Thief: Deadly Shadows

aka: Dark Project: Deadly Shadows, TDS, Thief 3: Deadly Shadows, Thief 3: Złowieszcze Cienie, Thief III
Moby ID: 13460
Windows Specs

Description official descriptions

Master Thief Garrett is contacted by the Keeper Artemus, who wants him to steal two valuable artifacts. Meanwhile, Garrett learns that the coming of a Dark Age had been prophesied long ago. Gaining access to the Keeper Prophecies, Garrett learns that an ancient book known as the Compendium of Reproach contains more information about the prophecy. As Garrett is trying to solve the mystery, it becomes more and more clear to him that there is a traitor in the order of the Keepers.

Thief: Deadly Shadows is the third installment in the Thief series. The game follows the same design philosophy and gameplay structure that distinguished its predecessors. As before, stealth is the key to successful completion of missions. Avoiding confrontation with the guards, Garrett has to make his way through the levels towards the objective. Shadows and sounds play a large role, as guards will react to suspicious noises, and studying their patrolling routines is essential.

A few gameplay elements have been slightly altered. Garrett can no longer swim, but is able to use climbing gloves that attach him to the walls. He can also flatten himself against walls while standing; if in shadow, he remains completely unnoticeable that way. The player can see Garrett's limbs even if he is viewed from first-person perspective, allowing more precise movements. Switching to third-person view is also possible.

The most significant gameplay change is the non-linear exploration of the City, which has been added to the largely linear missions. In order to access the next mission, Garrett has to explore the City. On his way, he can overhear conversations, steal valuables, avoid or knock out the guards, and even accept secondary missions, which will influence his reputation with some of its factions.


  • Thief 3. Тень смерти - Russian spelling
  • 神偷:死亡阴影 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

265 People (208 developers, 57 thanks) · View all

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[ full credits ]



Average score: 83% (based on 44 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 103 ratings with 7 reviews)

Thief: DS

The Good
- It's closer to Dark Project in terms of atmosphere and overall direction, but also features TMA-style "breaking in" mundane missions. There are zero to none placeholder or just "badly designed to the point it's unplayable" missions. - You get to explore the City between missions to find more stuff or complete side quests for different factions, find new stores to sell different kinds of loot and buy different kinds of equipment. - AI is greatly improved. - Thick atmosphere, elevated by the excellent sound design and voice acting.

The Bad
- Story is kinda "meh". Some parts of it are heavily underdeveloped, some feels like recycled bits from the Dark Project. The game also doesn't seem to acknowledge TMA events which is weird. - After some time City exploration becomes pointless. - Weird choice of engine which resulted in a very clumsy player model, not very responsive controls and some annoying save/load bugs.

The Bottom Line
Requires some modding in order to be playable.

Windows · by SanfordMorgan · 2023


The Good
I remember my cousin handing me his copy of Thief back in 1999 and he said “You've never played anything like this before”. From promos it looked like it belonged in the same genre as say Quake or Doom. After installing and playing I didn't find myself running around blasting monsters but avoiding that and keeping myself confined to the shadows. The problem was playing such a game at a young age brought a lot of tension and alas I found myself too scared to continue this game. So it's safe to say that I've never actually experienced a Thief game except for the start of the first one. I'm aware of this game's influence and pioneering of the stealth genre and I've even played Looking Glass Studio's magnum opus “System Shock 2”. That's why in 2009 I've decided to swallow in some courage and face my fear, play a Thief game.

I decided to start from the latest and possible final release and that being Deadly Shadows. It's a shame that Looking Glass closed it's doors before production of this game due to bankruptcy. Ion Storm picked up some of the development team and decided to make the third installment together. Being a fan of Deus Ex, a game directly influenced by Looking Glass Studio's System Shock 2, the idea of these 2 working together would seem like a good idea. Besides Warren Spector worked in both these companies and on both the above mentioned titles. So failure would most likely be equal to John Romero making you his bitch.

Thief 3 Deadly Shadows is my first real experience of this series. The game is powered by the Unreal Engine 2 this time instead of the usual Dark Engine and with havok physics added under the hood. Surprisingly I liked this game's visuals more than any other Unreal 2 powered game. It utilizes Dynamic Shadows and this has been integrated into the gameplay as I found that I could hide behind an opened door's shadow or push the a box from it's stack and be discovered as the box shadow only covers half my body. The physics are pretty good for it's time, ragdoll physics are obviously present and essential for this game.

The game follows it's traditional style of gameplay but this time they've added in the city which you're free to roam as long as you confine yourself in the shadows as a city guard or enemy is just about to brush his shoulders against you. Not to mention an optional third person perspective to complement the game's trademark first person view. You have an indicator notifying you of how hidden you are, just like the original. The levels follows a procedure of “Days/Mission/Rinse Repeat”. You'll start off at day 1 then you will head towards your mission. After the mission is complete starts day 2 and so on. These days basically take place in the city at night and have no time limit whatsoever allowing you to roam it freely to purchase equipment, loot people and places, sell loot and complete side-missions.

Storyline may also develop during these city levels. Speaking of equipments you have an impressive arsenal of them. Water arrows, oil flasks, moss arrows, flash bombs, climbing gloves to scale walls, the essential blackjack and many more. Some of them have more than one purpose for e.g. The water arrows can take out small fires and put out torches at the same time remove any blood spills and even expand the moss patches created by the moss arrows. It's obvious that the thief series has some awesome thought process going on in the designing stage.

And to further backup the above statement the A.I seems to have a lot of realism put into it. They notice torches put out, noise created by footsteps or bumping into objects, missing comrades and missing loot. The sound is simply perfect and of the highest quality. It's the major driving force behind the atmosphere of the game which is simply brilliant. The world seems to be alive, with people stopping for conversations, greeting each other and eavesdropping on conversations can even lead to a side mission or clue. There are notes laid out here and there not to mention books and journals. These can help you discover hidden loot around the city or discover side missions. Side missions can reward you with maps to a future mission's location or even the benefit of an ally.

Yes there are two factions in the city, the Hammerites and the Pagans. Somewhere in the middle of the game both sides give you a side mission & performing either one will anger one faction as well as please the other. Being an ally to these factions will benefit you in certain parts of the game adding a non linear element to the game.

The main missions which are around 9 are pretty diverse in location and length. Takes place in locations like a church, zombie infested ship, insane asylum/orphanage hybrid, mansion etc. All of them follow a rather standard blueprint. Break into location, steal a certain percentage of loot depending on difficulty level selected, find main object and leave. But this is not always the case, some missions like the insanely awesome mission “Robbing the Cradle” have some mind blowing concepts behind them.

“Robbing the Cradle” is the main reason you should play this game especially if you're not a fan of the Thief games. I may have been afraid of the first Thief game because of the tension it creates but this is just way beyond that. At the age of 21 in broad daylight in an apartment filtered with traffic noise, I almost wanted to wet my pants in the most bone chilling atmospheric level I've ever witnessed. I'd be bold enough to say that this even kicks Silent Hill's arse. So what's so great about this level? Well everything, at this point Garret the protagonist is clueless and has no lead on the lady who tried to attack him in the Hall of Statues so he seeks out an Inspector who's tracking down the hag. He is advised to visit the Shalebridge Cradle, an Orphanage which then turned into an Insane Asylum then for a short while ran as both!!!! Before being abandoned due to a fire breaking out. I won't ruin the rest but in the words of the protagonist Garrett “If there's a way to cram more misery into one building's history, I can't think of it.”

The storyline is often conveyed with cut-scenes, pre and post mission narrations by Garrett and two types of FMV. One using the in game engine and one having a kickass art direction to it. The Storyline itself is interesting although at first it may seem a bit confusing but that's probably the fact that I've not played the first 2 games. The protagonist Garrett is just awesome, they've managed to portray him well without overdoing things and just like most of the characters in the game he is voiced perfectly. There are other characters who are presented in a rather subtle manner but still manage to be memorable.

The game is rather lengthy, gameplay time can be from 25-30 hours or even more and the slow pace of a stealth game is not the major factor here. 9 city levels and 8 missions won't take a weekend and maybe not even a week.

The Bad
When I have to look at the negative aspects of the game, it lies in the more experimental parts. The movements try to recreate a very realistic feel. In first person perspective you'll notice some very natural head bobbing not to forget the fact that you can see your entire body from first person and this game does it the best, even better than F.E.A.R's attempt. If you look right you'll see your weapon, basically your head is the only thing moving when you turn your mouse. Very realistic but very annoying, takes a lot of time to get used to and very distracting. And for those you get nauseous at the sight of head-bobbing then it's your unlucky day as the game doesn't have an option out of the box to turn it off. The third person works better but really makes the game a whole lot easier allowing you to look around corners by just swinging the camera.

To make things worst the game has very clunky movement and clumsy collision detection. I often found myself stuck in the games environment between boxes and even a weird bug where i jumped against a wall and the animation got stuck but i could still move.

I mentioned the realistic A.I before and still think it's impressive but when you got such a good thing going on why leave a loophole in it? I often found that I could bonk a guard with a blackjack “BONK” he lets out a “UHHHH” and then his sword falls “CLANG TANG THISH” and the guard which is just few feet away will act like nothing just happened. Meanwhile I brush against a box which goes “TICK” and the guard which is around 8 feet away will go “I think I heard something”.

The game would be a lot better if the city didn't need me to maintain stealth and instead leave that factor to the actual missions. To make things worst the city resets itself after a mission so you may have to bonk that same guards head around 20 times. At the start it was all good sneaking by the city guard to head to the next area but after a few missions I found it frustrating but still enjoyed it in the actual missions.

Each section of the city is split into various areas like South quarter, Docks etc. All of these are joint by loading zones and the load times are pretty long. So the city missions which require you to travel a lot can get a bit annoying.

The hud and G.U.I is just bad and unattractive. You can call this a console port from the main menu itself. The text in the pre-mission dialog screen is unnecessarily large. Not to forget that you'll be scrolling a lot to see your goals and notes as that screen has no real sorting options whatsoever. The completed tasks will stay at the top while your current tasks will be at the bottom. I found myself scrolling just to read 5-8 lines of text thanks to the super huge font. If someone was so visually impaired why would they play a game that's practically taking place in the darkness?

Lastly the character models aren't too impressive except for maybe Garrett and the puppets in Shalebridge. Most of them follow a rather similar skeletal structure. It's hard to tell the difference between a Hammerite and a City Guard from a distance or a Pagan from a Thug.

The Bottom Line
I cannot say whether Deadly Shadows is a disappointment as compared to the previous two as this is my first experience of a thief game but I can say it's definably true to the stealth genre the series help pioneer and it's probably my favorite stealth game so far and this is coming from someone who's played Splinter Cell and Metal Gear. Those games went strong in certain area, Splinter Cell had good gameplay but a uninteresting story while Metal Gear had a good story but really limited gameplay as 90% of that game is dialogs and cut scenes. Despite the mentioned flaws Thief 3: Deadly Shadows is balanced well in gameplay as well as story which has an interesting plot and a rather epic ending. And with missions such as “Robbing the Cradle” you can recommend it to your horror loving friends looking for a scare trip and I'm sure they'll thank you for it.

Windows · by dreamstealer (126) · 2009

The best yet. It's still "Thief" though, so if you're not a fan, stay well away.

The Good
It is to Ion Storm's credit that they have created a game so faithful to the original series. So much so in fact that it feels like an homage to Looking Glass. I, for one, find this heartwarming, especially as many were concerned that the now-defunct company's extraordinary talents would be lost forever. Indeed, Thief:DS feels like it was made by both LG and Ion Storm. It probably was to some extent - I'm sure lots of LG members had a large hand in it, though I don't know for sure.

So this game has the usual LG hallmarks: Slow pace, slight 'fish-eye lens' viewpoint, advanced use of sound, atmosphere...but you can feel Warren Spector's influence. There are subtle similarities with Deus Ex. For example, Thief:DS has a backbone which was missing in the earlier games. Thief 1 and 2 were just one mission after the next, but in this, Garrett spends half of his time in one place: The City. It lends a structure to the game to always be coming back to the City to sell the stuff you've plundered or to meet friends or whatever. You can also roam the City at will and swipe things from people's houses, giving the game a more free-form nature very reminiscent of Deus Ex, if only because that was the first game to really implement such a system.

Thief:DS has real-time, dynamic lighting, which presents a whole new challenge. It's wonderful to knock a candle off the table without snuffing it out and seeing how the shadows alter enormously. You also occasionally see the elongated shadow of an enemy first and think that a 20' giant is around the next corner, when really it's just a man carrying a torch. Such technology is very processor-hungry however.

I actually bought this game on the hype surrounding one of it's missions. It's been frequently called "one of the greatest levels ever" in an FPS. The UK edition of the best-selling PC games mag in the country even ran a special 8-page feature dedicated to it (it might even be 10 pages, I'm not sure since I didn't buy it). It's the "Shalebridge Cradle" level, affectionately referred to as simply "The Cradle". And yes, it's brilliant. Perhaps a tad overrated, but still brilliant. All you should know is that it's an abandoned building that was once an asylum and before that an orphanage. To say anymore would spoil it. Cleverly, you only discover the bare elements of the story behind it, and it's left to your logic and imagination to piece things together. I have to admit being unafraid whilst playing it, (more on that later), except a few times. One time in particular was actually quite chilling. I define that as the kind of fear that creeps up on you slowly AFTER the event has happened, and makes you shudder in painful reflection. Games are rarely chilling.

I've said before that graphics don't mean a thing since they're improving all the time, but the difference between Thief:DS and Thief 2, is a lot greater than the difference between Thief 2 and Thief 1. The series has always had good textures, but here they're great, or at least most of them are. Some levels have a particular look. 'The Cradle' is perhaps the most beautiful level in the game yet it's almost monochrome, like you're watching a black-and-white documentary. I can't help but say it looks almost photographic at times, but I'll bet I'll regret that in a few years.

Finally, the sword has been replaced with a dagger. Because of the sword and the limitations of the Dark Engine, in the previous games you could face 3 enemies head on and beat them without barely receiving a scratch. This is no more, which is a good thing, but has brought problems of its own...

The Bad
...namely the easy misuse of the quick-save key. Without a quick-save, this game would be hell. But considering you are now very likely to die if an enemy sees you and there's nowhere for you to run, you are forced to hit that key more often than you should. Especially because Thief:DS has inherited other faults of the previous games.

My problem with the series is its never-ending need for stealth becomes too draining. When you first start the games, you have a great time hiding in the shadows for 10 minutes waiting for an enemy to walk away. 8 hours later and it's getting pretty old, but the threat has only become greater. You have to hide MORE. It's an enormous pain slowly creeping across the whole city to meet someone, only to meet them and be told you have to now go back to where you came from. You just want to be able to walk there but you can't because of the ever-present threat of the City Watch. So you have to slide from shadow to shadow slowly. It's almost like playing Grand Theft Auto without getting in any cars, or Grim Fandango without ever using the "run" key. This is why so many people can't stand Thief.

The engine powering Thief:DS is very reminiscent of the Dark Engine and has included it's inability to handle large entities. You rarely meet an enemy bigger than a human for example. The Cradle is let down by it's enemies. You marvel at the psychological game it plays, and the beautiful architecture. You can almost feel the life pulsating within the walls of the building, like it's alive and is trying to steal your mind, and then you meet the poorly animated low-polygon enemies and it reduces it. You just want a Half-Life moment. You want the walls to bleed or a ghost to flash past your eyes but it never happens. The engine isn't capable.

The sound is well used as I mentioned earlier, but there is a lot of 'fake' sound throughout the game which simply detracts from the atmosphere. I hate to bring System Shock 2 up AGAIN, but you only have to play it to see how it should be done: with immense subtlety. Silence is so powerful, it should get used more often.

Thief:DS starts badly. The pre-mission cutscenes have been removed, so there's no opening cinematic, just Garrett reading to you, and you aren't told what's going on. It's unimpressive. The story was confusing to me as well.

The thing with Thief is that it almost requires an aesthetic appreciation of it's use of sound, graphics, etc. to be enjoyed, because a large part of your game time is spent doing nothing. You have to enjoy simply being there. This is the pinnacle of the Looking Glass design philosophy - experience and immersion. If you're the type of person who plays games while talking to people in the room and listening to the radio, you won't like Thief. SS2 was different because it blended the Thief aesthetic with proper FPS action, and could be enjoyed even if you're playing it outdoors on a laptop in summer. Another reason why Thief is non-commercial. Thief:DS does not buck the trend.

Also those damn moss arrows have remained. They have a use which isn't mentioned in the manual, which makes them not entirely worthless, but still...why?

The Bottom Line
Thief:DS is just more Thief. If you've never played Thief then pick up the first game and play it, because this is the same thing at heart, and you'll be saving money. This one is certainly the best of the bunch though.

Pity 'The Cradle' is by far the best level. It's no wonder it was left till late in the game.

Windows · by Shazbut (163) · 2005

[ View all 7 player reviews ]


Difficulty bug

Both the Xbox and PC versions shipped with a bug that affected the AI. The difficulty setting of the AI would default to Normal from all other levels (Easy, Hard, Expert) upon reloading a save game or re-entering a load zone. The game would still indicate that the setting was unchanged, so the only noticeable effect was that the awareness of the guards was easier and they dealt less damage. Ion Storm released a small patch (415 kb) for the PC version that fixes this problem.


Ion Storm developed Thief: Deadly Shadows with a heavily modified Unreal engine. Its the same engine that was used for Deus Ex: Invisible War.


Originally the game did not work properly on ATI Radeon cards. Textures popped in and out, causing walls and floors to turn black and making it appear like there were shadows where there aren't supposed to be any shadows. This was fixed with the Catalyst 4.8 drivers.


Even though Ion Storm was shut down by its publisher-owner Eidos in early 2005, mod software tools for their final game Thief: Deadly Shadows have been released shortly after.

The mod tools could be found at a number of web file download sites like FileShack and 3DGamers. The 323 MB download will allow players to modify or build new maps for the game along with scripts, conversations and more. It also includes a number of tutorial maps.

[Source: Computer Games Magazine (Feb. 2005)]


The various painted portraits gracing walls throughout the game actually depict members of the development team. They were drawn by comic-book artist Frank Teran, who supplied much of the concept art for the game.


  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – Best Sound of the Year (PC)

Information also contributed by Alan Chan, EndlessDespair, Jack Lightbeard and Jeanne

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by PhoenixFire.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Sciere, Scott Monster, Xoleras, UV, Havoc Crow, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger, ZeTomes.

Game added May 26th, 2004. Last modified October 10th, 2023.