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Death to Spies
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; it also appears prominently on the game's cover art.
The only handgun available in a suppressed form, the Nagant M1895 appears in-game under the simple moniker of "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 - this is rather odd, given that the Nagant is an individually-loaded revolver).
The game's depiction of the Nagant M1895 has some unrealistic elements - most notably, the loading gate (found on the right side of the real firearm, behind the cylinder) is missing on the in-game model. Additionally, the in-game 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 loaded/unloaded 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-game) is also not represented, with the weapon having rather impressive accuracy (though it could be argued that, given his position and experience, Captain Strogov has sufficient training to render this a non-issue).
The Tokarev TT-33 is available in-game 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 comes with 5 spare magazines standard. The P38 and its ammunition can also be taken off of various Wehrmacht NPCs who are officers or non-combat personnel - whether they use it or the Luger P08 is down to the level in question.
Walther PPK Suppressed
The cover art for some versions show Semyon with a Walther PPK; this weapon would not be present in-game until the third entry Alekhine's Gun.
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 in the game is the MP40, appearing in the hands of almost all the game's Wehrmacht soldiers. 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 most common 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 its buttstock unfolded; as such, muzzle climb is understandably high when Capt. Strogov uses it.
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).
The iconic symbol of a Red Army trooper, the PPSh-41 appears in-game under its real name; it uses 7.62x25mm Tokarev ammunition, and feeds exclusively from 71-round drum magazines. Available from the start of the game, the PPSh 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 in the game; this is presumably more for the sake of balance than authenticity, since a heavier firearm will have less felt recoil and muzzle climb than a lighter firearm using the same cartridge, and the PPSh is noted as being rather controllable IRL.
Sten Mk. III
The Sten Mk. III is the last of the game's submachine guns, going by its real name. Chambered for 9x19mm ammunition, it uses 32-round magazines; somewhat unrealistically, these are proprietary, and cannot be interchanged with those of the game's MP40 (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 in-game; this is simply a Mk. III fitted with a suppressor, rather than one of the integrally-suppressed Sten variants like the Mk. II(S). Needless to say, the overheating problems that the real-life Sten suffered when fitted with a suppressor are not emulated in-game.
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-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 De Lisle has the same maximum range as the game's SMGs; precisely how SMERSH got its hands on an incredibly rare British covert-ops weapon with a documented production run of 129 units is never really explained. Up to 2 additional magazines can be taken into a mission for it, which is sometimes more than can be taken for the suppressed Mosin; these magazines are proprietary in-game, which is somewhat correct - while the De Lisle's requires specially-modified M1911 magazines (and thus shouldn't be able to use mags from the in-game M1911A1), these modified magazines should (theoretically) work just fine in a standard M1911, making their true compatibility a one-sided affair instead of the game's zero-sided one.
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"). In-game, the G43 is only ever found with a scope, and serves as the most common weapon of German snipers; this is incorrect, as the majority of Wermacht snipers were historically armed with scoped Karabiner 98ks.
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; up to 5 of these clips can be carried into a mission, but NPCs who carry the Mauser usually only carry 1 or 2 stripper clips (which is an unrealistically low ammunition load for the Wehrmacht, outside the very last days of the war). A scoped variant is also available, though it cannot be selected from the loadout screen, and instead must be taken from Wermacht snipers.
Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I
The Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk I 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, the Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1(T), becomes available in the subsequent mission, "Die Spies!".
The in-game version of this rifle is somewhat unrealistically depicted as having a detachable box magazine (of which up to 3 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 and clearing purposes, and soldiers were only given 1 magazine and a set of 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 of the game's semiautomatic rifles (barring the G43), the M1 Carbine is depicted as being fairly inaccurate.
The M1 Garand appears under its real name, and is chambered in .30-06 Springfield with an 8-round magazine capacity, fed by en-block clips. As with other American weapons, it is first seen in the hands of various US soldiers in the "Project Y" mission, and is available from the loadout selection screen (with a maximum of 5 en-bloc clips selectable) after that mission.
The standard-issue battle rifle of the Red Army, the Mosin-Nagant M91/30 in-game is chambered in 7.62x54mmR, with a 5-round magazine capacity. The Mosin is only available via the loadout selection screen, and has the most variants available of any of the game's firearms - two M91/30s are available (both PU-equipped sniper rifles, one fitted with a suppressor), as well as an M38 Carbine detailed below; the suppressed version is also available with a (purely cosmetic) woodland camouflage wrapping. Both M91/30 variants can only be brought into a mission with 1 or 2 stripper clips (depending on the mission); aside from being a somewhat arbitrarily strict limitation, this is incorrect, since PU-scoped Mosins can't be reloaded with stripper clips (due to the scope getting in the way).
Mosin-Nagant M38 Carbine
As mentioned above, the M38 Carbine variant of the Mosin is also selectable from the loadout screen; it is called the "Mosin-38 Carbine" in this screen, while in missions it is simply called the "Mosin Carbine". Gameplay-wise, it trades the M91/30 variants' scope for extra stripper clips; this doesn't make much sense, seeing as the M38 is nothing more than a shortened M91/30, and uses the exact same ammunition and clips.
The Springfield M1903 appears in two forms in-game, the iron-sighted M1903A3 and the scoped M1903A4; both are chambered in .30-06, and have 5-round magazines fed with stripper clips. Both are only available at the loadout selection screen after the "Project Y" mission (despite not actually appearing in that mission, unlike most of the game's American weaponry); the M1903A3 can be taken with a maximum of 5 stripper clips, while the scoped A4 can be brought along with a maximum of 4 (the most of any sniper rifle ingame) - again, this is incorrect, since the M1903A4's scope prevents the use of stripper clips.
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 - as with several of the other weapons, this is more for the sake of balance than any sort of logic.
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.
F-1 Hand Grenade
The F-1 hand grenade appears in-game as the "F-1 Grenade", and is only available from the loadout selection screen. It is the heaviest grenade in the game, and up to 3 can be carried into a mission. Despite being a "defensive" grenade with a larger effective radius than most "offensive" grenades in real life, the in-game 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. Notably, 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 (unlike the Soviet-designed grenades) they can be replaced mid-mission.
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 (with a limit of 3 grenades per mission), and is the lighter of the two Soviet grenades in-game; this is incorrect, as while the RGD-33 is lighter than the F-1 normally, the add-on fragmentation sleeve increases the weight past that of its stickless contemporary.
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 PMK-40 Anti-Personel Mine. 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.
Antique muzzle-loading cannons, in both field and naval mounts, are occasionally seen as map decorations; they are (rather obviously) unusable.
The Panzerkampfwagen V "Panther" tanks that decorate some of the game's levels feature MG34 machine guns in their hulls.
MG42 machine guns are mounted in German bunkers in-game; they are (sadly) unusable.
Flintlock muskets (possibly Charleville derivatives) with bayonets fitted are also used as map decorations.
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; the game itself calls them "smoke pots", while the manual calls them "smoke bombs". They serve as distraction devices in-game, with lit smokesticks causing the first enemy that sees them to investigate the smoke's source; they burn for around 30 seconds, and for gameplay reasons cannot distract more than one enemy per thrown smokestick. The decision to provide smokesticks instead of smoke grenades may have been based on the former being significantly lighter than the latter; the developers also may not have wished to emulate the choking, coughing, and visual obstruction of NPCs (or the player character) caught in a smoke grenade's smoke cloud - since a smokestick produces far less smoke than a smoke grenade, none of these behaviors are present in-game.
The most powerful explosive available in the game, dynamite bundles may only be carried in Capt. Strogov's backpack and are only available from the loadout selection screen, with 2 bundles normally 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 dynamite, does have bundles of dynamite stored in various locations around the level in case the player did not take all 5 bundles by default. Under normal circumstances, dynamite bundles have to have their timed detonators manually set by the player, but the "8 Snipers" mission only makes the mandatory dynamite 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. Dynamite bundles are still invisible to NPCs, however.