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Video Game / Sniper Elite

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A realistic sniping game developed by Rebellion Developments for the Xbox, Play Station 2, Nintendo Wii, and Windows PC.

In this game, you are Karl Fairbourne, an American OSS Agent operating in Germany during the final stages of the Second World War. You conduct various missions and operations against invading Soviet forces over-running Germany and remnants of the Nazi Army still in the cities. Your goals are usually oriented toward hindering the Soviets from receiving information regarding nuclear weapons development from the falling Nazi government. You also render aid to the local German Resistance fighters as they fight the Soviets.

The main selling point of the game is the realistic sniping system. This includes the effects of wind, posture, heartbeat, bullet drop due to gravity, and even being shot. The game has adjustable difficulties which adjust the challenge of the AI and the realism of the shooting effects. The player can earn Points of Fame for shots they make. A bullet cam effect is shown when the player makes headshots at 30m and out. The effect also sometimes triggers other kill-shot events.

Unlike its contemporaries at the time such as Medal of Honor and Call of Duty, the player will die easily if they don't fight smart as the AI uses flanking, cover, and grenades to good effect. Being quiet and sneaky goes a long way.

The game received a reboot for its sequel and led to a series of games including:

Other media:

This game provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Obviously a guy with a .30-cal rifle can't really destroy a tank by shooting its gas cap. However, it is sufficiently difficult to pull off in-game, especially without first making a ranging shot (or a miss) that alerts the tank—and its big-ass gun—to your presence that doing so counts as a Moment of Awesome.
  • Accidental Aiming Skills: On the higher difficulty settings if you don't account for wind this can result. For example, you may shoot at the guy on the right but hit the guy on the left.
  • A.I. Breaker: A weird example, loading into a mission from the main menu actually always gives the enemy AI the same intelligence as the easiest difficulty setting with lower accuracy, you have to manually start a level on the difficulty you want to play on then load that save in order to have enemies have the correct AI level.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Averted, you fight alongside the German Resistance. In fact, they're one of the few friendlies you fight alongside with.
  • Arrow Cam: While using the sniper rifle, shots against moving targets, long-range kill-shots, and any headshot gets this treatment. Follow the bullet as it makes a mess of your opponent's skull.
  • Artistic License – History: Acknowledged, as the game opens with a disclaimer that its events are fictional:
    • While a German Resistance did exist, they never engaged in any sort of en-mass armed uprising against the Germans or Soviets during the final days of the war, were fairly disorganized, and mostly engaged in non-violent resistance aside from a few assassination attempts on Hitler.
    • Martin Ludwig Bormann's cause of death (The target of the set of missions) is unknown in reality, while his body was found, how exactly he died is unknown, though the game's depiction (Assassinated before he can defect to the Soviets) seems fairly unlikely with either suicide or being killed by the Soviets being more likely.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Even for a war zone, there are an awful lot of little barricades and sniper positions about. Justified that considering the Battle for Berlin is an urban warfare type of battle, these kinds of covers would be helpful for both the Nazi German defenders and the invading Red Army soldiers.
  • BFG: The MG-42 and DP-28 machine guns. Both weapons are large machine guns and pack a lot of firepower and a high ammo count. The former is especially so good in this regard, that even the Soviet NKVD forces are using them en-masse probably from its sheer power and fire rate alone.
  • Booby Trap: Tripwire grenades, dynamite, and anything that explodes when you shoot it.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The guaranteed kill. Plus, since you are a sniper, you'll get more fame points for headshots at range. Even better, when the bullet hits home there is a spray of blood and an entry and exit wound.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played straight for Non-Player Character enemies and averted with you. Interestingly, whenever you loot the corpse of any enemy, they've usually got less than ten rounds left in their weapons, whether they ever fired at you or not.
  • Bullet Time: The in-game bullet cam shows a slow-mode bullet leaving your rifle and hitting your target. Happens with head/neck shots, some poor schmuck's kill shots, and if you hit multiple enemies in a row with a single bullet.
  • Code Name: Karl is referred to as "Eagle Watch" by his fellow German Resistance allies and the OSS.
  • Cold Sniper: The Player Character and enemy snipers.
  • Coup de Grâce: You can walk up and just shoot wounded enemy soldiers rolling on the ground.
  • Difficulty by Region: The PC version of the game has far less ammo available from enemies, forcing the player to scavenge for ammo more as well as presumably to compensate for more accurate mouse aiming instead of lock-on.
  • Dirty Communists: How the Red Army is depicted. Probably because the OSS realized that the Soviets will become a greater threat than Nazi Germany ever was.
  • Dressing as the Enemy - Karl. He's wearing a German uniform, which is meant to prevent the Nazi forces from attacking him. Too bad it's a case of Informed Attribute as the remaining Nazi forces will attack you on sight even when you're not attacking them (see below).
  • Dub Name Change: The Russian version of the first game changes Karl's name to "Kirill Fedorov" who is instead son of a Soviet Diplomat in Berlin.
  • Elite Mooks: The NKVD and SS troopers. They are better shots, more well-equipped, and use grenades more often.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: The game takes place during the USSR's final drive to crush the Third Reich out of existence, as fighting breaks out between Nazi remnants and the pro-US German Resistance.
  • Evil Versus Evil: How the Battle of Berlin is depicted. In one corner... Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. On the other side... Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. You have to make your way through the crossfire of both. Place your bets now, ladies and gentlemen!
  • Eye Scream: Headshots with the sniper rifle to the eye.
  • Fake Difficulty: A handful of sections spawn in alerted soldiers who instantly know where you are and rush you regardless of where you actually are.
    • Enemies will also sometimes have absurd accuracy with their guns, easily shooting you at far sniper range with submachine guns. (Which is more likely on higher difficulties) Although thankfully, these hits barely cause damage to you if they're still far away and will only be lethal to you if you're in close range with them.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: How the German Resistance, the Red Army, and Nazi German forces are depicted respectively.
  • Hand Guns: Enemy snipers, riflemen, and officers all have handguns and will use them instead of another weapon. The enemy snipers and officers will use the pistol if you start to close on them quickly and they can't open the distance fast enough.
  • Harder Than Hard: Sniper Elite mode. Between realistic damage and greatly increased difficulty aiming your precious rifle, fulfilling your mission objectives is easy compared to just staying alive. Even Cadet mode is pretty tough if you don't take the game's unique tactical viewpoint to heart and play it like any other World War II shooter game at the time.
  • Historical In-Joke: The primary objective of the first mission is to prevent the defection of Martin Bormann, Hitler's secretary, to the Soviets by assassinating him. Said target is historically one of the few V.I.P.s' in Berlin whose fate was a mystery for years until his shattered skeleton was dug up in 1965.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted. Fairburne only gets to wield one type of primary gun (SM Gs or light machine guns) apart from his sniper rifle. If it's in your inventory, it's visible either slung on Fairburne's back or holstered/clipped on his gear.
  • Immune to Bullets: Cars, tanks, and APC vehicles. Unless the vehicle has an external fuel tank with a gas cap, you can't kill it with your gun, even if you use an MG-42. However, rockets and dynamite work every time.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: For some reason, it's easy to find German soldiers who use Soviet SVT-40 rifles for their riflemen and the Red Army/NKVD soldiers fielding Gewehr 43 rifles, Luger pistols, and MG 42 machine guns, despite them not being the standard firearms for each faction.
    • There is a little bit of justification for the former. As seen in the Real Life section of this trope, the mass amount of Soviet firearms that the Nazi forces collected in the early stages of the war eventually contributed to this trope (it's easy to find stories about German forces that were equipped with Soviet weapons to defend Berlin, as Germany was running out of weapons due to the destruction of its weapon industries).
    • For the latter, it's probably for game balancing for the first two cases. Probably because the gun is just that good, even the NKVD forces are using MG 42 guns despite it not being their standard machine (their standard is the DP machine gun).
  • Informed Attribute: Even though the game states that you're wearing a German soldier uniform in order to prevent the Nazi forces from attacking you, they nonetheless attack you whenever you're in their sight and you not attacking them in any way.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: The German freedom fighters have over-the-top German accents. And that's the least problem with their voice acting. Averted with enemies in missions, who speak either German or Russian as appropriate.
  • Lead the Target: You need to do this to hit moving enemy targets.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The Nazi remnants, German Resistance forces, and Red Army (as well as the NKVD) are locked in a three-way fight to scramble for what's left of Berlin.
  • Missing Back Blast: The Panzershreck has a small little spit of fire but no real backblast like it would in real life.
  • Moe Greene Special: Your shots will often hit an enemy sniper in the face or eye.
  • Mooks: The average Russian/German soldiers you encounter.
  • More Dakka: Most enemies are carrying a submachine gun or a BFG. Their response to a sniper in the open is to hose him with bullets.
  • Moving Target Bonus: A kill shot on a moving target score extra points.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted. Unless you customize the difficulty to ignore gravity, you'll almost always have to aim above an enemy to hit them at long range. Get used to using the notches on that scope.
  • No Scope: You can realistically shoot the rifle while out of scope and kill an enemy but you are not as accurate.
  • One Bullet Clips: When the player reloads they don't lose any unfired ammo from disposed of magazines. The ammo returns to their total ammo pool.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: If multiple enemies are lined up, you can kill most of them with one shot.
  • One-Man Army: You blow up enemy depots, assassinate officers, and fend off platoons worth of men as well as multiple enemy snipers very often without any help at all.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: You can shoot enemies in the arms and legs and they will limp and hold their arms. You can also wound them with a nonlethal chest shot and they will roll around on the ground in pain. However, there are times when shooting them in the chest will do nothing and they keep running around as if nothing happened.
  • Pink Mist: You get the blood spray entry/exit wound when you shoot your enemies.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted. Ironically, shots to the limbs or torso don't usually leave a mark, but headshots are very conspicuous, more so with the Arrow Cam.
  • Samus Is a Girl: You probably won't know until the Kill Camera gives you a close look, and/or you hear them screaming, but some of the Soviet snipers you tangle with are women.
  • Scenery Gorn: Befitting its urban warfare setting, the game depicts Berlin in its final countdown to downfall, with many famed locations such as the Reichstag building, Gendarmenmarkt square, Berlin Palace, and many others in varying levels of ruin and damage.
  • Scope Snipe: Averted. You will instead hit the enemy in the face without hitting the weapon.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Tanks, trucks, and fuel drums.
  • Shown Their Work: Yes, unlike other states at the time, Soviet female snipers did enlist en masse during the war and was sent to multiple fronts, including the one in the Battle of Berlin. As such, it is no wonder that at some point, you'll have to deal with Soviet female snipers during certain points in the game.
  • Sniper Rifle: You get three different rifles (the German Gewehr 43, the Soviet SVT-40, and Mosin Nagant) with different crosshairs you can use to accurately gauge distance and use the lines to adjust and fire.
  • Sniping Mission: Every mission is a sniping mission from start to finish.
  • State Sec: One for each enemy faction: The Nazi SS and the Soviet NKVD. The latter is especially sent to Berlin to handle sensitive missions, such as kidnapping German nuclear scientists, retrieving intel about Germany's nuclear weapons programs, and the like.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: When the enemy finds your hiding spot, you have to do this.
  • Third-Person Shooter: Whenever sniper mode is off. It's difficult enough to fight in this mode that one wonders if the developers designed the game that way on purpose to encourage you to use your scope more.
  • Trigger-Happy: Every enemy who sees you.
  • Urban Warfare: The majority of the missions took place in Berlin while the Red Army was in the process of obliterating it. Craters and collapsed buildings abound, giving you lots of potential firing positions.
  • Version-Exclusive Content: The Wii version has an exclusive "Flak Tower" mission.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Shoot to wound. Then shoot (ideally, shoot to wound) anyone who comes to help the wounded man as he cries out for help. He'll die without treatment after a few minutes, and you can just sit there and watch, or practice your grenade-lobbing skills, or run a good distance away and shoot him with the sniper rifle for long-distance kill points. This can be a very useful method if you're facing lots of enemies in cover and need to even the odds. War Is Hell.
  • X-Ray of Pain: The 'Killcam' feature, where certain types of instant-kill shots will trigger an animation showing the relevant body part being destroyed by the bullet.