Tribes: Vengeance

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Tribes: Vengeance
Tribes: Vengeance box cover
Developer(s) Irrational Games
Publisher(s) VU Games
Designer(s) Ken Levine, Ed Orman, Michael Johnston, Tony Oakden, Chris Mahnken
Series Tribes
Engine Unreal Engine 2.5
Version 1.01
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) October 5, 2004[1]
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T)
Media/distribution CD-ROM, DVD-ROM
System requirements
  • Windows 98/2000/XP
  • 1.0GHz Intel Pentium 4 or AMD Athlon
  • 5 GB hard-disk space
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 32 MB 3D card (hardware T&L and pixel shader support)
  • DirectX-compatible sound card
  • DirectX 9.0c
  • 4x CD-ROM drive
  • 56K dial-up modem for online play
  • Keyboard and mouse

Tribes: Vengeance (sometimes called T:V or Tribes 3) is a science fiction first-person shooter (FPS) computer game of the Tribes video game series. It was developed by Irrational Games and released by Sierra Entertainment (part of Vivendi Universal) in October 2004. It was built on an enhanced version of the Unreal Engine 2/2.5, which Irrational Games called the Vengeance engine. In addition to its multiplayer network maps, Vengeance includes a complete single-player campaign.


As a primarily first-person shooter, Tribes: Vengeance places the player in control of an infantry soldier in power armor. While the game is tailored for first-person shooting, the player can also toggle to a third-person view at any time. Additionally, there are multiple pilotable vehicles, which are restricted to third-person camera.

The game's most distinguishing features are the jetpacks and "skis" offered on all variants of the power armor. Jetpacks allow the player to fly for short periods of time, using the player's energy meter. This energy regenerates whenever the jetpack is not active. Skiing may be activated any time the player is on foot and does not cost energy; this switches the player to a frictionless ground-travel mode, allowing the player to slide very rapidly down slopes and (with sufficient speed before activating the skis) across flat terrain. Skiing up a slope will cause the player to slow due to gravity.

Combat occurs primarily with ranged weapons, including bullet and explosive projectile firearms. Each character, vehicle, and machine has hit points. Anything with hit points may be repaired by "repair packs"; infantry may also pick up medkits dropped by other infantry upon death. The game offers three classes of armor, light, medium, and heavy. Larger armor carries more hit points and ammunition but moves slower.

The player has three weapon slots, grenades, and a utility slot; the utility slot holds items such as repair packs, speed packs, and energy packs.

Single player

The single player campaign follows five playable characters (Victoria, Daniel, Julia, Mercury, and Jericho) whom the player navigates through 18 missions. The missions are played in achronological order, set either in "The Past" (Victoria, Daniel, Julia, Mercury) or in "The Present" (Julia, Jericho, Mercury), with the former detailing the story of Julia's birth and childhood and the latter describing her search for vengeance upon the Tribals and later, for her own psychological identity.

Plot summary

Set hundreds of years before the events of Starsiege: Tribes, Vengeance depicts the birth of the growing Tribal War. It focuses on the events surrounding five different characters over the course of two generations and how they each contribute to the developing war. The story ("The Past") begins with a Phoenix sub-clan leader named Daniel abducting the soon to be Queen, Princess Victoria. He takes her to his home world to show her the injustices done to his people and the two eventually fall in love. During this time, a cybrid assassin named Mercury is hired by an unknown contractor to eliminate Daniel, but the contract is canceled moments before the shot is fired. Eventually, Victoria and Daniel try to make amends between the Imperials and the Phoenix, but it all ends disastrously when the Phoenix's enemies, the Blood Eagle tribe, stage a raid on a Phoenix base disguised as Imperial troops. In rage, Daniel kills the Imperial King, Tiberius, whom Victoria avenges by killing Daniel. It turns out that Victoria was pregnant with Daniel's child, who was born female under the name Julia soon afterwards.

Some years later, Daniel's brother, General Jericho, raids the Imperial Palace and kills Victoria in front of Julia. Enraged, Julia becomes an anti-Tribal extremist who uses her political powers and fighting abilities to humiliate them at every opportunity (in "The Present"). Eventually, she captures the leader of the Phoenix, Esther, and stages a trap for Jericho. Jericho, however, is killed by Mercury before she can do anything to exact her revenge. She then learns about her true father and, ironically, goes to Esther for guidance. Esther trains Julia as a Phoenix, accepts her into the Tribe, and the two try to make peace. At this point, the news arrive that the Blood Eagles have raided the Imperials and taken Olivia, late Victoria's sister and Julia's only remaining family, prisoner. Julia goes to rescue her but discovers that Olivia was, in fact, manipulating the Blood Eagle leader, Seti, the one who had hired Mercury, and was planning to set up a "freighter accident" to destroy a large part of the Imperial population center. However, in the end, Julia stops her and foils her plans.

Tiberius' Death at the hands of Daniel after he hears about the 'Imperial' raid.

Although the end of the game sees Mercury and the Blood Eagles' leader, Seti, killed by Julia, Olivia escapes her in the last moment, leaving the story without a definite conclusion. This may have been addressed on in the unreleased patch as an additional story mode.


  • Victoria is an Imperial Princess who was captured by the Phoenix Leader Daniel. The two fall in love and have a child together. She kills Daniel after he murders her father, and lives on to raise their daughter, Julia, to an age around 6 years old. She is then killed by Jericho.
  • Daniel is a leader of a sub-clan within the Phoenix Tribe and the father of Julia. He spared Victoria and almost made peace between his people and the Imperials. However, he was tricked into killing Victoria's father, and was killed by a disillusioned Victoria in turn.
  • Jericho is a Phoenix General under command of his brother, Daniel. He is completely opposed to anything concerning the Imperials due to the atrocities done to his people and the betrayal of his brother. He kills Victoria as a retribution for Daniel's death and is, much later, set up by her daughter Julia to be arrested, freed and assassinated in a rapid series of events.
  • Julia is the illegitimate daughter of Imperial Queen Victoria and Phoenix sub-clan Leader Daniel. She originally had brown eyes, but has mechanical gold eyes surgically implanted in "The Present" to give her |HUD information without the need for bulky headgear typical tribesmen would wear. Her armor is also unique, having much less observable plating than typical light armor, in addition to her jets being mounted on her calves as opposed to her back. She is the one caught up in the hopes of her parents, the friction between the tribes, and a behind the scenes plan to destroy the Tribals once and for all.
  • Olivia is the older sister of Queen Victoria. It is later revealed that she is an Imperial extremist who believes in the total eradication of all Tribals, although she seems to favor and use the Blood Eagle tribe, most likely, because of their former connection to the Empire. By the end of the game, it is unclear on whether or not she is killed or if she escapes.
  • Tiberius is the ruler of the Imperials, and father to both Olivia and Victoria (grandfather of Julia). He seems to be against Imperial-Tribal unification at first but later softens up to the idea after nearly killing Daniel in an arena match, which he devised as punishment for abducting Victoria. However, he is killed before anything about the situation can be done.
  • Seti is the only apparent leader of the Blood Eagle at any time in the entire story. He is the main antagonist but there is not much known about him in the game except that he is a polygamous, manipulative, sadist. He is killed by Julia in the last mission of the game.
  • Albrecht/Mercury is a general in the Imperial military. It is unclear on whether he is part of Tiberius' family or if he is only considered close enough to be part of the family. He is the only member of the Alaxian faction in the entire game that is revealed. Near the end of the game, he is also revealed to also be the cybrid assassin, Mercury. He is decapitated in combat by Julia in the final missions of the game.


There are three main factions in this entire game, and two minor factions. Because Tribes: Vengeance takes places centuries before any of the other Tribes games, factions such as the Starwolf, the Diamond Sword, and the BioDerm Hordes do not appear in the game.

  • The Imperials — Symbol: A golden lion's head in profile
An evolution of the Great Human Empire founded by Solomon Petresun, appearing as playable characters for the first time in the Tribes series. During the time of Tribes: Vengeance, the Empire is depicted as prosperous and relatively at peace within its borders. On the whole, the Imperials regard Tribals as barbarians, and look down upon the Tribes as lowly pariah societies. They do, however, have old connections to the Blood Eagle tribe, and maintain somewhat favorable relations with them.
  • The Children of Phoenix — Symbol: A human skull with flames pouring from the eye sockets (based on Harabec's logo)
More or less the victims in political and social status. They have both the Blood Eagles and the Imperials as the enemies and are restricted to the most desolate and uninhabitable planets that are still able to support life by royal decree. A basic belief of the Phoenix is that they all descend from a being named Harabec Weathers, a character in Starsiege (the parent game of Tribes), who had a Cybrid brain and was thus "immortal," being able to be implanted into a new body. His call sign was also Phoenix, for which he was later mythologized "The Immortal Phoenix." Originally known as the Phoenix, its name was changed after the death of the sub-clan leader Daniel.
  • The Blood Eagles — Symbol: A wiry eagle viewed from the front against a black background
Shown as antagonists in the game. Often referred to as 'Beagles', they are another Tribe who inhabit the same planet as the Phoenix, but receive special treatment, land rights, and technology from the Imperials. They are, in fact, the second oldest faction among the Tribes. The Blood Eagle is descended from an Order of Imperial Knights that was long ago sent to subdue the Children of the Phoenix. In the game, they are allied with Olivia in order to destroy the Phoenix.
  • The Cybrids — Symbol: none known
Last seen in Starsiege. It can be inferred that although the humans hunted down the majority of Cybrid civilization in retaliation for their genocidal acts towards humanity, Cybrids chose to infiltrate human society, rather than completely retreat from the galaxy. The only known Cybrid throughout the entire game is Mercury. Cybrids are shown to have no emotions or feelings, including pain, sadness, or even fear of death. Furthermore, it is unknown whether they eat, drink, sleep, or anything that may be a trait of living. The intentions of this group are unknown, as conclusions cannot be drawn from an individual concerning an entire group, but it is known that those humans who are aware that there are Cybrids among them are naturally suspicious of their motives.
  • The Alaxians
The most mysterious faction in the game. They are mentioned on rare occasion, with reference that the unknown assassin was being contracted out by them. While there is not much known about this group, it is known that they are of a noticeable size in the sense of all political groups and are not prejudiced against (such as the Tribals and Cybrids are).


The multiplayer mode offers five different default game types and a diversity of map locations. Players are ranked during matches by points they acquire through the match. You can get offensive (killing an opponent, capturing a flag, or destroying enemy equipment), defensive (returning a flag, repairing your equipment, or killing a enemy flag carrier), or by style points (hit a head shot with a sniper rifle, or hitting someone in mid-air with a spinfusor disk).

  • Arena is a 'Team Free for All' in which two teams fight for up to 9 rounds. There is no respawn, so once a player dies, they must wait for the next round before they can play again. Whichever team has more rounds won at the end of a match wins. This game type is inherited from earlier Tribes games.
  • Ball is a game type where two teams play against each other with a goal for each team. There is a single ball located somewhere on the map, usually in the middle. The objective is to get the ball and throw it into the enemy’s goal. Whichever team has the most points at the end wins. This game is original to Tribes: Vengeance, but also resembles Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Tournament 2004's Bombing Run game.
Maps can differ from a lush area like this to a rough desert landscape.
  • In Fuel, both teams have a fuel depot at their base. There is one neutral fuel depot which the players can collect fuel from, as well as a depot for each team. Players may stand within these to gradually steal fuel or, if it is their own team's, to deposit fuel. The less fuel in the depot, the slower it takes to collect it. As well as the depots, players can collect fuel cells from the ground that may have originally spawned there randomly on the game's start, or have been dropped upon a player's death. The maximum amount of fuel a character can carry is 15, and each fuel cell contains a specific amount of fuel. Whenever a player dies, their team's fuel depot loses one unit of fuel. Whichever team fills their depot first is the winner. This game type is original to Tribes: Vengeance
  • Rabbit is the only 'Free for All' game mode in Tribes: Vengeance. In this, there are no teams, but a single flag on the map somewhere, usually in the middle of the map. The objective for every player is to retrieve the flag and run. Whenever a player retrieves the flag, every other player will be alerted, and whoever has the flag will be marked as their enemy. Points are gained by holding on to the flag as long as possible and killing the other players. Points are lost by killing somebody who does not have the flag. No points are gained by killing the flag carrier. The game is timed, and whoever has the most points at the end is the winner. This game mode is common to all Tribes games, as well as many other games.
  • Capture the Flag mode is similar to its Tribes equivalent. There are two teams, each with a flag and a flag stand. The objective for each team is to capture the enemy flag and bring it back to their base. However, the team’s flag must be at their flag stand in order for them to capture the enemy’s flag. Points are awarded for every flag capture, and for every flag return. The game can be ended by time running out, or a team capturing the enemy flag until the max amount of captures achieved. If it is ended by time, whichever team had more points wins. Matches can end in the event of a tie.


Cancelled patch

On March 23, 2005 it was announced that Vivendi Universal games were ceasing all support for the game, beginning with the termination of the 1.1 version update. This disappointed many members of the Tribes community who had been anticipating the release. In a January, 2006 interview, in response to suggestions of a falling out between VU games and Irrational, Ken Levine commented:[2]

...This falling out with VUG is some kind of Jedi mind trick, man. We just finished an expansion pack [for SWAT 4] for them, and it went as smooth as cream cheese. With Tribes, we did a patch, and for whatever reason they decided not to release it.


Soon after the end of support to Tribes: Vengeace, members of the community made a enhanced online multiplayer build of the game, and posted it for the general public.[3] Later, a single player patch was added for those people who wanted to try it.

x2 Bonus Pack

In July 2008, the x2 group presented the x2 Bonus Pack, containing 18 maps, both new and redone, along with new textures, skyboxes, sounds, and skins.[4] With this pack came a new game mode, the Race Mod. This allows player to drive around a track, complete laps, and drive newly designed vehicles. Also, there is the spectator mod, giving a player more control of what they are looking at in spectate mode. T|V Server Query was also included, which allows people to see servers and who is in them. Also included was the x2 mod. This added special points that were going to be implemented in-game, but support was dropped before this was done. This includes midair mortars, grenades, energy blade attacks, and other weapon combos. Special mercury skins were included in this, one for each faction and armor.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 82%
Metacritic 83%
Review scores
Publication Score 8.5/10
Game Informer 8.5/10
GameSpot 8.8/10
GameSpy 4/5
IGN 9.0/10

The game received generally favorable reviews.[5] Most reviewers agreed that the single-player campaign did a decent job of explaining the story for all three games, and retained the general Tribes "feel." Though they also noted that the game lacked some of the important tactical elements found in the previous games, and that Irrational Games had simplified the game to appease a wider audience. As a result, most Tribes veterans considered this title non-canon.

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