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YMMV / Deus Ex

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Morgan Everett actually a decent man who just happens to have been manipulating the world for its own good for decades? Or is he just manipulating JC Denton for his own gain, taking advantage of a man who has need of a father figure and leadership?
    • Also, how trustworthy is the Helios AI?
    • Tracer Tong suddenly becomes an anarchist at the end of the game, which is strange considering that his plan for a new Dark Age would undermine all the work he did to find a cure for the plague (even if Vandeberg Base and the Universal Constructor aren't taken out by the destruction of the Aquinas hub, the destruction of the infrastructure means there'll be no way to distribute the cure before it's too late). He might simply be looking for a way to stop Helios, which has already gone after the triads and taken over Hong Kong by the time J.C. reached Area 51. It's also interesting to note that the triads are descended from a group (The Heaven and Earth Society) which claimed to be remnants of the ruling authority of the Ming dynasty, and hence the legitimate rulers of China. Therefore, Tong might simply be seeing it as an opportunity to strengthen China's role in the world by smashing the West's infrastructure.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Possibly all of them, except Page (and even that isn't really a "fight"). Since Deus Ex is consequent, a rocket or grenade or a knife to the neck will instantly kill a boss character just as well as it will a regular mook. There's also the fact that, due to engine limitations, the augmented bosses don't actually use any augmentations (besides invisibility), they just have increased health and resistance to special effects like fire, plasma, or tranquilizers.
    • If you maxed your Rifles skill, three headshots from an Assault Shotgun can kill Simons. He also conveniently runs straight to you just so he can taunt you before the fight, which means when the fight begins he'll be about five feet away. If you fight him at Area 51, it's actually possible to kill him right after the cutscene before he even moves or throws a LAM.
    • Failing that, properly augmented and trained, one quick swipe with your Dragon's Tooth will finish the job.
    • You can also go to the sniper tower and take pot shots at him. His only weapon is the plasma rifle, which is relatively easy to avoid from there.
    • You can similarly fire a LAW safely at Gunther in the MJ12 compound. He will be gibbed and you won't take any damage when you quickly duck back to avoid the blast.
    • If you learn the kill phrases for Anna and Gunther, you can kill them in conversation.
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    • If you don't kill Maggie Chow, she shows up for a confrontation when you sabotage the Gray Death machines, wielding her own Dragon. The buildup to the fight and its set dressing is cool as all heck, anticipating a lightsaber duel... but like every other enemy, the player's Dragon is a One-Hit Kill against them. And landing that blow is easy, since that boss is armed only with melee and a decently competent player knows how to swing early to hit first.
  • Best Level Ever: If you ask someone what the best area in Deus Ex is, their answer will likely be Hell's Kitchen, Hong Kong or the Cathedral.
  • Breather Level: Visits to UNATCO (except your final time there), Duclare Chateau, and Everett's home. Hong Kong mostly qualifies when you're just doing missions in the city.
  • Broken Base: Is the game best enjoyed with mods installed or leave it as it is? Also which mod would the player prefer to install; GMDX, Shifter, or Revision?
  • "Common Knowledge": There are several continuity errors in the endings. For instance, Helios doesn't have his idiosyncratic manner of speech, Bob Page doesn't know that JC set the reactor to overload (even though he was just begging him not to do it several seconds earlier), and JC isn't aware that "The Organization" that Everett is part of is The Illuminati. Everyone knows this is because the pre-rendered endings were made before the game was finished. However, interviews with Warren Spector make it clear that the intro and endings were the very last things that were done.
    • Random Hong-Kong NPCs were surely voiced by interns putting on a somewhat racist accent, right? They're actually voiced by Chinese Americans with no previous acting experience.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Deus Ex can be somewhat infamous with this trope, as its rather lenient with handing out extremely good options to the player and rarely makes the alternatives worthwhile.
    • At the very beginning of the game, Paul offers you three weapons before you head into Liberty Island. The first is a silent mini crossbow with tranquilizer darts, the second is a sniper rifle, and the third is a rocket launcher called the GEP gun. Any veteran player will take the GEP gun for a variety of reasons- not only can it be used as a devastating crowd control and anti-robot weapon, but the explosive radius of its rockets can blow open doors, making it an effective tool for navigating the world. The sniper rifle is okay, but can be found in Liberty Island quite easily, and the mini-crossbow is a pretty awful stealth weapon. Even if you're running a stealth-pacifist playthrough, sneak attacks with melee weapons are easier and more consistent to use, and the GEP gun can actually assist with nonlethal playthroughs by allowing you to blow open walls and take down robots more easily.
    • The third available Augmentation Canister contains two choices: Run Silent and Enhanced Movement. Of the two, Run Silent is barely ever obtained because Enhanced Movement completely outclasses it in every area. With Enhanced Movement, you can crouchwalk to move as fast as your normal movement while remaining silent, essentially giving it the function of Run Silent. Leveling it up also allows the player to take new routes through the world, such as jumping out of Maggie Chow's apartment, whereas Run Silent barely affects stealth at all.
    • Microfibral Muscle versus Combat Strength would normally be a tough choice... if the game didn't graciously hand over the Dragon Tooth sword, far and away the best melee weapon in the game, for free as a mainline story pickup. The Low-Tech skill gives comparable increases to melee damage as Combat Strength does while being a passive bonus, so why would you bother wasting precious augmentation canisters on upgrading it? Even worse, Microfibral Muscle is very useful throughout the game for platforming and can be used for pretty much every playstyle, whereas Combat Strength is exclusively meant for melee. The only possible place where a player would want Combat Strength is if they were doing a stealth pacifist run, so they can dramatically increase the power of the Baton and knock out people in a single hit regardless of their health, but in all other cases Microfibral Muscles wins out.
    • Energy Shield versus Regeneration. The former provides protection against energy weapons, which are fairly uncommon among enemies until late into the game. The latter provides Regenerating Health at a rate that pretty much negates most damage anyway. Little wonder that Regeneration is the most popular augmentation in the game.
  • Complete Monster: Bob Page is a former member of the Council of Five — the ruling body of The Illuminati — and a protégé of the leader Morgan Everett. Consumed with a lust for power, Page abandoned the Illuminati to strike out on his own. He invented a nanovirus via robots to kill as many people as possible and shows a willingness to have any failures eliminated. Page would even use nuclear weapons to get his way, in his plan to throw the world into chaos to pave the way for him as a messiah and a world leader. His ultimate goal was to merge with the AI Helios and become a God, declaring "Let it spill over into the schools and churches, let the bodies pile up in the streets. In the end, they'll beg us to save them."
  • Crosses the Line Twice: You can play as a man who blows up a train station to defuse a hostage situation, then tells others to use non-lethal weapons to save lives, and later kills a man in front of his daughter before performing an eulogy for him without ever raising his volume above "bored monotone", resulting in a character whose motivations boil down to "It Amused Me".
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Spider Bots have erratic movement patterns and bio-electric energy draining attacks, making them hard to kill and annoying to fight, and they're really fast too. The Greasels are very tough against anything short of explosives and have poisonous attacks that make JC dizzy.
    • MJ12 Commandos can take about twice as much damage as regular troops, and are equipped with dual arm-mounted heavy machineguns which deal insane amounts of damage (more than any other enemy automatic weapon) and can cut you down in a second or two unless you're using augs to shield yourself.
    • The Karkians can kill you with one bite and their attacks are surprisingly fast.
    • The Series-P agents, also known as the Men in Black are more dangerous than your average Mook due to their killswitches causing them to explode upon death, making them extremely dangerous in close quarters combat.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Morpheus is quite popular for an optional encounter that is minimally rewarding in gameplay. This is easily because of how interesting his conversation is.
    • Gunther Hermann, for being a Noble Demon (compared to his partner Anna Navarre at least), and for being a comical yet tragic character. The accent and his e-mails probably help too. He returned in Deus Ex: Icarus Effect.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: While it's not "happy", Tong's New Dark Age ending is presented as the most optimistic of the three endings (helped by the awesome music), but if you stop and think about it, there are some pretty dark implications. First of all, erasing global communication altogether would most likely have disastrous effects on society even if it means less corruption. Second, humanity probably has the resources to rebuild it in a few years or decades. Finally, whether JC made it out of the collapsing Area 51 facility is left ambiguous. In Invisible War - in which all three endings are, in a sense, canon - we see that the Collapse brought more chaos and war than it did freedom, and Tong deeply regrets his actions.
  • First Installment Wins: This game is still considered to be the best Deus Ex game in the series and one of the best PC games ever. While Deus Ex: Human Revolution is also well liked, this game is still considered superior by many of the fans, and is MUCH more well liked than Deus Ex: Invisible War.
  • Fountain of Memes: JC especially so, but thanks to The Recut or the Malkavian Mod, many characters qualify.
    "What a shame."
  • Game-Breaker: Most weapon classes have at least one:
    • The Dragon's Tooth sword. Seriously, even on the hardest difficulty, the weapon makes the rest of the game a cakewalk, as it's a silent weapon, inflicts enough damage to kill nearly everything in one hit, and the player is forced to pick it up as part of the story - so they're guaranteed to acquire it.
    • Before the DTS, the GEP gun counts as well. Rockets aren't that hard to come across, and you can use it to breach locked doors until you get the DTS, not to mention you can get it in the first conversation of the game. The only downside to the weapon is its size, but if you have points into using weapons such as the GEP gun, inventory tends to be a minor inconvenience.
    • Maxing the Rifles skill makes shotguns 100% precise, meaning all pellets somehow hit exactly where you're aiming at. If you then find an autoshotgun you basically get a One-Hit Kill repeating sniper shotgun of doom that can mop the floor with any enemy in the game without even trying.
    • Unless you're fighting enemies like MJ12 Commandos (who are immune to being blinded), the fire extinguisher and pepper spray gun can prove to be extremely effective weapons, especially if you're attempting a Pacifist Run. Enemies who are blinded are completely helpless for several seconds, allowing players to prepare an attack with the Riot Prod, Baton, or any other weapon.
    • The assault rifle. Give it a laser sight, and you have perfect accuracy with no recoil spread (as clarified below). Give it a silencer, and the enemy won't know about that perfect 5-round (after maxed rate-of-fire mods) burst to the head until it's too late. But that's not even the best part. No, the best part is the included 20mm grenade launcher, which means it has Heavy Weapons firepower with none of the drawbacks of Heavy Weapons (aside from ammo scarcity), all for four measly inventory squares!
      • One disadvantage is the 20mm ammo is far harder to find than rockets, but for everything else, it is very convenient.
    • Being at least the Trained level in Computers. You can hack any computer and terminal in the game, allowing you to open doors, turn off cameras and do actions necessary to progress through the game. You need Advanced skill level to reprogram turrets, but unless someone sounds an alarm, they are no threat without the cameras.
    • So long as you don't combine it with a scope mod, the laser sight weapon mod has the curious functionality of making the weapon it's attached to 100% accurate, allowing you to put your shots all exactly where the red dot is on the screen regardless of weapon skill. This allows you to turn the starting 10mm pistol into a pinpoint accuracy death machine.
    • The basic stealth pistol is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to break the game. With just the advanced pistol skill (the cheapest weapon skill to upgrade) plus an accuracy mod from Liberty Island you have a 100% accurate gun capable of silently taking out any basic enemy with a single headshot, which fires quickly enough to stun-lock an MJ12 Commando to death if you get the drop on them.
    • Pretty much every augmentation. Running can allow you to skip firefights by jumping over enemies, the upgraded Cloak coupled with the Recirculator allows you to brush past anyone with manageable energy consumption, with Targeting you can pick everyone from distance with pistol by knowing their health, and so on.
      • In particular, the Regeneration aug. Upgrade it once or twice and you can effectively run out into a fight and be basically untouchable (except by the odd headshot or flamethrower) since it regenerates wounds almost as quickly as the enemies can make them. Combined with the dragons tooth sword, you can effectively massacre a large group of enemies completely unfazed. It also heals faster than gas, radiation or drowning can damage you, negating the need for hazmat suits or the swimming skill. The only downside is it chews through a lot of energy, but Bioelectic cells and recharge bots are spaced close enough you'll never really be in dire trouble.
      • And then there's the Spy Drone. It's a little drone you can maneuver around and detonate with an EMP explosion. When upgraded, it basically turns bots into cannon fodder. Just hide behind some boxes and send out your drone into the bot, the EMP blast instantly disabling it.
      • For sheer utility nothing beats Speed Enhancement. The movement speed boost applies when crouching, letting you move both quickly and silently into takedown range. It massively boosts your jump height, letting you bypass certain puzzles or sequence break. It negates almost all fall damage, letting you just jump off the roof of a building full of hostiles rather than fighting your way to the ground floor. Finally if you just want the convenience of fast travel you can just toggle it on and off while bunny-hopping to zip around while expending next to no energy.
  • Genius Bonus: The game features some pretty heavy concepts and obscure bits of trivia. For instance, an enigmatic bum in New York greets the player by asking JC "Who will help the widow's son?" Although this is never explained in the game, that refers to an old Masonic greeting and plea for assistance - another conspiracy reference.
  • Good Bad Bugs: Several. Even with the last patch on, one can use bugs to give oneself unlimited inventory space, double their starting equipment, and even gain unlimited skill points and augmentation upgrades.
    • When starting a new game you are given the opportunity to upgrade specific skills, with the Pistol skill already upgraded once. You can downgrade the Pistol skill and spend the points elsewhere, but when you actually start a new game the Pistol skill will still have one upgrade applied to it.
    • If you start a new game your inventory is meant to be reset, but instead the function just removes the first item it finds. If you start a new game while currently playing, the new game will keep most of your existing inventory.
    • Closing the inventory screen while dragging an item in the inventory grid will simultaneously mark the item as in those specific slots without marking those slots as occupied, effectively freeing those slots up while keeping the item held in them. Doing so can allow you to pick up an infinite number of items by stacking them all in this same slot, though good luck selecting a specific one if it's not already bound to a hotkey.
    • The game's aiming system tracks how long you've been keeping still to determine what penalty is applied to your accuracy; once you've stood still for about 6 seconds (if not less) then no penalty will be applied. Problem is, the counter that tracks this doesn't stop counting once you've hit max accuracy, and moving subtracts from this counter rather than immediately setting it to zero. If you find a safe place and stand (or crouch) still for a while, say several hours, you can build up a "standing bonus credit" that will allow you to literally run around the map non-stop while retaining full accuracy on your weapon.
    • Opening your inventory while using a multitool or picking a lock will pause game time but not hacking/lockpicking progress, thus enabling you to hack/open locks with only one item rather than several.
    • Bypassing plot-related keypads gives you skill points. However, they can be bypassed with their code more than once, while still giving you a reward. If bypassed ten times in row, that little keypad in the corner can give you 1000 skill points. Repeatedly.
    • A bug in the Game of The Year edition turns off the music in the third visit to Hell's Kitchen. Given how bleak things have become at that point in the story, however, the silence is actually quite fitting.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • After the game's release, Real Life has had many events disturbingly similar to parts of the game's backstory, such as the NYC skybox having no Twin Towers (memory issues), a "Grid zoning" law was passed, and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court, that allows the government to seal off sections of cities, etc.
    • Two MJ12 soldiers discuss FEMA's ability to usurp the elected government based on existing Executive Orders. The mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, though, has caused much of the public to view FEMA as being incapable of managing a hot dog stand, let alone hijacking the US government.
    • A lighter example, at some point you get to see a gas station's prices. While gas prices did start a rising trend at the time of the game's release, they were no where near the prices predicted in the game. Several years later, you'd be lucky to even find a gas station with those prices.
    • The NSF Commander and the starving kid you meet at Battery Park spout off lines that wouldn't be out of place in an Occupy protest. They are optional conversations though, the former will come up if you interrogate him further, and the latter if you refuse to give him food when he asks and demand information from him when he talks to you.
    • Other resistance members make remarks that wouldn't be unheard of in circles skeptical of governmental power.
    • The prequel Human Revolution shows that while they weren't as outright genocidal as Page and his Majestic 12, the Illuminati under Everett and DeBeers was still extremely ruthless and manipulative, which makes the Illuminati ending of the game quite a bit darker, although Everett's been humbled enough by the events to realize his mistakes.
    • When you reach a point in Paris, Tracer Tong comments on how there's a giant routing station there used by Beth DuClare to analyse net traffic. This has become much harsher after revelations about various government agencies, especially AT&T's Room 641A.
      • On that note, seeing Paris under martial law and Jock commenting on "what a great city it used to be", is more depressing after the city was the victim of numerous horrible terrorist attacks since 2015.
    • One character is a veteran of a war that involved Afghans. The War in Afghanistan would start up just a couple of years after the game was released.
    • If you asked a computer networking specialist circa-2000 about whether Majestic-12's plan to control global communications through the Aquinas router was plausible, they likely would have brushed it off as artistic license, and talked your ear off about how a decentralized network like the Internet couldn't possibly be controlled to that degree by any one party. Today, the rise of big ISPs, social media conglomerates, and state efforts to control Internet access like the Great Firewall of China have led many to worry that someone could shut off or censor the Internet for a great many people. And on a mixed note, the CEO of one of those corporations just so happens to be named "Page."
    • The Big Bads are wealthy megalomaniacs posing as philanthropists to push their agenda. Something similar can be said about Jimmy Savile. A popular kid's show host who handed large amounts of money to children and mental hospitals and regularly visited them… and turned out to be a mass pedophile and rapist after his death.
    • With COVID-19, a rampant plague that affects the poor while the wealthy are criticized for living it up in isolated communities while the rest die, overloaded medical facilities, and the numerous conspiracy theories about China and the US spreading it strike closer to home.
    • On a related note, the distribution of the Covid Vaccine was awfully similar to how Ambrosia was distributed. A limited production forced many countries to enforce strict priority lists based on age and professions while many fearing that poorer nations would be left behind.
    • Warren Spector has said that he wouldn't make Deus Ex again today, because the conspiracy theories that inspired the story of the game have inspired people to commit high profile acts of violence and political terrorism in real life since then. To make something similar again, the game would need to have a much, much more delicate touch to not look like it was endorsing those theories as anything more than an entertaining fiction.
    • In line with the above, the increasing prominence in the United States of right-wing organizations like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, and their participation in the January 6th 2021 attack on Washington D.C., makes the depiction of the NSF as a relatively heroic organization feel very different than it did in 2000, especially given that they're introduced by launching an occupation of the Statue of Liberty near UNATCO's headquarters.
    • As the Chinese government asserts an increasingly authoritarian grip over Hong Kong, and the city becomes increasingly indistinguishable from any other Chinese city, some of the dialogue in the Hong Kong section feels much harsher. Most notable is the conversation with the bartender at the Lucky Money.
      Bartender: The Chinese leave Hong Kong alone. They barricade the roads to control trade to the mainland, but they know how business is done.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • It seems like Drebin has been in the arms dealing game for a while now, considering that he was clearly modeled after Smuggler's character and likeness, all the way down to having the same voice actor.
    • The game doesn't contain an automap, specifically because Warren Spector thought it broke immersion and lead to sloppy level design (and there was also the still-unsolved problem of portraying three-dimensional spaces on a two-dimensional map). These days, with things like navigators and GPS programs built into phones, it's laughable that JC doesn't have an equivalent built into his state-of-the-art rig.
    • Bob Page bears quite a similar appearance to Elon Musk. He even changed his Twitter profile picture to be JC Denton in 2020, which caused critics to point out that he has much more in common with Page.
    • Morgan Everett mentions that the technology that would allow Lucius DeBeers live outside his cryo chamber has already existed for decades, but he doesn't need to know that. According to Mankind Divided, Lucius wasn't frozen until 2030, just two decades earlier - the bare minimum to allow Everett to use the plural "decades" without exaggerating. Thus, it's completely possible the tech Everett's referring to may have come out just after Lucius was frozen, if not around the same time.
  • Hype Aversion: Being hailed as one of the best PC games ever for over twenty years straight no doubt puts some people off from it. The game has also reached a point of being so old that it can be legitimately annoying to setup and play on modern machines, with features & controls that will put people off when they are used to modern games.
  • Iron Woobie: If you speak with Morpheus, he'll confirm to JC he was genetically engineered and that most of his life was a lie. JC replies "So what? Me and my brother suspected as much when we grew up." It's more justified if Juan Lebedev was spared, since he'll tell JC the exact same thing.
    • In spite of nearly everything that happens to JC, up to and including his brother's death, JC doesn't emote very often at all.
  • It Was His Sled: JC gets betrayed by UNATCO.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Gunther. Sure he’s a bloodthirsty killing machine with close to 1000 hits under his belt, but you can’t help but pity him after JC kills Anna. A diary entry from a random MJ12 trooper mentions that he thinks he hears him crying at night.
  • Les Yay: There's a pair of women in the Lucky Money Club who are quite clearly into each other.
  • Memetic Mutation: Some of the more memorable lines from the game. Remember, a bomb (A Bomb!) is a bad choice for close range combat, and his vision is augmented. What a shame... Mentioning the game on websites like /v/ will often get a "Time to reinstall it" response.
    • Demanding a "skull gun" is also popular among fans, originating from a line Gunther says when he retreats from battle.
    • On the fan content side, there's the infamous Deus Ex: The Recut.
    "We've had to endure much, you and I, but within the week, there will be old men running the world!"
    "No. Within six months."
    • There's also the Malkavian mod, Denton's surreal journey into the heart of UNATCO as he is ordered to go against his orders and uncover the mystery of the Mole People. Witness the madness here.
    "Homeless people kidnapped the soldiers! They had me inject the soldiers with DEATH!"
    "Paul... I... I... I thought you were a GEP Gun!"
    "That will be your butt."
    • Every time someone playing the game for the first time asks what to put their starting skill points in, expect tons of "Swimming" answers.
    • Due to a quite well-known YouTube trolling channel named "Maximilianmus" who has a picture of J.C. as his profile picture, a lot of fans have changed their profile picture to that as well, and it's quite common to come across.
  • Narm:
  • Narm Charm:
    • Given the game's track record on accents, there's no suprise that Gunther Hermann's German accent is cartoonishly exaggerated, but unlike the above examples, they add to Gunther's humorous personality.
    "Eet eez a simpel messege vee're demonstreting. Vee kno' vere you are going and vat you intent!"
    • The way non-combatants run around randomly in fright. The animation and randomness just makes them look hilarious.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Morpheus is one and easy to miss, too, if the player doesn't explore a bit.
    • Leo Gold, the NSF leader you've captured early in the game, has left a long-lasting impact on the game.
    • There are pedestrians that JC can converse with that are memorable, like the bartender at the Lucky Money or the cafe owner in Paris.
  • Paranoia Fuel. And how.
    • Lampshaded by Harley Filben if you kill nosy reporter Joe Greene before he tells you to do so and by Stanton Dowd if you kill the suspicious graveyard caretaker. Of course, killing both of them turns out to be the right choice...
    • Icarus, the malevolent all-knowing sentient AI built to replace Daedalus in monitoring worldwide communications. Your first contact with it is an abrupt, growly voice message accompanied by an image of a disembodied eye that you recieve as you move through the dark Paris sewers, frankly informing you that it has full access to your systems. It proves this contacting you unexpectedly a few more times throughout the night: calling you out on breaking into someone's room to steal their posessions, questioning your intentions, placing misinformation and messages on infolinks and computer terminals that you access, calling a nearby telephone, and as you investigate the DuClare mansion, informs you that Beth DuClare has been dissected and placed in cryonic storage. This goes on and on through the night for quite a while before you get to talk to someone about just what the hell is going on. It's uncompromising mindfuckery means it qualifies as Nightmare Fuel.
    • Daedalus can also carry this off, when he appears from nowhere to help you escape UNATCO. The Avatar is just a blurred face accompanied by a rasping, buzzy voice. This becomes less mysterious and more creepy when you realize that the Uniform Resource Locator address displayed on every networked device in the game contains the word "Daedalus" where "http" would go in real-world URLs. If you log in to your UNATCO computer account on the way out, you find an eMail from him telling you to stop dawdling because your enemies are closing in. The creepiness subsides when you find out what it is and what its intentions are, although you might not shake the odd feeling that comes from being helped by a sentient AI that is monitoring everything - every transmission, phonecall, eMail - if it's digital, Daedalus has access to it. Then you realise he was created (and can still be restricted and attacked) by people who want to control the world. What kind of power do these guys have?
    • Gunther Hermann also pulls this off as he goes from irritable co-worker/cheerful psychopath to Vengeful Mechanical freak intent on tracking you down and killing you with his bare hands. Cue the player running all over the place evading a murderous conspiracy on various missions, receiving messages from Hermann in which he details how he is tracking you, how he hates you, how he will avenge his partner, how he is coming to get you, while his avatar shows you his deep red mechanical eyes and cold, implacable expression, all while the player is already having to deal with enough paranoia fuel as it is. Especially during one cutscene that shows the player leaving by helicopter, rising above the streets of Paris just as he comes running to murder you, arriving seconds too late.
    • The conspirators themselves, who have the power to tap almost anything, in almost any location. Every single organisation and government body is very likely under their complete control. The Men in Black, with that odd glow behind their sunglasses and the strange pallor of their skin, are everywhere, issuing orders in strange, mechanical voices. Dissenters tend to dissappear, even from within their own ranks. Lizardlike creatures and strange, alien-like freaks skulk around their vast, secret research labs. They control all-knowing AI entities that are almost incomprehensibly powerful and can monitor everything you do. Even the internet is a part of one. If you upset them, they will find you. And no-one will ever know...
      • For that extra dose of pure Holy Shit-creepiness, take a good look at the MIBs. They have got tattooes of an eye in the back of their necks.
    • Midway through the game, once you've started encountering and pissing off MJ12, their soldiers will start coming out of nowhere to attack you, constantly, with no warning beyond, at best, a quick call from Jock that they've found you. Especially notable in Hell's Kitchen.
  • Retroactive Recognition: While the majority of the game's voice actors stayed in obscurity or never worked again, one member of the cast went on to a long and successful career: Khary Payton, who voices Smuggler the arms dealer, JoJo the pimp and the conspiracy theorist bartender. This was his first voiceover job of note.
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of the game's story elements only become clear upon replay or reexamination. A good example is the conversation with Morpheus, which actually foreshadows/explains a lot of things that can happen in the ending.
  • The Scrappy: Louis Pan, the obnoxious Know-Nothing Know-It-All brat you encounter in Hong Kong is universally despised by players. He's annoying as all get out and his only dialogue amounts to annoyingly shouting at JC to go away and threatening to blow your cover. Fortunately, unlike most scrappies in video games and especially children in video games, you can shut the brat up.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Has its own page.
  • Scrappy Weapon:
    • The PS20, a single shot plasma derringer that's only good at extremely close range. It's disposable and you can only carry one. The slot it takes up is better used by the cattle prod or crossbow, both of which are much more effective with the latter having three types of ammo to boot. Worse, the update that added multiplayer completely broke the damage, making it so weak even a close-range headshot can't kill a basic enemy in one hit.
    • Gas grenades are considered this in-universe by UNATCO troopers. A pair of them are seen complaining that Paul has been handing them out instead of ammo for their assault rifles. In practical gameplay terms, they only cause enemies to break into a fit of coughing, which, while useful, still requires the player to follow up with another weapon. The clouds of gas also harm the player and can even kill you.
    • Downplayed with Tranqulizer darts for the Crossbow. While they are one of few effective ranged non-lethal weapons, victims have a nasty habit of running around in panic, alerting his comrades before collapsing.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • You can come pretty close to a pure Pacifist Run. You "need" to kill two people, three for the Illuminati ending, as you will have to blow up Bob Page. As for the other two people; one can be bypassed via an AI glitch; the other tends to suicide with his own grenade (and can be knocked out). This is actually strongly encouraged at the beginning of the game (two characters encourage you to sneak or to use as little force as possible). But ... one of them either becomes or has already become The Mole, and is thus preemptively protecting his new friends from you, and the other one joins you when you leave your old organization as well. By the end of the game, you have very little external encouragement towards subtlety whatsoever, though you can acquire many artificial sneaking aids. In the second-to-last level you have no choice but to launch a nuclear missile at an active US Army base.
    • Several other than a pacifist run are possible, but the real cake-taker is the Alginon Run. No items, no money, no augmentations, no skills. Realistic (hardest) difficulty setting. It involves a lot of sneaking and running away.
  • Signature Scene: The conversation with Morpheus, in which he and JC debate the nature of worship and society.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The voice acting as a whole. The stilted delivery and excruciating accents are memorably hilarious.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The game begins with JC (and the player) being plopped into an unfamiliar location, Liberty Island, with a vague objective ("find the leader"), no clear direction to their goal and a choice of what weapon to take that isn't very well-explained, before setting him loose against a large group of enemies. This is even invoked in-game, when Paul Denton (the player's brother) comments that the mission is a test to see how well JC performs.
  • Values Resonance: The game's themes became more relevant in a post-9/11 world, as public and government fear over terrorism had caused society to gradually become more authoritarian, along with the scandal revealed in 2013 regarding the NSA wiretapping American citizens without warrant, which is not all that different from the game's atmosphere of mass-surveillance and intrusive policing.