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|Platform(s)||PC, Xbox 360, Xbox 720, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U|
| M for Mature|
Spree is an open world action-adventure video game developed and published by Lunatic Entertainment. The game notoriously was trapped in Development Hell for 11 years before development began again.
The open world design allows the player to freely roam the city, although movement beyond this is restricted.
Following the events of The Devil's Pacifism but taking a more science-fiction aspect, Thor has moved away from Anchorage, Alaska and found himself in a new location. Although he tries to move past his past discretions, he begins to lose himself at the beginning of the game, feeling the "tendrils of darkness moving forward" again. Although he tries to fight it at first, he quickly lets it overtake him and begins to transcend into Loki again.
At this point he decides that the city is unsaveable, and makes the ultimate choice to wipe the entire city off the face of the planet. His goal becomes to leave no human being left alive.
Spree is played from a third-person perspective in an open world, "sandbox" environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The player can walk about at street level and move through a number of buildings, drive through town in a vehicle, ride the monorail.
Time passes in real time and the exact time of year and time is directly taken from each console's internal clock device. While the game world only consists of the city itself, the game will have the player turn around at the in-game border, stating that he doesn't want to leave until "his job is finished". With the town being an island city surrounded on all sides by a body of water, he quickly takes the opportunity through missions to blow out the bridges leading out of the city to trap the inhabitants there until they can be properly disposed of.
Should the player stay away from the game for a long period of time and return to their game, they will find newspaper articles and see reports on how the "Mad Jackson Killer" has not committed a crime in an amount of time (the voice actress for the news reports is able to say "a week", "weeks", "nearly a month", "a month", "months", "six months", "nearly a year", "a year", and beyond that listed by years up to a decade, after which point she will be replaced with an older gentleman news anchor, who will only say "over a decade". If this is the case the bridges will be fixed if destroyed and the population will have recovered some, dependent directly on surviving populace and the amount of time passed.
However, should the character physically alter the clock (this does not include having to reset the clock should a player unplug their system, but instead includes any time the clock may go backwards in time), then upon returning to the game the player character will be shown to be suffering from psychosis, hallucinations that nearly cripple him. They will quickly dissipate to a level where he can move again, but the effects will last for 5-10 minutes afterwards, weakening him both in regular and shadow states.
Continuing a game
Continuing a game works as it normally would in a game, with the only true alterations occurring if significant time has passed since the player last played the game. However, an interesting feature is that the title screen will alter between various locations, and when the continue button is pressed the game will zoom out to show this to be the area that the character currently is located. This can include his apartment, several landmarks across the city, or even more mundane locations such as grocery supermarkets and shopping malls. At this point the game will begin.
So long as he does not suffer a psychotic, hallucinatory break people will not pay him any mind, and even then they will only give him minor attention, seeing him as sickened or drunk.
While Thor should usually attempt to kill victims in his shadowed form, he is able to slay them in his true form as well, by picking up makeshift weaponry found strewn about the city. His strength is realistic however and so it can take a significant effort to kill people this way, although there are a few achievements for dedicating oneself to this tactic.
One of Thor's shadow abilities augments his strength with shadowy tendrils supporting the weight along with his arms, and the more shadow mass absorbed the heavier items he will be able to pick up and the further he will be able to throw said items.
When in the shadowy "Loki" form, this augmentation comes naturally, and extra weapons can be held in additional tendrils, with the amount of these tendrils also being dependent upon the mass currently absorbed.
Weapons can include things such as searing hot coffee (found in coffee houses), tire irons (found in cars and body shops), baseball bats, knives, firearms, ripped out stop signs, vehicles, et cetera.
Thor is able to drive many vehicles found in the game. While he can steal a vehicle using shadow abilities, if he is caught he can be quickly sent to jail, which will greatly increase paranoia and knowledge of his existence as a monster when he attempts to break out. He must therefore try and steal vehicles when no one is paying attention. That being said, he begins the game with his own car available, and it will remain available and wherever he last left it until it is destroyed.
Thor is very rusty at driving stick shifts however, and while he can steal vehicles of this type he will not drive them properly, occasionally leading to stalling or low speeds.
Thor—or more specifically, Loki—will find that his shadow abilities are his best friend, and a major asset in bringing the city crashing down around him. All abilities however either require him to be in physical contact with shadows or to absorb their "mass" into his body for later use. This mass can be stored indefinitely but will constantly drain away if he is hit by direct sunlight while in Loki's corporeal shadow form.
The abilities listed below range from offensive techniques to more covert capacities.
A later technique to be learned, Power Sap allows a corporeal form of Loki to walk around at night time, and have very fast moving tendrils zip out as shadows on the ground to crawl up lamp posts and instantly "blot out" street lights, effectively turning them off as he nears. This aids in his avoiding detection, but also removes the slight weakening that street lights will cause to Loki's shadow abilities at night. This technique also works in buildings no matter the hour, but is not usable in the daylight hours.
Lights will turn back on about ten seconds after Loki has left the general area they are in, with the shadows blotting out the light quickly returning to under the soles of his feet.
Thor's primary power is the ability to absorb shadows into his own body. He can do this without drawing any attention to himself by simply standing in shadow. He can follow NPCs around and consume their shadows, or stand in unlit locations such as alleyways to absorb larger amounts of darkness.
NPCs will be less likely to notice shadows missing the more people in the area, although single NPCs may notice their shadows disappear, leading to full panic for those individuals.
Consumed shadows will slowly regenerate over time.
Shadow Cleansing is an extremely useful core technique.
When murdering individuals, Thor in his regular clothes and Loki when not in full shadow form will become stained with blood when in melee to moderate range. Above a very minimal level, this will greatly increase civilian paranoia and cops will immediately rush to stop him for questioning. To avoid this however, one can use Shadow Cleansing.
What this does is temporarily "roll" over the body with a small amount of shadow mass, which will absorb the blood into itself and leave the player's regular clothes cleared of any evidence. The more blood covering him however, the longer this will take, although the amount of time it will take can only extend to a few seconds at maximum.
A new take on a player's typical "follow missions" allows the player to meld into the shadows. While he can meld into any shadow of his choosing, this is especially useful by walking up behind someone and melding into their shadow, replacing it with his own body by absorbing the shadow and simply let the target take him where he needs to go -- because as their shadow he is physically attached to them, the player can sit back and relax for a while. Only during high paranoia will he be potentially spotted in this form, as his trademark top hat will give him away. Once at a destination and out of sight of other people, he can reemerge in corporeal form to do with his victim as he pleases.
However, during more complex quests or for the lazy and/or advanced player, they can move between people's shadows, effectively switching targets. This is a quick jump to a newly targeted character, and the shadow meld button pressed again. He will remain as a "puddle of shadow" and move at almost lightning speed to the new target. Again, this won't be noticeable except by the paranoid, though because of the direct action taken it takes a lower paranoia level to spot him doing this. It is undetectable in crowds.
When melded with a shadow, the player can press a button to begin leeching mass from the shadow, although it will grow smaller and quickly reveal him in silhouette form. This can also be used to great affect to escape the police or military.
In silhouette form, Loki can move undetected in the sunlight without incurring constant damage, as he will be forced to endure while in a corporeal "3D" form. This silhouette will be easily noticeable by single, particularly observant individuals, but will be undetectable in larger crowds.
This ability allows Loki to be shifted into a flat "2D" form while attached to a wall. He can also use this form to slip behind foes that would otherwise see him and that he couldn't get behind easily, at which time he can perform instant kill attacks if nobody is watching.
Being noticed in this form does not force him out of the wall in question, and his attacks will be locked unless he is performing an instant kill to prevent the player from accidentally revealing himself in large crowds.
The characters in the game are all, outside of the protagonist himself, would-be foes and victims of the player character himself. Complementing the open world of the game, every single other character seen in game can be located and killed at any point, though certain characters will be difficult to get to even in the beginning. However, as the game progresses and default level paranoia kicks itself into overdrive, the most important figurehead characters such as the mayor or the military general will get exponentially more complex to get to.
The Mad Jackson
Thor Steinbach, unbeknownst to the world to be the infamous Mad Jackson killer, is the game's antihero. It is he who seeks the genocide of the entire city. Known to the military and certain scientific groups as Project LOKI, he possesses the ability to absorb and wield shadows to do away with his opponents.
Development for the game started in early 2003, originally planned for release on the PlayStation 2 console. It was intended as Lunatic Entertainment's first true foray into open world 3D games, alongside the original concepts for Ultimate Showdown, They Rise, and Galaxy Online; of these four games only Spree would remain in this style while the other three became top-down action games instead, which was easier to handle the massive amount of content for.
Unfortunately, by 2004 the game quickly entered into a development Hell and went into hiatus for many years. Finally, Lunatic Entertainment announced in January 2015 that the game was once again in development. The game is notable for its laughable excuse for its hiatus, with company CEO Thor Steinbach stating that the game lost its development team when "everybody simply forgot what the game was supposed to be called".
Several game magazines poked fun at this, and likened it to Duke Nukem Forever, with thoughts that the game would be released "equally as lackluster". Despite this, Lunatic Entertainment was not daunted and continued with their development.
Despite early rumors that the game would suffer the same fate as Duke Nukem Forever, the game was well received by the gaming community at large, even with its incredibly morbid subject matter and received overall favorable reviews amongst critics.
As was completely expected by even Lunatic Entertainment themselves, the game was wracked with controversy over things such as the game's entire purpose being built around eradicating an entire city, including children. Many groups normally known for touting the evil of video games latched onto Spree, and protested its release, going so far as to picket Lunatic Entertainment's headquarters in Anchorage, Alaska. The Westboro Baptist Church attempted to burn the building down, and several conspirators were arrested.
People who knew of Steinbach's response to the controversy of his company's earlier release of Mortal Kombat ♃ were not surprised when he laughed in these groups' faces, refusing to change anything and telling them all to "get a life" and to "stop trying to change everything in life just because it makes them uncomfortable, because life doesn't owe them s**t and they need to accept that their idea of what should be has no weight on how other people may choose to enjoy their lives".