I Am An Insane Rogue AI
The world is my oyster. Oysters are delicious. That just goes to show you how crazy you are as the protagonist of the truth-in-advertising-ly named puzzle game I Am An Insane Rogue AI by Nerdook. I mean, put aside the fact that oysters look like the flu and I don't understand how people eat them; that's just a matter of opinion. But we're talking about a sentient operating system here. It cannot eat. It has no mouth to water. See? Irrational to the point of madness.
Oh, there's also the part where it's trying to take over the world and probably kill everyone. That may be part of the "insane" label too.
The game plays a little like a stealth game, only instead of playing as an individual sneaking around a facility hacking into machines and avoiding detection of your devious deeds, you're the facility and you're hacking yourself. You do this by clicking on various parts of the facility to interact with them. At the beginning of the game, you can turn lights off to scare workers into running, hack droids into attacking people, lock and unlock doors, and of course hack machines and eventually the mainframe yourself. Some kinds of humans (like scientists) can stop hacks in progress, so it's important to kill them or at least herd them away from the machines while breaking in. Hacking the mainframe, however, occurs instantly. Other kinds of humans can fix things you've futzed with or even use weapons. Every action you take costs cycles, and you have a limited number of processing cycles per level to take it over.
Once you've taken a facility over, you'll receive cash for upgrades, with bonuses for not killing people and for having cycles leftover. You can use that cash to increase your starting bank of cycles, improve your hacking speed, buy tools to hurt the humans, and more. As you upgrade, the levels will get tougher, with new kinds of obstacles (and potential assets) such as repairmen (who can open locked doors), tougher bots, and gun turrets. There is also a combo system, which is nowhere mentioned in the tutorial or instructions and is mentioned only obliquely elsewhere, so you'd be forgiven for never noticing it. Basically, you get a small amount of cash for everything you hack, and if you hack things in quick succession, a meter fills up in the top right corner, up to a 10 multiplier.
Analysis: Nerdook is always coming up with these ideas for games that manage to be completely original and yet totally obvious at the same time. "Why didn't I think of that?" is pretty much a given, and anyone who's played Portal or watched 2001: A Space Odyssey should have recognized long ago the fun potential of playing as the snarky disembodied voice who is afraid he can't do that, Dave.
There is a certain amount of gameplay and story segregation here. There's the same song one could sing about so many games with unexplained upgrade mechanics, with the verse for this game being, "When a facility is taken over, who (or what) is evaluating the AI's performance and rewarding it with cash, and how does the AI spend that cash to upgrade itself?" The MST3K "it's just a show, relax" mantra can help with that one. More troubling is the way that pacifist completions pay so much more than violent completions. From a purely gameplay perspective, that makes perfect sense: pacifist completions are much, much harder, so it makes sense that they would pay more. But it goes directly against the AI's personality (as displayed in the AI's between level quips and ultimate goal) for it to be striving to avoid killing humans. It wouldn't have taken much rewriting to reconcile the two... instead of wanting to destroy humans, the AI could want instead to keep them as some kind of sick toys or pets. This would preserve all its insanity and menace while still giving you a storyline reason to keep as many humans alive as possible.
The game is accessible to many different levels of ability. It is nearly always possible to brute force your way through a level. The tricky part is strategizing the best way of taking machines over without killing humans. You can buy upgrades with lots of inventive ways of hurting humans, like making dead humans turn into zombies (no, really), but your best bets for nonlethal herding are the same in the end-game as in the beginning: flick lights off and lock doors. So to end the later levels with no fatalities takes keen observation, planning, flexibility and patience.
So fire up this game and exercise those pathetic human brain cells. Not that it'll make a difference when Google achieves sentience. In fact, it'll probably go through its records and eliminate players of this game first. So that's the risk you take. I think it's worth it.
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I Am an Insane Rogue AI Tips and Tricks
Every action costs cycles. The amount of cycles an action costs is usually listed on the bottom of the screen
Upgrades and levels come in low, medium, and high tiers. In-game, these are called blue, yellow, and red upgrades/levels respectively.
You can turn off upgrades by clicking the icons at the bottom of the screen. This is useful to save cycles or to avoid accidentally killing humans
The overload lights upgrade prevents you or the repairmen from turning on a light after it has been shorted
A meter will appear above locked doors indicating the time until they automatically unlock.
A countdown will appear above computers you've attempted to hack indicating the time until hacking is complete. Until the screen turns red and the word "Hacked" appears, your hacking attempt can be stopped
All humans and bots have a health meter above their heads giving their health points. Drop their health to zero and they die
Click "Disconnect" if you made a mistake to exit the level.
Once you buy all the upgrades in a tier, you will automatically start playing levels at the next higher difficulty.
Ringing phones can be used to lure humans towards lights (that can then zap them) or towards hacked computers (which can be made to explode with the "Rigged Computers" upgrade).
Performing any action -- turning on or off lights, locking doors, hacking computers or bots, killing humans, ringing phones -- will earn cash.
Performing any action will fill the meter to the top right of the screen. Performing any new action before the meter runs out will chain together actions and increase the cash multiplier for each action.
There is a cash bonus for winning a level without killing humans. Killing humans also awards cash, but no more so than any other action.
Locked doors are a low-cost way to shepherd humans to floors with killer robots.
Types of Humans
Scientists wear white coats.
Scientists will run toward a computer that is being hacked, even if they are frightened.
A light zap costs them up to five health.
Repairmen wear yellow hats
Repairmen will walk towards a locked door to unlock it. They will turn on darkened lights if they walk past one, but will not move toward one just to turn it on.
A light zap costs up to five health. Unlocking an electric door (a first-level, or blue, upgrade) costs up to five health.
Security guards carry a rifle and wear a hat. The type of hat depends on what country the facility is in.
Security guards will not unlock doors.
Security guards will stop a hack in progress.
Guards have more hit points than scientists or repairment, but take the same damage from lights and hacked bots.
Guards deal more damage to bots than scientists or repairmen.
These only appear on red levels. In general, they take less damage, and do more damage, than guards, repairmen, or scientists.
Ninjas wear a purple mask.
Ninjas can stop a hack in progress and unlock doors.
Ninjas can teleport.
Ninjas deal lots of damage to hacked bots.
Special Ops wear a black mask with green dots.
They can stop a hack and unlock doors.
They are hard to see in dark areas.
They have ranged attacks.
Secret Agents wear sunglasses.
Can stop hacks and unlock doors.
Can perform ranged attacks.
Re-spawn when killed.
Warlords wear a red hat and an eyepatch.
They can stop hacks and unlock doors.
They can perform ranged attacks.
They take less damage than other humans.
Has a ponytail and wears glasses
Hackers can stop hacks but cannot open locked doors
They can counter-hack hacked computers, which reduces your cycles.
They can unhack bots on contact.
They do not have a ranged attack.
A bot with a ranged attack can kill them, but it's easier to use a sniper rifle.
Computers they have counter-hacked are unable to explode
They cannot hack the killer cyborgs, which are unlocked with the "Killer Cyborg" upgrade
Types of Robots
Utility Bots are blue
Bots require 5 cycles to hack.
With a yellow (mid-level) upgrade, these bots can make ranged attacks.
Security Bots are orange and have spikes coming out of their back
These bots cost 10 cycles to hack, unless you have the "Military Codes" upgrade which makes them cost 3 cycles.
They will shoot at zombies, hacked bots, and killer cyborgs.
These bots do not care about hacking and cannot unlock doors.
Gun turrets do not move, and look vaguely like a camera on a tripod
Gun turrets can only be hacked with the "Defence Override" upgrade.
They cost ten cycles to hack.
Gun turrets will fire on hacked bots, zombies, and killer cyborgs.
Most trophies just require playing a lot.
It is easiest to make pacifist wins for the pacifist trophy in earlier levels.
There aren't enough humans to win the "Massacre" (10 dead) trophy on the blue levels
Similarly, there aren't enough humans to win the "Psycopath" (20 dead) trophy on the yellow levels. You need to be in the red levels for this one.
Any action can be chained for combos, to earn the Ten Combo trophy. Chaining actions also increases cash, for the Great ($250), Incredible ($1000), and Maximum Awesome ($5000) trophies. The easiest way to do this is to turn off the overload lights upgrade, and flick lights on and off to keep the multiplier meter high. Ringing phones and locking doors are also low-cycle-cost actions that can keep the chaining meter high. Cash from combos is usually much higher than cash from unused cycles.
Posted by: MmeTurbulence | January 10, 2011 5:54 PM
Some more tips:
The neurotoxin upgrade is very, very useful. Bots can be destroyed, doors can be unlocked, but once the gas starts to flow, there's nothing the meatbags can do about it. It's best to pick a floor in the middle of the facility, as opposed to the top or bottom floors, to maximize exposure. Then try to get meatbags to panic on that floor with the PA ("RUN COWARDS" etc.), turning the lights off, or damaging them. Scientists and I think guards will panic if they see a computer being hacked, you can use this as a lure.
Meatbags will periodically spawn from green doors. Obviously, they cannot be locked.
Most bots will attack hacked bots on sight. For this reason, you should try to hack a bot when it is alone on a floot.
Gun turrets are very strong, but are immobile and can not be hacked at all unless you get an upgrade. It's much better if the turret is far away from the doors. A turret at one end of a floor with both doors at the far end makes for an excellent killing floor.
Elite Hackerbag: Extremely annoying. Will pacify hostile bots, even the combat drones you can spawn, but not cyborgs. Most importantly, if they encounter a hacked computer, they will drain cycles from you (I think five). Can even put you into the negative cycles. Fortunately, not very strong in combat.
Ninbag: Strong melee, but can teleport apparently at will.
Special Opbags: Invisibility in darkness is not a big deal. I think they might turn off lights sometimes. Essentialy a strong guard.
Warbag: Deals and takes a tremendous amount of punishment. Definite sniping candidate.
Agentbag: The weakest special. Armed with a mere pistol. The respawning isn't significant when you consider that meatbags are constantly spawning from the green doors.
Posted by: Sub-Processor 346 | January 10, 2011 11:40 PM