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"Back in the hole!"

Spy Fiction is a stealth-action game developed by Access Games in 2003 for the PlayStation 2. The game was directed by Swery65.

Set in an undisclosed year, the fictional SEA (Special Execution Agency) send out three operatives from their Phantom Unit to Castle Wolfgang in Austria, where the terrorist group, Enigma, is utilizing their bio-weapon "Lahder". The trio, Bishop, Sheila and Nicklaus, successfully enter the castle but Nicklaus is captured, leaving Bishop and Sheila to rescue him (the player can chose to play as either of them).

After a meeting with the guards and the head of Enigma, Nicklaus is left to die and has a flashback to two months ago - when the game starts properly. The player character is in a covert operation into a pharmaceutical company suspected of developing biochemical weapons called NanoTechDyne Inc.

A game made in the style and a homage to the old espionage stories of old, giving the player the ability to disguise themselves as any character in the game.

The reason why nobody has heard of this game was due to the absence of any promotional advertisement before the game was released. The reviews were mixed, either complimenting the story-telling or arguing that it was weak. The only thing reviewers agreed on that it was bold and unique. However, the western version of the game's script was rewritten and redubbed, despite the fact that the Japanese version already had English voice acting. Consequentially, the plot points and themes in the western version are muddled, as explained by this analysis.

If you'd like to see for yourself what it was like, check out Supergreatfriend's Let's Play of it (the western version) here.

This game provides examples of:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Sure, Dr. Kaysen was a narcissistic jerk, but did he really deserve to die a painful death via Lahder?
  • All There in the Manual: The Garbology.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Billy's "Casual Gear" and Sheila's "Mini Gear", unlocked on a New Game Plus.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Many of the guards.
  • Artificial Human: Sheila (and the other Gospel Children), presumably. She's not a robot, because her dialog Scarface refers to her undergoing protein synthesis, but she has no blood type and Scarface clearly refers to her as an object rather than a person.
  • Bad Boss: Lysander, who kills his men for something as little as failing to keep in a prisoner, and Kaysen, who is said to not be fond of people who challenge his opinion, if Garbology is to be believed.
    • Kelly Wong also counts as one, when she pushes Dr. Kaysen in the test chamber with the monkey to be killed a very painful death of the Lahder virus.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Samuel is the first of the agents to die, playing this trope straight.
  • Benevolent Boss: According to many of the Nanotechdyne Inc. employees, Dr. Coleman was one to them.
    Secretary: What's Dr. Kaysen got against me? I hate night shifts. But if I complain he'll fire me, Dr. Coleman was such a little angel.
  • Choke Holds: Bishop and Sheila can knock people out via choking them into unconsciousness.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Lahder, as seen during the test run, in which Kelly Wong pushes Kaysen in with a monkey, kills very painfully, causing blood and flesh to boil until it bursts.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Nicklaus/Dietrich is simultaneously working for Phantom and Enigma. His plans include getting revenge on Scarface, but he appears to be a proper terrorist as well. He also uses the other double agent, Michael, to his own ends.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: A major element of the game is being able to disguise yourself as an enemy after photographing them (while they're alive) with your 3DA camera and then finding a hiding spot to do your makeover.
  • Dub-Induced Plotline Change: The entire game was rewritten and reduubed when it was localized, despite the dialogue originally being in English already. The result is a blatant case of plot holes galore, oddities and all sorts of dubbing consistency issues, like everyone suddenly gaining (and randomly losing) their redub-only accents. The result was a crazy Deconstruction of spy flicks being transformed into something much more plain that plays it entirely straight, if somewhat derivative.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: After completing the game with both player characters you learn that fellow agent Nicklaus is actually Dietrich, a high ranking member of the evil organization Enigma, and the main antagonist. You also learn that thanks to Latex Perfection the Nicklaus that you saw get murdered was actually another guy.
  • Expy: General Douglas Lysander resembles a certain Revolver Ocelot.
  • Fat Idiot/Fat Bastard: Forrest Kaysen, who most of his coworkers don't look fondly upon.
    '''Scientist: Kaysen's a crook, Dr. Coleman discovered that virus. Suddenly Dr. Coleman's gone, and Kaysen's taking all the credit.
    Receptionist: Kaysen could never fill Dr. Coleman's shoes, Dr. Coleman had brains, Kaysen just has a lot of nerve.
  • Fallen Hero: Douglas Lysander was a decorated Green Beret hero during the Vietnam war before the U.S Government left him to die in a Vietcong POW camp. He escaped and swore revenge.
  • Follow the Leader: This game came out when stealth games were becoming popular.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Kelly Wong, an industrialist known for dealing with the Hong Kong underground and the black market and owning a casino blimp, is rarely seen without a cigarette.
  • Interface Spoiler: Observant people who got Michael and/or Nicklaus disguises near the end will notice that both have question marks instead of the name of the respective sneaking suits you just got, in reference to the fact Nicklaus and Michael are disguised as each other.
  • Laser Hallway: There's some in the second mission, as well a vertical hallway like the one in Mission: Impossible.
  • Latex Perfection: One of the main mechanics of the game is disguise. Depending on the angle you take the picture of the person, you can get an exact copy of the person you wish to disguise yourself as. If they're facing away however, you can only get the clothes and not the face of the person. To get their face as well, they need to be facing your direction.
  • Ms Fan Service: Sheila during the mission on the zepplin can use dresses by taking pictures of female guests, from a green cocktail dress to a long golden strapless dress. There's also the dancer's dress, which Sheila has to wear to get close to Dr. Kaysen.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: There's is a sequence where you must access a computer in a high security room and the entire sequence plays out almost exactly as it occurs in Mission Impossible.
  • Multiple Endings: On a New Game Plus or if you take photos of Nicklaus in his sneaking suit at every opportunity, you get an alternate ending with an additional mission.
  • Narcissist: Dr. Kaysen sure seems to show some signs of one. In the first level he can be heard boasting about his genius about Lahder.
    Kaysen: I'm worth a million Colemans, it's one thing to discover a new virus, another to realize it's potential. That's true genius.
  • Non Standard Game Over: If you somehow manage to meet up with the character you're supposed to be disguising as, such as Kelly Wong, Forrest Kaysen, or Lysander, there'll be a brief argument and they'll immediately take off your disguise, prompting a cutscene where you're caught.
    • In some occasions, you'll have to disguise yourself in order to enter a specific area and talk to someone. If you have the correct disguise, but not the voice data, you will be allowed access - but they'll soon realize that you're a spy and call the guards (or, in the case of Lysander, immediately kill you).
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: In the western redub, Dietrich's German accent keeps fluctuating throughout the game, sometimes going from extremely heavy to hardly present to extremely heavy again in the span of one cutscene.
    • In the true ending, Nicklaus/Dietrich still has the accent during his confrontation with Billy and Sheila, but it's much less pronounced than the accent he usually has in his Dietrich persona. Seeing as he speaks without an accent at all in his Nicklaus persona, one can assume that the accent is actually part of his natural speaking voice, but he deliberately exaggerates it/plays it up while running around as Dietrich.
    • Also, the guards, while having mostly consistently awful accents, lose them when they get suspicious and you perform a "cheat" animation, saying "Huh?... Must be gettin' tired." in an entirely different accent.
  • Out-Gambitted: Dietrich/Nicklaus out-gambits Michael by way of some time-delayed Lahder.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Used to kill the Big Bad in the true ending in the game. By shooting out the fuel tank of the plane, then using it to ignite the fuel and blow up his escape plane. Which is a reference to the ending of the movie Die Hard 2.
  • Reused Character Design: This game is one of the first appearances of the character Forrest Kaysen, who would later go on to be in one of the game director, SWERY's, future games, Deadly Premonition as one of the suspects and turns out to be the perpetrator of the events in that game. The character of General Douglas Lysander might be found in Deadly Premonition as well, in the form of the junkyard owner General Lysander.
  • Teen Genius: Dr. Coleman, the head researcher of Nanotechdyne Inc. is only 19 years old and according to garbology, she got a Ph D. in Chemistry at the age of 15 at MIT.
  • The Reveal: In the true ending, there's three in quick succession - Michael is working with Dietrich, the "Nicklaus" you see Dietrich kill is really Michael and Michael is really Dietrich, and Dietrich was Nicklaus. Which raises the question of who you were fighting during the boss battle with Dietrich.
    • Most likely a decoy/body double. Dietrich runs in and out of several doors during the boss battle. Presumably, he switched places with a body double at one point, such that he ran out through one door while his body double ran back in through a different door, taking his place. Meanwhile, Dietrich left and went to put his disguise back on. After the boss battle, when the fake Dietrich is killed, Nicklaus/Dietrich reappears in his Michael disguise, claiming he'd been hiding during the fight.
      • This is actually hinted at if you look at the cutscene right after the boss battle: The Dietrich who collapses is wearing navy blue rather than black, implying that the dead Dietrich here was a decoy.
  • Shout-Out: The Reusable Lighter Toss used to kill the Big Bad in the true ending is done is a very similar manner in Die Hard 2.
    • The alert system in the game is similar to the Metal Gear Solid series.
  • Stealth Pun: "Lahder" is the name of the flesh-expanding virus in the game, with the cure being called "Jakov". Jacob's Ladder.
  • You Have Failed Me: General Lysander isn't fond of incompetence.