MobyGames Classic: Deus Ex

'MobyGames Classic' is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community. Our first classic to spotlight: the original Deus Ex.


Released in 2000 from developer Ion Storm, Deus Ex has become one of the essential titles to mention when discussing well-crafted stories in video games. If ever there was a list of required reading for RPG titles, Deus Ex would be battling for the top of the list. It's undoubtedly a classic and cult favorite among PC gamers around the world.

"The biggest success in Deus Ex was how it approached choice. This was from an era when player choice and branching paths were pretty daring in RPGs and entirely unheard of in shooters," Shacker BlackCat9 reminisced. "Perhaps because of the lack of precedent, the designers of Deus Ex ended up creating an environment where player choice didn't come directly out of making binary decisions, like picking the good or evil response from a dialogue tree or gaining karma points."

Choice continues to be a strong element in games today, offering players varying degrees of options to change the narrative structure, such as role-playing games like Mass Effect or action games like Grand Theft Auto IV.

"It was really nice seeing a game present options that weren't made obvious..." said Shacker Mecha Tofu Pirate. "It has depth that still hasn't been seen in most FPS since it came out."

For some, Deus Ex was simply a reminder of how grand PC gaming could be. "Deus Ex was the game that revived my love of PC gaming. I played it at my step father's house. He had it, but his machine could barely run it. It also kept crashing," Shacker flagg209 wrote. "I must have played it over and over again - because I still remember where everything is, and all the back doors to everything. It was a remarkable game."

In his user review, Unicorn Lynx said: "It fully deserves the praise it has got and stands out as one of the most remarkable achievements of video game design."

Tell us your memories of Deus Ex in the comments below. To read additional thoughts about the game, read the Chatty thread created to support this feature.

Deus Ex on

Description: Deus Ex is a dark cyberpunk game that combines gameplay styles of first-person shooter and RPG, with elements of stealth and puzzle-solving. The player assumes the role of JC Denton, UNATCO anti-terrorist agent. Pitted against an elaborate global conspiracy, he must interact with characters, pick up weapons and complete objectives. While DC is essentially fixed within the mission-framework of the game, he can be customized in areas such as weapons, technical skills and physical prowess. Completing objectives rewards the player with skill points, which may be distributed to increase JC's proficiencies in eleven different disciplines. The player can choose to increase the damage JC inflicts with various types of weapons, improve his lock-picking or computer hacking abilities, etc. Each such discipline has four levels of proficiency.

The Deus Ex franchise lives on with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the first game from developer Eidos Montreal. For more on the latest game in the series, check out the Deus Ex: Human Revolution game page on Shacknews.

MobyGames Classic is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry with the help of our sister site It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community.

Xav de Matos was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 8, 2011 10:00 AM

    Xav de Matos posted a new article, Moby Games Classic: Deus Ex.

    'Moby Games Classic' is our chance to look back at the games that helped shape the video game industry. It combines a short history lesson on the title and anecdotes from the Shacknews community. Our first classic to spotlight: the original Deus Ex.

    • reply
      October 8, 2011 10:18 AM

      If I may make a serious suggestion, it would be cool if for every one of these articles there were some links at the bottom to resources in order to get the games working on hardware of today.

      Obviously most of us know how to do it already, but it's always good to get someone new into DX1 in the best way possible :3

      I am very much looking forward to the next article.

    • reply
      October 8, 2011 10:21 AM

      I forgot you guys bought moby games, which is awesome because moby games is awesome! So is Deus Ex! This is an all around awesome thread!

    • reply
      October 8, 2011 10:25 AM

      I loved the fact that it wasn't the typical battle of good vs evil. You're caught up in a struggle between various groups that all believed that they knew what was best for the world. Your choices are often unclear, encouraging you to go with your gut.

      • reply
        October 8, 2011 10:40 AM

        Yes! I hate blatantly good/evil decisions in games.

        • reply
          October 8, 2011 2:29 PM

          it's morality for idiots. the worst. so many RPGs fall victim to this.

          • reply
            October 9, 2011 8:59 AM

            Morality is so simple, though. The only time morality gets complex is when people mis-define it or use it as a tool to justify their own gains. A 'complex' moral issue is only complex because of confused, uneducated people muddying the waters.

            That being said, it certainly makes a game more interesting when the choices aren't black and white.

      • reply
        October 8, 2011 11:55 AM

        The Witcher is the only recent series that does this so well too.

        • reply
          October 8, 2011 2:29 PM

          Fallout: New Vegas did all right with it.

          • reply
            October 9, 2011 12:18 PM

            The karma system jacks it up for me. I'd be much happier if they just removed that.

        • reply
          October 8, 2011 4:35 PM

          The Witcher 1 reminded me a lot of Deus Ex. Not quite 100% polished, but so much going on in the story it was awesome.

    • reply
      October 8, 2011 2:10 PM

      I just recently played the game for the firs time, and it was easily one of the best games (let alone FPSs) I have ever played, despite how old it is. The whole Tokyo area is ridiculously detailed and allows you to go everywhere, rather than just having pretty vistas that you can only see, not touch, which seems typical of modern shooters. Amazing game.

    • reply
      October 8, 2011 4:20 PM

      I recently downloaded this from Steam and played it for the first time.

      I followed this guide to get it looking good:

    • reply
      October 9, 2011 12:20 AM

      Can we just make this clear:

      DX had gameplay choices, not story choices. The only story choices were at the very end, which was basically "here are some endings, pick one".

      • reply
        October 9, 2011 12:27 AM

        there's quite a bit of variation on when various characters can die, for almost all of them the game adapts gracefully.

      • reply
        October 9, 2011 12:40 AM

        There are story choices throughout, they're just small. How you deal with the Rentons, or reassuring the crazy cat lady in Paris, little things like that are legitimate player choices. Sure, they didn't affect the major plotline, but they definitely shape the story your gameplay tells.

    • reply
      October 9, 2011 8:54 AM

      I somehow missed this game in 2000 and never picked it up, even though it looks like exactly the kind of game I would have loved at the time. Being the graphics (immersion) snob that I am I don't think I could play through this today.

      • reply
        October 9, 2011 12:39 PM

        OF course you can, just follow the guide on my link above :)

    • reply
      October 10, 2011 2:00 PM

      xev! thanks for the citation!

      • reply
        October 10, 2011 2:00 PM

        shit, the least I could do is spell your name right :( sorry man - call it excitement I'll never be mentioned on the front page again :(

Hello, Meet Lola