At a Glance: It's a movie! No wait, it's a first person shooter! No, it's a role playing game! Hold on, maybe it's an action-adventure title! I've been racking my brains for the past three days, trying desperately to figure out what the hell Deus Ex is. Although I am unable to lump it into one broad, general category, I can say this much: it's a damn great game.
Developer: ION Storm (not the evil, pod-people division of ION Storm)
First of all, let me get this message across: the ION Storm team that developed Deus Ex is not the same team that was responsible for Daikatana, the game which, in all likelihood, could cause John Romero to be tried for war crimes against humanity. The Deus Ex team, headed by he underrated game designer smarty man Warren Spector, has stood out as a totally separate entity from the Daikatana team ever since day one. For example, when Romero was running around, copyrighting catchphrases and trademarking Daikatana home enema kits, the Deus Ex team was actually working. When the Daikatana team was playing Soul Caliber and posting offensive messages to public forums, the Deus Ex group continued to work. When Killcreek was out showing her breasts to various gaming magazines which have since gone bankrupt, Spector and his crew kept working. There was no hype, there were no massive amounts of publicity spewed into every available gaming orifice, there was simply a team of people dedicated to making the greatest damn game they could. As a result, Deus Ex has turned out to be one of the best and most engrossing games ever.
Deus Ex is one big, creamy nougat of conspiracy filled darkened rooms and global conflicts. You play the role of J.C. Denton, a cyborg full of nano-tech devices which allow him to perform "Bionic Man"-esque activities and be an all-around badass. After running around and killing various members of an underground resistance force, you soon begin to find out that UNATCO, the meglomaniacal company you're working for, is staffed by a bunch of real assholes. For one, they want to take over the entire world, and aim to do so by infecting large masses of people with a man-made virus they created. Also, they choose to equip you with a real shitty selection of weapons and tools before sending you out onto the streets, where you will be shot at by approximately 15,000 bad guys and indestructable robots with sentry guns. I'll never be able to figure out why these omnipotent, gigantic companies which FPS characters work for are always so damn stingy. I mean, how much would it really set back their annual budget of 150 million billion dollars if they gave you a good supply of effective weaponry before kicking your white ass out of their building and demanding you kill an army composed of enough people to fill Montana? Instead of providing you with a decent weapon, the armory will let you choose from three equally ineffective things:
They also usually offer a "nonlethal" selection. In Deus Ex, "nonlethal" means "worthless". For example, if you choose to use the crossbow and tranquilizer darts, you will end up dead in less than eight seconds. This is in part because you have to hit your target with about 600 arrows before he'll even be injured, and by that time every alarm in a five mile radius will have been set off. I think UNATCO secretly wants you to fail the whole time - how's that for a conspiracy?
As you progress through the game, the plot will become increasingly convoluted, and new rebel alliance groups will spring up about every 13 seconds. You'll need a flowchart just to know which rebel alliance group you're trying to contact or rescue each map. It doesn't really matter though; just remember to kill everything that causes your crosshairs to become red colored. You will also meet a wide variety of characters in the game, ranging from "Thug" to "Club dancer". There are also people with actual names, but if you get near them, you run the risk of having the game turn into a cutscene where obscene amounts of dialogue are read. Prepare to hit the ESC key repeatedly.
This is not my jury summons!
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