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PISTOL WHIP: Your opportunity to become the next Action Hero.
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Pistol Whip is a VR game, released in 2019 by Cloudhead Games and available on Steam, PSVR, and Oculus Quest. It's a hybrid first-person Rail Shooter and Rhythm Game, where shooting enemies in sync to the music beat is essential to gain a high score.

Due to how much Campaigns rely on plot twists and other details, all spoilers are unmarked. Beware! Pistol Whip provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Hospital: John Asimov awakens in this after his Unwilling Roboticisation takes place. While it is abandoned by humans, it is infested with robots and other tech.
  • Abandoned Mine: One level of Smoke & Thunder campaign takes places in this. Subverted, when it's revealed the mine is not abandoned at all.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Jessie calls Tess' madness as her being "off the goddamn rails". Considering Tess is driving a mechanical half-scorpion, half-train abomination, she can't help, but maniacally laugh at the pun.
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  • After the End: " Full Throttle" scene is set in a post-apocalyptic future where people live in the desert, scavenge the ruins of civilization for supplies, turn to cannibalism and host desert rallies on cool cars. Does this sound familiar?
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The final boss of the 2089 campaign mode is an evil AI.
  • Animal Mecha : This is what the final boss of Smoke & Thunder campaign is.
  • Anthology: Each of the levels or "Scenes" is a separate story not connected to other Scenes, featuring a different setting, main character player portrays and antagonists portrayed by enemies, as well as a general description of its plot. Campaigns are also considered this to each other, as, while scenes that make them up are connected between each other via a more organized plot structure, they feature different, non-connected stories.
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  • Art Shift: While the game itself is made in a 3d polygonal style resembling that of Tron, cutscenes for campaigns are made in a highly-detailed comic book style.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: A main method to damage bosses while fighting them is to wait for their weak points (highlighted in red) to open, then shoot them with all you have. Metal Core has three replicas of itself as weak points, while Heatseeker has nine cooling slots of various sizes.
  • Awful Truth: Both campaigns presented so far have a revelation of this as a plot twist:
    • During the last chapter of John' story we learn the true reason why he was left alive: he was used by the Metal as a way to train it's soldiers to fight human resistance during it's conquest of Earth. He was roboticized because the system realised he was an extremely competent soldier himself and decided to make him the leader of said soldiers. On top of all that, it is revealed he gave himself willingly in exchange for his crew's safety. Hard to not feel sorry for him.
    • The truth about why Jessie is actually searching for Tess remains withheld until the final chapter of the campaign: Tess, presumed to be a captive of the Dynamo Gang, in reality became their leader and supplied them with her inventions, such as explosive-deflecting shields, because, as she herself explains, she "would rather steer the train, than be tied to the tracks". She also wanted to use her inventions to move the West into the new era of scientific advances, having this idea corrupted along the way. Her latest invention, the Heatseeker, as lampshaded by Jessie, is a proof of how Tess' great talents are used for horrible purposes. Meanwhile, Jessie is a bounty hunter, who was not too happy to find her sister... as an image of a "Wanted" poster, embarking on a question to arrest her. It makes sense, considering her profession, that Tess thinks she's there to kill her and retaliates... by unleashing a mechanical monstrous scorpion to fight her with.
  • Badass Bookworm: John Asimov. He has great marksmanship skills, quickly adapts to the situation, can quickly analyze threats and destroy robot forces much stronger than him... and he is also a professor.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: All the enemies from Arcade wear dark suits, some with body armors on top.
  • Bar Brawl: Smoke & Thunder opens with the saloon being shown, the next frame showing a guy being kicked out of it by the protagonist. While we are not shown the full fight, we do get to see it's aftermath in the consequent shots.
  • Battle Cry: While both heroes and enemies don't make battle cries, the Heatseeker does it before the battle, by making scorpion-esque screeching sounds followed by a menacing train whistle that actually sounds like a battle cry. Considering it's not autonomus and piloted by Tess, she can be the one invoking said trope, though indirectly.
  • Battle in the Rain: Arcade levels "Dark Skies" and "Letting Go", as well as Smoke & Thunder second level "Last Ride" partially happen during rainy / stormy weather.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Enemies with bulletproof vests need two shots to take down, while those wearing vests and helmets take four.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Enemy bullets can only hurt the player if they hit your head. A Headhunter modifier turns the tables, with the player having to hit the head in order to take enemies down.
  • Boss Battle: Each Campaign features this as the final level:
    • 2089 has Metal Core, an evil A. I. controlling an enormous gunship. It summons hordes of robots, tries to gun you down with its miniguns and summons objects to block you.
    • Smoke & Thunder has The Heatseeker, a giant mechanical scorpion piloted by Tess, the sister of the main protagonist Jessie. It has miniguns, barrel-throwing cannon and terra-forming Tesla Coil tail.
  • Bottomless Magazines: One of the Modifiers allows your weapons to have these. Enemies also never run out of ammo, even when shooting hundreds of it in seconds.
  • Bounty Hunter: Jessie is revealed to be this. When confronting Tess in the final chapter, she even presents her a Wanted Poster and says the classic line about how her reign of terror is over, "alive or dead".
  • Brought Down to Badass: In the second level of 2089 Campaign, the protagonist John Asimov has all the ammo taken from him. He still manages to brawl his way out.
  • Bullet Dancing: Playing with the Brawler weapon type involves this for enemies you can't reach with your weapons.
  • Bullet Hell: The 2089 campaign mode features machine gun emplacements which invokes this. A modifier of the same name also makes all enemies shoot just like the machine gun does, allowing every level to become this.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Armor on some enemies looks like this and allows them to withstand extra hits.
  • Captain's Log: 2089 campaign begins with John Asimov recording a log "01-87, cycle 85", where he states his current situation about his life on the android-infested colony, as well as his desire to bring an end to the infestation.
  • Chained to a Railway: Tess references this classic western trope as an allegory to suffering either death or enslavement from the hands of criminals who kidnapped her beforehand, something she didn't want so much she did everything she could to become their leader.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Remember that gunship that almost killed you during the first level of 2089? That's the main antagonist, the Metal Core.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The villainous bandit gang known as Dynamo, main antagonistic faction of Smoke & Thunder, has the scorpion as their symbol. Guess what their boss looks like...
    • From the beginning of Smoke & Thunder, we can see a pair of handcuffs attached to Jessie's hand. She uses the very same pair of handcuffs to, well, cuff her sister in the finale of the campaign.
  • Collapsing Lair: As the battle between John Asimov and Metal Core escalates, their surroundings that form up the enemy base begin to fall apart, blow up and crash, adding to the already huge level of epicness.
  • Computer Virus: The plotline of "Download the future" scene is a mysterious, much more advanced version of this turning androids hostile. The player character, also android, is immune to the virus, leading her to try and eliminate hostile androids.
  • Cool Train: Not only is the Heatseeker an extremely huge and powerful train, powered by never-before-seen technology and housing many different criminals and people, it can also transform into a freaking mechanical scorpion with the bottomless supply of laser bullets to shoot, barrels to throw and a Tesla coil on its tail that can shape environment. How's that NOT a cool train?
  • Cue the Sun: Each boss level ends with the sun appearing, symbolising the end of the protagonists' troubles. Surely, this is also the moment bosses start malfunctioning...
  • Cyber Cyclops: Androids from 2089 campaign are these, each having only one eye. Eye shapes differ from type to type.
  • Dangerous Terrain: While it doesn't affect the gameplay, this is present on many levels of the game as a visual aspect, including, but not limited to great heights, acid lakes, cliffs, deep woods, ruins, mines and more.
  • Deal with the Devil: A severely downplayed example. While Metal Core is not in any way connected to demons and Hell, the deal he made with John is certainly not good: John must have his memories wiped and used as a research vessel in exchange for his crew's safety. Judging by the fact his crew was killed anyway, the deal was certainly not in his favor...
  • Elite Mooks: 2089 introduces new enemy type, Auto Turret, a stationary weak automatic gun that shoots just like other enemies. The fourth level of the campaign, however, features an elite counterpart of this enemy, a Minigun Turret. Not only does it take a whooping number of 16 shots to go down (making it currently the toughest enemy in the whole game), but its default attack is an unstoppable barrage of laser bullets, which means you have to take it out quickly.
  • Enemies with Death: According to the description of the "Death" scene, anybody with consciousness who ends up in Limbo is this.
  • Enemy-Detecting Radar: There are an on-screen indicators warning the player of incoming bullets direction.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: Player bullets look like white lines, while enemy bullets have realistic bullet shapes and leave much more visible red trail.
  • Evil Genius: Tess is certainly this, considering she built guns that can create explosions, shields to protect wearer from said explosions... and a giant Mecha Scorpion, wanting to use it all to create a new era of technological progress on the West. Considering she began with more harmless inventions, we can see her ideas become twisted when she weaponizes them.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The entrance to the Nest, main base of the Metal, is this, complete with a red beacon that resembles a glowing eye. This tower appears in the cutscenes of the first and third levels and physically appears at the end of the third level of 2089 campaign.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: While understandably averted with Tess, invoked with Metal Core who speaks in a somewhat classic mechanical baritone.
  • Exploding Barrels: These appear on all levels of Smoke & Thunder, killing all enemies in an area close to it should it be struck.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After John Asimov defeats the Metal Core, the entirety of it's army begins to shut down, seemingly leaving John stranded on a deserted colony with dangerous terrain, with no people or robots to keep him company and supposedly a small food supply. Not only does John understand the possibility of nobody coming to save him, but he also chooses to peacefully watch the sunset instead of frantically trying to do everything he can to stay alive longer. True badass.
  • For Science!: As an extremely talented inventor, Tess wanted to change the world with her inventions, like conveyor belts. This all changed when she began to weaponize them, ready to risk the lives of those who stand in her way.
  • Gatling Good: Minigun Turret and both bosses have miniguns that seem to have endless amounts of bullets.
  • Gun Kata: The game is pretty much a gun kata simulation, especially with the Dual Wield modifier on. There's an achievement named after this too.
  • Guns Akimbo: The player can choose to dual-wield two of the same weapon type.
  • Harder Than Hard: Many combinations of Modifiers can lead to this. There is even a series of combinations named "Worst Case Scenario" and its variations.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Both antagonists of campaigns are this:
    • Metal Core left John Asimov, a skilled mercenary, alive to learn from him. When it understood his true potential, it made him even stronger by robotisizing him against his will and giving him a burst-fire weapon, then revealing the truth about his survival. No wonder he was so pissed off by all this that he took down the Metal despite Metal Core's attempts to stop him.
    • Tess, villain of Smoke & Thunder, has created Boomsticks as one of her first inventions, which later ended up in the hands of her sister and became a very dangerous weapon. Not only that, but Tess tried to kill her sister with the Heatseeker so much, she used its weaponry so often it overloaded and resulted in her almost dying in the subsequent explosions.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Heatseeker is so big, it can stand on top of the cavern without falling in.
  • I Call It "Vera": Played with when John Asimov finds a gun in his leg and tests it on androids shortly after his Unwilling Roboticisation, but instead of calling it a human name, he calls it... well, Metal Mincer.
  • Immune to Bullets: 2089 Campaign features Shield Troopers, robots that have a shield that renders them unable to be hurt by player's gunfire. Hitting them with the gun does work, though. Also, one of modifiers allows the player to have the same effect. Played with during boss fights, as they are immune to bullets everywhere except their weak points.
  • Improvised Weapon: Pistol Whip features pistols, revolvers, shotguns... and there is a banana, coffee mug, a pencil and even a frying pan!
  • Killer Robot: Androids from 2089 campaign. They have killed many humans before and are more than happy to kill John Asimov.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: This is done to John as a part of the Metal's cycle of training to fight humans. Thus, when we first are introduced to John, both we and him don't know he made a deal with the Metal to wipe his memories and use him as a research vessel.
  • Laser Sight: Every gun has one. Subverted, as it is only usable in the menus and only for easier navigation.
  • Locomotive Level: "Bullet Train" level involves Jessie fighting her way through the bandits aboard the said train to get to the locomotive, where their leader is.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Shield Troopers from 2089 campaign have shields so durable, they can indefinitely withstand both bullets and explosions.
  • Meaningful Name: The reason why Smoke & Thunder is named that is that the main conflict of the story is between Jessie, a skilled gunslinger (thus smoke from guns) and Tess, a brilliant inventor, whose creations involve electromagnetism(thus thunder that's connected to lightning).
  • Oh, Crap!: The first level of 2089 Campaign has John Asimov mow through hordes of robots in a gigantic spaceship wreckage... until a gunship immune to his bullets emerges from the ceiling, retracts his guns and mows John down with tons of bullets. All that John gets to say is: "Oh, no. "
  • Only a Flesh Wound: If the player is hit by anything, be it bullet or obstacle, with their armor still present, they will not die no matter how big the damage was supposed to be and continue to advance through the level.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The game is not in Bullet Time but enemy bullets are quite slow.
  • Pistol-Whipping: It's literally the name of the game. Pistol whipping is a One-Hit Kill and yields points equal to the maximum possible amount gained from the enemy otherwise.
  • Purgatory and Limbo: Despite being covered by a visage of Day of the Dead celebration, this is said to be the setting of the "Death" scene.
  • Retired Badass: The protagonist of "Black Magic" scene is this, being am experienced hitman on retirement. When the gang of criminals is wreaking havoc in his area, he is forced to come out of retirement for a short period of time.
  • Shout-Out: A lot, considering the game is meant to utilize classic scenarios from movie genres and deconstruct it. These are:
    • Level titled "Replicants" includes many elements referencing the The Matrix.
    • Possible flying cars that can be seen in "Download the future" and "The Way Home" Include Delorean Time Machine and a suspicious-looking speeder.
    • The "High Priestess" level, as well as the Hammer weapon, are confirmed by developers to be inspired by Old Boy.
    • "Full Throttle" level is inspired by Mad Max, considering it is a desert level that has ruins, a cult of crazed cannibals and cool post-apocalyptic cars.
    • There are several references to Baba Yaga and Gun Kata.
    • A couple of levels of Smoke & Thunder include a certain outhouse with moon symbol on the door.
    • When Jessie kicks the bandit out of the saloon in the beginning of Smoke & Thunder, a Wilhelm Scream can be heard.
    • The name of 2089 protagonist references Isaac Asimov and John Connor.
    • Jessie always has a certain object on herself that she saves for a single person she's been looking for for a long time. Sounds familiar? .
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: During the fourth level of 2089, John Asimov enters the main base of the Metal, where he comes across a barely functioning Android taunting him about his impending death. His response? "Eat s**t, machine! " *blast*
  • Sigil Spam: Both villainous factions from campaigns invoke this trope: The Metal has a circle spread everywhere and Dynamo has scorpion. Tess even wears earrings in the shape of scorpion.
  • Smart Gun: Metal Mincer can be qualified as this. While it doesn't have a built-in computer, it can understand how much bullets the enemy can sustain and fire that exact amount of bullets. John Asimov even comments on how it "seems to have a mind of its own. "
  • Spam Attack: The final segment of battle against the Heatseeker is essentially this, with tons of barrels flying at you with extremely short intervals between each.
  • Splash Damage: Boomsticks, introduced in Smoke & Thunder, are guns that, unlike other guns, have two ammo per clip, but deal huge damage in a small area. Exploding barrels from the same campaign also invoke this trope by instantly killing all foes in the area when blow up.
  • Symbolism: Handcuffs used by Jessie and them hanging on her hand represent her desire to reunite with her sister. This happens the moment she forgives her in the end and connects handcuffs between her and Tess' hands. She even offers to help her with her inventions and spread them the good, non-violent way.
  • Taught by Experience: Each player can invoke this, especially on Hard difficulty, where remembering enemy positions and numbers, as well as how to deal with each enemy type, may be key to surviving.
    • Also applies to John Asimov. During the first encounter between him and Metal Core, the latter gunned the former with a triple barrage of bullets from all of its guns, which the former couldn't not dodge. When Metal Core uses that same attack as a final resort to kill John, he not only manages to fully dodge it, but deal enough damage to destroy the Core.
  • The Gunslinger: Jessie. You shouldn't be surprised how well she is with dual revolvers.
  • This Cannot Be!: Tess utters this when the Heatseeker begins to overload after she uses her barrel Spam Attack as the last resort to kill Jessie.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: One of the ways the Heatseeker can kill you.
  • Title Drop: One of the variants of conversation Jessie and Tess can have during the final battle of Smoke & Thunder campaign has Jessie say this:
    Jessie: I'm telling you, Tess, this ends only one way: with smoke and thunder!
  • Tomato Surprise: The protagonist of Smoke and Thunder, Jessie, is looking for her sister Tess who seems to have been kidnapped by a bandit gang. Tess is actually the leader of the bandits, something that Jessie is fully aware of even before she begins her journey. Tess herself is actually surprised Jessie knows the truth.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The campaign mode titled 2089 takes place in that year.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: John Asimov goes through this before the second level of 2089 campaign.
  • Villain Protagonist: One of the Arcade levels that ties into the story of Smoke & Thunder features Tess, the future leader of Dynamo, making a prison breakout.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: Jessie shows Tess a poster of her during their confrontation. It's a bit less detailed than your usual poster, but still does it's job.
  • Watching the Sunset: Both campaigns end with main protagonists standing on a cliff,watching the sunset in peace.

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