Death to Spies
Work In Progress
Death to Spies is a third-person stealth game that lets the player assume the role of Captain Semion Strogov, a Russian WWII veteran and eventual field agent of the USSR's SMERSH counterintelligence agency from its 1943 inception. The game begins as Capt. Strogov is called to the Lubyanka building (then the headquarters of the KGB) in Moscow during 1951, and interrogated about his experiences to assist in tracking down a possible traitor in the organization. During his interrogation, the game's missions unfold in retrospective as Capt. Strogov tells his interrogator, or privately reminisces, about his experiences as a spy, saboteur, and assassin around the globe.
On a side note, SMERSH, a term coined by Joseph Stalin, is short for SMERt' SHpionam (СМЕРть Шпионам in Cyrillic), which itself means "Death to Spies" in Russian.
The game features a large variety of World War II weaponry, and also a fairly restrictive inventory system with which the player's weapons, equipment, and ammunition can be carried. The inventory itself has only 18 spaces and a weight limit of 22 kilograms to force players to be selective with what they take and leave behind. Inventory items each occupy a single slot and cannot be stacked, so a five-round stripper clip occupies the same amount of inventory space as a 71-round drum magazine would. The game does, however, let players carry a backpack into a level, which will allow for more than the usual 18 inventory spaces to be available, but even this must still respect the 22 kilogram weight limit, and the amount of extra inventory spaces granted depends on the type of backpack selected. Capt. Strogov for his own part cannot carry more than one long gun and one sidearm at any given time.
Death to Spies utilizes a equipment selection screen available before missions to allow players to choose their loadout before starting a mission, which is important because many weapons and pieces of equipment cannot be found in the various levels. Some weapons are not available on all missions at this screen however, and only a limited amount of ammunition (itself variable across missions) can be carried into a mission for weapons available at the pre-mission selection screen.
Like its more popular genre-mate the Hitman game series, Death to Spies also features a disguise system to allow the player character to blend in among hostile forces or access restricted areas, but the latter title's is significantly more restrictive. Disguises can only be taken from NPCs who were incapacitated in a (relatively) bloodless manner (the rationale is that clothes that are bloodstained or riddled with holes from bullets/explosive fragments/knife attacks scream "bloody murder"), and NPCs who were killed with firearms cannot have their clothes commandeered unless they were dispatched with headshots (a gameplay mechanic that is somewhat unrealistic as headshots in real life can be distressingly bloody). Even with a disguise, various NPCs (most often officers or patrolling sentries) can and will see through the player character's charade if they get close enough to verify their suspicions.
This emphasis on deflecting suspicion extends even to any long guns carried while using a disguise; if hostile NPCs get close enough to a disguised Capt. Strogov to recognize that a firearm he's carrying is incongruous with his disguise (i.e., if he is disguised as a civilian but is seen carrying any firearm, or if he is disguised as a German soldier and is seen carrying a non-German firearm), they will immediately attack him and/or sound the alarm. Incongruous backpacks are also cause for alarm if NPCs get close enough to verify a backpack's foreign appearance. Aiming a firearm (even one appropriate to a disguise), setting a planted explosive, or throwing/placing any live grenade in the close sight of any NPC are also considered hostile acts.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, the following weapons are available via the pre-mission loadout selection screen, and cannot be obtained within the game's various levels.
Note: All handguns can be carried while concealed on Capt. Strogov's person to avoid arousing suspicion, but only handguns that match his disguise can be openly carried without drawing hostile attention. Due to the game's "effective range" system it is not possible to hit enemies with handguns beyond a distance of around 20 meters.
The Colt M1911A1 appears in the game under its full name. Chambered in .45 ACP, It has a magazine capacity of 7 rounds, and 5 magazines can be taken into a mission for this gun from the loadout selection screen, but after the "Project Y" mission (set in the Los Alamos National Laboratory), 10 magazines can be taken into a mission. It can also be looted off of the various US Army NPCs in the "Project Y" mission. For some reason, a British diplomat's security detail in the "Hotel" mission (set in a British hotel) also carry the Colt M1911A1, though the presence of those guns in British hands could be explained as a result of the American-British "Lend-Lease" program, implemented during WWII to allow the British government to obtain American military materiel it could not otherwise pay for.
Unusually for a stealth action game, the Colt M1911A1 is not available in a suppressed form.
The Luger P08 appears in the game as the "Parabellum Luger." It is chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge, has a magazine capacity of 8 rounds, and 5 magazines can be carried into a mission. Many Wehrmacht NPCs, mainly officers or non-frontline personnel, carry this weapon and its ammunition ingame, though whether they carry this sidearm or the Walther P38 depends on the level in question. This pistol also features on the game's cover art.
The only handgun available in a suppressed form, the Nagant M1895 appears ingame but is simply called "Revolver." Chambered for 7.62mm Nagant and possessing a 7-shot cylinder, it is only available from the loadout selection screen (with the exception of the "Hotel" mission, where the player must find it in a hotel storeroom). Most missions let you carry 21 rounds of spare ammunition for the Nagant M1895 (which come in clips of 7).
The game's depiction of the Nagant M1895 has some unrealistic elements; first, the loading gate, found on the right side of the real firearm behind the cylinder, is missing on the ingame version. Second, the ingame reload animation implies that it is being reloaded with a speedloader, when in fact the real firearm had a fixed cylinder and thus could only be (un)loaded one round at a time. The extremely heavy 20-pound trigger pull that the real weapon has when used in double action mode (the only firing mode used in the game) does not affect the gun's accuracy, or else Capt. Strogov is presumed to have trained with the weapon to the point that it is no longer a factor.
The Tokarev TT-33 is available ingame as the "TT-33." Chambered for 7.62x25mm Tokarev, it has an 8-round magazine capacity. A whopping 10 spare magazines can be carried into a mission, right from the start of the game.
The Walther P38 appears in the game under its full name, is chambered for 9x19mm ammunition, and 5 magazines can be carried into a mission. The P38 and its ammunition can also be taken off of various Wehrmacht NPCs who are officers or non-combat personnel. Whether they use the Walther P38 or the Luger P08 is down to the level in question.
The only fully-automatic weapons in this game, submachine guns can hit enemies within 40 meters or less (any further and the game will simply make the bullets disappear). It is not possible to conceal this class of weaponry, so an incongruous SMG will cause NPCs to raise an alarm if they get too close to Captain Strogov.
Carried by various US soldiers in the "Project Y" mission, the M1A1 Thompson is chambered in .45 ACP, has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds, and appears as the "Thompson Submachine Gun" in the loadout selection screen, or simply the "Thompson" within a mission. This weapon only becomes available on the loadout selection screen after the "Project Y" mission, and 5 magazines can be selected for it. Despite firing the most powerful round, it possesses the least recoil and is the most accurate of its class ingame.
The most common weapon ingame is the MP40, and it appears in the hands of almost all the Wehrmacht soldiers ingame. The MP40 is chambered for 9x19mm ammunition and its magazines are always loaded with 32 rounds (despite the fact that most users of the MP40 in real life only loaded 30 rounds to reduce the risk of jamming). The weapon is available from the beginning of the game at the loadout selection screen with 5 magazines there, but because of its ingame ubiquity (far more prevalent than the Karabiner 98k which was the standard-issue weapon of the real-life Wehrmacht) selecting it from that screen is fairly pointless. NPCs using this weapon always fire it from the hip (unlike Captain Strogov who uses the iron sights), and two magazines for the weapon can be looted from their bodies (though they never run out of ammunition while shooting the weapon).
The game's version of the weapon is never depicted with a buttstock, and so muzzle climb is understandably high when Capt. Strogov uses it himself.
The iconic symbol of a Red Army trooper, the PPSh-41 appears ingame under its real name, and is chambered in 7.62x25mm Tokarev ammunition, with the 71-round drum magazine being the only kind available. The PPSh-41 is available from the start of the game. The weapon and its magazine are both the heaviest of its class, and carrying both the weapon and 5 additional magazines (the maximum that can be carried into a mission) will almost completely exhaust Capt. Strogov's weight limit on his inventory. Despite the depicted weight, the PPSh-41 is the most inaccurate and possesses the most muzzle climb of all SMGs ingame, which is unrealistic since a heavier firearm will have less felt recoil and muzzle climb than a lighter firearm using the same cartridge.
The PPS-43 appears ingame under its real-life designation, chambered for 7.62x25mm Tokarev and with a magazine capacity of 35 rounds. In addition to being lighter than the ingame PPSh-41, it also possesses less muzzle climb and is more accurate. Up to 5 magazines for the PPS-43 can be selected from the loadout selection screen (the weapon itself is available from the beginning of the game).
Sten Mk. III
The Sten Mk. III is in the game, going by its real name. Chambered for 9x19mm ammunition, it uses 32 round magazines, and somewhat unrealistically cannot use the magazines from the ingame MP-40 (ammunition and magazine compatibility with the MP40 having been one of the "design goals" of the real Sten SMG). It is available only from the loadout selection screen from the "Die Spies!" mission onwards with up to three additional magazines selectable there. A suppressed variant is available, and is the only suppressed fully-automatic weapon ingame. The problems with overheating that the real-life Sten SMG suffered when fitted with a suppressor are not emulated ingame.
As is the case with all long guns, rifles and carbines cannot be concealed on Capt. Strogov's person. Most of the rifles are available in a scoped variant, and almost all unscoped rifles and carbines ingame have a maximum range of 50 meters (scoped rifles can hit visible NPCs at any distance). For some reason, unscoped semiautomatic rifles and carbines ingame are depicted as far less accurate than bolt-action versions. Scoped rifles, however, are always perfectly accurate (though crosshair sway caused by Capt. Strogov's breathing is emulated, along with the ability to hold his breath for a more accurate shot), and are always one-hit-kill weapons whereas the unscoped versions have more random stopping power per hit. Somewhat unrealistically, rifles with integral magazines in this game can be reloaded at any time with stripper clips (even though nearly all of them in real life only had enough room in their integral magazines for one full stripper clip's worth of ammunition--loading one that was not completely empty would require the use of loose rounds).
De Lisle Carbine
The De Lisle Carbine appears in the game as the "DeLisle Carbine," and is chambered for .45 ACP with a magazine capacity of 7 rounds. Solely available from the loadout selection screen, the Delisle Carbine has the same maximum range of an ingame SMG, and up to 2 additional magazines can be taken into a mission for this integrally suppressed weapon (which is sometimes more than can be taken for the suppressed Mosin Nagant rifle). How SMERSH got its hands on an incredibly rare British covert ops weapon (only 129 units were ever manufactured) is never explained ingame. The ingame version is also unable to use magazines from ingame Colt M1911A1 (which is realistic since the real-life WWII versions had to use M1911 magazines modified to work with the carbine's bolt-action mechanism, though modern versions of this carbine allow for stock M1911 magazines to effectively function in them).
The Gewehr 43 appears under its real name, and is one of the few pieces of equipment that is not available from the loadout selection screen. Chambered in 7.92x57mm Mauser, it has a magazine capacity of 10 rounds, but spare magazines cannot be found ingame. The eponymous German snipers in the "8 Snipers" mission all carry a Gewehr 43, and one is also available in a store room in the first mission of the game (titled "Cannibal"). Only the scoped variant of this rifle can be found and used ingame. The use of this weapon by many ingame sniper NPCs is unrealistic, as a scoped variant of the Karabiner 98k was largely preferred for sniping purposes by the historical Wehrmacht instead.
The Karabiner 98k appears in the game as the "Mauser K98k" at the loadout selection screen (though in a mission it is simply called the "Kar98"), and it is occasionally found in the hands of Wehrmacht troopers (which is the opposite of its ubiquity amongst the real-life Wehrmacht). Chambered for 7.92x57mm Mauser ammunition, it uses 5-round stripper clips to load into its 5-round integral magazine. NPCs who carry this weapon often also carry 1 or 2 stripper clips for this weapon (which is an unrealistically low ammunition load for the Wehrmacht). Up to 5 stripper clips can be carried into a mission for this weapon, and a scoped variant is not available ingame.
Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1
The Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1 version of the British Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle can be selected from the loadout selection screen under its real name, though no NPCs use it. It is chambered for .303 British ammunition, and has a magazine capacity of 10 rounds. The unscoped version of this rifle is first available to the player at the "Die Spies!" mission. The scoped version of this rifle, the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1(T), is first available at "8 Snipers" mission, one level later than the unscoped version.
The ingame version of this rifle is somewhat unrealistically depicted as having a detachable box magazine (and up to 3 of these magazines can be carried into a mission in addition to the one already in the weapon); while the real weapon's magazine was detachable, this was primarily for cleaning purposes, and soldiers were only given 1 magazine and 5-round stripper clips for reloading. In short, such loading is possible, but unorthodox.
The M1 Carbine appears ingame under its real-life designation. Chambered in .30 Carbine with a 15-round magazine capacity, the ingame version is carried by various US soldiers in the "Project Y" mission, and is selectable in the loadout selection screen (with a maximum of 5 additional magazines selectable) after that mission. As is the case with all semiautomatic rifles, the ingame M1 Carbine is depicted as being fairly inaccurate.
The M1 Garand appears in the game with its real name, and is chambered in .30-06 caliber with an 8-round magazine capacity. As with other American weapons, it is first seen in the hands of various US soldiers in the "Project Y" mission and is available on the loadout selection screen (with a maximum of 5 en-bloc clips selectable) after that mission.
Mosin Nagant Rifle
The standard-issue battle rifle of the Red Army, the Mosin Nagant Rifle ingame is chambered in 7.62x54mmR, with a 5-round magazine capacity. This rifle is only available via the loadout selection screen, and has the most variants available of any of the game's firearms.
The M38 carbine version (referred to as the "Mosin-38 Carbine" at the loadout selection screen but simply as the "Mosin Carbine" in a mission) is only available unscoped, and has the most stripper clips available for selection of any of the variants. The M91/30 version is referred to as the "Mosin, 1891/30 version" at the selection screen but as the "Mosin Rifle" within a mission, and has a maximum of 1 or 2 stripper clips available depending on the mission. The M91/30 version always has a scope attached, and is available with and without a suppressor. The version with both a scope and suppressor is also available with (purely cosmetic) woodland camouflage wrapping.
The Springfield M1903 rifle appears in the game, chambered for .30-06 ammunition with a 5-round magazine capacity. The M1903A3 and M1903A4 (a scoped version intended for snipers) variants are both present in the game. Both are only available at the loadout selection screen after the "Project Y" mission (but not within that mission itself), and the unscoped version can have a maximum of 5 stripper clips selectable, while the scoped version has a maximum of 4 stripper clips (the most of any sniper rifle ingame).
The Tokarev SVT-40 appears in the game as the "SVT-40," and is chambered for 7.62x54mmR with a magazine capacity of 10 rounds. It is only available from the loadout selection screen (right from the first mission), and the amount of spare magazines selectable there changes throughout the game--the unscoped variant starts out with just one at the start of the game to a maximum of 5 by the "Die Spies!" mission. A scoped variant of the SVT-40 is also available at the start of the game, but this version only has a maximum of 2 spare magazines selectable.
Note: Thanks to Capt. Strogov's saboteur training, all grenades can be used to make booby traps. Doors can be rigged to explode when opened, and incapacitated NPCs can be turned into "body bombs" that detonate when examined by enemies. The latter will also detonate if the trapped body is raised to be moved around by Capt. Strogov. He can safely disarm and retrieve grenades used as booby traps at a later time. Grenades cannot be "cooked" when thrown, and the ingame stick grenades cannot be thrown further for the same amount of throwing force than conventional hand grenades (as they can in real life). It is not possible to select a specific grenade when setting grenade booby traps, but Capt. Strogov will use the most commonly found grenades first before using rarer ones.
F1 Hand Grenade
The F1 hand grenade appears ingame as the "F1 Grenade", and is only available from the loadout selection screen. Up to 3 grenades can be carried into a mission, and it is the heaviest grenade in the game. Despite being a "defensive" grenade with a larger effective radius than most "offensive" grenades in real life, the ingame version's effective radius is not noticeably larger than the other grenades'.
Model 24 Stielhandgranate
The Model 24 Stielhandgranate appears in the game simply as the "Stielhandgranate" and is one of the few pieces of equipment in game that cannot be obtained from the loadout selection screen. However, many Wehrmacht troopers ingame have one in their inventories, and they will start to use them with reckless abandon on higher difficulty levels once they spot or unmask Capt. Strogov. Due to its relative abundance, the Model 24 Stielhandgranate is automatically chosen for use over other grenades in Capt. Strogov's inventory whenever the player sets a booby trap, as they can be replaced in a mission (unlike the other grenade types ingame).
RGD-33 Stick Grenade
The RGD-33 stick grenade appears as the "RGD-33 grenade" at the loadout selection screen and as the "RGD-33" in a mission. It is only available at the loadout selection screen where up to 3 grenades can be carried into a mission, and is the lighter of the two Soviet grenades ingame.
Note: All landmines can only be carried in backpacks, not in Capt. Strogov's "regular" inventory. Landmines cannot be buried or otherwise concealed when placed, but are still invisible to enemies anyway. Unlike many games with landmines or similar weapons, an NPC must directly step on an armed landmine to detonate it. Capt. Strogov cannot detonate landmines by stepping on them, but he can still shoot them to detonate them prematurely.
The PMD-6 mine is the heavier of the two Soviet landmines, and up to two can usually be taken into a mission. Despite being larger and heavier than the PMK-40 mine, the PMD-6's blast radius is not noticeably larger when triggered.
The lighter of the two ingame Soviet landmines, Capt. Strogov can usually take up to 3 PMK-40 mines in his backpack into a mission.
Capt. Strogov can select smokesticks (an older version of a handheld flare, full of chemicals chosen to produce smoke rather than visible light) from the loadout selection screen, and can throw a lit one to distract the first enemy who sees the burning smokestick into investigating the source of smoke. These burn for around 30 seconds, and for gameplay reasons cannot distract more than one enemy per thrown smokestick (the game refers to them as "smoke pots," while the printed manual refers to them as "smoke bombs"). Possible reasons why smokesticks were provided instead of smoke grenades is that the former are significantly lighter than the latter, and that the developers did not wish to emulate the choking and coughing of NPCs (or the player character) caught in a smoke grenade's smoke cloud (since a smoke grenade produces far more smoke than a smokestick).
The most powerful explosive available in the game, TNT bundles may only be carried in Capt. Strogov's backpack and are only available from the loadout selection screen, with normally 2 bundles available for selection in missions that allow a backpack to be taken. The "8 Snipers" mission however, which requires that Capt. Strogov destroy a railway bridge with no less than 5 bundles of TNT, does have bundles of TNT stored in various locations around the level in case the player did not take all 5 bundles by default. Under normal circumstances TNT bundles have to have their timed detonators manually set by the player, but the "8 Snipers" mission only makes the mandatory TNT bundles detonate when the mission is successfully completed.
When the timer runs out, these bundles explode with greater force than any other explosive in the game, but cannot penetrate cover provided by buildings of any type since the game does not have any destructible environments. As the timed detonator is the only triggering method available, killing NPCs with it is more difficult than doing so with the the touch-triggered landmines. TNT bundles are still invisible to NPCs, however.