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Deus Ex

(this is a work in progress 2017+)

Deus Ex - PC

Game of the Year Version

Back in 2000 one of the bigger PC gaming mags included on its coverdisc the entire first level of a new game called Deus Ex.

The blurb spoke vaguely of your role as some sort of future-cop tasked with rescuing a fellow operative from terrorists encamped in the Statue of Liberty grounds. Nothing particularly amazing there but what followed was a game that not only proved itself rich in depth with a narrative that made you care about the outcome[s], but did so with an easily accesible interface that allowed you to tinker with your character's development to allow multiple paths to complete a level and, eventually, the game.

Since buying the game on the day of its release I've played through it numerous times and it remains a firm favourite discovering a little bit more each time I go back.

So, in keeping with the spirit of my website, I've decided to do an old-school out-of=date 'lets play' homage to an absolute classic.

* please note: this isn't a guide or an attempt to uncover every secret or keep everyone alive or speedrun or....etc. It's just me playing through it.

Welcome

Straight off the bat you know you're in for something special when you see this polished spinning logo. It didn't seem to matter what resolution you played the game at - this always looked smart.

Character Selection

For some reason my JC Denton is always a blonde chap. I'm not 100% sure why but I think it's that the box art seemed to show JC with fairer hair and as I have (or used to have) too, JC is blonde. - it always just seemd to suit him better.

I choose Lockpicking, Electronics and Computers for my upgrades - a handy mix I think.

  • Computer - you start out as untrained which means you can only read bulletin board terminals. However, notch that level up to 'Trained' for a mere 1150 skill points and you are now able to hack ATMs, computers and security terminals. No brainer.
  • Electronics - Your character can already bypass security systems, but with this 1800 skill point upgrade your efficiency at doing so increases slightly.
  • Lockpicking - Your character can already pick locks, but with this 1800 skill point upgrade your efficiency at do so increases slightly.

In short, although you already have the hacking and lockpicking skill, if you don't upgrade them, you'll be forever hunting for enough equipment to do your work.

That leaves 275 skill points.




Setting the Stage

Right, ready for this?

This is the opening cinematic for the game and it attempts to set out, albeit vaguely, the main players in the game. I will be honest, when I first played this game there was so much information it just went in one ear and out the other; however, it was clear that these two were up to something and that the chap in the white coat had meglomaniacal tendencies as the end of his little speech will prove.

It zips by quite quickly so I'll attempt to break it down. First, here's the transcript in full.

Man1: Your appointment to FEMA should be finalized within the week. I've already discussed the matter with the Senator.
Man2: I take it he was agreeable?
Man1: He didn't really have a choice.
Man2: Has he been infected?
Man1: Oh yes, most certainly. When I mentioned we could put him on the priority list for the Ambrosia vaccine, he was so willing it was almost pathetic.
Man2: This plague -- the rioting is intensifying to the point where we may not be able to contain it.
Man1: Why contain it? Let it spill over into the schools and churches, let the bodies pile up in the streets. In the end, they'll beg us to save them.
Man2: I've received reports of armed attacks on shipments. There's not enough vaccine to go around, and the underclasses are starting to get desperate.
Man1: Of course they're desperate. They can smell their deaths, and the sound they'll make rattling their cages will serve as a warning to the rest.
Man2: Hmm. I hope you're not underestimating the problem. The others may not go as quietly as you think -- intelligence indicates they're behind the problems in Paris.
Man1: A bunch of pretentious old men playing at running the world. But the world left them behind long ago. We are the future.
Man2: We have other problems.
Man1: UNATCO?
Man2: Formed by executive order after the terrorist strike on the Statue. I have someone in place though. I'm more concerned about Savage -- he's relocated to Vandenberg.
Man1: Our biochem corpus is far in advance of theirs, as is our electronic sentience, and their... ethical inflexibility has allowed us to make progress in areas they refuse to consider.
Man2: The augmentation project?
Man1: Among other things -- but I must admit that I've been somewhat disappointed with the performance of the primary unit.
Man2: The secondary unit should be online soon. He's currently undergoing preparations and should be operational within six months. My people will continue to report on his progress. If necessary, the primary will be terminated.
Man1: We've had to endure much, you and I, but soon there will be order again, a new age. Aquinas spoke of the mythical City on the Hill. Soon that city will be a reality, and we will be crowned its kings. Or better than kings. Gods.

Now let's break it down a little:

Man1: Your appointment to FEMA should be finalized within the week. I've already discussed the matter with the Senator.
Man2: I take it he was agreeable?
Man1: He didn't really have a choice.
Man2: Has he been infected?
Man1: Oh yes, most certainly. When I mentioned we could put him on the priority list for the Ambrosia vaccine, he was so willing it was almost pathetic.

Man1 in the white coat seems to be a bit of a bad egg from the off. He seems to have given Man2 a position in power by bribing(blackmailing?) a senator! Nepotism and coercion - a good start. Asking whether the Senator has been infected suggests there's some form of contagion going around ...but at least they have a vaccine I suppose.

Man2: This plague -- the rioting is intensifying to the point where we may not be able to contain it.
Man1: Why contain it? Let it spill over into the schools and churches, let the bodies pile up in the streets. In the end, they'll beg us to save them.

So it's a plague and there's rioting - that's not good. But Man1 is actively encouraging its spread just to enhance his own power (or that of FEMA presumably ...but FEMA are a disaster response agency - what's going on?).

Man2: I've received reports of armed attacks on shipments. There's not enough vaccine to go around, and the underclasses are starting to get desperate.
Man1: Of course they're desperate. They can smell their deaths, and the sound they'll make rattling their cages will serve as a warning to the rest.

Man1, although a nasty piece of work, seems to be woefully naive. I'm not sure that approach has ever worked - anywhere!

Man2: Hmm. I hope you're not underestimating the problem. The others may not go as quietly as you think -- intelligence indicates they're behind the problems in Paris.
Man1: A bunch of pretentious old men playing at running the world. But the world left them behind long ago. We are the future.

Man2 appears to have a more cautious approach to the situation (although he still appears complicit). Who are the others he's referring to? He's quite specific about them being behind the problem in Paris - whatever that problem might be. Man1 is dismissing them out of hand but they appear to be a 'player' in the story.

Man2: We have other problems.
Man1: UNATCO?
Man2: Formed by executive order after the terrorist strike on the Statue. I have someone in place though. I'm more concerned about Savage -- he's relocated to Vandenberg.
Man1: Our biochem corpus is far in advance of theirs, as is our electronic sentience, and their... ethical inflexibility has allowed us to make progress in areas they refuse to consider.
Man2: The augmentation project?

Okay, there's a few bits to pick up here. First of all, UNATCO are mentioned for the first time. Set up in response to a terrorist strike on the Statue of Liberty. Whoever Man2 is, it seems he has planted someone within UNATCO (does this mean that whatever organisation these two represent, it doesn't have the same goals as UNATCO? If they did, why would they need to plant someone within it?). So Man1 identifies UNATCO as a possible spanner in the works of whatever grand design these two have in mind, but Man2 is more worried about someone called 'Savage' - apparently he's relocated to Vandenburg (a U.S airforce base in California - thanks Wiki). At this stage we have no idea who Savage is but Man1 immediately replies that their own biochemistry and artificial intelligence work is far in advance of theirs. So whoever Savage works for, it seems they're taking a more cautious approach than the organisation these two chaps represent. Man2 assumes Man1 is talking about the augmentation project (hey, that's us isn't it?)

Man1: Among other things -- but I must admit that I've been somewhat disappointed with the performance of the primary unit.
Man2: The secondary unit should be online soon. He's currently undergoing preparations and should be operational within six months. My people will continue to report on his progress. If necessary, the primary will be terminated.

Primary unit? Who, what, where... am I the primary or secondary unit? It doesn't look good for the primary unit whoever they are.

Man1: We've had to endure much, you and I, but soon there will be order again, a new age. Aquinas spoke of the mythical City on the Hill. Soon that city will be a reality, and we will be crowned its kings. Or better than kings. Gods.

Uh oh - this is real meglomaniac stuff! "Soon there will be order again" - I can name three individuals who have said something similar throughout history: Hitler, Darth Vader and Trump. This Aquinas chap mentioned refers to Thomas Aquinas - a 13th century Italian theologian and the phrase 'City on the Hill' hints to a Utopia which is all well and good but they want to be its kings ...no, it's gods! Hmm - familiar?

Any way, that's the intro. Some have suggested it reveals way too much at this stage, but I don't think this is the case. It introduces players, goals and concerns in a neat little prologue and coming to it fresh, you still need to figure out your role in the story.

Anyway, on to the game.