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Video Game / Liberal Crime Squad

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Title screen, and some of the things you can do in the game.

WARNING: The scope of this game is narrower than that of real life. We have attempted to include foul language, graphic violence, politics, religion, sexual references, adult situations, narcotics, prostitution, bodily functions and bad pickup lines , but Bay 12 Games recognizes that there might be omissions which will make some players uncomfortable. In light of these facts, use your discretion when making decisions about downloading LCS.note 

Liberal Crime Squad is a freeware game made by Tarn Adams, best known for Dwarf Fortress. Tarn began work on it in 2002, and ceased development soon after publishing the first stable version in 2004. However, in mid-2007 the Liberal Cause was taken up once again by Jonathan S. Fox, and some other forum regulars at Bay 12 Games.


Picture a world where Political Cartoons are the truth — now, imagine that world erupting into civil war.

As the name implies, LCS is a game about committing crimes in the name of the Liberal Cause (we need a slogan!), in the interests of making the world a freer and more tolerant place. Along the way, your noble cause will be opposed by many, including the police, extreme conservatives, and the nefarious Conservative Crime Squad (we also need a slogan!), who just want everyone to be safe and happy... under the iron fist of a fascist government!

You and your liberal squadmates 'win' when your state's laws and regulations are rated L+ (Elite liberal) and the Government is Elite Liberal as well, and lose if the conservatives persuade those politicians to see things their way, and create a fascist police state (C+) where Reagan is god. Don't let that happen!


There are a number of ways to persuade the people in power to see things liberally. First of all, you can free sweatshop workers and destroy the machinery to cut into the conservatives' budget. You can also make T-shirts for fun and profit, and also to spread your liberal word far and wide. You can also kidnap and brainwash numerous people, causing them to become 'sleepers' within their respective jobs, fighting for the liberal cause from the inside. You can, of course, also steal cars and cash to get around and to lubricate interactions with others, as these will become important parts of furthering the liberal cause as you progress.

In addition to its political roots, the game was originally created as a parody-slash-homage to Oubliette, an obscure 1983 computer RPG with similar core party, exploration, and combat mechanics; however, LCS took on a life of its own and grew from there.

The last 'official' release can still be downloaded, and the latest open-source version can be found here. A port for Android can be found here. The wiki can be found here. The Github version, which still continues to be updated and adds new features such as Augmentations and multiple save files, can be found here.

Tropes in this game:

  • Activist Fundamentalist Antics: As a general case, your group performs these to raise awareness. On a smaller scale dedicated to single people, LCS can attract followers by a pickup line or by discussing an issue. The LCS may also spend a day and materials to convert a kidnapped hostage to liberalism. It's not perfectly one-sided: enemies can try to do the same to your characters using one combat round of effort.
  • Actual Pacifist: One of the few combat-heavy games which allows an Actual Pacifist Run — there is absolutely no challenge in the game which cannot be solved nonviolently; even your Evil Counterpart the Conservative Crime Squad can be defeated without bloodshed. Depending on the version, a Pacifist Run might actually be easier than playing normally.
  • A.K.A.-47: Averted — it's a freeware game, there are no worries about gun manufacturers suing.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Death Squad Officers summarily execute any criminals they catch. If you lose the game, poor criminals receive mandatory death sentences.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Attract too much police attention, and they'll start raiding your safehouses. The Conservative Crime Squad will also start attacking you once they become active. In either case, if any of your squad members are there at a time, they must either kill all of the attackers or fight their way out and escape.
  • Almighty Janitor:
    • Dancers and yoga instructors. No combat skills... But 10 base agility and health.
    • In earlier releases, literal janitors, who were extremely effective sleeper agents (they've been nerfed in more recent builds).
  • An Axe to Grind: Main weapon for the (non C+ Free Speech) firefighters.
  • Animal Testing: The Cosmetics Lab and Genetics Lab have fuzzy bunnies and genetic horrors for the LCS to free if the laws are Conservative enough.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted — Armor is the difference between a character being instantly killed and a character being badly wounded. Armor can degrade, though, so train your tailors well.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: You can literally have one in this game by recruiting Professional Thieves and Prostitutes.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • "The defendant, Eric Read, is charged with 3 counts of treason, terrorism, 3 counts of kidnapping, 9 counts of aiding a prison escape, 82 counts of felony assault, 64 counts of murder, 3 counts of theft, 26 counts of breaking and entering, 28 counts of vandalism and disturbing the peace. How will you conduct the defense?"
    • Try 1980 counts of murder. With 4 of disturbing the peace...
    • A number of forum members have been able to successfully get accused of every possible crime in the game, including counts of murder and treason in the thousands.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: If the Death Squads respond in force to your presence at a site, they'll send in endless waves of heavily-armed, motivated troopers after you, never stopping or retreating until all of your militants are dead or gone, even if you slaughter them by the hundreds. Additionally, while you can beat back individual attacks on your safehouses and force them into retreat, they'll just regroup, bring additional forces, and try again in a few days. And then try again in a few more days, and again in a few more days, and again... They bring in bigger, stronger forces to deal with you every time — it starts with SWAT teams, and then escalates to National Guard troops, then regular army, and can eventually result in your compound getting carpet-bombed from the air, your barricades blown up by combat engineers, tanks covering the entrance to your compound, and Seal Team Six leading the final assault on your fortifications.
  • A-Team Firing: Inexperienced characters are notoriously inaccurate in combat, almost to the point of uselessness against skilled and/or armored opponents. However, this no longer applies once a character gets weapon training or general experience. Of course, there's a reason for that. Amusingly, particularly inexperienced/unskilled characters — friendly and hostile — have a tendency to be inaccurate when punching, leading to incidents where an enemy takes a swing at you and accidentally punches a random bystander, kicking off a huge brawl.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Leadership ability is tied to both the Juice level of a character and their Leadership and/or Seduction skill. The former grants substantial combat bonuses even if it was gained exclusively by e.g., computer hacking.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • Averted; the number of people a squad member can recruit is determined by their rank and certain skills, and the number of people the Squad can recruit total is technically infinite — recruiting people to recruit more people to recruit more people like some sort of guerrilla warfare pyramid scheme.
    • Played straight with the actual squads, which can only have 6 members at a time. Of course, larger groups might rouse suspicion when moving around town, and might not even fit inside most vehicles, so that makes sense.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: More skilled characters are more likely to live long enough to accumulate Juice, which directly impacts how many recruits a character can have under them.
  • Badass Driver: Anyone with sufficiently good driving skill. With 5 and a sports car, you can outrun everything. Driving (like all skills) caps at 20.
  • Bank Robbery: You can either hand the teller a threatening note (which nets you a relatively small sum of cash), force them to open the vault (which calls the police very quickly), or do it Heist Film style by having a skilled hacker, lockpicker, and the bank manager (who, in order to rouse the least suspicion, should be a sleeper) open it for you.
  • Batter Up!: Baseball bats are one of the many weapons available.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Wearing the correct disguise and fast-talking is enough to blend in as a doctor or police officer. Or a judge. This method of infiltration has a benefit compared to using a high stealth skill and ninja suit: if the conservatives at the infiltrated site are alarmed, you can still talk yourself out of a fight by acting like you belong there.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Played straight or inverted depending on your perspective. The end result of any kidnapping not ended prematurely by escape, the police, or death of the hostage is conversion to liberalism.
  • BFG: At sufficiently conservative Gun Control levels, and with ludicrous amounts of money, you can purchase and install an anti-aircraft gun at your safehouses.
  • Big Red Button: If one manages to sneak into a nuclear power plant, you may find a big red button that you can press to cause a nuclear meltdown. The catch? You need a certain skill to press the button.
  • Black-and-White Morality:
    • Parodied on a scale that would make South Park proud. Both the LCS and the CCS do all sorts of violent and inhumane things to their enemies in their struggle for dominance, but the LCS are the absolute good guys and their actions are infallibly noble, because... they're the LCS.
    • The game even uses "liberal" as a synonym for "good" and "conservative" as a synonym for "bad", eg. referring to someone at full health as being in "liberal" health, or talking about a severely injured character's "conservative wounds."
  • Booby Trap: You can put these in some safehouses. In earlier versions, they were horrendously overpowered and made defending your safehouses trivial. They've since been nerfed; while still extremely useful, they're no longer sufficient for holding off swarms of soldiers all by themselves.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Partially averted. It's impossible to aim at specific body parts, but shots that randomly hit the head generally have effects that merit their gruesome text descriptions.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Liberal Guardian. Legal risk free (unless publishing at C+ free speech or secret CIA documents), one time cost of 3000 to buy a printing press, consistent positive effect on public opinion concerning laws. Not really fun, but quite effective.
    • Community service. Shifts public opinion slightly, gives juice if one is in the negative, heat at the safehouse is shaken off faster.
    • Sleeper agents. They act during their day jobs. Completely safe (since they are not part of the active LCS, they do not commit crimes), can shift public opinion depending on their profession, can smuggle items or money to one's safehouses (and, at 100% efficiency, they are never caught). Gain 1% or 2% efficiency at the end of each month. Plus some little extras (Cops can warn the LCS from imminent police raids, lawyers can defend liberals in a trial, and so on).
    • Spray paint. It can win you the game for a mere 20$. Since crimes on site cap at 10, going somewhere, spraying 10 tags, going out, rinse, repeat, is an incredibly boring way to play the game, but is a surefire and almost foolproof way to win victory.
    • Shotguns. Common, inexpensive, easy to use, powerful, relatively simple to conceal (can be hidden under a trenchcoat), and the only firearms that are always legal no matter how liberal the gun control laws are, they're also single-shot-only, have virtually no critical hit chance, have poor armor penetration, and overall have substantially less 'cool' factor than assault rifles or SMGs.
    • The AR-15. It's incapable of burst fire unlike the M16, but it's very accurate, powerful, and the lack of burst fire actually helps to conserve ammo, as skilled Liberals can instantly kill or severely maim a Conservative (causing a Cycle of Hurting due to the fact that being wounded inhibits combat ability) with a single bullet.
  • Bullying a Dragon: When an LCS squad wanted for murder counts in the thousands decides to do a rampage at the AM radio station, armed with M-16 and equipped with army body armor, they are met with waves of angry mobs with Torches and Pitchforks. Conversely, in the early game, many players make the mistake of deliberately pissing off the corporations by stealing and publishing all their secret files... and they have hordes of mercenaries, and you have a team of hackers and a printing press.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Experience Points are called 'Juice'.
  • Cannon Fodder: Hippies and gang members are easy to find and very likely to be liberal (always liberal, in the case of hippies), making them easy to recruit in large numbers. Additionally, many gang members come packing guns already.
  • Cardboard Prison:
    • It's relatively easy to repeatedly break someone out of prison, although the escapee will always be wanted for breaking out, and this is the one crime that no lawyer, no matter how slick, can ever get you acquitted for. In the later releases, it is very difficult to get an acquittal of such a charge, and even if acquitted, you are still sent back to finish the previous sentence. The official version has an exploit where your prisoners could simply walk out of prison (after assigning them to a squad). The later community version removes the exploit.
  • Chain Pain: Chains are the main weapons for bikers and non-union workers.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: 11 points in a skill is about the maximum an average human being can hope to attain; a normal skill level for a person with reasonable aptitude in a skill is 5, which is more than sufficient to perform that skill competently. With appropriate stats and Juice, all skills can potentially cap at 20. Do the math. In particular, a character with maxed-out Dodge and Martial Arts turns into a physics-defying superhuman murder machine, able to dodge bullets and literally beat people to death in seconds in an impossibly fast hurricane of blows, while a character with maxed-out Driving can do things with a car that would make a Hollywood stunt driver green with envy. Maxed-out Persuasion and Seduction essentially gives your character a Compelling Voice, capable of convincing absolutely anyone to do absolutely anything regardless of their personal beliefs or convictions.
  • Child Soldiers: The LCS can field an army of underage soldiers by recruiting teenagers or rescuing child workers (if child labor is legalized). Underage soldiers who the Death Squads will happily slaughter just like everyone else if given the opportunity.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: The CIA are evil and may even devolve into Ministry of Love, engaged in all sorts of abuses, and will retaliate by sending agents on wetwork to murder you. The FBI don't appear directly - although occasionally they may show up in law enforcement privacy abuses. However, they will prove themselves not entirely evil by carry out the dismantling of the CCS once you expose their backers list — down to storming their last warehouse. It will increase support for police militarization slightly but that is still far less than what the CCS would contribute on their own.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Liberals are colored green, moderates white, and Conservative Scum are red like the blood on their hands.
  • Combat Medic: Anyone with Intelligence (First aid) and Agility (Weapon skills) can qualify for becoming one, after some skill training.
  • Crapsack World: Starting the game in 'Nightmare' mode sets the game in an ultra-right-wing pseudo-fascist dystopia, complete with armored squads tasked to suppress 'Unacceptable Speech', Death Squads who deal with any crime, no matter how minor, by shooting it, and legalized slavery and child labor.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Crowbars are one of the available weapons in LCS.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Can happen to one of your members if the Death Penalty laws are at Archconservative. Normally, when your Liberals are executed, they'll be put to death using typical means (i.e. lethal injection, electric chair, etc.), but at Archconservative, far more gruesome fates will await them...
  • Cursed with Awesome: Mutants, the result of severe pollution and unregulated genetic experimentation, are generally horrifying deformed freaks who are extremely easy to recruit but effectively useless. However, about a quarter of them are instead superhuman badasses who have the highest base stats in the game... and are still just as easy to recruit.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The CCS, your Conservative counterpart, is not only ignored by the police, army, and other government entities, but also can get some of the best weapons in the game regardless of weapon laws, and has exclusive access to the best armor in the game. Justified as they're confirmed to be government-funded. You can even completely crush them by finding and publishing their backers list.
  • Courtroom Antic: Particularly good performance in court will have the jury, judge, and prosecution "crying for freedom".
  • Cycle of Hurting: If a character's health goes to Badly Wounded or below, they are rendered unable to fight. The text will keep describing them being stunned from the pain in various ways, from coughing up blood, crying out to Jesus, and clutching at their wounds. This often causes the death of that character, as they're unable to fight back while their attackers are still shooting at them.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Nightmare Mode.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • While not everything is covered some highly unlikely law combinations are acknowledged. The game tracks base sex as well as chosen ones. If at Elite Liberal Gay Rights but at Conservative or lower Women's Rights the bouncers will allow a base female designated male in the Gentlemen's club without a disguise check. Implying that while women are second class citizens, LGBT rights are so ingrained that they accept transmen without any effort put into passing.
    • (An optional) part of the character creation progress involves answering to 10 questions to form your character's stats. Asnwering "D" in question 9 gives you a lawyer sleeper agent with whom you've been going steady since your 18th birthday. They are always of the opposite sex unless you also picked "D" for question 7, as 7D involves a story of your character being caught making out with someone of the same sex.
  • Dirty Commies: The Stalinist Comrade Squad is already implemented in an unreleased version of the game.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Causing an alert will, regardless of the reason, cause the Conservatives to open fire and summon reinforcements. And one can cause alerts by simply playing the guitar or hanging around in a club. Given that music is apparently capable of what is essentially mind control in this universe, the guitar thing isn't too unreasonable. SOP with something that can control your mind often has to be to kill as soon as you get suspicious, because that's likely to be the only chance you'll get...
    • The Death Squads are made of this trope, and will summarily execute people for such heinous crimes as disturbing the peace, vandalism, and loitering.
    • In general, Arch-Conservative Death Penalty laws makes execution the default punishment for any crime, from treason, terrorism and murder to loitering.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The seduction skill maxes out at 20, in theory. This is high enough to convince undercover government agents to follow you to your apartment for a good time... using terrible, terrible pick-up lines.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Hostages not physically restrained at all times are prone to killing themselves, especially if they've been tortured.
    • In addition, your own squad members can have this happen if prisoners under their care die or they are forced to execute their fellow squad members.
  • Drop the Hammer: One of the available weapon at the Oubliette (called the Dwarven Hammer).
  • Dystopia: Nightmare Mode starts you off in a hellish shadow of the USA where free speech is prohibited and suppressed by the Firemen, corporations run the country with legalized slavery and have full access to everyone's information at all times, pollution is sold as food (resulting in the poor starting to become mutants), the CIA have been replaced by the freaking Ministry of Love, prisons are re-education facilities (not that it matters, as virtually everyone is sentenced to death, even down to crimes such as loitering and disturbing the peace), women have been reduced to second-class citizens, homosexuals are openly hated and prosecuted (one of the random newspapers shows the writer being shocked at someone who publicly lynched a homosexual being brought to trial for murder), virtually all government spending goes to the military, there is no immigration at all and anyone found in the country illegally is executed, the police have a division that is literally called the Death Squad (who go around shooting at any and all criminals with M16s and will execute anyone who surrenders to them), and the CCS (if present) is loved by the public. During a normal game, you might feel that the LCS's actions are unjustified. During Nightmare Mode, you will absolutely not. Even better, this is all bound to happen in normal mode if the LCS doesn't prevent public opinion from becoming conservative. Finally, if the USA stays in this state for too long, an Arch-Conservative Amendment repealing the Constitution and making the United States into the Confederate States (where instead of a president, Ronald Reagan is King for all time, Congress is made up of CEOs and televangelists, and anyone may write a petition to Jesus for a redress of grievances, because no one else will be listening), will be passed, ending the game.
  • Dystopia Is Hard: Death Squads end up being counterproductive for the police. While they may be deadly they lack any armor and only have a terrifying uniform working for them. Given that a simple loitering charge can lead to death, one needs to be a very good runner to escape, and a failed attempt means almost certainly being hit with automatic weapon fire it becomes far safer for petty criminals and activists to just shoot them dead on the street before they get executed for petty crimes or non-crimes. And then repeating the process if recognized by any other Death Squad members. Like many arch-conservative policies they often solve themselves without LCS intervention, whether due to public disgust, or it being clear that it just isn't working.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The LCS can go shoot random conservatives in a park, in apartments, take over the radio station for their own broadcast, press the Big Red Button at the nuclear power plant... But the LCS will NOT do any shootout at the hospital. The CCS, on the other hand, have no such restraints.
  • Everyone Is Bi: While gender is part of a character's stats, it's a Conservative notion and has no effect on combat or seduction. This means you're free to hook up any of your followers with anyone who needs seducing. One exception: trying to seduce CEOs or other Arch Conservatives can result in them outright shooting at you. To put this in perspective you can attempt seduction with no impact other than being ignored even when homosexuality is illegal.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Conservative Crime Squad, a right-wing militia who act like the LCS, only Conservative.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: A player can seduce anything it can talk to, including a conservative guard dog at L+ Animal Rights.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Played for Laughs and Crapsack World points with Arch-conservative flag burning laws making burning the American flag legally equivalent to murdering a human being, filed under the crime of "Flag Murder". You can even buy a flag for the sole purpose of burning it. Or just enjoying the little ACII stars-n'-stripes hanging over your safehouse menu. Taken to extremes in one nightmare mode Let's Play on the forums, in which the Squad deliberately provoked the SWAT teams by buying several hundred flags and burning them all.
    • As your efforts to influence policy get more successful, the country shifts to the left, and your cause comes closer to victory, your characters' arguments and justifications for revolution start to get a bit...weak. At the near-end of the game, it will be nearly impossible to get anyone to join your cause because you're arguing that armed revolution is the only recourse while using justifications like "The police still exist!", "Some people don't like immigrants!", and "Animals aren't allowed to vote."
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The M2 flamethrower. Wielded by the Fireman.
  • Freakier Than Fiction: It's inspired by a real organization that actually existed. They didn't win, though.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Depending on your point of view, most high-juice squad members can be this. Well-armed CCS members are definitively this.
  • Genetic Abomination: The Genetiv Nightmare, along with others in the Genetics Lab "bunnies".
  • Glass Cannon: Death Squad members are this. They wield automatic weaponry and have high skill but have no armor, dodging skill, and unexceptional stats.
  • Godwin's Law: The CCS want to bring about a fascist state
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: One of the possible interrogation techniques.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: When fighting without weapons.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: If free speech laws go arch conservatives, all swear words in the game are replaced by gosh dang it to heck vocabulary written between brackets.
  • Gone Horribly Right/Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Planned content includes Stalinist Comrade Squad as a 'final boss' which attempts to seize control of your revolution when you're too close to winning; if they succeed, it can result in a game over where you get deported into a gulag in newly annexed Canada.
  • Hanging Judge: Conservative judges are called "Hangin' Judges" in game.
  • Harder Than Hard: Nightmare Mode is very aptly named.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: As of 4.07.0, black leather armor is readily available in the Oubliette.
  • Hide Your Children: Massively averted; teenagers are fairly common in areas you would expect to find them, while legalized child labor will result in the factories being staffed by swarms of young children. At least you can't prostitute them or let them into the Gentlemen's Club.
  • Hollywood Law: Do well enough in court and you can be acquitted for dozens of counts of homicide, treason, and kidnapping in front of numerous witnesses. Even the most insane cases can go Not Guilty if the jury and judge are liberal enough and the lawyers are good enough.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Any prostitute with a high heart stat, naturally.
  • Human Shield:
    • Every hostage taken during a raid automatically becomes one. Not that this stops you from getting shot at.
    • Corpses of fallen comrades being carried back to the safe house will end up stopping a lot of bullets meant for the carrier, in a more macabre version of this trope.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: While melee weapons aren't particularly spectacular at first, an experienced, skilled Liberal can slice a tank in half with a sword. In earlier versions, anyway.
  • Infinite Supplies: As long as you stay in the homeless shelter, your needs will be provided for. Anywhere else, and you will need to pay for rent and groceries. This is balanced out by the homeless shelter being impossible to upgrade, and effectively impossible to defend if raided.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Both averted and played straight. Usually played straight with any gun being used against unarmored targets, as a single M16 bullet to the stomach will almost always kill an unarmored liberal, and a shot to the torso from a .38 or 9mm has a good chance of doing the same thing. Armor usually prevents a Liberal from being killed instantly, at the cost of suffering permanent, crippling injuries. Tales abound of players and their allies receiving near-fatal heart wounds which can be patched up on the scene by an LCS member with a decent first-aid skill... only for the character to later bleed out from the hole left in their heart by the bullet. (The coding reason for this is that the game tracks internal wounds, and since wounds to internal organs can't be treated by field medicine, it continues to hemorrhage, dealing damage until the character dies.)
  • Instant-Win Condition: Averted and Inverted. The Elite Liberal Amendments are extremely helpful to the player, but don't instantly win the game as one might suspect. The one and only Arch-Conservative Amendment, on the other hand, reorganizes the United States of America into the Confederate States of America. Once this happens, all living LCS members go underground and you lose instantly.
  • Interface Screw: A minor one. If free speech laws go arch-conservative, all swear words, pick-up lines and replies to successful ones are replaced by [words more appropriate for the public, written between brackets]. This even applies to combat descriptions of brutality. For added fun, it also applies to newspaper headlines and articles that might be considered objectionable, controversial, or detrimental to the government - so an article about a judge being caught with a prostitute instead reads 'caught with a [civil servant]', the word 'homosexual' is replaced with 'sexual deviant', and in one particularly hilarious example a terrorist attack will result in a giant front-page headline simply reading 'JERKS'.
  • Interspecies Romance: With sufficiently Liberal animal rights laws, it becomes socially acceptable to date and seduce anything and everything. Otherwise, you'll be in for a world of hurt.
  • In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: Averted. Individual characters are not of a defined racial background, but civil rights remains an issue from the beginning of the game up through any possible future end date.
  • It Makes Sense in Context: CIA raids and Government Firemen attacks do not generate heat when killing the attackers, the former being "Plausible Deniability", the latter being a *completely illegal* form of arrest with flamethrowers. Basically you just killed them in self defense, perfectly legal because the government stopped following the law even as it stood flimsily.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: One of the issues you can influence. It can be used against kidnapped Conservatives so that they give maps.
  • Joke Item: Mithril Armor. The original developer, Tarn Adams, insisted that it was just as effective as in real life whenever asked about it. Which is to say that it's just spraypainted cardboard. It is the least useful clothing type in the game, having no disguise value and an armor rating of 0. To contrast, basic, everyday clothing has an armor rating of one.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: the Death Squads.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Downplayed. Western swords are just as good as katanas. They are both the best melee weapons, though.
  • Kick the Dog: Attacking the fire department at anything other than C+ Free Speech laws (i.e. when they just fight fires, rather than suppressing unlawful speech) will make everyone hate you, regardless of ideology. So will accidentally killing bystanders during combat.
  • The Klan: the Ku Klux Klan is referenced in a free speech related new story (Free speech advocates fight to allow a supremacist rally to take place, complete with ASCII Art representing the KKK), and if one of your activists is judged by a very conservative jury, the game informs you of the mess you are in by saying "Three of the jurors are members of the KKK".
  • KleptomaniacHeroes: You can steal items during infiltrations. You're a crime squad, after all.
  • Knife Nut: Knives are one of the available weapons in LCS, and the most discreet one. Characters with a high Knife skill can stab several people to death before being discovered.
  • La Résistance: The LCS sees themselves as this, and From a Certain Point of View they are in Normal mode. In Nightmare mode, this is exactly what they are.
  • Lazy Backup:
    • Averted. If your leader gets imprisoned or killed, as long as there is a member with enough Juice or Leadership they will take over. The game is only over when the leader is killed and there is nobody that can replace him/her.
    • Also averted in sieges, where anyone with a gun not directly involved in the fight will provide covering fire from the sidelines, and jump in the fray if someone is incapacitated or killed.
  • Lethal Joke Item: With the exception of the completely worthless Mithril Armor, most of the replica medieval gear you can buy at the costume shop is surprisingly effective in skilled hands, with the Sword and Katana being the best melee weapons in the game.
  • Level Drain: High-priority Conservative targets, when they're not dangerously armed, can and will use special attacks that stun and drain your Liberal's Juice, and with enough hits will convert them into Conservatives.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Dancers and yoga instructors. 10 base health, agility and strengh. Super tough, and may god help the conservatives if they are trained with weapons.
  • Longer-Than-Life Sentence: Some of your liberals can be sentenced to such sentences
    Sgt.Pepper, you are sentenced to 31695 consecutive life terms in prison.
  • Magikarp Power: Music is effectively useless as a skill in combat, until you get it to ten or above, at which point your squaddies' soulful tunes will cause armed and dangerous Death Squad troopers to break down crying and lower their weapons en masse.
  • The Men in Black: The Agents wear black suits and are probably the most competent profession, possibly except CCS bosses. Like most other things, the MIB are taken to a extreme conclusions at Arch-Conservatve Privacy Law, renaming their Intelligence HQ the Ministry Of Love.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: Found only in specific buildings. If you're carrying a weapon, it sets off the alarm and the conservatives attack instantly. The detector only covers the front entrance, with the back doors covered by an alarm system.
  • Modern Stasis: Lampshaded. If the game goes on long enough, everything remains the same mechanically, but things get renamed - Nightsticks become Electro-Shock Sticks, Spraypaint becomes Holo-Paint, Pitchforks become Space Pitchforks, Gavels become Laser Gavels, etc.
  • The Mole: Any liberal you recruit or conservative you kidnap and brainwash can be set to be a sleeper agent at their current jobs rather than joining the active LCS. This can provide various benefits depending on their job, such as tip offs on raids, drop offs of sensitive information, and maps of buildings, among other things.
  • Molotov Cocktail: One of the available weapons.
  • Moral Dissonance: Played for laughs.
    • The LCS aims to establish a Liberal Paradise by murdering their political rivals with the guns they wish to ban, and firebombing Conservative media outlets to promote free speech.
    • Liberal guns using Liberal ammo applied Liberally is justified when used against Conservatives (it is possible to alienate neutrals by shooting a non-conservative).
    • Additionally, getting gun law to L+ (maximum liberalism) doesn't ban guns outright, it just prohibits them from being carried or sold in public places.
    • It makes sense, though. Killing Conservatives with guns is their way of showing that guns are bad and should be banned.
  • More Friends, More Benefits: Seduction is an excellent way to recruit for the LCS. One of the most effective ways to survive the game is to simply sleep with the entire justice system - boosting your seduction stat and hooking up with enough lawyers and judges virtually guarantees getting off lightly, even on charges of high treason and mass murder.
  • Mugging the Monster: Some conservatives are member of the Conservative Crime Squad, and good with the guns they carry. And at C+ gun control laws, any random conservative can carry a 9 mm or .45 semi auto.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: At the beginning of the game, the player may choose events in the squad founder's past, which inform their in-game attributes and skills.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: If a hostage dies during interrogation, the lead interrogator will lose Heart with a description of their reaction such as throwing up into a trash can. For some reason, they don't seem to mind waltzing into a public place with automatic weapons and shooting every conservative in sight, though.
  • My Greatest Failure: If one of your subordinates dies, you lose juice. Extra What the Hell, Hero? points if they die in the death row: "If you can't protect your own people, who can you protect? X has failed the Liberal Crime Squad."
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The primary law enforcement agency in Nightmare Mode are called the 'Death Squads'. They are not very friendly people.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The more you succeed in making gun control a reality, the harder it is to get weapons for your raids. Pawn shops will stop carrying certain weapons and jack up their prices on those that remain. Gang members will still sell you guns, but their prices go up exponentially as well.
    • Also, making police laws elite liberal will cause them to be accompanied by moderate Police Negotiators, which makes the game much harder (because now, if you fight them, you'll risk alienating public opinion by injuring a moderate.)
  • Nintendo Hard: A standard game is difficult, but quite possible once you get the hang of it. But should you choose to turn on We Didn't Start The Fire and/or Nightmare Mode...
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted. The combat messages occasionally describe characters as "gasping a last breath and soiling the floor" when they die.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Under the right circumstances, Genetic Experiments, dogs and Mutants can join your ranks.
  • Non-Indicative Difficulty: If played normally, the Nightmare and We Didn't Start The Fire modes (which start you in a hellish conservative dystopia and with the Conservative Crime Squad actively opposing you, respectively) make the game much harder. However, there's a strategy that can make them easier than normal play; since both the Conservative Crime Squad and Nightmare Mode's book-burning Firemen are Obviously Evil, you don't get heat from the government or negative publicity for killing them. This allows you to grind your entire squad into unstoppable war gods in Nightmare Mode at relatively little risk and without committing any crimes, then use this high-Juice squad to easily win the rest of the game.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Previous versions have some now fixed hilarious Good Bad Bugs such as being able to recruit or even successfully seduce tanks.
  • Older and Wiser: Every character literally gets wiser with age, as their wisdom stat grows.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. Also, ordering to reload when a character still has ammo left in their magazine will discard it and waste the ammunitions that was left inside. Except for shotguns which use one 'clip' for shell. Less
  • Pacifist Run: Entirely possible, with multiple potential strategies for doing so. It's even possible to win without ever recruiting any members if you're good enough or Save Scum a lot. Depending on the version, a pacifist run may actually be easier than a violent one.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Characters skilled in martial arts will use their guns as bludgeons when counterattacking, and everyone uses unloaded ones as such.
  • Plot Armor: The leader of the LCS has 50% damage reduction simply for being the leader. This trope is even explicitly named in code comments.
  • Police Brutality: It's not uncommon for people who fall behind during escapes from crime scenes to be pinned down and beaten to death by the cops. Additionally, there's random events where Police Brutality will be reported in the news. Then there's Death Squad Officers, who take this to Up to Eleven levels and execute criminals on the spot when police regulation and death penalty laws are C+ .
  • The Power of Rock: The guitar is possibly one of the best weapons in the game. Playing inspiring music in combat turns conservatives liberal, stopping them from attacking you and letting you recruit them to your cause. You can also use it to play street music to fund the Revolution.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Mostly played straight. Gender doesn't affect the game except at the Gentlemen's club not allowing women if women's rights are conservative enough. Internally there are two values, conservative and liberal, the difference being the latter is chosen as opposed to birth sex. The interface always shows the liberal one as the LCS doesn't even consider the conservative one. If Gay Rights are liberal enough the liberal one won't even require a disguise check.
  • Private Military Contractors: If you publish corporate documents, you will get raided by PMC contracted by influential CEOs.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: You can recruit anything from teenagers to retirees, from prostitutes to secret agents, from child workers to genetic abominations.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: If the game goes on for long enough, the game world will shift to a sci-fi version of itself that changes the names for everything along these lines but has no other effects (for instance, a Gavel becomes a Laser Gavel, and a Pitchfork becomes a Space Pitchfork.)
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: Everyone in the Conservative Crime Squad.
  • Roguelike: The game uses non-traditional ASCII graphics. Some objects are represented with words instead of ASCII characters.
  • Running Gag: Lots of things in the game are referred to liberal or conservative. You can buy Liberal guns, clips or tools at the pawn shop, if you are unhurt, your health is Liberal (and unhurt conservatives have a Conservative health meter), you can equip a Liberal weapon (or drop a Conservative weapon), you can spray Liberal graffiti... And if your squad suffers a Total Party Kill, you can reflect on your Conservative ineptitude.
  • Save Scumming: Any accidental death can be prevented and any prison sentence reduced by reloading a game auto saved from the day before.
  • Scary Impractical Armor: Given their interrogation bonus and their nonexistent armor rating, the Death Squad uniforms are technically these.
  • Shout-Out:
  • So Bad, It's Good: In-universe example with the pickup lines, which are terrible, yet still work. If your seduction skill isn't high enough, on the other hand....
  • Spin-Off: Zombie Survival Squad.
  • State Sec: Death Squads.
  • Stat Grinding: Skills can only increase when used, and most can be trained to the maximum by doing the simplest of tasks. If you gain a lot of skill experience in one day (such as through on-site actions), the growth stops halfway through next skill rank until a day passes.
  • Stealth Run: It's possible to win the game without ever using weapons. It's very, very difficult, but it can be done. It's also possible, though even harder, to sneak your way through the entire game with stealth, proper disguises, and fast talking, never sounding an alarm or rousing suspicion as you rob people blind, spirit away secret files and press the Big Red Button.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: As time passes, kidnapped conservatives will start liking their captor if you treat them nicely enough. Really fast if your psychology skill is high.
  • Straw Character : Played for laughs. The game treats Conservatives as evil fascists and Liberals as the second coming. Both liberal and conservative ideological tenets are deliberately exaggerated to the point of implausibility for the sake of comedy - the game's 'liberals' have such goals as granting animals full personhood, and the game's 'conservatives' burn buildings where free speech has happened if not stopped.
  • Suicide by Cop: In earlier versions of the game, this was the standard method of freeing up space in the squad. More options were added later: you can either release (i.e. fire) or execute unwanted squad members instead. Each of these options has a potential downside, too - if a squad member with low Heart is fired, they might very well go to the police, while executing a squad member has a chance to cause a significant (and permanent) stat drop in the person doing the executing.
  • Terrible Pick-Up Lines: the game actually includes a warning about bad pick-up lines in the disclaimer. Sure enough, they are indeed awful. They are effective in-game however.
  • Terror Hero: Aside from the obvious well - terrorism that the LCS can engage in - violent victory against larger groups will often result in them being scared away, whether it is an angry mob fleeing after bashing their heads with other heads or responding to an invasion by killing enough of their squads.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Accruing sufficiently high Heat might result in one of your safehouses being stormed by literally hundreds of regular Army troops, supported by tank platoons, combat engineer detachments, and bomber aircraft.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Common weapons for hicks, country boys, and rube.
  • Total Party Kill: Can happen from events such as safehouse raids, and crashing your vehicle in a car chase.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Dancers and yoga instructors. No combat skill. 10 base Agility and Health.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Some 8 years old in an oversized black suit walking around at the Intelligence HQ is pretty normal for everyone if they have enough disguise.
  • The Uriah Gambit: One of the option for dealing with Conservatives enlightened too late. Selling brownies with Death Squads roaming the streets works good for this.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: With a good Martial Arts skill, you can strike up to 5 times in one round.
  • The Remnant: While most obsoleted professions from more conservative law levels disappear some may hang around, resulting in the occasional death squad member at the police station or firemen at the fire fighter's station.
  • Vendor Trash: A successful infiltration in the downtown apartments can give you 20 laptops, 10 cheap jewelry, 5 expensive jewelry... Which are good for nothing, but sell for a pretty good price.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: While it has several inspirations, the LCS itself is very loosely based on the real-world Symbionese Liberation Army. They didn't win, though.
  • Videogame Cruelty Potential: You can make the Liberal Crime Squad fight conservatism as violently as you want, from being a peaceful protest organization to full-on urban terrorists. The previously mentioned torture and brainwash minigame deserves a special mention though, since it allows you to do some ridiculously nasty things to people, such as beating them (with ridiculous implements such as "fists full of money" or "a flag pole"), starving them, and forcing them to watch Bible Black.
  • Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Oh sure, the M2 will make most Conservatives scatter, but it's next to useless for a few reasons. Even with Bunker Gear, you still get burned by it, and will every single turn because any attack, hit or miss, will set the square you are on on fire. Said fire also spreads to other squares, destroying the area you are in quickly. Finally, M2 Flamethrowers and their ammunition can only be gotten reliably from the Firemen, who only appear at Arch-Conservative Free Speech and can generally be legislated away even without LCS action. A few may show up rarely in the CIA/Ministry of Love headquarters.
  • Weapon for Intimidation: Weapons can be used to intimidate and abduct conservatives, and help a lot for datenapping.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You!: Earlier versions had the death of the leader collapse the entire team (unless you had someone outside the chain of command). The latest version allows skilled subordinates to replace the leader.
  • We Interrupt This Program: You can sneak (or gun) your way to the AM Radio Station or Cable News Studio stage, and mount your own broadcast.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The entire point of the game. Serial murder, kidnapping, terrorism, child soldiers, and loitering, all in the name of a better tomorrow.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If a cop sees one of your people who's wanted for a crime, tries to arrest that person, and is killed by him/her, the newspaper has an article which says: "Their name is being held pending the notification of the family" or something similar.
  • You Bastard!:
    • You excited that your squad is capable of surviving combat? Take the time to read some of the combat descriptions.
    • Some of the things you can make 'liberated' child workers do, including:
      • Mob Wars
      • Selling 'Brownies'
      • Prostitution (no longer the case since the latest releases)
      • Seduction (ditto)
      • Most ridiculously, child laborers only start with the Sewing skill, so they are likely to go right back to making clothing for YOU.
    • Robbing poor apartments includes items of petty value like socks, and macaroni art. The guilt trip is clearly intentional.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • Basically, any conservative response at any site, but more obvious with the radio station or cable news: waves and waves of angry mobs with Torches and Pitchforks getting slaughtered by liberals with M-16s.
    • If you get raided and have enough backup members and weapons you can enact one yourself, having dozens of people fire at the police forces and hoping at least some shots make it.


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