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Video Game / One Must Fall

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One Must Fall 2097 is a Shareware Robot Fighting Game released for the PC by Epic Megagames in 1994, released as freeware in 1999. It is notable as one of the highest quality Fighting Games released exclusively for the PC.

The year is 2097. In this future, national governments are puppets of the multinational corporations. One such corporation, World Aeronautics and Robotics (WAR), runs the entire show with a silk-covered iron fist. WAR was started as a research institute to provide Human-Assisted Robots for space travel. Their first prototypes were activated in 2009 and were immediately put to use by a conglomeration of companies from Japanamerica to build the first ACTIVE space station. The HARs were better than conventional robots in that they were completely operated by a single human whose brain controlled the robot's systems via remote. The "pilot" actually "became" the robot for all intents and purposes, but no danger to the pilot was possible.

Now, WAR is Earth's leading corporation. Every other company relies on WAR for space travel to Earth's four off-world stations. WAR provides systems for governments and companies alike for security and defense.

WAR is power. And you're a part of it.

Ganymede, the next moon on Jupiter to be colonized, needs a WAR representative to watch over it. The Board at WAR has decided that the applicants for the position, being equally qualified, should fight for it. Now, the ten applicants must choose which of the ten newest HARs will be their weapon and beat the others in a one-on-one competition. It is not merely for position that they fight... many have secret agendas and a thirst for the information that only rule of an entire moon could provide.

Anyone who has even a remotely important position at WAR is trained in the use of HARs. Most have spent considerable time "in" a real working model to get the feel of it. But the use of HARs for sparring is a completely new scheme brought about by the need to know that when one company attacks another the 'bots can handle the stress. The idea of using WAR robots for entertainment is a new one, but The Company believes that it will be good press for the next prototypes from the WAR design rooms. Therefore, the public is invited to view the proceedings. The future of Ganymede, WAR, and maybe humanity itself, hangs in the balance.

Also included is a tournament mode that takes place three years later.

Two old but great fansites are OMF Universe and If you want to know why you should care, be sure to check out a review. There's also the monthly WAR Is WAR casual streams that also show off a modded source port of the game.

A bug plagued Contested Sequel, One Must Fall: Battlegrounds, which attempted to move the series online and into the third dimension, was released in 2003.

Now has its own character page.

A fanport OpenOMF is currently in development.

This Work Shows Examples Of:

  • A.I. Breaker: All robots have at least one strategy that the computer will reliably fall for—and almost no computer opponent of equal or lesser speed than yours will avoid an opening leg sweep.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: HAR (Human Assisted Robot)
  • Animesque: The art style, with the News Anchor being the most prominent. A few of the fighters look to have been lifted directly from the Humongous Mecha anime GoShogun.
  • Americasia/Japan Takes Over the World: The manual mentions in passing "Japanamerica" and the "defunct United States of America", suggesting that Japan and the US (or part of it) have merged into one country. This has basically no bearing on the game itself, though.
  • Arc Words: NOVA. Eventually revealed to be the name of a project dedicated to creating immortality through the use of the HAR.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Shadow robot, which can create shadow clones of itself... easily juggleable shadow clones, although it does have an infinite combo (well, more like two, but one of them requires stupidity on the part of your opponent). Literally, its only good move is its strong kick, which is a roundhouse kick, and you know what those are like.
    • Then there's the Nova, this robot is the epitome of Awesome But Impractical. The final bosses use it. It's the plot of the entire frigging game. And it is powerful... unless you're playing on Hyper Mode, which anybody who is anybody plays on.
  • Big Bad: Major Hans Kreissack, leader of WAR.
  • Brain in a Jar: Major Kreissack in the Nova robot. In Cossette's ending, she expresses interest in using the Nova Project to get a new robot body for herself.
  • Break Meter: Energy bar that leaves a combatant dazed when depleted.
  • Camera Abuse: Some screen shaking when the heavier moves connect. The screen also shakes when a HAR slams into a wall.
  • Casualty in the Ring: According to the back-story for tournament mode in the manual, this started happening a lot in the mid-21st century thanks to a new exercise program which essentially gave Charles Atlas superpowers to numerous athletes, which eventually led to the banning of all contact sports, which in turn led to the rise of Humongous Mecha tournaments where the fighters themselves couldn't be physically harmed.
  • Combat Commentator: A minor news recap is given after each battle, with the newscaster's commentary being different based on how well you did. It can be a nice ego booster when you seriously trash your opponent...despite the glaring typo in one of them.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Some of the robots have fantastical abilities, such as the Shadow being capable of creating a short-lived duplicate of itself or Chronos teleporting. What about Nova, the biggest, baddest of them all? It fires bombs and missiles at the opponent.
  • Combo Breaker: The power plant will electrify robots that are knocked into the walls. This hazard actually does no damage, and instead limits combos that get close to the wall.
  • Creator Cameo: The hidden tournament opponent Iceman is One Must Fall creator Rob Elam (giving his line "Prepare to meet your maker" a double meaning); the tournament opponent James is Digital Extremes founder James Schmalz.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The fight commentator at the end of a match, especially when you lose. One would think she'd be more impartial and professional for a newscaster.
    "They must be pretty short on pilots these days to recruit the likes of (player's name)."
    "I could have blocked this last hit in my sleep. Hey, maybe that's the problem. Somebody wake up (player's name)."
    "Ohh, a bad day in the life of (player's name). Well, I'm sure (opponent) won't shed any tears over his/her loss."
    "(opponent) really knows what he's doing out there, or maybe (player's name) simply has no clue."
    "Duck, block, dodge, call in sick, do something other than take hit after hit from that (opponent's HAR)."
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • The game is balanced, reasonably, with Hyper Mode off. And yet sometimes you will see the computer throw out moves when you've been knocked down, or are clearly out of reach, and wonder why. And then you turn on Hyper Mode and your ass gets juggled to death by some insane combo you could never have dreamed of. This is The Reason That Epic Is Epic.
    • In The Mantis Project, which is a fan-made prequel set before the Nova is completed, using the Nova to complete the tournament will end you a different ending where the game chastises you for not playing properly.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The shareware version had the final boss of Raven (the only one in shareware story mode to use the Pyros robot), who is merely a playable/tournament character in the actual game. Defeating him simply shows a minor ending (where you pass the test and await the fight against Kreissack, and the order screen.
  • Diving Kick: Shadow's and Pyros' diving punches.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: The Shadow HAR.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The Tournament mode does this by scaling the opponents according to your skills and HAR upgrades at the beginning of each tournament. This can get potentially ridiculous if one manages to get to enter World Championship without losing and with maximum possible amount of cash bonuses, at which point almost all of your opponents are maxed out monsters with both wins and loses at triple digits.
  • Easier Than Easy: The "Punching Bag" difficulty.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: You have to have the difficulty set to at least Veteran (or Rookie against the shareware boss). Setting it lower (e.g. to Punching Bag) causes the boss to mock you when you reach him, before ending the contest.
  • Epic Flail: The Flail bot, naturally.
  • Everything Fades: The parts battered off yours and your opponent's robot during a fight fall to the round and disintegrate a few seconds later.
  • Eye Beams: Jaguar's Concussion Cannon.
  • Finishing Move: Called "Scrap" and "Destruction" moves, as you are beating up on robots, not people. The former is a simple post-match extra hit, the latter is a follow-up that completely destroys the loser's bot. These allow you to fight Secret Characters at certain points, and you can actually reach Optional Bosses in by doing special versions of these already-secret moves on a certain stage, most of them involving making large holes in the floor.
  • Flawless Victory: Win without getting hit and the news anchor will comment on it:
    For all you folks that enjoy an evenly matched battle, I hope you didn't pay for the match at the Stadium. But for all of you who like the occasional one-sided masochistic pouncing, then watch out for [Player's name/Player Character].
  • Future Slang: Bits and pieces, most notably "slice" as slang for "very cool".
  • Genius Bruiser: Jean-Paul as described as such, with intelligence test scores off the charts. Ibrahim and Cossette also count, given that the former designed the Jaguar and several other HARS, and the latter designed two space stations and the Electra HAR. Ibrahim is a retired triathlete, besides.
  • Hand Wave: The manual mentions that how exactly the Shadow robot can create duplicates of itself is unknown to anyone outside of its creators.
  • Harder Than Hard: The hidden "Deadly" and "Ultimate" skill levels. The Tournament mode has "Heavy Metal".
  • He Knows Too Much: Crystal and Christian's parents were killed for discovering that the true purpose of the Nova Project was to create a cyborg army and take over the solar system.
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Jaguar's Scrap Move.
  • Hollywood Cyborg: Kreissack in story mode (and possibly Cossette in her ending), Steel Claw in tournament mode.
    • Jean-Paul contemplates using the NOVA project to become this in his ending.
  • Humongous Mecha
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Punching Bag, Rookie, Veteran, World Class, Champion, Deadly and Ultimate. The Tournament Mode has its own separate difficulty levels: Aluminum, Iron, Steel and Heavy Metal.
  • Improvised Weapon: Several of the HARS were designed for industrial applications. The Pyros, for example, was designed for zero-gravity construction and repair, while the Chronos was intended for rescue operations in time-sensitive situations. The Jaguar on the other hand is a security 'bot, while the Katana is purpose-built for combat. And then there's the Nova.
  • Jack of All Stats: Christian, Cossette, Jean-Paul, and Steffan.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Pyros robot (and the ultra-secret fireball special move for the Katana).
  • Kill It with Ice: The secret floor freeze special move for the Shadow.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Kreissack, Ian Tavares, and on tournament mode eventually you, and finally everyone.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The amount of scrap metal knocked from the robots is adjustable, and, at the highest levels, clearly more than the robot could have contained.
    • There's a cheat code that lets you increase or decrease the amount of scrap thrown during the fight, to the point where the highest levels invariably caused slowdown on the computers available at the time.
      • There's another cheat code that makes all scrap metal knocked off from the robots constantly rain down from above.
  • Mega Manning: In tournament mode, performing a Destruction move on certain hidden opponents will upgrade your special moves (like being able to do ground-based moves in the air or shoot multiple projectiles) if you have the same robot as them. The aerial move upgrades don't actually do anything if you're playing in Hyper Mode though, since you can do the moves aerially in Hyper Mode anyway.
  • Mirror Match: Lampshaded by the characters in the single player, with most of them examples of various levels of pseudo-narcissism. Except for Angel, which is a hint of her true origins.
  • Motion-Capture Mecha: Two reasons. First, most of the robots are human-shaped and the fighters actually have their minds chemically transferred to the robot for the duration of the fight. Second, Kreissack puts his own brain into the Nova, the most human robot—it even has four fingers and a thumb.
  • Multiple Endings
  • Never-Forgotten Skill: Played with. While the trope is played straight for the most part, if you spend too much money buying improvements for your robot, you get penalized by having your Strength, Agility, and Endurance stats decreased. A message even explains that apparently your character was so busy raising funds for buying the improvement that s/he neglected her/his training which resulted in the decrease of all three stats.
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: The original One Must Fall demo featured a pair of generic Shotoclones. The game we got ended up being very, very different.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: You can blow up your opponent real good without actually killing them. How? Everyone is, effectively, remotely-controlled robots. And then the game has a Double Subversion at the end of the single player story mode, where Big Bad General Kreissack is revealed to have actually had his brain transplanted into his robot's body.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One Chronos special move has him jump through the nearest arena wall—and come out the opposite wall going the same direction with his leg extended and the words "Look behind you, motherfucker!" written on his foot. I may have embellished a little.
  • Optional Boss: On the hidden skill levels, you can reach hidden arenas in the story mode where you fight the hidden opponents Fire (an orange Katana with the fireball special move) and Ice (a translucent blue Shadow with the ground freeze move). You can fight similar versions of them in Tournament mode and also get the ground freeze move for yourself, but unfortunately Katana's fireball is normally unattainable, most likely because it's pretty damn strong, fast and easily spammable.
  • Perfect Play A.I.: Some of the Bonus Bosses follow this strategy. It works if you're not up to snuff as a fighter because there is no blocking damage, except minimal for special moves (unless you've found the secret menu and tweaked things).
  • Player Character: In Tournament Mode, you can create a profile that lets you appear as one of four unique characters, two male and two female. The appearances are merely for cosmetic purposes, however, since your choice of avatar doesn't affect gameplay. Also see the character page.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Try sim-fighting the people at the start of a tournament after you've completed the tournament. After your first tournament, the power differential can be shocking. Even after your first World Championship, your skill will likely have grown from the start of the tourney.
  • Punch-Kick Layout: The game has a single punch and a single kick button, and that's pretty much the entire controls that are not movement. Pressing either of the buttons while holding forward produces faster basic attacks, while heavier normals are done by holding backwards at the time of the press.
  • The Rival: All over the place, both in Story Mode and Tournament Mode.
    • For Story Mode, there's the Sibling Rivalry between Crystal and Christian—she wants to claim the Ganymede position as a way of finding out what happened to their parents; he intends to defeat her to keep her out of the way of his own Roaring Rampage of Revenge. There's also a hint of a rivalry between Ibrahim and Shirro, both of whom are older competitors and longtime acquaintances.
    • For Tournament Mode, many of the competitors are this for your player character. In fact, if you beat the World Championship tournament, the ending narrative outlines that the other competitors tell you the same thing— "See you next year." If you want to get specific, special mention goes to Veronica, who you fight in the WAR Invitational and World Championship tournaments ("You really are a great opponent! I enjoy our fights..."), and Nicoli, the boss of the WAR Invitational tournament who returns to challenge you as a secret opponent moments after you defeat Ian Tavares.
  • Roundhouse Kick: A few, most notably Jaguar's heavy kick.
  • RPG Elements: The Pilot has three stats: Strength for how hard you hit, Agility for how fast you move and attack, and Endurance for how much punishment you can take. The Tournament mode has separate but similar stats for the bots.
  • Shareware: The free version has limits on gameplay, where only five characters and three robots are playable, the single-player contest ends at Raven, and only one tournament is available.
  • Secret Character: Aside from fighters from other tournaments making themselves known, there are many from other Epic productions, including three characters from Jazz freakin' Jackrabbit, and game director Rob Elam's in-game avatar.
  • Sequence Breaking: If you decide to not progress from tournament to tournament and instead do one or two again and again, or if you do really well for yourself in getting cash to upgrade yourself and your bot, the next tournament will suck almost all statistical personality out of each fighter and make them just a skoch more powerful than you.
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: Katana's blades and Thorn's spikes use monofilament technology, where the spikes and blades come to a single molecule.
  • Shock and Awe: The Electra. It was designed to withstand electromagnetic interference in the Jovian atmosphere, and can charge up and shunt electrical energy into a given object- like, say, an opposing HAR.
    • Also, getting knocked back or thrown into the wall in the cagematch level will do additional shock damage.
  • Shotoclone: The Jaguar and Katana HARs.
  • Spectacular Spinning: The Katana bot spins a lot in his Rising Blade and Razor Spin special moves. The Flail's Swinging Chains and Spinning Throw also contribute, while the Pyros has the Fire Spin, where it spins in place and bashes the enemy with flames and claws (in fact, its Finishing Move consists of nothing but spinning and bashing and burning, repeated until the opponent's top half explodes).
  • Spin Attack: Flail's and Pyros' versions of Zangief's Spinning Lariat.
  • Suplex Finisher: Jaguar's standing throw.
  • Time Skip: As stated above, Tournament Mode takes place three years (roughly) after Story Mode. The game's sequel, Battlegrounds, takes place 20 years after the Ganymede tournament.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The Chronos HAR's time-manipulation ability.
  • Tomato Surprise: Angel's victory reveals her to be an indigenous creature from Ganymede, hoping to win the tournament to prevent WAR's expansion.
    • Since you don't find out unless you play as her, this also counts as Tomato in the Mirror.
      • You can receive a hint toward this elsewhere in-game by unlocking her as a secret opponent during the Katushai Challenge and World Championship circuits in Tournament Mode.
  • Victory Pose: Specifically noted as mugging to the watching crowd.
  • Wall Jump: The Katana can do this.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: The Pyros lacks real legs, being a zero-g construction robot. It makes use of it's directional thrusters instead.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Prior to each battle. There's quite a bit of it too, since the dialogue between the same two characters is different depending on which the player is controlling.
  • You Killed My Father: Crystal and Christian's storyline. In his final battle quote, Christian explicitly makes the Shout-Out.
    • If Player 1 is Crystal and Player 2 or the computer is Shirro, the latter says "Get used to disappointment" (another line from The Princess Bride) in the pre-battle dialogue.

Alternative Title(s): One Must Fall 2097