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…