Deus Ex Mac Game Icon Logo

Written by me@grafxflow

26 Sep, 2012



Deus Ex 1 Original (Mac) Retrospective Review

Publisher: Aspyr

Developer: Ion Storm - Westlake Interactive

Genre: Action role-playing, first-person shooter

Release Date: 6th July 2000


UPDATE: See some of the updated graphics available via wineskin in 2012 here

Now I have to start by saying this is a very... very old game. At the time of writing this review it's an epic 12 years old. But don't let that put you off. Yes the graphics are aged as you would expect but if you are willing to see beyond this it can be a very fulfilling game.


It all takes place in the near future where the worlds civilisations are in near collapse. There is a plague called 'Gray Death' killing most of the Earths population and in turn terrorism is rampant as people battle to get the 'Ambrosia' vaccine, which only the rich and powerful have access. This is where you are brought in by playing the main character J.C. Denton, who is one of UNATCOs new nanotechnology agents, which is a cyborg but at a micro molecular cell level.

Talking to Juan Lebedev on the 747 in La Guardia.

Your missions starts by trying to stem the tide of global terrorism which in the first level may seem a bit slow in pace, but as the game goes on you will find yourself travelling the world and the plot itself getting deeper and deeper. Eventually you won't know who to trust or who's side to take. But this is what makes the game play in Deus Ex stand out from the crowd. Unlike other games where you have a start point and end point to the story of the game, you will actually find yourself making decisions, not matter how trivial that will have an impact on the plot, in certain cases much later in the game. These decisions could be physical actions you take or a conversation you have with another character. It's at this point I will give you a gentle hint 'don't always do as your told'.

Setting a guard on fire in a tower of area 51.

The levels themselves are large and very immersive, with surroundings that create a very dark feel to the future of the world. In some of the larger cities you will have several characters all around you, each with their own individual opinions on the world, some important and some very amusing! Make sure to explore the levels... the shadows... the ceilings... everywhere, since there are many hidden sections that hide very important and handy items such as:

  • Nano augmentations to give you extra abilities such as silent movement capabilities.
  • Skill level awards which will allow you to upgrade any elements such as swimming or sniper accuracy.
  • Items and notes which add to the plot. Hint: check all the notes when getting access to computers.

Sniper time!

As for the strategy you choose to take, again can vary. Whether you wish to be a sniper taking everyone out from a distance or become invisible (later in the game) and just run past everyone it's up to you. Each mission can be completed several different ways and completely skipped out all together, again depending on your plot choices.

Many of the characters become more involved as the plot deepens, and they will react to your decisions in the game, so be careful, there can be consequences from choices you make and things you do. For example your brother is the first character you will meet and he will guide you through the first few levels to make sure you are on track. But later (without trying to give too much away!) in the game he will make a decision that will effect your thoughts and make you question who are the good and bad guys. In fact much later in the game a decision of your own can effect your brothers own life. This in itself took me several times of playing the game to figure it out, but thats up to you!

Also as you play the game don't just think it will be a one way conversation with most characters, because now and then you will be given a choice of answers and common sense will tell how they will react.

Is that the Dragon's Tooth sword I can see?

As for sound the music is great and it really helps to set the mood and tone of the game. The sound effects themselves are adequate but won't degrade the gameplay. The acting of the main characters is good and help to build up the characters they play.

Looking down onto the lower deck of the navel ship.

As for why this game never made a bigger mark on the gaming world is unknown to me. Maybe it was marketed wrong or just didn't fit the mould of the usual first person shooter. But strangely like some cult independent movies... with age it seems to get more recognised for which it deserves and so do its developers.

Time to get out of here!


I played the game first time around as a demo on a CD, which only contained the first level but still managed to get my attention for several days. From this point onwards I became addicted and therefore got the full game. It was also at this time that Mac OS X was in its infancy and therefore the game was released on Mac OS 9 (And I will add the game never got updated!). So sadly now I have to play it via bootcamp... but enough of this ranting on. I am just trying to get across the impact the game has had and the lengths I have gone to in order to carry on playing it.

This is still the number one game of all time in my personal opinion. It's the one game that I still try to play at least once every year and each individual time get total enjoyment as if playing it for the first time. Even now I am still finding new elements that I haven't known about. It's hard to sum up the game due to it having so much involvement from you as a player and the world you are surrounded by, but it's a must play game, as long as your willing to see beyond the games age.

Immersive gameplay in a large world
High re-playability factor
Great music (for its day)
Varied choice of weapons
A fulfilling game conclusion, whichever of the endings you choose!
A.I. memory span is short and sometimes their attention is questionable. For example if you were one of the enemy soldiers and a colleague who is standing next to you gets killed and drops to the floor. Do you just stand there with no reaction? As sometimes happens in the game!
Some of the characters voice acting is very bad

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I am a Full-stack Developer who also started delving into the world of UX/UI Design a few years back. I blog and tweet to hopefully share a little bit of knowledge that can help others around the web. Thanks for stopping by!