#3 Alpha Protocol: Gadgets and Gizmos
4th May 2010 | 09:00
It's difficult to disagree with Obsidian's opinion that, you can't make a espionage game without a full range of secret agent's toys and Alpha Protocol lets you experiment with a full compliment of gadgets and goodies. All are rooted in the real rather than the James Bond world, so don't expect laser watches and submarine cars, but rather a more authentic mix of explosives, traps and counter-surveillance devices.
Stealth and gadget play-styles have quite a bit of little overlap, with gadget-oriented agents needing to lurk unseen in the shadows to lay and arm their gizmos and relying on their Tech Aptitude to confuse and outfox their adversaries. Double up your gadgets and you'll have double the fun creating some great combos, for example, luring heavies into shock traps with your sound generator. There's an immense sense of satisfaction when you succeed in snaring multiple tangos into one of your elaborately constructed trap routines.
Arm me up
So open the door into the gadget warehouse and what's on offer? Well plenty but you should note that how many gadgets you can carry is largely determined by what armour you're wearing and your Tech Aptitude. Choose a light gadget-focussed suit like the Tactical Utility Armour and you'll have room for a large inventory of gizmos (though without so much protection of course). Anyway, here's the low down on the array of goodies you'll get to experiment with, but don't forget, most, if not all can be upgrade to deliver superior results.
Modified from standard army issue grenades, you can throw these bombs like confetti to deliver a powerful blast which will take down any nearby enemies. An onboard proximity sensor means you can also attach them to a wall to catch the unwary.
What it lacks in explosive impact, the shock trap more than makes up for in its ability to deliver a stunning, painful, though non-lethal takedown. Primarily used as a placed trap, if you're skilful or daring enough, you can lob them at enemies on the fly for a similar effect.
An advanced healing agent that works by flooding your agent's body with synthetic platelets and pain killers, which is useful for keeping you alive when you don't time to wrap yourself in bandages and gauze. Caution is advised however and you can't just gobble them up like the health candy of a first-person shooter. Repeated doses over too short a time frame can result in fatal blood clots. A healing helping hand when you're desperate, but possible side effects include sudden death. Yikes
Simple, but hugely effective, a couple of flashbangs thrown into a room will blind and deafen your opponents with a mixture of densely packed flares and concussive charges, buying you precious time to execute multiple takedowns.. Don't even attempt to breach and clear without an armful of these babies on board.
Another modified grenade which when thrown or placed ignites a dose of flammable liquid, carpeting enemies and entire rooms in burning flame and intense smoke. A great way of sowing confusion amongst guards, this will also effectively block line of sight, rendering you all but invisible to enemy cameras.
These highly versatile electronic magnetic pulse grenades are hands down one of your most powerful options when trying to confuse enemy defence systems, rendering cameras, computers, alarms and automated turrets useless. Combine them with the Interference skill on the Technical Aptitude branch and you can even tune them to selectively neutralise electronic systems, short circuiting door alarms or disabling computer's security systems, allowing you to hoover intel straight from their data storage drives.
Deceive and harass your opponents with this handy sonic tool which bounces coherent sound off multiple surfaces at short to medium range. Think of it as a sonic honey trap, luring guards out of the way so your path is unopposed or even concentrating them in a specific location, where you've left them an explosive surprise.
Instant agent boost. Prime your agent with an epinephrine spike and watch him go bananas in a drug-fuelled rush which sends his strength and precision off of the chart. A powerful aid for shooters with enhanced recoil control, this will make Thorton into a veritable though short- lived colossus in hand to hand combat.
A one-shot gizmo that combines radio transmitter and voice distortion tech to feed the enemy false intelligence and sound the all clear for any alarm you might have tripped. 'Bob here, cancel the alert in sector three, 'Dave's accidentally shot the fuse box again."
One of the more powerful explosive devices in Alpha Protocol, remote mines are made up of an aerodynamic disc of plastique and a short wave radio trigger. Rather than randomly triggering a proximity fuse when guards waltz into range, remote mines are detonated at the agent's discretion, and therefore have much more potential for considered explosive carnage.
As you'd expect, agents from a gadget focussed background (and you can choose to make this part of Thorton's history in the initial character generation screens) are much more adept at disabling alarm systems, hacking into computers and prising open locked doors. Sabotage is one of your main skills, making your offensive gadgets more deadly in its basic forms. Develop your Sabotage skills and you'll eventually gain the Overclock to increase range and effectiveness and at higher levels Remote Hack will let you bypass enemy surveillance and electronics systems from a safer distance.
A strong Technical Aptitude leaning on the other hand will boost your passive skills, making First Aid much more effective and allowing you to carry much bigger gadget and explosives load outs. Max it to its highest level and you'll be able to activate the Brilliance ability, allowing you to perform multiple skills with little or no cool down penalties.
There's going to be plenty of intriguing options to explore playing gadget-focused Thorton in Alpha Protocol and with achievements like Building a Deadlier Mousetrap, for detonating a 100 devices and Circuit Breaker for bypassing 20 security systems, there'll be plenty of achievements and trophies to scoop. However the ultimate accolade will be the Technophile achievement where you use six gadgets over five missions, a true benchmark for gadget-oriented agents.
That's it for the Gadgets and Gizmos, but check back tomorrow for a look at Alpha Protocol's stealth capabilities in Stalking the Shadows
Don't forget that hidden somewhere on this page is the third part of the answer you'll need for our competition to win the Ultimate Spy's toolkit. Good luck in finding it!
Want to know even more about Alpha Protocol? Then why not check out the official Alpha Protocol micro site here on CVG, where you'll find more screens, movies and intelligence info on Obsidian's splendid espionage RPG.