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Universe at War: Earth Assault is a RTS made by Petroglyph Games.

The game begins when in 2012, humans notice something alien and really big on a collision course with Earth. They prepare for a heroic defense but are beaten to a pulp by the Hierarchy, a race of Planet Looters who have consumed thousands of worlds before Earth. Just when it seemed like all was over, the Novus, a race of machines straight out of a Manga, appear. These guys have a grudge against the Hierarchy, who destroyed their creators, and will take any chance they can get to avenge them.

Everything is going swell for the Hierarchy though, since the whole invasion was a trap for the Novus. Then, an unnamed idiot in their ranks tripped over a pyramid and awakened the Masari, Ancient Astronauts that were once the uplifters of the Hierarchy (who repaid them by driving them to near-extinction). They decide to battle it out with all the factions at once, but in a undramatic turn of events, the Masari wind up uniting with the Novus and what's left of humanity, and end the Hierarchy threat... for now, at least.

The game was created by the same minds that put together the first Command & Conquer games, and while it's rather buggy (unless patched), relatively unknown, and uses that bane of gaming known as Windows LIVE, it's still an enjoyable, hammy and Troperiffic little game. Since it never got very far in terms of sales, support from the developers has long since ceased. That, combined with the GFWL shutdown and the game getting removed from the Steam store means it's becoming a rare game. Keep Circulating the Tapes.

This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Mirabel as far as characters go; in regards to units, the Masari Sky Lords certainly count.
  • Alien Invasion: In both classic and modern forms. The whole game is like a celebration of the Alien Invasion genre. It should be noted that the Hierarchy units are nods to various alien craft seen over the years, from Flying Saucers to cigar-shaped UFOs and "foo fighters".
  • Aliens Speaking English: Subverted with Novus. They speak English in game, but it's shown to a Translation Convention and it actually takes them some time to understand English. Played straight with the Masari.
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: The Hierarchy steals anything, but they really like cattle. So much so, you can get an achievement, Bovine Defender, if you abduct 200 in Conquer the World, and it is illegal for their Grunts to use plasma grenades on "indigenous bovines". The Hierarchy collects resources in two ways; gradually, by slowly sapping raw materials from large targets, such as buildings, or quickly by instantly absorbing small targets, like humans. Cows can be collected instantly and give a considerable resource pay off, arguably making them the best source of resources for a Hierarchy player.
  • Amazon Brigade: All Masari Seers and Sky Lords are exclusively female.
  • America Saves the Day: Nope. Although the good old USA is the last nation standing, and the main human resistance you see is American, the US military barely lasts hours against the Hierarchy. However the US military does help to save the day in the end.
  • Ancient Astronauts: The Masari, source of both the Egyptian and Mayan styles.
  • Apocalypse How: The Purifier is a Class 0, but repeated use as is the Hierarchy's MO is somewhere between Class 4 and Class 6.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Each player has a population cap which must be obeyed. If your army meets this cap, you will be unable to build more. Well, actually you have several population caps: for your army you have both one large population cap that governs how many total units you can have (each unit has a different point value in this regard), and every type of unit also has a separate population cap that governs how many of that specific unit you can have. Each building type also has their own population cap, capped at a maximum of 5 (for most structures), 25 (for base defences except the Oracle, which is capped at 5) or 50 (for Flow Conduits). Hierarchy players have a separate population cap of 3 for walkers.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The Walkers have hardpoints on the hull that must be destroyed in order to reveal their reactor or coolant systems,which, if destroyed, destroys them too. These hardpoints can be strengthened with armor at the cost of additional functionality.
    • For the Habitat Walker: Destroy two of its four crown hardpoints to reveal two coolant nodes. Destroying these overheats and destroys the walker.
    • For the Assembly Walker: There are two shield generators hidden at the base of the arms, which have to be destroyed. Afterwards you can destroy the reactor underneath the central hull.
    • On the other hand the Science Walker's core is exposed and can always be directly attacked, but instead it is protected by an energy field that regenerates at a continuous rate. It still has three crown hardpoints that can be destroyed. Destroying these will decrease its shield's regenerating rate, allowing you to land more hits to its core and hopefully destroy it quicker.
    • Averted with the massive Purifier, which has no such hardpoints and only one single, huge HP bar.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: All of the Hierarchy's music is Rock-based.
  • Badass Normal: The human characters deserve a special mention. General Moore and Sergeant Woolard take on hyper-advanced aliens with a minigun and a really cool custom tank respectively and both manage to hold their own.
  • Bad Boss: Kamal Re'x. He doesn't care about the lives of his troops and sacrifices them on a whim for his own advancement. His justification is that he considers their only reason for living is expanding the Hierarchy.
  • Base on Wheels: Hierarchy walkers are huge walkers that serve most of their needs of producing units and researching techs.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Novus, arriving just in time to kick ass and take names. As seen in the intro, a massive angel-shaped mech with a BFG and rocket pods appears along with a powerful army of machines to save the survivors of the human military from the Hierarchy; what could be more awesome? Oh, that's right, the Hierarchy's progenitors rising from the sea to enact some literal Divine Intervention.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Orlok delivers one to the Masari Prince, Zessus. It Makes Sense in Context.
    "I am Orlok, Commander of the Hierarchy battalions, General of the Galactic Fleet, Annihilator of a thousand worlds, and you are no longer a god of mine!"
  • BFG / Arm Cannon: The Hierarchy, Orlok especially, love using these.
  • Cannon Fodder:
    • How Kamal sees his troops as. Keep in mind that the basic Grunt is still a lot stronger than its counterparts.
    • The Novus' Ohm Robots; they understand that they are meant to be cannon fodder and see no problem with filling that role.
  • Car Fu: The Peacebringer's size allows it roll over and crush smaller non-hero units.
  • Cast from Hit Points: There's no mana or "energy" in this game, just a recharge time for special abilities, but two heroes (Prince Zessus and the Founder) have abilities that cost a portion of their hitpoints when used.
  • Charm Person: The Science Walker can use Mind Magnet or Machine Magnet to control up to 2 nearby organic or mechanical enemy units as long as they remain in range.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Nufai will gladly betray you if it means getting a higher rank. Orlok should've saw that coming...
  • Civil Warcraft: The last Hierarchy mission puts you as Orlok against Kamal Re'x's forces.
  • Clone Degeneration: Mirabel has actually died and reborn many times, growing weaker every time. By the time of the game's events, she has grown so weak that she requires Viktor for protection.
  • Cognizant Limbs:
    • The Habitat Walker has 4 body hardpoint sockets and 4 leg hardpoint sockets. When a leg socket is destroyed, the Walker's speed is reduced by 10%. When a body socket is destroyed, a Coolant Node is revealed. If 2 Coolant Nodes are destroyed, the Habitat Walker's core overheats and explodes.
    • The Assembly Walker has 3 body hardpoint sockets and 4 leg hardpoint sockets. When a leg socket is destroyed, the Walker's speed is reduced by 10%. Destroying the front panel, left arm, and right arm sockets reveal the Walker's core, left shield generator, and right shield generator respectively. The shield generators must be destroyed before the core may be attacked. When the core is destroyed, the Walker collapses.
    • The Science Walker has 3 body hardpoint sockets and 3 leg hardpoint sockets. When a leg socket is destroyed, the Walker's speed is reduced by 10%. The body sockets regenerate the shield that protects the Walker's core from destruction. When one of them is destroyed, shield regeneration is reduced. It is possible to attack the Walker's core directly and destroy it if enough firepower is available.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Nufai is the only non-Hierarchy, coming from a race which the Hierarchy has exterminated. He traded his entire race for his own safety, and is quite the creepy double-crosser.
  • Combat Medic: Hierarchy Defilers and Saucers can heal friendly organic and mechanical units respectively.
  • Compensating for Something: Orlok specifically says he is not doing it... We still have our doubts, though.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The planet that Kamal Rex used to set a trap for Novus just so happened to, unbeknowst to him, also be the hiding spot for the sufficiently advanced race that created and then nearly got exterminated by the heirarchy.
  • Colony Drop: Since the Hierarchy's orbital guns were depleted trying to destroy the Masari City Ship during the campaign, they're reduced to dropping pieces of scrap from orbit as a makeshift super-weapon.
  • Conscription: Apparently the Lost Ones are criminals and psychopaths used by the Hierarchy as cheap Cannon Fodder or for suicide missions.
  • Crop Circles: Hierarchy Glyph Carvers can create crop circles by carving out glyphs in the ground (not necessarily in crops). These are actually "bar codes" which the orbiting motherships scan and drop/teleport in the appropriate buildings/walkers. If you see a crop circle in your area, chances are that a nuclear powered Humongous Mecha Base On Legs with lots of dakka is going to drop in and start blowing up stuff.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The masari.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Masari units in dark mode.
  • Dash Attack: When using Charge, a Brute rushes at the target and deals high damage on impact (possibly sending the target flying) but is stunned for 5 seconds afterwards.
  • Defcon 5: Used realistically, counting down from 4. Defcon is a game mode where research happens automatically. In normal mode, you can research 3 army-wide upgrades. Defcon researches all 3 trees until you have all 9 upgrades at Defcon 1.
  • Defog of War:
    • Detection Drones have a scan pulse ability that removes the fog of war in the targeted area.
    • A Science Walker upgraded with 3 Visual Optimizers can view the entire map in the presence of a Detection Drone.
  • Destructive Saviour: In the process of fighting off the Hierarchy, the Novus will sometimes find themselves demolishing human neighborhoods to use their resources, even if their occupants are still there.
  • Drop Ship: All Hierarchy structures are dropped from orbit and are ordered by setting up Crop Circles! Some missions feature regularly-arriving reinforcements, friendly and enemy, via troop transports.
  • Dual Mode Unit: The Novus Field Inverter can toggle between two modes in which it uses its railgun to attack or its shield to protect other units.
  • Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The Hierarchy wants to strip mine it, the Novus wants to stop them and there is the Ancient Astronauts' city/spaceship in the middle of the ocean.
    • Subverted by the game's narrative: Earth is the center of the universe only by coincidence. The Hierarchy has been strip-mining planets for 10,000 years and only recently showed up at Earth; the Novus arrived because they were following the Hierarchy; and the Masari are on Earth because the last surviving Masari city-ship sought refuge on Earth precisely because Earth was out-of-the-way at the time.
    • In other words, the coincidence is merely that the Hierarchy "trap-world" for Novus is also the planet where the Masari hid. It being Earth isn't a coincidence because of the Masari's striking resemblance to humans allowing them to blend in and "uplift" us.
  • Ejection Seat: Masari Avengers can eject from their vehicles if they're destroyed.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The Hierarchy in a nutshell. Their basic Mooks the Grunts dwarf most of the infantry on the other sides, their Brutes are around the size of vehicles, Orlok is the largest hero units in the game, and while their regular vehicles aren't as big as the Masari's tanks, their Walkers are larger than the buildings the other factions have.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Khamal Rex.
  • Faction Calculus:
    • Hierarchy: Powerhouse. Walkers provide a ton of firepower and their ability to crush buildings means they can easily make short work of bases if they can get close enough, and much of their research focuses on giving their units an extra punch. Most strategies with them involve getting a Walker into an enemy base, and then producing tons of units once inside. They also have the best healing abilities, since Saucers and Defilers can heal vehicles and infantry, respectively, for free.
    • Novus: Subversive. Their units are generally cheap, but weak, and they can also Mind Control enemy vehicles and probably have the best artillery and air force. They will lose against the Hierarchy or Masari in direct one-on-one fights, but can and have to outmanoeuvre and outnumber them.
    • Masari: Balanced. They tend to rely on defensive strategies till they can bring out their tanks and air/artillery units in the late game. Their units have dual abilities that can be activated by switching to light and dark modes.
  • A Father to His Men: Orlok tries hard to be this, but is constantly pushed away from it by Kamal Re'x. It's why he's the most popular general in the Hierarchy.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: General Moore and Mirabel. Originally Moore was distrustful of all aliens, but after a few fire-fights with the Novus saving human ass, Mirabel quickly becomes Moore's BFF
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: The Conqueror and Peacebringer have no turret and must turn the whole vehicle to face a different target.
  • Flying Saucer: The Hierarchy Saucer's design is reminiscent of the flying saucers in sci-fi B-movies.
  • Funny Background Event: Khamal and Orlok bicker so heavily after the first mission while their ship's aid tries to warn them that there is a nuclear missile heading for the ship.
    Kamal: "That was Flagrant insubordination, Commander."
    Orlok: "It was a tactical necessity. I won't put my troops in harm's way until the situation is clear."
    Aid (as icon shows on map):"sir-"
    Kamal:"Your troops serve but one master: expansion of the Hierarchy! is they die for that cause, then they are fulfilling their purpose!"
    Orlock:"Our orders were to activate the purifier long before Novus arrived. your delay has already cost lives."
    Aid (more urgently):"Sir!"
    Kamal: "I deemed the chance to destroy Novus once and for all, a chance worth taking."
    Orlock:"Or was it a chance to impress the Overseers? how many must die for your ambition, Kamal?"
    Aid: "Sir! Brace for impact!"
  • Gathering Steam: The Amplifier's sonic resonator attack gains power the longer it focuses on a target.
  • Gatling Good: General Moore carries a minigun. Sergeant Woolard has a tank with a gatling cannon. Humans also have turrets which can wipe out alien infantry pretty quickly.
  • Game Mod: A few, most of which focus on adding the humans as a full faction and beefing up their fighting strength.
  • Going Critical:
    • The destruction of a Matter Engine results in a colossal explosion capable of destroying virtually anything within its radius.
    • With the Volatile Reactors upgrade, when Hierarchy vehicles and Walkers are destroyed, their reactors detonate, showering the area with radioactive waste.
  • The Greys: A Lost One is basicallly one of these, with a massive head, glowing eyes, hunched body with spindly limbs and a plasma pistol.
  • Gunship Rescue: Subverted in the first human mission in which some Apache gunships wipe out the Hierarchy forces attacking you, but are then wiped out in short order by flying saucers. The gunships are one of the few human units that are any good at all against walkers and probably the best human unit in the game, other than heroes.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Zessus is the result of an unusual union between his mother and a human consort that she had fallen in love with.
  • Heal Thyself: The Science Walker's Repair Chamber can generate 3 blue plasma orbs like those of a Saucer that repair the Walker.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Played straight with Orlok, subverted with Nufai, who faked the whole thing to get a promotion.
  • Hero Must Survive: Losing any hero in the campaign results in looking at the Mission Failed screen.
  • Hover Tank: The Novus Antimatter Tank is mounted on a mobile, hovering platform. Hierarchy Phase Tanks float a short distance above the ground.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Mirabel is the small girl to Viktor's big guy (he is a Mini-Mecha after all).
  • Human Aliens:
    • Mirabel and probably the others of her race, before the Hierarchy killed them all.
    • The Masari too, though they're generally taller and have brown-ish hair. Prince Zessus is an exception, since he's half-human, and is therefore shorter and blond. Technically, we were created (or, more accurately, "uplifted") by the Masari and given their powers for some unmentioned purpose (most likely another attempt like the one they tried with the Hierarchy). Alien Humans, maybe?
  • Humanity Is Superior: Averted.
  • Humanity on Trial: The Masari woke up and noticed humans haven't been cleaning regularly. The Hierarchy invasion was a bigger problem though, so they let it slide this time. Kamal Re'x does mention that they fought the Novus before Mirabel could clear things up.
    • While the intro states that the Masari didn't like what humanity was doing to the planet, they don't want to wipe us out and state they would prefer for us to stay alive. Hell, they're the only race that doesn't use human homes for resources. It's made pretty clear that, whatever purpose they had in mind for the Hierarchy, they've decided we will fulfill.
    • Ask them why they decided not to leave plans for their free energy generators lying around. Seriously, if we had their technology we wouldn't pollute a square inch of the Earth. Kill each other and wipe cities off the map? Probably. Pollute? No.
      • Well, given that when they tried to similarly uplift the Hierarchy, they got pissed off at not getting everything and tried to wipe the Masari out, so they have good reasons for that.
      • It's implied they did do some uplifting, probably back when copper was new and innovative. Free energy would be jumping the gun a little.
      • Not forgetting those energy reactors had a tenancy to explode. Would you give a caveman a nuclear reactor?
  • Human Resources: Hierarchy Reaper Drones can collect resources from breaking down biological materials, including people, be they alive or dead.
  • Humans Are Warriors: In spite of being hideously outmatched, humans put up a bold fight.
    Vertigo: The sentient presence attempted an aerial assault on the Hierarchy base a few minutes ago.
    Mirabel: What do you mean, 'attempted'?
    Mirabel: ...they die bravely.
    Vertigo: And needlessly.
  • Humans Need Aliens: The Earth is invaded by a race of Planet Looters called the Hierarchy. We humans get our collective asses kicked, but just as all hope seems lost, the Novus, another alien race with a grudge against the Hierarchy, turn up and begin fighting them alongside us. Only then does the tide begin to turn. And then, the Masari, the Hierarchy's Precursors who were believed to have been hunted to extinction by the very race they uplifted, also turn up to deliver a little "divine retribution" to their errant children.
  • Humongous Mecha: All Hierarchy Walkers are so huge that they can simply crush other factions' buildings, but ocmparing them to human structures one sees that even the smallest mecha in the game is several stories tall!.
  • In a Single Bound: The Brute's strength allows them to leap incredibly long distances.
  • Kill It with Fire: Humans have squads of flamethrower soldiers who do a decent job of clearing out enemy infantry, though they don't last long against Grunts or Brutes.
  • Klingon Promotion: The Hierarchy takes pride in this, and it's how Nufai becomes Commander.
    Kamal: You forgot the first rule of the Hierarchy, commander: trust is a weapon, not a guarantee. Your spy was always MY spy.
  • Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb: The Novus, since the Hierarchy destroyed their creators while they were away.
  • Last of His Kind: Mirabel is the sole survivor of her race, being the only one Novus managed to save from the Hierarchy. Nufai too had his race completely wiped out by the Hierarchy, but he doesn't care about them since he got a nice position in the Hierarchy's ranks in exchange for his race.
    Orlok: Tell me, Nufai; your world was once destroyed by our armies. What did it mean to you?
    Nufai: Much opportunity, sir.
    Orlok: Those are the words of a traitor.
    Nufai: But I still live to speak them - the others of my kin do not.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Viktor is fast, fairly tough and packs quite a punch with its basic attacks and abilities. Used right, it can single-handedly take down Walkers, which are at least twice its size.
  • Lightning Gun: The Assembly and Science Walkers can be outfitted with an anti-air electricity weapon.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Kamal Re'x gets put in one, courtesy of the Masari queen.
  • Loudness War: Sure, "Mechanical Brain" is a great Hierarchy track but Frank could have toned it down on the distorted guitar.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • Viktor's Missile Barrage ability, in true mecha anime style, fires a swarm of missiles at the target area.
    • The Humans are heavy users of this. They have five-man rocket launcher squads who can fire barrage after barrage of rockets, even more so when in large mobs. The Gunship has an unused rocket barrage ability which functions like Viktor's but weaker. Exaggerated with the unused Dragoon MLRS, a huge artillery piece which rains Death from Above with dazzling displays of swarming missiles. Even better: these missiles can strike multiple targets simultaneously.
  • Magnetic Weapons: The Field Inverter is designed to manipulate magnetic fields, both to fire metal rounds at enemies and to defend against enemy projectiles.
  • Mecha-Mooks:
    • The entire Novus faction, especially the Ohm robots, who are programmed to be expendable, and are absolutely fine with it.
    • The Hierarchy has a few with its Glyph Carvers, Reaper and Detection Drones, Defilers, Saucers, and possibly the Phase Tanks and Walkers.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • The Hierarchy are pretty much an entire faction of these. Their units tend to be the slowest, but also the strongest. Special mention goes to their Walkers, which move even more slowly, but depending how they are built and upgraded, will be armed to the teeth and are so big that they can crush buildings. The biggest of the Hierarchy's Walkers are terrifyingly huge and powerful. The epitome of this is the Purifier walker, whose main weapon will vaporise anything within a large radius after a very long cooldown, but it has no other weapons and it's so slow to be able to make good use of its crushing capabilities.
    • Orlok is noticeably the slowest assault hero but is also among the strongest. He can launch artillery barrages from clear across the map to compensate for this lack of speed.
    • The Masari have the Peacebringer. It's slow, but can crush smaller vehicles, and its main gun can fire at air units, pretty much making it an anti-everything-that-moves unit. It can get an extra bit of firepower if its tractor beam, which normally just slows units down, gets upgraded to a disintegrator, which deals damage to a target every second.
  • Mini-Mecha: Viktor, Commander Orlok, Reaper Drones and Detection Drones, whose height is comparable to a small house.
  • Mobile Factory: The Hierarchy is based on these.
  • Monumental Damage: The game opens on the battle for Washington, D.C., where you are greeted by the destruction of the Washington Monument and the US Capitol soon after.
  • More Dakka: The Habitat and Assembly Walkers, which both come with a set of strong plasma cannons, and can be upgraded with even more plasma cannons or anti-air Lightning Guns on their legs. The Habitat Walker can also be upgraded with radioactive mortars placed on its head, and the Assembly Walker can be upgraded with rail guns or Frickin' Laser Beams on its arms.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Novus Variants can hide themselves by disguising as a terrain object.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The zombies, which you get from killing a biological unit with radiological weapons, are called "Slaves" or "Mutants".
  • Obviously Evil: Orlok, why the heck would you trust a shady guy who saved himself and got a high rank by backstabbing his entire race? Just because he's ( seemingly) helping you to backstab your boss doesn't mean he's not backstabbing you too!
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: The Masari soundtrack contains several examples most prominently "Divine Intervention"
  • Our Elves Are Different: The Masari.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: The US President appears in the prelude missions, where you play as the humans and must protect him from the Hierarchy invaders.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Biological units killed by radiological weapons. The Hierarchy uses their technology to interface with the "residual nerve impulses" in the corpse and QWOP them around
  • Pistol-Whipping: When at point-blank range with a hostile infantry unit, the Grunt can use its shotgun as a club to knock back the enemy.
  • The Plan:
    • Remember that part when the Founder wonders about how humans managed to survive so long? It has nothing to do with humans being awesome, it was Kamal Re'x's plan to trap and exterminate the Novus.
    • Later, Nufai's fake Face–Heel Turn also counts, since it allowed Kamal Re'x to capture prince Zessus.
  • Planet Looters: The Hierarchy took this trope and made it into a business (does the title, Underseer of the Hierarchy Remote Mining Operations, tell you something?).
  • Plasma Cannon: Lost Ones have plasma pistols and grenades, Grunts have plasma shotguns, Phase Tanks have plasma missiles, Saucers have plasma orbs. The final level of the Assault tech tree grants the Assembly Walker access to the Beam Cannon which fires superheated plasma.
  • Precursors: Ten thousand years ago, the Masari once had a mighty civilization, and in an act of benevolence, they saved the race that would found the Hierarchy from extinction. Unfortunately for them, the Hierarchy tried to wipe them out, and nearly succeeded, except for the inhabitants of the Atlatea.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Orlok, as opposed to the rest of the Hierarchy. This leads to his Heel–Face Turn and eventual death.
  • Puny Earthlings: The prelude missions are the only time you play as humans, and you are hopelessly outgunned by the Hierarchy. For added puniness, when attacking the nuclear missile silos as the Hierarchy, armor up some walkers and just walk past the human army. The silos go down as soon as you step on them.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Poor Orlok.
  • Reflecting Laser: Cascade Resonance upgrades the Amplifier's beam weapon, allowing it to jump to nearby targets of the same type.
  • Regenerating Health: All heroes regenerate health. With the level 3 Nanotech upgrade, any damaged Novus structure not under attack will repair itself over time.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: Masari units in dark mode gain "dark matter armor" which is basically a regenerating shield that absorbs damage. The Hierarchy's Science Walker has a regenerating energy shield that protects its core.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Hierarchy's backstory reveals that they waged war with their precursors, the Masari. They ended up gaining the upper hand and went on to brutally hunt down and eliminate the Masari to extinction (or so they think they did). Subverted in that they did so not because the Masari were oppressing them, they're just a bunch of ungrateful bastards who thought that they're strong enough to overthrow their superiors and went on to murder everyone else.
    • Orlok's rebellion is just as violent, even though it doesn't last long.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Masari Prince Zessus certainly counts; his mother, not so much, but she does step onto the battlefield in the final mission.
  • Seemingly Hopeless Boss Fight: Humans vs. Habitat Walker in the second Prelude mission. You play as the humans, and none of your units is able to scratch the Walker before the arrival of the Novus, at which point you'll take control of them to destroy the Walker.
  • Shed Armor, Gain Speed: Overclocking doubles attack and movement rates for Novus units, but also increases the damage they take by 50%.
  • Shockwave Stomp: With Assault Suite 2 researched, a Brute's Leap is upgraded to Death From Above, which creates a large shock wave upon the Brute's impact on the ground.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Grunt's plasma shotgun allows them to either damage multiple enemies at range or deal severe damage to a single infantry target up close.
  • Shout-Out: And how!
  • Siege Engines: Amplifiers have extraordinarily long range and their weapon is good against structures, allowing them to demolish bases from afar without having to deal with base defences.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: Averted. While the Hierarchy's orbital command ships can take one or two nukes, it's implied such "radiation weapons" are a big threat to them, which is why they prioritize their destruction.
  • Slave Mooks: The Hierarchy uses them a lot.
  • Stance System: A Masari army has the ability to change between Light Mode and Dark Mode. Light Mode allows units to see and shoot farther and do more damage. In Dark Mode, attacks slow their targets, and it also accumulates as protective armour on Masari units, but air units are prevented from flying.
  • The Starscream: Nufai who sold out Orlok to get his rank.
  • Status-Buff Dispel: Reboot removes all negative effects from all Novus units and structures. During Reboot phase all units and structures are inactive.
  • Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: The game featres several capturable assets, such as Fusion Reactors (Gimmick despite superficially being a Power Plant, and has a different benefit to each race; either bonus power for the Novus, extra resource capacity for the Masari, or a cloud of bolstering radiation for the Heirarchy), Hydraulic Pumps (constant flow of Resources), factories (20% discount on Vehicles), and laser turrets (a defense turret with a sustained-fire laser beam).
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Masari, to quote a Hierarchy Intel Officer on their technology;
    "It was said the Masari could create energy from nothing!"
    • They also have a god-complex of sorts, but it's not wholly undeserved, considering they're the most advanced faction, both in terms of technology and gameplay-wise: the Masari are best attacked early, otherwise, they can fortify their base and send wave after wave of overpowered units at you, since they have no resource limitations (that bit about making energy from nothing isn't just fluff).
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit: The Heirarchy from Universe at War produces these as a matter of course. Their barracks, factory, and research "structures" are actually huge Spider Tanks that act like a Base on Wheels, and while they totally have a conventional army, a perfectly viable strategy is to load up one, two, or all of their Walkers with weapons or weapon upgrade modules, and maybe a couple Flying Saucers set to Repair mode if you don't want to sacrifice a leg socket for a Repair Bay module to keep them fighting fit. They can't be destroyed normally, instead requiring that at least two of the Cognizant Limbs in the upper section be destroyed to expose the reactor, which then must be destroyed. However, a very low-tier research ability causes the breached reactor to irradiate the surrounding area, either killing or zombifying the enemy troops while stimulating the Healing Factor of the Heirarchy's own.
  • Tank Goodness: The Masari Peacebringer, which is usually compared with the Mammoth Tank.
  • Teleportation: The Hierarchy Monolith travels long distances by teleporting.
  • Teleport Gun: How the Heirarchy gathers resources. They use a tripod-mounted Disintegrator Ray to reduce things to atoms, and beam it back to the Mothership for processing.
  • Trap Master: Masari Figments can deploy mines that are excellent against infantry in light mode and walkers in dark mode.
  • Tripod Terror: The Hierarchy Defilers are the scariest tripods ever: their main attack is a radiation-based beam cannon, they have a Wave-Motion Gun that leaves a radiation cloud behind, and their secondary fire mode bleeds nuclear waste, turning organic units into Zombies. Reaper Drones and Detection Drones are also Tripods, albeit less dangerous. Then, you have the Science Walker.
  • Troperiffic: The whole game is specifically designed to take advantage of every conceivable Alien Invasion trope.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: For the Hierarchy - Mass Drop and Radiation Cascade; Novus - EMP and Black Hole Bomb; Masari - Burning Wrath and Matter Storm.
  • We Have Reserves: Both the Hierarchy and the Novus use this. Novus troops, being Mecha-Mooks, actually support this. Kamal Re'x's solution to any problem is 'throw more men at it,' and he's willing to sacrifice massive amounts of resources, including command vessels and senior generals, if he thinks he'll look good doing it.
  • Wolverine Claws: Nufai.
  • Worker Unit: Two per faction: one collects resources and the other builds structures.
    • Hierarchy Glyph Carvers 'etch' glyphs on the ground, which are then 'scanned' and then the Walker or building is dropped in. Reaper Drones collect resources by gathering humans, cows and inorganic objects and breaking them down for materials. Neither can repair other units, leaving that job to the Defiler and Saucer, for infantry and vehicles respectively.
    • Novus Constructors can build and repair structures, including the Recycling Center which produces three Collectors. Each Collector breaks down scrap metal around the map and returns to the structure for drop off.
    • Masari Architects can build, repair structures and boost the speed at which they are built or work. They can also boost the firing range and rate of turrets. The Masari resource collector, Matter Engines, are unique in that they generate resources rather than harvest them from map objects.
  • You Nuke 'Em: The Habitat Walker's Radiator Artillery is a radiation warhead that emits radiation in the area around it upon landing for 16 seconds.
  • Zerg Rush: Both the Hierarchy and the Novus do this.