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Video Game / Vigilante 8

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"Blow sh*t up!"

Time: The '70s, during an oil crisis. A greedy conglomerate called OMAR (short for Oil Monopoly Alliance Regime) was buying up all the oil companies of the world and was on the way to being the only source for oil. However, there was one country that was out of their grasp: The United States. To rectify this, OMAR hired a terrorist named Sid Burn to destroy any and all oil companies in the Southwest so that OMAR could swoop in and pick up the remains. Sid creates a gang known as the Coyotes, made up of crazy drivers bent on destruction, and terrorizes the Southwest with their armed vehicles. After one attack too many and no law enforcement to help them, a trucker named Convoy took matters into his own hands and organized a counter force known as the Vigilantes. After a raid on a military base, both sides wind up with weapons of mass destruction and the battle for the Southwest begins.

Created by Activision, Vigilante 8 was a Spiritual Successor to Interstate '76 and their answer to the Twisted Metal franchise, and it proved to be no slouch in vehicular combat. Destructible stages that also brought along their own hazards, special moves for the regular weapons, a nice story (albeit rather tongue-in-cheek), mind-blowing music, and some very tight gameplay made it a great alternative to TM.

Was later followed by a sequel, Vigilante 8: 2nd Offense. The game also has a remake called Vigilante 8 Arcade for Xbox Live Arcade which improves the graphics and had a few of the sequel's elements.

Vigilante 8 provides the following tropes:

  • The '70s: Although a mild subversion occurs in the first game, which features some late '60s cars and trucks.
  • Afro Asskicker: Torque, Houston and the the Flying All-Star team.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Toyed with - Y the Alien a.k.a. Garbage Man in 2nd Offense wants to Kill All Humans, but only because his friends were dissected by scientists. On the other hand, the player will definitely feel this way towards aliens when on the receiving end of Dave's special.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: Beezwax's special weapon.
  • Big Bad: Sid Burn, the terrorist hired by OMAR who is sent to destroy all the oil companies in America. He's also the leader of all the coyotes who assist him with his wanton destruction.
  • Big Badass Rig: Convoy has a yellow one. In the sequel, you can attach tractor trailers to it.
  • Bond One-Liner: In PlayStation ports of the first two games, the characters make a joke, silly pun, or snark at their defeated opponents.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Houston, who manages to free herself.
  • Call-Back: At the end of the first game, Convoy discards all of his accumulated weaponry, seeing no use for it anymore. This is what gets him killed in the opening to the second game, with Houston's story arc revolving around tracking down his killers and then manipulating time travel to avert this.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Every character does this when they fire their special weapon.
  • Cattle Punk: Dallas, a robot designed with the motif.
  • Cool Car: All qualify, except for the trucks and buses.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: Averted. All endings in both the first and second are canon, but the good guy always wins.
  • Dead Man Honking: Implied when you wear down your opponent's life bar completely and the horn goes off. You now have a few seconds to "Total" his vehicle. However Gameplay and Story Segregation is in effect and Everybody Lives, especially in the first game ( in the first game, only Beeswax died, and in the second game, only Clyde and Padre Destino dies and that is only in the endings. Although Sid is never seen or heard from in the second game, so Torque may have killed him.)
  • Deflector Shield: The green shield power-ups, which makes the player invincible for about twenty seconds.
  • Disco Dan: Boogie. His special attack is the use of a disco ball, even!
  • Fauxrrari: There's quite a few familiar cars in the games, such as the Ford Bronco, Lincoln Continental, AMC Pacer, AMC Eagle and Winnebago, but called "Clydesdale", "Jefferson", "Leprechaun", "Wapiti 4WD", and "Xanadu RV" in the game.
  • Finishing Move: "Totalling" an enemy vehicle (as mentioned above, when you wear down their life bar all the way and their horns go off). This is done by using your own special attack or a button combo attack with the standard weapons. Do this before the fallen enemy vehicle self-destructs on you'll score a "Total". There's even an onscreen prompt that says "[Enemy] wrecked, total it!"
  • Flying Saucer: Y the Alien's vehicle. And it's awesome.
  • Flyover Country: Pretty much the first game's entire setting, save for a secret military base and a small casino town. Heck, even the California levels in both games were just a Central Valley farm (in the first) and the Port of Long Beach (in the second).
  • Gatling Good: Shelia's special attack.
  • Ghost Town: A level of that motif (set in New Mexico).
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: And there may be no better music for inspiring people to shoot things up! Especially Boogie.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Houston broke free of her mind control bracelet at the end of the first game which Clyde later found in the men's bathroom of a gas station and married Convoy in the 2nd game.
  • Hell Gate: Padre's special weapon.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • In Sid's ending, he manages to (apparently) destroy the American oil industry and get paid. But his car is out of gas and there are no stations for miles thanks to him. And since all endings are canon, he failed anyway and later being captured by Torque.
    • All the Coyotes in the original game exception of Houston have their ending cinematic as this.
    • If you play as Dave or Dusty, your special weapon can damage you if you use it in close quarters.
  • La Résistance: The Vigilantes.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • Convoy's special attack is an improvised explosive device called the Steel Belter, a spare tire laced with TNT that somehow also has homing capabilities.
    • Molo's special attack is...a tailpipe that generates excess smog and has farting sound effects. Weak, right? Well, try backing into somebody and using it right on top of them. It'll shred their health bar in seconds.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the Vigilante 8 games still have occasional dramatic/scary moments, it's still more lighthearted and comical than its car combat equivalent, Twisted Metal, not to mention Vigilante 8 has definitive good endings for the good guys. And as for the bad guys, they either get a Heel–Face Turn, a Laser-Guided Karma, or a Karmic Twist Ending.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Clyde's special weapon.
  • Limited Loadout: In all three games, you are only allowed to have three main weapons at a time including your Special attack (though the machine gun is your default weapon and thankfully doesn't count towards this). If you do pick up an additional weapon while having all three slots occupied, the weapon you have selected will be replaced by the pickup. On a positive note, the replaced weapon will be discarded and returned to the battlefield so you can pick it up again if you made a mistake.
  • Number Two: John Torque to Convoy.
  • Oh, Crap!: Clyde during his ending just before Obake crashes his limo into a building.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Every character has one when they fire their special weapon.
  • Pyromaniac: Sid Burn in the first game.
  • Shockwave Stomp: Torque's special via a sound system.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Interstate '76.
  • Surplus Damage Bonus: When a car is critically damaged, it will remain intact for a few more seconds before finally blowing up. If you do enough additional damage, it will blow up from your shots, which the game refers to as "Totalling".
    _____'s car is wrecked — Total it!
  • Vehicular Combat
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Sid Burn iss the vile villain while Boogie and Molo seem to share the role of laughable lackey.
  • Weaponized Car: Guess.
  • The Wild West: Sorta. Most of the areas in the first game definitely count, being set in Nevada or Arizona and primarily taking place in arid desert.
  • World of Badass