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Video Game / Velvet Assassin

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Velvet Assassin is a stealth game developed by Replay Studios and released in April 2009 for PC and XBOX 360.

It follows female British spy Violette Summer (based on real life secret agent Violette Szabo) during WWII. The game begins with Violette comatose in the hospital bed of a small village in France, where the player relives her past missions through France, Germany and Poland via flashbacks leading up to the point where she was hospitalized. Every so often you are shown glimpses of the present, where two doctors at her bedside are shown arguing whether to keep her on life support, kill her to save her from being tortured if she is discovered, or give her over to the Schutzstaffel to save the village from torture.

The game is known for its dark, unnerving atmosphere and portrayal of one of history's darkest periods.

The game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Violette Summer, of course.
  • Back Stab: In dozens of flavors.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Vests help you take more punishment and take a rather high amount of damage to break, but Violette always manages to lose her armor between missions, forcing you to find another set.
  • Bullet Time: Using morphine stops time momentarily allowing you to kill one alerted guard. This is an effect caused by the drugs in Violette's system back in the present day, as when she wakes up and leaves the hospital, you are no longer able to use morphine.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: An overconfident Waffen S.S. soldier refers to the French in this manner. A more experienced soldier tells him that he's obviously a rookie who has no idea what he's talking about, and that if he doesn't change his attitude he'll just get himself killed.
  • Combat Pragmatist: An early level includes an area full of poison gas. Violette doesn't bother stabbing enemies there, preferring to simply snatch their masks.
    • A few of Violet's kill animations showcase this aspect. There is one where she kicks the Nazi full-force in the groin and then finishes him off with a Double Tap as he falls to the ground in pain. There is another rather disturbing one where Violet pulls her victim down, straddles him and then just... keeps stabbing him again and again, at least eleven times.
  • Crate Expectations: C'mon, would it be a third-person action game without some crate-pushing?
  • Cyanide Pill: One set of missions revolves around delivering one to a captured agent.
  • Downer Ending: The Nazis eventually find out where Violette is being kept, and storm the hospital just as she wakes up from her coma. She manages to sneak her way out and in to the village, where she sees Nazi soldiers razing buildings and shooting civilians. They are all eventually rounded up inside a church, where despite her efforts to save them (taking down several waves of soldiers in armed combat), she is unable to free them and collapses as the Nazis burn down the church. Adding insult to injury, her last assassination target, Kamm, is shown to be still alive and leading the assault. The last we see of Violette during the credits is her on a small cliff in her hospital gown, overlooking a seemingly abandoned German plane.
    • Not to mention the real life Violette is recorded to have died, after being caught, from an execution. While it's not a fate that is said to befall the game's Violette , there's nothing that indicates she'll survive the war either.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: You can change into an SS outfit on some missions and try to sneak by the guards instead of fighting them, but Conspicuously Selective Perception rears its ugly head as your enemies will attack you for doing anything other than walking slowly from 30 yards away. Possibly justified, though, as a sexy new female soldier is going to raise some curiousity, especially in Nazi Germany.
  • Drugs Causing Slow-Motion: The game features morphine, which slows down time in a show of flower pedals while Violette is able to run past or up to an enemy. It lasts for either a few seconds or one knife kill. Once Violette wakes up from the coma, morphine is no longer usable.
  • Dump Stat: Morphine, you'll rarely need more than one morphine use between pick-ups as the game is generally designed so you can clear most sections with only the knife if you're good enough and maybe a level-up or two in Stealth to crouch-walk faster, even Strength, which reduces damage slightly, can be useful for sections where combat is all-but forced onto the player, even the minor benefit of morphine lastling longer doesn't really help that much since it lasts long enough from the start. Not to mention the final levels no longer have Morphine as a mechanic, rendering any skill points put into Morphine wasted.
  • Enemy Chatter: A considerable number of scripted sequences occur that you can listen in on. Some (like an argument over a candy bar) are to lighten the mood, while others intensify it, like the occasional repentant guard or genocide enthusiast.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Actually worn by our heroine, undoubtedly due to her artistic roots in the style of the Femme Fatale and old pulp stories.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Surprisingly averted; Violette never uses her considerable feminine wiles on her missions, preferring the more direct method of stabbing Nazis through the skull. Even the dimwitted guards in this game can't be fooled into thinking that a well-armed British woman snuck onto their turf just to look for a good time.
  • Framing Device: The missions play out as the memories of a comatose Violette.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Justified in that the guards with masks are working in areas filled with deadly fumes. Violette can kill them by simply slipping their mask off from behind.
  • Groin Attack: One of the many possible assassination animations.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Artificial Stupidity abounds, from guards failing to hear their buddy getting butchered from five feet away to not checking inside an obvious hiding spot like the game's many wardrobes. If you do get caught, you can simply go through a door to a previous area and wait for them to give up and reset back to their old patrol routes.
  • Heal Thyself: Medikits are all over the place.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted; as the game involves the atrocities of the Holocaust, it shows dead children lying in the streets or hanging from the gallows.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Averted for the most part. Firing the Suppressed Colt has a fairly large sound radius and, is just like using the whistle command, with the added misfortune of alerting enemies rather than just distracting them. However, like the rest of the totally silent instant kill take downs, the ones featuring use of the Colt are just as silent.
  • How We Got Here: Most of the story takes place in the past, eventually leading up to the moment when the heroine is hospitalized where we first see her at the start of the game.
  • Kill It with Fire: Many options along these lines, including a Flare Gun, Exploding Barrels, and even guards standing in gas puddles that are ripe targets for those magical Bullet Sparks.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Violette, of course, which is probably the only sane reaction to what she witnesses on the job.
  • La Résistance
  • Notice This: Objects have a sparkling white marker to make them visible at a distance.
  • No Swastikas: There are no Swastikas present despite the enemies being Nazis, this is because Replay Studios is a German company where it is currently prohibited to include the symbol in video games.
  • Painted-On Pants: A few missions in Violette abandons her bomber jacket and jeans in favor of a more contemporary ensemble that wouldn't be out of place in Danger Girl. It's a bit more... flattering to her figure, but still tasteful and functional. The tight leather pants seem like they were molded into the perfect shape of her butt.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil
  • Pineapple Surprise: Not very stealthy, but quite fun. And the guards in the next area won't hear it anyhow.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Or good old-fashioned strangulation if the sniper rifle is used.
  • Psycho Knife Nut: Violette's default weapon. Some of the kill animations show that she REALLY gets into her work.
  • RPG Elements: A rather unique take on it here, as you can enhance Violette's abilities via Experience Points. These are earned by finding collectible trinkets or completing secret secondary missions, though, and not via combat.
  • Scare Chord: One of these slowly builds each time you stalk an enemy from behind, growing in noise right until you get within killing range and unload on a guard. The game throws in the Red Filter of Doom for good measure.
  • Sniping Mission: The sniper rifle is a fairly common weapon later in the game, but some areas are designed so that you have no choice but to take it out.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Violette is an assassin who seems to enjoy her work quit a bit. One target needs to be shot from a nearby windmill through a window? Why be quick and clean when you can ignite the inexplicable gas barrel in the room and send the entire building up in flames! The take down kills also range from a hard knock to the head, to the classic throat slit, to grappling with them and stabbing them repeatedly at least 10 times!
  • Third-Person Seductress: Considering the grim setting, though, it's not dialed up very high.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: And considering the historical context, there's no way for the game to use any of the traditional Stealth-Based Game hand waves that more modern or futuristic titles can employ. Of course, mowing through an atmospheric stealth game with an ample supply of machine gun rounds kind of defeats both the purpose and the challenge of the game, so chalk it up as an Acceptable Break from Reality. Still, this trope hits the fan on the second-to-last mission, when Violette desperately needs to secure some firearms but never thinks to just take some off of the dozens of guards she just spent the last hour painstakingly hunting down with her knife. (Never mind the Fridge Logic of her somehow knowing there's a full weapon locker on the other end of the stage.)
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story
    • This game takes place before real life Szabo executed her first mission. Szabo was active in 1944, only in France. Velvet Assassin takes place not only in France, but Poland and Germany itself, in 1943, during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Operation Gomorrah. Velvet Assassin does not at all follow the spy its based off of.