Aquarius Map Guide by the_sideburns

Version: 0.90 | Updated: 08/12/05 | Printable Version

| the sideburns presents...        |
|   /\                             |
|  /__\  Q U A R I U S             |
| /    \                  ver 0.89 |
| an in-depth VS-mode FAQ          |
| for Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory  |


To quick-jump to a certain section, hit CTRL-F and type or
paste the section number, with brackets. Example:  "[3.2.c]"

[1.0] Introduction
[2.0] The Basics of Spies VS Mercenaries
  [2.1] Where to Start
  [2.2] Glossary of Moves & Gadgets - SPY
  [2.3] Glossary of Moves & Gadgets - MERC
  [2.4] Top 3 n00b Mistakes
  [2.5] About Story Mode
[3.0] Aquarius In-Depth
  [3.1] Getting to Know the Map
    [3.1.a] Rooms
    [3.1.b] Objectives
    [3.1.c] Easter Egg
  [3.2] Spy Strategies
    [3.2.a] Choosing your Gadgets
    [3.2.b] Co-Op Move Locations
    [3.2.c] Entrance Points and Options
    [3.2.d] Rushes
    [3.2.e] Traps
    [3.2.f] Other Tactics
  [3.3] Merc Strategies
    [3.3.a] Choosing Your Gun
    [3.3.b] Choosing Your Gadgets
    [3.3.c] Spawn Points & Starting Out
    [3.3.d] Mine & Spy Tracker Placement
    [3.3.e] Defensive Roles and Patrol Routes
    [3.3.f] Prioritize
[4.0] Two Universal Rules
  [4.1] Communicate
  [4.2] Don't be Predictable
[5.0] Outtro
[6.0] Version History
[7.0] Credits
[8.0] Contact & Copywright


[1.0] Introduction

Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow revolutionized the world of online gaming
with a unique 2v2 multiplayer mode called Spies VS Mercenaries. The sequel,
Chaos Theory, has upped the ante with co-op moves, new gadgets, and amazing
new maps. At the time this FAQ was written, GameFAQs had one good Spy FAQ,
and a sub-par Merc FAQ that was mostly copy-and-paste'd from a SC:PT Guide.
I decided to fill some of the gaps with a few level-specific strategy guides
for my favorite Chaos Theory maps. I hope you enjoy my Aquarius guide, and
if this is well-received, you can look forward to more in-depth map guides
in the future (Museum is coming up next).

Happy hacking/spy-hunting, and I hope you enjoy my guide :)
                                                              ~ the sideburns


[2.0] The Basics of Spies VS Mercenaries

In Spies VS Mercenaries, there are two teams: the Third Echelon Spies and the
Argus Mercenaries. Spies operate from a third-person view, and use controls
similar (but not identical) to the single-player game. Mercenaries, or "mercs"
for short, operate from a first-person shooter view, with controls similar (but
not idential) to Halo 2. Each team has two unique vision modes, and can choose
four gadgets to bring into the game. Mercs get one gun for the entire match,
and can choose between an Assault Rifle (with sniping capabilities), a sub-
machine gun, or a shotgun. The spies, on the other hand, have a harmless
stun gun. Their only means of killing mercs are by way of neck snaps, strike
attacks, or environmental hazards. Spies VS Mercenaries isn't all about killing
though. Spies can also win by being sneaky, hacking computers, stealing disks,
and planting bombs. And mercs, well... the game really *is* all about killing
if you're a merc. Defend the objectives until time runs out, or kill the spies
'til they're out of lives.

All in all, Spies VS Mercenaries is a deep, balanced, and very challenging
game to play.

[2.1] Where to Start

Many Splinter Cell owners try the VS mode once or twice, get pwned,
find themselves intimidated by the steep learning curve, and never
play again. Here's a few tips to get you started off on the right foot.

Pre-requisites for online play:

 - HEADSET. You may be able to get away with playing Halo 2 without a headset,
   but in Chaos Theory, communication is absolutely essential. Nobody wants a
   partner who can't talk; most players will flat-out refuse to play with a
   silent partner. If you manage to get into a game without a headset, your
   team will be at a real disadvantage.

 - KNOW YOUR MOVES. Many people think playing the single-player game first will
   prepare them for online play. These players are in for a rude awakening when
   they find that spies' controls are significantly different in VS mode, and
   there's an entirely different control system and viewpoint for the mercs.

   The game forces you to complete a spy "exam" before playing online, but it
   would be wise to go through the entire tutorial for both characters before
   jumping into a game. If you really want to prepare yourself, grab a friend
   and start a server in TUTOR MODE, so that opposite teams can still talk to
   each other. Take some time getting used to the HUD, your gadgets, and how
   they affect each other. Spies need to practice silent sneaking as well as
   up-close combat. Mercs need to practice the powerful ram attack, and how to
   avoid getting their necks snapped. I reccomend at least an hour of simply
   playing around with the controls and combat mechanisms.

 - LEARN ONE MAP. The maps in Chaos Theory are as important to learn as the
   characters themselves. Each map has a different size, layout, play style,
   and objectives. Jumping into an online game on a map you've never played
   is like jumping into a shark tank with lead weights tied to your feet --
   You're gonna get pwned. So, once you've spent an hour messing around with
   combat controls, you're going to need to spend another hour exploring all
   the ins and outs of a map you want to learn. Again, Tutor Mode is great for
   this, as you'll be able to ask your opponents questions like "Can you see
   me when I'm hiding here?" or "Do I make any noise when I'm doing this?" or
   "How obvious is this mine?".

   Trying to learn every map at once is impossible. Get comfortable with 2 or 3
   maps for the first few weeks, and branch out from there, one at a time.
   I promise you'll enjoy the game more :)

[2.2] Glossary of Moves & Gadgets - SPY

CROUCH(~WALK) - Tap (B) to toggle crouch on/off. You will not make any noise 
  moving in a crouched position. Crouch-walking at full speed will still show 
  up on the mercs' motion tracker, detonate prox mines, and make you appear on
  the radar if you're carrying a disk objective. A full crouch-walk will also
  make dust clouds at your feet in certain places (like the Cafe ceiling in
  Museum). A half-speed crouch-walk (or half-crouch-walk) is necessary in order
  to stay off of mercs' motion trackers. You need to move even slower than a
  half-crouch-walk to stay off the radar with a disk, or to safely approach a
  prox mine. However, you can move at about 75% of full crouch-walk speed in
  Museum's Cafe ceiling without making dust.

DIVE-ROLL - While running, press and briefly hold (B) to execute a dive-roll.
  This maneuver is faster than running, and can be used to dive through lasers
  on certain maps. Example: dive-rolling through the lasers in Aquarius at a
  perpendicular angle, with the right spacing, will avoid setting them off.
  See also: ROLL, RUN

ROLL - While crouch-walking, press and briefly hold (B) to execute a roll. This
  move is faster than a full crouch-walk, and therefore very useful when you
  need to travel quickly through vents or ceilings. Mercs cannot hear you roll.
  When trying to move through a vent or ceiling as fast as possible, you'll
  need to wait about three steps in between rolls.

RUN - Move the left thumbstick as far as it goes in any direction to run.
  Running makes noise on the mercs' sound radar, triggers their motion
  tracking, and detonates prox mines. Spies run *ever-so-slightly* faster than
  mercs. The dive-roll can be used to move *significantly* faster than mercs.
  See also: DIVE-ROLL, WALK

SOFT LANDING - While falling from any safe height, tap (B) in midair for a soft
  landing. You will land in a crouch and not make any noise. Basically, the
  toggled crouch/stand state persists, even when you're not on the ground. So
  if you roll off a short ledge, you will have a soft landing, but if you rolll
  off a short ledge and hit (B) in midair, you will land hard (standing).
  Jumping cancels the crouch state, so if you jump from a crouched position,
  you will land standing (unless you hit (B) in midair). A soft landing with
  slight (or zero) horizontal velocity will result in a stationary crouch,
  while a soft landing with decent horizontal motion will result in a roll.
  See also: CROUCH, ROLL

WALK - Move the left thumbstick slightly to walk. The slowest walking speed
  will not show up on mercs' motion trackers, but it will still make noise on
  their sound radar. The slowest walking speed can be used to safely approach
  a prox mine. See also: RUN

[2.3] Glossary of Moves & Gadgets - MERC

CROUCH - Tap (B) to toggle crouch on/off. In a crouched position, a melee
  attack from a spy will knock you unconscious for 5 seconds, and take about
  10% of your health.

[2.4] Top 3 n00b mistakes


1. *BEEP BEEP* - BOOM. The number one spy mistake is getting careless and
   forgetting to look for mines. Spies are particularly prone to do this if
   they've just knocked out a merc, or if they're running for their lives.
   Don't get sloppy. If there's someplace you need to go, chances are, there's
   a mine blocking your path. Switch to heat vision frequently to check your
   surroundings for lasers, and don't go running up to objectives.

2. I CAN SEE YOU. You may think you're pretty well-hidden in that dark corner
   or grated ceiling panel, but if you're using any of your gadgets or vision
   modes, you'll light up like a christmas tree on any merc's blue visor. Optic
   Camo may seem cool, but a good merc can still see you, even without using
   his vision modes.

3. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Being sneaky is fun for a lot of people, and it's
   important to stay off the mercs' radar. However, if you spend too much time
   hiding in vents, you may find that your partner is out of lives, and you've
   got a minute left to hack 2 objectives by yourself. It's important to draw
   the line between being stealthy and being worthless.


1. SUPER-MERC TO THE RESCUE! You see that an objective is being hacked in the
   next room, so you run through the doorway and get your neck snapped. Good
   spies work together. Chances are, if one's hacking that computer, the other
   is waiting by the door to break your neck when you come charging in.

2. AGH! I'M BLIND! Most n00b mercs spend 95% of their time in their regular
   vision, whereas the higher-level players are CONSTANTLY switching between
   yellow, blue, and red visors. If you find a spy crouching in a corner some-
   where, he's going to drop a flashbang and run for his life (or your neck),
   while you stagger around shooting blindly until you can see again. To avoid
   this unpleasant scenario, switch to motion tracking as soon as a spy knows
   you've spotted him. It'll make your life MUCH easier. On a related note,
   don't run around with your torchlight on the whole match. It's a glaring
   "n00b beacon", lets spies see you before you see them, and shows them
   exactly where your vulnerable backside is.

3. AGH! I'M GASSED! For the love of god, bring a gas mask. There are very few
   maps in the game where you won't need one. It's incredibly easy for a spy to
   shoot a smoke grenade at the door before he starts hacking something. You
   don't want to have to do a charge attack just to get into the room (see merc
   n00b mistake #1). Furthermore, close-combat with a spy in a cloud of smoke
   suddenly becomes managable when you can jump, spin, and breathe. Also, equip
   and activate your Gas Mask whenever you hear a sticky cam. You'll be able to
   find and shoot it without having to worry about falling asleep. The gas mask
   single-handedly counters two of the spies most-used gadgets. Don't leave
   home without it.

[2.5] About Story Mode

It is my humble opinion that Story Mode is the way Spies VS Mercs was meant to
be played. Deathmatch makes for some great killing practice, and Disk Hunt is
good for variety every once in a while, but Story Mode is where this game truly
shines. Therefore, my guides will focus on Story Mode, with the possibility of
Deathmatch tips or Disk Hunt strategies in future updates.


[3.0] Aquarius In-Depth

Aquarius is the first map I chose to write a FAQ for, for a number of reasons.
It's at the top of the list in the in-game menu. It's a medium-sized map, not
too big or too small. It's challenging for the spies, but also for the mercs.
Each objective leads to a different environmental effect when successfully
completed. And finally, it was the most popular map before the downloadable
content arrived.

[3.1] Getting to Know the Map

Aquarius is interesting in layout. Geographically, it's quite small, but in
terms of navigating from point A to point B, things get a lot more complicated.
There's almost always 2 or 3 ways to get from one room to another, with
different advantages to each path. Familiarizing yourself with the layout of
the map is important for both spies and mercs. As a merc, you really have to
know what the spies' entry options are, and as a spy, you really have to know
what doorways the mercs are likely to come through. Above all, you need to be
able to communicate clearly with your teammate, so learn the names of the
different rooms and locations in aquarius.

[3.1.a] Rooms

There are six main areas in the map, each with their own visual style. Hats off
to Ubisoft for making each room so clearly labeled and aesthetically distinct.
It really makes it easier to get to know the map. Key locations will be marked
in CAPS (sections 3.x.x only).

Description: Stormy, dark, and wet. Consists of the ROOF (spy spawn point),
the deck below (a.k.a. SEASIDE), and a "HEALTH BOX ROOM" with and a vent 
leading to SEA TUNNEL. The OFFICE could be considered "outside," but this guide
will treat it as a seperate area. From the deck, one can access the office, the
TECH Room, and the hallways leading to GREEK and BLUE rooms (both protected by
lasers). From the ROOF, spies have vents going to BLUE ceiling and GREEK,
as well as a TECH entry vent that requires a co-op move.

Interactive Environment: Mercs' vision will be hampered by the rain, but sound
radar is unaffected. Spies' optic camo is pretty worthless in the rain, but
they're otherwise unaffected.

TECH ROOM (a.k.a "TECH")
Description: Very grey, with a high ceiling, and an upper level accessible
by stairs or ladder. Contains a health box and a merc ammo box. TECH is at the
center of the map, with argus-only doors leading out to every other area. Spies
can exit these doors, but only mercs may enter them. Near each of these doors
is a vent, which is only passable by spies if a merc's weapon has destroyed the
grate on either side. Spies have 2 entry vents in the ceiling (coming from the
ROOF). A third vent leads from UPSTAIRS TECH to the rafters in GREEK. The
hallway from TECH leading towards PIRATES and BLUE ROOM contains a FISH TANK.
TECH has two upstairs hallways leading to either end of the PIRATE CATWALK.

Description: This room is almost entirely blue, with large tanks on many of
the walls, a few couches and pillars, and a grated ceiling. A long wide hallway
and two sets of lasers seperate the EXTERIOR from BLUE ROOM. The vent in the
spies' spawn room leads into the BLUE ROOM ceiling; spies can either drop down
through a hole to the center of the room, or pass through another small vent to
come out in the dark corner of the room farthest from PIRATES. This corner is
also home to the BLUE DISK DROP, which has a 2-second hack-able door. BLUE ROOM
is directly connected to PIRATES via a short wide hallway (w/lasers) and a
small vent hidden behind two TVs.

Random Tip for Mercs: Use your motion tracker in this room. If a spy is
moving through the ceiling, it's usually at full (crouched) speed, which shows
up loud and clear on your red visor. Start shooting, and if you don't kill him,
he's likely to flee to the far vent, where you can kill him with a grenade,
or keep him pinned, by sweeping the two ceiling vent holes with your laser
while watching the wall-vent exit through the corner of your screen.

Description: Marked by a green glow, wooden flooring, and lots of barrels,
PIRATES has 3 levels. The ground floor is accessible by 2 TECH doors and the
aforementioned BLUE ROOM entrances. The second floor of PIRATES is accessible
via stairs in the same room, or via UPSTAIRS GREEK. The third floor consists of
the CATWALK, spanning one side of the room (around the tall green fish tank),
and a network of vents that cover most of the ceiling. Mercs can only reach the
CATWALK via UPSTAIRS TECH. The vents can be accessed by spies from the CATWALK,
or via co-op moves on the second floor.

Interactive Environment: The corner of PIRATES opposite BLUE ROOM has a fish
tank with a button on top of it. A spy can climb onto this tank and press the
button on the wall to drop the nearby hanging box, killing anyone underneath
it. (If you're trying to kill a Merc this way, rather than trying to time your
button-press as he runs below, try shocking him or putting him to sleep first.)
Once dropped, this box provides another way for spies to get up to the second

Description: GREEK has more varying colors than the rest of the rooms here.
There are red/yellow shades as well as blues and greens. GREEK is easily
distinguished by its columns, blue glass floor sections, and breakable vases.
Greek has a MAIN room, a darker BACK room seperated by columns, and an "L" of
STAIRS leading up to 2nd floor PIRATES. A few vents in PIRATES lead to the top
of the STAIRS in GREEK. A vent in UPSTAIRS TECH leads to the RAFTERS in GREEK,
which can be used by spies to travel most of the ceiling. One of the vents on
the OUTSIDE ROOF leads to two dark drop points between GREEK and the SEA

The SEA TUNNEL isn't really a room; it's a long underwater hallway, leading
from GREEK to OFFICE, with flood doors on either end. There are 4 buttons
controlling the flood doors: one on the inside and outside of each door. The
doors always open and close together. You'll never see one opened while the
other is closed. Pressing either exterior door switch will instantly open or
close the doors, while the interior door switches will activate an invisible
timer, which will open or close the doors after 10 seconds. The implications of
this are interesting. If you manage to shut the doors while an enemy is in the
sea tunnel, it will be at least 10 seconds before he can escape, unless his
partner comes to the rescue and hits one of the exterior switches.

FYI: If one of the flood doors closes on your head, you will die. Instantly.

OFFICE (a.k.a. "DISK ROOM", but "OFFICE" is more precise)
Description: The OFFICE lies in the corner of the map, adjacent to the SEA
TUNNEL and the EXTERIOR. The OFFICE DOOR faces the SEA TUNNEL, and is open-
access for mercs, and a 10-second hack for spies. Alternatively, spies can gain
entry to UPSTAIRS OFFICE by shooting out 2nd floor window OUTSIDE and using the
co-op move to hoist each other up. OFFICE has 2 floors inside, connected by an
L-shaped stairway. This stairway is the only way for mercs to traverse the two
floors, while spies have two other ways of getting downstairs - they can jump
out the window to the EXTERIOR, or jump off the upstairs BALCONY (which is
right above the DOOR). This BALCONY also doubles as a co-op hoist point. The
vent in the OUTSIDE HEALTH BOX ROOM comes out next to the TECH door between

[3.1.b] Objectives

Aquarius' level design really shines in story mode, as the spies have a great
variety of objective options. They're spread out in a way that allows the mercs
to be relatively *close* to everything, but they're not close enough to allow
easy camping. The other cool thing about this map is that every objective has
a unique environmental effect when it's hacked.


PIRATES - 12 sec hack
This computer hack is on the ground floor of PIRATES, on the wall opposite
TECH. A spy hacking this ND133 can be easily grenaded or sniped from the
CATWALK or the 2nd floor.

Effect: Darkness. Successfully hacking Pirates turns this once-vibrantly-lit
map into a shadowy nightmare. No more flood lights outside, and Tech is almost
pitch-black on the ground floor. The entire map is affected. Are you afraid of
the dark?

GREEK - 12 sec hack
This ND133 Is in the GREEK room, between the TECH door and the doorway leading
to SEA TUNNEL. It's amazing how many spies will come from the SEA TUNNEL door
and turn right to the ND133 without looking behind them. I've landed countless
ram attacks as a merc, just by camping the corner opposite the ND133 and
smacking the spies in the back when they come creeping in. Don't be that spy.
Also good to know: A smoke grenade dropped in front of the ND133 will
effectively slow any merc trying to come through that TECH hallway. However, if
you're a merc in TECH and you see someone hacking GREEK, you can shoot out the
vent cover in the hallway leading to GREEK, crouch, and lob a grenade into the
vent at a diagonal angle. When done correctly, this grenade will instantly kill
the hacking spy, and you won't even have to go out into GREEK. Unfortunately,
the vent will now provide spies with easy ground-floor access to TECH.

Effect: Once GREEK is hacked, all of the Argus-only TECH doors open, giving
the spies free reign on most of the map. (OFFICE door and BLUE DISK DROP door
stay closed.)


OFFICE DISK - 2 drop boxes
This disk must be stolen from the ground floor of OFFICE. Enter OFFICE by way
of a exterior window, the door hack, or a co-op hoist. The two drop points
for this disk are...

1) BLUE ROOM - in the back of BLUE is a door with a 2-second hack, containing
   nothing but a drop box and a vent leading back to BLUE ROOM CEILING. This
   vent is one-way; you can go from the DISK DROP ROOM back to the CEILING, but
   not vice-versa. Spies, check this room for mercs and mines before charging
   in. (Heartbeat Sensor / Spy Bullets help with this). It's important to note
   that this disk drop room is the only objective in BLUE ROOM, so mercs aren't
   likely to be around unless the disk has been stolen.

2) PIRATES - under the center of the second floor platform, there's a disk drop
   sitting on top of a barrel. There are plenty of ways to hide mines around
   this drop point, which is good to know for both teams.

Effect: Successfully stealing the office disk turns off all of the map's built-
in lasers. This makes it much easier for spies to sneak around undedected.

TANK DISK - 2 drop boxes
The TECH ROOM hallway leading towards PIRATES / BLUE ROOM has an entrance to a
fish tank visible from BLUE. Spies or mercs can press a button on the wall to
drain the tank of its water, and the door opens a few seconds later. The door
is small; both spies and mercs can get into the tank by crouching. Some mercs
like to put a mine inside the tank, but I find it to be a waste of time and
mines. A prox mine on the inside wall of the tank can detonate without harming
the spy if he's still physically outside the tank door. The two drop points for
this disk are...

1) GREEK - the BACK ROOM of GREEK holds one of the drop boxes for this disk.
   The vent leading from UPSTAIRS TECH to the GREEK RAFTERS makes for a sneaky
   disk drop.

2) OFFICE - the other drop box for this disk is UPSTAIRS in the OFFICE.

Effect: Steal the tank disk to activate a sprinkler system across the map. Key
hallways and passageways will have water spraying down from the ceiling, which
will cloud up the mercs' visors (same effect as going outside in the rain).


TECH ROOM - 24 sec fuse
There are six possible bomb locations in TECH, all on the ground floor. Spies
generally drop smoke near the doors before planting bombs, and either move on
to other locations while mercs are securing TECH, or stick around to try to
hinder the mercs and break some necks. It's almost always wise for both mercs
to go to TECH when a bomb is planted, because a good spy will be in a position
to try to jump in your head or break your neck the moment you walk in the door.
It's a general rule that mercs will take longer to find a bomb in the center of
the room than one on an outside pillar.

Effect: Bombing TECH fills the room with a thick steam that's impossible to see
through without EMF vision. Looking through the steam in Motion Tracking yields
nothing but a blinding red-white light. Needless to say, mercs will be hesitant
to return to this room once it's been bombed. A few clouds of steam also appear
in main passageways around the level.

[3.1.c] Easter Egg

Turn the PIRATES room into a fish tank!

Who: 2 spies are needed to activate this easter egg.
What: The pirates room becomes a living fish tank, with bubbles coming out of
  random places, and giant fish swimming around in the air. The fish cannot be
  shot or destroyed; bullets go right through them.
How: Go to the landing between the first and second floors of PIRATES. in the
  dark corner, you should see an icon for a co-op move. Hoist your partner up
  onto an invisible platform. Once standing on the platform, the spy should
  turn 90 degrees to the right (to face the room) and jump straight up. If done
  correctly, fish will appear out of thin air and swim around the room. Jumping
  again in the same spot turns the fish off. They can be toggled on and off as
  many times as you want. Fun for freaking out n00b mercs.

Note: this is NOT a "glitch" or a "hack" of any sort, and it has no effect on
  gameplay. It was intentionally put in the game for us to have fun with, and
  should NOT be considered cheating.


[3.2] Spy Strategies

What gadgets should I bring as a spy in aquarius? Which objectives should I go
for first? Is this a map where two spies are best off sticking together or
splitting up? These questions and more are discussed below.

[3.2.a] Choosing your Gadgets

** REQUIRED ** - Smoke Grenade + Chaff Grenade

Smoke grenade should be a GIVEN for any spy in any level.

I say chaffs are required for Aqua because the map is FULL of lasers until you
successfully steal the office disk. Secondly, if you see a mine near an
objective (or even if you don't), it's nice to launch a chaff with your gun so
you can get closer without having to creep. Finally, chaffs are good for
disabling those pesky spy traps / poison mines / laser mines that you can't
really avoid otherwise.

Example: a poison mine or spy tracker can be placed under the stairs in Pirates
so that the laser goes all the way across the room to cover the entrance from
Blue Room. A spy trying to get into Pirates from Blue can't jump or duck past
the laser, and can't get in a position to shoot it out without crossing the
laser's path. However, the spy CAN go through the vent behind the TVs, and lob
a chaff under the stairs, which will disable the trap.

HIGHLY RECCOMENDED - Spy Bullet OR Heartbeat Sensor - your choice.

Uses for Heartbeat Sensor - In general, Aqua is a very compact map, where rooms
may be adjacent, but you have to go a much longer route to get from room A to
room B. The heartbeat sensor can detect nearby mercs, even through walls. So
when you and your partner are on the roof, trying to decide whether or not to
enter TECH, you can simply pull out your gun, point it at the wall, and see if
any mercs are on the other side. Also, there are many vents in this map where
you're safe inside, but can't really know who's waiting for you on the other
end. Example: The vents between Pirates and Greek. You're completely safe in
there, but it's very risky to try to leave when you don't know which side a
merc may be waiting on. Other examples: the ceiling vents in Tech, the behind-
the-TVs vent in Pirates/Blue, and the HealthBoxRoom ~ SeaTunnel vent.
Heartbeat sensor is a safer and stealthier alternative to scouting out a room
with a sticky cam, because the mercs don't know when you're using it, and you
don't need a visible sight-line.

Uses for Spy Bullet - The spy bullet has a shorter radius than the heartbeat
sensor, but the benefit is that you can use many at once, and use other gadgets
(or hack) at the same time. Hitting a merc directly puts him on the radar for
a little while, but putting a spy bullet on the wall activates a zone radar
that will generally cover an entire hallway. Example: Before hacking Greek, pop
a spy bullet up at the top of the stairs, a second down the Sea Tunnel, and a
third right above the computer (to catch any mercs coming through Tech). That
way, you're warned of incoming mercs from any direction, and can stop hacking
and run, rather than just standing there typing 'til you die. Also keep in mind
that your spy bullets also inform your partners, whereas only you can see what
the heartbeat sensor shows you.

Ultimately, I tend to choose spy bullet. Most of the heartbeat sensor's uses
can be covered with spy bullets. They go through walls just as effectively;
their only downside is the shorter radius and limited ammo. Spy bullet is the
more versatile of the two, but many players still swear by heartbeat sensor on
this map. You may choose to have one spy with each, but two spies with spy
bullets can effectively cover the whole map with zone radar in every key

OPTIONAL - Sticky Cam, Flash Bang, Alarm Snare, Optic Camo

Choose one of these for your fourth slot, depending on your style of play, and
who you're playing against.

Sticky Cam - Personally, I think this is the best choice. I use it less for
recon and more for putting mercs to sleep. *DO* use sticky cams to set up traps
and put mercs to sleep when they're trying to save an objective. *DON'T* use
a sticky cam from the ceiling vents to check out tech before you jump down. If
you're in a position to shoot a sticky cam into Tech, you're in a position to
get grenaded. Same goes for any other vent you may be stuck in.

Flash Bang - If you're more of a rambo-type of spy, you may want to put these
in your fourth slot, or even sub them in for a chaff or one of the "recon"
gadgets. Many spies live and die by the Triple Grenade Combo. (Zap merc, then
hit him with chaff, flash, and smoke before he can recover. No this isn't a
glitch, just quick fingers.) If that's what floats your boat, or if you simply
want a more combat-oriented option in your quick-drop slot, go with flash.

Alarm Snare - There are four approaches you can take with alarm snares. (this
section will eventually be moved to the Glossary)

1) DIVERSION. Use an alarm snare to lure a merc away from where you need to go.
   If you're using a snare to make a merc think you're somewhere that you're
   not, that's DIVERSION. It's analogous to the computer-AI "huh? what's that
   noise?" trick. Only works once or twice on human opponents before they
   realize what's going on. DIVERSION differs from other tactics in that your
   goal is for the merc to relocate or simply look away.

2) BAITING. Once a merc knows you're using snares, he's less likely to follow
   a noise to a different room, but *more* likely to try to shoot any snares
   that he sees nearby. BAITING is setting a snare with every intention of
   letting a merc shoot it... so you can snap his neck while his back is
   turned. Works even better if the merc has a shotgun, because its randomized
   accuracy means he may need to shoot several times at point-blank range to
   hit the snare, giving you that much more time to move in for the kill.

3) MASKING. When you need to move quick, but don't want mercs to know where you
   are, shoot 3 or 4 snares in completely different directions. The mercs will
   obviously know you're using snares, but their sound radar will be rendered

4) ANNOYANCE. Plain and simple. Shoot a snare in a vent, in the ceiling, on
   the roof, or anywhere else, so long as a merc can't shoot it without wasting
   a grenade. This can potentially have the function of tactics 1-3, but is
   done without rhyme or reason, simply to irritate any nearby mercs. They may
   not necessarily move, and you may not necessarily get the sound masking you
   need, but it's certain to take the merc's mind off of more important things.

Optic Camo - this one really depends on who you're playing against. Aquarius
has some spots that are too bright to hide in normally, so bright that a merc
wouldn't think twice about looking for you there. (The bright blue floor panel
in front of Greek's staircase comes to mind.) The fact of the matter is, some
players use regular vision 95% of the time, and some constantly switch between
all three vision modes, laser, and flashlight. Optic camo is probably my last
choice on most levels, though it looks pretty cool in the rain.

[3.2.b] Co-Op Move Locations

A complete list of every Co-Op Hoist location in the level

...Coming Soon...

If you'd like to contribute by researching/writing this section, contact me.

[3.2.c] Entrance Points and Options

Spies will always spawn inside the "spawn room" on the roof. From there, you
have many options to choose from, some of which require co-op moves. Here's a
tree to help visualize the spies' different starting options.

        Spawn on ROOF......................
        /          |        \             \
Vent-BLUE.CLNG     |       Vent-GREEK   Drop-SEASIDE.........................
   /     \      CoOp-TECH              /        |     \     \               |
Drop or Vent       | (2F)          Hall-BLUE  CoOp or Hack  SEA.TUNNEL      |
   \     /         |                             \    /                     |
  BLUE.ROOM       ......................         OFFICE            HLTH.BX.RM
   /    \        /           |          \                              |
Hall or Vent   Vent-GREEK    |         TECH.1F...........            Vent
   \    /                   /         /  \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \           /  \
   PIRATES       Catwalk-PIRATES   TANK  (every other room)   SEA.TUN  OFC.HCK

I'm not sure how useful this is for anyone, but there ya go. If you find
yourself spawning and following the same pattern to your doom, the above chart
should open your eyes to the wealth of options you really have.

[3.2.d] Rushes
These rushes are meant to be done at the beginning of the match, before the
mercs have a chance to get all their mines set up and get into position
defensively. The goal of a Rush is generally to score an objective;
early-game strategies that aim to kill mercs rather than score objectives
will be listed in the "Traps" section.

Double Greek Rush a.k.a. Double GEEK Rush
This was suggested on the discussion board I made for this FAQ, but I have yet
to be convinced. At the start of a match, there's almost always one merc
spawned in Greek. Two spies running through the Sea Tunnel will be 
pretty obvious to a merc in Greek, and a perfect opportunity for a single-
grenade double-kill. I understand the concept of "two spies, one merc, spies 
win," but that logic doesn't really work when the spies are coming through a 
choke-point together. The only way I forsee this working is if the Greek-
spawning merc expects a Tech Rush and goes straight into Tech at the start of
the match.

I'm still open-minded, so if you have a more specific attack plan for the
Double GEEK Rush, send it my way.

Double Tech Rush - Ver. 1 - Stay and Defend

Hoist & Hump to get into the Tech vents as soon as the game starts. Both spies
drop in as quickly as possible, and shoot smoke grenades at all the doors,
particularly those leading to PIRATES and GREEK. Plant a bomb and continue
dropping smoke (and optionally chaff) everywhere. Depending on where you
planted the bomb, position yourself to ambush any incoming mercs. If you want
to use a sticky cam, that's good too, but do it from an elevated position.
Mercs are unlikely to look up when the bomb is ticking; they're more concerned
with securing the room and watching their own backs. Both spies must stay and
defend the room, because both mercs are likely to come to protect it. 1 spy +
2 mercs = a dead spy and a secured room. 2 spies + 2 mercs + a room full of
8 smoke grenades = good potential for neck-snaps and mercs accidentally 'nading
each other.

  + Works great against mercs who like to set up mines as soon as they spawn,
    or total n00bs who don't even know those vents exist. Even if one merc
    heads straight to tech at the start of the match, the spies aren't
    necessarily dead; they just need to run away.
  + If successful, you've got a tech room full of smoke that the mercs won't
    want to go anywhere near. The Tech CoOp will make a great entry point for
    future spawns, because the mercs probably won't be there, and you can use
    Tech to access the rest of the map.
  + The Stay and Defend plan often results in merc deaths, which are otherwise
    difficult to achieve on Aquarius.
  - Oops, you used all your smoke grenades in the first 30 seconds of the
    game. Have fun with that one.
  - Experienced mercs usually expect a Tech or Office rush. And wear gas masks.
  + Their gas masks should be out of juice by the time they're done dealing
    with Tech.

Double Tech Rush - Ver. 2 - Bomb, Smoke, Scatter

Starts the same as Ver. 1, but with less emphasis on using all your smokes.
Drop only enough one or two smokes on each side, and bomb the middle. Optional:
shoot a few alarm snares in the room. Then, as soon as the bomb is set, take
the upper exits to Greek and Pirates, and drop more smoke at the tech doors
to slow them should they choose to come back out. Then, both of you start
hacking Greek/Pirates at the same time, while they're still potentially dealing
with Tech, or fighting through smoke to get back out to where you're hacking.

  + Less confrontational than Ver. 1, therefore less chance of death.
  + More things being hacked at once = more panicked mercs.
  - Tech is likely to be secured without any spies defending the bomb.
  - Spies splitting up = one is more likely to be killed.
  + Spies splitting up = one is more likely to successfully hack a computer.

Office Disk Grab - Basic Start

At start of match, shoot out the office window, (reccomended: shoot a spy
bullet in the hall in front of the office door), jump down, and hoist one spy
into the office. That spy should hop downstairs, grab the disk, and leave
through the same window he came in. From there, you could run straight to Blue,
but the merc who spawned in Pirates will be waiting for you. Instead, you may
want to use the wooden boards near the picnic table to get back onto the roof
and devise a plan from there...

  + You can usually get your partner hoisted into Office before a merc arrives.
  - If the Greek-spawning merc runs straight to office without planting any
    mines, he can kill you both with one grenade while you're trying to co-op.
  - This is probably the most common spy start. Many mercs expect it.
  - Once you have the disk, you can't move faster than half crouch-walk speed
    or you'll show on their radar. And they'll probably be guarding the two
    drop boxes.
  + You can turn the above CON into a PRO by having your non-disk-carrier go to
    Greek, which should be empty (but probably mined).

Hoist disk-spy (Spy 1) into Tech. Spy 2 goes Greek, checking heartbeat sensor
for camping mercs. Spy 1 plants a Tech bomb, gasses the doorways, and heads
upstairs towards the Pirates catwalk. If the Pirates-camping merc goes to save
Tech, Spy 1 can drop the disk in Pirates, making sure to look out for mines.
If Greek-camping merc goes to save Tech, Spy 2 can move in to hack Greek. The
idea is to avoid any and all confrontation with mercs; heartbeat sensors and
spy bullets are essential.

Forget retreating to the roof. As soon as the disk is stolen, both spies rush
Blue. The non-disk spy should be in front to act as a mine-shield, and make
first contact with the merc who's probably waiting for them. As long as the
merc is alive/conscious, both spies should be combating him. If one spy tries
to fight the merc alone while the other hacks the disk-drop door, the disk spy
is bound to eat a grenade. Neutralize the merc, THEN drop the disk.

[3.2.e] Traps

Traps are tactics executed early-, mid-, or late-game, with the goal of
trapping or killing a merc. Every Trap must have a "Lure" and a "Hook" (lethal)
or "Catch" (nonlethal).

LURE: Office Door Hacking
Spy 1 ("bait") runs to the office door and starts hacking. This lure is very
reliable early-game, as a merc has just been spawned in Greek, so you can be
pretty sure of where he's coming from. To be better informed, shoot a spy
bullet outside near the Blue Room hall, and another down the Sea Tunnel.
Optional: the bait spy can also set off the laser alarms near the office door.

CATCH: Fishbowl
As soon as merc enters Sea Tunnel, Spy 2 presses button to close flood doors.
Merc is stuck with the fishes for a while. Alternatively, have a sticky cam
set up inside sea tunnel, put merc to sleep as he's running through, then close
doors as he's waking up. With this kind of timing, spy 1 can actually get the
disk and be long gone by the time the merc gets out. This also means the
remaining merc is left to guard both disk drops by himself.

HOOK: Neck Snap 1
Spy 1 continues hacking. Spy 2 waits in corner between Tech door and Sea Tunnel
door. Mash A as merc is running through to grab and snap neck. Works well b/c
he'll be turning right to round the corner so he can see spy 1. Alternatively,
drag merc through Tech door for free access, then snap his neck.

HOOK: Neck Snap 2
Spy 2 waits in one of the two dark shadowy coves between Sea Tunnel and Office
(preferably the shadow to the RIGHT as you're facing the office door). As merc
is coming through the tunnel, Spy 1 stops hacking and runs outside, tripping
lasers as he goes. As merc turns left round the corner to look outside, spy 2
has his neck. Option: Use merc to get into Office before killing him.

HOOK: Neck Snap 3
Spy 2 waits in shadows behind wooden planks under seaside office window. Spy 1
stops hacking right before merc arrives, and runs through the lasers outside,
heading in the direction of Blue Room hallway. As merc chases outside, spy 2
emerges from his hiding spot and grabs some neck. Crack-a-lackin'.

LURE: Office Disk on Roof
Spy 1 gets office disk, and proceeds to the roof, where he will run back and
forth, and around in circles, to ensure he stays on mercs' radars.

HOOK: Neck Snap
See Office Door Hack ~ Neck Snap 3 above. Same hiding spot for spy 2. Spy 1
just needs to be visible, and lure the merc into an angle where Spy 2 can get

LURE: Solo Tech Bomb
This trap requires only one spy in Tech. (The other can be off causing trouble
elsewhere.) Of the 6 possible bomb locations, there are two that face towards
dark shadowy corners. Envision that you're coming from Greek into Tech. There's
a pillar in front of you with two possible bomb plants. One faces to the right,
towards the rest of the room and the Sea Tunnel exit, and another faces left,
towards some green cabinets and a shadowy corner. As a spy, you want to plant
the bomb in this spot, and then hide yourself in that dark corner.

*This lure works best if you know there's a merc in Greek

HOOK: Neck Snap
It's best to have spy bullets at both of the Pirates doors, in case a different
Merc comes to the rescue, but your goal is for a merc to come from Greek and
put his back to you as he defuses the bomb. Smoke grenades in the doorways are
always nice. If you have optic camo, go ahead and turn it on while you're
hiding, but only if you've dropped some chaff grenades nearby. A merc looking
for a bomb will most likely try to use EMF vision, which would nullify your
camo. Depending on timing, you might not want to crack that merc's neck right
away... If the bomb's about to blow, you could drag the merc right up to it and
just hold him there, for an extra-stylish suicide-kill (*unconfirmed*). Or, you
could try dragging the merc up to the bomb and hitting R to knock him out, and
let the bomb blow him up while he's sleeping or starting to stand up again
(*also unconfirmed*).

[3.2.f] Other Tactics

These tactics can be executed mid- to late-game, and generally aim to score an
objective rather than trap or kill a merc.

Disk Distraction
Spy 1, get your hands on the office disk, and get somewhere safe, like the
roof. Don't be as obvious as in "LURE: Office Disk on Roof" above, but move
enough so that they think you're trying to get to an objective. Hopefully,
both mercs will focus on the drop boxes in Pirates/Blue, while spy 2 is free
to try to hack Greek.

  - One spy is basically useless while the other has to work alone.

Office Disk Spy Blitz
I'd like to claim this one as an original invention, as I'd never seen anoyone
do it, and my regular partner just thought it up one day... but I digress...

Either spy shoots out the office window, while the other pops a spy bullet near
the office door (preferably in a shadow). One spy gets hoisted into the office
window (the "disk spy") and WAITS while the remaining spy (the "scout spy")
heads back to the roof to enter Blue Room ceiling via vent. The scout spy
checks blue room for mines and pops a spy bullet between Blue Room and Pirates,
next to the Tech door. When both spies know theres' no mercs in the immediate
vicinity, the disk spy grabs the disk and jumps out the window to run towards
Blue. The merc spy shoots two grenades: a chaff towards the hall leading out-
side, and a smoke towards Pirates and the tech door. The disk spy will dive-
roll through the first set of lasers in the Blue hall, while the scout spy
sets up an ambush, by continuing to drop smoke near Pirates, setting up a spy
cam, and/or hiding behind a dark corner, waiting to neck-crack any merc that
comes to save the day. The disk spy can simply run past the second laser set,
as it's already been chaff'd. He hacks the door to the drop room, and delivers
the goods. Alternately, if blue room is clear of mercs, the scout spy can hack
the door as the disk spy is approaching, for a perfectly orchestrated dropoff.

The beauty of this plan is that mercs never bother with Blue Room until the
Office disk is stolen, so the scout spy is generally free to explore every nook
and cranny for mines, and prepare his ambush. It doesn't matter that the disk
spy is running and on radar, because the path is already cleared and protected.

Tech Follow-Up: Tank Disk
A successful Tech Room bombing can usually be followed up by snagging the Tank
Disk. Once you've got the disk, it's almost always best to head back through
Tech, as it's full of steam, and mercs are afraid of it. From there, you've got
two exits leading towards the Office drop, and an upstairs vent leading to
Greek. If you go towards Greek, keep it slow to stay off radar, and stay on the
rafters all the way to the back room; there's no need to drop down early unless
you've been spotted. If you go towards Office via the SeaTunnel exit, close
those flood doors on your way out.


[3.3] Merc Strategies

[3.3.a] Choosing Your Gun

Aquarius is a unique map, in that each gun is about equally useful. A map like
Warehosue demands the shotgun, as most of your confrontations will be extremely
close-range. On the other hand, Factory's rooms are so big that you'd be crazy
not to bring an assault rifle. Below are the PROS (+) and CONS (-) for each

+ catwalk in Pirates makes for a great sniper perch, and gives a perfect
  headshot view of any spies hacking the computer.
+ get a suprise snipe on spies trying to CoOp into Office (from Blue Room
  side of Ext)
- not great in Greek, where combat is all close-range
- horrible accuracy while running; not a good "pursuit weapon" for chasing
  spies who are running away.
+ it's your only chance of killing a spy on the roof without blindly shooting
- terrible against rambo spies.

Best Used by a Merc Who...
* likes to patrol upstairs Tech and the Pirates catwalk. Blue Room and Ext are
  the second-best places for an Assault Rifle merc to hang out
* uses recon and communication to set up for stealthy sniping.
* knows how to use his melee/berzerk attacks well, thus negating the need for
  close-range firepower.
* possesses the virtue of patience. Chasing a spy into the next room while
  spraying is very inefficient for an AR user.

+ tons of mid-range combat opportunities in Aquarius; most rooms are small
  enough that you won't really need a scope, but large enough that a shotgun
  might be insufficient.
+ great pursuit weapon, for mowing down spies as they try to run away
- not so great if the spy starts running circles around you
- no sniping abilities, so stay off the Catwalk
- you run out of bullets much faster than other weapons, so be prepared to
  visit an ammo box
+ this gun works well in almost any area of Aquarius, so there's no sudden dis-
  advantages when you walk through a doorway.

Best Used by a Merc Who...
* likes to chase spies and hunt them down once they're spotted.
* enjoys spraying bullets / doesn't have very good aim.
* stays mobile, patrolling various rooms, and checking every shadow for spies.

- horrible at long-range
- randomized accuracy; it may take 3 point-blank shots to take an alarm snare
  off a wall in front of you
+ randomized accuracy; you can get ridiculously lucky and score a 1-hit kill
  from 5-10 yards away (not common, but it happens).
+ deadly at close-range; perfect for rambo spies, because you only need to land
  one good shot to take 'em down.
- long reload time if you've used all your bullets

Best Used by a Merc Who...
* prefers to camp around corners, ambush spies, and hang out in small rooms
* spends a lot of time in Greek, 1F Tech, Sea Tunnel, Office
* hates rambo spies and enjoys making them die
* relies on grenades for long-range combat, and has good grenade aim
* knows how to use grenades to limit a spy's options and "herd" them towards
  the business end of the boom-stick.

[3.3.b] Choosing Your Gadgets

** REQUIRED ** - Grenades + Mines

Every merc should use both of these on every map. Period.


What are the spies' two best methods of putting you to sleep and blocking your
entry to a room? The smoke grenade and spy cam. What single merc gadget negates
the effects of both of these? The gas mask. Don't leave home without it. Aqua
is full of doors, hallways, and corridors that can be completely blocked by a
well-placed cloud of smoke. If there's a cloud of smoke between you and an
objective being hacked, you have three options: (1) Stand there and wait for
the smoke to dissipate, (2) Try to charge through it blindly, and risk falling
asleep or losing your neck, or (3) put on a gas mask and walk through the smoke
like it wasn't there. I suggest option 3. Also, activate your gas mask as soon
as you hear a sticky cam hit the wall, and you can find and shoot it without
having to worry about a sudden bout with narcolepsy.

RECCOMENDED - Spy Trackers

Mines are nice, but you can only set three of them at a time. Cover twice the
area with Spy Traps and Presence Detectors. Both of these sneaky devices let
you spy on the spies. The Spy Trap doesn't tell a spy when he's been tagged, so
you can eavesdrop and stalk him around the level until you feel like killing
him. The presence detector lets the spy know he's been detected, but doesn't
have any pesky lasers to give away its location.

OPTIONAL - Backpack, Camera Network

Backpack - If you're not too concerned with tracking spies, and would rather
focus on blowing them up with grenades and mines, a backpack might serve you
better than spy trackers. Keep in mind that your partner can refill from your
pack, too, and take any spare moment in a match to offer him fresh supplies.

Cam Net - This is another possible alternative to spy trackers. It serves the
same purpose of recon, without limiting your "ammo". You can only have 3 spy
traps set at once, but CamNet has unlimited usage, and there are cameras all
over Aquarius. Cam Net cameras can't be destroyed or disabled by spies, and
they have all the same vision modes as your visor, plus torchlight, laser, and
a powerful zoom. Be careful; when you're using CamNet, your body is completely


Taser - The only conceivable reason I see for bringing a taser is if your gun
is the Assault Rifle. The AR is great at long range, and poor at close-combat,
and the taser could potentially fill that gap. However, even that rationale is
moot when you consider the power of the mercs' melee/berzerk attacks. But if
you're good at tasering, and don't like the risky after-lag associated with
berzerk moves, you may want to bring this in your fourth slot.

Flare - Unless Pirates is hacked, Aquarius is one of the most well-lit levels
in the game. If you have some crazy defense plan that involves forfeitting the
Pirate Room so that you can exclusively guard Greek, Tech, and Office, go ahead
and bring those flares. In a normally-lit Aquarius, you won't really need them,
though I guess they can be used as a deterrent. A spy is very unlikely to drop
down into Greek from the roof if those dark drop points are lit up like the
Fourth of July. If you don't care about knowing where spies are, and prefer
to intimidate them with shiny objects, go ahead and bring flares instead of
spy trackers. Otherwise, leave the fireworks at home.

[3.3.c] Spawn Points & Starting Out

There are four merc spawn points:

1. Pirates 1F
2. Greek, main room
3. Blue Room, between the Disk Tank and Disk Drop Room
4. Tech, upstairs

I have a vague suspicion that mercs' spawn points at the beginning of the game
depend on who's hosting and how many players there are. I'm looking for more 
info on this matter. For a while, I suspected that the host of the game always
started in Pirates, his partner always in Greek, and subsequent respawns would
be random across the four. However, I'm not so sure now. 

If anyone knows more about this, or even has a hunch, contact me.

...More Info Coming Soon....

[3.3.d] Mine & Spy Tracker Placement

...Coming Soon...

I'm currently awaiting more user submissions for this section, and working
on a way to note the best mine spots without listing every flat surface
on the map. Please contact me or post with suggestions.

[3.3.e] Defensive Roles and Patrol Routes

...Coming Soon...

I'm currently awaiting more user submissions for this section, so please
contact me, or post on the boards in the official topic.

[3.3.f] Prioritize

With only 2 mercs, and 5 objectives to guard, you can (a) run around without
rhyme or reason, hoping to find some spies, (b) adopt one of the defensive
roles or patrol routes listed above, or (c) decide with your partner which
objectives to guard, and which to forfeit.

This merc strategy of "prioritizing" and "forfeitting" certiain objectives
is incredibly effective on maps like Museum and Clubhouse, and a little more
subtle on a map like Aquarius. For example, in Museum, if mercs let the spies
bomb Exhibition and Monolith rooms first, the only remaining objectives will
be in the Cafe - two computers to hack in Cafe, and one disk that can be picked
up elsewhere, but must be delivered to the cafe area. This way, the mercs
consolidate their defenses, and can guard one relatively small area together,
rather than having to split up and risk being double-teamed by spies.

In Aquarius, the environmental effects of the objectives complicate the issue
of prioritizing. As a merc, would you rather have a few sprinklers going off,
or have every tech door opened for the spies? A level without lights or a tech
room full of steam? These are all things that need to be considered, but the
REAL goal of Prioritizing is PROXIMITY. Below are a few examples of late-game
situations, and how proximity affects the mercs' defensive abilities.

SCENARIO #1 - mercs are screwed.
Spies have successfully hacked Pirates, grabbed the office disk (but not yet
delivered it to a drop box), and successfully bombed Tech. You, the mercs, must
now somehow guard the Greek computer, the drop box in Pirates, the drop box in
Blue Room, AND the fish tank disk. One merc could attempt to stretch himself
between Pirates and Blue while the other camps Greek, or they could abandon
Greek, so that one merc could guard each drop box. Either way, it's not a
pretty picture, and the spies in this situation have a strong chance of
winning, even if there's only a minute and a half left in the game.

SCENARIO #2 - up in the air.
The spies bombed tech, and one of them was able to grab the tank disk and sneak
back into the steam-filled tech room, while his partner hacked Pirates. They
only need one more objective. They can drop the tank disk in Greek or Office,
try to hack Greek, or try to steal the Office disk. The mercs in this situation
can split up, one in greek, and one in office, and neither really has to move.
Merc 1 can guard the Greek ND133 and drop box, and merc 2 can guard the office
disk and drop box. The problem here is that if one merc gets double-teamed or
put to sleep, The other merc may be too far away to help, especially if a spy
closes the Sea Tunnel doors. The spies can win this one with a little bit of
coordinated teamwork, but even then, a good merc has a decent shot at defending
either of those locations against a double-team.

SCENARIO #3 - spies are screwed.
A pair of speedy spies manages to bomb Tech and hack Greek in the first three
minutes of the game. The mercs relocate to Pirates/Blue Room and set up shop.
The spies' remaining options are the two disks and the Pirates computer. With
the Tech doors open for the rest of the match, spies can travel more freely,
but mercs can also watch the Tank-door-button without having to open any doors.
The two mercs can literally both hang out at the intersection of Pirates, Blue,
and Tech. If the office disk is stolen, they've got both of the drop boxes
covered. And they can easily watch the Pirates ND133 and the Tank disk without
having to move. Even with 7 minutes left in the game, and both spies having all
their lives, mercs have the upper hand.

Does this mean that mercs should instantly forfeit Greek and Tech every match?
Nope. Mercs can win by killing, too. Why give away anything for free when you
can put up a fight and kill some spies in the process? Make spies fight hard
for every objective. However, when spies have one objective scored already, it
would be wise to consider your priorities, loosen up your defenses in some
places, and tighten them in others. There's no cut-and-dry answers to a map
like Aquarius. Think about it, discuss it with your regular partners, and play
around with it. Just know that 2 mercs can't equally defend 5 things at once.

Plus, which is more fun: losing two objectives but winning the match 'cuz you
camped in one place the whole time... or not letting them score a single
objective and killing their entire stock of lives... you decide.


[4.0] Two Universal Rules

The following two rules apply to both teams, on every map, in any game of VS
Mode online: Story, Disk Hunt, or Deathmatch...

[4.1] Communicate

When I get my neck grabbed as a merc, I usually manage to say "crap, I'm dead"
before going down. As a spy, the most common dying words I hear from my partner
are "AWW, WHAT THE ****?!"

Do you see anything wrong with this picture? If not, let me enlighten you.

My partner is going to hear me say "crap, I'm dead", and then see the words
"Danny Glover has broken the sideburns's neck." That's redundant, and you
don't want to waste your dying words stating the obvious. There are a million
better ways to spend that last breath. Here's one example:

MERC: "two spies, office door..." *crack*
  This gives the merc's partner 2 crucial bits of information, in under a
  second. 1) location, and 2) that *both* spies are there. The merc now knows
  he's free to leave his post, to either defend the office or start mining the
  disk drop boxes.

But the communication shouldn't stop there -- you can communicate while you're
LIVING, too! Your partner should always know where you are, where you're going,
and your threat level. Here's a list of quotes describing the exact same spy

THE MIME SPY: "... ... ..." *dies*
  Maybe he's so deeply engaged in combat that he forgot how to talk, or maybe
  he muted his mic while his mom was yelling at him to clean his room. Either
  way, his partner is going to be pissed. F for FAIL.

THE VAGUE SPY: "... gah! OW! help!" *dies*
  Perhaps he was being shot at by two Mercs with SMGs, or maybe he got rammed
  to the ground and then shotgunned in the face as he was standing up. His poor
  partner won't know 'til it's too late. D-.

THE SHORT-TEMPERED SPY: "okay, I'm in Pi- SONOFA DAG NAMMIT i'm d-" *dies*
  He got off to a good start by almost telling his partner where he was, but
  lost all sense of composure/communication when things took a turn for the
  worse. D+.

THE ZEN MASTER SPY: "Pirates looks clear... I'm poisoned, meet me in Blue."
  This spy stays calm throughout the entire event, and tells his partner where
  he is, and where he's going. If they both act quick enough, his partner can
  heal him before he dies. A+. Masters of Zen never get angry, emotional, or
  lose control.

CALM KAMAKAZI SPY: "Pirates looks clear... Crap, I'm poisoned. I'm going to
  hack 'til I die. One's coming from Greek." *dies* This spy managed to get 5
  seconds of hacking done, while at the same time letting his partner know his
  status, and the location of one of the mercs. His calm communication makes up
  for the blatant disregard for his own life. A-.

Communication is just as important for mercs. Let's say you and your partner
are on opposite ends of the level, and you see that a Tech bomb has just been

THE REDUNDANT MERC: "Tech's being bombed." Yes, I know that. My screen just
told me that.

THE VAGUE MERC: "I'm going." Okay... which way are you coming from? How close
are you?

THE INFORMATIVE MERC: "I'm heading in from Greek. There's smoke. He jumped on
my head." *sleeps* This is all very good to know.

THE SILENT MERC: "... ... ..." *dies* ... *respawns* "DUDE WHY'D YOU KILL ME?"
I shot a grenade because I saw a spy running that way. I had no idea you were
coming into Tech from that direction, because you didn't tell me. Believe it or
not, it's *your* fault that I 'naded you.

And finally, precise communication is important, even when there's no
objectives being hacked. Remember: current location, where you're going,
and perceived threat level.

THE VAGUE MERC: "Got one in Pirates."

Does that mean you've found a spy in Pirates? Or that you're about to kill a
spy in Pirates? Maybe you don't even see a spy and you're just listening to
an alarm snare. Be more specific!

THE PRECISE MERC: "Got one in Pirates. He's running up the stairs. coming your
  way, towards Greek. Should be almost dead."

THE PRECISE MERC: "I see one in Pirates; I'm gonna snipe from up here as soon
  as he starts to hack. Stay where you are."

THE PRECISE MERC: "I'm hiding behind the stairs... Here comes one... He sees
  me. Crap, there's two, both downstairs. Come help. I'm blinded..."

I think you get the idea. Be precise, stay calm, keep each other updated.

[4.2] Don't be Predictable

A spy rushing the same objective the same way with every life is going to be
out of lives real fast. As a merc, if you put mines in the same place every
game, and camp the same objectives every time, the spy team WILL find a way
around your defenses. Any of you who play this game regularly should know that
the userbase isn't that large, and if you play at a consistent time of night
or day, you're going to run into a lot of the same players, whether they're on
your friends list or not. The mine behind the lantern above the Pirates hack
was only "secret" for so long before everyone knew about it. The fun and the
challenge of this game is trying new strategies, new defenses, and testing
yourself against the playstyles of new enemies. So don't be predictable; it's
less fun, and much easier on your opponents.

One important disclaimer: While you don't want your opponents to be able to
predict you, you ABSOLUTELY want your *teammate* to know how, when, and what
you're going to be doing, at any given point in time. If you and your partner
are in the middle of bombing Tech, and you decide to leave, TELL HIM. Don't
leave him alone in there to fend for himself against 2 mercs.


[5.0] Outtro

Well, there you have it. That's everything I currently know about Aquarius.
Thank you so much for reading, and for all the helpful submissions. I suspect
this guide will never be "complete", as new strategies are discovered, and old
rushes become hackneyed. Check back for updates.

Keep playing, and play nice ;)
                                                    ~ Mike / "the sideburns"


[6.0] Version History

ver 0.88 - submitted 8/9/2005
~ Everything but the Glossary sections and a few Merc sections

ver 0.89 - submitted 8/11/2005
~ Lots of tiny tweaks everywhere, grammatical and factual
~ Did some research on Sea Tunnel; listed it as its own room in [3.1.a]
~ Added a new Trap to [3.2.e]

ver 0.90 - submitted 8/12/2005
~ Started work on the glossary sections
~ a few minor corrections scattered about
~ I know less than I thought about merc spawn points

Coming up in future updates:
~ More progress on those glossary sections.
~ More solid details on FISH TANK door.
~ More solid info on merc spawn points.
~ Co-Op Move locations - anyone wanna research this for me?
~ Maybe a tiny section on Spy split-jump locations (there are very few)
~ More merc defensive strategies and mine locations.
~ If you posted any strategies in the official topic and they haven't been
  included yet, I'm workin on it.


[7.0] Credits and Special Thanks

Special thanks to...
~ Scotty, for buying me the game so he'd have someone to play with :)
~ SC:PT, for being the reason I bought an XBOX w/Live in the first place
~ GameFAQs for being FAQing awesome
~ My boring summer office job, for paying me to write this guide and
  occasionally answer phones
~ nickoman33, for hookin' me up with metapad, and offering formatting help
~ EightDD (Scotty again) for playin' with me for 4 hours a night all summer

Contributors from the gfaqs message board
~ skullsukker   ~ Ron Haze
~ calcifer      ~ SmoothSailin915
~ swoosh13      ~ jiggityjwned
~ jmarks 2001   ~ GHAZBANOGRE


[8.0] Contact & Copywright

(C) Mike Maddox 2005

In other words,
This guide is written and owned by me, Mike Maddox, a.k.a. "the sideburns"

It should not be hosted anywhere other than GameFAQs, and you may not sell or
re-publish it under any circumstances. Feel free to print it for private
personal use.

All of the words in this FAQ were typed by my own ten fingers, unless otherwise
noted. I don't claim to have invented any of the strategies in this FAQ, though
I really do want to give EightDD credit for the Office Disk Blitz. Some strats
were used by my teammates, others used against me, and others I just thought
of while bored at work. And of course, many were submitted to me on the gfaqs 
messeage boards.


Send all corrections (spelling or factual), constructive criticisms, and
thanks/praise/paypal to...

mikewmaddox [at] yahoo [dot] com

Please do NOT send...
~ hate mail / spam
~ requests for other FAQs
~ questions/comments about glitches
~ any random questions about the game... everything I know about the game
  is either in this FAQ or listed as "coming soon"

If you have something you'd like to contribute to my guide, a strategy to
submit, or something you'd like me to add or elaborate on, please post it in
the official gfaqs board topic, rather than my email.

And finally, my xboxlive gamertag is "The Sideburns"
and my splintercell partner is "EightDD"

Oh, and we're on US-EastCoast time.

Feel free to send friend requests. We don't play ranked games often, and I
strategize much better than I actually play, so don't expect me to be good :P

That's all, folks.