Alekhine's Gun is a stealth game and the spiritual successor to the Death to Spies series. The protagonist is still the same, KGB colonel Semyon Strogov, now operating under the codename Agent Alekhine. The game starts on 22nd November 1963, the day president Kennedy was shot, and Semyon prepares to commit suicide as his wife and daughter were killed the same day. From KGB during World War II he became an agent working for the CIA and the first mission is a flashback to an infiltration in Bergen in September 1943. It explains how he first met the CIA agent Vincent Rambaldi who eventually turned him into joining the CIA. Unlike the first two games set during World War II, this game is based on the spy fiction during the Cold War in the early sixties. There are eleven missions in total, each one as a flashback at very different locations, such as a hotel, a fire station, aboard an aircraft carrier and locations all over the world such as Norway and Cuba, and cities like Miami, a biker bar in rural Texas or Chinatown. The plot focuses on a power struggle inside the CIA where certain forces aim to bring down the American government and steer towards an all out nuclear war.
Each mission offers a very large location that can be tackled in many different ways. At the start of the game there are usually different objectives that can be completed in any order. There are no further clues or help, so the player has to figure out the different ways to approach a situation. Before each mission a loadout can be defined with a combat knife, chloroform, a garrote, and different types of weapons that can also be upgraded. After each mission a ranking is awarded based on the noise, violence, accuracy, number of times spotted, alerted guards, bodies found, enemies and innocents killed, accidents, difficulty level and so on. This is rewarded with RP points that can be used to unlock and upgrade weapons for the loadout. It is possible to save at any moment during a mission.
A typical mission requires scouting the environment first and the best way to do that is taking out someone to get his uniform or credentials. Certain ones are needed in specific situations, for instance to become a waiter delivering a poisoned drink, a doctor, a prison guard or security personnel, usually different for each mission based on the environment. Higher-ups can still recognize Alekhine however and all openly suspicious behaviour often leads to a complete alarm where everyone in sight will attack right away. It is still possible to approach the game as a shooter, but weapons have a limited amount of ammo and new ones need to be taken from guards. Most RP points are earned by 'ghosting' a level, killing as few people as possible and not getting noticed at all. As in the previous games garroting people is the most silent attack and bodies can be dragged to a different location.
There is an awareness meter that shows how suspicious the people are. There are many items in the environment that can be used, such as cover, turning lights on or off, sabotaging items, staging accidents, whistling to draw the attention, peeping through keyholes, closing doors and so on. Locked doors can be opened through lock-picking mini-games. These take some time to complete and when discovered people are immediately fully alerted. Next to taking out people, many can be avoided by studying their patterns or taking advantage of uniforms or passes to get around quickly. An instinct meter can be activated every now and then to highlight all items and people in the environment. There is never a single approach to solving a problem, there are multiple solutions. There are four difficulty levels that influence the AI and some options such as the ability to never change clothes or only after certain attacks. An in-game map is available at all times.
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