The Let's Play Archive


by Blind Sally, nine-gear crow, et al.

Part 5: Chapter 1, Stage 4


Amidst the ruins of Vekta City, ISA hold-outs hunker down in a shelled out building.

Enter ISA soldiers. Enter [Templar] opposite.

Hail, soldier.

Captain Templar, we've been expecting thee.
Our CO is yonder. Sergeant, Captain Templar is here.

Tis good to see you lived through the assault.
General Vaughton hath said thee would be coming this--

Helghast armour, closing in on thy position!

A pox upon the Helghast! Defend, soldiers, we must stand until our vehicles arrive.
Hold your ground!

Craven malcontents, dost they bring tanks!?

Cover thy brain-pans.
Look, Lancers!


Enter ISA soldier

Captain, over here. General Vaughton hath asked me to escort thou.
Onward, to the command room, sir.



Inside an ISA bunker, rocked by explosions.

Enter General [Vaughton], [Templar], ISA Comm Officers and Vektan Soldiers

Bring General Adams these tidings: the security key tis presently on its way to me.
I shalt be shuttling up in a--

T'will be within the hour, General.

--within the hour. I expect preparations to be complete when I arrive.

ARI L. CALIBAN [over the comms]
Yes, sir. Exit

God's blood! Well met, Jan!

Aye, General, tis most fortunate. How fares the battle?

Tis impossible to foresee with the comms as they are,
But we face the Third Helghan Army led by a General Lente.
If the villains persist in their deluge of troops,
We may as well lay down our arms.

What a piece of work our SD Platforms, how sturdy in strength,
How infinite in fortitude, in form and use how express and admirable,
In action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a lump of solder.


And what tis the latest?

General Adams is trying most admirably to repair them,
But they must be completely reprogrammed.
I must bring to his person the security key
To override the control fail-safe.
I await the key's arrival before departing.

And news from Earth?

The cavalry has been sent hitherward.
We must hold til they arrive.
Jan, I sought thee for a reason.
A mission. I was hoping thou--

What doth thou need of me?

An infield operations agent tis working for us behind enemy lines.
A one Colonel Hakha.

A spy?

Infield agent. So aye, a spy.
Not but three-hours ago, we received intelligence claiming he hath information
Vital to our cause. He is now fighting alongside an ISA platoon in the slum's mall.
Yet since, we have heard not a word. We need him. The enemy wants him.
I believe our best chance is a--

A small team travelling quickly. Understood, sir. I'm on it.

An explosion rocks the stage.


This update continues our trek through bombed-out city centres. Except now we get to experience infantry combat supported by armour. The advent of tanks changed the way wars were fought. They were the industrial revolution's equivalent of an armoured knight on horseback. The tank--oh god, someone else could explain this way better than I could. My knowledge of tank history is assuredly not as thorough as it could be, so I'll keep my point brief and succinct. Tanks were in WWI and provided support for infantry, but they were slow and unreliable, often getting bogged down in the muddy trenches of the battlefields. Advances in technology really made the tank come into its own in WWII, becoming a tool of war that could make or break battles. Being such a huge part of WWII, it's not surprising that tanks and other armoured vehicles are a major part of Killzone. Fortunately for Templar and co., they're going to be able to avoid most encounters with tanks usually arriving after a major battle has taken place. Unfortunately for the player, we won't get to see any sweet tank battles until the sequels when we actually get to drive vehicles.

This update also contains numerous examples of Killzone's less than stellar AI and graphical hiccups.

This here is a fine example of Helghast tactics. Park an APC in the middle of a field and let the soldiers funnel out of the back single-file so that they can be picked off one by one. That, or blown up en masse by a rocket launcher as we opted to do.

Here we see the Helghast displaying the most modern battlefield tactics. Modelled after 16th century Earth warfare, one soldier fires then drops to their knees to reload while the soldier behind them fires. They then switch places and slowly advance up the line to--wait. They have automatic weaponry. I just--I don't even--Why are they--

Also, this happens a lot. Due to graphical restrictions (I'm assuming), Helghast bodies do not stay on screen indefinitely. Eventually they disappear into the ether leaving behind only their weapons. If you lost track during the fire fight, you can figure out how many Helghast you killed by counting the rifles left behind. It's like counting dogtags.

Okay, here's some actual interesting subtext. The ISA Lancers all have the ace of spades painted on them. Depending on who you ask, the ace of spades might have different connotations, but it generally seems to be known as the "death card". However, it's also considered the most valuable card in many card games, making it potentially really lucky. If I'm not mistaken, a number of airborne units in WWI wore the icon as a good luck charm.

Contrariwise, it had a much more sinister role in the Vietnam War. American soldiers believed that Vietnamese superstition led to them viewing the ace of spades as terribly unlucky. I don't believe that's true, but that's unimportant--the Americans believed it so strongly that having the card boosted their morale. Bicycle even shipped over crates of cards containing only the ace of spades for the soldiers to use. They would place the cards on the bodies or in the mouths of dead North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers. There are images on the internet, but they're pretty grim so look at your own risk. If you've ever watched Apocalypse Now, Robert Duvall's character partakes in this tradition after capturing the beachhead.

destitute posted:

Actually this looks a lot like the Special Operations Command emblem:

Special Forces are often referred to as the "Tip of the Spear", the spear in question being those that show up all over national iconography to represent strength of arms or military might; the first element to fight in a location is often Special Forces troops of one sort or another, and SOCOM's Tier One Operators are often the first to show up. I think it has less to do with being a death card and more to do with representing a SF unit -- some countries have only one type of Special Forces unit, which is essentially a Rapid Reaction Force. Those tanks, which look like Light Armored Vehicles with a seriously upgraded primary weapon system, would be a decent choice for rapid armored response in a metropolitan area; some SWAT units actually have LAVs. It might be a lot more thought than was actually put into it, but I could see the spear emblem being used to help reinforce that these are ISA RRF special forces tanks.

That brings up an interesting correlation -- the Helghast troops all look heavily armored and the ISA troops appear to be wearing some much more basic ballistic vests, whereas the descriptions for the vehicles and space assets describe the reverse; Helghast vehicles are lightly armored and smaller than their ISA counterparts. Very unlike the German armored corps during WWII. I assume that Helghast forces will be promptly torn to shreds once ISA mounts a coordinated counterattack, or do they have a more significantly armored main battle tank?

Kangra posted:

In the Ace of Spades analysis I think you meant World War II Airborne unit, and it was actually only one regiment of one division (the 506th Parachute Infantry, part of the 101st Airborne) that used spades as insignia. Each unit of the 101st marked their helmets with a card suit representing their regiment; in that case it's not really an ace of spades, just a spade.

On the subject of Vietnam, the Ace, and death cards, here's more than you ever wanted to know (and yes, it includes at least one image of a dead person).

And tucked away in the corner, we have some ISA soldiers who have been lined up and shot. A simple, yet effective image to help vilify the Helghast. Surely monsters like these deserve all the retribution that gets pointed at them, right? It's early yet in the game series, so we'll see if the ISA get the justice they're after or if they cross the line and become the villains they're trying to stop (hint: it's the latter).

Helghast standing in mid-air.

More graphical issues. That guy on the left, the back of his head looks like a giant raisin. Gross. Oh, and next to him is a token black guy. I wish that was a joke. You can count how many non-white people exist in the Killzone trilogy on one hand. You can also count the number of women in the Killzone trilogy on one hand.

Lastly, General Vaughton's horrible Muppet-mouth. I figure this was a graphical error, because even minor ISA soldiers, such as the comms officers, get rendered teeth. I can't believe they missed fixing it when redoing the HD version, though. I mean, they fixed a pillar that you could walk through in the upcoming office building level, but left in ol'General Gums here? Yikes.

Much like World War I, the First Extrasolar War was a relatively brief event only spanning a few years. However, like WWI, it would also wind up being extremely brutal and destructive.

The Helghan Administration tries to exert its independence, but years of impositions and restrictions placed upon them by Earth and the ISA mean they're a far inferior force. They don't stand a chance, frankly.

The UCA Navy Cruiser is massive. It's twice the size of an ISA Cruiser, which in turn is already larger than the Helghan Administration's Cruisers. This is partly due to budget constraints placed on the ISA, but also because Earth wishes to keep a stronger, more technologically advanced navy in reserve in case it ever needs to put down unrest in the colonies. Certainly, what better way to issue a silent threat than to build Navy with armaments twice the size of your own?

The destruction of the massive orbital platform above Helghan has huge implications. At this point, no one was actually living on the planet's surface. There were resource extraction operations going on, absolutely, but people actually lived on the space platform. Now, the survivors of the war are going to have to either try and make a go at living on the surface, which while heavily irradiated and storm-blasted, is (mostly) suitable for human habitation, or surrender to the ISA and take refuge on Vekta.

Earth has got to be feeling pretty good right about now. After having sold the Alpha Centauri system to the Helghan Administration, they now have enough pretext to come in and take it back for themselves by force. Vekta belongs wholly to the UCN-managed ISA forces.

IBlameRoadSuess posted:

WELP. So much for my prediction. vv

The only explanations I can think of that fits "in universe" as to how the UCN's fleet got there so quickly is that they were actually already on their way and the entire "deliberating over what to do about Helghan" was just a farce/misinformation/an outright lie. OR the navy was constructed somewhere in between Alpha Centauri and Earth. OR the colony ships just move a lot slower than cruisers do, due to size/cargo. The fact that the ISA just straight up supports the UCN without a fight is a little weird. But I assume most of the people in command aren't very loyal to their home planet, but are more loyal to the command structure of the military, which I guess makes sense, kind of? The UCN really are kind of dicks honestly. "Hey we'll sell you this territory but you have to gimp your navy and not have any way of defending yourselves if we wanna go back on the deal. Okay? Okay." Though to be fair, the Helghans probably did get a little overzealous with their tariffs and such. But is that really a reason to curbstomp them into oblivion?

The real question is who ACTUALLY blew up the space station. If there were already people living on the planet I might believe it was them, but if there was NOBODY down there at this point? I'm gonna say that it was the UCN who just straight up murdered a space station full of people because "taxes."

Given this bit of information, it actually gives more meaning to why the Helghast decided to go after the ISA aside from just "Visari's an insane Mussolini-Hitler speech." The Helghast have a bone to pick with the ISA. They actively sided against them when they probably needed them the most. It's as though most of the colonies sided with the British against the revolutionaries in 1776. Would YOU forgive the people living the high life on a veritable Eden while you're stuck on a storm blasted shithole because of them? I wouldn't. I also kinda see why there isn't a game about the stuff that happens before the games. It's mostly boring politicking, some early colonization mishaps, then just a curbstomp from the UCN to the Helghan.

(Why do I feel like by the end of this thread we'll have a emote but with a Helghast face and flag?)

This is really interesting. One of the things about the Killzone universe seems to be about history repeating itself. After all, we're centuries in the future and living in space and here we are reliving World Wars I and II. This particular scenario, of Helghan people having to flee their planet and take refuge on Vekta, leading to terrorist attacks on the rival population mirror the plot of Killzone: Shadow Fall. I haven't played the game, so I don't know how far the comparisons hold, and venturing any further might be spoiler territory, but it looks as though Shadow Fall is an example of the game's history repeating itself. Which is kind of neat.

Voiced by Bob Sherman

The four-star ISA general in charge of the ground defense of Vekta. Toothless. It bothers me that he's toothless. I'd like to think that was a mistake on Guerrilla's part, and yet they didn't fix it with the HD re-release. And so he remains toothless. Literally, not metaphorically. He has no teeth--and yet has no difficulty pronouncing words. Clearly a father-figure to Jan. I can't source it anywhere by the Killzone Wikia, so this may be from an art book or something BUT, apparently Jan's father, Dirk, died in the First Extrasolar War when Jan was just a boy. Vaughton and Dirk were close friends, so Vaughton took it upon himself to raise little Templar, leading the him to join the military like his father and entrenching the bond between him and Vaughton.

crow says Vaughton looks like a normally proportioned John McCain, but I think he looks more like Dwight Eisenhower. And I mean, really, Killzone is all about historical military references.

IBlameRoadSuess posted:


The Eisenhower comparison holds up fairly well I think.


Briefly seen on the comm, this troubled ISA soldier is the comms officer on the SD Platform. Aside from all the stress present from the Helghast attack rendering his station completely defenseless, this soldier (dubbed Ari L. Caliban by crow and myself) is also going to be the brunt of General Adams' short-temper, seeing as how he'll be delivering news about every upset and set-back in the war. Stay tuned for further adventures with this loveable lunkhead!


A token female. For a far-flung future society, there doesn't seem to be many military positions available for women. There's this comms officer, and one of our playable characters. That's it for Killzone 1. A third woman is added to the cast in Killzone: Liberation, and another two join by Killzone 3. I think Killzone: Shadow Fall adds another two women, but man, this series is awfully testosterone-laden. I kinda wish the ISA military was more like the one in Starship Troopers.

Frankly, I find the portrayal of women and non-white races in the Killzone universe problematic, in that they're basically non-existent. I mean, how do you reconcile it? "IN THE FUTURE, THERE ARE ONLY WHITE MEN!" Either Guerrilla is just following the status quo and engaging in some deep-seated cultural tokenism, or they're making a conscious comment on something. But what is that something? Are they trying to deconstruct action movie tropes and military narratives? Are they trying to shine a light on our own society narratives? Is it a statement on the evils of homogeneity?

ISA Lancer

Once again I demonstrate my lack of military knowledge by saying this looks like an M1 Abrams when some brief research shows it's more obviously modelled after the AMX-10RC. The Lancer is heavily armed and take down a Helghast Light Hover Tank with two shots. It's also relatively light, and it's 6x6 chassis allows it to travel at high speeds in urban settings, leading to it being used primarily as a police enforcement vehicle. While the Lancer is actually faster and more maneuverable in the city than either the Light Hover Tank or Hover APC, it's off-road capabilities are less than desirable and the ISA lost many of these vehicles to the Helghast fighting in the countryside, jungles, and beaches. In fact, if you look carefully throughout Killzone 1, you'll see many burned out Lancer wrecks! The ISA learned from the routing on Vekta and deploy different armoured vehicles in following games.

In true Blind Sally/nine-gear crow fashion, we can't run an LP without having failure of some sort rear its head: