Jesus Christ, Denton!
June 22, 2010 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of Deus Ex, a revolutionary blend of first-person shooter and roleplaying game which debuted to universal critical acclaim and which has inspired much devotion among gamers. Its intro video has been reworked for the sake of comedy, it's been modded not only to "take the suck out" (and to improve the biomods) and for the plain sake of weirdness, but also to create entirely new games. Walkthroughs exist, from the helpful to the amusing to the simply insane, and even its music (such as its theme song) has inspired tributes and covers.

The game's age has some impact on its playability, both in terms of compatibility with modern hardware and its general look, which, hey, was pretty a decade ago. There are several mods which make the game look and run better.

Perhaps you'd like to read the design bible, or Warren Spector's postmortem (PDF) of the game, or watch a ridiculous speedrun. Or maybe you'd rather learn to mod the game yourself.

Deus Ex is currently available for the PC on Steam, Direct2Drive, and Gametap, and is available on the PS2 through Gamefly.
posted by Pope Guilty (74 comments total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
I spill my drink!
posted by permafrost at 6:43 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Awesome and well timed Deus Ex post, much better than previous shoddy attempts by amateurs.
posted by Artw at 6:47 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Where is Evgeniy!!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:52 AM on June 22, 2010

My mispronunciation of this game somewhat hampered my initial at explaining to my friends how awesome this game was.

"Wait, what game? 'Due Sex'??"
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:56 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite] initial attempts at explaining...
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:56 AM on June 22, 2010

Thanks for that link fest! I now might just dig up that old jewel case and go for another round with the game.
posted by Glow Bucket at 7:00 AM on June 22, 2010

Paul, UNATCO hurt my weenie.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:04 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

With the new Deus Ex, X-Com, and Starcraft coming out, I'm going to be spending a lot of money repurchasing old games that I lost the physical media for so I can replay the classics.
posted by backseatpilot at 7:12 AM on June 22, 2010

You could just pay less money to Steam and get the original Deus Ex and X-Com, and that will save disapointment when the new games fail to have anything to do with them except the name.
posted by Artw at 7:14 AM on June 22, 2010 [6 favorites]

Related post from a few days ago.
posted by Pendragon at 7:17 AM on June 22, 2010

The new X-Com is completely different and doesn't look promising. The new Deus Ex has just enough going for it. I mean, it'll probably still be a crushing disappointment, but I can dream, dream of the shining Deus Ex sequel upon a hill that Aquinas spoke of...
posted by permafrost at 7:24 AM on June 22, 2010

Paul, UNATCO hurt my weenie.

Welcome to the Coalition, JC. Might as well start using coke.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:25 AM on June 22, 2010

What a shame.
posted by Electric Dragon at 7:41 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Deus Ex is pretty difficult in the beginning, and the graphics, well, pretty damn coarse. It was an early 3D game, and that's quite obvious. The modeling is fairly crude in all respects, both architecture and enemies. It's much better than, say, Thief 1, and it has a coherent style to it, but it looks like stick figures compared to the stuff they're doing these days.

Further, it makes what I consider one of the Big Mistakes in shooter-type designs... every gun you have, in the beginning, doesn't shoot straight. You should always have at least one gun that's accurate at the start, even if it's a peashooter. Fallout 3, for example, did this well; your first weapon is a BB gun, and you can hit what you shoot at. It's a damn BB gun, but at least you can hit things with it. In Deus Ex, you can't freaking hit ANYTHING in the beginning, even though you're supposedly this Mega Super Agent Guy. Apparently, basic range training with a pistol isn't included in the multi-billion-credit nano-augmentation program. You do eventually get to the point of being extremely lethal with any weapon you choose to spend points in, but those first couple levels are exercises in frustration.

The plot is a convoluted trip through conspiracy theory, but I think that's part of what makes it fun. It's a little silly and quite juvenile in many respects, but you get some actual political opinions in some of the conversations, which was unheard of in games at the time, and even now is hardly ever touched. The fundamental tension of the game is political. Being Super Agent Guy, you can more or less remake the world by being in the right place at the right time. Do you believe in the "current system" (defined as a few shadowy super-powerful entities controlling the world, aka the Illuminati), a libertarian semi-anarchy, or mostly benevolent despotism?

I think what I like most about it is that the game is internally consistent. It's good science fiction, in that it makes a few premises and then explores what their impact would be. I guess you could say that it respects itself, and respects its own world. Few games do that; they tend to just sort of randomly throw crap at you because it would look cool, or because a programmer has a neat new technique to use, or because they need a narrative device, but everything you see in Deus Ex fits. It's coherent in a way that few games manage.

Of that era (around Y2K), the only game that was better was No One Lives Forever. NOLF totally holds up on modern hardware, too. It looks much less crude than DE1, and the control is tight and fun. You could buy that game today and have more fun than a lot of the crap that's currently shipping.

The sequel, though.... god, what a horrid game in comparison. In absolute terms, it's not terrible, but it's entirely forgettable. The levels are choppy and small; they feel dumbed down to fit into the XBox 1's memory. They look better than DE1, but they're just so tiny that you're constantly doing level loads, and level loads take a long time. And the framerate is awful. Even on the fastest and most powerful of current machines, it runs like ass. And there's not much tension to the game. I remember very little of the plot.

I really tried to like DE2, but eventually I got to the point of exploring the ruins of UNATCO (the mission hub from DE1). Looking around at that shattered and broken building, it struck me that here was a perfect visual representation of the entire game.

Oddly, Thief 3, which was developed at the same time, using the same engine, works very well. I think it's my favorite of the Thief series. Because you moved so slowly through them, small levels weren't really a problem, and the framerate issues from DE2 didn't show up. It ended up being an excellent game.
posted by Malor at 7:42 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

posted by wheelieman at 7:45 AM on June 22, 2010

The only drawback to having a fantastic post like this prepared ahead of time for the anniversary is you're missing links to other commemorations like this essential discussion of the game by the Rock Paper Shotgun chaps.

Awesome post, Your Holy Guiltiness.
posted by straight at 8:06 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

These piano covers of the game music are just wonderful.
posted by lholladay at 8:25 AM on June 22, 2010

"go in and go in and go in and go in like the U.S. marshal and his 3 daughters"

OK. I LOLed.

Great post. There may be a reason why there aren't that many comments in here. I thought the game was fucking HARD. If you like the stealth approach to FPS play, it's tops, especially for its time. Unfortunately for me, I like stealth games, I'm just no good at them. :| Fire away!

With the new Deus Ex, X-Com, and Starcraft coming out, I'm going to be spending a lot of money repurchasing old games that I lost the physical media for so I can replay the classics.

I wouldn't worry about it. I picked up the PS2 game 6-7 years ago for $5. There are multiple copies selling on ebay right now for $0.99. I think you should be able to afford some "classics." :D

Further, it makes what I consider one of the Big Mistakes in shooter-type designs... every gun you have, in the beginning, doesn't shoot straight.

Agreed. The difficulty needed to ramp up more slowly, but for me it was pretty hard all the way through. Now that you mention it, though, I do remember extreme difficulty shooting in the first levels and saying "fuck, just get through it, it's the first level!"

Of that era (around Y2K), the only game that was better was No One Lives Forever.

Interesting. I remember playing the demo on PC and not giving it much of a chance. Maybe I'll see if I can score a cheap PS2 disc somewhere.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:34 AM on June 22, 2010

Further, it makes what I consider one of the Big Mistakes in shooter-type designs... every gun you have, in the beginning, doesn't shoot straight.

In the beginning, your rookie character is the one who can't shoot straight, not your weapons. Over time, you can improve your shaky, inaccurate aim by adding telescopic and laser sights to them or by putting earned skill points into your expertise with particular firearm categories. The game's breakthrough in FPS realism was a simple wavering firing reticle. My only complaint is that it isn't possible to steady your weapon on an improvised gun rest. To this day, I've yet to encounter a better simulation of what it's really like to aim a gun. (Disclaimer: Playing a video game is absolutely nothing like aiming a gun.)

Also, how eerie in retrospect is the game's Twin Tower-less backdrop of Lower Manhattan's 2052 skyline? Lead designer Harvey Smith explained in a later interview:
I don't know if everyone knows this but if you fire up the original Deus Ex and you run around in Liberty Island when we made the skyline in the background we had pieces with the Twin Towers and pieces for the other parts of the city and for New Jersey. The texture memory was so high that I couldn't use it all. I took one of the pieces and put it on one side, flipped it and put it on the other. So I made New York out of one half of the city so the Twin Towers were out.

When people complained, we just explained that it had been destroyed by terrorist attacks. We start the game with the Liberty Island statue having been destroyed by terrorists a few years before. We just said that the towers had been destroyed too.
Although the game went into development well after the 1993 attempted World Trade Center bombing, its coincidental prescience about a 9/11-like terrorist attack put it ahead of many real-world counterterrorisms expert at the time.
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:39 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Although the game went into development well after the 1993 attempted World Trade Center bombing, its coincidental prescience about a 9/11-like terrorist attack put it ahead of many real-world counterterrorisms expert at the time.

I remember a lot of "Deus Ex is fiction, right?" talk back around 2003-2004 or so.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:51 AM on June 22, 2010

This remix of one of the Hong Kong tracks is unusual as it was done with the approval / collaboration of composer Alexander Brandon. (There's an interview with Brandon as well.)
posted by structuregeek at 9:18 AM on June 22, 2010

The level I always remember is the dockyard. The aim is to get into a secure section of a Navy dockyard and thence onto the Chinese freighter PRCS Wall Cloud.

One play through, I had specialised in the tech skills. So I picked a lock to get into the dock offices, sneaked around, and hacked a security camera to avoid the alarm. Found a data pad carelessly lying around with a password on and used that to open the gates. Then dived into the water (avoiding the guards on the dock), and used the swimming aug (not that useless after all Mr Yahtzee!) to swim underneath the ship and climb up the far side (where there were no guards!).

Another play through, I had good standard weapon skills plus a heavily modded sniper rifle. So I climbed up the outside of the dock gate, broke into the air ducts and crawled around to emerge on the top of the wall on the far side. From there, I took out as many guards as I could see with the rifle. They ran about and tried to shoot me back but from that distance they couldn't hit a barn door. I dropped about half a dozen without moving. "Oswald was a fag."

The third time I specialised in heavy weapons and made JC into more of a tank. So having blown up the robots with the GEP and annihilated the guards with the assault rifle, my actions had led to the guards coming through from the other side, leaving the door open. They shot at me, but with armour and the ballistic protection aug I took little damage and dealt with them easily. "Hasta la vista".

(Some details might be wrong. It's been a while since I last played - last time I tried to be as non-lethal as possible but got stuck in Hell's Kitchen where I kept getting trapped in the basketball court having alerted the soldiers who kept turning up en masse. My previous save was too far back for me to be bothered reloading)
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Oswald was a fag."

I would like to politely ask you not to do that.
posted by Riki tiki at 9:50 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

It was a Usual Suspects reference, but apologies anyway if I overstepped the line. Mods feel free to edit that out or delete my comment.
posted by Electric Dragon at 9:55 AM on June 22, 2010

It is a shame John Romero got his stink on this game. I avoided it entirely because it was an Ion Storm product. Despite the fact that it was produced by another team in another office, the whole studio seemed to be a joke at the time.
posted by iloveit at 10:17 AM on June 22, 2010

It is a shame that you let the fact that it was from a studio that had Romero as one of the founders deny you the pleasure of playing it.

(that said, I admit, I only got to the Hong Kong part, and not very far in it, in fact, I can't remember what happened -- I think my hard drive failed or something. *sigh*)
posted by symbioid at 10:29 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've been living in the NYC area for nearly 7 years now; it was only late last year that I decided to make a trip to the Statue of Liberty. Part of the "you can visit the island at night!" thing they were doing.

When I got down to Battery Park, I made my way down near the waterfront to where the ferries pick up from, and only then did I realize that I was staring at Castle Clinton, where I had tried to recover the Ambrosia countless times.

I looked around in vain for a vending machine with a keypad next to it.

It says a lot about the game that it had stuck with me that long - so that the sight of something familiar from the game triggered a pretty massive flashback.
posted by Remy at 10:51 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Nano-swords don’t run out of ammo.
posted by Artw at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

Further, it makes what I consider one of the Big Mistakes in shooter-type designs... every gun you have, in the beginning, doesn't shoot straight.

I on the other hand love the idea of a game that (at least to start with) treats a gun as a scary, unwieldy, difficult thing to use. A game where just drawing or holding a gun is a big deal, and actually firing it at someone is a major dramatic moment.

It doesn't make much sense for super-agent JC Denton to have any difficulty with a gun, however. I think it only works if you see Deus Ex as making the statement: The weapon accuracy in almost all video games is ridiculously unrealistic, especially when moving. Even a police officer with basic firearms training is only this accurate (JC Denton at the beginning of the game) when trying to move and shoot at the same time.
posted by straight at 11:32 AM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I just don't get the hype about Deus Ex. Sure, the first level was great, but then I couldn't get on the boat. What's up with that?
posted by TBAcceptor at 11:32 AM on June 22, 2010

I just don't get the hype about Deus Ex. Sure, the first level was great, but then I couldn't get on the boat. What's up with that?

You have to buy the game.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:38 AM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

straight: sure, I can buy that. But even crouched and stationary for a long period, your accuracy in the beginning is ridiculously bad. Given time to aim, I can do better myself with a Splatmaster (very basic paintball pistol) than JC can with a firearm.

On the run? It's about right. But crouched and aiming?
posted by Malor at 11:44 AM on June 22, 2010

I think they mostly wanted to make sure that you're not able to run, stop for an instant to pop off a shot, and then run some more. If you want to be pinpoint-accurate, you need to spend some time lining up your shot.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:56 AM on June 22, 2010

RPS have gone a bit Deus Ex mad today. This made me laugh.
posted by permafrost at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2010


I don't remember having a prohibitive level of trouble with firearm accuracy in the early stages of Deus Ex. But then I think first time through I took the non-lethal talk pretty seriously and did a lot of skult-and-prod work, so it wasn't as much of an issue.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:17 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

But crouched and aiming?

It's not hard in the least to take out all the guys on the first level with tranq darts on the first shot. You just have to be patient. I found the lack of pinpoint accuracy refreshing. Besides, there are so many other ways to play the game that you can go the whole game with only having shot a weapon a couple of times.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:25 PM on June 22, 2010

Oh, man. I have a fairly large library of console games dating back to the last generation. But aside from KOTOR, Deus Ex is the only one I consistently replay. I've probably played it start to finish at least a dozen times. It came out when I was in college, and at that time I played console FPSes almost exclusively. Deus Ex really opened my eyes, made me realize how much could be done with what even then was looking like a fairly stale genre. It also introduced me to RPGs, and while I've never embraced the old-school JRPGs, almost all of my favorite games are some combination of action/shooter and RPG. Other than perhaps Fallout 3 (the only game I've played as much Deus Ex) though, none of them seem to have mixed the two so well. Especially the lackluster sequel, which is why I'm not getting my hopes up about the new one.

Ah well, there's almost New Vegas to look forward to.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:25 PM on June 22, 2010

Er, there's at least New Vegas to look forward to, that is.
posted by Rangeboy at 1:26 PM on June 22, 2010

The thing I enjoyed the most about Deus Ex wasn't the story, but rather the incredibly well-designed branching levels. There was almost always more than one way to reach the same goal, and each route took you through a unique part of the map. What's more, not only did the routes have their own unique sights, items, and intel, but they were also well-balanced in difficulty against each other, which gave the player incentive to explore and experiment instead of always using a consistent approach. It never felt like you were just choosing from a small set of local options (take this door, or this vent, or even this window!), like you do in so many other games that offer you "choice".

In fact, the only other game I've ever felt this way about was Super Mario 64, which Warren Spector appears to have been greatly influenced by:

"Warren Spector, former lead designer at Ion Storm Inc., stated it was 'not possible to squeeze this much gameplay into a single game' and 'no game has done a better job of showing goals before they can be attained, allowing players to make a plan and execute on it'. He also praised the exploration aspect of the game, commenting that '[allowing players to] explore the same spaces several times while revealing something new each time is a revelation'." [Wikipedia]
posted by archagon at 1:59 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, my point was, thanks for linking to the design docs! I look forward to reading them.
posted by archagon at 2:01 PM on June 22, 2010

Rangeboy, I mention this every time the conversation is about the FPS and RPG genres having hot sex followed by babies, but get Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines and the fan patch that fixes all the bugs and restores and finishes the unfinished content that was left in the code. It blends FPS and RPG very well.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:04 PM on June 22, 2010 [4 favorites]

I have heard this... on the other hand, the title says "Vampire: the Masquerade" in it - surely that involves a certain amount of teenagery emo Anne Rice crap, which is of course totally different from teenagery emo cyberpunk crap? Also, and more importantly, will the patching work with a Steam version?
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on June 22, 2010

Pope, agreed. VTM: Bloodlines with patches is a sublime experience.

Deus Ex... well, it's a landmark, and very influential, and ahead of its time, and has lots of strong points.... but damn it's got some honking great flaws too. Ugly graphics, ugly architecture, robotic and/or terrible voice acting, transparently gamy spatterings of vents and loot and keycards, often shonky gameplay...

I think it's the worst great game, if that makes sense.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:15 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

PopeGuilty, thanks for the recommendation, it definitely looks like the kind of thing I like. Sadly, I'm a console kiddy whose aging MacBook is barely good enough for reading Metafilter. If they hadn't ported Deus Ex to the PS2, I probably never would have played it.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:21 PM on June 22, 2010

Artw: Yes, it works fine. Get the patch that adds the unfinished content - there's a hilariously minor religious war over which patch is best - ignore it, is my advice.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:25 PM on June 22, 2010

Bloodlines really doesn't have much angst. There's a few angsty people, but you're by no means required to like them.

The other thing is that Bloodlines' voice acting is superb, especially the VA work by Phil Lamarr and John Dimaggio (who you may recognize as Hermes Conrad and Bender "Bending" Rodriguez). Also, when you're talking to people, they move. They lean back and forth, they genture, they make eye contact, they smirk- hell, if you pay attention, the Prince, despite being right about your height, almost always tilts his head back a bit.

It's a cult classic, but if it had been released two months later (i.e. after more polishing and not on the same day as Half-Life 2), it would be one of the classics of PC gaming.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2010

Steam just put 2 Deus Ex games on sale for ~$5.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:13 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

So, should I get 2 just for the hell of it? Or remain pure?
posted by Artw at 3:14 PM on June 22, 2010

I thought Deus Ex 2 was a pretty good game. I understand where the haters are coming from, with the small maps and the general dumbing-down. Yet it carried on the spirit of the original Deus Ex to a greater degree than anything else I can think of, except possibly for Bloodlines. But Bloodlines doesn't offer as much flexibility as it initially seems to.
posted by Western Infidels at 3:23 PM on June 22, 2010

I really liked the cyberpunk/dystopia feel to the whole thing. There was always the chance that they'd blow the script and it'd turn out to be a joke, but they continued playing it straight and it really worked. Cybernetics, Men in Black, black helicopters, gang warfare (the Triad), genetic manipulation (greasels & karkians), the Illuminati and even the greys which made a kind of sense as it fits with Area 51 and all the conspiracy theories.
In the catacombs of Paris, Chad gives a speech that I thought was really well done. Not just because it fits with the story, but it actually made a sort of sense in regards to the superpower's justifications of the curtailing of certain liberties because of this handy excuse. Best speech in the game, imho...

Chad (talking to JC Denton)
"(...)Silhouette is not a military group. Our attacks are symbolic, intended to influence the public. We publicize certain things, like the Statue of Liberty bombing. It's just so fitting that the American government would destroy the gift of freedom we gave your country almost 200 years ago -- and then try to blame it on us! The rhetoric in Washington has done more to defeat liberty than all the armies and police forces in the world. When government surveillance and intimidation is called "freedom from terrorism" or "liberation from crime," freedom and liberty have become words without meanings.
This war all around us is being fought over the very meanings of words. Just as Bakhtin described the novel as a competition between various "languages," so we describe culture itself, which thrives upon convulsion and upheaval. Culture, by definition a shared territory of meaning, inspires conflicts far more destructive than any dispute over territory on the Earth's surface. Meaning does not exist a priori. It is order imposed by individuals with arsenals of communication devices. Every inscription, every utterance, every gesture seeks to dominate the plain of meaning. Real violence is only an extension of this process."

I was looking through my old games trying to find a savegame disk and of course I found my copy of Deus Ex. It's been staring at me for a week now - and now I'll have to play it. For old time's sake, and because for all the low-rez textures and blocky models, it's still pretty good, dammit, even though I've got like 4 other games going at the same time.

No One Lives Forever 1 & 2: for those who were thinking of trying them, they are really good. Funny and clever dialogue, exotic locations, a scene in which you fall out of a plane without a parachute and have to catch up to someone to steal theirs and fend of baddies at the same time, an evil space station, Morocco ("You look like you need a monkey."), Japan, Akron Ohio, Germany, a shipwreck, a fight against ninjas in a trailer park in the middle of a tornado (no. really. it's awesome.), and evil mimes. The first game got game of the year awards from PC Gamer and Gamespy among others, and the sequel "A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way", to quote the wiki, "(...) won several awards, including Game of the Year from Gamespy. It also received a nomination for the prestigious Excellence in Writing Game Developers Choice Award, but lost to Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell." Link.
posted by Zack_Replica at 3:25 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Just sold a co-worker on buying it. Hurrah!
posted by Artw at 3:32 PM on June 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Zack, that sort of thing is a big part of what makes me love Deus Ex. Similarly, the conversation with the bartender at the Lucky Money, where he argues in favor of the neo-libertarianism Deus Ex's Hong Kong operates under, while JC argues for the US's regime of regulations and police powers. Or hell, the conversation you overhear at one point where two UNATCO soldiers are arguing over whether the people or the leaders are more important to protect.

Deus Ex wants you to think. It doesn't just want you to think about its puzzles and plot- it wants you to think about big ideas and issues. And that's why it owns.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:49 PM on June 22, 2010

Pope - for sure, it's probably why it's such a lasting game because not only did it do a lot of things with upgrades and weapons and everything, but the script is huge. I just chucked that into Word unedited and it's 585 pages / 147,628 words, which is a really impressive lot of writing. It's all smart too - almost based in reality and a nasty world that it takes little effort to imagine coming true. Violence, pollution and pandemics and the rich getting the cures and the poor getting the shaft. It really hits a nerve and makes you want to keep playing to see how you can influence the outcome. Clever stuff.
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:14 PM on June 22, 2010

Ha! So of course I started a new game this afternoon after reading this thread, and in the very first level I found a hidden door with a medbot behind it! I'd never found that in any of my previous games.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:24 PM on June 22, 2010

First set of crates?
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on June 22, 2010

Does the metafilter hive mind know a good way to run DE on the Mac? Because I miss me some JC Denton action.
posted by ChrisR at 4:35 PM on June 22, 2010

First set of crates?

Yeah. And looking more closely, it's actually labeled "medical" or something, so it's not really hidden. But in my eagerness to take out the NSF troops, I'd never noticed it before.
posted by Rangeboy at 4:58 PM on June 22, 2010

Does the metafilter hive mind know a good way to run DE on the Mac? Because I miss me some JC Denton action.

I suspect it'll probably work okay in VMWare Fusion. Fusion has 3D acceleration support now, and it's even reasonably fast. Macs tend to be underpowered for video, and the Fusion translation layer will slow things down even more, but the game is ten freaking years old. Most Macs running Fusion should still be like ten times faster than anything you could buy in 2000.

If you're on one of the slow Macs with Intel GMA graphics, you might have some issues, but I suspect anything with a discrete video card should work.

I gather Parallels also has 3D support, but I don't know how good it is.

Aimed at the thread as a whole: Bloodlines is really good, and it's worth several playthroughs. As someone mentioned upthread, it's not as flexible or open as Deus Ex, because there's a lot of unavoidable combat that's quite difficult. If you don't have a combat-tuned character, the game becomes extremely hard to finish.

It's not the stupid emo vampire crap of the last few years. You will do no sparkling. Instead, you will strut, skulk, or gibber, depending on your archetype. Most families of vampires are quite dark, and one clan is actively deformed to the point that if mortals see you, they will panic and flee, causing you potentially severe problems. The game is quite different depending on what clan you choose, and how much humanity you try to retain.

Malkavians are a lot of fun for the second or third playthrough, because they're all as mad as the March Hare. They see more than other vampires, but have trouble expressing what they see in a useful way. If you don't know the plot, you won't understand some of the things your character is saying, but once you're familiar with what's going on, you can grin at the interesting but useless insights your crazy boy/girl is having. You end up seeing a lot more of the underlying story and characters than you do with the other clans.... but only if you already know what the story is.

It's one of the true classics, and remains very playable. Just remember to go combat, because you'll have a hell of a time if you don't. The manual says that firearms aren't as good as swords, but this isn't true. A heavily gun-oriented character starts weak, but ends up being an absolute monster in the late game.
posted by Malor at 7:02 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've probably played the game around a half-dozen times. I can practically speed run Hong Kong. But the last time was the only time I've ever actually finished it. I always found myself in the same spot on the last level without either enough skills or tools to go any further. I rectified it this last time by going big on electronics and picks early and finally made it through, though.

(I also used the late-game upgrade exploit just for the fuck of it.)

I did find out in some of my readings the last time that's it's possible to save your brother. I didn't know that. I'll have to try it next time.
posted by Cyrano at 7:43 PM on June 22, 2010

Deus Ex (still pronounced in my head as Juice Ex), NOLF and Bloodlines are my favourite games of all time. This is my sort of thread.

One of the things I remember about Dues Ex is that it had a cheat code 'thereisnospoon' which replaced all of the textures with a matrix-like scrolling glyphs (didn't read all of the links in the OP, so may have already been mentioned). Made the game completely unplayable, but looked very cool anyway.

It's a million years since I last played it, and I no longer have a PC these days to even play it on (let alone a gaming PC), but many things about the game still stick with me, from the various computer networks you could hack into to the challenge of killing those ED-209 style robots if you didn't have a good heavy weapons skill (or whatever the equivalent was). I think it was also the first time I heard the term 'universal constructor'.

Are there any recent games which do the same FPS/RPG blend? Mass Effect has certain elements of it, but not nearly to the same extent. Would love to play something like this again.
posted by damonism at 8:35 PM on June 22, 2010

Okay, I'm convinced to try Vampire. I used to play the tabletop, after all. only has Redemption, but it looks like Steam has Bloodlines. Goodbye, evenings and weekends!

Gangrel FTW
posted by lholladay at 8:51 PM on June 22, 2010


If memory serves, there's actually another crate-encased medbot on Liberty Island, between the corner where you can eavesdrop on the two NSF discussing Gunther Hermann and the ethics/efficacy of mechanical augmentation and the bunker with the weapons modifications in it.

In General

As I'd briefly considered posting a Deus Ex anniversary thread myself, I'm glad to see one composed, and given such great research and framing. Thank you, Pope Guilty.

Several months ago I began sifting through the conversation files (which include both binary and plain-text content), and discovered therein threads of conversation in the first mission - which I must have played through ten times - that I simply hadn't discovered. Case in point: After the player completes the mission of retaking the statue and returns to UNATCO, Paul will be standing outside the doors, and will offer a varying critique of your performance. If you completely screw shit up, and kill the NSF commander in cold blood after he has verbally surrendered, Paul will begin his critique by calling you an... well, I can't remember exactly, but it's something starting, ending or wholly composed of "ass."
posted by The Confessor at 9:26 PM on June 22, 2010

If you're playing Bloodlines, put a few points in Brawl early on. It's stronger than guns in the early game, and your chance to feed on the unwilling (a powerful move in combat) is based on it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:24 PM on June 22, 2010

Confessor, the line is "You're a complete jackass." No greeting, no hello. Just "You're a complete jackass."
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:26 PM on June 22, 2010

I was going to add a comment similar to Pope Guilty's... you want some hand-to-hand skill early on, and it does stay useful later.

Also, if you're installing fresh, don't forget the community patch. It improves the game quite markedly.
posted by Malor at 2:17 AM on June 23, 2010

Anyone know if DE and/or Bloodlines works on Win7?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:19 AM on June 23, 2010

Bloodlines... carrying on the spirit of Deus Ex? That's a new one on me. I liked it, mind you (and truth be told, I am fond of the original Vampire: TMR game, warts and all).

Invisible War haterz: does it get better? I admit to giving it about 45 min of play before dumping it unceremoniously in The Box of Shame.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:22 AM on June 23, 2010

EndsOfInvention: Anyone know if DE and/or Bloodlines works on Win7?
I played Bloodlines on Vista with no special tweaking beyond the community patch. Microsoft has some sort of claim that it runs under 32-bit and 64-bit 7.

The recently updated guide to running Deus Ex on modern systems (linked in the post) mentions "Vista or later."
posted by Western Infidels at 10:59 AM on June 23, 2010

Redemption was a godawful psuedo-Diablo clone which had almost no respect for its source material. It was a hack-and-slasher, and a terrible one.

Bloodlines works fine on 7, though there's a fix out there that you'll want if you have more than 3GB RAM. There's links in the post for making Deus Ex play nice with modern systems, the "make the game look and run better" links.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:04 AM on June 23, 2010

Oh, and no. I played about six hours of Invisible War back in 2006 or so and it does not at any point get better. It is aggressively mediocre.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:05 AM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Anyone know if DE and/or Bloodlines works on Win7?

Bloodlines has a math error that prevents it from running on systems with more than a certain amount of RAM... I don't remember if it's 2 gigs or 4. It needs an additional single-byte patch to work in that case.

And I've played all the way through Invisible War at least once, and partway for sure a second time, and at no point does it ever get particularly good. It's not terrible or anything, but it's nothing like its predecessor.

Thief 3, on the other hand, using the exact same engine, is excellent.
posted by Malor at 2:33 PM on June 23, 2010

Diablo clone? I have played Redemption and I have played Diablo and I cannot make sense of the comparison. You have an inventory? That's about it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:03 PM on June 23, 2010

You have an inventory and you run around dungeons click-attacking things and casting spells. It's a hack-and-slasher with stats. Oh, and sometimes you walk around and talk to people, but what you say to them has only the vaguest effect on anything- maybe you lose humanity for saying unpleasant things.

Come to think of it, if the combat was turn-based instead of Diablo-style clicking, it would be a JRPG.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:45 PM on June 23, 2010

This game is what convinced me, at an early age, that the only workable form of government is a totalitarian dictatorship run by a benevolent machine intelligence.
posted by heathkit at 2:37 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

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