Author Topic: The Thief Review Resurrection Thread: Preface (i.e., Read This Post First)  (Read 1056 times)

Offline Silver Sorrow

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There weren't too many, thank Cthulhu...but there were enough to forever besmirch the good name of Thief. Whatever. I'll start with the Thief (aka, "The Dark Project") / Thief Gold reviews, and then post the Thief 2 (aka, "The Metal Age") reviews. In order. Then, maybe I'll do something productive such as take down the Xmas tree, or clean my bathroom.

I'm still not sure about what color the titles need to be. I'm going with purple at the moment. I hope it shows up on the black background.
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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T1/G 001: Cult of the Resurrection
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2017, 09:47:15 AM »
Cult of the Resurrection

Game: Thief: TDP/Gold
Title: Cult of the Resurrection
Author: David “Sledge” Riegel
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: cultv1.zip
Filesize: 5,729k
Download: Cheap Thief Missions
Walkthrough and Loot List: See above.

Note: Since there are custom skins ‘n’ stuff going on in this mission, I’m putting my own custom skins and models aside for this review. Yes, that is lust you feel.

[This applies only if there are screenshots involved. Which there aren't.]

Abstract:
There’s a town not far from where I live, called Moore. I spent a few years there, festering in the confines of the local school system, until a fortuitous escape allowed me to find my way to my current town. As such, my experiences in Moore left me with a somewhat bitter view of that town, to the point where I referred to the residents as “Moore-ons”...not that I demonize the entire population, but what the hell; damnation by association, I suppose.

Anyway, imagine my sheer malevolent joy when I saw the billboard on the outskirts of town: yes...the town had a website, and it’s domain? “www.moore-on.com”! Oh, the happy...oh, the joy. So it was a sad day indeed when I learned that the billboard AND the website had disappeared. Why? Well...I don’t know. Obviously, someone either got a clue (not likely), or someone gave them a clue. No matter how depressed I am, I still have to chuckle (maliciously) when I think of some functionary running into a city council meeting and shouting “Moore-ons, we got a problem!”

[I wasn't kidding. That was the actual URL.]

The Basics:
Equipment Store: Yes
Skill Settings: Yes; Burglar, Assassin, Master Thief
Map/Automap: Yes/No
Puzzle Difficulty: Minor
General Difficulty: Depends
R_speeds: Good
New Stuff: Yes, oh yes.
Gameplay: Live AI/thief-fu/sinister plot-fu/zombie-fu/Necromancer-fu/holy sword-fu

[I really don't know what the whole "-fu" thing was about. Just my usual stupidity, I guess.]

Briefing/Story?
The Keepers just can’t do anything right. A group of independent thieves -- really, a bunch of psychopaths calling themselves The Cult of the Resurrection, led by a woman obsessed with the Trickster -- have undertaken a wave of brutal robberies; their targets are relics to be used in their freak-job little rituals. Their latest venture was to steal the Spirit Stone, at the cost of really messing up the Hammers protecting it. So a couple of Keepers followed them into the walled-off section of the city, but couldn’t find their hideout. Idiots. They’ve asked you to get inside and get the Spirit Stone back.

One final thing: the Spirit Stone is supposedly imbued with the power to grant life; this is why the Cult wanted it. You’ve heard that before, and you believed it as much then as you do now. But the Keepers are willing to waive your student loans if you do this job for them, so you’re all set. At any rate, the other relics you find should bring a fair price.

Onward!

The first in a planned series, Cult of the Resurrection centers on you breaking into some cult’s HQ and wreaking holy old hell on the place. The next mission, The Inverted Manse for Thief 2, continues the story. It’s a question as to whether or not the plotline will ever be finished, since Sledge is now working for Ion Storm.** Whatever the case, we’ll be playing something by him in the future. Let’s just hope he doesn’t somehow get snapped up by that ridiculous company that John Romero now runs and be forced into an endlessly bleak existence of developing stupid games for hand-helds.***

[** Probably not anymore.]

[*** It was called "Monkeyshit," or something like that.]

One of the most fun aspects about this mission is the differences between the skill levels. Burglar is simply that, outright burglary. You can deal with the AI as you wish, but you’re really there to just rob them blind. Assassin entails your dedication to killing everything that moves, in addition to looting the place...you don't want to deal with these freaks ever again, so you're going to kill them all. There’s no blackjack, either, which means that you won’t be able to just bludgeon the bad guys and then hack into them as they lay there. Master Thief, meanwhile, is a far more restrained way of playing, albeit with the goal of killing two specific people.

So I played Master Thief for this review. I’ve played the other skills previously, and I find I prefer the hardest skill. Why? There’s more stuff to do! There’s also a higher loot goal, but that’s not hard to accomplish...it’s not hidden with utter contempt for the player, unlike some other FM’s I’ve played.

The layout flows well; inside the Cult HQ, you’re rarely far from the garden area with the fountain. The other locations -- outside the church, inside the church, the abandoned neighborhood at the start -- are believably run-down.

As for getting inside, you may wish to hone your luring skills. There’s opposition in front of the arch to the church, and I simply shot a broadhead into a stone wall and waited for the investigation party to wander near. Thump. Since I’ve developed my style to accommodate the AI -- make a noise, lie in wait for AI to investigate, hit them on the head, move the body -- I found this mission to be somewhat easy. Of course, it also helps that I’ve played several times and know what’s around the next corner, so don’t take my word for it when I say “easy.” The first time I played, I found it to be fairly tough. Then again, I was also pretty new to FM’s, so that’s a factor.

Bottom line, there are plenty of skulls to crack. There’s also one puzzle you must solve on Master Thief to achieve one goal; it’s straightforward if you pay attention to the hints given, and make the connection with certain items found not too far away. I will say this for a huge hint: keep at least one fire arrow in your quiver for this puzzle.

And what’s this Cult all about, anyway? You’ll find out exactly what they’re up to, but suffice to say that they’re dedicated to the resurrection of a certain nefarious character whom you dealt with in the original game: that’s right, they’re trying to bring back Demi Moore, and you have to stop them before she agrees to do Striptease II!** However, what I don’t understand is how any normal human being can sit there and turn over Tom & Jerry like it was some sort of normal TV show. Isn’t that some sort of cardinal sin, ending with the sinner being sent to Hell to be hung by their genitalia over a pit of wailing Celine Dion impersonators?***

[** However...all things considered, it wouldn't be so bad to see her shake her saline bags again, would it? In a world filled with uncertainty and commonplace horror, we need them now more than ever.]

[*** I have no idea what the context of that weird little rant was. I really don't. And for some reason, it makes my stomach hurt.]

But I digress.** The gist is this: take care of the Cult, get your other goals accomplished, escape through the sewers. There isn’t a great deal of thinking to do, but it’s enough to keep things interesting. Plus, you get to pick up several interesting items, including a holy sword, which is quite useful...mostly. When drawn, it causes your visibility go up about a zillion notches.

[** Indeed.]

This mission is more or less on the medium side, in terms of size. It’s surprising to come back to it and realize this, as there are a lot of tasks to perform. Now...on to the formidable task of getting into the Inverted Manse...

[Continued in the T2 mission, "The Inverted Manse."]

Final Fun Note: When dealing with the Cult Leader’s bodyguard, Robert, I played peek-and-duck while he fired at me with fire arrows. The idiot kept firing into the wall as I ducked back, and he eventually killed himself via splash damage. I love my job.

Summary? A sinister Cult with a terrible plan, things to do, places to go, loot to steal, skulls to bruise...you know, the fun stuff.

Annoyance Rating: Minor.

My Level Stats:
Master Thief
Loot: ALL loot found!
KO’s: 21
Kills: 5; 3 zombies, 2 bad guys who needed it

[And onto the next one...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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T1/G 002: Bloodstone Prison
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2017, 09:53:31 AM »
Bloodstone Prison

Game: Thief: TDP/Gold
Title: Bloodstone Prison
Author: Kung Fu Gecko (Garett Choy)
E-mail: [N/A]
Homepage: [N/A]
Filename: bldstn10.zip
Filesize: 2.39mb
Download: Cheap Thief Missions
Rating: 5 / 5

Note: I use custom recolors -- my own -- for Garrett’s arms and weapons, as well as the visibility gem. The rest of what you see is what you get...except for the black-clad Haunt. He’s mine.

[That only applies to the items you see in the screenshots...and since I'm not posting them, never you mind.]

Abstract:
I’ve never understood how the unshelled mollusk (aka, “ocean phlegm”) could be considered an aphrodisiac. I am referring to, of course, oysters. Since I am not involved in the romance biz -- at least not anymore; the restraining orders make that damned clear -- I observe from afar the complex mating rituals of the average idiot. This includes oysters and champagne. The oysters, as it is explained to us, are there for the purpose of inciting unparalleled sexual frenzy, and the champagne, assumedly, is to erase the memory (not to mention the taste) of the oysters sliding down the subjects’ gullet. For this, I would recommend one of your cheaper wines, perhaps the Sparkle Fizzle ‘03 at $6 a case.

So what is the idea behind the oyster’s aphrodisiacal qualities? Why would someone go through all of the trouble to inhale mucus from the sea? I have come to two conclusions. One: people, in general, are idiots. Two: the concept of eating something slimy and revolting conveys the message to the other person that they are so hard-up for action that they would do the singly most revolting thing in the world, just to get the groin cramps to stop...including having sexual relations with someone who would consume oysters as well. That said, both activities feature a lot of spitting and gargling anyway, so you might as well do one or the other and try to be home early in time for Leno.

The Basics:
Equipment Store: Yes
Skill Settings: Yes; Newbie, Hard, Expert
Map/Automap: Yes/No
Puzzle Difficulty: Mild
General Difficulty: Medium
New Stuff: Oh, yes.
Gameplay: Undead AI; haunted prison-fu/sneaking-fu/wardens dabbling in things they shouldn’t fu/pillaging-fu/backstabbing-fu/are you getting as tired of this “fu” thing as I am-fu

[Fu this, fu that. Blech.]

Briefing/Story?
Some guy named Bando, an individual with similar “stealthy” abilities as yours, has hired you -- Garrett -- to get into the old Hammerite penitentiary, Bloodstone Prison. Your mission? Find the brooch belonging to Bando’s late wife; the brooch had been confiscated from him when he was incarcerated there. There’s just one slight problem: the prison has since been overrun with the undead. Fortunately, somewhere in there is a holy sword that may be useful, as well as a holy relic that may come in handy. Of course, Bando can’t pay you, but he’s offered to teach you how to be better at walking through crowds inconspicuously.

So, let’s see: braving unholy dangers and all kinds of scary-ass stuff that would make a Ghostbuster cough up a lung...for the ability to walk through crowds unnoticed. More than fair, if you ask me. I don’t know about you, but I’m heading for the...no, not the women’s showers. That’s been done to death. How about...uh...well, crap. Call me a traditionalist, then...to the ladies’ showers, men! Wait...that didn’t come out right...

Onward!

For such an early FM, this is still one of the best out there. It manages to pull off the creepier aspects of the original Thief undead missions while blazing a trail of its own. Or perhaps I am being hyperbolic. Whatever. Anyway, I don’t think I’ve seen many undead-only missions that were quite as fun -- most of them fall in the “you’re in a tomb...again” column -- so this one is a real treat.

The first problem you’ll face is actually getting inside. There’s a hint about a tree that’s collapsed against a wall, and...well...draw your own conclusions. Once inside, you’re in a curious pickle: Haunts! That’s right, Haunts patrol the place...which is probably why I like this one so much. You’re encouraged to play sneaky...which is fine by me. But you know, I just can’t let a Haunt stay standing. No, I must put a sword through his neck. So I’ll play sneaky in my way: backstab ‘em without causing a commotion.

Oh, and there are a few zombies and Apparitions in there, not to mention archer Haunts, a servant zombie who runs from you, a dozen frogs, an unholy Terror, and a largely oblivious Hammerite ghost. So in short, we have a varied cast of fiends and malcontents...like “Saturday Night Live,” only talented.

As I’ve mentioned, there’s a holy sword; in previous play-throughs, I had waited until the very end to get the sword, because I was stupid. Nothing has changed (as you can see), but I did figure out I could get the sword about halfway through if I was careful. I imagine you’ll see what I mean when you get there, so I won’t belabor the point.

What sets this apart is the attention to detail, the little touches that makes it all real. For example, you’ll come across a bundle of letters written by a man to his wife, explaining to her how he came to be hiding out in an abandoned prison, believing that somehow he would manage to get the letter to her, even though he was dying. You just know that Garrett would get them to her after he was done...unless you subscribe to the “Payback”-style Garrett from “Calendra’s Legacy,” but even then I suppose he’d do what was right.

Worthy gameplay mentions: the timid zombie servant who’d run away from me; “There’s a guy over here! Help me!”...and Brother Sebastin, who is doomed to walk back and forth between the Warden’s office and the chapel, once I did something in the chapel. That doesn’t sound dirty, does it?

And speaking of gameplay, what exactly was the Warden doing? He had been up to something, and his Brothers -- not to mention the prisoners -- paid for being in the same time zone as he. It’s all there in a journal. Nice bit of depth there, beyond the “I am merely megalomaniacal!” mindset...this guy had a serious grudge, and he acted on it.

Making it all come together is a touch of humor here and there, where you need it most. For example, the skeletal remains of a prisoner who concealed a “humongous” diamond...I don’t know, and I don’t wanna know. Read the description of the prisoners in the prisoner logs...you’ll find some fun things.

And not that it’s all that important to mention, but the clues to accomplishing your objectives are right there in front of your face, if you choose to see them; the toughest part about this mission lies in planning your method of advancement. Make a big fuss, and you’re hamburger. Be quick, stealthy, and most of all, be excellent...to...each...other ... Okay, as soon as I get this thing posted, I’m going to sue the bejesus out of the screenwriters of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, because that phrase is stuck in my head. Perfect.

In the Bugs Department, I might add that I came across a small audio bug after killing a bunch of frogbeasts (a task unto itself, which I will let you suffer through on your own): whenever I would kill something later on, I would hear a loud frogbeast “alert” sound, but no frogbeast. Weird, huh? The thing is, that bug pops up in other missions with frogbeasts, so I wonder...

Summary?
A fine undead-only mission; great architecture, tense gameplay, and a couple of procedural puzzles. Still one of the greatest.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Annoyance Rating: Very low.

My Level Stats:
Expert Skill
Loot: 1879/1879
KO’s: 0
Kills: 25

[...next...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Starfox

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Silver Sorrow and the big Oyster Dilemma...  :biglaugh: I missed those moments


Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. -- A. Einstein

Offline Silver Sorrow

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Some of my best moments have involved taking something that a portion of the earth's population enjoys and ruining it for them. I had some really scathing stuff concerning the origins of honey, but my aunt threatened my life if I said another word. Some people. :purplelaugh:
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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T1/G 003: Autumn In Lampfire Hills
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2017, 02:33:30 AM »
#3 was missing from my list, so I guessed that it was Purah's Autumn In Lampfire Hills, which I revised and posted a while back on the main site. You can find it HERE. This is that version (complete with the rating alteration, sans screenshots), but with new comments I may have on the piece, if any.


Autumn In Lampfire Hills

Game: Thief: TDP/Gold
Title: Autumn In Lampfire Hills
Author: Anthony Huso (Purah)
E-mail: [N/A]
Filename: fire.zip
Filesize: 3.87mb
Download: Cheap Thief Missions
French Version: Cheap Thief Missions
Score: 8.00 / 10.00

Rating Revision: My apologies to everyone out there who were fooled by my 5 out of 5 rating. This mission is extremely difficult in some ways, and as such, I'm revising the rating downward slightly; in converting to the 1 to 10 scale, I can rate these missions more comprehensively than my crude 1 to 5. Keep in mind that an 8 out of 10 is extremely good for an add-on that's about six years old.

[Revise that slightly since it was released in 1999, possibly even before Thief Gold was released.]

Preliminary Note: This is a heavy revision of a review I concocted for Hangar 16 about thirty million years ago; as such, the screenshots aren't all that great, and the prose was unspeakable. I decided to remove all of the extraneous crap that blurred the review into a chaotic mess, but when I was done with the surgery, I noticed its bleeding corpse was reduced just to the title and where to download it. So I put some of the crap back in. I also included some all-new crap. This is where we stand today. Knee-deep.

[Also, I don't know if I even have the original review anymore. I know I never throw anything away, but I seriously hate digging through old CD-Rs. So for all YOU know, I don't have it anymore.]

Anyway, this is the first of several old miscellaneous reviews I'm reposting from That Other Site. This keeps me happy and non-productive. I have a ton of reviews I posted over there, so I never have to write anything again and STILL have content to contribute! Now I believe in recycling. Oh, and the screens? They were just thrown in here with no particular ordering in mind. Pride in my work, yessir. That's what I need...

[No screens here. NO SCREENS HERE.]

Note: I use custom recolors -- my own -- for Garrett’s arms and weapons, as well as the visibility gem. The rest of what you see is what you get, except for the Haunt. He’s mine.

Note #2: That visibility gem is an awful red, isn’t it?

[If you want the screens, see the review on the main site.]

Abstract:
Well. If it isn’t almost Halloween again. I thought we had a Halloween just last year, but some people insist on observing it again. Repetition is really gauche, people. Join the herd. Let’s all dress up like ghosts. Boo. You know? Ghost and goblins and demons aren’t scary. You people don’t know from scary. Here’s a costume suggestion: dress up as a large, reddish lump. When asked, tell them that you’re the troubling lump one finds in their groin. Go as a cancer cell. Make an E.Coli costume. Tell people there’s been a loophole found in the Constitution that would make it possible for a certain universally-hated President to run again. Being chased with a chainsaw is one thing, but how do you explain the fear you experience when...

...never mind. Don’t want to get into a Carnival of Souls thing. Enjoy your caramel apples, you unsuspecting fools.

The Basics:
Equipment Store: Yes
Skill Settings: Yes
Map/Automap: Yes/No
Puzzle Difficulty: Obscure
General Difficulty: Hard
Gameplay: Live things, dead things, and in-between things

[No fu! Praise the fu-less!]

Briefing/Story?
Since you -- Garrett -- have gotten yourself out of debt completely thanks to the Lord Rothchest job,** it’s time to get away from the grind of the City and settle down in a quiet suburb for a while. So you buy a cottage and hire a guard, and you’re all set. You’ve even mowed the lawn wearing Bermuda shorts and knee-high black socks, but you’re not quite ready to retire completely yet. If you were, you probably wouldn’t be interested in the fact that your cottage has a mysterious history, with terrible things whispered about its previous owner. Typical.

[** SEE: The author’s own The Shadow of Lord Rothchest in the original Thief version, and/or The Shadow of Lord Rothchest, the Thief 2 version, converted by John D.]

So upon finding a curiously unpickable lock on the chimney in the back yard, you decide to get to the bottom of the mystery (I pick you from the mystery of my bottom)** and set off into town to find some information. Since it’s the community’s version of our own Halloween (called Autumn Soul’s Eve), everyone is either vacationing outside the region or locked inside their homes while guards patrol the streets with diligence. Not good for you.

[** From a speech given by...uh...someone. A Native American chief whose language didn't exactly mesh well with the English idiom. I can't remember, and the internet -- Google, actually -- is completely USELESS when it comes to tracking down actual facts. It was in a book I have in storage. Covered in spiders, I'll bet. Goddamn spiders.]

Read your journal, explore the grounds, say “hi” to your henchman (he’s the guy in black out front) and do a little trick or treating...or breaking and entering, in this case. And stealing and clubbing and...

Onward!

In celebration of Autumn -- or “Fall,” depending on your regionality -- I give you an early mission from the guy who brought you “The Shadow of Lord Rothchest,” “Calendra’s Cistern,” and its sequel, “Calendra’s Legacy.”

“Autumn in Lampfire Hills” (which I will henceforth refer to as AiLH if I need to do so) is something of a legend in the FM community for its difficulty and its overall quality...and that quality is excellent, much like McDonald's french fries were until the Health Nazis got hold of them and turned them into complete crap.** As was the case with several stellar FMs released around the same time, AiLH is unique in atmosphere, story and execution. The town is quaint; I can see why Garrett wanted to retire here. The streets are narrow and cobbled, and the general air is one of a sleepy, rustic little community away from the bustle -- not to mention the lice and body odor -- of the City. Washington Irving probably would’ve put a headless Hessian in the nearby woods...it’s just that good a place to live.

[** Remember how good they were back in the 80's? No? Of course you don't. Only I do, apparently.]

As I mentioned in the Story section (you may remember it), the town is celebrating Autumn Soul’s Eve. Normally, this is when the people lock themselves tight in their homes, for nasty things are thought to walk the streets on this night...you know, Pamela Anderson and her equally-misshapen, Botox-puffed ilk, spreading disease and stupidity as they are wont to do. So the people visit distant relatives or simply stay inside, shivering in fear, hoping that their flimsy locks will shelter them from the plastic horror that Canada spawned.

[I know she's ridiculous, but I don't think she's worth an entire paragraph of vitriol. She's not even worth a passing mention, really.]

Mere superstition, you think...but strange things have happened in Lampfire Hills. You own a home where you think you’ll probably retire for good. Well, yippee-skip, you’re in for a hell of a night. With the townsfolk huddled inside their homes, afraid (quite correctly) of a spontaneous Baywatch reunion breaking out. (“Builder preserve us! The Plastic Demon has brought her minions with her! What sins have we committed to deserve The Hoff AND Traci Bingham??”) The guards patrolling the streets have orders to kill anyone or anything that isn’t a guard. But hell...you’re used to that sort of thing. The mystery of your cottage is driving you nuts, so it’s time to venture forth into the crisp air of the night and find out what’s what, despite the very real danger that you may run into Yasmine Bleeth and her Big Bucket O’ Snotty Cocaine.

[A reference to...oh, screw it. I don't care. I wish I'd never even brought it up.]

AiLH is one of those missions I hesitate to recommend to Thief newbies. I had severe problems myself when I first attempted it; only after a year or so of much Thief playing was I good enough to solve it with few problems. It’s not horribly difficult, no...but it’s hard enough to demand plenty of patience as well as a slate cleared of all distractions, at least until you finish. For one thing, actually figuring out what to do is a problem; even though it’s a small town, the place is absolutely stuffed with places to go. The clues (as sparse as they are) aren’t all that enlightening either, so you’ll have to pay especial attention to any clues given to you through readables.

In addition, there is a portion wherein you must sneak past an unkillable/un-KO-able entity, a part that might make a poorly-skilled sneaker rip off his thiefy hood and eat it out of sheer frustration. Other missions of the same approximate time frame fell into this “odd and tough” category as well (“The Order of the Vine,” “Calendra’s Cistern,” et al), but I hold a special place in my heart for this mission, since I wanted to kill it.

I admit, I take these things WAY too personally. I see difficult missions as an affront to my well-being; I will hammer at them until I’ve either broken the damned thing or I’ve physically mangled myself by bashing my head against the nearest available flat surface. You don’t want to know how many desk-induced injuries I’ve suffered through the years. It’s too bad that I’m not as tenacious in most other areas of my life, otherwise Laura San Giacomo would be having MY children! Or at least filing charges...

[Anyone remember Laura San Giacomo? Anyone? Thought not.]

So we come to the crux of the matter: if it’s so difficult, why am I reviewing it? Because despite the difficulty (or because of it), I still consider this mission to be one of the best ever released for original Thief. It challenges, it entertains, and it gives your quickload key a healthy workout.

Several elements from this mission found their way into “Calendra’s Legacy”; for example, you’ll notice that part of this mission is at the very beginning of the first map in CL. Early on in this mission (if you’re observant), you’ll break into the home of a Psychic, who knew you were coming.** You’ll most likely also break into the same person’s shop in the second mission of CL.

[** Rim shot.]

So what about the mission itself? Ah, but therein lies the mystery. You need to pore over this town, break into a few places, crack a few skulls, and go into detective mode. You will find yourself confounded, but never fear: it IS possible. The clues are obscure, but as long as you don’t have someone interrupting you every five minutes to do their bidding, tasks that they are perfectly capable of handling on their own except that you’re apparently not doing anything “important,” you’ll be fine. Also, watch out for people who apparently cannot read something quietly to themselves without interrupting whatever useless thing you’re doing (such as revising a review, say) to read you a lengthy, boring passage and your head’s about to blow every goddamn blood vessel shut up shut up shut UP leave me ALONE.

Not that I speak from experience.** Anyway, along with the obscure clues, secret buttons are hard to find and the guards are downright hostile; it really takes a lot of patience and determination to progress in this mission without seeking help.

[** Actually, I do.]

If I’m putting you off this mission entirely, I do apologize; this is a high-quality mission. It’s worth your time just to walk around and see the town...or rubbernecking while being chased by guards, if that’s your thing. And after a lengthy pursuit, nothing caps off an evening like a refreshing dip in the town’s water supply.

There are a couple of bugs and shaky things, as is usual with most 3rd-party add-ons without access to professional testers and/or millions of dollars in capital (with that said, I still wonder how Bethesda’s games still come out so damn buggy...). One problem is that you cannot get all of the loot; your total, even with inhuman scrutiny, will probably be about 800 short of the final tally. Another thing, and probably the most irritating: the framerates get pretty chuggy after tripping a trap in the king’s tomb, and yes, it’s unavoidable. It’s those stinking magic bolt shooters, which really should have been set to quit after a while.

Another problem is in no way the author’s fault -- for how could he have foreseen? -- but the Indiana Jones-like rope arrow swinging (near the magic bolt shooters, natch) is made insanely difficult by Thief’s stupid rope arrow bug. Jump on a rope and have a very good chance of being launched directly into the ceiling at warp speed, then down into a pit of spikes. Welcome, Death. Have some nachos.

[I don't know what that means.]

Side Note: Now that I re-read what I’ve just written (contrary to popular belief, I do proof-read my work...just not very well), I wonder exactly why the notion of jumping from rope to rope is attributed to the Indiana Jones movies. I admit to having done so in the past, but I realize now that it doesn’t ring true; he didn’t do a lot of rope-jumping, from what I recall. I do remember something similar in Dragon’s Lair, however. Remember jumping from flaming rope to flaming rope, suspended over a fiery chasm? Of course you do. I’d refer to that instead, but who remembers the good games anymore?

But back to the mission: I’m being vague about this map, but I can’t help it; I’d hate to wreck the plot just for the sake of elaborating on the basic “map good, play map” premise of my Thief reviews. (My whole point for the Thief section is to showcase my favorites, NOT to review every map out there...I’ll leave that to my colleagues.) And really, I don’t need to say a whole lot about the mission at all. Chances are, you’ve either already played it by now, or are about to do so. Unless you’re just reading my reviews because I wrote them. If so, I’m touched. And a little creeped out. Stop touching me.

Summary?
Tough, beautiful, and slightly insane. Which reminds me of Lucy Liu, for some reason. Remember when she revealed that she had sex with a ghost? I wondered, but it finally hit me: Casper finally got his freak on! Now we know why he's so damn friendly: every Hollywood nutjob who gets all "spiritual" (so to speak) gets to meet the Casp-Masta. Yeah.

On a thoroughly unrelated side note, I’ve always wondered if Casper was really the ghost of Richie Rich.

Rating?
Eight out of Ten.

Annoyance Rating:
Oh, no...you can’t put a number on something like this.

The Grace Scale
Grace gives it a...3 of Very Good!

[Scale: 1 orgasmically excellent, 10 bottomlessly abominable. 5 okay. 2 insanely good. You get the point.]

[And the Grace Scale. I'm sure people who haven't heard of or played any of the Gabriel Knight games are wondering "who?!??"]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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T1/G 004: Lord Edmund Entertains!
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2017, 01:36:09 AM »
Lord Edmund Entertains!

Game: Thief: TDP/Gold
Title: Lord Edmund Entertains!
Author: Jussi Lehtinen (Banshee)
E-mail: [N/A]
Filename: edmund.zip
Filesize: 3.01mb
Download: Cheap Thief Missions
Rating: 3 / 5

Note: I use custom recolors -- my own -- for Garrett’s arms and weapons, as well as the visibility gem. The rest of what you see is what you get. I’m working on getting a new Haunt recolor done, so be prepared for anything.

[Again, the note applies only in circumstances where I would post screenshots. And I ain't doin' that.]

Abstract:

Strange Insults That May Or May Not Make Any Sense
1. Do you always smell like that, or did someone dig up some plague victims?
2. Is that your face, or did someone order spaghetti?
3. Obviously while pregnant, your mother was scared by a rectal polyp.
4. You’re so ugly that when you were born, the doctor thought your mother had diarrhea.
5. Your mother wears...lessee here...from what I can see through my binoculars, lacy red lingerie...oh, wait. That’s your DAD.
6. The planet Jupiter just called...they said your momma’s ass is too big and it’s blocking their view of the sun.
7. You’re so dumb that...well, you’re just dumb. Dumb dum-dum dummy!
8. Nice suit, F. Lee Bailey. [No, I really don’t get it, either.]
9. Is that your breath, or has someone been rubbing Ben-Gay on a three-week-dead corpse?
10. Is that your face in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? [what?!?]

The Basics:
Equipment Store: Yes
Skill Settings: Yes; Easy, Normal, Hard
Map/Automap: Yes/No
Puzzle Difficulty: Mild
General Difficulty: Mild
New Stuff: Yes; graphics, skins, sounds, etc.
Gameplay: Live AI; breaking and entering-fu/conspiracy-fu/mystery-fu/betrayal-fu/possession-fu

[Enough with the fu!]

Briefing/Story?
You found an interesting letter written by a certain Lord Edmund. He’s invited Lady (Sandra) Bernhard and Duke (Nukem) Creygan to his home for the tenth annual meeting of their little “society”. Their plan is to cram their gullets full of various types of foodstuff, drink the fermented grape of the vine, then go down into the cellar and have an orgy so decadent, so depraved, that Caligula himself would’ve fallen off Incitatus in horror and loathing upon witnessing. Uh...no, wait. Actually, they’re performing their annual ritual to something dark and unholy, which is probably a lot safer in the long run...at least in the sense of not having to apply naked flame to one’s personal regions due to an “infestation.”

Onward!

So you want into Lord Edmund’s mansion, huh? Well, you’re going to have to do a little bit of thinking about that. It’s not a good idea to go in through the front door, so the back door will have to do (which is something you hear Elton John say a lot).** But it’s locked! How...how will you get in? How???

[** Apologies to Sir Elton.]

That’s for me to know and you to break both ankles finding out. Or not. The point is, you’re going to need something the smart people call “problem-solving skills”...and to look at you, I think you’re better off if you go and find a smart person to help you through this one.

But I kid you, my mentally-handicapped audience. No, it’s not a trial to find the key...just look around. Once inside, you’ll encounter a bunch of guards. I mean, you weren’t expecting squirrels armed with blowguns, right?* Of course not! So you have patrolling guards with swords within, and archers without.** The trick here is to utilize the sneaky aspect of Thief in bypassing them. As I see it, you have two options: sneak by them, or beat the love of the Builder into them.
[* You weren’t, right? Right??]
[** Yes, yes... “without what?” Yeesh.]


As you can see by my stats, I chose the blackjack route. Now, I suppose it’s possible to ghost this mission, but...who cares?? So with the guards out of the way, I was free to take a look at the mission without fear of being chased. The architecture is workable. What I mean is, it’s well done and error-free. There aren’t any mind-bendingly impressive sights to be seen, but what does exist is nicely rendered; specifically, the chapel and the courtyard.

Gameplay is, as I mentioned previously, largely centered on taking care of guards and finding out what the hell is going on with Lord Edmund. Upon finding his journal, you’ll find out that...never mind. Find out for yourself, it’s more fun that way. I will say that I’m glad it’s okay to kill him. Who’d want a freak like that walking around, applying for welfare, rooting for the OSU Cowboys, etc.?**

[** That would be the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, who are a symbol of all that is loathsome and inbred in collegiate sports. Not that I am biased.]

You’ll find that it isn’t always possible to take the most obvious route; sometimes you may have to find an alternate way into a room...say, through adjacent fireplaces, for example. On the Hard (Expert) skill, you’ll have to find a key belonging to Duke “Ready For Action” Creygan, which isn’t in the mansion at all. A little detective work is required, but it isn’t so tough that you spontaneously break out in hives the size of a Dodge Dart.*** No, just a little deduction, the ability to fill in the blanks...that’s all you need, really.
[*** I suppose I should try to be relevant and current with a more modern style of car, but “Dodge Dart” is a funny name, whereas “Kia Sedona,” for example, is just bizarre. I suppose I could delve into current names and twist them a little -- the “Mitsubishi Mitigator,” the “Chrysler Lugubrious,” the “Hyundai Libido,” or even the “Ford Pieceofshit,” but that’s just confusing when used out of context. It would need a setup and...iiick. Just be happy with Dodge Dart. Accept it. Let it into your heart. Be one with the Dart. Climb every mountain. Ford every stream. Follow every rainbow. Until you find your dream. “A dream that will need all the love you can give...”]

As for puzzle-solving, it’s nothing too stressful. There’s a floor pressure-plate puzzle (which is easy, even if you don’t read the helpful rhymes provided as clues), and the question of finding keys to progress. If you’ve been through Thief, you won’t have any problems...mostly.

But it isn’t about puzzles or architecture...the whole point is to find out what’s going on, and what kind of weird thing Lord Edmund’s keeping down in the cellar. So if you have perhaps an hour of free time, load up Lord Edmund Entertains! and be...well...entertained.

[Note To Self: Rework that last paragraph until it’s unrecognizable and makes an obscure reference to the works of Rabelais.]

[Note To Self: Curses! Foiled again by my inability to find motivation!]

Summary?
It may be unfair to the mission to judge it by the standards of three years later, but I can’t retroactively review these things, can I? So I’ll judge it by the standards of someone who loves Thief: it’s a fun mission with good architecture and an intriguing storyline. To be continued in “The Vigil”!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Annoyance Rating: 0 out of 10.

My Level Stats:
Hard (Expert) Skill
Loot: 1900/2008
KO’s: 14
Kills: 1

[...we'll tumble down the years...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.

Offline Silver Sorrow

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T1/G 005: The Vigil
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2017, 01:45:54 AM »
The Vigil

Game: Thief: TDP/Gold
Title: The Vigil
Author: Jussi Lehtinen (Banshee)
E-mail: [N/A]
Filename: vigil.zip
Filesize: 2.31mb
Download: Cheap Thief Missions
Rating: 3 / 5

Note: [screenshot note]

Abstract:
Around summer of last year (2002),** I received an e-mail from a former classmate of mine (even though I didn’t know her in the slightest), regarding our ten-year class reunion. First of all, how they tracked me down is nothing short of amazing...although on reflection, I suspect that my brief flirtation with Classmates.com was the culprit. Secondly, I didn’t like those people back then...what makes them think I would like them now? So out of a fit of self-destruction, I decided to compile a list of reasons -- i.e., my various and sundry non-accomplishments and the unavoidable circumstances which continually conspire to prevent me from achieving Greatness -- why I should ignore the reunion. The results were astounding. And depressing. Some examples:

1. I’m not rich, famous, or at least globally infamous. I’m not now, nor ever will be, an Evil Overlord [http://www.eviloverlord.com/].
2. I’m not married to an international lingerie model, a huge-breasted stripper, a former Playmate, a blessedly regular woman of any sort of intelligence, a gap-toothed biker chick, or even pond scum. I’m still single and I avoid dating out of respect for society’s gene pool.
3. I think I’m going bald.***
4. Everything I touch, I destroy.
5. I am filth.
6. I am not worthy to roll in a leper’s spittle.

After an hour of such enlightening reasoning, I was looking for a nice, thick trash bag and a jug of Clorox...

[** Yes, it's been almost fifteen years as of this writing. So old...so weary...]

[*** Never before have I made so relevant a Rush reference.]

The Basics:
Equipment Store: Yes
Skill Settings: Yes; Easy, Expert, Diabolical
Map/Automap: Yes/No
Puzzle Difficulty: Mild
General Difficulty: Medium
New Stuff: Yes; sounds
Gameplay: Live AI; funeral crashing-fu/more mystery-fu/minor puzzle-fu/Hammer-fu

[Fu! FU!!!]

Briefing/Story?
Picking up where “Lord Edmund Entertains!” left off, you’re all set to crash Duke “Shake It, Baby” Creygan’s funeral and find out what the hell is the deal with that statue you stole from Lord Edmund. What follows is a trip through the hoary underworld...woooo! Or not.

Onward!

This was unexpected. What I mean is, this mission didn’t turn out the way I thought it would, which...well...see, when you talk about crypts and tombs and all that rot [rim shot], you expect to be kicking mummy meat in no time, right?

Sure, I mean...okay, for example: I played the “Return to Castle Wolfenstein” demo, and what it told me was this: if you go into tombs, you’ll have to fight zombies and miscellaneous assorted undead creepies.* It’s a law, people...even LGS knew that, despite the fact that Thief wasn’t supposed to be your standard shooter. So I’m all prepared to gib zombies and ram a sword up a Haunt’s...uh...I just had an unpleasant image there for a moment, so never mind. The point is, fighting undead, right?
[* I won’t comment further on that demo, but rest assured that I have no intention of paying more than ten bucks for the full game.]

[I never warmed to the Wolfenstein series.]

No, not really. This mission delights in tormenting us with twisted expectations. The setup is good: creeping into a graveyard/cemetery/tomb at night, evading/sending flowers to/clubbing guards as you go, sneaking into a tomb where people are keeping a vigil** over Duke “I Think I’ll Come Aboard!” Creygan’s body, getting trapped inside, and...what?
[** Thus the title of the mission. And you thought I had trouble making connections.]

Well, getting out is your main concern. Then you more or less slog through some sewers and find a Hammer compound, etc., etc. I can’t help but be a little let down by this turn of events. However, it does make for a good twist, although in a sort of bland way. Expectations shattered, I beat the Smuckers out of a few Hammers (and later, guards), looted the place, then went on my merry way.

Again, I’m not overwhelmed with joy at the events unfolding as they do, but I can say this: it’s a solid, well-made FM with plenty of other pluses, not that I will name them at them moment...the leftover pizza is calling to me, and I must answer!

Satiated, I return to the fray. Note to self: no more Cheese Lover’s Pan Pizza with double pepperoni, okay? Okay. Oh, God...the stomach cramps.

[Not that it matters to anyone, but for some reason I now find find Pizza Hut's cheese utterly repulsive.]

The architecture, for the most part, is well done, with elements that are only slightly hindered by Thief’s so-so textures. When the structures trump the material, it’s always a good thing. But don’t get me wrong -- not every piece of scenery is screenshot-worthy, but overall it’s not an ugly mission by any means. Me, I’d like to see this and the first part, Lord Edmund Entertains!, redone for Thief 2 with some minor tweaks here and there. I’d also like to see some serious revamping of the Hammerite portion (as well as the sewers), with some more eye candy thrown in...it’s a bit plain, and the story needs some explication here and there.

In contrast, the cemetery (with a minor, yet entertaining puzzle to work out) and the city streets towards the end (which are actually also towards the beginning...it’s a circular argument, just like the mission) are lovely anyway, despite the native texture set.

But if it plays well, that’s all that matters, isn’t it? ISN’T IT!??

Finally, I suppose the question of the statue won’t be answered. Even after reading Creygan’s book, I wasn’t exactly satisfied with anything, be it the story or the mission itself. But the cemetery area at the beginning -- especially the cemetery puzzle -- makes up for it all, in a way.

Summary?
Some good architecture, some bland, etc. Things don’t happen as you think they might...just like real life!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Annoyance Rating:
Very low.

My Level Stats:
Diabolical (Expert) Skill
Loot: 1375/1525
KO’s: 23
Kills: 1 (rat guy)

[...and next...]
An interview with Kim Kardashian? Who wants to see that? I'd rather see an interview with the mortician's assistant who had to piece her head back together so they could have an open-casket funeral.