Shadows of Doubt: How to Find Illegal Businesses

This guide aims to describe illegal businesses, where and how to find them, their passwords, and what you can get in them.

 

Introduction

I was motivated to create this guide by my own inability to quickly and smoothly find all illegal businesses in a city. Thus, after much experimenting, I’ve figured out a pretty simple method to do so.

If you’re not sure why you’d want to find and access illegal businesses, there are a few good reasons.

  • Some figures in your cases can be employees there, so if you don’t know where all of them are, that can become a hindrance to your case.
  • In murder cases, if you know what the murder weapon was, checking the sales ledgers at the Weapons Dealer or Blackmarket Trader can be a great source for prime suspects.
  • Some illegal businesses can provide you useful items, such as Sync Disks in Blackmarket Sync Clinics.

That aside, if you already knew all that and just want to cut to the chase, everything you need to know is in the following sections.

1. The map

When you first load up a new city, your map will look roughly like this:

In this case, I had the sandbox starting apartment option toggled on, so I started inside a building.
After you walk a bit on the streets, it will already look like this:

As you can see, the greyed-out buildings light up very easily. This will also show the icon corresponding to what that building is.

You may have also noticed that some buildings on the map are colored off-white, while others are orange. If you never tried digging deeper into this, that’s okay. Here’s the legend on the top-right of the map.

Basically, this means that entering any buildings that are colored orange on your map will be considered trespassing.

But that doesn’t matter much to us right now. What’s most important is the icons. Every commercial, medical, and government building has an icon. Apartments, power rooms, and other more miscellaneous kinds of buildings don’t have icons (but maybe they will in the future.)

What’s important about this is that when one of the illegal businesses you’re looking for lights up, its icon will also appear, even if you never go there and explicitly discover it’s an illegal business.

Icons for each illegal business:

Weapons Dealer:

Blackmarket Trader:

Blackmarket Sync Clinic:

Gambling Den:

Loan Shark:

If you see any of these icons in your map, that is certainly an illegal business.

2. Graffiti

There are two different graffiti you have to look out for. One will tell you the password for the Weapons Dealer, and the other will have the password for the Blackmarket Trader. These two are the only illegal businesses that will require a password. If you enter their premises without saying the password to an employee, you’ll be tresspassing. It’s not easy to invade them as they are open 24/7, and thus always have an employee to see you break in. If you really can’t find the passwords, you can just break in by knocking out the employee as you would with an apartment

.

Weapons Dealer’s Password

Blackmarket Trader’s Password

These graffiti are quite easy to stumble upon, and they repeat several times all over the city. There’s not really any secret to finding them. I recommend you just play the game normally, and photograph or note down the passwords when you inevitably stumble upon one. It’s useful to create a case board just for these, where you can pin their passwords. When you find the businesses and tell the passwords to an employee, they’ll be open to you forever, so you can just discard the passwords after that.

More often than not, these graffiti will be found on grey, brick walls like this:

Pay special attention to them. They can also appear in the basements of buildings, so those are sometimes good places to look.

Remember that these graffiti have nothing to do with the locations of the businesses, or with their quantity.

3. What, where, and when to search

Illegal businesses can be found on either street level or the basements of buildings, though they are much more plentiful in basements.

If you’re not looking specifically for the Blackmarket Trader or Weapons Dealer, which are open 24/7, make sure the current time of day is somewhere between 17:00 to 19:00 when you start searching. These are the only times of day where the opening hours of every illegal business overlap, and all of them will be open. I detail the exact opening hours of each one in section 4. With the method I explain here, the businesses don’t necessarily need to be open for you to find and confirm them, but it makes the process much faster.

Anyways, here’s what you need to do to find them quickly and easily.

Street level

The easiest illegal businesses to find are on street level, in what I call “back alleys”. They are places like these:

(These are the only two floorplans you need to investigate if you’re looking for illegal businesses on street level. They won’t show up anywhere else.)

In the game world, they will be small alleys of sorts, with a wooden wall around them:

Before even having to go into these alleys you may be able to check your map to see if there is indeed an illegal business. If you can’t, just go there and try to open it or peek under the door. As soon as you do, the name of the room will update and its icon will appear on your map.

Currently, there’s a trick you can use to find out what a room is without even having to go there. Though unfortunately, it only works on street level. It will probably be patched out one day, but here it is: whenever you plot a route to a location, its name will appear under the arrow that directs you, even if you’ve never been there. With this you can find every illegal business on street level with very little legwork.

If you’re only plotting routes to the back alleys I told you about, the name can be one of three things:

  • “00x [Building Name]” which means it’s an apartment and irrelevant;
  • “Unknown” which means it’s an abandoned, run-down room, and also irrelevant;
  • When you get an illegal business, its name will usually be something suspicious, or something that sounds like an obvious cover-up. Look for keywords like “Ironmonger”, “Cost-effective”, etc. Even disregarding this, if it’s not the other two things, it’s still worth checking out to make sure.
Basement level

Illegal businesses in basements require more effort to find, as they don’t have a specific room shape they spawn in, and the route-plotting trick doesn’t work. On the other hand, they are also much more plentiful, since they can spawn in pretty much any room as opposed to the ones on ground level which need those two specific floorplans. However, there are some things you can do to speed up your search.

First of all, forget about the -2 level basement. You may have already noticed that it is always flooded with sewage, and thus all the rooms have nothing of importance.

Once you get to a basement, pay attention to the flow of people. If you see even a little foot traffic to and fro the basement, there’s a good chance there’s one or more illegal businesses there, since basements have very little foot traffic otherwise. You can follow these people and they’ll lead you straight to what you’re looking for. Even if there isn’t much foot traffic that you can see, there is a quick method to go about searching basements.

First of all, ignore all doors with apartment numbers or signs indicating you can’t enter. With the remaining doors, just try to open them. If you’re doing this at the times I mentioned (17:00 to 19:00), the doors to the illegal businesses will be unlocked, while doors to apartments will be locked.

If you’re not searching at those specific times, do the same thing, but if the door doesn’t open, peek under it. This will update the name that appears when you look at the door as well as show the icon of the room on your map. You’ll be able to confirm that it’s an illegal business without knocking or lockpicking.

Just repeat this process for every door in every basement, and you won’t miss anything.

Here’s a quick video of me finding every illegal business in a medium-sized city to show that the process works.

4. Details about each business

Blackmarket Trader

Opening hours:
24 hours a day, every day.

Items for sale:

  • Camera
  • Lazarus 5 (8mm pistol)
  • Pistol Silencer
  • Pistol ammunition (8mm)
  • Rifle ammunition
  • Buckshot ammunition
  • Deer slug ammunition
  • Bandage
  • Paradoxol (painkiller)
  • Splint
  • Combat knife
  • Poison
  • Bloodhound tracker
Weapons Dealer

Opening hours:
24 hours a day, every day.

Items for sale:

  • Lazarus 5 (8mm pistol)
  • Silenced Lazarus 5 (8mm pistol)
  • Pistol silencer
  • Pistol ammunition (8mm)
  • Rifle ammunition
  • Buckshot ammunition
  • Deer slug ammunition
  • Lucky 7 [9×32 caliber pistol)
  • Shackley Shotgun (Buckshot or Deer Slug ammo)
  • Hamilton Rifle (.309 high-caliber ammo)
  • Faucon Rifle (.309 high-caliber ammo)
  • Combat Knife
  • Flash Grenade
  • Incapacitator Grenade
  • Ballistic Armour
Blackmarket Sync Clinic

Opening hours:
17:00 to 7:00, every day

Items for sale:

  • #16 Infiltrator Sync disk
  • #17 Interceptor Sync disk
  • #18 Trespasser Sync disk
  • Bandage
  • Paradoxol (painkiller)
  • Splint

To my knowledge, these three Sync disks can’t be acquired legally. They won’t be sold at official Sync clinics, and I’m not sure if they can be found in ordinary people’s apartments. But it seems as though they do appear in the apartments of Black Market Doctors, i.e. people who work at Blackmarket Sync Clinics. So it may be worth it to break into their apartments if you want good sync disks early on.

Important warning:
Currently there is a bug where you’ll find Blackmarket Sync Clinics with no employees even during opening hours. This happens pretty often, I don’t have exact numbers but it feels close to 50/50 to me. I’ve already reported it to the devs, so a fix may come soon but it’s good to be aware of it.

Gambling Den

Opening hours:
17:00 to 7:00, every day

Gambling dens also have payphones, along with a city directory and a corkboard from which you can get jobs and apartment offers, just like any other bar and restaurant.

Loan Shark

Opening hours:
7:00 to 19:00, every day.

If you’ve never been to one, loan sharks offer a loaning service, as the name implies. They’ll give you a down payment of 2000 crows, and you have to pay 250 crows a day, plus an additional 250 crow fee.

5. Statistics (work in progress)

This is section has numbers I’ve gotten from generating many cities and looking for every illegal business in them. I haven’t finished this process for every city size yet, but I have a suspicion that they don’t scale with city size necessarily. So far, it seems that any given city will have either 4 or 5 illegal businesses, and two of those will always be a Blackmarket Trader and a Weapons Dealer. There can only be one illegal business of each type in a city.

Small cities (3×3):

Out of 6 cities generated:

  • 2 cities with 5 illegal businesses
  • 4 cities with 4 illegal businesses
Medium cities (4×3):

Out of 1 city generated:

  • 1 city with 5 illegal businesses
Large cities (4×4):

Out of 1 city generated:

  • 1 city with 5 illegal businesses
Very large cities:

Not yet researched

My counts so far have totalled 46 businesses across 82 city blocks generated, averaging about 0,56 illegal businesses per city block, with roughly 11% of those being on street level. As I said, I believe the amount doesn’t scale with city size since they can’t repeat, so this average should be smaller the bigger your city is.

The current sample size is still quite small though, so don’t take these numbers at face value. There’s a good chance they’re a bit skewed. I’d appreciate it if you took a bit of time to count how many illegal businesses you’ve found in cities you’ve generated, how many are on street level vs basements, and how many city blocks you counted. I’ll try to update this section periodically with more data.

Bonus: All passwords I’ve found

If, for some reason, you’re having a lot of trouble finding the graffiti with the passwords, or if they’re all behind those stupid trash bins, below are all the passwords I’ve found that you can try when accessing an illegal business, as a last resort.

However, be careful when using these, as the person who asks you the password will sometimes say you got it right, when it was actually the wrong password. If that happens and you enter, it’ll be considered trespassing and you’ll probably get in trouble. The opposite can also happen, where you’ll get it right but they’ll say you didn’t.
Before entering, just wait for the dialogue options to appear again. If there’s no longer an option to say a password, then you got the password right and gained access to the business.

A reminder that there’s no guarantee that one of these will work in your case, since there’s no way for me to know how many passwords I haven’t seen yet.

  • Lily
  • Briar
  • Rabbit
  • Hyacinth
  • Punk
  • Flash
  • Rose
  • Buffalo
  • Raven
  • Pineapple
  • Juniper
  • Partridge
  • Porcupine
  • Rosemary
  • Crimson
  • Cobalt
  • Lime
  • Spark
  • Superpower
  • Radioactive
  • Rampage
  • Notorious
  • Power
  • Hardcore
  • Ivy
  • Bumblebee
  • Cobra
  • Lavender
  • Midnight
  • Alpaca
  • Ginger
  • Tawny

If you’ve seen any that aren’t in this list, please let me know in the comments so I can add them.


Thanks to haomakk for his excellent guide, all credits belong to his effort. if this guide helps you, please support and rate it via Steam Community. enjoy the game.

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