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SummarySteal this one if you have to!!
The GoodIncredibly deep and exciting gameplay! Thief takes the gung-ho notion of most fps games and turns it around on it's ear by delivering a game where the emphasis is not on jumping guns-blazing on enemy territory, but in snaking and infiltrating without being detected. Results? The most deep and nerve-wrecking experience you have ever had. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you try to sneak past a guard and suddenly a false step makes him turn around and start looking for you in the dark, coming closer and closer while you pray the small modicum of invisibility the shadows provide don't fail you; or the feel you get as you frantically pick a lock while hearing footsteps coming closer and closer... or knowing that time is running out and you have to put that guard you blackjacked somewhere safe before anyone comes by, etc. etc. etc.. I could go on, and on, and on. The fact is that Thief combines a dark and lovingly crated atmosphere with the romantic yet nerve-wrecking feeling of being a thief, you know your enemies are out there, and the only way to defeat them is to hope they don't know where you are while trying to traverse some of the most intricate and finest levels ever designed (Constantine's mansion alone deserves to be nominated as one of the best levels, ever).
Thief introduced sneaking as a viable aspect of gameplay to the world, and if you think you know what I'm talking about simply because you played Metal Gear, Hitman, No One Lives Forever or whatever, then you have no clue whatsoever. This is the one and only sneak-sim, and remains unsurpassed to this day (except by it's sequel).
To top that off, the game makes the first really, really, REALLY impressive use of 3d sound in a videogame. If you are equipped with a surround set of speakers and an EAX or similar enabled sound card, then you are in for a treat. Enough sound channels to bog down a nitrogen-cooled CRAYII make sure that each and every sfx in the game comes from it's specific spatial coordinates, and there are even fantastic effects like the echos you hear on long hallways, or corridors, etc. fully recreated for your listening pleasure.
There's also the addition of a really cool storyline which fully exploits the fantasy-steampunk atmosphere and which is told via unique cutscenes that combine cel-animation, live action, and a lot of post-production magnificence into some of the darkest, most surrealistic imagery I've ever seen since The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Trust me, THIS is how you do cutscenes. Not by hiring the best 3D studio animators, or getting the latest Silicon Graphics Workstations, but by making them unique visual experiences on par with the game they come with.
Also: This game has the scariest zombies EVER. You have no idea the amount of times I screamed in terror when facing those bastards!! Genius I say!!
The BadWell, the graphics are not the best ever. They work, but the character models are truly bad.
As mentioned, the cutscenes are some of the best I've ever seen, but unfortunately they were digitized at a lousy resolution, resulting in a lot of blurryness when blown-up for fullscreen playback, a real shame.
Other than that the only real gripe I have with the game is that it relies a lot on dungeon-crawling. There's a lot of crypts, and caverns, and catacombs going on in this game, and that really hurts this game since it is much more fun to sneak around the urban locations of the game than journeying to the lost tomb of Krakatua in search of his magic wand; which also means you have to face off a lot of monsters and truly annoying critters... They would fix all this in the sequel, but no cookie for us now.