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Alpha Protocol: How to be a silent killer

Continuing our in-depth look at Alpha Protocol, Obsidian's new espionage RPG, today we're revealing new and exclusive details about the game's shady world of stealth and the creative ways you can use it to murderise.

The life of a secret agent may have its fair share of full-on frontal assaults and gadget-laden takedowns, but perhaps the most satisfying path to advancement is when you can strike, vanish like a phantom and no-one even knows you’ve ever been there. If this is your preferred kind of play style, then Alpha Protocol certainly has plenty to offer you as a stealth-based secret agent.

The best way to begin a life stalking the shadows is to choose Field Agent as your past career from the initial agent set up screen. This gives you a background in covert black ops and infiltration deep behind enemy lines and sets you up well on the stealth route with a good spread of Stealth, Pistols and Close Quarter Combat skills. There’s quite a bit of crossover between Stealth and Gadget based agents, so if you want to specialise even further, you can choose a blank cheque of a past career and customise accordingly.


Above: Night vision goggles - as seen in Splinter Cell 

Even if you see yourself primarily as a stealth specialist, we’d recommend ploughing some of your points into the Sabotage to acquire the skills required to disarm alarms and boost your hacking and electronics counter-measures abilities.

As a stealth-based agent you really aren’t built for a stand-up fire fight and your main weapon is always going to be your ability to move unseen and unheard through enemy bases and installations. Stealth takedowns, silent assassinations, evading security systems and finding circuitous routes and hidden extras like dossiers and intelligence  that will give you that vital edge when it comes to completing missions. Here’s the low down on the skills you’ll employ to make the most of a life lurking in the shadows, but experience brings its own rewards and at Master levels of attainment, your skills will increase exponentially

Concealment
Your basic hiding skill, which reduces the range at which enemies detect you while moving in stealth mode. Although it won’t work on cameras or enemies already alerted to your presence, it’s still a vital tool in your stealth armoury. The advanced version increases the bonus to -20%.


Above: Hiding on a stack of crates is a great way to not get killed 

Awareness
This raises your agent’s ability to simply know by instinct where enemy guards and patrols linger (which is represented on-screen by vector style arrows). At basic levels you’ll be able to sense enemies for up to a minute at a time, but the more advanced version is always on, meaning you’ll permanently know where your foes lurk.

Silent Running
Pretty much does what it says on the tin allowing your agent to walk or run completely silently for up to ten seconds, which is more than enough time to for a field agent to get up to plenty of mischief. More advanced versions increase your silent running capabilities to up to half a minute.


Above: "C'MMMEERE and give me a big hug!" *Slits throat*

Evasion
One of the most useful stealth skills which acts as a safety net in the event you’re spotted by enemy guards. As a passive skill, Evasion automatically gives you a couple of seconds invisibility to make good your escape. At basic levels it operates for just two seconds, with more advanced versions granting up to four seconds, plenty of time for a master agent to completely vanish.


Above: Crouching seems to be a essential component in stealth tactics 

Shadow Operative
The ultimate Stealth skill, once you attain mastery of Shadow Operative, you’ll be effectively rendered invisible to all enemy patrols who haven’t already seen you, although you’ll break the spell if you run fire or throw an grenade and it has no effect on automated defences. Still, the  six second basic charge, which doubles to 12 in the advanced version, should give you more than enough time to manoeuvre to best advantage or leave your enemies trailing in your wake.

Hand to Hand expert
At close range, nothing’s quite as silent or deadly as your bare hands and you can build Michael Thorton up into a formidable martial arts expert who’d give Jason Bourne a run for his money.


Above: Your best get-out clause if you're spotted - boot to mouth 

Basic Close Quarter Combat (CQC) skills are a must for Stealth agents, but you can quickly boost your agent to deliver advanced Strike Combos, enhance his Melee Defence and even deliver Knockback Strikes, powerful blows which stagger your victims and buy you vital time and space.


Above: We don't need to tell you again...

The ultimate CQC ability though has to be Fury, a huge adrenaline boost which not only slows down the world, but allows you to focus your attacks, disabling blocks and making you a hand to hand god in the style of Bruce Lee. This is one for CQC purists though, as shooting, blocking or throwing instantly disables it.

Achievements and Trophies
Most Stealth agents will probably opt for carrying a silenced pistol for short range wet work and an assault rifle for picking off targets at medium to long range. Fortunately there’s plenty of achievements and trophies that Stealth specialists should try to attain.false passport

Black Belt is one for CQC specialists and to notch it up all you’ll have to do is take down over fifty enemies using your close combat skills. The Lurker achievement should also present few problems to the accomplished Stealth operative as it merely requires you to evade or knock out 75 enemies across the course of your career.

However, the ultimate Stealth achievement has to be becoming One With The Shadows which requires you to complete three separate missions with less than 5 kills per mission and with no enemies alerted to your presence. If you manage to rack that one up, you’ll have every right to call yourself the ultimate Stealthy stalker.

Look out for the concluding part of our Alpha Protocol coverage tomorrow:

The art of smooth talking
Combat and Weapons
Gadgets and Gizmos
Today: Stealth
Thursday 6 May: The Femme Fatales

Don't forget that hidden somewhere on this page is the fourth part of the answer you'll need for our competition (UK readers only) to win the Ultimate Spy’s toolkit. Good luck in finding it!

May 4, 2010

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