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A Real Time Strategy game set in the Star Wars universe. Developed with the aim of eliminating the bad name Star Wars RTS games had, it was released in 2006. Later that year, an expansion, Forces of Corruption, was released.

Empire At War contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Armor-Piercing Attack : Proton Torpedos, Mass drivers, and some missiles can punch through shields, damaging the hardpoints.
  • Asteroid Thicket: Fairly small ones, but big enough to make it dangerous for capital ships to pass through.
    • Also, the Vergesso Asteroids are a conquerable location.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The Imperial 2M hovertank has shields, is very manuverable, and is armed with a heavy laser that can kill most enemy vehicles in six shots or so, and an anti-infantry laser that behaves like a watered-down version of the anti-infantry turret. They come in groups of four and are not excessively expensive. Their only real vulnerabilites are heavy tanks, aircraft, and large groups of anti-tank infantry.
  • The Battlestar: Most of the larger Imperial ships carry a complement of TIEs.
  • Beam Spam: Imperial Tartan-Class Corvettes, Acclamator-II Cruisers, and Victory-Class Destroyers have a special ability that lets them do this. Other units with similar abilities are AT-STs, Colonel Veers' custom AT-AT Blizzard 1, and Red Squadron (specifically, Luke).
    • In the expansion, the Admonitor and the TIE Defenders can also do it.
  • BFG: Tyber Zann wields a shotgun that is capable of flattening entire squads with one shot.
  • Boring but Practical: The Y-wing and MPTL-2A Artillery.
  • Bilingual Bonus: There's text by the developers on one of the menu screens in Aurebesh.
  • Canon Dis Continuity: Despite the seemingly-major events taking place in Forces of Corruption, none of the characters or occurrences from the game are referenced anywhere else in canon, as of this writing. This is unfortunate, as the game ended on a Cliff Hanger...
  • Car Fu: TIE Maulers are armed with a high power anti-infantry gun. However, it's much easier to simply order the TIE Mauler to run enemy soldiers over.
  • The Chessmaster: Tyber Zann, the Emperor.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Its possible to instantly kill troops by running them over with vehicles. In fact, there are two "levels" of these crushers, with the largest vehicles able to instantly kill other, smaller vehicles, which themselves may be able to crush troops.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Grand Admiral Thrawn, as usual.
  • Continuity Nod: Several ships and units featured in the game were created in established works, such as Dark Forces, Dark Empire and Shadows of the Empire.
  • Cool Sword: Lightsabers.
  • Cowardly Boss: Moff Kalast. Grand Admiral Thrawn in Forces of Corruption also counts, as about halfway through the battle a bounty hunter that Tyber Zann hired defects, steals a valuable artifact and flies through the battle to Thrawn's flagship. Thrawn then turns and runs, ending the level.
  • Defog of War: The sensor ping ability of MPTL-2A Artillery Scouts and TIE Scouts.
    • In Forces of Corruption, Yoda can do a map-wide version of this.
  • Death From Above: If you have bombers in orbit, they can be sent on a bombing run to support ground troops. In Forces of Corruption, you can call in an orbital strike by capital ships.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: In the last mission of the Forces of Corruption campaign, you gain access to the Eclipse.
  • Enemy Mine: Tyber Zann briefly allied himself with the Alliance to Restore the Republic ostensibly to take out the Eclipse. Unfortunately for the Alliance, Zann had other plans as soon as he got the Eclipse.
  • Escort Mission: one early mission in the Rebel campaign had you escorting some pilots to steal the prototype X-wing fighters under the Empire's nose. While they have to survive for you to win, thankfully you can control them and keep them sandwiched between your other units.
  • Evil Brit: The Emperor, Tarkin, Piett, Veers, Thrawn, everybody who has their own Star Destroyer...
  • Expy: The Rebel's T4-B tank (sporting twin twin laser cannons and a missile launcher) was designed as a homage to the Command and Conquer Mammoth Tank by ex-Westwood Studios staffers working at Petroglyph.
    • Regarding Tyber Zann in Forces of Corruption, he is basically Lucius Malfoy mixed with the personality of either a James Bond villain and/or a space pirate.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Or, 'hyperspace'.
  • Fast Roping: The AT-AT's deploy stormtroopers ability. Given how the AT-AT is designed to be an Awesome Personnel Carrier, it only makes sense that it has a lot of meat for the grinder.
  • Friendly Fireproof: You can safely order artillery or air strikes on you own position without the fear of harming your own troops.
  • Fog of War: Can be removed briefly with a sensor ping by some units or permanently via capturing a radar station on certain maps.
  • Glass Cannon: The artillery units for both the Empire and the Alliance pack a lot of firepower and if used correctly, can turn the entire tide of the battle. However, they're barely mobile (in particular the six-legged Imperial artillery) and don't have much armour or protection.
    • The Aggressor, a tier 5 capital ship[1] used by the Zann Consortium, deserves a special mention here. Shot for shot, Aggressors are the most powerful non-hero ship by at least an order of magnitude. They wield two 'special weapons' that fire plasma balls larger than most non-capital ships. Each shot has excellent range and can destroy unshielded ship hardpoints in a single hit. These guns can also fire once every few seconds. One Aggressor can take out a level 5 space station by itself. Only kept from being a complete Game Breaker because:
      • a) These guns can only fire directly forward, and the ship takes about a minute to turn around.
      • b) If the main guns are taken out, they have only two weak laser cannons for defense, putting them on par offensively with a Tartan Patrol Cruiser (a tier 1 unit).
      • c) The Aggressor has a pathetically low six hardpoints[2] and can't target small ships, making it VERY easy to take out with bombers.
    • TIE Bombers. They're pathetically slow and die very easily but just a few squads can annihilate most weapon hardpoints on capital ships and stations in a single strafing run. Y-wings are somewhat better as they have ion cannons to stun their target prior to strafing it.
  • Honour Before Reason: Grand Moff Tarkin considers retreat a coward's option, and a fleet cannot use the 'retreat' command if he's with them.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The Death Star is completely unbeatable unless you have a particular hero unit in your fleet, Red Squadron.
  • La Résistance: The Rebel Alliance. Also, depending on the planet, the local civilians will take up arms and side with either the Rebels or the Empire. This is really useful for the Rebels when combined with their special raid ability.
  • Large Ham: Tyber Zann is relatively cool and collected... unless he's on the battlefield. When he's on the ground, he takes part in Chewing the Scenery. When he's in space, he acts like a calm James Bond villian.
    • Silri, on the other hand, acts like this all the time.
  • Mook Maker: The AT-ATs, for some strange reason, never run out of Stormtroopers to deploy. There's a cap of two squads maximum for any single AT-AT, but the moment a squad gets wiped out, it's possible to send out a fresh batch to replace them. Justified for the Executor, which is canonically so big that it can literally house thousands of TIE Fighters. Its cap is ten squadrons at a time, and it's entirely possible to win a battle with Executor alone by tucking her in a distant corner of a map and sending wave after wave of fighters to wear down the enemy.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Darth Vader.
    • In space, his TIE cannot even be damaged until all his wingmen are dead, which means his special ability (instantly replacing all lost wingmen) renders him an awesome turbolaser shield. On top of that, he does bomber levels of damage to subsystems.
    • On the ground, he takes absolutely ridiculous amounts of damage to be put down - not to mention his lightsaber all but immunizing him of blaster shots from a large angle in front of him, seemingly healing him with every deflection. Hell, units like swamp speeders run a very good chance at killing themselves attacking him! The only thing that can give him pause is massed artillery or several anti-infantry turrets clustered together - but even THAT can't kill him without casualties. On top of all this, bacta heals him even faster than any other infantry unit!
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Neither plot follows canon exactly, but the Rebels get a much more film-like storyline.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Tyber Zann's design was stated to have been based on Jason Issacs, more specifically his portrayal of Lucius Malfoy.
  • One-Hit Kill - Aside from, you know, OHKing planets, the Death Star II's superlaser in the Forces expansion will take out any ship that's big enough to target. They just can't take firepower of that magnitude.
    • In space combat, Luke's special ability 'Lucky Shot' allows him to take out a capital ship's hard point or outright destroy smaller ships in a single shot.
    • Captain Piett's Star Destroyer, the Accuser, has also the possibility to charge all weapon's energy in one single shot which has the same strength as Luke's Lucky Shot
  • One-Man Army: Darth Vader again. Aside from having Nigh Invulnerability, his lightsaber destroys enemy vehicles faster than dedicated anti-vehicle weapons, he can insta-kill all enemy infantry near him and completely disables turrets while destroying them. He'd only need a ranged attack to be a goddamn Rambo...
  • Only Mostly Dead: Lampshaded by Palpatine and Han Solo.
  • Penal Colony: Kessel, a dangerous prison world and spice mine that uses enslaved prisoners. It will generate extra income for the faction that controls it due to the spice running operations.
  • Plot Armor - The Millennium Falcon actually has this as a special ability, to become invincible for a few seconds.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Tyber Zann, shortly after pulling what amounts to a cyber-theft of every single resource in the Emperor's treasury, left the Eclipse behind despite initially wanting to take it. His reason? He realized that the ship would be big enough of a target for even the Rebel Alliance to locate, and he already enraged them with his earlier betrayal in the middle of the battle. He also let the Rebel Alliance form their New Republic afterwards, since he saw it as an opportunity to "own a senator," in his words.
  • Reflecting Laser: AT-STs, AT-AAs, and TIE Maulers if Endor is controlled by the Empire in Galactic Conquest modes. In Skirmish, the Empire can get upgrades that give a few of their units reflective armour.
  • Running Gag: Han Solo can't keep his hand out of Rebel Alliance.
  • Shout-Out: An early mission in the Imperial campaign is named 'Crush. Kill. Destroy.'
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: Just like the rest of the Star Wars universe.
  • Subsystem Damage: Capital ships and space stations, you will have to take out all their Subsystems (shield,weapons, etc) before it can be destroyed.
  • The Chick: Mon Mothma for the Rebel Alliance. Compared to all the other rebels with speaking roles, she is the most logical and quiet one.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: As per the La Résistance trope, the civilian population of some planets are strong supporters of the Empire, meaning that the Alliance will be forced to gun down crowds of civilians and burn down their buildings when 'liberating' those worlds.
  • Walking Tank: AT-ATs, AT-STs, AT-AAs, SPMA-Ts, and Pod Walkers.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Aside from the Death Stars, Piett has one mounted on his Star Destroyer.
    • The Eclipse has one as well.
  • Weather of War: Every planet has its own weather conditions which can affect the range or accuracy of your ground units. The negative effects can be ignored if you have purchased the survival training upgrade from the barracks.
  • We Have Reserves: A legitimate tactic for the attacking team (see Zerg Rush), especially for the Empire[3]. The way battles work: You send your army to a planet, then choose a subset of that army to attack with using a point buy system[4]. At any time your unit total is less than your point total, whether from unit losses or capturing more control points, you can call in reinforcements from your main army to any point on the map you control.
    • An important point to note is that this trope is NOT in effect for the defending side. They are limited to whatever forces they had garrisoned on the planet before you attacked [5], with bonus troops granted periodically from the unit production buildings on the map (land) or from the hanger hardpoint of the space station (space).
    • In land battles this remains a valid tactic up until the point the opposing side unlocks artillery. A small group of artillery deployed just out of retaliation range of a landing zone will destroy any arriving force not comprised of heavy vehicles before they get a single shot off. Your only hope to get out of this kind of situation is orbital bombardment.
  • You Have Failed Me: Darth Vader does this to an Imperial officer after the Imperial attack on Thyferra in the first mission of the Empire campaign.
    • It's implied he does this to the player's 'character' if you fail to capture Leia.
    • Also implied (with those exact words) that he does that to an Imperial officer in the Rebellion ending to the Galactic Conquest mode, although it doesn't achieve much as the Star Destroyer he's on explodes a few seconds later.
  • Zerg Rush: If you have enough cash, you can win any battle by just throwing more ships/troops at it. Pirates are especially prone to this, since their ships have fewer weapons and weaker shields.
  1. the same technology tier as Mon Calamari Cruisers and Super Star Destroyers, so a late-game unit
  2. for context, a Star Destroyer (which is one tier lower) has ten
  3. whose AT-ATs have unlimited supplies of stormtroopers, and whose capital ships replenish their stock of fighters and bombers after each battle; both of these abilities cost nothing
  4. land battles start with a small pool of points, capturing control points on the map increases this total. Space battles always have maximum points
  5. (land battles use a 10-slot system instead of point buy, so an AT-AT takes up the same amount of space as the soldiers it can summon)