Strafe: Lethal Forces is a summer 2016 open world third-person shooter/action-adventure game developed by Inora for the The V². The sequel to late 2015's Strafe: Lethal Seven, the game draws on both various Strafe games, as well as Leah Needlenam's lore with various new spins on previously established mythos, being the second installment in the Lethalverse.
Following the events of Lethal Seven, Strafe is caught up in a battle against a mysterious terrorist organization known as the Lethal Forces alongside a psychotic woman named Leah Needlenam. The two form a reluctant alliance in order to stop the organization, but the authorities intervene and things quickly get very complicated.
The game was announced under the working title Strafe & Leah: Lethal Forces at the Fantendo Carnival Showcase 2016. Reception for the game has been (TBA).
Chapter 1: Hold On
Strafe has a few meetings. None of them are for the better.
The game's opening chapter begins with a wide shot of New York City, the bright and bustling streets providing a nice contrast to the previous game's setting.
- ???: I'm doing okay. It's a nice change.
The next shot shows Strafe, wearing a jet black leather suit that is rather different from his other outfits, driving down the street on a motorcycle. He puts on his helmet, obscuring his face, and revs up his motorcycle.
- Strafe: This place isn't as bad as Noah, not by a long shot, but everywhere has it's problems. And that's where I come in, because I don't think I could live in a place where everything was completely right, honestly.
The player is then given control of Strafe in a driving tutorial where he must drive through the city, without breaking any laws, and use the new mini-map to reach a dilapidated hospital on the outskirts of the city.
Strafe dismounts his motorcycle and parks in front of the hospital, his motorcycle the only sign of recent activity. On foot, he heads to the hospital up the hill, teaching the revamped climbing system.
- Strafe: Not getting paid for your good deeds is something hard to get accustomed to, sure, but at least the jobs I get are a little more varied. Not sure what I'm getting myself into this time.
Strafe gets out his Colt Defender handgun and fires the lock off of the hospital's door, slamming into the door, shoulder-first, to break through it. Inside, dried blood stains line the wall and the lights flicker on and off.
- Strafe: A woman lives here. From what I hear, she's lost her mind...totally holed herself up in this ratty hospital and is stockpiling drugs and weapons. No matter what she has in mind, I know from experience that it's bad to let people have a lot of either of those things.
Strafe navigates through the labyrinth like hospital, solving puzzles, climbing, and picking up some goodies to prepare him for the journey ahead. Upon starting up and reaching the elevator, he heads for the basement, where he finds the mysterious person, a purple-haired young woman in a white jacket, injecting herself with a syringe.
- Strafe: Look, lady, I don't want any trouble. I'm here to help the police, so if you can just turn over the weapons and drugs, there doesn't have to be a fight.
- Young Woman:...Who the fuck are you?
The young woman then picks up a scalpel and tosses it at Strafe's head, but he creates a Light Shield around himself just a second before it hits him, causing the scalpel to fall to the ground. The woman gets up, clearly agitated, and pulls the syringe out of her arm, setting it on the table.
- Strafe: So you want a fight, then?
- Young Woman: Not really, Anime Hair, but if I must...
- Strafe: My name isn't Anime Hair! And...who the hell are you?
- Young Woman: Leah Needlenam. I don't need to know your name.
Strafe shrugs and the two get into fighting position.
Although Strafe defeats Leah, she's clearly not your average person, having enhanced strength, reflexes, and speed, as well as being armed with a large arsenal of dangerous weapons and medical tools she improvises with.
- Strafe: I have no interest in killing you, Needleman-
- Leah: It's Needlenam, prick.
- Strafe: Whatever, the point is that-
Strafe is interrupted again by an explosion that destroys the ceiling, various troops dropping in and attacking Strafe and Leah.
- Strafe: You know these guys?!
- Leah: Fuck no!
The two then reluctantly fight against the soldiers, the player getting to control Leah and learn her own abilities and playstyle as they fight the seemingly never-ending hoard of mysterious assailants. After a while, Strafe creates a Light Portal and motions for Leah to jump through it.
- Leah: Wait, hold on, I'm not using your magic bullsh-
- Strafe: If you wanna live, go!
Leah groans but hops through the portal and Strafe follows, closing the portal behind them. They come out in another portal outside the hospital, where they see a truck with the icon of a cross on it. Leah looks visibly shook.
- Strafe: Leah, you okay?
- Leah: Fuck...d-don't worry about me. We need to go.
- Strafe: Wait, we?
Leah gets out a syringe and injects Strafe with it before he can react, knocking him out cold. She sighs and looks at his motorcycle.
- Leah: I could leave him here...
She sighs and lugs his body over her shoulder before getting on the motorcycle and putting on his helmet.
- Leah: Smells like cheap cologne...ugh.
She drives off, ending the first chapter.
Chapter 2: Call Me Jack
Strafe and his new pal get somewhat acquainted.
Strafe wakes up on the cold hard ground, in a dimly lit room. As his eyes slowly open, he looks around to see a staircase leading up and out of the dark room, a table where Leah is sitting, and several cheap bottles of beer on that table. He gets up and groans, glaring at her as he does so, and she yawns.
- Leah: You're finally up, holy fuck! You're a heavy sleeper, blueberry.
- Strafe: How long have I been out? Where are we? Where's my motorcycle?
Strafe aims his hand at Leah threateningly and she snorts, taking a swig of beer before putting her feet up on the table.
- Leah: I don't answer questions on command, douchebag. And I don't take orders, either.
- Strafe: I wouldn't have any part in this if you DIDN'T kidnap me and steal my fucking motorcycle!
- Leah: Kidnap you? I saved your life, you idiot.
- Strafe: Oh thanks, I'm very grateful.
- Leah: Look, I didn't do this out of the goodness of my own heart. If those assholes got their hands on you, a ton of people would be super fucked.
Strafe rubs his head and tries to take an unopened beer bottle from the table. Leah swats his hand and he growls at her.
- Leah: Oh, fine, take a beer. Just with the hair and all, you struck me as more of a Strawberry Daiquiri person.
Strafe looks at her, confused, and screws off the bottle cap with his hand, taking a sip of the cheap beer. He paces back and forth.
- Strafe: Those people, who are they? You clearly know them, by the way you talk about them.
Leah looks uncomfortable and mutters to herself before chugging down some of her beer.
- Leah: They're called the...the Lethal Forces. They're like a freaky cult and black ops team had one shitty baby.
- Strafe: Who are they after, then, me or you?
- Leah: Me. But now that you killed some of their soldiers, I'd guess that they wouldn't mind having your head too. Sorry 'bout that.
Strafe groans and looks at the staircase. Leah pulls out a Browning Hi-Power pistol and points it toward Strafe's chest. He sighs and heads to walk away anyways.
- Leah: The syringe I stabbed you with? It didn't just put you to sleep, it got rid of your magic temporarily too. If I shoot you, you won't be making any special magic light shields of life, pretty boy.
- Strafe: You're bluffing. You saved my life, you wouldn't shoot me now.
- Leah: Sure I would. I know how to get rid of a body, then the Lethal Forces never get you in their hands. I move somewhere else where they won't find me for a while, everybody wins.
- Strafe: I know how people like you think, Leah. You would've already killed me if you wanted me dead.
- Leah: Fine, whatever. But you're not leaving. They're out for you, and they're not going to stop hunting. You'd be valuable to them.
- Strafe: Why? To torture me? To tell them where you are?
- Leah: Both of those, yes, but they'll also want your blood. Granted that your magic isn't bullshit. At this point, I'm not too fuckin' sure.
- Strafe: Unfortunately, it's real.
The two then hear a gunshot and quickly look at the ceiling above them. Strafe runs up the staircase and Leah follows, getting her gun out.
The slightly tipsy Leah with a handgun and an unarmed Strafe with no magic walk up the staircase and enter a quaint little bar. Strafe looks unnerved as he sees three soldiers pointing their guns at the two, and the bullet riddled bodies of the bartender and patrons scattered across the tiny building.
- Strafe: My god...
Leah runs over to the bartender and looks shocked. The soldiers keep their guns out and aimed at the two, but don't fire just yet. Strafe stays still, presumably planning his next move.
- Soldier: Come with us.
Leah looks down at the bartender's dead body and her face gets red. She grips her gun hard and turns to them, her eyebrows starting to furrow.
- Leah: You...you fuckers killed Tracy. No more.
Leah shoots the soldier at the head of the trio in the head, piercing his helmet and causing him to fall to the ground, lifeless. The other two fire at Strafe and Leah, who duck behind a bar table.
- Strafe: When's that serum gonna wear-
- Leah: Shut the fuck up and fight them!
Strafe sighs and nods, and the two, both against the armored soldiers with guns, engage in a bar fight with them. Strafe can't use magic here and Leah is a bit wonkier to control because of the beers she's had, but the two end up suceeding by using their enviorment and it's objects (the tables, beer bottles, and chairs) to kill the soldiers.
- Strafe: We just murdered three people and everyone else here is dead. What the hell do we do?
- Leah: This isn't a "we" thing. Leave New York. I'll leave too. They'll probably forget about your ass and end up leaving you alone. And I...I'll keep moving. You don't fight them. These dead people, here? That's what the fuck happens when you fight them.
- Strafe: I'm not leaving, Leah. I don't run from my problems.
- Leah: Jesus Christ, you don't get it. They have bases all over the world. These soldiers are just disposable lackeys, you haven't even seen their REAL soldiers! Your friends, your family, anyone you love, will die. I know.
- Strafe: I don't have anyone to lose, Leah. And after this, you don't either.
Leah angrily throws a punch at Strafe, but he steps back and looks to her. Leah sighs and looks down.
- Strafe: You don't like me very much. And I don't like you, either. But we both have a reason to take these guys down. And if we die, then at least we'll have taken some of them down along the way.
- Leah: Two people who dislike each other, have no safe place to go, and are against a giant terrorist organization. Great fuckin' odds.
- Strafe: You in?
- Leah: I know a place to start.
Strafe walks out the door and Leah does the same. The bar's glowing sign provides some light as we see the city at sunset, and the abandoned bar's name is shown to be East Pine.
- Leah: Hey, I just realized, I don't even know your name. What is it, something like Stephan? Brad? Marcus?
- Strafe: Strafe Lockborn. Just Strafe to you, though.
- Leah: Oh my god. I'm not calling you that anime shit, if this is gonna work out. Are you for real?
- Strafe: Completely. And your name is Needlenam, how is mine any more silly?
- Leah: Regardless, Strife. Pick a nickname, something I can call you when I'm making fun of you.
- Strafe: Ugh, I dunno...how about, Jack? Yeah, call me Jack.
- Leah: Alright, Jack, let's go.
Strafe sighs and Leah walks off, motioning for him to follow. They walk off to an uncertain future, ending the chapter.
Chapter 3: A Place to Start
Strafe and Leah get to work.
Lethal Forces is an open-world third person shooter/action-adventure hybrid. The game, fundamentally, plays similar to it's predecessor, being a fast-paced game where Strafe, and the new character Leah, can explore large areas, complete both story missions and side missions, utilize vehicles to get around quickly, brawl against enemies with a combo-centric hand-to-hand combat style, or engage enemies with weapons in the style of a cover shooter.
Both characters have new skills that allow for many more gameplay possibilities, the climbing system is greatly improved, allowing the two to walk along ledges, swing from bars and ropes, and quickly jump from platform to platform, as well as use scenery to solve puzzles. In addition, the duo also have many options on how to kill enemies with stealth, including aerial kills, sneaking up behind them, or shooting them with a silenced gun when they're alone.
Having a partner now, either two friends or the player and a computer can control Strafe and Leah. This is necessary to complete certain puzzles, reach new heights, or revive your partner with a healing item. Scattered across the world are various Orbs, which are split into Healing Orbs, Magic Orbs, and Duo Orbs. Healing Orbs will heal the player, Magic Orbs will fill Strafe's Light Magic bar so he can use spells, and Duo Orbs will fill up a bar that when full, will allow the two to use one of a few Team-Up Attacks to devastate enemies.
A few old features have been improved or added to, like character progression. As enemies are defeated and missions are completed, Strafe and Leah will earn Lethal Energy that will allow them to level up, increasing their stats and giving them Lethal Points that can be spent on new moves or upgrades. These moves and upgrades are split into various branches of a Skill Tree, so the two can be customized, moveset wise, to be a healer or tank or whatever you prefer. In addition, the game features a separate currency from the Lethal Energy now, which is just plain and simple cash.
The mission system and equipment system are pretty unchanged, but have minor additions. For example, the two can not only equip armor, accessories, weapons, and tools but also change the entire control scheme rather then just what buttons are used for what tools/weapons. The mission system also allows Strafe to drop missions, measure his progress on any mission, or view hints to help them out. Another small change is the new map which allows for easier travel and lets the player set markers anywhere they like.
Besides the story mode, there's also a section where players can buy bonuses with currency, view cutscenes, and look at collectibles and conversations they've collected. The multiplayer mode is also back and allows for more players online, new maps and characters, and new modes with Capture the Flag, King of the Hill, and a mode called Lethal Forces where players must work together to kill as many enemies as they can before dying.
|This status effect slowly drains Strafe or Leah's health until it wears off or is cured. Not too bad, but it's rather common and can be annoying when combined with strong enemies. There are a lot of cures for it though.|
|This status effect chips away at Strafe or Leah's health constantly until the wound is patched or they die from it. This means it NEVER wears off naturally, making it a very dangerous ailment that should be taken care of quickly.|
|This status effects constantly burns Strafe or Leah, setting them ablaze and doing a few big hits to their health until it's extinguished or wears off. They'll also be slower and less accurate while burning.|
|This ailment leaves Strafe or Leah dazed and confused, making them have half the accuracy and reversing their controls for a period of time. Nothing cures this once it's set in, so you'll just have to wait it out if you don't have anything to preemptively block it.|
|This ailment leaves Strafe or Leah frozen solid. It's a wonder that they can survive all this stuff! While frozen, they can't do anything, so you'll just have to wait until it melts, unless your partner can break you out of the ice. It can be quite dangerous if you're low on health as it leaves you vulnerable for attack.|
|Being drugged makes Strafe and Leah incapable of using their unique special moves, including magic and Team-Up Attacks. Guess they can't seem to focus, drugged and all.|
|A positive status effect. Strafe and Leah will have increased attack power temporarily, although weapons will do the same old damage if you're playing as Strafe, and Leah's special abilities will do no more damage than usual.|
|A positive status effect. Strafe and Leah will take half the damage they normally do for a period of time.|
|A positive status effect. Strafe and Leah will continuously heal over time until the move runs out or they're hit.|
|NON-LETHAL||The easiest mode. Enemies are weaker, Strafe and Leah have boosted stats all around, and items are easier to come by. Great for new players.|
|This mode is closer to an average difficulty but is still rather easy, being intended for casual players. Enemies are weaker and items are easier to come by.|
|PROFICIENT HERO||This mode is good for a first playthrough of the game, having no major difference from Lethal Force except the fact that items are more plentiful. Just a fun mode for everyone.|
|LETHAL FORCE||The average mode for intermediate games. Everything is at it's base, nothing making it harder or easier than normal.|
|DEMIGOD||The first mode in the harder section and the final default difficulty. Enemies are a bit harder then normal, but that's all. Good if you like a little challenge.|
|WHITE GODDESS||This mode can be bought as a bonus after completing the game once, for a decent price. Enemies are harder and items are rarer, making it good for skilled gamers.|
|BLACK GOD||This mode can be bought as a bonus for a high price after you've completed one of the harder difficulties. Enemies are insanely tough, items are never dropped randomly, and Strafe and Leah aren't as strong as they usually are. The mode for people who love a lot of difficulty.|
- Special Attack
- Ranged Attack (This stat is exclusive to Leah, and the higher the stat is, guns and other ranged weapons will do more damage when she is wielding them.)
- Light Magic (This stat is exclusive to Strafe. It determines how large his Light Magic bar is, and the bigger it gets, the more spells he can use.)
- Ranged Defense
- Special Defense
- Blessing (This stat is exclusive to Strafe. The higher his blessing, the more likely it'll be that enemy attacks will miss him entirely even if they hit him.)
- Rage (This stat is exclusive to Leah. The higher her rage, the more likely it'll be that she'll do a Critical Hit to opponents to do double the damage she normally does.)
Enemies & Bosses
- Assets from this game were reused in GHOST SMILE III, another Inora game being developed and released around the same time as this game.
- The game's original title was Strafe & Leah: Lethal Forces, but the game was given a name change in order to accentuate that the game was a sequel to Strafe: Lethal Seven. The logo was reworked, but the Leah part of the logo can still be seen in game in the menu, whenever players are managing Leah's stats and abilities.
|Strafe: Lethal Seven | Strafe: Lethal Forces | Strafe: Lethal Hunters (non-canon) | Fantendo Smash Bros. Lethal|
|Strafe | Lock | White Goddess | Leah Needlenam | Aran Leverletto | Rachel Harel | Volt | Cura | Melissa Dust | Hein | Amy Jackson | Krystal Perez | Crow | Fera | Endal | Zerita|