You take on the role of Mason Powers, who has been accused of murdering your chief Frank McBain and placed in an sanctuary. As an ex-CIA agent, you have no memory of what happened, but you will be able to get your memory back through a series of flashbacks. However, not only do you need to solve the mystery of who killed McBain and why, you have to prevent a global disaster from happening. Countdown is aptly named because you have 96 hours to solve the mystery. When you start the game, it is Monday midnight, so that gives you until Saturday midnight.
You start in your cell. Look around. Your bed is on your left, with the sink nearby. Your door is being patrolled by one of the staff, and to the right is a window which you can use to make your escape. Look at your medical record. It states that Mason has suffered a severe concussion, multiple lacerations, and contusions; and he is scheduled for an examination by Dr. Farouk Hashish. You will get a flashback involving two men standing in front of a psychedelic background, one of them being Hashish. The man on the right tells him to make sure that Mason doesn't remember anything, to which the doctor obliges.
When you see your room again, get the cup laying on the floor and the key under the bed. Use the cup on the bug beside the door. Now wait until Nirva, one of the staff members, stops outside your door then talk to the window. Offer the bug to Nirva. Since you've found his rhinoceros beetle, he will deliver food to you. Good for him. Choose Help, Pleasant, Pleasant. You will learn that his supervisor is Hashish, and he will see you in the morning. You will automatically leave the conversation. The next time Nirva passes by the window again, he will push the food through the slot. Once you have the food, get the knife at the side and use it to break open the window. (You will be required to walk to it first, wasting valuable time.) Climb out the window. You will be on a ledge with three other windows, three of them locked.
WARNING: The moment you leave your room, Countdown triggers a ten-minute timer. If you are not back in your room by ten minutes, Nirva will notice that you are missing and alert the guards. The game will then end.
Open the second window on your right and go in. Open the door and enter the hallway.
Note: It is important that you take care while venturing through the hallways. Several guards patrol each hallway of the sanctuary. If you get caught by a guard, you will receive a lobotomy, and the game will end. Save the game immediately as soon as you enter a hallway and before you leave rooms, so that you can load it back up again if you actually get caught.
Go through the open door adjacent to you to arrive in the closet. Get the scissor ganging above the fire extinguisher and the blanket on the shelf. Leave the room and open the only door that you see on the eastern wall. A naked man rocks back and forth inside a caged area. There is an intercom next to the window. Look at the chart on the table. It identifies him as Leonard Spaulding, who has to spend 30 days inside the isolation cell for attempted escape. Talk to the intercom to start a conversation with Spaulding. Offer him the blanket you just got from the closet. Choose Help, Pleasant, Bluff. He admits that he is being punished for trying to escape. His partner was Barney Sacnussan, who thought that he had discovered a possible escape route. He asked Spaulding to divert the guards attention. Ask about Barney and Spaulding explains that he found an article in National Geographic about the sanctuary, which gave him a clue on a possible escape route that has been hidden for hundreds of years. Leave the conversation, open the door, and exit the room.
In the hallway, go north to the T-intersection. Open the door on the north wall and exit. Get the CPR dummy and leave the room. Turn left until you reach the end, then proceed downward and open the third door on the west wall. Enter. You have entered another room. A picture hangs above the bed and the initials B.S. Is scribbled on the wall. Move the picture and look at the writing underneath. Look at the other writing on the wall. They appear to be verses from a book. Move the pillow on the bed and get the key hidden underneath it. Leave the room and go back to yours (you know where it is.) Use the CPR dummy on the bed. The timer stops. Return to the hallway and go to its north-west corner to arrive at some stairs. Go one floor up to arrive in another hallway. Walk south and open the first door you see on the right. Go through it to enter the locker room.
There, move the green towel on the bench and get the key underneath. There should now be three keys in your inventory. Use the first key to open the fifth locker and get the bag of cash. Use the second key to open the third locker and get the boots and wallet. There is a laundry hamper sitting on the east wall. Looking at the blood on the floor beside it triggers another flashback. Mason is in Frank McBain's mansion with him. A hooded figure comes into the room. We see McBain beg for his life before the figure fires three shots into his chest. Shocked, Mason hears McBain utters “Get Scorpio” before dropping dead. But who is Scorpio and where can he find him? Leave the locker room.
Go west until you see an opening to the south, then make your way down. Open the first door on the right and enter. In the store room, get the crowbar from the drawer of the brown file cabinet, and use it to pry open the box on top of the silver file cabinet. Get the hook. Now open the National Geographic magazine on the second shelf from the top. The article tells of a monastery built in the 15th century was converted to a hospital in World War II. It contains a huge labyrinth built into its depth and was used by the monks as an escape route. Leave the room and go two floors down.
Walk past the sofa chairs and go east to the end of the corridor. Walk south and open the bottom door on the east wall. Enter the operating theater. Look around. An operating table sits in the center of the room. There are two tanks resting on the left wall. Next to them are supplies of medical equipment. Open the box on the floor and get the flashlight. Leave the room, go up and enter the top door on the east wall. This is another operating theater, which has a similar layout to the one that you've just been to. The only difference here is the dart board on the wall. Get the scalpel from it and leave. Go to the corridor on the western wall, and go through the only door to arrive in Hashish's office.
Hashish is asleep at his desk. Move the painting on the wall above the file cabinet and look at the writing. This gives you the combination to the doctor's safe. Move the books on the bookshelf, second shelf from the top. Open the safe and get the cash. Now get the keys sitting on the desk and open the second drawer of the left file cabinet. Look at the file, a signed document by Jack Quinn, requesting that Mason be taken to the sanctuary and held there until further notice. Look at the newspaper on the floor. It is about the presidential debate, with the hot issue of terrorism. This came after terrorists attacks by the organization known as Black December. Time to surprise the doctor. Use the scalpel on him to wake him up. Time to get some answers. When the interrogation screen appears, choose Help, Help, Help. You were hit by a car after you supposedly killed Frank McBain, but you don't remember this because you had amnesia at the time. Next, choose Pleasant, Hassle, Hassle. The doctor states that the man who wants Mason dead is Fontaine. Ask him about Fontaine. Hashish was given $5000 to take care of you, and he was supposed to meet Fontaine when the job was done. Leave the doctor and go downstairs until you reach the basement.
Open the door using the key that you got from Barney's cell and walk on through to the furnace room. A furnace stands in the center of the room and there is nearly a hole to the right of it and a pile of coal next to it, Barney's initials are scratched into the wall next to the hole he managed to escape through. Move the pile of coal and get the pick. Now open the phone box and use the scissors on it to cut the wires. Walk over to the hole and use the pick on the hole to widen it. Go through it. You have entered the labyrinth that National Geographic mentioned in the article about the sanctuary.
You should see the main path branch into three paths. Take the middle one to the end, then go south then take the path on the right. Follow it to the first sarcophagus. Continue to the end. Go south and continue walking until you reach the wall, with two paths running south to the left of you. Go down the left-most path until you bump into the stone wall. Take the path nearest to you. Follow this path until you see the path with a pond in it. Take this path all the way to the bottom of the labyrinth and go left and take the path until you reach the end, then go up until you reach the end. Follow the path right. You should come across a doorway that will take you through to the wine cellar. You made it out of the sanctuary.
The cellar holds more than just wine. It also holds a dead corpse. The corpse belongs to Barney Sacnussan. He died trying to escape. Looking at him, or the blood splattered on the floor, triggers another flashback that you've already seen. Move the box to the left of the wine rack and look at the plaque. It says that the monastery was founded MCDXXXIII (that's 1433 for those who can't read roman numerals). Use the crowbar on the box and get the wine bottle from inside. Now get the rag from the floor and use it to remove the dirt from the plaque right of the wine rack.
Look at the plaque. It is a concerning the wine rack. Read it carefully. It says: Four bottles of wine moved in order by thee, opens a passage that sets you free.With this in mind, look at the wine rack. There are sixteen wine bottles in groups of four. Remembering that 1433 was the year the monastery was built, move the wine bottles in that same order as the year, starting from top to bottom, left to tight. So, the solution to this is to move the first bottle in the first group, the last bottle in the second, the second last bottle in the third, and the second last in the fourth. When the secret passage opens, go through it.
You find yourself at the bottom of the cliff. Walk toward the right of where you came out until Mason is hugging the wall then press the up arrow key. Mason will automatically climb up the cliff. Have him climb all the way to the top, then use the hook with the top of the cliff, which is located on the far left side. Mason will climb up to the top, and he finds himself at the main entrance to the sanctuary, with two cars parked outside. Your car is the blue one. Use keys on the car door. Mason gets in and drive off.
After some thoughts on McBain's murder, the map appears. For now, you can travel to only four destinations: the sanctuary, Fountaine's hideout, McBain's apartment, and your apartment; you can either get to those destinations by train. First off, go to McBain's. It will cost you $100 for the train journey, but you have no choice.
Everything seems to be fine, except for the broken window behind the desk. Get the key just below the glass to the right of the desk. Move the light switch next to the door. Look at the statue and move its shield. A secret compartment is revealed, with a key hole in it. Insert the key in the hole. The fireplace opens up to reveal a large computer. Look at the computer. It's a Unisys Series 5000 computer. Move the switch on it. Something comes up on the monitor. Look at the computer again. It is a about possible Black December targets, including Lincoln Memorial, Statue of Liberty, and Mt. Rushmore. Get the plastic explosives below the switch and to the right. You will have five in your inventory. Get the box on the bookshelf then move the bookshelf to reveal a safe. It requires two keys and a combination. Since you have neither of those, use one plastic explosive on it and wait for the safe to blow up. Get the box inside. Look at the notepad. It contains a written in code, which you can decipher at your apartment.
Travel to Mason's apartment. The apartment consists of two rooms - bedroom and kitchen – and the stuff is not state-of-the-art. Look at the photo on the floor beside the bed. It is a photo of Lisa Loomis, a CIA agent who was Mason's girlfriend. Look at your desk to trigger a flashback which shows Mason talking to McBain at his desk when McBain looks up and sees the hooded figure come into the room.
Look at your work on your desk. It is research on Black December and the dates of their terrorism. Mason tried to establish a link between Black December and the CIA. “Stormbringer” is mentioned at the end. Move the left pillow on the bed and get the key. Use it on the door of the parrot's cage. The bird flies out and lands on the cupboards. Don't let his negative vibes get to you. Get the cracker on the table then feed it to the bird. Something drops from the parrot's beak. It appears to be a key. Get the key and use it to unlock the desk drawer with the false front. Look at the drawer and note the word written on the piece of paper. Now move the plant on top of the fridge and get the cad. Open the second cabinet from the right and get the tool box. Leave the apartment either by opening the door and walking through it or by clicking the Travel button.
When the map appears, you now have the option of using the cad system. Countdown also notifies you of any e-mail waiting for you. Since you have e-mail waiting, select “Use the cad system”. When the cad appears, enter DOLPHIN as the password. After that, go ahead and read the . It is sent from Hakeem Ababash, your informant. He says that McBain was right about someone inside the agency working for Black December. He may know who it is, and he will contact you later. After you have finished reading the , you cannot read it again but you can analyze inventory items or research people.
Choose Analyze and scroll using the right arrow key until the note can be selected. It appears on the screen. Enhance and reduce the magnification until you can read what it says. It is a from McBain to Rachel Akure, requesting that he meet with her to exchange information about Black December. Rachel, who is an agent stationed in Israel, is now added to your map. Leave the cad and travel there. This is the first time that you can travel by plane. It may cost you more than the train, but you will get there quicker, or you may still want to catch the train. It's up to you.
When you reach Rachel Akure, you go straight to the interrogation screen. Try to ask her about anything. She will demand some information, so give her the dossier. She is now more than happy to answer questions, so ask about anything you want. But all you need from Rachel is a hypodermic dart, which you can get if you offer her $500. The dart contains a highly effective truth serum, and you need to get within three meters of the subject to achieve maximum penetration. Leave and go straight to Cairo, Egypt to see Fountaine.
The game switches to a top-down view of the alley. Fontaine will make his way down the screen, and continue to the dumpster. Follow him closely. When he gets near the dumpster, use the dart on him. This may be tricky as it all depends on your timing. The best way is to have the dart ready and position the cross-hair just under the closed dumpster lid. When Fontaine stops a second time, he will be in line with the cross-hair. As for when to execute the command, the left side of the dumpster will do.
WARNING: While you are following Fountaine, he will pause to make sure the coast is clear. If he sees you, he won't hesitate to put several bullets into you.
When you have tranquilized Fontaine, go up and talk to him. Ask him about Black December. Fontaine was hired at their headquarters based in Athens. Black December feared that both Mason and McBain uncovered information on their agent working in the CIA, as well as on Operation Thunderbolt, their latest move. Black December HQ has been added to your map. Travel there.
You have arrived in the fortress' torture chamber. There are several torture devices around. There is also a guard that comes by to check things out. Like Fontaine, he will make a few stops on the way. You deal with him using the catapult, but it isn't set up yet. First off, walk to the rock on the floor and get it. Get the catapult arm on the far left and use it with the catapult. Now walk to its lever and move it to lower the arm. Place the rock on it and wait for the guard to stop near the iron maiden, then move the lever to launch the rock into the air. If the timing is right, the guard goes splat. If you miss the guard, you're dead.
Once the guard is dead, open the door and enter. The following room is full of boxes, and another hitman is patrolling the area. He will move to where you have entered the room, and then move north into another passage, and vice versa. He will not go right past the passage that leads north, so walk there. You will see the hostage. When you see the hitman go down and turn left, go up and walk past the monitor on the left, so you are behind it. Use one of your explosives on the monitor, but before you do, make sure that the hitman is heading in your direction. You have ten seconds to spare, so timing is important. When he goes to the monitor and has a lookie, the monitor will blow up in his face and you are free to explore the area. If the monitor blows up before the guard gets to it, the game is over.
Go down and talk to the hostage. His name is Michael Kirkland, and he was held for some time against his will. Ask about Black December. Michael explains that the terrorist kidnapped him in Zürich eight months ago. They are well organized and work everything up to the last detail. At one stage, the group were taking photos and he was able to grab one of them. He gives the photo to you, as you may make use of it later. Ask about Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt is a major attack by Black December, and the mastermind behind it is a person simply known as the “Jackal”. Leave Michael alone and click the Travel button. Use CAD to research Jackal. His real name is Rick Hagarty, a field agent in the Middle East Division. He is also a master of disguise and a ruthless assassin who I able to speak Arabic. His control agent is Carlos Ramirez. Looks like we'll have to pay Carlos a visit. He is in Spain, and you can either travel there by plane or by train.
Ramirez is on vacation here, and he doesn't like your kind hanging around. Better take it easy, so choose Bluff, Bluff, Pleasant, Pleasant. Mason will identify himself and says that he is with an agency that is assigned to check their agents that had any association with Scorpio or the Jackal, and that he will rather spend his time drinking wine. Ramirez will explain that wine happens to be a passion of his. He will then take a sip from his wine glass. Why not give him some more? Offer him your wine and he will be happy to answer questions. Ask Ramirez about Scorpio. Scorpio became quite bitter and cynical just before he died. He had a girlfriend who works as an exotic dancer, named Golden Desire. Ask about her and you will find out that she resides in Venice. Offer Ramirez $500 and he gives you a lockpick. Leave Ramirez and fly back to Athens.
The fortress is like how it was before, but this time there are no more goons to worry about. Return to where the monitor is. Go up a bit then to the right. You will find a safe there. You don't have the combination, so you need to use the lockpick on the safe. Get the note in the safe. It is written in code, so we need to analyze it. Click Travel and go into cad. Analyze the message and reduce and enhance the magnification until you can read what the message says. It appears to be instructions on disabling one of the bombs. Write down what wires need to be adjusted to what positions. Travel to Golden Desire using whatever transportation is available.
You end up in the bar. Talk to the bartender and ask about Golden Desire. Since he demands you pay him for information, offer the bartender $500 then ask again. Golden Desire is a great dancer who doesn't fraternize with the customers, but he will arrange a meeting with her. Leave the conversation and look at the newspaper near the dude in the white shirt. The American Eagle reports that a major terrorist attack had been thwarted at the Lincoln Memorial, one of the targets mentioned in the message back at McBain's. Go through the door on the right to enter the dance area.
You will see Golden either sitting at the left table or dancing on stage (doing a crap job). If she is sitting down, you can talk to her and ask her questions. There is a guard standing outside Golden's dressing room You need to wait for him to head into the lounge for a drink, then go through as soon as he does. Get the key on top of the left door (which takes you on stage) and use it to open the jewelry box on the table. Get the key from inside. Use that key on the top-right desk drawer and get the stationery. Leave the dressing room and bring up the map. Use the cad to analyze the stationery. It is a message mentioning a Buzz Brezhnev. Return to the bar ask Buzz about Brezhnev. He lives in the city, and comes into the bar once in a while to visit Golden. Leave the bar again and travel to Buzz Brezhnev.
He knows where Scorpio is, but you have to get that information out of him. Choose Hassle, Hassle, Help. By doing this, you'll tell him that Golden Desire is hiding something; and it is vital that you need to see him as he has information on any members that may be involved with Black December, and where they will attack next. He will believe you and you can ask him questions. Ask Brezhnev about Scorpio to be told that he lives in Venice. Offer him $500 and you will be given some pills. They contain ambobarbital, which leaves the victim in a comatose state for several days. You need to mix them with food for the pills to have any effect.
Visit Scorpio and ask him questions if you like. When you leave, an e-mail will be waiting for you. It is Lisa, Mason's former girlfriend. She tells you to meet her in Rome to discuss a break in the case. Hakeem Ababash believes that his life is in danger and has gone into hiding. He will agree to return to headquarters but only if Mason comes along with him. Jack Quinn wants you to meet him in Rome so that arrangements can be made. So what are you waiting for? Travel to Jack Quinn. Upon arrival, you realize that Quinn is not alone. He accepts that Mason is not a traitor, just a fool with bad timing. He wants you to help him bring in Hakeem and he will see what he can do to help you. Ask Quinn questions if you want, then when you are finished, leave. The Colosseum is added to your map, so go there.
When you arrive, Mason looks for Hakeem but he is not there. He then gets knocked unconscious and is found dangling inside a room with a tiger moving below him. Wait a few seconds and the rope will break and you end up landing on the floor. You need to get the tiger in its cage and close the doors. You can't close them by hand, but there's a lever next to the cage. Lure the tiger into the cage by going inside it. Once it is in, go through the other door and move the lever. (If you are too slow in doing this, the tiger gets back out. I suggest that you get the command ready.) When you are outside, get the rope on the floor. Move the pile of bones in the corner and get hook that was under them. Go underneath the window and use the rope on the window to climb up. While you do this, notice that most of Mason's inventory has been cleaned out.
The next room looks like a torture chamber. The first thing you notice is the dead corpse nailed to the wall. Look at the corpse. It belongs to Hakeem Ababash, who Quinn sent Mason to get. It must have been a setup. Next to Hakeem on the floor is a poker and some hot coals. Occupying the left wall is a desk with some useful things on it. Look at the newspaper on it. Thomas Carroll, the US president, announces economic sanctions for any country who is found sympathetic toward terrorist groups. He will address the international summit in Paris. With terrorism the hot topic these days, the president is defending himself against Leeland's verbal attacks on the issue. Leeland has been urging the president to use strike tactics against any terrorist stronghold. Get the blueprints next to the newspaper. They are in French, so they can't be interpreted now. Move sack on the floor and get the postcard. Get the bag on the other side. It contains your inventory. Move the second last brick closest to Hakeem's corpse. Open the door that is revealed, then leave.
You get an e-mail from Lisa, who says that Quinn has been murdered and Earhardt points the finger at Mason. There are agents searching for Mason for orders to terminate him on sight. When you are done with the e-mail, analyze the postcard. Looks like it came from Athens. Zoom in on it at full magnification and scroll around the postcard until you find a black micro-dot. You will get a message from Stormbringer saying that the Jackal is leaving Belgrade for the Orient Express, with a second device on him. The first one is already in place, but this will make the plan to take him down fool-proof. Leave CAD and travel to the train station in Belgrade.
Note: The Orient Express leaves Saturday at 10am. If you miss the train, the game is uncompleteable. Restore a save game that is at the point where you escaped from the sanctuary and travel to destinations by plane more often. Even though you can find out some useful information from them, questioning people less also helps.
If all goes well, you will find yourself on board the Orient Express, with the Jackal on board. Look at the newspaper on the floor. Due to recent terrorist attacks, the international summit in Paris had to change locations to keep the venue secret. Walk right to the end of the carriage and read the telegram on the floor. It is addressed to Jack L. (Jackal). from Gina, who is awaiting his arrival. She will recognize him as “a man in the cloth”, and she is expecting a package from him. That package is probably the device. Go to the next car and open the first door. Open the right compartment and look at the dead body. He has two bullet holes in his forehead. Open the wallet. It belongs to Father Flanigan of Boys Town, USA. Leave the booth and open the fourth door, opening the third door as well. Enter the fourth door and you will finally meet the Jackal, who is disguised as a priest. He must have killed Flanigan, stole his robe, and buried him in the sleep compartment.
Be careful what you say to him, so to cut to the chase, choose Bluff, Hassle, Help. Mason says that there is a man in the next car who needs help, but the Jackal isn't interested .When Mason mentions the administration of rites, the Jackal leaves the booth and goes to the next booth. While he is away, use the knockout capsules on his food, then quickly leave and go to the next compartment. Return to his booth. The Jackal is dead. Open the left compartment and get the tool. Get the attaché on the seat opposite. Get the priests clothes off the Jackal's back. Mason will automatically wear them. Time to find that explosive. Leave the booth. Walk right into the next carriage to reach the cargo hold. Walk right until you see a casket laying flat on the floor. Use the tool to open it and get the plastic explosive.
When you finally meet Gina at the other end, it will be 8:00pm, four hours before Black December strikes. Be careful what you say to Gina – if you say the wrong thing, she won't hesitate to put a bullet in you. Choose Help, Bluff. Gina will ask “I've got a yo-yo?”, to which Mason replies “I've got the string”. Mason will explain that the bomb, at the conference sight, has a faulty switch; and that she has to take him where it is planted. Gina will ask for a certain package first, so give her the
attaché. Mason will be taken to an alleyway near the conference site, with a sewer tunnel nearby
Look at the machinery. There is a gear missing on it. Go through the left doorway. The flood gate is open, and sewage flowing through the channel. Get the gear lying on the floor then go back to the machinery. Use the gear on the shaft. When the machinery functions, go left again. The gate is closed. Have Mason walk onto the channel then onto the hallway. Climb the ladder and Mason will end up in someone's attic. Use the explosive on the boarded doorway at the right side of the room and make sure to stand back. Once it has blown up, go through it. Here, move the statue of the Indian elephant to reveal a plaque behind it. Move the stone and you will see the bomb. The insides of the bomb are sealed, so use the screwdrivers to remove all four screws.
WARNING: Before you remove the last screw, make sure that you save the game first. As soon as you remove this screw, you have to cut the three wires under 60 seconds. Otherwise, KABOOM! The bomb at the conference site explodes. You really cannot afford to make any mistakes here.
The three colored wires run vertically, with switches at the end of each one. The timer at the right is counting down. As I just said, you cannot afford time to make any mistakes here, so quickly use the screwdriver to adjust the positions of each switch as noted in the message. Do the bottom switch first, then the top, and finally the middle one.
Congratulations! You have completed Countdown.