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Video Game / Paradise Cracked

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The original Russian cover.

Paradise Cracked is a Cyberpunk RPG/ Turn-Based Tactics game, released in Russia in 2002 as "Код доступа: Рай" (literally "The password is heaven/paradise"), before getting a worldwide release in 2004.

It is set in a dystopian world hundreds of years into the future, where the Earth’s biosphere has been largely destroyed as a result of overpopulation and pollution, and all the global authority has been surrendered to the supercomputer known as CyberBrain in order to preserve what remains of humanity. It decides to house humanity in the enclosed hive cities, where the poor inhabit lower levels, while the rich live in the HighTown, but spend most of their time amidst the pleasures of Cyberspace. The day-to-day running of things is handled by each City’s Police, but they’ve been facing increased resistance from the two giant corporations, known as The Syndicate and the Trade Coalition.


The plotline begins with the protagonist, called the Hacker, coming across some decoded files when in the Cyberspace. After he copies them onto a memory crystal, he suddenly finds himself a target of a manhunt by The City’s Police. Stuck in the lower levels of The City, Hacker will need to exploit the conflicts between the Police, The Syndicate and the Trade Coalition if he’s to survive and hopefully discover the secret behind the files.


This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Alliance Meter: The more police you kill the more you’ll be favored by the criminal syndicate, etc. Performing quests in a certain way can set the City’s organisations against each other, and having a high standing with one of them can make them come to your aid when you’re in battle.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The player can have a maximum of six characters (including the Hacker) in the squad.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Enemy AI will try to hide behind obstacles at the end of every turn, as well as call for reinforcements and take the higher ground to negate your cover advantage. Sounds pretty ordinary today, but it was achieved back in 2002.
  • Artificial Stupidity: No enemy will ever shoot the players' squadmembers if they've boarded a bus.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Like with other Russian games of the time. Since Paradise Cracked never had a strong story in the first place, the translation made it outright incomprehensible.
  • Camera Screw: Averted. In fact, it is one of the few things in the game that always works perfectly and doesn’t glitch out.
  • Cyberspace: The place where rich people spend most of their lives to avoid looking at the ruined Earth around them.
  • Crapsack World: A place where the Earth’s environment has effectively been ruined, the humanity cannot live outside hive cities, a Supercomputer called CyberBrain makes all the key decisions without consulting humans while the corrupt police and corporations rule over everyone on the ground.
  • Cyborg: Technically, anyone who has implants installed. However, there are also some people who go further then most and have entire organs and limbs replaced, and thus identify as cyborgs first and foremost.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The companion you start with. Clicking on him will usually result in him responding with either "I'm still alive, but that's not for too long *laugh* ", or "No bullet is wasted on good people".
  • Deflector Shields: The Force Field devices work in this manner.
  • Dump Stat: Driving, as it is already possible to drive mini-buses to get around faster, while the powerful military vehicles are too rare to bother with the skill. In addition, high driving is mutually exclusive with high accuracy, making it even more undesirable.
  • Everything Fades: Generally averted, as all the things you can destroy in the game will always stay destroyed.
    • However, the enemies' bodies will be removed once you leave the area, and so will all the loot they’re carrying if you haven't removed it first.
  • Fetch Quest: Quite a few side quests in the game. Many of those also offer alternate routes of completion. For example, you can dutifully retrieve a suitcase with merchant’s prototype guns for his reward, or you can deliver those prototypes to the head of the Syndicate who’ll pay you generously and will have his troops take your side during combat.
  • Healing Potion: Med kits act in this manner.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The hacking here is used to open up doors, rob the cash dispensers and disable robots, with the high Intellect level increasing your chances of doing all of those things.
  • In Medias Res: The game begins with the protagonist telling about himself to a camera. In the English translation, at least, we never really learn who he’s addressing.
  • Kill It with Fire: Guns firing incendiary bullets and incendiary grenades can be used by both the Hacker and his enemies. Characters set on fire in that manner receive hefty amounts of damage every turn. Thankfully, there are implants that can increase your character's Fire Resistance.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The game is always in a turn-based mode. This means that even simply exploring the area consists of selecting a destination, then clicking end turn, watching them march their allotted amount of movement points, and then sitting through the turns of every other NPC on the level.
  • Mega-Corp: Two of them,The Syndicate and the Trade Coalition. They’re in a violent competition, and working for one will undermine your standing with the other, to the point where the disaffected party will open fire on sight.
  • Obvious Beta: The game’s original build became legendary for frequently freezing even on the best computers of the time.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Some questlines will disappear completely when the quest givers are killed. This can even happen without the player's knowledge; game's factions are entirely capable of killing off the rivals' key NPCs.
  • Plot Armor: Averted. Everyone can die, and it’s entirely possible to kill off a plot-critical NPC without knowing it.
  • Point Build System: Points can be spread betwen Intellect, Strength, Dexterity, Accuracy and Driving.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Averted, as womwill get more points when levelling up then men, and there are other differences like that
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played pretty straight with the basic shotguns. The more advanced ones have greater range and can have it increased further by using special ammo.
  • Turn-Based Tactics: Like in XCOM and other such games, each character gains a supply of action points every turn that are then expended on various actions that are done turn by turn. A high reaction stat also allows characters to interrupt the enemy’s turn.
    • The game does not actually have a real-time mode at all: all of the actions, even walking
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: What happens when you kill off a plot-critical NPC.
  • Universal Driver's License: Averted, as only the characters with high Driving skill can use military vehicles like tanks. Others will generally be limited to mini-buses.


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