Iron Storm: Reichstag

Once in Berlin, you make your way through underground tunnels to the Reichstag building, to steal the final macguffin (the magnetic keys for your stolen sample case) from the quarters of Baron Ugenberg himself, and ideally also assassinate him while you happen to be in the area. Presumably the Reichstag fire never happened in this alternate timeline, but the building is in very poor condition anyway, with the kind of dingy decrepitude you mostly see in horror games. Lots of boarded-up windows and doors to constrain your movement. Outside, it’s surrounded by tanks and barbed wire. Even at the highest levels of government, the neverending war consumes everything.

The building is divided into five floors, with a solitary elevator as your main way of traveling between them. On most floors, the elevator area is quite firmly defended by turrets. A roomful of electrical boxes on the second floor 1The floors are numbered in the traditional European way: floor 1 is the one above the ground floor. lets you turn off the power to any floor (except for floor 3, because its switch handle is broken). This deactivates the turrets on that floor, but also deactivates the elevator doors, forcing you to find a different entry point.

My first assumption was that this was going to be a straightforward floor-by-floor ascent, sweeping through each floor to find the stairs to the next. I had, after all, entered through the basement, and had to explore pretty thoroughly to find the stairs up to the ground floor. But instead, it turns out to involve a lot of going up and down. That basement, for example, had a severe problem with electrical leakage into standing water, making portions of it inaccessible until I went up to floor 2 and turned off the electricity. From the newly-accessible part of the basement, I can reach a new part of the ground floor, from which I can get outside and climb a ladder up to a howitzer in a second-story window that lets me take out the tanks preventing me from using a different exterior door. I spend a lot of time running through hallways I’ve already cleared of enemies, now eerily quiet, trying to remember where things are and how to reach them. In fact, I’m spending a lot of time stuck, not really clear on what my next goal is or how the last thing I did helps me reach it.

In short, this chapter plays a lot like an adventure game. Just an adventure game where you sometimes have to shoot people.

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1. The floors are numbered in the traditional European way: floor 1 is the one above the ground floor.

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