(also known as Gorky 17
) is a Polish tactical strategy
game with some minor adventure and Survival Horror
elements, released in 1999.
Gorky 17 was a secret Russian town where enigmatic experiments were taking place until the town has been carpet bombed to the ground. Now it is one year later, in the unimaginably distant 2009, when mysterious things start happening in a town somewhere in Poland. The first expedition sent out disappears. Three men are sent in the second expedition - Cole Sullivan
, Jarek Ovitz and Thiery Trantigne. Their mission: to find out what happened. And
boldly go where no man has gone before
Two sequels, Gorky Zero: Beyond Honor
and Gorky 2: Aurora Watching
were released in the Eastern European market. The sequels share a common plot, but are fairly unrelated to the original Gorky 17
, being Metal Gear
-style third person stealth shooters focusing on the activities of covert ops specialist Cole Sullivan as he investigates zombie-producing shenanigans being carried out by a rogue scientist and a renegade colonel. Gorky 2
was released as Soldier Elite
for the English-language market, but Cole's name was changed to White Fox.
Now available on GOG and Steam
This game provides examples of:
- An Axe to Grind
- Anti-Climax Boss: Just about every single one of them in the latter half of the game. The trick is to keep them stunned; with any luck at least two characters should be capable of doing that, which means the boss will never get a chance to fight back at all. What you need to look out for are the encounters with your stadard beasts that may not be just as tough as your regular bosses but are numerous as hell.
- Batter Up
- Bilingual Bonus: While encountering Slavsky hidden in a shed on the museum's roof he screams that he's going to blow up the place... in Polish. While in fact it barely sounds like the actual language, its speakers should nevertheless understand what's going down.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The Energy Blaster. You find it literally three battles before the ending, and the first battle has only monsters that are immune to it.
- Bullethole Door: Featured in the boss Puppet's introductory cinematic. The street appears empty at first, and then the guy miniguns his way out of a wall.
- But Not Too Foreign: For a game that takes place entirely in a Polish town, we sure don't encounter that many Poles along the way: just two of them (Owicz excluded), one of which is optional. On the other hand we meet dozens of Russians and Americans. Partly justified in that the town's crawling with mutants and thus is of special interest to both Russia and US-led NATO.
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Thiery Trantigne has the annoying tendency to declare how they're all going to die when facing even the scrawniest bunch of enemies.
- Contractual Boss Immunity: Many bosses are immune to stun attacks like the tranquilizer. However, many bosses including the the final boss are not. This renders the final battle a ridiculously one-sided curbstomp if you realize this.
- Crate Expectations: Small crates with useful stuff inside.
- Crowbar Combatant
- Cunning Linguist: Owicz plays the part of the team's interpreter (although seeing as they don't meet that many Poles along the way...) as he's capable of communicating in his native Polish, English, Russian, and, according to the manual (he never actually shows it in the game), German. Justified in that all of the three foreign languages are commonly taught in Poland.
- Defend Command
- Denial of Diagonal Attack: All melee attack and some ranged weapons can inexplicably be used to attack only along the vertical and horizontal axis.
- Dual Boss: The Incubuses.
- Exploding Barrels: Deal 40 damage to anyone caught in the blast.
- Exposition Break: Only at the end of the game do you receive an explanation about what's been going on, and it takes a while to listen to all of it.
- Face-Heel Turn: Medusa, though it's optional.
- Fight Woosh
- Four Is Death: Joan McFadden could be considered the "canonical" fourth party member, since like the three main characters she's a NATO operative that was part of the second squad sent in to investigate the incident. she dies a fairly drawn-out Plotline Death about 2/3rds of the way through the game.
- French Jerk: Thiery Trantigne is a prime example. At some point far into the game he refuses to go after a surrounded Owicz because he's scared shitless of the mutants blocking their path... half of which they have already fought. Although, to be perfectly accurate, when it comes to fighting hideous beasts, Owicz is no Braveheart either.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Happens any time that combat events happen outside of combat
- Guest Star Party Member: Everyone who joins you throughout the game.
- Harmless Freezing: Being frozen paralyzes you and makes you vulnerable to damage for a few turns, but has no aftereffects.
- He Knows Too Much: Why teams of NATO soldiers start trying to kill you once you enter the secret lab.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: The "Food" item, which gives 20 health.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The eventual explanation for exactly what the Hell's going on. Apparently the Russians' experiments in teleporting living things eventually brought back a virus that started spreading and mutating everything in the city.
- Insurmountable Waist High Fence: A tiny bush or a knee-high pipe cannot be walked over and can block your shots. (You cannot even shoot across gaps!) The enemies' shots too, thankfully.
- Invisible Monsters: Encountered near the end of the game, foreshadowed throughout. You can only find them by looking for squares on the grid that you should be able to move to but cannot. You cannot see where they move when it's their turn, unless you get attacked. Sounds like a tough nut to crack? Well, that might be the case... until you realize they all have like 30 HP.
- Item Amplifier: Joan McFadden heals 15% more damage when she uses healing items on someone.
- Just a Stupid Accent: Oh boy, do we get a lot of that... Basically every Polish character tries to come up with a unique way to sound at least kind of Polish. The result? Owicz sounds like a drunken idiot and Slavsky talks like a generic Russian (which is about the same as listening to French pronounced with a Spanish accent).
- Lost Forever: The crates that are on the battlefield during combat. They disappear after you kill all the enemies, so you'd better open them before that.
- The Medic: Joan McFadden, who gets a 15% bonus to using healing items.
- Man on Fire: You've got flamethrowers, you've got molotov cocktails, and when all else fails you can just lob some vodka at someone, followed by a lit match.
- Molotov Cocktail: Less of a blast than a grenade, but the fire damage outstrips what a grenade can do easily.
- Mutually Exclusive Party Members: Slavsky and Medusa.
- Notice This: All pickups on the map blink.
- Optional Party Member: Slavsky. You can get him, but you have to pay by losing Medusa and wasting a stun grenade.
- The Place: Gorky 17, the European title. It's the Russian town from the backstory, though it's not visited in game.
- Plotline Death: Joan. Ironically, you might have a poison antidote on you when she gets attacked, but it won't save her. This also could be applied to General Lamarre.
- Protection Mission: Pops up five times.
- Redshirt Reporter: Anne Hutchens, who joins you as a team member (and is useless).
- RPG Elements: Your characters gain experience during combat (after every single succesful attack) and level up also during combat. They have stats governing their health, their likelihood of counterattacking, their likelihood of making a critical hit, and how many hits they can take before becoming Enraged.
- Scenery Gorn
- Schizophrenic Difficulty: Depending on how good you are at finding equipment caches and how good you are at conserving supplies, some parts of the game could be very, very easy or very, very hard compared to the parts that came before.
- Send in the Search Team
- Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Averted. Enemies will not attack if their attack would harm an ally (or themselves). This can be exploited for tactic value.
- Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: A pistol can only fire a square or two further than a thrown knife. A rifle only fires a square or two farther than a pistol. No weapon fires further than eight steps away.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Every party member except your starters, sooner or later.
- Sprite/Polygon Mix: Flat backgrounds, polygon characters and monsters.
- Stationary Boss: Puppet and Messiah.
- Steam Vent Obstacle: You activate a steam vent to remove some slime off a walkway. The steam then becomes an obstacle itself, to be deactivated by a different switch.
- Talkative Loon: Medusa, once he goes insane and right before he attacks you.
- Token Non-Human: Medusa.
- Too Awesome to Use: Missile, Lightning Strike, Energy Beam. All of them are similar, in that they deal tons of damage in a big radius, and can only be used once. (It's fun to use the Energy Beam only to find out that the enemy happens to be immune to energy attacks...)
- Total Party Kill: One encounter takes place in front of a overturned truck full of explosive materials. One missed bullet and *BOOM*.
- Translation Convention: When the team encounters a little girl who is seemingly in shock Owicz offers to talk to her as (obviously) he is the only one capable of speaking the girl's native language. It works fine in the English version; however, in the Polish dubbing Owicz pretty much repeats to the girl what Mc Fadden tried to tell her seconds before, which can lead to some confusion.
- Unique Enemy: Hornet and Harvester. Generic in every respect, except that they only show up in one battle each.
- Unstable Equilibrium: You REALLY need to find those weapon caches.
- Unwinnable: Since encounters are non-random and ammo is fairly scarce, if you're too wasteful at the beginning you can find yourself in a situation where you don't have enough ammo to defeat a mandatory encounter later on.
- Vasquez Always Dies: Joan McFadden, a NATO medic with decent combat skills, dies a Plotline Death about 2/3rds of the way through the game. She's eventually replaced by Anna Hutchins, a reporter with no useful combat skills at all, who survives until the final dungeon (where she and the second optional party member remain outside, their fates unknown since the ending doesn't mention them).
- The Virus: The origin of all the monsters. Most of them were once human, though some seem to have once been animals.
- We Cannot Go On Without You: Every single character. If anyone at all dies, you lose.
- Weaksauce Weakness: In the mid-to-late game, any enemy that can be tranquilized is this. It's very easy to surround a target with dudes who stun it and then beat it to death. It works on the final boss, too.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: You never figure out who those robbers from the docks were, or who left those BT213 notes behind, or what happened to any of the surviving party members post-game.
- With This Herring: You lead a team of three NATO officers sent to investigate a secret in a Polish town harbouring a former Russian secret base, in which disappeared an other NATO team. Each squadmember starts the game with a couple of medical supplies, a pistol, an assault rifle, and a knife. And only enough ammunition to fill exactly one magazine of both weapons.