Steel Reign is a classic third-person tank shooter from 1998 made for the PlayStation. In 2030, the world, after years of peace and prosperity, is going back to becoming a Crapsack World. War and worldwide depression has since driven country after country down the road to despotism and military rule. Gerald Storm and Lewis Reign were accepted into the prestigious Military Institute of Technology, where they excelled their chosen fields of Armored Assault Vehicle Design and Implementation. Immediately after graduation, both were sent to take part in the Crimean Conflict and rose to the rank of General in record time. General Storm went to become the executive aid of the Chief of Staff and used his influence to assign General Reign to a secret research facility somewhere in the nuclear-ravaged wastelands of the Southwestern United States, where he would command the development of a new generation of armored combat vehicles.
Storm then gathered his forces and started a revolution by declaring martial law. He intends to utilize the Super Prototype tanks Reign is developing to aid his revolution. Reign, of course, isn't letting that happen. He downloaded all the valuable information regarding the Super Prototype tanks and put a bullet in the motherboard. Just to make sure that nothing is left, he activated the self-destruct sequence of the base and evacuated by getting on board the closest tank he can find. Knowing Storm demands the capture of Reign and the Super Prototype tanks, our hero takes the fight to him with the intend of stopping the revolution.
The game is rather simple. It has two single player modes: Arcade and Quest. In Arcade, you can switch tanks in between the missions and unlock more tanks which are hidden in every level as a pick up item. In Quest, you play through the entire game with your chosen tank, with whatever condition your tank is in (health, shield functionality, ammo, etc) brought over towards the next missions. In both modes, you start of with three tanks: the Sidewinder, the Diamondback and the Copperhead. Two player mode is a head-to-head battle, with all tanks (except the Anaconda) made available and battles fought in a wide variety of arenas.
Steel Reign provides examples of:
- Animal Theme Naming: Every single tank in the game is named after a kind of snake, or something relating to a snake such as the Copperhead snake or their movement with sidewinder. Desert King may refer to how certain species of snakes are excellent hunters in desert areas.
- A.K.A.-47: Some tanks are obviously real life tanks. Two of the most obvious are the Desert King (M1 Abrams) and Rattler (M2/M3 Bradley or M6 Linebacker).
- Authority Equals Asskicking: You play a tank general who takes on entire armies with just a couple of Super Prototype tanks. And in a the last mission, General Storm jumps into the fray in his own Super Prototype.
- Big Bad: General Storm.
- BFG: The Cannon. Apart from Special Weapons, this is the most powerful weapon in your inventory. One well aimed shot is enough to blow up multiple targets thanks to splash damage. All tanks can carry a certain amount of tank shells. Armored Cars unfortunately, can't use this weapon.
- The Cobra has, in addition to regular shells, guided shells as it's Special Weapon. When fired, you actually take control of the shell. Great for precision bombing.
- Used against you in three occasions; The battleships in the hanger level will rapid fire cannons at you and kill you super quick and the rail cannons in the forest level do the same thing. General Storm's massive arsenal at the end fight is also an example.
- Butt-Monkey: The cameraman. Poor guy even loses an arm after taking a direct hit from a stray rocket.
- Expy: The Copperhead looks an awful lot like the Mammoth Tank. The only feature it doesn't have is quad tracks.
- Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The cameraman decides its a good idea to tell the aggressive armed soldiers to leave the reporter alone. He proceeds to get slugged.
- Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: The soldiers running around will gladly shoot at your tank. Their guns are hilariously ineffective and will die to literally anything, including just running them over.
- Easter Egg: In the canyon level blowing up rocks will reveal a fossil in them. Even more interesting is that if you kill a big rock and look behind it, and The Monolith awaits.
- Fragile Speedster: Hover Tanks. They are very fast and can easily wreak havoc if you go on running around shooting. However, their Single Shields deplete much more quickly than Quad Shields and the tanks themselves have paper thin armor. Special shotouts to Venmon here which is by far the fastest tank in the game; but its armor seems to be made of tinfoil and crisps and its shields are just as bad. Since every enemy locks onto you, driving it is a good way to die very quickly.
- Two of the missions are clearly designed with these kinds of ships in mind; where bringing a slow giant like copperhead is a death sentence.
- Hover Tank: Three of the prototypes. They are notably the game's resident Fragile Speedster. Save for Storm's tank.
- Harder Than Hard: On the Aracde mode you cant change Tanks between levels. Since each level has a tank type its designed for, using anything other than a Jack-of-All-Trades tank is going to make progression near impossible. Copperhead and Venom for example are a good way to drive someone insane, since several levels require speed and lasers to beat; things the former lacks while others are filled with lock-on attacks that hit hard; which Venom will die pitifully quick to.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Desert king and to a lesser extent Diamondback are both this. They don't particularly excel in any way but they don't have big shortcomings like every other tank. In fact Desert King is basically the "only" way to beat Arcade mode. Good thing you can pick him up in the first level.
- Lethal Joke Character: The Phython. For something that's supposed to be a Super Prototype, its nothing more than a jacked up Chevrolet Blazer with a small turret mounted on it. Should be easy target right? Well, its very fast, has very strong shields to compensate for poor armor and a Special Weapon that will blow damn near everything up in one or two hits.
- Lightning Bruiser: The Fang. This APC-turned-anti-tank platform is as heavily armored as the Copperhead and is still capable of reaching immense speeds just like other Armored Cars. Its only weakness is it's lack of shields.
- Not Completely Useless: The mines are a joke weapon in most missions only used for certain objectives and no sane person would even try using them against an enemy unless desperate. Then in the final battle thanks to the various hills and altitude variations as well as the boss's movements; they are actually one of the most effective weapons since they can deal heavy damage on him while you can stay out of his line of fire.
- Macross Missile Massacre: The result of firing Phoenix Missiles in quick succession. The Sidewinder and to a lesser extend, the Death Adder, invoke this with their Special Weapons. The former fires four missiles at once while the latter fires two. Complete with some Robo Teching. Even better when you use the Special Weapon and Phoenix Missiles together.
- Both the Death Adder and the Fang can carry more Phoenix Missiles than any other tank in the game to compensate for their inability to use Cannons.
- Oh, Crap!:
- The cameraman and reporter when they notice various dangers about to hit them like a tank or a rocket. The cameraman doesn't bother getting out of the way of the latter.
- Every player's reaction when they enter the range of a laser pylon where it will very suddenly; and loudly, lock-on and damage the ship
- When a boulder starts rolling in your direction. Good thing those tanks are fast to reverse.
- One-Man Army: Though the game never acknowledge whether Reign is working with a tank crew or operating the tanks himself.
- More obviously: you play a One Tank Army.
- One-Hit Kill: The boulders in the canyon level. Get hit by one and its instantly game over. On the bright side; the same applies for the enemies
- Only a Flesh Wound: The cameraman gets his arm blown off in the penultimate cutscence, but is rather nonchalant about the whole thing simply stating "That's my arm". In the final cutscene he still keeps the camera rolling and steady, though he requests to see a doctor.
- Scrappy Weapon: The super weapon varies on each tank but is very powerful on all of them; except copperhead. His 'Super weapon' is a small speed boost. Considering most maps are small, super weapons are rare and it has little fuel, this a complete joke and doesn't help with the tank's speed in any way and was likely a balance choice. And no, ramming tanks wont do anything but make you an easier target.
- Stone Wall: Copperhead has the best defenses of any ship in the game; too bad its slow as molasses and comes lacking a laser weapon, which is required to beat the penultimate level with sanity intact
- Super Prototype: All of the playable tanks, although most have been placed into mass-production.
- Shock and Awe: Despite their names, Both the Mk1 and Mk2 Lasers count. The Viper one ups this with it's Special Weapon: firing FOUR Laser Mk2s at the same time!
- That One Level: Fortified City, it's the longest mission by far filled with the toughest enemies all over the place with heavy hitting seeking missiles. One objective requires you to kill a convoy being defended by two tanks with rapid fire missile cannons. Even Copperhead can only take about 3 missiles before its shields deplete. And this objective has a timer to boot. All in all a player is bound to take a LOT of tries at this nightmare of a level.
- Theme Naming: All tanks are named after snakes or something to do with snakes (such in the case of the Venom and the Fang).