Friday, 2 November 2012

Skyfall'd - This Is The Way The World Will End

Alarm! Alarm! Alarm!

Red bulbs all around me and flashing at full pelt, there's a dead guy on the floor, and I'm trapped in here with him, in what looks like some kind of fancy hospital. Things are looking dire, and I'm not even at the 60 second mark in my Alpha Protocol caper. Will Neil escape and set the world to rights? Or is there likely someone else who could have done it better?

With the dead guy in the room securely deadened after a furious race to find the attack key, I had a moment to pause. Whilst alarms were still ringing, the response to such audio bedlam seems to only stretch one room beyond where the system was triggered, leaving lunch breaks and toilet visits in other parts of the facility thankfully unmolested. Either that, or the shear brute force of my single finger take-down was witnessed on CCTV all around the base, and guards are wisely keeping their distance.


After brutally assaulting the window with my fists due to the lack of more fire extinguishers, a short glance to the right bear fruit to an open door, and the sound of protest from my knuckles. Thanking the corpse on my exit for leaving me an escape route, I was free from my medical prison and thoroughly on the loose. Things were looking creepily vacant as I sneaked through the base, disabling alarms and bypassing computers. I must say whilst I'm on, that Alpha Protocol seems to have one of the more satisfying hacking mini games I've come across, as well as being the simplest. It taxes your mind to a tiny (but just enough) degree, and also resembles some kind of circuitry, maintaining the illusion of hacking something, whilst nudging just enough time sensitive brain tickling into the mix. Simply put, its a little maze.

Fresh from my mastery of hacking multi-billion dollar security systems, I was starting to get into the swing of things. I already had a fresh kill under my belt, and was slipping through the facility like a pro. My lack of field experience would still show from time to time, as when not obstructed by door lock, my stealthy navigation of doorways still required a little work.

Now we're talking! Emerging from my ward, I was now in a (rather nicely) lit lobby, draped in expensive spy things. This was clearly no ordinary hospital, and around me I could already sense the plot thickening. There were spy base looking panes of glass, and evil boss's lair style marble flooring, and HOLY SHIT I'M BEING SHOT AT! I would seem the lack of guards and plethora of hacking tutorials had dulled my senses, and I hadn't been as cautious as I might have been. To boot, the gaurds now offering bullets in my direction were clad in SUITS and SUNGLASSES (you're indoors guys, just a tip). Suits and ties together with guns usually mean they're good shots, and my skills were about to be tested. 

He shot my hair! Oh it's on.
Fearlessly forgetting the details of the challenge, the point of this blog, and the difficulty I had selected, I charged the suited, gun wielding professional with only my medical scrubs and lack of sense to protect me from the gun fire. In a direct contrast to my last social encounter, my take-down was as skillful, tactical and miraculous as I had hoped, and resulted in me liquidating the poor man's kidney to a red paste with a single flurry of blows. He might have avoided this if he hadn't chosen style over visual clarity, a lesson his partner was also reluctant to take on board as I acquired a weapon and set my sights on him.

OMG! Melee only!! Ban plx admin!!
His partner fell quickly with me now armed, and was subjected to multiple gun sho....wait. I'm wielding a tranquilizer gun? *RECORD SCRATCH* Not only has the almost totally ineffectual alarm system failed to stop me, but I'm now only faced with being knocked out as opposed to knocked dead? Intrigue! I'm assuming since I'm being held in such high regard (my hospital room was really nice) and obviously too valuable to riddle with painful bullets, I must already be a person of interest! More interestingly however, is this mission one I can fail? If I get shot to pieces, will I awake back on my hospital bed, ready to escape all over again? Hopefully, an avenue I won't have to expl......uh oh. 

Fresh from flooring the two alarm-ignoring suits, I was perhaps a little over cocky. My foot had officially become my door opening tool, and the sense of empowerment I was getting from my little blow pipe was perhaps somewhat inflated. As I slay another room blocking enemy, everything, suddenly, came to an end.

My entire 4 minute life flashed before my eyes as with gun in hand I charged into the next room, only to be met with a flurry of tranq darts. They must have been especially sharp as they fully pierced my torso, raising an eyebrow to the term "tranquilizer". Treated to a slow motion bullet riddling from my assailant, my mouth dropped as I came to several realizations, the most embarrassing of which was just how short this play-through had become. 

Well, that was that! In an unbelievable short play session (I hadn't even finished the tutorial ) Neil, international spy of danger, was brought to his knees, thoroughly and completely killed by tranquilizer darts. There was no resurrection, it was over. These tranq wielding goons had shot be to complete death, and I'll never know why they so non-lethally ended my life. Whilst watching my body tumble, a little shiver ran down my spine, bringing out a cold sweat, but we'll deal with that later.

I can only assume from my demise, that the evil-doers who destroyed those commuters in the desert will have gotten off scott free, realized their plans for, well, whatever it was, and succeeded in the destruction of the entire planet! If the average competence of (whatever's) agency's finest couldn't release himself from captivity, then they will have had a pretty easy going of it. With that, I leave you with this mangled embarrassment.

Die young, and leave a camp looking corpse.
In my tiny defense, my session with Alpha Protocol was plagued by a rather annoying bug which seemed to involve mouse smoothing. Whilst my FPS was consistently high and really smooth, moving the view around my failure of a character would result in the screen skipping all over the place at times, making aiming with a pistol hilariously hard despite using Gaming's Best Peripheral. Snooping round the netosphere heralded many similar frustrations, with many fixes, few working, and none from the developer. Had this have been fixable, I think I would have continued playing Alpha Protocol separate from this blog. Alas, it's just a little to much hassle (I know its a small bug, but it really does wreck it).

Playthrough: 25/10/2012
Difficulty:  Hard - Recruit
Time until death: More than 4 minutes, less than five.
Biggest Fail: Key-mapping. General recklessness.

Right, what do we have next............



  1. so were you really gutted when you died? Did it feel different?

  2. Do you mean different to when dying whilst playing normally? I guess so, but mostly just riddled with guilt as I'd barely been able to mine any kind of meaningful experience from the whole affair.

    I think on my next game I'll be much more thorough.

    Or NOT.

  3. Amnesia next! Man-up Neil, play it in the dark listening to Leonard Cohen, whilst thumbing thru a copy of Fortean Times!

  4. At the moment, I'm thinking I might get a laptop so I can play it in a park at lunchtime. Whilst eating cake.

    SPONGE cake.