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"You are approaching the military secured border of an ecological disaster zone."


S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl is a Wide Open Sandbox First-Person Shooter loosely based on the Russian novel Roadside Picnic, as well as the visually stunning Russian film Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky, which was based on the novel.

The game takes place in the Zone of Exclusion (known simply as the Zone) around the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, a "Man-Made Hell" following the nuclear accident that originally created the Zone, as well as a mysterious second explosion in 2006 which resulted in the creation of bizarre, seemingly impossible space-time anomalies and homicidal mutants.

The Zone is full of dangers, from lethal pockets of radiation, to packs of dangerous mutants, and a wide assortment of violent, body-crushing anomalies. Nonetheless, fortune-hunting trespassers known as "Stalkers" make a living exploring the Zone and seeking out the miraculous "artifacts" created by the Zone's anomalies.

Tales among the Stalkers tell of a legendary artifact known as the "Wish Granter", located at the very center of the Zone inside the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant itself. The legend goes that the Wish Granter will grant a Stalker's heart's desire. However, no Stalker has managed to reach the center of the Zone, as the path is blocked by a powerful brain-melting barrier known as the Brain Scorcher which melts the minds of any humans who attempt to penetrate into the Center.

In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, players take the role of the Marked One, a mysterious amnesiac Stalker who awakens in the Zone with nothing except a strange "S.T.A.L.K.E.R." tattoo on his arm, and the knowledge that he has a mission... to kill someone or something known as "Strelok" (Marksman). The Marked One's search for Strelok, and his interaction with the various inhabitants of the Zone and conflicting Stalker factions, will eventually lead him on a path to the Center of the Zone, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the legendary Wish Granter itself.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is a prequel to Shadow of Chernobyl, with the player taking the role of a veteran Stalker mercenary named Scar who is recruited by a secret faction known as Clear Sky to investigate the cause of mysterious emissions from the Center of the Zone that pose a threat to all of the Zone's Stalker inhabitants. Besides an assortment of graphics and gameplay tweaks and improvements, Clear Sky features a new Faction Wars system, where the various competing factions in the Zone struggle for power and control via assaulting and defending various capture points (sort of like a single-player version of the Battlefield series, with an RPG game world thrown in on top for good measure). Players can join a faction and help them fight their way to victory, or ignore the Faction Wars completely and progress through the game's main quest.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat, has been released. Unsurprisingly, the Russian-language version (which came out several months before the EU and US versions) was almost immediately translated by modders. It takes place a few days after Shadow of Chernobyl with the player taking the role of SBU (Служба Безпеки України/Security Service of Ukraine) Major Degtyarev who is charged with investigating the attempted military takeover of the Zone Gone Horribly Wrong. This game also takes place after the good ending of Shadow of Chernobyl, so apparently things didn't turn out okay after all.

Call of Pripyat is available worldwide on Steam as of Feb. 21, 2010.

The first proper sequel S.T.A.L.K.E.R. II was announced at GamesCom, due 2012, but was canceled among development disputes.

Announcements were made on the 9th of December, 2011. GSC has been forced into closure, but the GSC team promises more announcements in mid-January However, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. II has been canceled, and members of the team are leaving to work on a MMO, Survarium.

The Tropes Are In The Basement:
  • Abandoned Hospital: One in Clear Sky, and one in Call of Pripyat.
  • Abandoned Laboratory: A good number of them, in all games.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: More often than not serving as bases for various factions.
  • Abnormal Ammo: The Gauss Gun uses Flash artifact fragments in its batteries to provide the vast amount of power to fire it.
    • Taken a step further in some Game Mods, where the addition of an artifact turns the weapon into a less-powerful gauss gun by flinging the bullet with tremendous energy (but shearing off a lot of metal in the process).
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The MISERY mod of Call of Pripyat makes the purchasing of items and the repairing of weapons and armor three times more expensive than the vanilla version of the game. As if the mod wasn't already Nintendo Hard enough...
  • After the End: Played with as a localized version. The post-apocalyptic nature of the game world is restricted to the Zone itself, with life on the outside world proceeding better than normal: It's implied that artifacts taken from the zone, while rare, are being used to advance science and medicine... and attempts to militarize them (such as gauss gun usage) are roadblocked constantly due to ammunition rarity and expense. However, inside the Zone, the trope is played to the hilt.
  • AKA-47: The game features several dozen real-world firearms, all of whom have had their names changed for copyright reasons. The game files still use the real names.
    • The punctuated title S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was chosen because there was already a video game called "Stalker".
    • Amusingly, the "correct" names in the files have typos, making it hell for the more grammar sensitive modders. Notably the Winchester is w_wincheaster.ltx. Even worse: it's not even a Winchester, it's a Mossberg Maverick.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Played straight both in Shadow of Chernobyl, with the mercenaries attacking the rookie village in Cordon and Monolith's constant attacks on the Barrier, and in Clear Sky where the implementation of the Faction Wars system makes it all but inevitable. The story also ties this in: for example, Bandits have had to switch locations several times and the Military abandons several bases when Shadow of Chernobyl comes around.
  • Alternate History: The secret C-Consciousness project, a Soviet attempt to try and manipulate mankind's consciousness to eliminate suffering and wars, moved to Chernobyl to operate in secret after the disaster. In 1989, the experiment went off the rails, caused the first blowout, and eventually changed the the area into a bizarre post-apocalyptic Dark World. Aside from some technological changes (gauss rifles and exoskeletons, albeit extremely unwieldy prototypes manufactured illegally), life goes on in the outside world.
    • Southern Hospitality, the first English Stalker novel, states a nuclear bomb was detonated in Afghanistan and spread the Zone to Kabul.
  • Ancient Tradition: Clear Sky, a secret faction dedicated to studying and understanding the Zone. Conversely, the Monolith, a faction dedicated to protecting the center from everything and everyone that's not a Monolith member or zombie.
  • Anyone Can Die: And how! There are literally hundreds of friendly and hostile NPCs in the game world. Precisely two of them are unkillable. As for the rest, every single one can be killed off at any point in the game, including story-important and mission-important characters. It's not at all uncommon to be given an assignment to meet with a certain character to obtain information, only to find a pack of wild dogs picking over his corpse and being forced to scavenge the info from his PDA.
    • A few missions that threaten your relationship with different factions can be completed just by waiting for the environment to kill off the person you've been asked to assassinate.
  • Apocalypse How: The Zone is a Class 0, Emissions are a localized Class 3b. To make things worse in Call Of Pripyat, they happen once a day.
  • Arc Words: Find Strelok. Kill Strelok.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted in that even the armors that provide little protection against bullets and blades usually make up for it by providing protection from hazardous environments. However, even with the best armor in the game you still won't survive more than four or five well-placed shots (fortunately, neither will any of the NPCs).
  • Artificial Brilliance: The game has a very well developed Artificial Life system, with an ecosystem that includes both packs of migrating, territorial monsters and wandering NPCs who travel from map to map scavenging, fighting with each other and the monsters, and resting at rest-stops and friendly camps in between journeys. All occurring independently while the player is off doing their thing. Tactically, the combat A.I. is pretty damn good too, being able to flank, use cover, circle around the player through buildings and behind obstacles, and even silently follow you from behind to shoot you in the head when they got close enough.
    • The camps themselves are pretty good looking too. Some NPCs patrol the border, while most sit around a campfire, drinking coke, eating sausages, or playing the occasional guitar tune. Some go to sleep when night appears, making the transition between day and night all the more realistic.
    • Word of God states the A.I. actually had to be toned down because in early builds, it would regularly and consistently outsmart the player, to the point that the game became outright frustrating... and eventually completely unplayable. The original pre-release A.I. apparently would have been more than capable of beating the game entirely without player intervention if it hadn't been dialed back. Digging around in the game's files reveals that much of their behavior is strictly limited to keep the game playable; in Shadow of Chernobyl for example, they are unable to heal each other, loot bodies, throw grenades, or intelligently avoid environmental hazards, not because the programming isn't there, but because the devs were worried that if the Artificial Brilliance got too brilliant it would stop being fun. These abilities, and others, were gradually reactivated in later games. If you play a mod where they can throw grenades it becomes obvious why that was removed, they're pinpoint accurate with them and even in the best situations they can kill you in one shot.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The A.I. does not recognize environmental hazards, and as a result traveling NPCs will often walk right through Anomalies, leading to their death by crushing/eruption/electrocution/etc.
    • Fixed in Call of Pripyat, at least with NPCs who are part of your squad. They will deliberately and exactly follow the player's path through anomaly-filled areas in order to stay safe.
    • In Call of Pripyat, some NPCs will continue to enjoy a relaxing, slow-paced stroll, during an emission. Or inexplicably decide that the current safe building about five meters away isn't safe enough after just starting a patrol to have it interrupted by a storm, and run off in a random direction instead.
    • As discussed below, one of the biggest AI bugs in the original S.T.A.L.K.E.R. was the AI's tendency to end up mysteriously dead around fireplaces. Community research discovered that the AI kept spawning inside the fireplaces and killing themselves; it wasn't uncommon to find entire camps bereft of life. Although later sequels avoided this issue, it was never fixed in the original and mod makers were forced to compensate by rendering the AI immune to fire damage, or force spawnpoints to keep them away from the firepits.
    • In Call of Pripyat, it's nearly impossible to get the best result for one mission due to the friendly NPCs throwing grenades while inside a building, completely ignoring the walls and the ceiling. Despite being outnumbered two to one, they'll likely kill themselves long before the enemies would have. There are some serious consequences if they get killed so your best bet is to Save Scum your way through.
  • Art Shift: The characters in the ending Cutscene of Call of Pripyat are played by actual humans (the same people who their in-game faces are modeled on) instead of computer-drawn characters like in Shadow of Chernobyl. This is most glaring when comparing all the new characters to Strelok, who (being based on his Shadow of Chernobyl appearance) is computer-drawn instead of played by a live person.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Most plot un-important NPCs have such nicknames (including true oddities like "Samurai" on a guy who sounds as obviously Russian/Ukrainian as everyone else and a high presence of Wiki Word style names) due to their random generation.
    • Fail O'Suckyname: The game will sometimes dish out nicknames such as "Neudachnik"(unlucky guy), "Petukh" (Literally "rooster" but among criminals "prison sex slave") or "Pokoinik" (dead man).
  • Awesome Yet Practical: The H&K G36, USP .45 Compact (and the custom version "March"), Storm (unique OC-14 Groza that fires the common 5.45 ammo), AS VAL (late game at least), Strelok's rapid-fire AK-74, the VSS Vintorez and its custom variant "Tide", and the Armsel Protecta. Getting any of these weapons, however, requires you to either have a small mountain of cash, fight through a bunch of enemies, or get on good standings with a certain faction. Once you do that, however, and fully upgrade them, you're more or less set for the majority of the game.
  • Back Stab: The knife's secondary attack insta-kills unaware or wounded enemies. In Shadow of Chernobyl, it insta-kills everything else too... up to and including tanks. Even better, during Duty's attack on Freedom, you can start the battle early by knifing through a solid stone wall that you're supposed to use explosives for.
  • Badass Abnormal: The Player Character, once they get hold of some decent artifacts. Also, Scar... apparently.
    • One possible option for Major Degtayrev. Knock yourself out with Anabiotic drugs during a blowout thrice, and you'll become "marked by the Zone", allowing you to survive blowouts without shelter (barely).
  • Badass Bookworm:
    • Dr. Kruglov, a minor character in Shadow of Chernobyl that the player can encounter in the Wild Territory. His science team is being besieged by a group of heavily-armed mercenaries attempting to get the data he is carrying. The player can, of course, choose to help him, but if you don't, the mercenaries will continue to pick off his team one by one until he's the last one left. Wolfhound, the leader of the mercs, will then call him up over the radio and try to negotiate with the scientist... his life for the information. Kruglov ignores him; when Wolfhound gives up and says, basically, "I've had enough. Looks like this is going to get ugly", Kruglov defiantly replies, "As you wish". If the mercs manage to kill him, and you search his corpse, you find out that his last act was to delete the data so the mercenaries couldn't get it. Bad. Ass. If the player does choose to help him, he becomes the subject of one of the most bearable escort missions in game history, as although he calls himself a 'third-rate fighter', he's actually a fairly skilled marksman (will score headshots with any decent assault rifle regularly), and is equipped with rather tough armor. If he survives to the end of the mission, he replaces Semenov as your partner in the later Ecologist missions, and proves to be a substantial improvement over his colleague: while Semenov tries to leave you behind after a blowout, Kruglov will stubbornly refuse to leave you behind.
    • Also Lebedev, the leader of the Clear Sky, who is virtually a scientist turned militiaman. In Call of Pripyat, we learn, that Lebedev was the physicist who, among other things was charged with development of the Gauss Gun.
  • Badass Bystander: Noah from Call of Pripyat, a batshit-insane lone stalker trying to build himself an ark to protect against mutants. He's got a tame pseudodog (for those who don't know, this is a pseudodog, and they're well known for tearing well-armed-and-armored Stalkers to shreds) named Lassie. When a military squad came they tried to detain him for shooting at them (he does that to everyone), but instead he tried to detain them. At one point in the game, the player's tasked with tracking down an incredibly rare artifact, one which hasn't been seen in a very long time, and apparently Noah has a lead on where to find one. Turns out he has three of them, which he will just give away, implying he has even more. Finally, if he survives until the end of the game, his ending describes some Stalkers taking shelter in his ark during a particularly bad blowout/emission. Turns out it actually works, and during the ensuing mutant attack he charges into battle backed-up by Lassie and three pseudodog puppies.
  • Badass Grandpa: Implied in Clear Sky: while bloodsuckers can take out even veteran stalkers with top-tier gear with ease, the old forester, named Leshy (after a Russian forest spirit/demon, which are known for being extremely powerful), living near the Red Forest was able to bag himself one with little more than a double-barreled shotgun and an ushanka for protection. In addition, he lives in the Red Forest (a place where most Stalkers are afraid to set foot even in heavily-armed groups), alone.
  • Badass Longcoat: Scar. There is also the option for the player to invoke this by wearing the leather jacket armor in all three games. Of course, this tends to make the game even more difficult (it's even lampshaded in the item's description that it's useless in the Zone, but many bandits wear them anyway because they're cool).
  • Badass Normal:
  • The Bartender: Several of them. In a shining display of creativity, the bartender at the 100 Rads Bar (the bar in Rostok, the main Stalker settlement in the Zone) is called 'Barkeep'.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In Shadow of Chernobyl, the player can reach the Wish Granter and make a wish. None of the "wishes" end well.
  • Big Labyrinthine Building: The Chernobyl NPP itself. And to a lesser extent, all the labs too (smaller than NPP, but quite labyrinthine).
  • Bilingual Bonus: In Shadow of Chernobyl, all of the game's non-story dialogue (including combat dialogue) is in Russian. Clear Sky has much of the relevant dialogue in English (enemies shouting out combat commands, stating that they're about to toss a grenade and so forth), but there's still a large amount of ambient Russian dialogue.
    • This evolves to multilingual bonus with a non-English version of the game. In the same city, one can hear Russian-speaking stalkers passing by, some others talking to you in English, while important NPCs just have French dialogs. There is even some 'blatnoy jazyk' (Russian criminal cant) while listening to some bandits.
    • The name "Strelok" is both Russian and Ukrainian for "Gunslinger/Shooter". Although trope-wise this is ironically subverted with the former since there are no instances of The Gunslinger come into play in the games.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: The original game had some serious translation errors in mission descriptions; the most serious was all instances of "Attic" were translated as "Basement", leading to players scouring for non-existent basement entrances to stashes that were actually above them, and translating "shotgun" as "rifle" in quests. "Find the family rifle" was made particularly perplexing by the latter.
  • Boom Town: Even hardened artifact hunters need a safe place to sleep, eat, drink, trade, and the like, and as a result several well-fortified, well-defended permanent settlements spring up from the ruins over the course of the series to cater to the artifact-hunting trade, in a sort of inversion of Dying Town... rather than a thriving town becoming a ghost town, the ghost towns are resettled.
  • Booze-Based Buff: Vodka can cure radiation poisoning.
    • This was actually a popular folk medicine for preventing radiation poisoning in the Soviet bloc. And yes, there was a lot of drinking at Chernobyl.
  • Boring but Practical:
    • One of the main tools for detecting anomalies is a simple bolt, which can be tossed into suspicious-looking areas to trigger any anomalies present.
    • This is also a major Shout-Out/Mythology Gag toward the original book and Tarkovsky's movie adaptation, where screws and bolts served the same "test-probe" function.
    • In the first two games, loadout is limited to a single "long arm" and a single pistol. So naturally in the former slot assault rifles are dominant, with their large magazines, high rate of fire and fair-to-good performance over all ranges. Call of Pripyat lifts the restriction to allow two slots for any weapon to be taken, but assault rifle/pistol or assault rifle/shotgun are still the most common choices. A fully-upgraded AK-74 and a pump shotgun can be picked up within the first hour of play and can see you through to the very end of the game.
    • Don't forget most of the early-mid game weapons, like the MP5, AK-74, AN-94, Walther P99, Browning HiPower, Colt 1911 and TOZ-34. None of them are flashy in any way, but all use common ammo types and perform well enough to get the job done. The second pistol you can find is a Makarov with a permanently attached Hollywood Silencer and (while seriously underpowered) is good for starting ambushes until you can find a silencer and a higher-powered weapon to attach it to.
    • Just about all the Warsaw Pact weapons in the game fall into this, like the Makarov or AKs-74u. The vast majority of the firepower you come across will be Russian-made (as is only logical since you're near Chernobyl) and while they aren't very accurate, they also are very sturdy and cheap, and their late-game cousins like the Storm or the AS VAL hit like freight trains. They're also common, so if yours starts breaking down and jamming (as long as that takes to set in) you can pick up others easily.
  • Brain In a Jar: During the quest to disable the Miracle Maker in the Lake Yantar's Lab, you might be a little too busy fighting zombies to look at the device you're trying to disable... a giant computer-controlled brain.
  • Brainwash Residue: Ex-Monolith squad leader Strider and the rest of his squad. Strider himself is unable to talk in anything but Creepy Monotone, while some of his squad are said to be unable to verbally communicate at all.
  • Breakable Weapons: All guns degrade with use, becoming more prone to jamming and less accurate. Annoyingly, in Shadow of Chernobyl, no one knows how to repair them, so you have to throw your rifle away and get a new one after using it for firing a few dozen magazines of bullets.
    • Even worse, this applies to armor. Considering how lethal the zone is, this leads to some heartbreaking encounters: there's nothing like paying a king's ransom for a military-grade protective suit only to get it chewed up by one of the ubiquitous packs of wild dogs in the zone.
    • However, an exploit allows you to use artifacts to become immune to a certain kind of damage, which then heals you and repairs your armor when you receive that damage. This exploit proved so popular that it was actually deliberately left unfixed, and is in fact commonly considered to be a valid tactic by the community (what with there being no other way to repair armor in the first game).
    • Of course, it has since been modded. Expect to pay a daily fee to the few merchants to repair your stuff, or find some rare and limited repairing kits on the battlefield.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Story-wise, Scar is supposed to have enhanced physical abilities (i.e. endurance and strength) due to "being touched by the Zone." In-game this manifests as... slightly more health and stamina than the average NPC.
  • Chernobyl Disaster
  • Church Militant/Cult: The Monolith faction, who worship the Wish Granter and by extension the Zone itself, and are viewed as dangerous psychotic fanatics by everyone else, Call of Pripyat expands on this, introducing elite members called preachers, who wield gauss rifles and give sermons before and during battles. Monolith soldiers are all Brainwashed and Crazy, so.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Stalkers in Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat are capable of throwing grenades with inhuman accuracy, tossing them so they land right at your feet. And they do it in unison with their squad.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: I said come in! Don't just stand there!
  • Continuity Cameo: The guy who saves Marked One at the start of Shadow of Chernobyl fits the description of Redrick from Roadside Picnic.
  • Convenient Questing: Especially obvious in Clear Sky. Largely avoided in Shadow of Chernobyl.
  • Cool but Inefficient: Leather trenchcoats severely lack the protection needed for life in the Zone. Bandits use them just because they're cool.
  • Crapsack World: You bet. At least within the Zone itself. Outside the Zone, the world is just fine as best as can be told.
  • Crate Expectations: Smashing open wooden crates sometimes gets you supplies, but it's a very minor source of supplies and hardly necessary to your progress (most supplies are found in footlockers or hidden stashes).
    • Metal crates and suitcases typically found inside larger buildings and the underground usually contain better supplies.
    • Annoyingly, stashes only contain loot if you previously discovered their existence on a dead stalker's PDA. If you didn't discover the stash before opening it, it will just be empty.
      • On the other hand, most bodies do linger, so going back to areas you've been through already and interacting with the corpses can get random stashes refilled, allowing you to farm items in a way.
    • Done away with entirely in Call of Pripyat, where crates and metal supply boxes no longer drop any items when smashed. To compensate, you get a decent amount of ammo and medical supplies from other stalkers each day as tribute for completing certain major quests. In addition, stashes can now be discovered by the player on their own, and anyone with a good eye for hiding spots will likely find a few on their first or second playthroughs. Some however, are so well-concealed that it is unlikely the player will ever find them without consulting an online walkthrough.
      • Also, corpses carry a lot more equipment.
  • Creepy Monotone: Monolith members. Also Strider/Rogue, the ex-Monolith trooper in Call of Pripyat.
    • Guttural Growler: Monolith members the other half of the time they speak. Only in Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky though; this was dropped entirely in Call of Pripyat due to the hiring of a new voice actor for them.
  • Cthulhumanoid: Bloodsuckers.
  • Cutting Off the Branches: As mentioned above, Call of Pripyat takes the good ending of Shadow of Chernobyl as canon.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: The grenades seem to follow much steeper arcs than in most FPS games, making it very easy to blow yourself up by mistake.
  • Dark World : What the Zone of the games is, especially when compared to the Real Life Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
  • Death or Glory Attack: In-universe, going into the Zone at all is this. An aspiring artifact hunter will either end up rich beyond his wildest dreams, or killed horrifically. Or worse.
  • Demonic Spiders: In-Universe: the PDA explicitly lists blind dogs (and by extension, pseudodogs) as deadly to even the most experienced Stalkers, as they are fast, small (compared to humans), slightly stealthy, and most importantly, hunt in packs. Then there's the Controllers, which will because of the Interface Screw that comes with their psychic attack likely kill you if they manage to score a single hit, the Burers, who generally start their assault by telekinetically throwing your gun halfway across the map before pummeling you to death with heavy objects and telekinetic blasts, the Bloodsuckers, who'll turn invisible as soon as they spot you and perform hit and run attacks while circling your position or just tear you to shreds immediately in melee combat. Let's just say everything and everyone in the Zone is this to some degree.
  • Dirty Coward: Professor Semenov, who throws a hissy fit when he's asked to go get samples and refuses to go until Marked One comes along to change his mind. When a blowout knocks Marked One out, he argues with Sakharov over leaving him.
  • Disc One Nuke: Every few games, the store in the first town of Shadow of Chernobyl carries an extremely powerful assault rifle that uses a very common caliber. There's also a very useful armor nearby. They become obsolete once you get past the first few areas though.
    • To be more specific, Barin's Tunder 5.45mm is sold by Sidorovich in the early game (before you speak to Wolf and after you've rescued Nimble) for 20,000 RU. Needless to say, it's highly unlikely you'll get this amount in time. You'd need to gather all of the loot in the first map and maybe some of the second to amass the amount needed. However, it's a very useful gun in the early game, as it is an mid to endgame gun chambered for an ammo type common in the early game.
    • In Call Of Pripyat, one can find the recurring NPC Nimble on board Skadovsk, the first real hub of the game. You can special order rare/upgraded weapons and armor, including the vaunted Exoskeleton. The prices are somewhat steep, but judicious artifact hunting quickly makes cash a non-issue.
    • Within the first hour of Call of Pripyat, you can go to the sawmill and one of the zombies will always carry a AN-94 (AC96 in game). While in poor condition, it is easily repaired for cheap (very easy if you grab tools while at the sawmill), but is a very accurate, reliable, and uses ammo that is extremely common early on, plus you can get a scope added to it for cheap if Owl stocks one. It will more than last you until you can pay Nimble's price.
    • In Call of Pripyat, you can find a Vintar (VSS) in perfect condition right after the beginning of the game, provided you know where to look. It's on top of one of the burnt-out houses in the fire anomaly location. There's also an SVD up for grabs: it's leaning against one of the trees on the edge of the map.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon:
    • Averted in that severely wounded human NPC characters (the guys rolling around on the floor in need of medkits) will drop their weapons. Of course, if they're not wounded, then they'll hold onto their weapons until they die. However, grabbing their weapon and then healing them can doom them, because they'll pull out their pistol and continue fighting. Most likely they'll get killed, so watch it if you pick up any weapon you see to strip it of ammo.
    • Also averted by the player: heavy melee hits and some psychic attacks can send your weapon flying halfway across the room. Which is sort of a bad thing, considering whoever tossed your weapon is presumably still right in your face and busy clawing it off. Fortunately, the knife is impossible to pry away from your hands.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: The default movement speed, contrary to most first-person shooters, is walking (or if you're packing light, running really slowly), and "sprinting" is the only time you actually run. Naturally, you can't shoot while running (you can however reload), and neither can the enemy. With the right artifacts, you can run indefinitely, as long as you don't carry too much.
  • Doomed by Canon:
    • The player character of the prequel Clear Sky, Scar, is speculated by fans to become the brainwashed Monolith leader Charon that Strelok blows away in Pripyat during the first game, due to his use of a VSS Vintorez (Scar using such a weapon in Clear Sky's opening (which can latter be retrieved) and one log in Shadow of Chernobyl mentions a man with a Vintorez doing a deed that Scar does in Clear Sky further associating Scar with the weapon, while Charon is the only NPC to use the weapon in Shadow of Chernobyl).
    • Some other minor NPCs, such as Wolf, are mentioned in passing in Call of Pripyat as having died. One or two you might have killed, such as Wolfhound, whose custom .45 "March" can be bought from Nimble. Wolfhound was a mercenary leader who was chasing after Kruglov, and ordered his men to fire on the Marked One; chances are he shredded Wolfhound without a second thought. Then there's Max, whose custom sniper rifle is also available from Nimble. Nimble mentions having bought the rifle from Max, but depending on how you played Shadow of Chernobyl, you might have seen Max die at the hands of a Duty squad you were supposed to help take out, or you might have killed him yourself with the help of said Duty squad.
    • It's also inverted, in that some [NPCs] from earlier games who, owing to the nature of the game, might have ended up dead in your playthrough, will appear in Call of Pripyat alive and well. One in particular (Guide) actually plays a role in the plot (albeit a minor one), and another (Nimble) is your main source of high-end weaponry in the game. In Shadow of Chernobyl, the first game in which these two characters appeared, it was entirely possible for both of them to die; in fact, it was actually fairly likely or all of them to die, as Guide sets up camp in a rather dangerous locale, Nimble stays at the rookie camp and will charge into battle against mercenaries and military with nothing but a leather jacket and a Makarov, and Petruha and his crew are at the auto park, where bandits constantly attack. Coming back to find Guide butchered by wildlife and Petruha being roasted over the fire at the bandit camp isn't uncommon.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Clear Sky ends like this, in order to set up the plot for Shadow of Chernobyl.
    • All but two (three if you're charitable) of the endings to Shadow of Chernobyl are like this.
    • Call of Pripyat has modular ending similar to the one in Fallout 2 consisting of some 20 static scenes. Most of them have "good" and "bad" versions, depending on player's actions during the game. Bad endings for your companions, especially Strelok definitely qualify.
  • Driving Question: For Shadow of Chernobyl: who or what is the Strelok?
  • Drone of Dread: Psy attacks come with this (most noticeably with Controllers), along with Blowouts.
  • Drunken Master: Cardan, the mechanic at Skavodsk, is only competent when he's completely wasted; in fact, he can only perform high-level weapon modifications after downing at least two bottles of vodka. Showing him the Gauss Rifle, however, shocks him into sobriety.
  • Dummied Out: Shadow of Chernobyl contains unimplemented code for a variety of features that never made it into the final game, including unused areas, weapons, the ability to drive vehicles, and a Faction Wars system, much of which can be found in the Oblivion Lost beta build 1935. The Faction Wars system was finally implemented in Clear Sky, and it and Call of Pripyat include some weapons that had been originally cut from the first.
    • Some of the remaining code could cause serious issues; for example, the Yantar lab was still technically affiliated with the Duty faction in the final game, and this could cause a vital NPC to become hostile to the player after waking up from the Blowout if the player was Freedom-affiliated at the time.
    • Several were officially added in Call of Pripyat, though Faction Wars was cut because they felt it wasn't working out well.
    • This led to creation of several mods unlocking the original game content... and eventually releasing an official "development build" patch (at least, for the Russian version). You think the game wasn't Nintendo Hard enough? You'll have to fight your way through a zombie assault right after exiting the bunker with a knife and a handgun.
  • Dwindling Party: In Call of Pripyat, once you finally reach Pripyat, you'll rendezvous with a platoon-sized group of allied military Spetznaz soldiers, who serve as your allies for the third and final act. Over the course of the Pripyat missions, this force of a few dozen special forces soldiers will gradually be whittled down by Monolith ambushes and mutant attacks to just 3 to 6 soldiers, plus you, Strelok, and the last member of your 4-man party (the other 3 members having left on their own to pursue their own agendas).
  • Eldritch Location: The laws of physics in the Zone are.... different. It seems relatively normal at first glance, until you walk down a seemingly empty street and accidentally step in an area where gravity is about a hundred times Earth normal, and find yourself experiencing life as a pancake... very briefly. Or decide to stay outside and watch the sky turn red, which is really interesting right up until the hallucinations start and your head blows up. And that's just the start. Suffice it to say that overall, the Zone is both very weird and very dangerous.
  • Elite Mooks: The military Spetznaz units. Also, the rarely encountered Military Stalkers, who are sort of the Elite of the Elites. These guys are equipped with extremely good armor, and the Military Stalkers are armed with Russian Special Forces AS Val assault rifles.
  • Enemy Chatter: Although not much use in Shadow of Chernobyl, as it's all in Russian. At least "granáta" isn't hard to figure out.
    • Unfortunately for those who don't speak Russian, even that won't help much as often alternate phrasing would be used for a grenade toss, which don't actually contain the word, "A vot tebe limonchik!", "Here, have some lemon!", is one example, stemming from Russian equivalent to "pineapple" bomb, "Limonka", the lemon bomb.
    • In the English speaking community, the highly idiomatic "chiki briki i v damke" or just "chiki briki" has become a miniature meme of sorts, precisely because no one can agree on what it means and the way the Bandit hunting you says it (it's the equivalent of "checkmate" in checkers).
    • Some of it is translated in Clear Sky (e.g.: TAKE THIS, YOU FUCKING NAZI!).
  • Environmental Symbolism: Take your pick. From irradiated mounds of dirt, to trees and landscape twisted by anomalies, to long-abandoned farms, villages, factories and warehouses, to the horribly mutated fauna of the Zone. It's also stuck in eternal autumn, and one will very often find themselves traveling through all of the above under heavy rain and thunderstorms, accompanied by the lone caws of crows (the only animals to not have been wiped out... or worse).
  • Escort Mission:
    • In Shadow of Chernobyl, you can choose to escort the scientist Professor Kruglov through the western half of the Wild Territory, while protecting him from Wolfhound's mercs (and perhaps random mutants). Made alright because he has surprisingly tough armor and can be equipped with an assault rifle, which he's a damn good shot with. He also has the common sense of staying behind you and refusing to rush into an area that you haven't already cleared of hostiles, instead giving you covering fire from the rear and likely bagging a few kills of his own. "Third-rate fighter" my nuts.
    • Call of Pripyat:
      • The finale where you have to escort the Military survivors through the city fighting through zombies, mutants and finally several waves of Monolith fighters. On the plus side, the survivors are Spetznaz Elite Mooks who can hold their own in the fight, especially if you have the maximum of 8 survivors helping you in the shootout by saving them all during earlier missions.
      • Also, an insanely annoying side quest (the most insanely annoying one in the game) where you have to protect a group of Ecologist stalkers studying an anomaly from waves of wild boars. The stalkers are Made of Plasticine and die after one hit from a boar, and won't defend themselves until one of them actually gets hit. Even if you have the maximum of 4 stalkers in the group by saving them all in an earlier quest, it's still an incredibly annoying mission, especially if you're trying to keep all 4 of them alive for the maximum reward.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Monsters - and the Zone itself - want every human in its boundaries dead. The military will shoot you on sight. Bandits will rob - and kill you. There are only a few places in the whole game where you won't be attacked.

"Such is life in the zone" - Popular maxim

  • The Evils of Free Will: The Zone came into existence as the direct result of a botched attempt by a team of ex-Soviet scientists to tap into humanity's collective unconscious and manually remove all thoughts and impulses they considered to be dangerous... in essence, they were attempting to create a Hive Mind under their direct control. The fact that they've literally ripped a hole in reality hasn't caused them to give up in the attempt, either, and they continue to experiment right up until Strelok kills them at the end of Shadow of Chernobyl.
  • Exclusively Evil:
    • Subverted (eventually) with the Bandits and Mercenaries, who seem this way unless you join the Bandit faction (Clear Sky only), at which point they become neutral to you, and you find out that, like everyone else, they're just ordinary folks trying to make a living (although the way they choose to go about it is pretty socially unacceptable). In fact, in Call of Pripyat, both the Bandits and Mercenaries are neutral to you by default, and won't attack you unless there's a reason to do so (although what they consider a valid reason might not be what you would consider a valid reason).
    • Played straight with the Monolith faction, however. Monolith members are under psychic influence that strips them of their free will. In Call of Pripyat, the player character meets former Monolith soldiers suffering from retrograde amnesia who most probably 'awoke' after Strelok destroyed the C-Consciousness lab. They are pretty decent guys.
    • The leader of the Mercenaries in Shadow of Chernobyl is rather evil, however, indulging in activities like randomly murdering Stalkers for fun.
    • Eventually subverted with the Military in Call of Pripyat: no longer glorified gangsters torturing and murdering Stalkers for artifacts, they are now your allies (what with you being from the military and all), and while not actively friendly to Loners, they will, at least, leave them alone.
    • Call of Pripyat: Zaton's bandits have been formed into an organized crime group by Sultan, and will attack Stalkers/Loners (and you) without warning sometimes, maybe even perhaps only a dozen meters from Skadovsk. They like to camp out near the big anomaly fields... you do the math. Jupiter's bandits are more the standard variant, though they completely disappear from Jupiter if their leader there is killed.
    • Again subverted in Call of Pripyat. You run into a mercenary group camping out at a work station. They act (understandably) cautious if you approach, but you can work out a peaceful deal with them, allowing you into their camp if you give them some food. They can even be later recruited to guard an Ecologist outpost.
  • Fackler Scale of FPS Realism: Heavily on the realistic side (unless you're wearing military-grade combat armor, expect to die after only a few assault rifle shots), with very tactical combat similar to the Ghost Recon series.
  • First Town: The rookie village serves this purpose both in game terms for the player, and in-universe for new arrivals to the Zone. It's located in the safest district in the Zone (relatively speaking), has a large number of intact buildings, underground cellars to guard against emissions, walls to keep out wandering mutants, patrolling guards, a well-stocked trader, and actual beds, so overall it's actually one of the most well-stocked settlements in the entire Zone.
  • Five-Man Band: During the Pripyat Underground section in Call of Pripyat:
  • Forbidden Zone: The Zone itself is naturally viewed as such by most people in the world; for stalkers actually living in it, the Brain Scorcher in Shadow of Chernobyl, Red Forest and Limansk in Clear Sky and Pripyat in Call of Pripyat are such.
  • Fun with Acronyms: S.T.A.L.K.E.R. stands for "Scavenger, Trespasser, Adventurer, Loner, Killer, Explorer, Robber" according to The Other Wiki.
  • Game Breaking Bug: Enemy-thrown grenades in Clear Sky will quite literally home in on the player, actually changing direction in mid-air to ensure that they always land at the player's feet.
    • Also, Clear Sky and possibly S.T.A.L.K.E.R. apply the same firing randomization rule to shots by the player that they do to shots from the enemy. That is, you have to actually hit your target, then the game essentially rolls a dice to check if you hit your target.
    • The infamous "permanent radiation sickness" in Shadow of Chernobyl: in places like the Garbage or Army Warehouses, if one ventures too far up the hills or tries to leave the general "playing area", the radiation counter almost instantly jumps to eleven in order to provide "incentive" for the player to turn back. Now, there are a couple of places in the Zone where the engine detects you as being out of the intended playing area, even though you are not, and afflicts you with the aforementioned permanently increasing rad-sickness that never goes away. If you save the game after getting it you're pretty much screwed. The only known solution is to reload an earlier save. Take note, people who save each game on top of the last one. Also... be extremely paranoid about this when venturing into the train tunnel at the Garbage.
  • Game Mod: A lot of cut content can be restored by tweaking the configuration files, and many mods use this to rebalance the game and fix various issues.
  • Gameplay-Guided Amnesia: Justified in Shadow of Chernobyl, as the player character has amnesia. Also averted, in that you have the option of skipping the tutorial entirely by telling the Trader that you still remember how to survive in the Zone.
    • The Brain Scorcher is pretty much this, in-universe. Most of the psychic barriers around the CNPP such as the Brain Scorcher are basically Brain Bleach weaponized. You come within their range and start to forget who you are until you fall under the control of the Monolith.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Completing Trapper's mutant-hunting quests in Call of Pripyat unlocks an ending describing how Yanov has become a safer place for Stalkers thanks to your efforts. In-game, however, Yanov becomes even more dangerous as completing all the hunting missions causes Chimeras, Burers and Pseudogiants to spawn randomly throughout the area. Yay.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Most of the mid-to-high rank characters wear gas masks, although it's justified due to the many environmental hazards present in the Zone. Also, snorks.
  • Genius Loci: The Zone is revealed to be one of these controlled by C-Consciousness, and actively fights back against Stalkers that try to fight against it using mutants and emissions.
  • Ghost Town: Pripyat, naturally. Also Limansk.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: The game heavily features both NATO and Warsaw Pact firearms, and certain factions favor firearms from a specific side, although none of these factions are explicitly "good" or "evil". NATO weapons are used heavily by Freedom and the Mercs, while Warsaw Pact weapons are used heavily by Duty and the Military. Loners use whatever they can find, and Monolith has access to the best weapons from both sides.
    • This could be justified. Bandits and Loners have limited resources so cheap and reliable weapons like break-open shotguns and AKs are the order of the day. Freedom relies on guerilla attacks so the more accurate and powerful NATO guns are better for them, while Duty probably have a preference for Warsaw Pact weapons due to being mostly former Ukrainian army soldiers.
    • As of Call of Pripyat, NATO guns are somewhat more accurate, pack more power per hit and tend to come with a wider range of accessories while Warsaw Pact weapons are more durable, less prone to jamming and easier to find ammo for.
  • Grey and Grey Morality: The Duty and Freedom factions, neither of which are particularly good or particularly bad despite being diametrically opposed to each other.
    • Soldiers are usually trigger-happy, but most stalkers are indeed illegal trespassers on military territory.
  • Gun Accessories
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Flint's first story has him claim he unloaded a "clip" into a mutant, which is a quick way to annoy anyone who knows anything about firearms. This is actually an early sign that he's making the story up, which is obvious soon after when he tries to take credit for the player's accomplishments (one of which can be disproven by a well known and respected man in the same room).
  • Hand Cannon: One of the unique weapons which can be found in Shadow of Chernobyl is Big Ben, a custom pistol based on the frame of an IMI Desert Eagle that fires 9x39mm sniper rifle rounds.
  • Healing Factor: Although it takes a while, the player character will slowly heal when not taking damage (or bleeding). Artifacts can speed up this process, though not by much. Ironically, the artifacts that provide this - the Stone Blood, Meat Chunk, and Soul - increase your health regeneration, but decrease your overall hit protection, meaning you'll wind up being more fragile than you were to start with.
    • Getting 4 or more flame or electricity battery artifacts and jumping into a fire/electrical surge will restore your health and repair your armor.
  • Heal Thyself: Comes in two flavors, medkits which heal injuries and bandages which stop bleeding. Interestingly, the enemy is capable of doing this too as long as they have medkits.
  • He Knows Too Much: Why Strelok must be killed.
    • In Call of Pripyat, it seems that the main purpose of the Mercenaries is to silence everyone who digs too deep into the secret of the Zone, including our hero, Degtyarev.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Averted in Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky, where Marked One and Scar wear whatever headgear comes with their current armor. Played straight in Call of Pripyat, where Major Degtyarev can equip helmets but is never actually seen wearing them during cutscenes, even when he's about to descend into a tunnel system filled with toxic gas (a quest where a big deal was made about actually finding a suit with a helmet that could allow you to survive in that gas). Major characters in Call of Pripyat also don't usually wear helmets with their armor, but (other than Degtyarev) they had the common sense to put some on during the "deadly gas tunnels" sequence.
  • Hero of Another Story: The series is positively loaded with these.
    • The biggest example is probably the Forester though: he lives in what is unambiguously the most dangerous area in the entire Zone (Pripyat is safer) by himself, is actually doing rather well for himself, and has been living there since before the power plant even exploded, making him the single most experienced veteran in the Zone to boot.
    • Barkeep and Sidorovich often send you to kill these guys, and both will give you suits that used to belong to some odd individuals; for example, Sid will give you a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. suit modified by a hiker who'd been all over the world and went through the Zone as a challenge.
    • Guide and Doctor. Doctor is a past-middle-aged man living on the swamps with a tamed Pseudodog. Guide is able to show the military Stingray team way to Pripyat way before anyone else (except Monolith) reached it in Call of Pripyat. In Extended Universe, they are called Legendary or Touched by the Zone.
    • Gordon Freeman, natch.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The player. If he makes a wish to the wish granter. Asking for immortality turns him into a statue to stand for all eternity. Asking for wealth makes the ceiling crush him, Strelok believing it to be endless amounts of coins. Asking for power makes him powerful... over an endless void. Asking to make the Zone disappear makes it go away... but only to him.
  • The Hunter: Some characters are "professional" mutant hunters. In Call of Pripyat, the player is regarded as one after completing a quest to kill several dangerous groups of mutants.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Averted... yet, somehow, played straight. You can only equip one sidearm and one primary weapon. However, you're able to carry up to 59.9 kg of anything (including additional guns) in your backpack, however going above 50kg reduces your sprinting ability to next to zero. Break it with a piece of bread, and you're totally immobile.
    • Also played straight with the various storage crates which can be used to stash extra inventory, all of which have a seemingly infinite amount of space, able to store dozens of guns and outfits, thousands of rounds of ammo, weeks worth of food, and artifacts galore with room to spare. Justified for gameplay reasons: you need somewhere to store all that stuff and it's more convenient than just dropping it on the ground.
      • However, be aware that recklessly storing your equipment may come back to bite you in the ass. One quest involves having ALL the equipment in one of your storage crates stolen. You can find and get it all back later on, but depending on how much you can carry and how many things you have, you're going to have to make multiple trips at full load.
    • Small supply kits, which are the main source of supplies in the dungeons, sometimes release an insane amount of items upon slashing them open. To the degree you can be killed or thrown high into the air by stuff flying out of it.
  • Impairment Shot: If you drink vodka, your screen will slowly sway side to side and become blurry for several seconds. Now if you drink as much as 15 or even more, you're going to experience a trip far worse than the 'Shrooms effect from Rise of the Triad; in other words, your camera will sway violently and the screen will frequently flash white every few seconds, and it's going to take a LONG while for the effects to dissipate. You'd BETTER NOT do this while in the middle of combat, an impending emission, or an important mission, as you'll get screwed spectacularly.
  • Infinity-1 Sword: The RG-6 in Call of Pripyat. It's the third most powerful weapon in the game and lacks the accuracy of the Gauss rifle or the splash damage of the RPG-7, but you can buy it from traders relatively early in the game and ammunition is a lot more common. Besides, with 6 grenades loaded it doesn't really matter if something survives the first one. On the other hand, it takes about an entire year to reload from empty, grenades can be tricky to come by in significant numbers before hitting Pripyat and getting good rep with the Stalkers in Zaton/Duty in Jupiter... and of course, like the RPG-7, it cannot be upgraded at all and is still quite heavy.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Gauss Rifle, a hilariously powerful experimental semi-automatic rifle that can One-Hit Kill literally any enemy in the game and can only be obtained from Monolith troopers at the very end of the main story. Balanced out slightly due to ammo being virtually impossible to find and very low rate of fire. Game Mods often gimp it to be only useful against humans and weaker mutants, and it was changed to just that in Call of Pripyat. There's only one though, and if you sell it, you are not getting it back.
  • Informed Equipment: For some odd reason, player characters ALWAYS wear fingerless gloves in the first person, regardless of armor equipped. This becomes quite noticeable because armor you pick up later in game shows you in third person that you're wearing a full-body radiation suit or gloves that aren't fingerless.
    • Fixed in Clear Sky (mostly) as the gloves/sleeves you see are dependent on the body armor you're wearing, and the fix was completed in Call of Pripyat.
  • Initialism Title
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The 5-foot-tall barbed wire fence that prevents you from exiting each area of the game except via the few designated exit points. Barbed wire is frequently an obstacle even within level boundaries and most of it is clearly disaster era.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Majorly averted. Other than the two traders (who sit deep inside neutral bunkers that force you to holster your weapon when you enter), every character in the game world, including major characters, can be killed. Because mutants, bandits, mercenaries and the military randomly attack Stalker settlements. Luckily for you, you can scavenge their PDA for quests and loot.
    • You can actually kill all but one of the traders, you just have to wait...
    • Played straight in one case in Call of Pripyat: two NPC waiting for you outside to storm a building are invincible until you talk to them and start the mission... not surprising when you found them being relentlessly attacked by pack of dogs and rats.
      • Also played straight when using mods to remove the forced weapon holstering in "town" areas. It turns out every NPC in the area has invulnerability while inside as a backup.
  • It Can Think: Bloodsuckers are smart. Dangerously so.
    • The other mutants, however, are noted to be stupid, exception of the Burers.
    • Controllers, obviously, being the most humanoid mutant. One has a lair in Call of Pripyat, and will actually warn you (via Mind Powers, of course) if you come too close to said lair. Most mindlessly attack, however.
  • It Got Worse: Call of Pripyat hints that Strelok's action of destroying the C-Consciousness has made the zone dangerously unstable, resulting in Emissions happening on a daily basis and a huge increase in zombified stalkers and Monolith personnel, among other nastiness which makes Strelok's accomplishment in Shadow of Chernobyl a Pyrrhic Victory.
    • It's heavily hinted at that the Zone is expanding. Growing and encompassing more land/space, in addition to reports of hordes of powerful mutants appearing at the zone border. It's a big probability that if the Zone isn't stopped somehow, it could grow to encompass the entire planet.
    • The Zone is getting worse with each game. Clear Sky added some more complex anomalies, even those that affect the ground. Call of Pripyat gives us Chimeras, Burers and a lot more creative anomalies.
    • Clear Sky also has this as the premise of the plot: someone is making the Zone go crazy, spawning more blowouts that grow bigger and bigger and shutting off access to some well-traveled areas, and Clear Sky wants to find who's doing it, and end them.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: The Doctor's stash key.
  • It's Up to You: Subverted in Clear Sky. On the first level, if you don't accomplish the mission objectives, your allies will eventually finish them for you. Also, in Yantar, Lefty's group is perfectly capable of assaulting the factory without your help.
    • Also mostly averted in Shadow of Chernobyl. The friendly AI is good enough that, depending on their equipment and experience level (and that of their enemies), they can win many firefights entirely without your assistance (though they'll usually take increased casualties). Occasionally, they'll even call you up to mock your uselessness if you can't or don't help them fight off an attack.
  • Just Think of the Potential: The Ecologists' attitude towards the Zone.
    • Freedom's as well, to a less scientific extent.
  • Karma Meter: The game tracks your reputation based on your actions. You get a positive reputation for completing quests or killing mutants, bandits, or members of the Exclusively Evil factions. You get a negative reputation for killing members of the neutral Stalker factions. However, the Karma Meter is severely bugged, so that once you reputation gets too high, it circles all the way back to the absolute lowest negative number.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Perhaps it's because nobody actually believes you can be that good.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Although most people keep their really valuable stuff either locked away or actually on their person (and thus inaccessible to the player), you can freely steal food and drink from peoples' tables. Interestingly, no one seems to care.
  • Knowledge Broker: Owl.
  • Land Mine Goes Click: Used in Call of Pripyat. Getting to a crashed helicopter requires passing over a minefield, the mine locations can only be spotted by (marginally) darker spots on the ground or following a decayed concrete path and verified with bolt tosses. Ground goes click when a bolt hits? Don't walk there. Really, don't. Even in an Exoskeleton, you'll lose half your health on the easiest difficulty. In the default stalker suit, you'll die no matter how many upgrades you've put in.
  • Lead the Target: Thanks to a detailed ballistic system, this is often a necessity. Have fun learning how to use that VSS Vintorez and the subsonic rounds it fires.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Some artifacts in the game are radioactive, and equipping them might kill you if you don't have any countermeasures, but are completely safe while they're in your bag. Game dialogue in SoC gives us this story:

One more anecdote... A stalker walks in the bar and says:
Stalker: Hey, can anyone sell me a Goldfish artifact? Heard it can protect you from bullets.
Local: Got one, but it's unlikely you're gonna use one - it's very radioactive!
Stalker: Like I'm going to put it in my pants? Nah, I will wear it on a chain!

  • Le Parkour: A mutant example in the case of Snorks when in attack mode.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The main problem of the first game. Other two games have long, but not so annoying loading screens.
  • Lost in Translation: In Russian, "C-Consciousness" is "О-Сознание": either "O-Consciousness" or "R-Ealisation", depending on how you read it.
  • Made of Iron: In Clear Sky, NPCs can absorb far more damage than the player (and friendly NPCs wearing comparable armor). Even on the easiest difficulty, a low-ranking Ukrainian military trooper can easily survive a point-blank shotgun blast or two full magazines of MP-5 fire to the chest. Especially jarring since enemies in the first game were exactly as strong as friendly NPCs and the player, and even enemies wearing exceptionally tough armor could still be dropped by a few well-placed armor-piercing rounds. Headshots from anything will still kill anyone not wearing an Exoskeleton, and even those can be brought down with one armor-piercing assault rifle round to the head.
    • With late-game armor and health artifacts, the player is quite capable of shrugging off automatic gunfire, at least from a single enemy.
      • In Shadow of Chernobyl, if you're lucky, you can encounter a bandit with three Meat Chunk artifacts in the Junkyard. Put these on together with anti-bleed and you're a freaking walking tank, because the artifacts' effect multiplies instead of adding. High instant damage, however, will still kill you, and since each Meat Chunk makes you 10% more vulnerable to damage overall, so your increased metabolism comes at the price of taking significantly more damage.
    • Played straight in Call of Pripyat too. Only the most powerful sniper rifle in the game will bring down a Monolith trooper with a single headshot. Justified, since they're, well, brainwashed and ignoring damage.
      • Averted by a large number of enemies though, especially depending on difficulty and weapon used. Most bandits are poorly armored thugs that go down with little trouble. Still played straight by zombies to a certain degree: they are much more resistant to torso/extremity shots (on account of being... well, mindless zombies) but still vulnerable to headshots.
    • Noah is outright Immune to Bullets, capable of surviving several hundred shots from a high-end assault rifle unscathed. The only way to kill him is with several headshots or a direct grenade hit. Made all the more glaring by the fact his only "armor" is a simple trenchcoat. It's suggested that he's got some insanely powerful artifacts in his possession, which may be how he's able to shrug off bullets to the torso.
  • Majorly Awesome: The protagonist of Call of Pripyat, SBU Major Degtyarev.
  • Mascot Mook: Arguable, but Bloodsucker is one of the most recognizable monsters in the game.
  • The Medic: Camp Doctors who fix you up and sell medical supplies. One of them has a thing for blood though.
  • Melee a Trois: Every faction, be it military, Duty, Freedom or Mercs want to kill someone else. There is balance, as the two main rival Stalker factions (Duty and Freedom), tend to occupy only the regions their bases are, only doing some raids on more neutral zones, and the military only patrolling the border, with the occasional raid on a strategically important location. Then there are Mercs and Bandits who attack almost everyone on sight (except Call of Pripyat but that won't last long). The zombies are self-explanatory. The only faction that doesn't have some sort of war going against someone are the Loners, though they are notoriously attacked by bandits and some Merc squads, and the Ecologists, but they are hardly a faction or a fighting force.
    • In the first game, Faction Wars was only available in left-behind code, and could only be restored and made into something functional by mods; for example, Military and Duty will raid Bandit and Merc bases on patrols, Freedom will ask for assistance when attacked by mutants, and so on. It made a return for real in Clear Sky, where devs implanted missions wherein you could try to help the faction grow in power. By the time Call of Pripyat rolls around, it manages to hold up a dose of realism.
  • Mildly Military: The Freedom faction, which has a command structure of sorts and functions as a paramilitary organization but has no real rank structure and very few rules or regulations. In spite of this, they're still quite capable of kicking large amounts of ass.
  • Mind Manipulation: Monolith's soldiers suffer from several of the tropes on this list. They start out crazy with their religious beliefs about the center of the Zone, but once they hit the Zone and fall in with Monolith itself, they're little more than mindless tools with Laser-Guided Amnesia if they ever manage to escape.
  • Multiple Endings: The wish you make upon the Wish Granter varies depending on your actions throughout the game. Hoard money, and you'll wish to be rich. Kill all Faction leaders, and you'll wish to rule the world. Be an extremely evil character, and you'll wish for mankind to be destroyed (controlled in the English translation). Be an extremely good character, and you'll wish for the Zone to disappear. Of course, all these endings are in fact Bad Endings because the Wish Granter is actually an evil Monkey's Paw that uses whatever wish you make against you to destroy you. The true ending involves discovering the secret behind the Wish Granter and the very existence of the Zone itself, and either choosing to join the Big Bad and help them maintain the Zone, or choosing to defeat the Big Bad and bring an end to the Zone once and for all.
    • Call of Pripyat has a Fallout style multi-part ending, telling the fate for each area and major character based on the player's actions throughout the game.
  • New Age Retro Hippie: Ganja, Freedom's barman in Clear Sky. Comes complete with reggae music and and a fondness for the 'erb.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Game mods often restore the Dummied Out zombie enemy, which acts like a stereotypical Romero undead. However, they possess much more health than zombified stalkers, and are able to take several headshots.
  • Nintendo Hard: A common reviewer complaint, as the game combines "survival horror"-style management of scarce resources with the unforgiving "tactical shooter"-style action of games like Ghost Recon. To quote Zero Punctuation, the average player will likely find themselves pressing Quicksave and Quickload more often then the Fire button. Meanwhile, some of the more well-known modifications have been released with the express purpose of making the games even harder. MISERY mod, anyone?
  • No Canon for the Wicked: The good ending of Shadow of Chernobyl is made canon in Call of Pripyat.
  • Non Indicative Difficulty:
    • The difficulty settings pretty much only influence what percentage of shots not hitting the head "glance" and do negligible damage to the player. Due to an oversight, this also applies to enemies, leading to humorous situations where you can unload an entire magazine on an enemy on Easy and the target will just shuffle off harmlessly. Once you learn how to score headshots reliably, the enemies still have a harder time killing you than you killing them.
    • Call of Pripyat averts this, removing the "glancing shot" system in favor of a linear damage scale to the player. This has the effect of making the game substantially easier than the other two installments due to the player's relative health being much higher on settings lower than Master difficulty, but there is no longer a situation where you can unload an entire magazine on someone and deal next to no damage.
  • No Scope: It's not uncommon to see players laying in ambush with a sniper rifle at close range in multi-player matches, as the sniper rifles are much better at piercing armor than the shotguns and the handling penalty doesn't factor in when you stand still for a couple of seconds. The VSS Vintorez in particular is used more often as an assault rifle than as a sniper rifle because of its great handling and high rate of fire.
  • Nuclear Physics Goof: Radiation is treated as evil mud that will kill you if you forget to wash it off, either with magical anti-radiation pills or drinking enough Vodka. Obviously, gameplay-wise, this beats dying a slow, hideous death for going the wrong way.
  • Obvious Beta: Both Shadow of Chernobyl and Clear Sky were this at release, though they were both eventually patched to full playability. Call of Pripyat was, fortunately, playable straight out of the box, because the non-English versions were the Obvious Beta.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Strelok's Loner crew in the backstory was four people if you count Strelok himself, making it the smallest "Faction" of the Zone.
  • One-Gender Race: Due to time constraints and developer laziness, there are women Stalkers in the Zone... you just never see them. PDAs often refer girlfriends in the Zone, and with mods, you can encounter some women Stalkers.
    • Female stalkers were to appear in S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2.
  • One-Hit Kill: In Shadow of Chernobyl, the alt-fire stab attack of your knife kills everything in one hit. Stab a guy in Powered Armor? One-Hit Kill. Stab an armored personnel carrier? One-Hit Kill. It's actually rather funny. Hell, in one arena match, you're required to use this attack if you want to survive (you + knife versus some guy with a F2000, the best CQC assault rifle and an Exo). Of course, actually getting close enough to do so is so difficult that this is practically useless unless your target doesn't know you're there, and even then they will notice you if you're less than a meter away, so you have to rush and stab. It's also a surprisingly viable option when forced to engage a Controller or Burer up close: all weapons take too long to recock when pulling them back out after a psi attack or when you have to pick them back off the floor after a disarming psi-pull.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Duty vs Freedom. Partially subverted in that neither faction is explicitly 'good' or 'bad', Freedom isn't so much chaos as, well, freedom, and there's nothing stopping the player from allying with both of them.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Bloodsuckers, more like hideous Umbrella mutants than actual vampires. There's one S.T.A.L.K.E.R. who's got a condition that forces him to crave blood in Call of Pripyat...
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Zombified stalkers are not Romero-style undead cannibals, but rather men who've suffered irreversible brain damage from exposure to psi-emissions. They still retain enough intelligence to fire and reload guns (with reduced speed and accuracy compared to a normal stalker), but they are unable to heal themselves and still shamble about, mumbling incoherent fragments of sentences. If you have mods that reactivate the dummied-out code for them, you can encounter more "traditional" zombies, but they're much more resistant to damage than regular zombies, requiring several good hits to the head (and then some) to take them down permanently.
    • And some mod zombies are actually semi-transparent glowing zombie ghosts. Technically, they've been warped further by the Zone and are in some sort of odd quantum state, similar to some anomalies, but they're just harder to kill.
  • Personal Space Invader: The Controllers have a unique way of going about this. Every other mutant, on the other hand, is fond of getting in close to eat your face. Especially Bloodsuckers.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Averted. Bandits are seen raiding camps, extorting merchants, shaking down passing stalkers and taking their valuables, taking and holding hostages, etc. They CAN be found sitting around... until they spot you.
  • Powered Armor: Exosuits (which have a rather Industrial-Punk design, with lots of external batteries and cables), which makes the wearer a walking tank, but is also too bulky to sprint in. For you, anyway. Nobody else seems to have any problem running around in them. In Call of Pripyat, you can upgrade past that sole limitation, which more or less makes you unstoppable.
  • Powers That Be: C-Consciousness, the entity that controls the Zone. It's gone, now, but things are getting worse, due to their absence.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Mercenaries.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Borov, a Bandit leader you have to kill in Shadow of Chernobyl, reveals in his journal that he really hates leading around a bunch of Chaotic Evil bastards who'd stab each other for fun and profit.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis! - Quoth a Freedom stalker during a raid:

Stalker: How... I... hate... to run!

  • Ragnarok Proofing: Almost completely averted. Buildings, vehicles, secret underground laboratories and pretty much everything else in the Zone has deteriorated exactly as much as you would expect something that's been abandoned for two decades to have deteriorated. Paint is peeling or gone altogether, wood is beginning to rot, glass has mostly shattered, moss is growing, rust is spreading, and pretty much every vehicle is completely beyond all hope of repair.
    • However, the underground tunnels beneath the Agroprom Research Institute still somehow have enough emergency power left to keep a few lights on even though the Institute has been abandoned for at least six months (though, considering it was first a base of Duty and then taken over by military, it's entirely possible they maintained the wiring and power for their own needs).
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: The Anomalies.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic:
    • A mild example involving the weapons shooting the default 5.45x39 bullet (the AKs, the Abakan, what have you) and their bizarre inability to pierce armor. "They're FMJ rounds, right? They shouldn't have this much trouble downing a single mook!" Well, there's a funny story behind that...
    • Unlike RGD-5 grenades, F1 frag grenades have absolutely devastating fragmentation, and you'll most likely die if you use them like in a generic FPS game. At best, you'll have to waste a bandage. You always need to find solid cover if you're gonna use these.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The nuclear blowouts in Clear Sky. Also present in Call of Pripyat. The moment the sky turns red with white highlights, you better be already in proper cover, very close to it, or have Anabiotic medicine handy; otherwise, have fun reloading a save. They're a scripted event in Shadow of Chernobyl, though mods like Oblivion Lost restore the random ones.
  • Required Secondary Powers: All of the protagonists appear to have limited Super Strength; fifty kilograms is well over a hundred pounds, and although it's definitely possible to carry that much nobody's going to be able to sprint for any significant distance while packing that much gear... especially not the Marked One, who judging from his appearance in cutscenes is absolutely rail-thin and poorly muscled. At the very least, Scar has the excuse of "blowouts empower him".
  • Respawning Enemies: Bandit and merc camps, Duty and Freedom squads, and mutant packs all spawn new members if they die, whether by your hand or not. Surprisingly averted completely in Call of Pripyat when you're taking missions to clean out Monolith bases: with no Monolith Device, Wish Granter, or C-Consciousness to finish their brainwashing, they can't replenish their numbers. If you choose to stay in the Zone after you evac the Hind helicopters in the final mission, you can attack their last, unmarked base in the gas station and remove them from the game entirely.
  • Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns: Every single rifle has its ejection port on the left side. It Got Worse with the world models: they have ejection ports on left and right sides of the receiver.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age/And Man Grew Proud : And how! Obviously, the area around the Chernobyl power plant is really Truth in Television. And it does have a greatly haunting vibe to it, even without the presence of bizarre mutated monsters and paranormal activity like in the game.
  • Saharan Shipwreck: The barges and ships in the Zaton area.
    • The area was partially drained of water to help calm the fires at the NPP back in '86. Time finished the job, though not entirely, the place is still somewhat of a swamp.
  • Save Scumming: The Quick Save button is your savior. It's not uncommon that by starting a fight, quicksaving, and quickloading again, they will completely forget that you just shot their buddy to steal his gun, and offer you a nice hot radioactive cup of tea. Due to the fact that it's entirely possible, in fact VERY probable, that mission-critical NPCs, friends, whole camps will rise and fall almost randomly, saving often is a must.
  • Scenery Gorn
  • Schrödinger's Gun: You can check stashes at any time, but until you find a PDA saying a Stalker stashed something there the majority of them will be empty.
  • See the Invisible: You've got trouble with bloodsuckers? Run into water and watch their trails appear on the surface. There's also the crosshair which turns red if you're looking at an enemy, invisible or not.
  • Shiny New Ukraine: the people behind the C-Conciousness experiment chose the Chernobyl area for the experiment because it had recently been evacuated and abandoned, following the explosion of reactor 4. This allowed the researchers great freedom and easy secrecy. The Chernobyl region also had a number of large antennas, necessary for the experiment's goal, the controlled manipulation of the noosphere.
  • Shooting Gallery: In the novel Lead Sunset, a flashback of Major Kupriyanov is him and his military academy mates being taken for an exam that involved this. He got the lowest points, because he shot every target he saw with unerring accuracy. Including the kids. When the instructor asked him why, he said something on the lines of "The order was to shoot every target, not every enemy target. I see no difference between a cardboard hostile and a cardboard civilian." Then he was asked if he would still shoot if those were real people. He replied with a hearty "yes" because the command probably had a reason for him to kill these people. He was accepted.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played straight AND averted. Sawed-off shotguns have a ridiculously short range, but regular shotguns have a more realistic range. You can extend the range by using slug and/or dart rounds. Moreso if you give the weapon a rifled barrel.
  • Shout-Out: Gordon Freeman's corpse can be found as an Easter Egg in Shadow of Chernobyl, complete with PDA entry lamenting that he had to sell his crowbar.
    • The rare and dangerous mutant type known as 'Controllers' use literally the exact same sound files as Half-Life 2's Headcrab zombies, although it's not clear whether this is a shout-out or just plain laziness.
      • The developer had licenced a number of assets from Valve so it may be more just a stock sound effect.
    • Several small cardboard boxes marked 'Fragile' and quite clearly labeled with the Dharma Initiative logo can be found in lab X-18 in Shadow of Chernobyl.
    • The Gauss Gun looks like Fallout 2's M72 Gauss rifle exactly except that the Fallout one has a wooden stock and handle. This is reinforced by their ammo, which looks even more similar and is called 2mm EC in the game files, same as Fallout.
      • Dummied Out content for Clear Sky shows that .223 Pistol and Bozar LMG were supposed to be implemented at some point. Both are fan favorites in Fallout 2.
    • The time machine from Guest From the Future can be found in one of the basements in Limansk in Clear Sky.
  • Shown Their Work: At this point, the good folks in GSC Game World probably know more about the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone than the people that used to live there. They took numerous trips there in order to make the gameworld as close to reality as possible, with the only significant changes being that places of interest are put closer together, as trekking through the empty countryside for 5 hours in real time would be boring. The actual town of Pripyat and NPP are also amazingly detailed, from building exteriors to small things like old Soviet-era propaganda posters, foliage and sounds. And as the Reality Is Unrealistic example states above, they also managed to create one of the most realistic ballistics models ever, with correct bullet drop calculation and real life firearm specs being just the icing on the cake. One example is the British L85A1 rifle, whose early models in real life had very poor reliability and so were pulled from mass production; S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s lore actually plays on this and states that the decomissioned rifles made it to the Zone via the black market. Of course, this is reflected in gameplay as well, with the L85A1 having a ridiculously low reliability rating and starting to jam after the third mag of firing.
    • And that just begins to scratch the surface. Another good example is the drug "Vinca", which appears in Call of Pripyat. The in-game description lists it as "Ukrainian Vikasolum, the artificial equivalent of Vitamin K. The drug increases the blood's coagulation rate, causing small wounds and lacerations to close up faster." Guess what? Although the drug's in-game effects are (understandably) stronger than one would expect, the drug is real, and the effects and description are 100% accurate to its actual purpose.
  • Sinister Geometry: The Monolith.
  • Sniping Mission: At one point in Call of Pripyat you are charged with sniping the local Mercenary leader and their employer representative during the meeting.
  • Sprint Meter: You'll be blessing it and cursing it when you're trying to sprint the last few dozen meters to shelter whilst carrying ~57kg of gear, hardly any of which you can afford to drop because it's either 1) mission important, or 2) your weapons and ammo, and thus liable to get stolen if you just leave it there.
  • Stock Sound Effects: The SEVA suit's automatic anti-rad distribution system shares a voice with the HEV Suit of Half-Life fame (they are even under a "HEV" directory in the game data folder).
  • Storming the Castle: The climactic assault against the Center of the Zone in Shadow of Chernobyl, with all Stalker factions (as well as a Military assault force) storming Pripyat and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, battling the forces of Monolith (as well as each other).
  • Surreal Horror: Borderline. Despite its focus on realistic combat, it's still fundamentally a horror-themed game about a place in which people randomly exploding into gore while walking down the street is a fairly regular occurrence, the weather includes psychic storms, and space occasionally folds in on itself.
  • Survival Horror: Or Survival Shooter as the developers say.
  • Take Your Time: For the main quest. Side quests WILL fail if you take too long (which includes not returning quickly enough to collect your reward). With early missions, NPCs might go do it themselves if you hang around.
    • Averted towards the end of Call of Pripyat. You can end up with several unsolved missions when you are informed by your superiors of your imminent rescue.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. Talking to characters does NOT pause the game, so while you're busy reading dialogue, Stalkers and mutants are running around killing each other.
    • Same for using your PDA and fiddling with your inventory. Find somewhere nice and quiet to do it first, lest you end up getting your face bitten off whilst you try to pull out your shotgun.
  • Technically Living Zombie: The zombie stalkers are not dead, they just got their higher-brain functions scorched out.
  • Thriving Ghost Town: The largest settlement to appear in the series thus far has a permanent population of less than two dozen, although depending on how many traveling stalkers are passing through at the time that number can swell to as much as fifty.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: YOU are Strelok... which is OK because Strelok is actually the good guy.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The RPG-7, which has the most rare ammo type in the entire game. One hit will kill literally anything... which is almost completely offset by the fact that you're only guaranteed to find ONE rocket outside of Pripyat and the NPP.
    • It subverts this in Call of Pripyat, where it becomes an Infinity-1 Sword instead, once you've attained certain achievements with traders.
    • To a marginally lesser extent, the PKM light machine gun. It weighs almost as much as the RPG, cannot be properly aimed with (without mods), is highly inaccurate, mostly due to the "no aiming" thing, and upgrading just one tier is likely to set you back 20,000 rubles. Add on to that the fact that it fires the 7.62 PP rounds, which can only be found in one faction-neutral location in Clear Sky, and only from the military quartermaster (limited supply) or looting the corpses of zombies which have it in Call of Pripyat, and the thing is the definition of Cool but Inefficient. To put the icing on the cake, it's a light machine gun, and chews through the ammo that you worked so hard to get like a starved dog. But man does it lay down the hurt!
  • Too Dumb to Live: Magpie/Flint for some reason thinks taking credit for the player's quest completion is a good idea when people in the same building (one who is within 30 feet) can confirm he is lying through his teeth. He also has a habit of barging about his double crosses including the one where the crosses people didn't die. When the player finishes up the quest chain, he predictably gets killed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nimble, the guy you got a flash drive from in the very beginning Shadow of Chernobyl, becomes a master arms dealer, and one of the few ways to get an Exosuit, in Call of Pripyat.
    • There's also Petruha, who was a rookie doing scouting duty for Wolf in the Cordon in the first game. In Call of Pripyat, he's an experienced artifact hunter who's made his way to the center of the Zone and has taken a rookie under his wing. Although, unfortunately for Petruha, since he's sporting rather mediocre equipment (yet, it's much better than what he had in Shadow of Chernobyl), it's more than likely he'll die after you meet him.
  • Truce Zone: Played straight between the Freedom and Duty factions in Yanov station in Call of Pripyat.
  • Twenty Bear Asses: The various "bring a monster part" optional side missions. Most provide shotgun ammunition, and the best way to do them is actually to get the various mutant bits (one of the two kinds of dog tail, Bloodsucker jaws, Flesh eyes, Boar feet, etcetera) and THEN take the mission. Of course, the "where the hell is the tail/eyes/jaw/feet/etc, I see them just fine" still applies, as it'll take you quite a while to start finding parts with regularity. Technically, it's only one bear ass, since they only ask for one part at a time, but the principle's the same.
    • Lampshaded and justified: most of the mission givers acknowledge it's inane, time consuming, and stupid, but they get tidy profits off of superstitious idiots/newbies, scientists wishing to study how mutants behave and perceive the world, and black market dealers who sell usable creature parts for money (supposedly, a whole line of illegal fur coats made of psuedodog tails are popular in Russia, and so on).
  • Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The games take place in 2012, with the first known instances of Stalking happening in 2009.
  • Ukrainians With Rusting Rockets: Although the Spetsnaz troopers you encounter generally avert this, the regular Ukrainian army troopers in the Zone are poorly equipped, insufficiently supplied, inexperienced, and unmotivated.
    • In Shadow of Chernobyl, one of the easiest ways to obtain a semi-decent weapon right off the bat is to raid the military base that's at the far end of the road in Cordon, the newbie area. A dozen-plus soldiers, and if you're good about staying under cover, you might not take any damage at all. Unless the Spetznaz are there, which can happen. If you kill them though, you should be set on weapons for half the game. Eventually, when you return to Sidorovich halfway through the game, you are going to have to raid it. You'll make a neat profit off it, even if Sidorovich is rather tight-wadded.
  • The Unpronounceable: Degtyarev according to at least one NPC. Probably most English players too.
  • Vader Breath: The player, whenever they equip anything with a gas mask.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • The player may find badly-wounded NPCs curled up and crying out in pain. If the player goes up and interacts with them, they will have the option to give them a Medkit so that they can survive. The problem with that is that the people who shot them down in the first place may likely still be around, and so will only end up shooting them down again for good. So do you save the badly wounded individual crying out for help by killing his assailants (who may be nominally friend or foe) and healing him, or leave him to die?
    • Another jarring but subtle occurrence of this happens near the end of the Call of Pripyat main storyline. In one of the missions, you will be sent out with a couple of troopers to ambush and get ambushed by a Monolith patrol. If you lose a few or all of them, the atmosphere back at base goes from lively conversation to solemn silence.
    • Also, you can find a group of mercenaries camping in a substation in Zaton who badly need a day's supply of food. If you manage to give them what they need, not only do they welcome you to their camp (and allow you to grab one of three important toolkits for an important sidequest), but later on, when another group of mercenaries have left their duty of guarding a scientist bunker in Yanov, you can even recruit these Zaton mercenaries to guard that bunker. If you do, they'll gladly accept you into their new encampment.
  • Visible Invisibility: Poltergeists and Bloodsuckers fit the "Predator" version. Poltergeists appear as a distortion with embers or electric arcs around it, Bloodsuckers have Glowing Eyes and become slightly opaque when charging at you.
  • Warp Whistle: Both Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat have guides: stalkers that'll take you directly to specific areas, for a varying fee.
  • Wasteland Elder: A few have shades of this, with Beard from Call of Pripyat being closest to this trope.
  • We Can Rule Together: After Strelok successfully discovers the C-Consciousness and makes his way to their control center, they offer him an opportunity to join them in their efforts to create a species-wide Hive Mind. Canonically, he refuses, and then proceeds to fight his way through their entire guard force before killing the entire Consciousness with assault rifle fire while they sit helpless in their pods.
  • Welcome to Corneria: In the bar area, one character in particular (Snitch) repeats the same two phrases over and over again. Also the current page quote and the last page quote.

I said come in! Don't stand there.
Get out of here stalker

    • The scientist merchant at Yantar. "Hello? Hello."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The unnamed stalker that rescues you in the intro of Shadow of Chernobyl is never mentioned again in either of the three games. It could be speculated that he probably went off on another quest and met an untimely demise off-screen or probably met a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • What the Hell, Player?:
    • In Shadow of Chernobyl, shooting Arnie, the Arena organizer, pisses the Barkeep right off, who curses you while placing a bounty on your head. Shooting his replacements gets an increasingly confused and enraged Barkeep.
    • In the same game, you can tell Petruha and the rookie stalker squad to not assist you on your assault on the makeshift bandit base. Petruha will tell you off for being a Rambo wannabe. If you manage to wipe the base out singlehandedly (which is quite a feat on harder difficulties), Petruha will be astonished. If you come back before killing all the bandits, Petruha will mock you and tell you to piss off.
  • Where Are They Now? Epilogue: Call of Pripyat ends this way.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: For the most part. More restrictive than Fallout, but has more overall quests, an active ecosystem, and, occasionally, people fighting desperate battles against each other/mutants.
  • With This Herring: Averted. In first and second installment, you start as accident victim theoretically indebted to your helpers. In the third, you are equipped with average gear quite well suited for your default task.
  • Zombie Gait:
    • Zombified stalkers shuffle slowly while moaning out Russian phrases yet are still quite capable of firing and reloading automatic weapons (though they're hilariously incapable of aiming those weapons). When they die, they do cry for their mothers, and in fact, most of their phrases are actually fragments of the stuff stalkers talk about:
Cquote1.svg's so cold here...
...just one more artifact, aarrrgh, then I would...

    • "Real" zombies and their cousins, Izlolms, some sort of hunchbacks (brought back in the Oblivion Lost mod, and countless other mods), do the same thing. Snorks count a bit, but run on all fours.


...I said come in, don't stand there!