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The X-Com Files is a total conversion mod for OpenXcom, greatly inspired by Piratez, and utilising the same engine fork.

The story starts in mid-1990s, a few years before the UFO Enemy Unknown canon. X-Com is created by the same Council of Nations as an international paranormal investigation agency. With 5 scientists monitoring the news and 2 field agents travelling all over the world by public transport. Prepare to fight Obstructive Bureaucrats at every step.

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The investigations would eventually conclude there is a common malicious force behind the monsters, zombies, UFOs and cults, and the organisation would be expanded to become the X-Com we know. Except that Cydonian aliens aren't the only threat. Far from it.

The mod is available for free here. You'll need the original files from UFO: Enemy Unknown. The development goes in "arcs" — more or less independent subplots that can be played through separately. As of version 0.9.2 (June of 2018) the author stated the game is 90% finished with 11 arcs winnable out of 17 planned (counting the main plot to defeat Martian base).


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The mod provides examples of the following:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Cyberweb hideouts. Wide enough to drive several X-COM vans. Judging from occasional large halls with pools and non-Cyberweb machinery, they are located in some kind of processing facilities.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: That was the case in X Com UFO Defense. With the new tilesets only half of them do. Now all deserts have either cactuses or Hellenistic ruins (as in TFTD). In addition, now all deserts have Bedouins. Regardless of the continent.
    • There are even the same cacti in Dimension X... Except they're purple.
    • Cactus-free tileset for non-American deserts was added in version 0.8.6.
  • All Myths Are True: UFOEU was based off then-current ufology theories. X-Com Files adds more urban legends and conspiracy theories: chemtrails, cryptids (like snowman or chupacabra), crop circles, reptilians, men in black... In addition, we get a closer look at things only mentioned in passing, like alien abduction and cattle mutilation.
    • Ever heard of porcupines shooting their quills? Meet spineboar — a car-sized porcupine that can kill a civilian or a rookie with a single shot. And shrugs off buckshot.
    • Ghosts prove to be real.
    • There's some truth behind the legend of Nephilim. Some of them may still be alive.
  • Ancient Astronauts: One researchable topic is an ancient Assyrian text on gene splicing. Another topic is called "Ancient Aliens".
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  • Ancient Conspiracy: "Syndicate Testament" message implies that X-COM is being run by an agent of some secret organization that keeps the world in the dark. The author stated that some backers do know more than they reveal, but telling more would be a major spoiler for upcoming arcs.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: One of the key points of the OpenXcom remake (together with being cross-platform and moddable), and The X-COM Files takes full advantage of it.
    • Unlimited number of savegames, quick save, quick load, auto saves.
    • Selling the trophies immediately after the mission, before returning to the base.
    • Auto-selecting the same trophies for sale in subsequent missions.
    • Ufopedia references available from shop and inventory.
    • Soldier inventory can display key stats for the soldier and equipment.
    • Sorting and filtering objects in inventory, shops, workshop.
    • Tech tree viewer with optional spoilers.
    • Setting and memorizing soldier's inventory for subsequent missions.
    • Setting and memorizing soldiers order in the craft.
    • Viewing enemy information in battle: portrait, species/affiliation, weapons in hands. Used to show rank too.
    • Unconscious bodies are clearly marked to distinguish them from dead. The mark is different if the body has lethal wounds.
    • Better pathfinding algorithm. A player can view the plotted path before sending the agent.
    • Agents can run (spending more energy, but less time units) and strafe (losing less time units for turning).
    • For cheaters: text savegames editable by hand.
    • For hardcore players: "ironman" mode without manual saving; disabling save scumming by saving the random seed.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Melee weapons range from Elerium-115 powered devices through combat knives and katanas to stone-age bone clubs. Makes sense in context.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Same as in the original games. High-ranking enemies have better weapons and stats. With a few exceptions — for example, EXALT Masters are slow and weak, since they effectively bought their positions.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many weapons deal devastating damage, have great precision, but require too many time units.
  • Ax-Crazy / Mad Bomber: Some people who Go Mad from the Revelation end up like this — in "Homicidal Maniac/Soldier/Madman" mission. Some of them even carry an axe. You have to arrest or kill them. To a lesser extent applies to armed abduction victims.
  • Badass Cape: Vampire Knights.
  • Badass Longcoat:
    • X-COM leather coat. The first armor you research (second worst protection after business suit), but the best you can wear to undercover missions. Looks cool, at least.
    • Red Dawn Coordinators. Best weapons, best stats, but not the best camouflage.
    • Syndicate CEO when in his human form.
    • Black Lotus Mandarins. Same as above. And their coats are purple.
    • Osiron Goons. Petty criminals want to look cool too.
    • Zombie Troopers. More of a joke. They lose their gun arms when wounded and become regular biting zombies, but in cool coats covered with green ichor.
    • Subverted for EXALT Masters. While they do look like a Badass Grandpa, their stats are moderate.
    • Cyberweb members wear Badass Labcoats. Together with Sinister Goggles.
  • Balance Buff: Sectoids went through several over the course of development. Earlier versions made psionic attacks much more frequent than in UFO. As of 0.9.1 the psionics seem to be back to normal, but now they have force field shields. Killing them now requires to inflict all damage in the same turn. Still, not much of a problem, even with the starting Glock.
  • Bare Your Midriff / Absolute Cleavage / Stripperriffic: Some dossier pictures. Primarily Black Lotus Witches and Hybrid Infiltrators.
  • Beach Episode: "Surf Time" missions. Agents posing as surfers have to neutralize Osiron smugglers operating at a beach resort. Agents can only wear swimming trunks and carry melee weapons and dart guns. And surfboards, which make decent stun weapons. The penalty for skipping the mission is low, but retreat is not an option, once you start it.
  • The Beastmaster:
    • You can use dogs, and so can some of your enemies. You can also tame any Giant Rats you capture, after a little research.
    • There's some malicious force behind various strange animals that attack people all over the globe. Probably aliens, but The Syndicate is somehow involved.
    • If zombies count as beasts, M.A.G.M.A. experiments qualify.
    • "Beastmaster" rank of some aliens seems to imply their job is controlling living terror weapons like Cryssalids for Snakemen or Spitters for Anthropods. Otherwise beastmasters are like medics.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: The Earth is threatened from the outer space (Cydonia), from the oceans (T'Leth) and from the underground (Shogg). Not to mention all the criminals within the human society.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies:
    • Giant Beetles. Appear from the start in monster hunt or monster attack missions. Some of them can spit explosive liquid. Eliminated when the arc is resolved.
    • Megascorpion. Same as above, sans exploding.
    • Giant Spiders. Same as above, but prove to have an underground civilization.
    • Swarmids. Look like a swarm of large bees, but prove far more alien. Appear in Dimension X missions.
    • Megaworms. Another Dimension X life form.
    • Waspites. Insectoid Aliens and Cyborgs.
    • Antmen. Bee People that live Beneath the Earth.
    • Lobstermen. Unlike TFTD there also exist feral ones that only fight with pincers.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Besides werebeasts at least 2 upright-walking monsters qualify. Mongorns are giant apes and shamblers are white giant sloths. Both attack humans aggressively.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Beside the established aliens from UFO, TFTD and Apocalypse and fairly mundane Chtonites there are:
    • Cerebreals, who are just psionic brains with tentacles.
    • Waspites, who beat Floaters at body modification. Original head plus life support system, plus mechanical arms, plus a bioengineered symbiotic plant.
    • Zombies, who get progressively weirder with every step of evolution.
    • "Abominations" that seem so bizzare, they shouldn't live. Possibly inspired by The Thing.
  • Black Comedy: Less than in Piratez, but still occasionally appears in Ufopaedia entries. Mainly as "Staff Input".
    Wha... what do you mean by 'the interrogation', Commander? I-I wasn't interrogating a thing!
    It's true! I swear I wasn't spending time with the Chief Medic, and she totally didn't leave a lit cigarette on the desk, and I assure you there was no unauthorized, inflammable stuff in my office. So as you can see, there's no way a prisoner burned alive while we were... busy! See, see what I mean?
  • Black Market: Where alien technology is sold. Also some weapons can only be bought from your enemies' suppliers.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Subverted for laser weapons — otherwise similar to UFOEU, they now have finite magazines, albeit large.
    • Subverted for Cyberweb prototypes. Their batteries pump energy from another dimension, like disruptors in Apocalypse, but not for long.
    • Played straight for new line of antimatter-powered blaster weapons. They are stated to be limited, but very large.
    • Craft ray cannons didn't change — large number of shots, restored at the base, no ammo required.
  • Bound and Gagged: Victims captured by Deep Ones to be sacrificed to the dark gods of the depths.
  • Brain in a Jar:
    • Jarhead cyborg.
    • Cerebreal larva for a broader definition of "jar".
    • Waspites are living heads on artificial bodies.
  • Breast Plate: Female tomb guardians wear those. But so far, there are no male tomb guardians.
  • Breather Episode: "Crop Circles", "Cattle Mutilation" and "Alien Abduction" missions. Many players use them to train rookies — capturing an unarmed farmer can give as much experience and score as killing an Ethereal. Occasionally subverted, when you are ambushed by zombies or Men in Black. You are warned of the ambush only by the briefing after landing.
    • The author stated they are going to change once Mook Maker is implemented in the engine.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Part of the loot in some missions. Worth $100 000 each. There are also money bags worth $500 000. And later a scaled-down version "wad of money" was added (worth $5000). Unfortunately, grabbing money and escaping is rarely an option, since reaching it usually requires neutralizing most of enemies on the map.
  • Character Exaggeration: Alien races reveal Hidden Depths.
    • Sectoids surrendered to Ethereals for the promise to perfect their genetic design.
    • Floaters almost killed their homeworld with pollution and only Ethereals' cybernetic enhancement saved them. Becoming a soldier race that feels few pleasures of flesh was a small price.
    • Snakemen were primitive hunters from an arid world, whom "gods" invited to join "great hunting among the stars". Most were born off-world, but the few who remember their homeworld miss it.
    • Mutons are Proud Warrior Race Guys telepathically linked to Ethereals. They see this connection as holy.
    • Ethereals have horrifying legends about super-powerful psionic aliens similar to The Great Race of Yith.
  • Church Militant: Church of Dagon and Black Lotus. Probably Cult of Apocalypse too, but this arc isn't finished yet. EXALT and Red Dawn are also called "cults", but seem to have nothing religious about them.
  • Clown Car Base: Some cult outposts are defended by a disproportionately large number of cultists, especially on higher difficulties.
  • Commonplace Rare: Building Avenger now requires "Alien Electronics". Despite the name, it doesn't appear at every UFO or underground base. To get some, the player needs to disassemble certain dead enemies: Cyberdisk, Cybermite, Obliterator.
  • Crossover: The game mixes elements from the original trilogy as well as the official and unofficial remakes. All in 1990s. As well as some other stories:
    • UFOEU aliens with some additions: Sectoids, Chtonites, Floaters, Snakemen, Mutons and more — all ruled by Ethereals. Based on Mars. Kiryu-Kai — the Japanese alien-fighting force — is also mentioned.
    • TFTD aliens: Deep Ones (Gill Men brought closer to their roots), Aquatoids, Tasoths — all ruled by the thing that inspired Cthulhu Mythos. Based underwater.
    • Apocalypse elements:
      • Cyberweb. In the 20th century they are a loose band of Obliviously Evil Mad Scientists investigating alien technology.
      • Osiron. In the 20th century they are a criminal organisation dealing in alien technology.
      • Hybrid Network — what would become Mutant Alliance. Fully controlled by Sectoids.
      • Dimensional portals. Cyberweb is hiding them.
      • And of course the aliens — Megaworms, Oozes (Micronoid colonies), Spitters, Anthropods. The latter two are said to be artificial soldiers entirely under Cydonians' control.
    • EXALT. They do look like in Enemy Within, but also resemble Psyke of Apocalypse.
    • At least some of the events of Xenonauts did happen in the 1970s, and you can benefit from their data once you get the access.
    • Ditto The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, but it doesn't give you much. Unless this is planned for an unfinished arc.
    • UNIT (as in Doctor Who) did exist in this universe in the middle of the 20th century. Later it got disbanded, with remnants ending up in the Bureau, then in Xenonauts, which were eventually disbanded too.
      • Cerebreals are totally not psionically-overpowered Daleks.
    • The Syndicate is at least called like one in The X-Files. Ditto Hybrids.
    • Mrrshan (as in Master of Orion) weapons appeared in version 0.6.8.
    • Then the authour jokingly mentioned that only the Governor of the Solar System (as in Piratez) protects us from Sakkras, another MoO race.
    • Muckstar monsters are from UFO After Blank.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The author once stated that he plans to make all enemies' ranks visible. As of version 0.6.7:
    • Sectoid commanders wear a golden circlet on their heads.
    • Floaters wear capes of different colours:
      • orange for soldiers;
      • dark blue for commanders;
      • green for engineers;
      • dark orange for leaders;
      • grey for medics;
      • grey-blue for navigators.
    • Snakemen wear rucksacks of different colours:
      • orange for soldiers;
      • grey-blue for beasmasters (medic equivalent);
      • dark orange for commanders;
      • green for engineers;
      • grey for leaders;
      • dark blue for navigators.
    • Low-ranking Ethereals wear orange robes, members of the Order wear white.
    • Mutons wear differently-coloured jumpsuits and different headgear. Yes, there are red mutons in this game, the commanders.
    • Syndicate security have green visors, security captains have red visors.
  • Coup de Grâce: Take the unconscious enemy in one hand and a melee weapon in another, and "Execute" appears among available attacks. Useful against zombies, who tend to get stunned easier than killed, but don't bleed and recover consciousness after several turns. Also useful against Immune to Bullets enemies, when you are out of flamethrower fuel or flares, but still have stunners. Too bad 4-tile enemies can't be picked up and have to be shot the old way.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: Every night or underground mission. Except that many enemies see in the dark better than you. Notably, this game makes nights much darker and vision range much shorter than OpenXcom default. Unfortunately, sound clues aren't implemented even on par with Apocalypse.
  • Delinquent Hair: Agents' hair styles vary greatly. Some of them obviously won't be welcome in any military or police force, but Ragtag Bunch of Misfits called X-COM can't be picky.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: If you capture an enemy dog alive, it's added to your kennel. Using other dog-like monsters isn't implemented yet.
  • Do-Anything Soldier: As per X-Com tradition. Moreso, this game answers a long-standing fan question of who pilots the craft — same agents that fight ground battles. Which means that any VTOL interceptor doubles as a one-man troop transport — as long as you get missions a single agent can win.
  • Don't Ask: "If some terminology you find in the entries of this Ufopedia does not mean anything to you, it means you do not need to have access to this knowledge yet."
  • Drop the Hammer: Sledgehammer is an uncommon and very sought melee weapon.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Reapers are the terror weapon of Floaters, who normally appear by spring of 1999. But a monster hunt with Reaper(s) may appear as early as December 1996.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Common decoration for holiday resorts, same as in TFTD.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: You build several, same as in the original games. Cydonian aliens occasionally build bases on Earth, which you have to capture, same as in the original. In addition, many of your enemies have similar bases, which serve as the final dungeons for their respective arcs. This includes Black Lotus, Red Dawn, post-cult Dagon, Syndicate. Zombie and Shogg cave dwellings also qualify. Ditto less elaborate Cyberweb sewer hideouts.
  • Emergency Weapon: Good Old Fisticuffs became available since version 0.9.0. Civilians suddenly became quite capable of beating early enemies. Using ranged weapons as clubs is still impossible, unlike some other mods.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Ufopaedia. Also contains a lot of hints for new players, highlighting the differences from the original games.
  • Enemy Civil War: Downplayed. Early on your research indicates you are fighting several groups of aliens, who seem non-hostile to each other, but pursue different goals. Later you find that The Bureau and UNIT won against an entirely different enemy and there may be yet another side that once helped humans.
  • Everyone Is Armed: Civilians in terror and monster missions are not completely defenceless. More so for police. Even unarmed ones can use their fists. Hunters and warriors in "Strange Life Form" missions may kill a lone spineboar before you find it. 2018 changes to the engine AI made them more aggressive. Though, they still can die en masse.
  • Evil Minions: Syndicate scientists and office employees.
  • Faceless Mooks: Considering the sprite size and resolution, there's not much face to see, but some cover even that. Plus, there are full-length portraits in the inventory screen.
    • Ethereals' faces are invisible under the overly large hoods.
    • EXALT infiltrators and goons wear some sort of black respirators.
    • Disciples of Dagon wear green KKK-like hoods. Chosen of Dagon dress like Ethereals, but green.
    • Black Lotus warriors and assassins dress like ninjas.
    • Tomb Guardians wear face-covering helmets.
    • Syndicate security wear face-covering helmets.
    • Muton Engineers wear protective visors.
    • Averted for X-COM agents. Unlike the original games, when agents wear armour, they hold helmets in their hands on the inventory screen.
  • Fantastic Drug: Storm. Psiclone, although it's a device, not a substance. Both are also Psycho Serum.
  • Fish People: Deep Ones are the Gillmen from TFTD. "Carcharodons" are part-shark Half-Human Hybrids.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: After certain researches you get a report that X-COM is going to concentrate on important targets and would no longer react to minor events like sightings of individual members of a criminal organization, small safehouses and such. Similarly, when you finish the operation that ends an arc, you get a report that this threat has been neutralized. Yet you may still get several more missions against this enemy. The engine generates a set of missions at the start of each month, and they all happen regardless. The enemies may become weaker, though.
  • Glamour: Bug-eyed grey-skinned Hybrids use "impersonatron" (combining holoprojector and psi waves emitter) to pass as humans. Their "infiltrators" are the real deal, though.
    • Later you use this technology to infiltrate and storm The Syndicate HQ.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: A number of plot-advancing researches are unlocked by gathering and studying all objects in a certain category. For example, all "strange life forms", both living and dead.
  • Green Rocks: Elerium-115 here is not only used to power alien machinery, but also a critical part of physiology of many creatures (the "energetic blood plasma" component). It can also be weaponized.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The Ufopaedia picture for "Subculture: Luchadores" (zombie-eaters).
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • "Asylum Apparitions" mission usually appears before you get weapons that can kill or stun ghosts reasonably quickly. But disabling all enemies is not necessary to win, if you pay attention to the briefing.
    • When you capture an UFO, you immediately get elerium. When you capture an USO, you need to process certain captured devices in a workshop to get zrbite.
  • Gun Struggle: If the shooter stands next to the target and the target has time units left, he'll try to push the gun aside. The outcome depends on their respective melee skills and random chance. If the shooter fails, he spends extra TUs turning in random direction and shoots there. Good news: your agents can defend themselves this way too, and after months of training their melee stat gets high enough to shoot most enemies point blank.
  • Half-Human Hybrid:
    • "Hybrids" are of human and Sectoid origin. Most of them are covertly preparing the invasion. One of them runs EXALT.
    • Bibleic Nephilim — offspring of humans and fallen angels, usually translated as "giants" or "fallen ones" — were an earlier experiment that used Ethereal rather than Sectoid DNA. Some of them may have survived the purge.
    • Werewolves and werecats are artificial creatures combining human and animal genes. They are bipedal, covered with fur, smart (but no longer sapient as of 0.9.3), carnivorous and can eat humans.
    • "Carcharodons" are part-human part-shark artificial soldiers.
  • Humans Are Bastards: In the majority of arcs your enemies are humans working for aliens. Directly or indirectly.
  • Immune to Bullets:
    • Swarmids — swarms of, well, some small and very alien things from the world of Spitters and Megaworms. Not exactly immune, but can't be realistically killed by Earth pistols or rifles. Fortunately, tasers and flares work fine.
    • Some big monsters have hides so thick, they are immune to small pistols and buckshot.
    • Ghosts require several dozens of bullets to kill. The Asylum Apparitions mission requires a different solution.
  • Impossible Hourglass Figure: Strix. With Hartman Hips and Gag Boobs (approaching Non-Mammal Mammaries, since they give "energetic blood plasma" and substances that control lesser zombies).
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Thunderstorm interceptor with tritanium cannon. The best fighter that needs no elerium. Enough speed to catch all UFO types, but two. Enough hit points, agility and firepower to fight battleships one-on-one and survive (more often than not). And best of all, you can get it before 1999. Still, it cannot help against infiltrationsnote  or enemies that don't use flying craft.
  • Instant Sedation: Dart pistols and rifles, gas grenades. Targets suffer no ill effects.
  • Jumped at the Call: Most (if not all) of X-Com stuff, but nost prominently Chief Engineer. Though in his own words, he's in it solely for the gadgets.
  • Kill It with Fire: Represented by flare pistols, flamethrowers and incendiary grenades. Like Reapers in the original UFO, many monsters are vulnerable to fire. Some enemies, like swarmids, are near-immune to everything else.
    • The ultimate solution to the monster problem is a chemical that makes them ignite spontaneously.
    • On an unrelated note, since version 0.9.1 good old alien plasma weapons started to set everything on fire. Fortunately, you can buy fire extinguishers from the start.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Men in Black use it on their agents. The interrogated captives don't tell much.
  • Left Hanging: The game is still unfinished. As of version 0.9.2 (June 2018) you can fly to Mars and win the game, but you can't resolve the following subplots:
    • Hybrids.
    • Men in Black.
    • Shogg (Beneath the Earth).
    • Cult of Apocalypse.
    • Ghosts.
    • Whoever ran Black Lotus.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • To unlock a certain storyline you need to study a certain weapon (one of several). Those weapons appear in few missions and may never appear at all.
    • On a related note — there's a chance to never encounter some non-crucial, but useful weapons.
    • The ability to study the majority of the artefacts and much of your own research depend on discoveries you get from interrogations. But each prisoner reveals a random piece of information from around 10-20, and most of it is "fluff", i.e. flavour texts that help to immerse you in the game world, but do little to advance the plot. In other words, you may get the necessary information immediately, or next year.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Represented by Gauss weapons (used by Reptoids) and their less advanced cousins, mass drivers.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Of the first four well-defined enemies three unlock next enemy.
    • The Church of Dagon is controlled by, well, "sea god" Dagon.
    • EXALT is secretly run by Hybrids, who do the bidding of Cydonian aliens.
    • Red Dawn isn't directly run by any outside force, but they pick the scraps from Cyberweb, who has connections in another dimension.
    • As of version 0.9.5.1 the Black Lotus handlers haven't been implemented yet.
  • Masquerade: Modus operandi of the entire conspiracy setting. The Earth is ruled by a mysterious assembly of influential people (even X-Com Commander only knows a few of them at best), working in various groups who are constantly struggling for power and control over one another. Ordinary citizens have no idea that these groups even exist.
  • Mega-Corp:
    • The Syndicate.
    • BlackOps Industries, which proves to be its subsidiary.
    • M.A.G.M.A.
  • The Men in Black: Early on your organization seems to be the Men in Black. The black suits are your default outfit, you are a mysterious organization with some SF gear. Quickly subverted when you end up having to fight the real Men in Black during a crop circles, alien abduction or cattle mutilation mission. They are a mysterious organisation dealing with Hybrid Network and covering up stuff like abductions. This arc isn't finished yet.
  • Mind-Control Device: Psi-Amp, Psiclone, holy statues.
  • Mordor / Hostile Terraforming: What the Reptoids plan to do with the planet Earth.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Mission names like "Blood Moon" or "Soul Harvest".
  • Nerf:
    • The fan-named "lethal injection" — shooting from an ajacent tile — no longer works as before. A target with time units will start Gun Struggle, see above.
    • Interceptors no longer can carry ray guns or Magnetic Weapons, because anything advanced is powered by an elerium reactor. But see Infinity -1 Sword.
    • Each base can have no more than 1 laboratory of each kind.
    • Workshops are no longer profitable. The most profitable goods can pay the engineers' wage, but nothing beyond that, not even the workshops' upkeep.
    • Middle click no longer reveals enemies' ranks (which was kinda programmer's oversight). Go figure if this Black Lotus Warrior is actually an Assassin (requiring extreme caution and firepower). Or which of Sectoids is the engineer you desperately need to question.
  • Ninja: Black Lotus warriors and assassins. They even have psionic invisibility. They can use guns, but prefer silent crossbows and thrown stars.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: So far, there are only ninja cyborgs in the unfinished Ninja Assassins arc.
  • Nintendo Hard: Mainly by limiting team sizes and rising the research cost. You start with a car that carries only 2 agents. A few weeks later you can research a van for 4. Anything significantly bigger has ridiculously short range — until you research Skyranger years later. Weapon choice is limited to a weak pistol and a shotgun, too heavy for some of your agents. Nearly every weapon has to be picked on the battlefield and researched to pass around the red tape or find a black market dealer. You do get a few decent weapons with promotions — many months later. Every base building beside hangar, storehouse, living quarters, gym and holding cells has to be researched. In addition, you need special buildings for interrogation and biology research. But if you keep an agent alive several months, he will have no trouble surviving most missions.
  • No "Arc" in "Archery": Averted. Also applies to grenades and some projectiles, like flares. You can even shoot over obstacles and hit enemies with no line of sight as long as you have a spotter.
  • Not Enough to Bury: Some powerful weapons have a chance to destroy the target's body leaving no corpse and no loot.
  • Nubile Savage: Ufopaedia picture for "Subculture: Cavemen".
  • Older Than They Look: Some dossiers. Those women use alien technology to look young.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Werewolves and werecats are genetically engineered from human and animal DNA. They can't shapeshift, but their pack leaders are powerful psionics.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: There are 2 different kinds:
    • Same as in UFOEU, the victims of Cryssalids. Quickly turn into Cryssalids. Appear in late 1999 or later.
    • Entirely new type, the victims of alien-introduced zombie parasite. Appear from the start as yet another kind of "strange life form". They share biochemistry with other monsters, but later prove able to evolve into tougher, faster and smarter forms: fat zombies, infectors, strixes, tomb guardians, vampires — by eating other zombies and concentrating enough energy to rebuild their nervous systems.
    • Additionally, unscrupulous scientists create militarized forms of the latter: zombie troopers, megazombies.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: Flying saucers before 1999 probably qualify. Several UFOs on "research" mission are guaranteed to land near your base in January 1997 and stay on the ground a few days — long enough to reach them by car. Several more may appear randomly in 1997-1998, but not necessarily within your reach. They are crewed by Sectoids armed with plasma, shields and often psionics. If you win (hint: use cover), the spoils are worth a lot, though you won't be able to research most artefacts until much later.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Once an arc is finished, there is no way to get certain artefacts. Hint: don't destroy Red Dawn until you get a piece of durathread, or you won't invent any decent aircraft. This may happen if you stun all your enemies rather than kill. Though Word of God says, that those artefacts will randomly appear in Osiron missions.
  • The Prophecy:
The most important piece of information we have received from the Kiryu-Kai is: "The invasion will begin on the 1st of January 1999, 12:00 GMT."
The flying saucer activity does increase in 1999, but you may not notice immediately.
  • Putting on the Reich: Syndicate CEOs wear authentic SS rings. And call Earthlings "subhumans".
  • Red Shirt Army:
    • In terror and monster missions police and soldiers tend to attack the enemies head-on, regardless of danger. This may work against spiders, beetles or scorpions, but not when an enemy has couple hundred HPs, is immune to bullets or carries a heavy plasma gun. To add insult to injury, neither wear any body armour and police are issued the weakest pistol in the game.
    • Same goes for security in mansion defence missions. Even when they have half-decent guns, they are unarmoured, and outgunned.
  • The Reptilians: Reptoids. Based Beneath the Earth. This arc isn't finished yet.
  • Research, Inc.: See Mega-Corp above.
  • Screw This IM Outta Here: This mod has many more missions that penalize letting them expire than the vanilla game, but it's still possible to arrive, see the situation is unwinnable and leave. Of course, if there are any civilians or crucial installations, you are penalized for leaving them to die or be destroyed.
    • Surf Time mission has no exit grid. You can only win or die. At least it's not that hard and the penalty for skipping isn't too high.
    • In Black Lotus Party mission you need to fight your way from the first floor to the exit grid on the roof. Killing all enemies isn't much harder.
  • Sequence Breaking: Normally you start researching and making high-tech alien devices — such as ray guns or anti-graity — only in 1999. It is possible to research alien alloys and Reaper and Sectoid autopsies (and alien containment) before mid-1997, but that's all. Unless you are Crazy-Prepared enough to have an alien containment at every base, lucky enough to catch several landed UFOs between 1997-02 and 1998-12, good enough to capture several engineers and navigators, and lucky enough to get important technologies from interrogated aliens. The trickiest part is detecting the UFOs in time — headquarters and intelligence centers have unlimited range, but low probability of detection; radars (researchable from mid-1997 or later) have short range, but higher probability; all of the above have prohibitively high costs, especially the HQ.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • Stunning weapons use electroshock: electric club, taser pistol, stun rod...
    • Some Cyberweb prototype weapons.
    • Janissary attack.
    • Storm Rose.
    • Muckstar attack.
  • Shoot the Fuel Tank: Game mechanics-wise transport aircraft are destroyable buildings, while cars and interceptors are large pieces of furniture (you can't enter them and start outside). Each tile can be destroyed (cars are the weakest), and some of them explode, even from melee weapons. Outside "convoy" missions you are the only one with transport. Furthermore, often the car is your only cover.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Typical, as most weapons in the game have shorter ranges than in real life, and even other games. Shotguns are affected harder than most.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One dossier entry describes an alien mercenary Meridian. Meridian is the programmer developing OXCE+ engine fork the game uses.
    • See "Crossovers" above.
    • Also Xenonauts description calls them Psychonauts.
  • Smart Gun: Smart Magnum. Upgrade to standard Magnum revolvers gained from Cyberweb. Same power (approaching shotgun slugs and heavy machineguns, above most other Earth guns), but with range and precision of a sniper rifle.
  • Snake People: Snakemen.
  • Spider Swarm: Complete with the queen, several types of drones, and an additional twist with the Spider Kings.
  • Spies in a Van: X-Com, of course.
  • Spread Shot: Shotguns work that way.
  • Spy Catsuit: Man in Black Psi Ops.
  • Staging an Intervention: Parodied by some "Staff Input" articles, where a named member of the cast complains about other residents of the base or living conditions in general.
  • Stalked by the Bell: After you discover a way to defeat a particular organization, you may decide to Take Your Time. Maybe rob their HQ once or twice more. Maybe wait for that special mission that unlocks the next stage much earlier. Maybe try to get that useful artefact. Well, be careful. Not dealing with them swiftly leaves your reputation vulnerable. Starting next month you may get "slander" missions, when you have 2-3 hours to reach the site or face 500 score penalty (for comparison: each dead civilian is 30 and ignoring a terror site is 1000).
  • Stop Helping Me!: Occasionally local militias, police or army may start a mission against monsters and you would face a difficult task of keeping them alive while fighting monsters.
  • Super Soldier: Many organisations try to create one, with varying success. To name a few: Red Dawn, Syndicate, Men in Black.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Infiltration missions generally don't cover the part of how exactly the agents got inside, as long as they don't stand out too much ( like carrying around rifles).
  • Tap on the Head: Some blunt melee weapons, shields (that come with some armours). Also electroshock stunners: electric club, taser pistol, stun rod. Targets usually suffer no ill effects, although some blunt weapons have "lethal" chance — up to 75% for a baseball bat.
  • Tech Tree: Like in the original games, only much bigger and without the infamous TFTD quirks. Furthemore, the engine allows to browse the tree entries (press "q" in Geoscape), because even some mod authours occasionally get lost.
  • This Was His True Form: The body of The Syndicate CEO.
  • Timed Mission: Crop circles, alien abduction and cattle mutilation. If you don't kill or stun everybody in 10 turns, all your agents outside the exit grid die. Usually it's pretty simple: find and stun the unlucky farmer. But occasionally you'll meet zombies or Men in Black.
  • Transhuman: Cyberweb members claim to be ones. Their version of transhumanism includes Transhuman Treachery.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Pretty much any decent weapon for which you can neither buy nor manufacture ammo.
  • Under the Sea: Underwater missions against Deep Ones and their masters. The problem: you can't see underwater anywhere as well as actual underwater races, and the choice of weapon and armour is greatly reduced.
  • The Unfought:
    • The research during the Dagon arc leads you to believe this enemy is going to be far more challenging than your previous enemies, with him being the expy of Cthulhu and "The Ultimate Alien" from TFTD and difficulty scaled accordingly. But actually he won't wake up until 2040s and started to build an army only recently. His arc ends with the destruction of tasoth factory.
    • The Cyberweb arc eventually develops into a 1990s version of XCOM Apocalypse and you end up fighting Spitters, Anthropods, Hyperworms and Micronoids in their home dimension. This new enemy is quite hostile and their city keeps shooting your scouting drones. This can only mean that you'll have to storm the alien city, right? Wrong. You leave this side goal for later and focus on your immediate enemy — Cyberweb.
  • Unobtainium: Ellerium-115 as in UFOEU. Can be picked from intact UFO engines, an in the original game. The mod adds a twist that it can be extracted from alien ammunition, some other deices and even fuel traces from landed UFOs. Zrbite as in TFTD, but it has fewer uses.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In version 0.8.2, the game could not be completed, since a crucial artifact didn't spawn. It was fixed in 0.8.3.
  • Van in Black: Your cars and vans (except the jeep) double as one. You don't get to do any spying missions, but you have to use an inconspicious vehicle to quietly approach some enemy hideouts before they can evacuate. Sure, a black van with a big "X" on each side is totally harmless.
  • Was Once a Man: Zombies, janissaries and jarheads.
  • Weapons Kitchen Sink: Justified by variety of your enemies. Actually, assembled from whatever mods fans make for OpenXcom.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Men in Black are your enemy. But they turn out to be backed by the same countries that founded X-COM. While X-COM fights, they seem to be negotiating surrender. This arc isn't finished yet.
  • We Can Rule Together: "Syndicate Testament" message.
  • We Have Reserves: While hiring replacements is no bigger problem than in the vanilla game, losing half of a 2-man team is problematic. Many players remark that smaller teams force them to care more about agents. Besides, training in the gym means that an agent with several months of experience is far superior to any new hire.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Investigating the Cult of Apocalypse you eventually conclude that those people are stirring trouble to ultimately make Earth people stronger. None of the involved laymen, Brothers or Clerics know of this goal. This arc isn't finished yet.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: You need to research everything, including the stuff an investigating agency should have from the start, like armoured vests. Every time you pick an Earth weapon on the battlefield, you need to research it twice — once to determine its parameters, once to find a way to purchase it. Justified by being run by Obstructive Bureaucrats that require paperwork for every step. This also explains on one hand why did X-COM in the original game have no armoured vests, no riot shields and such lousy weapons, on the other hand why did it have UFO-specific radars, designs for alien containment and ability to quickly invent bottomless laser weapons, medkits and stun rods.

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