A major, mysterious fan-made patch has breathed new life into two Looking Glass classics.
System Shock 2 and Thief 2: The Metal Age are two of the most glorious videogames ever made. There's no room for discussion or debate on the topic, that's just how it is. But they're also rather old - System Shock 2 came out in 1999, Thief 2 in 2000 - and honest fans will admit that even when they were new, they weren't much to look at. Fans have released a number of mods for System Shock 2 that dramatically improve its visuals but it takes a good degree of comfort with such things to get them installed and working, and even so, they leave some elements untouched.
But a couple of files that recently turned up on the French site Ariane4ever promise to change all that. They're unofficial patches that bring a huge number of visual improvements to the games, such as windowed mode, widescreen resolutions, 32-bit color, improved textures and much more, while at the same time boosting their overall performance and stability. These aren't just minor tweaks; they represent major overhauls to both games. There are even single-level demos for both, if you just want to give them a spin without having to actually reinstall the full games.
It sounds a little dubious and despite living in the frigid wastes of the north I don't actually speak French, but fortunately the good folks at the TTLG forums are all over it and they've given both patches a resounding thumbs up. Who "Le Corbeau" is and what drove him (or her) to create these updates now, more than a decade after the fact, is a mystery. But if you're a taffer or a hacker with an itch for some old-school goodness, you should definitely give them a look.