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SummaryTwo Thiefs For The Price Of One.(Unless You Steal It.)
The GoodThe Thief series was truly great. Innovative, and ahead of it’s time, it introduced the world to the stealth game. In truth it has little in common with newer stealth games. And I think that you will find that that is a good thing.
In “Thief: The Dark Project”, we are introduced to Garrett, master thief. We learn that Garrett was a street urchin. After attempting to steal from a mysterious “keeper”, Garrett is trained to be one of them. For reasons unclear he leaves the fold, to work for himself.
We also learn about “The City”. A dark, foreboding place, and quite an interesting place in which to set a game. “The City” is medieval in appearance, with some slight technological advances. For instance, steam power is used, and are some strange magics.
“The City” is home to brigands, thieves, and a fanatical group know as the Hammers. Who have no love for those who work against the law. There are also the Pagans, those who worship a dark god and live outside the walls of “The City”.
The world in which the Thief series takes place is as interesting as it is dark. Thief could easily translate into graphic novels, and perhaps even films. Garrett himself is one of the best video game characters of all time. His cynical look on life was unique to games at the time these games were initially released.
In “Thief: The Dark Project”, missions include robbing noble houses, freeing fellow thieves from prison, to simple revenge. Midway during the game Thief drops a major plot twist, that greatly changes the game. And the games ending is one of the coolest I have every seen.
In “Thief II: The Metal Age”. A new power threatens the safety of “The City”. A rouge hammer priest, Karris, has stared a new religion, The Mechanists, that is quickly replacing the Hammer faith. Old enemies become allies as once more the fate of “The City” is in the hands of the master thief. The Keepers also play a larger role in the unfolding tale.
Thief II, improves on it’s predecessor in just about every conceivable way. The plot is darker, and we see more and learn more of the interesting fantasy world of Thief.
Thief II, has you framing the sheriff. And running across the rooftops of “The City” Thief II, has an ending that rivals the original game, and other all time great endings, like that of “Phantasy Star II”, or “Deus Ex”. Thief II is also a longer game. And the difficulty is more consistent, but more on that later.
The Graphics in these games are good for the time. Thief II looks better as one might expect. But where the Dark Engine really excels is in it’s ability it create realistic light and shadows, and of course darkness. At it’s time lighting effects did not get better then the Thief series. And even now it is quite impressive.
In the audio department, Thief I & II, really shine. The voice acting is superb, particularly the voice of Garrett. Realistic weapon sounds fill out the audio. And sound clues alert you to enemies near by. As well as how much noise you are making. The games support EAX, this of course enhances the game more than I can put into words. If you have to play without it you will be missing out of the true experience of the game.
Music cues are rare. But what little music there is all solid. Even the metal ending theme fits and does not feel out of place like the metal music in “Prince Of Persia: Warrior Within”.
The game is immersive. The controls are tight, and the game makes use of most of the keys of the keyboard. All the missions are unique, and you never feel like you have done this already. With games like these it is hard to imagine how Looking Glass, the developer is out of business. The A.I. is amazing. The NPCS see and hear everything, and react logically to most situations. Compared to “Metal Gear Solid”, where the A.I. is pretty lame. If you leave a door open they will notice. If they find blood stains they will become wary and on guard, finding a body will lead them to do a search of the area. Being attacked will cause them to call for help. They can even be distracted by noises you make either with a noise arrow, of just but throwing stuff around. If the guards give chase you will have a hell of a time shaking them off your trail, unless you throw a flash bomb down.
The BadIn Thief, the difficulty tends to be unbalanced. Some missions are straightforward, and fairly simple. While some, like “The Lost World” are confusing and overly difficult. Thief II does not suffer from this flaw.