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Heavy Gear was originally a tabletop wargame created in 1994 by a company called Dream Pod 9. It centered around the conflict of the Northern States versus the Southern Territories on the planet called Terra Nova, with an expanding storyline. The centerpiece of these conflicts is the armored battle suit called the Heavy Gear, with both sides developing their own variants of the mecha.
The universe has a tabletop game, a character-based RPG, a card game, two video games, and an animated TV series to its name.
The Video Games, released under the titles of Heavy Gear and Heavy Gear II and developed by Activision, are mech simulators that mix mech controls and standard FPS controls. (Fun fact: Heavy Gear uses Mechwarrior 2's engine, if anyone wonders why they play similarly. Heavy Gear II uses its own "Dark Side" engine.) In the first game, the player was a Duelist on the Northern landship Vigilance, and had to help the ship fight its way back to Northern Territory.
In the second game, an attack from Earth had the North and South call a cease fire, and the player leads an elite squadron piloting advanced Gears to stop the Earth attack from trashing the planet.
The TV series centered around the Heavy Gear championship series, where a rookie Gear pilot named Marcus Rover joins the southern Shadow Dragons and competes against the northern Vanguard of Justice.
- Ace Custom - The Gears in the TV series are all modified or special designs of standard Gear Chassis.
- Applies to damn near any Gear piloted by a Duelist.
- AI Is a Crapshoot - Sorta. There are no true A Is, but the neural net computers used in the Heavy Gear universe can pick up habits from their users. If it's a Gear, this can include obscene gestures among other things.
- Adaptation Decay - The TV series universe differs from the DP 9 universe. Expected because DP 9 had little input into the series. Lampshaded in at least one sourcebook where characters talked aobut how bad the series was.
- Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Of a sorts. Unusual magnetic activity on Terra Nova means that massive "landships" can hover about on magnetic repulsion. The first game features two, the Northern Vigilance and the Southern Draco, both prides of their military. They of course meet.
- All There in the Manual - The extra art books sold by Dream Pod 9 contain lots of fluff and art about the mecha, the planet, and the characters in the universe. The first game's manual contains much of the same.
- A Mech by Any Other Name - The mecha in Heavy Gear come in two flavors- humanoid and not. The humanoid types are called Gears or simply Walkers, while other kinds of walker machines are termed Striders.
- Author Existence Failure - The planned Metaplot never reached its conclusion due to some of the original writers quitting. However, with the release of Heavy Gear Blitz! and the upcoming 4th Edition RPG, said metaplot will reach said conclusion.
- Axe Crazy - Many GREL stranded after the War of the Alliance, being engineered, bred, raised and trained for nothing but war have quite a bit of difficulty adopting to less military life styles.
- Cloning Blues - The GREL's (Genetically Recombinated Expeditionary Legionaries) are cloned and genetically engineered soldiers that made up the majority of the invasion force sent by earth to conquer Terra Nova. A major plot point is that GREL's stranded on planet after the invasion failed are incapable of reproduction.
- Until human/GREL hybrids started getting conceived.
- Crowning Music of Awesome - the soundtrack of the first computer game.
- Executive Meddling - The original plotline for the TV series was for the Northern and Southern tournament teams to work together to defend Terra Nova against an Earth invasion. This would have been fine, except the executives bigwigs thought that the viewer's wouldn't get it.
- Frickin' Laser Beams - The Laser weapons in the first game were played straight. They fired visible, continuous beams of energy that instantly hit anything they were aimed at. What made them demonic in their effectiveness was their accuracy, silence (they only made a quiet buzz when fired) and their damage, capable of killing anything (and that means ANYTHING) in one shot. The beam could even be swept across groups of enemies, causing damage to all of them.
- Then you had the Gatling Laser, combining the firing rate of an autocannon with the effectiveness of a laser.
- Also the preferred infantry weapon of Earth's Colonial Expeditionary Force.
- Metaplot - Heavy Gear was very upfront about having one, even going so far as to publish the date of setting on the back of each game book.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl - Back story material covers at least one instance of a normal woman pairing up with a deserted GREL trooper. In the letter she was described as being small, and most male GREL lean heavily towards the large end.
- More Dakka - The first video game allowed you to alpha-strike your weapons. If your Gear was suitably equipped, it could put on quite a show. Hitting the target and penetrating its armor was a different matter.
- Real Robot - Similar to Armored Trooper VOTOMS, which it is inspired by. Gears tend to be much smaller (4-5 meters), and aren't all that dominant over conventional vehicles and infantry which they need the support of.
- Rollerblade Good - Wheels, treads or halftracks in the Gears' feet are used for movement over flat ground.
- Shoulder Cannon - Shoulder-mounted rocket/missile launchers and grenade launchers are the norm in this universe.
- Shout-Out - To both Nextwave and Dark Shadows.
- Show Within a Show - According to the second edition of the Duelist's Handboook, the television series is, in fact, a live action series in-universe.
- Shown Their Work - The team at Dream Pod 9 did their research and as a result, none of the technology presented in-game breaks known physical laws.
- Super Soldier - GREL troopers- genetically enhanced warriors and damn good gear pilots.
- Tank Goodness- The first computer game won many fans by making tanks tougher and more heavily armed than gears to the point that it was suicide to go against a Northern Alliance railgun tank.
- The second game nerfs tanks considerably. Fans reacted badly to this and declared the the second game "illogical junk" in spite of the better controls and graphics.
- It qualifies as considerable Fan Dumb in regards to the tank nerf, as what had actually been changed was the way armor values and weapon penetration was rated by the system. Many pilotable machines in the second game were actually more vulnerable than their HG 1 iterations as a result. A constant barrage of light machine gun fire will eventually kill even an assault-weight Gear. Ironically, the real complaints most likely came about from the efficiency of the panzerfaust-class weapons against tanks... a class of weapons specifically designed to kill the heavily armored but less agile vehicles.
- Actually, the tanks being nerfed is justified in-universe: There really is less armor on a Colonial Expiditionary Force hovertank simply because the CEF has to haul their tanks between worlds- a process that requires them to lift them into orbit. The lighter the tank, the less fuel they use per tank, and the more they can bring up in one go. It's an efficency thing.
- What Could Have Been - The original plotline for the TV Show.
- X Meets Y - A Japanese review of Heavy Gear called it "Votoms mecha in a Dougram setting."