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Video Game / Urban Chaos: Riot Response

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Our hero, with a standard issue Featureless Protagonist helmet.

"Do you remember my early work? Flawed, but it showed promise."
Calendar Man, Batman: Arkham City

Urban Chaos: Riot Response is a First-Person Shooter developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox in 2006. It's Rocksteady's first game prior to hitting it big with Batman: Arkham Asylum. It is generally well-received for having simple and enjoyable gameplay, moderate difficulty, expansive content, and strong multi-player.

In it, an unnamed American city has been turned into a war zone by crazy terrorists known as the Burners. You play as Nick Masonnote , ace of the T-Zero Riot Response unit, which was formed to fight terrorists and take the city back.

As the game was released for 6th gen consoles more than half a year after the introduction of The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games, it never received much attention and remains little known and obscure, despite being generally well-received by those who played it.

Urban Chaos: Riot Response doesn't come anywhere near the level of the more well-known shooters like Halo, or even Killzone, but this one stands on its own by doing away with realism and story, instead giving you a ton of weapons and hordes of enemies to use them on. Think of it as stress-release.

Unrelated to the 1999 Third-Person Shooter Urban Chaos (even though Eidos published both).

This game provides examples of:

  • All-or-Nothing Reloads: Averted. The reload animations are segmented, meaning that if Mason switches to a different weapon while he's reloading, he'll insert a fresh magazine (or whatever it uses) and work the action when he switches back to that weapon.
  • Arc Words: If you pay attention, you'll find the logo of Shift-It everywhere in the game. This is because they're the Burners.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Burners are homicidal and batshit insane, killing everything in their path and targeting police explicitly. They can also come at you with cleavers and other sorts of weapons, and are more than happy to hack a dying Mason up or stomp his face.
  • Badges and Dog Tags: Nick Mason and Adam Wolf were Marines Corps servicemen in the pre-T-Zero days. Wolf in particular also served alongside the city's mayor.
  • Bigger Stick: T-Zero's armor and equipment is stated to be much more cutting edge than the regular police force, allowing Nick to combat the Burner hordes. Later, the Burners are able to fight back by making their own versions of T-Zero equipment.
  • Blocking Stops All Damage: Your shield stops all damage 100% of the time, whether from bullets, fire, or melee weapons, provided you've angled yourself correctly to face the danger in question. The only risk comes from having multiple enemies shooting at you from different angles, or having a melee attack knock your shield down temporarily.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The Burners appear to be this.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Comes with the possibility of exploding heads. The possibility becomes one-hundred percent when you upgrade all weapons. Brief yet fabulous fountains of blood are also a possibility.
  • Boring, but Practical: The shield. If you don't use it, you are not going to last long. The bog-standard pistol also gains the most useful upgrades and magazine sizes, compared to the other guns.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The Minigun unlock happens once you've squeezed everything out of the single player. Which means you've got the biggest gun in the game, and nothing left to shoot.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Most of the Burners are indoctrinated Shift-It employees who have spent months listening to anti-American propaganda and military tactical training disguised as corporate awareness seminars.
  • Chainsaw Good: Halfway through the game, Burners begin to wield electric circular saws. You can use them. Their usefulness is debatable, however.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Downplayed in that you don't have superpowers but your equpiment is top of the line and even in the endgame the Burners can't match you. And then averted in the final mission as you have to scrounge up equipment from the Burners and what's in your safe house. Your Voice with an Internet Connection is literally calling your cell phone to talk to you.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: 90% of the Burners' Enemy Chatter is profanities of some sort.
  • Deadline News: One of the mission is to prevent this from happening. The newscaster was giving an interview with the Burners when they flipped out and took her hostage. And then brutally Inverted by the Newscaster that slams a broken plugged-in TV into the bath he fell in, electrocuting him. She gives her report while his body is still twitching in the background.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • Averted, you're like the setting's Galm One, except the enemy has no one skilled enough or sane enough to match up to you.
    • One newscaster lambasts T-Zero's actions during the course of the game. Justified - T-Zero's very existence is extremely controversial, not to mention its actions (total war against criminal hotspots, blowing up an abandoned city block with attack choppers to destroy a Burner stronghold, and so on.) Only after you save the city from total destruction after they get their hands on a nuclear weapon does he begin to respect you.
      • On that note, one of his colleagues sings your praises after you save her when she got kidnapped by a Burner she was interviewing.
  • Escort Mission: Not as bad as most examples as everyone you escort has the good sense to stay behind you and wait until you clear an area before moving on. Some of them are even useful to you: the medics can heal you, the firemen can open locked doors (and defend themselves if an enemy gets too close) and the police officers can provide fire support (and provide you with some extra ammo if needed).
  • Featureless Protagonist: Mason is so featureless, that he doesn't show up in-game when you perform a cinematic kill. His real life picture does pop up a few times on the news, though, and once in a loading screen (though he looks older).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Shift-It vans are seen in some locations in earlier levels, foreshadowing their connection with the Burners.
    • Mason's home is firebombed later in the game while he's on-duty. In the final level, it is attacked again while he's relaxing in it.
  • Gatling Good: The last unlockable gives you access to the minigun that you normally could only use on the helicopter segments.
  • Grenade Launcher: There are two options for this kind of weapon; the Mk. 3 Assault Rifle, which has a curious side-mounted M203, and the M79 used by the Burners late in the game.
  • Guns Akimbo: The machine pistols, which are always dual wielded.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Zig-zagged with the T-Zero Assault Rifle and the Machine Pistols. Although their alt-fire is a three-round burst, which is not present on the SCAR-L or the Micro Uzi they were based on, the actual burst fire is handled surprisingly realistically; rather firing three rounds with each trigger pull like in most other shooters, it functions more like full-auto with a three-round limit.
  • Harder Than Hard: Terror Mode is unlocked after completing the game. Extra medals can be acquired if you're willing to face a more dangerous strain of Burner scum.
  • Have a Nice Death: The game has different death scenes depending on who you're killed by and who you were with. If you were killed near a teammate, they might check on you and call out for help as you die (paramedics will try to revive you, firemen will yell for help, policemen will check on you and then call for help). If you die next to a Burner, they're going to taunt you and then proceed to stomp or bash your head in, or cut you up with their cleaver.
  • Heroic Mime: Mason never says a single word throughout the game.
  • Hostage Situation: Five times, a Burner leader will take someone hostage. You must shoot the Burner while they're reloading. It often ends in a gruesome, satisfying death for the Burner.
  • Improvised Weapon: Early Burner melee weapons, and their shields later on. The Burner shields are noteably a bit cruder than T-Zero's, being solid metal with a small window slit rather than the full transparent shields that T-Zero has.
  • It's Up to You: Justifed. Most of the characters that aren't trying to stab, chop, burn or shoot you are civilians, firemen or paramedics. People that don't have training for combat situations. Not to say that the regular cops can't hold their own, it's just that you have all the fancy training (coupled with a military background), equipment, and reckless disregard for your own life.
  • Karmic Death:
    • The first boss, Estevez, dies after killing two cops and taking another hostage, by way of being shot, most likely in the face, repeatedly. Amazingly, that doesn't kill him, but the exploding gas tanks behind him do, burning him alive. The last boss dies after you shove him into a meat-packing factory, where he is impaled by a hook (also still alive) and ground alive. You can hear everything.
    • Also when the newscaster is taken hostage, when you take down the hostage taker she then throws in a TV into the tub he landed in, electrocuting him. She then gives a live broadcast with the electrocution taking place in the background.
    • Burning any Burner alive with a molotov or your taser is rather karmic.
  • Kick the Dog: All of the Burners' on and offscreen actions. The worst one was watching a fireman that they were shooting repeatably, die as the paramedic was trying to save him.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: A major mechanic in the game is using the shield to get past fire hazards and advance on Burners laying down suppressing fire. Burners will take to ambushing you from behind or flanking, and late game, some will gain shields themselves, using them in the exact same way you do.
  • Made of Indestructium: Mason's riot shield can withstand an absurd amount of punishment. Cleavers, molotovs, buckshot, bullets, buzzsaws, nail bombs, 40mm grenades; not even backdrafts or 84mm warheads (which were designed to destroy/disable armored fighting vehicles) can destroy it. It'll certainly show damage, but it never reaches a breaking point.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: All of the Burners (barring Crocker) wear a mask of some sort. The rank-and-file wear hockey masks (some also wear an orange balaclava underneath), while the Gang Leaders wear a strange half-mask.
  • Molotov Cocktail: The Burners have an affinity for them, as they throw them by the dozen and will breathe fire if Mason gets too close. Naturally, he can use 'em against them and even smack Burners upside the head with their own incendiary devices.
  • More Dakka: Among the weapons you can wield are two assault rifles (a SCAR-L with an XM8 stock and a TAR-21), a pair of Micro Uzis, an automatic shotgun, and even a minigun.
  • No-Gear Level: Played with regarding Safe House. While Mason has several Burner weapons, some riot grenades and his stun gun stashed away, he starts off completely unarmed and with none of his issued gear. He captures a shield from a dead Burner and gets his BREATHER from a cop he's worked with.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Using the taser to incapacitate... unless you use it for too long. Riot grenades are also available if some distance is needed.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: The basic handgun remains useful throughout the entire game, as you get more upgrades, magazine and damage increases, a scope, and upped ammo capacity earlier and more frequently than the upgrades for the shotgun or assault rifle.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: You can get a magnum revolver off the riot shield Burners in the last few levels of the game. It kills any Burner in one shot, and the reload speed is reasonably quick too. Mason also has one stashed in a cupboard in his house.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: The second firearm you get, and a common weapon in the Burners' arsenal until the late-game phase. Its alt-fire fires both barrels.
  • Static Stun Gun: They're standard issue. Until the riot grenades become available, Nick will be incapacitating Burners with it.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause: You learn the origins of the Burners but their motives? All of them were indoctrinated by the CEO of Shift-It who apparently just wanted to burn down the Nation, possibly out of resentment over its involvement in foreign wars.
  • The Medic: There are two (rather attractive) paramedics in the game: Jane Delaney and her partner Tera Hart. Nick Mason will be relying on them for first aid, as there is no other source for health.
  • Timed Mission: Emergency missions task you with finding a civilian and evacuating him within a strict time limit. Completing them will unlock the Shotgun, the Assault rifle, and upgrades for those weapons.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Encouraged in game. You're required to reduce heads to chunks and tase Burners to rank up for upgrades... and nothing will stop you from tasing Burners too long, until they're set alight and begin screaming in agony.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: There are two Burners who are in jail cells at the Hope Street police station. Nothing's stopping you from giving them a little shock or slash, but incapacitating or killing them will result in a mission failure.
  • Western Terrorists: The Burners get increasingly more and more terror-motivated than what appears to be a very well-armed street gang or anarchist extremist group, culminating in a nuclear bomb threat. It turns out they're made up of mass-indoctrinated soldiers culled from a front company of a delivery service and fashioned into an anti-American militia, championing against the injustices America's done.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The CEO of Shift-It, Aman Kang, and his executive board just disappear after they're outted as the real leaders of the Burners. It's never mentioned whether or not they were killed in the Burners' last stand at their headquarters. The Post-Final Boss, Crocker, is described as the Burner Warlord and top man, and is the only Burner not to wear a mask, but he just seems to be a field commander at most. Crocker could be Kang, inasmuch as both are crew-cut white guys, but it's impossible to tell due to how low-polygon Crocker's model is.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The city location is never told. However, from the weather and the fact the police uniforms say CPD, it could be Chicago. If the C doesn't stand for City that is.
    • That said, the architecture, accents and CPD insignia imply that the unnamed city is New York, or a fictionalized version thereof. One piece of stock footage used as a city flyover is clearly that of New York.
    • One newscast seems to imply the city is within reasonable driving distance of the Mexican border.
  • White Gangbangers: While the Burners are all hockey mask-wearing Faceless Goons, they're all light-skinned and presumably white, for the most part, but there's a few smatterings of Hispanics, most notably the first boss.
  • With This Herring: In response to the Ax-Crazy maniacs running around the city, you're given a pistol. Subverted in that it's highly publicized to be top-of-the-line and it lives up to its (in-game) hype, and packs a major punch, even without upgrades.