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Video Game / Tribes: Vengeance

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Clockwise from the top: Julia, Mercury, Jericho, Victoria, Daniel, Cool Starship.

Tribes: Vengeance is a First-Person Shooter with elements of Vehicular Combat, set in the universe of the Tribes series but a few thousand years before the core installments.

The story takes place at the dawn of the Tribal Wars between the Galactic Empire and the "tribals", population of the fringe planets seen as barbarians by the Imperial citizens. The game opens with an attack on the spaceship carrying the Imperial King's daughter Victoria by members of the Children of Phoenix tribe. Victoria is captured by Daniel, a Phoenix clan leader, who holds her for ransom and, along the way, shows her how the tribesmen really live and die. Before long, she develops a bad case of Stockholm syndrome and convinces her captor to return her to her father, as an act of goodwill to start searching for a diplomatic solution to the long-standing conflict between the Empire and the tribes.

Fast-forward about twenty years into the future. An anti-Tribal extremist Julia (who is actually Daniel and Victoria's daughter) makes life hell for the tribesmen—which reflects the popular Imperial attitude all too accurately. Victoria and Daniel are nowhere to be seen, but Daniel's brother Jericho is still out there, and Julia is after his head for personal reasons. There is also a mysterious cyborg assassin, a Diabolical Mastermind, and the nasty chief of the Blood Eagles tribe, all wrapped up in the same mess. And, of course, the story of Victoria and Daniel is not over yet, so we will keep jumping between Past and Present a couple more times before it's all over.

Vengeance was developed by Irrational Games based on the Unreal Engine and published by Vivendi in 2004. Although met with good critical reception, the game was plagued by Vivendi's refusal to support it, including cancellation of the much-needed patch 1.1. As a result, it left a whole lot of players dissatisfied, placing the future of the Tribes series in question for the next six years.

The game provides examples of following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Victoria qualifies but Julia outmatches her by far, what with inheriting the badass gene from both parents.
  • Anachronic Order: You heard about jumping between Past and Present.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Interestingly, the narration jumps not only between different characters (five in total) and places, but even times (mainly Victoria and Julia's respective time frames, but there is one level seen from young Julia's POV).
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Arm Cannon: The Heavy Armor has all weaponry built into its arms with the wearer controlling it via joystick.
  • Barbarian Tribe: This is how the Imperials see the tribals.
  • Blood Knight: The Blood Eagles, or "Beagles", especially their Ax-Crazy leader Seti.
  • Big Bad: The real villain of the story? Victoria's Cool Big Sis Olivia.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Yes, the whole game.
  • Cycle of Revenge: As befit its name, the game runs on this. An incredibly short summary: Rebel Leader Daniel is tricked into killing the Emperor Tiberius. He is in turn killed by the Emperor's daughter Victoria. Victoria is hunted down and killed about 6 years later by Daniel's Dragon Jericho...which inspires Victoria's (and Daniel's) daughter Julia to find and kill him. However, Mercury steals that kill from her, so she kills him instead. In process, Julia also finds those originally responsible for the... miscommunication, and kills them too. Good lord.
  • Dueling Player Characters: Happens often. First is when Victoria fights and kills her lover Daniel after he is tricked into killing her father. Then subverted when Julia chases after Jericho, only to be one-upped by Mercury (who is also a player character) but played straight when she fights and kills Mercury himself.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: The Buckler, a thrown energy shield capable of killing most enemies in a single hit. You learn to use it during Julia's trials to join the Phoenix tribe, and afterwards, you are locked into light armor for the rest of the game, meaning you never get to use it again. What.
  • The Emperor: Curiously, Tiberius is ostensibly styled "Imperial King".
  • The Empire: The Imperial faction.
  • False Flag Operation: The Blood Eagles stage an attack on the Phoenix tribe disguised as Imperials while Daniel is away negotiating with the Imperial King.
  • First-Person Shooter
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: There is even a single level where it is the only weapon you can use. This weapon is practically required in Multiplayer as you can use it to supplement your jetting and skiing such as using it to redirect yourself, performing hairpin 180s, even firing at the ground to sling yourself upward for distance or downward for even more speed.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Julia had artificial eyes implanted specifically to do away with the bulky standard gear helmet.
  • Heroic Bastard: Julia. She is more of an Anti-Hero, though.
  • Implacable Man: Mercury. He came damn close to killing Daniel before being called off. He also fragged Jericho right under Julia's nose.
  • Jet Pack: A staple and the core element of all Tribes games. Averted by Julia who places her jets on her calves instead (while wearing light armor).
  • Jumping on a Grenade: Victoria does it to save Daniel. She survives thanks to wearing an armor suit and Daniel stealing a truckload of medical supplies for her.
  • Justified Tutorial: The trials to join Phoenix Clan teach you a number of advanced maneuvers, such as how to best leverage skiing physics. Pity it doesn't happen until about 85% into the game.
  • Karma Houdini: Olivia escapes Julia's wrath in the last moment.
  • Lady of War: Julia. She even wears custom armor to look graceful on the battlefield.
  • Left Hanging: The Big Bad's ultimate fate. Presumably, it would have been explored in an unreleased expansion.
  • Masquerade: It's implied that the few remaining Cybrids, like Mercury, have chosen to infiltrate human society rather then flee from it forever.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mercury is a literal ninja zombie robot... FROM SPACE. In other words, he is a Cybrid, one of the deadly enemies of humanity from the Earthsiege series.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Jeez, Daniel, you think you could have waited a bit before you jammed a wrist-dagger into the King's skull? On a grander scale, the war between the Empire and the Tribes is largely due to this, with some manipulation from Olivia and Seti.
  • Protection Mission: Victoria protecting Daniel while he hacks into Beagle base security. Can be a case of That One Level for some.
  • Prequel: To Starsiege: Tribes.
  • "Rediscovering Roots" Trip: After the Imperial Princess Julia discovers that she is a half-Tribal on her father's side, she seeks out his old tribe and asks to undergo their initiation rites. By enduring their trials, she is then admitted into the Children of Phoenix tribe.
  • Reentry Scare: In the end of the game, Julia pulls off an atmospheric reentry protected by nothing but a medium armor and her sheer badass.
  • The Remnant: As shown in CyberStorm and CyberStorm 2, a handful of Cybrids has survived the events of Starsiege and continually eluded The Empire's hunt for them. Additionally, the manual for Starsiege mentions the Metagen, a faction of Cybrids who had come to respect humanity and fought with it during Starsiege. Mercury is simply the natural progression of the Metagen philosophy.
  • Rescue Romance: Victoria and Daniel's relationship starts with them saving each other's lives.
  • Robotic Reveal: Imperial general Albrecht is, in fact the Cybrid assassin Mercury.
  • Rocketless Reentry: Julia is stranded on the Big Bad's spaceship as it makes an uncontrolled reentry and, naturally, starts falling apart. Being the badass she is, however, she surfs the falling debris all the way to the surface, jumping off to the next one just as the piece she's currently on burns up.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Julia's eyes are actually artificial, complete with integrated HUD support.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Julia goes to the Phoenix chief Esther for guidance after discovering her tribal roots.
  • Throwing Your Shield Always Works: The Buckler shield is quite handy for midair kills.
  • Time Skip: The storyline flips between the lives of Victoria and Julia, about 20-25 years apart.
  • Tribal Face Paint: Unique facial markings are worn by the Tribesmen and, ironically, by the anti-Tribal extremist Julia, who is unknowingly a half-Tribal by blood herself.
  • The Unfought: Julia kills two Dragons in close succession, yet when it comes to killing the actual Big Bad Olivia, the latter promptly hops into an escape pod and runs for it. Granted, Olivia has never displayed any fighting prowess whatsoever, but if she is anything like her little sister, she had to put up a hell of a fight.
  • Vehicular Combat: There are a few levels where land (jeeps, tanks, etc.) and even air combat are of essence.
  • You Killed My Father: Julia is after Jericho's head for killing her mom. In front of 10-year-old Julia, no less.