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Video Game / The Hidden

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The Hidden player about to shank an unsuspecting IRIS grunt.
The Infinitum Research Intercept Squad, also known as IRIS, is a well-trained, fully armed, and coordinated unit specifically designed to capture or kill escaped experiments.

Their current mission is to hunt and kill Subject 617, a genetically modified individual who has been given Super Strength, Super Speed, and the ability (and need) to feed off human corpses to heal.

Oh. And he's invisible. They call him "The Hidden" nowadays.

The Hidden: Source is a horror-themed multiplayer First-Person Shooter based on the Source engine. Everyone plays on one team (IRIS), but every round, one player is chosen at random to be the Hidden. The Hidden runs faster and jumps higher than any of the IRIS players, he can grab onto walls, he can see enemies through walls, and - this is important - he's invisible. On the downside (for him), there's only one of him, and a whole lot of IRIS members; also, he only gets a knife, while IRIS is armed with guns. The Hidden wins by killing all of IRIS before time runs out. IRIS wins by killing the Hidden. Of course, points don't really matter because the teams are pretty much random, so the goal is really just to piss yourself in fear.


The game began life as a Half-Life modification, but this version was never publicly released and was only played by the author's friends at university. It was remade for the Source engine by those same friends. The game was also a finalist for "Best Mod - Half-Life 2" at the 2006 Independent Games Festival (see here).

Highly recommended, though not for the faint of heart. If you've got Half-Life 2, Team Fortress 2 or about any Valve game and Steam,note  it can downloaded for free here.

Not to be confused with the B-Movie where Claudia Christian played a stripper (and some other stuff involving aliens or something).


The Hidden provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Partly. The Sewers map is big enough for humans to walk around in, but the confined tunnels (not to mention the water) are particularly challenging to the Hidden.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Certain maps have airducts and whatnot in the ceiling that the Hidden can use to sneak around. Other maps have similar ducts in the wall that particularly cowardly I.R.I.S. players try to barricade themselves into.
  • Aura Vision: Used by the Hidden and drains your Sprint Meter when used.
  • Ax-Crazy: The Hidden aka The Stalker (depending on the version you're playing). Very much so.
  • Back Stab: The pig stick technically doesn't require you to stand behind your target, but it's a lot easier that way.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: A more recent one: stem cell research is a cover for the genetic research that produced the Hidden, which has been going on since the 1950s.
  • Blindfolded Vision: The Hidden.
  • Cat Scare:
    • Despite the lack of cats, the Hidden's ability to toss crates and other objects allows him to distract players in a similar manner, usually just before pouncing.
    • In several maps, there are also several vents that have the same hissing and visual effect of the Hidden.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Pro Hunters in Left 4 Dead may have a hard time adapting to the Hidden's pouncing controls, especially the wallgrab.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The pig stick takes a few seconds to charge and missing leaves you helpless for a few seconds, but time it right and it's a One-Hit Kill, and infinitely more reliable than the basic stab attack.
  • Easter Egg:
    • There's an XBox hidden (or not hidden) in every level... and with Half-Life 2's physics engine, it's possible to be killed by it.
    • There's also a teddy bear in every level.
  • Enemy Chatter: Both sides have a selection of quotes their characters will say in-game. The I.R.I.S. team's are mostly standard tactical "barks" ("Enemy spotted," "Man down", etc.) as well as challenges to the Hidden ("Bring it!") The Hidden's hissing whispers, on the other hand, are purely intended to terrify the other players - "I seeeee you..." "Mmmm, fresh meat." "Look up..."
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: He's hidden, see.
  • Excuse Plot: While there is a plot, it doesn't have much focus and instead players are thrust straight into a very lethal game of hide and seek.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Hidden. He is rather fast, but he has equal health to the soldiers he fights. The soldiers, however, have guns...
  • Glass Cannon: The Hidden's Pigsticker attack can One-Hit Kill an IRIS soldier if it connects.
  • Gateless Ghetto: The urban maps.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Infinitum Research was trying to build a super soldier. They succeeded, with the unfortunate side effect of insanity.
  • Heal Thyself: The Hidden can eat corpses to do this.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: In the right circumstances, an unmoving Hidden player is effectively invisible... or at least more invisible in the right circumstances.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: I.R.I.S. is hunting the Hidden, while the Hidden is in turn stalking them. In gameplay mechanics, generally the Hidden needs to wipe out IRIS to win, however.
  • Infrared X-Ray Camera: The Hidden has a special "aura vision" mode he can activate, which allows him to see player's glowing outlines, even through solid objects. The distance at which a player's aura is visible is based on their remaining health; the closer to dead you are, the more clarity the Hidden has when hunting you...
  • Invisibility: Clearly the Hidden, hence the name.
  • Laser Hallway: The Sonic Alarm. Enough players use them, you can lock down an entire section of the level! Or lull yourself into a false sense of security...
  • Laser Sight: The I.R.I.S. team can put these on their guns to help locate the Hidden.
  • LEGO Genetics: To be fair, the backstory does say it took nearly fifty years of research to figure out how to make him invisible.
  • Le Parkour: Pouncing and wallgrabbing for the Hidden.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Instead of making a standard knife slash, the Hidden can deliver a powerful Pigsticker strike that kills in one hit, but leaves little for him to recover health off of afterwards.
  • Mad Bomber: The Hidden gets three bombs that can be used to great effect in the right circumstances. His insanity is indubitably a given.
  • One Bullet Clips: Averted. Many a player has reloaded with half a clip or magazine remaining and run out of ammo. Why your character doesn't hold on to the clips or magazine is left unanswered though.
  • One-Hit Kill: The pig stick. Many servers ban the pig stick as a result.
  • One-Man Army: The Hidden.
  • Playing with Syringes: How Subject 617 came to be.
  • P.O.V. Cam: Dead or spectating players can patch into the I.R.I.S. team's helmet cameras, watching other players though their perspectives. This can lead to some feelings of helpless terror if the observing player notices a blur of movement the surviving player doesn't...
  • Psycho Knife Nut: The Hidden is able to take down the equivalent of an entire SWAT team with a single knife, plus Super Speed and Super Strength. It does have the opportunity to use grenades and the environment to its advantage, but most of its kills will be from the knife.
  • Psycho Prototype: Subject 617, natch.
  • Ragdoll Physics: ...which leads to some truly macabre sights if the Hidden has been collecting his fallen enemies and pinning them to the ceiling in some sort of Gallery of Death.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slasher Movie: Except you're not watching it, you're playing it.
  • Sprint Meter: The Hidden uses a system akin to this to fuel his Wall Crawl, Aura Vision and long jump abilities.
  • Status Effects: The "Less Lethal" combines slowing, dizziness and poison in one shot - although, as the name suggests, the poison can't kill anybody outright.
  • Stealth-Based Game: For the Hidden, anyway.
  • Survival Horror: Oh yeah. The I.R.I.S. players have limited ammo and no way to recover health. Best of all, dead teammates are unable to communicate through text or headphones, so if you wander around by yourself for a while and ask your squad to report in, you may feel very lonely...
  • Super Strength: The Hidden. Not in the usual Megaton Punch way, but he can lift and throw corpses, crates, bedframes and Xboxes with enough force to kill.
  • Ten Little Murder Victims: The Hidden is dangerous but not immune to bullets, so his best bet is to try to pick off the other players one by one.
  • Ten-Second Flashlight: Thankfully averted.
  • Visible Invisibility: Although not nearly as noticeable as other examples, the Hidden can be seen as a faint flicker if you have very good vision. Also, when you play as the Hidden, you can see your own hands, as well as your weapon.
  • Wall Crawl: Well, wall cling, but it works just as well.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Either that, or Subject 617 is really pissed about his DNA being run through a blender.