Uplink: Hacker Elite

aka: Uplink, Uplink: Hacker Elite - Trust is a Weakness, Uplink: Hakerzy, Pieniądze i Władza, Uplink: Trust is a Weakness
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Buy on Linux
Buy on Macintosh
Buy on Windows

Description official descriptions

Uplink Corporation needs you, the Hacker Elite!

Be an independent operator who leases a gateway from us. Access it from anywhere and perform your jobs, anything from sabotage of enemy computers to backtrack another hacker, to modifying public databases, you may be called upon to do it all. Start with the small jobs, and gain money and reputation. Then you can take on the bigger jobs with the right tools and upgrades to your gateway. Consider adding motion sensor and/or self-destruct to your gateway... as Uplink will allow law enforcement personnel access to your gateway should they trace illegal activities to your gateway. Can you become the elite among the Hacker Elite?

Uplink is a pseudo-hacking game where you simulate hacking into various systems and using various fictional (but good sounding) tools to help you break through, including password guessers, cryptographic attack tools, voiceprint fakers, proxy bypassers, and more. Bounce your connection through many hosts to slow down the backtrace. Perform your job before the backtrace is completed, and destroy any records of you ever been there! The law can and will come after you if you are not careful. However, opportunities are plentiful. Various corporations are always at war with each other, and there are plenty of jobs for hackers of various calibers. As you complete missions and get money and reputation, use the money to upgrade your gateway (to process faster on tasks that require a lot of computing, such as password guessing and cryptographic key attacks) and/or to purchase more powerful hacking tools. Continue to participate in the game and make your decisions. Soon, the game will draw you in, and you'll soon be required to make a choice... and pick a side.


  • СETь - Russian spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

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Average score: 72% (based on 26 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 57 ratings with 3 reviews)

Hacker Wannabe's Unite!

The Good
Simply put--this is the closest thing to a hacking simulator that you are going to get (at least until Uplink 2(online?) or until more developers grow some cajones and start trying to actually CREATE something instead of recycling old ideas.) The presentation is well-done and immerses you into the game from the beginning, where you load up th game to find not a bunch of flashy developer and publisher logos with whiz-bang special effects, but a request for your registration info to become an agent. There is no boring and flat "character," you are YOU in this game.

The interface is simplistic, yet complex enough to take more than just a G. W. Bush impersonator with 2 minutes to get the hang of it. In other words, this is no Mario. There are two "sides" to the storyline, IF you choose to follow it. It's pretty much up to you. Hacking systems may seem overwhelming at first, but quickly becomes second nature, especially once you have built up a nice system and acquired the better software. The freedom to do pretty much as you will is a big plus in my book. I seem to loathe the more linear games these days.

This game is a nice refreshing break from all the "big-name, no-content" games that seem to flourish in the gaming world today. You should at least try out the demo.

The Bad
Hmmmm.....well, I experienced numerous graphics and sound problems, post-patch, on a 1.8Ghz Athlon with 256MB RAM, running WinXP. Now, these weren't too major, like the music randomly speeding up and spazzing out, leftover crud from text on occasion, and the large map going bonkers when too many nodes were on screen and you set up or loaded a connection. There were a few other nags, but nothing too bad. This was made by a really small group of individuals, after all.

As far as gameplay is concerned, the missions do get stale and downright boring after having done the same things over and over ad infinitum. A little more variety would have worked wonders. This is especially true when thinking of the nonlinear aspects of the gameplay. Who cares if you can hack whatever you want when it becomes such a chore so quickly? Don't get me wrong, it's great fun to hack into a bank (after spending half an hour tracing transfer logs) and snag 1 million credits from some fool who stole it himself and forgot to cover his tracks. I did. And this was with the starter machine with a fast processor and all the progs I could cram into it. It's a shame that I accomplished this even before the "storyline" started. (Play and you'll know what I mean.) So I upgraded everything to the max (and I do mean EVERYTHING) and still had over 600,000 left. This was more than enough to fly through any mission with relative ease. I guess it depends on how you pace yourself.

The Bottom Line
If you are looking for flashy 3D graphics and killer techno music along with the unique gameplay, then look elsewhere, or give up, as this game is truly unique and there really isn't anything like it out there (that I am aware of.) But if you want to play something nonlinear and sporting some truly fresh ideas (along with some obvious quirks,) then by all means, give Uplink a shot.

Linux · by silentgreen (4) · 2004

Cyberpunk fans MUST have this game!

The Good
It's about as close to hacking as any Hollywood-type hacking can be. Low system requirements since there are no fancy 3D graphics, but they are not needed here. There are already some good mods out there the check out, like the FBI mod.

The Bad
There are some known conflicts about graphics since the game uses OpenGL instead of DirectX. You need to be careful about what version of Uplink you get, since mods won't word with the Strategy First version (Uplink: Hacker Elite). Get it directly from Introversion.

The Bottom Line
If you are a fan of cyberpunk, YOU MUST HAVE THIS GAME! If you are a fan of hacking, YOU MUST HAVE THIS GAME! If you just like playing computer games, YOU MUST HAVE THIS GAME! If you are alive and own a computer, YOU MUST HAVE THIS GAME!

Windows · by William Taylor (3) · 2005

Hacking for fun and profit!

The Good
Uplink is one of those rare, unique games, that isn't a first-person shooter, or a realtime strategy game, or a sim. You don't see too many of those, nowadays.

Introversion took a big chance with this game, and it seems to have paid off.

The entire game is designed to look like Windows Of The Future(tm). The interface is intuative; you've got something resembling a "Start" button to launch programs from, a window on the right corner of the screen for emails and other updates, and a center window where all the action happens.

There's not much need to talk about the interface further, because it's so minimalistic. I think that's a good thing.

Your character (who you never actually see directly) starts off as a lowly newbie. You get hacking missions from Uplink's BBS, and as you complete missions, your Uplink rating goes up, which unlocks even more complex, higher-paying missions, and so on and so forth. Pretty solid concept for a game.

As you make money, you can upgrade your Gateway computer - purchasing additional memory, processors, or just replace the entire thing with a slicker model. And, of course, there are always faster and more powerful versions of your software.

But you aren't just limited to the missions being offered. The game is freeform; you can do your own hacks. Don't like a particular company? Hack their mainframe and shut it down. There are a number of other things you can do on your own, but they all involve spoilers, so I won't list them here.

In addition to the randomly-generated missions, there are also "storyline" missions. These appear after a certain amount of time has passed within the game, and there are two "story branches" you can follow. Or not follow, if you prefer, it's up to you. There are also a small handful of "secret" missions, totally unrelated to the storyline itself. You've got to figure those out on your own.

Lastly, I should mention the AI. Uplink Corporation doesn't just employ you; they have a large number of computer-controlled agents at their disposal. They take missions and hack systems, just like you do. And if you manage to hack a system, another random Uplink agent is employed to track you down, so always cover your tracks. This forces you to think a little bit about each hacking job you do.

The latest patch, code-named "Nakatomi", not only fixed a number of bugs, but also added LANs to the game world, which are a completely new mechanic. You can even create your own LANs, although there is no Introversion-supplied tool for doing this; you've got to open up a text editor. Luckily, the fan community has probably come up with one or two tools to streamline this process.

The Bad
Unfortunately, the shipped version is extremely buggy. There are a number of patches available; before even creating a new character, one should always snag the latest patch from Introversion.

Also, there comes a point where there are no more missions. Once you reach a certain Uplink level (probably Grade 6), you have access to all mission types, even though Grade 1 is the highest Uplink rating.

There are also a few mission types that are bugged, with regard to logfile timestamps. Without going into spoilers, they all involve missions where you need to purposefully leave logfiles behind. When the AI encounters a log entry with a timestamp of "12:05", for example, it parses it as "12:5". Since this doesn't match the "12:05" that it's looking for, this causes all kinds of problems with particular missions. While it hasn't been fixed yet, a good workaround is to always start a mission where the time has no leading zeros. So if it's "07:01", fast-forward time until it's "10:10". Annoying, but it seems to do the trick.

Also, while it's great fun playing this game for the first time, once you reach the point where all missions are unlocked, the game suddenly runs out of steam. There's no longer anything new to experience by now, since you've "done it all".

There are also a number of graphics glitches; sometimes text has a tendancy to keep drawing itself over and over, cascading down your screen like an ascii waterfall. Quite messy, but thankfully, it's rare.

One final problem: there are no women in this game! When you scroll through countless records in the Social Security Database, or the International Academic Database, all of the records are male. There are also only a small handful of mugshot photos attatched to these records (probably a total of ten or so). I suppose this was done to make the task of programming the game easier (since every randomly-generated mission can use the pronoun "he"), but it still irks me a bit. :)

The Bottom Line
It's a fun diversion. You can play for hours, or you can just load up the game for a quick five-minute hack. And at about half the cost of a "normal" game, the price is right too.

Windows · by Dave Schenet (134) · 2002


1001 Video Games

Uplink appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Introversion offered two extras for fans - a "Bonus CD" and a "Dev CD." The Bonus CD contained pictures, wallpapers, beta versions, articles, and other "behind the scenes" materials from the making of the game. The Dev CD contained the complete source code and tools needed for modders to alter the game, and could be purchased from Introversion's web store for 30 GBP.

The Bonus CD was originally offered to people who convinced a friend to purchase Uplink. After the turnover was less than expected, the Bonus CD was made available for purchase in June 2002 for $7.00 USD off Introversion's site. The initial run of discs eventually ran out, and the CD was later made available for free download.

Game Bible

Introversion released a "Game Bible" in four hidden parts called "books." These covered the development of Uplink from conception up to the release of the "Project Nakatomi" patch. The books were hidden on the Bonus CD, website, and as the final reward for solving the "treasure hunt" on Introversion's site leading up to the release of the Nakatomi patch.

All four books were hidden or encrypted, with clues located on Introversion's website, or within the game packaging itself (such as the hex string on the back cover.) Decrypting the books required some minor "hacking" skills, such as using "one time pad" decryption programs, or "redshirt" programs to extract .dat files hidden inside other files. Personally decrypting the four books was considered a point of pride within the Uplink community, so hints requested on the community forums were intentionally kept obtuse.

Project Nakatomi

In 2002, Introversion released the "Project Nakatomi" patch (v1.21) that included such additions as LAN hacking and a functional in-game IRC chat interface. Project Nakatomi was so named as it was aimed at the "die hard" fans of Uplink: Hacker Elite (Nakatomi Plaza is the skyscraper setting of the film Die Hard).

In keeping with the hacking theme, Introversion created an alternate-reality "treasure hunt" leading up to the release, teasing what Project Nakatomi would be. They underestimated the dedication of their fans however, and through efforts of formed groups such as the "Project Nakatomi Task Force," fans cracked the first layers of the "treasure hunt" before it was ready! The trail hit an apologetic dead-end message at a secure section of Introversion's site, and the rest of the hunt had to be added later.


  • One of the servers you can hack into is the "OCP" Server - OCP is the police force from the Robocop movies. And another is the "Protovision" server - and if you've even seen the movie WarGames, then you'll recognize the name of the games company that David thinks he's hacking into.
  • At one point during the game you get access to a server that has the password "mysocratesnote". This is in reference to the movie Sneakers (another great hacking movie). "mysocratesnote" is one of the anagrams for "setec astronomy" in other words "too many secrets".
  • Another interesting in-joke concerning the movie Sneakers - when you use a voice-print analysis to break into a system, the text reads "Hello. My Name Is _______ My Voice is my passport. Verify Me." These are the same words used to break into Playtronics, near the end of the movie.
  • When entering negotiations for a hacking job on the Uplink Internal Services system, if you look at the negotiations text box near the top of the screen when it is starting up, it will say that the interface you are using has been developed by 'Frontier Communications'. This is a joke referencing Frontier: Elite 2 and Frontier: First Encounters. The design and text for this particular interface in Uplink mirrors/copies the content found in the BBS-accessible missions from the two Frontier games. It additionally references the name of the company that developed these entries into the Elite series; Frontier Developments.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2004 (Issue #236) – Adventure Game of the Year

Information also contributed by BurningStickMan and Jeremy Johnson

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Related Sites +

  • MacGamer.net > Uplink Guide
    Guides, add-ons, gameplay tips...
  • Modlink
    This site contains numerous mods for Uplink, Introversion Software's Hacking Game
  • Uplink
    Official Site
  • Uplink
    Uplink Wikipedia article.
  • Uplink: The Hacker's Shadow
    Every hacker has a shadow whether they know it or not; No matter how good they think that they are. The question is: Are you good enough to survive the challenges that this game of cat and mouse throws at you?

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jony Shahar.

Macintosh, Android, iPad added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Chris Martin, Kasey Chang, Riamus, DarkDante, COBRA-COBRETTI, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger, Talos, Plok, FatherJack.

Game added July 12th, 2002. Last modified August 27th, 2023.