Hideout Alert is a quotient used to measure the preparedness of enemy Hideouts against Max Remington's presence. The higher the Alert level of any Hideout, the more difficult it would be to perform any activity at that Hideout. When alert is sufficiently high, a Hideout can even send its men to Chase Max down and try to capture her.
Hideout Alert levels are dynamic, and respond primarily to actions taken by Max. CIA Double Agents also help increase Hideout Alert.
Hideout Alert is a term that describes how well-prepared a Hideout is to thwart Max's investigation. Predominantly, it refers to the amount of guards placed on patrol in and around that Hideout. This translates into several game effects, which are explained below.
Each Hideout has its own Alert level, tracked independently from other Hideouts. A single Hideout in a city can be on maximum alert while others in that same city are not alert at all.
Hideout Alert appears to work on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "no alert" and 10 being "maximum alert". However, there is no direct evidence to the existence of exactly 10 different levels of alert.
Hideout Alert normally as a response to Max performing suspicious activities at a Hideout. In particular, this occurs when triggering an alarm during Wiretap or Car Trace installations, as well as each time Max Breaks-Into a Hideout (whether or not she stayed inside for more than a few seconds or actually did anything there). Curiously, Observation of a Hideout, no matter how prolonged, does not raise the Hideout Alert level at all.
When such suspicious activity is detected by the enemy, the Alert Level at the Hideout where the action was performed will be ramped up by a certain amount. Additionally, other Hideouts will also be more alert, though the rate at which they become alert is reduced. It is possible, if enough such actions are performed at a single Hideout, to raise the Hideout Alert throughout the entire city to its maximum level! However, Hideout Alert does not pass from city to city.
Double Agents within the CIA will automatically raise the Hideout Alert throughout the entire city where they are present. Naturally, this makes all Hideouts in that city harder to investigate. Careful observation of Hideout Alert in a city can reveal to Max that the local CIA Office does indeed contain such a Double Agent. Exposing a Double Agent immediately reduces the Hideout Alert throughout the city by a certain amount.
Hideout Alert levels also decrease with time, by a rate of about 1 level per every few hours. This can be achieved by simply "wasting" some time, or by continuing your investigation in another city for a while.
Determining Current Alert LevelEdit
To determine the current Hideout Alert level of any Hideout, it is necessary to travel to that Hideout. Once you arrive, two immediate visual cues will give you an approximation of how high the Alert level is at the Hideout currently.
Hideout DescriptionEditThe most obvious clue is displayed on screen in the most straightfoward manner possible: it is written in the short description of the hideout, at the top left of the screen when viewing that Hideout from outside.
The text simply describes the amount of guards patrolling the premises. However, it is not accurate, as it can only indicate 4 different "states":
- No alert description. Max notices nothing special. This correlates roughly to Alert levels 1 to 3.
- "A few guards are peering through the windows". This correlates roughly to Alert levels 4 to 6.
- "It appears extra guards have been posted". This correlates roughly to Alert levels 7 to 9.
- "The building is swarming with guards". This correlates roughly to Alert level 10.
Given this text, you can make a rather good assumption on how difficult it would be to perform actions at this Hideout. This is the most straightforward method to get such an appraisal, barring an actual attempt at Wiretapping, which gives a more accurate result but commits you to playing a Mini-Game and taking approximately 3 hours off your clock.
Hideout AnimationEditThe animation showing the Hideout from outside also gives a visual cue to its preparedness. You can get a rough estimate of the opposition simply by watching the people moving inside and outside the Hideout.
At the lowest alert level, there will be about 3 or so people moving about - a quiet scene indicating no special activity. As Hideout Alert rises, there will be more people visible both on the outside and inside of the building, peering out the windows, possibly even patrolling on the rooftop.
This is a very vague indicator, of course. It's also redundant, given that the same screen also shows the approximate Hideout Alert level in plain text (see above).
Mini-Game TimerEditThe most accurate way to gauge a Hideout's Alert level is to actually start installing a Wiretap there. During the prelude screen, a small box will describe the Hideout Alert in words (different than the Hideout Description text as explained above), but will also tell you how much time you have to complete the Wiretap before you must abandon it due to passing enemy patrols.
The amount of time to complete the Wiretap correlates directly to the current Hideout Alert level. Each level takes 1 minute off the timer, with No Alert meaning 10 minutes on the clock, and Maximum Alert giving you only 2 minutes.
Naturally, this is not a particularly good way to gauge a Hideout's Alert level in cases where you don't actually need or want to perform a Wiretap - since the action will take around 3 hours off your game clock regardless of whether you complete the Wiretap or simply quit the Mini-Game immediately.
In any case, there should be no reason to need such an accurate estimate of the Hideout Alert level anyway.
As a Hideout's Alert level increases, more guards and patrols will be posted at that Hideout. This has several effects:
- More guards appearing during the Break-In Mini-Game.
- Less time to complete Wiretap and Car Trace installation.
- Higher chance of being Chased by enemy thugs when attempting to travel away from the Hideout.
For these reasons, attempting the above actions at a Hideout on high Alert is more risky, and potentially more dangerous for Max.
During any Break Into, a certain number of guards will constantly be patrolling the interior of the building. These guards pose a threat, as they will raise the alarm if they manage to spot Max without being shot first, as well as try to Wound Max by shooting or throwing Grenades at her.
The number of guards spawned inside the Hideout at the start of the Break-In correlates to the Hideout's Alert level. The higher the Alert level, the more guards are spawned initially. The maximum number of guards spawned is 8. At the lowest alert level, it appears that no more than 3 or 4 guards are spawned.
Additionally, as enemy guards are killed, more will spawn to replace them until the Hideout runs out of replacement guards. It appears that the size of the replacements pool also correlates to the Alert level, so Hideouts on high Alert will be able to replace more dead guards. However, note that as long as the Alarm is not triggered, the game will try to maintain a constant number of guards, replacing only ones that are killed rather than just occasionally spawning more.
Finally, if the alarm is raised during the Break-In, more guards will immediately spawn somewhere inside the Hideout (usually in the Agent Room, if there is one). The higher the current Alert Level, the more guards will be spawned when the alarm goes off. Note however that there cannot be more than 8 guards within a Hideout at any given time.
Side note: It is also possible (though hard to prove) that enemy guards' "response times" become faster when Alert level is higher. That is, they will identify Max faster when line-of-sight is established, see through Max's Disguise more easily, and/or have better shooting skills. However none of this has been conclusively proven (and possibly cannot be proven at all).
Please note that when Breaking Into a Hideout housing a Mastermind will be played as though the Hideout Alert there is at its maximum, regardless of the actual alert level! This means a lot of extra guards.
Wiretaps and Car TracesEdit
Another important effect of Hideout Alert is determining the amount of time given to complete the installation of a Wiretap or Car Trace at a Hideout. The higher the alert level, the less time you have.
When starting a Wiretap or Car Trace, a small text box will describe the current alert level with a word or two, and tell you exactly how much time you have to complete the Mini-Game:
|Hideout Alert Level||Description||Alotted Time (Wiretap)||Alotted Time (Car Trace)|
|1||Unsuspecting||10 minutes||5 minutes|
|2||Unsuspecting||9 minutes||4.5 minutes|
|3||Cautious||8 minutes||4 minutes|
|4||Cautious||7 minutes||3.5 minutes|
|5||Cautious||6 minutes||3 minutes|
|6||Suspicious||5 minutes||2.5 minutes|
|7||Suspicious||4 minutes||2 minutes|
|8||Nervous||3 minutes||1.5 minutes|
|9||Nervous||2 minutes||1 minute|
|10||Very Nervous||2 minutes||1 minute|
Please note the following:
- Allotted Car Trace time is always half the Alotted Wiretap time, given the same Hideout Alert level.
- There is no difference between Alert levels 9 and 10 as far as these two Mini-Games are concerned.
- Time inside the Mini-Game does not flow at the same rate as real-life. Each "Minute" on the clock takes about 45 seconds to pass, meaning that at the highest alert level, you have ~1:30 minutes to complete a Wiretap, and 45 seconds to complete a Car Trace.
- Hideout Alert does not alter the actual difficulty of the Mini-Game, only the allotted time.
Once the time runs out, assuming the Mini-Game has not been won nor an alarm been triggered by then, the mini-game will simply end unceremoniously. In Wiretap attempts, you can still have some benefit if you've managed to disconnect any Target Chips - you can keep the information you've gained while doing so. With Car Traces however, failure to complete the Mini-Game successfully before the time runs out means nothing has been achieved, except wasting time off the clock.
In any case, running out of time does not in itself trigger the alarm, and does not appear to affect Hideout Alert.
- Main article: Car Chase
A Car Chase is a two-stage scenario which begins with Max noticing that she is being followed by two cars full of armed thugs. This initiates a Driving Mini-Game, where Max is pursued by two cars that constantly try to run her off the road. If Max can reach a friendly office (the CIA Office, or possibly the MI6 or Mossad office) before she's forced off the road, the Car Chase ends successfully.
However, if the enemy manages to run Max off the road, the scenario goes into "stage 2", an outdoor Combat Mini-Game where Max must personally eliminate all the enemy thugs (up to 8!) with her gun and/or grenades. While this may be easier (and quicker) than trying to reach a friendly office during the Driving stage, it also carries the risk of Wounds which take time to heal.
Even if averted successfully by winning either of the mini-games, a Car Chase still costs some time off the clock, and as such is a minor hindrance to the investigation. This is made worse if Max was run off the road and then Wounded during the combat portion, in which case it will take her several hours to heal from her wounds.
The Car Chase will only occur if one of the Hideouts in a city is at Hideout Alert level 9 or 10. The Organization that owns this Hideout will be the one sending their thugs after Max, regardless of which Hideout she was traveling away from when the Car Chase was triggered.
Note that if the Combat stage is lost (by suffering 4 Wounds), Max will be Captured by that Organization. Refusing an Exchange of agents means that Max will be taken to the Organization's own Hideout in the city, and will need to perform an Escape. All this is extremely time-consuming, which is one of the reasons a Car Chase is such a nuisance.
- Main article: Ambush
The Ambush is a slight variation of a Car Chase, except that you are immediately dropped into combat. It occurs only at higher Difficulty levels, more often when the Hideout Alert level is very high. Ambushes will trigger when you attempt to travel to a location within the city. When the enemy's thugs attack, your travel plan is immediately cancelled.
At the end of the combat, you will learn which Organization sent their thugs after you, and determine the location of their hideout. Skilled players may attempt to exploit this by pressing for Rumors at the hotel, and making an attempt to travel within the city. If they successfully complete combat (possibly waiting after recovering from Wounds), they can learn the location of the Hideout that sent the attackers - this will sometimes be a location relevant to the current Criminal Plot - if one exists in the city at all. Again, since an Ambush is a combat situation, this exploit carries a serious risk.
Changes in Hideout AlertEdit
When a new Mission begins, the Hideout Alert level of all Hideouts on the world map will be set to either 1 or 2: basic, virtually-nonexistent alert. Various factors, including primarily Max's own actions, may raise and lower the Alert level for each Hideout as appropriate during the mission.
Raising Alert LevelEdit
The main cause for an increase in Alert level at a Hideout comes from performing activities at that Hideout.
Any installation of a Wiretap or Car Trace that ends with an alarm being triggered causes an increase of 2-3 Alert levels at the Hideout where they are performed. This occurs only if the Alarm is triggered - running out of time or quitting the mini-game prematurely does not raise Alert levels at all.
It also appears that the more Alarm Chips are triggered simultaneously during the Electronics Mini-Game, the higher the increase of Alert level. It's theorized the game determines the Alert increase per each triggered Alarm Chip separately.
Additionally, any Break-In performed at a Hideout will automatically increase the Alert level by at least 1. This applies even if Max exited through the door she came in immediately after entering the building. This means that even such innocuous break-ins can eventually bring a Hideout to maximum Alert, if performed repeatedly.
It is currently unknown whether raising the alarm during a Break-In causes extra increase of Alert levels there. However, it is quite clear that any attempt to Arrest an Agent residing inside a Hideout will immediately increase the Alert level there by a whopping amount. The only exception to this appears to be if the agent is successfully put in jail (thanks to them being a Participant and Max having their Role listed on the agent's Suspect File), though this has not been conclusively proven nor refuted.
Similarly, it is currently unknown whether any other action performed inside a Hideout increases or decreases the Alert levels added at the end of the Break-In.
Note that Observation of a Hideout, no matter how prolonged, does not increase the Alert level there.
Lowering Alert LevelEdit
Hideout Alert across the entire game-world decreases slowly with time. Every few hours that pass (around 6 hours, it seems) will lower the Alert level at each hideout by about 1 or 2 levels, assuming no action was made during those hours that would increase Alert.
This can be achieved by simply wasting time (such as going to and from the local Airport, or even traveling to a different city). Of course, time is a valuable resource, so this is not the optimal method.
If you have confidence in your Electronics abilities, you can try Wiretapping the hideout repeatedly. So long as you do not trigger any Alarm Chip, the local Alert level will slowly drop as the hours pass, and you might collect valuable information while doing so.
Alternately, you could take your investigation to a different city. While you investigate Hideouts in that city, the Alert Level at the city you left will slowly be dropping. You can then return there later during the Mission to complete whatever task it was you were hoping to accomplish but couldn't due to the high local Alert.
Being attacked by hitmen reduces the alert level. However, you may end up being injured in the fight, causing you valuable hours.
CIA Double AgentsEdit
- Main article: Double Agent (CIA)
When such a Double Agent exists, the Hideout Alert in each and every Hideout in the same city will be permanently raised above its default level. That is, on your very first visit to that city all Hideouts will already be on a higher level of alert, possibly level 3 or 4, if not higher. Even if time is wasted deliberately (see above), Hideout Alert in the city will not drop down to level 0 as long as the Double Agent remains unexposed.
Exposing the Double Agent is possible by visiting the Intelligence Section at the local CIA Office. When such an agent is successfully exposed, the Hideout Alert bonus for all local Hideouts will disappear, usually dropping their Alert down by 2-3 points. They can now reach Alert level 0 if sufficient time passes without suspicious activities on Max's part.
Note that it is possible to discover the location of a Double Agent by paying attention to Alert levels on your first visit to a city. If one (or more) Hideouts appear to already be on elevated Alert, it is likely that they were tipped off about Max's arrival in the city, indicating a Double Agent is working in the local CIA Office.
Note however that this is not always predictable, as Hideout Alert is not yet fully understood. It is possible for a Hideout to be on higher Alert Level due to actions performed elsewhere in the world, though the exact reasons behind this remain undiscovered. More often than not, however, elevated Alert on your first visit to a city does indicate a Double Agent in the local CIA Office - just not always.