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Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique / Video Games

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  • Played for Laughs in Alpha Protocol's introduction of Steven Heck, who has a man tied up and threatening to make him drink bleach if he doesn't give him the information he wants. Said information is the whereabouts of his keys. The man turns out to be his assistant, too.
    Steven: You should have said something earlier, Wen! You see what I almost made you drink?
  • Batman: Arkham Series understandably employs this many, many times.
    • Batman interrogating Riddler's various informants yields a variety of colorful threats, but these never go beyond threats. Presumably, his reputation is all that's needed.
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    • High-Altitude Interrogation naturally occurs several times.
    • "If you're lying, I'll break the other one." "What do you mean oth-OOOOOOOOW!"
    • The final game of the series has one example where this is cranked up to eleven, when Batman - running on pure fury after Barbara is kidnapped - pins a Mook to the pavement and remotely has the Batmobile roll up and start slowly crushing the man's skull with the front tire until he cracks and tells Batman everything. You actually do it twice just to be sure you do in fact have everything:
  • God of War II had Kratos brutally forcing a number of scholars to translate tablets. This involved him literally bashing their heads on the tablet itself to get them to read the whole damn thing. Then, after that, Kratos ends their misery by crushing their heads on the tablet and using their blood as a sacrifice.
  • Mass Effect
    • The Cerberus organization from Mass Effect enjoy this, and in fact it is treated as a valid, if somewhat immoral, technique. Same with Saren, so it's not just for humans. Saren, being a Spectre, has the authority to ignore laws in order to accomplish his mission. In Mass Effect: Revelation, the prequel novel, he brutally interrogates a batarian by breaking an appendage for every wrong answer. After finally getting all he can from the guy, Saren simply snaps his neck, considering himself merciful.
    • You can do this in Mass Effect 2 during Thane's loyalty mission while trying to shake down an uncooperative perp for information about an assassin's target. It's purely optional but incredibly cathartic.
    • And you can subvert it as well: At the very beginning of the interrogation, there's an option to explain to the perp exactly who you are and what you do (only available with a high Renegade level). He'll blab immediately if you choose it, and Thane will note it as quite possibly the shortest interrogation ever.
      • Or an even more hilarious manner, wait till his lawyer gets into the room, then punch the perp (in front of the lawyer). The lawyer will mention how he'll have your badge. Shepard then replies s/he's a Spectre. The lawyer tells his client that indeed, Shepard could shoot him here and now and it would be legal.
      • This could also be a lie, as it is entirely possible not to be reinstated as a Spectre.note 
      • In which then Shepard simply draws a gun and states this.
        Shepard: If I choose to, I can kill everyone in this room and walk out unscathed.
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    • Captain Bailey of Citadel Security advocates this to make criminals talk. If Shepard calls him out on this, he responds that the Citadel Wards are dangerous places and he has to use these methods to get the information he needs.
    • In Purgatory, you can have your teammates comment on this trope. Many will point out the flaws in the method, noting that the interrogated will say anything, likely false, in order to make the punishment stop.
      Garrus: You don't even get good information that way. After a point, victims admit to anything to make the pain stop.
    • In the same mission, Zaeed is the only one to note the cost of this method of interrogation.
    "No one walks away from torture unchanged; not the victim, nor the torturer himself. Never found torture worth the price, myself."
  • On the villain side, though not quite as brutal (as killing or crippling people would of course lessen the amount of money the family brings in and bring down the heat) the same can be done in The Sopranos game. There are also less interactive hotspots however. After the first (which is a story related death) killing people you aren't supposed to has a negative effect on your standing. Knock off too much of the clientele and you get to join Big Pussy.
  • Does Ryo Hazuki from Shenmue ever do anything else?
  • In Fallout 3, there is a moment after the player character is captured by the Enclave in which it looks as though things are going to head in this direction. Thanks to some timely intervention from President Eden, however, it stops just short of this point.
    • Fallout: New Vegas allows you to interrogate a Legion prisoner at one point. The CO wants you to rough him up a little (and is letting you do it in the first place to avoid anti-brutality laws), but you also have the option to use your speech skills to Mind Screw him. Both have the exact same successful result, and the CO compliments your methods either way. You also have the option to kill the prisoner afterward, but this is related to a separate quest about one of your followers and not the interrogation.
  • In Heavy Rain, Carter Blake likes to interrogate suspects in this manner, when you play as Jayden you get the chance to intervene whenever Blake starts beating up suspects (And even innocents) to get answers. If Ethan is arrested, Jayden can intervene when Blake starts torturing him and punch Blake into a wall.
  • In Splinter Cell: Conviction, this is the method Sam uses a lot to get information out of people. He's very, ''VERY'' angry having learned that his missing daughter, presumed dead, may still be alive and is being kept away from him.
  • Flint Paper of Sam & Max: Freelance Police is a master of this technique, and Sam indulges in some of this in the first act of the Telltale adventure game They Stole Max's Brain!
    • Well, it's debatable if Flint is trying to get information by beating the tar out of perps. Mostly he pummels them in lieu of turning them over to the government-employed police (for example, see just about any time Max describes Flint's encounters with Artie Flopshark in Poker Night at the Inventory).
  • This is a gameplay mechanic in the 2005 video game The Punisher developed by Volition, which is based on the Anti-Hero comic book character. When holding an enemy as a Bulletproof Human Shield, one of the things that you can do is to interrogate him in four basic ways which are Punch (with one punch aimed at the testicle), Choke, Face Smash (Frank grabs the enemy head and proceeds to smash it into the ground) and Gun Point (where he simply pulls out his sidearm and puts it at the enemy's forehead), complete with a small minigame. The main purpose of a successful interrogation is to replenish health and gain useful information such as a hidden weapon stash. To put this trope even further, in every level you will find Special Interrogations which allow you to use the environment to interrogate them instead. Highlights include:
    • Smashing an enemy's neck using a window pane.
    • Drilling the enemy's forehead.
    • Throwing the enemy into a working trash compactor.
    • Pushing an enemy feet first into a wood chipper.
    • Shoving an enemy face into a pond filled with piranhas.
    • Letting the enemy get stabbed by a rhinoceros.
    • Shaking a knife rack so it would fall on the enemy's face.
    • Shoving the enemy towards a wind propeller.
    • Holding an enemy toward the edge of a pier that allows a shark to bite him.
    • Shooting a nail gun at the enemy's eye.
    • Shoving an enemy face into deep fried grill.
    • Forcing the enemy into an incinerator and burns them alive.
    • Putting an enemy head between two moving gears.
  • In Assassin's Creed, Altaïr's method of interrogation is beating people until they talk. Apparently Ezio picks it up in Brotherhood.
  • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, Blazkowicz threatens a Nazi officer tied up in a basement with a chainsaw unless he tells him where Resistance members were being held. The officer coughs up the information. He is then promptly cut up with said chainsaw.
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops, deuteragonist Jason Hudson does this every damn second in the game. Not five minutes in his first playable level, Numbers, you interrogate a scientist named Dr. Daniel Clarke by breaking a window, putting the shards of glass in his mouth, and punching him in the jaw (you even have to press the button), and he even shocks main protagonist Alex Mason for getting The Numbers.
    Grigori Weaver: We can do this all day! We got plenty of windows!
    • Black Ops 2 has Woods interrogating a captive, Lev Kravchenko by first slicing him across the cheek with a knife, then jamming the same knife through his whole hand after he starts getting belligerent.
  • Done several times in Modern Warfare. The first one is in the mission Safehouse where Price is beating the crap out of Khaled Al-Asad for info. Though this is the only time in the series the technique doesn't yield information; but Price learns what he needs to know when Imran Zakhaev calls anyway, so he just executes Al-Asad.
    • Done twice in the Rio missions. In "Takedown" you capture Rojas's right-hand man, and MacTavish and Ghost torture him for info. In the next mission, you can see a post-torture Rojas chained to a wall with a power drill, car battery, cigarettes, etc, on a table nearby. Making this doubly creepy is that MacTavish apparently just tortured Rojas in a public street.
    • In Modern Warfare 3, Price really likes to get creative: when cornering a Somali warlord named Warrabe that supplies weapons to Vladimir Makarov, he, MacTavish and Yuri don gas masks, while Price pops a toxin canister. If the warlord talks, he gets a mask. If his trap stays shut, he'll die by the gas. He'd die anyway.
    • Sandman beats up Volk at the end of the mission "Bag and Drag", and he is presumably interrogated after "Iron Lady". They following exchange happens in the next mission.
      Captain Price: Did our man talk?
  • Pokémon
    • Downplayed in the remakes of Pokémon Gold and Silver, where Lance threatens a Rocket Grunt with a face full of Hyper Beam if he doesn't tell him how to proceed in their hideout. He doesn't make good on his threats (If he was serious to begin with) as the Grunt spills the beans straight away.
    • In the remakes of the originals, Lorelei threatens another pair of Rocket grunts with an Ice Beam from her Lapras, as said Lapras is apparently very angry at Team Rocket for what they've done to its friends.
  • In a revamp of the Mercy Island zone in City of Heroes, your fledgling villain can use this technique on a Longbow captive. Option 1 is to explain the horrible things you are going to do to him, while options 2 and 3 involve breaking his arm or his leg, respectively.
    • In the Rogues expansion in Praetoria, you can threaten an NPC with breaking his arm and threatening to break his other arm to get information. And upon getting that information, you can then break his arm anyway as you leave.
  • In PAYDAY: The Heist, you have to interrogate an NPC for access codes so that you can hack the account of the IRS out of millions of dollars. Since the crew is under constant threat from the cops, they have no time to play nice; you can keep shouting at the NPC until he spills the beans or you can even pistol whip him to make him crack, but doing it too much knocks him out for a while.
  • In Hitman: Absolution, Agent 47 does a less brutal variation of this to Lenny Dexter. He drives him out to the middle of the desert and forces him to dig a hole under the sweltering heat while calmly asking where Victoria is, with the implication being that he's making him dig his own grave. While bloodless, it's certainly excruciating and it does get Lenny to spill the beans.
  • In Persona 5, you find yourself subject to an interrogation that is ethically dubious, to say the least: while you only see the aftermath of the interrogation, the bruises covering your body and syringes littering the ground tell a very sordid story.
  • In The Last of Us, when Ellie is captured, Joel decides to capture a couple of unfortunate mooks who cross his path. The next time we see them, one's tied to the wall, another is strapped to a chair. When the one in the chair refuses to talk, Joel plunges his knife into the man's knee, then threatens to cut off his kneecap. He starts talking pretty quickly after that. Joel then pulls out the bloody knife and puts it in the man's mouth, then tells him to mark a spot on a map, saying the other prisoner had better mark the same spot. When he does so, he kills the man in the chair, then takes the map to the man tied to the wall. When he refuses to tell Joel anything, Joel simply replies, "That's okay, I believe him." Cue a massive Oh, Crap! moment from the remaining prisoner, who realizes he's now useless, and Joel is still very pissed off.
    • Another moment in the same game, where Tess and Joel catch up with Robert, a man who was supposed to have a large shipment of guns and weapons for them. VERY unfortunately for Robert, he already sold them to someone else. After a brutal beating, Robert tries to weasel out of it with some double-talk, until Tess becomes annoyed and has Joel break his arm. After they get all the information they can out of him, Tess rewards him with a few bullets to the head. Moral of the story: Do not double-cross Tess. It will not end well.
    • The third and final time it happened, it's when Ellie is in the hands of the Fireflies about to go through a procedure that will kill her. Joel grabs a random mook, pins him to the wall with an arm and demands Ellie's location. When the man doesn't comply, Joel mutters, "I don't have time for this," and shoots the man in his groin! Suffice to say, if Joel wants to know something, you'd damned well better answer and answer fast.
  • In XCOM: Enemy Unknown, while the actual techniques themselves are not shown, it is very strongly implied that interrogated aliens are not treated...humanely. The fact that they don't survive the process would give anyone pause if the threat the invaders posed wasn't so overwhelmingly disastrous. There's no time to be nice. There's only time for drilling into the skull and putting in neural implants.
  • This is Chun-Li's main quirk in Project X Zone, although she's always disappointed that the Mooks don't respond after she kicks them to death.
  • The player actually ends up on the receiving end of this in Metro: Last Light; after being captured by the Reds, Artyom is dragged before General Korbut and Secretary Moskvin, who each take turns with their own methods of interrogation. When Korbut fails to simply talk Artyom into spilling what he knows about the Baby Dark One, Moskvin cuts in with his own "traditional Red Army method"— aka, repeatedly punching Artyom in the face while shouting increasingly violent and colourful threats at him ("I'll fry your balls in pig fat!"). Korbut intervenes before any of them can be acted on, choosing instead to go with "science", in the form of a Mind Rape-inducing truth serum that forces Artyom to cough up the relevant intel after a traumatic flashback.
  • A chilling, implied example happens in Homeworld after the "Return to Kharak" mission. During that mission, the crew of the Mothership witness the aftermath of genocide committed on their people and capture one of the enemy's rear-guard ships to question the crew on who and why had made it happen.
    The Tactical Advisor: The subject did not survive the interrogation.
  • In the BioShock Infinite DLC Burial at Sea Episode 2, Atlas uses this to horrifying effect on Elizabeth, attempting (and almost succeeding) to perform a trans-orbital lobotomy on her while she is fully conscious in order to get her to give up the location of the Ace in the Hole.
  • Implied in Red Faction Guerrilla. One story mission in the Badlands involves nabbing EDF Colonel Broga who has information on how to get past the artillery-laden Free Fire Zone separating the Red Faction from Eos Sector. Once the colonel is nabbed Mason (the player character) mans the vehicle's turret to fend off EDF trying to kill the colonel before he spills the intel while Kepler drives and Carmen conducts the interrogation, so the player doesn't see what exactly is going on back there but can hear their conversation (it turns out to be payback for Carmen, as the colonel himself had tortured and killed her family previously - apparently she's learned quite well to terrify the colonel into a blubbering pleading wreck). And at the end, with the EDF hot on their tail the Red Faction members ditch Broga and the vehicle at full speed into the Mohole.
  • By The Book, the controversial and infamous mission in Grand Theft Auto V involves Trevor Philips torturing a man named Ferdinand Kerimov for information on a target for the FIB to kill. The Gold medal requires doing all the torture method (pulling his teeth with a pair of pliers, bludgeoning with a large wrench, waterboarding, shocking with a car battery) and making sure he doesn't have a heart attack. The same man was also a victim of this while in the custody of the IAA. The dark side of this trope is also shown in that the man is very willing to talk from the very beginning, however his interrogators only ask vague questions, if any, and seemingly use his "uncooperativeness" to justify their torture of him, something that Trevor himself brought upon when he takes Mr. Kerimov to the airport to help him escape his FIB captors.
  • You can liberate Falangist fighters from a Republican prison in COD 2 Spanish Civil War Mod. During the attack, you storm into an interrogation room to see an Assault Guard officer ‘questioning’ a Falangist tied to a chair.
  • This is Revolver Ocelot's preferred method in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, from bending Huey's legs the wrong way to threatening to inject a metal-eating substance into them to eat away the metal rods implanted for his prosthetics. He even subjects Quiet to heavy electrical torture, who doesn't even flinch. He won't subject any children to this though.
  • Pilgrim (RPG Maker): After the Giant Cat (jokingly, or so he says) threatens to eat Akemi, she grabs his paw and starts crushing it, threatening him for information on the Other World, Master Alice, and Inago's whereabouts. When he initially refuses, she crushes it some more, and again some more, until he coughs it all up.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • In Russell's Story of 400 Days, Nate wants to know about Russell's taste in women. He decides to pull up to a female zombie and let her cling onto Russell, just to joke with him and get an answer as to what Russell rates her 'out of 10'.
    • In Season 2 Episode 2, William Carver breaks Carlos' fingers until he tells Carver where Rebecca is, who is pregnant with a baby that is possibly Carver's (at least he thinks it's his).
    • In Season 4 Episode 3, Clementine and her group have a fatally wounded Abel hostage, as his group of raiders are holding three of her friends captive. She can be rough in her words at the least, but otherwise she shows Abel to Beware the Nice Ones, when can go as far as to let Rosie maul his broken leg as a way to make him talk. AJ definitely remembers what he sees from that experience, as the screen will indicate "AJ witnessed you torturing a man".
  • World of Warcraft: In Battle for Azeroth, there are several quests that have you "break codes" of encrypted correspondance this way. One in particular, called "Getting a Clue", has the questgiver flat out tell you, that they could send the correspondance back to Stormwind for codebreakers to break, or you could just kill the person who has the decryption ring, which saves time.