Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark – The PS3 Attitude Review
You might be thinking, ‘Wow, sounds a bit like Portal!’ and while that’s true to a certain extent, it’s a bit more sadistic than any tests created by GlaDOS and Aperture. It may tickle your funny bone, but it may also crush it.
Stealth Inc is a 2D stealth game with platforming elements. You’ll spend most of your time jumping and hiding in the shadows, because if you’re seen by any of the various enemies, you pretty much instantly die.
Curve Studios set out to create a stealth game without all of the ‘boring’ bits (i.e. the ‘let’s wait in the corner/on the ceiling/in the vent for this soldier to walk by so we can grab them’ sections), and to create a non-stop, frantic, exciting game that incorporates more exciting stealth elements – something they’ve exceeded at.
Whilst the story is bare bones, it’s delivered in an interesting way through writing on the walls which berates and snidely praises you depending on how you are doing. Some writing only appears if you die during a mission and, though it doesn’t add to the story, it’s funny and gives the game an extra layer of character.
The gameplay is where the real meat of the game is, and though we’ve already touched on it, it’s worth going into more detail on just how challenging it is, and why you probably shouldn’t attempt to complete it in one sitting. Whilst working on not being blown to pieces, you’ll need to use enemies to your advantage and plan out a route for them, allowing you to go through previously inaccessible paths blocked by doors and continue. You’ll also be pushing items onto switches – whilst ensuring they don’t crush you from above – and using your finesse to climb away from danger and closer to the exit.
It may sound easier than it is, but once you play it, you’ll experience frustration like we did. Conversely, you may also experience intense joy when completing a particularly hard level.
The graphics aid the atmosphere of the game, mostly taking place in soulless-looking test labs drabbed mostly in black, grey and green. You’ll even come across fellow test subjects in stasis or dead in their tubes, really pushing home the point that your clone’s purpose is solely to be tested, not to live.
The text at the bottom of the screen tells you how visible you are on a scale from not visible, partially visible and fully visible (or, as it’s known at Attitude Towers, ‘visibly screwed’) Once you’re dead, you’ll receive the dreaded ‘no signal…’ message and respawn at a checkpoint. There’s a fair amount of gore when you’re attacked, because no matter what attacks you, you’ll always explode and blood will fly everywhere.
A hilarious yet cute touch is that certain items express emotion via lights, working as eyes that are noticeably sad when left alone and happy when put to use.
The electronic audio works to push you further, getting your adrenaline pumping with a renewed sense of determination as you guide your clone to safety. It’s beaty, catchy and, if you’re anything like us, will get you nodding your head and tapping your foot more times than you can count (although this probably lead to us getting careless and sending our clone to his certain demise more times than we can count, too.)
Doors open with a dull thud, you’ll hear the emotionless drone of a turret as it attacks, and you’ll be met with an uncomfortably squelchy sound when you die. Everything in this game is seemingly designed to make you feel hopeless, and in a way, it does. Although surrounded by doom and gloom, the little clones are light on their feet and have a brighter, cheerier sound when climbing and jumping around.
With a level editor to create your own sadistically hard levels, there’s a lot of replay value up for grabs, but there are also 80 levels in-game to test your mind and stealth expertise. They’re relatively short in size but due to the puzzle nature of the game, a single level can take quite a long time to complete.
We fully recommend Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark, as long as you’re prepared for some devilishly hard brainteasers.