Stolen Pixels #206:
Whose Side Am I on, Anyway?

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 25, 2010

Filed under: Column 33 comments

The plot of Alpha Protocol is hard to understand.

I finished the game last night. I haven’t figured out if the ending worked or not. The plot might be a Mass Effect 2 pile of holes and unexplained actions, but I can’t nail it down because I couldn’t follow it. I suppose that’s one way to avoid having to write an airtight story. There were several people that I wanted to confront, only to have them vanish from the gameworld. But were these plot threads left hanging KOTOR 2 – style, or could I have met up with them if I’d made a few different choices?

I guess I’ll find out. I started a new game. Now that I know the secret of stealth characters (use the magic pistol power) I’m going to try and play as a proper spy instead of shotgunning my way through the game.


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33 thoughts on “Stolen Pixels #206:
Whose Side Am I on, Anyway?

  1. eri says:

    I sort of feel the same way as well. I’m not so sure there are plot holes in this game so much as there are just motivations you never learn… and given the changes that the order you complete each major part of the game in, the sorts of relationships you foster, whether people like you or hate you, etc. can have on how the story progresses, keeping track of it all is made even more difficult. If Alpha Protocol does one thing really, really well, though, it’s in truly being a game where there is no “right” or “wrong” path.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:


    Sooo,I want to know,who were your allies,who were your enemies,and such?Were you with or against:
    Omen deng?
    Did you spare or kill brayko and nasri?Did you befriend or alienate heck and scarlet?Did mina and madison survive or die?

    Most importantly,who were you sided with in the end:halbech,alpha protocol,or neither?

    On my first recruit playthrough,I befriended almost everyone.Ive even turned enemies to allies in the end.Only leland was against me,and it was nice to have all that support.Though it was tough juggling all your friends.And madison had to be sacrificed.At least I did her before that.As well as mina and scarlet.I didnt have much use for sie though,because g22 was quite an asset after taipei.Though there were a few weird happenings,like me obtaining profile for sis in taipei,and then having mike puzzled when Ive first encountered her in moscow.

    1. acronix says:

      And madison had to be sacrificed.At least I did her before that.

      That sounds so, so bad.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Actually,it was quite funny.I have this friendship with mina,and lots of teasing during a long career,then all of a sudden,madison appears.I speak 10 words with her,and we end up in bed.And then marburg kidnaps her and says “I know you had feelings for her”.I wish there was a response “Nah,we spoke 3 or 4 times,and had sex,thats all”.

        Still,it was nice to be in james bonds shoes for a bit.

    2. Shamus says:

      My playthrough:
      Spared Nasri, and the Terrorist guy.

      Befriended Heck. And Scarlet. Let Madison The Bland die.

      I killed Sis on the boat, more or less not understanding the situation. I wasn’t sure what the game was telling me was going on. Was she trying to escape or shoot me? I dunno.

      Spared Brayko.

      I did my level best to kill Marburg, but after his “You shotgunned my face 20 times so now I’ll run away” B.S., I never got a chance for a rematch.

      In the end I chose to *fight* Halbech. Does that count as siding with anyone?

      Did not boink anyone.

      Turned Parker to my side at the end.

      Never saw Westridge again after the first act.

      Chose Heck for final mission, although I would have preferred Albatros. (He wasn’t available for some reason? Maybe he was still miffed over Sis?)

      Incredible number of choices, really.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I probably wouldve shot sis myself,if I didnt find her file in taipei,and got a bit close to albatros there.Im glad I didnt.

        Also,marberg is a hard man to goad for a rematch.Still,it wasnt that hard to make him change his mind about leland later.

        Does anyone else find it weird how veteran background,the easier one,with a bunch of skill points,can be played only after recruit,the hardest one with no skill points whatsoever?

        1. Zukhramm says:

          I guess the point of veteran is that it’s a reward.

          And Sis reaching for something in a pocket is just there to trick you into killing her.

          1. Tizzy says:

            On a second playthrough, you don’t have to learn how to play the game anymore (whatever the game is), and you know in advance what some of the challenges are going to be. To me, that’s reward enough.

    3. Zukhramm says:


      Friendly with Heck, Nasri and the terrorist leader (whatever the name was).

      Allied with Scarlet, saved Sung and allied with Deng.
      Kind of friendly with Surkov, killed Brayko, met but ignored SIE.
      Stopped the bombs and let Madison die.

      Albatross was my handler for the final mission, Westridge was the boss, I allied with Parker and killed Westridge, Scarlet killed Leland.

      1. Jarenth says:

        Wait, what, Westridge can appear?

        Time for a second playthrough.

        1. Shamus says:

          Oh, I have no idea. I just was put out when he didn’t.

          1. Zukhramm says:

            I have absolutley no idea what triggers whether you fight him or Leland, and I’ve never seen anyone who does.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well,if you join halbeck,Im sure youll fight westrige.As to how to fight both of them…Maybe its the way they feel towards you?

              1. Zukhramm says:

                I didn’t join Halbeck and I destroyed both Halbeck and Alpha Protocol, I did get leland to like me quite a bit so that might be it.

                I don’t think you can fight both of them though.

          2. Jarenth says:

            I really thought Westridge not appearing would be sequel-related, or something. Like he’d be the only one in the sequel who knows anything substantial about you.

    4. Jarenth says:

      I pretty much saved everyone. Terrorist Man, Weapons Dealer man, two shady Russians, Chinese Man, everyone. Even CEO Man. I actually reloaded and redid the final fight because I killed him the first time and it just felt wrong.

      I let Madison die, though. What can I say, I’m a sucker for art.

      1. Ramsus says:

        I actually ended up with everyone in the game liking me (especially Leland for some reason) besides Brayko (I just wasn’t sure what responses he liked). I spared everyone besides Madison (seriously lady did you not realize sleeping with me meant you’d die? I did. Thanks for that opportunity to foil the bad guys plot while looking like a hero). “Romanced” all of the ladies. Saved both Mina and Scarlet. Didn’t join evilcorp. Fought Westridge. Actually here my response is opposite of Jarenth’s, I didn’t even know you could fight Leland.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Leland likes when you are practical.Responses that dont care about people,but just the big picture.He also likes it very much if you go all stealthy in rome.Brayko is a psycho,so if you treat him like heck,hell like you as well.

        2. Jarenth says:

          Time for a second playthrough for you as well, then. Beating up Leland after you win his bossfight is immensely satisfying.

  3. Hugo Sanchez says:

    I went through the game and never even met SIE, Because I did all the other missions i skipped the; Investigate the Trainyard, mission. Which sucked. In my second play through SIE became my biggest ally.

  4. Telas says:

    Yes, but is it a good game? Did y’all enjoy it, or just play it trying to unravel its Gordian plot?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I enjoyed it a lot.Despite its gameplay flaws.

    2. Andy_Panthro says:

      Really enjoyed it.

      Thought it was great, despite the (minor) flaws it has.

      Given that Shamus is giving it a second play, I would assume he enjoyed it to a certain extent.

  5. Matt K says:

    As someone on the Escapist said, the last panel had a very Archer ( feel.

    I actually played Final Fantasy 7 in about 1-2 hour chunks (since I was in High School at the time and playing sports) and that killed the game’s story for me. After a while I couldn’t remeber what the latest backstory was for Cloud so when they decided “Everything you knew was wrong” I was like so what.

    1. Irridium says:

      And as I said there, reading it in the same voices from the show just made it that much funnier.

      Actually, they should have had another dialog option that said simply “Archer”.

      1. Matt K says:

        I would so buy the game if it had that option. Heck if I could just name the character Codename Duchess (she really loved that dog) I’d be happy.

  6. some random dood says:

    Dam’ that’s another game you sold me on!
    Oh, and brilliant last panel – for once LOL applies literally :-)

    1. Deoxy says:

      The last panel was great – and a perfect example of Shamus’ amazing screen-cap fu. That was the whole reason I came to comment – that last panel.

  7. Marlowe says:

    If you think L.A. Confidential has a confusing plot read the book. The screenwriter left out half James Ellroy’s original story which concerns Walt Disney, a serial killer who attaches bird wings to the backs of children and the L.A. freeway system (yes, it connects them all together).

  8. Josh R says:

    Very DMotR Shamus. I approve.

  9. Taliesin says:

    Am I the only one who actually understood the plot first time round?

    Jeeze, it’s not THAT hard…

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Depends how much you dig actually.Its not really that convoluted of a plot,but it has many,many factions you need to remember.Then again,I was able to follow chronicles of amber on my first reading,so this one wasnt that hard.

      1. evileeyore says:

        People consider Amber a convoluted read?

        I geuss it’s a matter of perspective. I know I could get lost in a Scooby-Do episode if I didn’t care and wasn’t paying attention so, to me it’s whether or not the story captures my interest.

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