Other Paratroopers: Airborne!
Paratrooper: Who do the ladies love the most?
Other Paratroopers: Airborne!!
Paratrooper: Who do the Nazis fear the most?
Other Paratroopers: Airborne!!!
In this game, players control Private First Class, and later, Corporal, Boyd Travers, a paratrooper from the 82nd, and later the 17th, Airborne Divisions as he and his squad, led by Sergeant Setzer and assisted by Private Wirth, help liberate Europe from the Axis, one drop zone at a time.
The game is notable for being able to land anywhere at the start of each level. Potentially, this means that players can have a unique experience each time they play a level, making it easier or harder depending on the location they landed on. Also notable is the ability to upgrade every single weapon in-game, such as the Thompson receiving a drum magazine and grip, and the M1 Garand receiving adjustable sights and a Rifle Grenade launcher.
Characters are listed here.
Airborne provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Travers, Wirth, and Setzer escape the Flak tower using the tower's sewer system. Unfortunately, Travers himself is ambushed by the remaining German troops in the Flak tower, and cut off from the others, forcing him to fight his way out.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Apparently, Zero Punctuation thought flak towers were completely fictional.
- Anachronism Stew: The M18 recoilless rifle is first featured during the Normandy landings, almost a year before it was historically first introduced, in March 1945.
- Anti-Air: The Germans have the 20mm Flakvierling 38, which is often an objective to be destroyed during a mission. The final level involves assaulting a Flak Tower, which is this trope taken Up to Eleven.
- Anti-Armor: The Panzergrenadier's basic role. Travers himself is forced into this role whenever a Tiger I tank appears.
- Artificial Brilliance: The Axis troops, especially a lot of the later ones encountered, are capable of squad tactics, and are very much capable of suppressing a player into taking cover and forcing said player to use fire-and-maneuver tactics. At the same time, however...
- Artificial Stupidity: One criticism of the game was how dated the A.I. was at certain times, like simply trying to rush the player without firing a single shot.
- Artistic License – History: There were no Flak Towers in Essen, Germany, much less being assaulted by American paratroopers late in World War II. The only ones built were located in cities like Berlin, Vienna, and Hamburg, and the only ones assaulted were by Soviet forces.
- While there were Waffen-SS units that fought in Normandy, none of them were defending Utah Beach during D-Day itself. What's even worse is that they're also seen with the more appropriate European Heer Infantry units, which actually were in the area at the time of the landing.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: The officer variants of most Axis soldiers tend to be armed with more powerful automatic weapons, and are a lot harder to take down. In some cases, and depending on the difficulty, they can give even experienced players a run for their money.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Mauser C-96 handgun becomes this upon reaching its third level, a conversion to automatic fire (the other two are a a wooden shoulder stock and an enlarged magazine). While the two first improve the weapon's usefulness, the increased fire rate actually hinders its performance, as it is too fast for the magazine's length to compensate it, which means the weapon gets empty of ammunition after just a couple of bursts. This forces the character to spend a precious time reloading it and thus eliminates the advantages of a short weapon.
- Cold Sniper: The Waffen Senior Troopers and Fallschirmjager Snipers. Travers himself counts as one whenever he uses a sniper rifle, due to maintaining his composure throughout.
- Continuity Nod: During the parachute jump at the start of Operation Husky, Frank Keegan's C-47 can be seen falling out of the sky with one of the engines on fire.
- Do-Anything Soldier: Travers goes from regular paratrooper, to demolitions expert, to sniper, and finally into anti-tank role. Justified, since he's a paratrooper, soldiers who regularly work behind enemy lines, and are often outnumbered, outgunned, and forced into improvising in order to complete objectives.
- Setzer and Wirth themselves are assigned to demolition duty in the final level.
- Do Not Run with a Gun: One major gameplay element that distinguishes Airborne from most other FPS games is that you can't move when aiming down sights, as the movement controls will cause you to lean instead when using your sights. This is also true of the A.I.-controlled characters, who can occasionally hip-fire while running but for the most part have to stand still and aim their weapons before firing.
- Doom Troops: The Waffen Storm Leaders, high-ranking officers armed with STG 44s, and the Nazi Storm Elites, gas-mask wearing Waffen SS units armed with MG 42s. Both these enemy types wear the distinct black S.S. uniform (which was very much a real life version of this trope), rather than the more utilitarian woodland camouflage the regular Waffen S.S. soldiers wear.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Just when it seems Wirth and Setzer had also made it out of the Flak Tower in the final level, they are found dead or dying by Travers near the Plunger Detonator they had set up, having been killed by some of the remaining German defenders.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: The game focuses on the paratroopers of the 82nd and 17th Airborne Divisons, so this is a given.
- Later levels, starting with Market Garden, have exclusively elite German troops come up against the paratroopers.
- Elite Mooks: Several of them, most notably the Fallschirmjagers and the later Waffen-SS units.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: By the end of the game, Travers is the only surviving member of his original squad.
- Evil Counterpart: The Fallschirmjager to the American Paratroopers. Much like their American counterparts, they are elite airborne troops armed with an array of automatic weapons.
- Excuse Plot: Compared to previous entries like Allied Assault, Airborne prefers to focus more on the fighting and the setting than on the characters themselves, resulting in this effect.
- Fake Ultimate Mook: The Waffen Infantry and Waffen Officers. While they're initially built up to be the game's Elite Mooks much like previous entries ala Allied Assault, they go down in one-three hits. This isn't helped when the actual Elite Mooks, the Fallschirmjager, are first introduced. And they prove to be even deadlier shots and have much more health than their Waffen counterparts.
- Friendly Fire Proof: Your allies will twitch and complain when shot by you, but don't actually take damage. This is a good thing, too, since they have a bad habit of running through your line of fire; their uniforms are also pretty easy to mistake for that of some of the enemy soldiers, too, particularly the forest camo worn by the Waffen-SS.
- Gas Mask Mooks: The Panzergrenadiers and the Nazi Storm Elites. The former is justified, due to the masks protecting them from the flash and backblast of their Panzerschrecks, while the latter simply wear it in order to look more intimidating.
- Gun Porn: Compared to previous entries in the series, the developers really took the time to study and detail each and every one of the firearms featured in the game, as this video shows.
- Heavily Armored Mook: The Nazi Storm Elites, Waffen-SS soldiers equipped with body armor and wielding MG42s which otherwise can only be used as stationary turrets, are ridiculously tough to kill.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Zigzagged. While the game only gives you allowance to carry 2 primary weapons, a pistol, and grenades, with the correct upgrades and weapons, a player can carry one anti-tank rocket (complete with 14 rounds), a light machine gun, and at least 36 grenades of different types.
- Improperly Placed Firearms: The Italian blackshirts use German weapons, since they only show up for about five minutes in Operation Husky before giving way for Germans entirely. Your side also has a form of this; while the distinctive holster for the M1A1 Carbine is present on the models of several of the 82nd Airborne men, the Carbine itself is not available, forcing you and your allies to use long arms that were very ill-suited for paradrop operations like the M1 Garand and M1918 BAR.
- Involuntary Group Split: Just after Travers manages to link up with Setzer and Wirth in the Flak Tower's basement, they are ambushed by the remaining German garrison holed up there. The latter manage to escape, but Travers is unwittingly left behind and forced to fight his way out. This, however, saves his life, as Setzer and Wirth are subsequently killed in an ambush just outside the tower.
- It's Raining Men: The Game. The cover features an American Paratrooper jumping out of a C-47, and pretty much every level in-game starts this way, even giving you the freedom of picking where exactly you want to land and start fighting.
- Subverted with the German Paratroopers, the Fallschirmjager. While they are paratroopers, they are never seen in-game to be jumping from aircraft. Truth in Television, since by this point in the war they had all been re-tasked to standard infantry roles due to Germany being on the defensive rather than on offensive.
- Joke Item: The Karabiner 98k is this. It's a bolt-action rifle without a scope, with a fairly long bolt-pull time of about 1.5 seconds (significantly longer than in, say, Battlefield 1). However, unlike the game's other bolt-action rifle (the Springfield sniper with scope), the Karabiner 98k takes 2 shots to the torso to kill an enemy, giving it by far the lowest DPS and highest time-to-kill of any weapon in the game. It basically combines the slower rate of fire of the Springfield with the lower damage of the semi-auto M1 Garand or Gewehr 43. There's absolutely no reason to use it unless you really like a challenge, or you think the rifle grenade attachment might be worth using, and tellingly enemies stop carrying it after the first level.
- Justified Tutorial: The training mission taking place in North Africa has Travers and other volunteers training on how to jump and land in a drop zone.
- Kill 'em All: By the end of the final level, Travers and Col. Webb are implied to be the only named major characters to survive.
- Later Installment Weirdness: This game, rather than focus on the OSS, focuses instead on a frontline US Army unit, the paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division. And rather than starting at a fixed location, with a fixed choice of weapons, and advancing from there, this one gives you the freedom to drop anywhere along a semi-open area, and even allow you to pick your weapons at the start.
- Lifesaving Misfortune: Just as Travers, Setzer, and Wirth manage to rendezvous and make an exit from the basement of the Flak Tower, they are ambushed by some of the remaining German garrison holed up there. This results in the aforementioned Involuntary Group Split, where Travers is forced into fighting his way out. When he finally catches up to his squadmates near the base of the tower, he finds Wirth dead and Setzer dying from his wounds (along with the corpses of several German paratroopers), as they were ambushed just outside the manhole they made their escape from.
- Made of Iron: The Nazi Storm Elites. Although in videogame dynamics they enjoy more or less the same size-toughness proportion as a tank, their appearance is simply that of uniformed men in gas masks, nothing which could explain their ability to shrug off all kinds of no-vital part damage. However, it's heavily implied that they're wearing bullet-resistant flak jackets under their coats, thus explaining to some degree their durability against most small arms.
- No Swastikas: Instead, all German symbols on flags or loading screens are either Balkenkreuz or German eagles.
- One-Man Army: As with a lot of the previous entries in the series, Travers is very much capable of wiping out platoons of enemies, and even a few tanks, at one point.
- Orphaned Setup: The penultimate level has one of the paratroopers in your plane start on a joke: "What do you get when you cross a Nazi and a cockroach?" The plane takes fire and one of the bullets hits him through the head before he can give the punchline.
- Plunger Detonator: The appropriately-named "Hellbox", which is used by Travers following Setzer's death to blow the German Flak tower to smithereens.
- The Germans also attempt to use one to destroy the Nijmegen bridge during Operation Market-Garden. Travers, however, destroys it before it can even be used.
- Quote Mine: While each mission has one name in Operation: [Blank] format, following the names of the real operations from the war, they also have a secondary name taken from a quote displayed at the beginning of the level dealing with paratroopers. For instance, Operation Avalanche begins with a quote from the 82nd Airborne's Commanding General during the war, General James M. Gavin, stating "show me a man who will jump out of an airplane, and I'll show you a man who will fight" - the mission is thus titled "The Show".
- Rank Up: Travers is promoted from Pfc. to Cpl. following his actions in Nijmegen. It's even implied, based on promotional materials, that, following Setzer's death in the final level, that he later gets promoted to Sgt. as well.
- Rare Guns: German troops encountered late in the game, starting from Neptune onward and becoming commonplace by Varsity, are armed exclusively with higher-end German weapons such as the Gewehr 43 and STG 44.
- Regenerating Health: The game uses the "health blocks" system from games like Pariah, Escape from Butcher Bay, Condemned 2: Bloodshot, etc. Your health is divided into 4 segments, and each segment regenerates if it is only partially drained, but if the full segment is drained you need to find a health kit to restore it.
- Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Level 3. The game allows you to start anywhere on the map, as well as give you the option of which objectives to finish first, as well as, in some the levels, the route at which you prefer to take.
- Sniper Duel: Husky has Travers forced to snipe and kill a German officer armed with a sniper rifle as one of his objectives.
- Storming the Beaches: Done by members of the 4th Infantry Division in Neptune.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Played with, but ultimately downplayed. While some of the Nazi troops and imagery (most notably the Storm Elites) do seem like something out of a Wolfenstein game, they use actual equipment and are wearing uniforms that were standard-issue or in widespread use for the time. Similarly, the interior of the flak tower was compared in some reviews to the Death Star set, but it was arguably just how real life flak towers looked like inside.
- Take Cover!: While the game doesn't have as detailed a cover system as, say, Gears of War, you do take noticeably reduced damage while behind cover and are therefore encouraged to fire from cover as much as possible. The game's movement system which prevents you from moving when aiming down sights, but which allows you to lean or peak over cover when doing so, further emphasizes the usage of cover.
- Tank Goodness: The German Tiger I tank, which makes appearances in the in Saved by Sacrifice and The Opening. And when they do appear, you will remember them.
- Tanks for Nothing: The Sherman tanks in The Opening, which were intended to reinforce the Paratroopers taking Nijmegen, are destroyed easily by Panzergrenaders defending the bridge. This forces Travers and the rest of his unit to storm the bridge and remove all the threats.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Both German tanks and Panzerschrek troops typically target the player character, instead of, say, objectives more tactically appropriate for their weapons.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Per the series tradition, but the Nazi Storm Elites take the cake. Despite the latter falling under this though, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THEM.
- Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: More like "Dropped behind enemy lines", since every mission that takes place requires you to fight outnumbered and outgunned.
- Unique Enemy: In Husky, one Heer Officer is equipped with a Kar 98k sniper rifle rather than the usual MP 40. He has to be killed as one of your primary objectives.
- Urban Warfare: Most of the levels take place within a village or a city. The exceptions are Avalanche and Neptune, where the fighting takes place in a commandeered archaeological dig site and near the beach, naturally.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Sgt. Dane, Travers' and Wirth's original squad leader, disappears after sending the latter two to reinforce fellow Sgt. Setzer. Though considering the German counterattack not too long after that, it's heavily implied he was Killed Offscreen in the ensuing chaos.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Just when it seems that Varsity is the final operation for the paratroopers, they are briefed again by their C.O. that German resistance is still strong just across the Rhine river, and that the Germans they routed are now holed in a Flak tower.