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Video Game / Saints Row: The Third

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All spoilers for Saints Row 2 are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!

I'm livin' in the 21st century, doin' something mean to it
Doin' better than anybody you ever seen do it
Screams from the haters, got a nice ring to it
I guess every superhero need his theme music

Saints Row: The Third is a Wide-Open Sandbox video game released in late 2011 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC, and again in 2019 for the Nintendo Switch.

It has been a few years since Saints Row 2, and the Third Street Saints street gang have ridden their success to become mainstream celebrities who pose for photos during their crimes and flog their own brand-name merchandise.

Everything is looking pretty sweet until a bank heist goes wrong and the Saints find themselves in the sights of the Syndicate, a legendary criminal fraternity who control the seedy metropolis of Steelport with an iron grip. Dumped into Steelport with no money, no respect and a heavy loss on their shoulders, the Saints vow to take revenge by seizing the city for themselves from the three Syndicate gangs that control it:

  • Morning Star (red): A Wicked Cultured organisation with a penchant for expensive suits and fast cars. They're the oldest gang in Steelport and the heart of the Syndicate, led by arms smuggler Phillipe Loren.
  • The Deckers (cyan): A group of Neo-Cyber-Gothic-Punk-Lolita computer hackers who love their Tron Lines. Their leader is Matt Miller, a British hacker with more confidence at the keyboard than at real life.
  • The Luchadores (green): A bunch of Masked Luchadores who use big vehicles and even bigger guns. They are led by Eddie "Killbane" Pryor, a former professional wrestler who acts as The Heavy of the Syndicate.

The game differs from its predecessors in a number of areas, primarily through respect unlocking upgrades rather than missions, as well as activities also unlocking portions of gang territories similarly to stores. Character customization has also received a make-over, which now favors quality over quantitynote  through options (ranging from realistic to absurd, such as scars or making your character blue) and appearance (such as loose clothing and hair actually bouncing and moving now) like they were in the previous game.

It's also thematically a fair bit different than even 2; while 2 was a decent bit sillier than the original Saint's Row, Third kicks the absurdity into overdrive in a bid to give the series a different identity than its greatest point of comparison, Grand Theft Auto.

It also received multiple Downloadable Content packs on and after its release. In late 2012, a year after the game came out, all of this content was bundled together in The Full Package version of the game, minus two Disc-One Nuke DLC items. The base game (no DLC included) was given away for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers during July 3 - September 25 2013, and to Xbox Live Gold members during May 16 - 31, 2014.

Oh, and [adult swim] were one of the sponsors of the game, and have a station within it (hosted by Jon of Delocated) where you can listen to a few songs from the network's lineup.

A remaster featuring redone models, sounds, and lighting was announced 6th April 2020, and was released on May 22nd on PS4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store.

Saint Row: The Third provides examples of:

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    Tropes A to F 
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • The Boss uses such toys as exploding bullets with enough force to juggle a man fifty feet into the air, and massaging octopus bombs that mind control targets... and then explode into pink sparkles.
    • The cannon on the Genki Manapault, that sucks up pedestrians and uses them as ammo.
    • There's a DLC shotgun that fires chum. Not so dangerous on its own, but it summons the fabled Steelport Sewer Shark, which bursts through the ground, devouring the target whole. Ironically, it doesn't work against targets in water.
  • Aborted Arc: The end of The Trouble With Clones is not followed up on in IV or Gat Out Of Hell. It might be Canon Discontinuity as well, considering there is no mention made of the DLC, and the possible narrative awkwardness in dealing with the real Johnny Gat and Tag, his clone.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: Not a level, per se, but the transfer limit on your bank account is this. Once you've acquired and fully upgraded all of Steelport's strongholds, the transfer limit will be $725,000 per hour. Even if you take the money bonus at the end of Act I, gain 100% completion of all City Takeover gameplay, and fully upgrade your strongholds (which boosts your income in their associated districts), your cash flow will still never crack $50,000 per hour.
  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: The level cap is 50. Not reaching it well before the end of the main questline requires to rush through the campaign, to skip most minigames and challenges, to not play any of the three DLCs if you own them, and to never go on random acts of destruction.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: If you choose the Kill Killbane ending. The Boss, sitting amongst the wreckage of Killbane's plane, will receive a call from Pierce asking him/her Was It Really Worth It?, then the Boss can't give an answer.
  • Adam Westing: Burt Reynolds is the mayor of Steelport. No, seriously.
    Boss: Burt fucking Reynolds?!
    Burt Reynolds: Who else could keep this town running?
  • Affably Evil:
    • Ignore the fact that they commit murder and mayhem, including killing cops and civilians, without a hint of remorse, the Protagonist and his/her crew are otherwise depicted as genuinely nice people who are always willing to take a moment to pose for a photo with their fans.
    • Professor Genki is an adorably excitable and dangerously psychotic murdercat (as he calls himself) that hosts a demented Japanese-style game show where you slaughter mascots for CASH IN POCKET!! His many quotes bear this out quite well.
  • Affectionate Parody:
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Killbane begs the Boss not to unmask him and even offers to teach the Boss the secret of his Apoca-Fists in exchange to show how desperate he is.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: STAG has a behemoth of one, the Daedalus, used to bring order to Steelport. To sum up, you assault and sabotage a giant helicarrier. On your own, potentially.
  • A.I. Roulette:
    • In the case of civilian NPCs, once you do something to panic them (like, say, start driving the Crusader tank on the street), they lose all sense of intelligence, running towards the vehicle, or running into it from the side, or often just stopping and standing still right in front of your tank.
    • When NPCs in question are still in their vehicles, the default "panicked while driving" action is to drive as fast as possible in some apparently completely random direction. This results in spectacular crashes, pile-ups, and vehicle explosions as often as it results in the NPC actually getting away. Sometimes it even leads to the driver running over another pedestrian, spooking other NPCs, which leads to more odd behavior, etc. etc. etc.
  • All Bikers are Hells Angels: One Survival mission has you fight off a biker gang.
  • All Love Is Unrequited:
    • During the mission 'Three Way', Oleg will admit that he has feelings for Kinzie.
    • Russian Boss (Female Voice 2) is head over heels for... Pierce. Nobody in the gang ever comments on it despite her not-so-subtle verbal cues.
      Female Voice 2: I want to make love with Pierce in front of a live studio audience!!
      Pierce: (deadpan as with any other option) Good to know...
    • Josh Birk for Shaundi, much to her annoyance. He even decides to play along with his own kidnapping once he learns the people kidnapping him work with her.
  • Alliterative Name: Kinzie Kensington and Matt Miller.
  • Alternate Universe: If we're meant to take one of Jon's commercials seriously, we can assume that Saints Row takes place in a universe where February has 31 days.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • You can give the Boss either blue, green, pink, or grey/silver/chrome skin. Those are just a few out of fifty-five colours.
    • Although most NPCs are normal-colored, if you have the "Gangstas in Space" DLC installed, you later acquire blue-colored female homies dressed as space aliens.
  • Amazon Brigade: Excluding the male Lieutenants, the Saints can become one as the gang customization allows you to pick what the unnamed members of your gang look like from a list of presets. Also, an idea early in development was to have the Syndicate sisters at the head of an all-female gang as a counter to the all-male Luchadores, but the idea was scrapped.
  • Amazonian Beauty: The "beauty" part is optional depending on how one designs the female character's face, but even sticking to the presets, or choosing to make her skinny and lean as opposed to voluptuous and busty, the female Boss is still shown as being taller and more muscular than most male characters. And more than capable of beating anyone up barehanded, especially as seen in the kill Killbane ending, which has the boss beat the villain to death and break his neck.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Kinzie calls up the Boss to inform them about Angel in their quest to find people who will help them take down the Syndicate, she says that Angel was Killbane's tag team partner until "he went crazy." The Boss then asks which one went crazy. Kinzie then says she'll have to look into that.
  • Anachronic Order: The opening cutscene of the Genkiball quest series contains a note stating that the shooting of the Gangstas in Space movie is scheduled to begin next month. In-game, both events are totally independent from each other (they are two different DLCs) and can be played in any order.
  • And This Is for...: The Boss, if the Female 1 voice is chosen, will give one when planting each explosive during the final mission of the serious ending.
    One for Shaundi... One for Viola... One for my crew... And one just for me.
  • Anti-Climactic Unmasking: Choosing to unmask Killbane will reveal that Eddie Pryor is just an average-looking, middle-aged man with receding, buzzed-short blond hair.
    Bobby: We have seen the face of the Walking Apocalypse and to be honest, it's a man with a receding hairline.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The Boss can get stuck in a wall or get trapped under a car, but in these situations, the game will usually load you out of being stuck, meaning you can continue playing as normal.
    • Similarly, if The Boss falls into water, rather than having to swim around until you can find a place to climb out, the game allows you to simply "warp to shore".
    • The mixed tape option for the radio, which allows you to pick and choose a custom soundtrack if (or when, depending on your tastes) the radio stations' soundtracks grate on you.
    • Vehicle Theft missions typically reject vehicles spawned from the Garage. The one exception is the mission to steal a STAG N-Forcer, so you can complete the mission if you already beat the main story and drove STAG out of Steelport.
    • Unless you buy out the shops, you can't do business with them if you have Notoriety. Rim Jobs will refuse to open for you, and getting attacked while shopping anywhere else will close the shop immediately. In "Steelport Here I Am", whatever Notoriety you pick up on the way to Rim Jobs and Planet Saints clears when you enter them so you can shop in peace.
    • In the mission "I'm Free - Free Falling", you'll likely smash into boxes and cars as you're skydiving. Cars usually take a lot of bullet hits before they explode, but they'll blow up from a single bullet during the mission so that you can "push" them out of your way.
    • In the final mission "Three Way", Pierce and Oleg accompany you during the first half of the mission. You're expected to drive to different locations and fight off hordes of enemies. While Pierce still follows the usual rule of required proximity lest you get a Non-Standard Game Over, Oleg will teleport to the next fight if you aren't able to secure a truck large enough for him to ride on, for this mission alone.
  • Anti-Grinding: The main way to gain "respect" (experience) is to do plot missions; you also gain experience once you complete activities for the first time (activities can be replayed). There's also lesser respect gain when shooting mascots during the Professor Genki's activities, as well as for killing Syndicate mooks (in missions, activities, and free-roam mode), but killing civilians and most types of cops and soldiers grant nothing (except when destroying helicopters and tanks). Once you're far enough in the plot, the regular soldiers which spawn when your Wanted Meter is high enough are replaced by the STAG troops, who are more dangerous and grant respect when you kill them. In summary, it's possible to grind by going on killing sprees, but the only targets which count are the one which are dangerous enough.
  • Appeal to Force: Implied by a Bond One-Liner of Female 1's voice, "I always win my arguments!".
  • Arm Cannon: In the mission http://deckers.die, Kinzie gives the Boss a Cyber Buster to fight the Deckers in their usernet, modeled after Mega Man's Mega Buster. After you finish the mission, the Boss will be able to use it as a weapon outside of the level. Its Flavor Text lampshades this, wondering where Kinzie found the time.
  • Armies Are Evil: STAG. To the point where they will declare martial law, blow up a statue with Saints they've kidnapped on it, place the blame on the gang so they look like terrorists, then try to level the entire city. Most of that is only in one ending, though much of it was at least planned by STAG in any case.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Killbane is something of a dark mirror to the Boss, obsessed with his fighting prowess and his own legacy. At one point he declares his victims should be thanking him for the honor of death at his hands.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • After the mission to take over the Syndicate's downtown penthouse, the following news broadcast from Jane Valderama mentions the shootout resulted in several dead, and one noise complaint.
    • Near the end of "Gangstas in Space" Jenny says that she's tired of Zhen trying to kill them, being mean, and his stupid scarf.
  • Art Evolution: Compare the "Power" trailer to in-game footage. Phillipe Loren's hair has gone from black to grey and he looks older. Kinzie in the trailer is rather sexy looking but in the Deckers Die trailer she's more Hollywood Homely and the Boss' default look is nothing like the one in the trailer.
  • Artifact Title: The game is not even set in Stilwater, and in the one mission that does take place there, you're not within the titular district of it. But your gang is still the Third Street Saints, media celebrities or not.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • When a police vehicle is in chase, nearby NPC drivers will pull over to the right side of the road.
    • If you steal and repaint a Peacemaker squad car, it keeps the police lights in its grill and its siren, allowing you to force traffic the same way.
    • If you are driving in the oncoming lane and keep honking the horn of your vehicle the cars will try to get out of your way.
    • Unarmed Brutes will rush to get any flamethrowers or miniguns in case you left one behind, be it an enemy or friendly.
      • Likewise, fighting NPCs will rush for a better weapon if one of their buddies carrying one dies (e.g. a Rifle or SMG for its pistol).
    • If you have more than one gang member or homie following you and pick a car with only one seat, the rest of the group will promptly get another car to keep with you.
    • If you are being chased, then oncoming enemy cars will swerve sideways to block the road. This is especially troublesome with STAG and luchadore vehicles, since they are fairly large.
    • At high enough notoriety, police will set up roadblocks to stop you, usually with two vehicles turned to the side. These often include spike strips/plastic barricades in the center, in case you try and ram through.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Routing issues often prevent characters from getting inside vehicles quickly and efficiently. Especially troublesome during huge gunfights in Escort Missions.
    • After the final mission, STAG leaves town, but they don't lower the bridges connecting Downtown with the rest of the city. AI-controlled cars will attempt to jump the bridges, but at their regular speed, not with a running start. The vast majority don't make it.
    • AI drivers in general are pretty dumb, frequently driving recklessly and causing hit-and-runs out of the blue against random pedestrians - you included. If you thought the drivers in Liberty City were bad, you've never been to Steelport.
    • If you park a vehicle in the middle of a busy street, other cars will attempt to nudge it out of the way. They do this even if the vehicle in question is a VTOL or a tank. They can and will futilely batter themselves against such a vehicle until they damage themselves enough to explode.
    • Pierce is worse than useless in the unpatched game; he's an actual liability. As well as needing rescuing every ten seconds he actively tries to make you fail the mission where you have to stop the truck transporting the computer, he's only too happy to destroy it despite being told not to. Fortunately, this was eventually fixed.
    • What's the biggest obstacle in the "Live With Killbane" mission? Not the time limit, not the waves of Deckers, not controlling the helicopter. It's Shaundi falling out of the broken windows of the building and dying.
    • Jimmy in The Trouble With Clones might mess up and smash his mom's car into an unbreakable obstacle blocking his predetermined path. He'll then back up and do it again, back up and do it again, back up and do it again, back up and do it again, back up and do it again, back up and do it again, back up and do it again, back up and do it again until it's destroyed. Since the car is ridiculously armored, this can take a while.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Killbane uses this rule to take over direction of The Syndicate after you kill Loren. Despite Matt Miller suggesting that it might make more sense to leave Loren's Co-Dragons, the DeWynter twins, in charge.
  • Astral Finale: Played with if you go to rescue your friends in the final story mission. The mission after that is "Gangstas in Space" where you fight Killbane on Mars. You're actually filming a movie.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Played straight by the Boss.
    • Averted by Loren, leader of Morning Star. Though having forged the Syndicate, he is never seen in a fight.
    • Also averted by Matt Miller, leader of the Deckers. He's only seen fighting once, and it's in a usenet. He also loses.
  • Autosave: The game has this.
  • Auto-Tune: Zimos is a pimp who, thanks to his smoking habit, had to have a tracheotomy, which forces him to speak with a voice box. Deciding to make the best of the situation, he has it built into his pimp-cane and has Auto-Tune installed in the box, and he practically sings his dialogue. Every word that comes out of his mouth sounds like T-Pain.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The STAG laser guns. They naturally don't have to reload, but they overheat from too much use and in most cases it's faster to just reload a regular weapon than wait for the STAG weapon to cool down. Once you unlock instant reload (which removes the need to reload altogether) and unlimited bullets for any rifle and shotgun, the STAG weapons become totally superfluous.
  • Awesome, but Temporary: In the mission Send in the Clones from The Trouble with Clones, The Boss gets some super powers (super sprint, super punch and shooting fireballs) after getting in contact with radioactive Saints Flow. Unfortunately, those powers can only be used during this mission.
  • A Winner Is You: The text interlude in the virtual reality Deckers mission.
    Text: You killed the Unicorn. You win. Thanks for playing.
    Female Boss: Wow... just... wow.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Boss, above all, but Killbane is definitely a candidate for this trope as well.
  • Backstory of the Day: Played for Laughs in the mission "Three Way"; when Pierce asks The Boss and Oleg if they want to get anything off their chest in case they die, The Boss will reveal something completely irrelevant but humorous about their private life that never comes up again. The different Boss voices have different secrets.
    Male Voice 1: I've read Jane Eyre 13 times!
    Male Voice 2: I have an irrational fear of bees!
    Male Voice 3: I call chips 'fries'!
    Female Voice 1: I'm on a co-ed curling team!
    Female Voice 2: I want to make love to Pierce in front of a live audience! note 
    Female Voice 3: I collect glass unicorns!
    Zombie Voice: Uhh, I'm fluent in six languages!
  • Bad Boss:
    • Zhen in Gangstas In Space. He never stops harping on Jenny's acting, and praises everything Boss does despite them being a horrendous actor. Jenny ends up being fed up with Zhen's BS and kills him by ramming a spaceship into his back at the end of the DLC.
    • Killbane sends a bunch of men to attack Johnny Gat's funeral procession, while they're stuck on a bridge. Killbane then blows up the bridge with rockets while his own men are on it, with just as many Luchadores killed by the attack as Saints.
    • The Boss him/herself can be this if you wish to make them so. All those homies that you see hanging around the HQ? You're free to beat them up, shoot them, or throw them off the building whenever you want (they'll just respawn anyway).
  • Bag of Spilling: At the beginning of the game, the Saints are celebrities and have more money and guns than they know what to do with. After the failed heist on the Morningstar's bank, the crew gets captured by the Morningstar and are stripped of their weapons. Even when the Saints escape, Lorene has Matt Miller hack the Saints' bank account to steal their money, leaving the gang with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: The Swarmitron in the Trouble With Clones DLC's second mission.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Phillipe doesn't like it when you call him French.
      Boss: Listen, you French fuck!
      Phillipe: Please! I am Belgian.
      Gat: So make yourself a fuckin' waffle! We're done here.
    • Then Gat makes it official when he does it again and the result is him getting killed.
      Gat: You're gonna need more help than that, Frenchie.
      Phillipe: I. Am. Belgian.
      Gat: Same thing!
      Philippe Loren: I am going to ''cut'' that disrespectful tongue from your mouth.
    • The Boss pushes it a third and final time as s/he kills Loren. Of course, Loren can't hear it at the time, but it's no less awesome.
    • Don't disrespect Killbane. Particularly not by repeatedly using his real name, Eddie Pryor. Kiki DeWynter finds this out the hard way.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the "Genkibowl VII" DLC, during the Sad Panda Skyblazing activity the announcers mention that some Mascots are choosing to jump off rooftops rather than face your Chainsaw.
  • Big Bad: Philippe Loren, head of The Syndicate. Killbane and Cyrus both take his place as a Big Bad Ensemble after his death in Act 1.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • In one of the endings, the Boss single handily storms Magarac Island to rescue Shaundi, Viola, Mayor Burt Reynolds, and the island itself from being blown up by STAG, dodging soldiers and shooting the bombs into the sea. (This also serves as the canonical ending of the game.) Appropriately, "Holding Out For a Hero" plays in the background throughout.
    • Some of the Survival missions involve you saving innocents from the Syndicate.
  • Big Fancy House: Several cribs in the game.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Killbane if you choose to unmask him.
    • Also done at least 4 times in the Gangstas In Space ending, once for every "death" of your homies, and then a 4th when the Luke, I Am Your Father bombshell is dropped. Played for Laughs, of course. To put it into perspective, each one of them is a very LOUD Skyward Scream that shakes the camera - and all of them are the same Stock Scream of your character when falling from great heights.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: The only effect the sex appeal slider seems to have is increasing the size of the male character's package.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Philippe rants in French when Johnny holds him off to let Boss and Shaundi flee. As expected of a Belgian (or at least, a Wallonian), his French is flawless.
    Philippe: Ah, putain de merde! Ouvrez-moi cette porte! Je veux sa tête!
    Translation: Oh fucking shit! Open up that door! I want his head!
    • One of the Taunt/Compliment gestures you can choose is called "Of the River," which makes the Boss or the Saints perform the Macarena. The group that originally performed the Macarena when it was popular was Los del Rio.note 
  • Bittersweet Ending: No matter which ending you choose, since there are two things on the line and you can't have both. If you choose to save Shaundi, Viola, and Burt, you stop Kia from framing the Saints for blowing up the Magarac Island monument. STAG even gets called off due to this new good publicity. This ending affirms Johnny's thoughts that the Saints have begun to lose touch with their roots and are slowly becoming complete corporate whores. To hammer the point in, the follow-up mission is a Saints movie shoot, something the Boss was against at the start of the prior mission. The other choice is to go after Killbane, who even gives a speech that is an Ironic Echo to what Johnny said. You will later hold a(nother) funeral for recently fallen comrades and get to confront STAG head-on and kill Cyrus. After that, the Saints take over Steelport and declare it as a sovereign city-state (as well as an awesome taunt at Monica Hughes to try and stop them) on now international television. This ending shows that the Saints haven't gone soft and are still a Badass Crew willing to get dirty, but you let Shaundi, Viola, and Burt Reynolds die. Pierce gives you a Was It Really Worth It? and you can't answer. The sequel follows from the former ending, but it's not so bittersweet anymore because being President of the United States is much cooler than being a gritty, hard-ass gang leader.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Parodied. In the "Gangstas in Space" finale, Pierce is the first of the three followers to be killed for real (before Shaundi and Gat, in this order) with a Retirony line to boot. Though he actually doesn't really die, as in context it turns out the Saints are shooting a movie.
  • Blemished Beauty: It's possible to give the player character facial scars through Character Customization, potentially making them fall under this trope, depending on how the player decides to model them.
  • Blown Across the Room: According to this article on the official site, the fully upgraded McManus 2015 sniper rifle is powerful enough to make anybody shot by it occasionally fly backwards. You can also buy "Muscles" upgrades that let you toss around mooks like paper airplanes, and explosive bullets for guns with that upgrade also make people fly around more when you kill them.
  • Boisterous Weakling: NPCs may sometimes hold signs calling for the Saints to leave Steelport, but they quickly disperse if you approach. Unless you run them over, of course.
  • Book Dumb:
    • The Boss, coupled with Logical Fallacies.
      Boss: Okay, nerd time is over. Why do we need this chair, and Kinzie, for fuck's sake, keep it simple.
      Kinzie: Ugh. I need the chair. To stop the Deckers.
      Boss: Thank you!
    • Another example:
      Pierce: What's the plan?
      Boss: (disguised as Cyrus) It's simple, we go in, rescue Shaundi, then go back out.
      Pierce: So what if they shoot at us?
      Boss: Stop bringing logic into this conversation!
    • When Kinzie tries to explain something about Matt's computer this might come up.
      Blah blah blah geek talk blabity blab blah blah.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The dual wield upgrade is obtainable very early and not that fancy compared to what you can pull off later, but skilled players can stroll through the game with just fully-upgraded dual pistols.
    • The Thompson is a small two-seater tour helicopter with no weapons or special features. But it is the third fastest helicopter in the game and one of the most maneuverable, and it's small enough that you won't need to look hard for places to land near a store or collectible. If you need a decent way to get around Steelport and don't want to contend with the game's traffic and pedestrian AI, you can't go wrong with a Thompson.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy:
    • Played straight with Kia who fights in an arena surrounded by gas grenades which can be used to free her hostage.
    • Lampshaded with "Killbane" in the Gangsta's In Space ending:
    "This suit is impervious to everything save for conveniently-placed lava crystals!"
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The rarely-appearing "Professor Genki" mascot drops $400,000 when killed, but has more HP than a Brute and usually carries a rocket launcher. And attacks everything on sight when you attack him. Oh, and his melee attacks usually knock about 90 percent of your health out in one blow. The best strategy is to just keep hitting him in the balls or using melee takedowns and attacking him while he's on the ground; Or you could just hit him with a car, and don't stop rolling over him until he's dead.
  • Boss Tease: It's established almost immediately that Phillipe Loren is not your friend. However, when you start fighting your way through his plane after your first encounter with him, you aren't given the option of just going back and fighting him; you'll need to ignore him and escape by parachute, only pulling the cord when you've caught Shaundi after an extended freefall. When the Boss realizes that the plane is going to ram the two of them in midair, they announce their intentions to shoot out the cockpit window, shoot Phillipe to death whilst flying through the inside of the plane, steal another parachute and get out the other side to catch Shaundi again; they do all these things except kill Loren, who isn't seen fast enough and is all too happy to calmly taunt you with Johnny's death when you land, after stripping the Saints of their wealth.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Some missions give you infinite ammo for that mission only. Once you hit level 50, you're allowed to buy permanent infinite ammunition (though you have to buy it separately for each weapon category, and it costs a ton of cash to get them all). In addition, along the way you can also upgrade your reloading speed to the point where you don't need to reload and can fire for as long as you have ammo (which means forever once you have the infinite ammo).
    • The weapons used by STAG are specifically designed to eliminate the need for reloading. They can still overheat though.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The description for the vehicle theft mission involving the Stork helicopter has Rigg say that it's good for carrying smuggled goods, smuggled people or smuggled people with smuggled goods in them.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: An in-game example: as you collect money, you buy various character and gun upgrades. Also, to get complete control of an area, you'll need to buy stores and buildings. Or you can get up to two one-time deals to just completely take over an entire 'hood.
    • In a more real life example, two of the game's DLC packs - the Unlockable and Bloodsucker Packs - gained reputations as permanent game easy buttons that you couldn't turn off. The Unlockable Pack gives you both options of every one-or-the-other quest reward after you complete a very early mission, while the Bloodsucker Pack gives you every cash, income, and reputation bonus available in the game plus some extra on top of that from the beginning of the game.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the beginning of the mission "Live! With Killbane", the news ticker mentions a boy convincing his parents to get him an adult elephant. At the end of the serious ending, the news ticker mentions a funeral planned for a boy trampled by an elephant.
    • Early on in the game, Johnny tells Loren to go make himself a [Belgian] waffle. If playing with the Female 2 voice, the Boss has this to say after dropping the giant metal ball on Loren:
      "Well, Johnny, it looks like he made himself a crepe instead."
    • Male Voice 1 comments on how he should have made such a joke:
      "Dammit, I should have made a 'Belgian pancake' joke."
  • Bring My Brown Pants: After completing the "Ho Boat" mission, a news report describes your midair firefight and ends with that, while the contents of the cargo container were unknown, what fell to the ground stank like urine.
  • Butt-Monkey: Pierce is actually competent this time around and can both sell merchandise and stand his own in a firefight. However, the Boss still openly ridicules him for not quite standing up to his/her standards of badass and still gets ignored. Pierce, at one point, asks to be promoted to manager of Planet Saints, and is promptly laughed at by the Boss (who thinks he's actually joking). Though in the serious ending, when Steelport needs a new mayor... guess who gets the job?
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: On a female character, the sex appeal slider increases the size of her breasts.
  • Call-Back:
  • The Cameo: The only man able to hold a city like Steelport together as its Mayor? Burt Reynolds.
    • If Burt later becomes a "homie", when called for assistance he shows up in a vehicle based on the car he drove in Smokey and the Bandit.
  • Captain Ersatz: While massive over-muscled brutes with heavy weapons are a common video game enemy stereotype, the ones present here look suspiciously similar to miniboss enemies from Bulletstorm. Another character decides that the most fitting name for a brute is Brick.
    • Minigun brutes are just one reskin away from being a Heavy. Justified as their prototype is a massive Russian, and actually semi-acknowledged by Valve as you could get Killbane's luchador mask and Apoco-Fists for your Heavy as a part of a promotional offer.
    • Finally, a zombified one shows up in one mission... and a Whored Mode level simply called, "Tank!".
  • Capture and Replicate: The Syndicate captures Oleg Krilov and keeps him sedated in their labs to mass-produce clones of him and throw them at the Saints. One mid-game mission sees the Saints infiltrating said labs and freeing Oleg to stop the clone production.
  • Car Chase Shoot-Out: Parodied. In addition to being able to get into car chases which end with you blowing up your hunter's car, at one point the Boss has to rescue Zimos the pimp from a BDSM club where he's held captive in a human pony show. A bunch of other human ponies carrying Morningstar members in their rickshaws run after the Boss, and they can blow up if the Boss shoots them enough, just because.
  • Car Fu: Respect increases a little every time the player runs someone over with the vehicle they're driving. There's also a reward for running over a certain number of people.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After the zombie outbreak, a cutscene shows Commander Temple engaging several zombies with his STAG troopers while having a phone conversation with Senator Hughes. His dialogue makes it obvious he is far more worried about Monica Hughes coming to Steelport to personally take over the efforts to stop the Saints than the zombies currently attacking him as he casually shoots a zombie trying to sneak up behind him without even turning around.
  • Catchphrase: Professor Genki and the Boss with Male Voice 1 both have: "Murder time, Fun time!"
    Male Voice 1: "That gets the blood pumping... to my loins!"
    Male Voice 2: "I love this town!"
    Male Voice 3: "Listen here, sunshine..."
    Female Voice 1: "Not cool!"
    Female Voice 2: "Comrade!"
    Female Voice 3: "I've got to defend the Saints!"
    Zombie Voice: "OOH REH CHEH BLEH GAH!"
  • Catgirl: The Genki girls in Genkibowl VII, Angry Tiger and Sexy Kitten. The exception is Sad Panda, since she's a sexy Panda.
  • The Cavalry:
    • Purchasing the "Saints Backup" upgrade gives a chance that Saints redshirts will show up to help you after you get into a fight, or you can manually request it.
    • During the course of the game, the Boss also accumulates "homies" that can be called in (a maximum of three at a time) to help deal with fights or just to go bombing around Steelport with.
    • Choosing a particular option during the game will also allow you to call a small zombie horde to your location.
    • Any friendly NPCs will also automatically join in if the Boss is attacked or begins a fight outside of a Survival wave, etc.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Redshirt Saints will usually show after you complete a Survival mission, late for the heavy lifting.
  • Celebrity Casualty: The mayor of Steelport is Burt Reynolds voicing himself. The next-to-last mission has the player chasing down an escaping villain when they get the notification that some of their allies, including Reynolds, are being held hostage at a landmark. If the player continues pursuit of the villain, the hostage taker will destroy the landmark and kill the hostages, again including Reynolds.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Not returning Josh Birk to STAG unlocks him as a homie, both as himself and as his TV character Nyte Blayde. You can have Josh and Nyte Blayde as homies at the same time.
  • Central Theme:
    • Buried underneath all the silliness and Roaring Rampage of Revenge, the Saints' new fame at the start of the game leads to an identity crisis. Some missions with multiple resolution choices, particularly the penultimate mission, let you weigh in on this. What exactly do the Saints stand for? Summed up nicely with the following exchange:
    Johnny Gat: Birk's right—we traded our dicks in for pussies. Seriously... Movie deals? Commercials? The Saints name used to mean more than body spray and some ass-tasting energy drink.
    The Boss: Our brand's worth a shitload of money.
    Johnny Gat: Is that what it's all about?
    • Monica Hughes and Cyrus Temple's disagreement on how to fight gangs highlights the two paths: "Hearts and Minds" and "Shock and Awe". The chat between the Boss and Viola about how many guards are assigned to Josh Birk when kidnapping him also shows this.
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Averted. The Boss can only change clothes in cribs and stores, and if a firefight follows him/her into a clothing shop, he/she will be dropped out of the clothing interface and back into combat—sometimes half dressed (unless you've bought said store, since entering will automatically wipe your notoriety).
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Shaundi has become serious-minded and has dropped her "stoner college drop-out" act. Though the issue of her innumerable former boyfriends still come up. She's also subject to Running Gag about the sheer amount of people who openly admit their Perverse Sexual Lust for her or have slept with her on radio, in pedestrian dialogue and even the Professor Genki game show.
    • Pierce has become more of a slickster, but still manages to retain some of his Butt-Monkey repertoire.
  • Choice of Two Weapons: For most of the game, the gun store offers two basic types for each gun, usually skewing to speciality vs. accuracy. Weapons in the former category shoot more slowly and are less accurate, but can be upgraded to have explosive or incendiary rounds, weapons in the latter category are usually modified to shoot faster and be more precise with armor-piercing rounds.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Zimos disappears once you take control of the rest of the Morningstar and New Colvin, as opposed to the rest of the lieutenants who hang around as consultants. Justified as he's really only a foot in the door against the Morning Star's sex operations. Once Viola joins the team, you effectively have the head of the Morning Star in your posse, leaving the Deckers and the Luchadores last.
  • Church Militant: The Cyprian Order in the Show Within a Show Nyte Blayde.
  • Clone Degeneration: The Brutes, as well as Johnny Tag, are far more stupid and more... brutal than the originals. In the latter case, the creator suggests that he just didn't have enough DNA samples to copy him properly.
  • Clown Car: In the free-fall shootout at the start of the game, Boss loudly wonders just how many vehicles and crates were being stored on the plane that they're falling from. You end up blasting your way through or dodging well over 40.
  • Compensating for Something: Remember how the Brotherhood in SR2 drove the massive Compensator pickup trucks? The Luchadores follow suit - not surprising given that they're basically the Brotherhood with more green.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Shaundi in the second mission, although she does have a point when she calls the Boss a "fucking asshole".
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several, from Cyrus mentioning Jessica's death as a reason why they need to take down the boss, to the boss mentioning having dealt with zombies before ( Zombie Lin in 1 and Zombie Carlos in 2).
    • One of the Professor Genki moderators will also mention having been in Stilwater once, driving in a convertible, when some idiot was driving around spraying feces around with a septic truck. Guess who?
    • Some buildings and vehicles, such as the silos on Arapice Island, have the Ultor logo on them. Doubly so, said silos apparently contain a zombie virus that Tera Patrick was researching in the Saints Row 2: Ultor Exposed DLC, which is released when the player unintentionally crashes a STAG plane into them, releasing the virus and creating zombies.
    • Jane Valderamma greets the Boss with "It's been a while", referring to her involvement with the Saints in the previous game.
    • In one of the endings, Kia lists off all the friends that were indirectly killed because of the Boss, including Lin, Carlos, Aisha, and Johnny Gat. Viola says something similar during the mission to kidnap Josh Birk/Nyte Blayde, referencing "a coma" (the explanation for your character surviving the Saints Row epilogue/ending and resurfacing in Saints Row 2) and "three friends dead", then sarcastically remarking how it really worked out for you.
    • In the start of the game after being kidnapped by the Morningstar, Phillpe Lorene offers the Saints to spare their lives if they give up a huge chunk of their profits (and the rates are before taxes are applied). The Boss and Johnny Gat defiantly refuse the offer since they already went through the same nonsense with the Brotherhood gang in Saints Row 2.
  • Cool Bike: The Estrada and Kaneda are cool as usual, but once you complete all the Cyber Blazing activities you get your very own light cycle.
  • Cool Car: It wouldn't be a Saints Row game without them. Rim Jobs makes a return from previous games and offers more customization options than ever. If the player still isn't satisfied with what they have avalible in the vanilla game they can also pay money for a few special vehicle pack DLCs which include things like the Genki Manapult and Saints Enforcer.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The "Power" trailer takes place in one of these, though it's actually the Saints penthouse and the Syndicate end up crashing the party and a massive firefight breaks out (though in the game, it's really hooker assassins who attempt to kill you, not Phillipe Loren and Morning Star.)
  • Covert Pervert: Kinzie. When you are doing the mission to rescue Zimos, she will casually mention that her safe word is 'tea cup'. She also owns a gimp mask and her own copy of the Penetrator. When the Boss and Pierce are invited to her safehouse and Kinzie has her back turned while she's spouting off techno babble, Pierce picks up the Penetrator with a puzzled look on his face. The Boss just shakes his/her head, notifying him to leave it alone.
  • The Cracker: Matt Miller and the rest of The Deckers.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The whole world of Professor Genki.
  • Critical Annoyance: In this version, you get a low health alert. The high-tech vehicles also have a version of their own, with a constant alarm if they received enough damage.
  • Crooks Are Better Armed: The Saints and the Deckers have cutting edge weapon tech, while Steelport police has your run-of-the-mill hardware. Subverted half-way through the game, though, when STAG (essentially, a beefed-up crime fighting agency) shows up in Steelport and fields futuristic weapon designs years ahead of everything the gangs have (but which they quickly appropriate).
  • Cruelty Is the Only Option: Letting the audibly sobbing girls in the back of a van free instead of condemning them to a life of sexual slavery for either the Syndicate or the Saints isn't an option. It is, however, hinted that Zimos takes much better care of his girls than the Syndicate does.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: If you choose to go after Killbane in "The Three Way", the Boss's final confrontation with the Walking Apocalypse takes the form of a simple quicktime event where the Boss beats twenty types of crap out of Killbane before snapping his neck.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Invoked with the protagonist and the new hair and eye color options.
  • Cut and Paste Environments: The game loves to reuse areas.
    • The insides of each shop look the same as every other shop of the same name. Strongholds get a bit standardised once you take them over, instead of using their pre-existing interiors which look different from each other.
    • The warehouse you chase the Morning Star lieutenant to in "Party Time" (early in the game) is the same warehouse that Kinzie takes up residence in (much later in the game). Another example is the mission "Pimps Up, Hos Down" which has the player re-visit a BDSM club not too long after their first visit, but drugged up this time.
    • This is even lampshaded in the radio adverts for the Irish bars; "All of our interiors are exactly alike so we can pass the savings on to you!"
  • Cyberpunk: The style for the Deckers. With a little Goth thrown in.
  • Cyberspace: Next stop: The Decker User Net.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Several buttons are mapped differently compared to Saints' Row 2.
    • The driving controls now actually help with driving and aiming your gun, but the sprint button in past games now throws grenades instead, with sprint being on LB like some other games. How do you take human shields, then? Y.
    • Getting into a car, taking a human shield, and entering shop mode are all done with the same button, unlike in 2 where human shield had its own button/key. And in the case of human shields, it has to be prompted by correct character positioning, leading to times you try to get into a car when you wanted to take a human shield and vice versa.
  • Dangerous Interrogative: Angry questions are how the game establishes the Hair-Trigger Temper of Killbane, the successive leader of the Syndicate, as soon as Kiki DeWynter makes the mistake of addressing him by his real name. Luckily, Kiki's more cautious sister Viola is on hand to correct her and prevent Killbane from lashing out. When Kiki insults Killbane again much later in the game, he doesn't bother to correct her a second time.
    Kiki: Calm down, Eddie.
  • Darker and Edgier: The original canonical ending is infinitely darker than everything else that has happened or would happen in the Saints' universe, save for maybe Carlos' Mercy Kill and Zinyak's destruction of the Earth. The Boss knowingly and willfully let two loyal Saints die, all other remaining Saints stick with him simply because they fear him more than anyone else, a member of the U.S. government successfully stages a False Flag Operation which leads the government to try to outright bomb its own city to oblivion, and at the end, the Saints takes over the government of Steelport through sheer force of fear and becomes a full-fledged insurgent separatist force. Just what kind of response do they think that would incite?
  • Deadly Game: Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax. "Murder Time Fun Time!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: The American female protagonist voice.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Morningstar, Deckers, and Luchadores in the story missions allows you to have members of the three gangs appear as Saints Mooks too.
  • Degraded Boss: The first brute appears as a boss in the initial missions, eventually appearing as a regular enemy, much to the player's misfortune.
  • Denser and Wackier: The game is mostly made up out of this trope applied to the already-boundary-pushing Saint's Row 2.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • If you're on a vehicle theft mission and you try to deliver a vehicle that's on fire, i.e. about to explode, you get the message that "the shop doesn't want a burning vehicle".
    • Also see Gameplay and Story Integration below. The dialogue of the Boss disguised as Commander Temple changes slightly depending on which voice set the boss normally has.
    • Trying to kill the Professor Genki mascot with the Mollusk Launcher (Genki's own invention) won't work because he's immune to the effect. (UNETHICAL!)
    • If it starts raining and the Boss happens to be completely nude, s/he will stoop over and start shivering when standing still.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • The Saints are never afraid to push the envelope:
      Murderbrawl Announcer: Oh my God, a chainsaw!
    • The opening bank robbery. All the tellers are strapped and willing to defend themselves, turning into a massive shootout. "Huh. That's different..."
  • Digital Avatar: The last Deckers mission, http://deckers.die, has you taking on the Deckers in cyberspace. As the Deckers screw with the system, your avatar takes on various shapes, particularly that of a blow-up doll, a hybrid of Mega Man and TRON, a giant dragon warrior, and a toilet. Yep, actual Toilet Humour in a Saints Row game. Who've thought? Once you complete the game, you can play as the blow-up doll and the toilet.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The entire city is available from the start, and after a couple easy missions you have all the activities available to play. Feel free to go through them and unlock all sorts of powerful weapons and ability upgrades (not to mention money) before really getting into the story, and become a nigh-unstoppable killing machine.
    • You can hang around the National Guard depot until you gain enough wanted stars to spawn tanks, which you can then steal and take back to the garage. You have the option of using your own vehicle on some of the side-missions, which means you can do Drug Runs in tanks, operating the mounted gun while the dealer drives around the city in the tank.
    • You get your second crib, which has a helipad, early in the game. Likewise, you can raid the National Guard depot again for armed helicopters.
    • One of the biggest money-makers is finding (and killing) Professor Genki - if you pull that off, you get an easy 100k at the very least, which can pretty much set you up for every upgrade early-game. Though Professor Genki seems to have an insane number of hitpoints, he can be very easily killed if you run over him with a vehicle.
    • The AR-55 assault rifle is unlocked in gunshops after Phillipe Loren's death, but you can pick up a free one a lot earlier, from Grigor's corpse, the target of one of the assassination missions available after you get the first crib. Alternatively, you can get one from the Steelport military base off one of the guards, though you will most likely perish from their firepower (don't worry; so long as you at least pick it up, it will remain in your inventory when you respawn from death).
    • You can get the Death Blossom SMG by killing a Decker specialist, long before it becomes available for purchase, and bypass the purchase cost too.
    • Some of the DLC for SR3 gives you a Saints-themed STAG quality laser-armed tank and armored car from the beginning, as well as guns like the Professor Genki's mind-controlling cuddly octopus gun and the sewer-shark summoning shotgun. These make the early parts of the game almost trivial, even on the highest difficulty.
    • The expensive McManus 2015 sniper rifle theorically becomes available for sale at the same time. You can acquire it earlier from dead Morningstar specialists or from one of the mascots from the first Professor Genki activity.
    • While most DLC simply gives you access to powerful items, leaving their use up to the player, two of them actually force a Disc One Nuke on the player. The Bloodsucker Pack gives you huge percentage bonuses to all cash and respect earned (+40%) along with a flat hourly income bonus from the moment you start the game, while the Unlockable Pack gives you both options of every quest reward choice in the entire game before you even finish the first act, well before any of the choices are actually offered. Consequently, both DLC were omitted from The Full Package version of the game.
    • During the mission where you get your second crib it's possible to get a rocket launcher by quickly killing some of the enemies at the end of the mission. You can also buy ammo for it despite the weapon not being sold at that time. With a fully stocked rocket launcher in hand, trouble with brutes, vehicles and crowds becomes a thing of the past.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • One of the assassination sidequests has you executing a pizza delivery boy... because the person who put out the hit always ends up with the wrong topping whenever he orders a pizza.
    • Cops are pretty touchy in general. Cops will try to kill you for streaking or shoving them aside while sprinting. If an NPC so much as bumps a cop car with their vehicle, they will be stopped, grabbed from their vehicle, thrown to the ground, and shot until dead.
    • After you conquered the district of New Colvin, Zimos tells you that the reason the DeWynter twins hate him is because he slept with one of them and forgot which one. That's a pretty dick move, but being punished with sex slavery for it is too much.
  • Distaff Counterpart: There is a non-violent, female Brute that can be seen in the Pimps Up, Hos Down mission.. The "Brutella" also appears in Whored Mode. There is also a Brute form for Aisha and Johnny Gat, as well.
  • Divided States of America: One of the possible endings has the Boss Take Over the City and declare Steelport's independence from the United States of America as a sovereign city-state.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Killbane doesn't like being called by his real name, Eddie Pryor. Repeated use of it out of spite drove him to snap Kiki DeWynter's neck. As long as it's an honest mistake and you're not using his name just to piss him off he'll let you go with a correction, as seen when Jane Valderamma mistakenly calls him Eddie; he just waves it off with a request to call him Killbane.
  • Double Tap: One of the Finishing Moves on Brutes - backhand the Giant Mook onto the ground, then shoot it in the head repeatedly until it explodes.
  • Downloadable Content: The game comes with multiple weapon, vehicle and cheat packs already on the disc, which only require a specific code, or a cracked executable file, to unlock.
  • Dragon Ascendant: You kill off Phillipe Loren surprisingly early into the game, and Killbane takes over the Syndicate by virtue of "he can kill anyone in the room with his bare hands."
  • The Dreaded: In the bad ending, it's implied that the remaining Saints stick with the Boss mostly because they can't ever afford to piss off that guy.
  • Driving Stick: Johnny can't drive stick, according to Shaundi in the second mission.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: After being a prominent character in the first two games, Johnny Gat is abruptly killed off during the opening sequence. In Saints Row IV, it's confirmed that the original Johnny survived the events on the Syndicate plane. He rejoins the Saints after being rescued from the Zin.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Considering the incredibly crazy stunts the Boss is able to pull off and their One-Man Army abilities, it's surprising what little respect they gets from their lieutenants. Even Pierce doesn't seen to respect them that much.
    Boss: What? [Killbane] is more afraid of Angel than of me?
    Shaundi: Yeah, no offense, but you're kind of ridiculous.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: The first person in the game to point out how stupid it is that the Saints are corporate icons is Josh Birk. While Johnny shares the sentiment, he feels the need to point that out when he, Shaundi and the Boss are sent to prison in the prologue.
  • Early Game Hell: A Hardcore difficulty play can definitely be this. Early in the game (i.e. before Act 2), you have no upgrades - enemies take large amounts of ammo to kill unless you're very good with headshots, and you can die in 2 hits from snipers or shotguns. Getting caught in a crossfire generally leads to a swift death, which is a major problem during missions where random reinforcements can arrive based on your wanted level. Even worse are brutes, who can take several magazines of ammo to kill even if every hit is a headshot unless you use explosives, which you can only hold a few of at a time until later on. It is pretty hard to indulge in open-world missions/activities or random chaos without dying quite rapidly until far later on in the game when you have many upgrades.
  • Easter Egg: Almost literally. If you go a little bit out of your way and check on one of the boats north of the Three Count Casino, you can find a giant, inflatable Easter Bunny held on the boat by nets. The bunny first appeared in the second game as an easter egg found in the ocean. It apparently has been captured.
  • Elite Mooks: The enemy factions in-game all have "specialists", units with unique weapons or abilities. All three Syndicate gangs have their own, as does the police and STAG. Also, any of the three gangs may deploy a Brute armed with miniguns or flamethrowers.
    • Morningstar has Grigor, a bald guy with a Sniper Rifle in helicopters over the roadblocks Morningstar have set up.
    • The Luchadores have Almonzo, a big masked guy in armor with multi-shot grenade launchers that do more damage to NPC's and opponents than they do to you.
    • The Deckers have Kirsten, a British woman on rollerblades that grant her super speed, pausing only to shoot at you or smash you with a shockwave hammer.
    • The cops have their own Elite Mooks: SWAT teams with tactical shields, coming in squads via SWAT vans or helicopters. Regular cops also serve as snipers on helicopters.
    • The National Guard have tactical shield units like the cops.
    • STAG has riot troopers and sniper specialists, but they also have their own unique Elite Mooks: Commandos, distinguished by their orange armor and gas masks. These guys take more punishment than standard STAG soldiers, and cannot be grabbed and used as a human shield (doing so will cause them to push you away). They also cannot be set on fire.
  • Endless Game: Whored mode is a minigame where players fight off against opponents with a semi-random weapon pick or modifier.
  • Enemy Chatter: It's hard to hear while in the middle of combat, or when you walk past them on the street, but enemies have an astonishing amount of lines you might never hear (in some situations you may never find them in).
  • Energy Weapon: The F-69 V.T.O.L. Jet and the Specter hoverbike both feature laser weapons, and the new Professor Genki activity features lasers as an obstacle. A majority of STAG's arsenal also utilises lasers as ammunition rather than the typical bullets.
  • Enforced Method Acting: In-universe example, Director Zhen uses live ammunition and real actors inside the planes instead of drones just to get cinéma vérité. He's not filming people pretending to kill you, he's filming people actually trying to kill you.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The Professor Genki trailer is trying to cause the viewer epileptic fits with how many rapidly flashing changing lights it shows.
  • Episode of the Dead: The game has a short story-arc where Burt Reynolds recruits the Saints to deal with a localized zombie outbreak, which occurred when they took down a STAG cargo plane which lead to a classified chemical agent on Arapice Island being released.
  • Escort Mission: The Snatch side-missions.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Matt Miller is shocked when Killbane snaps the neck of Kiki DeWynter.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Syndicate Tower. Compared to the Saints' towers, which are more Evil Towers of Partying.
  • Evil vs. Evil: An army of War Is Glorious Blood Knight Well Intentioned Extremists who fake terrorist attacks, an international criminal syndicate that owns a city in all but name, and a psychopathic crime lord whose lieutenants include an Ax-Crazy woman on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and a sex slaver.
  • Exact Words: The disclaimer for the first trailer says it contains actual gameplay footage. Of a Groin Attack. Another trailer features "actual gameplay footage" of a man in a fursuit blowing up a tank with a bazooka.
  • Failure Knight: Shaundi, turning herself from a stoner into a soldier in response to nearly losing the Protagonist's trust forever in the previous game. After doing that, she has another Failure Knight moment brought on by Johnny Gat's presumed death and her (mistaken) belief that she could have saved him.
  • Fake Static: Pierce does this when he and the Boss risk destroying a supercomputer Kinzie wants. Boss does this too if you use Female Voice 1.
  • Fallen States of America: Not explicitly stated, but implied in order for the setting to exist. Mass economic recession and housing crisis affecting the poor while leaving plenty of cheap real-estate for the rich to scoop up? Check. Vast increase in poverty and suicidally-depressed citizens demanding that you end their pitiful existence? Check. Lack of unified national infrastructure and scattered city-states that are operating largely autonomously from any federal government while being run by criminal warlords with military-grade firepower? Check. Corrupt police force (with a literal bum walking in off the street and assuming the role of Chief) being essentially "just another gang", and unconstitutional use of military force to augment "law-enforcement" on American soil implying a state of emergency? Check. Rogue politicians going outside the usual chain of command and assuming control of entire State Sec paramilitary divisions? Check. Said paramilitary declaring martial law and using Gestapo/terrorist tactics and heavy-handed propaganda to cow the populace? Check. Cops giving up chasing suspects after a while implying lack of investigative training/resources? Check. The citizenry being jaded to daily blodbaths? Check. Public kept distracted by the "Breads and Circuses" of various personality cults and bloodsports? Check. It comes off as a mix of post-collapse Soviet "republics", Nazi/Soviet-occupied territory, pre-African-Union Mogadishu, and the wild west.
  • False Flag Operation: There's a Frameup where the Luchadors blame the Saints for destroying the Hughes Bridge in Stilwater, by simply releasing a doctored video claiming credit. STAG later tries framing the Saints for blowing up the Magarac Island Statue, for the sole purpose of getting their super gunship in position.
  • Fantastic Drug: Catatonex, a relaxation drug made by Wellmake Labs, one of the Saintsbook job contacts. Its apparently pretty strong because the company has to hire the Boss to take human shields and hostages because the citizens of Steelport weren't already stressed enough to begin with!
  • Fartillery: The final upgrade for the Flashbang turns it into the "Fart-in-a-Jar". Instead of stunning enemies by blinding them, it instead stuns enemies by making them puke.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Viola flat out says that Killbane would consider his own unmasking this.
  • Feed It a Bomb: One of the Finishing Moves you can use on Brutes.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Police will try to kill you for streaking.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The final boss of the Save Shaundi ending takes place on Mars (except not really, it's actually a film set for an in-universe B-Movie called Gangstas In Space).
  • Flamethrower Backfire: Flamethrower-armed Brutes can be killed the normal way, but since they wear a welding-visor, they're mostly immune to headshots, making it much harder. On the other hand, if you can put enough bullets into the backback of the flamethrower, it'll jet them into the air and explode.
  • Flat "What": Pierce's response to the Boss commenting on the Deckers with either a geeky or verbose remark.
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: The Daedalus. Throughout the story, Cyrus Temple presses Monica Hughes to get him authorisation for its use, but even she is against it as she considers it overkill. If the Magarac Island Statue gets blown up, she will reluctantly get Cyrus authorization to use it.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: A bank robbery rather than Halloween, but when the Saints rob a bank at the start of the game, the Saints all wear Johnny Gat bobblehead masks, including Johnny himself.
    Josh: You're robbing a bank dressed as yourself?
    Johnny: Hell yeah! Who doesn't want to be Johnny Gat?
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The news ticker in the intro of the Genkibowl DLC hints at several things, ranging from a director shooting Gangstas in Space to Monica Hughes running for president and even rumors that Johnny is still alive.
    • During the first level, the helicopter pilot tells the Boss that the controls aren't working. The same thing also happens when Shaundi tries to shoot Killbane.
    • Burt Reynolds being the Mayor isn't so surprising if you notice a certain billboard near the airport, or paid attention to some radio ads.
    • There are various billboards around town saying things like "Honor Zinyak" and "Coming For You". Considering the fourth game's plot if you noticed them and remembered them when the fourth game started, it's quite a surprise in retrospect.
    • During the bank heist in the prologue, after meeting very strong opposition from guards wearing unusual uniformsnote , the Boss wonder himself loudly several times "Hey, who does own this bank?", to which Gat always answers "We don't care". Since most of the game's plot is triggered by the Syndicate reacting to the heist of their bank, the Saints should indeed have cared.
    • Long before the reveal it's actually the shooting of a movie, there's a clue that the Gangstas in Space final mission isn't supposed to be real: the group of Saints displayed right in the opening cutscenes includes Johnny Gat.
    • The explosives in the penthouse in "Party Time" are wired with red, green, blue, and black. The "black" faction, STAG, will be joining the war in Steelport later on.
    • The wire the Saints have to cut to disarm the penthouse explosives is the red one. The Saints will close the first chapter by killing the Morningstar's leader, Loren. That they're doing this to steal a penthouse from the Morningstar could also foreshadow the Saints buying, stealing or destroying Morningstar's other assets until they collapse.
  • For Want Of A Nail: If it wasn't for Jyunichi (who was quite a minor character to begin with) killing Aisha in Saints Row 2, Kia probably wouldn't have joined STAG, meaning the Serious ending would have never happened. Considering Shaundi is alive in Saints Row IV, as well as "Holding Out for a Hero" implying it, it would seem that the canon ending is the happy ending.
  • Fractional Winning Condition: In the final story mission, STAG stirs up trouble at three locations throughout Steelport. You only need to pacify two of them before proceeding to the next stage of the mission.
  • Free-Fall Fight: Just in case you thought the first instance of this wasn't insane enough, the second time around you and your opponents are in tanks.
    Female Voice 2: "UFO watchers would love this."
  • Full-Frontal Assault:
  • Fun T-Shirt: In addition to the usual clothing options, Pierce founds the "Planet Saints" clothing chain just to sell off a warehouse of shirts with the gang's catch phrase "Saints Row, Bitches!".
  • Fun with Acronyms: S.T.A.G. (Special Tactical Anti-Gang) For clarification, "Stag" was slang for illegally produced pornography in the early 20th century. Zimos even lampshades this.
  • Future Copter: Virtually any air vehicle used by STAG, including their Airborne Aircraft Carrier, are kept aloft via ducted rotors in internal wells as opposed to the rotary wings conventional helicopters use for VTOL.

    Tropes G to L 
  • Gag Penis: The Penetrator dildo bat. You can also get this effect if you turn the sex appeal slider all the way up to 100 on the male boss.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In any Vehicle Theft mission in which you're supposed to steal one specific vehicle (instead of just any vehicle of a particular type), there is a high probability that the vehicle in question will be declared "destroyed" (even if it isn't even damaged) as soon as you enter the neighborhood where they are kept. This makes these missions borderline Unwinnable.
    • Another one is near the end of the "Belgian Problem" mission, if you're playing the PC version and you have just enough specs to squeeze out gaming performance (i.e. it works, but slowly most of the time); when the ball-thing you're hanging on starts falling, there's supposed to be a cutscene of a Brute falling on it after you. The thing is, in slower machines, said cutscene does not play, and you can only see the Brute halfway into your descent, when he's already in your face, ready to punch your lights out. And even then, the game won't let you aim your gun at him until he's ready to attack, meaning you'll die every time. One way to get past this part is by using the One-Hit Kill cheat, but since this game uses No Fair Cheating, it'll disable not only autosave, but also Steam achievements for the remainder of the campaign, even if you turn off the cheat afterwards. Alternatively, you can lower your resolution to the lowest possible during that stretch of the mission (thus making your framerate faster) and then return it to normal afterwards.
    • Sometimes a Stunt Jump or Barnstorm can fail to be registered by the game.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • The mission My Name Is Cyrus Temple is made possible by the Magic Plastic Surgery offered by Image as Designed. The Boss is surgically altered to exactly resemble Knight Templar Cyrus Temple, down to the voice. In a particularly well-done element, the Boss's voice selection influences "Commander Temple's" mannerisms when he breaks character, such as asking Kia if she finds Pierce attractive if Female Voice 2 is used. Female Voice 1 will comment how s/he likes men when Kia mentions an off camera sexual fling she and Temple had, and Female Voice 3 will reminisce about Aisha songs from back in the days of the original Saints Row.
    • A more subtle example would be the collectable items the Boss finds scattered across Steelport: drug packages, sex dolls, money pallets and photo ops. Aside from the last one these items don't seem to make sense even by the loose standards of the game. After all, who would just leave drug stashes and money laying around in random places for bums to pick up? The answer is... nobody. Players who pay close attention during the second mission of the game will notice several of these collectables stored in the cargo hold of the plane Boss and Shaundi jump from. Those things weren't left behind by the people of Steelport, they all just ending up landing in the locations they are found at after slipping out of the plane.
    • When you kidnap Birk you suddenly lose your immunties. If you're playing co-op, however, your ally still keeps theirs. The game hasn't removed The Boss' immunity, it's making sure Josh doesn't have any ehile he's slung across The Boss' shoulder.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: A few instances.
    • Angel never wears his Luchador mask when called for help even after he gets it back.
    • You get access to all of your unlocked homies after completing the final mission twice to see both endings, which can create the paradox of the monument being destroyed while Shaundi, Viola, and Mayor Reynolds are all still alive.
    • In one of the early missions, you raid an armory. Strangely, despite the fact that you can clearly see all sorts of weapons stashed away in the apartment crib, as well as the fact that you are given access to maxed out weapons and even tanks during certain missions, you are still required to buy/steal/unlock them yourself outside of the missions.
    • Similar to the above, you gain access to the RC Possessor weapon much earlier than it is actually used in the story. As such, no matter how often you have used it, the Boss will still act like s/he's unfamiliar with it when it becomes relevant to the plot. What makes it worse is that Kinzie claims that the RC Possessor is something she put together while she was bored, but you unlock it before you've even have met her!
    • There are a handful of missions that involve the Saints' HQ being blown-up or otherwise being severely damaged. After you clear the mission, sometimes you'll immediately appear in the Saints HQ, as if nothing happened.
    • Unlike in previous games, City Takeover is now linked to completing minigames and buying properties, rather than doing missions. As a result, the amount of control the Saints actually exercise over Steelport is completely divorced from the story. So you can do the entire storyline and supposedly crush the Syndicate and conquer Steelport without controlling even a single neighborhood. Or, conversely, you can do 100% of City Takeover gameplay as early as the beginning of Act II, then sit through another three-quarters of a story predicated on the Saints being plucky underdogs against the monolithic Syndicate. This can lead to some awkward dialogue depending on which mission you're playing, like "Stop All the Downloading", in which Kinzie rags at you for supposedly shooting nonstop at oncoming Deckers while she's hacking power outlets... when there's not a single mook coming because you've already annihilated the Deckers beforehand:
      Kinzie: (amidst the most absolute silence, when there should be a firefight escalating) You mind keeping it down there?
    • The Boss will claim to not know who the Luchadores are when they attack Johnny's funeral, regardless of how many of them you've killed before that.
    • Likewise, the Saints will always be astonished upon meeting a Brute for the first time in a story mission, even though you can easily encounter and kill them beforehand while doing side activities or just getting any gang after you at a high level.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • Oleg Kirrlov. Eight feet tall, built like a sumo wrestler, and plays chess when he's not out kicking ass. He's also shown to perfectly understand Kinzie's Techno Babble.
    • To a much lesser extent (largely by comparison), Killbane. Far less intelligent than Oleg, but still clever at times; keeping a high PR with his casino, his interviews and radio shows and trying to frame the Saints for the destruction of the Hughes bridge. He also appears to be well read, given how he occasionally accurately references relatively obscure bits of Greek and Roman mythology.
  • Giant Mook: The gangs in Steelport now have access to Brutes, eight-foot towers of walking muscle that can effortlessly upend cars and take a ton of lead to bring down, some of who are armored and given miniguns or flamethrowers. If you see one in the back of a truck, blow up the truck.
  • Gladiator Games: Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax. Just don't shoot the pandas, it's not ethical.
  • Go Fast or Go Boom: Played With in the Tiger Escort activity, where the Boss has to drive around town with a full-grown live tiger in the passenger seat. If you drive too slowly or hit obstacles, the tiger grows progressively angry and begins mauling the Boss, potentially killing them (it can be temporarily pacified again by drifting around corners at high speeds).
  • A God Am I: Matt Miller considers himself a 'cyber god' due to his skills as a hacker. Inside the Decker Use-Net however he pretty much is god.
    Matt: Don't you get it? I'm God here.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Philippe Loren is depicted smoking in official artwork, in one of the trailers, and at least one point in the game. One of your allies, Zimos, also smokes but it had damaged his voice. Boss can't smoke in the third game, and Shaundi has given up the habit.
  • G-Rated Drug: The trafficking missions involve the Saints selling their merchandise in a typical drug dealer fashion, however, it turns to be nothing but promotional T-Shirts and Saints action figures. Deliberately left vague as to whether they actually contain some illicit substance... or people are just that addicted to Saints' brand merchandise.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Pierce's Japanese commercial, the bonuses in Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax, and the Mollusk Launcher.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: The choice in the games amount to whether the Saints become sell-outs who prefer money over what they are or being true to themselves. The thing is, being true to themselves means cold-blooded killers who lead the city through fear instead of PR; you can sell the cargo of sex slaves back to the Syndicate for a huge amount of cash or keep the sex slaves and make your own racket.
  • Grenade Spam: The Luchadores have Elite Mooks that use grenade launchers. The amount they shoot out at one time is a lot.
  • Groin Attack:
    • The "melee bash" button almost exclusively involves the Boss destroying someone's nards, and each weapon has its own animation for them and to top it all off there's also an Achievement/Trophy called "Oww, my balls". It effectively stuns all but the toughest characters.
    • Also notable with the rarely-appearing Professor Genki - if he isn't using a weapon when he shows up, he is going to be punching everybody in the balls.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • One of the Assassination missions requires you to drive up on a specific location in "a muscle car," but doesn't tell you which models are considered "muscle cars." (If you're wondering: Bootleggers, Hammers, Hammerheads, and Phoenixes count.)
    • The Collectible Finder ability doesn't reveal the locations of Barnstorms or Stunt Jumps. Fortunately, these don't count towards Challenges or Achievements/Trophies and only give Respect and cash, which can be earned elsewhere.
    • Among many other activities, gaining full control of the city requires to clear Gang Operationsnote . While Downtown has easier activities and cheaper properties than the other parts of the town, it also has the most difficult Gang Operation of the game. Said Gang Operation isn't harder to clear than the other ones, but is very tricky to find. It is the only Gang Operation not located on the ground, thus needing an helicopter to be reached, but that's not the hardest part. Did you looked for it by scouting the only Downtown area you don't control yet? That's useless, because... the Gang Operation is actually located outside of the territory you gain after clearing it.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. The Morning Star and Luchador specialists (men) attack with sniper rifles and grenade launchers while the Decker specialists (women) attack with giant shock hammers. (Granted, the Decker specialists also carry SMGs for ranged attacks if needed, but their primary weapon is the hammer.)
  • Hammerspace: The Boss's arsenal. Can you carry two handguns, two SMGs, a shotgun, an assault rifle, a small briefcase, an assortment of grenades, and an RPG launcher in your jacket pocket? This is even lampshaded in one mission:
    Zimos: "Here's your guns back."
    Male Voice 2: "Can't really hide it now, can I?"
    Zimos: "That's on you to figure out, baby. I'd rather not know."
  • Hand Cannon: A fully-upgraded .45 Shepherd is larger than the Boss's forearm and fires bullets that explode with enough force to toss victims around like rag dolls. The game's other pistol, the KA-1 Kobra, is far less flashy, but fully upgraded can negate armor and riot shields, and can even take down a helicopter in about one clip.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: The Female 1 Voice, when disguised as Cyrus Temple, will mention she (disguised as Temple) likes men after Kia alludes to one night they spent together that she's not ashamed of.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Fittingly, Angel, Killbane's former wrestling partner. After being unmasked in the ring, Angel severed all ties with Killbane. He now plays a role helping the Boss get used to Steelport (and he's obsessed with revenge on Killbane).
  • Hide Your Children: Children in the game are mentioned in dialogue, but never seen.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Viola also turns to the Saints after Killbane kills her sister Kiki.
  • Hero Antagonist: Cyrus Temple, and his second-in-command Kia, as well as their STAG organization, were this at the start of the game: they're trying to stop a deranged, psychopathic mass-murderer, who just happens to be the Player Character. But as the game progresses, they start to lose out the "hero" part as their methods grow progressively more and more extreme, culminating in Cyrus declaring martial law in Steelport.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: By the end of the game, STAG has declared martial law, carried out abduction and detention without trial of Shaundi, and Kia attempts to frame the Saints for terrorism by blowing up a landmark and leaving kidnapped members of the Saints to die in the blast. Lampshaded by Monica Hughes if you stop the bombing, when she calls off STAG.
    "You declared martial law and destroyed half of the city; the Saints just saved a treasured monument. Who the fuck do you think the public will side with?
  • High-Speed Hijack: You get bonus points for this.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: One of your contacts for Assassinations is a Morning Star going by the name "Rasputin", who sets you up for a (incredibly obvious) trap after taking out another rogue Morning Star by impersonating his personal chauffeur. After escaping said trap, an anonymous contact puts a hit on Rasputin (whose real name is Barry, he feels the need to point out). How do you lure him out and kill him? By impersonating his personal helicopter pilot.
  • Hollywood Hacking: And How!
  • Hostility on the Set: invoked In the "Gangstas in Space" DLC missions, Andy Zhen makes filming the titular movie a living Hell due to his terrible treatment of his actors and crew with the exception of the Boss (who he spends the entire time sucking up to; the Boss quickly grows sick of his behavior), directing particular ire toward Jenny Jaros, the Boss's co-star, who he treats with outright contempt at best. The Boss and Jenny, however, largely get along just fine, and the Boss tries to help Jenny stand up for herself. The DLC ultimately ends with Jenny murdering Andy Zhen, having grown sick of him trying to kill the crew, him berating her, and his "stupid fucking scarf".
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Oleg is a Russian genetic experiment who is bigger than most doorways, can bodycheck a truck, and, if Zimos can be trusted, has nothing to be ashamed of down there. Kinzie is a really inexperienced shut-in nerd who is noticeably shorter than the Boss and is explicitly stated to be a virgin. Oleg says he wanted to confess his love for her before they die.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind:
    • Nyte Blayde again.
    • Oleg repeatedly mentions his hatred of the Brutes based on him and will prioritize them in a fight (which is handy, considering he is the only one who can go toe to toe with them).
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: The DeWynter Sisters can be told apart from the colors of their sunglasses: Kiki wears pink glasses and Viola wears white glasses.
  • I Fell for Hours:
    • Twice. Once inside a tank. And the Boss doesn't forget to complain about this.
    • The "Sad Panda Skyblazing" activity from Genkibowl VII is made of this. They put the Boss in a special suit that essentially allows him/her to fall at an almost horizontal angle. Even if you deliberately miss all of the balloons, it can still take close to two minutes to hit the ground.
  • Ignored Vital News Reports: Both the Saints and the Syndicate fail to pay attention to the various news reports about the STAG Initiative until STAG starts kicking down their doors.
  • Interactive Fiction: Part of http://deckers.die is a text adventure.
    Female Voice 3: "Why, why Mr. Unicorn?!?"
  • Intoxication Mechanic: During the mission "Pimps Up, Hos Down," the Boss has to take a gang stronghold while high on a drug that makes the screen go all wibbly-wobbly.
  • Invincible Hero: Once you get to around level 50, you can buy immunity to bullets, explosions, fire, and vehicles... which is almost everything the game can throw at you. You can still be hurt by Brutes and other melee attackers, though. Also, being in a vehicle when it explodes will still kill you, regardless of explosion immunity.
  • Invisible Anatomy: When playing as a toilet. Wielding the Apoco fists gives you Floating Limbs.
  • It's All My Fault: Played straight with Shaundi regarding Johnny Gat's apparent death. Shaundi lapses into various shades of It's All My Fault on several occasions, while nearly every character she says it to comes back with You Did Everything You Could.
  • It's Personal: Discussed by Cyrus Temple at the end of "Gang Bang" when he mentions Jessica's death in the previous game and asks the gathered reporters if she were their daughter, how far would they want STAG to go in fighting the gang menace?
  • It's Up to You: During the mission "Three Way", the player must choose between saving Shaundi and killing Killbane. Apparently, none of the other Saints are competent enough to do one of those while you accomplish the other. Might be justified in that the entire mission was intervening in the Luchadores' assault on STAG, so more than likely every other Saint in the city would've been busy with that.
  • I Was Just Joking: Near the start of "We're Going to Need Guns", Shaundi sarcastically suggests raiding a military armory to get weapons for the Saints. The Boss proceeds to take her at her word.
  • Jiggle Physics:
    • Applied in full force to The Female Boss if you turned her "Sex Appeal" slider all the way up. Also with Shaundi as well.
    • Averted when wearing the Steelport Guard Uniform, no matter how much "Sex Appeal" your Female Boss has. As it is essentially military camo and full body-armour with a ballistic vest, it's a logical exception.
    • And the Penetrator melee weapon, a three foot long purple jelly dildo, complete with balls.
  • The Juggernaut:
    • Oleg, a new Saints lieutenant, is capable of body checking cars and can throw mooks about like ping pong balls.
    • Oleg's clones show up packing miniguns and flamethrowers. It's a good thing this game lets you upgrade your maximum ammo, because you are going to need it for these guys. They routinely toss smaller cars out of the way, and you can't run over them with a tank. They just shove it aside.
  • Kamehame Hadoken: Pierce throws a fireball in a Japanese advert for the Saints Flow energy drink. The Boss can mimic throwing a fireball as a taunt, but can't actually throw fireballs... that is, until the final mission for The Trouble With Clones.
  • Knight Templar: STAG is determined to remove all the gangs from Steelport at any cost, up to and including removing Steelport itself.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "The Belgian Problem," the Boss sets the timer on the bomb to blow up the Syndicate Tower, then heads upstairs to kill everyone inside and escape again before it runs out. This was a common tactic in Saints Row 2, when it was never remarked upon. This time, however, Shaundi asks why he/she didn't wait to set the timer until after they were ready to leave. Pierce's response? "That's...a really good question. We should hurry."
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In "Live! With Killbane", Killbane scoffs at the idea of Angel having a rematch with him without a mask, saying that he's less than dirt. You later get the chance to unmask Killbane.
  • Laser Hallway: One of many a Death Trap in Professor Genki's game show.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The Caucasian female's voice has this amusing little quote which is heard either on the voice selection screen or occasionally if she's left standing idle for a while:
      "I told my therapist I'm not responsible for awful things I do... It's almost as if someone else is controlling me."
    • And then there's this from the Russian female voice:
    • Jon, the DJ of the [adult swim] radio station, will talk directly to the player at one point, commenting how pathetic and sad it is to be listening to a fictional radio show inside a video game. He also will sometimes note that you're listening to the station's "12 songs that randomly repeat forever rock block".
    • In the final mission of The Trouble With Clones DLC, the Boss gains telepathy from the irradiated Saints Flow and banters with Jimmy Torbitson's inner monologue.
    • This starts as early as the very first mission:
      Shaundi: How long until the chopper gets here?
      Johnny Gat: I dunno, about... two waves of SWAT guys?
      Shaundi: Sounds about right.
    • Also used humorously in an early mission with Pierce when Boss finds the first sex doll box:
      Boss: Pierce, what the hell is this?
      Pierce: Oh that... It's a little hobby of mine.
      Boss: Okay, I'm outta here.
      Pierce: Shit, I didn't mean it like that! They're collectable, you're supposed to try and find them all.
      Boss: People collect some weird shit...
    • If you have Pierce as a homie, one of his idle lines is complaining that they need to stop booking him for video games, because "that shit is vocally distressing".
  • Lethal Joke Item: About half the weapons that can be unlocked. This includes things like a giant 8 bit tank that shoots ammo that looks like giant marshmallows, a luchador mask that can set people on fire by just taunting them, and the well known jiggly dildo bat. There's also the Apoco-Fists, giant foam fists capable of punching a tank halfway across the city.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Boss is this. They're still a sociopathic criminal for the most part, but in 2, they were capable of some truly bone-chillingly cruel acts (such as burying a man alive, trapping a woman in the trunk of a car set to be crushed by monster trucks, killing his old boss who was sickened by his cruelty in cold blood, etc etc). The Boss is much more affable and doesn't commit any truly cruel acts in The Third, which could make you forget that they really aren't a good person. Subverted in the last choice however, where the Boss can give up the one standard they had in the previous game (loyalty to the crew) and take over Steelport,making it clear the city is no longer under the government's authority but the crew's instead, which is even worse than the final action in Saints Row 2.
  • Lockdown: Later in the game, after the Saints destroy the Thermopylae, STAG places the city under lockdown. The bridges into downtown are risen, roadblocks are placed throughout the city, STAG patrols are increased, and the player automatically gains a single notoriety level whenever you are in Loren Square or Sunset Park. In addition, civilians may randomly attack the player.
  • Lodged-Blade Recycling: Early on, Gat gets stabbed by Loren during a tussle, but being a Made of Iron badass, he just pulls the knife out and throws it at a guard with a machine gun so the others can escape.
  • Loveable Rogue: What the 3rd Street Saints are seen as by certain members of the public. During the bank robbery in the prologue, one hostage even gets a picture taken with the Saints, in the middle of the robbery.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • A couple of the Assassination missions can only be triggered if you attack one or more prostitutes in a specific neighborhood, which means the game actually has to spawn prostitutes in those neighborhoods.
    • Assassination missions that require you to get a high notoriety with the Morningstar can be difficult once you take over the city because few Morningstar actually spawn. This is noteworthy because one Assassination mission requires both this and the above prostitute attacking, which means if you accidentally take over the district before starting this mission it goes from luck-based to nearly Unintentionally Unwinnable.
    • Any side activity that relies on NPC behavior. Insurance Fraud can be greatly complicated if the cops decide to start shooting at you since they scare the traffic and cause pile-ups that make it hard to score points. You also can't fight back during this activity. Snatch and Trafficking are also problems as success relies on how quickly the NPCs decide to get in the car, which can be anywhere from almost immediately to almost a minute, with Trafficking having the extra problem of the NPC sometimes parking the car in a place where you can't easily get back in it. And finally, Guardian Angel can fail easily if the car you're protecting and the cars chasing it never get any distance from each other, since shooting the enemy car next to your ally will often destroy them both.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Anybody hit by the Apoco-Fists (a giant pair of fists unlocked by choosing not to unmask Killbane in the mission "Murderbrawl XXXI") or hit with a fully charged shot from the Sonic Boom immediately explodes into a pile of these. You can even gib people inside cars with it.

    Tropes M to R 
  • Made of Explodium: The cars explode when shot enough, just like in any GTA clone, but special mention goes to the pony carts.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Getting immunity towards bullets, fire, explosions, fall damage, and cars will make you nearly impossible to kill. Only melee attacks and lasers from STAG vehicles will hurt you, and being inside a car when it explodes will still kill you.
    • To some extent, brutes' toughness may be handwaved as them being created through some sort of genetic engineering, but it becomes ludicrous once you notice they're able to survive a direct hit from a tank shell.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Image as Designed. The surgeons are capable of changing any aspect of the Boss's physical body, down to skin color (including bizarre shades like green and fire engine red) or gender. This is even used as a plot point in the mission My Name Is Cyrus Temple.
  • Mascot:
    • There's an inordinate quantity of people in oversized animal, beverage and hot dog costumes running about the town, and nobody is sure why or what are they doing. Apparently the local population is mentally scarred by them to such an extent that many people explicitly tell you to exterminate them before they take over the town. Killing 200 of them grants an ingame achievement.
    "Mascots! They're gathering at the costume shop! It's... it's how they make more of their kind!"
    • Professor Genki serves as the game's unofficial mascot.
  • Masked Luchador: Killbane and the Luchadores as a whole.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Thermopylae, STAG's aircraft carrier base. Thermopylae is famously the location of the 300 Spartans' battle against the Persian empire — a small army that faced down the considerably larger empire and ultimately lost. Ironically, it's the smaller force that wins against the larger one in this case, as the Boss manages to destroy the aircraft carrier after rescuing Shaundi from it.
    • The Daedalus, their Airborne Aircraft Carrier, also counts. Daedalus was the father of Icarus in Classical Mythology, and was the creator of the wax wings Icarus famously used to fly too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt from the heat and sending him plummeting to his death. The carrier itself falls from the sky after the Boss sets off some explosives on it in the finale mission "STAG Film".
  • Mêlée à Trois: While standard for the series as a whole (Saints vs. rival gangs vs. police), The Third takes it up to eleven with the penultimate mission, "Three Way", where Steelport has turned into a warzone as the Luchadores and STAG fight it out, and the Saints attempt to clean up the mess by killing off both sides. On top of this, you also have double maxed notoriety to deal with, and at the end, a Sadistic Choice...
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Tom, the other DJ from the Adult Swin radio station, is apparently quite off his gourd. To boot:
    • He apparently doesn't know what a boner is.
    • He disguises himself as a waiter and plays one just because Jon (the main DJ) asked him if they could go out for a bite; Tom took it as Jon calling him a waiter. He only snaps out of it because Jon plays the act and indirectly calls him a smartass.
      Jon: And I'm taking the check right now, I'm in a hurry. I gotta go meet my friend Tom at the Smartass Convention. No, I don't have another friend named Tom, I'm talking about you!
    • He enters an Indigo Prophecy-esque trance-like state (complete with chest scarifications and incantations) live on air because Jon misunderstood something about how dedicated phone lines work.
      Jon: OK, now he's pulling out a knife, and it looks like the knife from the movie Cobra. Okay, he's waving it at me, and slicing it across the tech booth glass... whoa, now he's pulling up his shirt... He is ripped!!! Jesus, Tom! Oh my God, he's... he's carving runic symbols into his chest and he's muttering his crazy, this pre-human way- OH MY GOD, he just hurled himself against the glass! He shattered like a ceramic vase, this is nuts! Holy SHIT!!! Alright, folks, it is official: things are getting weird here.
  • Money for Nothing:
    • The developers went out of their way to avert this; you always have something to spend money on, and never enough at one time. Every single new ability you get must be paid for, often with ludicrous amounts of money; ditto with the guns and their upgrades.
    • The amount of money Professor Genki drops on death varies, but it usually shakes out to around $300,000, which is more than enough money to buy every store in Steelport and most of the properties besides. With that kind of cash flow, you'll never be hurting for money again.
    • The Bloodsucker Pack adds not one but three separate money-oriented bonuses that are applied from the start of the game, in addition to giving you every cash, income, and respect bonus the base game has without having to purchase it. How much cash? You may run into the game's early-level hourly income limit several times.
  • Morton's Fork: Inverted at the end of several missions where you get a choice of rewards, which while sucking for someone are great for you either way. For example in one mission, your goal is to save a group of women from a traficking ring that forces them into prostitution. You are then presented with two options: sell them right back to the trafickers, or get them to work for you. Either option results in the women continuing prostitution and you making a lot of money off of them.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: When infiltrating the STAG recruitment center to kidnap Josh Birk, if you're using Male voice 2 the Boss will inform the guy at the desk that he's "an actor with no ulterior motives".
  • Multiple Endings: Certain missions can have different outcomes.
    • One mission's outcome determines the fate of the Morning Star's headquarters. The Boss can either A: blow up the building, giving them a truckload of respect at the expense of the building staying like that for the rest of the game and pedestrians' comments on the Saints changing, (and an ongoing respect bonus as well), or B: spare it and use it as a safehouse for the Saints, which gives you an additional 10% on any cash you earn.
    • The end presents players with with a choice: sacrifice Shaundi to go after Killbane, or rescue her and allow Killbane to escape. The former allows you to confront both Killbane and Cyrus (and by extension, STAG) and Take Over the City. The latter? You save Shaundi and in doing so prevent a plot to portray the Saints as terrorists. Monica Hughes calls off STAG and the Saints are seen as heroes because of the extreme lengths that were used against them. Then they make a movie set on Mars.
    • One mission choice that may as well represent the essence of Saints Row: will you keep samples of a zombie virus, allowing you to summon a horde of zombies to unleash on your foes? Or destroy the virus and earn the active help of Mayor Burt Reynolds?
    • The mission The Ho Boat has two endings. Either sell the girls back to the Syndicate for a large lump sum or let Zimos keep them for a permanent $1000 boost in hourly payout.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: One trailer promises the game to be huge with the release of never before seen footage... of someone being punched in the nuts to truly epic music. Grand Theft Auto raises the bar, Saints Row holds it to its crotch and pretends it's a cock.
  • Murder by Remote Control Vehicle: For The Boss to be able to wrestle Killbane at Murderbrawl XXXI, they must first get rid of the other competing wrestlers through this method.
  • Muse Abuse: Zhen in the Gangstas in Space DLC, enough to disgust even the boss.
  • Mushroom Samba: One mission has Boss infiltrating a BDSM club as a sex slave. It begins when s\he is dumped into a room after a combination of drugs and who knows what done to him\her. Boss stumbles about, falls over, throws up and cannot aim well throughout the mission.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Killbane, the Walking Apocalypse.
    • When a character is named "The Angel of Death" you should probably be glad he's on your side.
    • According to the commentators in the Prof. Genki activities, mentioning Johnny Gat by name is a good way to make the mascots and hunters break down in tears.
    • Turns out that the Boss has a media nickname/wrestling identity: the Butcher of Stilwater.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline:
    • The Bloody Canoness in the Show Within a Show Nyte Blayde, and, by extension, Viola when she's forced to dress as the Canoness during the main storyline. She isn't amused.
    • A Female Boss can have this, particularly with the "sex appeal" (a.k.a. breast size) slider set to maximum, and when wearing certain outfits such as the "Elegant Couture" dress.
  • Neck Snap:
    • How Killbane kills Kiki DeWynter. In one ending, you get to return the favour, but unlike Killbane killing Kiki it actually takes some effort for the boss to break Killbane's neck, even if the protagonist is powerfully built.
    • It's also how you kill hostages you take when you hit the melee key.
  • Nerf:
    • The Boss has been considerably nerfed compared to the previous game, so that you have to buy back the abilities, damage output, and toughness you previously took for granted in the new character improvement system. Wading into battle Guns Akimbo, for example, was something that the Boss could previously do automatically, but now requires Respect Level 26 to do with submachine guns. The ability to restore health with power-ups has likewise been eliminated altogether, so you might actually need to buy the extra health and faster regeneration rates in order to stay alive, and even after doing so, you will STILL die a lot easier than in Saints Row 2 due to helicopter riding snipers, brutes, and onslaughts of gunfire from one or two dozen enemy gangsters without any place to really hide or take cover behind, besides the occasional wall or so.
    • Some of the weapons that return from the previous game have been nerfed, particularly the stun gun (which no longer kills people, making it useless in a serious fight) and the Kobra pistol (which went from the best pistol in the game to the weakest, but was upped in its firing rate and magazine capacity to compensate). As well as the Rocket Launcher, which when fully upgraded, often times has a very difficult time finding its targets and leaving you vulnerable until it can actually hit something, since you're only allowed to shoot off one rocket at a time. In Saints Row 2, it never had this problem and worked far better.
  • Never Mess with Granny:
    • Applies to the Boss if you make her old. As a matter of fact, you can even give put curlers in her hair and put her in a bath robe and bunny slippers.
    • All NPCs, including the elderly ones, have a chance of being armed, as well as a separate chance of taking issue with the Saints doing, well, anything. There is a small but real possibility some geriatric pensioner will rip you out of your car while stopped and lay into you with a stun gun.
    • The first bank teller who pulls a gun on you in the first mission is also an old lady.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The "Power" trailer showed off Loren with a lot of build up to him being the big bad of the game. He dies no later than the end of Act 1.
    • Johnny Gat was also depicted in the trailer fighting alongside the player, even taking a bullet and just getting back up to fight. He gets killed off-screen during the second mission.
    • In the same trailer, the Morningstar are shown crashing the Saints' party. In the actual game, it's the Saints who crash a Morningstar party. The Saints do get their own party at the same location crashed later, but the Morningstar aren't directly involved with it.
    • The trailer also implies the Saints might form an Enemy Mine with Loren against STAG. Again, in-game Loren is long dead by the time STAG shows up in Steelport. Only Viola defects from the Syndicate to the Saints, and even then it's to get back at Killbane killing her sister rather than because of STAG's arrival.
    • The trailer for the Penthouse Pets gang members DLC suggest they are player-controlled characters (one is even seen executing a takedown move available to the player), but at least in the main game, they are simply background characters providing support during battles if required.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: By blowing up the cockpit of a STAG aircraft and sending it and all of its cargo crashing down, the Boss ends up unleashing a Zombie Apocalypse onto a section of the city. Oops.
  • Night of the Living Mooks:
    • Zombies appear on Arapice Island after "Air Steelport". The Boss can summon zombie homies if s/he chooses to keep the zombie virus.
    • Regardless of which ending you got, you get Zombie Johnny Gat as a homie in the Playable Epilogue.
  • Nintendo Hard: Largely avoided. When it does happen it's confined to optional diversions, and only under specific circumstances:
    • One of the optional diversions, "Mayhem", requires the player to cause a certain amount of damage in a limited length of time. One of these side missions, rated as "Hard" difficulty, is located on Arapice Island. Up to a certain point in the game, it's tough but not unbeatable. After the zombies take over the island, if the side mission is attempted then it becomes Nintendo Hard because there are virtually no vehicles (which generally are needed to rack up the points) and zombies continually attack the player, often triggering an action that delays the player for several vital seconds at a time.
    • Another optional diversion, "Insurance Fraud", requires you to ragdoll against moving cars to rack up points, with additional points granted from bouncing against multiple cars in succession. As you do this you gain "adrenaline", which when maxed allows you to better control yourself mid-air. Usually adrenaline levels do not reduce while you are mid-air, but in co-op adrenaline levels continue dropping unless both players are in the air at the same time. Combined with the nearly doubled point level required to complete the diversion, this can make even Easy level Insurance Fraud very hard to complete.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Saints Row IV operates from the ending that saw the Boss choosing loyalty over revenge and saved Shaundi rather than stopping Killbane's escape.
  • Noodle Incident: This line Pierce gives us when the Saints first meet Oleg.
    Pierce: The last time a big naked dude said he could help me, it did not end well.
    • In "My Name Is Cyrus Temple", part of the dialogue awkwardly leads to Kia uncomfortably mentioning the "experimenting" they did that one time while they were both off duty.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The Cockney male voice:
    • He calls "chips" "fries".
    • In "The Ho Boat" mission he tells the rescued hos to "follow the guy with the Z on his back", he pronounces it as "Zee" when he should have pronounced it as "Zed".
    • The second one also comes up Played for Laughs when the player is trying to rescue Shaundi from STAG by pretending to be Cyrus Temple - if you've taken the Cockney male voice, he'll use the word "bloke", hastily cover it up by saying he picked it up when he was stationed in Britain, then cover that up by saying he's "probably said too much" when Kia mentions there's no record of Cyrus having ever been stationed there.
    • This applies to all the voices for the Cyrus Temple Impersonation, each with their own bits of dialog according to the Boss' chosen voice at the time. Example: The Female Russian voice will refer to Pierce, Viola, and Shaundi as "Comrades."
    • Angel De La Muerte, despite being Hispanic, pronounces his name the Anglophone way like everyone else. The only person who pronounces his name the Hispanic way is news reporter Jane Valderama—who habitually mis-pronounces everyone else's names. Irony sets in when you realize Angel's voice, Hulk Hogan himself, is part-Panamanian.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • The boss says this to Kia when when the Boss hears Kia is an Aisha fan and that the reason she joined S.T.A.G. was to take down crooks like the ones that killed Aisha.
    • If the player opts to stop Killbane's escape, he invokes this with the Boss, and even gives an Ironic Echo of Gat's statements early in the game about the Saints losing touch with their roots.
  • Notice This: Collectibles have icons hovering over them.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Aside from Killbane blowing up the Hughes Memorial Bridge and framing the Saints for it in Act II, the Syndicate seems perfectly content to play a purely defensive, reactive role in the fight with the Saints. They'll defend their operations and their territory, but they never try to take any of it back or strike at the Saints directly (they leave that to STAG).
  • Organ Theft: One of the properties the Boss can buy near the harbor area is an organ blackmarket. Fully taking over the operation only sets them back a couple thousand dollars...
  • Outside-Context Problem: Though it had been foreshadowed by in-universe newscasts, both the Saints and the Syndicate were too busy warring with each other to pay attention to Monica Hughes' STAG initiative... until they show up out of nowhere during a meeting between the Boss, Oleg and Viola DeWynter, forcing the three to take cover in a strip club and then hightail it to the Saints' penthouse. From thereon out, the Saints begin to fight both the Syndicate and STAG.
  • Outside-Genre Foe:
    • STAG. Fighting the military in a crime-focused game wouldn't be too outside. Fighting a military unit with space-age high-tech laser guns and hovercraft, on the other hand...
    • Zombies, which show up later in the game.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: The game went this route for Oleg and Kinzie, much to the Boss and Pierce's shock.
    Oleg: No, he's right. Were Kinzie here, I would pour out my heart.
    Pierce: WHAT?!
    Oleg: It is rare that I find an intellectual equal.
  • Palette Swap: The gang styles that you unlock by completing missions and activities are just non-Saints (rival gang members, cops, and otherwise) painted with Saints gang colors and programmed to fight on your side. This becomes especially obvious with the styles that mimic your various rival gangs, because their war cries will still contain disparaging references to the Saints.
  • Permanently Missable Content:
    • The ability to replay any missions like in Saints Row 1 and 2 is absent due to the way the missions expect certain world map states, which you alter through the course of the game; the closest you get in the unmodified game is that the game allows you to replay the penultimate mission, "Three Way", one time to get the other ending, then it's gone. Although if you're on the PC, this has been modded back in.
    • It is possible to completely wipe the three enemy gangs off the map once you take control of their neighborhoods. If you also completed the auxillary survival, assassination and car theft missions and reached 100% Completion, the only way for you to see gang members again is to answer a phone call to a survival mission (which will cycle randomly after you've completed them all) or redo an activity. This can be extremely frustrating, as several of the Saintsbook items explicitly require gangs. Makes it even worse for one in particular, requiring you have neutral gang members to taunt.
    • STAG is gone from the city after the final mission. Those who enjoyed taking on someone more competent than your average policemen (and the Steelport National Guard with regular tanks, helicopters, and weaponry, which shows up at high wanted ratings) should take notice.
    • Killbane's mask cannot be obtained via cheats, as opposed to the Apoco-Fists. Thus, if you opt to spare Killbane's mask, you'll never be able to get it for yourself (unless you have the Unlockable DLC pack).
    • Averted regarding vehicles; all gang and STAG vehicles are permanently added to your garage once you complete the main plot.
  • Pet the Dog: When Matt Miller says he's leaving the Syndicate to pursue new opportunities (in reality, it's because the Saints beat him), Killbane says he's going to miss the kid, and says he can use him as a job reference. In general, he treats him like a little brother. Given that he's killed or alienated just about everyone else high-up in the Syndicate, and is maybe one step back from psychopathy most of the time, it provides a sharp contrast. It's also especially striking since many real-life gangs don't take very kindly to members leaving, especially not someone that high up in the ranks. Matt is especially surprised by this turn of events, as he clearly but nervously states that he's afraid of being killed, expecting that he was going to be killed in the next moment anyway.
  • Pimp Duds: Worn by Zimos.
  • Playful Hacker: Kinzie. Among the things she will do to the Luchadores on one mission is make sure that next time they get their cars repainted, they end up bright pink.
    Kinzie Kensington: [cheerfully] I think if I could worm into their mainframe, I'd do all sorts of naughty things.
  • Police Brutality: Unlike their Stilwater counterparts, Steelport cops don't even carry nonlethal weapons like nightsticks and stun guns. If you so much as dent a patrol car's fender, the driver will pull out a shotgun and try to kill you where you stand. This behavior isn't just limited to the player, either: NPCs who make the mistake of grazing a police vehicle will be stopped, pulled from their vehicle, thrown to the ground and shot until dead. Police who weren't involved in the original collision will even join in.
  • Pop the Tires:
    • You have to shoot out the wheels on a semi-trailer truck to stop it during one mission. Also, it's possible to shoot out the wheels of any car in the game, which greatly lowers its handling but still leaves it able to be driven.
    • One of the vehicle upgrades allows you to put spikes on your wheels, which allow you to pop the tires of cars just by bumping into them. This often results in the car in question continuing to drive (or, at least, attempting to), causing them to spin out of control and kill civilians, cause traffic accidents, and property damage.
  • Practical Taunt: Taunting gang members earns you a bit of respect, and one challenge requires you to taunt 50 of them. One assassination mission has you taunt people to draw out the target. And then there's Killbane's mask; wear it to make your taunts set people on fire.
  • Pre-Character Customization Gameplay: The Boss and their underlings all dress up in Johnny Gat outfits (complete with gloves and oversized bobbleheads) and use voice modulators while they rob a bank and get into a massive shootout with the police. It's only after the Boss is captured and unmasked that you get to customize their appearance.
  • Press X to Not Die: There are quick time events to avoid being smacked by a Brute, to clear away a horde of zombies that overwhelm you, and to deliver beat-downs. Furthermore, all but two of the Boss Fights incorporate quick time events (and those two bosses are in mutually exclusive endings).
  • Pun-Based Title: The mission "Trojan Whores", where the Syndicate uses whores as a trojan horse to try to get close to the Saints and assassinate them.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: In The Trouble With Clones, the Boss temporarily gains superpowers after drinking irradiated Saints Flow.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: General Killbane uses exactly these words when referring to hero and his/her team before the final confrontation in 'Gangstas in Space' ending mission.
  • Really Gets Around: Shaundi's promiscuity is still joked about, though far less than last time.
  • Real Men Wear Pink:
    • One of the promotional screenshots of Killbane has him wearing a large pink feather boa.
    • Pink seems to be the unifying color for the Syndicate as a whole, as every member of all three Syndicate gangs has some pink in their outfit, including their leaders.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The person you choose to confront in the penultimate mission gives you one. Considering the Sadistic Choice involved, they're both right. Interestingly, since the choice ultimately comes out to either going back to the Saints' former brutality or fully immersing themselves in being corporate sellouts, each speech is more directed towards the other choice.
    Killbane: You were a fucking clown, selling energy drinks and lunch boxes. You didn't care about the crowd, just the paycheck.
    Kia: Lin. Carlos. Aisha. Johnny... all you do is let your friends die.
    • During one of the intermissions between songs, Jon (the DJ from the WDDTCPDG Adult Swim channel) will kick the fourth wall in the balls and ask the player (not the Boss, the player) how much control do they have over their own life and tells them to go get a girlfriend and/or a job instead of listening to a fictional radio station in an immature and juvenile video game.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: As part of the Saints' fame, Johnny Gat sold his likeliness to the Saints-Ultor Media Group and had a comic book named Gangstas In Space made from it. The final mission if the Boss saves Shaundi in the ending features The Movie of this, in which the Saints shoot a ridiculously campy sci-fi film that also happens to be a parody of Red Faction: Guerrilla. Also, one of the DLC is also called Gangstas In Space. To wit, at the end of this mission, the Boss starts quoting Alec Mason's closing speech from Guerrilla... until they forget the words and the scene is cut.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Heavily, heavily invoked in the games' marketing and advertising. The first announcement trailer was a very quick shot of the Boss nutpunching an enemy, and much of the previews focused on things like driving around with tigers in your car, dildo-bats, and skydiving from planes to have mid-air gunbattles.
  • Replay Value: When creating your character at the start of the game, you have a choice of several different voices (for example, the female protagonist has a standard American accent and a Russian accent). Far from being simply the same script read by different actors, each voice infuses the protagonist with a unique personality (for example, a Russian female protagonist will reveal feelings for a male character that are not expressed by the other voices). In addition, the option exists to have a male character with a female voice (or vice versa), and there's even a zombie voice available. All told, at least 14 different playthroughs are possible, one for each voice/body combination. And this doesn't take into consideration the many options available in terms of character body design.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Killbane snaps Kiki's neck while she says she's getting her organization out of the Syndicate. Later subverted by Matt leaving the Deckers and clearly fearing this trope while he's walking to the airport with Killbane... but he just finishes up by telling Matt can use him as a job reference.
  • Retirony:
    • Played for Laughs. Pierce's character in "Gangstas in Space" was apparently two days from retirement when he dies.
    • Later in the mission, Johnny Moto will probably say the following shortly before his demise:
      Johnny Moto: Me? I'm not worried. This is my last tour, after we take out General Killbane I'm moving to Fiji and sailing on my new boat... The Prosperous Future.
  • Rice Burner: Some of the vehicle cosmetics can easily approach this territory. It's most prominent with the Sweeper, which can be decked out with post-apocalyptic spikes, blades, and boarded up windows that look badass but don't stop it from being a street sweeper with some of the worst stats in the game.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: The plot kicks off with the Saints robbing a Syndicate bank.
  • RPG Elements: The game has now a selection of perks which grant various benefits (calling the Saints to have one of your vehicles delivered where you stand, having tougher homies, being less affected by damages, carrying more ammunition, etc), unlocked when your respect meter reaches specific caps; said cap only makes them available, they have to be bought with your cash. The game also allows to buy accessories to customize your weapons.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: Whenever you're being chased by the police and/or STAG, using the Nitrous becomes useless as their cars will simply and inexplicably also speed up.
  • Running Gag: Oleg and Pierce never get to finish their chess game.

    Tropes S to Z 
  • Sacrificial Lion: Johnny Gat. Shaundi, Viola, and Burt Reynolds as well, if you choose to go after Killbane.
  • Sadistic Choice: The second to last story mission.
  • Sanity Slippage: While there is some question about where he started and ended on the scale Andy Zhen, the director from the "Gangastas In Space" DLC, clearly undergoes this by the end of the story. Weather he was alsways derranged and murderous and the ending is where the mask comes off or if he truly got worse over the course over the DLC is in question, but proudly delcaring you're trying to make The Boss and their costar helpless while trying to kill them is clearly further off the deep end then he was previously. He somehow got worse.
  • Saved for the Sequel: The $30 expansion Enter: The Dominatrix (originally thought to be an April Fools joke) was announced to be cancelled in favor of incorporating the ideas into the next game.
  • Say My Name: Parodied in every single "Nyte Blayde" radio commercial. Some may cross over with Skyward Scream, but as it is only audio, we don't know for sure.
  • Scenery Gorn: A surprising amount for such a light-hearted game. Namely, the massive ship just off shore that is split in two, the remains of a national landmark blown up in a terrorist bombing, and, of course, the zombie filled district.
  • Scenery Porn: Steelport is a beautifully rendered urban environment, especially at night with thousand-foot-tall billboards and buildings covered in colored lights. Just as with Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City and Grand Theft Auto V's version of San Andreas, it's possible to spend many hours simply sightseeing around the environment. Even after some of the Scenery Gorn elements described above kick in, and even after several cool locations disappear after they've become "cribs" for the Saints and are changed into high rises as a result there's still a lot to see.
  • Send in the Clones: The Syndicate cloned Oleg in order to create the Brutes, which possess Oleg's superhuman strength, but not his intelligence leaving them severely mentally handicapped.
  • Sensual Spandex: The Boss is now capable of wearing tight spandex, whether as a Superhero uniform, or a gimp suit.
  • Sequel Escalation: Played Straight and Inverted.
    • Played straight with the craziness.
      • A device that lets you remotely hijack almost any vehicle, and with the highest upgrade, military vehicles.
      • Airstrikes.
      • Free-fall gunfighting.
      • Tank skydiving.
      • Luchador wrestling with a chainsaw.
      • Mascot costumes.
      • Hover bikes.
      • V.T.O.L.s with microwave lasers.
      • Dildo bats.
      • A Zombie Apocalypse.
    • Inverted by the level design and demands of the new graphics and lighting engine.
      • No day-night cycle.
      • Clothing options simplified—you can't wear clothing in layers and have different "wear options" for each article.
      • There are no food, music or car stores.
      • There are no longer health items, but also, nothing to replace them either, like a cover system. You just have to upgrade your health to absorb more damage, rather than avert or avoid it.
      • Not as many secret areas and not as much environment variety.
  • Sequence Breaking: Averted. Several of the initial missions serve as tutorials on basic game functions like purchasing property and upgrading vehicles, while others introduce new optional diversions and activities. However, you can complete most of these actions or activities before starting the tutorial mission. Rather than making the mission needlessly redundant once you do start it, you will simply skip over the parts you've already done, up to and including skipping the mission entirely.
  • Serial Escalation: A few days before the game was released, Saints Row 4 was announced, which would be "even wilder than The Third."
  • Shady Lady of the Night: In order to eliminate the Saints, Viola and Kiki DeWynter hire a bunch of prostitutes and anonymously organize a party at the Saints' penthouse. Being sexually eager, the male Saints don't realize the prostitutes are here to assassinate them until the Boss narrowly stops one of them from shooting Pierce with his own gun whilst straddling his lap. At this, the other prostitutes pull out really big firearms from... somewhere, and start shooting the building up. Ultimately, though, the Saints win the firefight, because however well-armed the prostitutes are, they're still wearing Stripperiffic clothes instead of tactical body armour, which means they can be shot dead as effortlessly as any other enemy. In the aftermath, the DeWynters are read the riot act by their erstwhile allies:
    Viola: They came highly-recommended!
    Matt Miller: Ladies, it was a pretty shit plan.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The final Deckers mission, during the text adventure portion. "Look at Unicorn." It looks like a unicorn. None of the bosses find this very funny.
    Male Voice 2: FUCK YOU, GAME!
  • Shout-Out:
    • The default taunt belongs to John Cena, there's one for Slick Ric, you might spot Melina's splits, and numerous other wrestling style poses, outfits and taunts. Something to do with one of the actors in the game perhaps?
    • One of the other taunts is the Carlton dance!
    • Not only that, you have the President Scroob salute and the Ninja Rap dance amongst many many others.
    • Sad Panda as well, which was also a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown in Saints Row 2.
    • The game begins with a familliar text crawl, with familiar music playing.
    • WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • The Japanese commercial in the beginning of the game has Pierce do a Hadouken. It's available to the player as the "Quarter-circle forward + A" taunt.
    • One mission involves "rescuing" prostitutes stuck in shipping containers. One of the districts is named New Colvin as well.
    • There's several well-hidden references on a sign for "Missing Ships", including many real-life ghost ships alongside the Axiom, the Heart of Gold, the USG Ishimura and, last of all, the Borealis.
    • The Sonic Boom weapon you get in Act 3 is essentially the Gravity Gun from Half-Life, though with less grabbing objects and more messily killing people. Furthering the shoutout, the very next mission, which is pretty much dedicated to throwing shit around with your new toy, has you dealing with a Zombie Apocalypse, mirroring Half-Life 2 giving you the gravity gun and then tossing you into Ravenholm.
    • One of the Sonic Boom based Whored Mode challenges is called BeGuiled.
    • The achievements have a few jokes as well, one being the Porkchop Sandwiches achievement for a firefighting related mission later on.
    • One achievement is called "Gellin' Like Magellan", a line from an old Dr. Scholls advertisement.
    • While it isn't an achievement, one mission concerning the Deckers is called "Stop All The Downloading".
    • The "Opulence, You Has It" achievement is a reference to this DirecTV commercial.
    • The last Angel mission, wherein you drive around with a tiger in your car, references Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, in which the main character's father attempts to train him to conquer his fear by making him drive a car with a cougar in it.
    • During the first mission in Steelport, you take command of a UAV while a rock and roll Leitmotif plays.
    • Matt Miller's avatar seems suspiciously similar to a Balrog. It also resembles a Mass Produced Eva, and when you get a copy of his avatar, the fight between the two includes a lot of vicious grappling, stabbing and biting typical of the series. May be justified, considering Matt's cyber god complex.
      • Matt's dragon avatar is blue, while the Boss's is purple...much like Evangelion Units 00 and 01, respectively.
    • And on hijacking her first VTOL, Female Voice 3 gives us a duel shout out by saying "Whoooa, Daaanger Zoooooone!!! At lease one voice when jumping out of a jet can be heard shouting "Jester's dead!". Male Voice 1 after commenting the VTOL is like a helicopter that doesn't suck, will go "Wooooo, talk to me, Goose!"
    • The midair tank battle where Boss sounds like s\he's having the time of his\her life mirrors that scene in The A-Team film. S\he might even lampshade this.
    "I love it when a plan comes together."
    • Female Voice 1 might also growl about the STAG jets not being cleared for a fly by, recalling the Running Gag from Top Gun. As she referenced the film on hijacking her first jet, she knows her films.
    • I'm Free - Free Falling is a homage to the Tom Petty song "Free Fallin'".
    • One of Killbane's plans with the Saints is a Montreal Screwjob.
    • If left sitting idle for a while, Female Voice 2, the Russian female, will muse, "I wonder how my cousin Niko is doing. It's been so long since he called."
    • When hijacking a VTOL, Male Voice 3, the Cockney voice, might say, "Let's try spinning, that's a good trick."
    • During the second to last mission, when the Boss is given the choice to stop Killbane or save Shaundi, regardless of what the player chooses, Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out For A Hero" plays, overriding the radio, while you race to catch the Big Bad or save your friend.
    • S.T.A.G. is basically an Expy of Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D., complete with Helicarrier. One of the achivements even references Nick Fury.
    • Newsclippings from The Punisher game based on the Tom Jane movie also feature in the game, created by the same developer company. Much of Saints Row's run-and-gun gameplay mirrors what was created for it, including the human shield, toss, and neck-break.
    • The Professor Genki announcers are extremely reminiscent of the ones from MadWorld and American Gladiators... which one of the narrators hosted in real life.
    • Considering the fact that Oleg is a Hulking great Genius Bruiser it's probably no accident he calls one of his failed clones an "Abomination."
    • Once he joins the Saints, Oleg dons a white suit and purple turtleneck, which just happen to be the signature attire of The Kingpin.
    • One of the neighborhoods in Decker territory is called Salander, which is the neighborhood where the red-haired female hacker stays.
    • Upgrading the baseball bat turns it into Charlie's Rat Stick from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, complete with "NO RATS" written on it to make the reference perfectly clear.
    • The neighborhood with the nuclear plant is Burns Hill, of course.
    • The golf-cart is called the Knoxville.
    • One of the wave titles in Whored Mode is "Rita: Make my monster grow!"
    • Likewise, one is Y. Kano: TANK! Let's blow this joint, 3... 2... 1...
    • Another is 31 Days Later.
    • One has you taking on a line of zombies and you've got a chainsaw, titled Romero's Revenge.
    • Another one, where you use a blow-up doll as a weapon, is called "The Real Girl", and the description is "Make Lars Proud".
    • When the Saints rob the armory, Female Voice 3 practically dribbles over the bomb.
    • In "Gangstas in Space", Killbane will announce that he is the Boss's father before their fight, leading to an agonized Big "NO!" from the PC. In the same mission, the Boss using a stalagmite to kill Killbane is a reference to the infamously bad Star Trek fight against a Gorn. The method of running around shooting "lava crystals" is suspiciously similar to the final boss fight in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The mission ends with the Boss quoting the end of Red Faction: Guerrilla - or at least trying to.
    • During the DLC "Gangstas in Space" (not to be confused with the above mission with the same name) you visit backstage areas with various set pieces and props. One of the sets is for Red Faction: Guerrilla.
    • One of the DLC weapons (a scoped automatic rifle) is known as the Togo-13.
    • The more conventional sniper rifle is called the McManus 2015, continuing the same naming scheme for the sniper rifles of previous games.
    • Murderbrawl is one big Shout Out to wrestling. You can even see some wrestling tropes in the mission (like the easily distracted ref).
    • Uplink can occasionally be seen on some of the ingame computer monitors.
    • One of the flashier motorcycles is called the "Kaneda".
    • The other most common motorcycle is a chopper called the "Estrada".
    • When the player is disguised as Cyrus Temple and checking out STAG prototypes with Kia, using one of the female voices causes the player to ask if the Spectre is any good for forest combat.
    • One of the trophies /achievements in the Genkibowl VII DLC is called Flame On. Another one which you can get from the same activity is "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".
    • The Cyber Buster weapon is a reference to the Mega Man games.
    • Completing all of the assassination missions grants the player the "Everything is Permitted" trophy/achievement. The text of the achievement claims (in a somewhat doubtful tone) that, by killing all of your targets, you have saved millions of lives. This was the (false) justification given for the assassinations in Wanted.
    • If you rapidly tap the fire button on the STAG air motorbike, the gun sounds like an AT-AT firing.
    • Whilst storming the Syndicate Tower, Pierce suggests the Brutes be called Bricks.
    • The animal mascots resemble the bear costumes from the spy flick The Avengers (1998).
    • The Running Gag of Loren getting angry when people mistake him for a Frenchman instead of a Belgian may be a reference to Hercule Poirot, who considers that particular bit of confusion to be the bane of his existence.
    • The achievement for upgrading one of each type of weapon claims that it was done "by the Power of Saints Row!"
    • The achievement for completing 100% of City Takeover is called "Bright Lights, Big City."
    • The fast method of car jacking is called Bo-Duke-en because you jump in through the window (or the windshield) feet-first.
    • Female Gimps look exactly like the Mistress unit from Dungeon Keeper 2.
    • A dark one where if Boss uses the first female voice she'll say the first luchadore she kills (by remote controlling his car, going on a rampage then killing himself) will look like a roid rage attack, ala Chris Benoit.
    • One of the Assassination targets is a Cable Guy called Jim.note 
    • A radio commercial on KRhyme mentions Equestria Girls.
    • One mission has DJ Vangela hiring you to kill his rival, DJ Enigmusnote 
    • The BDSM club Safeword is at least partially based on the nightclub in the music video for "Relax", in particular chariots being used as a method of transportation. "Relax" is also on the game's soundtrack.
    • When Zimos asks the Boss's real name during a mission, Female Voice 1 will respond with "Martha Fucking Washington".
    • One of the airplane models is called "Snipes 57".
    • The Deckers are one big shout to Shadowrun's Decker player class. Just compare your trip into cyberspace in the mission "http://deckers.die" to how cyberspace runs are depicted in most Shadowrun video game adaptations.
    • The opening mission has the Saints robbing a bank whilst wearing oversized caricatured masks. The achievement for completing this is called Dead Presidents.
    • In the opening mission the Saints' method for robbing a bank involves blowing up the structure around the bank vault and airlifting the entire vault away on a cargo helicopter. The same thing happens in the opening scene to Batman Forever.
    • Nyte Blade gives the mandatory Angel reference which has the basic skeleton of the show (a vampire with a soul fighting for the ones he loves as extremists hunt him down) and the promos that play on the radio mirror the Buffy and Angel TV shorts, if overacted.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Nyte Blayde, the story of a handsome yet misunderstood vampire hunter that regularly saves the world from vampires. note 
    • Professor Genki's Super Ethical Reality Climax is another popular programme, complete with the announcers from Murderbrawl!
  • Sky Heist:
    • The opening mission has the Saints robbing a bank vault. When their Plan A doesn't work, they activate Plan B - blowing up the upper floors of the bank, then having a helicopter with a crane attachment lift the entire vault out of the wreckage.
    • One mission tasks you with recovering a shipping crate of prostitutes who are about to be sent out. The method of rescuing them is lifting up the container with a helicopter and flying back to safety. Along the way, the Boss has to protect the helicopter, all the while the prostitutes hang on for dear life when it opens up mid-flight.
  • Skyward Scream: Delivered during the "Gangstas in Space" ending. Four times. Though the fourth occurrence happens for a different reason than the first three.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Matt Miller, primarily due to the fact that he considers himself a 'Cyber God'.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The chess matches between Pierce and Oleg, which are always ruined by something. One match almost goes to Pierce, but Oleg finds a way to subtly Rage Quit.
  • Smash Mook: The basic brutes.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Depending on player action, the emphasis can be either on the 'Heroic' part or the 'Sociopath' part. Either way the Boss is still a noticeably nicer person than he/she was in the second game. There's also the aforementioned Hero Antagonist Cyrus Temple, who falls squarely into this trope. Though he starts to lose the "hero" part after he ends up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope with his increasingly extreme actions.
  • Sophisticated as Hell:
    • The game's intro pulls it off twice.
      Conquest. The story of human history. Since time immemorial, great leaders have risen from humble beginnings to . . . do shit.
      A Saints movie is in development. Johnny Gat and Shaundi are pop-culture icons. And Pierce... Well, who gives a fuck about Pierce?
    • Also used in a survival phone call.
      Hey, my friend, there was some rioting after the Stilwater benefit concert and the cops were hatin' man, no love, just bustin' heads. How 'bout the Saints go down there and MAKE 'EM FUCKIN' PAY FOR BREAKIN' THAT SHIT UP?
    • Killbane also loves to play this for what it's worth.
      (after he kills Kiki) Viola, your sun is setting, but it's not too late. There's still time to grab Apollo's chariot and drive that fucker back across the sky.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • "You're the Best" begins playing as you tear wrestlers to shreds with a chainsaw during Murderbrawl.
    • The "Genki Escort" diversions in the Genkibowl DLC have you driving a flamethrower-equipped vehicle, murdering people to please Professor Genki. The vehicle always is tuned to the classical music station.
  • Spoof Aesop: The description for the 'Ow My Balls!' achievement/trophy.
    Did your first nutshot and testicle assault, sack tapping is bad news kids!
  • Squick: An in-universe example. While traversing through the basement of Safeword (the BDSM club which Zimos is held hostage at), the Boss and Pierce comment on their mutual disgust at their current situation with the boss stating that they are going to bathe in hand sanitizer after they leave.
  • State Sec: STAG.
  • Stripperific:
    • Every single female gang member with the exception of Philippe Loren's personal assistants, as well as the ludicrous amounts of prostitutes on the streets. Men in gimpsuits also feature prominently.
    • The player character can be stripped down to a G-string and pasties without activating a pixel censor filter that is present in case of Full-Frontal Assault.
    • Lampshaded and mocked when Viola is forced to wear the Bloody Canoness's get-up, a Naughty Nun outfit, in the mission to kidnap Nyte Blayde's actor.
  • Stylistic Suck:
  • Subordinate Excuse: If your character uses Female Voice 2, she makes many slips-of-the-tongue regarding her unrequited love for Pierce, including wondering if she should send him a sex machine with "From Your Secret Admirer" attached and asking Kinzie if she has cameras set up in his bedroom.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Johnny Gat.
  • Super Serum: In one of the DLCs the boss gets fed a radiocative Saints Flow energy drink it giving him/her the speed to outrun cars, the strength to displace cars and punch people into chunks, immunity to any non melee attacks, the ability to shoot fire balls, and Telepathy; it doesn't last though.
  • SWAT Team: These guys appear as the Elite Mooks for Steelport's local law enforcement.
  • The Syndicate: The main villains are called this, and they walk the walk.
  • Tag Line: "Strap It On".
  • Take Over the City: You can take over parts of Steelport in various ways. Exaggerated in one ending.
  • Take That!:
    • The in-universe series "Nyte Blayde" is a humongous one to numerous vampire shows such as Angel, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.
      • Dramatically voiced radio commercials for the show attempt to interest the viewers in horrendously trite and cliche plot turns and contain snippets full of unashamed Narm, Wangst and Big "NO!".
      • The lead actor is portrayed as an arrogant and ineffectual prettyboy who fails to do as much as kick down a door during the first mission where he's supposed to aid you. He's also a complete idiot.
      • One scene has Boss refer to Nyte Blayde as a shitty vampire show. Almost every scene has their own unique dialogue, but every Boss voice will diss Nyte Blade.
      • Although almost every other character in the game, except for maybe a few Saints like Oleg and Shaundi, will apparently be well-versed and knowledgeable of the show, perhaps making it a Guilty Pleasure in-universe, not unlike many of those real-life vampire shows. Matt Miller, for example, is a huge fan of the show and modeled a part of his Deckers usenet cyberworld after episode three of Nyte Blayde, "Rise of the Ciprian Order." while claiming the show has some sort of good allegorical writing... which, to be honest, would be just the kinda thing the Boss isn't into.
    • The "Nobody Loves Me" Emo fashion shop. Complete with a razor with cutting edge dripping with fluorescent paint for a logo and humongous, multi-story advertising billboards spattered with "NOBODY NOBODY NOBODY NOBODY NOBODY LOVES ME"
    • There are multiple references to the Iraq and Vietnam wars.
    • There is a reward for killing 200 "mascots" in the game. It's up to debate as to just what is this aimed at - calling out the Furry Fandom, taking a spin on the well documented loathing most sports fans have for mascots, or simply taking a position against consumerism and aggressive advertisement - but it ought to offend someone.
      "Mascots make me want to take target practice."
    • The Bloody Canoness is a take that at the revealing costumes females in comics have. It's Lampshaded by Viola, who complains about having to disguise herself as the Canoness in one mission.
    • There's a commercial for a text adventure game called "Dragons and Tears" that's an obvious pot shot at gamers who believe gameplay is more important than graphics. You have to play said text game in the last Deckers storyline mission, much to the Boss's bemusement and rage.
    • The Boss is asked to sign a copy of the comic book Gangstas In Space by a fan. Said fan's nervousness, stuttering, and general social ineptitude are a jab at the stereotypical comic book fan.
    • When zombies are brought up, Oleg thinks of metaphoric zombies: the celebrity-obsessed, media-drugged masses.
    • A strange one comes up in the DLC Gangsters in Space. In the first mission during the shoot Boss will go into a rage, and when Jenny asks about it s/he will say it was about their phone, as in the in game phone used to call homies, go on missions, GPS, music and such.
    Don't think I won't put you in the microwave...oh no, not you, it's this phone.
  • Take That, Audience!: Jon, DJ of the [adult swim] station, will go on a fourth-wall-breaking rant at the player, telling him to get a job and a girlfriend, and generally expressing his disgust with the player. And by player, he means the actual player (you), not the Player Character.
  • Tall Is Intimidating: ** Killbane/Eddie Pryor is the leader of the Luchadores, and eventually, the entire Syndicate, and he's an imposing man with a gravelly voice and a Hair-Trigger Temper who is all-too-willing to use physical force to cow his subordinates. When the Boss challenges him to a wrestling match out of anger that Killbane framed them for a terrorist attack earlier, his reply is to walk towards them to show off his height and rattle off a long string of Badass Boasts to make it clear that they don't stand a chance against him. Of course, the Boss being the Boss, they don't show any fear of the taller Killbane and remain confident that they can defeat him.
  • Tank Goodness:
    • The Challenger is a fairly faithful reproduction of the M1 Abrams (which is odd, considering it shares a name with a real-life British main battle tank), armed with both a cannon, a machine gun, and another machine gun which may be manned by a homie in your group. You get to rampage with it on the streets in the new Mayhem variant: Tank Mayhem.
    • STAG's Crusader tank. Inspired by the Israeli Merkava IV (Though flatter, making the rear compartment too narrow for use as a personnel carrier), this mean war machine is armed with anti-infantry laser, a much more powerful microwave laser to be used by the copilot, and, if muzzle electricity discharge is any indicator, a railgun for a main weapon. What firmly establishes it as a vehicular badass is the cutscene in which it drops from ten thousand meters without a parachute and not only keeps the player inside alive, but can also drive away under its own power without suffering more than a couple ignition issues. And THEN it is permanently added to the player's garage.
    • The unlockable Crusader Mark II.
    • The ASP tank from cyberspace, which is surprisingly lethal for a mass of untextured polygons.
  • A Taste of Power:
    • Inverted with The Trouble With Clones, where you gain various superpowers (including Super-Speed, Super-Strength, fireballs, and invincibility) in the DLC's final mission (and even then, only the first half of the mission).
    • Played straight at the very start when you have fully-upgraded weapons and Bottomless Magazines for the bank heist gone wrong.
  • Technicolor Eyes: The eye color options in customization. They even include gold, red, purple, silver, black, white, and even green cat eyes!
  • Teens Are Monsters: The Deckers, who are at most 15-16 years old.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • After destroying STAG's aircraft carrier, Viola comments on the Saints needing to still watch STAG, as they're not beaten yet. Pierce, of course, has to say:
      Pierce: Why? We just blew up their fucking aircraft carrier! What more could they possibly send at us?
    • This is followed by an immediate quick cut to "12 hours later," where STAG reinforcements have placed the city under martial law.
    • The guy who plays Johnny Gat in Gangastas in Space basically has no lines that aren't this.
  • That Thing Is Not My Child!: While Oleg wrestles with a Brute (of which he is the genetic model for), we get this exchange.
    Brute: Father...
    Oleg: You are no child of mine, just an abomination.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end of The Trouble With Clones DLC, the narrator outright says "The End... question mark?"
  • Theme Song Power Up: The mission "Party Time", in which you take over the Morningstar penthouse is accompanied by "Power". Similarly, the fight with Killbane has "You're The Best Around" playing and the penultimate mission's Sadistic Choice has "Holding Out For A Hero". The music manages to be appropriate to both choices, with one referencing Short Circuit and the other referencing Shrek 2.
  • This Means War!: Monica Hughes almost says this (her exact words are "this is war") when Killbane has the Hughes bridge destroyed.
  • Threatening Shark: One of the DLC packs gives you a weapon that can summon one to eat your target.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Certain oversized weapons are available exclusively from fallen enemies, such as the Minigun and Incinerator (Carried by gang brutes), the Riot Shield (SWAT and STAG teams), the Shock Hammer (Decker specialists) and the GL G20 multi-grenade launcher (Luchadore specialists). You can't replenish their ammunition or add them to your inventory for later use.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Pedestrians who just watched someone drive up in a tank, fight the police, SWAT and army for half an hour on foot while armed with a giant dildo, throw people a hundred feet through the air, break their necks (Or with one of the DLC, kill them by biting their throats out) will insult the Boss or run up with 'Saints out of Steelport' signs.
  • Too Hot for TV: Parodied in X-Play's review of the game, where censors don't even begin to describe what the hell is going on in this game.
  • Too Much Information: In the final mission of "The Trouble with Clones", after gaining telepathy from Jimmy's irradiated Saints Flow, the Boss asks to be let out of Jimmy's mind before they see... Cue appalled "well, shit".
  • Took a Level in Badass: It took one game, but Pierce has maken a huge leap from the last game. Just as well, Shaundi went from a stoner who got kidnapped by a strung out DJ, to a really angry Action Girl.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: The Boss' personality has become significantly less brutal and cold-blooded since Saints Row 2. Granted, The Boss is still a homicidal maniac, but now s/he's much more of a fun, lovable sort of homicidal maniac.
  • Training from Hell:
    • Angel puts the Boss through this to help them get ready to face Killbane. Let's just say it involves some... interesting training partners. Even the Made of Iron badass that is the Boss thinks he's insane for suggesting these.
      Boss: A fucking tiger?
    • Made ironic considering for every mission except one, he's too scared to even take on Killbane And still manages to not do much in the mission where they actually fight, yet is supposed to be an expert on how to train a gang leader that has survived a coma and nearly single-handedly defeated six FUCKING gangs by his/herself!
  • Transforming Mecha: STAG's VTOL units can switch between helicopter-like flight and airplane-like flight. Gangstas in Space adds airborne vehicles which do the same.
  • Tron Lines: The Deckers have Tron clothing highlights, applies literally when the Boss goes into their cyberspace.
    Pierce: What are they wearing?
    Latina Boss: I dunno, but it kind of turns me on.
    Pierce: What.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: Most of Steelport looks like a reasonable modern city, and the traffic looks like whatever selection you might see outdoors in any megapolis. However, technology has clearly gotten forward for those with ample resources to spare, given the decisively cyberpunk inspired 200-something floor Syndicate towers that dominate the skyline and dwarf more conventional skyscrapers, the Deckers' virtual reality network, EMP grenades and hyperspeed roller skates, and the genetically engineered Brutes gangs are capable of deploying. The government eventually trumps the gangs' achievements with the STAG initiative, whose operatives come with an impressive array of experimental weapons including laser weaponry, hoverbikes, powered armor, next generation VTOL jets, and a humongous flying aircraft carrier, most of which looks like it would fit comfortably in Red Faction.
    • Also part Schizo Tech, as plenty of VHS tapes are found inside buildings. The custom radio song list is referred to as a mix-tape and its icon is an audio cassette, suggesting the songs are recorded on one. There are NO high-definition flat screen televisions in the game. All of them are giant tube tvs from the early 80's, and all of them have fuzzy reception. The only computers shown in the game are owned by Kinzie, the Deckers, and STAG, and most of those only show up during story missions.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: A variant; in the first two games, the storylines of all three gangs were independent of each other. However, in The Third, the story is more linear, with all the gang arcs interconnected.
  • Two Roads Before You: Both used and subverted.
    • Several missions offer you a choice of rewards with potential long-term effects, including blowing up key portions of the Steelport skyline.
    • Subverted by the final mission. Though there are two choices with distinct consequences, you aren't considered to have completed the game until you replay the final mission a second time, where you are forced to take the choice you didn't pick the first time.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: The Boss (and Pierce) rescues Zimos from sex slavery in an S&M dungeon and the two of them escape in a rickshaw pulled by Zimos in full bondage gear, chased by enforcers also driving rickshaws pulled by bondage-clad submissives, styled to look like a Roman Chariot Race. As if this all weren't weird enough, the rickshaws also explode when they crash.note 
  • Undressing the Unconscious: During the "Pimps Up, Hos Down" Stronghold mission, The Playa wakes up inside a Morningstar BSDM club naked and drugged up and goes on a Full-Frontal Assault against them.
  • The Unfought: Monica Hughes.
  • Unicorn: In the Deckers Die mission Boss plays through a text adventure that ends with a unicorn. Petting it kills you, killing it wins the game. Boss will comment on it.
    Female Voice 3: Why? Why Mr. Unicorn? (killed by the unicorn)
    Female Voice 3: Wow. (killing the unicorn)
    Female Voice 1: And my childhood has just been crushed. (killed by the unicorn)
    Female Voice 1: What does the writer have against unicorns? (killing the unicorn)
    Male Voice 1: Dick move, unicorn. Dick. Move. (killed by the unicorn)
    Male Voice 3: Grr, stupid bloody creature! (killed by the unicorn)
    Male Voice 2: They should put that shit on the Trapper Keeper! (killing the unicorn)
    • Later, it can be revealed that Female Voice 3, the Latina, collects glass unicorns.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable:
    • Due to a glitch in the timers, playing the game on a slower computer may make a certain section of the mission The Belgian Problem impossible to complete, meaning you can never complete the main storyline (at least without an upgrade). note 
    • The presence of too many Deckers specialists can crash a game, potentially preventing completionist players from finishing Snatch missions in their neighborhoods and effectively preventing them from controlling all of Steelport, unless they buy the neighborhoods. The only solution is to run the game with DirectX 9 and setting all the graphics settings to low.
  • The Unmasking: Killbane unmasking Angel is the reason that Angel works with the Saints. You can choose to unmask Killbane during a wrestling match with him; choosing to unmask him will give you his mask to wear, while giving him mercy will allow you to learn the Apoco-Fist technique from him.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Neither the player nor The Boss ever find out what exactly 'feel boss' is. Though it's implied to be a sexual act, a drug, or some combination of the two, that's apparently too messed up for even Shaundi to want to talk about. There's a radio commercial for the "Feel Boss" that can be rarely listened, it's stylized like a Perfume Commercial, but it's so bizarre even for the standards of those that it's impossible to figure out what it is.
    • Kinzie states over the course of one mission that she's used the Internet to learn the Boss's real name, only to have the Boss cut her off before she can say it, saying he/she doesn't know who could be listening in.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    • The inversion of this trope. The first mission ends with Boss, Shaundi and Gat being arrested and then handed over to The Syndicate. When the bank robbery goes south, the following conversation takes place:
    Johnny Gat: "You got a plan or are we just shootin' all these motherfuckers?"
    Boss: "That is my plan".
    Gat: "Works for me".
    • The mission following it does the same thing, Gat tells Boss and Shaundi to get off the plane and he stays behind to fly the plane to Stilwater. This doesn't work out too well considering The Big Bad of the game is still on board and in the Cockpit with him.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • The "Power" trailer depicts a massive gun battle in a nightclub in the midst of which is FBI-agent-turned-Saint Kinzie Kensington, on her laptop. She looks up once at Boss/Playa firing away right beside her for a moment, smirks and shakes her head, then goes back to whatever she was doing on the computer. Though the Deckers.Die trailer reveals she's the Lieutenant that deals with the Deckers, so she was probably busy dealing with them attacking in conjunction with the Morning Star members that are at the club.
    • Unlike Stilwater, the citizens of Steelport apparently do not care that you're running around with a submachine gun, at least until you start shooting. Even gang members walking by won't attack you unless you pick a fight.
    • Early in the game, the mission where you attack a Morningstar-owned penthouse in downtown to conquer it begins with the Boss landing in the middle of a party while wearing a parachute, and noone reacts (until the Boss begins shooting).
    • The fans who want a photograph of the Boss remain at their spawning pointnote  until the Boss allows them to photograph him/her. So, if you didn't find the Arapice Island Photo Op before the zombie invasion, the fan while remain in the middle of a closed deserted island full of toxic gas and aggressive zombies until meeting the Boss.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In "The Trouble with Clones" DLC the Aisha and Tag Brutes have gotten together and it looks like you'll be able to take them away without further trouble... then a National Guard helicopter blows the Aisha Brute up with a missile and the Tag Brute runs away again.
  • Uriah Gambit: "Rasputin's" final assassination contract. Fortunately, another client also realized this and put a contract on him immediately after.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Your homies are genuinely grateful when you revive them. In fact, some are even shocked you would actually help them up.
    • You can sometimes run into random fans on the street, and they'll get excited that they've actually met a real Saint. If you press the "compliment" button near them they audibly Squee.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: One of the main appeals of the game.
    • Aside from the civilian NPCs, you can be cruel to your homies too. Feel free to abandon them when they need to be revived or rescued from a statue rigged with bombs.
    • In one mission, you disrupt the Syndicate's human trafficking. You either have a choice of keeping the girls for the Saints' own brothels, or selling them back to the Syndicate. Of course, since you end up bringing down the Syndicate and taking over all their businesses, they'll end up working for the Saints one way or the other.
    • The insurance fraud side-missions allows one to be particularly cruel to the Boss.
    • ...and then, of course, there is the button that is dedicated almost entirely to hitting people in the nuts...
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Shoot your homies too much and they'll leave the party and turn against you.
  • Villain Song: Power works as this, with Kanye West and Boss jockeying to be the biggest asshole.
  • Villain Has a Point: Senator Monica Hughes is completely right that the gangs of Steelport have become too powerful and need to be stopped. Especially when the Saints could have blown up Syndicate Tower, an act which qualifier's them as domestic terrorists.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: This is a subtle but important theme. The Saints have become pop-culture icons and general superstars to the point that they give autographs while robbing a bank. Police will often ask if the Boss can sign their mug shot while trying to arrest them. Gat evidently dislikes this, and wishes they could go back to just killing people.
    • Both Loren and Killbane play this straight as well. Loren's weapons dealing is his legit business practice (the human trafficking being the illegal one); his weapons store "Powder" is a legal gun store and his gun trade is talked about on the radio like any other such business. Killbane is a professional wrestler and casino owner while also dealing in illicit drugs.
    • Killbane trashes the Saints' name in a news interview while trying to keep up his own good image, to which the Boss will wonder how the Saints' own PR department will handle it. After this, protesters holding up anti-Saints signs can be seen throughout the city. It is also reflected in the commentary during Murderbrawl XXXI. The conclusion of Murderbrawl XXXI is also this as it destroys Killbane's personal reputation enough to end the Luchadores arc.
    • The endings also get in on this. If you choose to save Shaundi and, by extension, the Magarac Island monument, the Saints now have good publicity. This is in contrast to STAG's tanking approval, which forces them be withdrawn. If you choose to take on Killbane and STAG, you defy this as the Saints return to "screw the publicity, fuck with us at your own risk."
  • Vocal Dissonance: You can mix and match bodies and voices for the Boss. You can have a male body with a female voice, or the other way around. And then there's the zombie voice...
  • Warrior Poet: Killbane. Sure, his poetry mostly involves brutality and threats of murder, but at least he puts some friggin' effort into it.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Pierce asks this of The Boss if you go after Killbane in "Three Way", since you had to sacrifice Shaundi to do so.
  • Wham Episode: "Gang Bang", where the unusually non-comedic STAG invades Steelport and starts causing trouble for the Saints.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • The Boss is not at all happy that Angel put him/her in a car with a tiger as part of his training.
      The Boss: A fucking tiger? A FUCKING TIGER?! What the fuck is wrong with you?
    • Late in the game, if you've been primarily gaining territory via buying it rather than destroying Syndicate territory, Shaundi will call you and chew you out for acting just like the Syndicate would.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Your homies chastise you for running over pedestrians and generally destroying the city if they're in the vehicle you're driving.
    Zimos: Car accident never killed nobody.
    Kinzie: Robot cars can't get here quick enough.
    • This is inverted during the Trafficking activities (with Pierce or Zimos driving you around) and when Angel drives you to the airport if you decide to stop Killbane from fleeing Steelport. These lines can also be heard during co-op play from the player character in the passenger seat.
      Male Boss 1: It's called a steering wheel. USE IT!
      Male Boss 1: Next time, hit it harder.
      Male Boss 1: You really like breaking stuff, right?
      Male Boss 1: Someone's not getting a good driver's discount.
  • World of Ham: The Gangstas... In Space! mission. It's also full of Bad "Bad Acting".
  • Wrestler in All of Us:
    • The vast majority of the Boss' new melee moves are pro-wrestling inspired; ranging from flying clotheslines to drop kicks.
    • Oleg can be seen using wrestling moves on Brutes.
    • Angel, appropriately enough, uses wrestling moves on mooks, he even uses a jumping tornado DDT in the trailer.
  • Written by the Winners: Killbane wrote a play about his and Angel's backstory. In the play, Angel is a scheming fool who was jealous of Killbane's skill and Killbane unmasked Angel as a last resort. In reality, Killbane turned on Angel in a fit of jealousy and paranoia.
  • Wrong Insult Offence: Phillipe Loren is not French, he is Belgian... and pushing this ends up becoming a BIG MISTAKE.
    Boss: Ah dammit, I should have made a Belgian pancake joke...
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Nyte Blayde. Use Female Voice 3 and your character lampshades it in the mission where you kidnap Josh Birk.
  • Yes-Man: Andy Zhen in the Gangstas in Space expansion pack relentlessly praises The Boss's monotone acting, in stark contrast to how he treats the other actors.
  • You All Look Familiar: Made especially noticeable to people who played the second game which completely and totally averted this with randomly generated NPCs. Probably the hardest group hit are the zombies, who only have a handful of character models, all of which are zombified versions of living civilians. There are zombified STAG soldiers that will appear in the Arapice Island survival, who reuse the same model as living STAG soldiers.
  • You and What Army?: In the second mission:
    Philippe Loren: I am going to cut that disrespectful tongue from your mouth.
    Johnny Gat: Oh, yeah? You and how many of your... [Beat] Oh. ''That'' many.
  • You Did Everything You Could: Nearly everyone, even a few of the Saints' enemies, in response to Shaundi and her belief that Johnny's death is all her fault.
  • Younger Than They Look: Matt Miller. Despite looking (and sounding) like he's in his twenties, he's actually only sixteen.
  • Your Head Asplode: An optional way to kill brutes is by doing enough damage to make them fall to their knees, and then do a Quick Time Event that ends in the boss blowing their head off by either shoving a grenade in their mouth, or emptying a pistol into their face at point blank range. (Averted if the player simply unloads enough damage while they kneel will finish them off too)
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: At the start of the mission "http://deckers.die", Boss states that entering the Deckers' user net will be safer than getting shot at. Kinzie tells him cheerfully that if his mind takes too much of a shock he'll end up brain dead.
    Boss: Great plan, Kinzie.
    Kinzie: I know.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • You accidentally cause a rather small-scale one, then get hired by Mayor Burt Reynolds to clean it up. You can optionally choose to keep some of The Virus for your own personal zombie army to sic on enemies. Then you discover that the zombies basically control a small area of the city. The final survival mission involves killing no less than 600 of them, compared to regular ones, which involve 40-60 gang members or policemen.
    • A cheat code allows you to make zombies spawn instead of regular pedestrians everywhere. They're hostile to police and gang members.


Video Example(s):


The 3rd Street Saints

The 3rd Street Saints were formed to combat the more violent and destructive gangs that rose to power in their home city of Stilwater. They succeed, but are disbanded a short time after and forced to start over from scratch in the second game. With the help of a former member turned leader, they retake Stilwater once again, though with much less noble goals this time around. As their fame and power grows, they slowly become celebrities and begin to lose touch with who they once were. By the third game, they begin to wonder if they have become sellouts and end up in a new city under the control of a massive crime organization simply called The Syndicate. Crushing the organization, the Saints eventually win the adoration of America when they prevent a nuclear terrorist attack on Washington D.C., only to be drawn into an intergalactic war against the colossal Zin Empire.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GangOfHats

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