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"The hull has been breached and the science is leaking out!"
Unknown Scientist

Space Pirates And Zombies (And Bounty Hunters) is a top-down action/strategy/RPG game in the vein of Star Control II, Starscape and Escape Velocity, made by Minmax Games. It can be found on Steam, Impulse, and several other digital distribution platforms. In March 2012, it got a free Expansion Pack update that adds a Bounty Hunter faction to the fray, hence the new subtitle And Bounty Hunters.

The plot follows Don Gibson, Elsa Young, and Dr. Carl Memford as they embark on a quest to the center of the galaxy in search of a mythical motherlode of Rez, setting out from the ruins of Earth That Was in their cobbled-together starship known as The Clockwork. Assembling a band of followers from outcasts, press-ganged prisoners of war, and anyone else who wanted to join them, they put together a small fleet of additional vessels and set forth on a voyage that will have consequences nobody could have foreseen.


Humanity has spread all across the galaxy but is split into hundreds of unorganized factions, loosely classified as the United Terran Alliance and the Civilians. As mentioned above, there is also the new Bounty Hunter "faction" to contend with. They'll be after you as you rack up bounties for wrecking UTA and Civilian ships, clear gates, and complete certain missions. Compete in their arena matches, destroy zombies, and their ships, to earn Respect and lower your Bounty level - or hire them to help you in missions and clear particularly tough blockades.

The cutscenes/intermissions were narrated by TotalBiscuit, aka The Cynical Brit. It has its own wiki here.

A sequel titled Space Pirates And Zombies 2 released on November 7, 2017, after a year in Early Access. Set directly after the end of the first game, the galaxy has to deal with the consequences of the zombie overmind's destruction, as the first game's protagonists' struggle for survival in this new environment. Unlike the first game, the player controls a singular mothership from a third person perspective, battling against others in the galaxy for resources. Motherships are made up of modular parts that can be swapped around and positioned as the player sees fits, allowing for a wide variety of configurations.


Tropes in the first game:

  • Absent Aliens: The game solves the Fermi Paradox by stating that the zombies only allow one sapient species to evolve at a time (this is known, in some circles, as the "Great Filter" solution). Once a race develops FTL and discovers Rez, they have a "gold rush" towards the galactic core, where they're transformed into critters in a galaxy-wide Zombie Apocalypse. Presumably, there could be a situation similar to Mass Effect, where multiple sophont species evolve, but it hasn't happened.
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: In order to research every single possible upgrade in the research table, you would need to reach tech level 261. To give an idea of how high this is, you can conquer the entire outer rim of the galaxy (set to maximum size) and only make it to 150 or so. Conquering the inner rim will get you to 190. It is possible, but you must be incredibly grindy.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: You have to be friendly with whatever faction has upgrade plans you need to buy. And if they don't already like you it can take a while to earn their trust via missions, or a whole lot of goons. Then again, if you're strong enough, or the base is a weaker one, you could always just attack the station, then steal the technology after destroying it.
  • Alliance Meter:
    • One for the UTA and the Civilians. Due to the UTA guarding the gates and Civilians running the mining operations, Civilians will usually be the ones you're friendly with.
    • Averted once you hit Act 4. The humans are no longer fighting each other, since they now have a common enemy in the zombies. Instead of buying their loyalty, you now give them resources to increase their defenses, so that they can better withstand zombie attacks.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Will happen to your ships if too many zombies get onboard and kill off/zombify the remaining crew. You can attempt to flush them (and your remaining crew) out of an airlock, but if you don't pay attention to your ships, they will quickly join the zombie ranks and possibly overwhelm you if they take over too many of your big ships.
  • Armor Is Useless: Zigzagged.
    • In general, armor is good for reducing the damage the ship's hull, or health, receives. So it's good in a pitched close up battle between two large ships.
    • That said, bulky armor is a liability for a ship that you want to be fast enough to evade getting hit. And on a smaller ship, armor doesn't protect much against a larger ship's weaponry. The Mass Driver also ignores armor, and deals damage directly to the hull.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack:
    • Mass drivers bypass armor, but do so little damage to shields that they might as well do none at all.
    • SRM Launchers fire a Macross Missile Massacre. Point-defense modules are optimized against single-shot rocket weapons, so they're quickly overwhelmed by them.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Your AI wingmates are... not exactly the most intelligent pilots out there, to put it nicely.
  • Attack Drone: Several ships can use 'Drone Hives', which deploy around a dozen automated attack drones. They come in three main types, and each have a variant that can cloak at the expense of health.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Fixed Turret Mod lets you increase the mount size of a turret gun in exchange for locking it in the forward position. The impractical part comes in when you realize that unless the turret in question is mounted dead center, you've just ensured that it will probably miss half the time.
    • The suicide cannon and armored grunt shuttles deliver crew to enemy ships to disable them from the inside, provided you have enough goons inside a ship. However, goons are a limited resource and gathering enough takes a while, and said shuttles can be destroyed by enemy fire, so you're often better off just blowing other ships up with your weapons than relying on these.
  • Ballistic Discount: Any station with an upgrade for sale can be destroyed to get it for free. This is hardly as easy as it sounds, though, since stations are usually very well armed and summon other ships as backup. It can be made easier through certain missions, which let you downgrade the ranking of the local Civilian or UTA presence, thereby making their station weaker.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Critters (zombified Goons) float in the void indefinitely and can still ruin your day (and infest your ship) no matter when they spawned.
  • The Battlestar:
    • The UTA Sunspot and Civilian Carrier both employ drones, but that doesn't stop them from packing in a respectable amount of firepower. On a larger scale, the Clockwork itself, as it can field up to four ships of varying sizes and capabilities as well as being very well armed, especially once it gains the Titan Beam.
    • Larger Starbases also have their own drones, and several other weapon systems to defend themselves.
  • Beam Spam: Ships equipped with lasers can do this.
  • Beef Gate: Every warp gate is blocked by UTA troops which you must defeat to progress. Alternatively, if you befriend the UTA, you may pay them a one-time transit fee, turning it into a Cash Gate.
  • Big Bad: Don, who does a Face–Heel Turn in Act 3, is a mole/Mouth of Sauron for the zombies.
  • Black Comedy:
    • Several missions, such as the Moon Burger questline (which involves gathering toxic waste and zombie tissue as fast food meat).
    • Slavery is straight-up Played for Laughs in this setting.
  • Boarding Party: Delivered either by the "Suicide Cannon" (which essentially fires a modified escape pod that drills into the enemy ship) or the Grunt Shuttle. Ships with enemies aboard move slower and their weapons fire more slowly. If there are no defenders, they take hull damage and eventually explode... or get turned into zombie ships, if the boarding party are zombies.
  • Body of Bodies: Zombie ships are clumps of human hulls frankensteined together with Meat Moss.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • In Act 4, plain old vanilla missiles. Missiles are strong against hulls, but weak against armor and shields. Since zombie ships (the majority of what you'll be facing in Act 4) have no armor or shields but very high hull strength, this makes missiles fantastic zombie exterminators. It doesn't hurt that they consume almost no power, have very long range, and can track targets.
    • Gravity missiles don't do a lot of damage. However, they are great at slowing down ships if they hit, which makes taking out smaller, faster ships easier, especially with cannon fire.
  • Broken Bridge: Once you hit Act 4, the entire outer rim is rendered inaccessible.
  • Captain Ersatz: The zombies are this for System Shock 2's Annelids: they're Parasite Zombies that construct new ships by gluing old ones together with Meat Moss.
  • Catapult to Glory:
    • The Suicide Cannon, which fires boarding pods.
    • Zombies have a similar tactic, but it's more akin to Fastball Special.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The colour of the lights on ships tell you to which faction it belongs. Blue are your own ships, red are UTA ships, green are Civilian ships, yellow are Bounty Hunter ships and purple are Zombie ships.
  • Conflict Killer: The zombies change the entire ally system, making the UTA and Civilian factions permanent allies that are immune to friendly fire.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • While the game supports many different build types, some are better than others in the last act fighting against the zombie horde. For example, a stealth build will cause lots of problems for you due to lack of shields preventing zombies from infesting your ships should they catch wind of where you are.
    • Some stations and ships use missiles exclusively. Equipping all your ships with Point Defense Modules makes them big fat roadblocks that innefectually spit rockets at you.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Mostly averted; after taking enough damage, ships and stations incur hull breaches that vent crew and rez (the former not in pods, so you can't steal them or get them back if they're yours) in great plumes. Crew loss will have a serious impact on the ship's self-repair abilities if it did have any crew beforehand. Shields never let damage through until they fail completely, although armour does. Ships close to destruction or being invaded also get slowed considerably, to a crawl when about to be destroyed.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Admiral Jamison and his mothership are immune to damage when retreating, something no other ship in the game can do. This is because the ship has to be intact for a later cutscene, during which it is destroyed then you salvage it to replace your own busted mothership.
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: Huge ships can often take a beating, both yours and the enemy, so you'll be shooting at them for a while before they finally get destroyed.
  • Death Cry Echo: The ship you are controlling will often have the crew scream right before it dies, and later, gets zombified.
  • Defiant to the End: Whenever you pick up goons, the game will calculate how many of them will agree to serve and how many won't. Any goons who refuse to serve get spaced, so the stat is essentially how good you are at convincing people that serving you is preferable to death.
  • Deflector Shields: One of the two lines of defense. As mentioned above, they block all incoming damage until broken, at which point they require some time to recover. Variants offer faster recharge time at the cost of lower overall capacity and vice versa. Can be switched for a cloaking device, which acts as a much weaker shield that hides the ship from view until depleted.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Pretty much what happens in the end-game, as the Clockwork's crew finally destroy the source of the zombies — which has been kicking around for millenia. But the zombies are the source of the Rez. No more Rez, no more gate network.
  • Disc-One Nuke: The Particle Cannon. It does decent damage against both shields and hulls, is available before the "Big Fish" story mission, only requires Level 6 Cannon research to be used and doesn't require a lot of energy.
  • The Dreaded: Fighting huge ships, especially several at once, when you don't have one of your own yet can invoke this.
  • Dyson Sphere: Some maps have a star encased in a glass cage in the background.
  • Earth That Was: Earth is now a highly toxic backwater planet, all but forgotten. The situation is never explained in detail, but the system itself is pretty much abandoned, save for a small mining base and a tiny UTA outpost. Sort of justified in that Rez is much more plentiful the closer you get to the galactic core, so most of humanity migrated closer to it.
  • Enemy Civil War: Can be invoked prior to Act 4 should you end up being hated by both the civilians and the UTA in a star system, then enter an area where they're fighting each other.
  • Enemy Mine: In Act 4, the UTA and the Civilians band together against the Zombie invasion.
  • Energy Weapon: One of the three primary weapon types, alongside cannons and missiles.
  • Escape Pod: All non-zombie ships in this game eject them before being destroyed. They're actually rather hilariously impractical, as they're quite likely to be picked up by the enemy (where they'll be either forced to join their crew or Thrown Out the Airlock), and after a minute or so they'll just spontaneously pop open, leaving the hapless occupant to suffocate in space (presumably they've only got that much life support).
  • Escort Mission: A category of civilian missions. You either have to escort them to a warp gate or through minefields to pick up cargo. They can be annoying early on, when you don't have the raw firepower to keep the UTA forces from destroying the ship, not to mention the fact that friendly fire is still a problem. It gets easier later on, but it can be annoying if the escort ship comes with a cloaking device and thus you can't see it.
  • Evil Mentor: Don's motivation for reaching the galactic core was not for the rez, but to unleash the zombie hordes. Didn't seem so eager to betray his comrades, though. He lampshades this when called on it by Elsa, pointing out that a pirate keeping the company of a man who has committed crimes against humanity should have been a giant red flag for her.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: You are Space Pirates! There are Zombies! And Bounty Hunters!
  • Explosive Decompression:
    • "I wonder if your eyes really do pop in space." Averted, since Goons floating in space actually live long enough to complain when they get run over.
    • This does happen to ships and stations with large crew compliments, though, if they lose all their armor in a section. Suddenly, dozens, if not hundreds, of crew members will get blown out of the unfortunate vessel in rivers of helplessly struggling bodies.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Unless a weapon is mounted on a turret, it's this. The Fixed Turret Mod does this to turrets, locking them in the forward position in exchange for a size increase.
  • Flying Saucer: Two UTA ships fit the bill.
  • Foreshadowing: One random radio message in Act I is about a salvager who found a ship crawling with Meat Moss and wisely decided to make tracks.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Played straight with your ships and the faction ships in the last Act. Averted in the first three Acts of the game with the other factions, such as the UTA and Civilians; if you fire on them too long, your relationship with them will go down, and when it goes below neutral, they'll start attacking you. This can be especially problematic during escort missions or when allied ships decide they want to help you.
  • From Bad to Worse: Implied in the ending. With no more zombies, there's no more Rez being created. With Rez suddenly finite and limited, humanity is going to become much worse than the zombies ever were.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The title can be abbreviated to "S.P.A.Z."
  • Game Mod: These can be found on the official forums.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Averted. Any ships you can fire on can be destroyed. Your own ships and allied ships in Act 4 are Friendly Fireproof however.
  • Gang Up on the Human:
    • The zombies seem particularly fond of this, and will often attack whichever ship you're controlling at the time.
    • TURBO DEFENDER 9000-EX actively targets the player ship in his second mission.
  • Goddamned Bats: Zombie critters, which attack in groups, and are hard to spot until they're all over your ships due to their small size. You can choose to ignore them but they will, slowly but surely (not so slowly when in large numbers), chew through your shields, then armor, and when the ship's damaged enough, they will board it and infect it. Even one is enough to keep your shield from regenerating after failure as they bite the ship repeatedly. To add insult to the injury, they're extremely hard to shoot off once they're clinging to the ship — virtually impossible with a slow ship without turrets. And when you're busy killing critter swarms on your ships, you're wide open for attacks from larger enemies.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Fighting the zombies requires a vastly different technique than fighting against non-zombie opponents. With non-zombie ships, you only have to worry about their shots. With zombie ships, or zombie-infested areas, the zombies in space that aren't shot first can hang around outside the ship, and if there's enough of them, they'll eventually overwhelm your ship and take it over. And if this happens too quickly, you'll end up fighting against too many ships at once.
    • It might not be apparent at first glance that the mining beam stations use to break open large asteroids is available to you. You just need a ship with a huge gun mount to attach a mining beam to.
    • The Bounty Hunter Arenas, in addition to forcing you into ships that are at best awkward and at worst outright terrible, often sticks you into puzzle-like situations where you have to exploit little-used game mechanics to survive. This includes knowing how to jettison armor to gain speed and turning off energy-draining beams so cannons will work better.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge:
    • Zigzagged with regular missiles. You can attempt to do this, but they will circle back and attempt to hit you again, unless you can shoot it down first, or your ship is fast enough to simply evade them.
    • Played straight with torpedoes and bombs. Though they have some slight tracking ability, they don't move or maneuver as fast as a missile does, so if you miss, you probably lost that payload unless they hit another stray target. As a result, you're better off using them in very close range combat where the target doesn't have enough time to dodge the attack.
  • Holiday Mode: 2011 saw the addition of a Halloween and a Christmas mode. Both can be played outside the actual holiday, but they were the default for them. Both modes modified the three main character portraits and the graphics for rez, asteroids and other objects to suit the theme. Halloween also lets you "Trick or Treat" friendly starbases, which can cause various effects. The Christmas mode spawns milk and cookie pickups from destroyed ships, which in turn summon Santa to drop a bunch of presents (and a Specialist elf, if you're lucky).
  • Human Resources: It is implied that Goons who are recruited get equipped with an exploding collar and are freely used as payment for various tech and favors. 'Retiring' a specialist is shown to be ejecting them out the airlock.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: How travel from system to system is conducted.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: When travelling out of regions with bounty hunters, a message box might pop up demanding payment if you want to leave. If you decline, you're attacked by a sizable bounty hunter force instead. Later in the game, zombies will routinely ambush you after a set number of system to system jumps, forcing you to fight them off until the drive charges up.
  • Invisibility Flicker: Cloaking devices do this when the ship using it fires its weapons or is hit by an opponent's weapons.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The Big Brother and Carrier do a little bit of everything in terms of loadout and their stats are fairly average.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • All ships will momentarily flee if their health gets critical, attempting to build their shields back to full before returning to attack.
    • Bounty hunters will warp out of the area if their big ships are destroyed before the weaker fighters.
    • TURBO DEFENDER 9000-EX gives up the part you want after you've reduced his station to half health.
  • Large Ham: The quote on top the page. Many of the dialogue you hear in the game also sound like this, especially when attacking civilian bases.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Your own ships's AI, with a "Charge at whatever I am targetting" setting and a "Charge at whatever you want" setting. They won't run halfway across the map, though, not unless you deliberately tell them to target an enemy.
  • Level Grinding: There's a reason the game has galaxies with up to 300 solar systems to explore. If you try to bulldoze your way to the endgame, you're going to meet a quick and messy end long before you get there. A lot of time has to be spent grinding through one system after another, building up data for research points and blueprints for better ships. You also have to buy the blueprints for weapons and subsystems. It's one of the most common criticisms of the game, because the grinding is so tedious.
  • The Load:
    • Escort Mission ships can often be these. They will usually try to help you fight off attackers, but more often than not, will get in the way of your own attacks, inadvertently causing you to blow them up and fail the mission.
    • Your smaller ships will often be these as well if you're fighting lots of large and huge ships, as they don't do much damage to those ships, and take a lot of damage if they get hit by them.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • Can be invoked on ships that have a lot of missiles as weapons.
    • The Volley is a dedicated missile ship. It has no other slots than missiles mounts. Combined with micro-missiles, this lead to a lot of missiles in a single volley.
  • Metaphorgotten: "In space, no one can hear you scream... unless you're broadcasting on the right frequency."
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: In several missions, you might find yourself releasing a Plot Coupon from an asteroid or ship, only for a rival ship to warp in and snatch the item before you do, forcing you to destroy that ship as well before it flees.
  • Meat Moss: Zombie ships are several ships glued together with the stuff. One early radio broadcast has a scavenger mention that he boarded a derelict with "shit growin' on the walls". Infested ships also have purple veins all over them.
  • Mighty Glacier: Certain ship types.
    • The Brute handles like a brick, but if properly armed will kill basically anything with its turrets. This also extends to its larger cousin, the Mammoth.
    • The Star Cruiser packs a lot of firepower... but has mostly forward-facing guns and the worst turning speed in its class.
  • Minovsky Particle: "Neutrinos" are able to destablize shields, disintegrate hull through armor, or suck the power right out of a ships reactor depending on how they're "charged". In reality, neutrinos are simply loose particles going very, very fast.
  • More Dakka:
    • The Particle Cannon. Especially if combined with Cannon Boosters.
    • Ship-wise, the Claw is this for the Tiny-sized hulls, the Cyclops is this for Small-sized hulls, and the Manta Ray is this, period.
    • The Dual Turret mod doubles the amount of slots on a turret in exchange for downgrading the mount size by one level. In short, you get more firepower but less range. The Triple Turret mod turns a huge turret mount into three large ones.
  • Mutants: One story mission involves ships that behave very much like zombies due to one of Doc's illegal experiments with toxic waste.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules:
    • You're limited to four ships at most, and that's depending on your progress in the game (you get two slots, minimum). In addition to being able to field ships you don't have (which you earn by destroying them), the computer can field ships you outright cannot build without progressing in the game, and they usually have twice as many ships as you in any given encounter. And they will Zerg Rush you every chance they get on harder difficulties and/or higher level systems. This is balanced out by the enemy being just as stupid as your own pilots and their loadouts usually being inferior unless you're picking fights outside your weight class.
    • Additionally, one side mission in Act 3 has you fight against Admiral Jamison's new Clockwork-esque capital ship. Once you bring its health down, he orders a retreat. Normally, retreating ships can still be targeted and destroyed, but his ship stops taking damage before its destruction. This happens because the ship gets destroyed in a cutscene between Acts 3 and 4.
  • Mystery Meat: Some optional missions have the crew pick up some supplies for a burger meat company; such as toxic waste and zombies. Dr. Memford reasons that the material is safe to eat given proper preparation, but cautions against drinking the smoothies.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The UTA built the core gate to lock in the zombie invasion. The Clockwork breaks through it. Whoops.
  • No Ontological Inertia: If a ship that has deployed a turret or a mine generator is destroyed, said turret or mine generator immediately self-destructs, the latter also taking all of its mines with it. The same principle also applies to all drone-deploying ships - with the ship's destruction, the drones are destroyed as well.
  • Non Standard Game Over: This happens if certain primary missions are failed. The game is nice enough to warn you beforehand, though.
  • Not the Intended Use: Some ships make better missile frigates than the Volley, a ship carrying nothing but missiles.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: Zig-Zagged. "Zombie" refers to an entire infested ship. Parasite-infested Goons are refered to as "critters".
  • Number of the Beast: The Brute, one of the strongest ships in the Bounty Hunters' arsenal, has 666 base health.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies themselves are the Parasite type, while their ships are the Constructed type, as they cobble together wrecks and infest human ships by gluing them together with Meat Moss, a la the Many.
  • Piñata Enemy: Comets, which drop a ridiculous amount of data.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The amount of pirating you choose to do is entirely up to you. If you want to, you can go around bribing everyone and essentially trading and mining your way through a lot of the game. Then again, trading is largely based on slavery in this game.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted for the most part. Point defense on a ship is usually decent enough to shoot down an incoming missile or two. However, you can overwhelm them by unleashing a Macross Missile Massacre, as they usually can't shoot everything you toss at them before some of them hit. Keep in mind this affects you as well if you're on the receiving end of such an attack.
  • Practical Currency: Rez and Goons, for tech and bribes, respectively. Credits are mentioned in passing, but they're irrelevant.
  • Punny Name: In many sidequests, a UTA officer by the name of Major Dickens warps in to stop you from doing various things, such as picking up alien artifacts, or violating UTA health codes.
  • Pungeon Master: Every time Admiral Jamison shows up, Dr. Carl Memford has to poke fun at the fact he's missing an eye.
  • Red Shirt: Carl mentions that the reactor explosion which kick-starts the plot killed "almost all those fellows in the red shirts."
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • A cache of survivors is discovered from the original Clockwork. Dr. Memford immediately points this out. Don even lampshades it.
    • An early optional mission offers great rewards for responding to a distress call. Turns out the message comes from a bunch of spam satellites.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Galactic Core Gate
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Handy for those truly desperate situations, such as your ships being full of zombies and with nothing to stop them from 'turning'. One mission has an angry AI send waves of Tugs at you that self-destruct if the player-controlled ship gets too close.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Armor plating can be jettisoned to increase speed. This is usually a bad idea, but is an important trick in one of the bounty hunter challenges.
  • Shout-Out: A couple in the achievements.
  • Space Is Noisy:
    "In space no one can hear you scream, unless you're broadcasting on the right frequency."
  • Space Mines: A fairly effective support weapon if you invest in them, but a little too situational for most players to use seriously.
  • Space Pirates: The player faction, both in name and in their surviving by preying on other factions for slaves, materials and ships. Becomes pronounced with their color scheme in Act 3, when they begin to paint huge skulls and other unpleasant symbols on their ships.
  • Space Police: The UTA was formed to help control the flow of traffic and minimize the risks of potential disease outbreaks... supposedly.
  • Stab the Scorpion: You can shoot critters off allied ships.
  • Stealth in Space:
    • Cloaking devices hide ships from view and allow them to deal as much as three times their normal attack damage with proper research investments, but reduce movement speed and maneuverability. They can also absorb damage like shields, but are much weaker. Until you get to a fairly high research level, of course. Then the speed negatives are removed and your 'shield' strength is enough to survive most enemy assaults.
    • For some reason, cargo containers with cloaking devices are fairly common.
    • Some missions require a stealthed ship in order to successfully complete it. Thankfully they're optional (except for one story mission), so you can skip them if you so choose. It is technically possible to beat them without a cloak, just absurdly difficult.
  • Stern Chase: After Admiral Jamison catches wind of/figures out what you're trying to do. It's more of an Informed Chase though, since you aren't harassed by the UTA any more than normal apart from a couple of optional missions. His reaction to you tearing his new Clockwork-esque super-capital ship a new super-sized exhaust port is priceless.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: It doesn't matter if you're flying a piddly fighter or a heavily-armed behemoth. Any enemies you're assigned to kill will rush you even if you can literally kill an entire wave with a single volley.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Beam weapons are good against shields, but weak against hull armor. Cannons, on the other hand, are weak against shields, but tear through armor pretty quickly. Most other weapon types are a mix of the two, neither good nor bad.
  • Take Your Time: Though a few are timed missions, and non-story quests have a jump limit before they expire, you can take however long you want to do many of them. Or just spend your time leveling up and exploring.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: Zombie meat makes a great substitute for chicken (after a hilariously excessive amount of processing).
  • Terminally Dependent Society: Since Rez is so vital for space travel and construction, there is a 'gold-rush' of richer and richer deposits of it. The zombies create Rez as a lure for sentient species across the galaxy.
  • This Cannot Be!: Jamison's reaction when you defeat the UTA's version of the Clockwork in a sidequest.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock:
    • If you collect crew, a certain percentage gets spaced for being uppity, as do any that are above your crew capacity. Upgrades decrease this percentage.
      "If any of those hostages give you lip, you throw them out the window."
    • Can also be used to force out a large zombie infestation. Unfortunately it also ejects all of your remaining crew, so it's only advisable if the zombies vastly outnumber your crew.
  • Token Good Team Mate: Elsa.
  • Toilet Humor: Don threatens the first Goon you abduct with being forced to eat turd sandwiches, and apparently, recycled urine is a common beverage on spacecraft.
    Scavenger: Y'know, I'm not quite as fond of the taste of my own reconstituted urine as I thought I'd be.
  • Tractor Beam: Tractor beams can be equipped to scoop up nearby pods/rez/etc. Useful for easily collecting rez from mining, but otherwise you're better off equipping things that increase survivability.
  • Unobtainium: Rez, an element which can be transformed into virtually any other element.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You automatically throw out the airlock about half of the crew you pick up until your people skills improve, and are treated with pretty quotes like "All noncooperative hostages will be thrown away with the rest of the trash". And then you play laser skeet shooting with them. You may also find yourself shooting your former friends in the back for rez, crew, or more importantly, ship blueprints.
    Formerly friendly ship: What. Did I. Ever. Do to you??
  • Villain Protagonist: Let's see, Don is extremely ruthless and is actually The Dragon to the zombie hordes, Memford is basically Space Mengele, and even Elsa, who is by far the most moral of the trio, has a Hair-Trigger Temper when it comes to men flirting with her. Even after the zombies overrun the galaxy, it's made pretty clear that the "heroes" are motivated purely by self-preservation.
  • Wanted Meter: The Bounty Hunter Threat Level indicator.
  • "Wanted!" Poster: An entire billboard for Dr. Carl Memford. His crimes include Grand Theft Auto, Genocide, and Murder. Don also states that Carl has been accused of crimes against humanity.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Any of the beams in Large or Huge mounts. The Grinder is based around a Wave Motion Mining Gun. Then there's the Clockwork's Titan Beam.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Invoked once the zombies start showing up.
  • We Have Reserves: So long as you have enough Rez and crew, you can keep building new ships as your current ones are destroyed. Notable with the smaller hulls which are built and deployed in seconds.
  • Welcome to Corneria: The random radio squabbles might be a funny joke or [[Foreshadowing hinting about the zombie threat you'll eventually meet]]. You'll hear them all. Over and over. For the rest of the time.
  • Wham Episode: "Opening Pandora's Box". The Rez Motherlode turns to be a trap by the Zombie Essence, Don reveals that he's been a Zombie sleeper agent all along, and has been for centuries, the Zombies pretty much overrun the galactic core, and the Clockwork is destroyed, stranding the protagonists on a backwater planet for five years. When they're finally able to build a new ship and escape, they find that both the UTA and the Civilians are in tatters and the Zombies pretty much control everything. This all occurs in the span of a few minutes.
  • What a Piece of Junk: The Clockwork, especially during the first act, as it's barely being held together following a huge reactor explosion. Dr. Memford even brags about his skills with rusty iron and duct tape producing one of the mightiest motherships in the galaxy.
  • Whole Plot Reference: It's basically Dead Space by way of Star Control. And with all the grimdark stripped out and replaced with Black Comedy.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Jamison has shades of this. He actually compliments you after you destroy his Hammerhead in "Big Fish".
    • The Bounty Hunter threat level is essentially this trope as a game mechanic. The threat level rises for doing attack missions and killing enemies, and is lowered by doing helpful missions like escorts. If the bounty hunters show up to kill you, killing them brings the level down, since you've shown you're a badass.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Hull upgrades are done this way. And yes, usually you have to kill "it" multiple times to get its hull.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • You thought you'd seen the last of TURBO DEFENDER 9000-EX? Nope. Cue waves of suicidal cargo haulers abusing their Self-Destruct Mechanism!
    • Zombies are also pretty fond of this tactic, minus the self-destruction.
    • Because the Short Bus has zero construction costs, a surprisingly effective tactic is to keep pumping as many of them as possible to draw enemy fire while your Glass Cannon ship fires away from a safe distance.
  • Zombify the Living: Zombie ships have a "Corruption Beam" weapon made from tractor beams that targets escape pods and turns them into "Critters".

Tropes in the sequel:

  • Adaptive Ability: According to Admiral Jamison, the infection takes on the form of whatever kills it, adapting to the methods of the lifeforms in order to overcome them. Its Energy Being form in the previous game was merely an emulation of the beings that it last fought.
  • Batman Gambit: Jamison's entire plan hinged on how much the former Clockwork crew hates each other, how inept he is with computers, and them leaving him behind on their brand-new understaffed station in frustration after he presumably signed up to a spambot. That got them off his back and gave him the opening to infect the station, many of the surrounding NPC Captains, and kick-start his brand new zombie invasion.
  • Big Bad: Jamison is the new Dark Entity.
  • Body Horror: Space Skid Puff, a pathetic pirate you defeated and recruited in the previous game, returns here, fused with TURBO DEFENDER 9000-EX into a horrifying cyborg. You end up defeating and recruiting him again.
    • NPC Captains can be suborned to the zombie cause. Their profile picture is covered in a sick purple filter. Thankfully, they can be cured.
    • You get to see what's beneath Jamison's eye patch. And shirt. And hat. It ain't pretty.
    • Carl's replaced his basic cybernetics with a giant face-plate, making him look almost as inhuman as he behaves.
  • Conflict Killer: Averted. This time around, all the factions will fight each other as much as they fight you and the zombies.
  • Continuing is Painful: Part of a Self-Imposed Challenge; if your mothership is destroyed, the game will allow you to load an autosave it does before every combat, but for those who dislike Save Scumming, they can instead "Continue", fly in an escape pod to a starbase, and rebuild their mothership from scratch (though they keep their Character Level and perks), just like the AI captains. The game even lampshades it by saying you should choose the latter option only if you "like pain and suffering". This option however doesn't exist if you lose in battle against a zombie; presumably because you would have become a zombie and thus have the equivalent to a Game Over in a hardcore run.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Carl is more cybered up in this game. Hard to tell whether he's even more insane than he was previously.
  • Design It Your Self Equipment: All motherships consist of core modules, nose parts, engines, and wings, which the player can mix and match to create their own ship designs. Your level determines how many cores you can have at once, thereby determining the size of your mothership.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Everybody knows Jamison is up to something, likely an attempt to restore the UTA. They're Right for the Wrong Reasons.
  • Divide by Zero: Carl warns the crew that he will do this if necessary to keep his mind active.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Dr. Carl Memford is a blatantly amoral and apathetic sociopath. Jamison is a former UTA Admiral who's fallen on hard times and can't break out of his military thinking. MacKenzie is an idiot savant. Elsa Young is jaded and on a Hair-Trigger Temper. SKID PUFF 9000 is a snarky Body Horror spam bot. It's no surprise that they all absolutely loathe each other.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Admiral Jamison was infected in the previous game, but the death of the entity kept it from overtaking him. Instead, he eventually grew to control it, making him the new Dark Entity.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jamison made one after the end of the first game, joining the crew of the Clockwork in rooting out the remainder of the zombies. And so he could restart the invasion under his control.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Jamison, to the point where Carl doesn't let him anywhere near the computers. The second he has access to one on their new starbase, he infects its systems with a spambot, necessitating a long trip to blow up the origin station. Averted. He's been faking it, and thoroughly planned the infection so he could be left behind to restart the zombie invasion.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Averted, it gets used very frequently, but Carl likes to refer to them as "Stickies".
  • Only Sane Man: Between Carl's lack of sanity, Jamison's hankering for the old days, and MacKenzie being, well, MacKenzie, Elsa is the only one left with any sense. The game plays with her being the actual player character since her face appears as the portrait for anything the player owns.
  • Proscenium Reveal: The game opens with your ship fighting endless waves of enemies. Once they manage to overwhelm you, the screen pixelates and Carl complains that he can never beat that level of the game.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The crew this time is made up of Elsa Young as the de-facto Captain, Dr. Carl Memford, former UTA Admiral Jamison, and MacKenzie the mechanic. SKID PUFF 9000, an unholy fusion of Space Skid Puff and TURBO DEFENDER 9000-EX, is recruited later on.
  • Relationship Values: There are five factions in the game. How you behave around them determines your standing with them. Defeating bandits, stopping raids from other factions, and other helpful actions will increase their opinion of you. If they like you, they may aid you in battle. If not, they'll attack you if they think they can win. This also applies to individual captains, who will hold their own opinions of you. A positive value will allow you to recruit them to your faction.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Carl's normal manner of speaking is this. He talks constantly in scientific jargon, dipping out of it here and there to insult other members of the crew. Crosses over with Strange-Syntax Speaker when he says such things as "This makes anti-sense!" when confronted with a pocket of zombie infestation that only wakes up when they, or more specifically Jamison, comes close.
  • Skewed Priorities: In the opening Proscenium Reveal, Carl had to reroute power from life support on several decks to play his video game, much to Elsa's annoyance.
  • Start My Own: After the infection rears its head once more and you get blamed for it, you get to start your own faction, which allows you to build support for an eventual confrontation with the main source of the infection.
  • The Un-Smile: Carl's happy face image (often seen when you level up) bears a striking similarity to Patrick Bateman.


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