The Off the Hook achievement requires you to set the difficulty to Hard Bastard and use only one client (your character) throughout the whole game. Note, that while the description says no deaths, if you have and use the Heart Starter, it will not void the achievement. This means you can have a buffer of 1-2 lives.
The early game may make you think "this is impossibly hard". Juves - one of the weakest enemies - hit for 20 damage PER shot and you only have 400 starting health. What you should keep in mind is that while yes, the enemy damage is increased dramatically, your damage is not altered in any way. One Juve headshot on normal or Hard Bastard will kill them; as long as your aim is on point, you have a fighting chance.
The basic idea in the beginning is to get enough fuel and food to move around comfortably. Look in the FTL for fuel - there should always be at least one canister and look in the break room or Dine (if on a Lux ship) for food. Any ship that has Tourists on it is your best friend; they are the easiest enemy to deal with and save you ammunition (simply run near them then run back). It doesn't matter if the pre-mission says there are "shedloads" of them, they are never a problem unless you are careless. It is critical that on missions where you aren't in much danger (such as with any amount of tourists, few enemies etc) that you take full advantage of the freedom it provides. Loot absolutely everything you can!
Stay in Nebula Depth 1 until the salvage you need for your non-objective upgrades are no longer in your depth and you have enough fuel and food to move without too much concern. You can get the objective items and continue exploring, it's only when you craft the item that you will be moved to a lower depth (although you can still move up if you want). As you play and explore, focus on why you boarded a ship. Did you go for fuel? Then go to the FTL, get the fuel and if it's too dangerous to continue exploring, leave immediately. Did you come for an objective item? Then go to the objective location (detailed below), get the objective item and if it's too dangerous to continue exploring, leave immediately. Sensing a pattern? If you ever feel like you are in danger of losing too much health, leave the ship. Many times I have entered a ship, encountered a Screw in the very first room and/or a turret and promptly turned and left. Unless leaving will put you in dire straights for fuel/food, do not risk it.
Below is the list of objectives and their locations.
The objectives are *always* found in the same location, regardless of ship type. The locations are as follows:
Line Printer - Cubes
ID Card - Sec
Wiring Diagram - Helm
Tacputer - Tubes
Mouse Ball - File
Water-Based Lube - Suite
Body Fluid - Drier
Cool Pops - Break
Lette Wheel - Spin
Handset - Helm
Atomic Clock - Drier
Ink - Sec
CNT Stamp - File
Laminator - Sec
*The random salvage gene may alter objective locations.
Below is a list of the primary locations for resources on the various ships in the game.
Primary resource: food
Primary resource: fuel
Primary resource: merits
Primary resource: bullets, zap charges
Secondary: Gene therapy
Primary resource: Torpedoes, explosives
Primary resource: Kittybots
Primary resource: Health replenishment
Weapons, Devices and Upgrades
In terms of weapons and devices the pistol, bushwhackers and zapper are solid throughout the whole run. Upgrade to the hefty pistol, upgrade to the cow zapper and upgrade the bushwhackers. There is honestly very little need for any other guns until your get towards the lowest depths. Even then, you could still handle it with that loadout, as most of what you're doing is trying to evade combat. Engage if absolutely necessary, otherwise walk/run past enemies. If you're ever running low on your main ammo, cycle the stapler, bangers and kittybots in.
Prioritise non offensive upgrades in this order:
Part Locator>Fuel Scavenger>Padded Jacket>Ammo Subsidy>Travel Subsidy>Heart Starter>
You want the chance of extra fuel as soon as possible. Then enough health to make your way to a second life in Heart Starter. NEVER GO TO BUILD MODE AND BUILD ANYTHING. You will be tempted, trust me, but in the long run when you're at the end of the game and can simply craft the final couple of items, it's entirely worth avoiding temptation. It will save you from dealing with the toughest enemies. Do you really want to wrestle with a ship full of ZEC and Hardened enemies? Me neither, so it's in your best interest to keep all your Plaz, data etc. When you're at the final objective, feel free to scrap any excess salvage to try and reach the amount required to craft.
The enemies and how to deal with them. Note, I have placed them in order of preference - which ones I would prefer to have on a mission. Screws move toward the top if the mission states "few" but otherwise they are a pain to avoid.
Attack: They begin to wobble on the spot and after a few seconds explode, dealing a lot of damage to anything nearby.
Approach: You should save your ammunition where possible by getting close enough to begin the wobble (they will also glow blue), then legging it as fast as you can back away from them.
Attack: They begin to wobble on the spot and after a few seconds explode, dealing a lot of damage to anything nearby and leaving a puddle of radiation behind.
Approach: You should save your ammunition where possible by getting close enough to begin the wobble (they will also glow yellow), then legging it as fast as you can back away from them. Try to avoid the radiation puddle they leave behind.
Attack: They shoot single shots towards you and call you "Butt face" over and over, trying to break you down mentally.
Approach: A single pistol shot to the head will do the trick, or two to the body. Also, tell yourself you're beautiful.
Attack: They shoot single shots towards you.
Approach: Three shots to the head or five to the body will end their life. You can pop in and out from behind a wall etc to avoid taking damage.
Attack: They shoot rapidly at you when you're not facing them. If you are facing them, they will typically disappear and then reappear at a later point when you're not looking.
Approach: I paid very little attention to these. Face them, they disappear, you continue onward to a different room and you probably don't see them again. If they are in a room that you need to loot, simply back yourself against a wall or keep looking behind you and they won't spawn. If they do, you can shoot them with your zapper then follow up with the pistol.
Attack: They shoot three shots in quick succession at you or alternatively, look at you and begin floating backwards.
Approach: If they are in the shooting animation (their face contorts) then get behind cover and pop back out with three pistol shots to the head. If they float away, great, you either won't need to deal with them again or can deal with them later.
Attack: They glow pink, begin to move towards you then wobble on the spot and after a few seconds explode, dealing a lot of damage to anything nearby.
Approach: You can't take the same approach as with the other tourist enemies. To be safe, you need to keep your distance and fire a few shots to explode them.
Attack: A swarm of heads chases you and if it makes contact with you, it can deal large amounts of damage.
Approach: The pistol and stapler are useless against patients; it takes far too many shots to defeat them. Avoid missions with patients, or alternatively, take bangers/bushwhackers and throw them directly at your feet as you run. The blast will generally take the patients out. Even if you have the rivet gun, if it's not upgraded don't bring it along on a mission unless it only has patients. It is too weak against other enemies, opening you up to damage.
Attack: They float away, dropping bushwhackers as they go. They can also shoot.
Approach: Be very careful! A few careless encounters with these scribes and you're dead. Shoot the bushwhackers when you see them (they are blue, as opposed to your red ones). Shoot the scribes as normal to kill them.
Attack: Spikes form and get bigger until a burst of them is sent forth, dealing huge damage around the screw.
Approach: Stay away! Use the zapper if you really must get past, otherwise, find another way. Try to keep them locked in a room so you don't need to worry about them for the rest of the map. Watch out for the "Stomp" when one is behind a door. Lock it and quickly nope out of there.
Attack: Holding a large shield in front of them, they are invulnerable to any damage from the front. They will blast many - what seems like - explosive shots at you. They are your worst nightmare.
Approach: Your only options are to shoot them from behind (good luck sneaking up on them), avoid them or throw explosives behind them to hopefully blow them up. Kittybots can be a useful distraction if you get stuck.
The most common enemy and the most likely to end your run. There are security elements scattered throughout the majority of maps. For turrets, in the early game, you're going to want to throw a bushwhacker near to them (while staying out of their line of sight) and then shoot the bushwhacker with your pistol, exploding the turret. As you progress and explosive turrets appear, your options are to stun with the zapper, then subvert if you have plenty of credits, stun and then destroy with bullets or explosives, or turn off security. On Hard Bastard, the shutdown only lasts for 20 seconds, thus you will want to get a move on to wherever it is you need to go.
Cameras- if they see you - will sound a siren giving you about 5 seconds to destroy them before a Secbot is called to your location. Secbots are bad news! If a Secbot is coming and you already have the main thing you came to the ship for, immediately bail. Otherwise, make your way to the security section of the map with your zapper ready (in case you happen upon the Secbot) and shut off the security as quickly as possible. This will reset the Secbot. If a Secbot is active and there is no security section on the map, the choice is made for you.
Don't underestimate the importance of merits. The 25 merit authorisations are generally fine to use, but try to keep merits spare for emergencies. Pirates for example will end your run if you do not have torpedoes at the ready. This is why I spent many of my merits at the Krell Marts on torpedoes, as well as on authorisations in the tubes for extra torpedoes (25 for 2 is a good deal). If you get low on food/fuel, a Krell Mart may be your saving grace. Additionally there are CNT ships that have supply vans which can provide you with 10 fuel or food (or a mixture of both) if you have merits to authorise it. That can be huge.
All of the good genes are fine, though some are clearly better than others (sixth sense, cannibal, etc). However, the bad genes can be game ruining. If you get the "S.T.E.V." moves the wrong way 25% of the time or gunpoints are active, then get to a gene therapy ship with haste and remove them. Genes like poor peripheral vision, black and white vision or overly familiar don't have a huge effect so they can be ignored until it makes sense to go to a gene ship. Perhaps if there is something there that you need.
Avoid "on fire" ships if you can or those that have many hazards. If you can't resist, then get to Hab and pay the merits for immunity to all hazards.
Best of luck. You can do it! At the very least, the location of the objectives should be handy for those attempting this.