I’ve been a while getting there but I put in a long session last night and managed to finish Deus Ex. I start out being dropped at the petrol station by Jock. Tiffany is being held hostage here by MJ12 so I need to make a silent approach to ensure her safety.
Some bums are loitering around outside having been kicked out of the station when MJ12 took it over. One of them gives me the sewer key which sounds like a good way to get in. Improbably, Sandra Renton is out here also after a series of misadventures.
The station is on the top of a hill. Unless there is a super jump ability I’ve missed I can’t see any way up there other than the sewers which I now take.
I have to carefully plan my route through the station to get to Tiffany without alerting the guards. I end up climbing onto the roof of the adjacent building and jumping over to the next one so I can drop through a hole in the roof.
I drop into the middle of Tiffany’s guards and take them out in a brief fight before rescuing Tiffany. She gives me directions and plans for the ocean base which will be my next stop. Before then I need to clear any remaining guards so that we can get Tiffany out of here safely.
The plan works and we drop Tiffany off at the air base before I head for the ocean lab.
I find myself at a submarine base. I need to work my way through here to reach a mini sub and take this to get to the labs themselves.
All the time I’m down here I keep getting messages from Helios who also appears to want me to get the UC plans.
A bit of exploring later and I take a long lift down to the crew level.
The UC schematics are guarded by a giant spider bot which I entirely fail to get a screenshot of but I do destroy it at close range with my sword. The trail of bodies around here suggest how dangerous it is but Deus Ex doesn’t appear to concentrate too heavily on combat and by this stage of the game a combination of sniper, assault rifle and nano sword is absolutely lethal in nearly all circumstances. I upload the schematics and we should now be able to build our cure.
Page pops up on the handy communication system and lets me know that Helios intercepted the schematic so they can now fix their own UC. He also points out that he can adapt the virus easily so we would have to keep adjusting the cure.
I’ve got to get all the way out now to meet Jock but I’m going to be entertained on the way by the return of Simons who has just come in on a sub of his own.
I meet up with Simons on the way out of the base. It’s a tough but brief fight. I use the assault rifle on him as he is using a plasma rifle which is far too dangerous for me to attack him at close range. I have to withdraw and use my healing ability after his initial attack but I take him out in the end.
Unlike all the mechs he doesn’t explode but he doesn’t have anything too interesting on him other than his gun which I leave behind. I’ve not invested any skill in heavy weapons so it would probably be wasted if I took this.
I have to take out a diver on the way out. This is the first and only one of these I’ll see in Deus Ex.
I make it to the helicopter but Page has taken desperate measures and is launching a nuclear missile at the Vandenberg base. I have to get out there and stop the launch sequence.
The base is a lot smaller than I was expecting and using the code Page provides me with, I’m quickly in place to abort the launch. After that I then reprogram the missile to point it at Area 51.
Page comes on the air to say we are celebrating prematurely. I get sent to the missile itself to make sure no one interferes with the launch. If Page had just kept his mouth shut he would have been a lot better off.
I’m ambushed on the way to the missile in a long corridor. This is no real challenge as the hoard of troops just rush straight at me. I back off round the corner, toss in a LAM and it takes out all but one of the troops crowded together in the small area. It’s a short walk to the missile bunker from here. There is a guy on a cherry picker who I need to snipe to stop him aborting the missile launch.
Page is still safe in his underground bunker and doesn’t appear to be too worried about Area 51. I meet up with Jock and decide to go straight there to take him out. He takes off as the missile launches behind us.
I’m dropped off at Area 51. Tong is back on my communications and is recovering from the virus. The bunker is protected by as sniper who is very easily taken out and a few bots who are more trouble. The bunker itself has massive blast doors and I’ll need to find a way through these.
I blow up one bot and sneak past another to make my way to a large warehouse. There are a few agents in here around a burning barrel. I snipe two of them quickly and use my sword on the third. This nets me a tower key and I also find and talk to a hiding soldier. He tells me the logon details to open the blast door and that I’ll need to use these at the top of the tower.
I make my way up the tower. The biggest problem here is a cunningly place LAM on the wall near the bottom of the ladder. I can just deactivate it if I jump up but climbing the ladder is certain death otherwise. I use the computer at the top open the blast doors and make my way into the bunker.
When I get in the bunker I have a branching path with a bot on each branch. I have some LAM’s left to deal with the bots, then take the right branch to activate the elevator and go back down the other to ride the elevator down into the bunker. The bunker is huge and I’m going to have to make my way to sector 4 in order to find Page.
I start making my way there and get a talk from Everett via one of the communications systems. I’ll be getting more of these as the game offers me some choices of endings. Everett wants me to destroy Page but save the facility and basically put the Illuminati (with me as a part) back in charge of humanity. This isn’t the most tempting of offers as I don’t know enough about Everett. He doesn’t strike me as entirely selfless. On the other hand he could probably do a better job of running things than the likes of Gordon Brown.
Page is looking a bit different these days and is still confident about my failure. He tells me that he had my parents killed and sends up the guy who did the job in a lift. This is just a standard fight rather than anything unusual.
Tong is the next one who tries to talk me over to his side. He wants me to destroy the entire facility, destroying all world communications in the process. This would lead to a new dark age of sorts but also a chance to rebuild with local government. I’m unclear as to why we would be so unable to communicate just by destroying this facility and it doesn’t bear close scrutiny but the idea is an interesting one. This is a more tempting offer than Everett’s.
I would have to use the reactors to destroy the facility by overloading them and then stopping the coolant flow. I find the coolant pumps but I’d need to do this stage last.
There are aliens with have been grown from DNA from Roswell running around here. They are the alien equivalent of monkeys with no intelligence/education and attack on sight. They die with a single headshot but are quite dangerous in the meanwhile.
Helios wants me to meet with him next. I have no choice as he won’t open the doors until I speak to him so I have to make my way to his location.
The various sides try to talk me over to their viewpoint while I head up to see Helios.
Helios wants to take over the job of governing humanity and is already starting to do it. He wants me to join with his systems so he is able to do the job properly. This is another interesting offer and a dispassionate and rational system to govern may be the best solution on offer. I have to deactivate the router uplink locks if I’m going to go for this option.
This is the option that Page wants for himself so that he merges and rules the world but Helios is adamant about choosing me instead.
Savage is the next one to talk to me as I make my way closer to Page. He is supporting Helios. He says that Helios has already outlawed the Triads and started improving things in Hong Kong and people are actually following its orders. This pretty much makes up my mind that this is the option I’m going to go for.
I get to Sector 4 and find a curious sight of some bodies floating in tanks. One of them is a Denton and Page comes on and says that this is where I was created. I speculated about being created in a tank at the start of a game and it certainly seems to be the case yet there has been a load of talk about my parents, etc. I never really do learn the exact truth of this but these guys in the tanks are fully grown so I think its safe to assume I never had a childhood.
I discover Page, but rather than the expected boss battle, he is hiding himself behind a force field while he prepares himself to merge with Helios. This leaves me free to try to follow whichever of the 3 routes I want but he does have himself tapped into the local UC systems and sends a constant stream of bots and alien hybrids at me while I’m down here.
There is a lot of this level to explore although most of it is optional depending on which of the choices I’m going for. I make my way to the uplink locks and activate them both. There isn’t much resistance once I figure out where they are but I do have to get through a very dangerous electrified area which takes a few attempts.
I now just have to make it back to Helios. The other factions try to talk me out of it on the way but they can’t send any resistance to stop me. I make it to Helios for the final cutscene.
I merge with Helios forming a new life form. I was expecting to be swallowed and lose my physical form but instead I keep my body but gain the power of Helios. I walk out of the chamber ready to rule the world. The game then ends with a very appropriate quote from Voltaire.
It’s an extremely satisfying ending, and the whole later stages of the game have been superb. The levels have been on a much larger scale than anything previously and the choice at the end is genuinely interesting and very much open to debate as to which is the best alternative. This has been a game that started shakily but has grown throughout with every new area being an improvement on what went before. The abilities system also allowed me to adapt the game to suit my style of play. Being able to do this is an impressive feat in itself, especially in a game of this age. The problem with the system is that it just took too long to get going and I might have lost interest in the game early on. The plot certainly got better as I got further but some of the “philosophical” conversations were a joke. You might just about be able to get away with this dialog if its written but having it read out by dodgy actors makes it painfully obvious how real people simply don’t talk like that.
The dialog perhaps tried a little too hard to be serious then, without the writing skill to carry it off. The actual plot was reasonable and above average for a game especially the ending. At no point was I hooked to Deus Ex though and as much as I’ve enjoyed playing through it but it hasn’t grabbed my attention and made me want to play for hours. I’ve also found myself skipping dialog at times or just reading it rather than waiting for people to finish speaking the lines.
The level design improved along with the plot which is what kept me going in this game. While the graphics were never ugly, they really do show their age now but some of the later levels still looked reasonable and were a lot more interesting to explore with loads of routes alternative areas and plenty of people and systems to interact with.
Overall, I can see why this game was regarded as a classic. Time hasn’t been especially kind to it though and it suffers from dodgy dialog, technical limitations and a very slow start. Both Underworlds, System Shock 1 + 2 and Bioforge were all better games and I’d recommend any of them before this. On the other hand I’ve never played a game that went out of its way quite so much to offer alternatives to the player and it’s a crying shame we don’t see more of this sort of thing in modern games as it works extremely well here. I’d really like to see this sort of gameplay with a more modern engine and I’ve got Deus Ex 2 on Steam so I’m tempted to play that next. I gather from some that it didn’t compare well to the original but I’d like to judge for myself as I’m suspicious that people might remember Deus Ex as being a better game than it actually was.
I’m going to hold off on any more posts or games now until I’ve figured out what I’m doing with my ISP and webspace. There are a few things to sort out yet but I’m almost definitely moving to FTTC and changing my ISP. If I have a limited amount of webspace which is also looking likely, my priority is going to be to keep up my scummvm hacks page rather than this blog. I’ll keep a backup of everything here at the very least. I can only see 2000 files in any folder due to a server limit so I’m going to have to move images out and then re-upload them afterwards to be able to get at the files. I’ll be getting on with that at some point in the next few weeks.
So this could be my last post and I’ve still not even played Lazarus. If that is the case then, I’d like to say a big thank you to anyone who has been following my ramblings for all this time and an extra special thank you to Origin and their ex-employees for all the games, which have been been so much fun to play through years after their release. Hopefully I’ll be back soon in a new place and if this blog is still around to post on I’ll stick the new address on here when I have it.