Newer for sure but is it better?

Current music: Пикник - Через 10000 лет

operance upon a time, in a galaxy not so far away there was a relatively young, very fast and highly customizable web browser. It was with no doubt the best of its time and came to taste in many countries where users prefer the functionality to the fruity gloss. Years have passed and one day Opera 12 came out. It was assured to be newer and better and as developers were respected for their long-term good work many people believed and upgraded from previous versions. This is where the real story begins…

I may be mistaken for not seeing great improvements in depths of the code, but as user the first thing I’ve seen changed was the font color of address field drop down list. It was black and turned to light blue. Guess how awesome it’s looking on the white background? I searched for solution how to make it back but found nothing. Then I wrote on Opera forum asking for help but no one responded. Nearly two days later during experiments I found that font can not be changed by opera:config panel nor by user interface of course. You need to edit standard theme to make that. That’s what they call “even easier personalization” in their slogans on opera website. The second big fail is adobe reader plugin. I mean it worked fine but newer version doesn’t work with it properly. Dozens of users on opera community support forums (me included)  still are unable to open pdf files as earlier. What is the reason? Bad design? Indian code (in Norway)? Lack of testing?

The only thing I can say for sure, it takes me more and more time with every newer version to get back what I used to get from my favorite browser. It started lightly from removing buttons and tabs I don’t need at all. First time I had to get to opera:config was when speed dial came out and I wanted to remove that questionable “invention” from my sight. Why you may need that thing if there were bookmarks and the list of recently visited sites already? Then one day the button that opened address bar drop down list of the recently visited URLs disappeared. On another pretty evening it came as a surprise that double clicking on the window top opens new tab instead of maximizing it. List may go on and on… I’m afraid that one day I will buy a new PC, download the latest Opera and won’t be able to make it the browser I liked to use for long years.

What I wanted to say is if you work on new version of software just add something new and usable to it. Don’t destroy or alternate what had already worked well.

my blogAh… almost forgot about describing the actual way to get font back. Here is the instruction:

1. Open your Program files\Opera\skin\ folder

2. Make a copy of file and rename it as you like.

3. Open that new archive and copy skin.ini file from there somewhere you can edit it.

4. Open skin.ini in Notepad and find string [Address DropDown URL Label]

5. Edit next four strings like that

Padding Left = 0
Text Color = #000000
Link Color = #000000
Colorize = 0

6. Save edited skin.ini and copy it back (with replacement) to archive you took it from.

7. Run Opera 12 and go to Main Menu->Appearance

8. Choose altered theme and click OK.

Back side of the moon

Current music: Apocalyptica - Faraway

What do you think when you hear word pornography? And what about porn models?  It’s ok if you see them as sexual objects – their job is done well then. They show you glossy image filled with sex and sex only. Nothing more is needed to release unsatisfied sexual energy. There is no point in effort to add something more to that image. It just doesn’t pay off. Therefore, it was quite interesting to find a website which can give you something besides the good xxx content. Comments, notes and even memoirs are not written single-handedly (you know what I mean, right?) by some pornographer for your amusement but by model herself. I’ve seen many different things on the Internet during long years but seeing that I was somehow surprised and touched at the same time.

Woman, who supposed to play depersonalized lust-extracting tool, tells about her childhood, parents, college years. She describes things that could turn life another way (better or worse – who knows). You also get some light on who and what stays behind the scene. To say more, all this facts draw the big picture as you see everything in developing for more than ten years history of website. Her boyfriend and partner gradually becomes girlfriend during that time. Here and there pithy notes let you know how the shootings were made and if they left pleasant memories or pure disgust. I was nearly shocked by the paragraphs about model (or “web whore” as she calls herself) trying to get pregnant. It was on the same page with another set of pretty exciting photos. Such an unprecedented candor is not always a turn on for the erection or wild fantasies. Though it is very unique and have the unusual, fetish-like attraction. Maybe that’s the reason why she didn’t become popular for the wider masses despite respectable long career slowly moving to the so-called milf cathegory (she doesn’t like the term). Once this beauty wrote near the hot-looking posing pics that she had been wearing “last pair of socks her father wore”. Could you enthusiastically indulge in masturbation after reading that? However, the website captured my attention for three long nights. It turned out to be kind of interpretation of the Scheherazade’s myth with the sweet temptress and fairy-tales about wild american west of present day.

Those nights I witnessed the changes in appearance, sets and costumes as well as in tastes, spirits and the life itself. WWW also evolved from humble pictures the size of post stamp to first minute-short muddy videos which you may download. It’s comic and heartworming to remember how webmasters always wanted to be assured that user was able to open downloaded file. Everywhere you could see links to banal Windows Media Player or QuickTime Player (as if somebody who came to the site didn’t have either of them). Picture resolution and quantity grew with time passing by just like duration and quality of the videos. It became a rule of etiquette to pack photo sets in archives. Flash players and video-chat for the most devoted admirers firmly established in the pages. Plain, smooth and completely noninteractive HTML3 turned to blog. During the surf I found many links to other porn industry personalities. Some of them keep going the way they once chose. Websites of others are defunct long ago and Google forgot their incendiary aliases forever. Tasty Trixie lives that life at its fullest. The newest update came few days ago for those who understand as always because ones love blonds while others inevitable prefer brunettes.

That’s how I watched porn online once )

P.S.  I’m sorry for those who searched by tags for something hotter than text above ) You may click on this photo to get more.

Tasty Trixie

Making business trustfully

Current music: SnakeSkin - Recall II

Would you trust the ultimate password from complete root-level access to all of your business actually to the person you never met before and who doesn’t consist in any kind of official relationship with your company? Well, this may sound funny but today I got it on my new job. I can only guess what was the reason: my prepossessing application, critical need in new staff (my precursor suddenly left the job because of the some reason unknown to me) or my employer’s absence of the negative experience. Anyway I’m ok with it. There will be some time to see how everything works on the server before I actually start to work monday.

My personal experience shows things are always worse than you thought they were. However,  so far I’m glad to get this new job because work conditions seem to be better that on my last one. Beside that, the work itself demands higher skill. So I will see how it goes…

Clarkson scores, Kovalchuk punches!

Current music: Against Me - Occult Enemies

At the moment there is a plenty of games to be played in regular season but at the same time we all have seen enough hockey to sum up the observations and analyze the situation around the team. I speak about New Jersey Devils of course.

plusMistake in choosing the head coach and loosing too much time to correct it was the main problem of the last season. In fact it wasn’t resolved even with calling back good-old Jacques Lemaire who put great effort in the team despite missing playoffs in final. Devils just get some more time to make a right decision. This time team management was making the choice more carefully what took a lot of time and not so long before the start of training camp we got Peter DeBoer as head coach. At that point he looked like a man you don’t know what to expect from. As for now DeBoer achieved at least two major feats. First, Devils are fighting to keep the place in the top eight instead of running to cut the trail in desperation. Second, there were no unexplainable healthy scratch among the core players this season. He also didn’t start to transform Devils into some different team maintaining the traditional mentality generally.

minusInjuries were another painful (literally) problem burying team’s chances. In 2010/2011 it took the form of epidemic of some kind. More than ten players (regretfully not of a star caliber) got an NHL debut in New Jersey Devils because of it. This year traumatism again becomes an important factor. Travis Zajac, with no doubt top-two liner, still can not get in play because of what Dainius Zubrus have to move from line to line. Andy Greene, Jacob Josefson, Anton Volchenkov and Ilya Kovalchuk were forced to skip games due to injuries. Adam Henrique, who’s no less than Calder Trophy level of  play was big asset to the team during december, is in disturbing condition. Henrik Tallinder is out with very serious health issue. Reports about his situation are quite optimistic but I doubt he will be a serious contributor in this season even if he is able to get back before summer. Adam Larsson, first round draft pick in 2011, didn’t dress for last game after taking two severe hits from Montreal. Although in last few years frequency of injuries raised in all the league, it won’t get any better for Devils.

plusNevertheless, New Jersey have at least one line you can be proud of. Elias-Zubrus-Sykora, when those three play together – hold your breath and watch. This trio is perfectly balanced and showing great chemistry. Also, line combinations with Ilya Kovalchuk and David Clarkson proved to be very effective. Team with such guys in roster surely have a strong spirit which for example helped to tie the game three times against Rangers and take two points in last meeting. New Jersey Devils also shows perfect support for each member and everyone making his best every moment. David Clarkson who was never considered as a sniper scores in every opportunity while Patrik Elias punishes opponents with hard hitting and Ilya Kovalchuk fights to defend the team’s honor.

minus3rd and 4th lines deserve the big bold minus. Coach is always changing players there trying hell knows who else, but all attempts end with the same result – nothing good. There is a gaping statistic chasm between the Peter Sykora and Ryan Carter or Brad Mills. Picking up the experienced and physical players with decent attacking ability like Ponikarovsky is a wise and well-timed decision but it alone will unlikely change the whole situatuion to something better.

plusDavid Clarkson deserves personal mention. He have most penalty minutes while there are Cam Janssen, Eric Boulton and Brad Mills in the roster. At the same time Clarkson was leading the Devils team by goals scored and now he is just two goals shy from Ilya Kovalchuk. This player fights well, fearlessly hits everybody around, shows magnificent forechecking and scores! scores hard-worked, tough and important goals. Last year I wrote that Jason Arnott is an ideal power forward in my russian blog. Now I must say that Clarkson is an ideal tough guy every GM would gladly add to the roster.

qustionThere is no need to be hockey analyst to see not everything is alright in the Devils’ net. Martin Brodeur was 40th from 42 regularly playing NHL netminders in december. This fall was followed by several good wins where legendary 30 who is referred by everyone as hall-of-famer corrected his stats a bit. However his consistency and confidence you may earlier feel in his eyes shining through mask is no longer presented. One moment Marty is staying on his head in great effort to keep the pucks away and next moment he is allowing limp goals one by one. Without knowing what’s going on in the locker room I can not say what causes problem. Maybe it is inevitable aging and losing quickness of movement or recurrence of injury. Thankfully Brodeur avoided injuries for years but from 2008 this lucky streak ended. What I can say now Marty needs a couple of shutouts to get his confidence back or else he may fall in playoffs. By now Johan Hedberg plays no worse at least though swedish veteran is too far from being Vezina Trophy nominee. Let’s hope things will be fine because now it’s too unclear.

plusAs I said earlier Brodeur may be not the most reliable goalie in the game but he is still among the best in one on one challenge. That’s just kind of skill you’ll never lose. Add to this fact the fantastic scoring percentage from Kovalchuk and here you get the perfect result in shootouts. New Jersey won 9 games in SO, more than any other team. Players are not afraid of ties, they don’t run for winning goal at the expense of defense. I consider it as a good sign.

qustionLast but not least. This point is not connected with play directly but may affect players’ thoughts. The fact is Devils have too many UFAs at the end of the season. Will Lou resign them by the cost of free space under the salary cap? Or will he fill roster with free agents from other teams? You’ll never guess when old fox is making his business. Though spontaneous changes are not traditional for the franchise and rarely become effective. We may also witness some transfers before the trading deadline.

Shoes for the shoemaker

Current music: Marilyn Manson - Posthuman

As long as my life is deeply connected to the computers and the IT industry, I regularly get requests of help with various digital devices from different people. Though I am not an IT god, I always try to make my best. Regretfully, sometimes I  need an advice or assistance from well-qualified person myself and… It suddenly becomes problematic, I may look through the half of Internet for the help but find nothing. Surely, my questions won’t be the easy ones like “how do I install this application?” or “how can I set controls for this emulator?” I always google for the solution first, read all manuals and faqs could be found before asking. As a result, all people who would like to help are incapable to do it while those who can are somewhere out of here.

I wonder if medics or hairdressers for example experience such difficulties?

New Year…

Current music: Макс Ильин - Новогодняя песенка

One more year becomes part of the endless time flow losing somewhere in the past.

All vintages and works of art will add one year of exposure tomorrow. All calendars will become useless and there will be even more people whose date of birth that drastically differs from yours. So, I can not just ignore this moment. I wish a happy new year to everybody who is celebrating now and silently support those who doesn’t count this day as a holyday. Anyway I hope the coming year will be at least a bit better that previous one for both of you.

new year 2012


Edible Masyanya

Current music: Пикник - Телефон

Masyana is a character with long and complicated history. It started in early 2000s as a joke showing the possibilities of Flash technology on the homepage of Oleg Kuvaev. He is an artist from St.Petersburg who previously worked in Animation Magic which developed Zelda games for CD-i console, NASCAR Racing and unreleased Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans. Animations with Masyanya at that time were very short and silly but soon became popular in russian segment of Internet as they presented not only new technology making web 1.0 more interactive, it was possible the first appearance of something connected with young and informal russian internet-community. Though Masyanya kept her simplistic and deliberately distorted nature all the way the quality of drawing improved much for couple of years. Animations became longer showing humorous story with exaggerated characters taken from real life instead of lonely gags of first ones. Masyanya, Hryundel, Lokhmaty became the collective images of advanced youth of their time and were understood and accepted by most of Internet users. Moreover they looked even more realistic because of “spontaneous speech” principle. Oleg Kuvaev who made all the voice acting also, didn’t just read the lines. He brought the idea speaking it by his own words “on the fly” like we speak it in real life. With all this things popularity of Masyana grew much and finally reached it highest peak. In 2002 Masyanya became the part of Leonid Parfenov’s TV show. New series came out weekly and were presented on russian federal TV channel for almost the whole season. Regretfully due to the financial problems contract was discontinued in 2003. Not much time later show itself was closed because of the political conflict inside the NTV company.

Masyanya under the yellow press PC game screenshot
“Masyanya under the yellow press” screenshot

Though TV business just could not let Masyana go and some time later that year she appeared on TV again. Without the consent of the rightful owner one cheap local analog of MTV started “Visiting Masyana” show with russian pop-musicians. It was not only copyright violation but distorted the whole idea of nonconformist and anarchist character Masyanya infact was (you may see it in “Russian punk rock”  and “Show business” episodes). Сourt proceedings took years but after all Oleg Kuvaev defended his rights officially. This case became first public precedent of copyright lawsuit in Russia.  During this time there were very few new episodes (some of them were pretty angry about the pop-music) also because of side-projects by – “Bo’s shop”, “Six and a half” and “Ezhi & Petruchio” series. However Masyanya was destined to have another youth (also known as “Third Life”). The quality of drawing raised up to another level. Soundtracks were created by friendly professional musicians. That period starts commercial animations with Masyanya as well. Some of them were not that bad as you may think commercials are. For example, “Archives of the Russian Internet” in 9 episodes sponsored by ZyXEL is rather interesting and historically true most of the time while ZyXEL really had great impact on IT in Russia. The point from where it all went downhill is 2006 when Oleg Kuvaev left studio. He kept rights to Masyanya and even domain though had no financial freedom to produce new episodes so they came out more and more rare. Low budget forced to find another ways to express the creative idea. That’s why there were short episodes, episodes with no speech at all, episodes combined from old episodes, comic strips… In the last one Oleg Kuvaev tried to gain interest from wider audience by making Masyanya pregnant (not literally of course)) but that action had opposite effect. By now almost two years passed since that without new episodes.

masyanya cookies
Cookies with Masyanya’s face

Thankfully, Masyanya found new niche – casual flash games. At the moment there are four of them. “Masyanya under the yellow press”, “Masyanya in a complete Africa” and “Masyanya. Eurotrip” have similar gameplay, something like downgraded (to be simple enough for anyone) traditional russian quest mixed with “hidden object” concept and arcade mini-games. Other one, “Masyanya and the beach stuff”, is a decent clone of “Farm Frenzy” series with few jokes and mere plot. I don’t know if she will become the competitor to Nancy Drew but I hope Masyanya will live long for those who still remember her triumph no matter the form. Not so long ago I found nice cookies with her mischievous face on. That’s actually the cause I wrote this post. I doubt that small local bakery paid something to the author as it was in many small cases when Masyanya suddenly appeared here and there (she took part even in campaign by russian road police once while Oleg Kuvaev was unaware about) but it’s good to know that such a colorful character is not forgotten yet.

P.S. Sorry if I occasionally translated some titles wrong, it’s not easy for something that was never widely known outside of Russia.

Legend of the North: Konung

Current music: Аквариум - Гиневер

Platform: PC
Year: 1999
Developer: Snowball, 1C

Today I want to tell you about the “Legend of the North: Konung” or “Knyaz: Legends of the Woodland Country” (Князь: Легенды лесной страны) as this game was called originally by russian developers. Some differences between two versions can be found not only in title and names but all in all it’s the same thing. I have beaten original version so my review is based on it. Game take place in alternative world very similar to Eastern Europe of early medieval period as it was presented in legends and fairy-tales. Pretty impressive opening movie shortly tells us the story of a conflict. In times long-long ago Earth was ruled by race of mighty titans. They knew magic and made wonderful “singing things”, artifacts. Titans left the most powerful artifact, bracelet Lord, to the slavs tribe guarded by dragon and watched by half-titan Ar (Orr in english version). Ar possessed the special amulet which allowed him to control the dragon. Once slavs were attacked by ancient enemies, yellow dogs clan. Forces of those destruction-hungry creatures heavily outnumbered defenders of artifact. At this moment Ar divided dragon amulet into three parts sending each to one of his friends. First part was sent to viking Sigurd who was meanly killed by angry berserk Dragomir (Eric). Loner hunter Wolf got second one after he shot hawk bearing it to hero Vseslav. Only third part turned up to be in the hands of addressee, byzantine knyaz Mikhail (Konstantin).

Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot
You can play for any of these three. Main goal is the same: get other parts and reach the ultimate power with Lord bracelet. Chosen personality affects on starting location on the map and attitude of the people around. Contrary to all the logic Dragomir is the most popular here. NPCs trust him and deal kindly. Mikhail’s way is the hardest. He can not get most of the side quests, everybody calls him byzantine stranger and villages don’t let go in. So Mikhail has to fight through the obstacles. Suspicious Wolf is somewhere in between. There are four classes to choose for your character. Warrior uses sword as weapon and his primary attribute is strength. Hunter is very dexterous and relies on ranged attack with bow. Merchants are tough guys with the best vitality and stamina to carry all the loot. They wear best armor and are allowed to use most deadly weapons – heavy axes. Leader hasn’t any talents by himself but is able to hire more people in party to make all the job by their hands. Regretfully there are no magic casters at all.

Choosing your class you should remember that searching around the land with constantly repopulating monsters, looting and leveling-up is the 90% of gameplay. So think about how your character will act in battle first of all. Roleplaying system is poor and primary attributes is the base. You can also improve fencing and archery skills by using appropriate weapon but I didn’t feel it affected gameplay much. There are five social skills: identification, trading, healing (to make potions), smithery and constriction. Last two however usable only for NPCs because it’s not a job konung will do. Developers said there are more invisible parameters but it sounds like lie. On each level character has maximum limit for every primary attribute depending of class. You can raise them at the cost of experience earned. When all of them reach the limit character raises level. After 13th level there are no more limitations. One more caprice of game mechanics is that everybody in Woodland Country has 100 health points. Weak red ant, village elder or dragon… all of them. Charming, isn’t it? By the way, monsters here are mostly taken from slavic culture. You won’t meet vampires or elves while playing. Forests are guarded by leshys, moroks and aspids attack here and there. Prepare for something new.

Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot
Unlike Diablo, where you have to go back to the same point all the time, Legend of North: Konung presents geographically wider space with lots of settlements. In the village hero can find usual adventurers’ services like healing, repair of the weapons and armor, shopping and even take tribute regularly but only in case people reckon him as ruler. You can get the village by completing the quest elder may give or taking it by brute force but if specialists die in battle services they provide would be unavailable. However it is allowed to take any inhabitant to your party and leave anybody as well. As example, blacksmith may be killed while defending his village but another one can be trained in other village and taken there instead. Too bad unexperienced blacksmith often broke items. I think it’s quite a realistic and fresh idea that raises gameplay difficulty and attraction at the same time.

So far everything looked like normal for diablo-like mouse-clicker rather typical though. Well, we get to the worst part because now I’m going to tell about the way game concept was implemented. Interface is terrible. There is no pause at all. You can speed up or slow down time but have no chance to stop and look arond. It may sound not so bad but believe me when you have big party with retard-like AI that forgets your orders in few seconds pause become necessary. Next bad thing is that some actions can be performed with hotkeys only. Inventory is one of the worst I ever seen. With unnecessary big icons (while 800×600 is the max resolution) but without animation (items don’t scroll but change on the screen, so you don’t even know at which end you are) it presents just one line on hero info screen. Items have no description. Seriously, like in games of the early 80s you find something and don’t know what is it and why do you need this thing. Game manual doesn’t change situation because items weren’t described there either. Journal is completely useless. Hardly ever few words about new quest are added there so you better to have a good memory. Though graphics is not bad especially for system requirements it was oriented to, quality of animation spoils the impression of good-old 2D landscape. Human characters are deprived of softness in movements and act like robots. Monsters animation is monotonous and dull. The music is quite annoying. It plays some kind randomly not being attached to some place or situation. Locations here have little differences at all so until you look at ugly global map you won’t know exactly where you are. Sound effects are unprofessional and unpleasant. For example, navs when get hit scream not like tortured undead but more like cheap sluts from bad porno movies.

Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot
Writers didn’t work hard enough. Storyline doesn’t match introduction. Mighty slavs hero Vseslav don’t apper. There are no one from numerous yellow dogs clan either so I don’t even know how do they look like. Plot is short and straight as erected gnome penis. Find other pieces of dragon amulet, kill bearers to get them together and here you are. Everything else – usual quests to kill somebody or to find some objects in order to take control over villages in peaceful way. It’s not needed because you can take villages by force and experience you get for completing quest is similar to just one bottle of wisdom potion marketed everywhere. Furthermore you will not want to help those paperboard characters with no distinctive feature. Dialogues are very miserly and lack of trustworthy emotions. Silly jokes ruin any semblance of atmosphere. If it’s a medieval fantasy world then what it has to do with quotation from soviet comic movies or references to other computer games?!

Developers made just one final no matter what hero you played and how good or evil you were. Violent thug Dragomir and noble Mikhail both get the same. Even worse it’s open-ended. Snowball and its publisher 1C planned to turn Konung into a big franchise. However, this planes couldn’t become reality. Russian market was too young at that moment and the percent of legal copies in sales was negligible to get back enough revenue. English release didn’t bring much too. Game supposed to compete in hack’n’slash action-rpg genre from all the points of view was worse than its starter, original Diablo, not to speak of later and more technological products. The next part of the universe should become Fatherdale. It was announced as “russian Baldur’s gate” but because of some problems with foreign publisher was never released. Only four years later Konung 2 appeared. Snowball by that time switched business from developing games to localization and didn’t participate. So idea of plot development in next games became another mistake.

Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot Legend of the North: Konung pc game screenshot
Konung had the potential to be a good game, even local legend maybe as it was first in its niche but didn’t succeed. Even the fact it worth the time spent is questionable.

Rating: 4.5

Thief Gold

Платформа: PC
Год: 1999
Разработчик: Looking Glass Studios

 The Darkest Project

Earlier I had the post with my memories of old computers where also told about difficulties with getting Thief: The Dark Project run properly. Well, it was surely worth it. Almost a month took me to finish the game and I will remember it for long time.

When the protagonist himself says “creepy” you’d better believe. Thief is scarier than many horror games with hordes of ugly mutants and lots of gore because unknown fears lurking around in shadows keep in suspense every second. Besides, Garrett is not meat-grinding action hero like Duke Nukem who attacks without any doubt. Every opponent have a chance to kill thief alone. Two or more enemies at the time almost guarantee death. On many levels you won’t be allowed to use sword at all because good thief shouldn’t leave bloody traces. Level-designers made an extraordinary job to create right atmosphere. In some places you can feel strong psychological distress. For example Haunted Cathedral mission was so repugnant I had to take pause for a couple of days before getting back to the game. I haven’t experienced such a strong emotions from playing a game since my early childhood.

thief gold thief dark project game screenshot haunted cathedral thief gold game screenshot

Significant role in creating the atmosphere is played by multimedia. Rustles and sough with some nervous music make great ambient. Heart-rending groans of undead deprive of comfort. Perfectly articulated phrases of Garrett help to understand cynical nature of thieving artist. Barely animated but very impressive cut scenes between the levels tell the player about the world, its traditions and the balance of power. Despite common opinion presenting Thief as steampunk icon, I wouldn’t say so. There are few elements of this like steam engines in basements and electricity produced by them but world is perceived like usual fantasy. Often you can find torches and magical lights rather than bulbs. People’s appearance is closer to one of medieval rather than victorian era.

You should only play at expert difficulty level in order to get all the game has to offer. It’s not nerdish perfectionism. Thief belongs to that kind of games where difficulty is done right. It means better gaming experience, interesting challenge and more playing time. Remember Rock’n’Roll Racing where on the higher difficulty levels you get access to new levels. In Thief you will get additional objectives which make exploring more exciting. It’s not like in Quake where Nightmare means much more monsters and less ammo. It also not like in Final Fantasy series when bosses have more HP and you need to spend more time in boring leveling-up. Thief offers the best way of challenge. Missions are very diverse. Sometimes you need to be sneaky to steal something, other times the main aspect is navigation in labyrinth and acrobatic skill or ability to be silent and swift death to enemies or just to stay alive. There is always some place for surprises. Idea with variety of arrows is very original and deserves respect. Water arrows can extinguish the torch. Gas arrows deactivate enemies from distance without killing them. Moss arrows allow you to be silent on noisy surface. Noise arrows distract guards while you can sneak around or fight them one by one. Rope arrows are my favorite. After shooting them to wood you can climb by rope to the most difficult places.

thief gold thief dark project game screenshot thief gold thief dark project game screenshot

This game also has one useful property. Thief will motivate you to clean your monitor. Every dirty spot on it is a pain in the eyes when you scrutinize pitch-dark areas most levels consist of.

Thief could be one of the best games ever if it wasn’t so buggy. There is inexcusable number of bugs even in Gold version with latest patches. Guards can jam in the walls, doors and objects. Monsters become invincible sometimes. Script bugs make levels impassable so you have to start from the beginning. Jumps and climbing go wrong sometimes.

All in all Thief: The Dark Project can be called gaming classic and should be recommended to any hardcore gamer. However it’s not a funny and pleasant game. Rather, it’s challenging, demanding and even irritating but you will like that challenge. True art of game development.

thief gold thief dark project game screenshot thief gold thief dark project game screenshot

Rating: 8

Living history

Current music: System of a Down - Atwa

Things change so fast in the computer’s world. It has been sad so many times but the fact still amazes. People who became PC owners last year speak about plain-looking appearance of XP and usually don’t suppose that there is something more effective than Libraries to manage their files. Those who have changed their PC once hardly believe that files with size more than 4GB some time ago were quite a problem and sound cards with ethernet adapters were not always integrated in every motherboard. Even ones who consider themselves veterans hardly recognize Norton not as antivirus software or pack of system utilities. Experience of using computer for such a long time makes one feel old and weary.

Yesterday I tried to run the game Thief: The Dark Project on my current gaming PC without any success whatsoever. I’ve heard and read a lot about it so my will to play this game brought me back to the past. Today I spent hours with my 10-years old computer. First I installed Windows ME (I really like this OS). Then after some dancing with a tambourine around I configured network, downloaded best suitable drivers for all the hardware. Making that aroused some kind of nostalgia. It was difficult to stop so I furnished the system with heartiness as if I was going to make my primary desktop. It took some amount of time to find outdated versions of software for long-unsupported operating system. After all I get decent machine capable not only retro gaming but surprisingly smooth web-surfing, playing variety of video and surely usual office work. GeForce 2MX can not be called powerful in any case but it easily performed FullHD in 2D mode with true color depth. Regretfully I could not use my external hard disk even with latest NTFS driver… System just freezed when it was connected. I think it occurred because computer failed to utilize such a massive disk space as 2TB.

Thief ran without difficulties but… Two minutes of training showed huge problem with partially or completely missing models of characters.  That’s what I call a really bad programming. Game was meant for TNT2 and two generations later it no longer works properly. GeFroce 2MX is too modern for Thief! It loses polygons on video card released two years after, it totally crashes on accelerators of modern era, it freezes on multi-processor PCs, it doesn’t support hardware EAX acceleration on any cards I know. To make sudden crashes more often game changes video modes all the time. You need to take a quick look on the map? Press M and… wait damn 10 seconds before monitor adjusts the picture. Then you are going back and having to wait 10 more while not seeing a shit and vulnerable to any attack.

My story has happy ending. Brainstorm, Google, manuals, faqs on fansites and hard-to-find utilities helped to run Thief the way I prefer, with acceleration, antialiasing and good display resolution on my newest computer. I’m not sure if beating the game will take more time than making it work but we’ll see…