Action Man: Mission eXtreme
On the 28th of June 2000, a team of police investigators were called to collect evidence surround the apparent suicide of a seven-year-old boy. The boy had been found with a PlayStation controller wire wrapped tightly around his neck; he had died from strangulation. He was being watched by his mother, who had left to go to the bathroom. When she returned, she found him dead in front of the television. Initial investigation had revealed little of interest. Nobody had gained access to the house by force, and the mother was not a suspect. With suicide suspected, the police tried to work out a motive, but there wasn't anything obvious for a normal and happy seven-year-old.
With nothing else to turn to, they decided to take the game out of the PlayStation and examine it. The game was called Action Man: Mission eXtreme and rated 3+, so they doubted the boy would have been traumatised by anything horrific he had seen. But as it was the only lead, the decided to investigate.
The front cover of the game showed Action Man scowling and standing with his arms folded, behind him was a fiery explosion with a sick-looking figure and a bandaged figure running to escape it. To Action Man's left was the grinning face of Dr. X, the villain from the series. Several anomalies were apparent on this version of the box than that of other copies sold on the high street. Firstly, the title was different; normally it was called either "Operation Extreme" or "Mission Xtreme," but never "Mission eXtreme." Minor differences could be seen on the characters' faces. The two figures in the background looked frightened on this version where normally they were scowling. The detectives thought that this must have been a misprint and carried on.
The game started up with Action Man performing several martial arts moves while his car speeded along back alleys and streets. The game began, and Action Man had to save the city from criminals who were stealing components. Action Man's instructions were issued by a female computer voice. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, and the next level was reached. Action Man had to infiltrate a desert base that was being used to manufacture chemical weapons. The other detectives who were watching lost interest and decided to call it a night. However, the investigator playing said he'd carry on and let them know if he found anything unusual.
He began to notice several small things about the game that seemed odd. The enemies of the base didn't have any lethal weapons, and sometimes they would run away from Action Man. However, to complete the missions, you had to eliminate them by shooting them or beating them to death. The game, however, told the detective in an end of mission status report that the enemies had been "captured." The detective presumed this was so the game could get a 3+ rating and wouldn't upset any children.
The detective destroyed the base and moved on to the following missions. Nothing seemed out of the normal except the enemies continued to run from Action Man rather than fight him. Then the detective reached a cutscene where Action Man was captured by his enemies and put in a prison cell. This was particularly disturbing for a children's game as Action Man was brutally beaten and tortured by his captors. When Action Man came to, he had to avoid the cameras on the boat he was captive on and escape from the hold. The game camera became fuzzy, and the picture began to flicker. The enemies sometimes held up their hands, but Action Man shot them regardless. When the screen returned to normal, the enemies were dressed in combat gear.
As the detective completed the mission, he sank the boat and captured the leader of the soldiers on the boat. The next mission began with Action Man in the Arctic destroying enemy boats. All was normal until a transmission came through his radio from his enemies; all the transmission were either white noise or screaming sounds. Action Man's computer turned on and told him in a cold tone to eliminate all resistance. The level continued as normal until the boss fight where Action Man destroyed an enemy submarine. The crew's corpses could be seen sinking to the bottom of the lake and Action Man began laughing.
The detective began to get increasingly worried about the game and rechecked the box. It definitely said 3+. The loading screen popped up and the enemies "captured" counter had increased, despite the fact that the investigator had seen them die on screen.
The final mission came up which was entitled "Ice Base." The mission began with Action Man using a longbow to eliminate the guards, who were all unarmed. The game moved on into several corridors that Action Man had to clear. None of the enemies here even tried to attack Action Man, they all screamed and cowered in the corner, but the level would not progress until they were captured. As the detective reluctantly shot them, police investigation photos of homicides flashed onto the screen. The detective got up and ejected the disc. It was printed like all other PlayStation games and looked completely normal. He reinserted it and blamed his tiredness for the visions he saw.
After Action Man had shot the rest of the enemies, he finally reached the final boss: Dr. X. The boss battle was incredibly simple. Dr. X wore a robot suit and attempted to subdue Action Man. The player had to simply run backwards while shooting at the doctor. When the doctor collapsed, Action Man had to run up close and beat the suit. Then the doctor would get back up and the steps would have to be repeated. After the battle was over, the end game cutscene played.
The cutscene began with the Arctic base exploding into flames. The camera then switched to a crowded city. Civilians ran around aimlessly choking to death, photographs of people who had died from chemical weapons flashed on the screen. Action Man was then seen leading Dr. X away towards a prison cell. He locked Dr. X inside and walked away. Dr. X began to cry and scratch at the walls, his screams continued to play as the camera zoomed on Action Man's smiling face.
The credits silently rolled over the Action Man logo. After they finished, childhood photos were displayed next to the developers' names. The detective thought nothing of this at first, and stood up, getting ready to go to bed; apart from the images and the morbid sense of the game, he saw nothing out of the ordinary. He glanced back towards the screen and stopped dead. On the screen photos were still scrolling, however, he recognized some of them. They weren't the developers of the game; they were children who had been murdered! He recognised some of the children who were the victims of the Moors Murders, and others that he didn't recognize. Lastly, a picture of Action Man appeared with a beard, entitled Alex Mann. The picture zoomed on the photo and a white noise began to play from the speakers.
The detective didn't show up for work the next day, so the rest of the investigators decided to go to his house to check on his progress with the case. They forced the door open and found him dead on the sofa. He had clawed out his own eyes. The television was still turned on and a grinning picture of Action Man was displayed. There was text underneath reading:
"We hope you have enjoyed playing Mission eXtreme, but you have now been captured!"
Credited to Tyrant T100