Or to give it its full title which greets you at the start screen – Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole Deluxe. Try saying that fast three times in a row after a few pints. So what kind of game lies behind such an in your face title? Stealth Bastard Deluxe is a puzzle platformer which clearly draws inspiration from other titles.
There are blatant winks to the likes of Portal, Super Meat Boy and Splinter Cell. It sounds like a crazy combination but somehow all these elements come together really nicely to create a game that is challenging, addictive, frustrating & rewarding. Yes frustrating is a positive in this games case because when it all goes wrong; you, like me will probably shout “Oh you stupid Stealth Bastard!” and then laugh at how ridiculous that sounds.
Set across eight stages with eight test chambers in each. Stealth Bastard Deluxe boasts a fair amount of content especially given its low asking price.
At the start of the game it is revealed to you that you are a clone, there’s nothing special about you. If you die, and you will; another clone will be created and its predecessor will be forgotten. What you are tasked with doing is separating yourself from the pack by sneaking, climbing, and jumping your way through the test chambers that stand in your way.
Now if you are not the patient and perseverant type then Stealth Bastard Deluxe is not the game for you. There is a lot of trial and error and some chambers will have you completely stumped as to how to proceed without getting killed.
The most important mechanic in this game is stealth. You achieve this by sticking to the shadows, creating shadows with blocks and avoiding the line of sight from the likes of cameras and turrets. This is very easy to keep track of as your clone wears a pair of goggles that change colour based on your visibility. In the shadows they appear green and in the light they appear red. Failure to adhere to this properly usually results in your clone being blasted by a laser and exploding into a pulp of red. Believe me you would need a rather large spatula to clean that mess up. Luckily that isn’t necessary as after death you are instantly put back at the start of the room you are in. It’s not as brutal as Super Meat Boy, there are some checkpoints within the levels but it is unclear as to whether you have reached one.
The boss stages are a lot of fun. Very challenging but they all take elements from what you have learned in the previous chambers and ramp up the difficulty for the final test of the stage. Some of them literally had me shouting at the screen but when I did finally crack them it felt like a real accomplishment.
I also love how messages appear on the wall in the chambers. Sometimes they are hints but most of the time they are cheeky messages along the lines of “That’s a common mistake” or “I’d have quit by now”.
There is even incentive to go through the game again when you are finished. The inclusion of leaderboards was a great idea and some of the times that people are posting already are just crazy.
There are also a number of other suits to play with after you’re done. These really alter how the game plays. For example the camo suit allows you to become invisible for a limited amount of time and as long as you don’t move you can’t be seen. The teleporters are another fun feature and the fact that they are orange and blue just made me smile.
If you’re still looking for more then you’re in luck as Stealth Bastard Deluxe comes with a full level creator. To begin with it does seem a little overwhelming but you would be surprised how easy it is to throw a simple level together. If creation isn’t your thing though you can always just play the levels that other people have created. This feature is already receiving strong user support as at the time of writing there were 162 pages of created levels. The filter system also makes it really easy to find the really good ones.
Overall I had a great time with Stealth Bastard Deluxe. Yes it is a challenging game but I like how it manages to change things up regularly enough to keep it interesting. Some levels require patience; others require pin point timing as you try to keep within a moving shadow to avoid detection. It’s also great to see that so many people are supporting it through the level editor as well. So declare yourself a Stealth Bastard and see if you have what it takes to make it through all the test chambers.
MLG Rating: 8/10 Platform: PC Release Date: 28/11/12
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a digital copy of Stealth Bastard Deluxe for review purposes by the promoter. The title was reviewed over the course of two weeks on a PC. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.