Review by QQGG
"An extraordinary adventure for the most common of men."
At first glance, Garrett seems undeserving of a second glance. A trite, trivial, and oh so petty thief, who survives just barely upon his paltry and insignificant loot and spoils from his equally insignificant crimes. Having no friends, and few acquaintances, Garrett looks out for one person, himself. Whatever means to help his existence, he takes, however small or large the matter may be. Despite his sordid existence, as he continues upon his life of robbery, and as he takes bolder and bolder steps to assure his existence remain, he does garner the attention of some very powerful people, in very powerful positions. The approval of one such man, Constantine, interests Garrett and offers him a way out of his putrid lifestyle. Complications ensue, difficulties arise, and Garrett, a most common man, begins a very extraordinary adventure.
Quite unlike the protagonist, this game is anything but a regularity to go unnoticed. It contains, even introduces, so very many different parts of game genres. It is simply impossible to fit it into any one category, as that would do this game no justice. No one aspect of the game overpowers another, and each is perfectly placed to allow for maximum enjoyment and ease when playing the game. Aspects of an FPS, First Person RPG, storyline driven, different routes to choose from, different choices to make, free-roaming, objectives to be ignored or completed, and of course, the greatest thing about the game, and what makes it "Thief" is the stealth aspect of this game. In my opinion, the Thief series is the greatest stealth series of all time, and with this being the first game in the series, I believe this to have set the bar for many a stealth games to follow (Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid).
Thieves strive on cunning, verve, and wit. This being the case, it is always the best method to avoid contact with enemies whenever possible, for Garrett is quite the lackluster swordsman, and is anything but muscular. In instances when faced with enemies, even then, it is preferable to run away and hide, as opposed to stand and fight. Despite this, Garrett is allotted a sword for situations in which escaping is not an option. He also has a blackjack, which is much more useful than the sword, as you may silently knock out an unsuspecting guard, and hide his body. No loud screams, no bloodshed, just like stealth missions should be completed. In fact, certain missions require you being completely unnoticed by any guard or enemy, or stipulations such as not being able to kill anyone.
Furthering the unimportance and unskilled nature of Garrett when it comes to combat, is the fact that more than offensive tools, you contain a wide array of defensive tools. Health potions for restoring health when you are near death, invisibility potions, which are quite explanatory, slow fall potions (used for falling from great heights with no harm to Garrett), gas bombs for suffocating and knocking out any potential threat, flash bombs, which blind an enemy and allow precious seconds for your getaway. Garrett also contains some long range tools, both offensive and defensive. He has a bow, which contains numerous types of arrows. The simple broadhead, used for "sniping" enemies from afar, as you remain hidden in shadow. Water arrows, which allow you to extinguish torches and increase darkness (thus giving you more hiding places), Moss arrows, which create a soft surface to walk upon on otherwise noisy surfaces (metal, wood, etc.), Rope arrows, which drop a rope and allow Garrett to climb to seemingly unreachable heights, fire arrows, which can illuminate rooms, and are useful on certain beasts. As alluded to, Garrett is quite inept when it comes to direct physical altercations. Strength, straight forwardness, are things Garrett lacks.
This game was released in 1999, therefore the graphics are dated. For it's time, they left nothing to be desired, however. Buildings, streets, forests, skies are all quite detailed. Guards and enemies have unique armor, different faces, and all body parts. However, there faces do not move or change expression, even when speaking, and they do not have posable fingers. There are a few different voice actors, so each guard, commoner, or beast does not sound the same. For important characters, they are given unique faces, voices, and clothes, which emphasizes their importance. The game also contains great sound effects, ambient noises, and striking music when fit. Crickets chirping, rain drops, drunkards babbling on, entire conversations about bears and circuses (and other jovial things) are able to be listened in upon if one is quiet and patient enough. In dramatic moments, there is fitting music, or random shrieks that may startle. Every mission is accompanied by a cut-screen with commentary, as well as the finished mission has an ending cut-screen.
Despite the game being a bit dated, it's only dated in the terms of graphics. The gameplay is still great to this day, and preferable to others such as Splinter Cell and Metal Gear. It's unique system of stealth and objectives which REQUIRE stealth, as opposed to fighting and killing everything in sight, makes it a very challenging, but very fun game. The game will run on almost any computer, given it's age, and can be found in bargain bins, online, or at used game stores for very cheap prices. I'd be willing to pay upwards of $50 for a new copy, but they retail for around $5. This game's storyline consists of around 18 missions, and then there are numerous difficulties which add new objectives to each mission, thus allowing maximum re-playability. To be quite candid, I see nothing wrong with this game at all, aside from the graphics which some people seem to hold so very dear.
I too, was unsure when I first began playing, but not more than an hour into the game, I was a fan for life. There have been two sequels, and a fourth is in the works. I suggest you check the series out, starting from game one, and going all the way through game three. You will not be disappointed!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/21/11
Game Release: Thief Gold (US, 12/31/99)
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