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Video Game / Rebel Galaxy

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Described as Elite meets Firefly, Rebel Galaxy is a space sim that came out on October 20th, 2015. It was developed and published by two-person indy studio Double Damage Games.

You start out in a lawless frontier called "The Rift" full of all kinds of smugglers, pirates, and all other sorts of scum and villainy. The initial quest line is something about finding your "trader" aunt Juno who left you an obsolete corvette called the Rasputin, but there's a whole randomly generated universe to explore and blow up. However, your quest to find your aunt quickly spirals into something much more as you stumble into a galaxy-wide conspiracy centered around an alien device known as the "Specter".

Initially released for PC and Mac from Steam and, it was later ported to Xbox One and Play Station 4.

An action-oriented prequel, Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, got released on PC in August 2019, and Playstation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch in September, 2020.

This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 2-D Space: You maneuver 2-dimensionally, but there are some things "above" and "below" your ship that only the turrets on those sides can hit.
  • Ability Depletion Penalty: There is a delay penalty to depleting your afterburner or your active Deflector Shields. Weapons that overheat are also locked out until they cool down completely.
  • Ability Required to Proceed: Jumpdrive. You need to acquire it in order to leave the first system and after that, you are constantly needing it to move from system to system.
  • Alliance Meter: There are multiple factions in every star system, and your reputation score is tracked with each individually and unlocks access to stations and ships.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Each weapon has a multiplier to its damage based on whether it hits hull or shields.
  • Asteroid Miners: AI miners are all over the place, and you can join in. There's also side missions to drive off pirates preying on them.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Antimatter Probe. It fires a single missile with very good tracking and extremely high damage and blast radius, from a range an order of magnitude greater than that of most other weapons. This is meant to be offset by its low ammo count, slow reload speed, and relative difficulty of acquiring. Unfortunately, the weapon also has very low hull penetration, meaning even on a direct hit, it's not likely to do more than stripping the shields off an enemy or group of enemies, and its range is so long that the shields may well regenerate by the time you close to engage with anything else.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: You'll probably be meeting a lot of people, both humans and aliens, in bars on space stations. The first NPC you talk to is actually an alien who owns one of those bars.
  • Boring, but Practical: Most broadside weapons. Most of them don't have any particularly cool effects or do major bursts of damage, but they're also the most consistently useful weapons because they can be used in most situations and against most types of defences without worrying about running out of, or having to pay for, ammunition.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: Enemies are fond of mocking or threatening you during the combat. Their tone tends to shift as their vessels get increasingly damaged, with final moment of defiance or denial as their ships explode.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Ships continue operating without trouble (unless their subsystem is outright destroyed) until their hit points hit 0.
  • Deflector Shields: One of the elements you need to manage. Comes in both "shield" and "deflector" flavors:
    • "Shields" are continuous passive protection, with each quadrant of the ship protected by its own set of shields. They absorb damage and recharge, but fall apart under continuous bombardment.
    • "Deflectors" are active-defenses which can only be put up for brief periods and are manually triggered. They completely block all damage from any direction, but they also stop the ship from firing and take longer than shields to recharge. They are usually best used when a high damage, hard to evade attack is incoming.
  • Developer's Foresight: One mission has you make contact with a merchant who has a piece of Trell's Reliquary. You can straight up fight and take it from him or agree to his proposition where he'll give it to you if you help him past a blockade. Should his ship be blown up fighting that blockade (which is pretty common in the context of the escortee AI), it will still drop the Reliquary fragment rather than simply failing the mission and requiring you to journey back to the starting point.
  • Dialogue Tree: The NPC conversations are done in this manner, though the options are determined only be the character type (trader, militia, pirate, etc.) and are essentially identical within each group. On the other hand, they're fully-voiced and lip-synced.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Played for Laughs, as the "Intellectual Property" resource commonly drops from pirate ships.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The second star system you visit already has a dreadnought-class ship for sale, and the third system offers both the game's strongest ship and most of the best weapons money can buy. All you need to do to steamroll through the rest of the game is to engage in some lengthy Money Grinding so you can actually afford all this goodness.
  • Easy Amnesia: The AI construct you encounter early on, lacks her memory, and much of the plot revolves around gathering bits of tech that'll eventually restore it.
  • Energy Weapon: Most guns are your usual sci-fi technobabble energy bolts. There are also various continuous-beam weapons.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: Flavor Text for some weapons (Scatter Turrets, for instance) indicates they're firing kinetic rounds, but they look like Frickin' Laser Beams.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Warp drive is of the "go faster handwave" variety. It operates within a star system and can be used as long as you aren't too close to anything big. Jumpgates between star systems require a jump drive to use.
  • Humanoid Aliens: There's about four different species of nonhumans in the game, all of which are basically humanoid but otherwise oddly shaped. For example, Korians are bulky, with tentacled chins and big grins that make them look like incongruously friendly mind flayers, while Murath are porcine but with fur that makes them look a bit wolfish.
  • Indentured Servitude: The "Space Slaves" commodity actually consists of indentured workers, but trading in them is still illegal on most stations.
  • In-System FTL: Warp drives can get you from station to jumpgate, but if you want to get through that gate to another star you'll want a jumpdrive.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Zenya Kerr, a Militia officer you deal with in the main questline, implies she used Pressure Points to get a pirate you took prisoner to talk.
  • Mighty Glacier: Dreadnaught-class ships in general compared to other ships, with Blackgate being the ultimate Mighty Glacier. It has largest amount of guns, broadsides and armor, but it is also the slowest ship in the game.
  • No Points for Neutrality: Becoming friendly with either one of the pirate factions or citizenry/militia factions usually means alienating the other one. However, being neutral or hostile to a faction prevents the player from buying their ships.
  • Overheating: When firing manually, turrets have a certain overheating point, at which point they stop firing until they have cooled down.
  • Portal Network: A network of jumpgates connects the various star systems and requires a jumpdrive to use.
  • Price on Their Head: Randomly spawned pirates can have a bounty attached to them that's collected as soon as their ship is destroyed. In addition, missions are regularly posted offering a reward to anyone willing to go after a particularly notorious pirate or other target.
  • Product Delivery Ordeal: One mission type involves transporting a badly-needed trade good to a randomized planet. This delivery usually involves at least one ambush and concludes by forcing the player to run a gauntlet of pirates to reach the delivery location.
  • Ramming Always Works: Collision damage between capital ships exists but is not that big of a deal. However, you can install a certain type of deflector to ramp it up.
  • Regenerating Shields, Static Health: As per usual for space sims. You can buy a robot to slowly repair Subsystem Damage but it can't do anything about your hull or your power core.
  • Respawning Enemies: Interestingly, once spawned, enemies stay spawned. If you're in a big fight and you take too much damage, you can escape, repair your ship at a convenient spaceport, and then go back and the damage you already did will remain.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Spaceport officials might discover you smuggling illegal stuff in and out, but a sufficient bribe will often handle it.
  • Shout-Out: A side mission to kill pirates harassing Asteroid Miners is titled, "The Ore Must Flow"
  • Space Is an Ocean: Your strongest weapons are mounted on "broadsides" of all things. It is actually lampshaded in the combat tutorial.
  • Space Is Noisy: As usual for the genre.
  • Space Police: The System Militia police the space lanes, fighting pirates and hunting smugglers. One fork of the main quest has you side with them, and you can run Militia blockades for big trading profits.
  • Space Pirates: Your bog-standard bandits in space, subdivided into factions such as the Red Devil Cartel and the Korian Outsiders. Unlike many other games, you can side with them instead of the system militia and citizens and get enough of a reputation to gain access to their stations and buy their equipment and ships.
  • Space Western: From the soundtrack, the accents, and and everything being low quality and "used", and that you start out on the frontier, it's certainly this in flavor if not quite fitting in genre.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Freelancer.
  • Standard Starship Scuffle: In a departure from the conventions of 3D space trade and combat simulators, which usually has you flying a smallish fighter, the player ship is a full-size warship that primarily fights on the broadside (something akin to the early Honor Harrington novels). Your broadsides can fire off-axis to some degree, but not directly forward, so crossing your enemy's 'T' is an important tactic.
  • Starter Equipment: The tiny junker corvette you start with is obsolete, and equipped with basic Mark 1 equipment. By the end of the campaign, you'll be flying a top-of-the-line warship outfitted with cutting-edge Mark 6 hardware capable of obliterating that tiny starting ship just by sneezing at it.
  • Subsystem Damage: Everything on the ship can be damaged by enemy fire. The player can also target turrets on larger vessels.
  • The Unintelligible: Virixians only speak in screeches that can't be translated.
  • Unobtainium: Parodied, with "Obtanium", one of the common trade goods.
    Flavor Text: Turns out it wasn't that hard to find after all.
  • Used Future: Pretty much everything that flies is rusted.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: There are a few options available here. For instance, found a planet that's suffering a famine, and willing to pay through the nose for food? You can squeeze them for profit even more by blowing up relief ships coming in, and thus making the food even more scarce.
  • Wide-Open Sandbox: While there is a central plot, the player can ignore it in favor of their own goals.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The entire plot is a nod to Freelancer. Running around the galaxy trying to figure out a mysterious alien artifact that everyone wants and is willing to kill for including an ancient and incredibly hostile race that threatens to wipe out all life in the sector? Your biggest helper is even named Juno, after Freelancer's Jun'ko Zane.