As well as reshuffling rooms, the game’s algorithm deploys safes containing formulae that unlock single-mission boosts, blueprints for new guns, and intel to sell on for cash (another outlet for Dynamighty’s satirical eye). The best drop, however, is not random. Beat the score set by another player in one mission and their corpse will be secreted in the next, ready to loot. Cash is scarce, especially since ammo is expensive, so the bonus vastly ratchets up the satisfaction of outdoing your friends. way out as efficiently as possible. Until, that is, things hit crisis point, and CounterSpy loses its head.
Ragdolling bodies are subject to clipping issues – a guard pulled silently from a high ledge might dangle an arm through the platform where he comes to rest – and the trickle of explosive firearms into the clumsy hands of the fast-proliferating guards makes flying corpses ubiquitous. Gunplay grows increasingly loud and chaotic, and since many fights aren’t optional, that makes stealth tricky at best. It’s further complicated by the fickle AI, which will often deduce your presence from any disturbance, including a clipping limb, and radio it in. The host nation’s persistent DEFCON level then rises until the radio operator is silenced, or a campaign-ending countdown is initiated. In response, you’ll have to scrabble across silos like Maxwell Smart, facechecking into camera paths and rifle barrels – with surveillance and death both ways to boost the DEFCON level further. The implementation of anti-headshot helmets frustrates, too, the extra bullets required to put these marks down all but certain to break your stealth chain, even when saved for last and silently eliminated.
It’s a cascade of missteps that needlessly sabotages the late game, and every difficulty above Normal. A patch could fix so much – after all, Dynamighty’s blueprint for greatness is plain to see. Unlike a good spy, however, it flubs its final execution.