Red-Tape Recorder

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Did I throw a 'wrench' into your plans? Hahahaha!
The Spy on reverse-engineering

The Red-Tape Recorder is a Sapper replacement for the Spy. It is a reel-to-reel tape recorder with three Chinese characters ("反炮塔", fǎnpàotǎ) on the front printed on a frayed, white label. Translated into English, these characters can be closely translated as "Anti-Turret (Device)" or "Anti-Sentry (Device)".

Instead of damaging an enemy's buildings, the Red-Tape Recorder reverses the building process; any applicable upgrade animations are played in reverse, followed by the building packing itself up into a toolbox. As a result, this destroys the building and leaves the toolbox behind as a large ammo pickup. Destroying the Recorder will allow the building to reconstruct but not restore any lost levels, unless the building is in the middle of an upgrade animation, which will allow it to continue upgrading to the next level.

The Recorder breaks into four metal fragments upon removal. The fragments can then be picked up, each piece giving 3 metal.

The Recorder has five different sounds for when it is sapping a building.

This item was awarded in Genuine quality to players who pre-purchased Sleeping Dogs on Steam before August 14, 2012 and August 17, 2012 Europe.

The Red-Tape Recorder was later contributed to the Steam Workshop, at Valve's request.

Function Times

Building Progression Time taken
Sentry Gun Level 1 10.7 s
Downgrade 1.7 s
Combat Mini-Sentry Gun Level 1 10.5 s
Dispenser Level 1 21.2 s
Downgrade 1.7 s
Teleporter Level 1 21.2 s
Downgrade 3.0 s

Note: Values are approximate and are determined by community testing.



See also: Crafting


Spy-cicle Reclaimed Metal Red-Tape Recorder
Item icon Spy-cicle.pngx3 + Item icon Reclaimed Metal.png = Item icon Red-Tape Recorder.png

Update history

August 2, 2012 Patch

  • The Red-Tape Recorder was added to the game.

August 3, 2012 Patch

  • Increased The Red-Tape Recorder's downgrade speed from 1.6 seconds to 3.0 seconds.
  • Fixed building health compounding after being downgraded
  • [Undocumented] Fixed the Homewrecker not destroying Red-Tape Recorder Sappers in one hit.

August 15, 2012 Patch

  • [Undocumented] Added Red-Tape Recorder to the drop system.


  • Buildings destroyed by the Red-Tape Recorder will not fire the OnDestroyed logic output, which can adversely affect map logic.
  • Dispensers that are being sapped by this weapon will function as normal instead of being disabled.
  • When a building is destroyed by the Red-Tape Recorder, sometimes the "sapper destroyed" sound clip plays and the building's destruction is not recorded in the kill feed.
  • If a building does not start with full health or is damaged during the deconstruction process, it will reach 0 health before the deconstruction animation completes, which will interrupt the animation and "snap" it into the toolbox state.
  • Occasionally when removing the Red-Tape Recorder from a Mini-Sentry, the Mini-Sentry will revert to a buggy level 2 Mini-Sentry.
  • If a Teleporter is sapped by the Recorder, and the Recorder is removed in-between upgrade animations, the arrows pointing to the other end of the Teleporter will be removed.
  • If the Red-Tape Recorder is placed on and removed from a building that is still under construction, it will deal some damage to the building.
  • Sometimes, the Red-Tape Recorder does not revert buildings when sapped.
  • The Red-Tape Recorder does not glow when crit boosted.


  • This weapon's name references the term "red tape", which refers to bureaucracy that hinders or prevents action or decision-making.
  • A vaguely audible message can be heard when placing the Red-Tape Recorder onto a Sentry Gun. When slowed down 80%, spy_tape_03.wav appears to say: "Let's make some noise..." with a laugh, followed by the tape's normal noise.[1]
  • The custom animations for the world view were not added, which caused the item to clip into Spy's hands. The animations are confirmed to be shipping soon.[citation needed]




See also