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File:HostileWatersCover 8278.jpg
"Twenty years ago this was the scene of the last war on Earth. This Pacific island is where the future was built. Where the old guard, the fossilized establishment was brought down. Twenty years have been spent building a new Earth. A world of plenty, and peace. But the old guard never went away. The remaining monsters of the 20th century, the death-lovers, the power brokers, the old men who lived on theft and hate, have formed a Cabal, with the intent to break the world apart. With new machinery, unimagined by the outside world, they have incorporated the island into a newly grown chicane of similar islands, the Earth literally forced by machines to throw islands up into an artificial design. The Cabal control their operations from the shielded island in the center of the chicane. Operations for war against a world that's given war up. It's up to the new society of two thousand and thirty two to relearn war. To revive the last of the Adaptive Cruisers. Give it the ability to lend battle vehicles autonomous controls by bonding their systems with the chip-contained minds of dead soldiers; and to send them all into the chicane to fight their way through to Island Zero... and the nightmare, waiting there to be set loose upon the planet. These are Hostile Waters..."
Narrator (Tom Baker)

Okay, so that pretty much clarifies the premise of this particular Real Time Strategy game written by Warren Ellis. There are, however, a few things that must be made clear:

1. This game is the apotheosis of awesome. Seriously, try it.

2. It is a hybrid of real-time-turns strategy and vehicle simulator.

3. It is very, very British.

This Video Game provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The Suicide Bugs.
  • Adaptive Ability: The Species.
  • Airborne Mook: Enemy Apaches and Alien light flyers.
    • Note that the Species was originally meant to be purely land-based; the forms they evolved for aircraft are usually very weakly armored.
  • Anti-Air: The AA towers.
  • Arrow Cam: Warhammer rounds have built-in camera to see where they land.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: The various Soulcathcer pilots will talk to each other and you, such as mocking each other for perceived differences in skill. Thing is, these response are very limited, so they repeat them quite often. The responses are just vague enough to make it sound coherent no matter what pattern they end up in, though, and usually pretty fun, since most are jerkasses.
  • Author Appeal: Evil corporations plotting the downfall of an ultimately idealistic world? Nanotechnology used for the good of mankind? Nightmarish organic technology? You can tell this is a Warren Ellis script before you even know he wrote it.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The quick order system, meant to let the player give orders quicker, without leaving the cockpit. The alternative is changing back to the Battle Room... which pauses the game.
    • The artillery guns. Powerful enough to kill pretty much anything. Limited enough ammo that you usually can't wipe out any one thing of vital importance to your enemy (they almost always have a few backups).
    • The EMP gun. Decent range and will kill any plane it hits (since they stop flying), but really slow firing and only necessary for one mission. It's easier just to kill things.
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The Longbow missile launcher. You get it early, it's cheap to outfit a vehicle with it, it has good range, homes in on a target, a full salvo takes out most human or hybrid enemies, the ammo regenerates fast enough, is excellent for hit and run assaults, oh and did we mention it's just great fun to see in use? Sure, it might not have the sustained DPS of the Scalpel chaingun or the range of the Rapier laser but it provides a more than good compromise. Even the Warhammer howitzer that both outdamages and outranges it suffers in that the Longbow can be used by and against air units.
  • Badass Boast: My name... is Ransom.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Ammo and fuel are infinite (except for Antaeus guns), limited only by the rechargeable energy meter. But in the case of Scalpel minigun, not even that applies, since the recharge rate is much faster than the firing rate.
  • Brain Uploading: The new peaceful future has the unfortunate side effect of nobody being qualified to crew the Antaeus. Fortunately some of the soldiers in its last battle were trialing prototype 'Soulcatcher' chips which preserved their minds on death.
  • Bug War: The last stages of the game.
  • Cloning Blues: The excuse given for why you can't simply create five copies of the same guy, thus limiting your autonomous forces to whatever chips you have on hand. It's said that they attempted running multiple copies before, which just made them go berserk since the participants couldn't accept that they were no longer unique. You'd think a little psychological conditioning could take care of such a thing.
  • Combat Medic: The Behemoth heavy tank chassis is the only vehicle large enough other than the unarmed Scarab able to equip the repair unit, thus leading to this trope.
  • Compliment Backfire: Some of your crew don't like to be complimented.
  • Cool Ship: The titular battleship Antaeus is the last functioning capital warship, preserved in case war ever returns to threaten humanity. Not only does the ship survive being sunk for 20 years (albeit some damage does take some time to repair), it is also capable of literally creating armies out of junk.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The Cabal fits this trope to perfection: there's a sinister American radicalist who thinks that "Without control, we may as well end all life on this planet and see if the cockroaches can get it right", a Russian who remembers "de old days", a German chick that wants to "take major urban areas back to the Stone Age", plus an assortment of guys who look like gangsters, ganglords and corrupt politicians. Oh and the obligatory cigar-smoking El Presidente lookalike. See the whole thing here.
  • Crosshair Aware: Inexplicably used by a boss (of sorts). For no good reason, since the attack cannot be dodged without putting the environment in between, either.
  • Death From Above: Various Air units, especially the Bomber-type Vulture and Antaeus long range guns. Ransom even says the exact words when killing something.
  • Death World: The chances of humans surviving on unterraformed islands are non-existent. As one of the characters realizes, that's the whole point. The aliens, having outgrown the weakness to hot temperatures, are now simply unterraforming in order to wipe out humanity.
  • Diminishing Returns for Balance: Multiple copies of the same enhancement (reload speed, armor, shields) provide progressively less of a boost. This is a moot point early in the game, since you can only fit one or two of each, but the high-end vehicles can load a ton of enhancements.
  • Downer Ending: A pretty hard-hitting one. In the final mission, after much (and I mean much) effort, your ship, converted into a makeshift nuke, destroys a structure designed to launch genetically engineered alien creatures into space. It Makes Sense in Context. Anyway, in the credits, you and your crew go down with the ship. The ship's nanotech creation engine hits the ocean floor with the alien launch platform, which promptly beings to assimilate it. As if this weren't bad enough, The Stinger shows that the aliens managed to get into space anyway. Congrats, humanity's last weapon was sacrificed for little more than spare time (which the humans won't use because they think they've won), and if those aliens decide they want to come back home, the human race is fucked.
    • YMMV, though. The ending can be viewed it as rather hopeful... Yeah, there's the "bright and awful spark of creation" in the ocean abyss, but the aliens were running scared. Yeah, 2 culture seeds got away, but why would they return? They can live practically anywhere. That last scene simply showed that genocide had been averted.
      • Plus very little is mentioned on what exactly happened to Cruiser 04. For all we know, all it needed to get ready for the next war could have been just a new receiver with which it reads the re-awakening signal (although one can argue that getting the device to Cruiser 04 might be a different matter altogether).
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: The last mission gives you the Vulture, a quick, cheap, heavily armed air unit. On one hand, it breaks the final mission when used as an High-Altitude Warhammer-Dropping Bomber; on the other hand, it is utterly useless in any other role in that particular mission.
  • EMP: The EMP Gun.
  • Energy Weapon: The Rapier long-range laser, and practically everything the Aliens shoot at you.
  • Escort Mission: One of the missions has you escorting a group of scientists escaping from the Cabal. They proceed to patiently wait in their base while you clear the entire map of everything that moves and set up turrets at their destination, make sure to stay behind your tanks once they get rolling, and even once the enemies start growing out of the ground (literally), they will target your units before they turn on the convoy. It's... refreshingly not frustrating.
  • Exploding Barrels: Or rather, explosive building-sized fuel tanks. Some fuel trucks can also be used as high-grade explosives for fortified targets.
  • Fiction as Cover Up: The Classic Flying Saucers, see below.
  • Fission Mailed: An example that narrowly avoids being annoying. The first time you see a helicopter with the scientist you were supposed to rescue take off, it means you failed the mission. When the same happens several missions later, it's just a scripted event.
  • Flying Saucer: Apparently human-made, created in order to control the populace through fear of unknown and to divert their attention from real conspiracies.
  • Four Is Death: Adaptive Cruiser 04 doesn't get the signal, and thus stays sunken.
  • Gatling Good: The Scalpel.
  • Grey Goo: The "alien" antagonists have a grey goo disassembler cannon. It's up to you to blow up the cooling radiators before it destroys Central, the world capital. Once you do that, the next shot blows it to hell and spreads disassemblers throughout their base. If you feel like being merciful, you can take it out before it destroys the first two cities on its list, though this is a mite harder to do.
  • Grid Inventory: The extra space in the vehicles for placing soulcatcher chips and modifying, also counts as a minor Inventory Management Puzzle.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The final mission consists simply of escorting the Cool Ship, turned into a walking (well, floating) bomb, into the heart of the enemy installation. It seems to work, too. Though the ending and The Stinger suggest otherwise.
  • Hover Tank: The Salamander and Shark chassis.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The fate of Cabal leaders.
  • Interface Screw: An early mission has your Battle Room interface glitch out, forcing you to issue commands through the quick-order system in the upper-right corner. It's basically used as an excuse for a Forced Tutorial.
  • Invisibility: The cloaking device, usually used on Pumas.
  • In Universe Game Clock: A day/night cycle that doesn't affect gameplay beyond giving you an excuse to use the night vision button. If you know one exists at all.
  • Ironic Echo: A Non-verbal version; when you get to the fake Island Zero, you can see a statue of something large and bug-like attacking a considerably smaller human, symbolizing the Cabal using the aliens to destroy their enemies. Fast-forward to when Antaeus gets to real Island Zero, the Cabal leaders, who a mission ago requested us to protect them from the now rogue alien forces, are impaled by the aliens on the beach, slowly dying, naked, in the middle of an unnatural winter, and near the center of the island, in the middle of the ruined headquarters, there stands an identical statue, with the upper half of the human missing, now symbolizing something completely different.
  • Lady of War: Borden.
  • Laser Sight: All but one of your weapons get this. The Warhammer gets a crosshair instead, which shows where the round will fall.
  • Loading Screen: Pre-mission loading screens show the Antaeus' current position as it closes on another island in the chicane.
  • Military Mashup Machine: The carrier Antaeus has a large number of nanobots that can create a helicopter, tank, or a few similar things in about a second. You can only have a dozen or so tanks/helicopters/whatever active at a time but when you lose one you can replace it very quickly.
  • My Hero Zero: Antaeus Double Zero.
  • Nanomachines: The plotline is based on nanotechnology. In the year 2012, nanotech "Creation Engines" were developed and released to the world at large. Able to dispense anything a person could want, at any time - on demand - they cause "the world to go sane"; revolution happened, power cliques were overthrown and the world becomes a Utopia. The game takes place is the fictional year 2032, where the old power elites have perverted nanotechnology for their own uses, creating weapons of war with which to blackmail the rest of the world into servitude again. Or so it seems, at first...
  • Non-Entity General: The game refers to you only as Captain, the only living person aboard the Antaeus. Of course, "living" is something of a misnomer, since you're a chip just like your crew, the only difference being you got a body out of the deal.
  • Not Playing Fair with Resources: Though it is fair in the sense that your methods and their methods are completely distinct, the enemy has literally infinite resources so long as at least one oil rig is intact. Bust that and they run out of resources within a minute. Of course, later on the game does tend to screw you by spawning more rigs mid-mission.
  • No Recycling: Partially averted, as the debris of fallen enemies is your main source of energy, but your own vehicles don't leave much of anything behind when blown up.
  • Organic Technology: The Cabal at first combines organic tech and normal tech and creates hybrid vehicles, the normal warmachines with organic elements (think Apaches and Abrams tanks with meat on them). The aliens themselves are all this.
  • Patchwork Map: The game takes place entirely on an island chicane (artificial archipelago) located somewhere around New Zealand. The environment varies from hot to frozen over. Justified by the chicane undergoing rapid, hostile (un)terraforming. Especially visible in the last mission.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The world government has used Nanomachines to remove poverty and need, effectively removing all reasons to go to war. This brought along with it a paradigm shift in the way people viewed the world, creating a world at peace.
  • Pretentious Latin Motto: If the name of the Cool Ship wasn't pretentious enough, the motto is Pugio in Averso Belli (a dagger used against war).
  • Real Time with Pause: In the Battle Room, time does not flow.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Explained with nanotechnology. The 'base' in the game, the adaptive cruiser Antaeus, is equipped with 'Creation Engines' which contain trillions of nano scale assembler robots capable of creating new vehicles from blueprints stored in the carrier in just seconds. The only resource required is 'metal' obtained by scavenger units using disassembler beams to reclaim various wreckage from the battlefield. The dissasembling process does take time, presumably due to the lesser numbers of nanobots involved.
  • Sequel Hook: Two of them. Not only does the ending cinematic reveal that your Heroic Sacrifice might have spawned something even worse, The Stinger suggests it was in vain, since a couple of Culture Stones made it into space.
    • Unfortunately, the sequel is likely never coming...
  • Ship Shape Shipwreck: Makes an effort to play this as straight as possible while also subverting it. Antaeus Cruiser 00 is in remarkably good condition after spending 20 years on the ocean bed. It manages to surface and set sail just fine despite the long rest. Thankfully, nothing essential got damaged too badly, so after a visit in a wet-dock the ship is at (or at least, near) full operational capacity, though they are signs she never gets as good as new. 00's sister ship, 04 isn't as lucky. She doesn't wake from her nap on the ocean bed. They justify this through the use of advanced nanotechnology. Both 00 and 04 have creation engines on board with trillions of the little things, which would have repaired 04, too, if it had received the signal.
  • Sniping Mission: In one of the missions, you have to kill a helicopter pilot without getting too near. The only weapon with the necessary range and accuracy is the Rapier. An anti-tank laser cannon.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Carrier Command. Hostile Waters is also in essence an RTS-fied version of Rage Software's earlier game Incoming.
  • State Sec: Walker, from MiniIntel is basically in charge of Central's security service. He describes at one point how the government has very close surveillance of every radical group in existence:

  Walker: Nobody slips through the system. We've got more agents out there than there are faction members. If there was a split, we'd know about it. For Christ sake, we control most of them. They can't take a shit without us knowing about it.

  • Tank Goodness: Patton agrees.
  • Terraform: The Species embark on a great un-terraforming project of Earth itself, starting with Greenland. Given that they are, in part, living universal constructors, it becomes of vital importance to stop them.
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The game takes place in 2032, 31 years from the date of launch. The world, however, is massively different. Countries have dissolved and reassembled into new ones, violence and war are at an all-time low, weapons are practically non-existent. It's also implied that, through the use of free airborne medicine, disease and death have been eradicated, and there are probably space bases beyond the Moon.
  • Utopia: a literal example:

  Walker: Streets lined with plants that capture pollution and sequester it as the pigment in flowers, decontaminating it as they bloom. Public Creation Engines on every corner that make free food and clothes and goods and anything out of dirt and waste. Tiny organic medicines, riding the air, that heal us as we breathe. Disease-free immortality. Our grasp exceeds the moon, and we stand on the verge of greatness.

  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Your handlers at Central, Walker and Church, who are two of the only people left qualified for military operations. Their superior, Halsey, also shows up in the first mission.
  • Worker Unit: The Scarab vehicle, can also be used as a medic.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: The Energy Units, harvested using recycle-unit equipped Scarabs (or Behemoths in specific situations) to disassemble various structures, junk and enemy remains on field, with the energy instantly going to Antaeus. Another, less efficient way is to gather energy is to use the Pegasus helicopter to lift something and deliver it to Antaeus' own disassembler.
  • WHAM! Mission: In mission 5 you're tasked to take over a Cabal research outpost, steal their hovercraft design and destroy a plane carrying unknown technology before it takes off. However, blowing up the plane reveals the "alien" creatures for the first time, literally growing out of the wreckage and spawning laser armaments to rip your troops to shreds. The whole scene comes out of nowhere, and your handlers are rightly horrified. And to think that thing was headed to a populated city.