Review by Shadow

"A Breakaway From Common First Person Shooters"

To most gamers, the first person shooter genre is the one of the most addictive types of gaming next to the famous real time strategy genre and also the driving force behind all computer advances such as 3D and sound cards. Lately the genre has evolved into something other than the usual “shoot as much as you can before something kills you” motif. Games like Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six or Sierra's Half-life sets a new “think first act later” standard to all future FPS games. Now Looking Glass Studios and Eidos Interactive gives you a new and worthy addition to the FPS family. Its name is Thief: The Dark Project.

Thief is set in a world in where by magic and technology co-exists. It's kind of hard to explain how the game goes. It resembles Half-life by melding both story and action gameplay into one but with a lot of new stuff would be best described in layman's terms. The main thing you will notice about Thief is the fact YOU ARE NOT A 90-TON MECH! You spend most of your time hiding in the shadows and thumping people from the back. Most people will say what's the point? Well the point is strategy. You have to plan as you go, making use of opportunities to rob people blind as you progress in future missions

You play a young freelance thief named Garret who is very adept in the arts of burglary. As the game progresses you are slowly drawn into the complex world fame, fortune and betrayal (there seems to be a lot of these going around these days). Whether you're robing a rich man's house blind or going undercover in enemy territory. You only succeed if you follow the games only way to win plan, plan, and plan.

The combat system is simple and realistic. Stand in the light and have your weapon drawn, you will be more noticeable than standing quietly in dark. Stealth is very important in Thief since you have to actually avoid combat. Walking on nosy tiles or steel grating will alert the very guard to want to thump to unconsciousness. You can ambush or surprise the enemy and kill them instantly, but go head to head with them no matter whether its ghosts, priests or guards and you will be ending up as a rotting corpse. As with puzzle solving common to all FPS. Thief puzzles are extremely logic orientated, making you pay complete attention to the surrounding environment thus immersing you in the gameplay that can have you up until 3 in the morning.

In the subject of graphics, Thief has a superb 3D world waiting for you complementary of coarse by a Direct3D or 3Dfx supported card. How about sound? Does footsteps' echoing through large halls, while guards talk to each other (or to themselves) and moaning zombies that scare the living daylights out of you sound interesting. Well then this is the game for you. But you got to get version 1.33 otherwise there is no EAX sound support. If you got version 1.14 then download the patch from the net (It's 10 MB!).

Last but not least, Thief's strongest advantage is also its weakness. Since you're going to be hiding from enemies a lot and attacking when there is no other option. You have got to be extra patient and not make any mistakes that jeopardize the mission. Waiting for patrolling guards to pass or turn their backs so you can move in order to wait again around the corner while the next guard passes can be agonizing for the impatient (namely me). Another thing is the fact that equipment and cash that you gathered from your last mission cannot be passed on to next. All money you gathered on the last mission should be spent after that on equipment for the next mission. This can be hard on beginners because you simply don't know what to spent your “hard earned” money on.

Bottom line is if you're a FPS fanatic looking for change in the hectic pace of common FPS or someone who loves to use brains rather than brawn try it, I would generally recommend it to any body who like originality in a game. The price is worth because its going to make you want to play it again and again pitting your skills against tougher mission objectives. In the end this game gives a new edge to the FPS genre so go ahead to the stores and get a copy now if you like it so far.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/01/99, Updated 11/01/99

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