Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark, known to the PC crowd as Stealth Bastard, has made it's way over to Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita and it manages to keep all of the "edge of your seat" insanity that PC players have been dealing with for a while. If you're lucky enough to own a Playstation 3 and a Playstation Vita then you can benefit from the games cross buy (buy the PS3 version, get the Vita one for free) and cross save function.
Stealth Inc, for all intents and purposes, is a stealth platformer through and through. You play as a "clone", hence the tag line, but the real twist is that the game times you. That twist changes the game entirely as you race the clock and try not to get spotted by cameras, robots or sentries.
The levels in Stealth Inc. are made to punish and abuse players. While you advance through areas, writings on the walls appear and most of them are words of discouragement, but it's when you fail that the writing mocks you and belittles you. It's pretty amusing to know that everything in the game is against you, including the people who placed you in the levels. However, that thrill of defying the odds and completing the level makes it all worthwhile. It can be nerve wracking at first to speed run in a game that thrives on punishment and harassment for failing at any turn. Once you get the hang of it though everything falls into place and it becomes second nature.
To complete a level, players must find and access a number of computer terminals in order to open the escape door. Computer terminals not only activate the door but they also have the potential to change the level layout. Opening new areas and closing off previous ones, shutting and opening doors to create new light or shadow paths, or giving the opportunity to manipulate robots into stepping on platforms or accessing doors for you. While the computers give access to the escape, you shouldn't be surprised if they cause more harm than good.
Stealth Inc has 8 worlds with 10 levels each, with each level gradually increasing the difficulty and the learning curve. Most of the time, you will find yourself going through trial and error again and again until you figure out the pattern of the level or, in some cases, the speed you need to get through. In each level there is are hidden items called the dark helix that takes some extreme exploration and navigation to find. When you collect 8 helixes you unlock a secret level in the world. And after each level, you're graded on how fast you completed it, the amount of times you died and the amount of times you were spotted by enemies. If you beat the level under par time and score you will receive an S-rank grade and, again, 8 S-ranks will unlock a secret level for you. Not much is going on in Stealth Inc regarding controls; you move left and right and you have a jump button and an interact button. Most of the game mechanics come from the levels themselves.
Like most stealth games, Stealth Inc manipulates light and darkness in order to add to the ambience. The game lets you know when you're not visible, partially visible or completely visible in the environment. Robots and sentries have specific distance fields of vision and when they spot you they blast you with a laser. Some of the sentries react to sound and will swarm towards you or aim at your last known location if they hear you. Sensor bars change map layouts and can open doors or activate traps depending on the situation.
Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark is an extremely good time, particularly for an indie game (not to diminish indie titles), and with the DLC pack the adventures in failure and death can continue. The learning curve isn't too steep and the trial and error formula makes it easier on incoming players. With the cross save functionality you can complete any portion on either PS3 or Vita and continue where you left off at any moment. If you've already played Stealth Bastard on PC then you will find no new surprises here. For everyone else, take the plunge and enjoy a great indie game. I give it a 4 out of TOV 5 stars.