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Video Game / Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy

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Psi-Opsnote  is a Third-Person Shooter designed by Brian Eddy for the PS2, Xbox and PC that incorporates Psychic Powers into combat and puzzle solving. The game centers around Nick Scryer, a powerful psychic in the employ of the government who has been stripped of his memories and given a new identity in order to infiltrate "The Movement", a terrorist organization led by powerful psychics who are defectors from the government. He is aided by Sara, a Telepath who is also undercover.

As the game progresses the mental blocks inhibiting his powers slowly give way, causing a power to resurface just in time for a new puzzle. He gains several powers, among them Telekinesis, Mind Control, Astral Projection, and Pyrokinesis.

While the shooter aspects are pretty standard, and the story is fairly engaging, where the game really shines is in the many, many, many creative and inventive ways players can solve puzzles, kill enemies... and torture them. This game really has possibly the highest Video Game Cruelty Potential of any PS2 games. Leaving aside the wanton (and fun) ultraviolence, the various psychic powers and puzzle designs lend themselves to very open ended solutions. One area has a pool of electrified water and a locked door needed to cross it. Options are: Use telekinesis to smash an acid container against the door, use telekinesis to "surf" on top of another object, or Mind Control to make the guard on the other side unlock the door.

The PC version was released by Midway as ad-supported Freeware, and was available on Fileplanet (but due to the latter site having been shutdown it's not down possible to download it from there anymore).

Since 2018, the game can be downloaded from using the following link:

Has its own wiki here.

Not to be confused with Second Sight, another game with similar premises that came out in the same period.

Tropes used in the game include:

  • Affably Evil: Edgar Barrett, especially during Scryer's psionic training flashbacks when a latent power is reawakened.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Nick Scryer's psychic abilities aren't as powerful as those of the specialist members of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad, but he possesses all psychic powers (except Illusion and telepathy) whereas each Psi Elite member only has one.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence
  • Aura Vision: Allows you to see the alertness of guards, Aura Beasts when they're not trying to kill you, Fluorescent Footprints, invisible mines, and erased writing on walls. If you kill enemies with it on, you can even see their soul escaping their body!
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Pyrokinesis is cool, but poorly implemented. It travels across the floor, so it gets blocked by almost everything. If you have direct line of sight, whatever you're trying to kill should already be dead. The one enemy that can't be TK'd will shake off pyrokinesis at higher difficultly levels before you can use something else to disable him.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Edgar Barrett boss battle, which is a pure telekinesis vs. telekinesis duel. The rest of the boss battles generally favor telekinesis, too, since they're immune to the power they're specialized in.
  • Big Bad Friend: Edgar Barrett, who was once Nick's trainer but has since switched sides.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    Sara: Mom always did like me better, bitch.
  • Boring, but Practical: Telekinesis will, without question, be your most widely used power. This is followed by Mind Drain for limitless psi power to fuel your telekinesis.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy: Pyrokineticist Marlena's level has oodles of fire extinguishers... self-replenishing fire extinguishers. Justified, as it's not meant to be an arena, but an important lab and facility which harnesses her powers. Given how unstable she is, they would be foolish not to have all that coolant at the ready.
  • Blatant Item Placement: Psi-vials. Of course, you'll stop paying attention once you get Mind Drain, since it gives you a practically limitless supply of psi energy.
  • Cliffhanger: For those who really want to know: The game ends with the General killed via being sucked into a black vortex. Three helicopters enter. Nick shouts out that they aren't there to help, remarks he remembers everything from his past, and proceeds to telekinetically grab one as it prepares to fire. Cue black screen and the words 'To Be Continued'.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: World War II was fought over the pieces of the artifact the General is assembling. Even the Apollo moon landings had the intent of bringing back more artifacts.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: The game features an incredibly unique coop mode, in which one of you controls movement, aiming, and melee, while the other controls shooting and psychic powers.
  • Crate Expectations: Crates are everywhere. The first training mission is even based almost entirely around teaching the player to lift them up and throw them.
  • Disability Superpower: Jov Leonov was blinded in a childhood accident, but that same accident also gave him frightening powers of Mind Control which he uses to great effect. He even sees through the eyes of his controlled subjects.
  • Dying Vocal Change: Briefly exhibited in the death of Wei Lu, the master of psychic illusions; having gone One-Winged Angel for the boss fight, she reverts to her true form as she dies, her deep monstrous voice returning to normal as she does so.
  • Elite Mooks: The Level 3 Meat Puppets have 2.5x times as much health as a basic Level 1 Meat Puppet soldier and special Psi-resistant armor that makes them immune to most of your psi attacks (unless you stun them by setting them on fire or knocking them down with thrown objects first). Of course, in higher difficulty settings their armor has built-in fire suppressants and they have an uncanny knack for dodging your thrown objects.
  • Enter Solution Here
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The General's multinational Quirky Mini Boss Squad of psychic lieutenants.
  • Evil Twin: Amusingly, the Good Twin's original mission was to find and save her sister, but at the end Good Twin mercilessly guns down Evil Twin (complete with one-liner) after learning she's a douche.
  • Face Hugger: The Aura Beasts come of nowhere and wrap around Nick's face. Oh, and the only way to see them coming is using the psi draining Aura Vision.
  • Fiery Redhead: Marlena Kesseler, who wields Pryokinesis and cracks lots of fire-related puns during her fight. Literally sometimes since she occasionally sets herself on fire.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: A feature of Aura Vision.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted. Nick was embedded into a UN squad after his Laser-Guided Amnesia, and one level has the illusionist torment him with the "ghosts" of his dead comrades.
  • Funny Background Event: Barret's hair changes with each training mission to reflect the year Nick is flashing back to.
  • Funny Flashback Haircut: In the present, Edgar Barrett normally keeps his head shaved. However, in flashbacks to Nick Scryer's psychic training sessions at Mindgate, Barrett (who presides over each test) sports a progressively more ridiculous array of haircuts, including flat-tops, afros, dreadlocks, mohawks, and many more.
  • A God Am I:
    • The General, after using the Monolith to gain superpowers.
    • Long before that, Nicholas Wrightson styles himself as the "True God of the Ether."
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: You can always count on mooks as an impromptu weapon to be telekinetically thrown against their fellows. Especially amusing if previously lit on fire, as fire spreads!
  • Guest Fighter: Scorpion!
  • Guns Are Worthless: You can carry two guns at a time, neither of which will have much ammo to spare, and it usually takes about a full mag to kill anything bigger than a normal mook. By comparison, telekinesis can kill several mooks, usually by using the mooks themselves as weapons to kill their friends. The only truly useful weapon is the sniper rifle, for when you need stealth or the enemy is very far away.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Some enemy soldiers burst into flames before attacking you.
    • With pyrokinesis, you can also throw Fireballs.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Marlena is very bad about this. Barrett in the training sections is also quite fond of these.
  • Interface Screw: Leonov has an attack which inverts your control scheme temporarily.
  • Interface Spoiler: Averted (at least in the PS2 version) - opening the control layout option in the menu will only reveal the relevant buttons for psi powers Scryer has learnt, not revealing ones he has yet to learn.
  • Irony: Barrett goes on a Motive Rant about how he left Mindgate for The Movement because Mindgate used psi-elites like him for its own ends and discarded them once they outlived their usefulness. The General promptly executes Barrett once he re-aligns the Moon for The General's own benefit, meaning The Movement ended up doing the exact same thing as Mindgate.
  • Large Ham: The General, especially in the cutscene leading up to the final battle, when he starts talking with weird facial expressions straight out of a Loony Toons cartoon.
    • Actually, a lot of the villains are large hams, particularly in their boss battles.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Nick wakes up at the start of the game with no memory of who he is.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Mind Drain power restores varying amounts of psi energy, dependent on the state of the mook it's used on. A dead mook will provide very little, an unconscious mook (defined as "prone but alive" for gameplay purposes) a fair amount, and a conscious mook unaware of your presence will completely refill the gauge. The latter is supposed to be balanced by the fact that you have to sneak up on a mook to pull it off. However, if you knock down a mook and then let them recover, there's a moment between them getting up and reacquiring you as a target that they count as unaware. This allows you to pull mooks to you, wait for them to recover, then completely drain them.
  • Lunacy: The Artifact of Doom requires the moon to be in a specific alignment to work. Due to planetary drift, however, the moon no longer lines up properly, so the General has Edgar use his telekinesis, amplified by a machine, to shift the moon back into the right position once it gets close enough.
  • Master of None: Nick has the powers of every boss, minus illusions, but is weaker in those areas than they are as a result.
  • Meaningful Name: Nick Scryer.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: When Tonya poses as Sara, she has a sultry inflection, half-lidded eyes, makes off comments, and generally acts "off." Of course, Nick trusts her and hands over a piece of the artifact.
  • Muggle Power: The General's recruiting schtick, promising psychics rulership over the "inferior" Mundanes as the Psi Elite. Amusingly, he's a Mundane himself, but seeks to correct that with the ancient Artifact of Doom.
  • Murder by Cremation: You can either use telekinesis or Mind Control to kill enemies in incinerators. There are also a wide variety of means to set them on fire.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The opening movie shows that the General ripped off quite a bit from Triumph Of The Will when forming his organization, The Movement.
  • Nintendo Hard:
    • The beginning of the game forces you to ration your psi usage, since you don't get Mind Drain for a while. This forces you to fall back on your crappy guns, since psi-vials are somewhat hard to come by.
    • Any part of the game that involves getting past an autoturret can seem this way to the unprepared. The parts at the very end of the game, where you start running through mine-fields and giant, psy-proof mooks with infinite rocket launchers, are Nintendo Hard for EVERYONE. The checkpoint system that the game saves with only exacerbates the problem.
    • Further, said mines are invisible without Aura View and the spaces between them (particularly in the endgame) are almost exactly as large as a crouching character. You seriously have mere pixels between safe passage and instant death. Thankfully, mooks will set them off, so you can punch larger holes in certain paths by tossing mooks into the mines. In addition,the psy-proof mooks are only psy-proof if they're currently engaged in combat with you; If they don't know you're there, they can't block your powers.
  • Not Quite Flight: TK surfing. This was actually emergent behavior; the programmers initially didn't intend for you to be able to stand on something you were levitating.
  • One-Winged Angel: The Illusionist boss turns into a giant monster midway through the battle, although it's really all a giant Mind Screw and not actually a physical transformation (although, since Your Mind Makes It Real, for gameplay purposes it's more than real enough).
  • Psychic Powers: Throughout the game you collect six Psi powers which you can use during gameplay.: Telekinesis, Remote View, Mind Drain, Mind Control, Pyrokinesis, Aura View and Illusion. Telepathy also exists, used by Sara to communicate with you.
  • Puzzle Boss: The illusionist forces you to fight two golems, which can't just be shot or beaten to death. Earlier in her level, you also have to fight a bunch of immortal zombie soldiers. Both instances require using your other powers to get around their invincibility.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Leonov, a blind man who uses his powers to brainwash the Movement’s army, Barret, a powerful telekinetic and Nick’s former partner from his Mindgate days, Wei Lu, a master of illusion, Kessler, a hot-tempered and powerful pyrokinetic, and Wrightson, a man who is almost perpetually outside his body, which is withered and on life-support.
  • Ragdoll Physics: Dead bodies go limp, and bodies picked up with telekinesis can be flung around like dolls.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Sara's twin sister.
  • Shock and Awe: Mind Drain gets the visual trappings of this, with affected mooks twitching convulsively and babbling incoherently as they're sucked dry.
  • Slave Mooks: All the mooks used by the Movement are this. Mind-wiped, engineered to feel no pain, and controllable en masse by Leonov. Leads to a bit of Nightmare Fuel in the opening, where a rocket is fired into a group of mooks. One does a backflip, lands on his feet missing an arm, and still keeps shooting with his remaining arm.
  • Trapped in Containment: In the first level there are some gas chambers (well, chambers that have health-damaging gas). Walk in and you get sealed in, usually with a luckless science minion as a mook taunts you from outside the glass doors. Amusingly, thrown objects can break the glass, telekinesis can throw objects, and mooks can be thrown just like objects. Alternately, you can skip the escape and tele-toss a mook into the gas chamber.
  • Voices Are Mental: When possessed by Wrightson, both Nick and Sara speak with Wrightson's voice.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Practically a mascot for the trope.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: "But... true power is not meant to be shared!"
  • Your Head A-Splode: The result of draining a mook of all his psychic energy. It only works if they're unaware, or if you drag one to and then time the drain to when they stand back up. One of the more prominent and graphic examples in all of gaming.
    Edgar Barrett: Those guys'll never get A-HEAD with that job!
    • A headshot with a shotgun will produce the same results on a standard Mook.
    • Also occurs when Sander's explosive collar short-circuits: quite horrifically, this leaves a sizeable chunk of his face staring up at Nick.
  • You're Insane!: Spoken verbatim by Scryer to Wrighton.


Video Example(s):


Edgar Barrett

The Movement's master of telekinesis, Edgar Barret introduces himself by dropping a fuel tanker on his enemies and surviving the resulting fireball.

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Main / MindOverMatter

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