As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread:

[Let's Play] Deus Ex w/ GMDX Mod & OSP Rules - IN THE YEAR 2000

StollsStolls Brave Corporate LogoChicago, ILRegistered User regular
edited October 2021 in Games and Technology
The theme's already in your head, isn't it? Don't think about it, just ride the nostalgia. :cool:


Hello and welcome, all! It's been quite a while since I've done a proper Let's Play thread. Been in the mood to revisit some old and not-quite-as-old titles and see how they hold up, and why not kick things off with a legend of turn-of-the-century PC gaming? Deus Ex has a well-earned reputation for being eternally topical on top of its overall solid design. It certainly has flaws, but stands apart from its peers in a lot of important ways, and was always much, much more than the sum of its parts. 'Reinstalling' might be a tired meme, but the safe money says some of most of you are thinking about it right now.

Stolls, you absolute dinosaur, we all know Deus Ex is Actually Jesus 2 - why the interest now?

Well, I've gotten into streaming on Twitch for funsies (link in signature) and I always enjoy digging deep under the hood and trying to figure out how a game ticks. But mostly I'm trying to get better with off-the-cuff commentary, especially doing so in live gameplay. It's long been a problem that I talk faster than I think, have trouble filling dead air, and constantly trip over my own tongue. Thus, unlike my Disco Elysium playthrough this is mostly unscripted, with some at-length discussion and only the occasional planned bit of monologuing.

As for Deus Ex, it's chosen because of how well-known it is; it's easier to discuss gameplay and story elements as they happen and lets me focus on word choice, pacing, and not making too big a fool of myself. Mind you, there will still be digressions, derailed trains of thought, and the overall poor memory of someone who has to look up his own phone number from time to time. But I like to think that's part of the challenge, and I figure if I can't get past my awkwardness, then I can at least make it something I can work with.

So will it just be you rambling incoherently about a game you already know well?

Not at all! I'll be using the GMDX mod, which I'm passingly familiar with but have never actually tried. It adds a variety of features that add up to a markedly different experience, from the ways your skills work to the detection rules for AI to how you navigate environments. Inventory by default doesn't pause the game now, sight lines are longer, medbots have limited charges, JC can mantle over walls and other objects... a full list of changes would fill an entire page unto itself.


It's a lot, trust me.

That sounds reasonably rad. Anything else?

Just for fun, I'll also be using On Site Procurement rules: all gear (excepting augmentation canisters) must be dumped before getting on any vehicle, no matter the context. Naturally, this complicates progression, as every map begins with a scramble for the first weapon I can find. JC often has to run into an active firefight between opposing factions to grab a firearm, and skill points have to be balanced based on what I'm likely to find in-mission. In lieu of lockpicks, crates of TNT become as valuable as aug upgrade canisters. It's a mess, to be sure, but an entertaining mess.

Lastly, it's not an ironman run but I'll be doing my best to avoid savescumming where feasible. If it proves necessary or at least amusing to drag my bleeding torso to the nearest medbot, I shall do so - in fact, I've done exactly that already in Hell's Kitchen.


In my head I was hearing "Chariots of Fire" the whole time.

Can you convince me in five seconds whether a quirky longplay of a 21 year old game by some awkward doofus who's almost 40 is worth watching?

Well, that's a tall and weirdly specific order, but here's something from the first video:

Things only get better from there, though the definition of 'better' is an exercise I leave up to the viewer. Fair warning that I make a lot of awful puns and attempts at action movie quips, often getting killed doing so; my Dishonored playthrough got close to a 3:1 pun-death ratio (94 to 33). There is also viewer commentary, which, like me, ventures into curious digressions, pet peeves, and gacha habits like the filthy, filthy addict I am. Still, I do my best to keep things focused on the on-screen disaster - usually through dad jokes delivered by a man who'll be mentally fifteen to the bitter end.

What's the update schedule?

It's a project, to be sure. I'm currently playing in about 3-4 hour chunks on Saturday, cleaning up the footage over the following week: tallying up deaths and puns, fact-checking myself, trimming some backtracking and more rambly bits, and so on. After three nights so far I'm at the last mission before you leave New York for the first time, itself about 1/4 of the way through the game, so I'll be doing this for a while. The main playlist will always be available here, and I'll update the OP along with a separate for each night.

So! If all that sounds enjoyable, or at least tolerable, come with me and let's see if an old game still has something to teach us in 2021! Grab your trenchcoats and sunglasses, and remember your three C's of fighting conspiracies:


Current status: Night nine uploaded, cleared the Ocean Lab and left off at the missile base.

kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
Stolls on
Kristmas KthulhuJoolanderDisruptedCapitalistStormwatcherAkilae


  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night One: The Grim Darkness of 2052 As Imagined in 2000

    The first set begins with a cautionary tale about streaming Deus Ex in windowed mode. In a word, don't if you can help it. In the default settings everything was super dark and the gamma slider changed nothing at all; I suspect this was more a Deus Ex problem than GMDX. After some fussing we eventually correct this and it shows normally in-stream.

    But my woes weren't done there, oh no. As I explain in the next set, the recorded footage showed in fullbright, yet when used for editing showed the normal light levels. The edited footage was back to full brightness, so I edited it again correcting in advance, and then uploading to Youtube brought it down to the regular light level a final time - which, since I'd corrected it, was now dark. If you were wondering what that incoherent screaming from somewhere in the midwestern United States, that was probably me.

    Anyway! Night one - first few missions, closing in Hell's Kitchen. Let's get to it!

    Part 1 - The Soul of This Machine Has Improved
    - Opening assault on Liberty Island
    Part 2 - My Kingdom for a Candy Bar
    - Liberty Island wrap-up
    - UNATCO, first visit
    - Battery Park/Castle Clinton
    Part 3 - Half the Man I Used to Be
    - Battery Park/Subway
    - Hell's Kitchen Sidequests

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
    Kristmas KthulhuAkilae
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night Two: Albino Neo's Gonna Clean Up This Town

    With my gamma woes finally dealt with, we're free to finish Hell's Kitchen relatively without incident. Do note I don't count deaths as 'incidents', those are now a common occurrence. OSP restrictions on Realistic make things difficult enough, but GMDX throws some nasty curveballs along the way; among other things, poison water means business, and guard dogs can alert their handlers now.

    It remains amusing how normal JC is written, no matter what sociopathy the player demands of him. Yeah, he sounds like he guzzled down a Xanax-and-gravel cocktail a minute ago, but the actual words are about as AMERICA FUCK YEAH as one could expect back in 2000. Simons, by contrast, remains chillingly detached, and still has some of the most unsettling lines in the game.

    Part 4 - Helping the Socially Challenged
    - Hell's Kitchen/Smuggler
    Part 5 - I'm Doing My Part!
    - Hell's Kitchen/NSF Warehouse
    - UNATCO, second visit
    Part 6 - "There Are Families Living Down There"
    - UNATCO, second visit wrap-up (including the infamous interrogation not-quite-a-glitch)
    - Battery Park, second visit
    - Brooklyn Bridge Station/Mole People

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
    Kristmas KthulhuDisruptedCapitalistAkilae
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night Three: A Slight Conflict in the Workplace

    We push forward to the airfield and through the second visit to Hell's Kitchen, navigating such hazards as 'getting locked in an office I don't have keys for' and 'starting a massive firefight because I'm desperate for a LAM and hoping the guards are carrying one.' Let no one say that Deus Ex's jank-ass physics don't provide for hours of entertainment as you box tower your way to victory.

    On a more serious note, the confrontation on the 747 has only gotten more significant in my mind as time goes on. It's not just that the game quietly allows you to fight Anna at that point, or that it was patient enough to introduce and let you fight alongside her beforehand. The very nature of the scene asks a hard question of the character: how much can someone reasonably be expected to push back on an abuse of authority when they're the new face on the job? Sure, JC's theoretically a nano-augmented badass without peer. He's also hardly bulletproof at that point, and the organization he once believed in is now telling him to do something he knows is wrong. If it were written like a book, could he do it? If it happened for real, could you? I truly don't know if I could - and that's part of why, twenty-one years on, this game still has a lot to say.

    Part 7 - Office Firefights are Someone Else's Problem
    - Helibase/LaGuardia Airfield
    Part 8 - Controlled Demolition in Tight Quarters
    - LaGuardia Airfield/747 confrontation
    - UNATCO, third visit
    Part 9 - What's a Little Treason Between Brothers?
    - UNATCO, third visit wrap-up
    - Hell's Kitchen, second visit
    - NSF Headquarters
    Part 10 - At Least I Found the LAM I Needed
    - NSF Headquarters, wrap-up (boy did I die a lot here)
    - Escape to Battery Park

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited September 2021
    Night Four - All in the Name of Liberty

    After waking up in ultrajail, JC realizes he can do so much more with the 24 hours left in his life. He promptly yoinks some of UNATCO's best talent on his way out the door, planning his own start-up operation in China. MJ12, of course, takes a dim view of escaping property, and he doesn't exactly blend in when he gets there, but hey, being the world's most obvious secret agent worked for James Bond, right? Surely the nice celebrity with triad connections just really wants to help out some weird gwailo who's been in town for an hour.

    Hong Kong is deservedly one of the high points of the game. Wan Chai distinguishes itself from Hell's Kitchen with a far more open design, its streets narrow but its boundaries further out. Shops are open and people are out enjoying themselves, even if triad enforcers openly bribe police and violence lurks off the beaten path. The game does point the player to the Luminous Path compound, but trusts them with a greater degree of freedom to explore and learn. This also has plot purposes: in contrast to the preceding missions, your goal - find Tracer Tong - has a much less linear path to it, navigating a social and political landscape instead of the usual obstacles. Maggie Chow's true nature is more obvious if you've been asking around, and once again your objectives mask the options you truly have. It also fits with JC's break from UNATCO, as his Infolink buddies chime in less frequently, and he's encouraged more and more to think for himself.

    Part 11 - Thank You, 'Fail Open' Design
    - Secret MJ12 Facility
    Part 12 - Screw This, We're Off to China
    - UNATCO, final visit
    - MJ12 Helibase
    - Start of Hong Kong
    Part 13 - Deceit is the Same in Every Language
    - Hong Kong/Wan Chai and waterways
    - Tonnochi Road/Maggie Chow
    - By popular demand, we kill Louis Pan in the temple and gib the body
    Quick final note, I actually goof a bit at the end, forgetting to go back for the Dragon's Tooth and ending the set outside the Lucky Money. Will head back to Chow's to finish that up next time.

    Stolls on
    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night Five - China Will Grow Larger

    With all the fun exploration of Hong Kong out of the way, JC gets down to his cyberpunk bucket list: sorting out business with the triads, getting in touch with a local tech wizard, and committing IP theft against the overtly evil megacorp. Shockingly, the last of the bunch proves the most naive when a guy in body armor, a trenchcoat, and sunglasses walks in pretending to be the new intern. And on the day the boss is visiting, no less! At least we manage to get a couple drinks in before it's time to skedaddle back to New York.

    Other than its excellent level design and aesthetic, Hong Kong's end marks roughly the halfway point and has a good bit of narrative payoff. You're starting to get the real scope of the plot, and the supertanker you end up chasing feels suitably important yet also like one piece of a massive puzzle; the sidestory about the lunar mining complex and its tragic outcome is an example of another. JC goes from being on the run from the conspiracy to striking back at it, and the mission structure is UNATCO in miniature, giving the plot time to breathe a bit between objectives. It's also nice to have some of your UNATCO friends get to safety, and doing their part to help you fight the good fight.

    Also, I always really liked that Daedalus doesn't hide information from you. Unlike most examples of a mysterious benefactor, it earnestly tells you everything it can, and does so in clear, to-the-point language: "The Gray Death is a nanotechnologically engineered virus. You are immune, but others are not. You must locate the Universal Constructor used to create the Gray Death and destroy it." You might not yet know what it wants, but you learn to trust what it says, and it's another way the game lays its story tracks well ahead of your current objective.

    Part 14 - Get Down, then Literally Get Down
    - Recovering the DTS and meeting Tracer Tong
    Part 15 - What'd the Giant Ominous Hand Cost, Anyway?
    - Infiltrating VersaLife, first time
    Part 16 - They'd Never Expect a Second Break-In
    - Infiltrating VersaLife, second time
    - Finishing up Hong Kong, returning to Hell's Kitchen
    Part 17 - Back Home and It's Even Worse Now
    - Hell's Kitchen, final visit

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night Six - That Sinking Feeling

    Mother of fuck but this episode was brutal. The shipyards are not kind to an OSP run, requiring that you cross a lot of well-covered territory for so much as a crowbar. GMDX's changes to AI alone make this more of a problem, with a lot of open ground and long sight lines, and on top of this I went in wounded and with no energy. It's doable, to be sure, but you have to know exactly where to go and you have to want it pretty bad. In my case, it took an escalating series of crazy plans, up to and including baiting a milbot into some rocket fire. We do manage to make it to Paris, which at least has free wine all over the place to take the sting out, and at this point alcohol can't make my decision-making much worse.

    That aside, the first video handily demonstrates some of GMDX's changes to the AI. While guards can definitely see farther and react quicker, their vision depends heavily on lighting; I took fire immediately by lingering at the gate but could safely prowl around the courtyard, and hiding in the warehouse was wholly dependent on line-of-sight. They also laid down suppressing fire, camped the point of last visibility, and in general were much more formidable once alerted. That said, guards continue to react strangely to sound, and will respond almost identically to both footsteps and the player throwing a chair into a wall.

    There's also a curious detail about the superfreighter and its crew. Chinese troops are the majority of your enemies on board, but it also has American sailors mixed in and MJ12 troops on the dock. Logically MJ12 would have people on board, but the sailors have no special dialogue, while some of the Chinese speak as if they're part of the US coup attempt (referencing FEMA plans, talking about Simons). My guess is there were some minor late-in-development changes to the plot, and perhaps the team didn't have time to update the models as needed.

    Part 18 - Suffering for Two Feet of Metal
    - Brooklyn Naval Shipyards, mostly struggling to get a weapon
    - The pun/death ratio swings -wildly- in favor of death
    Part 19 - Unlicensed Anti-Maintenance
    - Finally we get on board
    - All weld points breached, ship scuttled
    Part 20 - The Land of Wine and Cats
    - Escaping the freighter
    - Meeting Dowd at the cemetary
    - Paris, Denfert-Rochereau
    - Stopped at catacombs entrance

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Night Seven - All She Wants To Do Is Dance

    Hardly one to let lockdown interfere with his tourism plans, JC continues through the catacombs in search of some anarchist troublemakers and the MJ12 goons hounding them. In an extreme example of opposites attracting, the leader of Silhouette is connected to the daughter of an Illuminatus, and said daughter has gone into hiding - at a club where literally everyone knows who she is. Luckily for all involved, JC's kleptomania and inability to detect simple lies doesn't derail things for long, and the two go digging through her mom's house for secrets. Also he gets blown up by a mine. There are gaps in his character sheet, you might say.

    Speaking of wacky mistakes, the second video spends a lot of time breaking into buildings by way of explosives (because I have to keep ditching lockpicks), and the results are memorable, to put it mildly. Emergent moments include police and MJ12 shooting it out, a drug dealer calmly watching as his bodyguard is fired upon, and police breaking into a random home and gunning down the occupant (who, ironically, was planning to fly to America and join a militia). Also, a viewer kindly informs me that said occupants' names are possibly a sly reference to a notable French work of erotic fiction, which apparently was written as an act of spite.

    Lastly, the DuClare Chateau remains a great level, and an excellent demonstration of the original's pacing. It's an important moment to breathe after locked-down streets and MJ12-infested catacombs, and does a lot with Nicolette's character in a relatively short amount of time. More broadly, by putting Everett at the end of a long quest chain, the player gets a lot of time to soak in the distinct atmosphere of Paris, which draws interesting contrasts with New York and Hong Kong. Patience is a key ingredient in making a game like this work, and its absence is a major reason why subsequent entries don't hold up as well.

    DX is showing its age, but I really do appreciate its core design more and more over time, and it always seems to have one more secret to uncover. :+1:

    Part 21 - An Idea is Not a Plan
    - Paris catacombs
    - Ends shortly after reaching the Champs-Elysees
    Part 22 - Breaking Paris
    - Champs-Elysees sidequesting and exploration
    - Lots of fun AI madness as we break into various buildings
    Part 23 - "My Little Prison for Eighteen Years"
    - Champs-Elysees, Club La Porte de l'Enfer
    - DuClare Chateau

    Stolls on
    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night Eight - Send Liars, Guns, and Money

    JC's adventures in Paris end the only way they can: by finding out it's easier to steal back Nazi gold than it is to break into an ATM. Meanwhile, the local Illuminati mastermind gives away all his secret plans in about fifteen minutes to some guy he just met, making it a total mystery how a more ruthless protege beat him at his own game. Curing the Grey Death requires a copy of the thing we blew up in China, and some US government scientists have kindly formed a garage band with this exact purpose. Alas, the situation there has gone from 'mostly fucked' to 'needs a newer, harder swear word levels of fucked'. Is it time for more carefully-aimed disposal of explosive ordinance? You bet it is!

    At launch I thought it was strange how quickly Everett's plans can be exposed and how little consequence there was in doing so, and that opinion hasn't changed much. Nonetheless, his home is another important place for the story to breathe - pretty much the last chance to do so. Morpheus and Lucius DeBeers still make excellent use of their single scenes, with some of the best lines in the game between them. And of course, fighting Gunther, while potentially quick, has far more weight behind it than any of the bosses in subsequent games. In-game history adds something that tie-in materials simply can't. We worked with him once. We killed his twisted, murderous friend. Of course it's going to be personal.

    Gameplay wise, GMDX adds some nasty surprises to the Cathedral: a well-hidden new building giving a sniper a long firing line, and MJ12 reinforcements that arrive after confronting Gunther. As I demonstrate in the second video, it also makes the ATM in the metro station almost impossible to access without alerting the cops. Vandenberg is more straightforward, reflecting that the game no longer has civilian areas or complex NPC factions to worry about. Still, a new side area in the tunnels has a tasty reward for a simple but rather unique puzzle.

    Also, to my embarrassment, I briefly confuse John St. John, voice of Duke Nukem, with John W. Galt, the original voice of Lo Wang. To my amusement, just the word 'Wang' was enough to get this restricted on Pastebin when I wrote it up at work. Regardless, I await my end by a mutually agreed-upon means of execution, though it's kinda funny that two of the more famous Build Engine games both had a John as their signature VA. Anyhoo, on with the show!

    Part 24 - All This Over Old Money
    - Paris, Knights Templar cathedral
    - Confrontation with Gunther
    Part 25 - Defined By the Habits We Keep
    - Escaping the cathedral
    - Paris metro station
    - Everett's home
    - New West Coast, start of Vandenberg AFB
    Part 26 - Blowing Stuff Up Counts As Science
    - Vandenberg AFB, clearing MJ12 presence
    - Tunnels
    - Stopped just inside X-51 Command Center

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • AkilaeAkilae Registered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Oh wow, an LP thread in this day and age! And for the Best Game Ever! Going to need to watch through this from the beginning!

    Akilae on
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    edited October 2021
    Night Nine - Destruction's Been Working For Us So Far

    Like a lot of independent startups, X-51 has promised a bit more than they can deliver. Their bootleg Universal Constructor is short the one doohikey it can't do without, and the leader's daughter was captured trying to get one. After merging AIs because why not, our hero agrees to mount a rescue in the guise of an exchange at a gas station, followed by taking a crack at the part himself. Of course, the Ocean Lab guarantees drops for everyone even if they didn't contribute, and Page thanks JC for the carry by sending Simons to convey his thanks in person. As fits the pattern of Deus Ex bosses thus far, this proves to be the least of JC's problems.

    While we're mostly done with civilian areas, there's still some important worldbuilding as the US situation worsens. The gas station sign infamously pegs prices at about $4 USD/gallon at the time of the coast-altering earthquake, and a newspaper in the Ocean Lab (odd place for it, granted) talks about US military and bureaucracy refusing to enforce nationwide martial law. I was surprised to see Sandra Renton make it this far out, since I'd never had her run off before, but here she's trying to get to Eugene (presumably Oregon) and encountering her share of trouble on the way. All this coupled with your mission, going into a badly damaged undersea lab, underscores the point: the United States is coming apart, and you're running out of time.

    Gameplay wise, the sub base wasn't too bad starting out without a weapon, but the gas station was tricky and the ocean lab was just brutal. A melee build can let you squash greasels with ease in the water, but I probably should've just tagged a certain datapad and swam hard for the checkpoint door. Simons is actually the easiest part of the level; even if you're not cheesing him, you'll have likely found enough weapons for a fighting chance. There's some black comedy in me dying to
    one of his diver pals
    right after one-shotting him, just because I hadn't found a crossbow yet.

    Ran into an odd crash when moving to the sub base, one that forced me to replay the gas station from a save at Vandenberg. Ended up cheating to breeze through it again, which worked, but I'm still not sure if it was GMDX or the game itself bugging out. Anyway, should be able to wrap all this up in the next set. Stay tuned! :+1:

    Part 27 - Anybody Else Wanna Negotiate?
    - Meeting Savage, fishing up Vandenberg
    - Gas station rescue (twice! Put the second one in Chipmunk Mode for funsies)
    Part 28 - Ten Fathoms Deep on the Road to Hell
    - New West Coast, Sub base
    - Ocean Lab (lots of deaths by greasels here)
    Part 29 - It's Not Piracy, It's Salvage
    - Ocean Lab, Universal Constructor
    - Escape, confrontation with Simons
    - Ended at the missile base

    Stolls on
    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
  • StollsStolls Brave Corporate Logo Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Night Ten - Of Course This All Leads to Area 51

    Deciding that we haven't hit peak conspiracy yet, Page is now directing operations straight from Area 51 for the final phase of his plan. But a finale this grand requires more than just raiding a top-secret US facility commonly associated with UFOs, alien research, and god only knows what else. No, JC's going to nuke it first. Granted, Page started it, and you're basically just using his own missile against him (technically the US government's, but who's keeping track at this point). Still, I think it should be shouted from the mountaintops that DEUS EX LETS YOU NUKE AREA 51 - POTENTIALLY TWICE. Don't even act like you wouldn't at least do a fist-pump before slamming the big, red button.

    (Amusingly, I brainfart over this at first; I thought you abort the launch through a terminal or something and then push the button to fire. In reality this is reversed, and the five minutes of pointless running around are mercifully clipped out.)

    I talk a bit during the credits about what really makes Deus Ex such a classic, and I'll do a cleaned-up summary post along with what's basically a blooper reel. However, I regret to say that GMDX let me down in Area 51. The mod mostly does right by its gameplay, AI, and character building changes, and most of my difficulties are self-induced due to the challenge of continuously rebuilding my arsenal. However, it introduces some severe difficulty spikes and flow-breaking changes in the closing hours of the game. Specifically, and putting under spoilers just in case:
    1) Though more of a recurring enemy, the treaded security bots are more present here, and have several nasty advantages over most bots. They strafe (even though they're not animated for this), climb stairs, shoot rockets in a rapid barrage, and can outpace the timer on an EMP grenade. A straight fight with one of these things is a pain in the ass, and three of them are plunked down outside the bunker entrance.

    2) Cameras in Area 51 have a few annoying tweaks which make them harder to notice. When spotting the player they make a single chime rather than the usual pulsing noise, and they now turn red rather than flash. I initially mistake this for them turning instantly hostile, but there is still a short period before the alarm is raised. Compounding the problem is that a large MJ12 team spawns and attacks with the first alarm sounded; in my case this came from an area I had previously cleared. In short it's easier for cameras to go unnoticed, and the consequences for it are more severe.

    3) The mod needlessly extends the hunt for the key to Sector 3. While the expanded crew area offers some welcome flavor and extra ground to cover, it also moves the key from one of the crew modules to a fairly long, well-guarded detour.

    4) The MJ12 team just past the door to Sector 3 piles out and attacks the moment the door is opened, regardless of whether they've spotted the player; this is just ahead of the team Page sends up. My deaths here are mostly on me for being out of energy with no biocells, but it's still a lot of pain swarming the player all at once.

    5) Finally and most egregiously, gray aliens/transgenics are buffed to an insane degree. They are now lightning quick, hit like a truck, accurate at long range, and can soak up more firepower than any non-bot enemy in the game. It takes me five headshots with a sniper rifle at Master level to put down one. For reference, it takes about seven to destroy a small bot, which has a 75% damage reduction on small arms fire and takes no extra damage from headshots.

    It's not enough to completely sour me on the mod, but goddamn does it hit you with some bad ideas toward the end.

    Even so, it's been a hell of a ride. The challenge forced me to look at the game's levels in a much different light, consider unorthodox tactics (to put it mildly), and tackle objectives in ways that broke my usual habits. It's a credit to the level design that this is at all doable, and the older I get, the more I appreciate all the things DX does right even without mods. It's not perfect, it never was - but there's perfection in what it does. Twenty-one years on, and there's still not much like it. Twenty-one years on, Deus Ex still matters.

    With all that said, on with the videos!

    Part 30 - The Gang Nukes Area 51
    - New West Coast, Missile Base
    - Area 51, Surface

    Part 31 - Wasted Again in Conspiracyville
    - Finally using up the zyme stash and storming Area 51
    - Sector 2

    Part 32 - Let's Ask the Internet How to Fix Things
    - Sector 2, GMDX additions
    - Sector 3

    Part 33 - Choose Your Cool Ending Quote (The End)
    - Sector 4
    - All endings shown
    - Sadly, no dance party level (may be disabled in GMDX)

    kstolls on Twitch, streaming weekends at 9pm CST!
    Now playing: Teardown and Baldur's Gate 3 (co-op)
    Sunday Spotlight: Horror Tales: The Wine
Sign In or Register to comment.