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Thief: The Dark Project (Windows)

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Written by  :  Cory Buttler (5)
Written on  :  May 16, 2001
Rating  :  4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

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Gripping, innovative, and truly addictive. A dark masterpiece from one of PC gaming's most undeniably inventive developers.

The Good

The concept of stealth over firepower works beautifully in this game. If you try to apply your Quake tactics here, you will never have a chance. Thief forces you to think differently, and think up smart approaches to challenging situations. The feeling of robbing the wealthy blind and slipping away without detection is a rush. The environment enhances the gameplay more than you would believe. Thief sports excellent level design, an engaging storyline, sharp voice acting, awesome artwork, and haunting sound effects, which are crucial to playing the game. The detail put into the levels is absolutely dumbfounding, and easily makes up for thier slightly limited number. Dark, gothic artwork enhances the levels, making them truly atmospheric. They also have a lot of variety. You'll be breaking into mansions, gravedigging in mosuleums (littered with the undead, of course), and entering other worlds of evil and mystery. The levels last really long, but there's always something to do, and threats to worry about. And perhaps some of Thief's best elements are it's intimidating threats, including a variety of guards, zombies, monsters, ghosts, and traps. All throughout the game you feel like you're on the bottom of the food chain. This chilling feeling will haunt you until the game's end, and the sounds of you enemies stalking you in the dark gives Thief a real adrenaline-rush factor not commonly found in games. This game will get your blood pumping like no other. You have to play it to believe it.

The Bad

As excellent as it is, Thief has it's share of problems. Most of them are very minor, and don't affect the gameplay, but they are Unfortunately, dispite the great art, the actual graphics engine is slightly below average, with lots of jagged edges. For example, the people and creatures at times look too pointy. They lack the curves that bodies should have. Also there are some textures like dirt and stone that leave a lot to be desired when viewed at lower resolutions. There are some quirky bugs here and there, and the AI, while usually smart, sometimes doesn't put enough effort into finding you. Thief is challenging by today's standards, which is good, but there are times when the game gets painfully difficult, even on the lowest difficulty. This tends to occur on levels that deal with the undead. While they're are a blast to play against, all too often there seems too be too many of them, and not enough ways to defeat them.

The Bottom Line

I can't recommend this game enough. You simply must play it! There has never been such a perfect combination of inspired design, and brilliant execution in a game, on any platform. I have played a TON of games in my life, and this one is undoubtedly the most memorable. It's focus on stealth over strength may not be for everyone, but Thief is easily my favorite game of all time. I can't wait to play the sequel!