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Video Game / Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault

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Conlin: "For more than two centuries, the United States Marine Corps has fought for freedom. But their infamy, their legend, was forged during the hell of World War II. Triumph cannot exist without hardship. The price of victory is paid in the blood of men. Faith, courage, and sacrifice paved their road. And that long journey began in the early hours of December 7th, 1941..."
Opening to Pearl Harbor

Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault is the 7th entry in the Medal of Honor series. It was released for Microsoft Windows on November 4, 2004.

Like Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, this game is set in the Pacific Theater of World War II. And like that game, the player plays as a US Marine fighting against the forces of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy. In this case, you play as Corporal Thomas Conlin, a Marine fighting in the Battle of Tarawa. Unlike the former though, this one attempts a more realistic plot and focuses solely on the United States Marine Corps from start to finish. As a result, it has none of the Stealth-Based Mission elements of previous Medal of Honor titles, nor is The Protagonist of this game a member of the OSS Trapped Behind Enemy Lines.

Throughout the game, you'll take the role of Thomas Conlin, a regular US Marine, who along with his squad, takes on the fight against the ongoing Japanese military campaigns ranging from Makin Atoll Raid down to Guadalcanal and Tarawa Island campaigns.

Pacific Assault contains examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The game begins with Conlin's account of the invasion of Tarawa in November 1943.
  • Actionized Sequel: Compared to previous titles, and especially Rising Sun, all missions are set in the heat of battle or at the frontline, with nary a Stealth-Based Mission seen. It helps that Conlin is just a regular US Marine and not some elite OSS agent or a Resistance fighter.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Minoso finds a wounded Japanese soldier during one of their patrols in Guadalcanal. Naturally, the soldier refuses to divulge information to him before dying.
  • Anti-Air: Several different anti-aircraft guns appear throughout the game, notably the American Bofors 40mm, Japanese Type 96 25mm, and American 1.1-inch "Chicago Piano." To a lesser extent, the M2 Browning machine guns, both air- and water-cooled, are also shown used in the anti-aircraft role, although most of the time they are relegated to use against infantry. During the Pearl Harbor attack, Conlin briefly mans a pair of Lewis guns in a PT Boat's antiaircraft mount.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Conlin and his squad manage to clear Tarawa, but all of them know that this island is just one stepping stone in the massive Pacific Theater of Operations. The game ends implying that they will be deployed again in a few months.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Japanese soldiers are capable of sneaking past and ambushing a player, complete with bayoneting them in the back.
    • Sullivan, your squad's Corpsman, also counts, as he will always rush to your aid whenever you call for him or get seriously wounded, provided he still has supplies left.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Most of your squad save for Sullivan, as the orders you shout to them hardly do anything.
  • Artistic Licence Ė History: Downplayed. The attack on Pearl Harbor sees the USS Nevada being sunk while trying to escape the attack unless the player manages to shoot down enough attacking planes. In reality, the Nevada did indeed try and escape, but her crew was forced to deliberately run her aground to avoid her sinking in the channel and blocking the entrance to the harbor. Also when she sinks, the entire ship submerges under the water, which isn't possible because of how shallow Pearl Harbor is.
  • Attack Its Weakpoint: As with the other depictions of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona is hit by a Japanese armor-piercing bomb, which detonates the forward powder magazine.
  • Bayonet Ya: One of the favorite tactics of Japanese soldiers is to bayonet charge you. Conlin himself can do this to them, provided he's using a captured Japanese weapon or an M1 Garand, as all three have permanently attached bayonets.
  • Beginner's Luck: What pretty much describes Conlin's forced piloting of the SBD Dauntless he's in following Frank, the original pilot, being forced to bail out. By the time he's landed on the USS Independence, he's damaged or destroyed several Zeroes and Betties, and helped in the sinking of a Japanese destroyer and possibly a Japanese Fleet carrier.
  • BFG: The Browning Automatic Rifle. It can kill an enemy with a well-placed shot in any body part unlike most automatic rifles in that regard, is capable of fending off an enemy banzai charge with carefully-aimed shots, and can shoot down and destroy Japanese Zero fighters, as exemplified in the Marine Raiders' evacuation to the USS Nautilus in Makin. Due to its rather low 20-round magazine capacity when compared to other automatics and very rare ammo pickups, it has to be used wisely.
  • Big Guy Fatality Syndrome: Subverted with Minoso. He gets badly wounded during the ferrying mission from Henderson to Tarawa, but he manages to survive long enough to land on the USS Independence, and is sent back to Hawaii; Conlin inherits his rank, his duty as squad leader, and his BAR.
  • Blasphemous Boast: The Marine drill instructor during the tutorial details how God created the Marines to be above his other creations, namely the soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but because God is not a Marine that means the instructor is above God himself.
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • On one level, Conlin is stated to have had informal pilot training thanks to the Marine airmen at Henderson Field. It comes in handy when he's forced to pilot a Dauntless dive bomber later on.
    • During the Makin Island raid, Sullivan is shown to be a Badass Driver when behind the wheel. These driving skills come in handy again on Tarawa when Conlin's unit needs to rendezvous with their reinforcements on the other side of the island.
  • Combat Medic: Your squad's corpsman, Sullivan, as well as other corpsmen, are forced to wield handguns while also healing Marines, due to the fact that the Japanese will kill any American they encounter, regardless of whether them being a medic or not.
  • Cool Boat:
    • Several, notably the World War I-era dreadnought battleships in Pearl Harbor, as well as the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi.
    • There's also the USS Nautilus, a Narwhal-class submarine at Makin, and the USS Independence (CVL-22), the lead ship of the same class of light aircraft carriers.
  • Crew of One: Conlin can man American pack howitzers, Japanese artillery, and most medium-caliber anti-aircraft guns singlehandedly.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Conlin and the other Marines and sailors aboard the USS West Virginia, despite being caught unprepared at first, are able to down several Japanese aircraft attacking their ship and the USS Nevada, eventually forcing them to call off the attack. Unfortunately, by then, the damage had already been done, and most of the fleet is damaged, destroyed, or sinking.
  • Damage Control: Conlin helps the sailors aboard the USS West Virginia in controlling flooding damage in one of the engine rooms.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the Medal Of Honor games set in Europe, and even Medal of Honor: Rising Sun, this one depicts tenser and darker moments, particularly during the Guadalcanal and Tarawa battles, where Japanese soldiers play dead, and some Japanese Marines commit suicide with grenades when injured.
  • Defiant to the End: The Japanese in general refuse to surrender or give information, and would rather fight to the death. Sadly, this is Truth in Television for most of the Japanese who fought in the Pacific.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: One appears during boot camp, and is, of course, based heavily on R. Lee Ermey down to the voice and mannerisms, albeit with less profanity. One exception in his methods is when a trainee accidentally destroys a training dummy in combat practice. The trainee apologizes and the Sergeant instantly orders him not to: a soldier like him is supposed to destroy the enemy and he just showed some promising potential to do just that.
  • Eagleland: Definite Type 1 flavor, as with the other titles in the series, downplayed/averted with some of the historical facts, as they mention how the USA killed more Civilians than Military targets and similar events.
  • Elite Mooks: The IJN Special Landing Forces, or Japanese Marines, especially the garrison based on Tarawa. Also counts as an Evil Counterpart. Unlike the IJA, they're much better shots and are shown to have a bigger variety of weapons.
  • The Empire: Who else but Imperial Japan?
  • Everyone Lives: Conlin and the rest of his squad manage to go through hell and back. Even Minoso survives, albeit thanks to his injuries, is forced to miss out on the Final Battle.
  • Evil Counterpart: The IJN Special Landing Forces, or Japanese Marines, to the US Marines. Like their American counterparts, they're elite troops specializing in amphibious operations and are just as gung-ho and tenacious.
  • Evolving Title Screen: The weather and radio broadcasts in the main menu change with the progression of each level. In the latter case, the radio broadcasts in question change to the time period of the next campaign. The passage of time is also evident in the Marines' gear and weapons, as well as the tent flaps being torn and later repaired.
  • Fake Difficulty: Some sections like Tarawa have a large number of instant-death triggers that often make little sense. (For instance, trying to go onto the pier near where you crashed will result in instantly dying for no apparent reason.)
    • Sometimes when you get downed (Mostly in Tarawa) enemy soldiers will suddenly appear to finish you off, even in spots where all enemy forces are dead.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Conlin is forced to pilot the SBD Dauntless he's in after the original pilot is wounded and forced to bail, due to not carrying a parachute. Fortunately, he's taken informal pilot training during his time on Henderson Field.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Averted with Gunnery Sgt. Minoso, who shows Tommy a picture of his girlfriend in a foxhole on Guadalcanal. Not too long after, the Japanese attack on Bloody Ridge begins, but both he and Conlin survive without a scratch.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Since the game mostly auto-configs its graphical settings, most of the higher-end graphics settings are essentially permanently disabled nowadays as the game won't properly recognize most modern PCs nor are there in-game settings to manually enable them unless you manually go into the game files. (And even then, it's not well-known how to enable all of them manually.)
    • If an enemy soldier has his arms glitch through a wall, he can shoot you through it.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Oftentimes, the Japanese will prioritize targeting Conlin over other US Marines, fully intent on either incapacitating or killing him.
    • Exaggerated in "Guadalcanal: Flyboys", where the Japanese planes and your allied planes will stop firing on each other past a certain point, with the Japanese planes exclusively focusing on your while your friendly planes do nothing to help you.
  • Guy in Back: Conlin acts as the rear gunner of an SBD Dauntless in a later level. He's forced to pilot the same plane later in the level when the pilot bails out.
  • Have a Nice Death: Getting killed will prompt Tommy to hear people talking to/about him as he dies. Some lines are heard elsewhere in the game from his fellow Marines, while others from his father and girlfriend arenít.
    • The opening level on Tarawa ends with Tommy getting shot and hearing his DI berating him.
    Drill Instructor: What in the name of sweet Jesus Christ are you doing? Clearly, you have forgotten everything I have taught you because you are ONE DEAD MARINE!!! Now, letís try this again, maggot!
  • High-Altitude Battle: The entire SBD Dauntless segment, but especially the dogfight between the Zeroes and the Dauntlesses Conlin and squad are ferrying.
  • Historical Domain Character: Colonel Merritt A. Edson, who leads the defenses of Henderson Field and Bloody Ridge.
  • How We Got Here: Conlin gets knocked out by the enemy fire in the Action Prologue, and every level from then on details his previous experiences, from boot camp all the way to Guadalcanal.
  • Hungry Jungle: Guadalcanal. It comes to a point where Conlin isn't sure whether the Japanese or the jungle will get to him and the others first.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Downplayed Trope here, as all the equipment shown was more-or-less accurate for the time period the game is set in, but the Marines on Guadalcanal are shown using M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, and M1919 Browning machine guns, weapons that would have been issued to the US Army during the time, but not so much for the Marines, as they were mostly relying on older weapons like the Springfield and M1917 Browning machine gun, due to the Army getting priority over them. Though this could be hand-waved that the Marines received surplus from the Army, or stole the weapons from them, as was common during the campaign. They do start out the campaign with M1903 Springfield rifles, the historical facts feature lampshades this by mentioning how they were much rarer in reality.
  • Island Base: Practically all of the major locations where Conlin fights are this, with the most notable being Guadalcanal and Tarawa, home to major American and Japanese airbases.
  • Jungle Warfare: The vast majority of levels are set deep within the jungles of remote South Pacific islands, where Conlin and the other members of his squad not only battle the Japanese, but also the elements, and the jungle itself.
  • Justified Tutorial: Because it's a boot camp for Marine recruits, where they go through obstacle courses, firearms training, squad tactics, and corpsman training.
  • Just Plane Wrong: In "Guadalcanal: Flyboys", the SBD Dauntless is depicted as carrying a Mark 13 torpedo, when in reality it could only carry bombs. Interestingly, it's the SBD's successor, the SB2C Helldiver, that can carry a torpedo in place of its usual bombs.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Historical Facts when enabled acknowledge that M1 Garands, Type 100 SM Gs, and other rare weapons weren't as common in the Pacific as depicted in-game.
  • Last Stand: Two of them. The first is on Guadalcanal, where the remaining IJA forces are driven to the coastline and are defending from fixed positions, and on Tarawa, where the last few IJN troops hold out in a damaged bunker, low on ammunition.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: This is the first title in the Medal of Honor series where the protagonist is not a member of the OSS, thus, there are no stealth missions or missions where you are Trapped Behind Enemy Lines. Also, this game, like Rising Sun is not set in the European Theater like its predecessors.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Marines change uniforms in the Time Skip between the Guadalcanal and Tarawa levels, going from plain green uniforms to "Duck Hunter" camouflage.
    • A more subtle example is the USAAF pilots at Henderson Field going from P-39 Airacobras to the more advanced P-38 Lightning.
  • Old-School Dogfight: Happens over Henderson Field at the end of the first Guadalcanal level, between attacking Japanese Zeroes and defending American SBD Dauntlesses, P-39 Airacobras, and F4F Wildcats.
    • Another happens when the SBD Dauntlesses Conlin and his squad are in are intercepted by Japanese Zeroes flying from a remote island base.
  • New Meat: Several US Marines in the prologue are shown to be replacements, or as Conlin and the other veterans call them, "Three-week wonders".
    • Conlin himself starts out as one in the training level, alongside his squadmates.
  • Playing Possum: One of the favorite tactics of Imperial Japanese soldiers, particularly during the second part of "Bloody Ridge", where a Japanese patrol lays dead, intending on catching Minoso, Conlin, and other US Marines off guard. A key method in detecting whether they're playing possums or not is by trying to walk over them. If you're unable to walk over them, then it's obvious that they're just playing dead.
  • Put on a Bus: Minoso while serving as a rear gunner on an SBD Dauntless during their ferrying mission from Henderson to the USS Independence, is badly wounded and loses consciousness. Because of this, he is forced to miss out on Tarawa, but not before handing his Browning Automatic Rifle to Conlin and giving him total command of the squad .
  • Puzzle Boss: The secret to destroying the IJN carrier and destroyer is to target the Anti-Air and artillery mounts first, setting fires, and eventually, a chain of explosions that cause both ships to sink. With the carrier, a bomb or torpedo hit is also needed.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Present, but sometimes it will need to be toggled on in the game files due to the game auto-selecting settings.
  • Semper Fi: Very much so. Conlin himself, as well as his entire squad, are Marines from basic training all the way to the Battle of Tarawa.
  • Shout-Out: You can hear a Star Wars one on the radio during the battle for Henderson Field:
    "This is Red Five, I'm going in!"
    "But what about that tower?!"
    "You worry about the cannons, I'll worry about the tower!"
  • Shown Their Work: Several examples, mostly related to the depiction of weapons in-game.
    • The Mk. 2 grenades used in the game are appropriate for the Mid-war period, as they were painted yellow until the end of 1942 before manufacturers switched to the iconic olive color.
    • The developers definitely took their time with doing their homework when coming up with and making the trivia sections for each level, as they manage to describe in detail things ranging from firearms from the time period, to events around the time period the level is set in, etc, even lampshading how certain firearms weren't actually available yet/as common historically as they are in-game.
    • The radio broadcasts heard in the Evolving Title Screen are all radio broadcasts from the exact time period the player is currently progressing through.
    • The Marines switching from green uniforms similar to those of the Army to camo uniforms with the "Duck Hunter" pattern is of special note, as the latter only became available to Marines starting in late 1943, the time period in which Tarawa takes place.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: Conlin, as well as a few other sailors and Marines, manage to prevent the USS West Virginia from capsizing, this subverting this trope.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Conlin can counter-charge a charging Japanese with his own melee strike, which in the case of a bayoneted weapon, kills the enemy in one strike.
  • Spiteful A.I.: Japanese soldiers and Marines will prioritize incapacitating the Player Character, i.e. Conlin, over their own wellbeing, or for that matter, going after the rest of your squad, achieving this mostly by trying to bayonet you or gun you down. And if and when they do actually incapacitate you, they'll even do the Coup de Gr‚ce by bayonetting you, slashing you, or just shooting you in the head.
  • Storming the Beaches: Averted in Makin and Guadalcanal, as the Japanese are fought further inland instead, and the landings there go rather smoothly. Played straight on Tarawa, where a Normandy-like amphibian assault takes place.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Oftentimes, the Japanese will simply try to charge and melee the player with their bayoneted firearms and katanas. They even do this when they're outnumbered and outgunned, and it usually spells an end for them, unless they approach you and your squadmates from behind.
  • Supporting Leader: Minoso. While he's the highest-ranking soldier in Conlin's squad, he leaves the actual commanding to Conlin, preferring to shoot at the Japanese more.
  • Take Up My Sword: Minoso is injured during the flight in the Dauntless after Guadalcanal, and is evacuated to Hawaii. Conlin inherits his BAR, with Minoso's name scratched on one side, for the Tarawa campaign.
  • Taking You with Me: Several dying Japanese soldiers do this with grenades to any unsuspecting American Marines, especially during the Tarawa battle.
  • Tank Goodness: M3 Stuart and M4 Shermans are present at the Battle of Tarawa, although it's not until the last few hours of the battle that they can be of any help to Conlin's squad.
  • Tanks for Nothing: The Japanese Type 95 "Ha-Go" and Type 97 "Chi-Ha" tanks just outside Henderson Field are destroyed by Conlin and his squad before they can even make it to the tarmac. Truth in Television, as both types of tank, was notoriously thin-skinned and barely deserved the name.
  • The Squad: For most of the game, Conlin fights in ground combat alongside his other squadmates Sullivan, Minoso, and Gaines.
  • The Stinger: Minoso in a voice-over is telling a story to another Marine about flirting with nurses after being transferred to Hawaii.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Tarawa, as compared to the other islands you've fought on, is defended by Japanese Marines and is fortified from the ground up.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: So, Conlin and other US Marines are outnumbered and outgunned as the Japanese are about to overrun their last defensive line on Bloody Ridge. So how do he and the other Marines stop the enemy's advance for good? With Pack Howitzers fired from point-blank range, complete with air attack.
  • Time Skip: Two of them. The first is between Pearl Harbor and the Makin Island Raid, the second taking place late in the game, between securing Guadalcanal and just before the Invasion of Tarawa.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Makin, Guadalcanal, and Tarawa. All are South and Central Pacific islands far from the continental US and even Hawaii and have Conlin and his squad stationed there from days to months at a time, all while enduring supply shortages, the Japanese, and the risk of getting lost in the jungle.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: If you act fast enough, you can spot some hidden Japanese snipers in the second mission of the Makin Island missions and shoot them before they kill one of your fellow Marines. It doesn't count as a hidden objective, but you'll feel good since you can save a Marine from a scripted death (even he gets to survive the whole mission if you do so)... Unless you choose to do nothing, then.
  • Zerg Rush: Japanese soldiers from time to time will attempt a Banzai charge at your position.
    • Exaggerated with the Battle of Bloody Ridge, where the Japanese forces en masse keep rushing the Marine positions relentlessly, forcing Conlin and Minoso to retreat to the more heavily fortified positions in their line. It takes artillery and air attacks to finally stop the attack for good.
    • Tarawa has several Banzai charges happen, mostly due to the Japanese Marines having either run out of ammunition or out of sheer desperation.