Deus Ex: Deadly Shadows

A novelization adapted from the bestselling and beloved game.

Chapter 00: Intro
Chapter 01: Liberty Island
Chapter 02: UNATCO HQ
Chapter 03: Battery Park
Chapter 04: Hell's Kitchen

Back to Deus Ex

DEUS EX is one of my favorite video games, and by far the one I've completed the most.  Multiple solutions to almost every problem offered, as well as deep characters in a deep plot surrounded by haunting ambient music, all come together to make this conspiracy-ridden story work so well for so many people.  However, there are many reasonable questions that can be answered by "it's just a game".

For example, if JC Denton is this badass secret agent, why can't he take on more than a couple guys at once from the beginning?  Simple answer is it wouldn't be as fun a game if you started out as godly as they make JC out to be.

JC Denton should be at least as badass as any Marvel superhero.  He's not as tough as RoboCop, per se, but he is smarter; a fitting update to the concept of man meets machine applied to law enforcement.  Denton is also more human; while Murphy could be dismantled and rebuilt (as seen in the second film), JC has regeneration, but it only goes so far.  We can only speculate as to whether JC could in fact repair a severed limb, but I would think not.  Burns, broken bones, and gunshot/stab wounds, yes, but not amputation and certainly not decapitation.

But where Stan Lee's awesome characters (take Spiderman for instance) all have complex personalities, JC is ever the enigma, more akin to Star Trek's Mr. Spock in terms of emotion.  JC is not emotionally devoid, though; rather, he keeps a firm check on his emotions, as his programming creates a sort of emotional detachment.

Because so much of Deus Ex is about choices, it's hard to define JC as a character.  The game's trailer asks the viewer who they will ultimately be in this future war on terror, and no two players will reach Area 51 with quite the same JC Denton.  If there's any consistency, it's in the cutscenes, and it's from those and the sound bytes from which the "true" and "canonical" JC must be derived.

This page will eventually expand as, between writing the actual story, I leave notes here.  This is why it seems like rambling, it's almost like a blog, but entries aren't dated, the original entry is just expanded upon.  I don't know why, but this "running commentary" idea just works for me.

So what we are left with is a Deus Ex adventure which is at the same time true to game canon and enhanced to reflect a more realistic situation that escapes the trappings of a game.

The intro... I'm a big fan of prequels, of lead-ins, of introductions.  The original intro started with JC Denton waking up after being nanoaugmented and discovering his new perception of the world.  But even that wasn't enough.  To accurately portray JC's growth as a character, I needed a more human starting point, a pre-biomod JC the readers can relate to and get to know.  At the same time, the second mission is so ambitious, it sort of breaks the rhythm of the game.  You get to Hells Kitchen in New York, and you have a pimp/drug dealer to rough up, some NSF thugs to take care of, interviewing bar patrons, dodging booby traps to talk to a weapons dealer, navigating a sewer to find a lost scientist, the hostage situation in the hotel, the shootout in the park, the angry sick man in the Clinic - all while you're supposed to find a warehouse.  I couldn't put all that into that part of the story.  Realistically, Mr. Badass Special Agent wouldn't even do all that side stuff, anyway.  There's no reason for him to, but so many of these things are essential to the story.  So I found a way to solve both problems at once.  I split Hells Kitchen into two parts.  The part that relates to the generator will all relate to that objective.  Since I haven't wrote it at the time of this writing, I don't know how I'm going to string it all together.  But in the intro, I took care of the clinic and the hostage situation at the hotel.  And at the same time, established JC as a human who is imperfect, and introduced some characters (namely the Rentons) who will appear later.

Honorary references... regular visitors to the GameFAQs board for Deus Ex will recognize the name of the doctor JC meets in Hells Kitchen's clinic.  Long after Eidos pretty much wiped their hands of the game and moved onto the next big profit-making venture, this guy Yukichigai finds a way into the game's source code and patch up a bunch of minor annoyances and inconveniences in the game.  He then finds a couple parts of the game which were coded but left out for whatever reason, and re-integrates them.  Then he tweaks various aspects and adds a bunch of custom, secret weapons, all this without compromising the original integrity of the game.  And released a free patch that sums up all this work called Shifter.  So I thought he deserved some recognition.  Until HDTP (the high-definition texture pack) and the Nameless Mod (a highly ambitious new game based on Deus Ex) are finished, it's very safe to say that nobody's done more for the game.  There are a couple other people up there who also deserve recognition, but in a couple cases, it'll be very hard to do so just based on their usernames.  I'll have to make some obscure, abstract reference to what their names are in reference to and just hope they notice, I suppose.  (I almost did another in the new intro, but couldn't make it without it being too cheesy, so I'll do it later for sure.)

Liberty Island... Not much I can say about this.  I wanted this to be as close to the game as possible, though you can see where I've taken a few liberties with it (pun intended).  Most notably, in the game JC can say this or that, and while saying this just sounds cool, it's the "wrong" answer, and saying that produces the more favorable outcome, so I'll write it where he gets the witty line AND the favorable outcome.  Expect more of that.

UNATCO HQ... writing this is kinda boring.  No antagonism, just the almost witless conversations between JC and Manderley, Carter, Jacobson, and of course Navarre and Hermann.  Reyes isn't presently present, as we left him on the mainland.  He'll make his way back to Liberty once the Hells Kitchen office gets the all-clear that the situation on Liberty has died down (e.g. the terrorist threat).  I did squeeze in references to two more DX community members, more or less.

Battery Park... The original idea was for Battery Park and Hell's Kitchen to be one chapter.  Silly me.  Even with moving the 'Ton hostage scene to the intro, Hell's Kitchen is going to be the longest chapter yet.  I mean, Smuggler and the underground MJ-12 lab, Sandra and the pimp, the bum who knows Curly, Jock and the Underworld Tavern, the shootout in the park, and of course the approach to and assault on the warehouse/generator.  I'm covering all of it.  It's going to take a while to write, but if you like the action scenes I write, you're in for a treat.  (Similarly, if you think this work is boring, well, you're in for a snorefest, but if you think that, you probably stopped reading a while ago.)