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Video Game / Infernal

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Infernal is a Third-Person Shooter developed by Metropolis Software, published by Playlogic, and distributed by Eidos. It was released on PC in 2007, then ported to Xbox 360 in 2009.

In the world of Infernal, both Heaven and Hell are represented on Earth by their own militant organisations - EtherLight for the former, and the Abyss for the latter. The game follows a character named Ryan Lennox, who used to be an angel with EtherLight but was sacked for what's implied to have been excessive snarkiness, insubordination, and general loose-cannon-ism. Lennox promptly finds that his former employers, not content to sack him, are now trying to kill him, and he soon after accepts a job offer from the competition. The rest of the game sees Lennox chasing after a big, secret, increasingly sinister-looking project being implemented by EtherLight, while knowing perfectly well that his new boss is unlikely to have beneficent motives for wanting to get hold of it either.

Infernal contains examples of:

  • Addictive Magic: Barbara seems to think that Lennox is becoming addicted to the demonic powers he receives from the Abyss, either because it's inherently corrupting or because he just likes the power. Lennox does seem pretty keen to get the powers back once he's lost them, but whether there really is an addiction or whether it's just practicality isn't stated outright.
  • A Father to His Men: Commander/Admiral (usage differs) Jones seems to want revenge against Lennox for the crew killed aboard the HMS Liberty. A villainous version, since the casualties in question were incurred when Lennox was breaking out of a torture room.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Used in the battle with Professor Wolf; hit the thing on the back of his chair to defeat him. See also Shoot the Fuel Tank below.
  • Bag of Spilling: Weapons are not kept between missions, starting you with only a limited set.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: The introduction in the manual states that Lennox is hired to "restore the balance between Good and Evil", and although the concept of balance isn't made too explicit in the actual game, that's more or less how things end up - Lennox's actions do indeed prevent either side from using Wolf's machine (which is the only course that leaves humanity free).
  • Big Red Devil: Lucius Black takes on this form when Lennox fights him at the end, although looks basically human before that point.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality or Evil Versus Evil: The conflict between EtherLight (at least, General Guisez's version of it) and the Abyss would be one or the other, depending on whether or not you want to give Guisez partial credit for at least having good intentions. The Abyss may also seem gray up until the point where Lucius starts ranting about ultimate power.
  • Boss Arena Recovery: A few boss battles have mooks that replenish ammo ore mana. In the final stage, it eventually becomes a direct supply of mana by stepping into the "flames".
  • Brought Down to Badass: Lennox is in this position three times. At the start of the game, he has lost his angelic powers as a result of being fired. Later, Lucius Black revokes Lennox's new demonic powers when Lennox appears to have failed and has been questioning orders, but is persuaded to return them on the basis that they need each other. Finally, Black takes the powers back when he and Lennox fight in the final boss battle. Lennox is still quite able to shoot a gun, however.
  • Church Militant: EtherLight isn't the church, but seems either overlap with it or take stylistic cues from it sometimes. It's most noticeable in the first level, the Hochtempelberg monastery (which is basically a medieval-style monastery with high-tech touches and guards who look like monks). More elite EtherLight components have a more military theme, however.
  • Cool Chair: Professor Wolf flies about in an armed and shielded hoverchair.
  • Combat Stilettos: Major Elena Zubrov, despite her acrobatic fighting style.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Lt. Barbara Mitchell, an EtherLight member and a friend of Lennox, is with Lennox at a bar when the EtherLight ambush occurs. She seems to have been ordered to kill Lennox as part of it, but after briefly pointing a gun at him, tells him to run. This conflicting loyalty lingers - she doesn't like what EtherLight is up to, but isn't keen on Lennox's association with the Abyss, either, wondering if she can still trust him now that he's all demon-y. In the end, she sides with Lennox, although there's a bit of Double Agent confusion before that's clear.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Barbara Mitchell and Elena Zubrov, both members of EtherLight, wear their own distinctive outfits - Barbara has a sort of two-layered tank top, while Elena has some sort of blue catsuit. They're both EtherLight-branded, but they don't match other EtherLight personnel you see.
  • Dating Catwoman: The banter between Lennox and one of EtherLight's people, Major Elena Zubrov, is often somewhat flirty, but that's just because Lennox is being impertinent and Elena is playing along. There's no real indication of actual romance, and it certainly doesn't turn into anything (given that Lennox eventually kills her and eats her soul).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ryan Lennox, the protagonist, relates to everyone this way.
  • Death from Above: In the final level, Lucius Black makes it rain meteors, creating a hole in the wall so that Lennox can get inside EtherLight's satellite control center (and also doing a fair amount of damage to said center in the process).
  • Double Agent: There's some uncertainty for a while as to whose side Barbara Mitchell is on. She's part of EtherLight, but friends with Lennox (who's now working for the opposition), and gives both of them the impression that she's on their side. She appears to be feeding Lennox information, but then is (unsuccessfully) insistent that Lennox should hand an electronic whatsit over to her without waiting for questions, and when Lennox is later captured, she is congratulated for tricking him. Then she helps him escape... but declines to join him, claiming that she can be of more use pretending to be loyal to EtherLight. It's only when a soldier catches her transmitting to Lennox, and Lennox subsequently rescues her, that she makes her allegiance (with Lennox) clear to everyone.
  • Flunky Boss: Both Professor Wolf and General Guisez are this for the first round of their boss fights. Wolf sends mind-controlled zombie-like things after you and Guisez sends troops. Your job is to smash their shield generators and make them fight you personally.
  • God Is Good: Toyed with. His subordinate sure aren't, but they're also doing something when they think he can't see them... apparently.
  • Guns Akimbo: Lennox can do this with pistols. Elena Zubrov can do it with rocket launchers.
  • Heal Thyself: Lennox, when in possession of demonic powers, is able to replenish his health by eating the souls of dead people. The game doesn't go into detail about what this means for the dead people, although it's to be presumed they'd rather it didn't happen. Once or twice, the game sets up situations where Lennox could do with a health boost and there are a few cowering non-combatants conveniently nearby - it's up to the player whether he kills them for their souls or soldiers on.
  • Humans Kill Wantonly: Lucius Black seems to have this view of mortals, telling Lennox that "the most ingenious inventions of mankind were devised for the sole purpose of killing people more quickly". Given his position, it isn't necessarily a criticism.
  • Insufferable Genius: Professor Wolf doesn't seem like he'd be a very easy person to work with, but assuming his machine would perform as advertised, he can probably be considered a genius (albeit an evil or at least morally indifferent one).
  • Jetpacks: What some mooks have. Shoot them enough and they spiral off course.
  • Laser Hallway: The lasers are actually emitted by cameras, and used as a means to introduce you to one of your powers.
  • Left for Dead: When General Guisez snipes Lennox at the steelworks rail depot, he assumes Lennox to be dead and leaves. In fact, Lennox survives - though HP to One cutscene attack requires finding some health replenishment.
  • Light Is Not Good: EtherLight uses a lot of white, pale grey, and shiny blue, but is the antagonist for most of the game. Not everyone working for them is evil, but they're certainly not all good.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: Barbara doesn't take part in either of the two boss fights at the end. Before the one with Guisez, she gets locked out of the room by a forcefield of some sort. Before the one with Black, she gets knocked out by him when she tries to wrestle him away from the control panel. Lennox is therefore left to do it by himself.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Lucius Black, head of Hell's forces on Earth, is pretty sharply dressed, although it isn't his whole image (the dreadlocks probably don't fit). The intention seems to be to combine this trope with Scary Black Man and maybe Borrowin' Samedi.
  • Mind-Control Device: Wolf's invention is supposed to be able to be able to subtly mind-control the whole world by broadcasting to ordinary media devices like televisions and radios. General Guisez wants to use it to eliminate the The Evils of Free Will, while Lucius Black just wants to Take Over the World.
  • Mind over Matter: Telekinesis is one of the powers Lennox receives from Black and the Abyss. It's used occasionally to move heavy things out of the way or stack them into steps.
  • Mini-Mecha: Some of the crew on the aircraft carrier Lennox escapes from are driving things which look like they're used for shifting crates, but which seem to be armed with lasers.
  • Mission Control: Lucius Black of the Abyss provides this service to Lennox once Lennox has signed up. Rather grudgingly, though. A lot of the time he's just complaining that Lennox isn't delivering results. He also doesn't have much patience in explaining things, especially when Lennox has been flippant about it - when Lennox asks for a recap of something he was uninterested in earlier, Black just says "You should have paid attention" and hangs up.
  • Mook Maker: Professor Wolf has a ring of machines that spit out mind-controlled or lobotomised mooks at you while you try to destroy his shielding. Whatever he's doing to those people, he seems to have automated it to the point of having a production line.
  • Mystical White Hair : Barbara, an angel, has white hair without appearance of age.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lennox bears an uncanny resemblance to Ryan Reynolds.
  • No-Gear Level: Lennox starts the HMS Liberty without any gear (because he's been captured) and without his demonic powers (because Lucius Black is displeased with him).
  • No OSHA Compliance: Since two of the five levels are industrial sites (a refinery and a steelworks, respectively), you naturally get a bit of this. Some of it's justified, though - a lot of the damage appears to be intentional attempts to slow Lennox down by the staff. The bit where Lennox and a miniboss use machines to fire logs at each other in a sort of duel is probably the most dangerous it gets, and that's their own fault.
  • Numerical Hard: Combat statistics do not change among the stock Difficulty Levels. However, health regained by absorbing corpses is significantly reduced on hard, removing the tactic of mid-combat health absorption.
  • One-Winged Angel: Guisez transforms into something less human-looking when he fights you personally (having previously waited behind a shield while you dodged troops and shot out generators).
  • Playing with Fire: As you might expect, these powers are enjoyed by Lucius Black, head demon on Earth. Lennox is unimpressed with the "pyrotechnics".
  • Puzzle Boss: Most bosses require using some trick in order for them to be harmed. This varies from having to blow out the lights (to recharge mana), manipulating objects using your levitation power, teleporting behind the boss to hit its weak point, or going back and forth to complete an objective in the boss arena.
  • Rail Shooter: A brief segment when Lennox rides a slow-moving train through an industrial area and has to use a turret to shoot enemies that show up.
  • Regenerating Health: A partial amount of health is restored when damaged. You still need to retrieve health from other sources.
  • Regenerating Mana: Some places have demonic auras which allow Lennox to regenerate his mana. Some other places, like churches, have angelic auras which drain him. Some bad guys use this to their advantage - there's one boss who uses lights to create an angelic aura, which leaves Lennox with too little mana to break through the boss's barriers. In that particular case, Lennox can shoot out the lights to re-enable his mana regeneration.
  • Scary Black Man: Lucius Black. He seems to be going for some combination of this trope and being a Man of Wealth and Taste, possibly with a dose of Baron Samedi as well.
  • Shielded Core Boss: Both Wolf and Guisez initially sit behind forcefields while letting minions do the work. If you want to be able to hit them directly, you have to first take out some generators.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: The mooks carrying laser welders are pretty much invincible in their suits, but shooting the tanks on their backs does the trick.
  • Spoiled by the Manual: EtherLight's evil plan isn't revealed until you're half way through the game... unless you read the the manual, which states it outright in the introduction.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Lennox drowns instantly on contact with open water. (Somewhat irritating given that he's specifically stated to have gotten to the level in which this is most likely to be a problem by swimming there...)
  • Superpowered Evil Side: The premise of the game is basically an ex-angel getting one of these and fighting his former employers. The extent to which it may alter his personality is left a bit vague - Barbara, who's still an angel, believes that Lennox is too keen on his new destructive powers, but it's not made clear whether she's right (and if so, whether it's an insidious effect of the demonic powers themselves or just a psychological thing.
  • Take a Third Option: In the end, Lennox doesn't hand the machine to either EtherLight or the Abyss. He defeats the boss of one, then defeats the boss of the other by blowing up the machine on him. Whether he specifically looked for a third option or whether it just turned out like that isn't stated outright.
  • The Evils of Free Will: This is the motivation of one of the two end bosses, General Carlos Guisez. Basically, he's an angel who's trying to "fix" a design flaw in humanity while God isn't looking.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Professor Wolf doesn't like it when Lennox omits the "Professor" bit.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: A special once-a-millennium eclipse is supposed to briefly obscure the Creator's view of the mortal world. The head of Heaven's forces in said world plans to use this window of opportunity to brainwash humanity into being good, something which he couldn't ordinarily get away with.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: From time to time, Lennox can use his demonic teleportation power to deal with them, moving from one to the other quickly enough for it to work.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll:
    • Elena Zubrov does rather like cartwheeling about the place.
    • Lennox, as well as some mooks, may also perform this (and combine it with a special ability to become invisible or invincible.)
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Carlos Guisez believes that Utopia Justifies the Means.
  • You Are Too Late: When Lennox defeats Professor Wolf, Wolf tells him that the free-will-negating machine thing he built - his crowning glory - is both finished and somewhere else, meaning that Lennox cannot stop its activation. However, Lennox overhears a transmission which reveals the machine's location.