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File:081222-jagged-alliance-1.jpg
The ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL MERCENARIES, the most professional choice for commanders in need of a qualified hired gun.
Jagged Alliance 2, AIM website.

A series of turn-based squad-level combat strategy games for the PC that came out in the 1990s, with some role-playing elements, financial management, and a weird and wonderful cast of mercenaries ranging from out-and-out maniacs to seasoned professionals (And in some cases, maniac professionals). Pick a modern combat trope, and they've probably used it shamelessly.

The first game takes place on the South Atlantic island of Metavira, which was once a nuclear testing site. Because of radiation, some trees mutated into fallow trees; It was discovered that the sap of those trees contains amazing medical properties that is every doctor's Christmas wish come true, and thus the research team, led by Jack Richards and his daughter Brenda, arrived on the island to study the trees and, if possible, reproduce them. But one day, Lucas Santiano, a senior member of the research team, betrayed his employers, burned the labs, hired his own (literal) Redshirt Army, and took over most of the island to monopolize the sap-supplying business. This is where the Richards hire You to reconquer the island and to kick Santiano's ass with the help of Hired Guns provided by the Association of International Mercenaries, or just A.I.M for short.

The second game, Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games, has you working for Gus Tarballs and accepting small-time mercenary missions. Either by playing longer campaigns, or reading the sequel's dossier on Gus, the stand-alone missions tie together into thwarting the DFK, a high-tech organization whose plans involve using satellites for orbital superiority. This game was made specifically for multiplayer complete with map editor. All strategic elements were sacrificed for tactical ones; instead of overworld management, the campaign is a series of one-sector scenarios.

The third game, Jagged Alliance 2 (yes, you read that correctly) takes place in Arulco. Hired by dethroned king Enrico Chivaldori, you and your band of mercenaries -- from both A.I.M. and newcomer M.E.R.C. (More Economic Recruitment Center), which was founded by (surviving) ex-members of the former -- are to liberate Arulco and to kill Enrico's ex-wife Deidranna Reitman, who usurped the throne a decade ago and ruled since then with iron fist of tyranny. Surprisingly well thought out and complex as computer games go in its approach to physical injury, fatigue, the effectiveness of firearms and the use of explosives and noted for its excellent turn based combat. Notably it's got a lot of mileage out of the v1.13 mod (a reference to the last official patch being v1.12 and, probably by coincidence, the last official versions of both original JA and Deadly Games), which drastically changed the game and even introduced a multiplayer mode that wasn't in the unmodified JA2! Some of the trope examples are due to, modified, subverted, or averted by this mod.

The Fourth Game, Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business takes place in Tracona. Ricci Mining and Exploration, the company that ran the mines in Arulco during Deidranna's reign, wants control of the mines back. Setting up a base in the nearby military dictatorship of Tracona, they launch missiles at the Prison in Arulco as a warning. King Enrico Chivaldori, knowing that Aruclo has not recovered enough to effectively deal with this crisis, hires you to resolve it. This game is very short, and the main draw of this game is the map editor, which was later added (along with other new features in this game, except the new mercs, unless you count the v1.13 mod) to JA2 in later patches.

Jagged Alliance 3 has had a troubled past, being announced, shown off at E3 '07, then dropped by Sir-Tech. German publisher bitComposer has purchased the rights to the IP, and have begun preliminary development. The game is targeted for a 2011 release. There will also be a remake of the 2nd game on the engine first, but in real time instead of turn-based, as the original was made on and will be "less complex".

Strategy First is currently working on Jagged Alliance social networking game in the vein of Facebook-type apps like Mafia Wars and Farmville.

Kalypso Games and bitComposer Games released Jagged Alliance: Back In Action in February 2011, a real-time remake of Jagged Alliance 2.

Gamigo and Cliffhanger Productions are working on the Jagged Alliance Online, an isometric tactical MMORPG.


Contains examples of:

  • Zero-Percent Approval Rating: Deidranna's regime, at least among the majority of the population. The extremely wealthy, business tycoons, and the elite elements of the military all work for her willingly and happily, with some old-money families even selling out relatives working for the rebels to the secret police. However, among the general populace of the country, virtually everyone openly calls for her death, and the rare few that don't are apathetic. Even the soldiers that prop up her regime are mostly forced conscripts who only work for her out of fear.
  • Three Quarters View: Used in Jagged Alliance 2.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Averted, with the special mention of the first game: Only having one processing plant (Out of 4, with the rest in Lucas' hands) and a handful of fallow trees, you are unable to meet the demands of the sap buying company and because of this they set the low price for the sap, all while the buyers talk about the more prospective supplier. Capture at least one plant back and a lot of trees and the prices get stabilized.
  • AKA-47: In Jagged Alliance: Back In Action, this trope is used for the first time in the history of the series. The Glock 17 is the Klock 17, and so on.
  • All There in the Manual: Scully, when you first hire him, pretends he's not on the phone. When he demands a raise, turns out he's paying child support. Put two and two together.
    • If you've got the time, you can go and read the reasons why some mercs have been dropped from the AIM roster in the "Alumni" section. Some are tragic, some... aren't. Better yet, you'll also know why Mike dropped out (if Gus Tarballs' exposition after killing him doesn't clue you in).
    • Since mercs obviously aren't keen on revealing much about their personal life, Sidney complimenting Scope reveals she's married. Ice's answering machine shows he's also married. Some of Grizzly's dialogue reveals that Bull is married with children. In fact, quite a few of the mercs on AIM's roster are apparently married.
  • Amusing Injuries: The backstory for Gus Tarball's slow movement in Jagged Alliance 2 is that, while arguing with AIM over his salary, his mobile home collapsed on his leg. While he was trying to fix his septic system.
    • Deidranna keeps slapping the Hell out of her underling. It gets to the point where, when he reports the mercs are marching on Meduna, he's bruised and bloody - and that's before she shoots him in the forehead. And he survives.
      • Players can (optionally) even send flowers to Deidranna, resulting in poor Elliot to get even more slaps.
  • Anti-Air: SAM sites in JA2. You can move in SAM-infested space (albeit slowly), but your 'copter WILL be destroyed if you don't get out of there ASAP. You need t take out SAM sites to have the copter move safely, and if you don't leave behind militia, enemies WILL retake the site.
  • Anyone Can Die: If you screw up bad, or if your luck runs out...
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Played straight in the first game with the weaker guns, but mostly averted in JA 2, especially 1.13, a shot from any old pistol with glaser ammo on an unarmored opponent is almost always lethal, and nearly all of the 5.56 and 7.62 weapons do the same amount of damage.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: You can hire up to 8 mercenaries in the first two games, 8 native guards per sector, and there can only be 8 enemies in the sector, which can be exploited in the final battle in JA1 (enemy limit is removed in Deadly Games). Vanilla JA2 allows you to hire up to 18 mercenaries, including the locals, which can be modified to 32 in v1.13.
  • Armed Blag: In Deadly Games some criminals did this. Unfortunately for them, the stolen cash was a counterfeit that was intentionally planted to destabilize economy, and now you have to shut em up, permanently.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Armor Piercing ammunition, along with default NATO ammo and weapons with specialized ammo that were meant to pierce armor (such as the G11).
  • Artificial Stupidity: Civilians will wander into mustard gas areas. Better than X-COM though, as when they are caught between the crossfire, they are still smart enough to get down or get to nearby cover and let you hit the baddies behind them.
    • Rookie Militia are deliberately programmed this way, often charging at enemy positions and getting gunned down, and suffering civilians' affections of wandering into mustard gas areas (though they stay on the border, if the cloud expands, they're good as dead). Once they're trained up to regular (or elite) militia, though, they become MUCH smarter. (Even better than Deidranna's elite forces.)
    • On a side note, the AI (enemies or militias) have much trouble fighting non-human enemies (bloodcats and crepitus).
      • Which you can use to your advantage if, for example, you're under attack by a large enemy force and a pack of bloodcats moves into the area. Pull back, consolidate your defensive position, and wait for the cats to run around killing all the hostiles, than mop up the surviving cats.
  • Arms Dealer: Several.
    • Micky O'Brien from Deadly Games is an international version of an Gangland Gun Runner and is depicted as an stereotypical slimy merchant that gives creeps even to such badasses like Gus Tarballs. He functions as an Auction, and if you pay too much, your mercs will comment on your poor trading skills. He reappears in JA 2, but running different contraband.
    • Bobby Ray from JA 2 is a shady Online Gun Shop Owner (although many of the guns he sells could not possibly be legal unless he sells primarily to governments - he even sells mustard gas, although the item description says it is to be used strictly for pest control).
      • This gets even more ludicrous in v1.13 due to the vastly expanded arsenal.
      • The last version of 1.13 lampshaded this for experimental weapons - "We found a shipment of G11s in a warehouse somewhere. Please don't ask."
    • Tony in San Mona, operates behind an adult video store. His partner running the front requires a favor before you can access Tony's wares (namely, getting rid of an annoying customer).
    • Raul in Unfinished Business.
  • Apologetic Attacker: a few (for example, Spider, a medic, will say "I'm such a hypocrite") will make comments likes this about the kills they make.
    • Pacifist characters gain no morale from killing enemies.
    • Barry's "Forgive me for taking life", odd, as he is a decent shot (or a great mortar-er) in spite of it.
  • Ascended Extra: Hamous is a native guide in Metavira in the first game. He becomes a hire in Deadly Games, and by Jagged Alliance 2, he's a recruitable extra who comes with his own transportation.
    • An Ice-Cream Van, no less.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Averted, Ivan's Russian is fine. (Хорошо!)
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In Jagged Alliance 2, you get to recruit various local rebels. Three out of four are varying degrees of useless (although they can be trained up, if you can be bothered -- and if you use their skills they have quite some potential, at least you don't have to pay them); the fourth, the rebel leader, however is something of a hardcore badass. More importantly, the Evil Dictator in JA 2 is a skilled markswoman with heavy armour and an automatic rocket rifle. Subverted with pretty much everyone else - the vast majority of high-ranking enemies can often be taken out with just a few well-placed shots, sometimes before they even get a chance to shoot back.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Pretty much what the Rocket Rifles are. Electronically locked except to registered user, the rifles can only hold five shots and can't have any accuracy-boosting accessories mounted on them. While powerful, most players prefer a rifle's mag size and accuracy to deliver consistent headshots by this point in the game. If you are playing 1.13, then they are pretty much useless since either an anti-material sniper rifle or an assault rifle with drum mag and various other attachments will pretty much outclass them.
    • Unless you're in CQC (close-combat) and those using the rocket rifles are proficient in heavy weapons. Of course, even with High-Explosive Armor-Piercing rockets, your merc's going to need two shots to knock down the Queen's black shirts.
    • Unfortunately, near the mid-game (depending on the player's editing of the data files), this applies to many of the game's weapons, such as pistols, shotguns, bolt-action rifles, or submachine guns.
  • Axe Crazy: Several of the mercenaries you can hire in all three Jagged Alliance games will tend to enjoy killing a little too much, fire on full automatic even when you tell them not to, or get very cranky if you try and give them orders before they've finished killing someone. Some of them will even kill other squad members between missions. Strangely the baddies never seem to have to deal with this kind of problem.
    • Postie (weapon of choice: letter opener) and "Unusually Ruthless" Reuben (hedge trimmer) from the first two games being poster children for the trope. Fidel "I busy!" Dahan even has it listed in his bio that he was constantly gunning after another A.I.M. member.
    • Made even worse in v1.13, 'psycho' mercs with auto weapons will sometime spend all his remaining action points or ammo to fire in full auto, whichever comes first. Can be (somewhat) avoided by spending more action points to aim a single shot, as they have no qualms killing with head shots, or avoided altogether by not using automatic weapons.
  • Back Stab: Throwing knives + Stealth = profit. If you can sneak up into throwing-knife range behind an opponent without being seen or heard, you can insta-kill the target with a throwing knife/throwing star in the back. Dmitri is one of the more useful "indigenous" recruits for this reason having decent aim to boot. Shank can be this... once he stops sucking in general.
    • Stealth and Night Ops are one of the most useful combination of traits for your customized alter ego, especially while using said throwing knives. In 1.13 with the new trait-system it is even possible to combine those two traits with another useful one like throwing, unarmed or melee weapons.
    • If you're particularly stealthy/lucky, you can even pull off a more traditional backstab on an enemy by creeping up behind them and cutting their throat with a knife, machete, or sword.
  • Banana Republic: Tracona from Jagged Alliance 2: Unfinished Business.
  • Battle Couple: Raven and Raider, little game effect besides sharing morale gains and mourning each others' deaths if something bad happens. Caution: Don't let Hitman near Raven.
    • Originally Buzz and Lynx were this in Deadly Games (among other "couples" like Margaret and Mouse).. not so much in the following games.
    • Also Biff and Flo, although they're less a Battle Couple and more a 'Whimper Pathetically And Run Away At The First Sign Of Trouble' couple (their low wages and good teaching skills make them extremely good militia trainers when working as a team, however).
  • Bearer of Bad News: If Ivan dies, his nephew Igor will mourn while wondering how he will tell this to his Aunt.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Lucas blows himself up as soon as he sees you. Two problems with that: 1) Your mercs are very close to the explosions and 2) the Baby fallow tree is in the room; Brenda would be really happy if you save it.
  • BFG - Rocket Rifles, which are essentially railguns without super-sonic projectiles. There are also quite a few real-life (or in some cases, would have been real-life if they ever went into production) examples present in v1.13 such as the .50 Beowulf, Barret .50, USAS-12, OICW, AICW, PanCor Jackhammer, and XM-25.
  • Big Bad: Doctor Lucas Santiano in the first game, Queen Deidranna Reitman in JA2.
  • Bigger Stick: Are your mercs not that well trained in 1.13? No problem. Arm them with something like a G11, Steyr ACR [not to be confused with the other ACR, this one shoots armor-piercing 5.56 darts], or a FN SCAR-H with a sniper barrel and dress them in Spectra armor or bomb suits to make up for their marksman deficiency, lack of firepower, and measly health points. In fact, arming more experienced mercs with aforementioned guns is often overkill, since anything in range will die. Especially applies if one didn't turn on auto-leveling in 1.13, where your EOD-armored teams with prototype weaponry will be mowing down grunts that look like they came fresh off the Soviet bloc from the 70s. Also applies to Spectra/EOD armor, the latter of which protects from everything and can withstand a shelling from mortar rounds (they're not called EOD for nothing). Encouraged, since you're only allowed a finite number of mercs (and the latest 1.13 limits mercs to 24).
    • Can also be utilized by Deidrannan forces, if you're not a cheating bastard. You'll probably have low-grade AK-47s or just the weapons the mercs arrived with (often just pistols and sub-machine guns - only Gus has the best starting weapon, both in vanilla and 1.13), and the enemies will have FN FALs, M16s with laser sights and maybe grenade launchers, M4A1s...
  • Bland-Name Product: Oxxen in BIA.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: While the games don't allow you to do this, it is possible to make the enemy drop their weapon, most commonly with a serious hit to the head or shoulder, or a powerful shotgun blast at close-range. Or throwing a grenade at them and causing them to fall over, but that's not so much blasting it out of their hands as (almost) killing them.
  • Blatant Lies: M.E.R.C. dossiers are like this, especially if you played the first game. Their later mercs have more plausible dossiers, since it's no longer necessary to cover up for sub-par skills like with the early mercs.
  • Boom! Headshot!: With the occasional exploding head.
  • Bond James Bond: The name's Tarballs, Gus Tarballs.
  • Bond One-Liner: Many mercs say such things when they kill someone, or during some events.

  (After watching someone's head blown off) IMP Voice 2: Someone took a little too much off the top.

  • Booby Trap: Mines... duh. You probably won't be in much threat by them until you hit Meduna, where there's two fields full of them. And in Deidranna's hidden bunker, too.
    • Also, there are plenty of trapped chests that can just shock you or explode.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Played straight for the enemies in the first game where reloading itself costs no AP. Averted in Jagged Alliance 2 where the enemies still have to reload, and if you let them live long enough, they will run out of magazines too (in which case they will start running).
    • In v1.13 (at least), enemies will pick up a new weapon if they can find one. Often leads to annoyance, if you were intending to pick that weapon up for yourself after the battle. Cue new mod features that make all enemies drop their weapons when they die.
      • Actually if they pick it up (note this also applies to unpatched game, not just 1.13 or even 1.12) they will always drop it if you kill them. However, keep in mind that sometimes enemies may choose to flee instead, this way you WILL lose it. They are only smart enough to pick up guns (and armor if they are not wearing one), and will not pick up magazines or grenades.
  • Bounty Hunter: Carmen. Specifically wants his targets dead, not alive.
  • Blown Across the Room: Occasionally, and it generally requires a burst to the chest at close range.
  • Breakable Weapons: Almost all weapons, armour, and other items in the game have a percentage 'status.' Rather than going from perfect to useless, weapons slowly degrade, lose range, and jam more often. Armour protects you less the more damaged it is. Aside from a few items, almost everything can be repaired back up to perfect condition, no matter how heavily damaged. Fan mods may adjust the speed of item degradation (as well as the odds of a jam).
  • Brick Joke: Hamous left AIM by stealing an Ice Cream truck in Paris and heading to Istanbul in it, according to his bio on the AIM site. He managed to wind up on a South American country.... Not that he's lost, he's just... lost
  • Bulletproof Vest: Good armour is the difference between dying instantly and just being badly winded.
  • Butt Monkey: "Elliot, you IDIOT!"
    • Just wait until you can send flowers to the Queen's doorstep.
  • Bus Crash: The unavailable mercs can die on their assignments.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: In Jagged Alliance 2, while Deidranna mainly uses We Have Reserves forced conscripts, at least one (the others may be, but they don't have names or faces) of her close bodyguards are foreign mercenaries. Of course, by the game's premise, all but a small handful of the party are foreign mercs as well.
    • Your team can wind up doing this to the tourists trapped in one of the towns.
  • Career Killers: Many of the mercs' background. Averted with quite a few of the medics, who are regular civilians with strange reasons for signing up with AIM.
    • Slay, one of the wanted 'terrorists' is just one of these, and he was only put into the wanted list merely because he had outlived his usefulness to his previous employers who feared he may turn against them. He can be recruited in later patches.
  • Character Customization: Jagged Alliance 2 allows you to create mercenaries via I.M.P., the Institute for Mercenary Profiling. In the vanilla JA2 it was done using the Player Personality Quiz and was changed to Point Build System in Unfinished Business. v.1.13 uses the latter and improves on it in other ways (including expansing the number of created characters to six).
  • Child Soldiers: Discussed by Deidranna when Elliot suggests it, but never actually used - apparently they're not combat-effective enough to justify the inevitable international outcry (presuming the Queen lets word get out -- no one seems to care about her sweatshops or underground generic experimentation).
    • In Deadly Games, during one of the mission briefings Gus tells you how a near-perfect mission he was participating in was almost ruined because a child shot him in the leg and could have done worse if one of his squadmates didn't stun the kid. His wound gets worse through the game.
  • Cold Sniper: Notably Reaper, a weirdly creepy religious maniac/fatalist. Shadow is also cold, unless he's fighting the Crepitus, at which point he just snarks.

 Reaper: I'm bleeding. *Beat* That's cool.

  • Color Coded for Your Convenience:
    • In the first game: Green are your mercenaries, Red are your enemies, Blue are the guards you hire from the native population and Yellow are the native workers who extract the fallow sap.
    • Deadly Games ditched the strategic elements and the above colors now represent different Color Coded Squads plus White for NPCs.
    • Jagged Alliance 2 has Yellow, Red and Black enemies in rising order of danger and Green, Light Blue and Dark Blue militia in rising order of competence.
  • Colonel Kilgore: Stogie, Reaper, Fidel (who wishes to be a raven in his next life so he can eat the dead after a war)...
  • Contract on the Hitman: In one of the later missions in Deadly Games you are tasked with snapping a photo of the assassin fresh out of plastic surgery. He didn't like that and threatens you and the client, so next mission you are assigned to assassinate the assassin.
  • Counterfeit Cash: you have to retrieve them in one early mission in Deadly Games, and they are as close to the real thing as they can be, since they were made by the guys who make the real ones in the first place.
  • Combat Medic: Anyone with decent medical skills. Highball is an example of the few doctors (judging by their profile photo) with decent marksmanship, however, and Danny was a combat medic in Desert Storm. Many of them are good at melee combat and highly dexterous, if that's your bag.
  • Commonplace Rare: A lot of items, such as glass jars, batteries, and LameBoys.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Later enemies have perfect accuracy with grenades and while crippled can make shots standing with unaugmented assault rifles that an uninjured crouching 99 marksmanship merc armed with a long range rifle with scope and Laser Sight will miss most of the time.
    • And have you noticed that the enemies' weapon NEVER jam no matter how beat up they are (and if you steal it, chances are it will jam the first time you try to fire it).
    • Elite soldiers seemingly will never run out of grenades/break lights to throw at you. If you're lucky, you get dud grenades thrown at you.
    • The cops (or, at least, grunts with no body armor and with handguns) are an annoyance in the first few battles. Yes, they inflict little damage (especially if you're a dirty cheater and ordered EOD and Spectra armor), but it's frustrating when an aimed shot misses, you run out of AP, and the cop with a shitty handgun manages to hit you, resulting in a waste of bandages.
    • Round a corner with an enemy holding an SMG or assault rifle. Chances are, no matter the level, you will get interrupted, and have a whole mag dumped on your merc, either killing him or her or wasting valuable time and medkits on them if you scraped up the cash for the armor.
    • All enemies can open locked doors without using a key. (You can, too - provided you're on their side of the room, which is impossible without cheating or blowing a hole in the wall.) Worse yet, they almost always close the door after going through it (And they never seem to spend any time to do so.)
    • Mortar-wielding enemies and snipers know exactly where you are. Gets infuriating when you're jammed into a small area and the sniper is packing a Barrett, DSR-1, or Erma. Patched in 1.13 so that mortarmen need someone to actually see you before they'll open fire (so your mercs had better been damned fast on those triggers!)
    • Enemies knows exactly where mines (even yours) are placed, though they will still step on them anyway if there is no way they can reach their destinations without avoiding them.
    • Bloodcats can traverse half the map and still tear out the throat of one of your heavily armed mercs, then deliver a coup-de-grace them while they've got the AP penalty due to injury. (Although their enlarged size can prevent them from reaching you behind a narrow row of rocks or thick of trees.)
    • Crepitus can apparently "see" you from across the map in the dark unless you have rubbed elixir over your body to camouflage your scent.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Enrico sends emails to you to express his worrying on how slowly/praising on how quickly you are gaining ground, but nevertheless prompts you to pick up the pace. As these mails are sent rather spaced out (around each ingame month) they are rather effective.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Averted brutally. There is a complex system in the game to calculate the concealment and protective potential of every possible combination of cover element, merc positioning and incoming projectiles. Flimsy cover like bushes or dinner tables will hide you but won't deter most bullets. Moreover, armor piercing munition has been known to pierce right through walls and doors often.
  • Continuity Nod: M.E.R.C. is like A.I.M. in early games, where you pay by day, most members are psychos, and the more reputable hires don't want to talk to you.
  • Cool Guns: And how!
    • To elaborate, nearly every single gun on the Cool Guns page appears at least once in the game. There are only seven that don't.
      • It only gets crazier in v1.13, in which all the listed guns appear.
  • Cool Shades: They increase your vision during daylight, and for obvious reasons, decrease it at night.
  • Corrupt Hick: The aptly-named Hicks in JA 2 (what American rednecks are doing in the middle of a South American country, no one knows) love to harass the nearby town, stealing and razing things. Getting rid of them nets you enough morale to start a militia in said town and discounts in the nearby store.
  • Coup De Grace: Shooting the dying enemy.
  • Cowardly Sidekick: several hire-able mercenaries will complain about shooting people, complain about being shot at, complain about not having enough backup, and (in some cases) desert you at the end of their first real fight.
  • Critical Encumbrance Failure: Carrying more than 100% of your weight capacity (which is depending on the character's strength) results in faster drop of the stamina bar and lower action points in combat. However, it is also a good way to increase the character's strength. Getting wounded will lower that cap so you have to drop some load if you are to remain effective (at least until the wounds heals).
    • The 1.13 mod adds combat backpacks that serve as huge additional inventory space, and the option to drop them in combat with just one button so that the merc does not tire from wearing them. Large packs prevent the user from climbing up to roof tops, and the packs themselves are an additional weight.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Doubly subverted. The lower the hit points, the worse the combat performance of a soldier (less AP, low accuracy, depleting health, higher encumbrance penalties). An almost dead soldier even becomes unconscious and bleeds to death unless patched up. However, unless your soldier is dead, he will fully recover within a week if you have a decent medic on the team. Less than two days if placed in a hospital.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Gumpy, an overweight, unattractive nerd cracking outdated pop-references with a speech impediment and severe allergies, can potentially become quite a competent soldier with training due to his high aptitude for learning. (Though untrained, he's virtually useless.) Though it does take a while to train him.
  • Crouch and Prone: In the first game the merc can crouch, but cannot move until they stand up. In Deadly Games, mercs can fire while crouching but must stand to move. JA2 added the prone position, and the mercs can move in any pose.
  • Cultured Warrior: quite a few, most notably British-bourne Sidney. Several profiles even state that they can easily be an intellectual or a rich guy. (Someone like Lynx isn't Axe Crazy psycho for hunting down endangered species; merely eccentric.)
  • Curse Cut Short

 Magic: MOTHERFFFFFFFFFFF........!

  • Deathbringer the Adorable: "Spider" is a female medic with a nice personality and even a southern drawl... and is one of the worst aimers in the game. (Her nickname comes from her sibling, who kept teasing her all the time with that name, as she was deadly afraid of all insects.)
  • Destroyable Items: Your equipment can be damaged in a variety of ways. One reason you preferably don't kill enemies in water.
  • Double Agent: You have to deliver a briefcase full of documents to one in the russian intelligence community in Deadly Games.
  • Due to the Dead: You can pay for proper funerals for dead mercs. The alternatives, like dumping the body into the river in the first game, is bad for your reputation. The mortuary website in JA 2 is a shout-out to this.
  • Eleventh-Hour Ranger: Gus in Deadly Games, who joins for the final mission if you have a free slot. Miguel and Carlos in Jagged Alliance 2.
  • Elite Mooks: Those black shirts can kill you if you are not careful.
    • Not to mention those camouflaged commando guys (another variant of the Queen's Elite. The black shirts tend to use heavy weapons (mortars, anyone?) more often, though.
    • All the enhancements to sniper rifles in 1.13 that allow you to place head shots from two screens away? The black shirts absolutely love them. Go figure.
  • Escort Mission: Fortunately, the escorted are controllable in all the games, though you'll need eye contact in the first games to order them.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Deidranna has no qualms about killing children or Cold-Blooded Torture and horrifying experiments, she's against using Child Soldiers.
  • Every Bullet Is a Tracer: You can see your bullets, but V 1.13 adds in actual tracers, which give your characters an aiming bonus at the cost of the enemy knowing where you are immediately.
  • Evil Laugh: Killing Deidranna nets you one. However, if you kill her in her bunker? ELLIOT!!! YOU IDIOT!!! * dies*
    • If (most) of your mercenaries kill enough enemies to hit their top morale, they will usually chuckle or guffaw a bit. Reaper's is just downright chilling.
    • And can't forget when psycho mercs gone berserk. *cackles*
  • Expy: Stogie is pretty much a younger Gus Tarballs.
    • Gus Tarballs fills in Mike's role - hideously expensive and arguing with AIM over salary, but extremely good in nearly everything.
  • Firing One-Handed: Averted in the first games, Played Straight in Ja2,; if your secondary hand isn't empty or your strength high enough, pistols can be shot one-handed.
    • Male characters with a very high Strength stat even fire heavy machine guns with one hand when standing.
  • Five-Finger Discount: Pablo, the shipping agent, randomly steals items, hoping you don't notice - but you can prevent or stop these losses, via bribing or punching him. If you kill him, he's replaced by someone so incompetent, he'll lose entire shipments, and you can't do a thing about it. If you kill HIM, you can't receive further shipments at all until you reach Meduna itself (to use their airport), and take a hit in loyalty amongst Pablo's town.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: Averted for the most part, but there are a few situations where fixed damage is dealt, such as getting hit by the backblast of a rocket launcher.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Several mercenaries say these kind of words, most notably those with non-English backgrounds. Like Grunty.
    • East German battle buddies Brain and Scream (added in v1.13), in particular, are downright foul-mouthed, especially in stressful situations.
  • Former Regime Personnel: Ivan Dolvich and Iggy. Although Conrad and Biggins work too. And who knows where Mike used to hang out.
  • Friendly Sniper: Sheila "Scope" Sterling is a well-spoken and cheerful young woman. She is also ex-SAS and has nearly maxed out marksmanship stats. Charlene "Raven" Higgins is an ex-LAPD sniper, who is also quite kind, though a tad snarkier than "Scope".
    • On the male side of things, Gaston and Biggins are suave and sophisticated, respectively.
  • Funny Aneurysm Moment: In-Universe Lynx used to joke about the ultra-messy headshots. Cue one too many friends dying that way, and the jokes are not funny anymore.
  • Funny Answering Machine

 Buns: "This is Monica Sondergaard, please leave me a message. And Gumpy, if this is you, leave me a message like the last one, I will send you a reply that explodes on impact. I am not kidding."

Steroid: "Robert Gontarski is ummm... UNAVOIDABLE right now. Tell me who you are and what you want and maybe I put him in touch with you, maybe not."

Fox: You've reached Cynthia Guzzman. I'm kind of... -giggle- tied up at the moment, but leave me a message and I'll call you. If you would rather not hear from me, breathe heavily. Just once.

Fidel: How this thing work? Fidel no here now... OK, I am here now, but I no be here when you get message, because if I here, you no get message, you get Fidel... One thing for sure, Fidel like to kill. And Fidel like money.

Malice: "Hello dere. Single, white, French-Canadian guy looking for married, Black, English girl dat, uh, oh, uh, bad message. Leave me somet'ing, I get it back to you."

  • Fun with Subtitles: You can almost feel the mischievous glee of the developers once you discover that Ivan's Russian dialog is subtitled also in Russian, making him The Unintelligible for most of the target audience. (Ivan learns more English as the series progresses. And not just the swear words!)
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Anyone, provided they're wearing a gas mask. Interestingly, this is somewhat subverted - there are no cosmetic changes to the model sprite, and though they're more common on black shirts, they show up randomly amongst Deidranna's grunts. They're also quite useful, but staying in mustard gas too long will cause damage as the filter erodes.
  • Game Breaking Bug: Accidentally damaging (stray bullets, them wandering into a mustard gas shell, behind an enemy when a bullet over-penetrates, behind a wall when you turn it into rubble with C4, et cetera) a civilian in combat has them permanently marked as an enemy. Even if it's just a little kid. Killing the civilian will cause a drop in morale. Retreating will cause a drop in morale. You could always get the militia to do it for you, however, but it's extremely annoying in areas you're liberating - you can't leave until you shoot a kid in the face.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: in stock JA2, the Queen will sensibly order a large counterattack on Drassen, the first city you take, to take it back. The worst you'll run into are the run-of-the-mill counterattacks. v1.13 changes this to an actual, flipping massive counterattack numbering in the fifties or sixties, usually before you could train up enough militia to make a difference. On the higher difficulty levels, people have reported seeing eighty Black Ops at a time. Remember, this is at the beginning of the game![1]
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The game mostly does not use direct harsh language, but they are present regardless either from abbreviations and Unusual Euphemism or putting it in non-English language that underaged people usually don't figure it out.
    • Ivan, for example, says 'Chyort voz'mi!' in a rather unhappy voice whenever he spots a large number of enemy soldiers. The English equivalents for that are 'For God's sake!', 'God dammit!' and 'Oh shit!' In fact, Ivan swears a lot in general, it's just never in English.
    • And just about everything the Fox says has some sexual innuendo to it. Even when she's under fire. (And we love her for it.)
  • Giant Mook: those tanks in Meduna, easy enough if you have propelled explosives though. A bit harder to try and run in and plant a bomb. Impossible if all you have are machine guns (which look like pea-shooters next to the cannon).
  • Global Airship: Skyrider's aircraft is the helicopter variant. Seats up to 6.
    • Technically, Hamous's ice cream truck (really!) and other land-vehicles can count.
  • God Save Us From the Queen: Deidranna is a total prick.
  • Good Looking Privates: Fox is depicted like this. Her bio reinforces it.
    • It's possible for an AIM result of a test to note that a woman is... rather attractive.
  • Grenade Launcher: Both as underslung accessories and shoulder-fired guns.
  • Gun Accessories: Lots of them.
  • Guns Akimbo: Wildly inaccurate, unless the character attempting it is specified as ambidextrous and is at a dangerously close range. Meltdown and Tex are some of the only mercs who can do this competently (and Tex has an excuse: he loves the Wild West).
    • Further hindered by the fact that pistols are useless after the initial stages, unless performing stealth kills (particularly of the suppressed variety). You may get more mileage out of this though by using machine pistols, or perhaps suppressed, reflex and laser sighted machine pistols in 1.13.
    • Although if you are using 1.13, several ambidextrous mercenaries have the Gunslinger trait which turn pistols with the right ammo (Glasser, AET, Match, et al) into deadly CQC weapons. (And no, you still can't burst fire from two arms at once.)
      • This is why the MP7 is a damned gamebreaker of a sidearm; its only downside is possibly ammunition, and that when suppressed it's too large to fit in a MP Holster.
    • By way of glitch, you can dual wield a pistol... and a rocket launcher.
  • Gun Porn: Old guns, new guns, rare guns, common guns. Shotguns both pump and semi-auto (and even a few break-action), rifles in bolt-action, lever-action, semi-automatic, and full-auto flavors, pistols of every possible variety, machine pistols, submachine guns, machine guns, rocket launchers, mortars...you name it, this game has it, including literally every single AK variant made to date (over four pages of them) and several guns that are so extraordinarily rare as to be unobtainable in real life. You're likely to use less than a quarter of them over the course of any given playthrough.
    • It gets worse with 1.13 mods. You can find (on average) five different variants for a given gun - in fact, the first three pages of the assault rifle section of Bobby Ray's contains nothing but AK variants.
    • Then you have the attachments. High magnification scopes, tactical lasers, fore grips, grenade launchers, longer barrels... gets even further in later 1.13 mods as the number of attachment slots increase and you actually get to see where the attachments are being placed. There are even more attachments, including folding stocks, reflex sights, even longer barrels, caliber changing barrels (5.7mm barrels for AR-15 variants, 5.56mm NATO / 7.62mm NATO / 6.8mm SPC barrels for SCAR rifles), EBR kits for M14/M21 rifles, C-Mag adapters, and Sci-Fi mode only 3 round burst trigger groups. It's quite common for the player to spend some time scavenging attachments, trying to put the optimal attachments on a given gun, and admire all the numeric enhancements and forget about fighting. Did someone say guns are Barbie dolls for men?
    • Men don't argue for hours which accessory looks best on their... waaaait [Punchline a minute]].
  • Hand Cannon: The bigger revolvers. Some of which sound louder than rifles. In 1.13 the Desert Eagle and the "Automag" weapons become the biggest handguns in the game.
    • The M29 SATAN and the "Big Bertha" Automags (that fire .50 Beowulf rounds) in 1.13.
      • Lampshaded in the .50AE ammo description, which says "If you are using an oversized, unreliable handgun instead of a good rifle, you are going to need the ammunition for it."
  • Handguns: Useless after the first few battles out in the open. It was revamped in 1.13 though, with the addition of AET bullets which are only available in pistol calibers, as well as holsters for easy storage that everyone should have one as backup. Dual silenced pistols on the hands of an ambidextrous merc can be deadly in stealthy night ops.
  • Hard Levels Easy Bosses: Since the main focus on the game is fighting squads and platoons, a single target is hardly a challenge without backup. And even with backup, they're usually not that much tougher than the Elite Mooks. Thus, every boss in JA2 could be considered one.
    • The Warden of Tixa Prison is less combat effective than any of her mooks, and less dangerous, unless she gets the jump on you somehow and sprays a full burst of rounds into one of your people.
    • The legendary mercenary Mike gives you a 'head start' before beginning his attack. Though where you fight him changes, he's still likely to be one of the last few enemies, and a fairly easy target for your entire team to attack. The only thing is that several AIM members are unwilling to kill him, easily circumvented by the few that don't are either superior to him (namely, Ivan and Gus), hate him already (Fox once dated the creep), or are out of sight and lobbing mortars. Others simply don't care and some of the rookies aren't as intimidated, having never actually seen him in action before.
    • The Crepitus queen in sci-fi mode is the closest thing to a real boss in the game. But she is immobile, meaning any merc of a decent level (to avoid interrupts) can walk into her room, throw a grenade (gas is surprisingly effective) and walk out a few times.
    • Kingpin, the 'Godfather' of San Mona also qualifies if you wish to fight him (to steal his money, because he is scum, or just for fun). He is better than the warden, but still, he goes down as easily as any of his thugs or the queen's red shirts. (Just have to make sure you survive his revenge-fueled army patrolling in his artificial town.)
    • Even though Deidranna is, individually, a lot tougher than you'd expect, she's still only one target against your entire squad. Especially since she stays out of the way while you fight her elite guard, and doesn't actually start attacking until you assault her.
    • The General in Alma is tough (taking four shots to the head), but by the time you meet him, you've probably cleared his goons in the nearby room, and once he gets hostile, you're most likely right in front of him... and it's your turn first.
    • Darryl Hick, the terrorist hillbilly grandfather near Cambria is only armed with a hunting rifle, a lot less deadly than any of the queen's red shirts who are much better armed, he also doesn't wear a helmet, so a shot to the head will finish him. His bastard kids, on the other hand, are deadly on account of full-auto shotguns in CQC - but that's if you don't have Spectra or EOD armor... or didn't rig the place to explode.
  • Heal Thyself: Mostly averted. Medikits will not heal wounds, but used to stop bleeding and slightly reducing the penalty of wounds. Treated injuries will regenerate in the first game by resting the character, or in Jagged Alliance 2 will regenerate slowly (about 1 HP every game hour). In both cases the healing rate can vastly increased by doctoring though this will expend medical kit and you need someone with good medical skill to do the job (in the first game you will need the said medic to stay behind). However, there are Regen Boosts in Jagged Alliance 2 which will heal characters in a couple of minutes, though these are very rare and should only be used in emergency.
  • Hired Guns: Duh.
  • Hollywood Silencer: You can unload a MAC-10 into an enemy and provided you've got a one-size-fits-all silencer fitted, the bad guys in the next room won't even be aware a gunfight is happening.
    • Say goodbye to the Hollywood Silencer in v1.13. Sufficiently close enemies will still hear the gunshot of your MP 5 SD especially if he is wearing an Extended Ear (basically acoustic headphones). While you can now put suppressors on assault rifles and sniper rifles, they are nothing more than a heavy flash suppressor if you don't use subsonic ammo. Even then, if you're using said subsonic ammo, enemies close by will hear you. The in-game sound effect is the standard Hollywood "fwip".
  • Homemade Inventions: 'Eagle' explosive devices in original, the X-ray detector in JA2, barrel-extensions in both (made with a chunk of steel, some glue, and all-purpose tape)...
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Crepitus if you turn on the game's Sci-Fi mode.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Gus when briefing you on one politically sensitive mission in Deadly Games.

  Gus Tarballs: Don't want no international incidents. I'm headed out to create my own!

  • Incredibly Lame Pun: When Ice complains about his squad (done by using the talk command out-of-battle and clicking on him), he'll say the mercs he work with are more like... Jercs.
    • Capture enough mines and you get this:

  Deidranna: How can I make money from the mines when they are not MINE?!

  • I Like Those Odds: In Jagged Alliance 2, every mercenary has a special line when they can see 3 or more enemies simultaneously, usually suggesting retreat, or something like, "I'm fighting a losing battle here!" Magic takes the opposite stance, exclaiming, "This is when I'm at my best!
  • I Love Nuclear Power: The Nuclear Testing on the Metavira Island in the 50s resulted in mutated trees that produced sap with amazing medical properties.
  • Indian Burial Ground: When the casualties among the natives of Metavira (as hired guards and unlucky workers) reach a certain point, they will grumble about the lack of access to their sacred burial grounds. Failure to liberate it from Lucas' men will result in severe decrease of native workforce. (That can't be fixed with just salary hikes.)
  • Informal Eulogy: A few characters will comment on others' deaths.
  • Insurance Fraud: In the second game you can insure you mercenaries, and the insurance company will be on the look out for these.
  • Instant Militia: Averted, training militia takes skill, time and money.
  • In Universe Game Clock
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Played straight and subverted, enemies won't deliberately shoot civilians except those you trained as militias. Crepitus and Bloodcats WILL attack civilian, so kill them before they can. You can shoot civilians if you want to, but you will lose town loyalty if you do, so don't. Attacking militias will turn (up to all of) them against you.
  • I Sound Like a Retard In English: Ivan. To a lesser extent, Steroid.

  Enemy force. Located locally.

  • Japanese Ranguage: Tex. Rusterers!
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Brenda can be kidnapped by Lucas' men; she'll leave a trail of discarded items to follow, but take too long and all you will have is a bloodied bra. Thankfully, all of it can be avoided.
  • Klingon Promotion: Surprisingly done by you in the case of the Grumm bar. Manny is a bar boy there, but it just happen that his employer is a wanted international terrorist and you're after his head (literally). Manny will take his position after you kill him. (And the Santos brothers will be united.)
  • Knowledge Broker: Recon Intelligence Services from JA 2: "if you don't know where to find us, we don't want your business."
  • Land Mine Goes Click
  • La Résistance: Miguel's rebels and, technically, you and your mercenaries.
  • Laser Sight: A possible accessory, and in the v1.13 mod there are two (both pistol and rifle models) plus an accessory that combines both this and a flashlight for some rifles, the Rifle LAM/Flashlight Combo.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: After the Metavira and DFK operations, A.I.M. became like this.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Enemies in Yellow are basically cops and enforcers, armed only with handguns and occasionally submachine guns and shotguns. Enemies in Red are standard grunts. Enemies in Black are Elite Mooks. As an added bonus, black shirts also come in a camouflaged variety.
  • Littlest Cancer Patient: Not seen, but mentioned by the Richards.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The first game had sixty hireable mercenaries. Deadly Games added ten to the existing pile. JA2 also featured many NPCs with voices and personalities all across Arulco that you could talk to.
  • Lost Forever: Royal Jelly, which can be used to produce the best armor in the game and which can only be obtained from the corpse of the Crepitus queen, a unique enemy, in the relatively narrow window of time between the moment she dies and the moment her corpse rots away. 'Relatively' in this case meaning 'fast enough that if you didn't bring enough jars to scoop it up, you don't have the time to go fetch more'. And that is assuming you play in Sci-fi mode; if you're playing Realistic, you don't get to kill her at all.
    • And don't mix it with already treated armor.
    • Also note that for your head-hunting bounties, allowing the bodies to decompose (or just wandering off screen) means you lose access to which you were paid to collect.
  • Lzherusskie: Averted; both Russian characters in the series are played by Russian voice actors.
  • Mad Bomber: It seems to be a rule that if you're a mercenary specializing in explosives, you're either insane or have some kind of undesirable personality trait/mental defect. This is so prevalent that one of the exceptions flaunts his sanity as a marketing point.
  • Made of Iron: One of the few combat tropes averted (mostly), characters will bleed to death in a few hits without armor.
    • The bad news: The ubiquitous elite mooks are armored as well and will take no less than two (non-critical) bursts from a light machinegun to the face at point blank range before they stop making a fuss about your presence.
      • Some of them simmer down quite nicely after a healthy dose of tear gas, though.
  • Magikarp Power: In any of the games, if a merc has a high wisdom stat (preferably at 80 and higher) he/she can improve his/her stats and skills so fast it doesn't matter if he/she starts out as absolute crap; he/she will a master of everything in no time. Gumpy is well liked amongst the fanbase for having a high wisdom stat.
    • In 1.13, selectable personality traits like Intellectual and Teaching aid in stat growth. Greenhorns like MD will supercede Gus even faster. (And their salaries will reflect this.)
    • It is highly recommended that you allocate as many points as possible to abilities (especially wisdom and health) instead of skills on your custom merc, even if this leaves him/her with no skill in, say, explosives. Abilities are harder to train, while field experience (such as repairing items) raises both the skill and the corresponding ability.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: The plot of Metavira and Arulco operations is essentially like this.
  • Mean Brit: The scientist working on the rocket rifles in the basement of Orta. He'll insult you. Keep insulting him back, and he'll back off (though still pissed) and give you want you want (that is, a heaping stack of rocket rifles).
  • The Medic: In this series it's more of a less-combat oriented Combat Medic. Dr. Mark "Needle" Kranhuim from the first game, the best doctor in the game (I've brought people back from the dead!), is a good example; his wandering right-eye makes his aim forever less-than-stellar. Few of the medics are particularly battle worthy (except for the former combat specialist and the martial artist).
  • Mega Neko: Bloodcats, genetically engineered felines that love to tear the arms off bipeds. Enemy forces can often be seen ambushed by them. Warning: Don't engage in a straight fight, lest you want to get killed.
  • Mildly Military: Justified; both A.I.M. and M.E.R.C. are run as business ventures rather than military organizations, but due to their line of work there are still a few pseudo-military trappings. Some mercs aren't even ex-military.
  • Military Brat: Some mercs are this, most notably the Roachburns. Buzz, from Deadly Games, vocalizes she's to make her daddy proud.
  • Military Maverick: Considering the personalities of most of these mercs...
  • Min-Maxing: Subverted, putting 0 in a skill means the merc will never be able to improve in it (unless they get a critical success -- such as accidentally defusing their first mine -- to raise that skill from 0 to 1), and improving skills is a big part of what raises a merc's level. Almost all the mercs that you can hire have at least 1 point in every skill, meaning that given enough time and effort, you can train the doctor into an explosive expert (not that you'd want to).
    • You can either suffer trauma to reduce a skill to 0 (which your merc will gradually recover from), or in the case of your custom (IMP) merc, you can set your initial skill to 0 (from a minimum of 35; the game will warn you). If you do, then the merc gains 15 points of stats that can be allocated elsewhere.
  • Missing Backblast: Averted, make sure nobody (other than a bad guy) is standing behind you before you fire your LAW. (Or RPG in 1.13.)
  • Mission Pack Sequel: Deadly Games can come quite close to this. However, the amount of additions and improvements would make it very expansive mission pack. Unfinished Business can be considered an another example of this, although it was actually marketed as stand-alone expansion to Jagged Alliance 2 (and not a separate game).
  • More Dakka: The full auto mode of many assault rifles and the only way some heavy machine guns can shoot.
    • Rod and spring decreases the action points needed to start a burst/automatic fire. With the attachment, assault rifles with 3 round bursts can fire a burst volley as fast as a single shot. Slap in a C-Mag and never fire single shots again.
    • The Metal Storm Surf Zone SMG in V 1.13 is the epitome of this trope, next to the machine guns - it being... Metal Storm... it fires two shots per barrel (it has four of them). A "five"-round burst will guarantee anyone short of a fulled-armored black-shirt is swiss cheese.
    • A rare aversion comes into play with the sci-fi-mode-only "ACME Trigger Group", which will add a three-round-burst mode to otherwise fully-automatic weapons. This is incredibly handy for distance shooting and aimed autofire: mercenaries not specializing in automatic weapons tend to fire most rounds than intended on full auto, most of which will go to waste due to recoil. Emptying a magazine at a single target a third of the map away is singularly wasteful if only the first two rounds hit.
  • Multinational Team: Subverted, some mercs will refuse to work with each other because of this.
    • The rivalry between English sniper Scope and Irish arms-dealer Micky; Frenchman Gaston and French-Canadian La Malice; Americana-boy Gasket and anyone from Russia (Ivan, Igor, Iggy); crooked Southern prison-guard Bubba and until-recently tortured-prisoner (and black man) Dynamo; etc.
    • Another example is Steroid (Polish) who strongly dislikes Ivan and Igor (both Russian). With Fidel and Trevor, the matter lies more in "professional rivalry".
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Many mercs dislike each other and will refuse any contracts or decrease group morale (or even leave on the spot) if the subjects of their hatred are involved. Reasons can vary from nationalistic as said above to personal.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Poor, poor Elliot.
  • Night Vision Goggles: It only affects gameplay by increasing the wearer's vision range at night, you don't get to see through them.
  • Nintendo Hard: v1.13 by default, although many of the options will make it much better. It's common to hear horror stories of early merc groups storming Drassen, only to be faced by sixty (later eighty) Royal troops with a quarter of them being Black Ops types counterattacking the next day. This "feature" is enabled on Experienced (normal mode) of all things.
  • No Arc in Archery: Averted in the latest version of 1.13 where bullets visibly start falling after passing a certain distance, most noticeably when using pistols.
  • No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: In the first game, with you being a rookie commander, almost no Merc with the paycheck above 1000$ a day will provide their services until you prove yourself to be a capable commander. One of the few exceptions is Ivan Dolvich.
  • No Name Given: The commander (You) in Jagged Alliance 1 and 2. Though if you go by what Gus calls you, your name is "Woodrow".
  • Oddly Small Organization: You and the rebels in JA 2. Justified by your lack of starting capital and a small pool of mercs to hire from in your case. And in the rebels' case, having being nearly wiped out by a Deidrannan air-strike on their village.
  • One Bullet Clips: Well, sort of. It keeps track of how many bullets are in each magazine, and a magazine can be filled by transferring bullets of the same type from another magazine, but the action point penalty is nowhere near the amount of time it actually takes to empty a clip by hand.
  • One-Hit Kill: Shooting someone in the head with the sniper rifle, a shotgun at the point blank range or any decent rifle worth its name, even when armored, usually just kills the poor sob.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Three Founders of A.I.M. are Colonel Mohanned, Commander Spice and The White Asian.
  • One-Man Army: Not intended, but you can play this way as a Self-Imposed Challenge. In many cases, the merc of choice would be Shadow. (Unless you want to spend weeks training your created mercenary.)
  • Only in It For the Money: As soon as the mercenaries' contracts expire and you don't have funds to renew them (or just bankrupt in case of M.E.R.C. and the first games), they will immediately leave the theater of operations. Averted with the created mercs the PC can make and the resistance fighters, for obvious reasons. Also, many characters work for free (such as your created mercs) so you can really make it through with just the 'free' characters.
    • Renewing contracts, however, has some of the mercs say they like this job (and not because of the cash, but because they're doing something good).
  • Only Sane Man: Russel "Rusty" Hunter from the first game, when compared to other explosive experts, who are either bloodthirsty (Fidel), not very reliable (Larry) or just plain crazy (almost everybody else).
  • Orange-Blue Contrast: The cover and the title screen of the first game, seen here as a page image.
  • Overheating: A future 1.13 feature undergoing beta testing as of March 2012.
  • Parasol of Pain: Those free umbrellas from MERC in Unfinished Business do serve as a good melee weapon.
  • Pinned Down: In JA2 being shot at can force the target to crouch down and go prone if already crouched, wasting Action Points. This is most effective during Interrupts. As usual, this is expanded in 1.13.
  • Poirot Speak: Some mercs mix in their native language in their speech. Some mercs that do this are Flo and Gaston (French), Grunty and Thor (German), Hamous and some of the rebels (Spanish), and of course Ivan in Jagged Alliance 2 (in original JA he spoke only in Russian).
  • Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: When a merc sees an enemy after real-time mode, one example for a create-a-merc (from I.M.P.) is "Time to take out the trash!" The Cowardly Sidekick mercs' phrases do not count however. (OH MY GOD. I'M A DEAD MAN!)
  • President Evil: Deidranna, although she's technically queen. (Voted in. For life.)
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted and then some, at least when you use high-powered rifles against unarmored heads in Jagged Alliance 2. *Splotch*
  • Private Military Contractors: A.I.M. and M.E.R.C., although the former are more of a guild for individual mercenaries than an actual private army. The latter on the other hand...
  • Psycho for Hire: Several, most notably Fidel, Meltdown, and Razor.
    • In the first installment, Postie, Reuban, Skitz, ... okay, most of the cast really.
      • By JA 2 A.I.M. got rid of most of them (being a somewhat legit business after the Metavira operation means you have to follow somewhat harsher standards), with only the most skilled, particularly hard-to-find talented mercenaries (who can pass a psyche-exam) like Fidel allowed to stay.
  • Put on a Bus: Many characters from the first two games, as seen in the Alumni Section of the AIM website.
  • The Quiet One: Aside from the hiring dialogue and if faced with the Crepitus, Shadow usually speaks softly in short-and-directly-to-the-point kind of way.
    • So does Reaper, though he occasionally rambles on about his fatalism.
    • Mouse from Deadly Games also brings her mime act with her.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Squad can be like this if you hire the "right" mercs.
    • Played straight and subverted - a diverse unit can work together, but as noted in Multinational Team, some members will not mesh, causing a drop in morale for everyone and shittier combat performance - some will even leave on the spot.
    • And slightly deconstructed - Talk to the mercenaries. It turns out they all hate each other, especially if you've hired a large amount of mercs and are having them fight in one big platoon, bitching and complaining about how they're the Only Sane Man in a team of disorganized pricks. In addition, they'll reveal biases - for example, Scope dislikes the French and Gaston hates America (mostly due to its lack of culture), but Scope works with Gaston fine and Gaston doesn't mind American mercs. Tex and Lynx are really, really sexist (really), but have no problem fighting alongside women.
    • In the first games, if you wait long enough at the recruitment screen the currently selected mercenary will say something, like Ivan saying bad things about Mike, though he has no problem working with him.
  • Randomly Drops: Unless you select the 'Enemy drop all items' option in 1.13
  • Railing Kill: Rare as rubies, since most enemies fight at ground level and the ones on the rooftops generally will fire at you from somewhere not near the edge. But kind of nifty to see when it does happen (such as getting an interrupt on one climbing up to meet you). And it results in practically instakill damage. (-56 HP from the hit, but -136 from the fall?!)
  • Rare Guns: Boy, it's easier to point out what is NOT included. Out of the 18 guns listed on the trope page, all but five of them appear in-game. V 1.13 adds a "coolness" rating to guns that allows you to limit the more outrageous ones. Oddly enough, a lot of them are better than Boring but Practical guns, like the G11 doing the same damage as a normal 5.56 rifle and having more accuracy.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The rocket rifle. Although the one in the game is a fictional weapon, guns using rocket-propelled munitions have been prototyped in the past, with a few models even entering limited production (a 13mm rocket pistol was issued to a few Navy SEAL units in Vietnam, for example, although they were extremely disappointed with its performance and quickly stopped using it).
  • Rebel Leader: Miguel.
  • Redshirt Army: The local militia you can train are more or less expendable, easily replaced, and die quickly. (Especially quickly if you try to lead the battle.) Humourously, the standard uniform of the Arulcan Army is fatigue pants and a bright red T-shirt, making them a literal Redshirt Army.
    • Unless you're training veteran rebels. A ten-man team will slaughter a thirty-plus squad of Deidranna's troops, with only two casualties.
  • Relationship Values
  • Respawning Enemies: In the final battle of JA1, the enemy soldiers that die are quickly replaced with the new ones from the unlimited pool (the unverified rumor says that the cap is 99 soldiers), though there can only 8 at the same time. This can be exploited by stunning, but not killing, most of the soldiers, reducing the number of active threats to more manageable 3-1 soldiers.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Averted: In this series, the low-ammo count and slow firing rate usually makes any advantage that revolvers have null in close-range combat. Not to mention the inability to silence them.
    • They usually make up for it in power, but even then, the main drawback is the high AP cost, LOUD'''NESS (well, if you're that sort of sneaky bastard), and range. (They are handguns, after all.)
    • Tex Colburn's custom revolvers, however, are quite possibly this - a better range and AP cost than the M29 SATAN, especially if an Insight LAM and Small Scope is slapped on it, and it's got AET ammo. It helps that he's got good marksmanship and the ambidextrous perk.
    • In the first set of games, until you picked up assault rifles, your choices were slower pump-action shotguns, crappy revolvers, inaccurate SM Gs, decent semi-auto pistols, and relatively good revolvers like the .357 and Ruger Redhawk.
  • Rogue Agent: One spook tried to sell secret blueprints in Deadly Games. Your job is to kill him. His official death is a boating incident on the vacation.
  • Roundhouse Kick: Martial artists can do this in Jagged Alliance 2, usually resulting in a knockdown. Quite useful in knocking down Elite Mooks in order to steal their guns.
  • Running Gag: Ahem, my queen, I...
  • Save Scumming: Admit it, you do it don't you, especially if you are a type who never let anyone get hurt (or let alone killed) or miss a shot. There is an optional difficulty called Iron Man which doesn't let you do this with enemies in the sector.
    • It was possible in Jagged Alliance to save-scum, but it takes a lot of extra effort where you backup save files.
  • Sawed-Off Shotgun: You're really better off with a SPAS or something similar. The Jackhammer is even better.
  • Scratch Damage (Break Lights, annoying as your characters need medical attention from it. Also grenades when they hit your merc and failed to explode.) Strangely, if you wear the heaviest armor, shots sometime do 0 damage to you, BUT break lights will STILL do 1 damage regardless.
    • Can you imagine a more humiliating death than bleeding to death from a scratch caused by a tear gas grenade, while rendered helpless by the breathtaking effect of the gas?
    • Also punches from weak mercs also count, since they will always do 1 damage minimum.
    • Pistol rounds (especially laughable stuff like 9mm) against EOD or Spectra will still have a damage of at least 1. Thankfully, the wound doesn't bleed.
  • Secondary Fire: in form of fire selector, usually between single, burst and full auto. (And grenade if you have an underslung launcher.)
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: In the first game, when trying to capture the processing plants, the enemy will try to set off explosives to destroy the plant, rendering it temporarily inoperative.
  • Semper Fi: Some mercs served as Marines in the past. The IMP quiz will peg your custom-made character as a Marine if your marksmanship level is extremely high.
  • Sergeant Rock: Many high-level mercs are like this. Especially Gus.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Possible with any gun, but more powerful guns are far more likely to open doors. 'Lockbuster' shotgun shells in 1.13 are designed with this in mind.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Sniper rifles suffer from this. Although, otherwise they would be game breakers.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Those Corrupt Hicks especially just love their shotguns. By late game however, all enemies will be wearing body armor, and along with their limited range (unless you modify them) pretty much limit the shotguns as a stunning weapon (such as for stealing). However, in 1.13, with the availability of Flechette shells, they are now a viable weapon again. BIA also give shotguns realistic range.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Somewhat subverted. As their profile states, Raider and Raven don't show any affection on the battlefield (though they left the LAPD SWAT team over nepotism). However, if Raider dies, Raven goes into a Glurge-ish eulogy. Raider on the other hand, worries about their insurance not covering acts of war. (Wolf and Fox might be a better example.)
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Winter missions in Deadly Games, with very visible footprints and a chance of slipping on the ice.
  • Sniper Duel: Possible in 1.13, thanks to range buffs.
  • Sniper Rifle: Boy, are there!
    • One of the more heavily buffed weapon system in 1.13. Rounds that fly across two screens (about a kilometer), landing on enemy heads, is quite a beautiful sight. Enemy elites may perform the same feat to your mercs.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness: Played straight, Bobby Ray and Tony get better equipment available as you progress. Enemies and militias will also use better equipment as the game progress. Take note that Elite Mooks are given slightly better equipment than the current level, so always steal from them whenever possible.
    • In v1.13, however, there is an option for Bobby Ray's to have all their inventory available immediately. Incredibly game breaking if you 'hack' (more like just edit an INI file in Notepad) to start with, say, a billion dollars. 1.13 comes with an INI editor, so this can be done without hacking even by players with limited technical skills.
  • The Squad: Although without the turncoat-turnabout guy.
  • Super Drowning Skills: The best way to kill someone who is standing in water is by shooting at their legs. Still, if that guy has a good weapon, it is better to wait for him to be on dry ground and kill him normally. See Destroyable Items for that.
    • Swimming is fine for most mercs, but God give you strength if you enter combat mode with a pissed off merc/black shirt staring at you with a machine gun. (Hint: You can't fire back.)
    • In the first game, swimming is extremely hazardous, though you likely won't know why at first. Turns out there's water snakes, and the only way to swim safely is with a knife in your inventory. Otherwise, your merc WILL die and take all their sweet gear with them.
    • In 1.13 with new traits enabled, you can deliberately give this disability to your custom(I.M.P) merc to provide an additional stat boost.
  • Take Cover: The staple of the series, most evident in the first game with its impenetrable Kevlar bushes.
  • There Was a Door: Just add explosives to the wall.
  • Timed Mission: In Deadly Games you had a limited number of turns to complete your objectives (an adjustable option).
    • Some encounters in other games of the series required you to reach "point B" before the villains do. (Or else Brenda gets kidnapped, an alarm gets pressed and floods the prison with gas, etc.)
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: The severe Wisdom stat penalty sucks, though.
  • Top Down View: Used in Jagged Alliance, which prevents you from seeing windows on the north and west of the buildings (that enemies use before you detect them)
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: It's a necessity if you want to keep your enemy from taking back any liberated town. Note that v1.13 lets you change up the nature of this. You can train them to the point that the "peaceful villagers" become their own army that can literally besiege Meduna without any of your mercs getting near!
  • Trigger Happy: You should know the drill by know.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: Jagged Alliance 2 is a modern-day game of squad-level mercenary combat in a third world country, although you can play it in "sci-fi mode" if you want a few unrealistic things like giant man-eating insectoid monsters living in a nest under one of the towns.
  • Universal Ammunition: 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm NATO rounds are used in many of the guns. This is, of course, Truth in Television. v1.13 also averts this hardcore - 9x18, 9x19, 7.62x25, 7.62x39, 7.62x51, 7.62x54, and upwards of two dozen other calibers, in ball, hollowpoint, Glaser, cold-loaded, match-grade, armor-piercing and many other varieties.
    • At least they do try to avert it further by increasing the reloading AP cost if you try to reload with an inapropriate magazine type.
    • The official Hand Wave is that whenever a merc picks up a new gun, they pick up a few empty clips as well. These are stored in the merc's "pockets" (the same ones where the credit cards that let you withdraw U.S. cash at any point in a Banana Republic go). The increased AP cost comes from removing bullets from one clip, and inserting them into one that is compatible with the weapon.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: Really, the hardest part of the game is probably near the beginning when all you have is handguns and you can't afford the more expensive mercs. Once you get assault rifles and sniper rifles however...
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Most enemies do not drop all their gear upon death. If you want that bad guy's gun, you have to get in close and steal it from him before killing him. You can only steal weapons or anything in equipped in hand though, you cannot steal ballistic vests, helmets, night vision goggles, or anything else and you can only hope that it drop when they die.
    • Thankfully, in v1.13 you can steal more than just weapons (only when they are knocked down), and also there is an option which make enemies to drop all their equipments on death. This makes a huge difference.
    • In the first game, enemies dropped almost none of their gear, and there was no way to make them do so, which often resulted in the game's primary challenge being dealing with the inevitable ammo shortage.
  • Unusual Euphemism:

 Cougar: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFuddle. Duddle.

Female IMP Voice 3: Aw, CRUMBS!

Scope: BISCUITS!

    • The expression "Top drawer!" with Len and Cougar. Which is the same as "Top notch", but still.
  • Urban Warfare: Drassen and the assault on Meduna are major examples of this, since most of the game is fighting in open fields, jungle, or small towns.
    • Several stages in Deadly Games were on pavement as well.
  • Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Some of the mercs have non-combat perks. This can range from fairly useful, to downright useless depending on your play style. Electronics skill can be downright useless to most players since you can still repair electronics anyway, and most of the time the things you want to repair are your guns and your body armor and not electronics. Teaching usefulness is largely debatable, but it is good for Training the Peaceful Villagers. Lock picking on the other hand can make you forget looking for keys, though in other times you can simply Shoot Out the Lock or use explosives and heavy weapons to blow a hole in the wall, though enough to make characters like Maddog and Dynamo to be a mild Game Breaker since they can open almost any door and safe (and not to mention they are free).
    • Although Electronics did let you bypass the penalties for disarming electronic traps and locks (which there were plenty of... later on, after you can just blow holes with your LA Ws).
    • In 1.13's new trait system the old bonuses of the Electronics trait are a part of the more general Technician trait, making them a nice bonus in addition to more useful bonuses the Technician trait provides, unlike the old, very situational Electronic trait.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Many of the mercs have quite well-developed and likable personalities (aided by reasonably good voice acting), and it's pretty easy to get attached to them. There are exceptions, however (I'm looking at you, Biff!).
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Read Invulnerable Civilians above and There Is No Kill Like Overkill below.
    • It's also satisfying to keep shooting someone's legs until they fall over, groan helplessly, and bleed to death painfully.
    • Invoked with Doreen, the asshole running a child sweatshop in the first town you take. The mercs enjoy going to town on her.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing civilians causes a loss of loyalty in a given area. Even if the civilians want a given civilian removed.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Queen is already pretty much nuts at the start of the game, but she gradually loses it completely as your merc band and your rebel allies steadily seize territory from her.
  • The Virus: At a certain point one of the fallow trees will get a infection that renders its sap not fit for extraction and will continue to spread across the island. You can either find a cure or just blow the infected tree up.
  • Water Source Tampering: Lucas' men try to poison the water source early in the game.
  • Weather of War:
    • Battle in the Rain: Fighting in the storm (1.13), which greatly reduces your vision, forcing you to fight your enemies almost toe-to-toe. If you're lucky, a lightning bolt will reveal enemies and can make an interrupt - for both sides. The upside is that rain greatly reduces the enemy's vision as well, making stealth significantly easier.
    • Heat Wave: Sometimes, the day in Metavira will be hotter than usual, tiring the mercs faster.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Steroid. Polish accent missed by a long shot, accidentally ricocheting off Austria, getting stuck on the toilet and finally falling hard on its head.
  • With This Herring: Subverted (or whatever) and played straight. The mercenaries you pick have starting weapons - usually, the more expensive, the better, although there are exceptions (for example: Ice's Tommy Gun [or, in V 1.13, the Colt Commando] is especially useful for clearing rooms). They're much better than whatever the initial enemies of cops and random soldiers use, but you'll either be purchasing weapons or fixing up stolen gear later on in the game.
  • Wrong Side All Along: Gus and Ziggy (the guy who saved Gus from being killed by the child soldier) got roped into working for Santiano by their ex-friend sgt. Adam Granger. They realized what's up four days later, and tried to kill Granger as payback. He survived, and because of that Gus and Ziggy have bad relations with A.I.M., forcing Gus to work as a middle man in the merc business. We are tasked to kill Granger later in the game.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: It is possible to deal more than 100 (maximum Hit Points) damage to someone. Nothing can stop you from unloading an entire magazine at a single 'critical' enemy just 2 yards away, or perhaps use a rocket launcher just to finish off a single 'critical' enemy, or plant a C4 next to a 'dying' enemy.... the list goes on.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: If Gus is present and is on the team that has to fight Mike halfway through the second game, he almost begs the player to be the one to kill Mike. He's one of the few mercenaries eager and willing to kill Mike.
  • You All Look Familiar: Since there's not a lot of features on the mercs in the field (besides different shirt and hair colours), it's easy to confuse, say, Gus and Hitman, or Scope and Raven. Mocked with the bartenders, who notes that each of them (they're quintets) act, look, and dress the same. Except for Manny. Poor Manny.
    • Apply camouflage, and everyone looks the same except for gender and build. Color of camouflage too, in the case of 1.13.
  • Your Head Asplode: Try shooting someone (preferably unarmored) at close range in the head with a high powered rifle; burst/full auto just to make sure.
    • It happens at random if the enemy (or even your own grunts) are at critical or poor health, from any range. With any gun. (It depends on how much damage is dealt at once to the head.)
    • Remember, you need an intact head of a terrorist to lay claim on his/her bounty.
  • Zerg Rush: Harder levels have more grunts sent to try and recapture towns.
    • On Normal or higher in v1.13, the enemy will often send upwards of a hundred soldiers to recapture Drassen once you take it. Since this is often the first town the player captures, they'll usually have nothing more than a lightly-armed, tired, and wounded team of six or less people with which to hold off the onslaught. This option, thankfully, can be turned off in the config file - but, if survived on any difficulty not insane, will take a large chunk out of the Queen's available soldiers and will guarantee no attacks for at least a week.

Notes

  1. Luckily, it's optional: a bit of INI editing is all it takes to turn it off. This is highly recommended for newbies.

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