Shadows of Doubt

Shadows of Doubt

62 ratings
How to find illegal businesses
By haomakk
This guide aims to describe illegal businesses, where and how to find them, their passwords, and what you can get in them.
I was motivated to create this guide by my former inability to quickly and smoothly find all illegal businesses in a city. Thus, after much experimenting, I've figured out a few pretty simple methods 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 with useful items, such as Sync Disks in Blackmarket Sync Clinics.
  • Blackmarket Traders stay open 24/7, so they're a great alternative if you have items to sell but the pawn shop is closed.

The guide is structured like this: The first three sections contain useful information that you'll probably need to use in your search. The fourth and fifth contain info that might be helpful to you after finding the businesses or just some information that's generally interesting to know. After that are the actual search methods, which will reference info from the first three sections. The methods are ordered by how easy to do they are, so just start with the first one, and if for some reason it doesn't work for you, go to the next. Though some have advantages over the others, so you might also want to read each of them and decide which is best for you.
1. Icons
You may have noticed that the greyed-out buildings on your map light up very easily. This will also show the icon corresponding to what that building is. 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.

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 almost 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 graffiti example

Blackmarket Trader graffiti example

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. Ground Level Floorplans
Illegal businesses on ground level will always spawn in places 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 ground level. They won't show up anywhere else. In both of these example images, they are on the block's southernmost side, but they can be on any side.

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

Whenever I mention "back alleys" in one of the search methods, these are what I'm talking about.

This was the last essential section you had to read before getting into the search methods. You may skip to those now if you'd like.
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 [9x32 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
These Sync Disks can also be acquired legally as rewards for side jobs (Thanks Tantalus for the info). It also seems as though there are more, rarer Sync Disks in the apartments of underworld doctors (employees at Blackmarket Sync Clinics), so it may be worth checking those out. (Though I haven't tested this thoroughly so take it with a grain of salt)

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

Items for sale:
  • Kola
  • Gemsteader
  • Bobbin Hard Cider
  • Ruby Choice
  • Old Wheel Bourbon
  • Noire Vodka
  • Hamburger
  • Fries
If their floorplan is big enough, 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.

Also, according to zerx44, bottles on the floors of basements can be a sign that there's a gambling den nearby.

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.

Important warning:
Currently there is a bug where you'll find illegal businesses with no employees even when they're supposed to be open. While I was doing research for this guide it felt like it was happening more often with Blackmarket Sync Clinics to me, but later I saw it happen with other kinds of illegal businesses as well. If all you needed was to check the sales ledger or save the location of the business on your map, this won't really be a problem, but if you needed to buy something, you can usually just wait for a different time of day and check again.

(I haven't played the game in a while and it has received some updates, so I'm not sure if this is still an issue lol)
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 at least 4 illegal businesses, and at most 5, with the chance of getting 5 increasing the bigger your city is. So you'll hardly ever get Very Large cities with only 4 businesses. Two of the businesses will always be a Blackmarket Trader and a Weapons Dealer. And lastly, there can only be one illegal business of each type in a city.

Small cities (3x3):
Out of 6 cities generated:
  • 2 cities with 5 illegal businesses
  • 4 cities with 4 illegal businesses

Medium cities (4x3):
Out of 2 cities generated:
  • 2 cities with 5 illegal businesses

Large cities (4x4):
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 ground 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 ground level vs basements, and how many city blocks you counted. I'll try to update this section periodically with more data.
Method One: Map Scraping
As Some immortal blob creature pointed out to me, it's possible to find every illegal business in your city with just your map.

This method has two major advantages. First is that it can be done effectively in any time of day, unlike the second method. The second is that you can do it right as you spawn in, without needing a tool like the City Directory, unlike the third method.

The main mechanic working in our favor here is that you can open the evidence flashcard for locations straight from your map, by right clicking a room and selecting "Open Evidence". Doing this will show you the name of the location. This can easily be exploited.

Before you start, just quickly create a new case board for you to pin the locations.

To start off, just open your map, and make sure you have ground level selected (On the scrollbar on the left of your map, there should be the letter "G" at the top.) Just find each room that has a floorplan matching the back alleys I told you about in section three. Open their evidence cards, and pay attention to the name. If it's anything other than "Unknown", or "00x [Building Name]", it's an illegal business. Pin this to your case board.

Next, click on the arrow at the bottom of the scrollbar to go to the first Basement Level. Now you'll need to do this same process for every single room here, except the hallways if you know what those look like. In basements, the names of the rooms can be "Unknown", "Power Room", "Basement 0X [Building Name]", or anything other than these, which means it's an illegal business. Make sure you pin those.

Once you've pinned 5 businesses, you're done. If you've checked every room and only got 4, that's okay as well, since not every city spawns with 5 businesses. If you have less than 4, you have to double check.

That is the gist of this method. Once you're done, just plot a route to each of the locations you've pinned, and go there to have the business light up on your map. If the door doesn't open, just peek under the door to get the same effect.

It's possible that this method isn't fully intended by the developers, so it might get patched out in the future. I don't think that will happen very soon, but just be ready for that in any case.

Method Two: Door-to-door
If you're not looking specifically for the Blackmarket Trader or Weapons Dealer, which are open 24/7, ideally the current time of day should be somewhere between 17:00 to 19:00 while you are searching. This is the only time of day where the opening hours of every illegal business overlap, so 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.

Luckily, whenever you spawn into a new city, the time will be 18:00 on the dot. And that hour of in-game time is more than enough to find everything with this method, so if you just dropped into a new city, you won't have to worry about the time of day too much.

Ground level
  1. Look for all back alleys on your map. There are usually 1-3 per city, depending on size.

  2. Choose one, preferably the closest, and set it as your destination.

  3. Before even taking a step, take a look at the name under the guide arrow. If it's "Unknown" or "00x [Building Name]", ignore it, it's not an illegal business. Make sure you do this for both rooms if the floorplan has them.

  4. Otherwise, go there and try to open the door, or peek under it if it's locked. As soon as you do, the name of the location will update and its icon will appear on your map.
Do this for each of them, then move on to the basements.

Basement level
All you have to do is repeat the following process for every basement in your city:
  1. Forget about the -2 level basement. It's always flooded with sewage, so there are no significant rooms.
  2. Ignore all doors with signs indicating you can't enter.
  3. 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. Abandoned rooms will also be unlocked, but you can easily discern them from businesses.

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 this method works.

Method Three: City Directory
City Directory
It was brought to my attention by Supercalifragilistic and Tantalus that illegal businesses can be found listed in the city directory. This method is a bit tricky, because its efficiency depends a lot on the size of your city. It's also not difficult to miss some illegal businesses, so to be honest I don't really see an advantage of using it over the other methods. Still, it does the job, so I'll explain it nonetheless.

Firstly, ignore any entries in the City Directory that start with a letter followed by a period. Those are just citizen's names.

After that, sorting out which of the listed businesses are illegal boils down to paying attention to the keywords found in the businesses' names.

Keywords for illegal businesses:
  • Bank
  • Cost-Effective
  • DIY Store
  • Hardware Company
  • Holdings
  • Home Improvement
  • House & Home
  • Incorporated (Different from "Inc.")
  • Ironmongers
  • Screws and Nails
  • Solutions
  • Storage
  • Tool Supply
  • Warehouse

The one and only person to contribute to this list for now (thanks!):

Note: As with the list of passwords, I can't know for sure if this list includes every keyword for illegal businesses. So if you use this method and find less than 5 businesses, which is the maximum, then you can just use one of the two other methods from there.

If you find a business with a keyword that's not in this list, but is still suspicious, just click on it, and click on the "Show On Map" button. If it's in a basement, or in one of the the ground level floorplans I mention in section 4, then it's probably an illegal business.
Bonus: All currently known passwords
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 dumpsters, below are all the passwords I've collected from the game and this guide's comment section 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 are missing from this list.
  • Albatross
  • Alpaca
  • Amber
  • Armadillo
  • Azure
  • Blitzkrieg
  • Brassknuckle
  • Briar
  • Buffalo
  • Bumblebee
  • Butterscotch
  • Carnation
  • Cobra
  • Cobalt
  • Cotton
  • Crab
  • Crimson
  • Crow
  • Daffodil
  • Danger
  • Dragon
  • Eagle
  • Flash
  • Ginger
  • Hardcore
  • Hickory
  • Heron
  • Hyacinth
  • Ivy
  • Jackrabbit
  • Jam
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lily
  • Lime
  • Lobster
  • Magpie
  • Medallion
  • Midnight
  • Moss
  • Mulberry
  • Notorious
  • Obsidian
  • Orchid
  • Partridge
  • Pineapple
  • Porcupine
  • Power
  • Punk
  • Rabbit
  • Radioactive
  • Rampage
  • Rat
  • Raven
  • Revolver
  • Rose
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Snow
  • Sparrow
  • Spark
  • Stork
  • Strawberry
  • Superpower
  • Tawny
  • Trout
  • Velvet
  • Wolf
  • Zebra

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

People who've contributed to this list (thank you!):
Final thoughts
Thanks for reading! Hopefully this guide helped you.

This is a pretty important part of the game, so I want to keep it as up-to-date and correct as possible. If you noticed I said something wrong or misleading, please let me know so I can update it.

Also, thanks to the folks over at the Shadows of Doubt Discord for telling me that illegal businesses could indeed be found in basements. This guide would be painfully incorrect if they hadn't.
haomakk  [author] 21 hours ago 
it's probably revolver, thanks lol
TheninjaPostman Apr 10 @ 9:31pm 
"revolver" can be a password too (or something similar)
haomakk  [author] Mar 30 @ 4:27pm 
thanks, I'll add that. thanks for the kind words also, it's been a long time since I've played the game so I'm hoping the guide still holds up lol
Purple Carnation Mar 30 @ 3:23pm 
I've gotten "azure" as a password a few times. Thanks for your hard work! :)
haomakk  [author] Feb 7 @ 6:07pm 
sure can! thanks
GatorByte Feb 6 @ 8:47pm 
Can you add "Orchid" and "Trout" to the passwords list?
haomakk  [author] Jan 13 @ 4:28am 
lmfao what kinda bug is that? also, added jackrabbit and carnation to the list
TheGamer Jan 12 @ 7:53pm 
honestly in my save i can just buy weapons from the pawn shop, because i did some game breaking bug
Greenish Boy Jan 12 @ 9:28am 
heres one: carnation, for weapons dealers if that matters
DC2 Jan 11 @ 7:05pm 
By that I mean as in You posted the comment first