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Video Game / Pulp Adventures

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From left to right. Foreground: The Rocketeer. Middleground: The Spider, Indiana Jones, The Spirit, The Phantom, Doc Savage, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato, and The Avenger. Background: Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, and Zorro. And that's not an exhaustive list of all the player characters available ingame!
This mod is a love letter to the classic pulp heroes of yesteryear. It tells an original tale of danger and daring do, teaming many classic pulp heroes and several modern characters cut from the same cloth. It features a huge cast of characters, including most of the pulp heroes of enduring fame. You can play as all of your favorite characters from the old magazines, radio shows, or serials, the characters that sparked America's heroic imagination. The story features several classic pulp villains and a twisting, turning plot that ties in to the settings and adventures of many of the starring characters. So, what are you waiting for? Come, ride with Britt Reid, laugh with the Shadow, swing the trees with Tarzan, and buckle your share of swashes with Zorro!

Pulp Adventures is a mod for Freedom Force vs The Third Reich made by Benton Grey and initially released in September 2016. The explicit premise of the mod is to pay homage to pulps.

Like the original game, the mod's gameplay consists in doing missions and punching bad guys while controlling a four-men squad selected from a large cast of characters. Available party members are mostly classic heroes from Pulp Magazines and comic strips of the same era. Also, while roughly half of them are protagonists fully involved in the plot, the other half is made of characters that must be bought with Prestige Points.

    The full cast of playable characters 

Set in The '30s, the story begins with seemingly unrelated events in various American places (a theft attempt in a museum, an investigation about random kidnappings, a massive escape from an asylum devoted to brainwash criminals into model citizens), who turns to be part of a single villainous plot. That's the start of an adventures with lot of action set on four countries (USA, Congo, Germany, and North Pole).

For more information and a download link, see Moddb, the Freedom Reborn forum, or Benton Grey's personal website.

For tropes related to the gameplay which are unchanged from the unmodded game, refer to the Freedom Force page.

The Pulp Adventures Mod Provides Examples Of:

  • The Artifact: This being a total conversion mod set in a different context, there are plenty of assets from the original game which look slightly out of place, either visually or from their unchanged flavour text: civilian from the Zorro and Lone Ranger missions refered as being Cuban while said missions were set in California, references to Patriot City, gangsters described as being Pinstripe's goons, etc. But the more blatant examples are the unchanged Energy-X canisters who remained as power-ups, as well as the Nazi base in Africa which buildings were covered of American Army symbols.
  • Artistic License – Geology: Sort of. Just before entering Hyperborea's tunnels, Doc Savage mentions that the place is so old that, according to plate tectonics theory, there is a high probability it collapsed. The theory already existed in the Thirties but wasn't universally accepted by scientists before the Sixties.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Nazi Generals are tougher than Nazi mooks.
  • Badass Normal: While several of the available party members have no superpowers or supernatural abilities, some do (Mandrake, Miss Fury, Green Lama...).
  • Diesel Punk: Thanks to the presence of jetpacks worn by the Rocketeer and its Nazi counterparts.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Nazi Rocket Troopers to the Rocketeer and, in a meta sense, the Nazi Rocket Troopers are one to Sky King (a hero from the unmodded game). It's not just the jetpack: the Nazi Rocket Trooper unit is technically Sky King with a different texture, replacing the US symbols with German camo and swastikas.
  • Frazetta Man: Downplayed. In the present timeline, Opar inhabitants are a civilization of hostile apemen, though they wear clothes and wield whips and machin guns.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Loading in the middle of a level sometimes messes with the event flags, making impossible to proceed. It can be fixed by starting over a level from the beginning.
  • Gangsterland: Most of the USA part of the game is spent fighting gangsters.
  • Genetic Memory: The reason behind those seemingly random kidnappings at the beginning of the story. The victims's past and ascendence have been carefully investigated by the villains, to make sure said people are direct descendants of Atlantis inhabitants. Late in the game, it's revealed that Shiwan Khan used hypnosis to interrogate the "ethnic memory" of the victims.
  • Genre Shift: The Show Within a Show levels are set in the genre of their respective main character (Heroic Fantasy for Conan, swashbuckling for Zorro, Western for the Lone Ranger).
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Most of the protagonists with firearms wield either US WW1/WW2 era guns or sixshooters, the most notable exception being the Rocketeer and his Mauser C96 (a German pistol with a "good gun" reputation). Villains include Nazis with German guns and gangsters with drum-magazine Thompson SMGs.
  • Guns Are Worthless: While a lot of heroes carry guns, their regular ranged attack is roughly as damaging as a punch.
  • The Gunslinger: Almost every party member. It would be faster to count the heroes who don't wield a gun.
  • Human Sacrifice: When they are first encountered, the Oparian apemen state they'll spill the protagonists' blood in honor to their Sun god and its servant, John Sunlight.
  • Let's You and Him Fight:
    • Because the Green Hornet is a vigilante pretending to be a criminal mastermind in order to fight crime from the inside, when the Green Hornet (and Kato) encountered the Spider and the Avenger, the latter recognized the Green Hornet and almost attempted to arrest him, which would have turned into a fight (the Green Hornet intended to resist) if the Shadow didn't appear at this exact moment and explained what was really going on.
    • Happens later in the campaign, with Tarzan and the Phantom versus Doc Savage, Indiana Jones, and the Avenger. Both groups met in Africa right outside of a Nazi camp, and Tarzan and the Phantom initially assumed that the other party was with the Nazis. This misunderstanding is cleared very quickly, though.
  • Lost Technology: Hyperborea, being a city belonging to the lost Atlantis empire. The technology encountered first includes lightings of unknown origin, huge robots, and an orichalcum-fed device with give a protective shield to Sunlight.
  • Lost World: Two of them are part of the plot, both being described as remnants of the Atlantis civilization: Opar in Africa's jungle (populated by apemen who have became servant of John Sunlight) and Hyperborea in North Pole, which access' tunnels are filled with raptors and triceratops.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Doc Savage, Indiana Jones, the Green Hornet, the Shadow, Tarzan, and people from several other franchises appear as playable characters; the main villains are John Sunlight and Shiwan Khan, from the Doc Savage and the Shadow universes. Also, in the Show Within a Show levels, the books read by protagonists are described in-universe as being non-fiction, it means that the Conan, Zorro, and Lone Ranger universes are also part of the mod's setting.
  • Mêlée à Trois:
    • In the level introducing the Green Hornet and Kato, the duo sets a conflict between two gangs. At the end of the level, both gangs are fighting each others and are both hostile to the player characters.
    • In Opar (the 1930s one), there is an area of the level in which John Sunlight's mooks are being attacked by a group of gorillas, which are hostile to the player characters too.
    • In one room of the penultimate level, John Sunlight's mooks again and some of the local hostile carnivorous fauna (the velociraptors) are fighting.
  • Museum of the Strange and Unusual: In the museum's level, the eclectic exhibit includes dinosaurs, huge cristals, a purple giant hourglass, a (anachronistic) jet fighter, Nazi propaganda posters, an Egyptian obelisk, etc.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Like the original game, all neutralized units have a "KO" speech bubble popping above them. Contrary to the original game, superheroes brawling and using superpowers have been replaced by mostly non-powered heroes with guns...
  • One Degree of Separation:
    • Zorro buried the cursed mask near the town visited later by the Lone Ranger.
    • The Lone Ranger is the Green Hornet's ancestor.
  • Remixed Level: The Opar city shows up twice. First in an ancient state (when the protagonist read the Conan story), then in the main timeline. Then, the human inhabitants have been replaced by apemen.
  • Show Within a Show: As a plot point. One of the macguffins stolen by the villains turn to be books. After retrieving them, the playable characters read them to understand the villains' plan. Three of the following levels consist in playing the tale told by said books (first with Conan, then with Zorro, and eventually with the Lone Ranger and Tonto).
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Nazi mooks appear as bad guys in late parts of the campaign, intially when kidnapping African natives (who are fred by Tarzan and the Phantom). The mods reuses the Nazis from the original game, while adding a new kind of unit with a jetpack.
  • Two-Fisted Tales: The Tactical RPG. Let's look at the list of ingredients... Weird science: Check. Lost civilizations: Check. Dinosaurs: Check. Gangsters: Check. Yellow Peril: Check. Nazis as bad guys: Check. Adventurer outfits: Check. Oh, and most of the playable characters come from the pulp eranote .
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The last level is set in the ancient city of Hyperborea, in the Arctic regions, being a "underground area from a lost civilization" variant of the trope. It's a ruin full of laser-wielding mooks and giant robots.
  • Wall Crawl: Almost every hero is able to do it, with no real justification. The exceptions is Indiana Jones, who is also able to climb any building but uses his whip as a rope, and the Rocketeer, who doesn't need it anyway, because he can fly.
  • We Need a Distraction: One objective of the Zorro mission is to blow the Spanish garrison's powder suppy, to distract them from his incursion there.
  • Weird Crossover:
    • Averted in the main campaign. While the mod's description advertise Conan, Zorro, and the Lone Ranger (and Tonto) being playable alongside dozen of characters from the Thirties, each of them are actually playable once, in three special missions which are a Show Within a Show.
    • Played straight in the Rumble Room, since you can use any combination of characters to make the playable party. For even weirder crossovers, all the characters from the original Freedom Force vs The Third Reich game are available too.
  • Weird Science: John Sunlight personal army wield energy weapons stolen from one of Doc Savage's weapon caches.
  • Weird West: The Lone Ranger mission is set in a Wild West town which population has been brainwashed by a cursed artifact buried nearby (a golden mask with telepathic abilities).
  • Working the Same Case: Indiana Jones and the Shadow halt a heist in a museum. The Green Hornet and Kato investigate on mysterious (and seemingly random) kidnappings. Doc Savage has mysterious villains rading his personal asylum to free some of the brainwashed criminals being reformed inside. The Avenger and the Spider raid a warehouse used by criminals to send kidnapped people to Africa. All of this is revealed to be part of a single villainous plot.