Video Game Vent Crawlers

Despite their relative mundanity in the real world, to a character in a video game an air vent is the perfect way to get past a locked door, spy on some NPCs or even take refuge from all the terrible creatures trying to get you (until you realise that they spawn there in the darkness and you’ve just crawled face first into their nest, of course). Pretty much a necessity for any stealth game worth its salt, you can even find some suggestion of the vent-crawling trope in games set in medieval times (although, to be fair, these do tend to be subterranean tunnels and sewers as opposed to some kind of craftily engineered magical equivalent). So who are some of video gaming’s top vent crawlers?

Adam Jensen (Deus Ex: Human Revolution)

Before his accident and extensive cybernetic augmentation, Adam Jensen was a SWAT commander in the Detroit Police. It is perhaps rather ironic that, not long after assuming his new role as security specialist for Sarif Industries, he ends up spending more time crawling through the company’s air conditioning system (and indeed those in the other places he ends up during the course of the game) than doing his job. More amusing still, the game actually rewards you with achievement points for taking the time to trek through air vents. Perhaps he should be working for somewhere like Air Options instead?

Isaac Clarke (the Dead Space series)

Adam Jensen’s air vent escapades look like a cakewalk when compared Isaac Clarke’s. Indeed, his are far more realistic, the above video demonstrating the quite understandable complex that both he and the people who play him tend to develop after having had one unpleasant surprise-related experience too many. In Dead Space, all manner of horrible creatures come bursting out of pipes, air vents and more besides, meaning that you’ll really want to think twice before venturing into one on the USG Ishimura yourself (or, you know, even going aboard).

Faith (Mirror’s Edge)

While the majority of Mirror’s Edge focuses on breathtaking parkour routes across the precarious heights of the futuristic city in which it is set, there are a fair few sequences in which you must disrupt your flow to crawl through claustrophobic air vents (not that a similar sense of disruption can’t be achieved by repeatedly falling down the same gap between two buildings over and over again, but I digress). While they do provide you with respite by being a place to hide from enemies, they can bring about a rather irritating change of pace.

The Protagonist (Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines)

While arguably not as popular as some of the other games listed here, the vents that are put to use by the main character of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines are really quite handy. As shown by this video, they can allow you to bypass swathes of enemies or simply scramble into the loot-filled apartment of someone who your lockpicking skill isn’t high enough to grant you access to. However, it’s not exactly the most dignified way for a creature of the night to travel; what are you, a Nosferatu?

ECMSquared (11 Posts)

MA student and copywriter with an incurable video game addiction. Also likes tabletop RPGs, films, comic books, anime, blogging and writing short stories. More crazed ramblings can be found on Twitter.

No related posts.