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Video Game / Shockwave

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A series of games for the short-lived 3DO. Shockwave: Invasion Earth 2019 tells the story of an alien invasion of Earth in the year 2019. The player assumes the role of a rookie pilot aboard the UNSF Omaha, a space-based carrier putting up the only remotely effective defense against the invaders.

Shockwave: Operation Jumpgate is an expansion pack to the first game. With the alien invaders staging for a new invasion of Earth on the other planets of the solar system, the Omaha embarks away from Earth to stop the new invasion before it starts, encountering the eponymous jumpgate near Pluto.

Shockwave 2: Beyond the Gate picks up after a roughly two decade Time Skip with a new crew inadvertently becoming the first humans to explore the space beyond the jumpgate.

All three games featured live-action FMV cutscenes. While the production was low budget and the cast didn't have the star power of Wing Commander, the live-action scenes were far higher in quality than in many other games.

The first game and the expansion were eventually ported over to the PlayStation and Saturn, sold in a single box titled Shockwave Assault. A planned port of Shockwave 2 to these systems was cancelled, as it was originally released at the end of the 3DO's short lifespan and as such, sold poorly, but it was eventually ported to the Mac.

Has no relation to the 2017 action film from Hong Kong.

This game provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Halfway through Operation Jumpgate, the Omaha discovers alien prison transports carrying non-human prisoners, establishing that the invaders are not the only aliens in existence. While Shockwave 2 explores other alien races further, the prisoners from Operation Jumpgate are completely forgotten. From the dynamic between the races in Shockwave 2, they are likely Sensci.
  • Ancient Artifact: The humans who discover the Nom'Shar believe it to be this. It turns out it is neither ancient nor an artifact.
  • All There in the Manual: Most of the information on the alien races.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Most of them. Even the Sensci, who are overall the only good guys in the end, have a few assholes.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Shockwave 2 ends with the crew of the Cortez departing with the Sensci and their colony ship.
  • Big Damn Heroes: One mission of Invasion Earth has the Omaha notice that a United States aircraft carrier is trying to hold the line against the invaders at Pearl Harbor. The carrier's fighters are outmatched by the aliens, but they hold out long enough for the Omaha's F-177s to arrive.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Pericata have a bone in their reproductive organs that can easily be made into a sound amplifier for human use.
  • Character Development: Commander Stewart is practically a different character in Shockwave 2, but it's clearly due to the circumstances she's had to deal with during the Time Skip.
  • Classified Information: From the news anchor's broadcasts, it can be inferred that the general public didn't know the Omaha existed before the invasion.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Bob clearly isn't right in the head anymore after spending decades marooned on an alien world. It becomes obvious very quickly that he's far from harmless.
    • Dr. Yamada, where the knowledge under Bizarre Alien Biology comes from. Like Bob, spending years alone and remaining hidden from hostile aliens while he dissects one every now and then For Science! do not help his mental state. Turns out to be on the level; he joins the Cortez' crew and stays loyal.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • During Operation Jumpgate, the Omaha makes a solid push through the aliens' staging areas before they can launch another invasion of Earth and pushes them back through the jumpgate in the end. The short recap during the intro for Shockwave 2 makes it sound like Operation Jumpgate was just as desperate a fight and near-loss as Invasion Earth.
    • At the end of Operation Jumpgate, we see a ship accidentally fall through said jumpgate, and then the gate appears to shut down. In Shockwave 2, the jumpgates appear to be in an always-on state, but require a destination code before they can be traversed.
  • Cool Ship:
    • In the first two games, the Omaha.
    • In Shockwave 2, the Cortez.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • One of the four alien species in Shockwave 2 are the at-first-unknown species that attacked Earth in 2019.
    • The fate of the Omaha after Operation Jumpgate is revealed in the first mission of Shockwave 2. It was so damaged by the jumpgate's automated defense system that it was no longer space worthy, and is now a forgotten, abandoned wreck on a planet in the system the gate pulled it into.
    • After Dr. Yamada comes aboard the Cortez, most of the crew can be seen wearing his sound amplifiers.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • ICE starts doing this, generally if you screw up.
    ICE: Civilian damage is not your objective.
    • Counselor Bob does this at even more inappropriate times.
    Bob: [If Flynn accidentally shoots at the prison on Sarconia] Just thought you'd like to know? You're killing us.
  • Death from Above:
    • The invasion of Earth begins with orbital bombardment, initially mistaken for a sudden meteor shower.
    • This is the handwave for the first two games forcing the player down a linear flight-path; the Omaha is hitting enemy targets from orbit while you make surgical strikes.
  • Easy Logistics: Averted twice during Invasion Earth.
    • The news anchor who keeps broadcasting through the invasion mentions that he and the other newsroom employees who have barricading themselves in the studio have very little food and water.
    • An entire mission centers around the Omaha retrieving supplies from the wreck of a shuttle shot down in the middle of a supply run. The supplies are needed for maintaining the life support systems and the crew will soon suffocate without them.
  • Fantastic Slur: "Slew" doesn't mean "a lot" to the Sensci.
  • Featureless Protagonist: Wildcard, the protagonist of Invasion Earth and Operation Jumpgate. While the other pilots on the Omaha are seen, Wildcard is neither present in cutscenes, nor does he have a picture in the database, on account of having just been posted to the ship.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the first game's intro, Wildcard's real name can be seen listed as "ADAIR, J." when his dossier comes up on the screen.
  • Funny Background Event: The intro for Operation Jumpgate shows Earth rebuilding after the alien invasion. In one shot, we can see some of the alien war machines re-purposed as amusement park rides.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Alexindra
  • Hive Mind: The Pericata. Large amounts of them are controlled by enormous, literal brains. Destroying one will stop the local Pericata in their tracks. This is how the initial invasion of Earth is stopped.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Cridox have barely, if any, military assets of their own but they project force by brainwashing a Pericata hive brain to direct a swarm of Pericata to do their bidding. When the brain is destroyed, the Pericata immediately turn on the Cridox and eat most of them.
  • Human Aliens:
    • Subverted; Alexindra appears human with an unnatural eye color, but she's actually a Sensci.
    • The Cridox are never seen underneath their robes so they may be this or Humanoid Aliens.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Pericata are about as close to non-human looking as you can get while still being this.
  • Human Resources: The invaders seem to be after this, as they go out of their way to capture large amounts of humans alive. Their primary goal is to dig up several sites where they left their eggs on Earth long ago, while a researcher on the Omaha speculates that the prisoners are intended to be nutrition for the eggs specifically.
  • I Want My Jet Pack: The first game has a space carrier for space fighters hanging around Earth's orbit in 2019.
  • Irony:
    • Commander Stewart tries to destroy the jumpgate, against orders, believing that there is no time to study it before the aliens come through for invasion number three. The attempt causes the Omaha to be stranded in an alien star system and incapable of space flight, stranding herself and her crew in hostile territory. The aliens never invade again, and it's twenty years before a single alien ship is seen in the Sol system.
    • Alexindra and her Bruntshen friend are the aliens who steal the Nom'Shar in the intro to Shockwave 2. This means that they know the jumpgate code for Sol, but the crew of the Cortez don't know they were the thieves and thus, don't think to press them for this information, although it's unlikely Alexindra would have ever given it to them.
  • MacGuffin: The Nom'Shar, aka "the artifact," aka "the thingy." Finding it drives much of the action in Shockwave 2. It's a crucial component in the Sensci's FTL drive.
  • Melodrama: For some reason, the actress playing Commander Stewart turns Operation Jumpgate into this. She's the only on-screen character in the expansion and every line she has is delivered way over the top in this manner. She acts much more normally through Invasion Earth beforehand and Shockwave 2 afterward.
  • Military Maverick: Commander Stewart nosedives into this at the end of Operation Jumpgate; see Irony above.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Failing the last mission of Invasion Earth results in a cutscene showing Wildcard being shot down, the Omaha being destroyed, and the news caster broadcasting a desperate plea for help with no one left to answer.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup:
    • Justified; the backstory for Shockwave 2 notes that the United Nations has fallen on really hard times, so they can't afford to replace the Omaha.
    • Justified; the transmitter that disabled the planetary shield on Sarconia is one of a kind because it was jury-rigged with limited resources, right before the creators were taken prisoner along with the device.
    • There is only one control facility for the jumpgates, without which they are useless metal hanging in space.
    • There is also only one Nom'Shar, though its initial origins are never explained in the first place.
  • Omniglot: Bob managed to learn five different Sensci languages while imprisoned with a group of them. He doesn't feel good about this.
    Bob: [After yelling a translation at a crowd] Slews. Five dialects between 'em and I translate everything.
  • Plot Hole: Shockwave 2 is more open-ended and allows you to choose which mission to take next in the system you're in. In some systems, this can create plot holes because the writing sometimes assumes you'll do missions in a specific order and there are no variables for doing them out of that order.
    • But Thou Must!: The very first system actually has a mechanic in place to enforce the intended order; attempting the mission to Sarconia first will result in a near-immediate game over, as the Cortez lacks the technology to bypass the planetary shield. The player must first land on Meskeni to discover the wreck of the Omaha, the fate of the crew, and their logs showing that they figured out how to bypass the shield, then retrieve the technology from Hoelinwaa.
  • Portal Network: The jumpgates. They are rendered inoperable at the end of Shockwave 2.
  • Ray Gun: All the races use energy weapons by Shockwave 2. The crew of the Cortez have modern-looking guns that simply fire energy beams. The Pericata have billyclub-like sidearms that fire from glowing green orbs on either end, bearing a striking resemblance in both form and function to the magic weapon wielded by the villain in Beastmaster 2.
  • The Reveal:
    • Downplayed; Earth never discovers the identity of the invading aliens through Invasion Earth and Operation Jumpgate. This information was apparently learned during the Time Skip, as during the first mission briefing for Shockwave 2, ICE mentions that the invaders were the Pericata. It's also mentioned briefly in the instruction book.
    • The Nom'Shar is sought after because it can be used to create a ship with an actual FTL drive, bypassing the jumpgate network.
  • Sequel Escalation: Invasion Earth is a desperate defense of Earth against a superior force ending in a narrow victory; the Omaha does not go further than the moon. Operation Jumpgate sees the Omaha traversing the solar system to go on the offensive and fight the aliens back through the jumpgate before they finish preparing for a second invasion. Shockwave 2 opens twenty years after the Omaha has been lost through the jumpgate, and has the crew of the Cortez exploring other solar systems, searching for the jumpgate code that will send them home.
  • Sequel Hook: Invasion Earth ends with a fair amount of closure, but Operation Jumpgate ends on a blatant cliffhanger. This was a problem for PlayStation and Saturn players who didn't have access to Shockwave 2.
  • Starfish Aliens: The Bruntshen. Apparently their homeworld was actually Earth-like, so how they evolved with four legs and a face that would make Baraka proud is anyone's guess.
  • Time Skip: The series starts in 2019. Operation Jumpgate takes place in 2026. Shockwave 2 jumps to 2046.
  • Weld the Lock: Inverted; the Pericata are shown cutting a locked door open with their laser weapons.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Bob and Alexindra after they fail to take the Sensci's hyperdrive ship. With the jumpgates turned off, they're presumably stranded where they are left.
    • Alexindra's Bruntshen pal is also never seen again after they escape the Cortez.
    • The fates of the Omaha's pilots, including the original player character, by the time of Shockwave 2 are not known, though they presumably did not survive.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: At the end of Operation Jumpgate, the Omaha has successfully pushed the invading aliens out of the Sol System and back through the jumpgate, and all seems well. At this point, Commander Stewart, believing the aliens will inevitably return so long as the gate exists, decides to disobey her orders and destroy it. The Omaha gets a single shot off before the jumpgate's automated defenses retaliate, blasting it to hell and back, causing it to fall through the gate itself to parts unknown. The Cliffhanger is picked up on in Shockwave 2.