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Universe At War: Earth Assault, is a RTS made by Petroglyph Games.
The game begins when in 2012, humans notice something alien and really big on a collision course with Earth. They prepare for a heroic defense but are beaten to a pulp by the Hierarchy, a race of Planet Looters who have consumed thousands of worlds before Earth. Just when it seemed like all was over, the Novus, a race of machines straight out of a Manga, appear. These guys have a grudge against the Hierarchy, who destroyed their creators, and will take any chance they can get to avenge them.
Everything is going swell for the Hierarchy though, since the whole invasion was a trap for the Novus. Then, an unnamed idiot in their ranks tripped over a pyramid and awakened the Masari, Ancient Astronauts that were once the uplifters of the Hierarchy (who repaid them by driving them to near-extinction). They decide to battle it out with all the factions at once, but in a undramatic turn of events, the Masari wind up uniting with the Novus and what's left of humanity, and end the Hierarchy threat... for now, at least.
The game was created by the same minds that put together the first Command and Conquer games, and while it's rather buggy (unless patched), relatively unknown, and uses that bane of gaming known as Windows LIVE, it's still an enjoyable, hammy and Troperiffic little game. Needs More Love.
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- A Commander Is You:
- Hierarchy: Brute Force, their Walkers provide a ton of firepower and their ability to crush buildings means they can easily make short work of bases if they can get close enough, and much of their research focuses on giving their units an extra punch. Most strategies with them involve getting a Walker into an enemy base, and then producing tons of units once inside. Also has elements of Technical, with Mind Control and machine magnet devices that be put on Science Walkers. They also have the best healing abilities, since Saucers and Defilers can heal vehicles and infantry, respectively, for free.
- Novus: Spammer and Technical, as their units are generally cheap, but fragile, and they can also Mind Control enemy vehicles and probably have the best artillery.
- Masari: Elitist and Technical, as they tend to rely on defensive strategies till they can bring out their tanks and air/artillery units in the late game. Has elements of Economist, since they don't need to collect resources on the map.
- Action Girl: Mirabel as far as characters go; in regards to units, the Masari Sky Lords certainly count.
- Alien Invasion: In both classic and modern forms. The whole game is like a celebration of the Alien Invasion genre.
- It should be noted that the Hierarchy units are nods to various alien craft seen over the years, from Flying Saucers to cigar-shaped UFOs and "foo fighters".
- Aliens Steal Cattle: The Hierarchy steals anything, but they really like cattle. So much so, you can get an achievement, Bovine Defender, if you abduct 200 in Conquer the World, and it is illegal for their Grunts to use plasma grenades on "indigenous bovines".
- The Hierarchy collects resources in two ways; gradually, by slowly sapping raw materials from large targets, such as buildings, or quickly by instantly absorbing small targets, like humans. Cows can be collected instantly and give a considerable resource pay off, arguably making them the best source of resources for a Hierarchy player.
- Ancient Astronauts: The Masari, source of both the Egyptian and Mayan styles.
- Apocalypse How: The Purifier is a Class 0, but repeated use as is the Hierarchy's MO is somewhere between Class 4 and Class 6.
- Autobots Rock Out: All of the Hierarchy's music is Rock-based.
- Badass: A lot of plot-important characters, but especially General Moore and Sergeant Woolard. These two Puny Earthlings are quite capable of going toe to toe with advanced alien technology and winning.
- Bad Boss: Kamal Re'x. He doesn't care about the lives of his troops and sacrifices them on a whim for his own advancement. His justification is that he considers their only reason for living is expanding the Hierarchy.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Novus, arriving just in time to kick ass and take names. As seen in the intro, a massive angel-shaped mech with a BFG and rocket pods appears along with a powerful army of machines to save the survivors of the human military from the Hierarchy; what could be more awesome? Oh, that's right, the Hierarchy's progenitors rising from the sea to enact some literal Divine Intervention.
- Blasphemous Boast: Orlok delivers one to the Masari Prince, Zessus. It Makes Sense in Context.
"I am Orlok, Commander of the Hierarchy battalions, General of the Galactic Fleet, Annihilator of a thousand worlds, and you are no longer a god of mine!"
- BFG / Arm Cannon: The Hierarchy, Orlok especially, love using these.
- Complete Monster: While the Hierarchy is portrayed as a villain race, Kamal Re'x deserves special mention. He takes pride in all the races that he had wiped out, feeling that if they couldn't keep themselves from being wiped out, they didn't deserve to exist in the first place. He's also a big Jerkass in the campaign.
- Compensating for Something: Orlok specifically says he is not doing it... We still have our doubts, though.
- Colony Drop: Since the Hierarchy's orbital guns were depleted trying to destroy the Masari City Ship during the campaign, they're reduced to dropping pieces of scrap from orbit as a makeshift super-weapon.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: A few creep in,
Zessus: "I met a new hero who inspired me: General Peasant of the Humans."
General Moore: "The name's Moore... and I suppose you're the... tooth fairy in all this?" (Keep in mind he's mouthing off to the most powerful Masari, their queen).
- Pretty much any scene with Moore qualifies, it's pretty much his main purpose in the plot.
- As well as this jewel by Kamal Re'x:
"Commander Orlok! These noble intentions of ending bloodshed, an alliance with a fallen enemy; all very ambitious of you!... And if we were a race of FLOWERS it would be rewarded!"
- Don't forget about this:
Advisor: Commander, they're retreating.
Orlok: They must think we have reinforcements. Let's get some before they find you we don't.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: The soundtrack was done by Frank Klepacki of Command and Conquer fame, and it shows. You can download the OST here.
- Divine Intervention is quite good.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Masari units in dark mode.
- Drop Ship: All Hierarchy structures are dropped from orbit and are ordered by setting up Crop Circles!
- Some missions feature regularly-arriving reinforcements, friendly and enemy, via troop transports.
- Earth Is the Center of the Universe: The Hierarchy wants to strip mine it, the Novus wants to stop them and there is the Ancient Astronauts' city/spaceship in the middle of the ocean? What's next? Cosmic space horrors from beyond?
- Actually, that is exactly what this game needs! That and more love.
- Subverted by the game's narrative: Earth is the center of the universe only by coincidence. The Hierarchy has been strip-mining planets for 10,000 years and only recently showed up at Earth; the Novus arrived because they were following the Hierarchy; and the Masari are on Earth because the last surviving Masari city-ship sought refuge on Earth precisely because Earth was out-of-the-way at the time.
- In other words, the coincidence is merely that the Hierarchy "trap-world" for Novus is also the planet where the Masari hid. It being Earth isn't a coincidence because of the Masari's striking resemblance to humans allowing them to blend in and "uplift" us.
- Actually, that is exactly what this game needs! That and more love.
- A Father to His Men: Orlok tries hard to be this, but is constantly pushed away from it by Kamal Re'x. It's why he's the most popular general in the Hierarchy.
- Game Breaker: in an ordinary match, you are always limited to six research project slots at any time. If you want to research something else, you have to give up already researched stuff to make room. HOWEVER, if you're Hierarchy and build a walker hardpoint granted by research, the hardpoint won't be removed once you give up its prerequisite! Therefore, it's entirely possible to finish the last campaign mission by building two Science Walkers then buying Assault Branch Suite 3 and filling one walker with Visual Enhancers (reveals the whole map) then giving up the three slots to buy Mutagenic Branch Suit 4 and filling the other walker with Cascade Reactors. Result: ability to launch radiation cascades without using a spotter, enabling you to utterly rape the defenders into oblivion.
- Gatling Good: General Moore carries a minigun. Sergeant Woolard has a tank with a gatling cannon.
- Heel Face Turn: Played straight with Orlok, subverted with Nufai, who faked the whole thing to get a promotion.
- Human Aliens: Mirabel and probably the others of her race, before the Hierarchy killed them all.
- The Masari too, though they're generally taller and have brown-ish hair. Prince Zessus is an exception, since he's half-human, and is therefore shorter and blond.
- Technically, in the case of the Masari, we were created (or, more accurately, "uplifted") by them and given their powers for some unmentioned purpose (most likely another attempt like the one they tried with the Hierarchy). Alien Humans, maybe?
- Humanity on Trial: The Masari woke up and noticed humans haven't been cleaning regularly. The Hierarchy invasion was a bigger problem though, so they let it slide this time. Kamal Re'x does mention that they fought the Novus before Mirabel could clear things up.
- While the intro states that the Masari didn't like what humanity was doing to the planet, they don't want to wipe us out and state they would prefer for us to stay alive. Hell, they're the only race that doesn't use human homes for resources. It's made pretty clear that, whatever purpose they had in mind for the Hierarchy, they've decided we will fulfill.
- Ask them why they decided not to leave plans for their free energy generators lying around. Seriously, if we had their technology we wouldn't pollute a square inch of the Earth. Kill each other and wipe cities off the map? Probably. Pollute? No.
- Well, given that when they tried to similarly uplift the Hierarchy, they got pissed off at not getting everything and tried to wipe the Masari out, so they have good reasons for that.
- It's implied they did do some uplifting, probably back when copper was new and innovative. Free energy would be jumping the gun a little.
- Not forgetting those energy reactors had a tenancy to explode. Would you give a caveman a nuclear reactor?
- Humanity Is Superior: Averted hard.
- Humongous Mecha: Hierarchy Walkers. All of them. Also, Viktor, Mirabel's "powered armor". Commander Orlok too, he's bigger than Viktor is.
- I Love Nuclear Power: The Hierarchy in general, but especially the Defiler. Turning random humans and cows into zombified mutants, while dealing damage to enemy units and healing your own. Geez, what can't Nuclear Power do?
- Win the campaign for them.
- The Jimmy Hart Version: As the name implies, the track Act on Invasion bears more than a little similarity to Act on Instinct from the original Command & Conquer. Of course, both tracks were made by the brilliant Frank Klepacki.
- Klingon Promotion: The Hierarchy takes pride in this, and it's how Nufai becomes Commander.
Kamal: You forgot the first rule of the Hierarchy, commander: trust is a weapon, not a guarantee. Your spy was always MY spy.
- Laser Guided Tykebomb: The Novus, since the Hierarchy destroyed their creators while they were away.
- Lightning Bruiser: Viktor is fast, fairly tough and packs quite a punch with its basic attacks and abilities. Used right, it can single-handedly take down Walkers, which are at least twice its size.
- Lotus Eater Machine: Kamal Re'x gets put in one, courtesy of the Masari queen.
- Mecha-Mooks: Novus, especially the Ohm robots, who are programmed to be expendable, and are absolutely fine with it.
- The Hierarchy has a few with its Glyph Carvers, Reaper and Detection Drones, Defilers, and Saucers. Not sure about the Phase Tanks and Walkers.
- Mighty Glacier: The Hierarchy are pretty much an entire faction of these. Their units tend to be the slowest, but also the strongest. Special mention goes to their Walkers, which move even more slowly, but are extremely tough, and depending how they are built and upgraded, will be armed to the teeth and are so big that they can crush buildings.
- The biggest of the Hierarchy's Walkers are terrifyingly huge and powerful, and can take absurd amounts of punishment before going down with a very satisfying BOOM.
- The Masari have the Peacebringer. Possibly a reference to the Mammoth Tank, it's slow, but can crush smaller vehicles, is extremely powerful and durable, and its main gun can fire at air units, pretty much making it an anti everything that moves unit. It can get an extra bit of firepower if its tractor beam, which normally just slows units down, gets upgraded to a disintegrator, which deals damage to a target every second.
- Mobile Factory: The Hierarchy is based on these.
- More Dakka: The Habitat and Assembly Walkers, which both come with a set of strong plasma cannons, and can be upgraded with even more plasma cannons or anti-air Lightning Guns on their legs. The Habitat Walker can also be upgraded with radioactive mortars placed on its head, and the Assembly Walker can be upgraded with rail guns or Frickin' Laser Beams on its arms.
- Not Using the Z Word: The zombies, which you get from killing a biological unit with radiological weapons, are called "Slaves" or "Mutants".
- Planet Looters: The Hierarchy took this trope and made it into a business (does the title, Underseer of the Hierarchy Remote Mining Operations, tell you something?).
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: Orlok, as opposed to the rest of the Hierarchy. This leads to his Heel Face Turn and eventual death.
- Puny Earthlings: The tutorial mission is the only time you play humans, and its Unwinnable. For added puniness, when attacking the nuclear missile silos as the Hierarchy, armour up some walkers and just walk past the human army. The silos go down as soon as you step on them.
- Redemption Equals Death: Poor Orlok.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Masari Prince Zessus certainly counts; his mother, not so much, but she does step onto the battlefield in the final mission.
- Shout-Out: And how!
- Colonel Moore is a reference to the real-life soldier Hal Moore, of We Were Soldiers Once, and Young.
- Sergeant Wollard is a reference to Martin Sheen's character in Apocalypse Now.
- The crop circles created by the Hierarchy Glyph Carvers are used to call in Hierarchy structures in a manner reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan's Signs.
- The Novus Dervish aircraft has an ability called Death Bloom, a reference to The Last Starfighter.
- The Novus hero Viktor (piloted by Mirabel) is an homage to almost every giant robot in the history of anime, from hidden missiles in the overly-large shoulder pauldrons that fire in huge bursts to a charged-up beam rifle.
- The Hierarchy Defilers (tripods with a radiation gun) are a direct reference to the tripods in War of the Worlds.
- The Novus are a collective reference to Isaac Assimov; their Ohm robots are clearly reminiscent of the robots in the film I Robot, and are very protective of their creators and vengeful over their extermination. Word of God has it that the design of Novus units and structures was inspired by the iPod.
- One response made by the Novus Hackers is "Would you like to play a game?. Another is "No system is safe".
- The basic units of the Hierarchy are Grunts and Brutes, reminiscent of Halo.
- A good number of units in the game are clear references to units from the older Command and Conquer games in terms of names and how they function, such as the Hierarchy Brute (Yuri's Brutes), the Novus Variant (able to disguise itself as environmental objects just like the Allied Mirage Tank) and the Masari Peacebringer (commonly compared to the Mammoth Tank).
- While the entire concept of Planet Looters is dated, it's likely that the Hierarchy was inspired by Independence Day.
- Oh, and the Hierarchy invasion begins in 2012. What are the odds?
- Slap-On-The-Wrist Nuke: Averted. While the Hierarchy's orbital command ships can take one or two nukes, it's implied such "radiation weapons" are a big threat to them, which is why they prioritize their destruction.
- Slave Mooks: The Hierarchy uses them a lot.
- The Starscream: Nufai, who betrayed Orlok and replaced him as the Hierarchy's new commander.
- Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The Masari, to quote a Hierarchy Intel Officer on their technology;
"It was said the Masari could create energy from nothing!"
- They also have a god-complex of sorts, but it's not wholly undeserved, considering they're the most advanced faction, both in terms of technology and gameplay-wise: the Masari are best attacked early, otherwise, they can fortify their base and send wave after wave of overpowered units at you, since they have no resource limitations (that bit about making energy from nothing isn't just fluff).
- Tank Goodness: The Masari Peacebringer, which is usually compared with the Mammoth Tank.
- The Starscream: Nufai who sold out Orlok to get his rank.
- Tripod Terror: The Hierarchy Defilers are the scariest tripods ever: their main attack is a radiation-based beam cannon, they have a Wave Motion Gun that leaves a radiation cloud behind, and their secondary fire mode bleeds nuclear waste, turning organic units into Zombies. Reaper Drones and Detection Drones are also Tripods, albeit less dangerous. Then, you have the Science Walker.
- Troperiffic: The whole game is specifically designed to take advantage of every conceivable Alien Invasion trope.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: For the Hierarchy - Mass Drop and Radiation Cascade; Novus - EMP and Black Hole Bomb; Masari - Burning Wrath and Matter Storm.
- We Have Reserves: Both the Hierarchy and the Novus use this. Novus troops, being Mecha-Mooks, actually support this.
- Kamal Re'x of the Hierarchy; his solution to any problem is 'throw more men at it,' and he's willing to sacrifice massive amounts of resources, including command vessels and senior generals, if he thinks he'll look good doing it.
- Wolverine Claws: Nufai.
- Xanatos Gambit: Remember that part when the Founder wonders about how humans managed to survive so long? It has nothing to do with humans being awesome, it was Kamal Re'x's plan to trap and exterminate the Novus. Later, Nufai's fake Face Heel Turn also counts, since it allowed Kamal Re'x to capture prince Zessus.
- X Meets Y: War of the Worlds meets Gundam meets Stargate
- Zerg Rush: Both the Hierarchy and the Novus do this.