Review by call me peppi
"A nicely put together bit of thievery..."
Let's get straight into it, shall we? As the name implies, you play a thief named Garrett, in what is best described as a medieval/industrial/fantasy kind of city known only as, ''The City''. The game consists of 12 missions, each with a different set of goals to meet. Between each mission, you’re shown a short movie that reveals more of the storyline. The game is essentially a First Person Shooter, however, the emphasis is more on hiding in the shadows, avoiding conflicts, and knocking guards out when their backs are turned. You are given a large array of weapons and tools to aid your thievery including things like Flash Bombs, which temporarily blind enemies, water arrows, which can be used to clean up blood and put out torches, and rope arrows, which are pretty self-explanatory. The story is good, although not great, but enough to keep you playing to the end.
While the graphics aren't terrible, they certainly aren't perfect. The best thing about the graphics is the nicely done lighting effect. Putting out torches to create shadows is always nice to watch. Unfortunately, the graphics look as though they have been rushed when they shouldn't have. There are a very limited number of Guard and Civilian models. Also, people's mouths don't seem to move when they speak. It looks very odd if two guards are having a conversation and you are close enough to see their faces, and their mouths aren't moving. The level of game detail is also a bit low, light shines through solid doors, the sky is only black with little white dots on it, guard’s swords and limbs sometimes morph through walls and paintings occasionally seem to disappear into walls. I know the game was made a while back, but these errors could have been fixed.
Ah, now sound is where Thief triumphs. The game doesn't have much music, obviously because you are a thief, and you need to hear what's going on around you, but the effects they have in there are absolutely incredible. It really brings the level to life and makes it seem real. Strolling through a lords garden and hear the quiet chirping of crickets, or your ducking through an abandoned mine and hear creeks of wood, drips and the wind whistling through the empty tunnels. The music that is in there is well done, nonetheless. Most of it is creepy and only starts when you stumble across a body. It makes you feel like you’re in a dark world. The actual sound effects are great, too. The Guards speech lines are sometimes very funny, especially when they're looking for you, or in the middle of a conversation, like the infamous ''Bear Pits'' conversation at the beginning of the game. Everything is put together perfectly.
When I say Gameplay, I refer to everything about the game that has something to do with its playability. Thief does very well in this aspect. First off, there are three difficulty settings, always good to have in a game. It has a rather complicated control system (it simply has too many), which may overwhelm when you begin, but is easy to get used to. Putting the controls to work can be hard while playing the game, especially when sword fighting, but you soon learn your limitations. The levels play well, and while the levels are a reasonable size, you are free to explore a bit while doing your mission. One of the things I like about Thief, is you can eavesdrop on other people's conversations, or read their letters and notes, a lot of which has nothing to do with your mission. It's like you can get into others people's lives. However, the AI in Thief isn't so good. While they perform well overall, they make too many mistakes. Sometimes, when after you or on a patrol, they can get stuck running or walking into a wall. Even dumber, they get stuck running or walking into each other. They react well to attacks, though. If they see a body, they call for help and run, or they search for you. They can chase you, and when they lose you they tell everyone else they meet to be more careful.
Overall, Thief: Damn Dark Project is a good game and worth buying, especially if you want Thief II. However, the change Thief makes from the usual rule of, ''kill anything that moves'' FPS games tend to follow, may not appeal to everyone. In the end the game is slightly let down by having too many controls, and shabby graphics. Maybe that's why this game didn't sell too well, and Looking Glass went broke. Anyway, its final score is 7/10; so if you’re into this sort of game, check it out.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 03/07/03, Updated 03/07/03
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