Zero Punctuation: Thief: The Dark Project

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Never got around to playing Thief 2, but I loved the first one... Well... The first levels anyway. I didn't care much for the thieving around in the scary, volcanic, giant lizard monster zone. Probably one of the only games that actually had me jumpy.

Oy, Yahtzee! Due your incessant pestering I illegally torrented a pirated version of... I mean I properly purchased at a duly authorized, sales tax collecting retail outlet - this 'Thief II' game you keep slipping into my cocktail like so much Rohypnol. After all, you did turn me on to Valve's 'Portal,' though I came aboard a year passed the ship's launching. Late though I've come to the party, the light shone was true and the cake - as it were - was not a lie.

"So let's have at this Thief II the man's on about," I say to myself, "I've little care for tri-linear, anisomorphic rendering methods. I can suffer some poorly animated, low-poly count NPC's if the gameplay holds its water as well as he says."

Oh the tragedy! Before you fire off any more references to how great Thief II is might I suggest removing the rose coloured goggles and torrenting yourself a copy... Err... Contacting the manufacturer and requesting a fully licensed, new in box, original packaged disc at true retail value. For it is not the glimmering gem you recall it to be.

Now, call me cock-slapping nutballs crazy, but when I begin a game entitled "Thief" - and I don't care how many nondescript slashy marks you use to indicate its sequalage - I expect to launch into this new career by... Oh, I don't know; How 'bout we try some thieving? Yes, I'm a thief, okay. Let's steal some shit! Instead my introductory mission has little to do with the plunder of booty or even the pirating of software. Here I stand heaving about an unwieldy cache of swords, arrows, lock-picks, and flash bombs - not to mention an empty burlap sack neatly labeled "Loot," and what's to be my first foret into this new and exciting field of high-stakes professional burglary? Helping some love sick, turncoat, parole free the object of his heart's desire from a swath of assuredly despicable, though yet unseen, captors. All the while picking up nothing more than pocket change in the process?! Pshaw, I say!

The first level plays as smoothly as a burn victims complexion. Aside from dropping into the gameplay with a default keyboard layout that required me to rebind the controls before I'd even learned the abilities I was being forced to rearrange, I find myself polygonal face to polygonal face with an awkward "go and come and go again" assignment.

"Here," they tell me, "go clear the way for this 'scared straight' douchehole who, by the way, was in the same business as you right up until yesterday and even picks locks better than you do, but still for some reason direly requires your 'unique' skills and can't do this by his-damned-self. Oh, and when you've cleared the path for ol' Mr. Redundant over here, blow on this whistle to let him know the coast is clear for pussies like him to move about."

After no small amount of trial and error did I begin to comprehend what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it. This despite the seemingly plain and clear list of objectives presented by the mission's briefing. The rest of the game left unconsidered, the first level is so damned unintuitive that they might as well have placed a giant talking arrow at the end of each hallway, voiced by James Earl Jones and engulfed in Moses' flame guiding me directly to each stop on my tour, and it still would not have made the goals any clearer to realize in practice.

Nonetheless I persevered, knocking out all the guards in my path, quenching the thirst of every shadow-casting flame that would otherwise expose my character's blocky sinews. At last returning to the beginning of the map; back to the first room I broke into that I might summon my cowardly apprentice, surely off wetting himself in a corner somewhere. I blew my whistle, signaling Dr. Do-Little to make his approach, but he did not approach, apparently not hearing my call. So I stepped outside the mansion and into the field from whence I first invaded this home and blew my bird-call once more. Yet he still refused me. So I walked up to the door of the small building wherein I had left him at the mission's onset and blew the accursed whistle again... Nothing! Finally I break open the door, walk up to the dunce, smack him in the nuts, and blow the whistle so close to his dumb fucking face that I can see the spittle gathering on the bridge of his nose. At which point he finally becomes convinced it's not just the sound of his tinnitus acting up again, and starts to move a little ass.

Now with Deaf-o on the run I get the exciting privilege of traversing the same halls of the same level that I just spent thirty minutes clearing - that I just back-tracked all the way out of - only to reach little miss save-me's door for the second time, turn around and run all the way back out again! Yay! Nothing like running the same level four times to make a so-called "sprawling map" seem that much smaller and more repetitive. By the time I realized the second level intended to set me at the similarly arduous task of running back to the same control room after opening each of twenty different garage doors one at a time I shut the game down, opened my control panel, and uninstalled it.

Did I overreact? I don't think so.

I've played 'Hitman' and I've played 'Splinter Cell' and whatever you may think of them I much prefer their brand of 'sneak.' Maybe being introduced to the genre by its significantly more polished bastard-children, those who bore the benefit of Thief's trials and unabashed, screaming, bleeding, flying, fucking failures, ruined me for this game before I ever drew upon it. Or maybe, and more likely, it's just a clunky, blind cornered, delayed attack, checkpoint-less, press f10-to-save, two hundred hour play time 'cause we make you run in goddamned circles, piece of diarrhea-green shit; With the only reason you think otherwise being a distorted view through the blurred veil of time, wrapped in the folly of youth whereby you recall it.

If you haven't lately, you might want to take a second glance at this 'Thief II' before you tout any more of its laurels. By my estimation it has not aged well.

roy

P.S.: Lord, do I hate the internet scum who claim the authority to re-review reviews as I've just done as though anyone cares to hear their ill-informed, arm-chair quarterback opinions. I am become what I hate. Oh, what's a boy to do? ...But shoot off at the mouth for kicks.

Signa:

BlueMage:
when I first started Thief I became acutely aware of the noise I made, and started making conscious efforts to reduce it. To this day, I move practically silently at anything slower than a brisk jog.

I'm guilty of the same. It's fun sneaking up on people unintentionally.

off-topic: SON OF A BITCH! I'm trying to install the game because I got the itch to play it again, and I can't even get setup.exe to run. I've been all over the internet for answers, and the only thing I could find was a suggestion on using the compatibility tab, or "waiting an hour..." Well, it's been at least 7.

You're using the -forcent switch when you run setup.exe, yes?

The Rogue Wolf:

BlueMage:
However, Thief and Thief 2 do get points for being among the only games to actually influence my RL behaviour - when I first started Thief I became acutely aware of the noise I made, and started making conscious efforts to reduce it. To this day, I move practically silently at anything slower than a brisk jog.

You and me both, brother(/sister?). I scare people by walking up behind them silently, and I don't even mean to. Also, you get bonus points for having the Keeper glyphs as your avatar.

It took me a while to "get into" Thief. In fact, I restarted the game TWICE (first after reaching the Old Quarter, second just before Return to the Cathedral) because I was having some trouble wrapping my head around the stealth mindset. But once I understood the tension of breaking into unknown territory, finding (or making) a shadowy spot and watching for clues as to where my enemies were patrolling, then carefully creeping through the place... I was hooked forever. I once stood in a shadow for ten minutes waiting for a guard to turn just the right way so I could run over and persuade him to take a nap.

I'll go ahead and say that the spooky missions were my favorite as well; they helped break up the tense stealth sections (my modus operandi: Nobody sees my face, every living soul in the joint gets blackjacked and piled in the same bed, and I walk out with all the loot and every last bite of food) with equally tense dungeon lurking (who cared if a zombie saw who I was?). I spent fifteen minutes outside that cathedral working up the nerve to go inside. and when I finally delivered the Eye to Constantine, the ensuing cutscene was enough to make me leave the game on the Mission Briefing screen for a while so that I could catch my breath.

For that reason, Thief II was a tiny bit of a letdown for me, because it took away the fantastic/horror aspects and went straight Victorian steampunk (which in itself is awesome enough, don't get me wrong). Still, the story had more twists and turns than a ball python teaching yoga, and Karras was an excellent villain- that nasal, Droopy Dog voice was countered by an absolute sick and twisted mind. If only Soulforge hadn't been such a terrible level....

I'm also going to go against the grain and say that Deadly Shadows was a true diamond in the rough. Not only for the superb level, the Shalebridge Cradle (so awesome that I was moved to make a video for it, but for the House of Widow Moira (sprawling mansion, lightning and thunder, beautiful piano music) and St. Edgar's Eve (Hammerite cathedral, beautiful lighting effects) missions. Plus the AI were given a bit of a boost as well; they could notice doors left open or valuables stolen, and could better react to different situations. (It was planned that they would be able to see your shadow as well- there are voice files still left in the game towards that end- but that was cut before release.) If only they hadn't cut so many corners for the simultaneous XBox release.

As some very kind folks have posted previously, there are ways to make Thief I and II run on modern hardware. There are also some amazing Fan Missions (player-made maps) to be found; I personally recommend The Inverted Manse, The Seventh Crystal and Thief 2X. (Check this and this to see why I love 7th Crystal so much.) I know it may sound like old-man sentimentality to gamers who grew up with Splinter Cell, but I think that once you feel what REAL stealth is like, you'll never go back.

Brother mate ;)

And I know, Thief: Deadly Shadows wasn't BAD by any stretch - I know I enjoyed it and the level design was pretty good. I suppose my biggest gripe was that it was different :( Y'know, I was expecting a graphical and AI update but the same basic engine, not a whole new one.

In many ways, my problem with Deadly Shadows is the same problem I have with Invisible War - both are great games in their own right, but due to their predecessor/s they have too much to live up to, and instead of being GREATEST GAME EVER + 1! they simply end up being A GOOD WORTHWHILE GAME, y'know?

Also, I couldn't handle Inverted Manse - undead just freak me out. Order of the Vine, however - that's good.

Thief 1/2 are one of the best games in history.

BlueMage:

Signa:

BlueMage:
when I first started Thief I became acutely aware of the noise I made, and started making conscious efforts to reduce it. To this day, I move practically silently at anything slower than a brisk jog.

I'm guilty of the same. It's fun sneaking up on people unintentionally.

off-topic: SON OF A BITCH! I'm trying to install the game because I got the itch to play it again, and I can't even get setup.exe to run. I've been all over the internet for answers, and the only thing I could find was a suggestion on using the compatibility tab, or "waiting an hour..." Well, it's been at least 7.

You're using the -forcent switch when you run setup.exe, yes?

No, I posted a page later that I fixed it. Nothing special had to be done. The only hitch I'm running into now is having a multi-core processor. Easily fixed. The issue I was having with the install was solely because of my audio software running in the background. Once I closed that, the installation splash screen popped up instantly.

I used to love the old theif and he is right 1 of the best games evarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

That would be better if it were thief 1 because that's all you reviewed!!!

"By the time I realized the second level intended to set me at the similarly arduous task of running back to the same control room after opening each of twenty different garage doors one at a time I shut the game down, opened my control panel, and uninstalled it."
Fail. You do not have to do that. All you need to do is to take the key and unlock those many small buildings that are locked (with the same key), look for the code on the top of the warehouse(s) and type in the 4 number code. Easy and fast.

Its no wonder that games are being constantly dumbed down because people make stupid mistakes like that.

[edit/] I think this was very very very very VERY bad! It's not Yahtzee, It's just some goddamn fanboy screaming "THIEF IS GRAET U WINKERS 'N' IF U HAEV PALYED IT UR STIL A WINKER AND I IS DA ONLY TR00 THIEF PALYER!!"

Yes, the entire Thief series is quite an awesome one. Speaking of old games, I wonder if Yahtzee will ever review the original System Shock. That'd be a classic right there.

shade.v2:
Oy, Yahtzee! Due your incessant pestering I illegally torrented a pirated version of... I mean I properly purchased at a duly authorized, sales tax collecting retail outlet - this 'Thief II' game you keep slipping into my cocktail like so much Rohypnol. After all, you did turn me on to Valve's 'Portal,' though I came aboard a year passed the ship's launching. Late though I've come to the party, the light shone was true and the cake - as it were - was not a lie.

"So let's have at this Thief II the man's on about," I say to myself, "I've little care for tri-linear, anisomorphic rendering methods. I can suffer some poorly animated, low-poly count NPC's if the gameplay holds its water as well as he says."

Oh the tragedy! Before you fire off any more references to how great Thief II is might I suggest removing the rose coloured goggles and torrenting yourself a copy... Err... Contacting the manufacturer and requesting a fully licensed, new in box, original packaged disc at true retail value. For it is not the glimmering gem you recall it to be.

Now, call me cock-slapping nutballs crazy, but when I begin a game entitled "Thief" - and I don't care how many nondescript slashy marks you use to indicate its sequalage - I expect to launch into this new career by... Oh, I don't know; How 'bout we try some thieving? Yes, I'm a thief, okay. Let's steal some shit! Instead my introductory mission has little to do with the plunder of booty or even the pirating of software. Here I stand heaving about an unwieldy cache of swords, arrows, lock-picks, and flash bombs - not to mention an empty burlap sack neatly labeled "Loot," and what's to be my first foret into this new and exciting field of high-stakes professional burglary? Helping some love sick, turncoat, parole free the object of his heart's desire from a swath of assuredly despicable, though yet unseen, captors. All the while picking up nothing more than pocket change in the process?! Pshaw, I say!

The first level plays as smoothly as a burn victims complexion. Aside from dropping into the gameplay with a default keyboard layout that required me to rebind the controls before I'd even learned the abilities I was being forced to rearrange, I find myself polygonal face to polygonal face with an awkward "go and come and go again" assignment.

"Here," they tell me, "go clear the way for this 'scared straight' douchehole who, by the way, was in the same business as you right up until yesterday and even picks locks better than you do, but still for some reason direly requires your 'unique' skills and can't do this by his-damned-self. Oh, and when you've cleared the path for ol' Mr. Redundant over here, blow on this whistle to let him know the coast is clear for pussies like him to move about."

After no small amount of trial and error did I begin to comprehend what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it. This despite the seemingly plain and clear list of objectives presented by the mission's briefing. The rest of the game left unconsidered, the first level is so damned unintuitive that they might as well have placed a giant talking arrow at the end of each hallway, voiced by James Earl Jones and engulfed in Moses' flame guiding me directly to each stop on my tour, and it still would not have made the goals any clearer to realize in practice.

Nonetheless I persevered, knocking out all the guards in my path, quenching the thirst of every shadow-casting flame that would otherwise expose my character's blocky sinews. At last returning to the beginning of the map; back to the first room I broke into that I might summon my cowardly apprentice, surely off wetting himself in a corner somewhere. I blew my whistle, signaling Dr. Do-Little to make his approach, but he did not approach, apparently not hearing my call. So I stepped outside the mansion and into the field from whence I first invaded this home and blew my bird-call once more. Yet he still refused me. So I walked up to the door of the small building wherein I had left him at the mission's onset and blew the accursed whistle again... Nothing! Finally I break open the door, walk up to the dunce, smack him in the nuts, and blow the whistle so close to his dumb fucking face that I can see the spittle gathering on the bridge of his nose. At which point he finally becomes convinced it's not just the sound of his tinnitus acting up again, and starts to move a little ass.

Now with Deaf-o on the run I get the exciting privilege of traversing the same halls of the same level that I just spent thirty minutes clearing - that I just back-tracked all the way out of - only to reach little miss save-me's door for the second time, turn around and run all the way back out again! Yay! Nothing like running the same level four times to make a so-called "sprawling map" seem that much smaller and more repetitive. By the time I realized the second level intended to set me at the similarly arduous task of running back to the same control room after opening each of twenty different garage doors one at a time I shut the game down, opened my control panel, and uninstalled it.

Did I overreact? I don't think so.

I've played 'Hitman' and I've played 'Splinter Cell' and whatever you may think of them I much prefer their brand of 'sneak.' Maybe being introduced to the genre by its significantly more polished bastard-children, those who bore the benefit of Thief's trials and unabashed, screaming, bleeding, flying, fucking failures, ruined me for this game before I ever drew upon it. Or maybe, and more likely, it's just a clunky, blind cornered, delayed attack, checkpoint-less, press f10-to-save, two hundred hour play time 'cause we make you run in goddamned circles, piece of diarrhea-green shit; With the only reason you think otherwise being a distorted view through the blurred veil of time, wrapped in the folly of youth whereby you recall it.

If you haven't lately, you might want to take a second glance at this 'Thief II' before you tout any more of its laurels. By my estimation it has not aged well.

roy

P.S.: Lord, do I hate the internet scum who claim the authority to re-review reviews as I've just done as though anyone cares to hear their ill-informed, arm-chair quarterback opinions. I am become what I hate. Oh, what's a boy to do? ...But shoot off at the mouth for kicks.

This is exactly what a console tar- erm, console user would say about an old-school PC game.
Honestly, games like this are not for you. Stick to Halo.

Man, I love this game.

I love Thief 1 and 2, particularly the way the cinemas were made. They had just the right amount of "hand holding". You were dropped into a map and given primary and secondary objectives. Your map looked like it was drawn from one of the house staff and you could make notes on it.

The main problem with the 3rd one was that the maps were broken up and when you left one everything was frozen in time.

In all of them I almost always went nonlethal. Only times I didn't where they were monsters.

I wonder what hes going to say about th4ef, besides theres a special place in hell....

I guess we'll have to wait and see until e3, who knows maybe he'll go to e3 and hackle ubisoft about it.

Thief 2 is one of the most memorable games I've ever played. it had very interesting levels like a bank and my personal favorite, a police station where you had to frame a police officer. the guards chatter was pretty cool to listen. Plus it had some of the coolest in game cinemas ever, I wish more games had done it that way I'm glad Yahtzee featured it, as its one of the best PC games ever

You know Yahtzee, you confuse the hell out of me. You apparently lack the patience for RPGs & RTSes and yet you seem to love the stealth gameplay of the Thief series as evidenced by this review.

This review made me reinstall Thief. This time I'm hellbent on finishing it.

I couldn't stop laughing at the comment about badly made origami polio victims...

Fnnnnnnnnnnahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

That's the sound of me masturbating over how good this game was

Eidos Montreal are making Thief 4 right now :D

I bought the Thief "complete collection", but Thief one, keeps freezing, seconds after I start playing. I'm playing on Vista.
Also the cinematics don't work. Anyone know how to fix this?

Well I only played Thief III that far, which was a great game.
The level design wasn't that linear, I had enough freedom for this kind of game.
How did the former two parts make it better? Im curious.

Mindmaker:
The level design wasn't that linear, I had enough freedom for this kind of game.
How did the former two parts make it better? Im curious.

In the first two games the entire level was loaded and active from the start and throughout the mission. In Thief 3 they more often than not had to break the levels up into different areas. This wouldn't have been a problem if the area you left wouldn't be frozen in time and nothing could follow you.

If a guard sees you and either starts to look for you or give chase you could run through a loading door into another part of the level and he would be unable to follow. If you return to this part the guard will continue to do what he was doing before you entered the loading zone. So you make a some guards chase you, run into a different part of the level through a loading zone, and then return to this area through a different loading zone. If you time your first transition correctly, when you return to this area the guard(s) will be chasing you and then searching for you around the first loading zone.

In the first two games the entire level was loaded in with no loading zones at all. If something was chasing you, you had to either get away and hide or kill it. Having no loading zones also meant that the guards could have large patrol areas or routes. You could also setup a big distraction on one end of the map to lure guards from all around to it.

Having loading inside of a level was also a little immersion breaking.

Thief 1 and 2 were epic games. Hope the 4th 1 is better than the 3rd one.

Sorry, but the more I read, the more it seems like the 9/11 comment went by without a hitch, being a joke and all and showing everyones maturity, but then anyone who says they haven't played the game gets treated like a terrorist.

New Horizon:
If you like Thief, we are making a Mod with the Doom 3 Engine called "The Dark Mod". It's a Thief inspired single player 'toolset'...and by toolset I mean that it will allow mappers to build their own Thief styled missions. We will release several demo missions with the mod, and have released two alpha missions already.

http://www.thedarkmod.com
http://modetwo.net/darkmod

Enjoy

The Dark Mod is in the Top 100 for Moddb's MOTY awards. If you are a fan of stealth, please vote (only Doom III mod listed there).

http://www.moddb.com/events/2010-mod-of-the-year-awards/top100

Thief II i liked best, aldo Thief 1 comes after II closely. Only reason i didn't enjoy the cave/monster lvl's that much. It doesn't compete whit the atmosphere, you know, of being a Thief in a human world. Aldo i do recognise the issue's whit Thief III, it didn't spoiled my fun; i never used the "transporters" to flee from the guards; the guards went down before that. I have a habit of knocking them down, sneaking up on them. Tricky, some times; but most of the time do-able.

Thnigs like hidden switches, codebreakers, and things like the garagedoors, to find the code; is just what makes Thief strong; i love it. I don't mind walking the same path a few times more; that's quite natural. You do it all the time irl; so why bother now ?
Anyway, you took the long route; you could do it much easier; as is pointed out to you; shade.v2 ;-)

And people say that Yahtzee only makes good stuff when he takes the piss..

I actually love it when Ben gets passionate about a game. Look, he's human!

Thief is a series I enjoyed but struggled with. My knowledge of PC gaming really remained when Sim games so it was a heck of a learning curve going from that to stealth. Still, I enjoyed the characters and found it to be an interesting use of first person. A very memorable gaming experience.

anyone else think they should remake thief 1 and 2 on consols in hd ?

NALI HEALING FRUIT :D (for those of you lost, 0:56)

I'm probably crazy in that I loved getting the seeds and then just watching the plant grow.
The longer you let it grow, the more health you'd get.

Sorry.. awesome nostalgia bit.. Unreal was great.. I wonder why Yahtzee never reviewed the Unreal games.
The graphics (for the time), the atmosphere and especially the music were all great.

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