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In this game you are Karl Fairbourne, an American OSS Agent operating in Germany during the final stages of the Second World War. You conduct various missions and operations against invading Soviet forces over-running Germany and remnants of the Nazi Army still in the cities. Your goals are usually oriented towards hindering the Soviets receiving information from the falling Nazi Government. You also render aid to the local German Resistance Fighters as they fight the Soviets.
The main selling point of the game is the realistic sniping system. This includes the effects of wind, posture, heart beat, bullet drop due to gravity, and even being shot. The game has adjustable difficulties which adjust the challenge of the AI and the realism of the shooting effects. The player can earn Points of Fame for shots they make. There is a bullet cam effect that is shown when the player makes head shots at 30m and out. The effect also sometimes triggers for other kill shot events.
The player will die easily if they don't fight smart as the AI uses flanking, cover, and grenades to good effect. Being quiet and sneaky goes a long way.
The game received a sequel/Reboot by the same developers Titled Sniper Elite V 2.
- Accidental Aiming Skills: On the higher difficulty settings if you don't account for wind this can result. For example, you may shoot at the guy on the right but hit the guy on the left.
- Arrow Cam: While using the sniper rifle, shots against moving targets, long-range kill-shots, and any head shot gets this treatment. Follow the bullet as it makes a mess of your opponent's skull.
- Benevolent Architecture: Even for a war zone, there's an awful lot of little barricades and sniper positions about...
- BFG: The MG-42 and Dp-Machine Gun.
- Booby Trap: Tripwire grenades, dynamite, and anything that explodes when you shoot it.
- Boom! Headshot!: The guaranteed kill. Plus you are a sniper. You get more fame points for head shots at range. Plus when the bullet hits home there is a spray of blood and an entry and exit wound.
- Bottomless Magazines: Played straight for NPCs, heavily averted with you. Interestingly, whenever you loot the corpse of any enemy, they've usually got less than ten rounds left in their weapons, whether they ever fired at you or not.
- Bullet Time: The in-game bullet cam shows a slow mode bullet leaving your rifle and hitting your target. Happens with head/neck shots, some body kill shots, and if you hit multiple enemies in a row with a single bullet.
- Cold Sniper: The Player Character and enemy snipers.
- Coup De Grace: You can walk up and just shoot wounded enemy soldiers rolling on the ground.
- Dressing as the Enemy - Karl. He's wearing a German uniform, which makes him pretty safe from the Germans. Too bad you're mostly fighting Russians.
- Elite Mooks: The NKVD and SS Troopers. They are better shots and use grenades more often.
- Evil Power Vacuum: The game takes place during Stalin's final drive to crush the Third Reich out of existence and supplant it with the Soviet Union.
- Evil Versus Evil: In one corner... Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. In the other... Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. You have to make your way through the crossfire of both. Place your bets now ladies and gentlemen.
- Eye Scream: Head shots with the sniper rifle to the eye.
- Handguns: Enemy snipers, rifleman, and officers all have handguns and will use them instead of another weapon. The Snipers and riflemen will use the handgun if you start to close on them quickly and they can't open the distance fast enough.
- Harder Than Hard: Sniper Elite mode. Between realistic damage and greatly increased difficulty aiming your precious rifle, fulfilling your mission objectives is easy compared to just staying alive. Even Cadet mode is pretty tough if you don't take the game's unique tactical viewpoint to heart.
- Historical In-Joke: The primary objective of the first mission is to prevent the defection of Martin Bormann, Hitler's secretary, to the Soviets by assassinating him. Said target is historically one of the few V.I.P.s' in Berlin whose fate to this day remains unknown.
- So Bad It's Horrible Voice Acting - The voice cast is clearly phoning it in for the cut scenes.
- Immune to Bullets: Cars, tanks, and APC vehicles. Unless the vehicle has an external fuel tank with a gas cap you can't kill it with your gun. Even if you use a MG-42. However Rockets and dynamite work every time.
- Just a Stupid Accent - the German freedom fighters have very annoying over-the-top German accents. And that's the least problem with their voice acting.
- Lead the Target: You need to do this to hit moving enemy targets.
- Missing Backblast: The Panzershreck has small little spit of fire but no real back blast like it would in real life.
- Moe Greene Special: Your shots will often hit an enemy sniper in the face or eye.
- Mooks: The average Russian/German Soldier you encounter.
- More Dakka: Most enemies are carrying a sub-machine gun or a BFG. Their response to a sniper in the open is to hose him with bullets.
- No Arc in Archery: Averted. Unless you customize the difficulty to ignore gravity, you'll almost always have to aim above an enemy to hit them at long range. Get used to using the notches on that scope.
- No Scope: You can realistically shoot the rifle while out of scope and kill an enemy but you are not as accurate.
- One Bullet Clips
- One-Hit Polykill: If Multiple Enemies are lined up you can kill most of them with one shot.
- One-Man Army: You blow up enemy depots, assassinate officers, fend off platoons worth of men and multiple enemy snipers very often without any help at all.
- Only a Flesh Wound: You can shoot enemies in the arms and legs and they will limp and hold their arms. You can also wound them with a non lethal chest shot and they will roll around on the ground in pain. However there are times where shoot them in the chest and they keep running around like nothing happened.
- Pink Mist: You get the blood spray entry/exit wound when you shoot your enemies.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Averted. Ironically, shots to the limbs or torso don't usually leave a mark, but head shots are very conspicuous, more so with the Arrow Cam.
- Scope Snipe: Averted You will instead hit the enemy in the face without hitting the weapon.
- Shoot the Fuel Tank: Tanks, trucks, and fuel drums
- Sniper Rifle: You get three different rifles with different cross hairs you can use to accurately gauge distance and use the lines to adjust and fire.
- Sniping Mission: Every mission is a sniping mission.
- State Sec: One for each enemy faction: The Nazi SS and the Soviet NKVD.
- Tactical Withdrawal: When the enemy finds your hiding spot you do this.
- Third-Person Shooter: Whenever sniper mode is off. It's difficult enough to fight in this mode that one wonders if the developers designed the game that way on purpose to encourage you to use your scope more.
- Trigger Happy: Every enemy who sees you.
- Urban Warfare: The Majority of the missions seem to take place in some sort of urban/base environment.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Shoot to wound. Then shoot (ideally, shoot to wound) anyone who comes to help the wounded man as he cries out for help. He'll die without treatment after a few minutes, and you can just sit there and watch, or practice your grenade-lobbing skills, or run a good distance away and shoot him with the sniper rifle for long-distance kill points.