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Video Game / Ion Fury

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Ion Fury (formerly Ion Maiden) is a first-person shooter developed by Voidpoint and published by 3D Realms. It's a prequel to 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment's Bombshell, and is meant to be a throwback to older shooters like Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, and Shadow Warrior. In fact, it even uses a heavily modified version of the Build Engine, making it one of the first commercially released games since Team TNT's World War II GI (released 1999) to use the engine.

Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison earned her codename as a bomb disposal expert for the Global Defense Force. When transhumanist cult mastermind Dr. Jadus Heskel unleashes a cybernetic army on Neo DC, Shelly decides it’s time to start chucking bombs rather than defusing them.

The game was released on Steam on August 15th, 2019, after a period in Early Access, and on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on May 14th, 2020. An expansion, subtitled Aftershock, was released in October 2023. A sequel, Phantom Fury, was released in April 2024, and Tempest Rising, an RTS set in the same universe, heavily inspired by Command & Conquer is currently in production.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Shelly.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Heskel's House of Horrors.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Just before reaching a Point of No Return, the game will tell you how many secrets you've missed up until that point, so you don't miss your chance for a 100% completion.
    • Security camera monitors are frequently placed to show the location of the key you will need to progress, or the door that is opened by the switch right next to the monitor.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Shooting enemies in the head deals extra damage, and may cause their heads to blow apart like watermelons.
    • In Aftershock Heskel has Rocco killed this way after he continues to fail to stop Shelly.
  • Bond One-Liner: Much like Lo Wang, Shelly is fond of spouting out one-liners after killing enemies.
  • Brick Joke: In the beginning of Capital Carnage Shelly will yell that they're lucky she couldn't fit a grenade launcher in her purse. Guess what weapon you start with in Aftershock?
  • Building of Adventure: The entirety of Zone 3, except for the secret level, takes place in the skyscraper that acts as the Heskel Institution HQ, beginning from the entrance and lobby, all the way to the rooftop, where a boss battle takes place.
  • Canon Welding:
    • Trailers for Phantom Fury shows that the setting takes place in the same one that SiN takes place in, with Shelly being an acquaintance of John Blade.
    • It's also stated that the game takes place a century after the events of Tempest Rising, which features the Global Defense Force as a playable faction.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Dr. Heskel has a recruitment poster for his evil organization, down to having 666 and "Evil" in the number.
  • Cowboy Cop: Shelly is quite fond of excessive force.
  • Cyberpunk: 20 Minutes into the Future Mega City with Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain under attack of evil cyborgs of MegaCorp led by a Mad Scientist.
  • Charged Attack: The secondary fire of the Ion Bow allows you to charge the weapon to fire multiple bolts in a spread pattern at once. It can be overcharged, in which case it will fire a whole clip of bolts at a rapid rate of fire, with devastating results.
  • Cyborg: Most of the enemies are this.
  • Derivative Differentiation: Inverted. The game embraces Shelly's original intention as a Distaff Counterpart to Duke Nukem, complete with the gameplay being more like 3D, rather than the top-down shooter her own self-titled game was.
  • Direct Continuous Levels: The game plays like a very large, single level. In reality, it is broken up into multiple areas, with the end of each area marked with a message on your HUD telling you how many secrets you've missed.
  • Double Tap: Loverboy's secondary fire aims for an enemy's head and rapidly fires two (technically six) bullets there.
  • Easter Egg: A heavily pixelated Linux penguin appears in some of the screens in Heskell's office and lab.
  • Excuse Plot: It has fewer story beats than Bombshell or even Duke Nukem 3D (which was very light on plot). Basically Heskell, a Mad Scientist and Cult leader, taken over Neo D.C., and once they attack Shelly's apartment-slash-nightclub, Shelly has to fight back to survive.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The boss fight against the Mega Brutalizer Twins takes place on a funicular as it is ascending.
  • Gatling Good: One of the weapons is a minigun ripped from the Warmech. It is powerful enough to tear enemies to shreds.
  • Genre Throwback: To Build Engine games such as Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior (1997), and Blood.
  • Glass Cannon: Bombshell herself, at any difficulty level beyond the easiest. She has a sizable arsenal so she deals damage by the ton, but she isn't so good at taking it - even with full health and armor, going guns blazing against several enemies at the same time can kill you surprisingly quickly. This is a game that you play with cover and ammunition economy in mind; if you play it like you'd play Duke Nukem 3D you will die a lot.
    • The red cyborgs. They're armed with the sniper bow so they deal a ton of damage even when they don't happen to score a random headshot and One-Hit Kill you on the spot, but they're still just basic grunts, so they'll go down to a secondary double-tap from the revolver.
  • Guns Akimbo: The SMGs. The trope is somewhat played with, as they start out akimbo so you don't have to pick up a second SMG or otherwise enable the feature like in other games. You are instead given the option of specifically choosing to wield a single one, which is usually actually preferable as otherwise they go through ammo like popcorn and lose quite a lot of accuracy.
  • Hand Cannon: Shelly's standard pistol, the huge "Loverboy" revolver, which holds eighteen rounds and shoots three at a time.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Inverted. Both this game and Bombshell have fewer sexual overtones than Duke Nukem 3D.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Each comes with a progressively bloodier picture of Shelly's face and a description.
    • First Blood (Easy difficulty. Great for new players or those who just want to have fun.)
    • Wanton Carnage (Normal difficulty. The intended experience for the average player.)
    • Ultra Viscera (Hard difficulty. A highly challenging mode for veterans.)
    • Maximum Fury (Hardcore mode. You die a lot and then uninstall the game. Not for first timers...)
    • Angel of Death (Damn I'm Good Mode. Overwhelming, nearly insurmountable odds. Not recommended for puny human players. Enemies can now revive unless they're gibbed.)
  • Large Ham: You can tell Jon St. John was having fun when voicing the Big Bad.
  • Lawman Baton: Shelly's melee weapon of choice. Since it's electrified it can also be used to power certain machines.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: As is standard for '90s FPSes, body parts tend to fly everywhere, especially when explosives are involved. You even get rewarded for causing this; armor shards spawn from gibbed enemies.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Jadus Heskel, the Big Bad.
  • Minimalist Cast: Typical of an old-school FPS, the only characters in the main game are Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison and Dr. Jadus Heskel while the expansion adds General Rocco "The Rock" Rockford.
  • Monster Closet: The game world is full of small rooms and crannies for enemies to pop out of, usually as part of a Teleporting Keycard Squad ambush. Sometimes these crannies have doors for you or the enemies to open. Other times the enemies use explosives to make their own doors.
  • Nintendo Hard: If you're familiar with the Build engine games of old, then it will not come as a surprise this one is also hard as nails, with even the lowliest mooks being able to quickly dish out massive damage, especially on higher difficulties.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If Shelly ends up taking a fall that will kill her, the game will seemingly Overcrank as she falls, while you see the message "You're definitely going to die... Press USE to scream." Shortly afterwards, the game will quickly fade through black to the standard bloody "YOU DIED" screen...but with the sound of a body hitting the ground really hard. And no, you don't get to see your health go to zero with a dead/partially exploded/totally headless Shelly portrait.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: The reason for Dr. Heskel's turn to evil, following an unpleasant consequence of his cyborg technology leading to a ban.
  • Not Quite Dead: While not outright shown, the fact that Heskel is still around in Bombshell as the Big Bad is definitely this.
  • One-Hit Kill: You can deal this to most enemies if you hit them in the head - see Boom, Headshot! example above - but importantly, *so can they*. The red cyborgs with the sniper bow in particular will occasionally score a headshot against you and drop you on the spot, regardless of how much health and armor you have.
  • One-Woman Army and Sole Survivor: It's all but outright stated that Shelly is the last of the GDF, and she is the only one who can bring the fight to Heskel and his cyborg armies.
  • Percussive Maintenance: There are certain generators that can only be activated by whacking them with your stun baton.
  • Prequel: The events of Ion Fury take place before Bombshell.
  • Reference Overdosed: There is a ludicrous amount of Easter eggs that reference other media. These videos show you how much.
  • Retraux: Ion Fury is made to look as much like an old-school FPS as possible, down to using the old tools and methods of the time and even having palette emulation.
  • Revolvers are Just Better: Bombshell's starting gun is the "Loverboy", a ridiculously oversized, three-barreled revolver. Unlike most starting guns you won't only remember it exists when you run out of ammo for everything else, as it's precise enough to reliably snipe with (and with a lot more ammo available than the dedicated sniper weapon) and its autoaiming secondary remains extremely useful for the duration.
  • Secondary Fire: Every single weapon in the game has one. For example, the hammer of Shelly's "Loverboy" revolver can lock on to multiple targets with hold-and-release, and the Disperser shotgun can switch to a grenade launcher with a press of the button before Aftershocks, where it now functions to change each mode's ammo types.
  • Secret Level: There is one in the game. It is the super secret of Zone 3.
  • Severed Head Sports: Taking a page from Blood, you can kick around the still-bloody skulls of gibbed foes.
  • Shows Damage: Shelly’s face in the bottom left corner of the screen becomes bloodier as your health drops. Sounds familiar, right?
  • Simple, yet Awesome: The Loverboy's lock on alt-fire is vital for staying alive as it makes quick work of fast, evasive enemies and precision shooting. Plus it looks cool to take out mooks in quick succession.
  • Standard Fps Guns: Considering the game, it stands to reason that most of the old archetypes would be around in some form:
    • Knife: The Electrifryer, an electrified riot baton that's also used for environmental puzzles such as powering generators.
    • Pistol: The Loverboy. Also doubles as a Revolver, since its headshots and alt-fire do good damage.
    • Shotgun/Grenade Launcher: The Disperser. One alt-mode's a shotgun with decent range; the other mode swaps out the buckshot cannisters for explosive rounds. Aftershock gives each mode a new ammo type, with the shotgun mode being able to load rounds that fire Clusterpuck explosive pellets and the Grenade Launcher mode getting Gas Grenades.
    • Automatic Weapon: The Penetrator, a submachine gun with incendiary rounds. Can be dual-wielded with alt-fire.
    • Grenades: Two flavors - The Bowling Bombs, which are rolling bombs that can lock on and roll to the nearest enemy or be lit and used like dynamite, and the Clusterpucks, which is a clusterbomb that can be planted as a mine.
    • Marksman Gun: The Ion Bow, which has decent tracking, stunlocks certain enemies, and can usually kill with a headshot, and can be charged up to fire up to five bolts or charged even further to rapidly fire.
    • BFG: The Chaingun, with high-caliber rounds that can rip through just about anything in short order.
    • Rocket Launcher: The Homewrecker, added in Aftershock. It fires plasma drunk missiles that can lock onto enemies, with alt-fire firing a barrage. It's also the main weapon of your hoverbike, which you get after you wreck it.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A good portion of Shelly's arsenal are explosives, so this will often happen in any given combat.
  • Take That!:
    • Duke Nukem's outfit can be seen in a store window before the preview Campaign bossfight, to which Shelly can remark "Where's that big head of yours? Don't answer."
    • A poster in a ladies restroom takes a jab at a certain TV station: "WTF: We were cool when coke was cheap!"
  • Tamer and Chaster:
    • Bombshell's actual incarnation from her eponymous game and this game is very much less sexualized than her previous ones from the 90s when she's supposed to be Duke Nukem's partner in his latest game.
    • The game itself also lacks strippers and nudity, although innuendos still remain.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Picking up a keycard often spawns enemies between you and the door that keycard unlocks, forcing you to fight your way through rooms you already cleared.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Bowling Bombs are an iconic weapon in Shelly's arsenal and can be tossed around (or rolled around if you're crouching) in a similar fashion to dynamite in Blood — that is, the longer you hold the fire button down, the farther the bombs are thrown. What's more, if your enemies are thinking of running out of the blast radius, that ain't gonna happen — the bombs home in on them before exploding. However, the laws of physics still apply, and the bombs will eventually roll to a halt if they don't hit anything, but you can pick them back up, should that happen (or just toss another bomb at them).
    • The Heskel's House of Horror update added an alternate fire to the bombs where Shelly lights the fuse before throwing, making them function similar to traditional FPS grenades, and added a power-up that gives you unlimited bowling bombs and maxes out your throwing power for its duration.
  • Washington D.C. Invasion: The game takes place around a futuristic Washington, DC (since christened "Neo DC"), which is being attacked by Dr. Jadus Heskel.
  • Waxing Lyrical:

Alternative Title(s): Ion Maiden