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Video Game / S.W.I.N.E.

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When good meat goes bad.

S.W.I.N.E. (or, to give its full name Strategic Warfare In (a) Nifty Environment), is a small quirky RTS game originally released in 2001, and the gameplay precursor to the serious-if-shortlived Codename Panzers series. The basic plot of the game is that the Pigs' military under General Irontusk overthrow the old Republic, and then invade the Rabbits. A lot more thought was put into the gameplay.

As of Christmas of 2006, the original release of the game became freeware, with installers floating around. In 2019, a HD remaster was announced under the banner of Kite Games and some of the original developers, along with enthusiastic fans, making the game available on Steam.

The Pigs have German Accents and the Rabbits are French. This has some clear implications.

S.W.I.N.E. provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Mortars and Rocket Launchers may occasionally shoot things other than the typical rounds (such as carrots or acorns). The change is purely cosmetic, however.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Scouts, Tanks and Heavy Tanks have hitscan attacks that never miss the target. Tank Killers also fire homing missiles that can only miss if there's terrain in the way.
  • Armor Piercing: None of the units in the game have bottom armor, which makes landmines extremely powerful.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Enemy AI-controlled units always prioritize the opponents with the weakest armor first, switching targets mid-fight as appropriate. As a result, your lower-ranked and Glass Cannon units frequently take more damage than your Stone Wall units if they aren't attacking from out of sight; Scouts and Rocket Launchers are especially prone to drawing fire.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In the campaign, the AI simply waits for your units to appear, then blindly charges at them. If it ever makes any deeper tactical move, it's a scripted event.
    • It's not entirely stupid, though; in missions where you have to defend a certain location, enemy Scouts will occasionally try to flank you and make a dash for the objective, failing your mission if you don't take them down quickly. Also, in the Pig campaign, the Rabbits tend to have more mobile patrols, which sometimes try to recapture objectives after your army moves on, and sometimes converge on the location of an engagement and try to attack your rear lines.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Air strikes cost money that could be spent on additional units or upgrades. You don't really have money to spend early in a campaign and if the bomber is shot down by enemy AA, you won't have access to air strikes for the rest of the mission
    • Massed Rocket Launchers can obliterate pretty much everything in salvo fire mode... but trying to do that outside a multiplayer match with infinite ammo will see them running out of rockets in less than a minute.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Rabbits are peaceful and democratic, but if forced to, they can fight as well (if not better) as Pigs.
  • Big Bad: General Irontusk, an obvious Expy of Hitler.
  • BFG: The Rabbits' Moving Fortress class unit is even named 'BFG'. Moving Fortresses launch giant, slow-moving shell that deal massive splash damage.
    • As far as proper units go, this and being a Mighty Glacier is the shtick of the Mortar units. Short range, high firing arc (so it hits the top armor of units instead of the stronger front armor) and high damage make it into a faction-shared heavy tank.
  • Blood Knight: Many vehicle drivers act like this in their soundbites when given orders, being very eager to get to fighting. This changes though if their HP goes into the red - at that point they become extremely cranky and sometimes refuse orders (although, in gameplay, they never actually do this).
  • Boring, but Practical: Tanks and Scouts may seem uninteresting, but are in fact the most useful units in the game.
    • Scouts in particular are absolutely indispensable due to being the only armed unit capable of carrying a Mine Detector which, coupled with their fast movement speed, fast rate of fire and high ammo capacity, makes them the best minesweeper unit in the game. Their speed also makes them the best choice for dashing within the minimum range of enemy Artillery and Rocket Launchers to destroy them up close with complete impunity.
    • Tanks are the most durable unit early on and can easily hold the line against an equal force when dug in, allowing Artillery and Rocket Launchers to bring their longer range to bear while the Tanks take the hits.
    • Minelayers might seem useless at first due to having no direct-fire armament, not to mention the time and tedium it takes to lay down a minefield and lure enemies on top of them. However, only a few enemy Scouts are actually equipped with Mine Detectors in the campaign, generally on defensive missions where the player is expected to use mines. If there are none around, mines are extremely devastating due to no unit in the game having bottom armor; the combination of high damage and wider splash damage than everything except an airstrike or a Moving Fortress means a well-placed minefield will annihilate entire enemy patrols in seconds.
      • And if one has no patience to lay mines, investing in a Minelayer anyway is still a sensible choice: outfitting it with a Telescope and a Mine Detector allows it to spot mines from a considerably greater distance than a Scout (as far as a Command Vehicle) while still being fast enough to keep up with anything bigger than a Scout, allowing it to effectively protect the main force from mines while the Scouts are busy elsewhere.
  • Carnivore Confusion: In one of the inter-mission cutscenes, two Pigs are shown sitting by a campfire... with a plainly visible piece of bacon on a stick over the campfire. Granted, the Pigs in question proceed to blow themselves up by absently tossing a grenade into the fire along with the firewood, but the implications are... disturbing, especially in light of a combination of female pigs' litter sizes and Irontusk's speech in the Pig campaign's opening crawl about an impending famine if the nation does not conquer fertile lands soon hinting that the Pig nation might be facing an overpopulation crisis... Of course, pigs *are* cannibals in real-life.
    • Also referenced by the combat taunts of several units.
      Rabbit Artillery: "There's gonna be pork kebabs here in a minute!"
      Rabbit Tank Hunter: "Time to show you where the butcher keeps his knife!"
      Pig Tank: "I'd like my Rabbit goulash with a vintage 1966!"
      Pig Rocket Launcher: "Ready to be served up?!"
  • Civil Warcraft: Happens only once, in the first mission of the Pigs' campaign, where player leads National Pigs Army against forces loyal to the Republic.
    • Also happens courtesy of a bug during the Rabbit campaign, where the Pigs call in aerial reinforcements in the form of Rocket Launchers - except the game spawns the Rabbit version instead of the Pig version.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Multiplayer. Maximum resources, no bombers, unlimited fuel and ammo. What you did with those resources was entirely your call.
    • Multiplayer armies also tend to be composed entirely of Mortars with barrels retracted and Rocket Launchers in salvo-fire mode - the logic being that if the enemy engages the buttoned-up Mortars first, their massive armor keeps them alive long enough for the Rocket Launchers to Macross Missile Massacre the enemy into ash; if the enemy ignores the Mortars and goes straight for the Rocket Launchers, the Mortars stick out their barrels and add their BFGs to the equation. At least one clan openly derided the use of any unit except these two as the mark of someone who doesn't know what he's doing.
  • Continuity Nod: The two campaigns sometimes share maps - the first mission of the Pig campaign appears as the penultimate mission of the Rabbit one (and even still has the Pink October tank factory intact), and the Pig missions where you take over the Rabbit nation's mines and oil fields are essentially a reverse of the Rabbit missions where you liberate them.
  • Continuing is Painful: In the singleplayer campaigns, all of the player's units minus trailers are carried over from mission to mission, preserving their veterancy and extra items. Any that gets destroyed cannot be retrieved and the 1000 SP the player is given for each completed mission to buy reinforcements is very barely enough for 1-2 units per mission at best, not counting the repair/ammo/fuel the player also needs to spend on in order to not run out of steam halfway through the next mission. Even if the player can afford a replacement, said replacement is New Meat while later missions begin throwing veteran/elite enemies at the player, which easily outmatch fresh troops 1-on-1.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Averted, but just barely. While most units are functionally identical on both sides, the Pigs' main battle tank has slightly more firepower and top armor, while its Rabbit counterpart is faster and more fuel-efficient. Each faction also has one unit with no opposing counterpart; the Pigs have a Heavy Tank while the Rabbits have a Tank Killer.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Downplayed for most units. When defeated, units are instead disabled wreckage which can't move or attack, but still provide sight and can be saved and repaired for combat once again. If they take much more damage after that, they're gone for good. Played straight for non-combat vehicles, which blow up the second they reach 0 HP.
  • David Versus Goliath: While Rocket Launchers are big and intimidating, a properly micromanaged Scout can very easily kill them if they aren't backed up by other units.
  • Death from Above: Air strikes, artillery, rocket barrages.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Using the more specialized units, like Mortars and Tank Killers. They're really good in some situations and poor in others; getting used to exploiting their strengths can result in stronger armies than those with a primarily generalist composition.
    • Scouts are quite squishy against anything shooting at them, but their fast movement speed allows them to mob enemy Rocket Launchers and Mortars and dodge their shots while tearing into them, then run away too fast to be caught by anything other than enemy Scouts.
  • Disney Villain Death: Both averted and played straight. The game doesn't dance around depicting the deaths (and corpses) of the characters who populate the units, and even shows the Player Character getting shot by a firing squad if they fail a mission in the Pig campaign, but it's played straight by Irontusk when his airship is shot down, likely due to Irontusk's lack of appearance in the game.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Averted. Almost every unit can shoot while moving, but Artillery, Rocket Launchers and Mortars cannot directly hit moving targets, giving smaller and faster units a niche to excel in. The only unit which actually has to stop in order to fire are artillery.
  • Dual Mode Unit: Tanks, Mortars, and to an extent Rocket Launchers. Tanks can dig in, trading mobility for protection, Mortars can retract their barrel, trading their (considerable) firepower for even better protection, and Rocket Launchers can fire off five inaccurate saturation shots, or a single well-placed one. Artillery also have to switch to stabilized mode to fire, and marching mode to move.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted. In order to remain effective, your army needs a supply of ammunition, fuel and armor repairs, which come in the form of trailers that you haul around with unarmed and unarmored tow trucks. All supplies are finite and expendable, and a lack of supplies can cripple or disable an army. However, it's still somewhat in play - while it makes sense that all the units can run off the same fuel, it doesn't matter if the ammo trailer is resupplying an autocannon-armed Scout or a Rocket Launcher, they all pull from (and consume the same amount) of ammo.
  • Elite Mook: As units gain veterancy, not only do they gain improved stats, but the unit's physical appearance changes as well. Elite Rabbit units gain tacked-on armor plates and WW2-esque five-pointed stars on their turrets, while Elite Pig units gain yellow chevrons and Spikes of Villainy.
  • Everything's Messier with Pigs: Referenced in insults directed towards them by the Rabbits.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Rabbits are France, the Pigs are Germany. It's not even subtle. In fact, the first Pig mission is pretty obviously the end of the Weimar Republic.
    • Only in the English version. In the original Hungarian, both sides are talking without accent.
  • Faction Calculus: 2 factions; slightly subversive Rabbits vs slightly powerhouse Pigs.
  • Fishing for Mooks: AI-controlled units that see the player's units nearby but out of weapon range will move into range to attack and even pursue the target for as long as they or an ally can see it. Thus, Command Vehicles and Scouts can lure them particularly well by running into enemy vision range, turning around, and running away with enemy units in pursuit. Most AI-controlled units also react to being attacked from the fog of war (usually by Artillery) by moving towards the shooter in an attempt to find it. A move that will, if you set things up right, see them drive into a line of your units and get cut down. In fact, one of the Rabbit cut-scene videos explicitly shows a Command Vehicle using this tactic.
  • Funny Animal: The Rabbits and Pigs.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The title, of course.
  • Geo Effects: Fairly subtle. Trees, walls, buildings, hill crests, etc. can obscure vision and many destructible and non-destructible obstacles can impede unit movement. Also, the fact that all wheeled units have turning radii means that obstacle-dense areas can be particularly hard for them to navigate as compared to tracked vehicles. Finally, the Pigs' Heavy Tank has a special ability designed to pretty much exploit Geo Effects; it simply plows straight through anything destructible, allowing it to launch surprise attacks from forests, cut shortcuts, etc.
  • Glass Cannon: Artillery, Rocket Launchers and Tank Killers all hit harder than Tanks while also being noticeably squishier.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: This is what happens when you have all the units in the game voiced by large hams.
    • And, indeed, an entire faction of literal hams.
  • Healing Factor: All units except for Tanks and Mortars (the two types of units which are actually used for tanking, incidentally) can be equipped with Repair Kits that slowly regenerate their HP to 60% of their maximum whenever it falls below that amount. It's much slower than conventional repair trailer usage, but unlike trailers, it can be used repeatedly and indefinitely.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Rabbits during the Pig campaign, as well as the loyalists you take out during the first mission.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: General Irontusk doesn't appear at all over the course of either campaign, but his voice does show up at the end of the Rabbit campaign, where his airship is blown up by ground troops in mid-air.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Tank Killers' raison d'etre. Whilst they can be used like Rocket Launchers, pounding enemies from behind a line of Tanks, they're also capable of acting in groups of their own, using their range, speed and auto-repair system (if equipped) to stay alive while picking off enemies. This tends not to work very well in spaces with narrow confines though, as their turning radius is quite wide.
  • Homing Projectile: Tank Killers again.
  • Hurricane of Puns: EVERYWHERE.
  • Infinite Supplies: Averted completely. Units have limited ammunition and fuel, that needs to be replenished. In later missions, you have no chance of survival without vehicles towing supply trailers. Even supply trailers run out eventually in the longer or more intense missions, and you need multiple trailers to see you through.
    • Usually played straight in multiplayer.
  • Initialism Title: Though what exactly the initial stood for wasn't revealed until around 2008 on the long gone Stormregion forums when someone asked what "S.W.I.N.E." stood for, and a developer responded.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Inverted. During instances where you have to hold a specific point, if a single enemy unit gets to it and you don't have a unit there to block the capture, the enemy will capture the point and you'll instantly lose. As a result, it's always a fair idea to just park a Tank or something next to the flag you need to defend, in case a Scout manages to slip through or bypass your defenses.
  • I Shall Taunt You: See Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
  • Jack of All Stats: Tanks. Third most durable unit (after Mortars and the Pig-only Heavy Tank) boosted even further by their special ability, with good firepower and rate of fire.
  • Killer Rabbits: An entire army of 'em.
  • La RĂ©sistance: The troops still loyal to the Republic of the Pigs. Until you take them out in the first Pig campaign mission, anyway.
  • Liquid Courage: Alcoholic beverages are available as an upgrade item on combat units, improving weapon reload speed by 10% while equipped.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Rocket Launchers can salvo-fire at the cost of reduced accuracy compared to their standard piecemeal fire mode, and at the cost of expending their ammunition stores more quickly. Large numbers of Rocket Launchers in standard fire mode, or Tank Killers with their guided missiles, can also achieve this.
  • Made of Iron: Units in SWINE take a really long time to die. It's done intentionally to give the player a chance to micro manage.
  • Mirror Match: The first Pig mission pits you against the few loyal Republican troops still remaining. They use the same units you do, being Pigs themselves.
  • Mook Chivalry: In the Rabbit campaign, enemy offensives generally consist of well-spaced waves each of 4-5 units at most in one go, which are relatively easy to destroy in detail as they come.
  • More Dakka: The weapon of choice of Scouts, depicted as a single-barreled autocannon for the Rabbits and Gatling Good for the Pigs. Although their low per-shot damage means they suffer against dug-in Tanks and buttoned-up Mortars, their fast rate of fire and high ammunition capacity means they can dish out a lot of pain against everything else if not put down quickly.
  • No-Sell: Dug-in Tanks completely shrug off Scout attacks if the Tank is of higher veterancy level than the Scout. Mortars not only achieve the same when their barrel is retracted but if they have an Armor upgrade as well, not only even Artillery only does Scratch Damage, but the Mortar just flat-out stops taking splash damage from nearby rocket and artillery shell impacts. Mines and airstrikes still work, however.
    • Heavy Tanks with an Armor upgrade also shrug off Scout attacks as long as it hits their front armor.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted. Anti-air turrets can and will shoot down your helicopter or bomber if they come too close, removing them for the rest of the mission. The Rabbits also have static defenses, which amount to Tank and Artillery guns stuck on concrete platforms, albeit with the direct-fire Tank cannon doing Mortar-grade damage.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Every single unit drops one when they auto-attack an enemy.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Performed by way of the trailers, which are towed by tow-trucks. They all do a separate task: the repair trailer fixes units, the ammo trailer replenishes their munitions, and the fuel trailer refuels them. Knowing which ones will be important and managing how much you dole out is a major part of the gameplay - as all three trailers are finite. On the other hand, it is possible to jack the enemy's supplies by simply towing them away.
    • Mostly averted online, where there was a switch for infinite ammo and fuel.
  • Shout-Out: All over the place.
    Pig Artilleryman: "Te-de-dee! That's all, folks!"
    Pig Rocketeer: "Hasta la vista, bunny!"
    • As well, in the German version of the game, the Pig's Heavy Tank is called the "Elmar Fudd". The puns are not limited to just the English version.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: In the Rabbit ending, Irontusk is fleeing on a zeppelin, ranting over loudspeaker about how he'll return and "squish you like some kind of worm". Cue a Rabbit Rocket Launcher blowing the zeppelin in half with a single shot, shutting him up for good.
  • Spiritual Successor: Codename Panzers took many of SWINE's gameplay tropes, and distilled them, resulting in similar gameplay but a vastly different setting (Comedic Faux-WWII for... actual World War II.)
  • Spiteful A.I.: While AI-controlled enemies don't automatically attack disabled units, the moment one blocks their pathing, they destroy it immediately. This makes botched retreats by the player particularly painful, as any fleeing units that get disabled are killed by their pursuers.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Mortars, which are normally Mighty Glacier units with their high offense, become this when they retract their turrets. They're still slow, and now have no offense, but are incredibly tough. So much so that elite Mortars in retracted mode are completely immune to conventional (non-nuclear) Artillery, Tanks and Scouts of the same level; only elite Rocket Launchers, other Mortars, bombers and Moving Fortresses can damage them at this point.
  • Subsystem Damage: The game models and stats the units' front, side, rear, top and bottom armor and calculates damage appropriately - which is why Artillery does significantly more damage per hit than Tanks despite their stated weapon damage being identical, as the Artillery is consistently hitting the target's weaker top armor. Additionally, if a combat unit's hitpoints are reduced to zero, its turret is blown off and the unit turns into an immobile wreckage that can still be repaired. Repairing a disabled unit back up to 60% health restores the turret, returning the unit to full functionality. In fact, if the unit has a Repair Kit, it will self-repair back up to 1 HP below the point where its turret is restored.
    • However, if a disabled unit takes enough damage for its HP to go into the negative, it's irreversibly destroyed. Non-combat units are just killed outright instead of being disabled.
  • Tank Goodness: There is no infantry in this game, and would have to wait until Codename Panzers to show up.
    • Tanks, but No Tanks: However, there are only three or five actual tanks, depending on how you look at the Mortars - in fact, a pretty fair amount of the game's units are wheeled.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The pigs are portrayed in cutscenes as almost supernaturally stupid and incompetent, doing things like hitting reverse rather than first gear and falling down a cliff, adding a grenade to a campfire together with the logs or failing to notice a tank sneaking up to them two yards away.
  • Trope Codifier: Codified the Real Time Tactics sub-genre in a time when most RTS games were still following the lead of Command & Conquer and Starcraft.
  • Veteran Unit: Units gain experience from dealing damage to the enemies and can acquire "veteran", later "elite" status that improves their maximum health, weapon damage and armor. It also changes their looks, adding more bling, applique armor panels, and kill markings while also making the unit look more used and worn-out. Even ostensibly unarmed units like Command Vehicles and Minelayers can gain experience from the damage dealt indirectly by their air strikes or mines. The only unit that cannot gain experience whatsoever is the Tow Truck.
  • Worker Unit: The Tow Truck is the closest thing. They're in charge of bringing supplies with them for your other units and can potentially pull your defeated units out of harms way to prevent their death. They can't fight back against enemy units beyond towing them, who will probably shoot them the second they're connected if they're not already wrecked.