SettingThief games are set in a dense metropolitan complex referred to as simply "The City". The stories of most games in the series revolve around conflicts between various organizations within The City and its surroundings. A major faction in the games is the Order of the Hammer, a religious group who zealously pursues its ideals of technological progress. The Mechanists split from the Hammerite religion, forming a faction that disregarded morality and fully devoted itself to construction of technological devises. Both groups are hostile towards the Pagans, who worship a deity named Trickster, promote chaos and distortion, and are opposed to technology. The organization of the Keepers is the most mysterious one; self-described as ancient observers called to preserve the balance in the world, they employ extreme secrecy and a strict hierarchy in their ranks, which made Garrett distance himself from them.
GameplayThief games traditionally use first-person perspective. The gameplay of all the installments in the series is heavily stealth-based. Direct confrontation with hostile characters often leads to Garrett's demise, though in many cases Garrett can opt for a violent solution, usually when facing a single enemy without backup. Light and sound are used extensively in the games as integral gameplay elements. The player must usually carefully navigate Garrett, trying to stay in shadows and avoiding open areas. Sounds made by hostile characters serve to warn the player, while sounds made by Garrett himself may alert guards, putting him in danger.
Garrett can use melee weapons such as a sword to engage enemies in combat; a preferred course of action, however, often proves to be sneaking behind the character and striking him unconscious with a blackjack. Garrett can also shoot various types of arrows, for combat (fire arrows), reaching otherwise inaccessible locations (rope arrows), or to serve the stealth purposes (water arrows to extinguish fires, moss arrows to create a soft carpet that decreases the sound of footsteps, etc.).
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Front cover for Thief II: The Metal Age
Front cover for 4-Play Action Pack (Volume 1)
Front cover for Thief: The Dark Project
Front cover for Thief: Eidos Platinum Collection
Screenshot from Thief II: The Metal Age
Screenshot from Thief: The Dark Project
Screenshot from Thief: Gold
Screenshot from Thief: Deadly Shadows