Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Unreal I

Go To
The game that started it all.

Unreal is a First-Person Shooter made by Epic Games and Digital Extremes and released in 1998. It's the first game in the Unreal series.

You are Prisoner 849, being transferred to a prison moon on a starship called the Vortex Rikers. The ship goes off-route and crashes on the uncharted planet of Na Pali. As you escape the wrecked vessel and start taking in your surroundings it soon appears that the planet is inhabited by the Nali, a peaceful race of four-armed humanoids with a distinctly agricultural way of life. Not all is well on Na Pali, though, as the cruel and technologically advanced Skaarj race is invading the planet, pillaging its resources and busily slaughtering Nali left and right.

Your actions from this moment are governed by the simple desire to survive, which isn't going to be easy when the Skaarj have declared war against everything that isn't another Skaarj. During your attempts to avoid dying horribly you'll come across helpful Nali who think of you as their messiah, alien biology both neutral and hostile, mysterious Lost Technology - and quite a lot of instruments of death to fight your personal one-man war against the entire Skaarj race. One way or another, the path to freedom will be flowing with alien blood.


Unreal stuck out from a lot of other FPS games at the time by being less of a total shootfest (think Quake) and more like an adventure game. It achieved this by focusing the gameplay on fighting for survival rather than for the kill score and by making fights more like duels than fragfests, as you fight a smaller number of tough enemies that each provide a challenge rather than crowds of weak monsters that only have numbers on their side. The levels give the player significant freedom (for the standards of the time - open-world games not being quite as widespread as they are today) and reward exploration with tidbits of backstory about the planet and the various races on it.

Of course, the main reason why everybody who saw the game was left with wide-eyed, open-mouthed astonishment were the graphics, which heavily exploited 3D acceleration and offered levels of detail and Scenery Porn previously only dreamt of. The excellent soundtrack (made in ScreamTracker by the same people who made the music for Jazz Jackrabbit 2 and later on Deus Ex) greatly helped the general atmosphere, too, and it all made for a sense of immersion no game had achieved before.


It saw a lot of critical acclaim and absolutely raving reviews, but it somewhat suffered from the release of Half-Life a few months later. Then a year later Unreal Tournament came out and did multiplayer so much better as to effectively make Unreal singleplayer-only, which hurt the latter's long-term appeal in the market.

An Expansion Pack called Unreal: Return to Na Pali was made, which starts after the events of the original game. You are recruited by the UMS, who gives you more equipment in order to go back to Na Pali and find a crashed ship. Three weapons are added (two of which mostly redundant) as well as several monsters. All-new levels (and a couple that got scrapped from the original release) make for a fairly long campaign, and the main character is slightly more fleshed-out by having them speak in inter-mission cutscenes.

As Epic Games decided to focus on the Tournament side of the franchise, the rights for the inevitable sequel were given to another company, Legend Entertainment. While not a bad game in and of itself, Unreal II was hurt by being the sequel to the most revolutionary game ever in a market that had since become much harder to revolutionize. That, plus various gameplay changes from the original, caused it to pass mostly unnoticed by those who didn't know the series and disappoint those who did, with many reviewers giving it average to low scores.

Ultimately, Unreal's greatest merit is perhaps more in what it spawned than in what it was; the engine was so advanced and efficient that many developers ended up licensing it for their own productions, and Epic decided to continue development of the engine separately from the Unreal series itself. Since then it has evolved through four generations, powered hundreds of games from independent titles to huge triple-A ones, been adapted to genres wildly different than the one it was born to run (including RPGs, racers and simulators) and ported to every modern gaming platform under the sun (including HTML5 browsers). It eventually achieved such resounding success that Epic decided to release it for free to everyone and only profit from a small royalty, which simplified development enormously for independent studios. It's no exaggeration to say that it revolutionized gaming development on the whole.

See also

This game contains examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes which appear on both Unreal and Return to Na Pali 
  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • The Stinger uses shards of Tarydium crystals meant for mining rock.
    • The Razorjack uses rotating spiked blades.
    • The Bio Rifle uses the most abnormal ammo of all: toxic, unstable tarydium sludge that gets shot in big explosive blobs that act as mines or bombs.
    • The Flak Cannon launches shells like a standard grenade launcher in its secondary mode, but in its primary mode it explodes the shell within the weapon and launches its fragments out the barrel, shotgun-style.
    • The Eightball Gun, in a similar vein, can launch missiles as grenades by firing them without engaging the rocket motors.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Skaarj and their minions, so very much. Not only do they kill, enslave, and torture the peaceful Nali, they also kill all the humans who end up stranded on their planet.
  • Alien Blood: The Mercenaries have green blood. Notably, this isn't a form of violence censorship - your blood, as well as that of most other enemies, is quite red.
  • Alien Sky: Na Pali has two suns and tends to have several different hues depending on where you look, especially near nightfall or dawn. It makes for some of the most breathtaking skies ever seen in a video game, especially for the time.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Skaarj are all aggressive and warlike (though some of the messages on their computers imply they at least have an honorable side).
  • Always Lawful Good: Zig-zagged with the Nali. While all the ones you meet are peaceful and nice, there is some evidence of rather unsavory aspects of their culture, the biggest being the gladiatorial Dark Arena where you fight a captive Titan. The arena is quite ancient and not made by the Skaarj; it's possible the Nali stopped using it long ago and the Skaarj took it over for their own purposes.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Many translator messages are these, especially the ones you find aboard the Vortex Rikers and the ISV-Kran.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Krall are often found about to toss Nali off a floating island, sleeping, talking amongst themselves, or, most often, playing dice. Skaarj can also be found sleeping in Nali beds or checking their weapons - in the case of warriors, you can tell their presence from a distance from the 'snikt' of their Razik blades being extended.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The Skaarj will change their tactics depending on how much health they have left, how many allies they have backing them up, and what weapons are being used against them. For example, if you are using projectiles they will try dodging your shots, and when weakened they swap from a close-up game to a keep-away strategy.
  • Artificial Gill: The core game has the SCUBA Gear as an inventory item available whenever there's an underwater section. They have a limited air supply that runs out pretty quickly, and you can't extend it by taking a breath and deactivating it - you'll instantly start to drown. In Return to Na Pali, you're equipped with a Marine SCUBA Gear that lasts longer and recharges by itself while you're out of the water.
  • Artificial Limbs:
    • The Mercenaries' arm cannons, effectively a machinegun and a rocket launcher.
    • Kurgan has a bionic leg.
    • Dimitra seems to have most of her face covered in a bionic mask.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The Skaarj, Krall, and Mercenary Elites. There's also the Skaarj Warlord and Skaarj Queen, who are in charge of all operations.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Dispersion Pistol's upgrades, which greatly increase the weapon's power - with the last one being able One-Hit Kill most enemies - at the price of progressively worsening the weapon's shortcomings. Indeed most enemies will be able to easily dodge your firepower, and you won't be hurling a lot of it at them given the achingly slow cooldown time between shots and the insane ammo consumption: at full upgrade you get twelve shots before you have to wait for the infuriatingly slow autorecharge.
    • The Minigun looks and feels pretty awesome, but it eats through your ammo reserve really quickly and it's in the uncomfortable position of being less powerful at short range than the Flak Cannon and less precise at long range and weaker per shot than the Automag. It is useful at medium range, which would be great if your enemies didn't have a tendency to move erratically; as it is, you'll either be switching away from the Minigun a lot or just default to more versatile weapons to begin with.
  • Badass Army: The Skaarj. The concept of "civilian" doesn't seem to exist in their culture; even the few seen doing scientific tasks will immediately drop everything and start shooting you to pieces the moment they catch sight of you.
  • Beast of Battle: The Titans are giant, dumb berserkers who even the Skaarj themselves have problems controlling.
  • The Berserker: Skaarj Berserkers, as the name suggests. They are so aggressive that they won't break contact even at critically low health.
  • BFG: Notably averted. All the weapons you can find are reasonably powerful, but none has a clear damage-over-time-per-ammo advantage over the other. Even the six-barrelled rocket launcher isn't that absurdly powerful, in part due to its slow firing rate.
  • Blade on a Stick: Krall staves when used in melee.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Most armor absorbs a constant, high percentage of damage, which is subtracted from the armour's strength instead. Dying with armour is possible only if you were already near death when picking it up; in all other cases it effectively acts as extra health. The shield belt is this trope completely played straight, as it always takes damage instead of your health.
  • Boom, Headshot!: You can headshot enemies with the Razorjack and the Sniper Rifle, usually by aiming at the top center of their hitboxes, for a lot of extra damage. In the case of humanoid enemies, the head goes flying off with the killing shot.
  • Boom Stick: Krall staves when used at range.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Automag is your basic FPS pistol, and not even that futuristic or exotic-looking as the rest of your arsenal, and its burst damage pales compared to some of the later weapons. Nonetheless, 20 consecutive hitscan shots are useful against anything and everything, especially dodge-happy enemies like Skaarj, Gasbags and (to a lesser extent) Krall, and ammo for it is the most common in the game. It even outclasses the Minigun in power per shot – the Minigun's damage varies between 8 and 14 damage per bullet, while the Automag's stays at a solid and consistent 17.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The dispersion pistol has several upgrades you find throughout the game which both make it more powerful and change the color of the Energy Ball it shoots. It starts out as blue, then turns green, then yellow, then orange, and finally a pinkish/purple color. Secondary Fire remains blue no matter what.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Brute Behemoths, Skaarj Berserkers, and Skaarj Lords.
    • Degraded Boss: After your first encounters, you'll start to see these more often.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Several times, you're forced to move above lava-filled areas, such as mines, caves and the Warlord's lair. Only stepping on the lava itself will burn you.
  • Covers Always Lie: One of the box covers and one of the strategy guide covers show Nali Castle with tons of manta rays flying around. In game there is not a single manta ray in the level.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The Nali are often crucified by the Skaarj, which presumably hurts even more than when done to a human as they have four arms to be nailed. Sometimes you find Nali nailed by their upper arms alone, but all are already dead by the time you run into them.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Titans, which are like a combination of a giant gorilla and a dinosaur and have a ridiculous 1200 HP total, but are very stupid and slow, as well as being big, easy-to-hit targets. The rocks they throw can do enough damage to one-shot a fully healthy and armored player and one handful of them can be thrown at once, but those tend to not be as well-aimed as one single giant boulder and are universally slow; the main danger of those is the unpredictable shrapnel that is produced after they collide with the level geometry and shatter.
  • Damage Reduction: Brutes, Behemoths and Titans of all kinds take only 70% damage from the Dispersion Pistol and all explosive attacks. This doesn't include the Bio Rifle, even if its projectiles explode.
  • Deadly Rotary Fan: One of these is the main feature of the Deathmatch level DmDeathFan – fall down to the bottom of the level, and splat. There's one in single player as well, in Depths of Rrajigar, that will suck you in through a broken section of handrail unless you straferun across its path.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Due to the ability of the AI to dodge nearly everything you throw at it (Skaarj especially), in many cases tapping something to death with the Automag is the most effective solution.
  • Defensive Feint Trap: Injured Skaarj and Krall will sometimes retreat to lure you into an ambush, and Skaarj will sometimes feign death when hit by explosives only to assault you when you've gotten close.
  • Deflector Shields: Shield Belts envelop the wearer in a golden forcefield and absorb all damage until depleted. The Skaarj have their own versions: Mercenaries have one which grants temporary invulnerability and Skaarj Troopers have an arm-mounted buckler that stops even hitscan attacks, but doesn't negate Splash Damage.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The world of Na Pali has a very strong gravitational pull that has a tendency to cause starships to crash land on its surface. The player has to navigate through a few crashed ships throughout the gamelist , though it's implied that the Skaarj have found a way to overcome this problem and, unlike humanity, are there voluntarily.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The Razorjack is frequently dismissed by its slow projectiles and risk of self-damage. And yet, once landing headshots with it is mastered, it can kill most non-boss enemies with little ammo expenditure, compounded by the blades not triggering Skaarj and Krall to dodge. Plus, each pack of ammo is worth 50 blades out of your 75 maximum, and they're not exactly rare.
    • The ASMD's Shock Combo involves firing off its secondary fire plasma ball, then shooting that with a primary fire beam. This causes a fairly large shockwave that has a wide area of effect, but the projectile is rather small and it's not easy to gauge the distance for a perfect Combo. Wise shooters pay attention to the light of the projectile relative to the what they want to vaporize.
    • The Bio Rifle's secondary can be charged up into a big blob of sludge which is too slow for accurate target leading and too heavy to be launched a decent distance away - while also having enough splash damage that it will likely hurt you as well. Given that its intended use is more to lay traps than to be shot at moving things, this makes sense. However, anything that gets hit by the big blob will be instantly vaporised into a cloud of gibs and green toxic mist.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The Skaarj Warlord. After the first battle in the caves below the Nali Castle, you fight him a second and final time in the Skaarj Generator. The true Final Boss is the Skaarj Queen.
  • Doomed Hometown: Many Nali villages were thoroughly wrecked by the invading Skaarj, to the desperation of any surviving inhabitants. In fact, the entire planet of Na Pali can count as one, since even after the events of RtNP, there are still Skaarj on the planet, and they're pissed.
  • Dummied Out: If you know how to use the Level Editor, you will notice that there's a lot of content which didn't made the cut for the final game.
    • The QuadShot, for instance, was supposed to be a quad-barrel pump shotgun with the ability to load all four barrels before discharging. It was probably decided to cut it for game balancing reasons - as becomes evident if you install a Game Mod that restores it, four shotgun barrels worth of hitscan pellets are a guaranteed One-Hit Kill against anything short of bosses. It got replaced with the less unbalanced and more setting-friendly Flak Cannon.
    • There are a couple monsters who appear nowhere in the finished game but can still be placed with the level editor or spawned with the console. All of the monsters are fully functional, making the reason for their removal unclear.
  • Eldritch Location: Na Pali seems to be this to some extent. You find an inordinate amount of ships crashed there, and the planet seems to have some kind of mysterious "pull" that causes thisnote . You also go to a city built in an asteroid that's somehow just floating in the atmosphere, with no explanation for how or why it does that, and judging by the skybox it's only one of many.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The aptly-named Krall Elite and Mercenary Elite. The former has more health than Krall mooks and dodges more often, and the latter can shoot while its invulnerable shield is up.
    • Skaarj Lords have almost the same health as a Berserker and the Assassin's tendency to spam Razik projectiles. Later on the game tosses them your way almost as regular enemies.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • Can happen if a monster accidentally shoots another in the back.
    • Skaarj Berserkers, Pack Hunters and Titans will fight just about anybody. Berserkers will gladly attack other Skaarj if you're not in their line of sight.
  • Energy Ball: The Dispersion Pistol and the Shock Rifle's secondary fire, as well as quite a few enemy attacks.
  • Equipment Upgrade: The Dispersion Pistol. Powerups can be collected that'll upgrade it several times, its projectiles changing colour and becoming more damaging at the cost of a slower rate of fire and higher ammo consumption.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Mercenaries. There's no info about their species, society, motives or really anything, all we know is that they're Mercenaries.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: One of the Skaarj melee moves is a Spin Attack. The Krall will sometimes twirl their staffs before firing, or when idle. And, of course, the questionably-useful dual set of spinning barrels on the Minigun.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Some of the wildlife wandering around Na Pali is harmless, but if you look at their scripting in the Level Editor, even they are set to "Attitude to Player: Hate". This is lampshaded by Prisoner 849 in the intermission at the end of "Velora Pass" in RTNP:
    "I'm glad I made it out of there. I'm used to being bitten, hacked, shot, stabbed or blown up, but in there I could have been crushed, sliced, diced, or skewered! Whoever built that place must have been a real sadist."
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Brutes, who if they take enough damage will forget all about shooting and charge you. Inverted by less beefy Skaarj, who will respond to injury by backing off to make themselves harder to hit and sniping at you from a distance.
  • Faceless Goons: All Mercenaries wear masks.
  • Flechette Storm: The Stinger, which fires shards of Tarydium crystal as stake-like projectiles. The Flak Cannon is a shotgun version, blowing out loads of razor-sharp shrapnel in one go.
  • Frictionless Ice: The multiplayer map DmTundra has an area where you find the ASMD in a frozen lake.
  • Game Mod: The Quake games had already given the world its first taste of extensive modding, but making mods for them required some knowledge of how to manipulate and recompile the source code. Unreal was the first game that allowed one to open up the editor, tweak a few values, and save the result as a file that could alter - sometimes dramatically - gameplay aspects. For instance, all it takes to make the Stinger shoot rockets or flak shells is to change the projectile type, and now you have a rather more dangerous weapon at your disposal than anything available in the stock game. More radical modding was only a few steps away, especially once people started importing their own 3D models and the level editor became well understood. It only took a few months for entire CD-ROM compilations worth of mods to spring up.
  • Gangsta Style: The alt fire mode for the Automag, that fires a lot faster but with a near 100% corresponding drop in accuracy. Excellent to dish out pain to a Personal Space Invader and little else, as most shots beyond melee range will miss.
  • Gatling Good: The Minigun, obviously, though its Gatling-ness is rather unusual compared to standard rotary cannons - it has two rotating barrel assemblies that intermesh, but no separate firing mechanism behind each barrel, leading one to wonder if all the spinning isn't there more for aesthetic than for practical reasons.
  • Genius Bruiser: The Skaarj. On the outside they may look like superhuman-reptilian creatures who merely fight because they get kicks out of it, but they have amassed a great amount of scientific knowledge - enough to conquer other planets, no less.
  • Hand Cannon: The Brutes dual-wield rocket launchers as pistols.
  • Hands-Free Handlamp: Played straight with all lighting items. Even the flares aren't activated by hand, they just drop out in front of the player.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Wargate features a steady heartbeat-like "du-dum" drone.
  • Hitscan: The Automag, the Sniper Rifle and the Minigun, as well as the Combat Assault Rifle in RTNP. The ASMD is weird in that primary fire is hitscan gameplay-wise, but the visual effect is not - so if you fire it at a faraway surface you'll see the impact shockwave instantly, followed by the projectile beam reaching it a short time later.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: You can restore health from logical things like bandages (5 health) or medkits (20 health), but the player can also occasionally find Nali fruit bushes that restore between 28 and 30 health. A corpse in the second level has a translator message that remarks on this.
  • Improvised Weapon: Many of the weapons in the game, like the Stinger, did not start life as firearms but as tools. Not that they're any less effective because of that...
  • Infinite Flashlight: Downplayed. The Searchlight, a late-game item, is an extremely powerful and wide-beamed flashlight with a family-sized battery. Exactly how long it can run for is unknown, but it's a long time. To note, it can get exhausted, whereupon it's discarded just like the crappier flashlights from beforehand, but any way to play that leads to that happening is such a Violation of Common Sense that the devs didn't even bother with making a dedicated message for when it dies out.
  • Injured Player Character Stage: Unlike most first person shooters of its era (or, indeed, most first person shooters in general), the player actually starts the game with low health resulting from the crash landing of Vortex Rikers on Na Pali. Fortunately, there are plenty of health packs and bandages scattered around the ship and the only enemy encountered on board runs off before the player can engage with him.
  • Its Pronounced Tro PAY: The "j" in Skaarj is silent, although we only find this out in the expansion pack as no-one in the original game (or Unreal Tournament for that matter) says the word aloud.
  • Last Breath Bullet: The warlords attempt to do this to the player as part of their death animation. Similarly, if a Skaarj warrior is decapitated he will swipe blindly at the air with his claws before falling down.
  • Lightning Bruiser: All types of Skaarj except for Brutes.
  • Mighty Glacier: the Brutes. Big, heavy and armed with rocket launchers, they'd be a huge problem if they weren't so very slow.
  • More Dakka: The Minigun spits out quite a high volume of lead.
  • Muzzle Flashlight:
    • The Dispersion Pistol does this very well. Not only does it regenerate ammo, but each shot creates enough light that it can easily render flares obsolete in confined corridors.
    • The Eightball Gun and GES Bio Rifle also work to a lesser extent - rockets create a lot of light when they explode, and the Tarydium sludge generate a fair bit of it, added to the fact that the globs stay in place for a good three seconds so they can work as very short-term flares.
  • Non-Action Guy: The Nali as an entire race are this. Although you find several dead Nali with weapons next to them, and some Skaarj logs make reference to "rebellious activity", which suggest that at least some of them are actively fighting back. The novel Prophet's Power based on the game develops this idea further, as do a few mods.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Some of the enemy spawners indeed only spawn enemies when you're not looking at the particular spawner. Bodies of slain enemies only disappear when your back is turned.
  • One Bullet Clips: Subverted by the Automag, the only gun in the game that needs to periodically stop firing to reload. It holds 20 shots and you don't have a reload keynote , so the Automag simply gets reloaded when it's out of bullets. There's a telltale "click" that signals the clip is down to five rounds or less.
    "Try to keep track of how many bullets are left in a clip. Attempting to change clips with a pissed-off Skaarj in your face is not advised."
  • Painfully Slow Projectile:
    • The Dispersion Pistol. After a few upgrades you can charge a full-power bolt that can one-shot any non-boss enemy - if they didn't have the disagreeable tendency to, you know, move.
    • The GES Bio Rifle has this by design, as it's more of a toxic sludge vacuum cleaner switched to reverse than an actual weapon. It's actually more of a mine layer than a rifle, though the primary fire's arc is workable in close quarters. Just don't get too close, as the Splash Damage will affect you.
    • The Razorjack fires saw discs, but its slow rate of fire ensures that nearly all enemies will autododge it from far away. The secondary fire allows the disc to be guided, but makes the disc even slower.
    • Gasbag fireballs and Titan rocks. The latter are especially jarring, but necessary to make the Titan beatable at all, as they're otherwise One-Hit Kill against the player.
    • Other weapons vary, but most can be dodged if your reflexes are fast enough. The Skaarj are also aware of this trope and will dodge most of your straight-flight projectiles.
    • The ASMD's secondary fire launches a projectile so slow that it can be hit with a shot from its primary fire in order to cause a shockwave.
  • Playing Possum: Skaarj do this on occasion. However the fact that they lie in a different position when faking makes it quite easy to tell if they are "really" dead or not.
  • Powered Armor: The Mercenaries and Skaarj Troopers.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Skaarj:
    "Vigilance is the guardian of honour."
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: Two examples:
    • The aforementioned Dispersion Pistol, which goes from a weak Ranged Emergency Weapon to a Hand Cannon as you collect upgrades for it. With the Power Amplifier activated, it reaches BFG levels.
    • Despite its low position and early acquisition, the Automag is a highly useful weapon and remains so throughout the game. On primary fire it's a perfect Sniper Pistol with no bullet spread and reasonable damage per shot that stacks quickly, and its Hitscan attack doesn't trigger the AI's dodge behaviour. In secondary mode it loses all of its precision but fires at three times the primary's fire rate, making it harmless beyond spitting range but absolute murder within it. If that versatility wasn't enough, bullets are plentiful throughout the game and it's more powerful per shot than the Minigun.
  • Quad Damage: The Energy Amplifier, which only affects energy weapons (Dispersion Pistol and ASMD) but makes them tremendously powerful, to the point the Dispersion Pistol can beat the Stone Titan in a few shots (used to be a single shot, but it got understandably nerfed).
  • Rocket Jump: Somewhat doable with the explosive weapons, though the effect is less pronounced than in other games and rarely very useful.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Walking stops you from falling off ledges, and in fact is the way to get a Shield Belt in a Nali temple (by walking, you can "feel" around and find out that there's an invisible rail leading to the prize). On ice, walking makes you ice-skate far faster than running after a few seconds to accelerate.
  • Secondary Fire: Every weapon, except the "Sniper" Rifle, which originally had one (mentioned in the manual, no less) but got changed to a poor man's zoom very late in the game's development process. In some cases, this mode is the more effective one.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: The Flak Cannon's primary fire, provided all fragments hit, is one of the most efficient per-shot attacks in the whole game. It also doesn't count as explosive damage, so it goes right through the Damage Reduction of Brutes, Titans and boss Skaarj.
  • Shows Damage: Played with - players who are badly hurt hunch over, but only when standing still, and it doesn't affect their abilities in any way. Of course, this is only apparent if you stop in front of a mirrored surface, or switch to the 3rd person view. Played with even more with the enemies within the game, as some are more likely to enter flinch animations (which don't affect their speed or damage once completed, but make them slightly easier to take out in the interim) when heavily wounded.
  • Slave Mooks: The Skaarj have two races of them: the Brutes/Behemoths, ape-like creatures with dual-wielded mini-rocket launchers, and the Kraal, vaguely reptilian creatures with staves that shoot energy balls, implied to be serving the Skaarj under duress based on certain books and logs that you can use the Universal Translator on.
  • Sniper Pistol: The Automag has unerring, pixel-perfect accuracy in primary fire, despite being fired one-handed.
  • Soft Water: In full effect. The game also seems to have soft sludge and even soft lava: in the Sunspire, you can jump off the top of the level and land in the lava several hundred meters below without taking any Falling Damage.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Weapons fall into two categories - those that trigger the AI's auto dodge, and those that don't. The ones that don't are far more effective against agile enemies like Skaarj, Gasbags and Krall, while the ones that do trigger it are more on the heavy-hitter side and work better against enemies not prone to acrobatics.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Played with. A couple of standard guns appear alongside some fairly esoteric weapons.
    • Handguns: Two. The Automag, which functions as a standard handgun, and the Dispersion Pistol, a Ranged Emergency Weapon with Bottomless Magazines that can be upgraded into a Hand Cannon.
    • Shotgun: The Flak Cannon.
    • Automatic Weapon: The Stinger and the Minigun. Return to Na Pali adds the Combat Assault Rifle.
    • Sniper Rifle: Bafflingly referred to as an "Assault Rifle" ingame.
    • Energy Weapon: Both the Dispersion Pistol and the ASMD.
    • BFG: The Eightball Gun, which can charge up to six rockets or grenades to fire off at once. The Rocket and Grenade Launchers from the expansion pack are this divided into two separate weapons.
    • Gimmick Weapon: The GES Biorifle, which fires sludge in a short arc, and the Razorjack, which fires blades that ricochet off any surface and can Headshot. The ASMD's combo attack can fall under this as well.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Apparently in the future we've achieved interstellar travel but we've completely lost the ability to make decent batteries: the flashlights scattered around all of Na Pali last for exactly one minute, dim constantly for the last five seconds, and can't be recharged at all. Once spent, they're dead and discarded, so you're back to using flares or your Muzzle Flashlight until you find another one. The Searchlight is another story entirely, but it's unavailable for most of the game.
  • Tentacled Terror: The aptly-named Squid, a Dummied Out monster, is an octopus which rams and slaps upon its enemies. Some custom maps for the game play with the properties of the creature, such as increasing its size and HP, giving it ranged attacks, or turning it into a boss or level hazard.
  • The Undead: Absent during the game itself in a traditional sense, but gib models (models of generic, heavily mauled corpses with exposed bones and missing organs), of which there are five, are playable as characters for whatever reason.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: The invisibility power-up is great for sneaking past many Titans, but never seems to work on more intelligent enemies like Skaarj unless they haven't been alerted.
  • Use Item: The game features a cyclable inventory.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: There are many poor abused Nali throughout the game, and keeping them alive usually results in them leading you to a valuable item or a shortcut.
  • Wolverine Claws (with occasional Energy Balls): The Skaarj's Razik, the weapon of choice for the warrior class. Troopers use more conventional handheld armaments.

    Tropes which appear only on Unreal 
  • Absurdly Short Level: "Illumination" takes place after Prisoner 849 blows up the Skaarj Generator. It's comprised of a set-piece which leaves the area almost empty, after which the only thing to do is to proceed to the next level.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: How you get off the Vortex Rikers prison deck. If you look closely, you can just about make out a Skaarj watching you through the fog from the other end of the tunnel, but he vanishes as an explosion rocks the corridor. The Air-Vent Passageway also turns up a couple more times in various levels throughout the series, such as inside the ISV-Kran. In the Expansion Pack there are some in the UMS Prometheus and the Tarydium refining complex.
  • All Up to You: Inverted; your only goal is to survive.
    "Your first priority is to keep your already-battered body in one piece. Failure to achieve this will render any secondary objectives somewhat irrelevant."
  • Bang Bang BANG: Averted by the initial version, for good or bad. Most of the weapons had unusual design and very original sounds, and even the few that looked pretty normal in comparison - such as the automag - definitely didn't sound like field cannons. A few, however, could really have done with a more convincing sound - like the minigun, which sounded for all the world like a blender. One of the patches eventually changed all the weapon sounds, making them louder and somewhat more standardized and downplaying the trope.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Levels set inside the Vortex Rikers, ISV-Kran, and Terraniux - done subtly though, as you rarely see the whole ship up close in any one level to gauge their true size, and they look suitably huge from outside. More blatant in the case of the Skaarj mothership, where the final core area consists of wide-open empty spaces.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Your character has managed to defeat the baddies and escape, but is now drifting aimlessly in space in an out-of-fuel pod.
  • Blackout Basement:
    • The Sunspire has shades of this. The Bathing and Sleeping Chambers only have scarce and very dim dark blue Tarydium wall lamps for lighting, while some other areas like the Kitchens are completely in the dark.note 
    • The Darkening, a level where you revisit the Skaarj Mothership after you destroy the generator, is entirely pitch dark. Good thing you got that Searchlight that was almost thrown at your face beforehand, eh?
  • Blatant Item Placement: In general the game tries to keep this believable, with equipment found on dead bodies, in armouries, put in boxes by confused Nali, etc. It gets noticeable in the rushed final levels however, where you get the (almost) infinite flashlight right before you cut the Skaarj Mothership's power and knock out all the lights, and a pair of infinite jump boots just as you encounter the Final Boss.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Nali names for many things - for example starships are "thunderbirds" or "metal chariots", Skaarj are "the demons from the stars" (or just "sky demons"), while humans are "two-armed soft skins". Inverted with the Nali Cow and, appropriately enough, the jumpy Nali Rabbit. In the level "Temple of Chizra", they've put an Eightball Gun on an altar and call it the "stick of six fires".
  • Cargo Cult: the Nali are a simple, agricultural race who can't quite figure out how the Skaarj could be doing what they do without magical assistance, and therefore immediately label them as demons from the skies. The Nali do have some advanced technology, but it's implied they are relics from a long-past era, whose scientific workings are impenetrable to the race's naïve minds. They see such objects as holy relics, put them on sacred pedestals and use them in holy rituals.
  • The Chosen One: One of the Nali diaries specifically mentions a saviour princess, which does raise questions if you're playing as a male character - although it should be noted that the original plan for the game contained only a female PC, with male options being added later. And not only does the Nali depiction of the lightning goddess Vandora look human apart from the four arms, she has the exact same hair and face as Sonya, minus the respirator mask. Said princess usually refers to a deceased sailor from a crashed Russian ship that managed to break out of a heavily guarded Skaarj area and murder her way to a monastery, after the local Nali are convinced she's the one - but if you're a female PC, some of the logs might ambiguously refer to you.
  • Collapsing Lair: As the Player Character's pod flies out of the Skaarj mothership.
  • Crapsack World: Na Pali after being overrun by the Skaarj, as they effectively enact a brutal dictatorship over the peaceful Nali. Even after Prisoner 849 destroys the Skaarj Queen the race itself remains quite active and dangerous.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • The second single-player level, "NyLeve's Falls", is filled with references to the mapper behind itnote , from the name itself (his wife's name backwards) to the Vortex Rikers's registration number (NC114-85EKLS) to the names of various characters mentioned in logs belonging to many of his friends.
    • The ninth level, also made by the same guy, is called "Harobed Village".
    • In the level "Bluff Eversmoking", there's a cemetery with many tombstones. One of them, tagged "Myscha", is the name of its levelmaker, Myscha the Sled Dog.
  • Downer Ending: The level "Bluff Eversmoking". You spend almost the entirety of it reading diary entries of Kira, another ISV-Kran survivor, as well as those of several other humans who've attempted a rescue and some Skaarj who are attempting to recapture her after she broke out of imprisonment. It's subtly implied you might finally find an ally in her. Unfortunately, by the time you manage to find her hiding spot, she's dead.
  • The Dragon: The Skaarj Warlord, a hulking leathery-winged demon thing that is apparently in charge of Skaarj operations. Prisoner 849 fights him twice: once in a torture dungeon in a lava-filled cave that he uses for his personal amusement after the "Nali Castle" level, and another after you try to sabotage the Skaarj mothership. On the second fight, he's killed for good.
  • Easter Egg: There are translator entries for the unlikeliest areas:
    • Rrajigar mine:
      • Using "Fly" and getting to the top of the beginning area, right above the entrance to the forcefield controls, the translator reads "What the hell are you doing up here?".
      • Taking a swim in the lava pit below the passage where you get a Stinger via Nali reads "You are SO dead!".
    • Depths of Rrajigar:
      • After the cart ride, you get onto a platform where a Brute is about to meet you. Use "Fly" and get to the pipe in front of the Brute to get a message that reads "Canada is really cold. I like Dos Equis beer. My cats are fuzzy.".
      • Taking a swim at the Lava pit in the bridge trap area gives you a message saying "Come on in, the Lava's fine!".
      • Get to the pillars area. After a set of stairs you can find a light pole. Do a Shock Jump with an Amplifier (you can find one below the computer bridge, blowing up the floor behind it) or use the "Fly" code to get a message that reads "Craig is Grand Master Doofus.".
    • Nali Castle:
      • Freeing a Nali prisoner and taking extreme care of it will lead you to an area where a spaceship blows him up. Get to the Nali Cow house and do a rocket jump to the top of it. Walk through the wooden pillar and a "What the hell are you doing up here?" message will appear on the Translator.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Outpost 3J, a Skaarj resupply and research base operating underneath a Nali sanctuary. Judging by the interior bearing no resemblance to the ship's external shape, and the length of the tunnel that Prisoner 849's escape pod flies through to get out in the closing cutscene, there's also one of these under the Skaarj Mothership (the various teleporters presumably take you in and out of it). Well, either that or the Skaarj have TARDIS technology.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: If the randomly exploding equipment, corpses strewn everywhere and general broken-ness of the vessel weren't already good indicators of how screwed the Vortex Rikers is, the onboard computer's voice acting up in all sorts of odd ways contributes to drive the point home.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: Locations such as Dark Arena, Velora Temple (which implies the altars there were sacrificial) and Nali Castle (which has a torture chamber in it), as well as some Lost Technology including very deadly weapons, suggest a darker, more violent side to the Nali's past. It's possible that their current spiritual and pacifistic nature are a direct consequence of that, though it's never stated explicitly.
  • Enemy Civil War:
    • The Skaarj and the Mercenaries aren't of the same race and don't get along, judging by the Skaarj scout standing over a dead Mercenary and trying to find a way into the Terraniux when you reach the ship. It's mentioned in passing in a few logs, as well.
    • The Mercenary prisoners in the Skaarj mothership. One assumes that the Skaarj were looking to eliminate the Mercs along with everyone else who crashed on Na Pali to protect the secret of their presence on the planet.
    • There's also "Cellars at Dasa", where a bunch of Krall (who normally have teamwork as their hat) jump out and start fighting a Titan.
    • A Skaarj scientist finds out the downside of supercharging test subjects with tarydium in the Mothership Lab. Said test subjects are completely psychotic and will attack everyone on sight.
  • Floating Continent: Multiple floating islands, one of which ("Na Pali Haven") you actually get to visit.
  • Force-Field Door: Quite common. They stop working on the prison ship Vortex Rikers - enabling your escape - when the ship crashes.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The translator messages often make reference to future levels, even ones some distance down the line.
    • The Sunspire you visit about halfway through the game is a massively tall structure clearly visible in many other levels' skyboxes.
    • You get to see a Skaarj at the Vortex Rikers before you get to fight one in the third level, "Rrajigar Mine".
    • You get to collect ammo for the Automag at the Vortex Rikers before getting the weapon proper at "NyLeve's Falls".
    • You get to collect ammo for the Stinger at NyLeve's Falls before you get access to the weapon proper in "Rrajigar Mine".
    • If you look closely enough, you can get ASMD Cores before getting access to the ASMD itself at "Depths of Rrajigar" or "Chizra - Nali Water God".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In "Bluff Eversmoking", there's a log with one:
    "Jailer Hrang of the Red Hand Tribe: We have captured a Terran girl. Some of my soldiers want to try and take liberties with her. I guess that's OK as long as they watch those boots! She kicked my in the hrangos last time."note 
    • Later, by the same author:
    "I am in DEEP SHIT. If captain Duk'choroth comes and finds out I let her escape, I'll be de-hrango'd for sure!"note .
    "Bridge Foreman Khan Vhranna: I've about had it with Grok Vhul'rath. He's such a pompous son-of-a-Bulrach . If he makes us fix the drawbridge one more time in the rain, I'm going to bust his face in."
  • Grimy Water: The Terraniux levels have several areas full of green toxic-looking water.
  • Hailfire Peaks: The Sunspire combines It's All Upstairs from Here with a side order of Blackout Basement.
  • Heroic Mime: The protagonist might as well be a mute. In the second she speaks during intermission cutscenes, and it actually feels jarring because that's the only time she does it - and by then you've gone through the entire first game without so much as a word being spoken, ever.
  • In Case of X, Break Glass: At the end of the Vortex Rikers level, there's a glass box with two medpacks inside of it, with the "Break Glass" text above it. There's another instance where this is required, break the glass in order to open the hatch to the level's exit.
  • Kick the Dog: Every sentient enemy in the game seems to utterly hate the ultra-pacifistic, wouldn't-hurt-a-fly Nali, and will beat them up, torture or just plain murder them for the hell of it. The player can do it too, and there's a situation in Chizra's temple where you have the option of murdering a Nali priest to get the Super Health Pack he's levitating over. note 
  • Kill the Lights: The first Skaarj encounter in the Rrajigar mines. After Prisoner 849 disables the force field, they have to return from where they came from, and at a turn, two barriers rise up and the lights start to turn off. Cue a red light of warning and the appearance of a Skaarj Scout.
  • King Mook: The large, psychotic Skaarj with glowing "pseudoinvisibility" effects fought near the end, and a fourth (orange) one that escapes from the Mothership Lab, though you don't actually have to fight that one. They were all part of an experiment to mutate Skaarj with tarydium so they would have natural energy shields. Unfortunately it had the side effect of sending them into a constant Unstoppable Rage, so they were locked up. Of course, once the Player Character destroys the generator powering the forcefields...
  • Late to the Tragedy: Happens repeatedly. Though you sometimes hear other survivors being killed, the closest thing you see to another living human is a body being thrown across a corridor by a Brute. Or possibly the captain of the Vortex Rikers, who spasms and dies as you approach.
  • Lemony Narrator: The manual, as several of the quotes on this page demonstrate.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The "Demon Crater" level where you fight against a Warlord for the first time.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: In the first level you come across a locked door behind which some people are getting massacred by a lone Skaarj. You only get to access the room after the carnage is over - which is probably for the better, as you have no weapons yet.
  • Mega-Corp: Inuit, the company that owned the ISV-Kran.
  • Mercy Kill: Putting crucified Nali out of their misery is occasionally rewarded.
  • Monster Closet: The game generally averted this trope, placing enemies in sensible positions, but still plays it straight once near the start by opening up a room containing a previously-unseen enemy of a superior level to anything you've fought up to that moment. This happens as you're walking back in a corridor you already passed through once without being bothered - after the lights switch off one by one. The combo of the new, fast monster and the progressive darkening scared the living daylights out a lot of players in the years.
  • Nerf: In the earlier versions, when you paired the Dispersion Pistol (no matter its upgrade level) with an Energy Amplifier, the resulting bolt was a one-shot kill against everything - including the stone titan, whose inability to move fast made for ridiculously easy fights. And the end-game boss. The developers eventually figured out this was undesirable, and a patch vastly reduced the amplified Pistol's power.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Nice job killing the Skaarj Queen and starting the Human-Skaarj wars.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: A lot of the monsters on Na Pali are just predatory animals who aren't affiliated with the Skaarj and are just looking for dinner.
  • Noodle Incident: To this day, the reasons of the main character's imprisonment remain unknown.
    • You never find out who the mercenaries are, who they work for, why they are on Na Pali, or where they come from. In the expansion you encounter some working for the humans on the Prometheus but don't learn anything more. All you know for sure is they aren't human, as while they are roughly human in size and shape they have green blood and talk in a weird electronic buzzing language, and that they aren't aligned with the Skaarj as the two will attack each other on sight.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In the Rrajigar Mines. When you press the two buttons to bring down the force field, suddenly the music stops, and some bars pop out, blocking the exit. And then the lights turn off one by one, and the player is left in the darkness. The lights suddenly flick back to life, blood red, and a Skaarj Scout rushes at you.
  • Novelization: Unreal: Prophet's Power and Unreal: Hard Crash serve as the prologue to the game.
  • Oh, Crap!: Your first encounter with a Skaarj - see Nothing Is Scarier above. You're happily walking along to get back to your objective, in a passage you've already crossed with no enemy activity whatsoever, and suddenly the lights start going out, one by one. You can't run, because the corridor is now blocked. You start to hear growling noises. This is where you say the trope, right before a whirling mass of blades and hurt dives straight for your face.
  • Pendulum of Death: In the torture chambers of the Nali Castle, you find one of these, though with no victims strapped to the slab.
  • Prison Ship: You start out on a crashed prison transport named "Vortex Rikers".
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place: Prisoner 849. Unlikely survivor of a crashed prison ship? Yep. Inexplicably proficient with every weapon you come across? That's probably what got you locked up in the first place. No real motivation for fighting the bad guys other than "they're shooting at you?" Check. Singlehandedly free several areas of the planet from an army of reptilian nasties and cyborg slavers? Bingo bango.
  • Scenery Porn: The game that started it all. The first level fools you into thinking it's just another shooter in enclosed spaces with prettier graphics (for the time). The second level... doesn't. If you played the game without first reading reviews of it, the surprise was mindblowing. Lush vegetation, colourful moving skies, animals hopping and flying about, and the sheer size of all the scenery was something completely unseen for the day, along with some perfectly fitting music to set the mood. It remained exclusive to Unreal for a while, too, as everybody else's engines weren't geared for open spaces and would choke on the sheer number of polygons.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Despite the Prisoner 849 rampaging across the planet twice, and killing a Skaarj Queen and two Warlord leaders, along with various references to being the Nali's Savior, the Tournament games - which, according to the Manual, are set several years later - still reference the Skaarj hunting Nali. Not to mention that the resultant declaration of war against humanity devastated their colonies, and Earth itself.
  • Skippable Boss: Almost every Titan battle in the game can be skipped. The only exceptions are the levels "Dark Arena" and "Temple of Vandora".
  • Space Elevator: An anti-gravitational, cable-less elevator carries people to the floating islands from the Sunspire. It's presumably high stratosphere rather than space, but then again it's not perfectly clear how orbits work in Na Pali.
  • Star Scraper: The Sunspire is an incredibly tall building, so tall it's visible in the sky in other levels. Its purpose is to serve as a station for the Space Elevator that brings people up to the floating islands.
  • Stock Scream: In the first level, many screams sound like you've heard them numerous times. The air vent filled with green fog is especially flooded with them.
  • Storming the Castle: The last levels of the original game requires you to do a raid on the Skaarj Mothership and terminate the Big Bad.
  • Super Window Jump: A Skaarj gets the drop on you in the first room of the Sunspire by jumping through the stained glass ceiling.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: You find an almost-Infinite Flashlight right before you blow the Skaarj Mothership's generator to pieces, plunging the whole place in pitch darkness. Also, a pair of jump boots with unlimited charges? Surely that'd alter gameplay too mu— ah, there's the door for the final boss arena.
  • That's No Moon!: In the level "Velora Pass" there is a stone statue of a Titan sitting on a throne, along with a Dispersion Pistol power up sitting there completely unguarded. The second you pick it up, the "statue" wakes up, beats its chest, and attacks you. It's the Stone Titan, an "elite" version of the Titan that's much bigger and tougher. And no, you can't just kill it while it's hibernating without picking up the powerup, as it's immune to damage until awakened.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Kralls aren't happy to work alongside the Skaarj, as noted by a log in the Bluff Eversmoking level:
    "Shipping Log: Grorq of the Red Hand Tribe. I am really getting sick with the way the Skaarj are treating us. Constantly bossing us around and making us watch over their pathetic Nali Slaves. My troops are getting sick of this situation."
  • There Was a Door: The Brutes are fond of this. In their first appearance in "NyLeve's Falls", a Brute smashes its way through a door behind you (which is sneaky as you'll more likely be focused on the Brute in front of you that has just thrown a human survivor against the wall and annihilated him with a volley of rockets).
  • Underground Monkey:
    • Brutes, Lesser Brutes (weaker, but faster) and Behemoths (larger, slower, sturdier, stronger, and when they die and fall they shake the area).
    • Manta and Cave Manta (larger and stronger).
    • Gasbag and Giant Gasbag (larger, stronger, powerful, and can spawn more Gasbags).
    • Krall and Elite Krall (stronger and their shots hit harder).
    • Mercenary and Elite Mercenary (stronger and can use their weapons while shielded).
    • Skaarj Warrior, Skaarj Assassin, Skaarj Scout, Skaarj Berserker and Skaarj Lord.
    • Skaarj Gunner (carries Eightball Guns), Skaarj Infantry (carries Stingers), Skaarj Officer (carries mostly Razorjacks, but also Rifles), Skaarj Sniper (carries the Rifle and, less frequently, the GES Biorifle) and Skaarj Trooper (carries mostly Dispersion Pistols and, less frequently, the ASMD).
    • Titan and Stone Titan (sturdier).
    • Nali and Nali Priest.
  • Updated Re-release: Unreal Gold, which is basically the same game in the Unreal Tournament revision of Unreal Engine 1 and bundled with Return to Na Pali.
  • Villains Out Shopping: At one point in the sky village, you encounter a trio of Kraal huddled together and playing what looks to be some sort of dice game. As they are all bunched up, shooting six eightball rockets/grenades right into the group is your best bet.
  • We Will Meet Again: Your first encounter with the Skaarj Warlord. After being defeated he just taunts you and teleports away, only to reappear - and be Killed Off for Real - aboard the Skaarj mothership.

    Tropes which appear only on Return to Na Pali 
  • Bittersweet Ending: The expansion pack continues the plot and gives your character a proper "positive" ending, but when you think about it, the overall situation remains bleak: the Skaarj are still alive and kicking, and though they have failed to defeat you there's a whole planet full of peaceful Nali still waiting to be exploited. Later Unreal games also reveal that the Skaarj went on to a vicious war with humanity that ended up with them on Earth's doorstep.
  • Blatant Item Placement: The UMS weapons are inside of crates, some of which have been terrifying the local Nali village, as they've been known to slam into houses or unfortunate Nali.
  • Boxed Crook: The time around, Prisoner 849 is rescued from floating in space only to be sent back down to Na Pali to recover a memory core from the UMS Prometheus. The Prisoner is threatened with being flushed out the airlock if they refuse and is promised a full pardon on completion of the mission, a deal the UMS reneges on.
  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: The "Foundry Tarydium Plant" level (see No OSHA Compliance below).
  • Creator Cameo:
    • At the beginning of "Edge Of Na Pali", the first mission of the expansion pack, you can find a drowned man at the lake who goes by the name W. Marshall. Warren Marshall is one of Epic Games's employees. Also, near the end you can find a dead soldier under the name M. Worch. Matthias Worch is one of the Legend Entertainment developers.
    • The map "Neve's Crossing" from Return to Na Pali might be a reference to level designer Erik De Neve.
  • Easter Egg: There are translator entries for the unlikeliest areas:
    • Glathriel Village (Part 2):
      • Just after starting the level, search around the initial for a brick and push it. A set of stairs open way to a secret chamber, and approaching it will net the following message: "Will you die for this?".
    • Escape from Na Pali:
      • Getting to the bottom of the lava pit after defeating the Warlord and landing in the right place nets you with three messages from the impaled Nali: "Why me?", "No secrets for you!" and "What is the point of me hanging around on this spike? What does it prove? I'm in a lot of pain here and I fail to see the humor in any of this.".
  • Evil All Along: The UMS crew. They hire you for an important mission, and just when done, they send troops to kill you.
  • Faceless Goons: The UMS space marines.
  • Frictionless Ice: The level "Gala's Peak" features this in a bridge, though you can keep from accidentally falling off a ledge by crouching.
  • King Mook: An unusually large, 15 foot tall Skaarj Lord with double the normal amount of health as a surprise boss at the end of the "Bounds of Foundry" level.
  • Misguided Missile: The player pulls this on the UMS Bodega Bay in the closing cutscene of RTNP.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Some of the levels, like the Foundry Tarydium Plant, look decidedly unsafe.
    "It has been 0 days since our last accident."
  • Oh, Crap!: Reaching the bridge in Return to Na Pali. You know the Marines are plotting to execute you, but as you reach the bridge, the ship begins to rock, and beams of light come down from the sky... and heavily armored space marines with the incredibly damaging combat assault rifle you were given land to give you hell.
  • Powered Armor: The UMS Space Marines.
  • Skippable Boss: After pressing the switch that allows you to access the UMS shuttle and escape, a Skaarj Warlord bursts out of the floor of the previous room. However, the game gives you generous time to get out before it appears.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: There are two levels set in a snow covered landscape, in which the snow interferes with your ability to walk making it harder to navigate.
  • Space Elevator: The Sunspire elevator can be spotted on the Spire Valley level, this time on the bottom of a lake with a log beside it suggesting two humans tried to use it during a storm.
  • Tele-Frag: After you get to beat enough UMS Space Marines in the "Inside UMS Prometheus" level, one of them is teleported into a wall and it breaks, revealing the exit.
  • There Was a Door: In "Foundry Tarydium Plant", a Brute bursts through a rock wall to get to you.
  • Underground Monkey: The three kinds of UMS Marines carrying the three new weapons.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: Sparing the Nali will allow them to open secret areas.
  • We Will Meet Again: The expansion pack has you fight another Warlord, but doesn't specify if it's the one you already fought the first time around - making this a double example - or if it's a whole other one.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: