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Video Game / Vigilante 8

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"Blow sh*t up!"

Set in 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: Second Offense. Slick Clyde, one of the original Vigilantes, has turned evil and gone to work for OMAR. Over the years, he rises through the ranks until he becomes CEO of the company, becoming known as Lord Clyde. However, the U.S is still out of OMAR's reach, which annoys Clyde to no end. So he steals an experimental time machine from Stanford and, along with two subordinates of his, travels back to the '70s to change history, starting with trying to off Convoy. The attack seemingly succeeds, and the Coyotes are re-created again. Convoy's niece Sheila and his widow Houston take up the mantle as the Vigilantes' new leaders to combat them. In the midst of this are the Drifters, who aren't affiliated with either side and just out for themselves.


Included more new areas (as well as the originals you can unlock), characters, cars and weapons, as well as modification pick ups which allow you fly, float on water or add skis for more traction.

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:

  • 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.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: In Second Offense, as you upgrade your character's stats using Salvage points, their car will gain extra parts and equipment depending on the stat you upgrade. (Upgrading acceleration outfits the cars with spoilers and/or a beefier engine, upgrading shield gives them Deflector Shields and/or more intimidating bumper grills and covers, ETC.) Once you upgrade them all to 100, their entire car will be replaced with a tricked out Hot Rod version. Unfortunately the player is unable to revert back to their original chassis once they've upgraded to the hot-rod without ether starting a new save or intentionally loosing matches so that they'll loose enough Salvage points to revert back. So if you prefer their default chassis with the extra parts, you have to select one stat to ignore. (Top Speed would be the best choice in this case as it's not only is it a Rare Random Drop, but the only thing it adds to the car is a a new set of tires)
  • Axe-Crazy: Bob-O in Second Offense.
  • Bee-Bee Gun: Beezwax's special weapon.
  • Big Bad: Sid Burn in the first game, Lord Clyde in the second.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Molo.
  • Big Badass Rig: Convoy has a yellow one. In the sequel, you can attach tractor trailers to it.
  • Big Good: Convoy.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Happens to Chassey Blue and Agent Chase in Second Offense. After Chase quits the Time Police and decides to stay in the 1970's with Chassey, he's declared AWOL and a rogue. Chassey's ending shows her and Chase driving away with a squad of Time Police cars chasing after them...and then that's the last we see of them.
  • 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Bob-O, the completely batshit insane astronaut that went on a rampage for God-knows-why and only speaks in grunts and hoots. That's because he's an escaped lab monkey.
    • Dave/Dave's Cultsmen as well.
  • 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 in all the games. In Second Offense, Dallas, Obake and Clyde gain these for their default chassis by maxing out their Defense stats.
  • Drive-In Theater: One of the stages in 2nd Offense.
  • Disco Dan: Boogie. His special attack is the use of a disco ball, even!
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Obake in the second game.
  • Easter Egg: In 2nd Offense, ejecting the game disc and putting in the first game will allow you to play the first game's maps.
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the sequel, Clyde, via Houston's mind control bracelet, which he found in the men's bathroom of a gas station at the end of the first game. He was a self-absorbed Jerkass who was only helping the Vigilantes for personal glory before that, but this is when he truly turns evil.
  • 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).
  • Glass Cannon: The Flying All-Star team arguably has the strongest special attack in the second game. Too bad their car loses health if it is so much as rammed.
  • 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. Obake works for the Coyotes throughout the whole of the 2nd game, but chooses to overthrow Clyde and change the future by removing all the polluting industry and replacing them with green power sources such as solar panels and wind generators.
  • 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:
    • In 2nd Offense, Convoy's special attack is "Rolling Thunder", essentially the blasting of the truck's air horns to knock enemies back. However, it can disable the hover pods, skis, and propellers, and it knocks enemies very far back into other hazards - if you're unlucky, light cars will be thrown nearly clear of the map.
      • In the first game, his special is an improvised explosive device called the Steel Belter, a spare tire laced with TNT that somehow also has homing capabilities.
    • Ditto for the Garbage Man, who uses the truck's compactor; doesn't have great range, but if it connects, it will do some serious damage, especially for compact cars, which get sent into the back of the truck to be smashed even more by the internal compactor.
    • Molo's special attack in both games 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.
    • Houston's special attack in the sequel, which involves using the towing hook on her tow truck to...Well, tow your opponent's car around. In order to set it up, you have to get fairly close to your target, within Flamethrower distance, and then drive off, with the damage dealt depending on the tension put on the rope along with Collision Damage from towing them through parts of the environment and into traps. While it's pretty dangerous to set up, a well executed hit and run can chew up your opponent's lifebar. Especially if you incorporate the Hover Pods and land mines into the mix and ESPECIALLY if they end up getting snagged on a wall along the way. With the cheat code for multiple players to use the same character, having two Houstons tow the same opponent in different directions is an instant Total.
  • 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 have definitive good endings (for the good guys).
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Clyde's special weapon.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In Second Offense, Agent Chase (a time-traveling cop from the future) is fascinated by all-beef burgers in the 1970's. Then again, this could be seen as a subtle (and sad) little nod to the dark and dismal future he hails from.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • In Second Offense, Convoy's in-game bio glosses over the fates of the Coyotes from the first game. Among those, Beeswax and Sid Burn are simply stated as "gone".
    • Also, in Second Offense, John Torque's in-game bio vaguely mentions the fate of Sid Burn in this fashion.
    "It's a good thing Sid wasn't coming back for his money. Torque made sure of it, though he would never admit to anything."
  • 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.
  • RPG Elements: In 2nd Offense, scrap points gotten from destroyed vehicles will upgrade the car, eventually giving you a whole new chassis.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Houston's story in the 2nd game. She manages to get her hands on some of the Time Travel tech and go back to the attack on Convoy, saving his life.
  • The '70s: Although a mild subversion occurs in the first game, which features some late 60s cars and trucks.
  • 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!
  • Time Travel: The focus of the second game.
  • Time Police: Agent R. Chase, though of a more ad hoc style than usual.
    Time travel is a privilege, not a right!
  • Tomato Surprise: Bob-O and the Garbageman, who turn out to be a lab monkey and Y the Alien from the first game. It's pretty obvious if you pay attention to their character select screens, various grunts and noises from them, and win quotes.
  • Vehicular Combat
  • 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