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Video Game / Vector Thrust

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A mile high and poles apart. When skies fall, this is where we start.

Vector Thrust is a cel-shaded action-arcade flight simulator. Made by studio Time Symmetry, mostly consisting of various community members from around the world, it aims to be an "airborne adventure that offers something for everyone." Notable is its rather brutal AI as well as an increasingly ridiculous amount of playable aircraft. Vector Thrust was designed from the ground up with the intent for moddability; since its release as an Alpha years ago, many fans have developed a variety of mods and add-ons with varying complexity, ranging from additional aircraft paint schemes and HUD redesigns to even completely new aircraft models. Also worth noting is the game's striking similarity to the classic Ace Combat and Air Force Delta video games - indeed, both Time Symmetry and the fans see it as a Spiritual Successor to those two franchises.


In terms of gameplay, Vector Thrust aims for a mixture of realism and arcade. For example, even though there are dozens of missiles at the player's disposal, missiles (and everything else, for that matter) are affected by semi-realistic physics which includes forces like gravity. An intricate jamming system is featured in the game, a far cry from the simple radar disabling in Ace Combat. Vector Thrust also offers a solid story-based campaign as well as a fully-functional Map, Mission and Campaign Editor.

Vector Thrust was released for PC in 2015 and can be found on ModDB and on Steam. It is not be confused with the iOS game Thrust Vector.


Tropes present in this game:

  • Ace Pilot: Well, what else did you expect from a Spiritual Successor to Ace Combat?
    • In all modes, the AI can be configured to either fly as badly as Cannon Fodder or as god-like as a One-Man Army.
    • In the Hollow Thunder campaign, Ash starts being called The Raven due to the bird emblem on the tail of his fighter.
    • While only briefly mentioned in images, there are others such as The Fairy of the Lake, Molinya, and Murrain Squadron.
    • Ace Custom: Possible, and encouraged. note 
    • The S-24A Nighthound, an in-universe example, is Prince Clovis' aircraft of choice.
  • Adventure-Friendly World: From what we've seen, the universe of Vector Thrust is another variant of Ace Combat's Strangereal.
  • Adventure Guild: Several organisations of dubious legality, like Bastille and Heron will get mercenary pilots an airbase to call home and a stream of study contracts from nations around the world. Most of them specialise in operations within the Kingdom, however.
  • After the End: From what's been released about the final campaign, this seems to be the setting.
  • A.K.A.-47: Thoroughly averted — unlike Ace Combat, every aircraft and weapon variant has its correct name and generally a correct description, save for the ones which are so obscure that the team couldn't find any information on them.
  • Alien Sky: The Battle Weary World has not one, but two moons, Eris and Ceres.
  • Alpha Strike: Players can activate their own Alpha Strikes, which vary depending on the special weapons they have equipped on their aircraft. Guided missiles will lock and fire simultaneously at a single target, while unguided munitions like bombs and rockets ripple-fire within two or three seconds, regardless of their original volley timers. While capable of dealing incredibly high damage against singular targets, especially if you've got weapons ready to go on your hardpoints, it comes at a cost of a doubled reload timer for all weapons, forcing you to fall back on guns while your weapons reload. And of course, VT's fiendish AI will not hesitate to use it on you.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: The TDC-17 Pesanta. While it's main purpose is theorized to use chemical ordinance, it carries plenty of scout drones to allow for precise targeting from long range.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Machovsky particles, which are used to power chemical lasers and turn them into One Hit Kill weapons.
  • Art Evolution: The game's general aesthetic, colour palette and music has gone through three major iterations through its two-year development. Vector Thrust started off as a minimalistic game with royalty-free soundtracks and a colour palette similar to most modern games. After its Alpha-funding ceased the game gradually evolved a more colourful environment and aircraft as well as sourcing an independent musical composure. Finally on its Steam release the music changed from synthetic orchestra to live recordings and the HUD grew more complex and prominent.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • The AI in the game is coded to resemble human behaviour, with several different 'persona's that can range from highly aggressive to being more calculating and cunning. One of the main principles for AI development is that "anything the player can do, the AI can do too."
    • Enemy capital ships can and will concentrate point-defence gunfire at a single target to kill it faster.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Aircraft still like to crash into the ground though, but given it's often when somebody is harassing them from a higher altitude. Additionally missiles can be quite dumb.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Usually, every aircraft starts off with an Angle-Of-Attack Limiter engaged to limit airframe stress, but the player can manually disengage this to perform some crazy moves in aircraft that couldn't usually even begin to think of pulling them off. Said stunts include A-10s pulling Cobras, as well as planes flying backwards with the limiter off.
  • Attack Drone:
    • The PDU-17 drone functions similarly to a missile, save for the fact that it totes a small machine gun that it uses to spray enemy forces with before crashing into them and detonating in a powerful explosion.
    • Incubator Update 0.9115 brings us the Blackstar UAV, a super-sized Darkstar reconnaisance drone redesigned for ultra-high altitude ICBM interception using its array of three chemical laser systems.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: For a pretendant to the crown, Prince Clovis is VERY good at flying a fighter jet, an isn't afraid to show it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Hitting the limiters in a one versus many situation - yes, removing the alpha safety may allow you to powerslide like nobody's business while pointing your nose at an enemy, but then you end up a big, slow target for their buddies.
    • Long-Range Air to Ground Missiles. So, you've got a heavy missile boasting the power of a large bomb that flies at low altitude to avoid enemy fire? Great, now it flies into mountains and other terrain features.
    • The KC-172S-1 in the Alpha. The missile's range is so extreme, it exceeds the radar range of the aircraft carrying it!
  • Badass Army: Legion.
  • Battleship Raid: The Ziz Hunt battle scenario. There's also rumors about a new EOS naval superweapon, later revealed to be the EOS-04-1, which puts that poor Ziz next to it to shame in sheer size.
  • BFG: The 135mm cannons carried by destroyers can and will shoot at your craft, blowing you out of the sky if you're unlucky enough to be hit. The Ziz carries two 80mm cannons that will annihilate anything they can get a bead on. Player controlled examples include the GAU-8 Avenger 'tank buster' cannon and the larger bore cannons carried by Russian aircraft.
  • Bigger Stick: The entire point of the Challenge Mode — unlocking more powerful aircraft as the player progresses.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Updates every week!
    • Report 048: Game Editor Part II, states in the first line that it will not be in fact, about the game editor. It is.
  • Chinese with Chopper Support: The beta update added several Chinese planes, primarily variants of the Chengdu J-7, but also the prototype Shenyang J-31.
  • Clown Car Base: EOS-14 is a massive fortress/bunker thing that starts spawning large amounts of MiG-29s from Hammerspace once its first point-defence suite is knocked out of commission.
  • Corporate Warfare: Happens a lot in the 21st Century. Corporations start to fight each other for control of territory in parts of Sihai, Juushin, and southern Kaesel, as they continue to gain power.
  • Crew of One: Before the game entered beta, nobody was flying the planes. Otherwise played straight in the same manner as Ace Combat, with the player controlling all functions of their planes.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Aircraft remain fully functional even with one HP left. Lose that however, and you'll randomly burst into flame and explode if somebody so much as sneezes at you. Given the difficulty and the weird directional damage systems of the game, it's usually very hard to get into a situation like this.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Subverted. Anything the AI can do, the player can do, and vice versa.
  • Cool Plane:
    • With the amount of aircraft to choose from, there are too many to count. Examples can include the Su-47, Su-27, F-14, MiG-29, F-15 and F-22. There are variants of each plane that are even cooler though, like the F-22X Alvaraptor, which is a F-22 with forward swept wings, the F-15J Kai+ from Patlabor, and the Su-37 "Terminator".
    • Justified in-universe. In a setting where dropping a nuke on somebody is often a viable first move, every nation trying to survive has some sort of sophisticated anti-ballistic missile system that has made conventional nuclear delivery means like ICBMs and cruise missiles obsolete in favor of bombers that can penetrate these defences, and the fighters and interceptors to defend and attack them, resulting in militaries with heavily developed and highly advanced air forces.
    • While not necessarily cool in-universe, the SBA-21 'Gemini' heavy bomber certainly qualifies- it's a massive bomber twice the size of a B-52, developed during the 1960s. While antiquated, it utilises a very unique 'air-mine' defence weapon that will give any attacker trying to get an easy kill from behind a nasty surprise.
  • Cool Boat: Vector Thrust doesn't skimp on this area as well, boasting watercraft ranging from the Karel Doorman class frigates, Arleigh-Burke class destroyers, numerous fast patrol and torpedo boats, as well as aircraft carriers like the Nimitz. More radical designs include the British STAC trimaran carrier, the Sea Shadow stealth destroyer, as well as the NAM-16 double-decker design. There's also the absolutely huge EOS-04-1 Leviathan.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The EOS-01 ZIZ flying fortress can soak up an entire Hyperspace Arsenal of missiles.
    • With its redundant hull system, the Leviathan looks like it's shaping up to be one of these.
  • Distinctive Appearances: Legion almost always sorties with their black-and-gold liveried Berkut fighters. Likewise, generally all aircraft of the same type and associated with a certain organisation will also bear the same paint scheme, bar ace squadrons. Mercenary groups are the exception, since they source their aircraft from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Go on, fly straight towards that AA battery.
  • The Dreaded Dreadnought: The EOS-04-1 Leviathan easily claims this title. It wiped out five naval battlegroups with ease. Consider that the Legion has TWELVE of these.
  • Easy Logistics: As per Ace Combat standard, you have unlimited fuel. Subverted with the Fuel mutator for Skirmish.
  • Elite Army: The Legion numbers only around 200 pilots but is feared across the world for their heavy-handed tactics whenever they intervene to stabilise a nuclear conflict.
  • Enemy Chatter: Standard for this kind of game. You can even add voice packs for it, a la Unreal Tournament.
  • Energy Weapon:
    • The Linear One-Way Accelerator, or L1WAC. It's hidden in the game files and can one-hit kill any unit with a chemical energy blast.
    • There is also the SWA-1 Gaspring, a large aircraft similar in size and shape to the Ziz, that is armed with a myriad of special lasers that when shot, stay there and last a full minute before dissipating. The Gaspring makes a deadly no fly zone laser net with this by shooting said lasers all over the place. Don't even think of going behind it.
  • Epic Fail: Originally, each aircraft in the Challenge Mode was meant to have 6 challenges per craft. Given the amount of aircraft in-game, this amounted to over 1000 challenges. Time Symmetry responded to this by introducing a procedurally generated challenge system, but the sheer ammount of uncontrolled possibilities resulted in missions such as taking down 737 airliners trying to dogfight you, using unguided bombs alone. Quickly, Time Symmetry chose to make a single mission for each unit, before the Beta update allowed to purchase licenses for each craft using in-game money shared across all game modes .
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: The default briefing layout involve a ridiculous login sequence with systems diagnostics and Techno Babble scrolling up the side of the screen on par with Ace Combat standards. Context-specific briefings such as Hollow Thunder's allows for a considerably more immersive, voiced and animated briefing speech.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The nations of the Battle Weary World, most notably the six superpowers.
    • Kaesel is a combination of the United States and Israel, with some expansionist tendencies.
    • Poltavia is based off Russia, with the exception that it never had a Soviet government.
    • Sihai is based off Imperial China.
    • Juushin is Imperial Japan with major isolationist tendencies resembling the pre-Meiji era and a major penchant for resolving tensions peacefully.
    • Eulyria is a modern take of the Roman Republic, and their neighbor Prytha is a smaller Roman Empire.
    • Hodou is an almost exact copy of India.
  • Fantasy World Map: Has a map of its own, in Strangereal-like fashion. Also comes with other maps on the bottom, such as climate, population density and radiological hazard zones.
  • Fragile Speedster: The F-15 Streak Eagle and P-42, which both can outclimb a Saturn V rocket, but carry no armor at all.
  • Game Mod: Half the reason for the game is the ability to tweak absolutely anything you can think of, from simply repainting the jets to full-on campaigns with custom voice work and new jets.
  • Geo Effects: Electronic Warfare is ludicrously complex. It can get to the point where units are flying through jamming, false-information and IFF disablers while receiving electronic support, being hidden by a 'stealth hole' and being mirrored to grant the illusion that there are more of them than there really are.
  • Glass Cannon: Most aircraft go down in two or three missile hits, and carry a Hyperspace Arsenal containing many, many missiles themselves. Particularly noteworthy are late-game variants of the Starfighter family, which gain cluster bombs and anti-ship missiles in contrast to the piddly single unguided bombs and rocket pods used by earlier examples. In terms of air-to-air firepower they also gain another hardpoint for a semi-active radar missile, doubling their long-range anti-air power.
  • Gratuitous French: Played straight with the Campaign-specific paint scehmes. As French implicitly seems to be the Kingdom's most widespread language, Ash's aircraft generally feature French letterings and signs such as "NE PAS MARCHER", the equivalent of "DO NOT STEP", something usually printed on a Rafale's control surfaces and other sensible spots.
  • Guns Are Worthless: A special case, because guns are intended to be the inferior weapons, but they deal Scratch Damage, have an unreliable reticle that lies to you, and the M61 used by most American jets overheats if fired continuously for more than a couple seconds. Updates have increased their damage and accuracy, but even with those bonuses, good luck hitting anything with them (at least you can rest easy knowing that the AI can't hit you at close range either).
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: Standard for the series, though this doesn't work as well anymore with the update that makes IR-missiles more receptive towards engine afterburners.
  • High-Tech Hexagons: The Pause Screen and several of the menu backgrounds have them plastered all over the place.
  • Honor Before Reason: Mission 5 of the Hollow Thunder campaign; after Coalition carrier Resolute loses Showtime Squadron to Ash, they refuse to send anymore planes, only for the second carrier Stoykiy to angrily berate them and remind them of their obligations to prevent anyone from entering the Exclusion Zone, even ranting in incoherent Poltavian at certain points.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The achievement system, in particular the ones revolving around points.
  • Joke Character: The AFTI has no wings and is as maneuverable as a brick. The Surprise Fighter B also is an example of this — it looks like an upside down shark, for one.
  • Kill Sat:
    • The Ion Rain Mutator involves several dozen of them raining L1WAC beams onto the battlefield.
    • While technically not a satellite, the Blackstar drone flies at ultra-high altitudes and rains terrifying laser death upon the battlefield below it (it's actually designed to intercept nuclear missiles as they climb up into orbit).
  • Evil Is Hammy: Rather widespread in Hollow Thunder. Particular mention for a bomber pilot in mission 2 who sounds taken straight out from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Prince Clovis, who turns it into an art form.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Update 0.9115 gives us the L1WAC-8B variant of the original laser with greatly improved performance. Obviously, it fires a red beam.
  • Leitmotif: The Vector Thrust theme and a host of variations makes it into nearly piece of music in the game.
  • Lethal Joke Character: The antique MiG-21 and its family can carry all-aspect missiles. Bonus points if you've modded the game to give them some scary weapons. A more strange variant of this is the Su-74 Tukreb, a variant of the Su-47 with its wings slapped on backwards. Its performance is pretty similar to its predecessor and some may argue its conventional control surfaces are also pretty cool as well.
  • Level Editor: Incomplete, but it's there. Currently there are functional Map, Mission and Campaign editors to allow players to make their own single-player campaigns or one-off Battle Scenarios.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • Another secret weapon, the Micro-Missile Munition, or MMM-1C. It packs a 14-round salvo and carries hundreds in reserve. Even its Skirmish mutator is called Itano Circus.
    • The Leviathan's CIWS missile tubes certainly invoke this - you'll need to keep your speed up at all times to avoid being blown into next week by a constant stream of munitions.
    • Also occurs whenever you have three or more enemy aircraft lodged firmly on your six.
    • Outside of mutators, the developer has been working with fans to rework aircraft loadouts, which almost always lean towards updating the special weapon loadout to the maximum possible mounted by the aircraft. Since Vector Thrust's mechanics allow for salvos of more than two missiles at a time, this often results in aircraft launching anywhere from four to eight missiles in one go as opposed as the previous two.
  • Mighty Glacier: The A-10 and its less common counterpart the Su-25 make an appearance. They may be slow and ungainly, but they carry a massive payload: The A-10 in particular is the only aircraft in the game capable of mounting 6 AGM-64 missiles and firing them all at once, making it one of the heaviest-hitting attackers in the game.
  • Mile-Long Ship: The EOS-04-01 Leviathan measures just over 1500 metres.
  • Mooks: The concept was introduced with an update that added the 'Grunt' AI.
  • More Dakka: To a T. The More Dakka mutator increases the rate of fire of aircraft cannons, which already follow basic design principles, i.e.: rotary cannons like the M61 Vulcan fire faster than revolver cannons such as the ADEN.
    • The point-defense Phalanx cannons mounted on all the superweapons and most of the larger destroyers and carriers certainly manage to pull this trope off. Enemy fleets like to invoke this especially well because they coordinate their fire at a single target, usually tearing them apart within seconds.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The moment two battling forces look on their radar and see the Legion approaching, everyone present immediately books it out of there.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Several companies and PM Cs, such as APEX Solutions, Samson, CRADLE, and Cerin Defense have large and effective armies that get the job done, complete with tanks, logistics, navy, air force, and even a few superweapons as trump cards. Special mention goes for Sigsawa Heavy Industries, who designed and built the EOS series of weapon platforms such as the EOS-01 Ziz and EOS-04-1 Leviathan, and put them to good use against their competitors when the need arose.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: The Alpha Campaign had you thrown into random engagement with no continuity or context. Justified, in that it's a demonstration of what the game's early-alpha campaign mechanics were capable of.
  • Nose Art: Some of the schemes for the A-10A and J-35 have them. It's also possible to make your own for any craft, of course.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The ANGEL superweapon Zongran. No one knows what it looks like, how powerful it is, what it can do, or what purpose it serves; it's also never encountered in any campaign. Fly Away only briefly references it in comments in a manner that makes the Zongran seem like a Mechanical Abomination.
  • Nuclear Option: In this universe, they're often one of the first options considered.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Completely and probably disturbingly averted: Black Ops Report 6 states that after the end of World War III, nukes are often thrown around like conventional weapons.
  • One-Hit Kill: The fate of any unfortunate victim of a L1WAC blast, MPBM or SWBM.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder:
    • Most challenges with an objective more complex than "shoot down other fighters" turn you into this.
    • A Skirmish Mutator invokes this trope and references it by name.
  • One-Woman Wail: Present in the Main Theme.
  • Pillar of Light: A SWBM detonation sends a massive, neon-blue pillar shockwave into the atmosphere, along with a rapidly expanding ring of destruction that will swat any nearby planes out of the sky.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Prep my nighthound!". Cue an Ace Custom craft coming out to gut you.
  • Recurring Riff: Each of the game's campaigns will have a unique riff popping up in their respective soundtracks. The game's signature theme is also suggested to show up across each campaign's music.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: AI pilots are not afraid to leg it if they're facing down a technologically or numerically superior foe.
  • Shmuck Bait: Anyone trying to get behind the SBA-21 Gemini heavy bomber or an SWA-1 Gaspring.
  • Shout-Out: Several!
    • The Multi-Purpose Burst Missile, Shockwave Ballistic Missile and Long Range Shockwave Missile from Ace Combat are all hidden in the game files.
      • Two more to Ace Combat Zero, though only in the pre-Steam version: "Solo Wing" is an achievement for surviving massive damage. An achievement for hitting enemies head-on is called "Fire Away, Coward!" Additionally, one of the default skins for the Su-74 Tukreb is heavily inspired by the Gault team's Su-47.
      • The track 'Foxtrot 14' is one massive musical shout-out to the composition style of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
      • Random names for enemy pilots in Skirmish can include references to player characters from Ace Combat, including "SCARFACE" and "RIBBON".
      • Another general Ace Combat reference comes with the special weapons themselves, which are properly named after their real-world counterparts but are still suffixed with AC's name for that type of weapon, like the F-14 family's Phoenix missiles, which can target four to six enemies at once depending on the plane, being called the "AIM-54A XLAA".
      • One superweapon, the TDC-17 Pesanta, is able to maneuver like a fighter for short periods of time, much like the Orgoi.
    • An achievement for using napalm bombs is Fire Bomber.
      • A paintscheme for the Falcon CCV is very similar to the one used by Basara's.
      • One of the mutators, which replaces the standard missiles with the much more spammable Micro-Missile Munition, is likewise named "Itano Circus".
    • The Overdrive Mutator bears a heavy resemblance to TRANS-AM.
    • The design of the L1WAC, mutators such as Instagib and Volatile Unit, and the command menu, were said to be inspired by Unreal Tournament.
    • Update 0.9104 gives us the MiG-28. The achievement for making ten kills with guns is "Jester Dead".
    • The F-15J Kai+ is flyable. The F-15Z, in turn, bears a heavy resemblance to another fictional aircraft inspired by the Kai+, Ace Combat 2's F-15S.
  • Shown Their Work: Time Symmetry has a thing for pulling up the most obscure variants of aircraft from the deepest, most heavily censored parts of the internet to put into his game, much to the chagrin of the dude tasked with writing descriptions for them.
  • Silent Protagonist: Up to Eleven. Ash isn't just silent because he doesn't have lines like the protagonists of Ace Combat, it's his actual legitimate nature. In the campaign cut-scenes, he never says a word, and the best answer anyone can get out of him is a shrug.
  • Spinventory: The Hangar does this in lieu of having an actual view of a hangar. Not having made landing gear models also probably necessitates this.
  • Squad Controls: Almost ridiculously elaborate for an arcade sim. The player can direct teammates on weapon usage, formation spread, rules of engagement, and other tactics.
  • Standard Status Effects: Standard for the genre, anyway. If an aircraft has datalink capabilities, they will be able to perform one or more of the following:
    • Stats Up: Increases radar capabilities for allied aircraft nearby, allowing them to detect both stealthier aircraft and more distant aircraft.
    • Data Sharing: Coordinates FCS to aircraft around the user, allowing them to fire at targets that their allies have locked onto even if they can't detect or aren't in radar range.
    • Detection Hole: Hides nearby allies from radar, allowing them to make an unexpected entrance later on. However, it doesn't hide them visually, meaning a sharp-eyed player may see them early and raise an alarm.
    • Mirror: Receives and broadcasts false electronic signals in response to enemy radar searches, granting the illusion that there are more units out there than there really is. Advanced variants can even fool enemy radar into locking onto them, wasting precious ammo for the enemy if long-range attacks are launched. At close range however, enemy pilots will realise that the mirrored aircraft are nothing but thin air, and they can't fool heat-seeking missiles.
    • Lock Disabler: Prevents enemy aircraft from locking onto allied units around the user.
    • IFF Disabler: Disables the computers from determining who is an ally and who isn't. Not so effective against lone wolves, but against close-knit squadrons can be absolutely devastating if they can't visually confirm their teammates.
    • Map Disabler: Disables the global map to hide allied tactical movements from an enemy AWACS or similar aircraft.
    • ESCM: Electronic Support Counter Measures that neutralizes buffs given by enemies to their allies.
      • Worth noting is that the more aircraft are affected by the user, the more strain on the system, meaning occasional disconnections that temporarily put the ECM or ESM out of action for a second or two. In addition, aircraft using Synthetic Vision like the ECR will render 3D models in place of radar contacts, meaning that they are especially vulnerable to electronic meddling.
  • Super-Deformed: Eggplane Mode.
  • Super Mode: A mutator for Skirmish mode allows the player and AI to toggle "Overdrive Mode". It looks like TRANS-AM.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: The QAAM from Ace Combat returns with varying performance based on what type of missile is being used. Older models like the Russian R-60 will be content with leading their targets, while more advanced models like the XAAM-5 will come back for another try if you manage to squirm out of their grasp.
  • The Alliance: The International Coalition formed after World War III, led by the leading superpowers Kaesel and Poltavia, who maintain peace throughout the world and make sure The Kingdom remains blocked off for as long as it exists. Unfortunately, they are looked down upon, mainly for their glaringly poor communication between member nations.
  • The Order: A partially state-funded organisation of pilots, soldiers and politicians known as Legion is responsible for preventing another nuclear catastrophe on the scale that caused the Kingdom.
  • Theme Naming: The ANGEL superweapons are all named after mythical creatures or gods.
  • The War Sequence:
    • The final battle of the Alpha campaign had a massive furball erupt above the ocean involving dozens of aircraft on your side and even more on the enemy's.
    • The non-mandatory "Combined Operations" Battle Scenario, consists of a large land, air, and sea battle with numbers too high to count on both sides - and, as always, you leading the charge to destroy the enemy.
  • Transforming Vehicle: A downplayed example with the J-35 MOD Level 4, which has canards near the intakes for added maneuverability, but which have to be folded down to fire the cannon.
  • Triumphant Reprise: Strike Force is one of these to the Dreamers' theme, and then the Vector Thrust Main Theme is one to the triumphant reprise of Strike Force while having a triumphant reprise to itself in the same song.
  • Turns Red: EOS-14 will activate massive amounts of new CIWS gun turrets and start launching planes from its runway when you take out its first set of point defenses.
  • Upgrade vs. Prototype Fight: Fully possible with the sheer amount of variants for each plane.
    • The F-104 Starfighter is a notable example as in addition to the YF-104 prototype, the game includes the preceding XF-104 experimental testbed, all the way up to the ASA/M, the final variant to be produced.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: An intercepted transmission reveals Overton, an intelligence agent contracted by somebody in the Kingdom to fill them in on the status of the outside world. However, it's hinted that he drops this and become an actual pilot in the Legion that you fight against.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The EOS-01 Ziz, specifically the standard T-type, has zero armaments on it's underbelly, meaning you can fly under it and continuously throw missiles and it cannot do anything to retaliate. Averted with the F-types in the Ziz Pursuit scenarios, which are armed to the teeth on both the top and bottom with CIWS guns and missiles.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Legion almost always fights in their black-and-gold liveried Berkuts. Canonically every ace or player character has a certain aircraft they are portrayed as flying.


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