attacks and artillery fire to an extent. Terrain features can impede units' line of sight. High ground from cliffs and hills gives an accuracy bonus to direct-fire units attacking lower targets, and allows them to attack the thinner top-armor of vehicles. Buildings, rubble and walls can block direct-fire weapons, forcing units to go around them or allowing them to hide behind them. And infantry can hike up steep slopes which are inaccessible to vehicles.
    • This was made less evident in the sequel, because the original had very sophisticated 3D terrain effects, with a mandatory use of a free-moving 3D camera. Result: you had to think in three dimensions. The sequel - while allowing you to still use the free-moving 3D camera as an option only - was designed around a typical 2D Starcraft-like camera so that navigating terrain was more two-dimensional in nature, and bland. In the original, you could crest subtle slopes for surprise attacks, or navigate almost imperceptible troughs and gulleys for outflanking - something no Starcraft player has ever done.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The specialist infantry (Jaegers and Templars), the artillery units, and the fire-support units of both sides count as glass cannons. All of these units rely on firepower and long range, staying behind the front line or hidden by stealth regularly, and dying quickly if cornered or ambushed.
    • While aerodynes in general are a mixture of this trope and Fragile Speedster, the Crayven bomber aerodyne leans heavily towards being a Glass Cannon, with extreme firepower, low speed (by aerodyne standards), and almost no armor, though, like all Crayven aerodynes, it does have a strong point-defense system. The system can only be used three times for half a minute each per mission, but if used right can usually buy enough time to take down the Anti-Air defenses in a particular region, giving the bombers free reign.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality
  • Hover Tank: The Order's hoverdynes.
    • The Phoenix Mercenaries also utilize those.
  • Hufflepuff House: There are many MegaCorps, but only Crayven gets screen time (sort of - as explained in the One Nation Under Copyright entry, the Order technically is a Mega-Corp for political reasons). The only other Mega-Corp named is the arms manufacturer, Wellby-Simms.
    • In what may be a subversion, Wellby-Simms turns out to be the only Mega-Corp that survived by the time of Ground Control 2.
    • The manual does name a few other corporations: Terratech, Benton-Yutan, and Dai Sheung Heavy Industries.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Phoenix Mercenaries in the expansion, true to their name, prefer incendiary weaponry (including plasma). They also have a flame tank called a "pyro-dyne".
  • MacGuffin: The Xenofacts.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: This is unleashed by several units, including the Order's Templar torpedo infantry and Pavo anti-air hoverdyne, the Crayven Firecracker missile terradynes, and all fighter and attack aerodynes.
    • The Swarm is the Phoenix Mercenaries' unique aircraft whose guided missiles are equally effective against air and ground targets. As can be guessed by its name, it's most effective in massed quantities, resulting in powerful missile barrages.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The mysterious "M" who is shown to have been pulling the strings behind the events of the first game all along. Unfortunately, that's all that's known about him.
  • Mega-Corp: The Crayven Corporation and others in the back story.
    • Including, technically, the Order of the New Dawn.
  • Mile-Long Ship: Massive Command Cruisers which both Crayven and Order use to sustain their ground campaign on Krig-7B. Crayven cruiser CSS Astrid is also part of the sequel storyline.
  • Mission Control: Provided by Enrica Hayes in the first campaign, and mostly by Paladin Magnus in the second, though Cardinal Aegeri commands you for a few missions during the stalemate phase, and Sergeant Cole takes over the job following Magnus' Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Non-Entity General: averted. Both Stone and Parker have fleshed-out, dynamic personalities.
    • In Ground control you are actually on the battlefield in the APC. By the second game your character has been stowed somewhere safe, but oddly is still seen on the battlefield in cut scenes.
  • Nuke 'em: The Crayven Hog artillery unit and Condor bomber aerodyne can use nukes as one-shot special weapons. The Order's Templars can also carry mini-nukes if they ever need extra punch for taking down terradyne concentrations.
    • Surprisingly averted for the biggest bang in the game, which is to be produced by a "full TDX demolition charge".
  • Shout-Out: The research facility "White Asem". Asem spelled backwards is Mesa, and the opposite of White is Black.
    • Possibly an unintentional one, A game called Ground Control has a character called Major Thomas in it. (Ground Control to Major Tom)
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The majority of humanity is ruled by Mega Corps. The Order of the New Dawn is the main exception.
    • And even then, the Order technically isn't an exception - it is registered as a corporation, and have representation with a number of organisations as that. In practice, of course, it acts as a church, not a corporation, but both the Order and the actual Mega Corps found it worthwhile to provide the fig-leaf necessary to incorporate the Order into the political structure as an equal to any one of the corporations.
  • Powered Armor: In the expansion.
  • Precursors: The builders of the Xenofacts.
  • Private Military Contractors: Marc Herra' Phoenix faction.
  • Prophetic Name: The naming of the planet Krig 7-B (Krieg is German for war) (Krig is also Norwegian, Swedish AND Danish for war).
    • As a side note, the game abbreviates "Order of the New Dawn" to "OND", which in Scandinavian means "evil".
  • Real-Time with Pause: "Classic" Real-Time With Pause-variant. Unlike most other RTS games of the time, which allow you to pause to do things like issue orders to your squads, Ground Control doesn't allow you to do anything but move the camera while in paused mode.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Bishop Delendre.
  • Roboteching: Most of this game's missile weapons act like this.
  • Sequel Hook: The expansion ends with one... which remains completely unresolved in the next game.
  • Stone Wall: The heavy tanks - the Crayven Corp's Grizzly and the Order's Volans - are built to be extremely tough, and take a long time to kill even when using anti-tank specials, flanking attacks, artillery and other fire-support. They are nigh-invincible from the front, against anything less than another tank or dedicated anti-tank unit. Infantry and scout weapons cannot penetrate their armor at all, and even Templars need to hit their rear armor to cause any damage. However, they sacrifice the speed and firepower of the more balanced main battle tanks to achieve their resilience.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors.
  • Tank Goodness: The heavier Terradynes and Hoverdynes count under this.
  • Technobabble: The manual is filled with this regarding the Order of the New Dawn's units, but it is sparse in-game since all the characters are as such familiar with how their equipment works and have no need to recite it for the player. Most technobabble in-game is in regards to the Xenofacts, which is understandable since they are mysterious alien devices which the characters are not so familiar with.
  • Theme Naming: This is just in the manual.
    • Alphabetical: The Crayven air superiority fighter is the AV/F-1001 FA Delta.
    • Animal: All but one Crayven terradynes (including the Command APC) are named after dangerous animals. All but one Crayven aerodynes are named after birds of prey.
    • Religious And Mythological: The basic Order infantry are the Crusaders, while their anti-tank infantry is called the Templars.
      • The Phoenix Mercenaries name most of their units after mythological figures and creatures. The faction's name itself is another reference to a mythological creature. They also like to burn things.
    • Stellar: All Order hoverdynes and aerodynes are named after constellations.
  • The Paladin: Magnus.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: While exchanging fire using standard weaponry can last some time, limited use special weapons can wipe out whole enemy squad with a single well aimed shot.
  • Units Not to Scale: The flora and fauna on Krig 7-B are huge. There are birds the size of aerodynes, giant trees larger than most buildings, and tall grasses that easily dwarf tanks in height.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The ending of Dark Conspiracy shows that Parker has been this to "M", and knocked out Earth's Early Warning system, which eventually allows the Draconis Empire to win the First Stellar War.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: The Order's Lacerta beam hoverdyne is built solely to act as a mobile platform for a single giant laser.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Cardinal Kila Balor tried pulling this on Parker near the end of the expansion.

Ground Control II provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: The pilots of the NSA Dropships and Liberator Terradynes certainly qualify. Though it is a bit odd that only women drive those tanks...
  • The Alliance: The Northern Star Alliance, formed in the 26th-27th century to unite the Outer Sphere colonies after the First Stellar War. By the time of the Second Stellar War (when the game's story takes place), the NSA is made up of 23 worlds. However, by the time the game starts, only its capital world Morningstar Prime remains unconquered by the Empire.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The storyline indicates that The Elder Race is coming.
  • BFG: The secondary mode of the NSA's Siege Soldiers will tear the shit out of you. Not even tanks are safe.
  • Bridge Bunnies: At least a few Imperial naval crewmembers were seen on board the bridge of Vlaana's military star cruiser.
  • The Butcher: Imperator Vlaana Azleea is known by the NSA as "The Butcher of Ariel" for the atrocities committed by her and her troops during the conquest of Ariel Prime, the birthplace of the NSA.
  • Call-Back: You go to Krig 7-B to find the drilling rigs for the Virons. And the final two sections of the game are about you using the ancient CSS Astrid to evacuate Morningstar Prime. Heck, when you find the ship, Angelus' line echoes the first sentence heard in Ground Control's Crayven campaign:
    Major Sarah Parker, (in Ground Control): "The Astrid is definitely made for crashing a party."
    Captain Jacob Angelus (in Ground Control II): "That old bird looks like she was made to crash a party!"
  • Cutscene Power to the Max and Cutscene Incompetence; For the first and last cut scenes respectively.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: If you switch from first to second game, you may need quite a lot of time to get used to new camera.
  • Drop Pod: Virons can call few of them (filled with basic infantry) as one of their support powers. The Imperials later reverse-engineered the drop pod technology to develop munitions that can circumvent energy shields. Those munitions were ultimately used to destroy the NSA shuttle launch stations that were partaking in Operation: Exodus.
  • The Emperor: The current ruler of the Terran Empire is Marcus Augustus. That's all we know about him.
  • The Empire: The Terran Empire was born after in the 25th century after the Draconis Empire made a move on the weakened Earth, sparking the First Stellar War, which involved most of the big players at the time. When the dust settled, the 50 Inner Sphere colonies (including Earth) were firmly in the new Empire's grasp, and the old Mega Corps (including the Order of the New Darn) were no more. The Empire then spent the next 200 years rebuilding and solidifying its control, as well as building up a large military force to bring the Outer Sphere colonies into the fold.
  • Escort Mission: You occasionally have vital units crop up. You do control them, which makes things easier.
  • Face–Heel Turn: General Warhurst thinks that Alice's plan to evacuate Morningstar Prime and giving it to the Virons is crazy, has Michelle LaCroix murdered in her sleep, puts Douglas Grant in a secret prison and sided with the Terrans.
    • Even worse, according to the backstory, Warhurst founded the NSA.
  • Foreshadowing: There are numerous moments throughout the game that hint at the above Face–Heel Turn long before it actually occurs:
    • In Stealing Beauty (NSA Mission 10) Warhurst states the MSD-12 research facility became exposed after Major Grant and all his troops disappeared without a trace. This is conviniently at the same time as a massive Terran assault. It's later revealed that Warhurst imprisoned Grant and probably recalled his forces himself.
    • At the end of that same mission, Warhurst wants to discuss Alice's rescue only after he attends "an important council meeting" and refuses to let Angelus rescue her before said meeting is finished. When Angelus disobeys him, he arrives Just in Time to save Alice before she's sent to Vlaana's cruiser in orbit. Had he done what Warhurst wanted, she'd be out of the NSA's reach.
    • Throughout the first two thirds of the Viron campaign, the Terrans always seem to be one step ahead of the heroes, waiting for them at every turn. Warhurst most likely fed them information about Angelus' plans.
    • Just before Angelus and the Virons leave Krig-7B, a communication with Alice reveals that Michelle LaCroix has been murdered in her sleep. Since she Jumped at the Call to help Angelus disobey Warhurst and help him rescue Alice earlier, it's not surprising Warhurst would want her out of his way.
    • During Carved in Sand (Viron Mission 6), Centurion Dracus offers Angelus a chance to join the Terran Empire. When Angelus refuses and states that nobody in the NSA would even consider that offer, Dracus mockingly asks him if he's sure.
  • Friendly Sniper: Sergean Rho act as sniper in game. While being one of the most comical characters in the game, he's also more or less a direct upgrade to the Raptor Snipers.
    • Is he really just a sniper? He's gone up against an entire bunch of Imperials inside a building on Krig 7-B to rescue an imprisoned Viron clan leader by himself!
    Sergeant Rho : "GOOD MORNING PEOPLE!"
  • Fusion Dance: Virons' main schtick. They can merge two of the same units together to form a new unit that serves different purposes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Centurion Cezarus, to an extent. In the first mission on Nefilim, he decides to warn you about what will happen if the Xenofact network on Nefilim is activated, and though he curses you through most of his speech, he's highly aware that you're the only one who can stop that from happening.
  • Hold the Line: Several, most notably "Nothing Left to Burn", the final mission.
  • Hollywood Flamethrower: The Flame Cannon turrets and Fire-based units of all the factions have a painfully short range. Luckily, most of them compensate for it by strong armor.
    • Especially jarring how if they miss, their flame will keep going on like a standard projectile until it hits something.
  • Hopeless War: Since the NSA have lost its fleet along with all of its planets apart from Morningstar Prime, the NSA have no ways of defeating the Terran Empire.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: The Empire uses two types of "Striders" to complement their infantry and hoverdynes. The A4 Combat Strider is primarily used against infantry, being armed with a light Gatling beam cannon. The Missile Strider is mainly used against helidynes and dropships.
  • Mighty Glacier: The NSA's Ravager Heavy Terradyne. Armed with dual heavy cannons and can deploy its side armor forward for extra frontal protection, all while having the speed of a snail. (Until you get the Transport Helidyne, that is.)
  • Nerf:
    • Artillery units have shameful firepower compared to their Ground Control counterparts and their armor was lowered as well. Rocket vehicles, however, have been buffed.
    • Viron Missile Clanguards. Compared with those unstoppable Templars from the first game, they look heavily underpowered.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: According to the backstory, the collapse of the old system of Mega Corps started after Major Sarah Parker destroyed Earth's early warning system. The resulting war ended when a new player, the Draconis Empire, managed to conquer Earth and form the Terran Empire.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: The Imperials are never playable in the unmodified game, not even in multiplayer. Because they weren't meant to be playable, they have the smallest number of available units and they all lack secondary modes.
  • Older Is Better: No modern ship used by the NSA is large enough to evacuate the population of Morningstar Prime. The only ship big enough is the 200-year-old CSS Astrid, the ship used by the Crayven Corporation during the conflict on Krig-7B and later stolen by Major Parker. Of course, it's also possible that the real reason is that the NSA doesn't have any starships left after its fleet was wiped out in the backstory.
    • Oh, and the Terrans have a blockade and space supremacy above Morningstar, so it's pretty much impossible for the NSA to build new ships without them being destroyed from orbit.
  • Orbital Bombardment: This is how the Terran Empire typically dealt with NSA planets. It wasn't until the NSA developed city shields that the Empire was forced to put troops on the ground.
    • Virons can call an graser orbital bombardment as one of their support powers.
  • Ribcage Ridge: A few maps have the rotting remains of huge otherworldy fish.
  • Secondary Fire: All unit now have a secondary mode, though not all of them are a different firing method.
    • A good example is the NSA's Light Assault Infantry unit, which in Primary mode uses a light machine gun, which is only really effective against enemy infantry, but crouches and uses an anti-tank missile in secondary mode.
  • Sequel Hook: The description to the final cinematic says it all: The end?

    Narration : Until finally... we saw them again.
  • Space People: The Virons have become this after the Empire has rendered their homeworld in the Ragnarok Nebula uninhabitable. They live aboard their Clan Ships, relying on the Empire to provide them with a trace gas called zethane, which they require to survive. Naturally, the Empire uses them as shock troops.
  • Space Romans: The Terran Empire styles itself as Ancient Grome IN SPACE!. This is evidenced by certain troop types (Legionnaires) as well as officer ranks, such as centurion and imperator.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: A mild example with the Virons. Unlike humans, the Virons place a person's title after the name. For example, clan leaders G'hall Vi'cath and Drahk'Mar Vi'cath have the names G'hall and Drahk'Mar, respectively, and the title Vi'cath. For this reason, they refer to Captain Jacob Angelus as "Angelus-Captain".
  • Suicide Attack: In the final mission the Imps sic a lot of jury-rigged bomb trucks on you.
  • The Dragon: Ghall Vi'cath, Centurion Dracus, and to a lesser extent, Centurion Cezarus. You get to kill all three of them.
  • Title Drop: The Captain comments in one of his journals that if his sergeant was given the job for naming the evacuation he'd call it "Operation Exodus".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: You discover evidence that Vlaana has pulled a massive Xanatos Gambit in missions 21 and 22. What she was actually trying to achieve is never revealed, although you do appear to put a spanner in the works, judging by her last appearance in game.