On the Covert Action Wiki, the word Item is used to refer to the actual physical objects obtained by and transferred between various Participants in Criminal Plots. Each Plot in the game involves the creation of at least one Item, usually during a Minor or Major Crime.
Once created, an Item will be in the possession of the agent who acquired it. It may then be Handed Off to another Participant, sent in a package to another participant, dumped or used-up during a Crime, or taken with an agent into hiding. As long as an item exists, Max can Confiscate an item from the agent possessing it, by Breaking Into that agent's Hideout and nabbing the item physically.
Knowing where an item is at any given time is very important. It lets Max know which stage the Plot is in, allows Max to Confiscate the item, and possibly reveals the location of the Participant currently in possession of the item.
An Item is an object that's acquired by a Participant during the course of a Criminal Plot - usually during the course of a Crime. It may be transferred between Participants, and can disappear from the game in several ways.
An item may be a tool, a weapon, material or even a living person. While it exists in the game-world, an item is always in possession of one single Participant. It can physically be found at that agent's Hideout during a Break-In - that's how Max can Confiscate that item.
Each item has a specific name that describes it as closely as possible, such as "Payoff", "Data Disk", "Hostage" or sometimes "Stolen Goods". Each item also has a picture unique to it amongst all items in the same plot. The picture describes the item only generally, and is not always an accurate visual representation.
Two items in two different Plots may share the same name and picture. That does not necessarily mean that they will be used in the same way during both plots! In this way, the Item Name and Picture are somewhat equivalent to agents' Roles or Ranks.
There are no "Red Herring Items" in the game - if an item is found, it is always related to the Criminal Plot. Also, Red Herring Agents never acquire possession of any item at any point.
Items and PlotsEdit
A Plot may involve up to 4 different items. At least one item appears in every single plot. Much like the enemy Plot-Participants themselves, each item has a very specific part to play in the Plot where it appears.
Participants may acquire items in various different ways, depending on the plot's script. However, one can describe the general sequence of events as such:
- The item is acquired by an agent.
- The item is delivered to another agent.
- The receiving agent does one of the following:
- He uses the item for a crime.
- He delivers the item to yet another agent (I.E. "repeat step 2").
- He gets rid of the item.
- He goes into hiding with the item.
Virtually all items follow the same sequence, except for a few abnormalities.
In the first step of its role in the plot, the item is acquired by one of the Participants. This occurs in one of several possible ways - as dictated by the plot.
Most commonly, acquisition of an item occurs during a Crime. Once the crime is committed, the agent who perperated that crime will now be in possession of the item. Items might be acquired during both Minor Crimes and Major Crimes - again, as dictated by the plot.
Other methods of acquisition are rarer, and usually considered unique. In one example, an item is created during a Meeting between two agents. In another, an Item is created suddenly without any associated action by the acquiring agent. These cases are explained individually on the appropriate Criminal Plot pages.
Acquisition is the point where the item comes into existence in the game world, and can now be physically located by Max for purposes of Confiscation.
- Main article: Handoff
The second step in an item's existence is delivery. Virtually all items will end their part in the plot in the possession of a different agent from the one who acquired them.
The most common type of delivery is called a Handoff. This event occurs during a Meeting between two agents. During this meeting, the item instantly transfers from the possession of one agent to that of the other agent.
There are several types of Handoffs that do not work in the conventional manner described above. Instead the item might be delivered during Message Traffic, or spontaneously appear once the Meeting is held, and so forth. This is referred to as an "Abnormal Delivery" (read more in the Handoff article.
Regardless of the method of delivery, in game-world terms the item is now located at the Hideout of its recipient. It can no longer be found at the Hideout of the agent who held it previously.
An item may not always reach its final destination upon the first delivery. The first recipient of an item may act as a Courier, responsible only for delivering the item to a third (or possibly fourth!) recipient. This occurs in more than one Plot.
If an item cannot be delivered due to the intended recipient being Under Arrest or In Hiding, the delivery attempt fails. This causes the sender to go into hiding with the Item, causing it to disappear from the game world as well!
Once an item has reached its final destination, as dictated by the plot, one of three possible events will occur:
- The item is used in a Crime.
- The agent gets rid of the item.
- The agent goes into hiding with the item.
In almost all cases, the item will cease to exist the moment this occurs. From that point on it cannot be found anywhere in the game world.
Item Used in a CrimeEdit
- Among the various Plots in Covert Action, the purpose of most items is to assist in the perpetration of a Crime.
- Most commonly, this is the Primary Crime of the Plot, and the final destination of the item is the Major Agent. There is exactly one instance where an item is used as part of a Minor Crime. Both cases (Minor and Major) are practically the same in terms of how the item is handled when it reaches its destination.
- If a Crime is the final purpose of the item, then that Crime simply cannot be performed without it. The agent responsible for the crime will either wait for the item to arrive (if it possibly can arrive), or abandon his mission and go into hiding (if the item can't possibly arrive any more).
- In most cases, the item will disappear from the game world the moment the Crime is committed. From this point onwards the item will no longer appear for the remainder of the mission, and can no longer be Confiscated by Max.
- In at least one instance, the agent at the Final Destination of the item will be instructed by the Plot to "Dump" that item.
- This is a very simple action - the item simply disappears from the game world, and is considered to have fulfilled its role in the plot. It will not appear again until the mission is over.
Item Taken into HidingEdit
- There are several situations, either plot-related or otherwise, in which an enemy agent will Go into Hiding. If that agent has any items in his possession at the time, he will take all of them into hiding along with him.
- Most commonly, this occurs when Max disrupts the flow of the Plot. If for any reason an agent cannot the next step in his mission, he attempts to go into Hiding.
- It is also possible for this to be an intentional step in the plot.
- The best example for an item taken into hiding is the common Payoff Item, which appears in more than half of the available Plots. The recipient of the item is intended to go into hiding with the item, and it has absolutely no other use.
- In many cases, the Mastermind of the Plot will do this with the item acquired during the plot's Primary Crime.
- An item taken into hiding disappears immediately from the game-world. It will no longer appear for the remainder of the mission, and can no longer be Confiscated by Max.
- Main article: Confiscation
Max's goals during each mission include not only the Arrest of as many Participants as possible, but also the Confiscation of as many Items as possible. The first time Max confiscates any particular item in the plot, she will gain 50 points to her score at the end of the plot. This is actually worth more than any arrest (except arresting the Mastermind)!
To perform a Confiscation, Max must be able to locate the item physically, Break-Into its location, nab it, and escape. Assuming Max knows where the item is, this should be relatively simple.
Locating an ItemEdit
There are three primary ways to tell where an item is at any given time:
- Find out who is currently in possessesion of the time, and find out where their Hideout is.
- Break-Into various Participants' Hideouts, find the agent inside, and visually determine if he has the item.
- Find Item Location info inside a Floor Safe. This will only give you the city the item is in, however.
- Hack a Terminal and query the name of the Item. Again, this will only give you the city the Item is in.
If an agent is indeed in possession of any item, that item will be sitting in front of the agent as visible in the Break-In Mini-Game.
On the Local Disturbance Difficulty setting ("easiest"), you may also receive occasional Bulletins whenever an item moves from one place to another, making them easier to track. The Bulletin only mentions the City where the item is, however, so you still have to figure out which Organization is in possession of it.
Performing a ConfiscationEdit
To confiscate an item, break-into the hideout belonging to the agent in possession of the item. Locate the room where that agent is sitting. If he does in fact have the item, it will be visibly lying right in front of him.
To perform the confiscation itself, walk up to the item and press the "ENTER" key. The item is then "Closed", which means it is now in Max's possession. Proceed to exit the building, and the item will be Confiscated.
- Due to the way the game works, if Max exits a building while Wounded, you will be treated to the "Recovering from Wounds" cutscene immediately after the Break-In Mini-Game is ended. This occurs instead of the normal Confiscation cutscene which should involve the CIA Chief congratulating you for the successful capture of an item.
- If this occurs, any confiscated item is immediately "put back" where it was, as though the confiscation never occured.
- The only exception to this is when performing a Confiscation and an Arrest during the same Break-In. In this case, you can leave the building while wounded and still be considered to have confiscated the item (and Arrested the agent too).
The first time a specific item is confiscated during a Mission, it will immediately raise Max's final score by exactly 50 points.
Also, confiscation of an item can cause the prevention of the Primary Crime, assuming the item is required for committing that crime. Note that this can cause the plot to break up, which is why confiscations should be carefully timed.
Finally, confiscation of an item can cause a delay in the plot. This is the most beneficial outcome for a Confiscation. Read more about this below.
Repeated Item AcquisitionEdit
One of the most useful strategies Max can employ hinges around the fact that when an Item is Confiscated, the enemy may attempt to re-acquire the item.
Whenever an Item is confiscated, it is likely to cause at least one agent to be unable to complete at least one of the tasks on their list, as part of the unfolding Plot. You would normally expect this to cause that agent, as well as any other agent who has not yet managed to perform whatever task they have that involves this item, to go into hiding. However, this is not always the case.
A re-acquired item behaves for almost every purpose just like the original item did. Assuming the various members along the Plot chain are also still At Large, they will perform their tasks with this Item just as they would've with the original.
- A Thief acquires a Weapon item, and delivers it to a Courier. The Courier passes the item to a Terrorist. Before the Terrorist can perform his Primary Crime with this Weapon, it is Confiscated by Max. This prevents the perpetration of the Primary Crime, so you'd expect all three of these participants to go into hiding, unable to complete the mission.
- However, instead what will happen is that the Thief will acquire the same item a second time, deliver it to the Courier again, who delivers it to the Terrorist again! The Terrorist can use this item in the Primary Crime just as he would have used the original.
- As long as the Thief is At Large, he will keep reacquiring the Item every time it is confiscated - as many times as necessary. As long as the Courier is At Large, he will receive the item from the Thief after every acquisition, and as long as the Terrorist is At Large, the item will eventually be delivered to him.
- Take out any of the above, and the loop will probably fail at some point. However, as long as they are all at large, they will continue repeating the loop as many times as Max can confiscate the item before the Primary Crime can occur.
- Of course, if the Terrorist manages to perform his Primary Crime, the loop will have ended permanently. They enemy has no more need to reacquire the item since it's managed to complete its part in the plot. At this stage the persons responsible for acquisition and delivery of the item (in this case the Thief and Courier) will have completed their missions (assuming they have no other tasks yet unfulfilled) and will attempt to go into hiding if possible.
This is the most useful way to delay a plot without breaking it apart. Each time you confiscate the item, you basically gain at least 12 extra hours to continue your investigation.
Do try to confiscate the item as early as possible each time it is re-acquired by the enemy. This will avoid situations where one or more of the agents will consider their task complete and go into hiding before you can confiscate it. If that is allowed to happen, the plot will break, since there's no one who can acquire the item anymore.
Reconfiscation and the ScoreEdit
Remember that you do not gain an extra 50 points each time you confiscate the same item. Only the first instance of an item will grant those 50 points to your score. Confiscating the same item again after it was re-acquired by the enemy will not increase your score - though as explained above, it delays the plot further, which is its own reward.