616th played so far

Genre: Stealth
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 1998
Developer: Looking Glass Studios
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

After System Shock 2, Thief: The Dark Project is another part of the Looking Glass trifecta of important games – the Ultima Underworld series will follow later. All three evolved what 3D games could do, each in their own way, and with Thief we look at improving stealth gameplay.

Our Thoughts

It’s probably not a surprise that this game has you infiltrating mansions, breaking out of prisons and so on. Mostly – so far – with a motivation of fun and profit, which works as a good enough wrap around plot without getting too involved.

It’s all, then, about these large environments and AI patterns of everyone who inhabits these areas. A lot of it becomes a bit of a puzzle – how do I get past this guard without alerting the others, where are the dark areas or loud grates and how does this work out? Even so, it offers multiple options past, more giving you a toolbox to get past these challenges in these different circumstances.

One of the goals, then, is often a deathless run as well – don’t kill any guards or servants, just sneak past or knock them out. It’s a nice added bonus, and even playing at a difficulty where I didn’t see the need to stick to that, I tried as much as I could – just failed at it from time to time.

To be honest, for the first playthrough, I just got lost. Obviously I had to be careful walking around the area, but I was spending quite a bit of time just exploring and seeing what’s about. There isn’t quite as much story telling in the areas as System Shock – in part because they’re independent levels – but I could see that appearing later.

Final Thoughts

I’m not sure the game grabbed me as much as System Shock, but I felt like repeating the level several times to get further – I got killed a few times because I didn’t quite get it right. It’s what showed off the many opportunities best though, with strong stealth showings becoming easier, but having some big battles in between that got worse quite quickly – and killed me soon enough. You can keep trying, and it seems like a lot will feel different every time.