Video Game / Secret Files
is a series of Adventure Games
created by Deep Silver, the video game department of the Koch Media group based in Germany. There are three games in the series.
The first game, Secret Files: Tunguska
(named after the explosion caused in 1908 in Siberia
) follows Nina Kalkenkov, an average Russian woman, visiting her father, Vladimir, at his office in a Berlin museum only to find him missing and his office a wreck. The police being singularly unhelpful
, she tackles the problem herself, aided by one of her father's co-workers, and later boyfriend, Max Gruber
. The two uncover an investigation he undertook to Tunguska in the 1950's, as well as a world domination scheme that's also interested in the same investigation.
The second game, Puritas Cortis
, taking place shortly after the first, begins with several members of the Catholic church, a vicar and then a bishop, being attacked and murdered over a strange parchment found while the vicar's church was undergoing renovation, referring to a prophet named Zandona, known for his gloom-and-doom prophecies. Meanwhile, Nina and Max have split up. Nina is taking a cruise to relax, while Max is headed to Indonesia to visit a former classmate, Sam Peters, at her dig site where she's uncovered an ancient temple. Both of them end up involved in thwarting an Ancient Conspiracy
and their plan to create natural disasters to manipulate Zandona's prophecies.
The third game is simply titled Secret Files 3
. Nina and Max have gotten back together, and are planning to be married. However, before this happens, Max is taken by the police under charges of suspected terrorism. As it turns out, these men are not the actual police, and Nina finds herself embroiled in a plot to save him, and the world, yet again.
The game's approach resolves around solving puzzles and combining items to achieve the desired results. One may have a puzzle, like a very large, multi-colored symbol one must determine the smaller symbols that make it up, and can tell by changing the color of a lamp by tinting it with other inventory objects, as well as different puzzles and riddles to solve.
This game provides examples of:
- Action Survivor: Nina and Max are built of this trope.
- The Alcoholic: Foley the fisherman. Max comments that all he'd need to do is breathe over the water, and the fish would get so drunk they'd be easily caught. In the third game, Max comments that he drinks ten beers whenever he goes out to eat. And Nina comments that she wishes she had a glass of booze while inside of a flaming church.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: Nina and Max switch perspectives in both games, and sometimes, you can switch between them. In the second game, there are four characters: Nina, Max, Sam, and Bishop Chester Parrey. Bishop Parrey dies once his chapter is over, sort of an introduction to how to play the game, and Sam is only usable to switch with Max in his first two chapters. The third game is almost always Nina, but a few other characters will be controlled, namely Menis-Ra, Max, Emre, and Jane.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Max is one, Sam is a rare female version of one, and Vladimir used to be one, or at least, an Adventure Geologist.
- All Men Are Perverts: Nurse Sabrina's plan to get elected as mayor is to appeal to this. It works.
- All Women Are Lustful: Nina lusts after a few guys, but the real offender is Romanova, the female Russian guard at the train station. She has pictures of many different handsome men in her locker, and she's only allowed to take her cigarette breaks with Yushin, because she'll flirt shamlessly with anyone else.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Puritas Cordis. The Guardians appear to be this, although it's actually positive, because they are protecting humanity from killing themselves.
- Awesome McCoolname: Nina names a robot she creates "Electric Death Bitch"
- Badassin A Nice Suit: Radenkov and Fetisov, two Russian FSB soldiers, combining this with Sinister Shades. In the epilogue, the two open a clothing shop selling these types of suits.
- Badass in Distress: In all three games, Nina and Max end up kidnapped at some point. Bonus points for Max, who is kidnapped almost all of the time.
- Batman Gambit: While Nina tends to solve her problems with MacGyvering, Max tends to rely on these, playing on the fears of the people he outwits.
- Big Damn Heroes: Max pulls these off in the first two games. Once with a crane hook, and another with a helicopter. It's the CERN assistant who does this in the third game.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Oskar, the ship captain's son, in the second game. He plays the bongoes just to be annoying. And plays a Fetch Quest with Nina because he's bored.
- Busman's Holiday: Nina planned to take a vacation to get over her breakup with Max. She ends up in the middle of an Ancient Conspiracy.
- But Thou Must!: If you choose not to get the deterrium in the third game, Jane will punch you out and take it anyway.
- Butt Monkey: The guard in the Siberian hospital, Spivak. In the first two games, Max makes a fool of him.
- Casanova Wannabe: Rossi, the Italian outside the metro station in Paris.
- Chekhov's Gun: The stove door Max gets when he's kidnapped by the cult. Pat Shelton, angry that Nina won't tell him the information he wants (that Nina doesn't have) angrily shoots Max in the chest and leaves him in a shallow grave. The bullet is stopped by the door.
- Chekhov's Volcano: At Sam's dig site in Indonesia. She even says it is dormant and will never erupt. Of course, Puritas Cortis drops a nuclear bomb in it to make it happen.
- Church Militant: Puritas Cortis, Jay Shelton, and posthumously, Zandona.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Manimisso Gartusso.
- Contrived Coincidence: Jay Shelton believes this, and believes that there is no way Nina and Max, who know each other, simply stumbled onto his plans in two different places halfway around the world in the second game. Truth is, he's wrong, it was a complete accident.
- Covers Always Lie: The Puritas Cortis cover features four prominent characters: Nina, Max, David, and Sam. Sam disappears after Max's first chapter and is never heard from again for the rest of the game.
- Cult: There is a cult in all of the games, both have the hooded robes standard of cults. In the first game, they are good guys, who keep Vladimir and Max safe. In the second, it's your standard evil cult. The third game, the same cult from the first game, are good guys again.
- Deadpan Snarker: Max and especially Nina are. For the supporting cast, there is Fleming, the tour guide when Nina turns in her model of the Atomium, as well as O'Brien, the bartender Max meets in Ireland, as well as Menis-Ra.
- Did Not Die That Way: it is implied that the death of Nina's mother was the result of her father's research, while Nina thought she had died in a car accident.
- Disabled Snarker: The assistant at CERN.
- The Determinator: Nina treks halfway across the world (Germany, Russia, Cuba, and then China then Antartica, but that's because she was kidnapped), and endures craploads of abuse just to find her father.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Nina has vivid dreams of the Guardians, and sees lots of fire and ruin. They are actually warnings for Nina to prevent.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: How the Big Bad typically meets his end. The first game uses a Giant Wall of Watery Doom in Antartica, so it puts the bad guys on ice, the second has a self destruct sequence and the third has them get sucked into a black hole.
- Fiery Redhead: Nina.
- First-Person Smartass: When you control a character, you hear their thoughts as well. And both Nina and Max are huge smartasses.
- French Jerk: Nicole Charlesroi. Puritas Cortis has their base set in a chateau in France, but it's unclear if any of them are actually French.
- The Ghost: Vladimir Kalenkov, while especially important to the first game, is only ever seen in the credits in any of the games.
- Giant Wall of Watery Doom: The tidal wave on the cruise ship.
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Nina likes her vodka, especially in the first game.
- Heroic B So D: Nina goes through a big one near the end of the second game, when she believes herself responsible for the deaths of both David and Max, although Max ends up surviving.
- Improvised Zipline: Nina does it with a wire hanger in Alcatraz.
- Indy Ploy: Given that Nina and Max stumble onto their plans by complete accident, they manage to come up with things on the fly pretty easily.
- Info Dump: The first game did this a lot, the second game made it easier.
- Insufferable Genius: Cassandra. She's an unparalleled hacker, and she has constructed battle robots, but she's also a real bitch.
- Kick the Dog: The guard watching Sam after she is kidnapped. When she asks for fruit, he cruelly eats one of them. You cause him to trip out by hiding a psychotropic berry in one.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: An Adventure Game, so par the course.
- Large Ham: Practically everyone on the cruise ship, but the bartender especially qualifies. After all, Evil Is Hammy. In the third game, Menis-Ra is especially over the top.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Nina is quite aware she's in a video game, and laments after she ruins a guy's car, that if she doesn't help him feel better, she'll only be cast as villains in the future.
- Limited Wardrobe: Nina only changes her clothes twice in the first game, Max never changes them at all. He goes all the way from Germany to Ireland and doesn't change them. At least in the second and third games, he gets kidnapped and has an excuse not to change them. In the second game, Nina and David change their clothes after escaping the ship, and then are kidnapped or killed. She only changes her clothes once in the third game, and treks across the world.
- Love at First Sight: Nina and Max. How else could you explain his willingness to bust her out of a Russian hospital within one day of meeting her.
- MacGyvering: The primary way the game, when controlling Nina, solves puzzles. Nina expertly builds a boat motor out of an alternator, a damaged motorcycle, and some life vests, to name an example. She lampshades this in the third game.
- Made of Iron: Max survives a tent exploding right next to him and being shot, although that was due to the stove door he hid in his chest pocket as a weapon.
- Meganekko: Cassandra
- The Mole: Oleg and Sergei in the first game.
- Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Nicole Charlesroi. The things she does to her subjects are inhuman.
- Mouthful of Pi: Cassandra calculates pi out several million places, using a network of computers and a formula the philosopher Archimedes developed.
- National Stereotypes: Nina and Feng Li discuss this on the cruise ship in the second game. She questions why he doesn't mispronounce his R's. He turns that he always thoughts Russians did nothing but drink vodka. They have a laugh.
- Nice Hat: Max sports a safari hat in the second game. It stays on his head during explosions and when he gets shot in the chest
- Only in It for the Money: Menis-Re subverts this doubly in the third game. He is only interested in the money and doesn't care that the Guardians want him to torch Archimedes's scroll. But just before he does so, he is curious, and takes a peek. When he doesn't understand it, he shrugs and burns them anyway.
- Paparazzi: Mr. Li in the second game.
- Perma-Stubble: Max, especially in the second game, as well as David Korell.
- Punch Clock Villain: It's quite clear that most of the "bad guys" are actually fairly decent people.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Max took a needlework course in college and is accomplished at sewing.
- Red Shirt: Mocked at the end of the second game with all the people who died in it wearing red Starfleet uniforms. David is more of a Mauve Shirt though, and the bad guys, the bartender and Shelton, don't qualify.
- Running Gag: Detective Kanski losing his memory.
- Sacrificial Lion: David in game 2.
- Sadistic Choice: Nina is offered one by Jay Shelton: Tell him about the Church Intelligence Services conspiracy or he kills Max. Nina, having stumbled onto the plan, knows nothing. Cue Jay shooting Max. Jane Cunningham offers Nina another one in the third game Get her a radioactive element called deterrium or Max dies.
- Shout-Out: Makes reference to the names Biggs Darklighter and Wedge Antilles, calling them "Red 2" and "Red 3" in the credits.
- Shown Their Work: The first game references the Tsunguska catastrophe, a legitimate mystery that happened in 1908. The third game references the siege of Alexandria in 47 BC, when Caesar and Cleopatra were barricaded in the palace by Achillas's army.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Mocked by Nina in internal monologue in the first two games when the player has her clean something.
- Straight Gay: Comrade Yushin in the first game. Strong, manly, loves to smoke. He didn't respond to Nina's flirting, but one could argue he was just dense until Romanova comments that she enjoys Yushin's company, as they both agree men make better lovers.
- Supreme Chef: Nina cooks in the first two games, and her food is raved about. Of course, the first one was laxative jam to get a guy out of the room...
- Trademark Favorite Food: For Spivak, cheese soup.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Sam. In the credits she tried to get Max to go on adventures with her, but Nina protested heavily.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Nina can potentially abandon both Cassandra and Max. The former is put into suspended animation, and the latter is saved anyway, but if you don't save him, Nina calls off their wedding.
- Weirdness Magnet: Nina really knows how to find the oddballs.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Michael Anderson, a painting restorer from San Fransisco in the third game, is in suspended animation on the CERN ship. He's...sorta just left there. Also, the ancient civilization Max was researching in the third game. It's mentioned that nuclear fallout wiped them out deliberately, but it's left ambiguous what actually happened.
- Wrench Wench: Nina is a skilled motorcycle mechanic.
- Villains Never Lie: Nina is all too willing to believe Oleg. And later, she believes Jane
- You No Take Candle: Sam mocks her dimwitted captor by talking first in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, and then the trope when the guard doesn't understand her.