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Video Game / Traffic Department 2192

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A multidirectional shooting game by P-Squared Productions / Safari Software, released in 1994 for MS-DOS, as shareware. It was re-released as freeware in 2007 and can be downloaded from here.

The planet Seche is besieged by the Vulture cult-army, bent on conquest. The only line of defense is the local Traffic Departments, patrolling through the city streets in "hoverskids" — hovering craft armed with pulse cannons and missiles.

The story begins in 2178, with Ric Velasquez, a Lieutenant in the Vulthaven Traffic Department, returning home from garrison duty to see his 11-year old daughter. Before he can reach the hangar, however, he's shot down by Vulture hoverskids and reduced to a flaming wreck. Fourteen years later, the daughter, Marta Louise Velasquez, has joined the Vulthaven TD to avenge her father's death.

The game is highly linear, consisting of a fixed series of missions, and also very story-oriented in the Story to Gameplay Ratio.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 4 at the end of part 2, thanks to a Kill Sat. Part 3 takes place on the moon.
  • Brainwashed: At one point, Velasquez gets brainwashed by the Vultures and fights on their side. It doesn't last long, though.
  • Bald of Evil: Almost any male Vulture high officer.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The only faction left standing is the Vultures, but Orlok believes he can reform them from within and prevent further atrocities.
  • Butt-Monkey: Lt. Kendrick.
  • Cloning Gambit: Wolstencroft uses this to survive being killed by General Kreel at the end of part one. However, damage to the cloning machine by Velasquez results in him becoming an Inhuman Human instead.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: The Vultures use it a lot, and it tends to lead to the death of the subject. The Traffic Department prefers Truth Serum.
  • Cowboy Cop: Velasquez, taken to the absolute limit. Her one and only motivation is to kill as many Vultures as possible, and she doesn't care who or what gets in her way. She has no sense of professionalism, little obedience to orders, and insults everyone she meets, including her superiors.
  • Cutscene: Of the most primitive sort: text under Character Portraits, with occasional still images.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Justified. The technology to replace damaged brain areas is new and untested, and it slowly destroys the organic part of the brain, causing migraines, hallucinations, and delusions of grandeur. Eventually it leads to death. Despite this, Dr. Bela Rameses is somehow able to stabilize Velasquez' condition shortly before the end of part three.
  • Da Chief: A friend of Velasquez's father, which is one of the reasons he's willing to put up with her. (The other is that most of his other pilots are dead.) The Vultures capture him and execute him.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Vultures are a bit unstable, to say the least.
  • Escort Mission: Several missions are these — although in several cases, the game doesn't actually care whether or not you succeed.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Even after they reveal that his name is Carl, the cutscenes only refer to him as Dispatcher.
  • Evil Versus Evil: All five factions in parts 1 and 2 have at least a few skeletons in their closet. So do the aliens in part 3, though they hide it better.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Kendrick begins working with the Vultures to kill Velasquez in part one. Also, while ostensibly on your side, Osyluth in episode 3 suddenly goes rogue when you try to negotiate peace with General Orlok.
  • Fantastic Drug: Spice.
  • From Bad to Worse: The game's plot is made of this trope up until almost the end.
  • Heel–Face Turn: one of the Ramses clones, although his change of mind is due to being injected with some substance used for Velasquez's brainwashing (it happened when she snapped out of it and attacked it before escaping back to TD), which has made him unstable - given how his clone-brother reacts to the event, scrambling his brain has made him actually saner.
  • Heroic Willpower: When the Vultures attempt to erase Velasquez's memories, she concentrates on the strongest one she has—her father's murder. That particular memory is erased, but the rest are left intact, with the result that she temporary becomes more mentally stable.
  • Hopeless War: Becomes very apparent as the game progresses.
  • Ineffectual Death Threats: The main way in which Velasquez interacts with people. Occasionally, they become effectual death threats.
  • Inhuman Human: Wolstencroft in part two, whose body is misshapen and voice distorted due to Velasquez damaging the Vulture cloning machines.
  • Interface Spoiler: Because every text colour is unique to a different character during the cutscenes, it's not too hard to guess that Velasquez' mystery attacker at the end of part one is Lt. Kendrick.
  • Lizard Folk: Lieutenant Junior Grade Koth and the Selarian race.
  • One-Man Army: Velasquez, and she has the personality to match. The other characters treat her somewhat like an attack dog.
  • The Mole: Operations Coordinator Peter Amiel and Lt. Kendrick at the Vulthaven Traffic Department. Amiel's addicted to Fantastic Drug Spice and the Vultures are keeping him supplied with it, and Kendrick's working for the Vultures because he blames Velasquez - not unjustly - for him being stuck doing the worst missions.
  • Morality Chain: Velasquez has several, most of them stripped away over the course of the game. The most important is Ian, her son, whom she wants to provide a better life for.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Dr. Bela Rameses stabilizes Velasquez' decaying body towards the end of part three, all so he can experiment on her.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: A few of them for failed missions.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Velasquez poses as a Vulture, she swaps out her green false eye for a red one.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Velasquez. Her crowning moment is destroying a convoy delivering medical supplies to Vulture miners who were injured in a collapse—as Vultures, the miners "deserved to die," even though destroying the convoy lets the Vultures know the Traffic Department is still functional and gives them an idea of where to attack.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: The end of Episode 2. After you kill the General's daughter, he retaliates by killing all life on the planet, except a single spaceship the TD manages to get off. There are numerous named, portraited characters who are not on that ship and die offscreen.
  • Shifting Sand Land: The planet Seche.
  • Spicy Latina: With a name like 'Velasquez'...
  • Story Overwrite: One mission orders Velasquez to protect a convoy escaping the city. Fail, and the entire convoy will be destroyed, and Velasquez will be stripped of her commission. Succeed (no easy feat), and the game acts like the convoy was destroyed anyway.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Fail in the mission listed under Revenge Before Reason, and it restarts after a message that failure puts everyone's lives at risk. Succeed, and the plot will continue, but Velasquez will be chewed out for putting everyone's lives at risk.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Generals Talon and Marilith close to the end of Episode 3.
  • Villain Protagonist: Velasquez would dispute this, but by part 3 most of those around her wouldn't.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The aliens in part 3, who intend to Kill and Replace the Vulture emperor and force a peace.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Velasquez, after sabotage to her helicopter leaves her splattered all over the landing pad. Her entire left side becomes quite glaringly robotic.
  • What Have I Become?: See above.
  • You Have Failed Me: After one too many failures, Col. Wolstencroft is killed by the even more ruthless Gen. Kreel, who takes his place. This seems to be standard Vulture policy. Earlier, there's a mission in which one of Wolstencroft's lackeys attempts to kill you, but all you have to do is get back to your base. Go back without killing the lackey, and in a cutscene he'll argue to Wolstencroft that his wingmen should be executed for their incompetence. Wolstencroft decides it would be easier to execute him.