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Video Game / Soldier of Fortune

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Major John F. Mullins, crusader against terrorism the world over.
"The Shop is dedicated to the preservation of peaceful society and a staunch enemy of terrorism. While they know no allegiance to any government, they hire themselves out to countries that have need of their unique services. Some would say they're in the business of solving problems: the kind of problems that just don't seem to go away..."
John Mullins

A series of First Person Shooters from Activision, most of which were developed by Raven Software. What happens when you take Video Game Cruelty Potential and Ludicrous Gibs to their extreme. The main selling point of the series is the extremely detailed damage system that simulates many areas of bodily damage (and gruesome deaths to go along with it). You are given many tools to play with said damage system, from shotguns for full limb chopping action to pistols and other such weapons for those precision groin shots, along with extras like Flamethrowers and Microwave guns (pretty much as insane as it sounds). The game apparently had the real-life mercenary John Mullins (who also starred in the game) make sure the game was as realistic as possible. The storyline and weapons like the microwave gun puts the extent of his guidance under serious dispute, but nobody cared. It also stood out for being a surprisingly decent FPS even without the gore system, as well as having some interesting ideas like the possibility to customise your difficulty setting ("stock" options were provided that scaled up, but you could also have stuff like very limited inventory space but easy enemies, or vice versa, along with other options like the save system).

Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix (2002) attempted to build on everything from the first game, with more detail to the gore system, a longer game, more weapons (but with the crazier ones removed) and a very advanced graphics engine for its time. Some say further focus on realism makes the gore system less amusing (despite the higher detail level) and that the weapons and locations being less over-the-top (despite there being more of both) causes the game to be nowhere near as enjoyable as the first. On the other hand, the multiplayer is said to be incredibly good and suffer from none of the issues the single-player side does. The detail of the damage system in both games still beats the majority of games made today. It also has a random mission generator which worked quite well.

Soldier of Fortune: Payback (2007), unlike the previous two games, has nothing to with John Mullins' story, and was developed not by Raven Software but by budget-price developer Cauldron using what appear suspiciously like Game Maker Studio assets. The results are pretty much what you'd expect.

After spending much of the following decade in licensing limbo, the entire series was released on as part of the site's 10th Anniversary celebration in 2018.

This series of video games provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The opening level in Kosovo in the first game.
  • Adjustable Censorship: By means of both a parental lock, and adjustable gore. Curiously, they're entirely independent options.
  • A.K.A.-47: Depending on the game.
    • The first game fully embraced this, with half the weapons having generic descriptors (such as the "shotgun" clearly being a SPAS-12) and the other half having fictional names, like the "Silver Talon" for the Desert Eagle.
    • The second game went for real-life names with two exceptions: the full-auto M4A1 is referred to as simply the "M4", which actually does refer to a closely-related but separate weapon rather than people just splitting hairs, and the later Gold Edition rerelease brought back the fan-favorite "Silver Talon" moniker for the Desert Eagle.
    • Payback is all over the place - some guns go by their real names, like the Mark 23 and M16A3; some others get more generic names, like the Desert Eagle and Raging Bull going by simply ".50AE" and ".454"; some are real gun names misattributed, like the Colt Rail Gun being called the "1991A1" (after a slightly different 1911 derivative) or a full-auto-converted Glock 19 being named the "18C2" (after the actual full-auto Glock 18); and most of the rest go for fake names, some vaguely related to their weapon like the "PDW-7" (an MP7) and others completely out there like the "CQC.729" (a NeoStead 2000).
  • Alternate Continuity: The third game.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Inverted with Taylor, who has a butch haircut and is seen wearing a Spy Catsuit in the ending of the first game. She has a softer ponytail and standard office clothes in the sequel.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In Double Helix, Prometheus takes over the Shop's HQ at Lockhart, the very place you always go to for briefings. After killing Nachrade and disposing of the Romulus cargo headed to the WTO meeting, Mullins immediately storms the place.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Even if the NPCs are complete cheaters, it doesn't compensate for this. They are all-too-happy to Leeroy Jenkins in a conga line around the corner to be slaughtered by volleys of fire from your shotgun, willing to run from cover to play Grenade Hot Potato with any grenade you threw (so cooking them off works wonders), and worst of all, if you're leaning, they'll fire at the thin air below the exposed part of your body, allowing you to shoot them down with impunitynote .
  • A.I. Breaker: Part of the reason the final missions of Payback are such a pain is the enemy receiving a giant damage boost that's extremely unfair, oddly Melee Attacks aren't effected, meaning the most effective way to fight the bosses is to actually get in melee range, as their melee attacks deal so little damage that if you've turned the difficulty down to Easy (to deal with the insane damage from normal enemies.) Mason will always recover enough health to never die and you can just unload on the boss while they punch you.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The OICW is an experimental futuristic assault rifle with a computerized scope that allows you to zoom in at long range, see in nightvision, and even highlights enemies with red targeting boxes. It also comes with a semi-automatic grenade cannon with a laser-targeting system and computer-assisted range-finder that can be used to set grenades to airburst at whatever range you like. It's also incredibly clunky, with an awkward menu-driven interface that requires five separate buttons to use. The grenade launcher is impossible to fire without using this system. In an interview Mullins discussed the door stop of a manual that comes with the thing, and summed it up as a lot of useless bells and whistles the developers would love the government to spend millions on.note 
    • The Rocket Launcher, Flamethrower, and Microwave Pulse Gun in the original. All take up three spaces in your inventory, eat up hard-to-find ammo quickly, and are rather unwieldy in firefights.
  • Awesomeness Meter: Sort of. Gunfire and explosions drive up your noise meter; this results in more enemies appearing, necessitating even more gunfire and explosions.
  • Badass Bystander:
    • The security guard standing outside Sam Gladstone's room in the Hospital mission of the 2nd game. Players will think "he's toast!", but he is actually quite capable of defending himself against the attacking Elite Mooks despite only being armed with a regular 1911 handgun. He may still die, but it's not unlikely that he'll survive either.
    • The civilians in Hong Kong will sometimes randomly pick up a dropped weapon and open fire on the gangsters attacking you. They're not exactly great combatants, but do get a honorable mention for effort.
    • Villainous example: the nameless scientists working in the Prometheus complex in Kamchatka will pick up fallen weapons and attack Mullins with them, proving they're terrorists just like the armed grunts. Reluctant Mad Scientists, they are not.note 
  • Bald of Evil:
    • Wilhelm "Sabre" Dekker. Also, the Interrogator. Both count as Walking Shirtless Scenes.
    • Subverted with Dr. Dimitri Sestrogor. He's only working with Prometheus because he's being forced to.
  • Bayonet Ya: You can pimp up an AK-74 with one if you pick it from the loadout screen. It's next to useless, however, because a stab with it is nowhere near a One-Hit Kill, and getting within melee range means entering a range where enemies don't miss.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: One consequence of the component damage system is you can actually disarm enemies by shooting their guns out of their hands. In the first game, this caused enemies to basically surrender and cower in terror. It's much less useful in the second game, as enemies will simply run over to the nearest weapon and pick it up to continue fighting you. The third game does away with this entirely.
  • Blackout Basement: Double Helix has two or three levels in the Kamchatka mission after John knocks out the generator, and the final mission in the invaded Shop HQ at Lockhart, where the game is as close to pitch darkness as it gets.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points:
    • Seen in the first two games. In the second game, some weapons do have minor armor-piercing ability, but the effect is so small as to be inconsequential gameplay-wise.
    • In the first game, magnum and sniper shots can damage you through your armor.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The Raptor SMG in the original. It has a magazine size of 40, can easily dispatch enemies both in short and long range, very reliable for headshots, and is perhaps the easiest weapon to find ammo for. The boring part is that it's also the "cleanest" gun in the game - you can't explode heads or sever limbs with it.
    • In the sequel, the AK-74. It's the most no-nonsense of the three available assault rifles, with no attachments at all if you don't pick one with a useless bayonet at the mission start, but it takes up the least real estate on the screen, lacks the M4's ridiculous muzzle climb, and is considerably accurate when fired in short bursts of 3 rounds or less. It's also readily available from the start of the second mission.
    • The underbarrel M203 grenade launcher on the M4, standing in sharp contrast to the Awesome, but Impractical O.I.C.W.'s computerized grenade launcher. The M203 is a simple point-and-shoot system and once you get a feel for the arc of the grenades it's far more effective than the much more complex and clunky O.I.C.W. Also, Prometheus soldiers all carry M4s and drop ammo for the M203, so ammo for it is plentiful in levels where you fight Prometheus.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Ridiculously overdone in Soldier of Fortune 2. Enemies have perfect unwavering accuracy with gun and throwing arm alike, which means lots of Grenade Spam especially in open maps like Colombia's jungles, and all of them in a map know exactly where you are in exactly the same computer tic that one of their numbers sees you. There's no need whatsoever for them to communicate, or in the case of stealth missions, get to an alarm station to make the sirens blare.
    • Enemies get an absurd amount of extra damage on the final 3 missions of Payback, meaning you can get instantly killed by shotguns and their submachine guns do more damage than machine guns in the rest of the game, turning the difficutly to Easy via the mission select is the only way to have enemies not randomly instantly kill you, you'll also encounter enemies who rush you down with grenade launchers, who unlike the rest of the game, will have their grenade launchers vanish on death, so they get to potentially instantly kill you with grenades yet you aren't allowed to pick one up yourself.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard:Double Helix's tutorial claims that enemies need to get to an alarm station to set an alarm off, in actual gameplay, the alarm is raised the instant a guard is alerted with no in-between state of "Enemy alerted but map-wide alarm not raised".
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Exploded head, severed limb, or spilled guts equals instant death.
  • Concussion Frags: In Double Helix, unless you're throwing an M84 flashbang, expect your grenade to work like a concussion model, grenade's description be damned. Even the incendiary ones will shake the screen if you're close to them, and there is no shrapnel of any kind.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played straight. The most hilarious variant is that if you shoot a civilian in Double Helix, Mullins is apparently so overcome with guilt he spontaneously dies.
  • Dead Character Walking: A rarely triggering glitch can cause an enemy to not notice they're supposed to be dead. Due to the game's damage system, this can result in an enemy continuing to run around and shoot even after they've been reduced to just a bloodied torso.
  • Dead Sidekick: Both Hawk and Taylor die halfway through their games.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: The second game. Let's see, who could be the Big Bad's mole? Is it our wise old mentor, our heroic captain, our plucky female sidekick, or the creepy thin guy who hates our guts, constantly gives bad advice, always acts negative whenever good news happens, and is voiced by Mark Hamill?
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Big Bad Alexei Nachrade is killed in a cutscene before the game's climax, but there's still The Mole to deal with. The mole turns out to be Assistant Director Wilson.
  • Disney Villain Death: Wilhelm "Saber" Dekker suffers this fate after he is shot by Mullins.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him / Disposable Woman: In the second game, Madeline Taylor is unceremoniously gunned down by a Mook at the beginning of the Hospital mission, just halfway through the game.
  • Evil Laugh: Sabre shows quite a bit of mirth as he escapes in the first level of the first game. Also exhibited by Sergei Dekker after he kills Hawk.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Earl Boen, who voices the Big Bad in both the first game and the sequel, could give Tony Jay a run for his money in this department.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: The first game was heavily on the "classic" end of the scale, with very fast Quake-style running-around-shooting-everything gameplay. The second game was much more towards the realistic side, with Counter-Strike-style gameplay involving lots of firing from cover and leaning around corners. The third game falls somewhere in the middle; the weapons and character movements are realistic, but you have regenerating health and the enemies are brain-dead drones who simply run towards you while shooting and screaming.
  • Fake Difficulty: The sequel, Double Helix, has very poor and confusing level design and the game gives you zero indication where you're supposed to go.
  • Faux Action Girl:
    • The female Prometheus soldiers in Double Helix are noticeably weaker and poorer in gear than their male counterparts. The game code makes it obvious this was a very deliberate choice.
    • The female boss in Payback is probably the easiest to kill of all the game's bosses.
    • Deviant1 isn't much of a threat, despite having a Sniper Rifle and many grenades available and being part of a Dual Boss battle, the other opponent in which is the Interrogator.
    • After being introduced at the very end of the first game looking like a badass '90s Anti-Hero, Taylor is portrayed as more of an office-job researcher in the second game, and halfway through the game gets unceremoniously gunned down by a random mook without a fight.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Payback uses Cauldron's in-house engine, which stops working properly at high frame rates. Above 120 fps or so, bullets will simply phase through enemies harmlessly, making the game unplayable. The game has no built-in vsync, so to fix the problem the frame rate will need to be capped with external software (such as Nvidia's profile inspector if your graphics card is an Nvidia one).
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: In the 2nd game, the Marine fireteam that follows you through the last few Columbia missions is seemingly unkillable (unless you shoot one of them, upon which they kill you). In fact, given the Nintendo Hard nature of the game, you'll be better off taking cover and letting them do most of the work. The buddy who helps you through the last Hong Kong level is killable, but he has a butt-load of hit points, making it unlikely anything short of the M60-wielding level boss will kill him.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Mullins and his allies use the M4 rifle and US SOCOM Mk. 23 pistol, while the bad guys typically use the AK-74, Micro Uzi, and M1911A1. Averted later in the game when you start fighting mostly Prometheus operatives, who primarily use the M4.
  • Gorn: One of the most notorious examples in gaming. Shots from heavier weapons and explosions can tear off limbs, split skulls open and blast bellies open, explosions can embed bodies with glass shards if there's a window between the bomb and the target, and enemies react accordingly to where you shot them at for the kill a bullet to the neck makes the baddie convulse while gargling on his own blood, and this is only the mildest example.
  • Gun Accessories: Particularly prevalent in II. Some weapons come with attachments by standard, such as the M203 launcher on the M4 carbine, and you also pick accessories for your starting weapons on the mission loadout screen, such as a bayonet for the AK-74, and either a Hollywood Silencer, Laser Sight or Infinite Flashlight for the Mk. 23 pistol.
  • Guns Akimbo: The second game allows you to duel-wield pistols and SMGs.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • Unfair difficulty. Noise meter goes up very quickly, leading to tons of Respawning Enemies, which can get you overwhelmed, killing one wave of enemies only to cause more noise and summon more enemies. Not as unfair as it sounds, though.
    • Soldier of Fortune II's "Soldier of Fortune" difficulty setting. Enemies do significantly more damage with their weapons, a max limit of 5 saves per level, etc., in a game which is already Nintendo Hard on the normal ("Gun For Hire") difficulty setting.
  • Have a Nice Death: If you jeopardize the mission or accidentally hit one of your allies, they yell "kill him!" and you die instantly (they don't even actually shoot you).
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: In the original game, for some reason, Mullins can swap the Silver Talon and only the Silver Talon into his left hand by strafing left.
  • Heroic Bystander: Due to how the A.I. works, the civilians in the Hong Kong levels may occasionally pick up fallen weapons and use them to fight the gangsters attacking you. They're not exactly the best combatants, but they can still kill a gangster or two with some luck.
  • Hostage Spirit-Link: Used to varrying degrees in both games, in the first game, you'll only game over after killing a certain number of civilians, in 2, you'll instantly die even if the enemies kill any civilians, while the enemies don't generally target civilians, this includes if civilians wander into gunfire or into enemy grenades, which they don't attempt to avoid, this is heavily weaponized in the airport level where civilians often appear near enemies and walk towards the player like it's a light-gun game, making explosive weaponry borderline unusuable.
  • Improperly Placed Firearms: Several examples.
    • The whole contingent of Soviet Biopreparat soldiers in the Prague levels have M3A1 Grease Guns as primary weapons and Colt 1911A1's as sidearms. Why they have that loadout instead of Kalashnikovs of any variety and Makarov pistols as secondaries, the game never ever touches up on.
    • The only variety of Kalash rifles in the game is the AK-74 converted to five-five-six NATO. Which is downright absurd, considering how the original 5.45mm and 7.62mm were (and still are) much easier to lay hands on, and terrorists, to put it lightly, aren't known for doing caliber swaps.
  • "Instant Death" Radius: Enemies in Payback do quadruple damage if they can shoot you from point-blank range.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • The mooks in the Subway mission of the first game will commit acts like shooting a hostage for "being annoying" and push another in front of an incoming train, probably so you won't feel guilty about blowing them into Ludicrous Gibs.
    • Also, in the second game, Colombian rebels do this to the village of Pureza, attacking it with the Romulus virus. The results of the virus attack are not pretty... and neither are the terrorists' corpses after Mullins storms through their section of the jungle.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: The Shop is a UN organization focused on fighting terrorism worldwide.
  • Limited Loadout: The first game and Payback limit the player to a max of three guns and a knife, but the second game has a significantly higher loadout limit that varies with difficulty. On easier modes, Mullins may lug around a sidearm, shotgun, assault rifle w/grenade launcher, light machine gun, and sniper rifle at once, while on harder ones, he's limited to 4 or 5 weapons.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Whereas the first two Soldier of Fortune games featured semi-realistic enemies that could only survive a couple assault rifle bullets (with the exception of the first game's armor-plated final boss), Payback features several boss fights against enemy mercs who can take a few clips of assault rifle fire before dying. Most of these bosses aren't even wearing body armor.
    • The Interrogator and Deviant 1 bosses in the second game take 10-20 assault rifle shots to kill, despite not wearing armor (or, heck, even clothes), whereas standard enemies in full body armor go down after a handful of shots.
  • Mooks
    • Elite Mooks: The Order soldiers in the first game who appeared in the last few levels and were equipped with body armor and automatic slugthrowers. The second game has elite Prometheus soldiers wearing a blue suit of full body armor (making them look exactly like Team Rainbow operatives), which allowed them to withstand multiple assault rifle shots (in a game where 1 or 2 shots is usually sufficient to kill) and even allowed them to survive a few headshots from lower-caliber firearms.
    • Gas Mask Mooks: Various enemies in the first game, although somewhat justified in that they work in a WMD plant. The Prometheus soldiers in the second game also wear gas masks.
  • Mle Trois: In II, the various enemy factions you fight across the campaign actually have hostilities with one another, despite most of them having absolutely no interaction with each other at any point. This is only noticeable by using cheats to spawn them in a mission that they normally don't appear in (for example, a Chinese gangster spawned in the Prague levels will attack the Russian soldiers).
  • The Mole: In Soldier of Fortune 2, Taylor is suspected to be one. Turns out it's Assistant Director Wilson, who established Prometheus with Nachrade as means to get rich by blackmailing the world governments to pay them for Romulus' antidote.
  • Murder Simulators: Oddly averted, considering its nature. While the games have gotten a bit of notoriety, they weren't able to muster the same level of controversy as other violent games.
  • Neutron Bomb: Jessica Six. Dekker plans to destroy the UN and therefore The Shop by firing it on New York.
  • Nintendo Hard: Soldier of Fortune 2. Especially on the hardest difficulty.
    • The last 3 levels of Payback are also like this, as the enemies get a massive damage increase to their weapons, despite the fact they're still using the exact same weapons as in all the previous levels (with the result that you die after only 2 shots from an MP5, whereas all the previous levels played like a standard action movie FPS where you could take more than a dozen rounds to the face before having to worry).
  • Obvious Villain, Secret Villain: In Double Helix, the Big Bad Duumvirate are this, with the ex-KGB terrorist leader as the obvious one and the hidden one being The Mole within the Shop whose identity is not revealed until the final level.
  • One Bullet Clips: When you reload, rounds are pulled from the reserve straight to the magazine. You may have to juggle firearms and ammo calibers, but magazines are no issue.
  • Pacifist Run: Hard to pull off but quite possible (with a few exceptions where you have to kill) on lower difficulty levels in both the 1st and 2nd games thanks to you being able to shoot the weapons out of your enemies' hands and the grenades out of their chests. It is also possible in the 2nd game to pistol-whip enemies (except bosses), knocking them out for a while.
  • Police Are Useless: In the second game, the Swiss police tried to apprehend Nachrade at an airport in Bern. They manage to evacuate some of the hostages, but end up outnumbered and outgunned, only succeeding thanks to Mullins. It doesn't help that they forgot to bring a SWAT Team with them.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: Both the Mk. 23 and the 1911 are very accurate and powerful, killing with one or two headshots on the highest difficulty. It's surprising how easy it is to win firefights with them, even late in the game, as long as you aim for the head. In levels where there's no power like Kamchatka after you mess up the grid and the Shop, a SOCOM with a tactical light is your best friend.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: In the first game, Mullins confronts Saddam Hussein face-to-face but is unable to simply shoot him because this was back in the 1990s when the real life Saddam was the guy considered to be in charge of Iraq, for better or worse.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: It's hard to see, but under his sunglasses Nachrade has reddish eyes.
  • Red Shirt: Most allies that don't directly accompany you fill this role, usually having scripted deaths. The police in the Subway mission, the KLA soldiers in the Kosovo mission, the Shop's security personnel, etc.
  • Rule of Cool:
    • In the first game, in case the Ludicrous Gibs and weapons like the MPG weren't a clue, the part where you fight your way through a nuclear base under a slaughterhouse is the point you realize the game doesn't actually aim for realism.
    • Also the more outlandish weapons in the first game (up to and including an Energy Weapon), and, at one point, busting into one of Saddam Hussein's fortresses and having in your sniper sight, though unfortunately you can't shoot him.
  • Sighted Guns Are Low-Tech: Inverted. The only sighted weapon that isn't the Sniper Rifle is the ridiculously hi-tech OICW; the rest are all hip-fired and aimed via a targeting reticle.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: One of the many failings of the A.I. in Payback is that many enemy soldiers will actually run at you from several dozen feet away to club you with their rifles instead of actually, you know, shooting at you. This can be very bad for the player as once the enemies finish their melee attack, they'll probably remember what their guns are for and open fire, dealing quadruple damage.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Eight or nine meters is the max range for a shotgun's pellets. After that, they simply vanish.
  • Shout-Out: During the Helicopter Extraction level in part 2, for a little "mood music", the pilot puts on "Ride Of The Valkyries", an ode to Apocalypse Now. The box gets destroyed by gunfire shortly after.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The first game very much rests towards the "silliness" side. The second game much more towards the "seriousness" side. The third game falls somewhere in the middle.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Mason in Payback definitely comes across as one of these. Notably, while both Mullins and Mason shoot an unarmed prisoner in the face, Mullins does it to The Dragon after he mocks the deaths of Mullins' friends (which he has just recently caused), whereas Mason does it to some random Arab accountant for calling him names. Mason WAS going to let him live, until the accountant stupidly bragged that if he was in Mason's position, he wouldn't have hesitated to kill him, then Mason probably realized that letting him live wouldn't be a very smart idea.
  • Sinister Shades: Nachrade's defining feature is a pair of shades.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Romulus virus, designed by an ex-Biopreparat scientist Dimitri Sestrogor, kills in seconds.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad: The first game does it right in the first level when you enter an otherwise unoccupied room to grab some ammo. Sometimes justified with enemies arriving through locked doors, but in the worst cases, they pop into existence right in front of you.
  • Universal Ammunition: Double Helix was an early game to identify ammo types by caliber and try to make an effort to have them only be shared by weapons that make sense — the 9mm SMGs all share ammo, the .45 ACP Grease Gun pulls from the M1911 and Mk 23's ammo pool instead, and the AK-74 is even noted to have been converted to 5.56mm to justify it sharing ammo with the M4 and OICW. This still has some oddities, such as the Desert Eagle sharing ammo with the other handguns despite not coming in .45 in real life, or the grenade launchers all using separate ammo pools when the M203 and Hawk do, in fact, take the same grenades.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: All over the place, but towards the end of the first level in 1, just before Sabre bails out on the train, you come across a couple of unarmed mooks being held at gunpoint by the cops. You can cap said mooks right in front of the cops, who don't so much as blink.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: They're great if you're a sadist, but they take a while to catch someone on fire and don't have much spread.
  • War for Fun and Profit: It's not very clear, but the ending of Payback implies the bad guys are an evil version of the Shop that are fomenting wars in third world countries in order to create demand for mercenaries.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Prologue chapter of Double Helix (spanning five maps) sets up Dr. Ivanovich as a major character for the game, given that the plot revolves around germ warfare. However, following the Prologue, the good doctor only appears briefly in the first present-day level, during the Colombia mission briefing. He is never seen afterwards (not even on the Laboratory floor during the Shop's siege).
  • Whole-Plot Reference: In the second game, the ending of the Colombian jungle part of the game with the helicopter evacuation while the hero is operating the helicopter's machinegun is recreating a scene of Clear and Present Danger.
  • You're Insane!: Mullins to Wilson in the second game's endgame.

Alternative Title(s): Soldier Of Fortune II Double Helix