Mouse & Keyboard… how very odd.

Back towards the beginning of the year, when I was trying out Vanguard, I upgraded my PC. I wound up with something that would play Vanguard on the highest visual settings and actually push out 35 fps or so. This is pretty good because Vanguard is a freaking HOG.

Then I stopped playing Vanguard.

So I have a reasonably spiffy PC and am not using it for gaming, except for the occasional emulator. Kind of shameful. I decided I would actually use it to play a game, which started an involved selection process from the available candidates.

While we mostly game on consoles, my wife and I have actually bought a few PC games in the last decade. Ignoring my purchases from JAST USA, the list looks something like: Tron 2.0 (mine). Diablo I & II (hers). Warcraft III (hers). Starcraft and Brood War (mine). Serious Sam and Serious Sam the Second Encounter (mine). Icewind Dale (hers). Neverwinter Nights (hers).

I was leaning towards Tron 2.0 when something jogged my memory.

See, among the various gaming forums I read is the Penny Arcade forum. I don’t have an account there because I’m not very good at not getting into flame wars and it’s just better for everyone if I never post anything. But I can read it. And they have a tradition that whenever someone mentions “Deux Ex”, someone has to get the CD out and install it.

And I figured, any tradition that has become THAT ritual has to have some basis, and didn’t I get a copy of Deux Ex with a graphics card a few years ago?

It turns out that I did, that I still have the CD, and that not only does it work on Windows XP but it’s trivial to tweak it for 1680 x 1050 resolution. That gives it an edge over Tron 2.0, which can’t be made to work in widescreen resolutions. One quick install later and I’m staring at the tutorial.

I’ve played it for about 4 hours and died an ungodly number of times. It’s a good thing it’s so very forgiving about being able to save and load often. I’m still having trouble with the whole “sneaky” bit. My attempts at stealth go something like this.

1: Open a trap door. Drop down into a room filled with guys with guns. Die

2: Open the trap door. Shoot the plainly labeled crate of explosives I can see. Kill all the hostages along with the guys with guns. Reload from save.

3: Open the trap door. Throw in a gas grenade. Drop down into a room filled with guys with guns and toxic gas. Kill some of the guys with guns before some that were out of the blast radius of the gas grenade shoot me. Die.

4: Back away from the trap door. Find a ladder down to another ventilation shaft that opens into the room filled with guys with guns. Crawl up to the end of the ventilation shaft without turning off my flashlight. Guys with guns see light behind shaft opening. Die.

5: …let’s not go into EVERY little permutation…

It IS a heck of an engrossing game. I can see why people go on about it. It’s not exactly pushing my machine’s hardware limits, but what the hell.

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