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|Genre(s)||Action adventure, Stealth action|
The game is promoted as "stealth action inspired by genre-defined espionage classics" and gives players the ability to disguise themselves as any character in the game. The lack of advertising before release and realism in the game are commonly cited as reasons why this game was outshone by its competitors in the stealth genre and sold poorly.
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The games place in an undisclosed year, through the months of October through December. Beginning in medias res, the story starts on Christmas Eve. The fictional Special Execution Agency (S.E.A.) sends three operatives from their Phantom Unit, Billy Bishop, Sheila Crawford and Nicklaus Nightwood; onto the roof of Castle Wolfgang in Austria. Eve, SEA's commanding officer, informs them that the terrorist group Enigma is inside the castle, and they must be stopped before they can utilize their bio-weapon "Lahder". The trio are successful in infiltrating the castle, but Nicklaus is captured in the process. The player (taking the role of either Bishop or Sheila, making the character who is not selected an NPC.) infiltrates a chapel within the castle by posing as Enigma's second-in-command, Dietrich Troy. Inside, Bishop and Sheila are confronted by the real Dietrich, as well as Enigma's anonymous leader and a group of guards. Dietrich displays Nicklaus hung upon a crucifix, shooting and killing him as the leader leaves. A flashback commences once Nicklaus has died.
The story proper begins two months prior to the game's opening. The player is heading a covert investigation into NanotechDyne Inc, a pharmaceutical company suspected of developing biochemical weapons. The SEA needs to access files on the computer of the new Research Director, Forrest Kaysen, who recently displaced a now missing Dr. Alice Coleman. The player must retrieve a password for the computer, as well as a scan of Kaysen's retina to access the computer. The plan is a success, and the player is extracted and sent back in at midnight to access the computer. Despite a close call with the advanced security, the player secures the files, seeing the emblem of Enigma on the desktop.
Days later, the player is placed on the Metropolis airship to conduct another investigation. The player is teamed up with the other possible player character as well as Nicklaus and Phantom's team leader, Samuel Berkeley. Kaysen has been linked to the Metropolis' owner, Kelly Wong, and Phantom must observe a meeting between the doctor and the businesswoman. Bishop sends Kaysen to Sheila, disguised as one of the ship's dancers. She knocks him out, allowing Billy to pose as him and take his place at the meeting while Sheila eavesdrops. Billy then wakes Kaysen up, and he goes to the meeting with Sheila, disguised as Wong. Once the meetings have taken place, Samuel and the second playable character leave the ship, while Nicklaus and the player move to see the upcoming demonstration of the Lahder virus that Kaysen and Wong talked about.
The player makes it to the demonstration without Nicklaus. Lahder turns out to be a small grenade-like sphere, emitting purple gas. Kaysen prepares to test the device on a monkey before an audience, mostly consisting of arms dealers and criminals. However, Wong nods to Troy, standing behind the scenes, and pushes Kaysen into isolation with Lahder and the monkey. Kaysen is gruesomly killed, and the audience applauds. However, Nicklaus contacts the player stating that they've been discovered. The player attempts to escape, finding Wong surrounded by guards. The player disarms Wong and neutralizes her men, holding her at gunpoint. Troy appears, holding the player at gunpoint as well, and shoots Wong when she attempts to cut the player with a knife. A third terrorist appears, and knocks the player out.
The player wakes in a cage in the jungle, held captive. Escaping when the guards bring food, the player finds their equipment, and contacts Eve. Eve sends the player to the terrorist's biochemical plant to destroy the Lahder payload. Over the radio, Samuel recognizes the third terrorist from the airship as General Douglas Lysander when the player sees him through their camera; and suggests that if Lysander, a former Green Beret hero disavowed by the US when he was taken as a POW, is working for the terrorist "this mission just got a lot harder."
Disguising themselves as Troy to enter the plant, the player destroys the payload and sets out to escape before US forces bomb the facility. The player then finds a wounded Nicklaus locked in a storage crate. He tells the player that Dr. Coleman is in the holding cells, and the player goes to rescue her. After a gunfight, Coleman runs, and is captured by Lysander. The player chases and then battles Lysander before Nicklaus fatally shoots him, allowing them to secure Coleman and escape.
Enigma announces their ultimatum, demanding the US "confess its sins" and resign from the UN Security Council. Bishop, Sheila and Samuel are then sent to the Rodt Rose Train Station in Austria to resolve a hostage situation caused by Enigma. Samuel is wounded in combat, and sends the player to free the hostages. The hostage situation turns out to be staged, and the player is ambushed after Troy suggests that there is a traitor in Phantom. Returning to Samuel, the player finds he has gone to chase Troy before he escapes via train and destroys the station. The player manages to land on top of the train, and get to its front car, where Troy has Samuel strapped to the front car. Troy elaborates on Enigma's plans, saying that they intend to trigger a third World War. Troy escapes, and Samuel reveals that Enigma's leader is actually a former Phantom leader named Dimitri Vedernikov, aka Scarface, and that Vedernikov was once Samuel's partner, and is the player's father. Bishop and Sheila are unable to free Samuel, and instead are forced to save themselves by detaching the train cars, sending Samuel toward a bridge rigged with explosives.
The player then replays the introduction, with added difficulty, before returning to the Nicklaus's death in the chapel. The player disarms the guards, and wounds Troy in battle, before special forces arrive and fatally shoot him. The player continues to forward to confront Scarface, who is preparing to fly the Metropolis (revealed to be a "Lahder Bomb".) over the US. Scarface reveals a cyborg body, but the player defeats him, and uses a Jacob or Lahder vaccine created by Coleman to destroy the virus, while Scarface is killed in the explosion.
If the game is played a second time with a completed save file already present (or if the player is taking all 3DA camera photos of Nicklaus during all stages in the game.), the game continues on with another mission. Eve reports that Nicklaus is actually still alive, and the body recovered from the chapel is actually Phantom's tech officer, Michael Kwan. Bishop and Sheila track Nicklaus to an Airbase, where he intends to flee, now revealed as double agent for Enigma. During the confrontation, Nicklaus exposes his true colors as he turns out to be Dietrich Troy himself. (It is never revealed who the man seeming to be Troy special forces killed in the chapel.) Nicklaus explains that he was against both Enigma and Phantom, acting for his own motives of revenge against Scarface and the player, of whom he is the half-brother. Nicklaus had been seeking revenge on Scarface for killing his mother, and on the player out of spite. ("While I froze in a Siberian orphanage, you grew up with a mother who loved you.) Nicklaus uses a flash grenade to escape, prompting Bishop and Sheila to chase him as he boards a plane and starts down the runway. The player shoots a hole in the gas tank, and uses a flare to ignite it as Nicklaus takes off. The flare burns along the gas trail, reaching the plane and destroying it, killing Nicklaus as well. The game ends with the player wondering who "the battle was really against."
- Billy Bishop: One of the playable characters, Billy is a driven 25 year-old member of Phantom, the special spy team organized under the Special Execution Agency (S.E.A.). During the course of the Enigma-Lahder crisis, Samuel Berkeley is forced to sacrifice himself. Not only does he appoint Billy as the Phantom Team Leader, but he also informs Billy that Scarface is Bishop’s father. In the end, Billy stops Scarface atop the Metropolis and stops the Lahder virus with the ‘Jacob Bomb.’ After the crisis ends, Billy discovers that it was Michael who was killed in the Chapel, not Nicklaus. The two go after Nicklaus, who they discover to actually be Dietrich Troy. Troy then reveals to Billy that in fact they are half brothers—Scarface being their father. Billy ends up killing Troy by blowing up the escape airplane.
- Sheila Crawford: One of the playable characters, Sheila is a fiery 18 year-old member of Phantom. During the course of the Enigma-Lahder crisis Sheila serves as Billy’s strongest supporter when the missions get personal. At the time when Samuel is forced to sacrifice himself, Berkeley refers to Sheila as Billy’s only ‘family’ left. In the end, Sheila stops Scarface atop the Metropolis with a much better hand-to-hand combat-fight with the Enigma leader. Before her fight with Scarface, it is made known that Sheila was one of the Gospel Children, a group that was undeveloped by the game’s producers. She, too, stops the Lahder virus with the ‘Jacob Bomb.’ Like Billy, Sheila discovers that it was Michael who was killed in the Chapel, not Nicklaus. The two go after Nicklaus, who they discover to actually be Dietrich Troy. Sheila also ends up killing Troy by blowing up the escape airplane.
- Samuel Berkeley: One of the Phantom NPC’s, Samuel Berkeley is the last of the senior members of Phantom. Throughout the game Samuel serves as the constant inside man, providing Billy or Sheila with key items or intel. During the mission aboard the ‘Träume’ Samuel is captured by Enigma. Before Billy and Sheila can rescue him Dietrich Troy appears, shoots Berkeley, and forces the two juniors to sacrifice Berkeley in the name of national security. Berkeley, before his death, reveals to Billy that Scarface was his former Phantom partner and that Scarface is Bishop’s father.
- Eve: Presumably the Head of the Phantom Project, Eve the only non-agent member of Phantom. She briefs everyone before the start of each mission and provides background information and cross-checks on every individual that was part of the Enigma-Lahder crisis. Dissimilar from all the other Phantom members, Eve’s full face and last name are never revealed.
- Scarface: Properly known as Dmitri Vedernikov, Scarface was once the Team Leader of Phantom. However, during his last mission, dubbed Operation Desert Falcon, Scarface’s battalion was captured and executed. He himself was burned on the right side of his face and he lost the function of his right arm. Not only was he abandoned, but the United States government disavowed any knowledge of the operation. Scarface used this hatred to create the international terrorist organization, Enigma, as he was considered MIA; up until the mission at Rodt Rose Station in Germany had the leadership behind Enigma remained unknown. Scarface was defeated by Phantom atop the Metropolis after being shot in his eye-cover, causing a malfunction; Scarface died by his own self-destruct of the Metropolis.
- General Douglas Lysander: One of the most dangerous men alive, Douglas Lysander was originally part of the Green Berets, where he also served in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. However, he and his men were captured by the Viet Cong and like Scarface’s situation, the United States disavowed any knowledge of the incident. Lysander, incidentally, became the general of Dante’s Inferno, a compound in Colombia, and second-in-command of Enigma. Lysander met his demise at the waterfall entrance at the biochemical plant near his compound. He had re-kidnapped Dr. Coleman and placed her in a cage above piranhas. Before Billy/Sheila could finish him off, Lysander pulled a pistol on him/her; however, Nicklaus arrived just in time and shot Lysander in the neck/upper chest. Lysander fell over the railing and was eaten dead by the piranhas. On a side note, Lysander was the only leader of Enigma not featured within the ‘Ultimatum video.’ Along with Forrest Kaysen, Douglas Lysander also appears in Access Games' survival horror videogame Deadly Premonition, though in a wholly unrelated role.
- Nicklaus Nightwood/ Dietrich Troy: Billy’s half brother, the son of Scarface and the main antagonist of the game, Dietrich Troy is known to intelligence agencies all around the world as one of the most ghostly terrorists. Also known as the ‘Mastermind,’ it is unknown as to why Troy joined Enigma until the very end; but it is clear that as a child, after suspecting his mother of passing Soviet secrets to the US, Scarface killed her and attempted to kill Troy. However, he survived and froze in a Siberian orphanage. As a revenge for this event, He is known as Nicklaus Nightwood, one of the four junior members of Phantom, to infiltrated both Phantom, for its resources, and Enigma, to get revenge on Scarface. Troy is also responsible for the deaths of four ambassadors to the UN Security Council, Samuel Berkeley, and countless numbers of innocents. Throughout the game he serves as the primary intel gatherer for each of the missions during the missions (Eve is pre-mission). During the infiltration of Wolfgang Castle, Troy captured Michael Kwan who was disguised as Nicklaus and is brought to the Chapel. Within the Chapel, during Billy’s and Sheila’s detainment, Troy execute Michael before their very eyes. Troy is killed when Delta Force crashes through the ceiling of the Wolfgang Chapel and opens fire. However, that Troy was but a decoy as The real Troy (disguised as Michael) fled the scene. Troy is finally killed by Billy and Sheila when the escape airplane exploded.
- Michael Kwan: One of the Phantom NPC’s, Michael Kwan is one of the four junior members of Phantom. Throughout the game Michael serves as the primary tech-man for each of the missions. During the infiltration of Wolfgang Castle, Michael appears in the Chapel after the fighting stops. He explains to Billy and Sheila that yes, he was hiding, but it was because he’s a ‘survivor,’ that he ‘wants to live to fight another day.’ However, after Phantom departs, Michael runs off and flees to the nearby airbase. Michael rips off a mask and reveals himself to actually be Nicklaus: Michael actually was the one who died within the Chapel. On a second note, however, Michael was also working as a double agent because he was passing information to Troy in exchange for a mystery program and a reappointment to the CIA. On Troy’s and Kwan’s last encounter, Troy tranquilizes Kwan and disguises his limp body as Nicklaus.
- Dr. Forrest Kaysen: Chief Systems Designer of NanotechDyne. Inc., Dir. Forrest Kaysen took Coleman’s Lahder virus and developed it to be the ‘perfect weapon.’ Kaysen, however, died when Kelly Wong used him to demonstrate the virus’ effect on humans aboard the Metropolis. Along with Douglas Lysander, Forrest Kaysen also appears in Access Games' survival horror videogame Deadly Premonition, though in a wholly unrelated role.
- Kelly Wong: Executive Manager of the Metropolis, a high-tech zeppelin, Kelly Wong served as the middleman between Kaysen and the Lahder virus and Enigma. She hosted many illegal militants aboard her flying casino, particularly Dietrich Troy, who was representing Enigma. When the gun flaring came to a draw outside the exhibition room, Troy fired and purposely killed Wong.
- Dr. Alice Coleman: Kidnapped by Enigma, Dr. Alice Coleman discovered the Lahder virus. It was then taken from her and developed further by Dr. Kaysen while she was kidnapped and placed into Enigma’s custody beneath the biochemical plant in Colombia. After she was rescued by Phantom, Coleman finally developed the ‘Jacob Bomb,’ which served as a neutralizer and crystallized the virus, rendering it harmless.
Spy Fiction has a score of 61/100 on Metacritic. Joe Dodson of Game Revolution gave it a "D", citing poor gunplay, bad writing and poor AI. Ed Lewis of IGN praised the game for its boldness, stating "The traditional spy games that have been on the market have favored stealth over gunfights. While this is more realistic, Spy Fiction aims to provide a game that has more action than hiding around in shadows." While he does recognize its poor gameplay and numerous flaws, he gives the game a positive review for its interesting storytelling and uniqueness.
This game tends to borrow significantly from other games of the genre, most notably the Metal Gear series.