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Video Game / Strafe

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Strafe (officially stylized as STRAFE®) is a retro-inspired First-Person Shooter with fast-paced run-and-gun gameplay inspired by the shooters of the 1990's (such as Doom and Quake), as well as procedurally generated levels and other Roguelike gameplay elements. The game was developed by Pixel Titans and funded on Kickstarter before being picked up and published by Devolver Digital, finally being released in May 2017.

The game is probably best-known for its viral marketing campaign, featuring a pair of hilariously over-the-top live-action segments (a commercial and a movie trailer) filmed in the style of the 1990s, with serious amounts of Large Ham.

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     Tropes present in Strafe's viral marketing material. 
  • Black Comedy: At the end of the commercial, Trevor's hysterical mother attempts to press some of the gory mush that was his head onto his neck stump while sobbingly cooing "You'll be OK..."
  • Call-Back: The scientist guy from the movie trailer reveals that he's the father of Trevor, the kid whose head exploded in the commercial.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Tommy, the apparent hero of the movie trailer, gets killed by the evil Strafe clone of his girlfriend at the end of the trailer, leaving it up to the mom from the commercial to fight off the Strafe creatures.
  • Idiot Hero: Tommy from the movie trailer is a typical '90s kid who's apparently too dumb to tell the difference between his girlfriend and a '90s low-polygon computer-generated clone of her.
    • Justified as Strafe is incredibly realistic in-universe.
  • Not Hyperbole: Trevor's brother refuses to let him have a turn at the game because "You'll just die!" Once he's knocked out of his seat by a Glutton's fist emerging from the screen, Trevor takes over... and the game kills him.
  • Shout-Out: Trevor's head pops like Strafe is the Ark of the Covenant.
  • Spot the Imposter: At one point in the movie trailer, Tommy must determine which is the real Abby, and which is an imposter. The imposter happens to be a low poly computer model. He shoots the real Abby.
  • Your Head Asplode: In the commercial, Strafe is such an intense game that playing it causes a kid's face to melt off and his head to explode.

     Tropes present in Strafe. 

  • Action Bomb: The acid-infected "Leper" type enemies in the Burbs will go into a kamikaze mode when they take enough damage or you get too close to them, at which point they charge at you and try to jump on you and explode; this is one of the most damaging attacks in the game and showers you with acid.
  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: The Christmas decorations in the Burbs area indicates that whatever went down happened at Christmas time.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: The player character won't lower their gun when looking at shopkeepers, which causes them to hold up their hands in defense. Though, granted, sometimes the player will actually fully intend to shoot the merchant.
  • Bookends: The main menu of this game is a desktop interface on board of a spaceship. The ending has you sit at the same desktop, programming the coordinate to return home.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Headshots are the most effective way to kill most enemies; shots to the head also cause most enemies' heads to explode.
  • Character Customization: The game has a "gender slider" that you can set to male, female, or several points in-between, although this only affects the pitch of your character's grunts and pain sounds.
  • Gorn: The game features ludicrous gibs, targeted limb dismemberment, as well as an advanced physics system for painting the levels in enemy blood as it sprays everywhere.
  • Gainax Ending: After defeating the final boss, you jump into a transporter that takes you into what looks like the starting area of the game, where you fight and kill several human crew members before taking your ship (which looks almost exactly like your main menu) back to Earth.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The heavy soldiers (known as 50 LD-13R) from Area 4, Athena Corp. They're large, slow, heavily armored, can take a lot of damage compared to most other enemies, and carry huge energy shotguns that fire a massive spread of lasers.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The final area, Athena, indicates that a human corporation is actually behind all the alien monster shenanigans, and many of the enemies in the final area are human soldiers rather than alien creatures. The final boss isn't a giant monster, but rather a human scientist or captain controlling a big engine.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Tinned food serves as the game's healing items.
  • Live Action Cutscenes are featured in the tutorial, fitting with its 90s look.
  • Mascot Mook: The Glutton, the basic goblin-like creature that's the most common enemy in the game, serves as a mascot for the game in the marketing materials and the Steam achievements.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Brick enemies (giant treant-looking things) in Zone 2. Their ground pound attack hits hard and they take a lot of punishment, and though they move relatively fast, the player is still able to outrun them pretty handily.
  • Monster Closet: These appear most frequently in Zone 1. Due to the way levels are generated, you may end up with the interesting case of a monster closet that opens before you enter an area rather than on the return trip.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One of the common complaints about the game was that the advertising campaign and trailers presented it as a throwback to run-and-gun shooters of the 90's such as Doom and Quake, when in reality it's much closer to a modern rogue-like shooter ala The Binding of Isaac. I.E. health items are extremely rare, your character is a Glass Cannon, and you only have 1 primary weapon.
  • Nintendo Hard: Strafe is damn hard; a lot harder than Doom or Quake on Normal difficulty. Healing items are quite rare, gameplay is fast, and enemies tend to swarm you in large groups. You also must beat the game in one life; dying sends you all the way back to the beginning. Finishing the game normally takes a little over an hour and a half, which is manageable as long as you don't die.
  • Paint the Town Red: An active game mechanic; Some enemies will bleed or shoot a hazardous orange acid. The solution is to kill enemies that bleed normal blood to cover up the acid.
  • Retraux: Made as a homage to the games of the 1996s, the game uses low-poly models with pixel textures to evoke the appearance of games like Quake and Unreal.
    • Taken even further in the tutorial, which uses a blurry filter to simulate the low-resolution CRT graphics of the 1990's.
    • A good chunk of the interface is intended to look like menu screens from a disk-operating system.
  • Shoplift and Die: Killing the shopkeeper lets you take all the items in the shop without paying for them, but will also release several Turrets that will try to kill you. It also upgrades all enemy Turrets in the game into faster, more durable, and more damaging red Turrets.
  • Single-Use Shield: Glutton enemies have a variant that spawns with a helmet. Attempting to headshot these breaks the helmet and leaves the Glutton unscathed.
  • Slow Doors: The doors on the Icarus open pretty slowly when you open them using the control panel. Shooting out the control panel instead opens the door instantly.
  • Throw-Away Guns: Your main weapon, which you choose at the beginning of the game, is the only gun you can actually collect ammo for. All other guns are temporary and should be thrown away once the mag runs dry.