The Top 7… Games that kicked America’s ass

5 - Turning Point: Fall of Liberty

How bad did they get us? BAD! They’re Nazis, dude. Did you know Winston Churchill got hit by a car while visiting New York City in 1931? Well, this forgotten Codemasters game did, and used the rather inconsequential blip in history as a jumping off point to an alternate history of World War II had Churchill not survived the crash. Without his leadership as Prime Minister, all of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East fall under Hitler’s boot. So you know where they gotta head next…

America must’ve been destined to fight the Nazis, as this scenario the Third Reich brings the assault to NYC in 1953, and the player fills the shoes of a construction worker forced to pull up his boot straps and defend the land of opportunity from several hundred zeppelins, planes and paratroopers during the Big Apple onslaught. America surrenders and the game moves across This Great Land of Ours all the way to the White House.

Did we proudly stand up and defend her? As always, game title with a colon is meant to be a trilogy. Unfortunately, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty’s phenomenal premise is wasted on an outrageously archaic, hilariously buggy FPS few would put up with today for five seconds. To make it even less patriotic this first chapter concludes in London, where the US resistance successfully prevents more bombs dropping on NYC. However it doesn’t actually win back the city.

4 - Vanquish

How bad did they get us? On a national scale, not too bad. No invasion, no drawn out guerilla warfare or anything that requires armies clashing in the streets. Instead, Space Russia takes over our Space Colony and points its Space Laser at San Francisco, wiping it off the map and vaporizing everyone in sight. Space Russia then demands we surrender, to which we reply “instead, what if we send one dude in a really cool power suit to kick all your asses?”

Did we proudly stand up and defend her? We stood up so high we went into orbit. See, the dizzying, breathtaking action of Vanquish all happens in the aforementioned space colony that’s circling the planet, not on the mainland. But Spacetown USA is still technically a part of the You-Nited States, and needs protecting just as much as baseball, apple pie and opportunistic politicians. It’s not a totally happy ending though (minor spoiler ahead!) – the US president doesn’t make it out alive. Her death is one thing, but the way she dies… that’s something else.

3 - Homefront

How bad did they get us? Pretty much brought to our fricken’ red-blooded (and bloody) knees. In this obvious Red Dawn digitization, North Korea conquers and “unites” a good portion of East Asia before dropping an EMP blast on the good ol’ US of A, irradiating the Mississippi River to cut the nation in two, and then landing troops across the states and stomping us under their jackboots. The opening lets you know just how bad it is: civilians are rounded up, shipped off to concentration camps, shot openly on the street and tossed into mass graves. It’s about as bad as it gets, short of total annihilation. Shit starts out real bad so you have incentive to go get those assholes, although the game deftly mixes in cautionary tidbits of how justified rage can easily bleed into xenophobia and racism.

Did we proudly stand up and defend her? F-yeah we did! The story follows a group of resistance fighters that start off with a hidden camp established in suburbia and quickly escalate to raids, rescues and even some questionable tactics (one angry dude ends up launching white phosphorous against the Koreans). Robert Jacobs, the game’s hero, cuts a swath of destruction through Colorado on his way to San Francisco. He ends up stealing a helicopter and delivering jet fuel to the US military on the West Coast and manages to capture most of San Francisco from the Koreans before a huge battle breaks out on the Golden Gate Bridge (naturally). Jacobs’s buddy Connor takes a flare out onto the bridge to signal an air strike against the encroaching Korean forces, sacrificing himself while winning the battle. His sacrifice inspires other Americans to take up arms and join the resistance. Although we’re left without a complete victory, the story ends with a hopeful tone.