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Thief: The Dark Project (Windows)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  Ashley Pomeroy (233)
Written on  :  Jun 02, 2000
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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The Good

A quiet revolution on launch, 'Thief' plays like a cross between 'Rainbow Six' and the old playground favourite 'What's the time Mr Wolf'. As a sneaky thief, you have to steal your way through a series of absolutely enormous, atmospheric 'steam-punk' levels, avoiding guards, laying traps, and hiding in the shadows. Like almost everything by Looking Glass, 'Thief' was intelligent, well-presented, extraordinarily deep, and commercially only so-so.

The stand-out elements are the excellent, shadowy level designs, and the spooky, tense atmosphere. Your character is no good at fighting, and you have to sneak around behind people who might turn around at any minute, often in dark rooms, sometimes in haunted caverns. Imagine a really scary ghost story, crossed with the tension of bomb disposal, and you're there. The level design is highly original - the level set in a giant sarcophagous, in which you turn corners to find yourself face-to-face with large, gas-breathing dinosaurs, is an all-time classic.

It's best to hunt out the 'Gold' version (now on budget) - that added three new levels, a level editor, and some bug fixes.

The Bad

Not much is wrong with 'Thief' - even the between-level FMV sequences are excellently done. Compared to something like 'Half-Life', the graphics are relatively primative, but the engine is doing a lot more. Often the hugeness of the levels makes working your way through the game seem impossible at time, and although your character is a thief it would be nice if he was at least competent with the sword. Apart from that, buy it.

The Bottom Line

An astonishingly good 'sneak-em-up' that takes a while to grab you but, once it does, your previous life is history.