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Video Game / Raptor: Call of the Shadows

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This ain't no dinosaur game!

Your engine's turbines roar as you scream out of the sky. Startled troops look up just in time to see your wing cannons blaze. You feel the plane buck slightly as your missiles streak towards their targets. A flash in the distance tells you that they have done their job and so have you. The Mega-Corps pay well, for those good enough to survive. They call you into the shadows with dreams of wealth, and you answer, the only way you know how.

Raptor: Call of the Shadows (often called Raptor for short) is a 2D Vertical Scrolling Shooter for the x86 PC written for MS-DOS by Cygnus Studios (which has since changed its name to Mountain King Studios). It was published by Apogee Software on April 1, 1994. In 1999, Mountain King Studios re-released Raptor as a native Windows program, and in 2010, the game was re-released again by DotEmu as Raptor: Call of the Shadows 2010 Edition, featuring smoother graphics with support for higher resolutions, as well as native compatibility with Windows XP, Vista, and 7. In 2015, it received yet another re-release as the 2015 Edition, which adds Steam achievements and partial controller support.

There is not much of a story in the game. Your character is a mercenary flying the super-tech Raptor, sent on interplanetary missions to knock off top competitors of MegaCorps. Thus, the player does not receive points for destroying enemies and buildings; instead, the scoring system is ditched in favor of a monetary rewards system due to working for the aforementioned generically named MegaCorps.

The game is divided into three "sectors": Bravo Sector, Tango Sector, and Outer Regions, all of which have nine sub-missions called "waves", making for a total of 27 levels. The full version of Raptor allows players to start out in any of the three campaigns, though playing them in order will help the player to more easily accumulate money for weapon and shield upgrades.

Not related to bird of prey raptors, and probably not related to the real-world F-22 Raptor, as the name was actually inspired by velociraptors.

Raptor: Call of the Shadows provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Of the "steamroller" kind—as a mercenary pilot hired by Mega-Corps, you single-handedly blast your way through all the defences of their competitors to strike at their largest assets using a small, high-tech fighter.
  • Always Accurate Attack: The Laser Turret, but only on Airborne Mooks.
  • Always Night: Both Tango Sector and Outer Regions have one level (respectively Wave 8 and Wave 3) that takes place entirely at night and has a correspondingly chilling music track to accompany it. In this level, it is harder to predict attacks from enemies, whose presence is usually announced by shadows near the top of the screen; this can turn into quite a nasty surprise if a mook suddenly appears into the screen and fires its Wave-Motion Gun on you as you won't be able to tell it apart from the other enemies until it is too late.
  • Artistic License – Physics: While some of the enemy ships are recognisably aeroplanes or rotorcraft and can believably be flying based on aerodynamic principles, others just aren't, especially the bosses. Many of the locations in Outer Regions stages are also clearly meant to look like the surfaces of solar system bodies, which either do not have an atmosphere or have atmospheres too thin to sustain flight.
  • Beam Spam: The Twin Laser. Via Zerg Rush, many of the enemies near the end of the game also use this on you.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Your starting machine guns, the Plasma Cannon and the Micro Missiles may not seem all that impressive, but the fact that they are always equipped means that they provide additional stopping power on top of whatever selectable weapon you are using.
    • The Auto-Track Mini-Gun is not visually impressive, firing a barrage of small bullets resembling the ones fired by your starting machine guns, and it isn't as powerful as more expensive weapons like the Pulse Cannon, nor is it Always Accurate like the Laser Turret, but its ability to track and fire at off-center air and ground targets makes it a highly effective weapon regardless of the wave you're playing through.
    • The starting machine gun is this, specifically because it can hit both aerial and ground targets. There are only three weapons that can do that in the game: the machine gun, the dumbfire rockets, and the auto-track mini gun. The mini gun will only shoot at hostile targets, and the dumbfire rockets are relatively weak and difficult to aim properly. As a result, the machine guns are the general purpose "do everything" weapon, and as such still useful when you have the Twin Laser.
  • Bottomless Magazines: All your weapons have infinite ammunition, save the Megabomb.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Most of the end-of-level bosses in Outer Regions, including the Final Boss, as well as a skippable mid-boss in Outer Regions Wave 7.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Averted. When your ship's hull integrity is less than 15%, every hit you take will cause you to lose one of your weapons. Boss ships and components start bursting into small explosions once they are almost destroyed.
  • Damage Is Fire: Boss ships will be covered in explosions when they are almost destroyed.
  • Deadly Training Area: Training Mode limits your playthrough of each episode to only the first 4 waves on Rookie difficulty, and upon completing Wave 4 of any episode, you start over on Rookie difficulty with only the starting equipment. However, Player Death Is Dramatic as well in Training Mode, implying that the enemies you face on that difficulty are shooting you with the intent to kill.
  • Death Course: The entire Outer Regions episode is a gauntlet of Demonic Spiders and malevolent ground defenses ready to rip your craft apart. Even on the easiest difficulty, you will lose much of your shields. On Elite difficulty, it becomes Nintendo Hard. Thus, it is highly recommended that you are fully stacked on shields and equipped with the Twin Laser in order to play through this episode, and that you must be swimming in credits if you want to progress. Even Tango Sector on Elite difficulty is considered tame compared to Outer Regions.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Your starting machine guns are capable of destroying everything in the game given enough time and shields. This might not really apply to mooks since they only remain on screen for a set amount of time, but against bosses, the damage can really add up. This technique is made even easier when you have either the Auto-Tracking Minigun or the Laser Turret, as it lets you inflict your Death of a Thousand Cuts without suffering one yourself.
  • Death Ray: There is a weapon you can buy called the Deathray in the DOS version. However, it doesn't always kill everything with one hit. The Windows version calls it a Plasmaray, which is probably a more fitting name given that it is described as a "plasma cannon on steroids" in the Help menu.
  • Degraded Boss: Many end-of-level sector bosses appear as Mini Bosses in later levels of the sector.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: All other equipment except for the auto-aiming turrets can only fire straight, with minimal spread. Yet another good reason for you to equip the auto-aim turrets at certain times. Among enemy equipment, only the round flak balls can have a diagonal pattern, due to sprite limitations: Certain enemy aircraft and buildings fire flak balls diagonally, and aimed flak balls almost always travel in some diagonal direction, since they are shot towards your plane.
  • Description Porn: There is one for the game's Excuse Plot located on page 04 of the DOS version's in-game help; it's also at the very top of this page. A number of the weapons also have lovingly crafted marketing blurbs advertising their strengths at Harrold's.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Aborting a mission after picking up equipment in a level, such as the Air/Air Missile in Bravo Sector Wave 1, the Dumbfire missile in Bravo Sector Wave 6, the Phase Shield in Tango Sector Wave 4, and the Air/Ground Missile in Outer Regions Wave 1. You lose any credits you gain and any damage you take is carried over, but any weapons, shields or Megabombs you pick up will remain on your ship and you can sell them in the Supply Room for half of what they cost there. Doing this repeatedly will eventually allow you to accumulate enough credits to purchase more powerful weapons.
    • If you want to play fairly, you can get the Auto-Track Mini-Gun from as early as Bravo Sector Wave 4. Specifically, you'll at this point have earned about $200,000 in revenue and you can sell off both your Air/Air and Air/Ground Missiles (the former which you've most likely picked up from Wave 1 and the latter from Wave 3) in exchange for the Auto-Track Mini-Gun. With it, you will breeze through the next few waves and earn enough credits to upgrade to better equipment.
  • Dual Boss: Tango Sector Wave 5's boss is this, consisting of two laser cannons hidden underground.
  • Elite Mook: Ships that you encounter in earlier sectors or waves may reappear later as either ships that look the same but have more firepower or as re-colored variants with more firepower.
  • Energy Weapon: The Deathray, Laser Turret and the Twin Laser are instant-hit weapons.
  • Eternal Engine: The final wave of "Outer Regions" takes place on the surface of a large, enemy mothership.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Deathray and Twin Laser. This offsets their ridiculously high damage output, making other weapons more viable on certain occasions. Enemy lasers also fall under this trope.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In both the Mountain King Studios and DotEmu releases of the game, using a keyboard to play will only allow your ship to move at half-speed, while using the mouse will prevent your ship from flying to the extreme right side of the screen.
  • Gatling Good: Your regular machine gun, as well as the auto-aiming one.
  • Giant Mook:
    • Some waves in Bravo Sector feature a massive vessel that has two smaller mooks attached to it. This ship can survive one hit from the most powerful weapon in the game and, when rammed into, can deplete a full shield bar before expiring.
    • Among the many ships that appear in the final wave of Outer Regions are several large red vessels that can absorb a lot of damage; ramming them takes off around half a full bar of shields.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: This is generally the theme of the Outer Regions episode. There are a great number of Elite Mooks that will bum rush you with highly damaging attack patterns and will catch you off guard if you don't react fast enough. The end-of-level bosses, however, are fairly easy to deal with, as they are mainly stationary Cores And Turrets Bosses with destructible weaponry you can take out before they get the drop on you. The ones that aren't are mobile bosses with difficult to predict attack patterns.
  • Holiday Mode: Certain dates, which are the birthdays of some of the developers, give a non-standard version of the Apogee theme sung by said developers and automatically activate the game's Silliness Switch cheat, which is anything but silly in difficulty as it adds lots of extra, very tough, enemies to the levels. These extra enemies are so tough it takes several shots from the most powerful weapon in the game to destroy them.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Twin Laser. The game fittingly describes it as "the first, and last, weapon every pilot needs". The only thing it can't do is hit ground targets.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: The third episode, Outer Regions, takes place in space, whereas Bravo and Tango Sectors take place in relatively realistic island and jungle environments. The bosses in Outer Regions are often Cores And Turrets Bosses, whereas the others had mobile bosses.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority:
    • Between Tango Sector Waves 4 to 6, you will encounter large, red-coloured helicopters that fire big salvos of missiles and take considerably more firepower to destroy.
    • From Outer Regions Wave 7 to 9, many red-coloured ships will start to appear, many of which are improved versions of earlier Outer Regions ships. They have tons of armour and firepower.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Your ship can be equipped with several missile weapons, some of them having insane refire rates. The enemies in the final chapter, Outer Regions, also love to use this on you.
  • Made of Explodium: Pretty much all your enemies, as well as your ship if your regular shields drop to zero.
  • Made of Iron: Your ship, which starts out with 75 regular shield points out of a maximum 100. The only weapon strong enough to deplete that amount all at once is a constant laser, which few enemies use, or if you collide with a Giant Mook or boss ship. Other shots will only do anywhere from 3 (slow, yellow spherical projectiles) to 20 (fast, red teardrop-shaped fireballs similar to the blue ones fired by the Plasma Cannon) shield damage. In addition, you can purchase up to five secondary shields, each of which can take the same amount of damage as your regular shields.
  • Mini-Boss: In the latter half of each sector, you will often face a previously encountered boss as an enemy midway through the level. You have a short window of opportunity to destroy said boss one-on-one before the enemies start coming again.
  • Money for Nothing: Subverted. Most players who can at least get through Bravo Sector on Rookie difficulty will eventually accumulate so many credits that re-stocking on Megabombs and normal and Phase shields will barely make a dent on their account—the only real money sinks are the Deathray and Twin Laser; once the player buys them, they are unlikely to buy them ever again unless they have a tendency to run their shield levels down to critical. However, due to the nature of the game on Elite difficulty, especially in the last few waves of Tango Sector and the whole of Outer Regions, having credits by the barrelhead may sometimes be necessary if the player doesn't save their game, messes up a wave and completes (or aborts) it with almost no shields or weapons left for the next wave.
  • Money Spider: Some Airborne Mooks not only give you money when destroyed but also drop orange orbs explanation  for you to collect that increase your total credit count by $50 per piece. A good indication of this is that when you destroy them, their explosion particles are light blue instead of the usual orange-red effects that the other Airborne Mooks leave off.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Applicable to the player instead of the enemies. Each Phase Shield you buy effectively gives you an extra full bar of regular shields.
  • Never Say "Die": In the Windows version, the Deathray is renamed the Plasmaray, and the shop is renamed from "Harrold's Death Emporium" to "Harrold's Weapons Emporium".
  • Nintendo Hard: If you plan on actually beating the game on any difficulty higher than Rookie, you'll be spending a lot of credits on regular shields and Phase Shields, especially while playing through Outer Regions. There are no Extra Lives or Continues so if you die, game's over. Even then, this is rather tame when compared to other contemporaries in its genre.
  • No-Gear Level: Completing any episode in Training Mode will restart the game on Rookie difficulty, as though you created a new pilot and chose Rookie difficulty in the first place. The game hand waves this by explaining that any money you earned, as well as any weapons you obtained in Training Mode, is used to cover training expenses.
  • Nominal Hero: You are essentially a mercenary taking out the ships and production of rival MegaCorps. Granted, some of the enemy bases are implied to be making biological weapons, but your own alignment (and that of your employer) is unclear and, at worst, it makes you the Lesser of Two Evils.
  • Odd Name Out: The three episodes are titled "Bravo Sector," "Tango Sector," and "Outer Regions."
  • Only in It for the Money: The top of the trope page explicitly refers that you are working for MegaCorps in dreams of wealth and you answer the only way you know how. Even the epilogue of the Outer Regions episode states that you have taken solace in the fact that you have finally pursued your dreams of getting rich that have eluded you for so long and that no other competitor can lay a claim of triumph that is greater than yours. This could be both an In and Out-Of-Universe justification of why the game forgoes the scoring system.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: The Deathray may be devastating and all, but why bother buying it when the Twin Laser gives you the stopping power of two Deathrays?
    • There is a slight advantage to the Plasmaray, which is that the Twin Laser tracks with your movement: if the laser is active and you move left, the laser will move left as well. This is contrary to how every other weapon in the game works, where there's travel time on the shots. The Plasmaray also has travel time, which makes it more familiar than the Twin Laser, and it can be situationally helpful as a result.
  • The Paralyzer: The Power Disruptor can stop some enemies from firing, including some bosses, and it can also kill enemies over a fairly lengthy period of time.
  • Player Death Is Dramatic: When you run out of shields, you are treated to a two-clip cutscene, with the first showing your ship crashing and the second showing you slumped forward in the wreck.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: You can choose from four portraits (two male; two female) and must enter a name and callsign. Beyond being used in the Supply Room and saved games, these have absolutely no bearing in the game.
  • Ramming Always Works: You will take severe damage from any ramming attempt, but with enough shields, you can destroy even bosses by ramming them. This does not work on the Cores and Turrets Bosses, however.
  • Recurring Boss: Many of the earlier bosses appear in later levels as mid-bosses.
  • Regenerating Health: On any difficulty except Elite, your ship's regular shields will slowly recharge as long as you do not fire or get hit. This is less than useful, however, as the regeneration rate is very slow and you will probably take more damage from mooks by holding off your fire than you would have regenerated in any time frame. The only exception is certain bosses, which have blind spots that will allow you to park your ship in one spot and go have a sandwich while it heals up.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Justified. Mega-Corps pays you for the destruction of every enemy and building that you come across. You are not expected to know how they can somehow keep track of that despite you being a one-person air force on every wave.
  • Shout-Out: A couple of subtle ones in the terrain for levels, including something that looks suspiciously like a Monolith in a dig site.
  • Silliness Switch: On Birthday Mode, special enemies are added to some of the levels. These include monkeys throwing coconuts, cows with built-in lasers, actual raptors running across the screen, the Eagle Transporter and the Discovery One. These enemies are so difficult to kill, they could rival some of the bosses in Outer Regions!
  • Skippable Boss: The Mini-Boss of Outer Regions Wave 7 is a stationary Cores-and-Turrets Boss firing shots that can easily be avoided. In fact, it's very difficult to completely destroy it before it scrolls off the screen, even with the Twin Laser.
  • Smart Bomb: The Megabomb is a quasi-nuke that can destroy almost everything on the screen when it explodes, save a handful of buildings, some really tough mooks and most bosses if they have at least half their health left. It also clears all enemy projectiles from the screen. While it is purchasable from the Emporium, you can occasionally pick one up in a level by destroying either the distinctive power-up crates or the cargo ships that appear into the screen. You can only carry up to five of these at a time. However, it will not explode until it is at the center of the screen. Depending on how close your point is, if you're too far, it will take a few seconds to reach the screen until it explodes; if you are close enough to the center, it will explode almost instantaneously.
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • Almost everything you fight is either a machine or a structure (that always blows up when destroyed). Even the little people in Tango Sector explode when you get the drop on them.
    • A few levels have buildings that extend past the visible area of the screen. Blow them up, and they will continually explode as new parts scroll in.
    • Ironically, one of the few things that don't blow up is your ship upon crashing, instead simply wrecking it. In real life, a fighter jet crashing could cause it to blow up.
  • Subsystem Damage: "Fortress" bosses made of massed ground-side antiair emplacements can be destroyed weapon by weapon, slowly reducing the storm of enemy fire directed at you.
  • Unobtainium: Two of the credit pickups are "Thaelite" and "Raw Freylium Ore". Thaelite is used to power some enemy ships and can also be picked up from the remnants of certain destroyed enemy ships, but Freylium's purpose is completely unknown.
  • Updated Re-release: The 2010 Edition, featuring a few aesthetic changes as well as XP/Vista/7 compatibility.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Any laser weapon. Not surprisingly, they hurt a lot when used by both the player and the enemies.