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Videogame: Sleeping Dogs

"Let Sleeping Dogs Lie."

Sleeping Dogsnote  is a 2012 action-adventure open world video game developed by United Front Games and published by Square Enix. It was released in all territories in August 2012 except for Japan and most of Southeast Asia, which had a September 2012 release.

Taking place in Hong Kong, players take the role of Wei Shen, an undercover cop from the San Francisco Police Department sent to Hong Kong to assist the Hong Kong Police Force. He infiltrates a triad gang called the Sun On Yee to bring it down from within. Its gameplay takes elements from many other series such as Grand Theft Auto note , Just Cause (vehicular combat), Max Payne (Bullet Time Third-Person Shooter), Batman: Arkham Asylum (melee combat, especially its freeform fighting system), and Assassin's Creed (free-running segments), mixing them all in one big package.

The game had originally begun development as an original game called Black Lotus but was re-branded as the third game in the True Crime series as True Crime: Hong Kong. Due to the poor reception and performance of the second game, however, as well as delays and budget overruns, Activision, the game's original publisher, canned it in 2010. Shortly after that, it was picked back up by Square Enix and renamed. Hilariously, it did very well critically when released, with the open world of Hong Kong being praised to high heaven.

The game was previously given away for free to PlayStation Plus subscribers in May 2013 and Xbox Live Gold members via the "Games for Gold" program from January 1 - 15, 2014. A sequel is presently in development, and will be released on all the systems the original game was on as well as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. A Free To Play Spin-Off, entitled Triad Wars, is also in development, and will be available on PC.

An Updated Re-release, Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition was released on October 10, 2014 for the Xbox One, PS 4 and PC.

Sleeping Dogs provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Big Scar Wu does not appreciate his nickname, "Smiley Cat."
  • Affably Evil:
    • King, a music producer from Los Angeles, is representing his drug-dealing buddies from the United States who want to find "business partners" for their legal and non-legal businesses overseas and a place to crash if the FBI gets the drop on them. He is open about his interest in the East Asian sex slave trade. He's also one of the most friendly (read: doesn't try to kill/backstab you) and polite (read: treating Wei as a good buddy instead of acting smug) people you'll meet in the entire game. He even helps you fight off a bunch of thugs who jump you at one point.
    • Uncle Po has nothing but complimentary words with regards to Wei.
    • Ricky, despite working for "Big Smile" Lee, who is the boss of the initial antagonist, and the Big Bad, he's quite friendly with Wei, except when he thinks you slept with his girlfriend (which is not an unreasonable reaction). He's the only person to help defend Uncle Po, and he eventually defects from Lee
  • All Just a Dream: The Nightmare At North Point DLC is not strongly connected to the rest of the plot, and is implied to have been a weird nightmare that Wei had. But then where did the hat come from?
  • All There in the Manual: Throughout the game, police reports can be unlocked, which give more information on characters' personalities and past events.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: This is one to Sega's Yakuza series. Both are open-world crime drama games that feature a mix of hand-to-hand combat and gunplay (the former more than the latter) and focus on different East Asian criminal organizations (the Yakuza and Triads).
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Several missions will unlock different sets of clothing throughout the game, and some of the lockboxes will also feature complete outfits or items of clothing.
  • Angrish: Cutting off a driver or generally driving like an idiot will invite insults, usually in two languages and in the same breath.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Probably because of how easy it is to lose points for your Cop score you start off with a motorcycle so you don't need to resort to hijacking vehicles during Story Missions. Additionally the plentiful drug bust missions have the added bonus of quickly providing plenty of Cop points to make up for all the ones easily lost during Story Missions. It's actually easier to maximize your Cop rank than your Triad rank.
  • Anyone Can Die: Winston, Peggy, Jackie, Dogeyes, Ming, Johnny Ratface, Uncle Po and Big Smile Lee just to name a few.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Charlie Ho's reports constantly end with 'Guys, I'm getting a bad feeling'...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the mission "Bad Luck", breaking "Two Chin" Tsao's vases will get you 80 Triad Experience for vandalism, and taking the jade statue in his manor will earn you another 80 for theft. Moving his piano to throw off his feng shui earns you yet another 80 for "mischief".
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: One that's easy to miss. There's a storm drain outlet called "Chiang Mai Sewage Outlet". Chiang Mai is a Thai name (the name of a city in fact).
  • Asshole Victim: Victims don't get much more scummy than Yung Lee On, the target of Wei and Jackie's initiation. A former Sun On Yee drug dealer, Yung made a living selling his product to middle-school students, something that he gloats about openly. In the same gloating, it's also heavily implied that he's also a pedophile. Oh, and he's former Sun On Yee because when Uncle Po got wind of his activities and ordered him to stop, he blew him off and defected to the 18K Triad instead. Deconstructed, as even though he definitely deserves it, Jackie still feels bad about killing him.
    • Despite their brutal and gory deaths, it's pretty hard to feel sorry for Dogeyes and Johnny Ratface.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Dim Mak. The final combat move you learn at the end of a long Gotta Catch Them All quest, it's quite handy at dispatching regular mooks (who are easily dispatched by any means). But tough mooks will usually avoid it, while bosses will generally use the chance to counter your counter. The Boring but Practical regular counter is much less likely to get you killed.
  • Back from the Dead: Big Scar Wu, or, as most people know him, Smiley Cat.
    It is said that if the wronged receive anything less than a proper burial, their spirit will almost certainly come back as a Hungry Ghost, damned to starve in the afterlife, feeding only on their hatred. You turn him into cat food and thatís pretty much guaranteed.
  • Badass: Too many to count. Attempting to count would cause the cosmos to burn.
    • City Of Badass: Every mook knows enough kung fu to be a credible threat if you're not cautious. Everyone with a gun is a decent shot, particularly the cops. Really, Wei isn't unique in that he knows how to fight - he's just much, much better at it than most people.
    • Badass in a Nice Suit: Should Wei get his Face Meter up, he can become this. Hell, there are some missions where a nice suit is mandatory for progression.
    • Badass Grandma: Mrs. Chu, Winton's mother, is a force to be reckoned with if she has that meat cleaver handy.
  • Bad Habits: One mission has Wei sneaking into a Shaolin monastery by disguising himself as a monk.
  • Barrier Warrior: "Blocker"-type mooks always have their guard up, which makes punching and kicking them problematic. Fortunately, this also makes them susceptible to grabs and throws.
  • Batman Gambit: Pendrew's scheme to get at Uncle Po and cover his tracks seems... excessive.
  • Bag of Spilling:
    • The post-game Nightmare At North Point DLC provides you with a fixed set of resources, regardless of what you finished the main game with. Specifically, you get $30,000, one class C racecar, the Hog Pen Row outfit, and a few of the unlockable melee attacks. If you finished the main game with three million Hong Kong dollars, every car, every outfit, and the Dim Mak, none of that is coming with you.
    • The Year Of The Snake DLC works more or less the same way while also placing every police vehicle in your garage that'd normally require a separate DLC to use in the main game. Thankfully, this DLC has no features exclusive to it like Nightmare does and you can tase and handcuff people at your leisure in the main game as well as hijacking cars without attracting police attention when wearing any of the police outfits, as well as gaining access to the outfit that turns Wei into a Mad Bomber described below.
    • Wei Shen has an annoying tendency to lose acquired pistols at random intervals because firearms laws are incredibly strict in Hong Kong and as an undercover gang member he'd want to get rid of the weapon as soon as possible to avoid suspicion.
  • Betting Mini-Game: Cockfights and "poker-style" mahjong are available for your gambling pleasure.
  • Big Bad: Henry "Big Smile" Lee
  • Big Brother Is Watching: One of the side-missions involves Wei finding areas where drug dealers congregate and putting recorders on nearby security cameras to catch them in the act by watching them on his TV at home. Unfortunately for all parties, Wei usually needs to beat the crap out of all the thugs in the area first so they don't see him bugging the camera.
    • There's an achievement for bugging every camera in the city, including several that aren't linked to drug busts or story missions. This allows you to watch everyone in the city from the comfort of your home(s).
  • Bilingual Bonus: If you know the language, or just look up the translations online, some of the incidental Cantonese dialogue is... quite colorful. Even if you don't know the language and just read some of the subtitles, you'll eventually start recognizing "asshole" in Cantonese by sound.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • With evidence that Pendrew murdered Uncle Po, Wei throws him in jail for life with many other Sun On Yee members (Pendrew knows he won't last long in there). Dogeyes and "Big Smile" Lee are dead, and "Broken Nose" Jiang becomes the Chairwoman of the Sun On Yee. However, Peggy, Winston and Jackie are dead, and Wei has left the triads seemingly for good, forced to leave behind any friends or allies he made there.
    • The Zodiac Tournament DLC: Wei defeats Dr. Zhang and shuts down the titular illegal fighting ring for good, but he was forced to murder all the other contestants, including the ones he befriended, in order to save himself, and the experience leaves him visibly shaken and jaded.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Get in a fistfight, and Wei will soon be covered in bruises and blood. It doesn't go away unless he washes up in his apartment or changes clothes. This also applies to enemies, after you've left them bloodied and broken.The wedding tuxedo you get after the wedding massacre will always stay bloody, though.
  • Book Ends: The game begins and ends with a chase at the Aberdeen docks that ends with Wei being picked up by the police, followed by an interrogation at the police station. In the beginning it's a set-up; Wei gets be arrested so that he can talk to Pendrew about his assignment without breaking cover. At the end, Wei is chasing down Big Smile Lee; after he finishes Lee off, the police pick him up. After that, Aunt Jiang sends Wei proof that Pendrew murdered Uncle Po, enough evidence to send him to prison, which Wei and the HKPD bring him in on. One moment in particular stands out at both ends - someone shutting off the security camera in the interrogation room for added privacy.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The free Ghost Pig DLC lets you unlock a gold .40cal pistol after you've beaten the game, by which time there's probably nobody left you really need to shoot.
  • Breakable Weapons: Melee weapons usually break after a half-dozen hits, which is more than enough to kill at least one full-health enemy. All weapons are rendered unusable if they're thrown and actually connect.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: The "Top Dog Silver" and "Top Dog Gold" Downloadable Content packs grant players a large amount of all three kinds of experience points, allowing them to unlock more powerful abilities far earlier than they normally would. The "Red Envelopes" DLC gives a huge money bonus.
    • Slightly less directly, some outfits you buy or unlock in DLC are much more powerful/useful than anything you can buy or unlock in the vanilla game. +40% unarmed damage? +50% bullet resistance? +40% Face XP? Unbreakable weapons? It can all be yours, for a price...
  • Bullet Time: Which usually only kicks in during certain actions, such as vaulting over cover, leaping from high heights or jumping from one vehicle to another.
  • Bullying The Dragon: Available as dialogue option in several missions: Wei can tell to someone who gets too cocky with him that it's not a good idea to piss off a Sun On Yee and it would be wiser to simply tell Wei what he wants. It usually works.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Wei, although he has no mixed ancestry, has spent much of his life in the United States. Interestingly, he's one of the few Chinese characters (and the only major character) in the game to not have a mix of English and Chinese in his name. The English names are a justified as quite a few Chinese people have a western name they use around people who are unable to speak Chinese.
  • But Thou Must:
    • It's possible in several drug bust side missions to hack the camera without needing to fight the thugs around it, but you won't be able to complete the mission without getting in the fight.
    • For the side quests you can't date Not-Ping without dating Tiffany first. This is purely so you can access the Face side quest where Tiffany and Not-Ping call you out on your one-night stands.
  • Butt Monkey: We never see him, but "Three-Teeth" Chan gets his car stolen every day by the Triads since one of the lines from a specific car salesman, upon purchasing a car, warns you about not going too close to Johnny's studio since "he may have not noticed the robbery yet".
  • Call Back: One song available for karaoke is "I Fought the Law". This doubles as a Shout-Out to the Catch Phrase of Nick Kang from True Crime: Streets of LA.
  • Car Fu:
    • There's a dedicated "sideswipe" button that makes your vehicle slam into an enemy or police cars during a pursuit. You'll want to be very careful of this during most missions, though, as property damage greatly reduces the Cop Points you get at the end of missions.
    • There's an Action Hijack (think Just Cause 2) where you leap from one vehicle to another. Starting an action hijack in a car has Wei lean out the door. Anyone unfortunate to be caught by the extended car door is smashed in the face.
    • Using a car in any of the drug bust missions where the thugs are unarmed makes them laughably easy.
  • Character Level: Three of them at once - Cop Points (awarded mostly for doing police missions, with less payout when you are reckless during undercover triad missions) give you firearm-related skills or vehicle-hijacking skills; Triad Points (awarded for being as mean as possible to enemies you beat up during Triad missions) grant you more offensive or defensive melee skills; Face Points (awarded for side missions not directly related to the cops or triads) make you more impressive and well-known to the community, boosting your Face Meter, the duration of your food-based buffs and making you more terrifying to your enemies when you kick their asses.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Wearing sets of certain types of clothing grants you various benefits like receiving more experience or dealing more combat damage. Nice suits usually grant more Cop EXP, sporty-looking outfits grant more Triad EXP, tough-guy looking outfits (leather jackets, camo pants, etc.) help you punch harder. There are other sets that allow you to receive a discount on cars and clothes or lower the attention of the cops. If you have a saved game of Just Cause 2, you get Rico Rodriguez's outfit, letting you Action Hijack from greater distances.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Almost everyone, in English or in Cantonese.
  • Collection Sidequest: Tons, with the most item-intensive one being to find and pray at all the little health shrines dotted around the map. If you're lucky, you can also find lockboxes full of money or one of eleven different Zodiac statues you need to give to your martial arts master for new techniques. Hackable security cameras also dot the landscape, but not all of them are directly linked to the Drug Bust side missions. Fortunately, dating the girls you met on some missions will make ALL of those appear on both your minimap and your regular map.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Mr. Tong's specialty. When knives don't do the job, he moves on to an electric drill.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Climbing paths are often marked with a green cloth of some kind.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Wei can use the environment to his benefit in fairly brutal ways, usually involving slamming enemies into anything he finds nearby such as fans or shutters. Some notable examples include:
    • Slamming a mook into an aquarium. If you feel like it, you can then pick up a fish that fell out of the aquarium and start beating his buddies with it; there's even a trophy for doing this.
    • Shoving someone's face into a table saw.
    • Throwing a guy onto a meat hook. In fact, the same environment allows you to skewer someone on a pallet of swordfish heads.
    • Hurling a guy into a tank full of electric eels.
    • Dropping an engine block on someone.
    • The tried-and-true method of bashing a dude's head in with a car door.
    • The game saves arguably the most brutal for last, when it prompts you to hurl Big Smile Lee into an ice chipper. You can find this location outside of the final mission and shove any other random NPC into it, which also makes Wei act like he does at the end of the said mission after he does it.
    • Got a lot of thugs surrounding a camera for a drug bust mission? Back in and back out repeatedly with a car.
    • With a couple DLC packs, or a little preparation time, the player can certainly do this. Go right ahead and bring your armored van and assault rifle/grenade launcher to a fistfight. If you're not doing a story mission, nobody will stop you.
    • Certain Face missions involve Wei getting mugged while distracted, and having to do a free-running segment to catch up to the thief, followed by beating up the guy and some other thugs. Proper planning can let you end the mission quickly by bringing a motorcycle with you (though the free-run course may not be suitable for it) or by shooting the thief when you have a clear shot.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted. By mid-game, especially on side missions, you'll be facing swarms of mooks that differentiate themselves for example as "brawlers" and "grapplers", forcing you to mix-and-match Wei's moveset, while even low-level mooks will now also be armed with melee weapons.
  • Cool Car: Lots, but unlike Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row, they must be purchased on the black market. Once you buy a car, it will always be available in a parking garage. To avoid stealing cars during your first missions and lose Cop EXP, Wei starts with an entry-level bike. The Wheels Of Fury DLC gives the DZS-90, which is essentially a James Bond car that gets twin ceiling-mounted pop-up miniguns, autopilot and EMP shockwave with all the DLC missions completed.
  • Cowboy Cop: Wei, big time. He's got a reputation for possibly murdering gang members in San Francisco even before the game starts, and he never hesitates to curse at Raymond, his handler, and Pendrew, his superior. His going rogue towards the end of the game should come as a surprise to no one.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The triads seem to specialize in these. Much mention is made of what they do to traitors - burying people alive, carving them up with knives, and so forth. A few in particular stand out:
    • Johnny Ratface and Dog-Eyes Lin, both chopped up and turned into soup by Mrs. Chu.
    • Winston and his wife-to-be Peggy are shot up on their wedding day and left a bloody mess (Peggy is already dead by the time Wei finds them and Winston is on death's doorstep).
    • Mr. Tong has made an art of it. You're "invited" to view some of his work when you find Jackie gutted and strung up from a building. Later on he tortures Wei and mentions that the last cop who sat in that chair managed to hold up for 48 hours before succumbing. "Big Smile" Lee's dossier also says he has an affinity for going above and beyond the typical triad levels of violence.
    • Big Scar Wu, for having been chopped up and turned into low-grade catfood except for one finger, which was kept intact and hidden so that his spirit would never rest.
    • Just about every takedown qualifies, such as slamming a guy into an electrical hazard, or shoving a guys face onto a burning stove. The most gory and satisfying one happens at the end, where you hold Big Smile Lee into an ice chipper. It happens in slow motion.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Throughout the game, Wei has probably taken punches, car crashes, gunshot wounds, been through explosions, and various other injuries, but in the penultimate mission, he gets pistol whipped in the back of the head, knocking him unconscious. Made even worse immediately afterwards, as he's well enough to fight after being brutally tortured.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: In the 360 version, B is used to grab an enemy, which is similar to several other games like Prototype and Assassin's Creed. Unfortunately, while those games let you throw the enemy by hitting B again, for Dogs it's... RT. Fortunately, in this game hitting B again doesn't do anything else that you might not want to do.
  • Dating Sim: As a side mission similar to Grand Theft Auto. Girlfriends grant you beneficial abilities like finding all the collectibles in an area, but unlike GTA, where relationships can be continued indefinitely, Wei's romantic encounters are pretty much just a series of one-night stands that two of them eventually call him out on.
  • Deconstruction: The dates serve as this in regards to the Dating Sim. Both Tiffany and Not Ping will learn of how you had multiple flings with other women for power ups, and they will not be pleased.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The reports Wei unlocks, especially on his dating missions, contain a few very dry gems. Similarly, the Triad leaders tend to make pointed remarks disguised as polite statements, and when you go through your wardrobe, the clothing descriptions will have a few smart-ass remarks.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • If you're driving a Cool Car and stop near a sidewalk, people will admire it while you sit there.
    • If you're wearing a mismatched outfit, you'll hear people comment on your attire, saying things like, "It takes guts to wear that."
    • Averted when you strip Wei down to just his boxers, have him complete missions and cutscenes as such. Nobody raises an eyebrow.
    • If you stop in a stolen taxi near the pavement, a pedestrian might get in the back.
      Wei: "Do I look like a cab driver to you?"
      Pedestrian: "Shit!"
    • While scripted side events exist that involve the player pursuing fleeing thieves, few players are aware that it is also possible to chase down muggers in open environments and return stolen items to their victims for a small sum of cash.
    • Wei will always kickstart his bike after putting on a helmet, except the ones you steal since the engine is already running.
    • If Wei goes out of a car while both doors are stuck, usually when going out in an alley, he'll break the front windshield and get out.
    • Sometimes a mission will require Wei to hack a camera, but if you already did it before being assigned that objective, Wei will just say as such and move on.
    • The contents of the dumpsters you can throw enemies in varies depending on where you find them. Dumpsters in the fish factories contain fish guts while ones near offices contain paper for example.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Early plot of the game involves a gang war between two Sun On Yee factions, the Water Street Gang and the Jade Gang. It finally culminates in Dogeyes placing a hit on Winston in an attempt to clear out the competition. The hit succeeds but Wei survives, and unbeknownst to Dogeyes he had already secured his position before the hit, almost immediately uniting the Water Street Gang behind him, and personally rescued Uncle Po. So now the Water Street Gang is not only under its most competent leadership ever, the prior undercover's report on Winston and Conroy is not flattering about either of them and the state of the Water Street Gang before Wei came in, but with Uncle Po personally indebted to Wei, and the Sun On Yee triad has a new Red Pole who is also an undercover cop... giving HKPD a direct inside line to all their dealings. Oops. Naturally, it ends up being Dogeyes' downfall.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: During an early Face Mission, Wei has to take a picture of the sunset and a drunken man sometimes gets in his way. Naturally, the best way to handle this is to beat him up. (This can be averted by by making sure to take the shot in such a way that he's never in the field of view, thus never triggering the drunken man's action.)
    Mission Objective: Beat up the drunken asshole
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Almost became one when Activision wanted to make it back as the third True Crime game before Square Enix picked it up after Activision dropped it, renaming it Sleeping Dogs.
  • Downloadable Content: In addition to extra outfit pieces and vehicles, along with one-off missions and additional XP/money packs, at New York Comic Con it was revealed that there would be post-game story content... in the form of Nightmare At North Point, which takes the post-game plot straight into mythological territory with Wei (now wearing an outfit right out of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon) taking on everything from possessed 18k thugs to jiang shi and yaoguai.
    • The SWAT Pack DLC, which adds another game-mode to the game. You wear the Special Duties uniform and drive around Hong Kong in an armored police van, resolving randomly generated crimes (chases, shootouts, assaults, and hostage negotiations) for money and Cop experience.
    • The Zodiac Tournament DLC is an extended homage to Enter the Dragon: the plot premise is much the same (police ask you to go investigate an offshore fighting tournament), the intro, outro, music, screen coloration, and sound effects are altered to give the appearance of a 1970's Kung Fu movie, and sometimes the martial arts students on the island (dressed different colors to denote rank) will make Funny Bruce Lee Noises.
    • The Year of The Snake DLC pits Wei Shen against a doomsday cult who believe the world will end at the start of the New Year - and aim to hurry the end along through various acts of terrorism. Includes a variety of police-issue outfits and vehicles, a new moveset for Shen based around a Stun Gun and handcuffs, the ever-popular tear gas grenade launcher, and trivia about how the Chinese New Year is celebrated.
  • The Dragon:
  • Drunken Master: Dr. Zhang, the main villain of the Zodiac Tournament is revealed to be one, and you can make Wei into one with the respective DLC outfit: whenever his Face bar fills up, he takes a swig of booze and gains a drunk boxing moveset for around 30 seconds.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • The Special Duties Unit (Hong Kong's SWAT equivalent), who comes for you if you wreak too much havoc. They carry sub-machine guns or assault rifles and wear body armor, making them harder to dispatch than common cops.
    • The Shaolin monks you can fight during one of the story missions or a DLC side mission are a melee version of this: they block most of your attacks by default and often counter them, often escape your grapple attempts if you don't hit or counter them first, can't be rolled over to use Wei's instant takedown from behind and can't be hit normally with Wei's special counter attack either.
    • The Nightmare At North Point DLC has its own unique Superpowered Mooks: the Yao Guai, demons who cannot be damaged unless you have a Peach Wood Sword, or your Face meter is charged up. You can't run them down with vehicles, either; if you try, they'll do an Action Hijack on you.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: After Winston's mother has her restaurant shot up, escaping injury herself, Winston escalates his rivalry with Dogeyes.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Upon witnessing Winston's wedding becoming a massacre, Uncle Po asserts that such things are sacred, and whoever did it crossed a very serious line.
    • Johnny Ratface has a reputation for being a lunatic, with Ricky putting it this way.
    Ricky: You give him a job, you're gonna have to steam-clean your conscience when you're done. You know what I mean?
    • Ricky also points out later that the Triads were once a true brotherhood, and that there's supposed to be codes of conduct and honour even between rival triad gangs. He cites the massacre at Winston's wedding and the 18K attack on a hospitalised Uncle Po as prime examples on how standards have slipped, or as he puts it, 'the game has changed'.
    • The target of Wei's initiation ceremony is an ex-Sun On Yee dealer who sold drugs specifically to kids. When Uncle Po learned of this he immediately ordered him to stop. The guy ignored him and signed up with the 18K instead.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Everybody? Yep. Kung-Fu? Specifically, yes.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto:
    • While normally cars can take a pretty respectable amount of gunfire on their own before blowing up, shooting out a tire while in high speed will make them fly up into the air and blow up shortly afterwards. The Cop upgrade that allows Wei to do a Bullet Time jump out of a car while aiming with a gun also allows him to blow up any car with a single bullet.
    • Parodied in the Nightmare at North Point DLC, where parked cars that you're not driving or haven't hijacked yet will randomly blow up on their own for seemingly no reason.
  • Evil All Along: Superintendent Pendrew turns out to be the true driving force behind the game's events.
  • Evil Brit: Pendrew
  • Evil Is Petty: After burning down the sweatshop he runs, Dogeyes gets back at Winston by sending a thug after his wedding cake.
    • Except not. Hijacking the truck reveals the driver to be, rather that a Triad thug, another bride-to-be who has never even heard of Dogeyes and is just trying to get the cake that she ordered to her wedding, implying that Winston simply forgot to order the cake until it was too late and used the "Dogeyes stole it" thing as an excuse to convince Wei to steal it for him.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The vast majority of the conflicts are born from interior disputes between triad factions and sub-factions. When it comes to the side of law enforcement, Wei does not have to fight the cops often, and even then, his only objective is to run away from them. Conroy lampshades this at one point during the game:
    Conroy: Just for once I'd like to fight someone outside of my own triad!
  • Exploding Fish Tanks:
  • Expy: The two rival Triads seen in-game, the Sun On Yee and the 18k, are based off of the Real Life Triad gangs the Sun Yee On and the 14k, respectively.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Dogeyes sells out the Sun On Yee to the 18K in an attempt to kill Winston and Wei. Wei survives, Winston doesn't.
  • Five-Bad Band:
    • The Sun On Yee Red Poles.
      • Big Bad: Uncle Po
      • The Dragon: Henry "Big Smile" Lee. Only because he gets the most money for Uncle Po and is highly ambitious in replacing him as the chairman; "Pockmark" Cheuk fills the more traditional second-in-command role.
      • The Evil Genius: "Two Chin" Tsao
      • The Brute: Both Winston Chu and Sam "Dogeyes" Lin fill this role, ironically.
      • The Dark Chick: "Broken Nose" Jiang
      • The Sixth Ranger: Wei Shen
    • For "Big Smile" Lee's faction within the Sun On Yee:
      • Big Bad: Lee
      • The Dragon: Ponytail & Mr. Tong
      • The Evil Genius: Sonny Wo
      • The Brute: Dogeyes; while he technically has the same rank as Lee within the Triad and has his own gang, it's very obvious that he and his men answer to Lee. One of the police dossiers outright states that he's being used by Lee in a proxy war.
      • The Dark Chick: Ricky Wong; honorable, idealistic and interested in pursuing a serious relationship with a woman, he's pretty much the only member of Lee's cabal that isn't smug, misogynistic, a Jerk Ass, or all three. Wei spares him and convinces him to flee because of these traits.
    • For the Water Street Boys:
      • Big Bad: Winston
      • The Dragon: Conroy Wu
      • The Evil Genius: Wei; while not especially brilliant, is easily the smartest and most level-headed member of the gang, and does his best to rein Winston in away from senseless violence and towards more profitable, less destructive goals.
      • The Brute: Duke; although really everyone in the gang except Wei and Jackie could fill this role.
      • The Dark Chick: Vincent; he only gets a few cameos here and there and doesn't have very many speaking roles before he gets killed off screen by a serial killer.
      • The Sixth Ranger: Jackie Ma. By the time the game starts, he's just an associate of Winston and his crew, not a full blown triad.
  • Flashed Badge Hijack: Wei can do this with beat cop, detective, SWAT and Tactical outfits: it's noticeably slower than the normal variety and doesn't work in all situations, but it naturally doesn't alert the cops and can even be used to steal their car without them objecting.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the mission where you help Peggy make preparations for the wedding she says that a black orchid guarantees that a couple will stay together for as long as they live. Well, she wasn't wrong.
    • Before the Year of the Snake DLC was announced the developers patched in what just seemed like appropriate Year of the Snake posters for the 2013 Chinese New Year.
  • Four Is Death: Much of what Wei and Old Salty Crab do in the mission "Bad Luck" revolves around exploiting Two Chin Tsao's superstitious nature by vandalizing his house in ways that include smashing his collection of giant vases until only four remain and resetting his clock to 4:44 and unplugging it.
    • Crops up again in the "Year of the Snake" DLC, as one of the doomsday cult's bomb cars had "44" in its license plate, prompting dispatch to wonder "who ever heard of a license plate with two fours in it?"
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • For one of the side quests Wei is pissed that a racer deliberately rammed an opponent's car off the road. It is never mentioned when Wei does it, even to cops, though it will get you the achievement 'Rogue Cop'.
    • Conroy might rag on you for not being a killer, but it's very possible that you've already killed a lot of people by that point in the game.
    • By the end missions, Cop EXP should be out the window because Wei just don't give a damn about his role as an officer and only wants to make everyone bleed. Unfortunately you as a player still get docked for driving too recklessly or tripping over things...
  • Gargle Blaster: The special magic tea Wei drinks during the Nightmare in North Point DLC that gives him his flaming fists includes albino chicken eggs, ghost pepper and antifreeze.
  • Giant Mook: Downplayed with "Grappler" mooks, which aren't that much bigger than the average person, just a bit more stout. They prefer using grabbing attacks on Wei, and their extra weight makes them able to deflect most or all of Wei's own grab attacks, so just hitting them with regular strike attacks is usually the way to go.
  • Glowing Eyelights of Undeath: Most "normal" non-player characters from the main game are replaced with bloodied, corpse-like versions of themselves with these distinctive bluish-purple eyes in Nightmare at North Point. From certain angles, you can actually see than that the glow is placed a minute distance away from their actual faces.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The camera pans away when Mrs. Chu goes to town on Johnny Ratface, but cuts right to black when she starts on Dogeyes.
    • Zig-zagged with Mr. Tong. He's shown using the scalpel, but drilling what is presumably Wei's knee with an electric drill is shown from a distance and all we see is Mr. Tong's back and Wei's screaming face.
    • Averted with Jackie: his entrails are the first thing you see.
  • Got Me Doing It: Big Scar Wu has been called Smiley Cat so much that at one point he even refers to himself as Smiley Cat. He's quick to reprimand himself.
  • Gradual Regeneration: Eating food will give you a temporary Healing Factor. Maxing out the Face Meter during combat is another method.
  • Guns Akimbo: Surprisingly averted throughout most of the game, given its setting and influence of John Woo. Ponytail briefly uses it in an escape sequence.
  • Happy Ending Massage: While there are several legitimate looking massage parlors dotted across the map several implied brothels can be visited by Wei and are staffed with sexy women who act flirty when the player interacts with them. Also, one of the medium level face perks is a special massage bonus, so if Wei wasn't getting these before he probably is now...
  • Heroic Bloodshed: An outstanding example. All the elements are there - violence, moral ambiguity, more violence, vengeance, extreme violence, much ado about honor and loyalty, and truly horrific violence.
  • High Speed Hijack: Action Hijacking is an oft-used mechanic. Wei Shen can jump from his vehicle to any other 4-wheeled one that's on the driver's side and moving in the same general direction.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mr. Tong wields a gigantic machete when he faces off against Wei. So, naturally, at the end of the boss battle, Wei counters a chop and shoves the thing through Tong's chest.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Some generic NPCs can suffer from one if you startle them enough.
  • Humiliation Conga: Against Wei for the collateral damage in the Year of the Snake DLC.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Played straight in some ways, averted in others. Wei can only carry one pistol-sized weapon in his pockets (or boxers) and hold another weapon in his hands. But that doesn't keep him from carrying 10 clips of ammo for each weapon, plus assault rifle grenades.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Invoked by Wei, who uses them to sneak into a monastery after hours.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Conroy Wu in particular is suspicious of Wei's reluctance to kill people, since the last guy to express such was an undercover cop. Wei does however end up "eating the kitten", after which Conroy apologizes and accepts Wei fully.
  • Informed Attribute: Despite living in Hong Kong until age 10, later shown perfectly understanding Winston's mother (who doesn't speak English) and according to his SPFD internal report, being recruited to undercover work because of his Cantonese language ability, Wei never speaks Cantonese at all in the game.note 
  • It Gets Easier:
    • Wei is really shook up the first time he needs to shoot someone and appropriately has nightmares about it later, but he gets over it and has fewer qualms about killing the further it goes, to the point where he eventually becomes capable of shocking violence. He also walks Jackie through his own first-kill jitters.
    • Averted with Jackie who never really gets over it and it kickstarts his decision to leave the triads.
  • Jerkass:
    • Sonny Wo might be a talented CEO of an entertainment production company, but everybody thinks he has "the charisma of week-old cat vomit" since he only thinks (and talks) about boning every girl he sees, including his Sun On Yee liaison Ricky's girlfriend Vivienne Lu. In front of Ricky. Then you learn about how he'll turn her into a prostitute or a porn actress if she rubs him the wrong way and how he uses her to seduce his business partners... and that Ricky got together with her by being one of them.
    • Dogeyes: when you introduce yourself to a man by telling him about how his sister gave you oral service, you're not exactly the nicest guy around.
    • Conroy starts as one since he thinks (correctly) that Wei is The Mole, but after the raid on Dogeyes' drug warehouse, he apologizes and warms up to him, claiming Wei "showed his true colors" after spilling blood.
    • Roland Ho initially comes off as a man hardened by years of dealing with deadbeat debtors, but he crosses into this after Samson Gao, one of the many people who owes him money, is Driven to Suicide. Roland wants Wei to shake down his newly-widowed wife to see if he had any life insurance, at which point Wei refuses to associate with him anymore.
    • Hotshot, who's so arrogant it's a wonder his ego doesn't blow him up. Makes his arrest for murdering Ace even better.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Pendrew points out to Wei during interrogation that he had become one of the criminals he had fought against. Subverted later when Wei discovers Pendrew murdered Uncle Po, despite Wei having killed dozens to maintain his cover, even in cold blood. Pendrew was also maintaining his own cover by killing Uncle Po, who had kickstarted Pendrew's career by giving up three triad figures... for which Pendrew had previously left Sun On Yee alone, and thus Pendrew too had also become one of the criminals he had fought against.
  • Joke Item: The Tourist Outfit really does "adjusts prices accordingly". Not only does it negate any discounts you may have active, it also jacks up the base price of everything by 60%.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • When Dogeyes sees Wei for the first time, he makes several lewd comments about Wei's dead older sister, who died of a drug overdose. Guess who got her hooked? When Dogeyes comes back in the "Nightmare in North Point" DLC, he taunts Wei by saying he boned her again last night in Hell.
    • Virtually all of the aggressions of Wei's enemies against Jackie were this, but when Big Smile Lee kills him this trope is definitely in effect.
  • Knife Nut:
    • One of the favorite melee weapons of mooks is a large kitchen knife or a vegetable cleaver. A Truth in Television, as Real Life firearms are very hard to obtain in Hong Kong.
    • When Mrs Chu gets angry, you'd better pray she doesn't have her cleaver in her hand...
    • Mr. Tong takes it one step further by going after Wei with a machete during the final mission.
  • Le Parkour: More of a factor in alleyways and inner-block shopping mall areas than out on the streets. It's one useful way to evade cop pursuit on foot, and since you get badly docked for harming cops you want to be able to just run away from them.
  • Mad Bomber: The cult in Year of The Snake DLC is essentially a group of these: beating all the side missions in the DLC unlocks the cult outfit for Wei, which gives him improved counters and allows him to become one as well by planting bombs in the trunk of any car that has one (including police cars, who don't seem to pay any attention to it) and being able to remotely detonate them afterwards.
  • Mad Doctor: One of Inspector Teng's investigations involves a Serial Killer who offs his victims with surgical precision. Turns out she's spot on, as the killer is a surgeon who steals organs from the homeless and Sun On Yee members for the black market, working for the 18K.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Triad thugs can take multiple broken bones before dropping.
    • Averted when it comes to firearms-a few well-placed shots will drop any enemy.
    • Ponytail. He takes a dozen shots to the head before dying, in a game where everyone dies with one head shot. Unless you shoot one of the hotplates on the counter he's hiding behind, in which case he goes down (in flames) in seconds.
  • Made of Plasticine: Triad members can take a couple of bullets and a fairly nasty beating. Civilians can't even take a short fall over a railing.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Wei can be read as "impressive might", while Shen means "cautious".
    • The title of the game itself is based on the proverb "Let sleeping dogs lie". It can be interpreted as "leave something alone if it might cause trouble" By the end of the game the Sun On Yee has actually grown from a gang falling apart to a powerful force with its weaknesses trimmed thanks to Wei Shen. This all would have been avoided if the undercover operation had never been orchestrated.
  • Mixed Martial Arts: UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre was consulted by the producers to create the game's melee combat system. The game's Limited Edition grants access to a clothing set which, when worn, allows Wei to perform his signature attack: a flying punch.
  • Mob War: Two: The Sun On Yee have an ongoing turf war with the 18K, and various factions within the Sun On Yee vie for supremacy throughout the game.
  • Mook Chivalry: Downplayed: if you're attacking a mook, another will come up from behind hoping to take a swing at you. However, mooks don't swarm you, either.
  • Mugging the Monster: A good chunk of the sidequests involve Wei chasing down and beating the ever-loving shit out of petty pickpockets who thought stealing from the muscular guy with the tattoos was a good idea.
  • Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters: Absolutely not, but Peggy, Winston's fiance, seems to be under this impression, at least concerning the Water Street Gang.
  • Nice Hat: Dogeyes' fedora. You can also buy them or find some in the lockboxes hidden around the city.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Nightmare At North Point. All enemies and almost every non-player character takes on some semblance of undeath. They also have distorted voices and killing them causes them to be Dragged Off to Hell. Most of them go on about their business as normal, and Wei can still buy pork buns and other comestibles from zombie street vendors without a hint of surprise.
  • Non Indicative Name: The majority of the early missions occur in a neighborhood known as North Point, which is on the northern shore of Hong Kong. Except the game's map has been rotated 90 degrees clockwise.
  • Notice This: Collectibles like health shrines, security cameras and jade statues shine very brightly, but you still have to be within their line of sight for this to kick in. Fallen guns and other weapons glow blue.
  • Not So Different:
    • Uncle Po invokes this when Pendrew murders him in his hospital bed.
    ''"The only difference between you and me is...I know what I am."'
    • The actions of Wei and Pendrew are chillingly comparable, They both did grisly things to maintain their cover, And they are both cops who have collaborated with Gangs,they believe the ends justify the means when it comes to stopping crime, and they both became comparable to the Criminals they fought.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Many environmental kills are only possible solely because of this trope. For example - why is there an open furnace in a storage warehouse?
  • Obviously Evil: Dogeyes, Pendrew and Big Smile Lee.
  • Old Save Bonus: Players with an old Just Cause 2 save file will gain access to Rico Rodriguez's suit from said game, improving the ability to hijack moving vehicles.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience:
  • Only Sane Man: In the DLC and side-missions, Wei is always the first person say something to the effect of "You've got to be shitting me," in response to the silliness and incongruities around him.
  • Paper Talisman: Wei's finishing move against a Jiang Shi once his Face meter is charged starts by slapping a Fu talisman on its forehead and ends by punching it back into hell. The talismans translate to read 'chocolate bacon'.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Melee attack while wielding a firearm. Oddly, it seems to do more damage than a gunshot wound in the chest.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • There's a Face mission to confront Tiffany, the Bam-Bam Club hostess, over her infidelity. Once confronted, she points out that it's a bullshit Double Standard that Wei is allowed to cheat, but she's not.
    • At the start of the Year of the Snake DLC Wei's destructive methods have irritated his superiors one time too many, getting him reassigned to regular police work.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: It has a bunch of "peppering Cantonese cuss words into English" and background NPCs who speak basically accurate but unsubtitled Cantonese, though Mrs. Chu is the only plot-relevant character to only speak Cantonese.
  • Refuge in Audacity: While trying to sneak into a building to steal a cutting tool, Wei has to persuade a worker to let him by. He explains to the worker exactly what he's doing (sneaking in and needs to get past him to get inside) and tells the guy to pipe down or be made to shut up. It works.
  • Remember the New Guy: The script has a tendency to assume we don't need to be properly introduced to various characters before Wei is. Throughout the game, we tend to see Wei greeting or recognizing certain triad members we've never heard of. Fortunately, actions tend to demonstrate what kind of people they are more than an exposition dump, and doing side quests gives you dossier information on characters you haven't met yet, like Big Smile Lee. This can help with some of the ambiguity.
  • Retraux: The Zodiac Tournament DLC imitates 70s Chop Sockey movies with cutscene film grain and an over-the-top, funky soundtrack.
  • Running Gag:
    • Calvin, a Water Street Gang member, will occasionally need a driver because he either forgot the "Get the hell away" part of his plans or committed a "slight mishap" against the 18K in the middle of their territory.
    Wei: You pull this shit, you gotta learn how to drive!
    • Despite his protests, absolutely nobody will refer to Big Scar Wu as anything but "Smiley Cat." Not even his own possessed 18K minions.
  • Roundhouse Kick: The standard Heavy Attack, used by most kinds of fighters in the game. Interestingly, Wei himself tends to use a half-circle kick, while enemy mooks do a telegraphed, slow full circle that is easily countered.
  • Shamu Fu: Doing this earns you an achievement. You can find fish if you break an aquarium or are fighting at the fish market.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • How Hong Kong is depicted. United Front took a lot of trips around the city to take pictures to serve as reference to make Hong Kong in the game realistic (though they did take a few liberties with the actual layout to facilitate certain gameplay elements, like most Open-World games based on a real city).
    • The martial arts system used in the game. See Mixed Martial Arts.
    • How some of the vehicles like Hong Kong Police Force and taxi vehicles are depicted; this also includes vehicle license plates. Also, all vehicles are driven on a right-hand format as Hong Kong's (to a lesser extent, including Macau's) standard method of bi-directional traffic. Note that license plates in the game are a bit more elaborate than in Real Life (normally the standard format is just AB 1234).
    • The use of Cantonese and English in conversations: they are Hong Kong's official languages.
    • United Front also spoke to former/actual triad gangsters and police officers who had participated in/led undercover operations.
    • Another instance is the design of the Chinese grave during the funeral of Uncle Po. Among other things, it tells us his Chinese name as well as date and place of birth and death, and also has the proper title of respect for deceased people.
    • This comes up even in the Nightmare At North Point DLC using jiang shi (properly pronounced as the Cantonese "Guang Si") instead of "just" zombies, and the choice of peach wood swords as a new melee weapon in the game (cited by devs as coming from Daoist exorcism).
      • The "yaoguay", though, isn't a real demon from Chinese folklore (though its name does, literally, mean "demon"), and visually is based far more heavily on "Western" demons (complete with goat horns).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickening Crunch: Wei can learn attacks that can break the arm or leg of an enemy, with an appropriately gruesome cracking sound accompanying it. Enemies in close proximity will flinch and back away when they hear.
  • Silliness Switch: Can be invoked by the player at their leisure. Go into your wardrobe and equip the silliest outfit you can make; or unequip all your clothing so you're in your boxers, and then equip the Ghost Pig head. Proceed with any story mission, and see how long you can keep a straight face. For example.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: The standard Water Street Gang uniform seems to be a tank top and either worn-out jeans or track pants. While Wei, Winston and Conroy have the physiques to carry it off, Jackie... not so much.
  • Small Reference Pools: The classical music radio channel has most of the ones on the "SmallReferencePools.Music" page, and that's it. Not a single less well known piece in the lot.
  • Spin-Off: United Front Games was found to have registered a trademark for "Triad Wars", leading to no small amount of speculation on the Internet, after which UFG officially confirmed that "it's another game in the Sleeping Dogs universe".
  • Stealth Pun: Wei Shen is voiced by actor Will Yun Lee. Where there's a Will, there's a Wei.
  • Straight Gay:
    • In a few instances, a male character you're buying something from (such as the rug seller at K-Bar) will hit on Wei during the conversation.
    • Implied with Old Salty Crab, if the running dialogue in the above mentioned Four Is Death mission is anything to go by.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: No mission enemies will ever flee from Wei, even if they've already witnessed him hack up five of their buddies with a machete, and unarmed enemies have a hilarious tendency to charge headlong towards you while you're pointing a gun in their face. This applies to some driving missions too, in which Wei can explode all the pursuing cars and motorcycles he wants - more will keep coming. The only exceptions are in Drug Bust side missions, where you need to defeat a certain number of respawning mooks to proceed. When you've hit the limit, any survivors will run away.
  • Super Drowning Skills: NPC's die instantly upon contact with the ocean. Wei, however, is free to swim as he pleases.
  • Super Mode: The "Face" meter fills up during combat, and faster if you are really brutal or impressive during the fight. Once it maxes out, Wei starts regenerating health, weaker enemies jump back in fear, and Wei can blow through enemy defenses more efficiently. Effectively, he's being so awesome that he's broken his enemies mentally, which makes it easier to break their bodies physically.
  • Tattooed Crook: Tons of them, including Wei.
    • Exaggerated if you have the Gangland Style DLC pack, with your choice of Russian, Tribal, or Yakuza-flavored tats.
  • Touch of Death: Sifu Kwok's ultimate technique, given to you after you've gotten back all his statues and learned everything else he has to teach you, is this. It's even called as much in Cantonese (Dim Mak). The Dim Mak won't instantly kill any enemy, but it is far more effective than the normal counterattack and always knocks an enemy down. Story bosses are immune to this attack.
  • Tournament Arc: The Zodiac Tournament DLC. It ends badly for everyone involved.
  • Toyota Tripwire: Possible when you open the other door on your car while driving, which can cause you to smack any unfortunate pedestrian or motorcyclist in the way.
  • The End... Or Is It?: At the end of the Nightmare at Northpoint DLC, Wei walks away with Not Ping who turns to the camera and laughs as Smiley Cat.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Jackie's reaction to the very first person he kills. He wishes to get away from the triads shortly after.
  • The Triads and the Tongs
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The firearm melee attack button doubles as a "throw" button if you're holding a melee weapon. The trope is played dead straight if you've got the Screen Legends DLC and the accompanying Lightning Sword, or a cleaver/kitchen knife, and little crooked if you've got a Peach Wood Sword. Funnily enough, if you throw a tire iron, sometimes it'll ricochet and hit more than one person.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: One of the videos put up to promote the game showed the mission Mrs. Chu's Revenge, making it pretty easy to figure out what would happen to Winston.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • In addition to the brutal, bone-breaking (literally!) moves and finishers available in melee combat, you'll also have many opportunities to introduce parts of your enemies' bodies (usually their heads) to convenient environmental objects, such as car doors, hot stove tops and spinning ventilation fans. Other methods include dropping them from fatal heights, throwing them over railings into passing cars, smashing their faces through billboards, bludgeoning or hacking them to death with knives, tire irons or fish you disarm from their hands.
    • To really see Ragdoll Physics at its best, find a fast and/or heavy vehicle, such as an SUV/truck/luxury sedan. Step on the gas and drive full speed towards a motorcyclist and press the "ram" button. Watch the poor sap fly dozens, if not, hundreds of feet away. For extra lulz, watch him/her bump over another fast-traveling vehicle.
    • If you have one of the police-themed outfits, you can also tase people while grappling them: the first 2 seconds of doing so increases your Face bar, but you can keep doing it for up to 10 seconds at a time, despite not doing any additional damage and leaving you open to be attacked by other enemies.
    • Drug Bust side-missions involve using police surveillance cameras to send cops to stop crimes in progress, but the cameras can also be used in your spare time to get random pedestrians arrested for your amusement. Rarely, this can actually lead to an actual criminal getting arrested, the police congratulating you for figuring out they were a criminal with no possible way to do so and getting rewarded for it.
    • The environmental attacks can be done to anyone. The game is horribly unaware of your indiscretion when you're not on a mission, so if you want to grab some random bystander and slam their head in a car door, it's not going to derail your career (just make sure there aren't any cops around).
    • When Tiffany breaks up with you for fooling around with "Not Ping", she casually walks off after her final words to Wei. Now, at this point you can simply live and let live and allow her to leave but...there's nothing stopping you from turning Wei into a crazed and vindictive ex, throw her in the trunk, and drive into the water. The fact the conversation happens within the engine and not in a cutscene (where she could simply vanish after the scene) seems to occur entirely so you can take this route if your heart desires.
    • Don't want to go to the trouble of knocking out fourteen gangsters just to get to hacking the camera for a drug bust side quest? You don't have to. Just bring along a gun and fire a few shots (which can be easy to find once you unlock the skill to get them from police cars). As long as you aren't in a tunnel the police will show up shooting in moments. Pretty soon you'll have fourteen dead gangsters. Just be sure to run the moment they arrive since they'll shoot you just as eagerly as the gangsters.
    • As you hijack more Knox Vans ones you haven't hijacked will get increasingly nervous as you drive around them. For fun you can deliberately follow it to send it on a spree just to watch it drive off the road and into other people and cars.
    • The Year of the Snake features a side mission similar to a Face mission, where a guy will ask Wei to deliver a payment to an obnoxious pork bun vendor. When the payment is made, the pork bun vendor will actually mock Wei/the player for being a "delivery boy" and running errands. Not only is it possible to reek some form of petty vengeance against the guy, he continually re-spawns due to him being a food vendor. So it is possible to repeatedly harm the guy and destroy his stand multiple times, and all it takes to drive around the block after each time.
    • The lobby of the ingame hospital is filled with sofas, which count as immovable railings as far as game mechanics are concerned, meaning Wei will slam whoever he's grappling with back-first onto them: combine this with the large number of civilians present, and you can except Hong Kong to have a sudden spike in back injury-related fatalities.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: During Police and Triad missions, hurting civilians or causing property damage (eg. accidentally hit a bystander's car, knock over guard rails/lampposts/etc, or just being plain clumsy via mistiming button presses for Park Our) reduces the amount of Cop EXP you receive at the end of the mission. When you're not on a mission, however, you're free to be as big a jerk as you like, as long as the beat cops don't catch you.
  • Violation of Common Sense: NPCs in the "Drug Bust" mini-missions. The goal is to catch drug dealers in action, all of whom are doing their thing within view of a clearly visible security camera. As if that weren't enough, you usually need to beat up all the gangsters in the area before bugging the camera...and rather than take their business to another location, they decide to go right back to their usual hangout under the cameranote . Averted for at least one camera where you can bypass the thugs by using a certain route.
  • Wall Jump: A minor one: tapping the run button when near any wall too high for Wei to climb causes him to jump against it, pressing attack causes him to do a spinning kick off the wall and pressing run again causes him to leap off it, which he can follow up with the kick. The leap off the wall doesn't really serve any gameplay purpose since he can't keep jumping off multiple walls and any walls that'd be close enough to allow him to do that are extremely rare.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Winston's wedding is a blood bath, leaving the groom and bride dead.
    • Pendrew being the true Big Bad, although him putting two more bullets into an already-dead driver and getting beat cops on Wei's trail was a big sign that Wei noticed.
    • Jackie's death, just when it looked like he might make it out alive.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Amanda Cartwright, along with the rest of your girlfriends, only show up for a few missions. Only two of them actually take the time to break up with younote 
    • The ending never tells us what happened to the Water Street Gang that Wei led after Winston dies, which is especially annoying since he's back with the police now. This includes the fate of the other Sun On Yee members like Ricky and Two Chin Tsao, though it's implied the latter was removed from the triad for his heroin addiction (and outright incompetence) and Ricky ran away with Vivienne.
    • After poisoning Wei during the Zodiac Tournament, the fate of Little Fu is left unknown.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Non-Japanese variation - the Peach Wood Sword from the Nightmare At North Point DLC is more durable than the garden-variety bladed weapons and is just as effective both against undead and possessed-but-living targets. To be fair, it is also a Flaming Sword.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess:
    • How Wei manages to save himself after Ming accuses him of being a snitch after Popstar's arrest. Wei turns it around by claiming that Ming is still working for Dogeyes, and that he got rid of Popstar so that Ming and Dogeyes could corner North Point's drug market; Winston falls for it and kills Ming instead.
    • "Broken Nose" Jiang pulls this when she nominates "Two-Chin" Tsao as temporary Chairman after Uncle Po is hospitalized, which prevents "Big Smile" Lee from nominating himself. She then proceeds to discredit Two-Chin, so as to force a proper election, after making efforts to make Lee look incompetent... which ends with her as chairman.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Conroy and a bunch of the Water Street Gang members are highly suspicious of Wei until he is finally forced to resort to lethally shooting some of Dogeyes' men in self-defense during the mission to destroy his drug operations. Afterwards, Conroy apologizes for doubting Wei, noting he has "showed [his] true colors today". Cue Wei having horrible nightmares of Conroy patting him on the back for getting blood on his hands.
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