Deus Ex Human Revolution EP27:The Icarus Funicular

By Shamus
on Feb 28, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Language and literary references? What is becoming of this show? Can’t we complain about plot and obsess over lighting and level design techniques?

And for the curious, here is the icarus-themed trailer we talked about during the show, which was the trailer used at E3 in 2010:


Link (YouTube)

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From the Archives:

  1. noahpocalypse says:

    Do I detect a hint of… The PARACHUTE AUGMENT?!?!?!

  2. guy says:

    I think the name for the parachute aug is Icarus because Icarus could really have used one of those things. It is, after all, for falling long distances.

    The endgame TOTALLY uses the Icarus metaphor in conversations.

    • Infinitron says:

      I liked how Jensen’s first thought in that final conversation was “Dr. Frankenstein”. Then the intellectual Darrow brings up the story of Icarus and Daedalus as a more accurate metaphor.

      Generally speaking, Jensen’s character was a nice portrayal of a hero who’s not dumb but not very smart either.

      • Rasha says:

        Not dumb. Do we already forget that men never fail to underestimate women? He may not be out and stupid most of the time but when he is he’s downright retarded.

        • Infinitron says:

          Well, I was attempting to be charitable.

          What I’m saying is, it’s not often we get to play a man who’s just kind of simple, without him being a caricature space marine grunt or a Duke Nukem type.

          In the words of JC Denton: “I’m not much into books.”

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          As well as failing to make a connection between the following facts: the attackers brought big, unspecified objects into Sarif Industries, the bodies were destroyed beyond recognition (including dental and genetic evidence), the autopsy report is utter nonsense… but then he’s all “Megan is alive?! What sorcery is this?!”

        • Xakura says:

          If you’re referring to Zhao, she might have used a CASIE mod on him.

          • Michael says:

            There seem to be hints in a couple places that their are social engineering augmentations superior to the CASIE. Or at the very least a counter augmentation to it.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Actually,frankenstein fits much better than dedalus,because despite what he deluded himself into believing,darrow was simply afraid of the monster he created,and wanted to destroy it,seeing only the ugly side of it.

    • MatthewH says:

      My primary use of the Icarus was when I climbed to0 high, and then hubristically missed a jump. It was easier than save scumming. So I think it’s appropriately named.

  3. Jason says:

    On my pacifist playthrough, I just stealthed in to hit the elevator button, hid under the stairs leading to the funicular, and stealthed into the car when it got there. Easy peasy.

    • Piflik says:

      I took vending machines and other big stuff and blocked all entrances…I just stood there and waited for the elevator.

      I have to say I really liked it, that this is a real timer and not a the-elevator-arrives-after-I-killed-all-enemies-situation…I resent those…

      • Ambitious Sloth says:

        I did this too. I took the 2 vending machines on that floor and blocked the doors with them. I even hacked the turret and had it sitting on a box next to the funicular. I stood there for a good 3 minutes with nothing but my turret to keep me company.

    • RTBones says:

      I was close to that. The vent near where Josh hid the turret leads to the adjacent hall where the guards come from. I snuck in that way, knocked out/tased the guards, picked up the goodies, hit the funicular call button, and hid in the vent under the stairs. Once I got the word that my ride had arrived, I stealthed my way into it, pressed the go button, and rode away.

    • Destrustor says:

      I just brought the turret from upstairs, hacked the one in the room, and let the two of them handle the bad guys while I hid behind a stack of crates.

      And then carried them down to the boss room while letting them kill everything I needed to kill. I wish I could have taken them into the boss room, though.

    • Eric says:

      Yeah, the stealth aug + vent under the stairs really ruins the challenge.

      Another fun note: the game doesn’t spawn any new enemies. It only brings in the ones that are remaining in the level. If you knocked out everyone you won’t have to deal with any additional bad guys here. That might be why it’s so anti-climactic for some players.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Aha, that would explain why in some playthroughs I only had to deal with about three guys, while during others I had a whole army drop in on me.
        I like it that they do it that way; it makes sense in the context of the environment. If they were going to always make sure that you had to fight (or hide from) a ton of baddies, it would raise the question of where they came from if you took down all the guys who were already there. I didn’t see any place where they could have entered from on my way down, unless they used the roof and/or windows.

      • tengokujin says:

        So that’s why I only had like two FEMA soldiers come to the waiting room.

        • Infinitron says:

          They’re not FEMA, they’re Belltower Spec Ops mercenaries that have been hired by the conspiracy.
          They just happened to have been using a FEMA facility at one point as a staging area to launch attacks on Sarif Industries.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thats not true.Ive knocked out everyone in that level,and when I pushed the button,I had to knock out 6 more guys.

    • Hal says:

      I actually just stacked boxes in front of the elevator door and hid behind them. Nobody ever bothered me.

      It felt wrong.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So what secrets do Rutskarn and Chris have?What makes them lose their nerd cred?

    It was my mission to personally punch out every guard,so I went around this place punching dudes.Fun times.

  5. Gamer says:

    Was any else kinda disappointed that Josh didn’t use the elevator closing? I think that would’ve still been funny.

    And I had no idea what a funicular was either. I refer to them as “inclined elevators”.

    You know, I didn’t even question the Icarus thing until you guys brought it up. It was just another item from the List of Common Mythological References to me.

  6. Eärlindor says:

    EDIT: DAGGUMMIT! I got ninja’d by the SW team. I made this comment in during the middle of the video before the whole discussion played out. Oh well, Smud brings up other interesting Icarus metaphors that could still be applied to the game’s narrative, I think.

    Smudboy (who you may remember from his Mass Effect analysis) is actually doing an analysis of DX:HR, and the whole Icarus point is one of the things he addresses. The game seems to be using it both correctly and non-correctly in that the Icarus symbolism (one of many symbolisms actually) represents man pushing himself too far. At the same time, we have a parachute aug with a nonsensical name.

  7. Tobias says:

    Looks like something Pritchard, Jensen and Rutskarn have in common is a wikipedia implant. And the guys who make the Icarus references don’t.

  8. Paul Spooner says:

    The whole waiting for the funicular thing bugged me. I wanted Jensen to be all “F*** this!” Typhoon open the door, and surf down the funicular cable with his Icarius aug. Either that, or just sprint out into open space and swan dive down. Why does this man ever wait for elevators?

    Oh yeah, and good job stealthing through the upstairs. I ended up building a body-pile bait trap and then using a couple of rockets to finish off a floor at a time. Somehow, your way seems more elegant.

  9. Lunok says:

    for the fight at the funicular if you take the two vending machines that are on that level and put them in front of the doors the enemies never spawn because there is no valid path for them to reach you.

    • GiantRaven says:

      I was sickeningly disappointed that they didn’t spawn. I really wanted to watch them struggling to find a way in through the barricade.

    • Indy says:

      My approach was to just hide in a small crawlspace under the ramp. It was very tense. “Half-way there, Jensen.” *YAWN*. Then I cloaked and ran inside. I’m suddenly the ghost that they know exactly where I am, how vulnerable I am and how easily I’m going to sneak past their slow response team.

  10. Chris says:

    My trick for the funicular scene was to bring down the turret from upstairs and then have a hacked turret at each door.

    As for the “flying to close to the sun” part, Bill Taggart and his Brady Bunch style “We want more regulation for augs” comes close to that philosophy but doesn’t push the metaphor far enough.

  11. RTBones says:

    I always took Icarus name for the aug as an intended irony.

    Jensen can’t fall a long way, unless he has the aug – which is named for a guy who couldn’t do what the aug allows. And now I have to rid my brain of Alanis because I now have -that tune- stuck in my head….

    EDIT: DOH! Beaten to the punch.

  12. HolyBeerMonkey says:

    For the funicular part I just put a vending machine in each doorway. The AI couldn’t move them out of the way and got stuck outside.

  13. silentlambda says:

    Alright, I thought I had seen something like this happen before but assumed Josh was eating candy bars without my noticing, but at 14:26, his energy just… reappears. How? There’s no audio skip, the guard in the shot doesn’t jump ahead, so there seems to be no edit. Was the game patched to work differently or have I gone mad?

  14. MatthewH says:

    Just because I like the reference painting for the Icarus ad, here is Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson .

    I recall Chris’s video on game advertising, and while I think he raises a lot of good points, I think there may be something to letting the advertising set some of the mood before a game. In a book or movie the trailer or blurb can let you know the theme or mood. The first couple chapters or minutes can set up the story. Trailers for games can serve the same purpose while still letting the player get right into it. A similar purpose was served back in the day with those excessively verbose game manuals.

    I think, though, the idea of humanity going to far and finding the downside permeates the story -they just don’t shine a spotlight on it. Jensen smashing a mirror -either from anger or lack of control. Sarif’s statement “He’s no good to me like this” in the credits sequence. You can here the hobos talking about “I ain’t no guinea pig.” The upsides are clear to the player (go go gadget typhoon) but everywhere you look you can see the side damage. In a way, I think this makes the story worse because from approximately the return to Hengsha on -that all disappears as we race to the credits by way of Darrow’s madness.

  15. Sozac says:

    What was really silly for me and shows AI stupidity was when I was waiting for the funicular. I tried every way I could to get through it without being seen, and the simplest/stupidest was was I took a vending machine moved it in front of the funicular and knocked it on its side. Then, I hid behind it while the AI looked for me not even caring about the vending machine in front of the door. Then, when it got there I stealthed into it and lmfao while riding it down.

  16. CalDazar says:

    “This is where the games AI really falls apart”
    For me it is when you are defending the room waiting for the elevator to show up? Because if you block the doors ther with vending machines, they can’t get you. They can jum through the window, they just don’t. In fact some stood at the window and just looked in. Didn’t fire their guns or anything.

    Funicuwhat? I had zero idea what a funicular was. Then I saw it and thought “Oh, an inclinator” because I have only ever encountered something like this in Deus Ex 2.

    “oh no what if they find me as I move around blowing stuff up etc”
    I remember thinking it at the time but am only reminded now, how the hell does Jensen get away with all this?

    Wow Josh failed at using the Typhoon? What a Shame.

  17. Thomas says:

    I think the advertising for Deus Ex was done at a very early point of development and by people very removed from the game (but possibly related to the people manufacturing the cutscenes). Almost all the trailer footage is of stuff that doesn’t happen in the game and a lot of it displayed augs that don’t exist or doing things that they don’t actually do anymore.

    The bit that always jarred the most for me is the bit in the trailer where you see Jensen cloak and try to take out another windmill remote. Not only does that not happen in the game, but in the end it’s not even made definite that Jensen gets the cloaking aug

  18. ps238principal says:

    Is it me, or did the audio quality really increase for the beginning of the episode? Nobody’s introduction got cut off.

    • Chris says:

      This reminds me; I need to buy a right proper mic at some point. My audio quality is terrible, but I never get reminded about it until I watch the episode days later.

      • ps238principal says:

        If you get a good one that can filter out background noise, share what make/model it is. I bought a mono DRK mic and pre-amp that’s so far failed to impress (except when it comes to picking up background noise).

        I’m almost tempted to search my storage closet and dig up an old Belkin stereo mic that was made for miniature MP3 players/recorders. I seem to recall it doing really well at getting voices and filtering out things like PC fans and other ambient sounds.

        • Dante says:

          Chris and Ps, how much do you have to spend? I can look some stuff up…I’m a dj/producer, plus I’m, working on my own webseries, so I kind of know a little about what you’re going through.

          • ps238principal says:

            I just spent about $150 all told (I think) on a DRK MXL mic and preamp setup. The mic requires a 9-volt battery, which I didn’t realize when I purchased it, and I had to knock a ton of paint off unscrewing the base with some plumbers wrenches so I could put a new one in. The preamp is a Xenyx 502 by Behringer. That then feeds into a computer whose only job is to record the audio that I’m attaching to my own “let’s play” vids. I’ve got a pop shield as well, though that doesn’t seem to enter into the equation, much.

            The results I’m getting are kind of on the iffy side. After much tinkering in Cool Edit Pro, I find that if I run the audio through a noise reduction filter (basing the noise profile on the “silent” part of my audio, which is usually where the background noise is), normalizing the audio, then running it through an equalizer filter to make my voice more prominent and less tinny, it comes out halfway decent. The mic picks up my mouse clicks, and after filtration, they sound almost like metallic crickets, but short of editing each one out by hand, I’m not sure how to avoid them.

            I’m wondering if I’m using hardware that’s overkill for what I’m doing. I have another mono mic (it’s a Behringer), but I can’t tell you the model number as it’s currently at a friend’s house. I originally picked it up on the advice of someone who said it was good for podcasting.

            Thanks for any advice you can hurl at this amateur soundsmith! :)

          • Chris says:

            Not much, unfortunately. Really, I just need a proper headset – I’m using a webcam mic that’s far removed from my mouth and the consequences of that are pretty clear at this point. My goal is to get a headset that captures only my voice and not every ambient sound in the office.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You call that an increase,I call it a decrease.Listening to Shame an co intr thems is fu.

  19. ps238principal says:

    Re: The AI falling down in regards to dead patrolling mooks.

    I’ve thought about this a lot in games when guards seem to say, “I wonder what happened to Bob, and where did this corpse that looks exactly like him come from, I wonder what’s for lunch, ho-hum.”

    On the one hand, if anyone who finds a corpse goes nuts and can recover (after not finding anything) only to go nuts again when they find the same corpse, it’s awkward. If they do nothing, that’s also awkward. If they go for help… it seems to get complicated. There are levels/areas where if the whole place went on alert in a realistic way, I’d either have to have the firepower to murder everyone or it’s game over/reload time.

    This is why you need phasers in games like this. Just vaporize your enemy and nobody is the wiser. Though it does raise questions about how the phaser knows when to stop disintegrating people so the floor isn’t scuffed or cauterized body bits aren’t left behind.

    • krellen says:

      Since phasers work by heating things (they are really just super-powerful heat rays) and bodies generally vaporise at lower temperatures than building materials, there could be explanation for that.

      Of course, I don’t think bodies vaporise at lower temperatures than building materials BURN, so that could be an issue.

      • Sumanai says:

        That could be funny, and frustrating, surprise in a sci-fi game.

        “Oh, I’ll vaporise this corpse.” Foom! “Crap.”

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        So when you set phasers on stun,you are actually giving people heat strokes?Welp,theres another extremely dangerous technically non-lethal incapacitation method in scifi.The more I think about this,the more it seems that neuronic whip is the most humane of them all,despite the excruciating pain.

      • X2Eliah says:

        Do they radiate directed heat as such, or do they heat stuff like microvawes do, by making the little particles dance a fast jig? Because if it is the latter, can’t you reverse the polarities of the flux capacitators and fine-tune the frequencies to affect only water/blood molecules?

        • krellen says:

          This is never specified. I suppose they could be fancy microwaves.

          • Sumanai says:

            “Making popcorn, the dangerous way.”

          • ps238principal says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but the worst/most confusing use of a phaser (for trying to come up with even marginally plausible ways they could work) had to be in Star Trek IV.

            A phaser was used to disintegrate a metal cooking pot, yet it left the potatoes and whisk being used to stir them unscathed. This raises two questions:

            1. Does the phaser have a “Williams Sonoma” setting? If so, was the whisk immune because it was by Pampered Chef?
            2. Why do they have a galley when they have food replicators?

    • Hal says:

      That was one of the things I enjoyed about Arkham Asylum: When you had a group of guys going after Batman, they’d react when somebody was taken out. If your goon started screaming about Batman, everyone would rush over. When there was just two of them left, they’d pair up and do their best to stick together. It felt much more natural.

  20. Z says:

    This was great fun and all, but Josh! We want more Shogun! Your massive army inching towards Kyoto has left us in suspense for too long!

  21. burningdragoon says:

    So I finally caught myself up on Spoiler Warning over the past couple days, and I have to say… holy crap, the stun gun has a range!? I played the whole game thinking you had to be right up to a guy to use it right.

    • MatthewH says:

      I wouldn’t say it has a range, but you can reach out and touch someone at slightly more than arm’s reach.

    • Chris says:

      It’s not a particularly impressive range – about 10 feet or so. Think of it as a police tazer gun that can only go as far as the cord will reach. It is a little jarring if you’re used to the DX1 tazer, though. Especially since it’s a one-hit kill where the DX1 tazer requires you to stun enemies several times before they’re actually unconscious. That was a change I didn’t mind seeing!

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Fun fact; in DX1, you can actually insta-taze enemies if you hit them from behind in the “belt” area where the shirt meets the pants. This works for the baton as well.

  22. JohnnySteps says:

    Are you guys planning on showing off the DLC mission as well?

    • Gamer says:

      I hope. I loved “The Missing Link.” It was well worth the cost.

    • Even says:

      Given the fairly late chronological placement of the DLC in regards to the main game plot, chances are they’re going to be too tired to bother with it. I doubt it would be that thrilling to watch either. I thought it was kinda pointless and distracting story wise. The hook at the ending was cool, but not really worth of going through all that content.

    • Chris says:

      I played it this weekend (twice!) when I picked it up due to the Steam sale. I really enjoyed my time with it, but when we discussed whether we wanted to cover it we generally decided against it.

      Nothing’s been committed and I’m not intending to speak for the team or whatever, so take this as an “FYI” more than a formal announcement. Where we left off having spoken about it the general consensus was that it would derail the playthough of the main game (the whole mission is quite standalone) and would extend the show by few weeks without providing enough substance to really justify that kind of time investment. It’s theoretically possible that we could do it some time in the future, but it’s pretty unlikely we’re going to cover it in the middle of the main DX:HR run.

      • Sec says:

        I really liked Missing Link. Particularily the way it handled the “boss fight”, but I can understand not doing it in the middle of the playthrough, it wouldn’t fit very well.

        • Chris says:

          I liked the fact that they tied it into the overall lore of both Human Revolution *and* the original Deus Ex, providing a nice little bit of exposition for the conspiracy junk as well as expanding a little on a key character from the first game. The final boss fight was also a VAST improvement over the boss fights in the actual game.

          I also loved the length. A thoroughly enjoyable 3-5 hours. Worth $15, but still something that can be consumed in an afternoon or evening. It felt like a sane game length; about the length we should shoot for our games to be if we want them to become more widely adopted.

          If anyone hasn’t picked it up yet, I’d highly recommend it.

          • Infinitron says:

            3-5 hours…about the length we should shoot for our games to be

            No. No, I say.

            • Sumanai says:

              I’d say it should depend on the price and the quality of said 3-5 hours. I don’t care if a game is 40 hours long if there’s only four hours worth of quality time and the rest is miserable slog. In fact I think it’s worse than a game that is just four hours and it’s all fun times.

              Of course that’s a matter of taste. Obviously a lot of reviewers and gamers disagree with me.

  23. Sumanai says:

    I’m surprised no-one has suggested that the Icarus augment was named by the Sarif Industries marketing team.

    I played the pre-aug segment of Human Revolution a couple of days ago and I’m kinda miffed that Jensen can’t do takedowns without augments. Sure, he probably doesn’t have the strength for it, but it creates this feeling that he picked up combat abilities from the augs. A bit of the “weapon makes the warrior” -habit that games have.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Which is why they shouldve left melee combat in,so your bare fists would do small damage that could incapacitate enemies in 2,3 hits,while your augmented hands could do it in 1.

    • Michael says:

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the strength limitation. I’m not an expert at anatomy, but I’m pretty sure most of those takedowns require superhuman strength to actually render someone unconscious for more than a couple seconds. Honestly, aside from the choke hold, I’m not sure any of the takedowns would actually, safely result in a living mook.

      Though at least it’s not as bad as the Arkham Asylum takedowns, which ranged from crippling for life to blatantly lethal.

      • Sumanai says:

        I heard it somewhere that if anyone gets knocked out for more than a couple of minutes because of anything it’s likely there’s some brain damage or something else serious going on.

        I’m fairly certain there are boxing champions who can punch you out and you’ll stay down for more than a couple of seconds. If there was a takedown specifically for Jensen to do when non-augmented that would for instance take longer than any of the augmented takedowns it would give a feeling that he was trained in hand-to-hand already.

        Or what Daemian said. You could even have it so that pressing the takedown button would be just a standard melee button before the augments and then it would be a canned animation.

        • burningdragoon says:

          Even if you ignore the fact that knocking someone out like in games/movies would be sign of serious damage, the tap on the back and punch takedown has Jenson punch the guy right in middle of the face. That would at best severely break his nose, and at worst send his nose into the back of his head (and kill him).

    • Joe says:

      I feel like on some level it gets back to the game’s “discussion” of transhumanism and augmentation. In his video on the game, Chris brings up how the game doesn’t make a great argument in favor of augmentation. I can see that on the story level, but on the ludic level (to steal his terminology), all your fun abilities. (Apart from guns. You know, because the functional gunplay was the best part of DX:HR) come from your augmentations. Your takedowns are shiny and awesome. I mean, blades come out of your arms, and you silently cut the guy up. Badass! (Or, you go for the less epic-sounding, but far more satisfying “boot-to-the-head.”)

      Giving you the ability to do the awesome things before you get your augs undermines the limited (but, in my opinion, effective) argument in favor of augmentation that the game possesses.

      • Sumanai says:

        Who said they have to be awesome?

        Arguments that are based on false premise (people can’t do shit in mêlée unless they’re augmented) don’t work anyway. It doesn’t cause a “look how much more dangerous he is with augments” since the same damage could be done in real-life either with existing weapons or just by body building combined with martial training. In fact, I’m pretty sure a combat knife would be more practical than the hidden blades.

        Also an argument could be made that not just anybody could get such combat augments, as very few jobs need those and they’re a security risk. Blades hidden inside arms? Yeah, those wouldn’t be regulated or anything. And the “non-lethal” takedowns are clearly more about rule of cool than making a point.

        Now, if Jensen actually was crap at fisticuffs before the augments and some brain in his chip enabled him to fight, then it might be a different thing. After all, it’s the mental part that’s usually stopping people, so that would be a dangerous power that allows someone to “train” a personal army. Metal Gear Solid 4 style.

        But for that to work you need to show the difference and not leave it as a guesswork for players. Besides, right now it just showcases how much cooler augmented are over the “naturals” and sort of undermines the seriousness of the situation.

  24. TheAngryMongoose says:

    Oh… oh dear… That poster made Rutskarn do something funicular all over his chair… that’s just… ahh…

  25. Integer Man says:

    I never asked for this trailer.

  26. Drakkenmensch says:

    During the funicular section, you guys wondered if this was real or if this was made up.

    Well, it’s 100% REAL.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Stadium_(Montreal)

    The Picus building is the office space within the mast of the Olympic Stadium which is absolutely real. You can hardly see the structure because you land on top of the mast at night, but the view of Montreal you get from up there is accurate. To mess with your mind further, the electric lighting of Montreal at night even has the exact same orange glow that the entire game portrays!

    The funicular is also real, and for having riden it in real life I can confirm that it is indeed a slow-ass elevator ride that simply will not end. It’s that mind-numbingly SLOW. It’s also officially called funicular, so even that part is real!

    • Sean says:

      Watching this episode some 3 years after it ‘aired’, and I came to say this. As a Canadian who remembers the whole “the Montreal Olympic stadium is falling apart” scandal, I thought it was hilarious that Josh thought it wasn’t real.

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