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Video Game / The Saboteur

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"What's an Irishman doing in Paris?" It's kind of a long story.

The Saboteur is a 2009 Wide-Open Sandbox game developed by Pandemic Studios (their last game before they were shut down later that year) and published by Electronic Arts. It is mostly set in Gay Paree during World War II, and can be summed up simply as Mercenaries but with Those Wacky Nazis instead of North Koreans with Nodongs, or as Assassin's Creed meets Grand Theft Auto; though that's a bit simplistic.

The player steps into the shoes of Sean Devlin, an Irish mechanic turned race car driver turned saboteur, as he attempts to avenge his friend's death, while beating back the Nazi occupation of France along the way. One of its most distinctive features is that the Nazi-occupied sections of France are black and white (with occasional tinges of red and blue), presumably inspired by Sin City, while sections where Sean has effectively disrupted the Nazis' control are fully colored, and the citizens will aid Devlin in his fight.

The game is also notable in that its incentive for buying it new over pre-owned was literally a code for topless strippers.

Not related to the 1980s ZX Spectrum game Saboteur or its sequel.

The Saboteur provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aerith and Bob: Almost all characters carry popular names, common in their respective countries: Sean, Luc, Jules, Veronique, Vittorio, Kurt... And then there is Skylar.
  • A.K.A.-47: Played with, with both guns and cars. One example is the MP40 being correctly referred to by name, but the Kubelwagen being renamed "Sturmwagen". Interestingly, the naming is consistent and pretty thinly-veiled. Corrino is the stand-in for Citroen, Renoir for Renault and Beta Romero for Alfa Romeo.
  • America Saves the Day: One of the rare WW2 games to avert this, as the game takes place before the United States actually entered the war - in fact, there aren't even any American characters, although there are plenty of American voice actors and a couple of Cool Guns.
  • Anachronism Stew: Basically, the developers weren't trying to be historically accurate; they just went with whatever looked cool. Be sure to remember the mantra, because you'll be reciting it quite frequently if you have more than a passing familiarity with WW2 history.
    • The game manages to make quite a hash of WW2, featuring weapons that were introduced into service years after it takes place. Most visibly are the MP44s commonly carried by SS troopers (introduced 1943), and the Panzerschreck (1943). France is also littered with V1 and V2 launch sites (the latter was first launched in 1944; in a bit of historical irony, it was aimed at liberated Paris).
    • There's also more minor ones in the form of the song "Feeling Good", which was written 20 years after WW2, the cabaret song "Koop Island Blues", which was written in 2006, the 2004 Madeleine Peyroux cover of "Dance Me to the End of Love", originally written in 1984, and... let's just say most of the soundtrack isn't from the time period, they just sound like they would be.
    • The in-game rendition of the Trocadéro Palace across the river from the Eiffel Tower was actually demolished in 1937 and replaced by the Palais de Chaillot long before the Nazis occupied Paris.
    • You are asked to obtain some antibiotics in an early mission. Whilst antibiotics existed before the war, they were not referred to as such until 1942, two years after the events of the game. Justified, for the same reasons the French characters don't speak French all the time.
    • There was also a bit of name confusion on part of the developers with regard to the German firearm designation scheme, the result of which is the fictional MP60, which is neither a Maschinenpistole (submachine gun, though it might as well be one in the hands of the Terror Squad; amusingly, it was modeled after the USAS-12, a South Korean shotgun from 1989), nor was it introduced in service in 1960 (and then presumably traveled back to WW2 via a temporal vortex).
    • The plane that Skylar uses to insert Sean behind enemy lines is based heavily off the P-61 Black Widow, which did not see service until 1944. In fact, it wasn't even on paper during the game's timeline.
    • The role of Vichy France, is vastly downplayed with no sign of French military forces underneath the Nazis. The only sign they exist is an off-hand mention by Sean that the French military is fighting with the Nazis. This may be to prevent the player having to kill French soldiers.
    • During the prologue, which is stated to be set three months before the game proper, there is talk of an "impending" war with Germany. There is no mention of Poland being invaded, of France's subsequent declaration of war on Germany, or of the "Phoney War" that lasted eight months between the declaration of war and the actual Nazi invasion.
    • The French Resistance effectively forces the Nazis out of France, reducing them to a minor token presence with virtually no power, over a year before the Normandy landings.
    • The enemies that carry shotguns are heavy Wehrmacht soldiers and Terror Squad officers. The Germans, remembering their experiences with trench gun-toting Americans, hated the shotgun as a weapon of war. The only shotgun they issued was the M30 Luftwaffe Drilling, a combination gun. Even then, it was only issued to Luftwaffe pilots, and was intended for hunting and self-defense against natural predators.
    • Nazi Zeppelins Patrol the skies above France and help hunt you down at high alert levels. While Zeppelins were used in Warfare(particularly as bombers) during WW1, by the 1940s Zeppelins had largely been discontinued due to being Made of Explodium, among other reasons. This Made of Explodium aspect of the zeppelins played straight in game.
    • The Double Barreled Super Heavy Wulf tank didn't exist in real life, period. At best, it's a scaled down version of the proposed P.1000 Ratte tank, which was also never built or even prototyped(because despite the Nazis obsession with Awesome, but Impractical weapons, even they had some standards).
    • The Nazis never mounted a battleship turret in the Pantheon and it's extremely unlikely the structure would have even survived the installation process, let alone the gun firing, if it had been tried IRL.
  • Artistic License – Geography:
    • If the placement of the Chateau de Chambord and Chateau de Chenonceau is any indication, the Loire Valley is north of Paris in this version of France. It's south of Paris in real life.
    • Paris takes up 90% of France in the game world, with a couple miles of countryside around it making up the rest.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Nazis' real life obsession with giant guns is turned up to 11 here. On particularly bizarre example is a battleship turret mounted in in the Pantheon dome... which can only fire in one direction because the gun cannot rotate in more then a few degrees in either direction. It also doesn't help the Pantheon was originally built as a church in the 18th century and is not exactly optimal for the task of mounting a giant cannon. Dr. Kwong is likely onto something when he accuses the Nazis of Compensating for Something.
  • Back Stab: The Knife DLC/Touch of Death perk upgrades Sean's stealth melee kill into a backstab so quick and quiet that he can slip away before his hapless victim topples over.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Belle is a popular hangout for Nazi officers and is always packed with them (except after all the main missions have been completed). In an interesting twist, Sean's hideout is concealed behind the dressing room, literally feet away from dozens of carousing Nazis.
  • Being Evil Sucks:
    • It may not be stated outright, but by the time of the end of the story, as Sean is climbing the Eiffel Tower to get to Dierker, its pretty clear that the remaining Nazis are feeling this trope HARD; they're either cackling like maniacs and killing each other and themselves or sitting around sobbing uncontrollably.
    • The officer that Sean encounters while the ladder is climbing the tower is clearly despondent from all that has transpired, and his simple response of, "He's upstairs," is said in a tone that sounds completely defeated. These guys made a very, VERY poor career choice, and now they are reaping what they've sown.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Most buildings have little protrusions on them that help Sean climb. Particularly intricate climbing sequences have yellow lanterns to guide your way.
  • Bilingual Bonus: If you happen to speak and/or read German and/or French, read the roadsigns and try to eavesdrop on the Nazis' conversations. Some of them are pure gold!
  • Book Dumb: Sean.
    Bishop: "Have you ever heard of atomic fission before, Sean?"
    Sean: "Meh... I never was one for poofy cocktails."
    • Rather understandable, since nuclear physics was still a fledgling concept by this point.
    • There's also the "What the fuck is 'radar'?" conversation, but justified here as well, since the British referred to it as RDF at the time, thus Sean would either know it by a different name or not know about it at all. Also, only the British made widespread use of radar at the time the game takes place in, so they would be keeping the details as secret as possible, for obvious reasons (Wilcox immediately responds to the above with something along the lines of "something very secret, you don't need to know").
  • Book Ends:
    • The prologue has Sean breaking out of Doppelsieg, the penultimate mission has him break into it.
    • The song playing when the game starts and the credits end is Koop Island Blues.
  • Border Patrol: Entering the war zones on the edge of the map, marked with stripes on the minimap, will get you attacked by planes which do much more damage than normal.
  • Boring, but Practical: Once you get silenced weapons, you'll likely be using them for most of the game, except when fighting the Terror Squad or armored vehicles.
  • Broken Bridge: Subverted. There are Nazi checkpoints that won't let you pass unless you possess the right forged papers (= are far enough in the story), but you can just crash through guns blazing or bypass them via stealth.
  • Character Development: Veronique eventually evolves from a non-action bystander to a competent soldier and leader in her own right.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Completely averted. Although the player character is Irish, the French Resistance are your primary allies and are generally depicted as stone-cold badasses to the last man and woman. In the prologue, when the war has just broken out and Sean is fleeing the Nazi invasion, it's possible to see French farmers rushing out to fight the Germans despite being armed with nothing more than farm implements and old hunting shotguns.
  • Chummy Commies: It's implied Luc Gudain is a communist and, apart from a bit of a smug prick, he's otherwise a good guy.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Sean has no problem with sucker punching an opponent, throwing them off a tower or kicking them in the crotch to win a fight.
  • Cool Airship: Nazi zeppelins patrol the skies above France. If you've got rockets, get in an AA gun, or steal a tank, you can shoot them down. They're Made of Explodium, so they make really big, pretty explosions quite easily if you can hit them.
  • Cool Car: The Altair. It looks gorgeous, goes like stink, handles well and it's so easy to obtain that you can have it two minutes after the sandbox opens up. It will likely be your car of choice until you get the Aurora relatively late in the game, and possibly even afterwards due to its friendlier handling.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Cows don't even move if they are injured, but they gib into pieces when they die... even if it's by being punched.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Any conversation Sean has with Skylar and Vittore that does not refer to their current predicament, as well as any mention of Sean's past. Why can't Sean return to Ireland? Who are the enemies he met there? Why was he in Budapest when he met Skylar? What did Sean's father do that got him kicked out of Ireland? It's reasonably obvious (given that it's explicitly pointed out in-setting that Sean knows how to handle explosives even before the first mission, and given how he goes ballistic when mistaken for a Brit) that either he, his father, or both were members of the IRA, and that he originally learned the skills he uses in the game intending to apply them against the British.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Sean apparently did something so bad back in Ireland that he was forced to leave the country after his father was killed by his enemies. Given his ice-cold interactions with the British and his familiarity with weapons and dynamite, it's implied that he was involved in the Irish Civil War and the violence in the aftermath that served as a precursor to The Troubles.
  • Day of the Jackboot: In the final prologue mission, you flee to Paris as the Nazi war machine bears down upon France. A cut-scene follows showing the Nazis marching through Paris, complete with saluting and sieg heil-ing.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Areas without the "Will to Fight" appear in monochrome with splashes of color here and there. Once Sean has sufficiently disrupted Nazi control over an area, that area stops being monochrome.
  • Developer's Foresight:
    • You get a "Mission Failed" screen right after the credits if you kill Dierker during the Saarsbrüchen Grand Prix (possible by getting the gold Mayhem Perk before sleeping in the Belle).
    • Occasionally, the Resistance will contact you by having an NPC run up to you in the street and pass you a note. If you kill this NPC, Sean remarks:
    "I guess that's what they mean by shooting the messenger. They can chat me up later."
    • When Sean smokes a cigarette, he usually takes it from a pack that he stores in the inner pocket of his jacket. When he isn't wearing the jacket, he has a different animation, taking the cigarette from behind his ear instead.
    • If you're riding a vehicle with NPC passengers who are having a conversation and you pass through a checkpoint, they will go silent, and once you pass the guards, Sean will say something like, "So, where were we?" and the conversation continues.
    • During the mission "Jailbreak", Sean and Bryman will have different conversations depending on if Sean is disguised or not.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: A remixed version of Nina Simone's rendition of "Feeling Good" shows up during the final mission at the Eiffel Tower, played by a broken Nazi general on a piano. It's quite probably one of the most poignant and haunting moments in the game.
  • Double Entendre: In a flashback near the beginning of the game, Dierker tells Veronique that soon, the women of France will learn to appreciate the taste of a purebred German bratwurst.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If you get the Alarm level up to 5, you're in deep trouble. The "alarm zone" covers the entire game map and there are only two still active hiding spots in the entire game note ; one at the Morini Farm on the northern-most tip of the map, the other in the bar at the top of the Eiffel Tower. While you're struggling to reach either, airplanes will appear and start strafing you wherever you go, in addition to the zeppelins, superheavy Wulf Tanks, and the Terror Squads shuttled around by armored halftracks trying to kill you.
  • Fanservice:
    • The game starts with a stripper wearing nothing but a bottom and pasties.
    • Your main hideout is in the girls' changing rooms. And to make it even better, downloading the DLC will not only take away the pasties, you will also get 4 stripteases.
    • The Loading screens routinely show attractive women, including a busty lady in a tight-fitting Nazi Uniform.
  • French Jerk: Subverted, as Jules, Veronique and Luc are all Sean's friends (though somewhat grudgingly in Luc's case). Jules lampshades it while he and Sean are sneaking into Doppelsieg:
    "I'm French, I'm supposed to be rude."
  • Goomba Stomp: It's entirely possible to hurt, if not outright kill people by jumping on them.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy:
    • The only reason for sounding an alarm is seeing and identifying an intruder, then blowing a whistle. Gunfire, explosions and heaps of dead bodies are A-okay with the guards, who deal with them by congregating at the site of the disturbance and performing a ritualistic group dance that consists of turning one's head from side to side while standing around in a half-crouched position for half a minute. Once the gods of watchfulness have been thus appeased, it's business as usual.
    • Sean can take the uniform of a sniper while being shot at on a sniper tower and the guards will stop shooting at him as long as they don't actually see him while he's putting it on.
  • Guide Dang It!: On the PC version, in-game tooltips and loading screens tell you that F2 will call the Getaway Car. By default it is F4, and F2 removes your disguise.
  • Hard Mode Filler: Near the beginning of the game, you are captured in Dierker's base. Near the end of the game you fly back there, only this time it's filled to the brim with Terror Squad members.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: The real-life French Resistance was pretty badass to begin with, but this game takes it to outright ridiculous levels - by the mid-to-late game it becomes a fairly regular occurrence for Resistance forces to meet the Germans in full-scale open battle and win, or at least hold their own competently.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Sean is treated nothing more than a resistance lackey despite single handedly liberating Paris by himself while the leaders spend most of their time hiding and giving him assignments. He even calls out Luc for sending him, Veronique and other members to dangerous missions while he simply stay behind at the base enjoying whatever luxuries he has (when he is not flirting with Veronique).
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Not quite as outrageous as in other games, but Sean can still carry far more weaponry and explosives than would ever fit into his bag or coat. Also, when he isn't wearing a coat with an inner pocket, he can pull an infinite number of cigarettes out of his ear.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When the Nazis attack the Catacombs HQ and destroy a critical cavern wall, Luc is trapped under three huge boulders. After the Nazis retreat to get reinforcements, Sean and Veronique try to pry him free, but it's clear they won't be able to get him out on time. Luc urges Sean to shoot him, because he'd break under torture and would die anyhow. Sean can't bring himself to pull the trigger, but Veronique does it after giving Luc a Last Kiss.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Jules' death weighs very heavily on Sean's soul, and it is the main reason why he's fighting the Germans. It's only at the end that Veronique tells him to forgive himself, and that his fight is more than for Jules' sake.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • Any of the "Terror" weapons count as this, once you unlock them or scavenge them in the field. They all have enormous amounts of ammunition, can kill in only one or two hits and are generally very nasty. Additionally, the Executioner Pistol made available after beating the game. It uses normal pistol ammo (a somewhat common ammo type), and can kill most enemies with a single body shot. Oh, and it's fully automatic.
    • The Wulf Tank could be considered as one. It is impossible to hijack and must be stolen, and you can only collect it once you've collected 'every other non-tank in the game'. However, it's extremely strong and durable, with rockets barely denting it. The average player will most likely only see it during 1 early mission and at level 5 alarms.
  • Informed Ability: Luc is well respected by other resistance members but he rarely gets involve in any combat. When he does, he either gets injured or has to retreat.
  • Jiggle Physics:
    • Skylar's rack jiggles so much, you might think it's sentient.
    • Veronique as well. At the beginning of the game watch as she runs to you and Luc. They sway with every step.
  • Leave Him to Me!: When the French Resistance rises against the Nazis and Sean convinces Veronique to lead them, she inquiries about Dierker. Sean tells her to let him deal with her brother's killer. Dierker himself says that Sean was destined to kill him.
  • Lethal Chef: Sean, if his comment near the end of the mission at the Gestapo HQ when the building goes up in flames is to be believed.
    Sean: "This reminds me of when I tried to make breakfast."
  • Locomotive Level: One mission has Sean rescuing a Nazi defector from a train.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: If you drive your car through a herd of cows, they will explode into bloody chunks. Oddly, you will also get the same effect if you punch them.
  • MacGuffin: The artifact that Sean has to retrieve for Bishop and Wilcox in one mission. It's mysterious, in a huge glowing chest, and they are very adamant that Sean must not learn what it actually is. Therefore, the player doesn't either, and after the mission it's never mentioned again. Though if one goes around the area you found it, there are some people chattering thinking it was Napoleon's treasure.
  • Made of Explodium: The game runs off this. The Nazis in particular seem to love putting explosive barrels and fuel tanks all over their bases and next to their vital equipment, meaning one explosion often sets off a number of others(sometimes without even trying). Zeppelins and V2 rockets also create nice pretty explosions when ignited.
  • Male Gaze: The very first shot in the game is of some boobs. If you have the DLC, there is a toggle in the options to remove the pasties, leaving the dancers topless. Not that the pasties leave much to the imagination anyway...
  • The Mentor: Vittore is very fatherly to Sean throughout the game, making it all the more painful when he finally dies.
  • The Mole: The candidates are: Luc (arrogant bastard), Bryman (a bit too helpful), Santos (profiteer), Skylar (Femme Fatale), and The Kesslers (supposedly defected). The mole apparently has complete access to all the information of the French Resistance. It turns out that Santos is the mole. This is revealed when the Nazis invade the Catacombs HQ near the end of the game.
  • Molotov Truck: Sean can booby-trap vehicles he's driving with explosives, which will detonate once the vehicle impacts something. Make sure to bail out beforehand. In addition, there's the Phoenix, a modified version of the Aurora packed with 90 pounds of explosives that's used to assassinate a German general in one mission.
  • Monumental Battle: The Nazis transform nearly every prominent Parisian landmark into a base of some form; and in order to inspire the areas nearby, Sean must rout the Nazis from them.
    • The Hotel De Ville is used as the Gestapo HQ.
    • The entirety of the Ile de la Cité (including Notre-Dame and the Conciergerie) is used as a prison.
    • The Panthéon has a massive howitzer mounted in its Dome and weapons caches stored inside.
    • The Eiffel Tower is used as a temporary command post by Dierker as the city plunges into revolt against the Nazis. Sean must "fight" Dierker on the third floor observation deck.
    • The Palais-Royale is a supply depot.
    • The Louvre is home to a tower blasting propaganda across Paris.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Small barracks littered throughout France will spawn enemy troops if/when the alarm is sounded. Very annoying, especially since they're not considered freeplay targets and don't provide contraband (the game's currency) upon destruction.
    • Nazis can also emerge from the buildings of Paris. In an interesting inversion, so can Resistance fighters, especially in areas where color has been restored.
  • Nazi Gold: "Nazi gold bars" sometimes pop up as Contraband.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever it was that got Sean kicked out of Ireland, it involved a huge explosion and a lot of fire. He was probably making breakfast.
  • No Swastikas:
    • Averted in the game itself. The Nazi swastika is featured prominently on flags and banners on lampposts, landmarks and occupied structures, as well as of course on Nazi armbands and vehicles.
    • In early trailers and screenshots, all Nazi swastikas were replaced with the Iron Cross (because you can't show Nazi swastikas on broadcast television).
    • The game does, however, go out of its way to not portray Hitler himself in any way. The famous poster of Hitler holding the Nazi flag is reproduced in the game, but features a generic Wehrmacht soldier instead. However, Hitler's personal standard is liberally sprinkled throughout many parts of the game.
  • Oireland: Sean Devlin is sadly a perfect storm of Oirish stereotypes. His accent, allegedly that of a man from Belfast, is not even close to the mark. Unsurprisingly he's voiced by an English actor. Much of his speech involves faux slang such as "top o' the morning", "to be sure" and various other turns of phrase no man from Belfast (or Ireland for that matter) has ever uttered. And finally Devlin is of course an explosives expert with a love of violence, womanizing and excessive drinking.
  • Parental Substitute: Vittore took Sean in after the latter was forced to flee Ireland and treated him as the son he never had.
  • Pathetic Drooping Weapon: The target of one mission given by Dr. Kwong is a massive cannon Those Wacky Nazis installed in the dome of the Panthéon, supposedly as a phallic symbol of their dominance. When sabotaged, this cannon is left hanging in a suggestive manner.
  • Player Headquarters: There are various Resistance headquarters scattered throughout France, mostly in Paris. They have Weapons Dealers and are the only places with Garages. Sean spawns in the one nearest to where he was last when a save game is loaded.
    • Sean's hideout is inside the Belle de Nuit cabaret. Also a case of Hidden in Plain Sight, since it's a major Nazi hangout. It comes under attack by the Nazis after the assassination of General Eckhart.
    • Luc's Resistance cell HQ is in the La Villette Slaughterhouse after the first post-flashback mission. The Nazis attack it after it harbors the Kesslers, forcing them to flee to the Catacombs HQ.
    • The Le Havre Resistance/SOE HQ is in the town church.
    • Margot's Resistance cell HQ is in a cavern underneath a house in the northwestern side of Paris.
    • Mingo's Resistance cell HQ is in a section of the Paris Catacombs south of the Seine river. It's attacked shortly after the Nazis hit the Belle.
  • Public Domain Artifact:
    • On one mission, you're sent to recover an artifact that the Germans are trying to get their hands on. It's strongly implied to be the Holy Grail, although you never actually see it.
    • If you listen to the conversations around that part of town, the people suspect that the Nazis found Napoleon's treasure.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Feeling Good" by Nina Simone. A great tune that fits perfectly with the setting if you ignore that it was not composed until 1964.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The game's plot revolves around this. Jules, Sean's best friend who was like a brother to him, is murdered by Kurt Dierker and Sean sets out to avenge Jules' murder. Jules' sister Veronique helps him, even when Sean wants her to stay safe and not get involved with blowing up buildings and shooting Nazis.
  • Scenery Porn: Climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower and gaze upon all of Paris. Doubly so when you've inspired the entire city and are thus seeing it in full colour.
  • Sequence Breaking: Most notably in a mission that expects you to run an obstacle course of narrow alleys and back yards crawling with Nazi guards, snipers, officers and MG nests in order to destroy a large artillery piece placed atop a building. While the timer is fairly generous, it's still pretty difficult whether you go by stealth or slaughter. Or you can just drive around the back and climb the building...
  • Serious Business: During the race near the beginning of the game, once Sean reaches second place, the announcer suddenly goes from commentating to yelling:
    "This illiterate Irish upstart threatens to besmirch the honor of the German people!"
  • Sex Sells: The very first thing you see in the game is a stripper wearing pasties. If you have a new copy of the game, it came with a code to remove said pasties.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One to Raiders of the Lost Ark when you overhear some soldiers talking about how "Major Toht" is going to Nepal searching for a staff artifact.
    • Another to Assassin's Creed, appropriately enough, in the form of a car called the "Altair", which is noted in its description as having the nickname "The Flying Eagle". There's also one for the vantage points - this game has scenic vantage points too, complete with the 'leap of faith' areas marked with birds. However, if you jump off of them, you plummet and pancake into the ground instead of landing safely in a conveniently-placed hay cart. It's even lampshaded by Sean on one occasion:
    "No thanks, I'll take the stairs."
  • Shown Their Work: There are a number of giant Nazi cannons pointed across the Channel at Le Havre. In real life, a number of giant cannons were actually installed on the French coast to shell England across the Channel.
  • Sigil Spam: Swastikas. In reality, armbands were worn only by SA and SS members, usually only with dress uniform. In the game, they're displayed on banners adorning most buildings and streets in occupied zones, armbands worn by all soldiers and markings on every German vehicle.
  • Signed with a Kiss: Skylar sends her letters to Sean on pink paper signed with a lipstick mark.
  • Splash of Color:
    • In the Deliberately Monochrome zones, Nazis and some of their equipment will have red areas, typically their armbands. Resistance-affiliated people usually have some blue clothing, like Luc's blue turtleneck or Veronique's blue pendant.
    • Also applies to blood spatter and some car paintjobs (most strikingly for the Aurora).
    • The characters' eyes are also colored. Sean's, for instance, is light green, while Kurt Dierker's is bright blue.
  • Soft Water: Feel free to leap from the top of the Eiffel Tower: as long as you land in that 2 metre deep kidney shaped pond next to it, you'll be fine! Of course, it's sometimes funnier to deliberately miss it and splat into the pavement.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Father Denis. He usually talks like you would expect a priest to do in this kind of setting, but he actually swears a lot when it comes to it.
    "My son. In the name of all there is holy: Blow his fucking head off!"
    "Go now, my son! The Lord will be my shield, but He expects you to save your own ass!"
  • Source Music:
    • During the final mission in the Eiffel Tower, a Nazi general plays a sorrowful piano rendition of "Feeling Good", which sets the tone for the final scene. If you shoot him while he is playing, the music will stop, leaving the rest of the Eiffel Tower in eerie silence.
    • Vehicle radios play one of several songs when you get into them, including the original Nina Simone rendition of "Feeling Good". After a short while, they morph into background music.
  • Space Compression: The game world includes pretty much all of France along with a small bit of Germany, with the northern and southern coasts included. About 80% of it is taken up by Paris, which is a five minute drive from the border with Germany.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Alluded to in one of Margot's missions. Shocked by her vitriol towards a Nazi book-burning, Sean asks, "Shouldn't you be in the kitchen, baking crumpets or something?" However, this is less the fact that she's a woman, and more the fact that she's an old woman; he can't look at her without thinking of a grandmother. In response, Margot scoffs, "Spare me your chauvinistic bullshit." and gives a short speech on the importance of culture. After that, Sean accepts her orders without question.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The trademark of a saboteur, of course, and there is a lot of stuff to blow up. Each major zone of Paris has hundreds of possible targets, and there's more out in the surrounding countryside. This is important for a couple of reasons: you get contraband (the game's currency) for every target you take out and missions become easier when the mission area no longer has those annoying sniper towers surrounding it.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Terror Squad troops, who have several different ridiculously massive fictional guns, including a fully-automatic shotgun and the 'MP-60', which is essentially a man-portable minigun.
  • Supporting Leader: After taking over the slaughter house, Luc rarely does anything other than spending time with Veronique. Despite this, he still gathers a lot of respect. Sean even calls him out for it despite he's the one who does everything.
  • Tank Goodness:
    • The Nazis have a variety of armored vehicles that serve as freeplay targets, which will shoot at you if an alert has been triggered. They'll also start sending out massive Wulf tanks with two main guns at alert level 5 to hunt for you.
    • There are a variety of abandoned tanks scattered around the French countryside, including the aforementioned Wulf tank. If you have a certain perk, you can store them in your garage, and even if you don't, you can still go on a rampage with them.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: There are several soldiers who can be snuck up upon in order to listen to some Enemy Chatter, and of course, there's Cpl. "Spitzy" Spitz.
    Sean: "So... What's it like, being a Nazi and all?"
    Cpl. Spitz: "My name is Corporal Spitz... I have ein package for Herr Bauer."
    Sean: "Oh? What's in the package?"
    Cpl. Spitz: "Whiskey. Sausages... Porno Magazine."
  • Title Drop: Enemy soldiers will occasionally outright refer to you as 'The Saboteur' (in German, of course).
  • Two-Fisted Tales: The game borrows heavily from old pulp stories circa 1940-1941, with plenty of fistfighting, car racing, and Nazis to punch.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Climb up to the tallest chimney with a group of Nazi soldiers nearby you can find, and then just stand there having a smoke. They don't even bother looking at you. Now walk a step or two so you jump down and grab the ledge where you were just standing, which causes the soldiers to start looking at you. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can save Parisians from firing squads or Nazi harassment.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Instead of saving the Parisians from the Nazis, you can let them die or kill them yourself.
    • In one missions, you need to take out a Nazi RADAR Development facility built around an occupied convent. There are nuns locked up on the grounds by the Nazis. You can gun them down, You Bastard!.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing enough civilians in a short time frame will temporarily get you negative perks with more and more severe consequences, up to the point where Resistance members will hunt you down for 10 minutes.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Dierker falls apart when you confront him at the Eiffel Tower. He says that history will vindicate them for defending against the "mongrel hordes", tells Sean they're not so different, and ends, nearly crying, by saying:
    "We are going to hell, aren't we, Irishman?"
  • Walk It Off: Sean's health quickly regenerates after a bit if he's not taking any damage.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The occupying Nazis erect a huge artillery piece in the dome of the Panthéon.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If you or any of your named allies die, it's game over. This is doubly weird when Luc is trapped under fallen rocks. If you kill him, or he dies in the ongoing firefight, it's game over. However, once the shooting stops, he is mercy-killed almost immediately.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • After you complete the full set of sidequests for a person, they are never mentioned again.
    • Santos' fate after he sells out the Resistance is not revealed.
    • The chest that British Intelligence sought is not brought up again after Sean delivered it to them and the players are left wondering what is inside it.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: One mission tasks Sean with assassinating a Nazi officer at his wedding to a Parisian girl. It's well established she's not marrying him willingly.
  • With This Herring: With this pistol, you will defeat the entire German occupation force! Justified, as Sean and Luc are building a resistance from scratch and the arms dealers (if Santos is anything to go by) are a bunch of money-grubbing bastards.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: The last confrontation with Dierker is essentially you riding an elevator up the Eiffel Tower in order to execute him with a single shot, without him ever trying putting up any kind of a fight. He will even jump off the tower himself if you remain idle for some time, sparing you the trouble of killing him.