THIEF II: THE METAL AGE Thursday 24 November, 2011

THIEF_2_WEB

Welcome, young Garrett…

I can honestly say I’ve never stolen anything in my life (with maybe the exception of a friends watch when I was about 10, but I gave that back so I look on it more as borrowing). So why is it that I find a game based around thievery so compelling that I have been going back to replay it for over 10 years now?

The genius with the Thief games lie within it’s deep and engaging storyline, and the way you discover it. There are three thief games in total (nearly four) but I’m going to talk about my favorite, and the one I’ve spent the most time on- Thief II The Metal Age. You are Garrett- a master thief in a very bizarre version of our medieval world. You’re occupation is thievery, and you seem to be well known for it. Why that hasn’t landed you in jail yet is beyond me, but hey- I’m speaking out in favor of this game!

The missions are always started by atmospheric briefing videos- simply drawn stills of the mission with a voice over by our protagonist:

 

We start the game where Garrett has been asked by his old friend “Basso” the boxman to help free his mistress Guinevere from the manor where she is serving. So a little breaking and entering starts you off nicely for a game about thievery. You’re given a list of objectives to complete and once they’re done, the level is done. One of Thief’s major strengths is again something more recent games have lost. The “level” such as it is is not built around you completing the objectives- the objectives are usually just sort of there for you to find on your own. There is no objective marker, no way point- no, the only way you are going to find your objectives is to eavesdrop conversations or read letters from people in the game. It’s also one of those games that throws different objectives at you if you increase the difficulty. I remember running around the first level for ages on the expert mode (well hard, me) trying to find all the loot (valuable items in the level) when I finally came upon some evidence pointing to the fact that Basso and Guinevere had hidden their wedding rings in a tiny hole above the stairs. See?! That kind of detail and I didn’t even find out about it until 7 years after first playing it!

The Story then goes deeper into a plot by the “Mechanists” (a new faction under the leadership of Father Karris) who are trying to replace organic life with machinery. They are supplying metal “servants” to the rich noblemen of the city, free of charge. Nothing wrong with a free gift, even if it is a 5 ft budget version of Robocop. Suspicions arise, however, when criminals and beggars start going missing from the local jail (which you beak into) and the streets (which you break out onto) and a shiny new “Servant” appears in his/her place. Suffice to say you end up going on a little bit of a hunt to find the truth that leads you up against new friends, old enemies and big ass robots with an unnerving voice. I’m not saying any more than that because in all honesty you need to play this game. If you can get past the graphics engine, which has aged as finely as milk and the slightly clunky controls- but believe me its all worth it! Sure, it looks like everyone is suffering from a life threatening disorder and have been animated by David Lynch but I see it more as charming. Few games have terrified me enough to stand in a dark corner waiting for the coast to be clear, only to step out and be confronted by this guy 

saying “All must hear the words of Karris” Spoken as Droopy Dog would in your nightmares.

The music and sound is so masterfully engineered in this game that some stray backwards whispering has (on times, in my younger years) been enough for me to quit out of the game in sheer fright. Suck on that Resident Evil- all you ever did was make me say “aww bless em, they really are trying”. I also find it hard to be terrified with a gun and a chainsaw vs slow moving zombies in Resident evil – as apposed to me vs Ghosts and massive robots with a knife in Thief.

You can pick up both Thief 1 and 2 together for about £5 now. Better than any film I have EVER seen; the stories in these two games are just incredible- and brilliantly executed. If only games had carried on more down this path rather than just dumbing down half life until all we really had to do was push forward on the control stick while holding down “fire”

…With the exception of Skyrim….that’s awesome.

Written by Brown from www.quiteenjoy.co.uk for Geek&spell.co.uk

 


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