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The story takes place at the dawn of the Tribal Wars between the Galactic Empire and the "tribals", population of the fringe planets seen as barbarians by the Imperial citizens. The game opens with an attack on the spaceship carrying the Imperial King's daughter Victoria by members of the Children of Phoenix tribe. Victoria is captured by Daniel, a Phoenix clan leader, who holds her for ransom and, along the way, shows her how the tribesmen really live and die. Before long, she develops a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome and convinces her captor to return her to her father, as an act of goodwill to start searching for a diplomatic solution to the long-standing conflict between the Empire and the tribes.
Fast-forward about twenty years into the future. An anti-Tribal extremist Julia (who is actually Daniel and Victoria's daughter) makes life hell for the tribesmen--which reflects the popular Imperial attitude all too accurately. Victoria and Daniel are nowhere to be seen, but Daniel's brother Jericho is still out there, and Julia is after his head for personal reasons. There is also a mysterious cyborg assassin, a Diabolical Mastermind, and the nasty chief of the Blood Eagles tribe, all wrapped up in the same mess. And, of course, the story of Victoria and Daniel is not over yet, so we will keep jumping between Past and Present a couple more times before its all over.
Vengeance was developed by Irrational Games (creators of System Shock 2 and Bioshock series) based on the Unreal Engine and published by Vivendi in 2004. Although met with good critical reception, the game was plagued by Vivendi's refusal to support it, including cancellation of the much-needed patch 1.1. As a result, it left a whole lot of players dissatisfied, placing the future of the Tribes series in question for the next six years.
The game provides examples of following tropes:
- Anachronic Order: You heard about jumping between Past and Present.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Interestingly, the narration jumps not only between different characters (five in total) and places, but even times (mainly Victoria and Julia's respective time frames, but there is one level seen from young Julia's POV).
- Anyone Can Die
- Arm Cannon: The Heavy Armor has all weaponry built into its arms.
- Badass Princess: Both Victoria and Julia qualify, only the latter does so by choice. It runs in the family, apparently.
- Barbarian Tribe: This is how the Imperials see the tribals.
- Blood Knight: The Blood Eagles, or "Beagles", especially their Ax Crazy leader Seti.
- The Chessmaster: The real villain of the story? Victoria's Cool Big Sis Olivia.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Yes, the whole game.
- Cycle of Revenge: As befit its name, the game runs on this. An incredibly short summary: Rebel Leader Daniel is tricked into killing the Emperor Tiberius. He is in turn killed by the Emperor's daughter Victoria. Victoria is hunted down and killed about 6 years later by Daniel's Dragon Jericho...which inspires Victoria's (and Daniel's) daughter Julia to find and kill him. However, Mercury steals that kill from her, so she kills him instead. In process, Julia also finds those originally responsible for the... miscommunication, and kills them too. Good lord.
- The Emperor: Curiously, Tiberius is ostensibly styled "Imperial King".
- The Empire: The Imperial faction.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Victoria and Julia, though the latter is a bastard.
- Eyes of Gold: Julia's eyes are actually artificial, complete with integrated HUD support.
- First-Person Shooter
- Grappling Hook Pistol: There is even a single level where it is the only weapon you can use.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Julia had artificial eyes implanted specifically to do away with the bulky standard gear helmet.
- Heroic Bastard: Julia. She is more of an Anti-Hero, though.
- Implacable Man: Mercury. He came damn close to killing Daniel before being called off. He also fragged Jericho right under Julia's nose.
- Jet Pack: A staple and the core element of all Tribes games. Averted by Julia who places her jets on her calves instead (while wearing light armor).
- Jumping on a Grenade: Victoria does it to save Daniel. She survives thanks to wearing an armor suit and Daniel stealing a truckload of medical supplies for her.
- Karma Houdini: Olivia escapes Julia's wrath in the last moment.
- Lady of War: Julia. She even wears custom armor to look graceful on the battlefield.
- Left Hanging: The Big Bad's ultimate fate. Presumably, it would have been explored in an unreleased expansion.
- Masquerade: It's implied that the few remaining Cybrids, like Mercury, have chosen to infiltrate human society rather then flee from it forever.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mercury is a literal ninja zombie robot... FROM SPACE. In other words, he is a Cybrid, one of the deadly enemies of humanity from the Earthsiege series.
- Protection Mission: Victoria protecting Daniel while he hacks into Beagle base security. Can be a case of That One Level for some.
- Prequel: To Starsiege: Tribes.
- Reentry Scare: In the end of the game, Julia pulls off an atmospheric reentry protected by nothing but a medium armor and her sheer badass.
- Rescue Romance: Victoria and Daniel's relationship starts with them saving each other's lives.
- Stockholm Syndrome: Victoria falling in love with Daniel.
- Tell Me About My Father: Julia goes to the Phoenix chief Esther for guidance after discovering her tribal roots.
- Throwing Your Shield Always Works: The Buckler shield is quite handy for midair kills.
- Time Skip: The storyline flips between the lives of Victoria and Julia, about 20-25 years apart.
- Tribal Face Paint: Unique facial markings are worn by the Tribesmen and, ironically, by the anti-Tribal extremist Julia, who is unknowingly a half-Tribal by blood herself.
- The Unfought: Julia kills two Dragons in close succession, yet when it comes to killing the actual Big Bad Olivia, the latter promptly hops into an escape pod and runs for it. Granted, Olivia has never displayed any fighting prowess whatsoever, but if she is anything like her little sister, she had to put up a hell of a fight.
- Vehicular Combat: There are a few levels where land (jeeps, tanks, etc.) and even air combat are of essence.
- You Killed My Father: Julia is out for Jericho's head for killing her mom. In front of 10-year-old Julia, no less.