Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A better homage to 'The Thing' than the actual video game

Chapter 3: The Bjarkhov Bomb
This chapter begins with 47 sitting on the floor of his hotel room leaning against the bathroom door, when there's a knock on the door. The door is busted down but it's obviously another hallucination as white light, snow and men who speak Russian are coming in, and then another old mission begins.

47 has apparently been a stowaway on an airplane and has been flown to Siberia. The mission objectives are to kill the younger terrorist brother Fuchs whose brothers we killed and will kill again in Traditions of the Trade (a mission from Codename 47 that will reappear later in Contracts), kill some guy who is making dirty bombs and is about to sell some to Fuchs, blow up the shitty submarine they're making the dirty bombs on and lastly, like always, escape. Mission start!
47's behind some stuff inside the plane in his normal wear while the plane is being unloaded. Of course the first step is to jump some poor shmuck and imitate him amongst the other men, and what do you know, Nanook comes in to pick up something. Very unortunate for him that when I play for fun I don't care much for the rating, so I pull out my silenced baller and pop him in the head. I drag the corpse behind some crates and take the clothes. My first plan is to scout the area for my contact who is supposed to help me. He's the cook, and of all the places in the base he can be found in the kitchen. Clever.
He updates me on... not much. He doesn't like the soup or the cold, and there's these three explosives I may find somewhere that I can use to sink the submarine. He says something about a warehouse to the north-west of the submarine right after mentioning the explosives, and being the usual stupid guy I didn't remember until just now as I am writing this what exactly he was on about.

Since I recall seing this mission being played a few years back I know that soon after the friendly chit-chat some guy is about to barge in and demand some grub, and my eyes happen upon this bottle of laxative on the table. In a kitchen. With pots full of soup, one of which contains the meal the guy I am going to kill will soon eat. I don't know about you, but my brains just sent me some note about the best prank ever.
I poison the soup on the stove and then sit back and see what happens. The guy, Fuchs, eats the soup with great difficulties and soon after finishing his dinner runs into the lavvy.
While he's taking a shit with me standing in front of him and staring at him, he allows me to just casually go through my inventory of lethal weapons and even lets me try out the fiber wire which I accidentally pulled out in a hurry. I press the wrong key and take out the syringe, which also doesn't affect people from the front for some odd reason, as the guy is incapable of defending himself and it shouldn't matter if he's facing me or not. I even go through pistols without silencers before finally pulling out the supressed baller and killing him. After fumbling with the kill like that there's still no alarms, so I suppose Normal difficulty is TOO easy for me. I should try Expert.
I take his pistol and try to take his clothes too, but no option for it appears so I assume targets' clothes are just generally not usable in this game. After Fuchs' recent bowel movements I wouldn't really consider taking his pants a good idea anyway.
I leave the toilets and head through the long tunnel to the submarine base, where there's also a ship, and onboard that ship is my second target. I plan to take a guard's uniform at first, but seeing how they're spread out like... some things that are spread out, I just frolick towards the ship in my civilian clothes. And get shot.

Restart mission, and I do everything the same way up until the toilet part, except faster. This time in the toilets I'm already ready with the fiber wire to strangle the bastard Fuchs while he hasn't yet sat down. I attack him IMMEDIATELY when he crashes through the door, though a few feet inside to avoid guards seeing us two hugging, but somehow the game teleports me and Fuchs right in front of the door. This means that I'm visibly strangling Fuchs in the bathroom and this guard who is standing on the other side of the door and is able to see everything doesn't do anything. He stands there, and before the strangling animation is over the door slams shut, allowing me to freely drag Fuchs into a corner. This time the game DOES give me the choice to dress up in his clothes, but since I don't know what's about to happen I save here. I said earlier that I don't save mid-mission, but I'm so not waiting for Fuchs to eat another bowl of soup again.
I dress up as Fuchs and head out. The guard who clearly saw Fuchs getting killed only seconds before just says hi and tells me he's going to escort me to the dirty bomb man.
We very slowly walk to the tunnel and ride the train to the submarine area. He stares creepily the entire time, but then again he's obviously messed up. Sees things, but doesn't let them bother him much.

Who goes there?
This time, despite having a fool proof disguise for the ship I first go check the explosives and the sub. I check the barracks, the little shack, the containers, the warehouse and nearby the sub but don't find even a trace of explosives, and there's nothing even marked on the many maps I have available. I am lost.
For some peculiar reason I decide to kill and undress a soldier from that area, but right as I am about to drag him fully behind a corner and assimilate him some douche pal of his comes running. I thought it was a custom around here to not care about people getting offed. Huh, live and learn. Or die and learn. Actually I reloaded the save from the loo before I died.
I dress up as Fuchs again, I guess it just comes natural for me to walk around as a Fuchs, and after the long walk and the long train ride I spot a sniper tower. I check it out and it's empty, but the second target is clearly visible from there, as shown by the binoculars. That gets me thinking, and I reload a save again to check the level for a sniper rifle. Naturally I find one in the last corner I would've checked if I hadn't already checked all the other corners in the previous tries, so I actually found it rather quickly inside the hangar. In order to be able to carry it I took a guard's costume from behind the soup-building earlier. There's two guards walking around the building so I had to kill another one before he could see the first corpse, but that just meant more fiber wiring fun for me, so no big deal. By the way, I love it how you can run up to fiber wire people in Contracts, at least on the Normal difficulty.

I carry the sniper rifle to the tower and start aiming. I wasn't actually going to fire until I had placed the bombs on the sub, but some reflex hit my finger and I shot the target and his friend with one bullet, by accident. Nobody seemed to care about gunshots below the tower so I just ran to the ladder and... well, I ran past the ladder and splat.
I did everything again but instead left the sniper rifle waiting near the tower and went to look for the bombs. In the very last stall I checked in the warehouse I found a radiation suit. I thought I'd actually find the explosives there, but because I found something new I decided to try it inside the sub. The explosives can be found there, and now I understand everything. It all makes sense. They made dirty bombs with the help of those explosives, so of course the explosives are kept where the dirty bombs are made. Brilliant. I plant the charges, go change to guard uniform, pick up the sniper rifle and shoot the two bastards on the ship again. I go down, detonate the explosives and then just run  the fuck outta there with the sniper rifle. Right before starting up the plane I naturally put on the old 47 suit, just for the style points, and then leave.

I am an Executioner, says the game.

A rather fun level again, and reminded me of The Thing a lot, which happens to be only my second favourite movie of all time. Are the similarities here intended or coincidental?
I'm guessing there's loads of different ways to kill the targets since you're able to dress up as Fuchs and even board the ship, and I am liking that I'm more free to run around fiber wiring people, although it has made me think. Would I have liked Silent Assassin a lot more if I had actually not played on the highest difficulty level? Is Contracts just as bad on Professional? The asylum level hinted towards this, and if it's just the difficulty level making guards unnaturally suspicious, which is what higher difficulties are for, then maybe I should give Silent Assassin another chance.

It's alright, it's a submarine. They're built for that.

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