Iron Brigade (formerly Trenched) is a co-operative third-person shooter/tower defense hybrid developed by Double Fine and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 (via Xbox Live Arcade) on June 22, 2011.
Built on Double Fine's Buddha engine, the game puts up to four players in powerful, hulking, customizable bipedal tanks (known as "mobile trenches") as they must fortify their defenses (using Turrets) and endure waves of television-based machines (known as "Monovisions" or "Tubes") in a goofy alternate-historical post-WW1 world.
The story involves two war-time codebreakers, Frank Woodruff and Vladamir Farnsworth, who gain superintelligence from a mysterious alien transmission (known as "the Broadcast"). While Frank develops the mobile trench (as walking platforms for disabled soldiers), Vlad invents the television (years ahead of its proper time) and becomes obsessed with "networking the world" by covering it with cables. Frank retaliates by developing the Mobile Trench Brigade (whose mobile command base is an aircraft carrier).
On February 1, 2012, the game received its sole paid DLC pack: Rise of the Martian Bear. Along with an increased level cap, 80+ new pieces of loot (including costumes resembling Double Fine's other games, such as Costume Quest and Stacking), two new Survival missions, and three new enemies, the DLC includes a new five-mission epilogue campaign where the Mobile Trench Brigade must make their mobile command base space-worthy and blast off to Mars to put the finishing blow on the Monovision army.
The game was later ported to the PC and released digitally via Steam on August 13, 2012. Along with including the game's DLC for free, this version supports Games for Windows - Live functionality (which was later switched to Steamworks after Double Fine regained full publishing rights on May 26, 2015).
Gameplay in Iron Brigade consists of two primary activities. The first is building and maintaining defence structures to protect the base, as in a tower defence game. The second is actively combating enemy waves by taking direct control of a Trench and fending them off. Effective gameplay requires both elements be used in tandem, with defensive turrets placed in positions to assist the players as they fight off the encroaching enemies. A matchmaking system which supports public, friend, and party play allows for up to four players to cooperatively play the game's missions with each other online.
There are fifteen levels which are evenly distributed between Europe, Africa, and the Pacific, each composed of four missions followed by a boss fight.
As players progress, they gain levels and earn items on the battlefield. Money earned from missions and by completing challenges can be spent in the store. Items can be used to customize the player's Trenches. Players are also able to customize their player characters.
Two war time codebreakers, Frank Woodruff and Vladamir Farnsworth, receive an alien transmission-- referred to only as "the Broadcast." The other codebreakers who heard it had their brains fried, but Frank and Vlad gained superintelligence from it. Frank goes on to make robot legs for war time heroes so they can be mobile after the war, while Vlad invents the television years ahead of its proper time, and becomes obsessed with networking the world. He releases robots made of said television tubes to lay cables across the world to network the entire planet.
In Europe, Frank discovers that the robots, dubbed Monovisions, have begun destroying everything that lies in the path of the cables they wish to lie, regardless of the cost in Human lives. When all traditional military forces are defeated, Frank expands the scope of his robot legs project to create enormous bipedal war platforms, designed so that each soldier is protected by his own "mobile trench". Using these Trenches, Frank leads the battle against the Monovisions, and manages to gain a foothold against the "tube" invasion. Gaining back ground, along with new intel, the newly-christened Mobile Trench Brigade pushes onward until they have enough leverage to commence an attack on what seems to be the source of the Broadcast by destroying a Pylon in the northern region. Successfully neutralizing it, a greater truth is revealed upon the discovery of a much larger cable which leads underseas towards Africa, which has now been entirely taken over by the Tubes, while the Brigade was focused on the battle elsewhere.
Suspecting that the Pylon in Europe was a product of some greater entity, Frank's outfit follows the cable south to Africa and begins to take back land starting in the desert, beginning with a small-yet-inhabitable oasis. After reclaiming more ground, another attempt at penetrating enemy forces is made by acquiring much more powerful firepower with a ship's cannon, and deploying a giant bomb underground in order to disrupt the Tube infrastructure. Successfully crippling most of the opposition, Vlad's newest behemoth creation lies in wait: a massive worm-like Monovision referred to as the Guardian. Upon taking Farnsworth's desert fortress and defeating the Guardian, a final push is initiated in order to track down Vlad once and for all.
The Brigade returns to the Pacific region, where Frank first met Vlad twenty years prior to the current engagement. Frank discovers that Vlad has been searching for the origin of the Broadcast as well, in his obsession of understanding and controlling the Tubes. The Brigade subsequently gathers necessary equipment in the region (some which has been left behind by Vlad), in order to assemble and operate the technology which will help discern Vlad's location. After using the top of a volcano to generate a signal which pinpoints Farnsworth, the Brigade confronts him for a final showdown.
Vlad's obsession with the Monovisions and the Broadcast have helped him to assimilate a monstrous alien machine, which he hopes to use to destroy the Brigade, and all others who resist, but it is no match for the quick-witted Trench pilots of the Brigade. After the destruction of this robot, Vlad's corpse is retrieved from inside it; his body has withered away and atrophied from all the time spent exposing himself to the tubes. Frank wonders what fate awaits him, as he reflects on the consequences Vlad had incurred, and notes that while the battle was won, he is not sure the war is over.
It is discovered that Vlad's death triggered a program in which an electronic copy of his mind was downloaded into the brain of his pet bear, who now attempts to rebuild Vlad's Tube empire on the foreign soil of the planet Mars, where it will not be disturbed by pesky Humans until it is too late for them to stop him. The Mobile Trench Brigade responds by reverse-engineering Monovision technology to make their mobile command base space-worthy, and blasts off to Mars to take the fight to the Martian Bear.
The player has the ability to fully customize their Mobile Trench unit, from weapons to body types, all the way down to legs. Each Part has different stats that can effect how the player can effect the battle field. A player may want to go full engineer and place lots of turrets or go full force with a Trench capable of 3 weapon slots on each side. Players have many choices when it comes to taking on the Monovisions.
The weapon categories the player can choose from include machine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers, sniper cannons, artillery cannons, and broadcasters. Machine guns are ideal for close to medium range combat with many smaller enemies and ones with the flak ability are used against aerial enemies. Shotguns are primarily used in short range situations with fewer, stronger enemies. Grenade launchers are an explosive class used to disperse clustered groups and targets with additional armor. Sniper cannons deal with threats that are farther away or ones that require additional accuracy and high amounts of damage. Artillery cannons are mainly used to take the armor off of breakers but can be used on all enemies somewhat effectively. Finally, broadcasters are used to absolutely destroy enemies up close (excellent against the knobs).
The player can buy items in the shop. Or get lucky and get them as drops in the missions.
Marine Items (Hat)
|1||PSI Goggles||Challenge Reward|
|4||Sergeant Cap||Challenge Reward|
|4||Blast Cap||Challenge Reward|
|6||Red Bandana||Challenge Reward|
|6||Flight Helmet||Challenge Reward|
|8||Tiki Mask||Challenge Reward|
|9||Special Forces Mask||$1,200|
|10||Dress Hat||Challenge Reward|
Marine Items (Outfit)
|1||Raz Sweater||Challenge Reward|
|4||Field Officer Jacket||Challenge Reward|
|5||Trench Armor||Challenge Reward|
|5||Special Forces Jacket||Challenge Reward|
|5||Bomber Jacket||Challenge Reward|
|5||Ghillie Suit||Challenge Reward|
|5||Hunter Jacket||Challenge Reward|
|6||Radio Jacket||Challenge Reward|
|10||Dress Uniform||Challenge Reward|
|TBD||Aviator Jacket||Challenge Reward|
|TBD||Ripped Shirt||Challenge Reward|
Core Items (Chassis)
|Rank||Item Name||Chassis Type||Slots (L x R)||Armor||Speed||Cost|
|1||Woodruff Mk I||Standard||2 x 2||30||30||$400|
|1||McGarry Mk I||Assault||3 x 2||48||18||$500|
|1||Selker Mk I||Engineering||1 x 1||25||22||$400|
|2||Selker Mk II||Engineering||1 x 1||30||22||$700|
|2||Woodruff Mk II||Standard||2 x 2||36||20||$600|
|3||Karlsson Mk I||Assault||3 x 3||69||18||$1,200|
|5||Selker Mk III||Engineering||1 x 1||36||22||$1,,400|
|5||Karlsson Mk II||Assault||3 x 3||83||18||$1,,800|
|5||Hamer Mk I||Standard||3 x 0||52||20||$1,400|
|5||Honeychurch Mk I||Engineering||2 x 0||36||22||$1,000|
|5||Woodruff Mk III||Standard||2 x 2||52||20||$1,000|
|6||McGarry Mk II||Assault||3 x 2||69||18||$1,000|
|6||Hamer Mk II||Standard||3 x 0||62||20||$2,100|
|6||Honeychurch Mk II||Engineering||2 x 0||44||22||$1,600|
|7||McGarry Mk III||Assault||3 x 2||100||18||TBD|
|7||Hamer Mk III||Standard||3 x 0||75||20||TBD|
|7||Honeychurch Mk III||Engineering||2 x 0||63||22||TBD|
|7||Karlsson Mk III||Assault||3 x 3||100||18||$2,400|
|8||Woodruff Mk IV||Standard||2 x 2||75||20||TBD|
|Selker Mk IV|
Karlsson Mk IV
|1 x 1|
3 x 3
Core Items (Paintjob)
|5||Desert Camo Paintjob||$500|
|6||Black Paintjob||Challenge Reward|
|8||Jungle Camo Paintjob||$800|
|9||Dazzle Paintjob||Challenge Reward|
|10||Bling Paintjob||Challenge Reward|
Core Items (Legs)
|2||Sprinting Biped Legs||Sprint||$500|
|2||Quickload Tripod Legs||Quickload||$600|
|4||Standard Tripod Legs||Fortify/Quickload||$900|
|5||Stunning Legs||Stun Smash||$1,400|
|5||Speedy Biped Legs||Sprint+||$1,000|
|6||Defensive Tripod Legs||Fortify++||$1,300|
|7||Advanced Tripod Legs||Fortify+/Quickload||TBD|
|7||Hot Pants||Explosive Sprint||TBD|
|7||Long Stunning Legs||Stun Smash+||$1,600|
Legal Troubles and Re-branding
Upon its initial North American release, Iron Brigade was originally entitled Trenched. However, the subsequent release of the game in Europe met with a legal battle regarding trademark conflict. The trademark to the name "Trench" is currently held by the creator of a World War I-inspired board game registered in Portugal. Due to the way European law works, the trademark also covers basic variants on the title, giving the board game creator the rights to the name "Trenched" as well. Various trademark agreements in place between the European Union countries mean that the trademark ownership is extended throughout most of the European region.
Microsoft chose to avoid a legal battle by releasing Trenched under the name "Iron Brigade" in Europe. However, due to embarrassing coding issues within Xbox Live, this change to the game made it incompatible for multiplayer games with the North American version, Trenched. On September 9th, 2011, Brad Muir regretfully announced that the game would be renamed Iron Brigade across all regions. An updated version of the game was later released in North America with the Iron Brigade name.
PC System Requirements
- System: Windows XP / Windows Vista / Windows 7
- Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo at 2 GHz, or AMD Athlon 64 at 2 GHz
- Memory: 1GB
- Video Card: 256 MB NVidia 8800+, ATI 3850+
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible Sound Card
- Hard disk: 1.8 GB