- This article is about an attempt by the enemy to free an Arrested Participant. For other uses, see Prison Break.
A successful Prison Break attempt results in the enemy agent returning to At Large status, resuming his part in the Plot.
When Max successfully Arrests an enemy Participant who has not yet completed his part in the current Criminal Plot, the enemy has two options - they can either declare the plot a failure, sending each Participant into Hiding as soon as possible, or attempt to get the plot back on track by springing the Arrested participant from jail.
On the lower Difficulty settings (Local Disturbance, National Threat), the enemy has no choice but to throw away their efforts. On the higher settings however (Regional Conflict and Global Crisis), they will perform the latter option if they can - performing a Prison Break.
This will happen sometime after the Arrest has been made - The exact timing is not pre-determined. The Prison Break is assumed to occur whenever another Participant finds that their mission cannot continue while the Arrested agent is in Jail. This triggers the Prison Break scenario.
The scenario itself is basically a Combat Mini-Game, very similar to a Break-In in that it takes place inside a building just like any Hideout you can break into. However, the way you play this Combat Mini-Game is very different from a Break-In, as your goal is not to collect evidence or grab an agent, but rather to prevent the enemy from grabbing the agent.
The Prison Break takes place inside a building, similar in all respects to the interior of a Hideout. It's posited that this building is randomly-generated just prior to the start of the combat.
Max and the agent he must protect begin the scenario in the same room. The agent is sitting in a chair, much like agents always do when encountered during a Break-In.
The initial room is considered "explored", and its layout is displayed on the Combat Mini-Map at the bottom right corner of the screen. However, the rest of the building is not explored - you can only see the shape of the building, and the location of all external doors. Nonetheless, it is important to pay close attention to where the outer doors are, as will be explained shortly.
Unlike with a Break-In, Max does not get to choose his Combat Gear for this kind of combat. He will always start the mini-game armed with an Uzi, wearing a Kevlar Vest, and holding exactly 4 Fragmentation Grenades.
Additional Grenades may be collected from Neutralized Enemies, as normal. No other piece of Gear may be collected or acquired during the mini-game.
As soon as the mini-game begins, the alarm is raised, and enemy guards begin streaming in through the external doors of the building. They will make their way towards the room where the Arrested agent is located.
As with the normal restrictions, there may not be more than a set number of enemy guards inside the building at any given time. The limit is assumed to be exactly 8. However, as Max kills enemy guards, more may enter the building to "replace" the fallen ones.
Enemies will attempt to enter the room with the Agent in it from various doors. This is especially true when there is more than one external door to the building, as enemies will already be coming from more than one direction in this case.
The enemy will continue to press into the Agent's room until they are all eliminated, or until they have managed to complete their mission.
The objective of the Prison Break, from the enemy's perspective, is to rescue the arrested agent. Naturally, Max's objective is to stop them from doing this.
The enemy will have succeeded in their mission if either of the following conditions occur:
- An enemy guard enters the Agent's room while Max is outside the room.
- Max is knocked out due to suffering 4 Wounds.
If either of these conditions occur, the Mini-game is immediately over, and you are treated to a cutscene showing the enemies lobbing a Gas grenade and making off in the confusion.
On the other hand, if Max manages to kill all enemy agents (including all reinforcements which may stream into the building after the initial wave of enemies), the combat is considered successful from his perspective - he has managed to prevent the Prison Break.
The only persons standing to benefit from a Prison Break are the enemy. If they succeed in their mission, the agent they rescued will return to At Large status, and may continue participating in the Criminal Plot as normal. In other words, they will have completely undone the Arrest, meaning that Max now has to re-arrest the agent to win back the points for his capture, and this takes time.
Max, on the other hand, has nothing to gain from this scenario other than preventing the enemy from setting him back. If the Prison Break ends in failure, a little time will have been wasted, and the agent remains in jail - that is all.
Also, note that the enemy will not attempt to rescue the same Participant from prison more than once in the same Mission. If a Prison Break attempt fails, the enemy will not try again. Also, if the Prison Break succeeds, and then Max re-Arrests the agent, the enemy will not attempt to rescue that agent again either.
However, it is quite possible for more than one Prison Break to occur during the same Mission - the attempted rescue of two different agents, that is. Naturally, if Max does not Arrest any agents, no Prison Break will occur at all.
Finally, due to the fact that Turned enemy agents do not actually go to prison (they remain active and will continue playing their part in the plot to some degree, feeding Max with inside information), the enemy will not attempt to break them out of prison.
A Prison Break is a defensive combat mission. As such, Max must behave accordingly, strengthening his defensive position in the agent's room.
This is helped by the fact that Max starts combat with 4 Fragmentation Grenades. The best use for these grenades appears to be setting them up as Booby Traps and/or Remote Bombs at each of the doors leading into the room. This allows Max to blow enemies up as they come into the room.
If the agent's room has more than one door, which is almost always the case, try to figure out which of these doors the enemy will be able to reach. For example, if the room has a north door and a south door, and the only entrance to the structure is north of the room, it's likely that enemies will only enter through the north door. Correctly anticipating this will help you concentrate your firepower against one entrance, making the entire affair considerably easier - especially if you Booby Trap that door heavily.
Remember that you can pick up more grenades from dead enemies. These grenades can then be used as additional Booby Traps and Remote Bombs as required.
Do try not to use Gas Grenades picked up from dead enemies, since Max does not have a Gas Mask during this combat mission. You'll just end up knocking yourself out.
Finally, while it may be tempting to leave the room and set up a defensive position elsewhere in a more "defensible" room, this is usually a mistake: if any enemy guard enters the Agent's room while you're not there, the mini-game fails immediately.
Exploiting Prison Breaks for Strategic GainEdit
As said earlier, winning a Prison Break confers no direct benefits to Max - in fact this costs a couple of hours, and is risky to begin with.
However, in some specific circumstances, it may actually be a good idea to let the enemy win.
The reason for this lies in the fact that once an agent has been Arrested, he cannot be Turned into a Double Agent. It's one or the other, not both, and a Turning is always better for all kinds of reasons.
Therefore, if the enemy manages to spring one of their agents from jail, this gives Max a second opportunity to Turn that agent.
This is useful if an agent was arrested prematurely for any reason. For instance, say Max's investigation was going too slow, and you reached the point where you just desparately wanted to prevent the plot from proceeding - then the investigation suddenly made some good progress and you regret having a valuable agent in jail rather than supplying you with information (and double score). Alternately, note that it's quite possible to carelessly arrest an agent by mistake during a break-in, when you actually didn't intend to do so. If you do this, there's no way to undo the arrest - except by letting the enemy break that agent out of prison.
Once sprung from prison, visit the agent's hideout again, and search it thoroughly for Incriminating Evidence before re-arresting the agent.