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File:Strifecover 606.jpg


 You are a wandering mercenary, led to the small town of Tarnhill by rumors of conflict between The Order, a well-equipped religious dictatorship, and The Front, the rag tag resistance movement. While searching for The Front you decided to take a brief rest somewhere that you thought was safe. The Order acolytes have been rounding up all suspicious characters in the area. Yes, you happen to be one of them. What they didn't expect, though, is the knife you keep concealed for situations just like this one...

A comet struck the planet, unleashing a virus that ran rampant and killed countless human beings. Those that were infected and survived began to hear the voice of a malevolent god known as The Entity in their minds, and began to worship it. They formed a cult known as The Order and began their conquest of the planet, using technology far superior to those outside The Entity's sway. Their brutal reign lead to the creation of The Front, a resistance movement dedicated to overthrowing The Order that, as of recently, has been stymied by their lack of manpower and The Order's technological advantage.

Until you came along, of course. I mean, this is a first person shooter.

Released in 1996 by Rogue Entertainment, Strife is the last commercial game to use Doom's game engine (Now officially known as idTech 1). It featured hub-based levels and small RPG Elements such as cutscenes, dialogue trees, shops, a rudimentary leveling system and an actual, relevant plot. Unfortunately it never received much attention or commercial success due to it using a more "primitive" engine compared to what was out at the time, plus it was overshadowed by another game that was slated to be released a month later.

Strife is currently considered Abandon Ware due to Rogue Entertainment no longer existing, and can be played on modern operating systems using the ZDoom source port.


This game features examples of the following tropes:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The quartermaster at The Front base will give you a few magazines of assault rifle bullets if you run out, but aside from that don't expect any hand-outs from him. Or from the citizens that you're trying to save from the evil empire/cult, for that matter.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The locals don't particularly seem to care that a heavily-armed individual is wandering in and out of buildings that rather coincidentally end up suffering either catastrophic destruction or massive death tolls. For that matter, neither do the Order troops standing guard just outside. Hell, you can shoot people with poison arrows and punch them to death in plain sight of their friends or allies and most of the time they won't even move. However, acolytes will attack if they see you attacking a comrade.
  • Apocalypse How: Losing to the Final Boss results in all human life being wiped out.
  • Artificial Stupidity: While you do have allies, The Front's soldiers are only about as competent as The Order's. Which is about as competent as a Doom zombie soldier. In other words, not very.
    • Particularly bad/laughable in that they'll do things that they themselves warn the player not to do in NPC conversations. "Whatever you do, don't stand too near the big robot with the flamethrower--oh hey, it's a big robot with a flamethrower, I'll just run right up to it so I can't miss my shots!"
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Pulled off by the Player Character a couple of times.
  • BFG: The Mauler, a combination energy supershotgun and radial plasma bomb launcher.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: The Sigil, some assembly required. Any given piece functions perfectly fine as a weapon, it grows more powerful the more pieces are combined.
  • Black Comedy: "First they slaughter thousands, then they want all able bodied peasants for unspecified...tests. How does The Order expect me to keep the peace? What the hell do you want?" Seems like nothing special, but the skill with which the Governor's Voice Actor delivers it with makes it easily one of the funnier lines in the game.
    • Also of note. "I took this ID from the corpse of some fool who fell into the Reactor's Cooling Pit, Blat. Instant Deep Fry."
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The punch dagger, although it is held in the hand.
  • But Thou Must!: Most of the time, when someone asks you to do something you basically have two options: "Yes, I'll do it" and "I'll get back to you on that." Except of course for the times when you have three options: "Yes, I'll do it," "I'll get back to you on that" and "no, I won't do it, but please cause dozens of guards to spawn in and shoot me dead so I learn my lesson."
    • Noticeably, it is possible to make the game unwinnable doing this. Harris's mission comes to mind (see Moon Logic Puzzle below).
  • Cast From Hit Points: The Sigil.
  • Catch Phrase: "Fight for the Front and freedom! Move out!", given by Macil after sending you on your latest mission.
  • Climax Boss: The Programmer. Up until now, you've been setting things up so that it's possible to attack the castle, which is an enormous Disc One Final Dungeon.
  • Crate Expectations:Well duh, what kind of game do you think this is?
  • Curb Stomp Battle: A lot of the bosses after The Programmer seem to fall into this category, at least before the Spectres erupt from their bodies, forcing you to kill them with The Sigil.
  • Cute and Psycho: Blackbird. At times she's a bit too enthusiastic about watching you gun down dozens of enemy troops and explode critical infrastructure...
  • Cycle of Hurting: Averted. Doom featured featured inescapable pits of poison or lava that slowly drained your health. Strife added falling damage to the engine so that you'd just die on impact instead.
  • Dead All Along: Attacking the Oracle reveals that under its robe is a human skull on a non-human body. Oh, and its Spectre then attacks you.
  • Death Course: The Training Facility.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: You know The Entity? Malevolent godlike being worshipped by countless members of The Order, creator of The Sigil? You kill it.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The Mauler. The first NPC who brings it up even introduces it as "the weapon that disintegrates." Blackbird is strangely excited by the prospect of you getting one for yourself.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: You need to locate an officer's uniform before you can infiltrate an Order base. Or at least, before you can infiltrate it without setting off all the alarms.
  • Dummied Out: Going through the .wad files reveal several unused resources, such as graphics for a gas grenade and some bits of voice acting that were never used.
  • Evil Empire: The Order.
  • Evil Weapon: The Sigil. Made by an evil god? Check. Created to corrupt the people of the world into evil desires? Check. Worshipped by a jack-booted empire/cult? Check. Uses the wielder's own life force as ammo? Check.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: The flamethrower.
  • Gameplay Ally Immortality: Shopkeepers and major plot-essential the Front's leader Macil and the Oracle can't be killed before you're supposed to be able to kill them, even though you can shoot everyone around them, often in their presence. Meanwhile, a lot of minor NPCs that you encounter that you need to talk to in order to progress can be taken out. Fortunately the programmers have taken this into consideration, often by having them drop the item that they'd normally give you or by hiding a switch in the room that opens the path that they'd normally open for you.
  • Grappling Hook Arm: Used by one of the bosses to fling you around the arena in which you fight him. Not that painful on its own, but when you consider that you're probably standing on a tall ledge when you're fighting him, well...
  • Heroic Mime: Averted. While he only grunts, screams and lets out the occasional "nope" when pushing on a wall, the Mercenary is fully capable of communicating with other people via dialogue windows... you just don't hear him say anything.
  • Kill'Em All: This happens when you lose to the Final Boss.
  • Kill It with Fire: - You can get a flamethrower that's been jerry-rigged from the parts of one of the Order's robots. Unlike most video game flamethrowers it acts more like the napalm squirt guns that flamethrowers usually are in Real Life rather than just a short-ranged cloud of flame. Mostly due to technology limitations, but who's complaining?
    • There's also white phosphorous grenades available for the grenade launcher.
  • La Résistance: The Front. With whom you fight for freedom. Move out.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Thanks to the good old Doom engine.
  • Man in the Machine: Templars. They are human soldiers of The Order like the Acolytes, but their bodies have decayed so much from The Entity's virus that they need to be wired to a robotic Powered Armor with life support in order to live.
  • Megaton Punch: With enough stamina implants you can punch people so hard they explode into a shower of meat.
  • Mission Control: Blackbird, your Voice with an Internet Connection, once referred to by PC Gamer as the sexiest thing to ever come out of your PC speakers.
  • Mook Maker: Inverted; you can find and/or buy teleporter beacons that spawn in Front troops to help you. Unfortunately they're only good for a momentary distraction and the ammo they drop when they (inevitably) die.
    • There is one other good use for them. Unlike your assault rifle shots, their gunfire won't set off alarms. If you set a trio of beacons off in the middle of Tarnhill, you can wreak havoc on the local guards without prompting waves of reinforcements to teleport in.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: A man at the tavern asks you to steal a chalice from the Order's sanctuary and bring it to the governor for a reward. This will probably get you killed when the governor locks his office door and sics several dozen Order mooks on you. (It's possible to get out through the window, but you'll still get killed.) It's a pretty bad idea, though you wouldn't figure this out unless you talked with the guy you were sent to kill by another man and managed to put two and two together. This happens only once and right at the beginning of the game, though, so even if you screw up you're only out five or ten minutes. later on, you can actually perform said quest and STILL complete the game. Not advisable under any circumstances, but still...
    • Notably, doing this early on makes the game unwinnable since after finishing a few Front missions, you need to talk to the Governor to get your next mission. If you picked up the chalice at all, even if you dropped it, he'll lock the doors and sic a wave of bad guys on you as soon as you try to talk to him. You can escape through the window, but cannot advance the plot.
  • Multiple Endings: 3 endings total. The two big ones hinge on whether you kill The Oracle or Macil first. As for that other ending? well, I hope you saved BEFORE fighting The Entities.
    • You'll know you're screwed out of the good ending if Blackbird is the Entity when you reach the last level.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The governor can send you on a mission to investigate and destroy a tap connected to the local power main. What you aren't told is that it's The Front's power tap, and Blackbird isn't too happy with you if you break it.
  • No Fair Cheating: Probably not outright intentional, though. Due to numerous Event Flags and required plotline items, level warping and cheating can really screw up the game.
    • Warping to the final boss directly will automatically get you the worst ending, since you haven't triggered the condition to get the better ending. Not to mention the final boss is immune to everything but the Sigil, which isn't given to you by the All Weapons Cheat.
    • Cheating to get the Sigil earlier than you should can leave you locked out of the game, since holding the sigil automatically moves the Front Base to the castle, and the gates to the castle are locked at the beginning of the game.
  • NPC: Notable in that an early FPS game featured NPCs that aren't trying to kill you: peasants, shopkeepers, and plot-relevant characters.
  • Orcus on His Throne: All the Order ever does in the game is basically being there and maintaining buildings so that you can infiltrate them and massacre everyone. "Our castle conquered by La Résistance, one of our higher-ups killed, his important artifact captured by the mercenary? Eh, I suppose we should be taking action, but maybe later, when we feel more like it". This could be because you're moving so fast, and some NPCs do comment that the Order is likely planning a retaliatory strike.
  • Poisoned Weapons: In addition to the standard electric bolts, the crossbow can fire poison bolts, which are a One-Hit Kill to organic targets.
  • Power Crystal: A decent amount of Order equipment seems to run on these. They all tend to make rather satisfying explosions when you shoot them, too.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: Averted despite being one of the first FPS/RPG games. In addition to improving your killing skills there were NPCs to talk to, stores to shop at, a decent storyline, and multiple endings. And then your ability upgrades were rewarded from progressing the story rather then killing your enemies.
  • Save Game Limits: On release, you had only one save slot. You could save as often as you wanted, but good luck if you saved next to a boss while being low on health or ammo. Even the producers found this to be too harsh, and removed the limit in a later patch.
  • Schizo-Tech: Medieval-looking towns and castles full of robot guards and armories where crossbows (with electrified bolts) and flamethrowers sit side-by-side? Sure, works for me.
  • Script Breaking: The game can be painfully easy to break. From minor and recoverable things like going back to break the illicit power tap (and failing a mission you've already completed) to major things like killing the Sigil piece holders in the wrong order, which makes the game Unwinnable. There's only two 'official' sequences, one for the happy ending (Programmer, Bishop, Oracle, Macil, Loremaster) and one for the Downer Ending (Programmer, Bishop, Macil, Loremaster, Oracle) but you have access to two of the last four for the entire second half of the game and can theoretically kill them at any time. The game plays fine as long as you obey everyone's orders, but don't ever think for yourself.
  • Sigil Spam: Literally. Thrice. The Order loves plastering the Sigil on everything. You can spam the Sigil until it kills you. Finally, the end boss can only be hurt by the Sigil. Hope you brought plenty of health kits!
  • Sleazy Politician: "I've heard that he is selling children to the Order. I won't tolerate that kind of depravity...not without my cut."
  • Standard FPS Guns:
    • Knife: Punch dagger. Stamina upgrades turn it into the Chainsaw.
    • Pistol: Crossbow. Electric bolts are the weakest weapon in game. Poison bolts allow for stealth kills.
    • Shotgun/BFG: Mauler. Fires in a spread and completely devestating at short range.
    • Automatic: Assault rifle.
    • Rocket launcher.
    • Grenade launcher.
    • Flamethrower.
    • BFG/Gimmick: The Sigil. Clears rooms and required to kill Spectres and the Entity.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Sigil, quite obviously. Heck, the game is even titled Strife: Quest for the Sigil. It is also required to actually advance the plot - only it can kill the bosses' inner boss Spectres, and only the Sigil can do anything at all to the Entity.
  • The Mole: Macil.
  • Trick Arrow: Electric bolts are the default, pistol-like, ammo for the crossbow.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The player in the bad ending, where it turns out Blackbird was The Entity all along.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: On the one hand, the basic humanoid (non-boss) enemies will normally only be alerted if you use any weapon other than your punch dagger or the crossbow's poison bolts. But on the other hand, robotic enemies will always go pursue regardless. But on the other, other hand, many areas where getting through without a fight would be useful have alarms that will be set off simply by entering the place, or be filled with robots. Plus, poison bolts deal no damage whatsoever to robotic enemies (or Templars either), killing them requires either a noisy weapon or getting up close. Both choices tend to be painful.
    • Although if the Templar is attacking you, you already set off the alarm.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: Acts a little differently than most game flamethrowers due to the limits of the Doom Engine, looking more like a short-range napalm squirtgun. Still very short ranged, though sustained fire is quite damaging.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Inverted. The Front is the active side of the struggle, while the Order is completely apathetic, apparently content to sit on its (their?) butt waiting for the player to come along and wreak havoc in their facilities.
  • The Virus: It spread when the comet crashed. Those who don't outright die from it mutate. The mutations make them hear The Entity's voices in their heads, as well as causing their bodies to rot and decay at an accelerated rate. It's the reason behind everyone in The Order being either Cyborgs or Men In The Machine.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Blackbird.
  • X Meets Y: Doom meets Star Wars.
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