Deus Ex (PC) - 1:29:02 - Nick Alward
Speed run of Deus Ex on Realistic difficulty in 44 segments, completed on December 12 2004. Available in 320x240 and 640x480 versions. Note that SDA's standard timing method is used instead of the game's timer as it doesn't display at the end.
Well, this is my first speed run, and one of a game I've always wanted to try it on. Deus Ex has been a longtime favourite of mine, and I came back to make this run after a year or so of not playing it. It took more than a month to make - I ended up restarting the run a few times, mostly due to inexperience with speed running in general. My time drastically imrpoved each time I restarted, though.
Of note to viewers who haven't played the game, planning is very big here. You keep items between levels (except the one where you are captured and lose most of your stuff), you keep skills between levels, and you keep augmentations between levels. So I might do things at times that may seem to slow the run down, like stop to pick up an item, when they will make things a lot faster later. Biocells especially (small blue/grey discs) are essential for keeping the Fast Running augmentation active in some areas without maintenence bots to recharge my bio energy. The Fast Run aug. is the single biggest time saver in the game I think.
My overall strategy was to have fast running on as much as possible, keep a good supply of explosives for blasting open doors, skipping what objectives I could, and using melee weapons with no ammo requirement for taking out anything in my way that wasn't large and armored.
A few random things you might notice:
Skipping dialogue fast is important, and sometimes I spam ESC to do this, which can cause me to accidentally open up the main menu if I hit it after the dialogue ends - annoying.
Usually I try to end segments in between major level changes, but at some points in the game it isn't possible to save - for example, when receiving dialogue transmissions. Sometimes you will even see me open up the save menu and see the button greyed out, at which point things can get a little hectic, as I have to know what direction to walk in until the transmission ends and I can save, or risk scrapping the segment.
The time for this run was calculated by manually timing it and subtracting load times (displayed as "saving/loading", area changes). I believe the main reason manually timing adds a few minutes onto the internal clock's time (you can see the game's clock when I save or load a game, as I highlight the file) is because manually timing includes the transition cutscenes between levels - the ones with the helicopter/boat/sub flying off into the distance and whatnot, whereas the internal timer skips these scenes.
A file with comments for each specific segment, along with mistakes made if there were any, is available if you want to get a better understanding of the reasoning behind most of my decisions in the game.
Welcome. All the comments on the clips from my (Thrull) run of Deus Ex are in this text file. If you'd like to skip to a certain clip, just search for "#14" or whatever one you're looking for.
There's a lot of interesting story going on in the game, but I usually only discuss it when directly related to my objectives. Most of the dialogue you can see if you slow down the video, but I skip right through it as fast as possible. Please note that since I do discuss the story, and since at times it is unavoidably spoken at me in the videos, the plot of Deus Ex is thoroughly spoiled herein. But if you're watching a speed run, you should be expecting that.
I've also listed the noticeable mistakes I see with certain clips. These usually have a minimal effect on time, but I felt I should list them just to give a better idea of what was part of my plan and what wasn't.
The first decisions made are what skills to start with. Since I'm going to be relying heavily on melee weapons, I upgrade low-tech first off, as well as lockpicking for a couple doors later on, and swimming for a minor boost in speed in the few underwater areas of the game.
After getting into the game, another decision to make is what weapon to ask for from Paul. I choose the rocket launcher, as explosives are invaluable for both bypassing blocked areas and killing tougher opponents.
Then it's a dash to the top of the tower on the island's center. The front door can't be broken, and the key takes too long to get, so I opt to climb some crates up the side in a shortcut. After getting to the top, getting back down is cake since all the terrorists die instantly when you talk to their leader.
1. I probably should have downgraded pistol skill to save points since I barely ever use a handgun in the run, but having it doesn't hurt me much.
2. I actually deliberated on some of the dialogue choices. Blech.
One of the boring intermission missions. Talk with Manderley, talk with some other people in the base, then off to the docks to head to the next mission. The game does have a nice fluidity to it, every level is linked physically at least with a vehicle, so you end up feeling like you're actually traveling.
I also install the arm augmentation canister while I'm down in medical to get a combat damage boost ability.
1. Got confused about where to head next, but it didn't impact time a whole lot.
I basically skip this entire area, since I can. I especially enjoy that the terrorists were nice enough to set bombs up around themselves at the train station. It makes things quite simple. Hostages? What hostages?
After taking the subway, I just skip a lot more stuff. There's practically an entire other level underground here, not to mention a hotel hostage situation, a bar where you meet the copter pilot, a shootout... skip, skip, skip.
1. Might have been faster to charge through the front door of the subway rather than sneak in the ventilation shaft.. but chance of death is almost 100% doing that, as there are four terrorists guarding the entrance.
2. Probalby didn't need to use a rocket on that door, but the terrorist doesn't always open it.
This area is the only required objective. Target is a computer in the main building which can destroy their generator, and one small sidetrack, which I will discuss in a second.
Tasty free explosives on the walls. This area is mostly about not getting noticed by the damn sniper on the NSF building until you can sneak up on ground level.
However, there's something underground here which I need desperately to speed things up later, but which is quite hard to get: Fast Run augmentation canister. I have to go down, run past turrets and toxic gas, and alert the entire base to my presence by blowing open the safe. This took a lot of tries to escape afterwards, but I eventually managed to grab it and sneak past the guards. This all adds about 45 seconds to the level, but allows me to begin upgrading the fast run augmentation earlier in the game, which saves time in a number of ways.
After that, and blowing up the reactor, it's back to base.
1. Got stuck on that rail for a few seconds near the start.
2. Probably could have busted the safe faster, I kept worrying about getting cornered by guards. I can never tell where they'll be when I try to escape.
3. Spent a second or two hiding on the roof when I should've run to the copter immediately. Was waiting for Gunther to engage that sniper.
I walk up to Manderley's door just to initiate the dialogue between him and the evil government person (Walton Simons) while I run off and install the speed run canister. Now I can run fast and jump high! Well, only a few feet higher, and a few mph faster, but it gets *much* better later on, with upgrade canisters.
1. Nothing big I can see. I might have waited to install the run aug since its not that beneficial early on.
I already know the code to mole land, so I skip the first area. Then I have to run and get a key to an otherwise invincible door, but getting the key has the beneifical side effect of deactivating all terrorists on the level (their leader surrenders).
1. Got confused when that terrorist attacked me after turning green.
I avoid using the speed run too much here because I haven't really built up a backup supply of biocells yet (the little blue/grey coin shaped things you see later in my inv. bar). I steal a key for another annoying indestructible door, and then after a tunnel have to sneak by some very deadly killer security bots. After that, I need another key.
There are two ways to the surface here, one through the water and another up an elevator, the elevator being heavily guarded and more than I can handle at this point. So, I take the sewers, out to the ocean.
1. Missed looting that body the first time.
2. If I'd downgraded pistol skill at the start I might've been able to upgrade swim again here.
3. A few random maneuvering errors. I came *so* close to missing that jump in the sewer room.
That guy with the flamethrowing is a pain. He tends to ambush you immediately after you come out of the water and set you on fire, though I was able to run past. I run to the building that links to the jet hanger (Fast Run aug allows a slightly higher crouching jump, which I can use here to sneak through the gate without the key), run past the guards, and enter the code I already know to gain access to the hanger.
After the hanger, I exit and head to the helecopter, rabbit hopping to save bio-energy (turning off speed run mid-air each hop). Back to base...
1. Forgot where the captain's key was in the plane.
2. Talked to Lebedev for too long. I should've just shot him like I was ordered.
The heli pilot disobeys his superiors and takes me to see my brother. This is the level where you learn about Unatco's hidden agenda, NSF's true cause, etc etc, blah blah blah. Very little fighting. Oh yeah: the speed augmentation prevents falling damage when it's on, to an extent, which I utilize at the start. I end the clip in front of a secret NSF base which contains the next objective.
1. Got sick of rabbit hopping after I started messing it up.
I pick up some ammo/bio-energy before heading up top to transmit the NSF distress signal. After transmitting all the guards go hostile, so I sneak off the edge and run away, back to Paul's apartment.
A note on my untimely demise. Getting nailed at this point is one way of continuing the story. No matter what, after sending that distress signal, you will be captured and put into a cell. Whether it happens after you die or through a dialogue choice, the game doesn't care. I probably could have grabbed the aug canister earlier and died even quicker here as well.
1. I could probably shave off some time making sure I heal my legs after jumping off the NSF base.
2. Mispelled "revoluionm." I had to learn how to quickly spell some interesting words in this game. Be sure to watch out for my complete mastery of the word "reindeerflotilla" later.
3. Had to reload charger before running past that guard.
4. Forgot you can't reach the ladder with unupgraded run/jump aug.
And you wake up in a cell with no equipment or weapons. (You keep all your ammo though. Thank god, or I'd be out of rockets when I got the launcher again). Just a matter of talking to Paul and then escaping.
1. Ok, I had been doing this segment upwards of 20 times before having any success, so I took a silly time waster on it eventually. Getting stuck on that guy's head cost about 6 seconds. But, dealing with 4 armed guards while I am armed with nothing more than a baton requires some real luck, which I got on this attempt.
This is the mission where you get to set the record straight with all the jerks at Unatco. The only person you HAVE to kill, though, is Anne Navarre, to convince Alex to give you a key.
Plastic Baton vs. Armored Guard, Round 1... FIGHT! K.O.!
First step after dealing with the guard is grabbing some new gear. The guard may have been easy, but I'm not going to be taking down a cybernetically enhanced killing machine with a baton. I get the rocket launcher (again), which will be INVALUABLE later in the game, the regeneration augmentation, and some other misc. items I thought at the time I might need later. Then it's off to nuke Navarre and get a key to escape by copter. "Denton, I will get you!"
1. Didn't need to talk to the doctor.
2. Probably coulc have just snuck past that guard after getting my new gear.
Jock blew it, and he's sorry (Jock is the copter pilot). This level has a squad of guards I have to deal with before I can get to the key to activate the copter's weapons for an escape. So I use the trusty rocket launcher, both to kill them and get to the key. With the copter weapons unlocked, Jock opens a hole in the side of the hanger which leads to Hong Kong. Objective: deactivate your killswitch before you die in an unspecified amount of time.
1. Might have been quicker ways to deal with the masses of guards here. Took two rockets for me. The problem is that their behavior is pretty random.
In order to get help with my killswitch, I have to go get a nanotech sword from a woman with a bad accent. This sword, incidentally, will pretty much be the only weapon I use throughout the rest of the game. No ammo cost, and lethal with minimal skill bonuses, it can kill almost anything human in one or two swings.
Then its off to prove something or other to some gang leader by showing him the sword at a club. Then the club gets attacked and I escape with the help of a thermoptic camo (single use invisibility item).
If you're wondering why I didn't just open the door to Tong's complex with the code first off instead of going through the trouble of earning their trust, the code doesn't work on the keypad until after you are told what it is, unlike so many other keypads in the game which I memorized.
1. Probably should have healed my legs somewhere along the way here, but im not sure how much it impacted time.
2. Club escape as a whole was pretty sloppy, but I was cautious after letting the clip get so long, got worried about dying.
3. I probably wasted the Thermoptic Camo by using it here. I had the normally friendly guards bug out on me once, though, killing me as I left the club. It didn't happen this time, so the camo wasn't really needed...
4. Could have handled that sidetracking in Tong's complex for bio-energy quicker.
Next target: the specs for building the actual sword, so both gangs can use them to kill eachother. I guess that's a good thing... ?
Off to the versa-life building, where I infiltrate the lower levels, killing the guards (so I don't run into them on the way out as hostiles), ganking the sword specs, and heading back to the top.
1. Should have jumped up to Chow's computer instead of waiting for the elevator.
This exit is hard to do fast. There are tons of guards which tend to shoot me in the head for one hit kills if they get the time. Eventually I decided to use a precious rocket to assist my escape, that one guard by the exit is the real problem.
After I exit, I go talk to the gang leaders, head down to tong, and begin the next infiltration mission. Back to versa-life... but not before I refresh my energy again, and picking up some explosives. Outside, I head to the canal road and go in the Official Versa-Life Back Door.
1. Again, slowed down picking up random items in Tong's complex.
After using a scramble grenade to get past some bots (probably the toughest part), picking up some biocells and aug canisters (which I probably didn't need too badly), and destroying the entire facility with a three digit code, its back to the compound. I leave Maggie Chow to the mercy of the spider bots. This exit is also one of the few places where putting skill points into swimming speeds things up considerably.
On the way out I skip some dialogue where Tong starts spouting crap about how some prime numbers in something he found divide into something else which points two numbers which combine to form a date which points to connections with the Illuminati (I'm not joking). After he refers me to Stanton Dowd, its back to New York in the copter.
1. Hit some sort of stupid ceiling on my way down to the universal constructor controls.
2. Almost got lost in the toxic room under the UC.
3. More stupidity in Tong's complex. That room with the water really vexes me.
Finally, speedy running upgraded to the fourth power. I get insanely fast on foot at this point, can fall from twenty story buildings and survive with no damage, and can jump about 20 feet straight up. This helps a bit with speed running, as you can imagine.
I talk to Dowd's lackey and Dowd himself, and then I get chased away by some MJ12 troops. After boarding the copter, we're off to sink a super-tanker filled with a virus disguised as an antidote being supplied to the world under the supervision of a shadow government controlled by a former Illuminati member bent on dominating the world by integrating himself with... blah. That's what happens when I try to discuss major story elements in this game.
The speed augmentation makes this level a snap. Jump the wall at the start and run up to the crane door, punch in the code, and you're in with the super-tanker. Climb the mysterious phantom ramp (which I kept falling through into the sea, on the way up), kill some guards as you climb to the ship's command room, get the key to the lower decks, and you're ready to start cracking the ship into little pieces.
This is a really long segment, one of the toughest for me to figure out, as it's filled with baddies. These guards are a bit more dangerous, with more health and accuracy. I kill three and nab a LAM (you can only break the tri-weld points with explosives), and get to work on the first two tri-weld points. Then off to activate the bilge pumps, and nail the remaining three weld points.
Time to type "reindeerflotilla": 2.334 seconds.
I escape the ship, after sealing its fate, and decide to end the clip there as my final exit takes me into the path of some very annoying enemies.
After climbing up the the roof, it's time to kill some bastard spiders. I was really thankful at this point I'd picked up those HE explosives with an assault rifle back in Hong Kong, cause I didn't want to waste rockets on spiders, and they kept killing me when I tried to run past. Still took some damage this time, but I was getting so damn sick of them.
The butler did it. Always. This time he set up an EMP device I have to destroy now or handle later. Killing it (and him) early allows me to have an easy time getting out later, though I still have to sneak very carefully as the yard fills with troops after talking to Dowd. I pick up an aug upgrade here too, though I neglect to spend it for a while.
1. Spent too much time gathering items in Dowd's crypt.
Paris. I have to get through a radiation zone pretty early here, which requires some work. I have to upgrade environmental (armor use) skills so the haz-mat suit will work well enough to survive the trip through the room, as well as using the toxicity aug. All because I'm at somewhat low health when I get here, otherwise this would have been easier.
Then it's off to the catacombs, one of the most confusing areas in the game.
This map requires a lot of improvision. There are a lot of guards and their paths aren't really predictable. I waste some time dealing with them usually.
Basically I only talk to Chad to get the key, skip his hostage rescue request, get the key to the exit door in the MJ12 bunker (picking up a LAM on the way), and leave as fast as possible. I upgrade to max swimming skill here for the short swim since I have the points.
After leaving the sewers, I am completely improvising, as it was my first successful attempt at the catacombs and I forgot I wouldn't be able to save. Somehow I ran directly where I needed to go without really remembering where it was.
1. I was probably a bit overcautious with the guards in general. It's hard to take risks with this many enemies to face, though.
2. I probably could have just fought the guards and been quicker near the water tunnel area.
3. Got a little lost since I couldn't save after loading the next level, and hadn't had a chance to go over the next level in a while.
Find Nicolette, talk, leave, take off. Watch Gunther pop into view as the copter flies away. (Wait, I think we forgot someone!)
I bypass most of the mansion with rockets. After a little exploring, and heading back outside, I have a new mission: go break into a cathederal. My new boss isn't exactly a paragon of virtue, is he?
1. I shouldn't have wasted a rocket for the front door, though it gets me in a bit faster.
This is one of the more difficult, but fun, segments. I have to zoom past some very dangerous bots here, climb up the cathederal wall, and hop over to the building with the target computer inside. Gunther is "watching," as he says, but I get to him soon enough. Splat.
After jumping off the roof and running past the bots again, it's down to the train station to meet Everett.
1. I probably should have healed my legs after getting them blown off by the bot, as it slowed me down a bit having them damaged.
Mostly talking, some refreshing of equipment, and finally a heal. Oh, and the reason I spend a few seconds killing the mechanic is purely sentimental. Bad things happen to Jock later if you don't dispatch him, as you'll see if you slow down the dialogue.
1. Ran into stair lamps, twice.
2. Should have let Jock die, damnit! Slowed me down!
This level is one which REQUIRES rockets. You have to kill 4 bots to get into the area with the key to the command center. I have to not only collect some rockets, but upgrade heavy weapons in order to ensure enough damage to kill the bigger bots. After killing the bots, some transmission I get pauses things and wastes a little time before I can enter the command center. Once inside I grab an aug upgrade (which costs me a LAM), some biocells, and then continue.
1. For some reason the "you wont find cover" transmission interrupted the transmission that triggers doors for the compound to open, so I had to stand there and wait. This didn't always happen.
2. In the war against conspiracies, there have been many casualties... some of them feline.
Spiders. I hate spiders. You really need the regen aug if you dont have toxic resistance upgraded in the green room. Jumping the ravine after that is really tough, the ceiling is quite bumpy and requires and specific hit to bounce down to the other side instead of falling.
1. Paused too long before that jump. I'd screwed it up many, many times before.
Probably the sloppiest segment, but it's hard to do any better, as you start right next to some tough guards, and there are more upstairs.
1. Spent too much time fighting the MIB before running.
2. I should have killed that guard outside the door to the command room instead of running past him, as he's troublesome when I try to come back out.
Mostly story stuff for the first bit. One of the benefits of Regeneration is that it works equally well for staying alive in electricity as it does in toxic stuff, and it comes in handy here in the electric room sequence. After that, a bit of dialogue I can't really skip, unless I run outside and forego recharging my bio-energy again (doesn't save much time, and I need the juice). On the way out I have to deal with that damn guard I ran past, but the ballistic armor I picked up in Tong's old complex helps out here and in escaping to the helipad outside.
Unfortunately if you dont spend time killing those last two guards by the exit gate, their shooting freaks Tong out and can possibly bug the dialogue, requiring a restart.
1. Lost health from falling due to accidently leaving run aug off on my way out.
First rule of hostage rescue: shoot the hostage. I tried to rescue Tiffany about three hundred times before giving up in disgust and taking the other option: making a huge racket so the guards will shoot her and then running for the helicopter. Much faster.
Next mission, I have to run a little ways into the level at the start before I can save, thanks to the opening dialogue.
The short run to the undersea module access can take quite a few attempts to survive, as there's a sniper on the roof of the first building who is quite good at getting headshots. That's why this segment is so short, prettymuch, as his aim is a huge random factor I couldn't rely on.
There are very few intelligent enemies in this level, though plenty of turrets and green acid-spitting bird-weasels. It's mostly just getting keys and running deeper into the facility.
Frustrating dearth of bio-energy draining sources down here, both the spiders and the "blue liquid" I can only assume is water, but I dive into the blue stuff for the augmentation upgrade since I'm at zero energy and have to wait for the elevator anyway. After grabbing my objective, back out the same way I came in.
Walton Simons shows up here, the guy from earlier in the game, looking for a showdown. You can just run past him though. He will possibly run into you at the end of the game if you skip fighting him here, if you know where to look. The diver enemies he leaves in the building provide some juicy LAMs. And if you're wondering why I stand in front of the sub for a few seconds, I'm waiting for the slow ass door to open.
Not much happens here, just getting out of the underwater modules, talking with savage, and taking a copter to the missile silo. Oh yeah, if I'd taken the time to listen to the dialogue threat, Page says he's going to launch a missile at Vandenberg to eliminate any possibility of a cure for the virus. So naturally it's off to re-target the missile right at Area 51.
LAMs come in handy for breaking into the silo control area. Since the segment gets a bit tough here I save it before one of the harder parts in the game to do quickly.
The enemies in this segment seem to behave differently every time I run it. Basically, I try to make noise at the stairs and then to the side (picking up some rockets) to draw out the three very dangerous MIB enemies, who then wander around while I sneak upstairs to re-configure the missile. Then I use the rockets to clean the silo area, pop a grenade down there on top of the henchmen with no name who wants to sabotage the new launch, and leave.
The final locale, Area 51. You can see the missile had a visible effect. Still lots of nasty bots and troops hanging around to give me trouble, though. There are a number of ways down into the bunker, but I'm pretty sure the fastest is the vent in the destroyed warehouse.
Second stage of the bunker assault. Getting past the door here was quite challenging to plan out. There's a key for it, but it takes too long to get. I have enough picks to pick the lock, but there are a ton of guards near the door, including a sniper, and since picking takes a few seconds its tough to do without interruption. Gas grenades were too hard to aim here, but then I noticed the gas barrels sitting by the door, begging to be used, and opened them up for cover.
The final story arc begins. You'll periodically hear the three different people vying for your cooperation in transmissions - there are three seperate endings to this game, and three things you can do in the bunker to activate them. I choose to comply with the A.I.'s requests - the other options are listen to Tong, or Everett. The main challenges of this ending are avoiding the masses of guards which congregate around the A.I.'s area on the way back. I didn't really time each ending seperately, though I know the reactor meltdown ending would take a lot longer... disabling the blue fusion reactors might be a bit quicker, but the difference is small.
Any of the three choices can only be made after reaching the final bunker area, which I do in this segment.
1. Missed that window the first time.
Final augmentation adjustments are made here, toxicity resistance for the aliens. A quick hop leads to the routing station where I do as the A.I. bids. The hop back out is a little trickier for some reason, probably because you're being shot at, I failed it many times before getting the positioning right. Then we zoom back out for the final run up to the integration area.
You'll notice I had three biocells left completing the game, which is actually cutting it surprisingly close considering the amount I use in total - still, I could've cut one or two out with a bit more planning, which would save some time.
It's a short walk up to the A.I.'s integration thingy, and I got lucky as I didn't run into those damn aliens (the grey) on the way up, as they sometimes hear you and come running out, blocking the stairs. Then the final cutscene, which can't be skipped, plays - and it's game over.
Thanks for watching. Though making this was a test of patience at times, overall it was an enjoyable challenge.