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Video Game / Red Orchestra

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Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 is yet another First-Person Shooter that is based around World War II. However, there are two key differences: it focuses entirely on the Eastern Front with conflicts between the Germans and Soviets (a setting usually forgotten by WWII FPS, probably because of the usual America Won World War II portrayal); its focus is entirely on realism. There are no crosshairs, no health kits, and bullets follow the standard laws of physics (mostly).

It started out as a mod of Unreal Tournament 2003. As an infantryman, you have the choice of playing several different classes: an assault trooper with a sub-machine gun; a sniper with a scoped rifle (the rifle shakes like crazy unless you're bracing it against something, and you have to account for bullet-drop when firing a long distance); a machine gunner (depending on the type, the barrel can overheat and you will have to manually replace it with another barrel); a bolt-action rifleman (the only class which has unlimited slots); a semi-automatic rifleman; and the squad leader, who is basically just an assault trooper with smoke grenades. On maps where there are tanks, you also have the option of playing as a tank crewman, a tank commander (the only classes that can drive tanks), or an anti-tank trooper who starts out with a gun that can destroy tanks with one or two shots to less armored areas. Tanks are also handled realistically in that you either need at least two people to drive them (one to drive, one to fire and reload the gun), or one person who switches very fast between the two positions (which is an Acceptable Break from Reality, since waiting 30 seconds to switch from the driver's seat to the turret does not make for exciting gameplay).


Maps consist of either pure infantry battles, pure tank battles where everyone has to play a tank crewman/commander, and combined arms battles which use both infantry and tanks. Strategy revolves around capture points, where one side has to capture a certain amount of area in a given time and the defenders have to stop them. Each side is also assigned a number of 'reinforcements,' which indicate how many times a player can respawn after death. Once they reach zero, no one can respawn anymore. If any side is at 0% reinforcements and has all of their members killed, then they lose regardless of any other factor.

The game itself, as a mod, was released in the Editor's Choice Edition of Unreal Tournament 2004, (alongside Alien Swarm, itself another Ascended Fanfic) and sprang from an entry in a mod contest held by Epic Games, with first prize being a million dollars and free Unreal Engine 2 licenses. They won, and founded Tripwire Interactive on the spot. There are two mods for Red Orchestra called Darkest Hour, which focuses on the Western Front after D-day, and Mare Nostrum, which focuses on the battle in the Mediterranean and features Italian troops.


The sequel, Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, was released in September 2011. Focusing on the infamously brutal Battle of Stalingrad and the surrounding area instead of spanning the entire Eastern Front, the sequel adds a first-person cover system and a leveling system that gives players weapon upgrades as they become more experienced.

The sequel's stand-alone expansion Rising Storm was released in May 2013, set in the Pacific and featuring much more asymmetrical gameplay between the American Allies and Japanese Axis factions - the former having generally more direct firepower in their weapons (such as the basic rifleman being able to equip themselves with a semi-automatic rifle as opposed to the bolt-action rifles every other faction's riflemen uses, and a flamethrower class) while the latter utilizes special grenade uses for Suicide Attacks or Booby Traps, a player-held mortar class (while all other factions have to mark locations for the team's commander to call in fire missions on the location) and Banzai charges.

The next title in the series, Rising Storm 2: Vietnam is set in The Vietnam War, departing the World War II setting of the past games. It pits the American military, with later updates including the ARVN and Australian Army, against the North Vietnamese Army and National Liberation Front (Viet Cong). Expanding on the asymmetrical gameplay of the first Rising Storm, the Americans have access to several types of airstrikes, including napalm, along with helicopters of both attack and transport types, while the North Vietnam forces have several types of Booby Traps such as punji sticks and tripwire traps. Their squad leaders also have the ability to dig tunnels in open ground, allowing reinforcements to pour into areas away from the front lines.

The Red Orchestra series took its name from the Soviet Union's espionage network during the war, which was called the Red Orchestra by the Gestapo. This game otherwise has no connection to spying.

Note: Tropes for Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, Rising Storm, and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam now go on their game's own respective pages. This video-game provides examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Mostly averted, but there are a number of examples when it comes to the firearms throughout the series.
    • Rising Storm 2 has the M16A1 and AKM rifles, both of which count as examples as most of the game's battles are based on historical ones that occurred in 1967. While the M16A1 was introduced in early 1967, it is anachronistic in how it completely replaces the original M16 in the game's scenarios. The M16A1 is also modeled with an anachronistic A2-style rear sight aperture. The AKM is an interesting example in that it had been in production for a decade by 1967, but historical records indicate that the North Vietnamese Army did not have access to AKM rifles until 1972, instead using the Chinese-produced clone of the original AK, the Type 56—which is indeed the default version of the weapon you'll be equipped with unless you deliberately choose the AKM and play this trope straight.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Rising Storm 2's progression only gives you more options for your character's Non-Uniform Uniform, ranging from making your clothing more tattered, removing your shirt, and a variety of helmets, hats and tattoos.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI bots that play the combat engineers have a nasty habit of dropping their timed det packs in the middle of a group of friendlies.
    • Pretty much all AI bots in Red Orchestra 2 are pretty bad, especially in the single player campaign. Machine gunners will abandon their role entirely and fire their pistol at a horde of oncoming troops, Assaults will fire their gun into the ceiling while an enemy soldier clocks them in the face, soldiers will run around blindly while the point they're supposed to be defending gets taken, etc.
  • Artifact Title:
    • Inverted in regards to the "Orchestra" part at least. The maps originally had no music playing when the game was first released, a later update added music as an option.
    • Rising Storm 2 takes this further by abandoning World War II entirely.
  • Asymmetric Multiplayer: Small in early entries, larger in later ones.
    • Rising Storm 2 almost completely diversifies the factions. North and South both have different respawn methods and different forms of off-map support.
      • North respawns at tunnels, placed by squad leaders. South respawns on squad leaders directly, same as the older games.
      • South has access to helicopters. North has some anti-air.
      • South has access to destructive support abilities including napalm, gunship support, and artillery. North's abilities are mostly used to boost infantry spawns and reveal enemy positions.
  • Battle Cry: Holding down the melee attack button while sprinting can cause your character to elicit a battle-cry.
    Za Rodinuuuuuuuuu!
  • BFG: Anti-tank rifles in both Red Orchestra games have an even stricter requirement by being impossible to fire when not set up.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Played completely straight in Rising Storm 2; there is no option to use exclusively English voices, and every line except the announcer is in native languages. This can cause problems for North Vietnamese commanders, as it will be impossible to tell if an order failed to go through unless you've studied or already know which voice line means what.
  • Boom, Headshot!: A One-Hit Kill.
  • Bottomless Magazines: An interesting example - the fixed machine guns (for the Russians, a Maxim M1910, and an MG34 on a tripod for the Germans) need to be reloaded, but they have an infinite number of ammunition belts to do it with.
  • Break Meter: The second game and onward has a a suppression meter shown for yourself. When it depletes, your screen greys out making it impossible to see (and therefore shoot) very much past twenty feet and prevents you from zooming in and focusing while using iron sights.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: There's a sizable amount of surplus WW2 and earlier equipment in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam. South Vietnam has the M1897 Trench Gun, M1917 Revolver, M3 "Grease Gun", Australia's Owen submachine gun, and ARVN's almost everything. On the North Vietnamese side, there's the Mosin-Nagant rifle, TT-33 pistol, DP-28 LMG, and PP Sh-41 Submachine gun.
  • Character Class System: Present in all games.
  • Character Customization: Added in Rising Storm 2.
  • Charged Attack: Melee attacks from the second game onward can be swung fast to do some damage or have the button held down to ensure a kill with a hit.
    • Doing this while sprinting also causes the attack to cause some suppression. There are faction-specific benefits to doing this - Germans suppress more after having already killed enemies, Russians resist suppression and suppress more if done simultaneously with nearby allies, and the Japanese also suppress better if done simultaneously with nearby allies while letting the chargers ignore some damage that otherwise would kill them. Americans have no faction-specific benefit to charging.
  • Death from Above:
    • Taken Up to Eleven in Rising Storm 2; while both sides are able to call in artillery, he United States/Southern Vietnam forces have access to everything from player-controlled attack helicopters to jungle-scorching napalm strikes, and let us not forget the AC-47 Spooky that flies above the operation area raining fire upon it's targets. Further enforced by the Bushranger update, adding the eponymous helicopter and the Canberra Bomber.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Very, very much on the realistic end.
  • Friend or Foe: The games' sides have different uniforms and sprint in noticeably different manners (Axis hold their weapon with just their right hand while Allies hold it with both) but the uniforms are of a fairly dull palette and you can die really fast should you be mistaken that an individual is an ally - some game modes allow you to see your allies on your map but this may require pressing a button first to check which a player may not want to take the time to utilize in a tense battle. Shooting your own side is so common there is a simple mechanic in Heroes of Stalingrad onward for forgiving an ally who has killed you by typing "np" in chat to give them back the points they've lost from killing you - players would be best to try to not take such incidents too seriously.
    • In Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, in addition to the sprinting differences, South Vietnamese troops have backpacks while the North Vietnamese do not. Additionally, while some Vietnamese soldiers can be vaguely brown, only Americans or Australians can be black (or red-skinned in the case of the one Australian Aborigine character model), and the uniform differences are much more substantial, thanks in part to the character customization feature.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: An option for the South Vietnam engineer class in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The suppression mechanic is reaaaalllly bugged. As an example, allied fire can cause it if you're too close to them, rendering your screen blurry and and cause your weapon to shake around the screen like you're in a bouncy castle from a teammate shooting his sub-machine gun at enemies down range while next to you.
    • Penetration for shots depends on the material shot through first for the firing player and basically ignore any other materials that may be between the first one and the target, potentially letting them shoot through some thick walls and hit enemies on the other side if they shoot through flimsy metal sheets or wood planks first.
  • Game Mod: Began life as one, and won one of the "Make Something Unreal" contests. The retail version has two mods itself - Darkest Hour and Mare Nostrum.
    • And the developers hired the Darkest Hour team to create an expansion for Heroes of Stalingrad set in the Pacific with the American and Japanese armies. Apart from this, the developers already released the SDK to several modders so they could create mods early: there is a Vietnam War mod and a WW1 mod. This all before the game even released.
      • The remaining Darkest Hour developers formed Jackboot Games and are now working on their own standalone WWII game: Festung Europa.
    • Most of the mod development for RO 2 stopped. In Country: Vietnam and the official mod, Rising Storm are the ones in production.
    • Heroes of The West is a community-made mod for Red Orchestra 2 that takes the action into the Western European theater, pitting the US forces against the German Wehrmacht. It also introduces a new faction, the British.
  • Groin Attack: A killing shot to the groin has the unique kill-icon of an acorn lying on its side, cracked all the way through it.
  • Hell Is That Noise: In Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, North Vietnam has to deal with a lot of this. A helicopter's blades chopping away at the air indicates impending gatling gun fire, rocket pod attacks, or a fresh deployment of enemy infantry, the AC-47 "Spooky" Gunship's low engine hum, followed by the buzz of gatling fire, heralds imminent Death from Above, and the whoosh of a fast-mover is quickly followed by napalm.
  • Hitscan: Averted. Ballistics need to be taken into account for every ranged weapon.
  • HUD: There is one, but it provides neither crosshair nor exact bullet count, unlike most other FPSs.
    • Realism mode in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm limits the HUD to the sprint and suppression meters without holding down the tactical display button.
  • Instant Death Bullet: An Averted Trope from the second game onward - if you are fatally wounded, you may conk out instantly (likely from a Boom, Headshot!), but occasionally instead you may still survive some seconds more to continue firing before your character blacks out. As well, being non-fatally wounded requires your character to bandage themselves before they bleed to death (you get two). The kill messages appearing on the top right also coordinate with this, taking a bit longer after a kill is scored as opposed to instantly.
  • I Want My Mommy!: From the second game onward, many soldiers will cry out for their mothers as they lie dying on the ground, usually terrified and sometimes crying. It's very much played as a Tear Jerker.
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Actually a mechanic in the Rising Storm entries - going prone over a grenade before it blows up can save your allies around the cost of your life, of course.
  • Jungle Warfare: Rising Storm 2 has most of its maps set in jungle environments. And fighting in these places is close-quarter, no-holes barred, and brutal.
  • Meaningful Name: In addition to the above about the name "Red Orchestra", Ostfront is German for "eastern front".
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted in the sequel, where there is a single-player campaign for both the Russians and the Germans.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. In fact, you don't even HAVE an exact bullet count on the HUD - just the number of remaining clips or magazines and some text describing the weight of the current mag after a reload. Kind of like Jurassic Park: Trespasser, but without the voices. In Heroes of Stalingrad, characters will reload box magazines on weapons that use them and toss out the last clip, but will insert rounds one by one into rifles, unless the rifle is totally empty, in which they will insert a full magazine via stripper clips. With the telescopic scope getting in way for the Marksman class' rifles, they always insert rounds one by one for reloading.
    • Classes with Magazines keep half empty magazines on them instead of tossing them, and you can also swap those mags out again if you feel you need more ammo. Always make sure to check your ammo before attacking, or you might run into the enemy with two rounds left in the mag.
  • One-Hit Kill: Very likely, though not always. Along with Boom, Headshot! being a One-Hit Kill common with other games, a shot to the heart is also guaranteed to be fatal, and both headshots and heartshots have a special kill-icon specific to them, independent of weaponry.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: The Germans call their enemies Bolsheviks and Ivan. The Russians reciprocate with fascists and Fritz.
    • In Rising Storm 2, it is now instead that the references to the Vietnamese are now Charlie or VC.
  • Nintendo Hard: To be expected with all the focus on realism.
  • Poirot Speak: Used by both Germans and Russians, but there is an option to allow all vocalizations to be made in the native language. Averted in Rising Storm and it's sequel, where the non-English side only speaks Japanese/Vietnamese, except for the announcer who speaks English with a heavy accent.
  • Rare Guns: Mostly averted or used in proper historical context, but there are a few exceptions.
  • Shout-Out: The achievements of Rising Storm 2 contain a gaggle of references to media taking place in or tied to the Vietnam War. "The Smell of Napalm in the Morning", "First Blood", "I Ain't Got Time to Bleed!!", "Lead Farmer", "Get Some!", "What a Thrill.", "Purple Haze", "Run Through The Jungle", among others. Other references include "Welcome To The Rice Fields", "The Value of Not Being Seen", and "Surprise, Mother…!".
    • One of the American head options in Rising Storm 2 is very similar to Col. Kurtz
  • Shown Their Work: The second game's contents are very authentically portrayed. Weapons have their sights very faithfully reproduced (such as rifles being capable of dialing their iron sights for over 1000 meters despite how the actual gameplay renders being able to even see enemies that far probably impossible), and tanks have some very complex calculations behind anti-tank rifle shots penetrating their armour.
  • Smoke Out: Proper use of squad leaders' smoke grenades onto enemy positions to cover your flanks is vital for attacking. Poor use is likely to just blind yourself and your own allies.
  • Sprint Meter: In both games. When it's low, it also becomes difficult to aim steadily. You can also hold the sprint button while standing still to hold your breath, steadying your aim, and in Heroes of Stalingrad and Rising Storm provides a slight zoom.
    • Gone in Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, though sprinting too long will still throw off your aim.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: While the game doesn't misclassify vehicles and a great deal of effort is made to be as accurate as possible, the armor model is overly simplified, likely due to engine limitations, resulting in things like turrets having the same armor all the way around, which means that in-game, a T-34/85 cannot penetrate the side of a Panther tank's turret, which it should be able to do easily.
  • Translation Convention: In Heroes of Stalingrad, after the Bilingual Bonus from the original. There is an option for you to hear all combatants speak in their native languages again, however.
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted. Not only do you need to be a tank commander to drive a tank, tanks need multiple crewmen to function efficiently.
    • However, a player going it alone can drive, then switch seats to the gunner position when needed. Many players do this almost exclusively. Solo tankers can use the movement keys from the gunner/commander positions to direct their driver, though there's naturally a delay between pressing the key and the driver responding, unlike controlling the driver directly. Of course, driving-by-order from the gunner/commander position also makes it hell to navigate unless you take the very risky measure of popping your head out the top hatch and subsequently having every sniper in the area trying to see who can hit closest to your nose.
    • Similarly, there is only one commander on each team in Heroes of Stalingrad, and only they have the clearance to call in support with the radio.
    • In Rising Storm 2, the pilots are split between Combat and Transport duties and cannot access the pilot spots of specific helicopters if they do not have the proper class for them. Naturally, regular soldiers can only fly in the passenger seats.
  • War Is Hell: Opting for a Show, Don't Tell approach instead of outright saying it, this series never flinches from the fact that combat was often short, terrifying and brutal. While the first game "merely" had soldiers being dismembered or reduced to gibs from explosions, 2 and the Rising Storm series go further with soldiers often twitching or writhing in pain from mortal wounds, and the screams, whimpers and gurgles of dying men's last moments echoing through the battlefield.
    • A peculiar zig-zag of this appears in Rising Storm 2: Get shot in the leg or the chest, and your character will start bleeding or blacking out. Get shot in the head, and everything instantly goes black and silent, to the point that it could be mistaken for a game crash if the respawn menu didn't show up a second later.


Video Example(s):


Soviet Campaign Intro

In the Soviet campaign, the player's main objective to hold Stalingrad for as long as possible, at any cost. This would deprive the German Sixth Army's combat capability until Soviet reinforcements can launch a counteroffensive and crush the invaders.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / HoldTheLine

Media sources:

Main / HoldTheLine