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.
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.
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.