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Urban Assault is a 1998 RTS/FPS hybrid created by a German company Terratools, published by Microsoft.

In its backstory, the ozone layer has depleted, which caused pythoplanktons in the ocean to generate toxins as a defense mechanism against unfiltered solar radiation, effectively ruining the food chain and leads to a global environmental hazard. Eventually, the planet Earth has been polluted to the point of being almost uninhabitable, and the survivors have been subjected into energy domed cities which filters radiation and contamination from the outside world. Meanwhile, the remaining humans have splintered into rivaling factions, and the planet has been invaded by aliens set on claiming the planet for themselves.

The player controls a member of the Resistance, who is cybernetically wired into the faction's remaining hardware, creating a gigantic factory/airborne battlestation known as a Host Station. The ultimate goal is to fight from the Resistance's territory, Great Britain, towards the Eastern Europe, where the Mykonian "Parasite Machine" drains energy from the Earth's core, accelerating the deterioration of the planet and attracting even more aliens, the biological Sulgogars. Each mission is equivalent to attacking a region. Completion of each mission requires capturing key sectors and advancing on the next region, but often the implied objective is the destruction of all hostile host stations in each region.

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While the player can construct units, as in any Real-Time Strategy, the player can take control of any constructed unit at any point, granting it improved shielding and weapons in the process. These vehicles are always controlled from a first person view, hence possessing the First Person Shooter element.

There were originally plans to release a expansion pack named Metropolis Dawn, allowing the player to take the role of either the Ghorkovs or the Taerkastens (Existing game data seems to suggest that a campaign for the Mykonians was in the plans too). A contract issue between its new publisher prevented it getting an official release. However, a complete version was leaked to the internet community around a few years after the game was originally released.

The game could be considered a Cult Classic these days, with more and more people discovering its uniqueness. The largest community can be found at the Stoudson Corporation forums and its affiliated Discord server, named after the Resistance's main weaponry designers.

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This game provides examples of:

  • After the End: The Big Mistake did quite a number on Earth: In the Toxic Age, most of the oceans have dried away, sea life is extinct, it's nearly impossible to live on the surface due to the ozone layer's destruction, the largest surviving human groups are too busy killing each other, and there's also bio-mechanical and plant-like alien factions eradicating all lifeforms they come across, parts of the planet are slowly being encroached by organic "bio-veins" that render the soil covered by them forever contaminated, and to top it all off, there's a gigantic alien device installed with a dire purpose of draining the heat of Earth's core, and will eventually leave the planet completely uninhabitable for humans if not stopped.
  • Alien Invasion: Two alien species have invaded the Earth: The Mykonians, who want to drain the planet's energy for their own purposes, and the plant-like Sulgogars, who want to use humanity's homeworld as their new spawning grounds.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Mykonians and Sulgogars as described in the mission briefings.
    • The Mykonians treat humans as pests of planet Earth, and seeks to drain the world's core of its energies. The original campaign's storyline treats them as the Big Bad, given the fact that they built the Parasite.
    • The Sulgogars are known to eat humans, and the Resistance's mission briefings implies that they can be cruel towards their food (That is, the humans). As their central A.I.s say: "Diplomacy has failed. They see us as fertilizer". This might have a connotation with the fact that the humans enraged the Sulgogars by killing the ocean which, as implied in the game's official guidebook, was an initial habitat of the first Sulgogars to migrate onto the planet Earth.
  • Apocalypse Cult: Taerkasten Order and the Black Sect. Both have profound historical and religious origins.
    • In the case of Taerkasten Order — whose design and concepts are chiefly inspired by the medieval Teutonic Order, they have a theocratic system and wish to purge all the other unholy human and alien beings from the Earth for corrupting and polluting the environment. So that they alone shall rightfully rule over the holy planet.
    • The Black Sect is a group of cult-like cabal shrouded in a mystery, and their true objective remains unknown. But they still fiercely engage in this post-apocalyptic global war. It has been directly mentioned in the game's lore that "the Black Sect's origin could be traced back to the earliest European secret societies, with all the requisite branches into the royal families. But few would dare trace it back".
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Surprisingly averted. Singleplayer only. Build units until the game almost crashes if you want. In multiplayer, the unit caps do exist for balance and performance reasons.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Extremely uncommonly for its time period (or any RTS games in general), the game's AI does not cheat in any form at a programming level. And surprisingly, it is the players, who can create multiple vehicles simultaneously, instantly teleport their host stations instead physically moving, or even can manually control vehicles at any time with additional benefits, are the ones who possess definite advantages compared to AI enemies.
    • Yet, the AI can still manage to pose a significant challenge to inexperienced players and sometimes even veteran players at occasions. In most of singleplayer levels, the game's AI is not even made at its full potential to avoid difficulty spiking. However, this is compensated by the fact that in most missions, AI factions will start with superior forces and larger territories compared to the players, as well as their energy recharge rates (basically resource gathering efficiency) in the level scripts are set higher than those of the player's.
    • While not completely unintended by the developers, sometimes AI units can effectively perform many tasks outside of their intended roles, such as bomber aircraft taking down the other helicopters and planes with deadly accuracy and efficiency. AI tanks may also shoot down circling jet fighters nearby when they are turning to the opposite direction of their rotation, which the game uses interpolation algorithm to predict and pre-fire at the location where the pesky plane might be.
  • Artificial Stupidity: There are some, not surprising considering the age of the game, and especially when the whole game's design at its core is to encourage the player to make use of powerful player-control mode so the player can turn the odds in his/her favor by exploiting many intended AI weaknesses.
    • Generally, inactive AI-controlled drones will engage and fire on the first enemy that enters their detection range (usually one sector wide: the detailed algorithm is much more intricate, but as a rule of thumb, it's the criteria for most enemy detection) until it is destroyed or out of range, leaving it to ignore other units that are currently a bigger threat. The implication is that all AI-controlled vehicles are, relatively speaking, close range combatants, while every unit in the game are all technically ranged units.
      • This is one of the major aspects in the battle which can be exploited tactically, and making the kiting or baiting tactics with small and fast units more important. It also gives the player an edge, as a human-controlled drone can quickly focus on a more important target, or alternate shots between approaching enemies.
    • The upside is that the AI can be outwitted this way via a "sniper" attack. The downside is this method will only work if the human player is in direct control of a long-range attacker. For example, an AI-controlled Rhino will usually get slaughtered before scoring a successful shot because it would venture within the firing range of the enemy. This however, compensates otherwise overpowered Rhino's potentials under player-control mode. The AI also have a tendency to Gang Up on the Human, focusing their efforts on trying to kill the human-controlled drones, if there's any nearby, regardless if they're the nearest enemy.
    • In some of the earlier missions, the enemy host stations are deliberately scripted not to move at all, and at the same time lack the ability to create their own power source. This presents an easy opportunity for the player to cripple them by simply destroying their power sources. This weakness is recommended for exploitation in the Hamburger Hill mission of the original campaign, which is otherwise frustratingly difficult to simply just defend.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Host Stations are piloted by commanders, and are the strongest units on the field. Also, any type of vehicles the player takes control of gains improvements in attack power and shielding.
    • However, there are a few exceptions to the firepower aspect: As an example, the player controlled Resistance Dragonfly, Mykonian X01 Quadda, Ghorkovian Gigant and Ghargoil 3, and Taerkasten Bronsteijn actually have *slower* firing rates compared to that of the AI. These vehicles are already relatively dangerous on their own, so this nerf is a deliberate decision by the game designers to prevent their usage in the hands of the human player from becoming overcentralizing. Besides, the remaining improved attributes including better flexibility and improvisation with a human in control more than makes up for the firing rate nerf.
    • Incidentally, some other units such as the Resistance Jaguar/Marauder, Ghorkovian Ying/Tien-Ying 7/Yang, Taerkasten Phantom/Hetzel/Mnosjetz/Ostwind, and Mykonian Hourglass/5P0 Air Prism/Air Stick/Crusher share the identical firing rates between AI and players for balance and design reasons.
    • This aspect of the gameplay also applies to the host station itself, as long as the players are directly sitting inside their host stations their shielding capabilities will be also increased significantly. But in this case, it will only increase the shielding but not the manoeuvrability (since a player-controlled host station always uses teleportation mechanism) or firepower (since a host station's firepower directly comes from their individual gun turrets, not the host station unit itself).
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Taerkasten Bomber Zeppelin. It has the most powerful bomb in the game, is the most durable vehicle in the game (It takes multiple hits from a Resistance Rhino to kill it at full-health), and peels back the fog of war better than a regular scout vehicle does. However, it is also one of the slowest air units, so slow that some heavy tanks - a vehicle class the Zeppelin is designed to defeat, actually outmaneuver it. It is also too slow, too big, and too expensive to play the role of an exploring scout. However, they can soak up great amounts of damage and are extremely hard to shoot down in general, thanks to their extremely heavy shielding and large energy reservoir.
    • The Taerkasten Thor's Hammer, a heavy tank/artillery hybrid only available in the unreleased Metropolis Dawn expansion. It is arguably an equivalent of the Resistance Rhino, but with much heavier armor and a faster weapon reload rate (Both positives). Negatives? Everything else. Too slow to attack a host station in far locations, weaker firepower, and shorter range of projectile. It is also a bit too expensive to take the role of an anti-tank ground unit, something which Leonid tanks would be more cost-efficient at. Still, the unit has an extremely high shielding and its combined role as both tank buster and close range artillery can be quite useful under right circumstances.
  • A Winner Is You: Partly due to Gameplay and Story Segregation, completing the game doesn't result in any new revelation or solid conclusion in the story line. Upon completion of the original campaign, a short video was played congratulating the player for destroying the Parasite.
  • Back from the Brink: Before the campaign starts, the Resistance has lost all of their territories except for the British Isles, which are being invaded by Ghorkovs. You, as SDU7 help turn the tide, and save the Resistance from total destruction, facing impossible odds, all the way to destroying the Mykonian Parasite itself and saving Earth and its people.
    • The same thing happens in Metropolis Dawn's Ghorkov campaign: Kyternesia (the Ghorkovs' homeland) has been invaded by the other factions, and it's up to you, Conrade, to lead your people to glory and upstage SDU7 himself by destroying not one, but TWO Mykonian Parasites.
  • Big Bad: Downplayed. There are a total of 6 factions in the Single player game including yours: The Resistance, Ghorkovs, Taerkastens, Mykonians, Sulgogars, and the Black Sect. There is no one opposing faction that is significantly above all other factions - Most of the levels had each faction struggling for supremacy. This is somewhat different on a narrative basis.
    • In the original Resistance campaign, the Mykonians are presented as the Big Bad in that they operate the world-threatening Parasite machine in the final level. Not only that, every faction showed up in the final level with one host station each but the Mykonians came with two host stations!
    • In the unreleased Metropolis expansion pack:
      • For the Ghorkovian campaign it seemed that the Big Bad role is rather ambiguous. The Mykonians are still presented as the Big Bad in some of the later Ghorkov campaign levels, but the Black Sect is the only faction that operates two host stations in the final level, as well as being consistently remaining powerful throughout the later levels.
      • For the Taerkasten campaign the Big Bad role seems to be given to the Resistance faction: Of all the factions that appear in the final level, the Resistance is the mightiest and the only faction that controls two Resistance host stations. Not only that, the Resistance occupies and heavily guards the key sector with a colossal Taerkasten castle structure, preventing easy capture.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The Mykonians, the Sulgogars, and the Black Sect were consistently portrayed as the bad guys, while for the terran factions (the Resistance, the Kyternesians/Ghorkovs and the Taerkastens), it was somewhat ambiguous. The Resistance's mission briefings includes a guilty admission that they did try to sell out the Ghorkovs to the Mykonians. Also, depending on which campaign you are playing (Resistance, Ghorkovs or Taerkastens), the terran faction you are playing for will frequently demonize the other two terran factions. The one thing both Resistance and Ghorkovs can agree on is that they both hate the Taerkastens, as they're trying to kill everyone else.
  • Blown Across the Room: It's a major gameplay mechanic, no less. The main advantage of anti-air units is that they knock back aircraft with each impact. This disorients their vectors and stops them from reaching their original target, as well as making them easier prey for vehicles with slower weapons.
  • Call-Back: In the unreleased Metropolis Dawn expansion, there is a mission named Dejavu in the Taerkasten campaign, which allows you to revisit the region of Pedestal Mountain of the original Resistance campaign. But this time, you are the one who guards the Pedestal Mountain from the attacks of the various enemies surrounding the area.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Vehicles are made of energy, which is used up when they fire. However, the process is so slow that units are rarely lost in this fashion, unless they're close to an enemy Power Station, which will slowly drain their energy reservoirs.
  • Child Prodigy:
    • The player's role in the original campaign, SDU7, also known as Leather Jacket from his childhood journal entries, unknowingly became involved in a part of a clandestine government scheme which was to search for the most promising individual to control their war machine — the host station. This plot was accomplished by having kids living in the domed cities to play a virtual military simulation video game at their local arcades, which directly resembled the host station interface. Among these potential cadets, the Leather Jacket, whose prodigious intellect and unparalleled skill in gaming has led him to win several tournaments at the arcade, managed to attract significant attention from the Resistian government to conclude him as the most promising candidate, and eventually their decision to upload him into the formidable war machine to save their world.
    • It has been explained further in the game's in-depth (otherwise hidden) lore, that the Taerkasten Order was looking for their own child prodigy as well, going as far as some of their key priest members were secretly working out there as double agents in the arcades operated by the Resistance government. While they couldn't recruit Leather Jacket, they managed to bring in and escape with another child prodigy into their cause, who would later play a major role in the Taerkasten's struggle against the subsequent invasion of the Resistance and other factions into their territory, which takes place right after the destruction of the first Parasite machine.
  • Close-Range Combatant:
    • While every single unit in the game are technically ranged units (except bomber aircraft, who need to approach close to their targets first to drop bombs), all AI-controlled drones will engage in a relatively close-range combat, due to how the AI is programmed. This usually includes units armed with very long-range weapons.
    • The human-controlled Resistance Rock Sled. When the player choose to set off its explosives, it creates a sector wide of destruction.
    • The Black Sect's Flak Station had a noticeably short attack range, but reloads quickly and hits hard.
  • Confusion Fu: The player can attempt to use this tactic on the AI-controlled enemies.
    • Create a swarm of either Fireflies (If you are the Resistance) or Yings (If you are the Ghorkovs), and let them harass an enemy host station. While the enemy is occupied with taking down these chaff, you can proceed with your intended plans (Destroy power stations / Attack enemy host stations). The Resistance acknowledges this tactic in-game in the mission descriptions, and it's referred to as the "Rhino Gambit", as it can distract a strong enemy emplacement long enough for the Rhino to take a shot and obliterate it without opposition.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The worst hit are generally heavy tanks and bombers. Most heavy tanks are so slow to maneuver that a single well-controlled helicopter can dismantle an entire formation. Bombers are specialized for attacking tanks and structures under AI controls but aren't particularly effective against anything else that are positioned higher than them. But this is usually averted in many cases, such as when the AI destroys your aircraft with bombers by flying above them, or player-controlled heavy tanks able to tackle on most targets with their powerful long-range shells.
    • From a faction-perspective, the Sulgogars somewhat fulfills this too, but their weakness is not so much physical but rather in terms of overall capability. The Sulgogars has one of the strongest attacks in the game, eclipsing even the Mykonians in many cases. However, they are heavily crippled by their lack of versatility: They cannot create their own power source, they only had a total of 3 different attacking units with their 2 heavy hitters (Slime Lord, Mean Green) easily defeated by anti-air tanks. The only other attacking unit is the Blue Spore, whose anti-tank capabilities make up for the Sulgogars' glaring weakness to anti-air tanks but outside of that it is practically limited in its usage, despite it possessing a very powerful machine gun particle to support it as well. With the right tactics and units the Sulgogars are not too difficult to kill, making them the least versatile faction.
    • The Resistance Rhino is a good example. It is pretty useless outside of destroying enemy host stations or power/flak/radar stations - Which still requires the player to take direct control of to use effectively.
    • The Resistance Rock Sled is only usable if the player takes direct control of. Its sole purpose is that of a suicide bomber, capable of a sector-wide destructive wave.
    • The Taerkasten Zeppelin in practice is mostly useful as a predeployed scout or a strong defence unit holding a bottleneck terrain and not so much an attacker even though it is the toughest vehicle (Other than host stations) to destroy and has the strongest bomber attack in the game.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Depends on the player's style, two common tactics may be commonly used in the single player campaigns against the AI opponents:
    • Hit-and-run: Capture a power station which is right next to an enemy host station. Teleport your host station to that power station and start creating anti-host station units to destroy the enemy host station. If this tactic succeeds, you destroyed that enemy host station and all the vehicles it controls. This tactic has a high risk of backfiring because 1) The enemy host station often resides in a stronghold and teleporting your host station next to them is tantamount to suicide if you don't act fast enough, 2) The enemy host station's health may be too high for it to be destroyed by a squad of anti-host station units, and 3) The enemy host station can simply retreat on a whim.
      • Because the game is in full 3D and vehicles possess semi-realistic physical characteristics, employing hit-and-run tactics against slow-moving, slow-turning units (such as many Taerkasten units) from different directions and terrains are quite essential to achieve tactical superiority.
    • All-or-nothing: Use up the majority of your host station's energy (also equivalent to health) to create a huge squad of vehicles, consolidate all your vehicles to move together to kill the enemy host station directly. If this doesn't work out, that huge army would be wiped out and that leaves your host station vulnerable.
  • Ditto Fighter:
    • The most versatile and arguably the most dangerous faction is the Black Sect. In every mission that the Black Sect appears in, it can create selected units from the factions that are in the particular region, including that of the player's faction. Making it worse for the player is that the Black Sect cannot be seen on the map, hence the player's Real Time Strategy skills will be greatly hampered.
    • Completely averted in multiplayer, where each player can be only assigned with one unique faction per each matchup.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • The game had received official localizations with full text translation and audio (voice) support in the following four languages: English, French, German, and Japanese. Among these different versions, some unit names are different or even retain their old script/beta names. This is most noticeable in the German (the original developer's language) version of the game. To give an example, the Ghorkov and Taerkasten scout units, the Ghor-Scout and the Ormu-Scout, are instead known in German as Ormu and Otschko, respectively.
  • Easy Logistics: Your vehicles create their ammo from their reserved energy stores. The host station creates said vehicles the same way. Thus, the only thing that matters is having enough energy.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Normally averted, as the Host Station's AI is perfectly able to emulate human speech. However, if the stations are destroyed, their voices will deepen as they shut down.
    "Mission failed. Host...station...destroyed."
  • Elite Mook:
    • The Mykonians have the X01 Quadda, effective at destroying Host Stations but also a threat to helicopters and to a lesser extent, planes and Power Stations.
    • The Sulgogars have the Slime Lord, which is the more powerful counterpart of the Mykonian X01 Quadda.
    • The Ghorkovian Gigant is similar to the above two units in its usage and handling, but with much faster movement speed to cover far distances in much shorter time.
  • Enemy Mine: Completely averted. None of the 6 factions ever teamed up in any level and the game doesn't program them for that. As the in-game guide states: "Diplomacy has failed". The game itself also acknowledges that the only reason why the Mykonians (And Sulgogars) were able to threaten Earth was because the human factions are not united.
  • Energy Weapon: The game employs healthy mix of both kinetic and energy weapons for each faction and unit.
    • Generally, the Resistance and Taerkasten use conventional weaponry: These include rockets, bombs, cannons, and missiles. Except the Taerkasten Bronsteijn combat-satellite, which uses an ion cannon.
    • Ghorkov uses a mix of both types of weaponry: Some of their vehicles use electromagnetic and laser-based weapons, while the others use conventional kinetic weapons.
    • The alien factions make use of entirely energy-based weaponry: All Mykonian weapons are classified as ion cannons, while all Sulgogars weapons are particle beams.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: When the Taerkasten Zeppelin is deployed as an anti-tank attacker. Unlike other examples of this trope, its reputation does match its capability - Namely that it is the toughest vehicle to destroy in the entire game and that its weapon has among the highest destructive potential. However, it is so slow that a squad of anti-air vehicles can be deployed to run circles around it, and will often wear it down over time before it can wipe out its attackers.
    • However, it does gain a new utility in the player's hands in Metropolis Dawn's Taerkasten campaign, as it can serve as an effective distraction as well as an excellent damage-soaking unit against the enemy forces. It also has a bigger vision range than the Ormu-Scout.
    • The Zeppelin is also a very good unit at holding a bottleneck sector since everything that attempt to pass below it will get mercilessly bombarded by its extremely powerful bomb, which also happen to possess a much larger hitbox than its model to better accommodate its zone of control.
  • Fog of War: Like many other RTS games, the information available on the map to the player are limited by the fog of war. Scout satellites and radar stations with their extensive sensory sights are the most common way to peel back the fog of war and to gather intelligence around the level.
    • Gameplay-wise, AI will not attempt to deploy huge numbers of attack squadrons towards host stations without having the direct line-of-sight first on their targets. Therefore, it is extremely crucial for the player to mask the location of their host station by diligently taking down any enemy scouts (or any units) and radar stations in the vicinity.
  • Fragile Speedster: Many air units fall under this. Learn to dodge enemy fire, because they can't take a hit. This also applies to several lighter tanks.
    • From a faction-perspective, the Ghorkovs/Kyternesians falls under this category. It is the only faction who does not possess any slow units, and their slowest units (Ghargoil and Ghargoil 2 attack helicopters) are still moderately fast compared to other factions' standards of slow vehicles.
    • Many Mykonian units fall into this category as well. As an example, the Myko Air Stick is one of fastest planes in the game, but has one of the worst shielding too. The same applies for the Myko Bomber.
    • The Taerkasten Order's Serp is a suicide air unit with weak shielding. It is also small, fast and hence hard to hit.
    • The Ghorkov Ying is one of the most fragile air units in the game, but in large numbers it will quickly destroy most air units. A player-controlled Ying is a serious threat to most units.
  • Frontline General: This is one of the core concept of the game's gameplay.
    • The game not only encourages the player to take control of their vehicles on the battlefield by providing increased shielding, firepower, and maneuverability to any unit that player directly controls in first-person perspective, but also granting the freedom to change unit's desired flight altitude or even overriding preset AI attack pattern behaviors for each unit. Making any player-controlled units much more effective and powerful than they would be under the AI-control in nearly all situations.
  • Game Mod: The game is very mod-friendly, and various UA communities around the globe made numerous mods over time.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Lots of, in both the original campaign and the unreleased Metropolis Dawn expansion.
    • The mission briefings talk about humans living in the war zone area. There are no humans seen in the actual gameplay.
      • Although that's usually explained as most of humanity lives underground.
    • The mission briefings sometimes ask you to destroy certain buildings/objects (key sectors). This often translates to you as the player simply capturing the key sectors so as to be able to complete the mission. There is actually no strict need to destroy anything within the key sectors.
    • The Parasite (Which made an appearance in both the original campaign and the unreleased Ghorkov campaign) plays a big role in the story, where you are requested to destroy it. In actual gameplay it only means that you need to take control of a Stoudson Bomb before its countdown reaches 0, hence eliminating you and all other enemies in the region.
    • What you did in each mission has very little bearing on what happens in the next mission despite what the mission briefings says, with the exception of the tech upgrades you captured and the selection of armies you choose to bring with you via the beam gate. And even those are only meant to help you during the game-play itself.
      • In the original campaign, you can, for instance, complete the final level (Parasite City) before eliminating all your enemies in other levels. This is despite all the talk in the mission briefings regarding the enemy factions bringing in all their "remaining forces" for a final confrontation at Parasite City.
      • In a specific instance, the mission Dark Zone requests for you to bring in any surviving Gigants (Which were stolen for your purpose) over to the next mission. Whether you do it or not is of no consequence to the storyline. It is recommendable however, as the Gigants are very effective at killing Host Stations.
  • Germanic Efficiency:
    • The game is entirely developed by Germans, and many parts of the game's engine and data (especially texture and model handlings, as well as level scripts) are built so compact and organised, the sizes they take are extremely minimal. In fact, out of the full installation of the game, 3/4 of the total game size is solely taken up by various in-game movie files, with only the remaining 1/4 constituting the actual game data itself.
    • The game also uses an unique proprietary engine developed just for the game itself, dubbed YPA (It stands for "Your Personal Amok").
  • Glass Cannon:
    • From a faction-perspective, the Mykonians fall into this category. Mykonian units generally have the strongest attacks in the game, but had extremely weak armor. An attack squad of Myko X01 Quaddas is capable of obliterating a full-health Resistance Host Station in seconds. On the other hand, a non-upgraded Resistance Falcon can take down practically any Mykonian air unit in 1-2 hits.
    • Individual units are notably the Resistance's Rhino and Rock Sled, along with the Taerkasten's Bronsteijn. All three units had high hit points but their armor is underwhelming, especially that of the Rhino. Any standard heavy tank easily destroys either the Rhino or Rock Sled with just two hits. The Bronsteijn is an exception to the general rule that Taerkasten units are heavily armored. In terms of firepower: The Rhino is also meant for destroying enemy host stations with its long-ranged rocket attacks, and its rocket can one-hit-kill almost any vehicle that isn't a host station. The Rock Sled is a suicide unit built to destroy squads of tanks or enemy host stations when triggered. The Bronsteijn has arguably one of the strongest weaponry of all Helicopter units and with a pretty good range too.
    • The Black Sect's Flak Station stood out among all factions' flak stations, in the sense that it is the hardest-hitting with a fast reload rate. On the other hand, its blasts are pretty short-ranged and had even lower durability than the Mykonian Flak Station.
  • Hive Mind: The command structure between host stations and all the other units connected to their battle networks. A host station is the single most important entity on the battlefield that not only builds and controls its robotic drones, but if the host station controlling the units are destroyed, so are the rest of the units that were linked to its control system.
  • Hold the Line: There's a few missions where the objective is to control all the Stoudson Bomb Triggers until it detonates. The Hamburger Hill mission has you hold a hill against 5 Host Stations until the timer runs out. For an added challenge, go on offense.
    • Alternatively, the Hamburger Hill mission can be perceived to be one of maintaining a balance between offense and defense. It can get extremely difficult if you are only focusing on defending yourself and stoudson triggers (Its practically 5 host stations' worth of armies plus pre-deployed troops versus yours). However, if you chose to cripple some or all of the host stations' power sources, the enemy's army-generating capability will be reduced.
    • The mission Stoudson's Bastion of the Taerkasten Campaign (Unreleased Metropolis Dawn expansion) plays out similarly as that of Hamburger Hill. The sole Taerkasten Flying Fortress must survive the combined might of three Resistance Host Stations. Except that its also possible to win relatively quickly via a Hetzel Zerg Rush attack if given enough time and energy to create a swarm of them.
  • It's Up to You: No, really. You're piloting the last Host Station the Resistance has. So you'll be conquering an entire landmass single-handedly.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • The Resistance faction had the most variety of units to choose from (Besides the Black Sect), it has a mix of both heavily-armored and lightly-armored units. It has a good range of tanks, helicopters, and planes, which with the player's guidance, can even be used outside of their intended specialization. When all units for the Resistance are unlocked, the player will usually be able to find a suitable unit to use for any particular task at hand.
  • Keystone Army: Destroying an enemy host station would automatically destroy all the vehicles it is connected to. If the enemy host station is the only host station of an enemy faction left in the region, all the territories belonging to this enemy faction will be given to the faction that destroyed it.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: All the playable Resistance units and buildings fire either bullets or missiles. The only Resistance-made vehicle that uses energy weapons, the Anvil Host Station, was stolen by the Black Sect.
  • La Résistance: The Resistance, of course.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Downplayed for the most part: The various units in the game are actually pretty well-balanced. If a unit isn't a Mighty Glacier, then it is likely a Fragile Speedster or Glass Cannon, or a combination of both.
    • The only true Lightning Bruiser in the whole game is the Taerkasten Phantom: It is the most durable airplane with 80% armor, but yet still possessing above average speed AND strong firepower. However, it has several drawbacks that prevented it from unbalancing the game - significantly slower, has poorer maneuverability, and its missiles had relatively weaker homing capability when comparing with that of other "heavy aircraft" such as the Resistance Warhammer and the Mykonian Air Stick. Its overall capability remained solely that of anti-aircraft and nothing else, therefore both A.I and the human player utilizes the Phantom sparingly.
    • To some extent, the Ghorkov's Tekh-Trak medium-heavy tank hybrid can be considered as one as well. The Tekh-Trak combines the speed and shield of medium tanks (who are significantly faster than heavy tanks), while possessing the firepower and larger energy pool of heavy tanks. Even if it does not strictly fall under this category, the Tekh-Trak tends to be the most versatile ground attack tank for this reason.
  • Long-Range Fighter:
    • The human-controlled Resistance Rhino is the best example of this trope in the game. Its rockets can travel several sectors. This means that the Rhino can snipe an enemy while the latter is unable to directly attack it from that long distance.
    • The Bronsteijn's ion cannon burst not only has a deadly firepower to destroy many vehicles in one shot, but its projectile also travels over a long distance.
  • Master of All: Some units are in this category when directly controlled by the human player.
    • In particular the Resistance heavy helicopter Dragonfly, when controlled by the human player, can obliterate squads of heavy tanks, destroy enemy host stations, take on other helicopters, or even fast planes (although not without getting severe damage during the altercation) if the player is particularly good at First Person Shooter skills.
    • Other factions' counterparts include Ghorkovian Gigant (heavy assault glider), Taerkasten Bronsteijn, and Mykonian Hourglass (both heavy helicopters), whose extensive firepower, range, and mobility can be effectively used against any type of enemies under the right control of the player. These units however lacks Dragonfly's high shielding, and along with Dragonfly, they are among some of the most expensive units in the game.
    • From a faction perspective, the Black Sect is able to create selected units from the factions that are in the particular region, including that of the player's faction. It often gets the best units which it can choose from a larger roster pool, especially in the final level.
  • Mercy Invincibility: If the unit you're controlling is destroyed and there's still a surviving unit in the same squad you can transfer to, they will become immune to damage for a couple of seconds. This can make quite a difference if it was a wing of strong yet flimsy units like the Falcon.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • In general, heavy tanks count as this. They have strong firepower, strong armor, and are slow-moving.
    • From a faction-perspective, the Taerkastens fall into this category. The Taerkasten Leonid tank is only one example. The Leonid tank not only hits hard, but of all standard heavy tanks it has the strongest armor (86% versus non-upgraded Resistance Tiger's 75%) and has the highest hit points too (280 versus non-upgraded Resistance Tiger's 220). Using math, the Leonid can survive MORE THAN TWICE the punishment the Tiger can take. In the unreleased Metropolis Dawn campaign, where you get to play as the Taerkastens, a fully upgraded Leonid at full-health is even capable of surviving a non-upgraded shot from the Resistance Rhino.
    • The Taerkastens took this to a ridiculous extreme with the Zeppelin. It is the game's strongest bomber in terms of armor, hit points, AND firepower. In fact it has the game's strongest armor at 95% such that not even an upgraded Rhino can take down in a single hit. It is also the game's slowest bomber.
    • The Mykonians' X01 Quadda is the faction's most durable aircraft with 58% armor and fires rapid powerful energy blasts. At a first glance this seems balanced out with the X01 Quadda's poor speed and maneuverability especially considering its an aircraft. However, the poor speed and maneuverability seems to be an intentional design to further aid the X01 Quadda in being more adept at attacking slower aircraft - Faster aircraft risk exposing more vulnerability when they had to spend time circling their target in order to find a good shot. Overall, this makes the X01 Quadda deadly against both Host Stations and slow aircraft which is why the X01 Quadda overshadows all other Mykonian units in terms of both threat level and frequency of appearances.
    • The Sulgogars' Slime Lord operates similarly as that of the X01 Quadda but taken up a notch.
    • Host Stations-wise, the Black Sect Host Station has one of the better self-defense weaponry along with the 2nd highest shielding among all the host stations. The Ghorkovian Skorpio, on the other hand, possesses a greater total firepower than any other host stations, especially with its 360 degree turrets.
  • Mobile Factory: The host station is not only the major command headquarter that is present on the battlefield, but also serves as the whole military industrial complex attached to one gigantic flying machine. It has the ability to manufacture any military vehicles and buildings it has access to in the blink of an eye as long as its energy reservoir allows, thanks to the advanced plasma formation technology.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • A player in the original Resistance campaign would likely experience a huge difficulty spike in the middle of the campaign due to a combination of a lack of the means to create a good power source and the lack of powerful units required for smooth completion. "Moonlight City" (Getting the Dragonfly helicopter) and "Wide Field" (Getting the Falcon and Power Station 1+) are amongst the most important missions to complete in order to overcome the steep difficulty curve.
    • The Ghorkov campaign of the unreleased Metropolis Dawn expansion has a higher difficulty level than the original Resistance campaign due to the disadvantage of the early units that the Ghorkovs had against the Resistance and Mykonians, and Ghorkovian units in general lack the versatility of the Resistance units.
  • No Recycling: Destroyed vehicles and flak stations leave a plasma residue. Driving through it adds a small amount of energy to the Host Station's reserves, and heals the unit itself.
  • Old-School Dogfight: The majority of units in the game consists of various types of aircraft and flying vehicles. Feel free to jump into your own helicopters, fighter jets, or bombers at any time and blast out the other enemy aircrafts during a high-altitude dogfight.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • The Resistance Rhino without weapon upgrade deals 3400 damage - This means that it can one-hit kill almost every vehicle that is neither a host station, Zeppelin, Thor's Hammer, nor armor-upgraded Leonid. It must be noted however, the Rhino was not designed for the purpose of combat but rather to snipe and destroy host stations.
    • The Resistance Rock Sled triggers a suicide attack causing a destructive wave one sector wide. The center of the blast deals the biggest damage at 15000 - virtually no vehicle that is not a host station (And sometimes even that) can survive that if it was unlucky enough to be caught at the center of the blast.
    • Some units' weapons are so powerful that they can one-shot almost any light to medium-armored targets.
    • The Taerkasten Bronsteijn and Mykonian Hourglass (both heavy helicopters in their role) with their extremely powerful ion cannons (inflicts 1200 and 800x4 damage respectively) can destroy many vehicles in one hit. With the Myko Hourglass's weapon being the strongest normal unit weapon in the game when all things considered.
  • Organic Technology: Both the Sulgogars and the Mykonians make extensive use of it. The Sulgogar units are actually sentient creatures on their own, while the Mykonians possess biological cables dubbed "Bio-Veins" which they use for assimilating sectors or reinforce their war machines.
  • Portal Network: The Beam Gate network connects Earth's inhabitable regions with each other, allowing the player to travel to the next mission. A few units can be taken with you, as long as their combined cost stays below the Gate's energy cap. The cap increases by 100 energy every time your units kill an enemy Host Station (Host Stations killed by other factions, and those killed by Stoudson Bombs will not increase the cap).
  • Rank Up: During the singleplayer campaigns of the original game and Metropolis Dawn expansion, the player can read occasional messages about their increased standings in the briefing. On top of that, in the original game, as the player progresses further into later levels, their host station's total energy reservoir and shielding capability increase gradually. Some technology upgrades increase the damage output of host stations' defence turrets as well.
  • Reinventing the Wheel: Thankfully averted. All research upgrades stay with you for the entire game. This was intended, as the player obtains more powerful schematics as they travel to the east to counter more powerful enemies.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The Black Sect and Sulgogars seems to be a somewhat afterthought added to the original Resistance campaign in order to add variety and increase the difficulty levels - These two factions only appeared in the later levels, the Sulgogars only had a grand total of 4 units with the Slime Lord and Sulgogar Queen sharing virtually the same design, the Black Sect only uses the other factions' units, and both factions are not available in the multiplayer. Additionally, the Black Sect was not even mentioned in the physical manual that arrived with the Game CD's Jewel Case. However, this absence of information might be intentional as well since Black Sect is supposed to be shrouded in a mystery in the main storyline.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: As most things are built with energy,the player can build a power station, or a tank battalion, in seconds. Eventually, the player can combine this with high-output power stations and build a tank battalion every 10 seconds.
  • "Risk"-Style Map
  • Save Scumming: Almost fully featured and explicitly designed for the players' benefit so much so that there shouldn't be any guilt in using it. In the original campaign there are a total of 40 levels. Before or after completing a level, you can make ANY number of savepoints. Not only that, within each save point, you can also save your current progress while playing a level (e.g.: save before spending all your energy to destroy an enemy host station, so you can reload and try again until you succeed). With these two features hand-in-hand, you can go back to try out previous levels, attempt different paths of level progression, and even zoom in to try out different tactics within a level.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • There is no strict need to destroy all enemy host stations in a level. Technically speaking, you only need to control all key sectors required to open the beam gate - just long enough for you to teleport to the next level. The act of destroying enemy host stations only serves makes this task more reliable, but is often undertaken by players since that's still part of the fun.
    • On missions involving the Stoudson Bomb, some players will instead opt to destroy the enemy the old-fashioned way. This is not a completely fruitless endeavor, because direct destruction of an enemy host station increases the beam gates' space for the player's units to bring over for the next mission.
  • Shoot the Medic First: The "medic" in this game are the Power Stations, which recharge the friendly Host Stations and vehicles to ensure they have enough energy to both survive and create more units (For the case of the Host Station). In missions where the enemy host stations can't create power stations, the strategy of destroying power stations can be effectively used.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: This is expected of a game. As you progress from the earlier levels to the late levels, you will notice that the opposing factions become harder to kill.
    • In the original Resistance Campaign, your first level "Hyde Park" will face off against just one Tarantul I (Arguably one of the weakest host stations in the game) possessing 3000 energy and only able to create one basic unit. Likewise you only start out with 3 reservoirs of 750 energy each and one basic unit. The intended final level "Parasite City" will have you facing off against SIX enemy host stations (4 possessing 10,000 energy each, and 2 possessing 15,000 energy each) and each faction will have almost all their units unlocked. By that time you should be more or less ready to take them on, where you will have 3 reservoirs of 2500 energy each and all units unlocked with all upgrades applied (Best case).
  • Starting Units: Sometimes, they'll merely be units you haven't unlocked yet. One mission however includes 3 captured and refitted enemy Gigants. Once they are lost, they're gone. Also of note are the Bronsteijn Flying Ion Cannons, which can only be built in 1 stage the first time you play through it..
  • Stone Wall:
    • Host Stations, at full power, take several hits from the most powerful vehicles in the game to fall. Their weapons systems are not nearly as impressive, serving more as a last line of defense (except Ghorkovian Skorpio, whose greater firepower even allows it to be used as an offensive tool). They are generally capable of engaging multiple targets though.
    • Most Flak Stations count too. Their attacks actually range from weak to fairly powerful (such as Mykonian and Black Sect variants), but their main advantage is being hard to destroy, and almost impossible for planes to even damage, because each shell knocks them further away.
    • The majority of Taerkaten units are so well-armoured that they are virtually mobile shield walls, and with weapons. The fully upgraded Leonid and the Zeppelin take it to its conclusion, ignoring 93% and 95% of all the damage they take.
  • Super Prototype: The Anvil Host Station, which was supposed to be yours, has an energy flak cannon, and the abilities to cloak all drones under its command and copy the drones of the enemy forces in the battlefield it's in. Unfortunately for you, the Black Sect stole it and mass-produced it.
  • Super Senses: In the Metropolis Dawn Taerkasten campaign, at one point during his quest, the Flying Fortress master Truzen claims that the machine (Flying Fortress) now helps him to foresee and sense dangers out of his sight. In the gameplay, this is manifested as more tactical/strategic elements get displayed over the satellite map screen during the mission briefings, including the enemy intelligence that his Taerkasten Order didn't provide.
  • Taking You with Me: That is the sole purpose of the Resistance Rock Sled, Sulgogarian Blue Spore, and Taerkasten Serp. The Rock Sled has the game's strongest firepower but is also the most expensive suicide unit and requires human control to trigger its explosives. The Blue Spore and Serp are cheaper and meant to be deployed in bigger numbers against tanks and aircraft respectively.
  • The Bait:
    • Baiting or kiting with small and fast squads is a tactically crucial part in this game. With many units flooding the area or having a few mobile and compact units to distract lines of fire from a group of enemies, the player can increase both the survivability and effectiveness of their main assault squad. Note this works for both you and the enemies.
    • Units like Zeppelin or Thor's Hammer, which are extremely slow but in turn extremely resistant to damage, can be effectively employed to soak up concentrated barrage from a huge group of enemies, while the rest of your units counter-attack with minimal intervention.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Averted or inverted completely. Surprisingly, the AI (both individual units and AI "players") in this game does NOT benefit from ANY kind of built-in programmed or cheating advantages over the players. In fact, combined with the fact that the AI needs to scout the map first to gather information, or conquer sectors to increase their energy efficiency and map control just like the players, BUT without the obvious benefits of exploiting huge advantages gained through player-controlled vehicles, teleporting ability of host stations, or even the fact that they can only create one vehicles at a time, put the AI enemies at a terribly one-sided disadvantageous position compared to the player.
      • This, however is largely compensated by the fact that in the singleplayer campaigns, AI enemies usually start with superior forces and more territories compared to the player in nearly all missions, as well as the energy recharge rates of AI host stations are set much higher than those of the player's.
    • Inverted with the player in most times. Although the player's host station is immobile, it is capable of teleporting, which is a huge advantage compared to the enemy host stations which can only physically move. Hence a standard hit-and-run tactic is to capture a power station that is near an enemy host station, teleport your own host station (Teleporting to a power station that belongs to you costs zero energy) to that power station, create some anti-host station units to destroy the enemy, and quickly teleport back to your own base for safety.
    • Partly due to the way the game is programmed, the Black Sect cannot be seen by the player on the map (The Real Time Strategy aspect of the game) but the other AI enemy factions are capable of "seeing" them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In the unreleased Metropolis Dawn expansion pack, the Resistance was portrayed as an arch-enemy for the Ghorkovs and the Taerkastens in many of the missions, displacing the Mykonians in that role. The Ghorkovs had further painted the Resistance as evil and brutal in robbing people of their humanity by connecting them to host stations and become their controllers, which wasn't completely untrue even if we think that the Ghorkovs were just villifying their enemies.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: This trope is completely played straight if you attempted the late (and tougher) levels on one path and returned to an earlier path where you have yet to tackle the easier levels. The opponents' choice of vehicles and starting energy remained the same as the level was designed for. However in general cases, it is downplayed in the original Resistance Campaign, and mostly averted for the Ghorkov and Taerkasten Campaigns in Metropolis Dawn, as the Resistance will also upgrade their vehicles as you advance through the missions, remaining a threat throught out the whole campaign.
    • The trope is downplayed for the original Resistance Campaign because the Ghorkovs, Taerkasts, and Mykonian foes will also become stronger in the tougher levels when it comes to energy reserves and choice of vehicles for creation - What remains true to the trope is the fact the Resistance keeps their vehicle upgrades they get from previous levels while the foes usually don't maintain any upgrades they get (If they even had any at all).
    • In Metropolis Dawn, perhaps as a Call-Back to the original Resistance Campaign, the Resistance faction (Who are now the foes) will also upgrade their vehicles in the later levels.
    • In the original Resistance Campaign, if you are aware of the vehicles' various stats it becomes noticeable when comparing between the upgraded Resistance vehicle and the enemy counterpart. The Resistance Tiger is probably one of the better examples, where it starts out with only half the durability of the Taerkasten Leonid with slightly inferior firepower but when fully upgraded it matches the Leonid in durability, with better firepower, and at lower creation cost too!
  • We Do the Impossible: Most of the late-game mission briefings tell you outright that it's a suicide mission. But you're the only one left, so you don't get any choice in the matter.
  • Wetware CPU: The Resistance's Synaptic Donor Units (or SDUs for short) are humans that were cybernetically modified and permanently connected to a Host Station. That includes SDU7 the player.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: The whole purpose of the Flak Stations was to prevent or delay an enemy from getting past a certain point.
  • Zerg Rush: Considering there's no unit cap in singleplayer, energy is ultimately unlimited, and defeating the enemy with convential tactics can be tricky, this strategy is used a great deal. By the player and the computer.
    • AI-controlled factions will usually do this. For example, Mykonians sending swarms upon swarms of X01 Quaddas to blast your host station to smithereens. Or the Resistance in Metropolis Dawn's Ghorkov and Taerkasten campaigns, with Tigers (heavy tanks) and Jaguars (medium tanks that fire a salvo of two shots).
    • Partly averted with Multiplayer, where there's a unit cap for balance and performance reasons.

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