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SAS: Zombie Assault is a famous series of Shoot Em Ups by Ninja Kiwi. Currently, there are four main games (Five if you count Insane Asylum) and a Tower Defense Spin-Off. Alternatively, the guys down at the SAS Zombie Assault Wiki have created a list of tropes for SAS 4 which can be accessed here. So far there are 4 parts of the game made in the following order: SAS 1, SAS 2, SAS 3 and SAS 4.

Tropes across the entire series include:

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  • Affectionate Parody: The first games were this to Nazi Zombies, but it then became a full-blown franchise.
  • A.K.A.-47: MASSIVELY averted. Every weapon that you can find in Real Life has its real name. Except for the M249 SAW, but that's just what the Yanks with Tanks call it, so it doesn't count.
  • Art Evolution: The first game's graphics was good for its time, but the zombies looked rather unrealistic. The second game did get improved graphics though. On the third / TD games, the graphics and the zombies appeared to be more realistic. It culminates by the fourth game, where everything appears to by hyper-realistic. Oh yeah, and it's subtle, but you finally get to see some legs when anyone is moving.
  • Cool Guns: Lots and lots of them.
  • Dead Weight: Bloaters in SAS 2, Insane Asylum, SAS 3, SASTD, and SAS 4. Also, Regurgitators in SAS 4.
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  • Excuse Plot: The first two games and Insane Asylum have a plot that runs like "You are in a church/military base/insane asylum that is being attacked by zombies. Survive." The third game had a plot that was All There in the Manual. (If you look at the loading screens, you can get some info as to what the story is about). Averted in SAS 4. The missions clearly tell you what the objectives are and the story of the game.
  • Final Boss: Averted. Even though the Ruin or Necrosis are very strong, there is no zombie leader, as far as declassified SAS reports go.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Sniper rifles work differently in these games from other ones. Instead of charging up for Boom, Headshot!, they perform a One-Hit Polykill on each shot.
  • Money Spider: Played straight in SAS: Zombie Assault 4, where you can clearly see some killed zombies dropping stacks of SAS Dollars.
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  • Our Zombies Are Different: The first two games and Insane Asylum feature Flesh-Eating Zombies, but the rest of the series has Plague Zombies, with a few Parasite Zombies.
  • Sentry Gun: Every game has them.
    • The first one featured sentries referred to as Light and Heavy Sentries.
    • The second game featured the Vickers Sentry and the Area Denial Weapons System.
    • The third game features the GECAL50 and the Area Denial Weapons System.
    • SASTD and SAS 4 feature a ridiculous amount of them.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Despite not being an FPS, there are some here.
    • Knife: Tactical Chainsaw in SAS 2 and Insane Asylum; CQC Skill for the Assault Class in SAS 4.
    • Pistol: P226 Sig Sauer in SAS, SAS 2, and Insane Asylum; Glock 17, Ruger P97, Desert Eagle, IMI SP-21 Barak, MAC-10, Beretta 93R and Glock 20 in SAS 3; HVM 001, RIA 313, RIA 1010, CM 225, CM 205, CM 202, Ronson 45, and Sabre in SAS 4.
    • Revolver: Raging Bull and .600 Nitro Express in SAS 3, Trailblazer and Poison Claw in SAS 4.
    • Shotgun: M870 in SAS, SAS 2, and Insane Asylum; AA-12 and Benelli M4 in Insane Asylum and SAS 3; Stoeger Side-by-Side, Winchester 9140, SPAS-12, Saiga .401K, Striker, UTAS UTS-15, and SCMITR in SAS 3; HVM 004, RIA 30 Strikeforce, Mustang, Stripper, Hard Thorn, and 1887 Shockfield in SAS 4.
    • Assault Rifle: L85A2 in SAS; Lee Enfield, G3, and HK417 in SAS 2 and Insane Asylum; AK-47, M41A Grendel, and SCAR in SAS 2, Insane Asylum, and SAS 3; M16A4, REC7, ARX160, Steyr AUG, FAL, M1 Garand, Beowulf .50, and ZCS Wipeout in SAS 3; Z-1 Assault, Mixmaster, Ronson 65-a, Raptor, CM 405 Planet Stormer, CM Gigavolt, Sub-light COM2, CM 451 Starburst, RIA 20 DSC, RIA 20 PARA, RIA 20 Striker, and HVM 006 G-Class in SAS 4.
    • SMG: MP5 in the first three games; MP7 in SAS 2, Insane Asylum, and SAS 3; Skorpion, Vector,, Minibea PM-9, ZCS Seizure, PP19 Bizon, and P90 in SAS 3; Z-2 LMP, CM 307, RIA 7, RIA T-7, Ronson 55, CM 351 Sunflare, and Phantom in SAS 4.
    • Machine Gun: M240 MAG in SAS and SAS 3; M60 in SAS 2 and Insane Asylum; MG4 in SAS 2, Insane Asylum, and SAS 3; HK 221, Bren, RPD, M249 SAW, M134 Minigun, IMI Negev N67, and M2 Browning in SAS 3; Z-5 Heavy, HVM 008, Ronson LBM, CM 505, and Supermarine in SAS 4.
    • Sniper Rifle: Arctic Warfare Magnum in SAS, SAS 2, and Insane Asylum; .700 Nitro Express in Insane Asylum; Mk. II and JKH .887 Coiled Assault Weapon in SAS 3; RIA 50, Hornet, and HIKS S300 in SAS 4.
    • Rocket Launcher: RPG-7 in SAS 3; HVM MPG, T101 Feldhaubitz, T102 Jagdfaust, and Gebirgskanone in SAS 4.
    • Grenade Launcher: Milkor in SAS 2, Insane Asylum, and SAS 3; PAW-20 in SAS 3.
    • Sentry Gun: Light and Heavy Sentries in SAS; Vickers and ADWS in SAS 2 and Insane Asylum; GECAL50 and ADWS in SAS 3; HVM Heavy Machine Gun Sentry, Ronson Cryogenics Turret, HIKS Heavyshot Protector Turret, Flugkörper, Ronson Mk. V Flamer Sentry, CM Supernova, and CM Zeus Exclusion Zone in SAS 4.


Tropes specific to SAS: Zombie Assault here:


Tropes specific to SAS 2 and Insane Asylum here:


Tropes specific to SAS 3 here.

  • Artificial Stupidity: The buddy. Sure, he gives you some extra firepower, but if you die while he's still alive, you've pretty much lost, since he's incapable of shrugging off the zombies that can swarm him. Unless you can revive fast enough, however.
  • Asteroids Monster: Mamushkas in a nutshell.
  • Bang, Bang, BANG: The MP5 sounds significantly deeper in this game than in the previous 3.
  • Crappy Carnival: Karnvale.
  • Endless Game: Apocalypse, obviously. Unintentionally subverted in the mobile version should you survive for a very long time, however as it's possible to kill every one of them.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the mobile versions, you can watch an advertisement (up to 3) for a free powerup. However, it's possible to get all 8 for free if you go to multiplayer, exit, then repeat the process until all 8 powerups have been "purchased".
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Your character starts moving slower the longer you stay alive in Apocalypse.


Tropes specific to SAS 4 here:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Machines affected by the digital strain of the Thera Virus become zombified.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Necrosis is a "Near perfect viral evolution" that can release a wave of projectiles that correspond to the three damage types zombies can use. It also splits into three aspects upon death, one that represents physical that can teleport to any player, one that represents thermal and leaves behind a trail of fire, and one that represents chemical, which constantly spits blobs of acid.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The pilot in Vaccine. In the intro cutscene of the said mission, it either looks male or female, but when (s)he appears in the dialogue, it's... Well, male.
  • Armor Piercing Zombie: Downplayed with Dark Minion zombies: they disregard 75% of damage reduction from armor, but Heavies with the Tough Body perk still take less damage from their attacks.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The V.I.P. follows your steps, which could easily lead him to getting mauled by zombies.
  • Artificial Zombie: Zombdroid Servants and Soldiers. Doubles as A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
  • Auto-Revive: In multiplayer, you can use your revive tokens to revive yourself to full health. The catch is that you can only use it for multiplayer, and multiplayer only. You'll have to pay 3 NK Coins (or Kreds) if you want to do this in single player. Fortunately, in mobile you can use revive tokens regardless of what game mode you're in.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: High Damage Ammo can sometimes be this, especially for [RED] and [BLACK] weapons, since it eventually takes a toll on your cold hard cash.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Invoked with the Gore setting. Specifically, turning off the gore is for people who are disturbed/offended by it. It also helps to turn it off if your computer can't run the game well, or there's going to be too many zombies to kill.
  • Boring, but Practical: Standard ammo. It doesn't deal extra damage, but it's inexpensive.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: On the mission Meltdown after collecting all three radioactive med kits, your character will break the fourth wall, and demands to be controlled by a different player.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: In the Vaccine mission, the pilot will tell you to get focused should the timer hit 5:00, and you don't have the vaccine.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Bosses cannot be frozen solid by Cryo Grenades and Turrets.
  • Critical Annoyance: Inverted, the V.I.P. in the Escort Mission snaps should he take damage. Averted otherwise, as most of the other warnings aren't really annoying.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The bosses' Savage variants.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: In the Vaccine mission, you get to ride on a subway train, which stops when you have to fight zombies.
  • Energy Weapon: While the Hotspot just fires a solid one, the HIKS 3100 fires these despite being classified as a rocket launcher.
  • Escort Mission: The mission V.I.P..
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Cause enough damage to a car and it explodes, damaging all zombies in the blast. The said car will look very damaged after exploding.
  • Face–Heel Turn: The HVM soldiers after shooting down the ambulance in the Ice Station mission.
    HVM Captain: Do it. [the HVM soldiers start firing at the ambulance]
    SAS Soldier: What have you done? Those people could have been saved!
    HVM Captain: We have our orders. And there can be no witnesses.
  • Fade to White: See Non Standard Game Over.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Anyone who is human; players, npcs, the sentries and inactive Loaderbots, yeah. But then the activated turrets and Loaderbots from the Power Out mission, and once friendly HVM Soldiers from the Ice Station mission avert this...
  • Gatling Good: The three-barreled Proposition (which is even depicted as a Gatling gun in the mobile port) and the HIKS M1000 (which can either be obtained from Championships or crafting).
  • Gold-Colored Superiority: The Nantonium Strongbox has a 50/50 chance to give you a powerful weapon or armor, and it's ultra rare.
    • Premium weapons look gold and fancynote , have great perks, and allows you to augment it as much as you want. Best of all, you can reset their augments for free.
  • Hold the Line:
    • The Heavy class has an ability called this that simply buffs him up as long as he is standing still.
    • The mission Onslaught. The drop ramps have been damaged, and you have to survive for about 4 minutes, while keeping the zombies, who are on the other side of the bars, at bay. The spaceship takes off when all the zombies and the boss have been killed.
    • The mission Last Stand. It's a Tower Defense-styled level, and you have to prevent the zombies from claiming all 25 lives.
  • Jump Scare: Finding the loot room via one of the holes in the Meltdown mission gives you a loud screamnote , the objective message saying "PREPARE TO DIE!", and a lot of zombies. Killing them all gives you a lot of loot at the end of the room.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Championship weapons cannot be equipped until you're at least level 90.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Justified. The incredibly detailed graphics and sections of levels all load at once. Averted for the mobile version, because the graphics and animation quality is downgraded, and it loads one section of a level at a time (Vaccine mission only), which means the loading times are significantly shorter than the online version.
  • Mega-Corp: Several of them in the setting, either manufacturing guns, armor or both. Their lore, official and unofficial, is expanded upon in the Ninja Kiwi Blog.
    • Z-Arm Tech: A defunct arms manufacturer from the 3rd-millennium. Made the modern-ish guns you start out with.
    • HVM: A very large corporation that manufactures weapons and armor through exploitative business practices. Their equipment is a step above Z-Arm Tech's.
    • Rubicon Industries: A company that produces high-end weapons and armour, particularly heavy but highly damage-resistant armor and the speed-enhancing Power Assist.
    • Critical Mass: Manufactures gimmicky but powerful weaponry, most notably various energy weapons and the Sub-Light COM2.
    • Shotlite: A company specializing in extremely lightweight products, particularly their weapons which tend to have high rates of fire.
    • Smoke Stack: A Wild West-themed company that makes powerful weaponry.
    • HIKS: A company that specializes in heavy but extremely powerful weaponry, like the S300 and the M1000.
    • Rancor: A very niche weapons manufacturer whose weapons are explicitly stated to be outright war crimes.
    • Teknoboom: A German-themed company that makes explosive weaponry, all the way from a grenade pistol to an assault rifle firing explosive gel.
    • Ronson: A very old company that produces fire-resistant armor and a diverse range of weaponry that includes twin-barreled SMGs and, most notably, flamethrowers.
    • Spaceskin: Produces the highly versatile Graphene Armor set.
    • Atomic: Manufactures Power Armor with high buffs such as faster reloading, increased walking speed or contact damage.
    • Morlok Mining Corporation: Introduced in the Faction Warfare update. A mining company that owns an entire star system and with weapons themed after their planets' environment and armor that provides a wide variety of buffs like increased loot collection range or increased loot drops.
  • Milestone Celebration: In-Universe, according to Critical Mass's descriptions on their premium weapons.
  • Mini-Boss: Zombdroid Servants and Zombdroid Soldiers.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: Contract missions play this straight. Downplayed for the mission V.I.P., where there are only Mini Bosses, but obviously averted for Nightmare Mode.
  • Nintendo Hard: Nightmare mode. The maps are designed to look scarier, the enemies hit harder with nightmarish zombies, major bosses can appear in the middle of the mission, and zombie pods are almost everywhere, and they can contain nightmarish zombies. Oh, and you can't pause, given that this is a multiplayer game mode. You think Adaptive is an unnecessary augment for your guns in this mode? Think again. On the other hand, killing the bosses in this mode will net you with a lot of loot.
  • No Fair Cheating: If you get an error that says "Unknown error: account data exception", you definitely cheated, preventing the game from loading. And of course, all progress on the account you were using to play this game is now lost.
  • Non Standard Game Over:
  • Obvious Rule Patch: You can only have up to 2 (3 via masteries) active sentries at a time, so you can't just overpower the zombies.
  • Oh, Crap!:
  • Power Equals Rarity: Nantonium Strongboxes. Even more so with Black Strongboxes, but the latter has a catch: you can only hold up to 5, and every one of them requires a Black key.
  • Private Military Contractors:
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Savage Devastator has a hint of purple on it.
  • Retraux: Setting the graphics to Low makes the gameplay look something like this.
  • Schmuck Bait: The Meltdown Mission has one, but it's really subtle. When you see a hole that has zombies appearing, then disappearing immediately, it looks like it's bugged, right? Nope. If you enter it, a swarm of zombies will appear and they'll maul you to your death if you don't react immediately. You do get rewards for killing them all, though.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In Ice Station, if an HVM soldier takes too much damage, they'll retreat until all of the zombies have been killed. The HVM Captain's way of saying this?
  • Shoot the Bullet: Averted. The Zombie Mech's missiles only explode when it hits a wall.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sprint Shoes: You can apply the Machine Assisted augment to any boot. Also, the Titan MEM Sprint is pretty much this.
  • Timed Mission:
    • The mission Vaccine. You have to extract the vaccine before the jolt ships, sent by the Trans-System President, who didn't know about the vaccine, destroy Thera
    • The mission Meltdown. Shut down all the nuclear reactors and head to the main computer. The timer resets after shutting down the first two reactors and stops completely when the last one is shut down.
  • Token White: Inverted. There's a yet to be used character icon of a black official.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The HVM Captain and his Soldiers invoking He Knows Too Much, which could usually lead them to underestimating you, provided that you kill them before they kill you.
  • Turns Red:
    • Sure, you may think that the Devastator is a joke at first, but then it gets dead serious when it's close to dying. During this phase, it moves and attacks faster, becomes resistant to everything, and it hits hard.
    • When reaching higher levels, weapons, armor, and support weaponry both play the trope straight and literally turn red. Mostly red stripes to be exact. And yes, they're stronger.
      • Even better, their [BLACK] versions are ridiculously powerful, especially when augmented correctly. Pistols and support weaponry don't have this, unfortunately. There are files for them, however.
  • Up to Eleven:
    • The achievement Goes up to 11 requires reaching level 11 with a character.
    • Elite Augment Cores allow one more augment upgrade or augment slot for a weapon or armor.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Every Nightmare Mode map has them.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • See Breaking the Fourth Wall.
    • Averted in the Survivors mission, unless you're playing this mission in multiplayer. No matter how many survivors get killed, you won't be penalized by anyone. In the case of multiplayer however, deliberately letting the survivors get killed may cause your teammates to scold you in chat.
    • In the V.I.P. mission, shooting the furniture or collecting anything while escorting the V.I.P. will cause him to start complaining. Your SAS soldier will be annoyed by this, saying...
      "I'm this close to putting a bullet in the guy's face..."
      • While the game's on Holiday Mode (where the V.I.P. is Santa instead), the soldier will instead say
    "I'm this close to being put on the naughty list..."
  • The Woobie: Can be invoked during the meltdown mission by allowing your character to collect three radioactive medkits.

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