The Suffering: Ties That Bind is a video game developed by Surreal Software and published by Midway Games, released in 2005 for the Xbox and PlayStation 2 game consoles as well as the PC. The Xbox version of the game is not supported by the Xbox 360's backwards compatibility feature.
It is the sequel to The Suffering, and picks up after the ending of that game. Players who have a game save of the different endings of The Suffering can decide with which morality to start with, starting with a different morality changes the dialogue and intro of the game. Contrary to the box image on the official site, only the original game has been released as freeware by the United States Air Force.
"Ties That Bind'' features a number of gameplay changes from the original ''The Suffering''. The player can no longer carry around xombium bottles to refill their health whenever they need to, and instead must rely on stationary pickups located throughout the level. The player is also now limited to only carrying two weapons at a time.
The game begins by revisiting Torque's stay in the Eastern Baltimore Correctional prison five years prior to the events of the first game, in which he and Miles are confronted by Blackmore, the man who orchestrated the events leading to their imprisonment, and several of his cohorts. As Torque and Miles are about to be attacked, a prison riot ensues, which leads Torque to discover that many of the creatures he encounters on Carnate five years later are attacking here as well.
Five years afterward in the present day, Torque escapes Carnate Island, the site of his imprisonment, and attempts to return to his home city of Baltimore, only to be captured by a mysterious paramilitary organization known as the Foundation. The apparent leader of the Foundation is a woman named Jordan, who wants to study Torque and his connection to the malefactors, the creatures that appeared when he was sent to Carnate. Torque manages to escape from his captors and is prompted by the ghost of his dead wife Carmen to return to his apartment and investigate the death of his family, where he learns that a powerful crime lord by the name of Blackmore (for whom Torque worked) is ultimately responsible for their deaths. Much to his shock, however, it seems that the horrible Malefactors that had brought Carnate to ruin followed him to the mainland to continue their spree of murder and chaos, feeding upon the dark and ancient history of the city to grow strong. Torque makes his way through the city under the questionable guidance of Dr. Killjoy, who wants to help Torque understand his mental state and his past.
At the very end of the game it is discovered that Blackmore is actually one of Torque's alternate personalities, which surfaced when he was a child living in an orphanage called The Garvey Children's Home because of violent acts upon him (as learned from the "archives"). There are three possible endings depending on the morality of the player at the end of the game: Torque is completely overcome by Blackmore, who takes total control of Torque's personality (Evil); Torque and Blackmore are unable to overpower each other and remain in their current state of opposition (Neutral); Torque eliminates Blackmore's presence from his mind once and for all (Good).
The player's morality also affects certain sequences during gameplay and a level near the end of the game, where Dr. Killjoy, the slavehunter Copperfield, and the vile killer pimp Creeper forge a tribunal and look back on Torque's actions, and also decides whether the player will face Copperfield or the Creeper in the sub-boss battle.
- A mysterious crimelord who lies at the center of Torque's struggles. He is inexplicably tied to every major event in Torque's life including his imprisonment and the deaths of his family. Later it is discovered that he is actually Torque's alter ego, who takes control of him every time he blacks out. Originally beginning as little more than an imaginary friend to Torque in his childhood, Blackmore would soon become intertwined into Torque's personality in adulthood. Torque claimed during his court case that he blacked out during the deaths of his family, which is true or not depending on his morality at the end of the game. Almost viewing his 'better half' as a best friend more than anything, Blackmore acts willing to do almost anything to bring Torque over to his side; force him to understand and embrace the reasoning that so violently drives the crime lord. Blackmore's voice is now Torque's evil mental sprite in morality situations, as he can be heard goading Torque to perform evil acts throughout the game. Blackmore is voiced by famed actor Michael Clarke Duncan.
- A young drug addict who Torque must "help" by escorting him to an apartment complex to get his drugs. Due to his drug problem, he thinks Torque is his father, and relies on him for protection. After injecting himself, he finds his friend Freddy on the floor after he committed suicide with a shotgun, which he previously did not notice, despite the fact that he was right in front of the door. While escorting him, the player will find out that he accidentally shot, and probably killed his younger brother. Kyle is voiced by Scott Menville.
- The apparent leader of the Foundation who has dedicated her life to studying the malefactors. Torque's connection to the malefactors has made him a target of study for her and she spends much of the game in pursuit of him. On more than one occasion, other characters (including The Creeper, and even Jordan herself indirectly) will imply that she is harboring some type of attraction to Torque. She is a cold and calculating woman who will stop at nothing to achieve her goals; she even goes as far to sacrifice her own men to fool Torque into thinking she is on his side.
- If the player completes the game with a good morality, they will fight her in a helicopter. She will survive the crash, she then mans a turret, where she can then be defeated in a normal manner. However, if played as evil, she will aid you at several points, displaying a distinct like and attraction to the player. However at the end of the game when Torque's persona is overcome by Blackmore's, Jordan approaches the man and says "You're the only part of him I liked", implying that they were working together the entire time, even though she showed signs of aiding Torque. This may even allude to the idea that if you play through the game as Evil, you may be playing through the game as Blackmore himself. If Torque is Evil and helps Jordan, the Creeper will then take Jordan. If Torque continues the game as Good, Jordan will not appear at the end, having been killed by Torque in the boss battle. Jordan is voiced by Australian actress Rachael Griffiths.
- A former neighbor of Torque's who meets up with him near his old apartment. Hejirah appears to be a militant Muslim member of a black nationalist group (Before parting with Torque he urges him to continue fighting, quoting Malcolm X's By any means necessary saying) and is on his way to meet up with a group of his friends at a special place (a Christian Service named the 'mission') where they were supposed to meet once the city collapsed. He assists Torque on his path through the city until reaching the Canal Street Mission, where he is shocked to find that none of his friends have arrived. He decides to wait for them and parts ways with Torque. Hejirah is voiced by Keith Ferguson.
- Torque's best friend and proprietor of "the Underground" a bar in the city. He is one of the only few people Torque talks to. He seems determined to find out the identity of Blackmore and bring him down. He was set up by Blackmore, along with Torque, and sent to Eastern Baltimore Correctional. After Torque's return to Baltimore he tries to meet up with Miles, claiming that he knows how to expose Blackmore. The two eventually meet again within Eastern Baltimore only to see Miles attacked by Copperfield. It later transpires Miles survived the attack, as he is met again inside the prison - however, Torque blacks out and is controlled by Blackmore, resulting in Miles' death. Prior to Miles' death, it appears that he had discovered the true connection between Torque and Blackmore, but before it is directly revealed, Miles is killed. Miles is voiced by Arif S. Kinchen.
- Consuela Alvarez
- The wife of CO Ernesto from the first game. She survived the Carnate incident and was imprisoned by the Foundation. Torque finds her locked up in the docks and can choose to free her. If rescued, Consuela will become separated from Torque, later to be found being attacked by The Creeper. The player can choose to leave her to die, or attack the Creeper (who will feel betrayed by the act) to rescue her. Later Torque can help her get back to Carnate to find Ernesto. Consuela's recounting of local landmarks and urban legends makes up part of the game's Archive section. Consuela is voiced by Meg Savlov.
- A Foundation soldier that realizes that the creatures will never stop appearing and has given up on his mission. On one of the chapters, he helps you find Blackmore. He has a thick Irish accent and carries a heavy machine gun. In the machine shop, following an ambush by a horde of Arsonists, he will be trapped behind fire - Torque can choose to save him by shooting fire extinguishers, or leave him to die. If rescued, he will part ways with Torque on the way to the elevator. He can be seen standing near Jordan near the beginning of the game. Reilly is voiced by Ciaran Reilly.
- Warden Elroy (A.K.A. Junior)
- Son of Warden Elroy Senior, who died in a riot 30 years ago. He is physically weak, but is bold and strong within his heart. He has no idea of the crimes that Torque (or Blackmore) committed. Torque can either help him make a small army of survivors, or shoot him on sight as an evil act. Elroy will often make numerous quotes from songs from metal bands like Slayer and Metallica. He is voiced by James Patrick Stuart.
- Police Officers and Prison Guards
- Various cops trying to survive in the Malefactor-infested streets of Baltimore. Torque first meets a pair of officers after two of their comrades are killed by a Triggerman. After Torque kills two Triggermen, the male officer opens a weapons trunk for Torque, letting him have a shotgun while the other female officer deputizes Torque in gratitude. Later, at Eastern, Torque meets up with Warden Elroy, and later, three more officers, who will be enemy or ally, depending if Elroy is with Torque. Only these CO's know of Torque's stay at Eastern five years earlier. The last CO Torque meets is trapped behind a wall. Torque can free him by using his insanity to knock down a wall, or turn the crank handles against his wishes and killing him as an evil act.
- Baltimore Survivors
- Throughout the game Torque will encounter other un-named survivors, mostly un-armed and the weapons are found near them. One of these survivors is Ranse Truman (with a Tommy Gun nearby), the man who wrote all the messages seen during loading screens. Like Torque, Ranse was a former Carnate prisoner and has an intimate knowledge of the Malefactors and their tragic histories.
- Ranse Truman
- Truman was an inmate at Abbott who has surprising intelligence. He was largely an unseen and unheard character in the first game, though the profound notes he leaves are viewed during the loading screens of both Suffering games. A dead inmate from Torque's journey through Abbott prison is found with a note adjacent, possibly alluding to his death. However, Torque encounters him after arising from one of the Malefactor surfacing holes after his battle with one of the two sub-bosses. He is seen as a thin, gangly man with a Southern accent who is weighed upon by his memories. After Torque reaches the Garvey Children's Home, Blackmore tells him that he'd sent a wave of Malefactors to attack Ranse. If the player so chooses, Torque makes the long run back where he came to save Ranse. Ranse is voiced by David Markus.
- Carmen, Cory and Malcolm
- Torque's deceased wife and the mother of his children Cory and Malcolm. Her apparition guides Torque throughout the game in an attempt to keep him on the right path. Depending on the whether the player has a saved game with a specific ending from the first game present, her death was either directly or indirectly Torque's fault. These outcomes will also affect her interaction with Torque, as she will scold him for performing evil acts and praise him for doing good. Carmen is voiced by Rafeedah Keys.
- Cory and Malcolm also retroactively appear in the game, with Cory ultimately hating Torque and Malcolm appearing eerily playful to Torque.
- Dr. Killjoy
- The former operator of the Carnate Institute for the Alienated who has followed Torque to Baltimore. As a doctor he wants to help Torque understand his mind and ultimately cure him of his dementia. To this end he serves as something of a guide for Torque although his methods of guidance are questionable at best. According to him near the end of the game, he met Torque's mother once, although, this can be a hint that he and Torque share a deeper relationship that has yet to be explained. Killjoy is voiced by John Armstrong.
- Copperfield is one of the major recurring evil characters in the game. Little information is given regarding his identity, but it is revealed at points in the game that he was a slave catcher from Baltimore's past and, according to him, may have chased Torque’s ancestors. He also claims to have chased and returned Carmen's ancestors to their owner, 5 times. The sixth time, he says, they escaped, but he assumes they died in the swamp. He is believed to represent the racism in Baltimore's history (and is probably the reason why police officers are called "Cops"). At several points in the game he appears in order to attack other characters, targeting black characters specifically (claiming them as descendants of escaped runaway slaves), whilst boasting about his prowess in hunting his 'quarry'. In the chapter "The Greatest Story Never Told", if the player has a morality status of good, they will fight Copperfield.
- Copperfield is usually aided by Maulers. They represent Copperfield’s bloodhounds, which he “trained” by depriving them of food –so they would not lose track of their victims- and allowing them to feast on the slaves. When he is killed, his bloodhounds will turn against him and devour him, Probably because Copperfield failed in providing them with food (Copperfield mentioned earlier that denying them food for too long will make them attack the owner). Copperfield is voiced by Bob Papenbrook.
- The Creeper
- The Creeper is another evil character who appears throughout the game. The Creeper is the manifestation of Baltimore's history of prostitution, but is also linked to Baltimore's violent history towards women. He is also revealed to be a homophobe in a later part of the game, in which he can be heard berating and killing a gay inmate in the Eastern Prison.
- Reports from Consuela's Archive scrapbook and loading screens tell the story of a pimp named Luther Stickwell who started murdering prostitutes, before turning his attention to any female he came across, eventually killing between 50 and 200 women and becoming the basis of an urban legend. The Creeper can be found roaming through dark alleys, or down in the sewer system, in which he appears to Torque surrounded with the dead bodies of seemingly hundreds of women. At various points in the game, the Creeper's quavering voice can be heard recounting his exploits, such as how he killed women in the sewers because he liked the damp conditions and elaborating on his misogynistic and his violent attitudes against women. In the chapter "The Greatest Story Never Told", players with an evil morality status will fight the Creeper, who will explain "I took [the prostitutes] to a warehouse and when the police got there the whole place was already burnt down."
- His appearance is of an overweight man, not fully bald, in a large trenchcoat and gloves. His face is oddly doll-like and the torsos of several scantily-clad women are hidden under his coat, viscerally connected to him by bladed tentacles. After he is defeated, the women will turn their hooks against him and kill him, but strangely, even to Torque, he enjoyed it. The Creeper is voiced by S. Scott Bullock.
As of 2009 it holds a 78% on the Xbox, 76% on the PS2, and 74% on the PC on Gamerankings.
- "Yeah, consider yourself deputized."
- Killjoy reminds Torque that he never knew his mother through a telephone and ends the call saying: "But I knew her Torque."
- "Who owned your great grandfather? Your great grandmother?"
- "The sixth time, the swamp must've claimed them, because I never found a trace."
- "Be careful, deny it too long, then it may bite you back)"
- Release: The Suffering & The Suffering: Ties That Bind on GOG.com