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An RTS spin-off of the main Halo games by Ensemble Studios. It was toted as an ambitious attempt to bring the RTS genre to consoles--although critics are split on whether it did a good job at that. It was not the only console RTS game, though, with further examples including Stormrise, Universe At War, and arguably Supreme Commander 2.

Halo Wars provides examples of:

  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Halo Wars has a quite restrictive limit on the number of units you can have at a time.
  • Axe Crazy: The former holder of the title Arbiter-the one in Halo Wars- is an example.
  • Badass Normal: Sergeant Forge. Not just any marine can face an Arbiter one-on-one and WIN.
    • That's not all. One of the game's unlockables hints he got into fight with a Spartan and held his own.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Spirit of Fire crew manage to destroy the Shield World and prevent the Covenant from acquiring the Forerunner ships on the planet, but they had to sacrifice the slipspace drive to do so, meaning that they have to go into cryo-stasis without anyway of getting home.
  • Bond One-Liner: "And for the record, I'd have kicked your ass the first time if the lady hadn't stopped me!"
  • Cold Sniper: Jerome-092 is listed as a Sniper in the game. He actually uses a Spartan Laser, but due to its long range and pinpoint accuracy it acts like a sniper rifle.
  • Clown Car Base: The Elephant. You can train 40 squads - that's 80 flamethrowers or 240 marines out of it. despite the fact it looks like it can hold no more than 20, maybe 30. and even that's pushing it. In fact, if you kill off your guys, you can train even more units out to infinity from this wondrous pachyderm. An achievement requires you to train 100 infantry out of an elephant in a campaign level.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Serina, much more so hilariously sarcastic than anything else. Where as Cortana was much more mild.

 "Recalling surface squads so we can all die together, aye sir."

  • Death by Irony: After the Arbiter almost beats Forge to a pulp, he gets ready to run Forge through with an energy sword, when Forge tells him to look him in the eye. The Arbiter grabs Forge by his head, lifts him up, and says, "My face will be the last thing your pathetic eyes ever see." Forge promptly stabs the Arbiter in the face with a knife, steals the energy sword, and runs the Arbiter through with it, not only killing the Arbiter the same way the Arbiter intended to kill him, but making his face the last thing the Arbiter sees.
  • The Dragon: The previous Arbiter on Harvest seems to have taken up this role for Regret and the other Hierarchs.
  • Earthshattering Kaboom
  • Enemy Chatter: In true Halo fashion, units (infantry in particular) have a staggering array of context-sensitive lines - they complain about the cold on snow-filled maps, they cry out in panic when a friendy leader or powerful unit dies or an enemy leader attacks them, and they cheer when they're winning.
  • Expy: The Grizzly Tank=Mammoth Tank. They each have 4 sets of tracks, 2 cannons, and crush anything when deployed en masse.
  • Embarrassing First Name: The Arbiter's given name is jokingly stated to be 'Shirley' in the Main Menu tips. His real name is Ripa 'Moramee.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told:..So far.
  • Harder Than Hard: Heroic difficulty alone is enough to make experienced RTS gamers weep tears of frustration. What's that? Unlimited, endless respawns of Covenant dropships every minute or so dropping a dozen Hunters outside your base? Ensemble was sadistic.
    • Gold medals require no to lose none of your units. Anyone get those on Legendary? Anyone? Anyone?
  • Heroic Sacrifice / Unplanned Manual Detonation: Sergeant Forge stays behind to detonate the Shaw-Fujikawa drive bomb.
  • Hot Scientist: Anders is a decided example.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Cyclops.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Jerome to Sgt. Forge. Stands out because the game's unlockables hint the two got into a fight after Jerome suggested the ship kidnapping Anders should be fired upon.
  • Large and In Charge - The Arbiter is noticeably larger and more muscular than even the normal Elites, making him close to Hell Knight size.
  • Lonely Piano Piece: "Spirit of Fire", the Leitmotif of the eponymous ship.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Vultures especially after the upgrade. Likewise with the wolverine units.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: Vultures and Scarabs are already so powerful that they can not be driven by Spartans (aside from one campaign mission for the latter.)
  • Orphaned Series: Or game at least, as soon as Robot Entertainment left 343 industries treated it as a distraction at best.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Ensemble wasn't even going to consider having a Covenant campaign in Halo Wars unless they were some kind of rebel heretic faction, and therefore presumably not evil enough to fall under this trope.
  • Planar Shockwave: When the Shield World is destroyed.
  • Powered Armor: The Cyclops powered exoskeletons, and the Spartan MJOLNIR suits of course.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The perspective from which the game is played created some necessary exaggerations. For example, Spartans commandeering vehicles do a lot more elaborate gymnastics in the process of doing so, because more subtle animation would be hard to pick out at that scale. Likewise, the Cyclops's original design called for something similar to the early, pre-Spartan, MJOLNIR Powered Armor as Mighty Glacier infantry. However, this was changed to make it a Mini-Mecha because the scale made it difficult for players to identify them at a glance on a busy screen.
  • Psycho for Hire: The Arbiter, who is described by his own friends as "Evil" and picked up right out of prison, to boot.
  • Shout-Out: The Pillar of Autumn is mentioned when the Spirit Of Fire arrives at Arcadia.
  • The Stinger
  • Stop Poking Me: Grunts will sometimes say "Yee! Tickles!" when they're selected.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Infantry are cheap Zerg Rushers who can fielded by the dozens, but are wiped out by vehicles who are rarer, more powerful, and durable. Said vehicles are then weak to aircraft, who tend to be weaker but faster with a healthy range of firepower, and then those aircraft are trumped by the infantry.
  • Units Not to Scale: Due to gameplay limitations, the scarab is much smaller here than in Halo 2 and 3, but everything else is the same size the rest of the series depicts it as.
  • Wake Up Call Mission: The first three missions won't give you too much trouble. Mission 4, Arcadia City, will come as a shock - protecting multiple fragile targets and managing at least 2 bases, all whilst under almost constant enemy attack, serves as a notice to players that things only get harder.
  • War Is Hell: The opening of the game really drives this home:

  "Captain's Report, Feburary 4th, 2531: Five years. Five, long, years. That's how long it took us to get Harvest back. At first it was going well. Then setback after setback, loss after loss, made what was going to be a quick and decisive win into five years of hell. Of course that's all Harvest is today. It's hell down there. But now it's ours again."

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