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I do not believe in the Airborne Division... - General Dwight D. Eisenhower
Corporal Frank Keegan: They call us the All Americans. The 82nd Division had been around since World War One. That was the first time we went to Europe and kicked the Hun back across the Rhine. But it wasn't until the bombs dropped on Pearl Harbour, and Hitler and the Nazis declared war on the United States that this new conflict got big enough to be thought of as a 'Second World War'. That's the first time someone mentioned that the 82nd Division might become Airborne. They lined us up, asked for volunteers... For an extra 50 bucks a month we'd be a part of a great American experiment in warfare. We'd jump out of aeroplanes into combat. We'd be the first. The Vanguard. We shipped off for Georgia for training, then England, then Operation Torch in Africa, where we got shot at by a bunch of French who seemed to think working with Hitler was a good idea. Then, one day, the brass came out of the briefing tent, and gathered their leaders. Then the Captains and Sergeants got their guys. Within 15 minutes, word had reached every soldier in camp. This was it, Operation Husky. The Americans were fighting Hitler's own, and we were going in first.
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Medal Of Honor: Vanguard is the 10th instalment of the Medal of Honor series and released in 2007 for the Playstation 2, and Nintendo Wii.

In this game, you play as Corporal (later Sergeant) Frank Keegan, an American paratrooper from the 82nd Airborne Division during World War Two, who fights in Operation Husky, Neptune and Market Garden, before being transferred to the 17th Division to fight in Operation Varsity, along with his Squad, led by Sergeant Magnusson and his Platoon, led by Lieutenant McCollum. Keegan and his squad are tasked with fighting the Axis powers in Europe by parachuting into combat.

Vanguard also allows the player to control their parachute at the start of each Operation, allowing them to control where they start as well as giving the player the ability to upgrade two of their weapons, the M1 Garand and M1928A1 Thompson. These systems would be reused and expanded on in the nearly-concurrent Medal of Honor: Airborne, which uses the same system of parachute drops into each mission and allows every weapon - even enemy ones - to be upgraded with regular use.

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Vanguard provides examples of:

  • Achievement System: The game awards medals after the end of each Operation, including medals for completing missions without dying, landing in a specific location at the start of the Operation during the parachute jump, getting over a certain number of headshots in a mission, using every type of weapon available in the mission, and obtaining enough of the other medals. While most of them are Cosmetic Awards, three of the possible medals actually grant (very slight) bonuses: The Bronze Star, Silver Star and Oakleaf, which award the Bronze Star rewards slightly better sprint recovery, the Silver Star grants better health recovery, and the Oakleaf gives higher maximum health.
  • Anti-Air: The objective in the first two missions in Operation Market Garden and in Operation Varsity involves destroying German Anti Air guns specifically Flak 88s during Varsity.
  • Anti-Armor: The M9A1 Bazooka is used for this. Keegan usually has to deal with any German tanks that appear.
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    • The unnamed Bazooka Operator also serves this role in cutscenes.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The enemy AI is not particularly intelligent and will stay still, behind cover most of the time, sometimes even if a grenade is thrown directly at them.
    • If an enemy is not already behind cover then they will usually run to and then take cover behind the nearest object, but sometimes this object won't even cover their entire body, allowing the player to easily kill them.
  • BFG: The M9A1 Bazooka, a weapon that is usually operated by a crew of two, is used individually by Keegan.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The first time a Tiger Tank appears, Keegan and his squad have no way to destroy it, then, the player hears: 'I'VE GOT THAT BAZOOKA!'... 'FIRE!', with the Tiger Tank then being destroyed in one shot, the door then opens to reveal the Bazooka Operator and other allied soldiers.
    • Subverted in 'The Crucible', although Keegan's squad, led by Corporal Garrett shows up halfway through the mission to assist the lone Keegan they are pinned down by snipers immediately after, forcing Keegan to deal with the snipers and other enemy soldiers alone.
  • Blatant Item Placement: The presence of Bazookas lying around on the field is usually explained as being being part of a supply drop by allied planes, however, it does not explain why Bazookas and ammunition for them appear in the interior of a French chateau and a German factory, where the roof of the buildings would prevent them from landing inside.
  • Bloodless Carnage: No one bleeds during the game when shot, with one exception.
  • Blown Across the Room: Kills with the Bazooka will often result in this.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Headshots can be done against enemies for a One-Hit Kill. The game even awards the player a medal if they get enough headshots in a level.
    • How Sergeant Magnusson is killed.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Zigzagged. The MG42 has one when the player uses it but surprisingly, when the enemies use it they have to reload occasionally, allied soldiers will even tell the player when the enemy with the MG42 is reloading.
  • Check-Point Starvation: Both of the levels in Operation Varsity ('Endgame' and 'The Crucible'), have very long intervals between checkpoints.
    • In 'Endgame' there is a section where the player is pinned down in a farmhouse, forcing them to defend it from German infantry trying to retake it, this section is very long and does not have any checkpoints between the start of it and the end.
    • In 'The Crucible', the Sniper Duel section is very difficult and long and does not have any checkpoints between the start and the end, what's worse is that the next section after it also doesn't have any checkpoints, meaning if the player dies there, they have to go restart from the beginning of the sniper section.
  • Cold Sniper: Unlike every other enemy in the game, the German Snipers never make any sounds, even when killed, they also never miss. Keegan also counts when using the M1D Garand, as he never talks during gameplay.
  • Concussion Frags: Fragmentation Grenades behave like this during gameplay.
  • Cool Plane: The C-47 Skytrain, which the player parachutes out of.
  • Cosmetic Award: All of the medals except for three do not grant bonuses.
  • Crouch and Prone: The player can crouch and go prone, both of which decrease movement speed but increase accuracy.
  • Cunning Linguist: Corporal Garrett understands German, this allows him to translate what the German Soldiers are saying in 'A Shallow Grave'.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Garrett's squad show up in 'The Crucible' they are seen fighting German soldiers who have retreated into a corner, Garrett's squad mows them down with minimal effort, taking no casualties.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Keegan is instantly incapacitated by a Buttstoke from a Karabiner 98K in a cutscene, where as in game it takes several hits to incapacitate the player, even on the highest difficulty.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: During a cutscene, the Bazooka Operator destroys a Tiger 1 in one shot with a Bazooka, where as it takes three shots for the player to destroy the Tiger 1s in game.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Private Slausen is one, as he often makes sarcastic comments during combat.
  • Difficulty Spike: The game gets a lot harder during Operation Varsity.
  • Distressed Dude: Sergeant Magnusson is captured by the Nazis in 'Behind Enemy Lines' and Keegan and his squad are tasked with rescuing him.
  • Do-Anything Soldier: Keegan, throughout the game, fills the roles of: Paratrooper, Infantryman, Sniper, Demolitions Expert and Anti Tank Soldier.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: The player cannot move whilst aiming down the sights, instead the controls that usually move the player will cause the player to lean, this can be useful when firing from behind cover.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The 'Vanguard' section of the title refers to the fact that at the start of the game, the 82nd Airborne Division is a completely untested unit in warfare, as well as Paratrooping in general being relatively new in World War 2, and that the 82nd Division is being sent into battle first in each operation, before the rest of the US Army.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The game focuses on the Paratroopers of the 82nd and later 17th Divisions.
  • Elite Mooks: The Waffen SS and the Fallschirmjagers.
  • Empty Room Until the Trap: In 'Requiem', as soon as the player walks into the empty lounge in the Chateau after clearing it out, a Panzer 4 will blow a hole in the wall and several other Panzer 4s supported by infantry will spawn around the Chateau.
    • 'The Crucible' has a variant of this where the snipers in one section of the factory will not spawn until the player is close enough to them, which prevents the player from clearing out this section of the factory from a distance.
  • Equipment Upgrade: The player can find 50 round magazines for the M1928A1 Thompson and a scope for the M1 Garand, which converts it into an M1D Garand.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Fallschirmjagers are this to the American 82nd and 17th Division Paratroopers.
  • Famous Last Words: In 'The Crucible', in response to Corporal Garrett saying: 'I'm not sure but I don't like it, that's perfect sniper country out there.' an allied soldier says: 'What are you talking about? They're retreating, there's no one out there!', he is then killed immediately upon finishing the sentence by a German Sniper.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In 'The Crucible', after being asked 'What's the holdup Corporal?', Corporal Garrett responds by saying how the area ahead of them is 'perfect sniper country', exactly three seconds later a soldier (who thinks that area is empty) is killed by a sniper.
  • Flunky Boss: The first Tiger Tank the player fights (the second one to appear in the game) has the ammunition for the Bazooka, the only weapon that can damage it, scattered across three different buildings, which are guarded by Waffen SS infantry.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The Quick Melee animation for the MP40, Bazooka and the Grenades punches with the off-hand.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The charge that is set by an allied soldier on a bridge in 'Scavengers' ends up exploding early, killing him and incapacitating Keegan.
  • Hold the Line: Several sections of the game are this, including the last section of 'Off Target', the bridge section in 'Requiem', the farmhouse section in 'Endgame' and the Final Battle in 'The Crucible'.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The mission 'Predators' takes place in a Dutch town called 'Grave'.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: German Snipers never miss, regardless of range, if the player is within their line of sight, they will hit.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: During the first level 'Off Target', the game has you fight the Italian Army, who are equipped with Karabiner 98Ks and MP40s instead of the more historically accurate Carcano Rifles and Beretta Model 38s.
  • Instant 180-Degree Turn: On the Wii version, quickly tilting the nunchuk left will do this.
  • Involuntary Group Split: Keegan and his squad are split up at the start of Operation Neptune when the glider transporting them crashes.
  • It's Raining Men: The Game. Medal of Honor: Vanguard focuses on the 82nd and 17th Airborne Divisions and allows the player to control the parachute jump at the start of each Operation (except for Neptune as the glider crashes).
  • Knockout Ambush: Keegan is knocked out with a Buttstroke from a Karabiner 98K by a Fallschirmjager at the end of 'Behind Enemy Lines'.
  • Large Ham: Several of the Allied Soldiers, especially the Bazooka Operator.
  • Last-Name Basis: All named characters are referred to as either 'Rank Surname' or just 'Surname' during gameplay.
  • Limited Loadout: Unlike in previous Medal of Honor games, the player is limited to carrying two guns and ten grenades.
  • Made of Iron: Throughout the game Keegan survives: jumping out of an exploding plane, a glider crash, being Buttstroked by a Karabiner 98K, having an explosive charge detonate directly next to him, while a bridge then collapses on top of him, and that is only what happens during cutscenes.
    • The game even Lampshades this, with Private Slauson saying: 'Geez, Keegan, you've got a hard head, you took a good hit.'
  • Marathon Level: Both of the Operation Varsity missions, 'Endgame' and 'The Crucible', are significantly longer than all of the previous missions as well as containing very few checkpoints that are far between.
  • More Dakka: The MG42 is fairly inaccurate, but has a very high rate of fire and a Bottomless Magazine, encouraging the use of this trope.
  • Multiplayer-Only Item: The M1911 and Gewehr 43, while available in multiplayer, are absent from singleplayer.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Averted during the parachute drop, as there are several areas that can only be reached this way, often containing an Equipment Upgrade. The game also does occasionally feature a few sidepaths that contain weapons or weapon upgrades, but not very often.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The game ends with Garrett saying 'It's up to the ground forces to mop things up from here, the Airborne's job in this war is done. What, no wise-ass comment Slauson?' with Slauson responding with 'Yeah, I've never seen anything more beautiful either.', then running off into the distance as allied forces parachute in.
  • Once per Episode: Every Operation starts with a parachute jump except Neptune as the glider crashes.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted for the M1 Garand, which cannot be reloaded unless its entire magazine has been fired. Played straight for other weapons.
  • One-Man Army: Keegan is this during the first half of 'The Crucible' as his accompanying squad is mowed down by an MG42 at the start of the mission.
    • Keegan is also this during the second part of 'The Crucible' as his squad gets pinned down by snipers, forcing him to clear out the next few areas on his own.
  • Opening Monologue: Keegan gives one at the start of every Operation, giving the context to the respective Operation, while stock footage plays in the background.
  • Overheating: The MG42 can overheat if it is fired for too long without waiting for it to cool down.
  • "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending: While Garrett and Slauson run off into the distance during the ending, the camera pans up to the sky to reveal allied forces parachuting in.
  • Parachute in a Tree: The Bazooka Operator is found like this in 'Scavengers', the player also gets to cut him down from the tree.
  • Pink Mist: Happens when an allied soldier is killed by a sniper during a cutscene, in 'The Crucible'.
  • Pinned Down: Keegan and his squad get pinned down at a farmhouse by MG42s during 'Endgame' forcing them to Hold the Line against German infantry trying to retake the farmhouse.
  • Pistol Whip: The Quick Melee animation for most of the weapons is a Buttstroke, while the M1911's is an actual Pistol Whip.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Headshots during gameplay look like this.
  • Rare Guns: The M1D Garand, a Sniper Rifle variant of the M1 Garand, is obtainable in the game by picking up an upgrade for the M1 Garand.
  • Quick Melee: The player can Buttstroke with all weapons except for the M1911, MP40, M9A1 Bazooka and Grenades, instead the Quick Melee for the M1911 is a Pistol Whip while it is a simple punch for the MP40, Bazooka and Grenades.
  • Regenerating Health: The first game in the Medal of Honor series to feature this.
  • Selective Historical Armoury: Despite the game focusing on American Paratroopers, the M1 Carbine, and its paratrooper variant, the M1A1 Carbine, do not appear in the game, the M1911 is also absent from the Single Player, although it shows up in Multiplayer.
  • Shell-Shock Silence: Explosions close enough to the player muffle the sound as well as cause a ringing sound and blurs the player's vision for a few seconds.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The objective of the first mission of Operation Neptune 'Behind Enemy Lines', is to rescue Sergeant Magnusson, who has been captured by the Nazis, only for him to be killed by a German Sniper two missions later.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: Level 2. The game starts every Operation except Neptune with a parachute jump, allowing players to decide what location they land in, these parachute sections are fairly open. Although the rest of the game is fairly linear outside of this, it does have the occasional open area and sidepaths outside of parachute jumping sections.
  • Sniper Duel: Happens during 'The Crucible' between Keegan, who at this point is likely equipped with an M1D Garand, and several German Snipers, this section is also considered the hardest part of the game.
  • Stock Footage: The opening cutscene to each Operation features stock footage from World War Two, with Keegan giving the context to the respective Operation.
  • Storming the Beaches: Operation Husky and Operation Varsity start with the player landing on fortified beaches.
  • Supporting Leader: Sergeant Magnusson and later Lieutenant McCollum are this to the player.
  • Suspicious Video Game Generosity: Whenever a Bazooka appears, expect tanks to show up soon.
  • Take It to the Bridge:
    • The objective of Operation Neptune is to destroy bridges and crossroads in order to disrupt German logistics during the Battle of Normandy.
    • A Hold the Line section happens on a bridge in 'Requiem', where the path is blocked by a barricade on the bridge, which is defended by two overlooking MG42s and snipers on both sides of the bridge. The player is required to hold off German infantry trying to reinforce the barricade until a supply drop containing a Bazooka arrives, allowing the player to breach the barricade and proceed with the mission.
    • 'Haunted' has a section where the player has to fight their way across the Waalbrug Bridge order to destroy the second Anti-Air Gun, which is on a bunker on the other side of the bridge.
  • Tank Goodness: Panzer 4s appear in 'Requiem' and 'The Crucible' and Tiger 1s appear in 'Predators', 'Endgame' and 'The Crucible'.
    • Private Chalmers is killed by the second Tiger to appear in 'Predators'.
  • Tanks for Nothing: The first Tiger to appear in 'Predators' is destroyed in one shot by the Bazooka Operator during a cutscene and in 'Endgame' a Tiger appears only to get stuck on the trenches, allowing Keegan to destroy it with an explosive charge.
    • Only one Sherman appears in the game, and when it does, it is immediately destroyed offscreen by the immobilised Tiger in 'The Crucible'.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: Happens twice in 'A Shallow Grave'.
    • After Anti-Air Gun in the windmill is destroyed, enemies will refill the trench leading back from the windmill to the barn that the player already cleared out to get from the barn to the windmill in the first place.
    • When the player collects the German intelligence documents, a half-track full of Germans will arrive at the barn.
  • The Ghost: Strickland, who never appears in game, and is only mentioned by Sergeant Magnusson once in 'Der Bunker' in the line: 'Does anyone have any morphine? I need it for Strickland, his leg's bad.'
  • The Squad:
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The final mission 'The Crucible' takes place in a large factory that is visible in the distance during the parachute jump in the previous mission 'Endgame', which is also the largest and most heavily fortified structure in the game. The mission also takes place on the 25th of March 1945, during Operation Varsity, just 45 days before the war ended in Europe.
  • The War Sequence: The Final Battle, which involves Defending a Factory against a very large force of German Infantry, supported by Panzer 4s and Tiger 1s, this section is also the longest in the game.
  • Title In: At the start of first mission of each operation, the date and time is displayed on the top left corner of the screen, in subsequent missions within each operation, the mission name and the time is displayed.
  • Title Requiem: The third and final mission of Operation Neptune is called 'Requiem', it is also the mission where Sergeant Magnusson is killed.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: In the mission 'Behind Enemy Lines', fittingly.
  • Unbroken First-Person Perspective: With the exception of the introductory cutscene to each Operation, the game is entirely in first person.
  • Unique Enemy: The Italian Soldiers only appear in the first mission 'Off Target', afterwards German Soldiers replace them for the rest of the game.
  • Universal Ammunition: Enemies will sometimes drop ammunition boxes instead of their guns, which gives the player ammunition for their weapon regardless of what it is.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Zigzagged, all infantry weapons in the game are usable, including enemy weapons, however in some missions, enemies will never drop a specific weapon, instead always dropping an ammunition box.
  • Urban Warfare: Operation Husky takes place in a town, also the mission 'Predators' takes place in the town 'Grave'.
  • Video Game Setpiece: Tanks are scripted to blow holes in walls at certain points of the game, which is something that cannot happen normally as the game's engine does not feature destructible walls.
  • You Are in Command Now: How Keegan gets promoted to Sergeant in 'Requiem', when Sergeant Magnusson is killed.
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