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Video Game / Vanquish

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War has accelerated.

"SC-01 Providence is currently under the control of those responsible for the coup in Moscow. We believe the operation is being led by a red known as Zaitsev... Oh yeah, this is Sam. DARPA sent him to come along with us. Men, we've got eight hours to stop New York from becoming the next San Francisco. Make no mistake, we will stop that from happening!"
Lt. Col. Robert Burns

Vanquish is a Stylish Action Third-Person Shooter from PlatinumGames, the brainchild of Shinji Mikami. Said by many to be what it would be like to give Gears of War a few shots of espresso.

The plot revolves around a massive Space Colony named Providence, established by the United States and outfitted with a massive solar-powered microwave array designed to collect energy and transmit it to Earth. However, the Order of the Russian Star, a militant regime that had recently seized control over Russia in an armed coup, has invaded the colony. They've turned its microwave transmitter — meant to transmit power to ground-based collector stations as a limitless energy source — into a weapon of mass destruction and cooked San Francisco's entire population. Following the attack is a prompt ultimatum: the United States will surrender to Russia, or they'll turn their new superweapon on New York City.

The United States' response is to deploy a massive counterattack on Providence, spearheaded by the U.S. Marines led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns. Accompanying Burns is Sam Gideon, a researcher from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) outfitted in a prototype battlesuit. It falls to Burns, Sam, and the Marines to secure the colony before the Russians can fire the weapon again.

The main gameplay thrust is that Sam is covered head to toe in Power Armor that gives him a variety of unique features. Not only does it protect him from gunfire, but it also allows him to move at exceptionally fast speeds by firing jets out of the back of his knees. Couple this with a time slowing ability, a variety of insane melee attacks, and huge heaping of big guns, and it's clear Vanquish is interested in allowing the player to feel as powerful as possible.

Vanquish was delivered to the world on October 19, 2010 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Sega released a PC port on May 25, 2017 with unlocked frame rate and resolution, as well as mouse and keyboard support. It was also released with Bayonetta for the PS4 and Xbox One on February 18, 2020 as a 10th anniversary launch bundle.

This video game provides examples of:

  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Sam convinces Elena to disable the limiters on his suit to fight Zaitsev more effectively in the final boss battle. This greatly boosts your sliding speed and doubles your boost meter, allowing you to spend twice as long in AR Mode and/or powersliding.
    Sam: He's too fast! Dammit! Can't this suit react faster?! Elena, ditch the safety limiters on the suit!
    Elena: Sam! They're there for a reason! It isn't safe!
    Sam: Getting killed out here isn't safe either!
    Elena: Understood...I'm disabling them now.
  • Ability Depletion Penalty: In addition to the other drawbacks of overheating, movement speed is reduced while the overheat meter is depleted.
  • Action Bomb:
    • The Jellyfish-L enemies that explode on close proximity and spawn smaller Jellyfish-M drones.
    • Gorgies may also flash red while rapidly crawling towards Sam. If they get close enough, they will hug him and self-detonate.
  • Actually a Doombot: You fight with two Bogeys, one red and the other blue. After killing the first one, no matter which, Zaitsev will say you killed the wrong one. Unfortunately, Zaitsev was never there to begin with; they're both remotely controlled.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: You outrun a collapsing highway of doom in Act 3-3.
  • All There in the Manual: Only in the manual is the player told that, if playing on Normal or Hard difficulty, the player character's current weapon will downgrade upon death as a penalty. God Hard takes this rule to the extreme, prohibiting weapon upgrades altogether.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The Disk Launcher can instantly chop off a Romanov's limbs and head. An achievement even requires you to remove a Romanov's arms and legs before putting it out of its misery with a melee attack.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Your progress on the Pangloss Statues is persistent throughout all difficulties. The game also tracks which statues are already found by pre-emptively turning them red, while the undiscovered ones are still gold.
  • Arbitrary Weapon Range: The LFE Gun's blast dissipates after about five to ten meters.
  • Artificial Limbs: Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns with his mechanical right arm.
    • Not just his arm, over half his body is cybernetic as a result of the many tours of duty he's seen in his Marine career.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Your friendly marines have a nasty habit of blocking your view, and you may constantly hear Sam shout "Get outta the way!" when aiming at them, and the NPC Marines are programmed to crouch when this happens (even if the entire area is clear). The problem is, they stop shooting at enemies when crouched, leaving them open to rushing robots.
    • Enemy robots are susceptible to prioritizing your allies, and you can exploit this by taking cover after having been shot at, causing them to lose interest in you. This gets averted in God Hard difficulty, where enemies will always prioritize Sam.
    • There's generally no friendly fire in the game; your guns will stun your teammates and they'll shout at you if you shoot friendlies, but they don't actually take damage, and they can't damage you with their gunfire. You can't even damage yourself with your Rocket Launcher (making it effective at close range). However, there is one glaring exception: grenades can and will kill you, whether they're your own or thrown by friendly marines. There are a few fights in the game which are made harder by the fact that you have to watch out for friendly marines getting in the way by throwing grenades around while you're trying to deal with a large enemy, such as the Crystal Viper fights.
  • Artistic License – Economics: The final chapter reveals that President Winters instigated the Russian coup and the colony takeover in an attempt to ignite a war that would boost the economy through war spending, not expecting that Zaitsev would go so far as to actually destroy San Francisco. War is good for an economy in the short-term only, with the sudden infusion of cash leading to an economic boom, but the allocation of resources to war is ultimately economically devastating no matter what happens — the resources that could be used to improve the economy are instead used on war.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Subverted. If Sam aims his gun at an NPC ally, he'll yell something along the lines of "Get outta the way!", and the NPC will duck out of his line of fire.
  • Ass Shove: Invoked at the end of Act 1-6 after the tunnel collapses in front of the APC.
    Burns: Shove some tungsten up this tunnel's ass!
    Burns: This colony won't be walking straight for a while.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Most robots have glowing red cores that serve as their weak points, allowing you to do increased damage. Bosses like the Argus have them too, but in its case, you may have to expose it first by sufficiently damging its joints.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Rocket-sliding and finishing an enemy with a Diving Kick just feels so satisfying. It also helps that this is a powerful move that can instantly destroy Gorgies and send Romanovs flying backwards. The catch? It instantly overheats your suit just like other melee attacks (bar the Disk Launcher), leaving you vulnerable to open fire unless you scramble to the nearest cover.
    • In relation to the above, firing energy-based weapons such as the Laser Cannon while power-sliding and/or under the Bullet Time effect. Watch as your suit rapidly overheats from the combined energy drain, consequentially leaving you with a much lower energy reserve to make the most out of the cannon's damage output.
    • The Lock-On Laser fires off several Homing Lasers against several targets at range. While the weapon can be a neat choice for taking out multiple infantry robots (or damaging several limbs of larger enemies) at once, the weapon can be outright useless if there are several obstacles that disrupt the path of the lasers. Because of such stage restrictions, the weapon is mostly available only during outdoor battles. Any ceilings or indoor surfaces make it difficult for the lasers to actually hit their target.
    • Entering Bullet Time from a roll causes Sam to crouch in a cool-looking pose as he shoots. However, this often means that your gun is too low to shoot over cover or obstacles, and it's hard to gauge where you'll be shooting from the first few times.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: Act 1-7 has you aided by an APC armed with a railgun that can take out Romanovs in one shot.
  • Badass Bookworm: Sam. He's a former college football player who's gruff, snarky and chain-smokes, but don't forget that he's also a lead researcher at DARPA and was evidently one of the key minds in the creation of the ARS itself.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: In the first Quick Time Event against the Bogey, Sam punches its blade to deflect the slashes back repeatedly.
  • The Battle Didn't Count: Played straight after you first fight the Bogey. Played with during the finale, when you defeat both Bogeys, but find out that Zaitsev was only remotely controlling them.
  • Battleship Raid: Act 3 focuses on gaining access to the giant walking Kreon and destroying it from the inside.
  • Beam Spam: The Lock-On Laser is of the Roboteching type. The Bogey at the end of the first act has an even more spammy laser attack.
  • BFG: Lt. Col. Burns' giant Vulcan cannon even has a retractable shield on it to provide him with forward cover as he mows everything down.
  • Big Bad: Victor Zaitsev, lead agent of the Order of the Russian Star.
  • The Big Guy: Lieutenant Colonel Burns, whose forearms are bigger than his head.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sure, Sam manages to stop the microwave cannon from destroying New York and Moscow, but Zaitsev escapes and the Order of the Russian Star shows no signs of backing down. Not to mention, President Winters commits suicide after her plan backfires horribly.
  • Blackout Basement: Near the end of Act 1, you are tasked to escort an armored vehicle (the Awesome Personnel Carrier from before) in a dark tunnel filled with robot ambushes and Jellyfish mobile mines.
  • Blood Knight: Sam. Best demonstrated during the enemy transport portion of Act 2, Mission 2:
    Jason Macintosh: We've got a situation ahead. You DARPA folk need to fall back!
    Sam: Hey! Elena!
    Elena: I should lower your speed, right?
    Sam: You kidding!? Go faster! I want a piece of the action.
    Jason: We're not taking responsibility if you end up K.I.A., sir.
    Sam: I don't expect you to! Now where's the fight?
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • While you can do all sorts of awesome maneuvers in the game, you still have standard cover shooting as an option. It can prove crucial if you're under fire and your suit is overheating.
    • The standard firearms are more appropriate in most scenarios than energy-based weapons like the Laser Cannon or LFE Gun. You're better off saving the suit's energy for evasive and Bullet Time maneuvers. Said firearms are also easily scattered around the battlefield, and you can upgrade them to full stats faster than the rarer, high-tech Energy Weapons.
    • The Disk Launcher's melee attack does not overheat the suit, can be spammed ad infinitum, and can interrupt the attack animations of Romanovs at close range (especially if the player has managed to cut both of the target's legs first).
  • Boss Corridor: A particularly foreboding one occurs between Burns and Zaitsev.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The Romanov robots are twice as big as the Gorgies, have high HP and durability, and are armed with rockets that blow Sam across the battlefield and instantly send him into critical mode, sweeping Eye Beams, and a One-Hit Kill Wave-Motion Gun Chest Blaster. Later versions have dual miniguns and homing missiles, flamethrowers, or launchable drill arms.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Tactical Challenges.
  • Bullet Time: Called "Augmented Reality" mode, it's triggered when aiming during certain actions, like dodging, sliding, vaulting over cover, or even during melee attacks. It also activates automatically if you take too much damage, giving you a chance to escape.
  • Button Mashing: In some Quick Time Event scenes, the game makes you tap a single button (or spin the stick) until Sam moves at full speed. And that's the speed of a man with rockets on his legs and back.
  • Cable-Car Action Sequence: Act 3-4 combines this with a stealth-based Sniping Mission, where you ride in a slow monorail car and have to snipe searchlights and turrets to avoid being detected.
  • Ceiling Cling: The Unknown does this when you first encounter it in a proper boss fight. If you think the robot is nowhere to be found, look up.
  • Censored Child Death: In the prologue, a mother and her young child watch as the microwave laser array targets San Francisco. They are less than a kilometre away from the epicenter. And before we even get to see what happens to the child, there's only a blinding light, as the scene shifts to the other nearby citizens who are boiled alive by the intense heat.
  • Chainsaw Good: The melee attack for the Disk Launcher allows you to saw your opponents at close range. Since Sam is using the weapon itself, this is the only melee attack that does not cause the suit to overheat, allowing you to spam it as much as you want.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: As badass as Sam is in the ARS, he'd be significantly less so outside it.
  • Cognizant Limbs: A Spider Tank boss, the Argus, whose legs can be crippled. An achievement is awarded for destroying all of the individual body parts. Giant Mooks such as the Romanovs can also have their limbs disabled — another achievement requires doing this then finishing them off with a melee attack.
  • Collapsible Helmet: The helmet of Sam's ARS retracts when he is talking (or smoking) in the cutscenes, and re-assembles when he's geared up for yet another gunfight. In Some acts, he also retracts the helmet while indoors, or when in a stealth-based objective.
  • Colonel Badass: Lt. Colonel Burns is a massive man with cybernetics up the wazoo touting a big ol' minigun as his weapon of choice.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Weapons on the ground have glowing color-coded outlines to help distinguish them individually:
    • Red for heavy machine guns
    • Orange for boost machine guns
    • White for assault rifles
    • Cyan for lock-on lasers and shotguns
    • Pink for laser cannons
    • Blue for anti-armor pistols
    • Green for rocket launchers and hand grenades
    • Purple for sniper rifles
    • Yellow for LFE guns, disk launchers and EMP emitter grenades
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Zigzagged, where some pieces of cover are indestructible, while others are quickly destroyed by explosives and other heavy weapons, and some weapons, such as the Romanovs's Chest Death Ray, ignore cover entirely (leaving it intact while frying whoever's behind it).
  • Continuing is Painful: Continuing from a checkpoint causes you to lose your weapon upgrades by 1 level, but restarting from the beginning of a level has you retain the upgrades you had when you entered.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: Due to their crystalline bodies, Crystal Vipers are immune to optical weapons such as the Laser Cannon.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: The Jamming Tower at the end of Act 2; a carousel-like structure with three tips containing cores shielded by shutter doors, and armed with cannons, purple death lasers, gatling guns, and missile batteries.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: In Act 2-5, you must ascend a ramp while chunks of debris, and occasionally entire buildings, are bouncing down towards you.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Happens for quite a few bosses. Odd thing is, occasionally they combine it with a quick-time event, so what might become a coup de grace can blow up in your face, forcing you to fight another mode of the boss or start all over again.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Headshots kill the majority of robotic enemies (i.e. Gorgies) much faster. However, larger ones (i.e. Romanovs) can still fight despite losing their head.
  • Creator Cameo: One of the soldiers in Act 3 is named Shinji Mikami.
  • Critical Annoyance: This game has the screen pulse red with frantic heartbeats when Sam is near death.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Depending on the situation, this pops up in cutscenes, with Sam being able to run and jump far faster and farther than he can in-game, and there are certain special attacks against bosses that take it to almost ludicrous levels, i.e. stopping an Argus mech's leg from crushing him, shooting it in the core with his off-hand, then leaping on top of the stunned machine and drilling down into its core with his feet.
  • Cyber Cyclops: The Gorgies and a few other robots.
  • Cyber Punk Is Techno: The soundtrack is predominantly industrial techno, with a touch of orchestra.
  • Dash Attack: Both Sam and the Romanov-Ds are capable of this.
  • Deadly Disc: The Disk Launcher shoots homing discs that boomerang. Luckily, they don't damage Sam on return.
  • Death Equals Redemption: After Sam defeats Burns, he decides that Sam has fairly won and prevents his men from killing Sam.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion:
    • The death animation that doesn't send Sam flying has him collapse before his suit detonates from overheating.
    • The first Crystal Viper's death causes a massive explosion that destroys the Grand Coulee Dam and results in a hole being punched clean through Providence.
    • Not to mention, most, if not all, of the enemy robots you face explode to some degree when adequately filled with lead.
  • Destructible Projectiles:
    • Apart from bullets being destructible while in AR Mode, you can also shoot down Argus missiles and the slow-moving mini warheads deployed by the Romanovs.
    • You can force a grenade to blow up by shooting it, a maneuver commonly seen used in Tactical Challenges.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!:
    • Most infantry robots like the Gorgies can still switch to charge and self-destruct at you if they still have HP left when their lower half is cut off.
    • For the larger Elite Mook like Romanovs and humanoid bosses like the Argus, destroying their limbs through sustained damage will simply negate them of an offensive move, as they can still attack you with their remaining limbs, or weapons directly attached to their main body. However, Romanovs immediately get destroyed when you have cut off all their limbs, since they have no means of fighting back anymore.
  • Direct Continuous Levels: Most levels have seamless transitions in between.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The shotgun are one of your starting weapon and it's pickup are everywhere, making it easy to level up. Fully upgrading up the shotgun turns it into a close ranged semi automatic death machine that can wipe out multiple mooks in one shot, stun locks Elite Mook, and carve through humanoid sized boss such as the Crystal Vipers and even the Final Boss.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the intro, Sam offers Burns a position at DARPA while smoking. His response? To suddenly swing a large knife at Sam's face close enough to cut his cigarette in half because smoking isn't allowed. It's implied that he knew Sam would be fast enough to dodge it, since he has some idea of the capabilities of the ARS. Or he was preemptively trying to take Sam out.
    Sam: What the fuck, man?!
  • Diving Kick:
    • Initiating a melee attack while power-sliding will have Sam perform a diving kick with both feet at the nearest target. While powerful enough to instantly destroy the lesser robots, it can knock back larger ones. And just like the other melee attacks, it also overheats your suit!
    • Zaitsev also does this to Sam in the cutscene before their first fight.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Because every enemy bullet is rendered and has a trail, and because of AR mode, there's plenty of opportunity for this.
  • Driven to Suicide: President Winters shoots herself in the epilogue.
  • Drone of Dread: The Romanov-Gs' One-Hit Kill super missiles emit a droning sound.
  • Drop the Hammer: The Romanov-F has a giant spiked hammer, coupled with a flamethrower that causes the ARS to overheat instantly.
  • Dual Boss:
    • Act 2 pits you against two Argus robots. While you've already seen one transform in your first fight, here, you get to fight its two separate forms at once.
    • In the final Act, you face two Bogeys remotely controlled by Zaitsev.
  • Dynamic Loading: The game switches to a first-person HUD/visor view and slows Sam to a walking pace when loading a level or sublevel. Other devices such as elevators or airlocks are also occasionally used.
  • Eagleland: Who You Gonna Call? when rascally Russians hijack your space station? A football player turned supersoldier and his grizzled old Sarge (OK, Lieutenant Colonel, but he's got all the trappings of a Sergeant Rock).
  • Easier Than Easy: "Casual Auto" mode, which is just like Casual, except that your aim snaps to the nearest enemy when aiming.
  • Easily Forgiven: Sam to a defeated Burns, which may be why Burns helps him out right afterwards.
  • Elite Mook:
    • Gorgie-USG and USR variants, which are more heavily armored (and in the USG's case, equipped with shotguns and jetpacks), as opposed to the standard USN model, which only has a machine gun. The USS variant doesn't really count, since it's just as fragile as the USN and the only difference is that it uses a sniper rifle.
    • The squad of U.S. Marines defending Burns in Act 5.
  • EMP: Sam has EMP grenades that temporarily paralyze robot enemies, and certain enemies have EMP-type attacks that overheat Sam's Powered Armor and prevent him from using Boost or AR mode.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Burns again, who was already a musclebound, gritty Space Marine, even before you factor in that half his body was replaced by cybernetics.
  • Equipment Upgrade: The BLADE weapon system allows you to pick up the same weapon to replenish your ammo. When you have full ammo for that weapon, any subsequent pick-ups will upgrade it by one third of a level. Repeat this enough times to improve the gun's capacity, accuracy or firepower. It is also notorious, as any death on Normal and above difficulties will degrade the weapon's rank by one level.
  • Escort Mission: Done in a Blackout Basement with an armored vehicle that must be guided to destroy a barricade at the end of a tunnel.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Elena remarkably achieves Ms. Fanservice despite being modestly dressed compared to other PlatinumGames female characters.
  • Evolving Weapon: Grabbing upgrade chips (or collecting ammo for an equipped weapon while you're at full capacity) upgrades your weapon in numerous ways. Not only can its firepower, speed and clip size increase, after a number of levels, they will obtain minor aesthetic changes as well.
  • Exploding Barrels: Every now and then, but they're surprisingly uncommon for such an action-packed shooting game.
  • Explosive Overclocking: Overclocking the ARS in Vanquish by removing its limiters can have unpleasant effects on the user. In-game, if Sam takes too much fire from enemy troops, he passes out, and the suit's presumed attempts to repair and compensate for the damage result in it overloading and exploding.
  • Expy: The Crystal Viper is visually similar to an exposed Doctor Doom while also having a fair share of electricity and subtle telekinetic powers. It can also turn invisible, much like Invisible Woman. If you successfully parry it's sword attack, Sam can punch the fragile coating of the robot to reveal a mechanical exoskeleton with red eyes, just like a T-800 from Terminator.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sam lights a cigarette upon reaching Zaitsev, and he stops to both let Sam finish it and talk a while.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Unlike the other nameless marines who can get K.I.A., Burns cannot, no matter how much damage he takes from any enemies.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Sam is capable of a lot more creative combat choices in cutscenes than he is in gameplay.
    • In the cutscene before the battle with Zaitsev, Sam uses an assault rifle, shotgun, and rocket launcher no matter what weapons he actually has equipped.
  • Gatling Good: Burns's weapon is a massive gatling gun with a deployable blast shield.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The KNRB-0 Argus. You shoot at its joints so you can attack its core. Justified in-universe; Elena states that the robot's armor plating was deliberately reduced to enable it to carry more ammunition. And considering how many missiles it fires...
  • Giant Mook: The Romanov-N. This big guy is fond of blowing people apart with its missiles, frying them with its eye laser, and simply tearing people in half. And oh yeah, did we mention it can kill you in one hit with its Chest Blaster?
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The civilians that explode in the intro do so off screen.
    • President Winters' suicide. We are shown the direct aftermath however...
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • If you haven't been paying enough attention in the tutorial section, you'll never know that you could actually shoot your own grenades when you enter AR mode after lobbing one. It does mention the ability to shoot grenades and projectiles from enemies.
    • An achievement requires you to kill three robots distracted by your cigarette. However, the game doesn't explicitly tell you that Sam can smoke a cigarette while under cover by pressing the "slide" key without directional input. There is one part of the HUD that is displayed when you are in cover - a cigarette icon and its counter.
    • Good luck finding all of the Pangloss Statues for one achievement — it'll be a Pixel Hunt without a guide.
  • The Gunslinger: Sam Gideon, in comparison to a lot of PlatinumGames' other well-known protagonists.
  • Guttural Growler: Sam's voice is something like the animated Wolverine filtered through Dirty Harry. Burns takes this even further, sounding like all that stuff meets a rock tumbler with the bass turned up (of course it's Steve Blum, so they got the right man for the job).
  • Hammerspace: One has to wonder how something as big as the Laser Cannon could collapse into a little receiver. Not that it matters.
  • Hand Cannon: The Anti-Armor Pistol lives up to its name by packing quite a punch. Despite its more compact form than most guns, it deals just a bit less damage than the Sniper Rifle (but still enough to one-shot Gorgies) at a range similar to the HMG.
  • Harder Than Hard: God Hard.
  • He Was Right There All Along: In Act 2-6, you will observe a strange carousel-like object at the top of the hill from several points in the level. That's the Jamming Tower that serves as the act's boss.
  • Hell Is That Noise:
  • Hitbox Dissonance: If you stand too close to a Romanov as it charges a large ball of energy from its chest, you can be insta-killed even if you're behind it (its back is fully armored like the rest of its body, except for the opening in its chest).
  • Hitscan: Played With; in Bullet Time, all kinetic weapons have visible projectiles that can be dodged.
  • Hit Stop: AR mode is automatically activated if Sam takes enough damage. Most of his death animations are also played in slow motion.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In Act 2, Sam uses a flying transport to redirect the heat-seeking homing missiles of the KNRB-0 Argus by ramming the vehicle back at it, with Sam jumping out of the way while the missiles destroy their sender.
    • Sam manages to take Zaitsev's gun and finish him off with it. Well, his empty remote-controlled suit, at least.
  • Homing Lasers: Sam's Lock-On Laser, as well as one of Zaitsev's attacks.
  • Humongous Mecha: The game is crawling with these; some are Elite Mooks, bosses taking up the size of an arena, transports, or even ones you can mount and use.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Subverted. You have the new prototype BLADE (Battlefield Logic ADaptable Electronic) weapon, an expandable carbon nanotube device which can rearrange itself into any weapon stored in its memory, including weapons bigger than your torso. The catch is, the data needed to make up a whole gun-sized object, down to the molecular level, is enough that the system can only store three configurations at a time. These can be swapped by scanning different guns, which also provide more ammo.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Casual Auto, Casual, Normal, Hard, God Hard.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: When moving around, Sam's grenade toss animation is similar to a football toss. Justified; an in-game document explains that he played college ball before joining DARPA.
  • In the Back: The preferred strategy against the Romanov-F robots, since their gas cylinders are located on their backs, and shooting those will also detonate the Romanov itself, regardless of any remaining health.
  • Join or Die: In the prologue, Zaitsev threatens the U.S. to join their Russian forces, or else they will fire the microwave energy array like they did with San Francisco.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Sam (of DARPA) and Burns (of the U.S. Marine Corps) tend to bicker over who gives the orders and who takes them.
  • Justified Tutorial: The game begins with Sam testing the ARS. Thankfully, you can cut the session short, but you have to complete a few of the exercises before you get the option to do so. But you'll have to complete all segments if you want to earn an achievement.
    "Look, I know you're in a rush to get to the bar, but we've got a lot to go over..."
  • Kaizo Trap:
    • The first Bogey boss fight ends with a tricky Press X to Not Die cutscene, just when you have finally depleted its HP to 0 (or whittled it down enough).
    • There's a small maze of cargo containers on a platform in Act 2 that appears to be empty at first despite weapon boxes being visibly scattered around. The area is actually scripted in which Gorgies will ambush and flank you when you turn a corner.
    • In the third fight against the Argus (in Act 4), it'll fire off its instant kill laser at you after you completely deplete its health. It can get you killed if you don't see it coming.
  • Karma Houdini: Zaitsev gets away, as the final Dual Boss turns out to both be "slave units" rather than the real thing.
  • Kiai: A particularly epic one occurs after a QTE during the final battle. Here's a clip of it in Japanese.
  • Kill Enemies to Open: Prevalent in a sense that almost every scripted sequence and cutscene will only trigger once all enemies in the current area are defeated.
  • Kill Sat: The "peaceful" space colony, Providence, can use its solar energy to destroy entire cities, as the Russians demonstrated by microwaving San Francisco.
  • Kung-Shui: The cutscene between the tutorial and the first playable mission alone probably racks up trillions in property damage, and things only get rowdier from there on out.
  • Ladder Physics: Sam leaps to the top of ladders rather than climbing them.
  • Large Ham: Pretty much every single thing Burns says.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Elena explains to Sam that the Crystal Viper is immune to optical weapons like lasers.
  • Leap and Fire: Holding the aim button while vaulting over a chest-high wall triggers a brief spurt of Bullet Time, allowing you to pick off enemies or get height on others.
    • A legitimate strategy for speedruns or Tactical Challenges is to keep the Heavy Machine Gun on hand for its melee attack (a backflip kick). AR mode can be triggered in midair, allowing you to pick off an enemy or two before you land. The best part is, the ARS only overheats if a melee attack connects, so backflipping for the sole purpose of gaining height can be done regularly from a distance.
  • Literal Metaphor: Teleportation experiments do not work well for living beings, as Sam states that a rat got into a Tele-Frag accident "with its head literally shoved up its ass".
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The twin Bogeys in the final level are armed with tactical nukes that activate after Sam defeats them, destroying the space colony.
  • Loading Screen: Notable in a sense that it displays additional information regarding the characters and technology in the world of Vanquish.
  • Locomotive Level: Act 2 has two sections of this — one with a larger transport that sets off a wave defense gameplay alongside the Marines, and the second with Sam riding a commandeered enemy transport across the train tracks.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Doesn't apply to Sam, but to the soldiers in Act 5-1 when they start to run across the bridge when the lasers are firing.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Argus bots and Buzzards specialize in this. The Argus in particular lets off all its missiles through the entire stage before transforming into a bipedal form.
  • Made of Iron: Sam Gideon can survive falling from tall heights, explosions and kinetic impact. Justified thanks to his extremely durable Powered Armor. In Normal or lower difficulties, he can even take a direct hit from a rocket without instantly dying.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • President Winters was the one who supported Zaitsev's coup in Russia, so that the United States would have a legitimate reason to go to war against a "bad guy" and stimulate the weak American economy.
    • As mentioned before, Zaitsev's boss, who is apparently a high-ranking member in the Order of the Russian Star.
  • Male Gaze: When a scene focuses on Elena there are times when the camera shifts its focus towards her legs or rear.
  • Mecha-Mooks: 99% of the enemies in this game are robots.
  • Military Mashup Machine: The Kreon is a walking land dreadnought.
  • Missile Lock-On: The rocket launcher is equipped with this, and some of its upgrades reduce the lock-on time. A fully-upgraded rocket launcher locks on to targets instantly.
  • Mini-Game Credits: Shooting asteroids with pictures of the development team on them.
  • Mood Dissonance: For a good 95%+ of the game, you're blowing up somewhat cheesy-looking robots with goofy names like "Romanov," "Gorgie," and "Bia" and are probably pretty used to the bright blue explosions and flying scrap metal that are the result of defeating your enemies. Then, Act 5-2 comes along, and there are no robots; you're fighting flesh-and-blood human beings. It can be very jarring to suddenly begin seeing blood bursting out of the targets you're shooting instead of sparks and metal. What's even more unsettling is that your human enemies (save for Burns) never speak a word, making them not that different from the robots you've been blowing up. It doesn't help that they're also Faceless Goons.
  • Mood Whiplash: A long, lingering shot of the president after she shoots herself in the head...followed by cheery space adventure music as you shoot asteroids with the development team's faces on them.
  • Morph Weapon: The Battlefield Logic ADaptable Electronic weapons system (BLADE) not only transforms into up to three different weapons on command, it can store itself in the ARS' arm. How does it work? Who cares?
  • Multi-Mook Melee: The Tactical Challenges let you fight against waves of enemy robots, with only a few seconds of rest before each wave arrives.
  • Neck Lift: After boarding an enemy transport in Act 2-2, Sam throws its pilot overboard by the neck. It sparks when he picks it up.
    Sam: You're last year's model!
  • Nintendo Hard: Hoo boy. The campaign is manageable, but the Tactical Challenges... Challenge 4 is essentially self-punishment, and the secret Challenge 6 is even harder.
    • Played entirely straight in the campaign with God Hard difficulty, which lives up to its' name to the nth degree: Sam's health is immensely lowered, enemies focus on you and you alone, health regen is slowed by half, weapons cannot be upgraded, the ARS has only a quarter of its regular energy capacity and recovers at half speed, rockets cannot be found in weapon crates, and harder enemies are encountered much earlier. To top it off, getting hit by a stray grenade is almost a guaranteed one-hit kill, and they'll be lobbing them at you in the dozens.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: President Elizabeth Winters is fairly clearly modeled on Hillary Clinton.
  • No Death Run: Encouraged in one achievement.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Sam remarks on it as he compares himself to Burns at the game's epilogue:
    Sam: You know, I'm not that different from Burns.
    Elena: Hm?
    Sam: We both sacrificed others to uphold our own ideals.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…:
    • Averted. When Sam falls from a long distance in a cutscene near the end of the game, he uses his boosters to slow himself down enough so that he won't rip his arm off when he grabs a ledge. And while hanging, the first thing he does is light up a cigarette and then pull himself up.
    • Played straight, though, in Act 3's ending. As Sam leaps off of the exploding Kreon, he falls for a while until Burns catches him and swings him into the dropship. Justified for Burns since he caught Sam with his mechanical arm; not so much for Sam since he didn't even activate his boosters when falling.
  • One-Hit Kill: Quite a few things can push you right past forced AR activation and into death, regardless of the difficulty setting, or how much damage you've soaked up to that point. Most notable is the Unknown's instant-kill attack, which will catch you off guard the first time it happens.
  • One-Way Visor: The blue-tinted visor of Sam's Powered Armor helmet covers the lower half of his face.
  • Optional Stealth: In Act 3-4, you have to destroy searchlights and a patrol vehicle to avoid detection while your team infiltrates a monorail. Surprisingly, there is a silencer-equipped sniper rifle for you to do the job cleanly. Firing anything else triggers the alarms and missiles will be fired at your position from the gates. That doesn't mean that you'll have to stick to stealth though; you can fire your weapons at the incoming missiles to deflect them one by one until your monorail reaches the gate.
  • Overheating: A core gameplay mechanic — several maneuvers such as melee attacks, power-sliding and Bullet Time as well as energy weapons like the Laser Cannon draw power from your ARS suit. An HUD, audio and visual indicators help you keep track of this, and if your suit does overheat, you won't be able to utilize said maneuvers and weapons until your suit fully cools down. Some enemy attacks and environmental hazards like the Kreon's afterburners will instantly overheat your suit when you're in their proximity.
  • Palette Swap: It's not obvious at first, but the Marines and the Gorgies. It also doubles as a bit of foreshadowing.
  • Pixel Hunt: Searching for and shooting Pangloss Statues. Not only are they small, their glimmer effect is not very outstanding, as their gold/bronze color blends with the game's greyed-out color palette.
  • "Pop!" Goes the Human: This happens to several victims of the microwave beam attack during the intro.
  • Powered Armor:
    • Sam Gideon's shtick. He's testing it for DARPA.
    • Zaitsev's also got one. Sam mutters that it's "patented."
  • Power of the God Hand: As noted in Shout-Out, there's an achievement called "The Hand Of God."
  • Pummel Duel: Sam's fight against Zaitsev, both times.
  • Quick Time Event: Mostly initiated when you knock down a boss's HP to a certain threshold. This is also done in tandem with Button Mashing, as every on-screen key input requires you to mash the button within a time frame.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: In the train level, after the enemy train shows up, you have a limited time to kill all the baddies on board, or else the trains collide at the intersection and you die.
  • Random Number God: The weapons that you receive from item boxes or fallen robots may change if you reload the same checkpoint.
  • Rated M for Manly: No shit — almost all of the Space Marines are muscular soldiers, while Burns himself is a massive, bulky soldier who wields a futuristic gatling gun. While your Player Character Sam Gideon has a normal build under that armor, his ARS allows him to perform high-speed slides, vaults, dodges, and close-quarters combat.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Returns once again as a PlatinumGames Tradition, between Sam and Zaitsev.
  • Recurring Boss: The KNRB-0 Argus is fought two more times after its first appearance in Act 1-3; as a Dual Boss in Act 2-3, and once again as a solo boss in Act 4-2. The Final Boss is a Dual Boss version of the Bogey from Act 1-8.
  • Recursive Ammo: The Buzzard mini-boss's cluster missiles.
  • Red Shirt Army: The Marines have pathetic lifespan expectancies. Everyone, including them, seems to be aware of this.
  • Regenerating Health: Typical for a shooter game released in the 2000's. Not taking damage for a given period will restore Sam's health.
  • Renegade Russian: Zaitsev, who initiated a coup in Russia with his robot army.
  • Robo Teching: The Lock-On Laser. Lasers go up, then down, kind of like a high-tech version of the Javelin Missile Launcher. It's nowhere near as powerful as that, though.
  • Robot War: The only non-robot Russian combatant deployed is Big Bad Victor Zaitsev. Except in Act 5-2, when Sam gets into a lethal conflict of interest with the genocidally patriotic Burns and his U.S. Marines.
    • Even the final battle with Zaitsev ends up being against two, simultaneously-controlled "slave" units.
  • Reverse the Polarity: Invoked word for word by Elena when instructing Sam on how to destroy the Kreon's energy source. Of course you're trying to cause a malfunction rather than a miracle in this case.
  • Rule of Cool: Is the US government designing a battlesuit that lets the user slide around at 50 mph on their knees? Doubtful. Would they ever consider such a venture to be a practical evolution of warfare? Probably not. Does it still make a good gameplay feature in spite of that? You better fuckin' believe it.
    • How many video game protagonists are there who can rocket-slide into a wall, kick off it, perform a backflip in the air, pull out a rifle, and snipe two guys in the head, while still descending from the backflip?
  • Save Scumming: In the Normal and higher difficulties, dying and continuing from the game over screen will degrade the rank of your weapons by one level (and also forfeits a No Death Run achievement). However, if you choose to return to the title from the game over screen, your record will not be penalized, and you can just simply continue from the main menu with your weapon upgrades at their state on the saved checkpoint, as well as no death recorded in your end-of-level statistics.
    • In other words, there is actually a difference between the options presented when you die - "Continue" will retain all your current weapon upgrades, while choosing "Return to Title" will revert the upgrades to when the checkpoint was saved, forcing you to scavenge boxes again for the weapons.
  • Scenery Porn: The entire game takes place on a super-technologically-advanced cylindrical space colony a la Babylon 5 named "Providence." You even get full control over the camera in the title menu.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Played straight at the final battle when you fight two Bogeys like the one at the end of Act 1: one red, one blue. Whichever you destroy first, Zaitsev will contact you and say: "The wrong one, I'm afraid".
    • Subverted when both are revealed to be empty remote-controlled drones.
  • Selective Gravity: There's a zero-gravity zone in Act 5 that your team has to traverse. While bullets, casings and light covers do float in space, Sam can still move normally due to his ARS Powered Armor. Your fellow marines do float as lifeless corpses when they die in this area. However, the most egregious case comes with the Unknown boss fight. Its mechanical parts still float away randomly every time you take a chunk out of it, while the core can walk on the surface just as normal, without being affected by the physics whatsoever.
  • Serial Escalation: In Act 1-3, you grab the artillery shell from an Argus robot and slam-dunk it back down its gun barrel. It only gets better from there.
  • Sequel Hook: Zaitsev gets away, and is revealed to be merely an agent for the Order of the Russian Star.
  • Shockwave Stomp: In the second Argus battle, its bipedal form has a stomp attack that generates an EMP that overheats Sam's armor.
  • Shoot the Bullet: You can shoot down enemy bullet projectiles while in Bullet Time mode.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Sam lights up at pretty much every opportunity, and his voice shows it. It's even gone so far as to be a gameplay mechanic; while hiding in cover Sam can take a "smoke break", followed by tossing the still-lit butt out of cover to distract his robotic enemies.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Burns.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: The first part of Act 2-2.
  • Space Marine: Your allies are the U.S. Marine Corps, in space!
    • Averted with Sam and Elena, who work for DARPA. This causes some Jurisdiction Friction between Sam and Burns over whose orders take precedence during the operation.
  • Spider Tank: The KNRB-0 Argus.
  • Spin to Deflect Stuff: View Hounds can spin their rotor blades to deflect attacks while in robot mode.
  • Spiteful A.I.: In God Hard difficulty, even if you're surrounded by bulky Marines carrying rocket launchers while you are completely out of ammo, every single enemy will try to gun you down specifically. Even when you're behind cover, enemies will still suicidally charge forward just to get behind your barricade and stab you in the face. It is somewhat justified in that the enemies for 99% of the game are robots, as well as the fact that with the ARS, you're likely considered to be a bigger threat. Not so justified when your allies seem to enjoy running in front of you while you're firing or rushing into an enemy warp point that fries them, as well as sitting on grenades. Even worse, the more friendly casualties, the lower your overall score.
  • Sports Hero Backstory: Sam Gideon was a college quarterback before he became a DARPA researcher testing out a prototype Powered Armor.
  • Skewed Priorities: After barely catching a ledge in a cutscene, Sam continues hanging over a death drop by one arm to light a cigarette.
    • Sometimes during gameplay, (including during his boss fight with you) Burns will take out a flask of whiskey and take a long swig.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Sam and Burns run on this.
    • In Act 2-3, when Sam runs into the two Argus bots:
      [Burns descends from a chopper]
      Burns: Miss me, sweetheart?
      Sam: Jesus, you? I liked you better when I thought you were dead.
      Burns: And I liked you better when I didn't have to hear your shit. Let's go!
    • Again before Act 4-2, at the Grand Coulee Dam:
      Sam: They really rolled out the welcome mat.
      Burns: Must have a thing for VIPs.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Taking out the pilot of a light troop transport will bring the vehicle down, taking all its passengers with it.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: The ship that Burns uses to infiltrate Providence looks very similar to a Star Wars Blockade Runner.
  • Stealth Parody: The writer of the review of ''Vanquish'' on Gamespot seems to think it is this.
  • Stock Scream: There's a Wilhelm scream in the cutscene when the Bogey is first introduced.
  • Superweapon Surprise: The microwave emitter on Providence was not intended as a weapons system, but the Russians got creative.
  • Swiss-Army Gun: The BLADE weapon system. It can transform itself to replicate any compatible weapon that Sam encounters on the battlefield, from armor-piercing Hand Cannons to rocket launchers and laser cannons; Sam only needs to supply the ammo.
  • Sword Limbo: Sam Gideon does this when Robert Burns slices at him at the start of the game. Sam successfully dodges thanks to his Powered Armor, but also gets his cigarette cut in half — in Slow Motion.
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit: The entire third act of the game is a Battleship Raid against the Kreon, a huge Transforming Mecha space-battleship/Spider Tank that's too big and nasty to fight conventionally.
  • Take That!: One ad pokes fun at Halo, stating that "If it takes a decade to finish the fight, you should probably switch tactics."
  • Take Cover!: But you probably won't; you'll be too busy powersliding around the battlefield. Plus, you're more robust than most protagonists who take cover. Sam has a number of high-speed moves that allow you to easily dodge enemy fire while retaliating. When you're dangerously low on health, Bullet Time kicks in, allowing you to find the necessary cover easily. The score system also penalizes you based on how long you've sat in cover.
    • The game's developers had already experimented with cover mechanics years before they became popular, such as Shinji Mikami's Resident Evil 4 and Sega's Bonanza Bros., and are now doing the same with Vanquish.
      • Of note is actually how good said system is — you can boost out of cover, roll into a slow-mo shot, hop over cover for another slow-mo shot, throw a distraction out to draw fire, and there are even 3 kinds of cover. Walls give you the most protection but have a hard time being boosted from, low cover means little space to hide and standing straight up to shoot, but being able to boost in a second, and chest-high cover is somewhere in the middle.
  • Taking You with Me: Burns' death; demanding Sam leave him, he stays behind to detonate a bomb in his arm and kill several Marines.
    Burns: My men are dead. I belong with them.
  • Technology Porn:
    • Sam's ARS suit has parts surrounding the reactor that constantly move, and the parts of his BLADE weapon fold onto each other as it's configured.
    • Zaitsev's Bogey suit, especially its introduction scene, and when it opens its wing pods for a laser attack.
    • The tutorial chamber features huge weapon benches that fold out of tiny tiles on the floor.
    • Elena's holographic support console qualifies, with all kinds of free-floating, touch-sensitive displays that can be pulled and slid around in a Minority Report-like fashion.
  • Tele-Frag: The robots can teleport in reinforcements. The Marines... not so much. Sam states that living things won't survive the process, and that a rat involved in a teleportation experiment ended up "with its head literally shoved up its ass" and that "it'll be at least three more years before [DARPA] can get a human in that state".
  • The Many Deaths of You: At first glance, it may appear that Sam has only two death animations, but those are just in standard combat...
    • The most notable non-standard death animation for Sam is the Unknown's finisher, in which it grabs Sam, slices off his head, and crawls away with his body.
    • There's also the Romanov-D: it will suspend Sam in the air with one of its drill arms, which is spinning its way into Sam's torso, before thrusting that same arm into the ground, pinning Sam as he is eviscerated by the drill. Surprisingly, no blood is shed, only sparks (despite how far into Sam's body the drill is by the time the "Mission Failed" screen finally pops up).
    • If you fail the QTE between Sam and Zaitsev during their first duel, Zaitsev will leave a nice, deep cut in Sam's shoulder courtesy of his rifle sword.
    • Reprised with Bogeys Alpha and Bravo in the final battle, where if you don't mash that button hard enough, they knock Sam into the sky before he's used as a target for their lasers in midair.
      • After the final battle, if you fail to dodge the remaining Bogey's sword attacks, Zaitsev plants his sword straight through Sam's heart. What makes this death animation special is that a first-person view is used during this sequence.
    • Act 3-3 has Sam's falling animation if he fails to cross the bridge in time.
  • The Worm That Walks: The "Unknown" boss consists of a red core and pieces of robotic junk that assemble into various shapes.
  • This Is a Drill: The Romanov-D is equipped with two drills on both arms and can lunge towards you similar to Dante's Stinger. They can also dig through the ground.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Happens to your allied soldiers in the prologue, when enemy fire blows open the airlock doors. Fortunately, Sam's suit can hold on to the ground until the doors close.
  • Took a Level in Badass: When Sam stops boosting, he spins out of it feet-first, before landing on his feet. Exaggerated in the cutscene before the final boss, where Sam boosts off a ramp, spins at least five times in midair, and lands in a kneeling pose on an overhead walkway.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: One of the Marines that you rescue from electrical restraints in Act 1-4 is a bit more cheerful than the rest.
    Marine: Thanks. You save the others?
    Sam: Yeah, they're already free.
    Marine: Their loss. Those bindings felt great!
    Sam: I don't believe this.
  • Trapped in Containment: The majority of the Marines stationed on Providence asphyxiate to death when they are unable to get past a blast shield that was closed by Burns to contain a breach in the colony's outer hull.
  • Transforming Mecha:
    • The Argus is a quadrupedal robot that can turn into a bipedal Humongous Mecha.
    • The Bia bot is a robot scorpion that can transform into a mech wielding a massive axe.
    • The Buzzard has flight and land modes encountered at different points in the game.
  • Turns Red: After you defeat one Bogey in the final battle, the other greatly increases its speed. Sam notices this change and orders Elena to disable the limiters on his suit as well.
  • Underground Monkey:
    • The standard Giant Mooks, the Romanovs, also have four varieties with different weapons and abilities.
    • The Gorgies have four variants:
      • The red USN type are The Goomba.
      • The yellow USRs lead squads and are more intelligent and well-armed.
      • The green USSs are snipers that can One-Hit Kill Sam.
      • The blue USGs are Elite Mooks with flight capability and shotguns.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: A brief one during the final level. The game has you fire the remaining Bogey's rifle at it in first-person perspective.
  • Unexpected Shmup Level:
  • Unique Enemy: Jellyfish-Ls only appear in Act 1-6. Jellyfish-Ms appear in Act 1-6 and Act 4-3.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: The Providence space colony takes this up to eleven. It presumably has an incredibly large population to run all the energy-gathering and converting systems, and they do all have to live somewhere. According to the Operation Dossier, it's considered the fifty-first state of America.
  • Videogame Dashing: Sam has a jet-powered slide dash ability courtesy of his ARS.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sam and Burns. Probably the best explanation for Sam trying to help Burns in Act 5-2, even after Burns betrays him and Sam is forced to gun him down — and Burns doing the same in buying Sam time with his explosive death.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Elena Ivanova, of course.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The Bogey, despite only being the second boss, can be very frustrating, having high HP, fast flight abilities (making it difficult to hit with heavier weapons), Roboteching beam spams just like the player's Lock-On Laser, EMPs that cause Sam's armor to overheat, a plasma Wave-Motion Gun that can One-Hit Kill, and to top it all off, a Press X to Not Die sequence at the end.
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • In its bipedal form, the Argus will occasionally unleash hell in the form of a sweeping "large-radius laser" attack. It sweeps fast enough for you to pray that you have energy for boosting, lest you get incinerated.
    • Zaitsev's Bogey has an attack that can do this, sweeping a giant laser beam along the ground towards you that's tricky to dodge, making cover quite helpful.
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • The Disk Launcher is the most effective weapon against Romanovs (despite dealing a small amount of damage against bosses), precisely due to its ability to cut off their limbs. By aiming at a Romanov's arms, legs and head, players are able to finish Romanovs in a minimum of 5 shots, and they would immediately be destroyed if they have no means of fighting back, regardless of remaining health! While the Romanovs can still fight back despite having their legs chopped off, Sam can use the Disk Launcher's melee attack to saw at them as many times as the player wants, since the weapon does not overheat the suit, and its melee attack can interrupt the attack animations of enemies.
    • While the LFE Gun's main gimmick is to push enemies away despite doing a minuscule damage, it is one of the two weapons (along with the Rocket Launcher) that can curb-stomp the Unknowns. Both of these weapons have a large area-of-effect that works against the Unknowns' shielded cores. However, the Rocket Launcher has a very limited capacity, while the LFE Gun can hold a couple dozen shots. In a close-ranged combat, the LFE can easily take away chunks of an Unknown's health with just a few well-timed shots at the center.
  • We Have Reserves: Burns has a really bad case of this.
    Burns: Screw it! Leave 'em! Elena, close this door!
    Sam: So this is how the Marines do business?
    Burns: Marines complete the mission. We don't get the luxury of choosing how.
  • Wham Shot: Sam finds Professor Candide in the Providence's control chamber. Just as Candide shuts down the weapon, bullets fly in slow motion from behind Sam, killing the professor and revealing Burns to be against DARPA's side. A boss fight ensues.
  • Your Head A-Splode: In the intro cutscene, this happens to several victims of the microwave Kill Sat attack on San Francisco.