The Deus Ex Diaries

Deus Ex Diaries

We can’t bloody wait for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the long awaited prequel to the original Deus Ex that was on PC way back in 2000, which means that for the next five months until it’s finally released, there’s going to be a lot of time to be filled doing/playing other things. With that in mind, and considering how much I bloody love the Deus Ex universe, I decided to go back in time and play the original game all over again, whilst keeping a diary-ish record of my journey back to the past.

Dear Deus Ex Diary,

Remember when Deus Ex was totally awesome and I had a ton of fun playing it, getting through as much of the game as possible without killing anybody or being spotted, and quite simply attempting to be the biggest, badassest, augmentedest special agent ever? I do, and damn, those were the days. What? You’re saying it’s still totally awesome? It- it’s still a ton of fun to play it?? Holy- In that case…

*One brief, 700mb installation of Deus Ex later…*

Oh… my… God!

These graphics are so out-dated!

What the hell is up with the faces?! Everything is seriously low res… but wait, I can put the game resolution up to 1900 x 1200! That will certainly make things easier on the eyes, though sadly the textures are still the same ultra-low res splodges on the models and scenery, and the graphics really haven’t aged well, I mean, you’d think it came out a decade ago or something!

Deus Ex

During the intro, setting the scene for the world in which my game will take place, I feel a great deal of sentimentality and excitement as a bunch of in-game locations parade past the screen, whilst stiffly modeled and animated characters prance around like badly-designed robots, and I remember exploring in these locations in the game way back in the day. I can’t wait to stealth my way through the game and revisit all those memorable locations.

As the game starts and my character – an experimental nano-agent by the name of J.C Denton – is dumped on the pier of Liberty Island, New York City by a police speedboat, and I finally assume control. I run around a little, using my recently acquired crowbar to smash open some crates conveniently marked with a symbol that appears to be a big handgun and some bullets; unsurprisingly, a box of bullets falls out and lands at my feet.

Within moments of being there, a nerdy looking guy’s face appears in the top left corner of the screen as he contacts me via ‘info-link’ to introduce himself as Alex Jacobson, the most super-friendly person ever. He gives me a bunch of details about where I am and what’s going on, and then promptly disappears – presumably to carry on watching Star Trek. He’ll probably continue to interrupt my mission for the rest of the day, chiming in at the most inopportune times to tell me something already know, or putting me off when I’m just about to sneak up on somebody.

Deus Ex

Seconds later, a Neo-from-The-Matrix looking guy with a goatee comes running at me like he’s about to take me out. But of course, that wasn’t going to happen, because it’s only the lovable Paul Denton, J.C Denton’s brother, and he’s here to welcome me to my first mission. Here I find myself with the first gameplay dialogue portion, and I’m offered a choice of three weapons to begin my mission; a non-lethal crossbow with tranquilizer darts, .308 caliber sniper rifle, or a GEP gun (essentially a big fat rocket launcher).

Like an echo from the past, I go straight for the crossbow. Stealth and non-lethal take-downs are the way forward, but depending on your approach can also make the game so much harder. One of the coolest things about Deus Ex is that it gives you a real choice as to whether you wanted to kill people or simply knock them out, and like the Splinter Cell series, it’s something that feels much more suited for defining your character as you play. It doesn’t go unnoticed either, as Paul Denton gives you a high-and-mighty speech about non-lethal force before you begin the mission, and depending on how you deal with the enemy, you get some different dialogue depending on your previous actions, a feature in games that people are still always amazed by today, despite it being at least 10 years old (in this case).

After leaving the introductory conversation with Paul, I make my way to the half-demolished Statue of Liberty to complete a bunch of objectives. The main objective is to fight my way to the top of what remains of the Statue to capture and interrogate an NSF (a fictional terrorist group) leader, to find out why he done gone stole the shipment Ambrosia (sadly not the rice pudding snack) that makes people with the Gray Death (a fictional disease) feel better.

Deus Ex

The optional objective is to rescue Gunther Hermann – a rather grumpy agent with a German accent – from his captors, where he is being held in a conveniently prison-like room within the Statue of Liberty. Being such a nice guy, I plan to go out of my way to make sure he is set free, but in the mean time he can wait right there. I have work to do!

After fully reintroducing myself to the controls, I finally get round to attempting the mission. I’m told if I want to gain access to the main entrance, I should look for a UNATCO informant dressed as a hobo, because he will know the code to get in. I’m also told I could avoid a lot of fighting if I find a different way in, so naturally I forget about the smelly hobo and make my way around the side, toward a huge pile of shipping containers that conveniently create a way to the third floor of the Statue.

Deus Ex

Before I get anywhere near it, I come across my first enemy; a patrolling NSF soldier meanders round a corner toward me, spotting me immediately. So much for stealth! I shoot him in the head with my crossbow, administering tranquilizer chemicals directly to his face, yet he soldiers on, charging at me with a knife whilst periodically grunting and flinching in pain. What a hero! Moments later, he falls flat on his face and the action is over, and then I raid his pockets and take his precious knife.

After a significant amount more darts to peoples heads, and one or two stun-prods to the back of peoples legs, I make it to the aforementioned crates and begin my ascent, piling up tiny metal boxes that oddly enough have no discernible ‘lid’ or any other means of being opened, the sole existence of which I can only assume is to help super-secret-agents get into super-important-places without being seen. A few shockingly loud *CLANG* sounds later, I hop the wall of the outside platform on the third floor of the Statue without anyone wondering where those stupidly loud noises came from, and stealth my way into the Statue itself.

Only a couple more staircases up to the NSF leader and I could complete the mission, but I already made a promise to save my miserable half-man half-machine colleague from the confines of his makeshift cell downstairs, so I take detour and head in the opposite direction, electrocuting and tranquilizing fools all over the place like it ain’t no thang, but then I find myself facing a doorway blocked by alarm-tripping lasers – the worst kind of laser! There’s an electronic panel right next to it, and I see that with only two multitools (kind of like a digital lock-pick), I could disable the lasers and waltz right in. But being the cheapskate hoarder I am, I recall the old phrase ‘Waste not, want not’, and I decide to find a different way in, in the hope that later on I’ll find a far better use for them.

Deus Ex

I spot a ventilation cover hidden in plain view, and remember that it’s a neat little way to sneak around the back of the prison and get in. What I failed to remember though was that to get through the door at the back of that area, I needed two lock-picks to open a locked door. So I’m faced with exactly the same obstacle as the multitools situation earlier, except for a different useable item… FML! Anyway, because I can’t be arsed to go all the way back round through the vents, I bite the bullet, pick the lock, and walk on through. Annoyingly, my stealthy approach is foiled once again, and I open the door right in front of an onlooking terrorist, who stands there momentarily shocked at my sudden appearance before his eyes.

With no weapon selected, I panic and hit a bunch of buttons in a frantic effort to arm myself, whilst the guard before me is thrown into disarray, abandons any hope of fighting me, and runs in a fit of terror toward the nearest alarm panel to call for his buddies. Hastily, I chase him down the corridor in a hilarious scene right out of Benny Hill, all the while whipping him in the back of the head with my extendable police baton (no, that isn’t a euphemism) until finally, just as his arm reaches out desperately for the big red button that couldn’t be any more obviously the alarm, he passes out – probably with severe brain trauma. Crisis averted!

Deus Ex

Looking through a big unbreakable window, I see my fellow agent, a big German beefcake of a man, riddled with machinery to replace his limbs, eyes, and skull, but I still need to get in there. I crawl around the corner to the next room, expecting yet another failure in my stealth abilities, only to find a guard quite comfortably sitting in a chair with his back to the entrance of the room. Talk about a silver platter! A swift stun prod to the back of his neck and he’s out like a lamp; though he doesn’t just pass out in his seat, he flops forward onto the table, fully rigid, yet with great enthusiasm. Finally I’ve rescued my comrade from the jaws of.. two inexplicably badly-armed men, and he thanks me in the most unenthusiastic way possible, demanding I give him a weapon so he can take everybody out by himself. I refuse, and tell him to stay put until it’s safe (honestly, I don’t even know why I bothered), and then make my way back up the stairs toward the final objective.

Deus Ex

After putting about four more guards to sleep, I finally come across the NSF leader who immediately surrenders, and then starts going on about some big government conspiracy, I listen intently – despite knowing from memory everything he’s going to say. After a lengthy speech about the government being full of bad, bad men and how the NSF are really the good guys, a friendly UNATCO soldier appears and informs me the mission is over. Resisting the urge to use my shock-pad on the NSF leader’s face – you know, just for for laughs – I walk down the stairs and head back to base, which is conveniently on the very same island!

Deus Ex

So today I’ve taken a trip to Liberty Island, met my hardcore Matrix fan of a brother, scaled the side of the Statue of Liberty, tranquilizing, electrocuting, and whipping countless terrorists into submission, saved a big fat German robot from a dirty, smelly, badly guarded room, and captured an NSF leader at the top of the Statue.

All in a day’s work!

I wonder what will happen next… (disclaimer: I may or may not continue this diary…)

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