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Video Game: Deus Ex: Invisible War

Deus Ex: Invisible War is a First-Person Shooter with RPG Elements developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos. Released simultaneously for Microsoft Windows and XBox in December 2003 in the United States, Invisible War is a sequel to the critically acclaimed Deus Ex. While well-received commercially, its reception was not nearly as good as its predecessor's, nor its successor's.

Invisible War takes place in 2072, twenty years after the original, in a world being rebuilt after the destruction of global infrastructure at the hands of the first game's protagonist, JC Denton. The World Trade Organization somehow forms a global government, creating modern city-states, known as enclaves, in which the majority of the game takes place. All the world's major religions are united into a monolithic fanatical cult strongly opposing the WTO's policies. Following a terrorist attack by an unknown group which destroys most of Chicago, the player assumes the role of Alex D, a trainee at the prestigious Tarsus Academy whose support as a mercenary is sought by several factions during the course of the game.

The game combines First-Person Shooter, Stealth-Based Game and a few RPG Elements. The gameplay is significantly simplified compared to the original, exemplified in the "Universal Ammo" concept, which gives the player character one (nanotechnological) ammunition store that's used by every single weapon in the game. Other examples include no skill system, no sandbox levels, and plenty of handholding.

If you're having trouble playing it on modern PCs, closing all other running programs may help; despite being almost a decade old, the game is something of a resource hog. Also look into setting CPU affinity if you're running multi-core. This is one of those games that gets picky about its hardware.


This game provides examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel:
    • You can blaze your way through the game with impunity, but you can also opt to play it as an exploration game with fetch quests and some action segments. Just because you can choose to have a gun on your screen at all times doesn't mean the game keeps making you use it.
    • Played straight and subverted. Unlike the first game, there is no weapon skill progression, so your combat skills are at max from the very beginning of the game. At the same time, the Universal Ammo system makes a full Rambo run less viable than the first game, as you will run out of ammo unless you use at least some stealth.
  • After the End: The game takes place after the Collapse, that is, a complete breakdown of social, political and economic order that occurred as a result of the events of the first game.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: To this day, players debate whether or not Helios has completely gone off the rails of its and JC's promise of the "first true democracy" in the Helios Ending in favor of total control. Invoked in-game by Chad, who is convinced, and tries to convince Alex, that Helios has long since erased JC and merely uses his brain as a processor now. He's wrong, though it doesn't shed light on the first point at all, and you can't get the dialog that proves it while going for the Helios Ending.
  • Ascended Extra: Chad Dumier. In Deus Ex, he appears for a total of one brief and optional scene. In Invisible War, he becomes one of the major players in the story and setting as the leader of the Illuminati.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: All of the faction leaders are tougher than a normal human enemy, even though none of them (other than the Dentons) are explicitly augmented. The Dumiers and Tracer Tong are all as tough as an Elite Mook, while Saman can withstand as much damage as a nano-augmented Tarsus Cadet or Paul Denton despite being explicitly a non-augmented Muggle. J.C. Denton himself has the (second) most health of any character in the game, being about on par with a Heavy Combat Bot in terms of durability.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Dragon's Tooth Sword is easily the most powerful melee weapon...but is only obtained once you start primarily fighting the durable and explosive Templar armoured soldiers and the Illuminati elite troopers that release gas on death.
  • Back from the Dead: Paul Denton, assuming he dies in the first game. The game's canon assumes Paul lived, as the original game gave you the choice. You can kill him anyway here.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Saman, Nicolette DuClare and Chad Dumier, or the Omar. It all depends on who you side with, but at the end of the game you can have multiple factions and their leaders coming after you.
  • Bio-Augmentation: They're called Biomods now.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The Knights Templar are evil with everyone else being ambiguous.
  • Black Market: The Omar.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The baton strikes quickly, easily takes down enemies with the increased strength biomod, and can disable cameras and turrets without exploding them with the EMP Discharge biomod.
    • As par for a Deus Ex game, the humble pistol. Accurate, easy on ammo, and the unique variants have good firepower.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The regular and black-market biomods are blue and red respectively.
  • Cool Sword: The Dragon's Tooth Sword and its mass-produced version.
  • Crapsack World: JC Denton caused a collapse of the economy, genetic experiments have infested cities as wild greasels and karkians have killed most urban wildlife and make walking at night dangerous. In contrast to his description of Deus Ex, Warren Spector described Invisible War as set "five minutes before humanity's rebirth."
  • Cross Player: Unlike the first game, you have a choice of whether you want Alex(ander/andria) to be male or female (though at the end of the first game, you find a male Alex D. floating in a tank). Certain characters will treat you differently based on your gender, and it opens and closes a few extra mission options for the player.
  • Cutting Off The Branches: A rather curious case. Each of the Multiple Endings in Deus Ex seems to a have at least partly happened. JC chose to merge with Helios, but the merger caused a power surge throughout the Area 51 base that killed Bob Page and overloaded the Aquinas hub, which cut off all global communication. Result: Cozy Catastrophe, the Illuminati returning to power, and a Deity of Human Origin.
  • Cyber Punk: Quasi-Zaibatsu Corporate-State dominance by the World Trade Organization, Cybernetic enhancement of the human body, and both of the "not evil" factions seem to be attempting to use technology of some sort as cornerstone of their schemes for World Domination. Plus, the main character has the ability to reject all of them at the end of the game. That fits all of the requirements of Cyber Punk.
  • Dance Party Ending: The secret ending 5th ending, with every single major character (who you haven't killed off yet) enjoying themselves together in Club Vox.
  • Developer's Room: The secret ending. When you flush the UN flag in Manderley's toilet, you find yourself in Club Vox with all living characters in there and datacubes with developer's comments floating midair.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: As maligned as the design is, the game will notice everything you do, especially if you do clever things or do things out of expected order.
  • The Dragon: Billie Adams for Saman.
  • Downer Ending: The Purist ending is without question a downer: Lead a pogrom against science itself?
  • Easily Forgiven: Right after the initial level of the game, you've given two choices for who to seek out in the name of pursuing your objectives. The local friendly law enforcement, or the church that just spent the opening level trying to murder you. While you do discover that those responsible for the attack aren't part of the main group anymore, you don't really have a lot of reasons to immediately trust them.
  • Elite Mooks: The Illuminati commandos and Powered Armor Templars.
  • "End of the World" Special: Transhumanist Assimilation Plot, benevolent dictatorship, extremist theocracy, or 200 years of war leading to a ruined planet and the remainder of humanity becoming a hive mind.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The Antarctica levels.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: Nicolette DuClare and Chad Dumier, rabble rousers fighting against the establishment in the first game, FIGHTIN' THE POWER!.... And then they become the power, as the heads of the reformed Illuminati. It's In the Blood for Nico, since her mom was partners in crime with Everett preceding the first game.
  • Gaia's Lament: The Earth hasn't recovered since the events of the first game, and in some cases things are worse. VersaLife's transgenic creatures are now full-blown invasive species, and Nanite Swells—massive clouds of nanites from labs destroyed during the Collapse—infect people with Gray Death-like ailments.
  • Gangsta Style: Alex (male) holds his gun sideways on the cover art, but is thankfully professional enough to never do that in the actual game.
  • Gender Is No Object: See Men Are the Expendable Gender below; the gender ratio for the various armed forces in this game is pretty much dead even, shockingly.
  • Golden Snitch: Even if you've killed the Illuminati co-leader, or been killing The Knights Templar the entire game, you can still side with these factions in the end.
  • Grey Goo: The game begins with a Grey Goo bomb being detonated, sweeping over a city and reducing most of it to ash.
  • The Greys: They now speak English and serve as JC Denton's minions.
  • Guns in Church: Bars and other establishments have "weapons-free zones" that require patrons to submit to having their weapons deactivated—ostensibly this just keeps guns, heavy weapons, and combat-based augmentations from being used, but it also prevents the use of melee weapons. Fire extinguishers make a handy replacement.
  • He Knows Too Much: After completing the quest that the manager of QueeQueg's Coffee Shop in Trier gives you, you can suggest to him that he goes public with the information that you discovered. A news kiosk later in the game reports that he was found dead outside his coffee shop.
  • Hive Mind: The Omar, a global black-market transhuman syndicate.
  • Holographic Terminal: Played completely straight with the various news kiosks found throughout the game (even in "low tech" areas).
  • Incendiary Exponent: Oh yeah, penguins on fire in the secret ending.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. You can kill little schoolgirls in this (and in the first game, you could kill only boys).
  • Informed Ability: The other Tarsus Cadets (and Paul and J.C. as well) actually don't have any nano-aug powers when you fight them in combat, just somewhat more health than a normal human enemy.
  • Insecurity Camera: The cameras now emit a field of light showing their field of view, which could be Hand Waved as visible to you only due to augmentations.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The Dragon's Tooth sword was originally based off of a Chinese jian sword, which makes sense as it was canonically developed in China. Yet it becomes a samurai sword in IW ― a Japanese weapon.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Not exactly katanas, but the jians from the original game are now curved.
  • Kill 'em All: This is done by Alex if the player decides the world would be better off without any of the possible factions Alex can side with in the end. It backfires spectacularly. Turns out the world really does need one of them.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: There's still opportunities to indulge in a little Sticky Fingers.
  • The Knights Templar: They may share the same name as Deus Ex's Knights Templar, but they have absolutely no connection to them. Where the Templars of Deus Ex were religious bankers related to the Illuminati, the Templars of Invisible War are extremist Luddite Church Militants. The original Knights Templar were wiped out before the first game started, the new ones have co-opted the name.
  • Laser Hallway: Red beams trigger alarms, green trigger gas bombs, and yellow ones set you on fire.
  • Limited Wardrobe: For completely unexplained reasons, Paul and JC are wearing the same clothes that they did in the first. The first, which took place twenty years ago. The same clothes from twenty years ago.
    • Justified in that JC has been in suspended animation and Paul in cryosleep during that time.
      • Which more or less is the same thing...
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The console version gets bogged down with this.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: One of the few FPS's that completely averts this trope, RPG hybrid or no, given all the female enemies.
  • Mental Fusion: JC Denton, who fused with Helios in the first game.
  • Merging The Branches: The game uses a combination of the three possible but mutually exclusive endings of Deus Ex.
  • Multiple Endings: Four of them plus a secret ending. As in the original game, you decide the ending at the last minute. In the "good"(ish) ending, all of humanity is Augmented with Nanomachines that provide Perfect Health, Universal Education, and a link to a central AI as part of program of "perfect democracy" - not just universal suffrage, but universal intelligence, ensuring that everyone's vote is based on educated opinions. This results in The Singularity - world peace, universal prosperity, rapidly advancing technology, easy space development and nanotech superpowers... for everyone. The alternatives are dictatorships by Mega Corps, Church Militants, or Social Darwinists. In the secret one(where you take the flag from Manderly's office into the men's bathroom and flush the toilet), everyone stops fighting, turns Liberty Island into a nightclub and starts partying.
  • Mythology Gag: Gunther was right. The maintenance man was plotting against him!
  • Named Weapons: Red Greasel Hunter, Hellfire Boltcaster, Dragon's Tooth Sword, and the Widowmaker SMG. They all look like regular weapons, but have different properties. Toxin Blade and Assassin Pistol are fairly generic names.
  • Nerfed: Nano-augmentations are significantly less god-like in Invisible War compared to the original game. In Deus Ex once you max out your augmentations, you're essentially a Physical God as long as you have bio-energy (and the augmentations really don't drain bio-energy particularly fast). In Invisible War the enhancements provided by augmentations are noticably less powerful, and they drain energy much more quickly.
    • The pistol gets nerfed pretty bad too.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: NG Resonance in-game. The AI constructs of her are vaguely Orwellian, but otherwise charming. Once you meet the real NG, she turns out to be a spoiled, self-centered brat.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: The Purist faction.
  • Oh My Gods!: The Knights Templar shout things like "By the Skull of Sidon!" or "Baphomet preserve me!".
  • Omnicidal Neutral: Requirement for the Omar ending.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: In the case that you choose female Alex (as Alex is the clone of JC).
  • Pacifist Run: It's possible (with difficulty) to play the entire game without causing the death of anyone, boss or otherwise.
  • Pamphlet Shelf: Jacob's War, which is apparently a sequel to Jacob's Shadow of the original Deus Ex.
  • Plot Parallel: The rivalry between two coffee chains, Queequeg's and Pequod's, mirrors the rivalry between The Order and the WTO. They both turn out to be artificial rivals run by the same organization. And come on, both coffee chains should have clued you in by both being references to Moby-Dick (and Starbuck's)
  • Powered Armor: Used by the Purist in order to have soldiers who can match their augumented counterparts from the other factions.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: In terms of game mechanics but not necessarily of character interaction.
  • Recurring Boss: Billie.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Played straight with the Knights Templar who wear red and black uniforms, but subverted for the Order who, while they also wear red and black, are more morally gray.
  • Religion Is Wrong: One of the most glaring changes in tone and theme from the previous game is that the world's religions are not only subsumed into The Order, but that The Order is just a method of control for the Illuminati. One of the truly "black" factions in the game, an offshoot of The Order, plunges the world into an extremist theocratic dark age if they win. In the previous game, spirituality and religion were themes which ran parallel to the setting, but never outright depicted to be "right" or "wrong."
  • Sapient Steed: Ava Johnson, the "pilot" of the helicopter, is actually an AI construct.
  • School For Scheming: The Tarsus Academy you are a student of is a cover for the biomod development corporation ApostleCorp.
  • Secret War: OBVIOUSLY!
  • Shoplift and Die: Guards will react if you break into store display cases.
  • Skippable Boss: Billie.
  • Smug Snake: Luminon Saman is one of the oiliest guys in the Deus Ex series.
  • Social Darwinist: The Omar. They constantly try to improve their functionality to prepare for the harshest of environments.
  • Soul Jar: Sort of. The Universal Constructor rebuilds JC's body every time you kill him.
  • Special Guest: Free Dominguez of Kidneythieves voiced NG Resonance, and their tracks play in the clubs in the game.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: In contrast to the original Deus Ex, where plot-critical characters were simply invincible, in Invisible War anyone can be killed—however, to prevent this with major characters too soon, they're in places where Alex Denton can't attack them save for players thinking outside the box—this usually reveals that the game is playing it straight at those points.
    • One example is Chad Dumier. When first met the character is behind bulletproof glass, which only the EMP blasts (which are harmless to humans) or the Magrail can penetrate. However, a nearby bodyguard is a character type vulnerable to EMP blasts, and they create a toxic gas cloud upon death. Use the Magrail to take out the bodyguard and nearly everyone behind the glass drops dead while Chad doesn't even flinch despite being in the middle of the cloud.
    • Due to a bug, it's possible to kill Billie Adams in the first level, before she runs into a locked, bulletproof room. Surprisingly, the rest of the game proceeds mostly as normal; in areas where Billie was supposed to appear, she's simply missing, and intercom messages she was supposed to send you are instead blank. Sometimes characters will talk as though she's there even though she's not (due to being dead), but otherwise the game remains entirely unbroken.
    • The scientist at Mako Ballistics that shows you the Mag Rail closes the door behind him, if you take the weapon. However, you can block it with a crate and kill him afterwards. He has the highest HP in the game (even JC Denton looks like a weakling in comparsion). Probably so you don't use your shiny new "shoots-through-walls" weapon on him. If you hack away for a few minutes with a sword, he eventually dies.
    • It's possible to get the code from the security chief in the arcology for the nanobots and after activating the nanobots, you can kill him for the Harvester's reward, as presumably due to a glitch(at least on the PC version, not sure if it happens on the console as well) he dosen't dissapear from his office like he's normally supposed to.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: The un-augmented Saman can take as much damage as his mooks in powered armor.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Averted with JC Denton.
  • The Singularity: This is definitely what's implied to happen if you take the Helios ending. However it's not just the technology that rapidly becomes more advanced, but humanity itself as well since they are actually part of said technology. With the economy now fully automated, it's implied that humanity will now completely focus on "new frontiers" and will become infinitely advanced. That actually sounds a little creepy for any aliens we might encounter.
  • Title Drop:
    Leila Nassif: We aren't equipped to fight a war.
    Project Director: We're going to change the terms of engagement. It's our war, not theirs. We don't need cities or armies. We have the cells of human bodies. An invisible weapon, for an invisible war.
  • Tomboyish Name: Alex, since you can be either male or female.
    • Billie Adams too.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It was totally a good idea for Illuminati leaders and Saman to come to Liberty Island, what could possible go wrong?
  • Trashcan Bonfire: A common sight in the various slums.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In Antarctica, you can encounter a Templar agent trapped in a holding cell calling for help. If you save him, he'll notice that you have augmentations and open fire.
  • Universal Ammunition: Likely to be the most extreme example ever implemented. Every single weapon that uses ammo draws from the exact same ammo pool: the same kind of ammo for pistols, shotguns, RPG's, flamethrowers ... This is very problematic because when you run out of bullets for one gun, you run out of bullets for every single one of your guns.
    • The in-game explanation is that ammunition is reduced to a slurry of nanomachines that form into the proper ammunition for the weapon. Also, all the weapons in the game are manufactured by a single company, Mako Ballistics, who has customized them all to be cross-compatible with one another.
  • Urban Segregation: The Seattle and Cairo levels play this straight.
    • Seattle is separated into two distinct areas, Upper (New) Seattle and Lower (old) Seattle, with Upper Seattle being built on top of massive spires that tower above the older, more impoverished neighbourhoods of old Seattle.
    • Cairo, likewise, is separated into the Arcology (a pyramid-like structure where the rich people are located) and the Medina ("Old Cairo", where the lower class citizens are forced to live in a polluted atmosphere).
    • The two main sects are, interestingly, aligned to these areas too. The WTO headquarters are always in the upper class areas, and the Order churches are always in the lower-class neighbourhoods. The various locations of the two coffee chains run along similar lines.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You can spare Lin May Chen a lot of pain and confusion by telling her The Order and WTO are not the same entity. Her relieved expression and renewed optimism and desire to do good makes the little white lie worth it.
    • You can have a promising young girl accepted to a prestigious academy, which moves her safely out of her polluted environment and poverty into her best chance for a better life. The reward for doing so would buy you a cup of coffee.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The Hellfire Boltcaster will set any non-mechanical entity on fire with 2 shots. You can do this to the children in a school.
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Even your active efforts to bring down their organization won't stop the faction leaders from pestering you through the Infolink.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Killing children at the Tarsus Academy in Cairo will earn you this from WTO Chief Morgan. And others. Note though, that acts like this won't carry any long-term penalty or change of attitude towards the player.
    • Klara Sparks will first warn you and then eventually attack you if you make a habit of executing unconscious enemies in your one mission together. Assuming she sees you, it is a game with stealth elements after all.
  • Where It All Began: The final level of Invisible War returns to the same locations seen in the first level of the original Deus Ex.


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