Having said I wasn’t going to get much chance to play Thief this weekend, a leaving do on Friday + the resultant hangover have left me stuck in the house while it wore off which seemed like as good an excuse to play some Thief as any and I’ve knocked off quite a few levels.
I start the first of todays missions outside the Sheriffs house. I can see right from the start that I’m going to have problems as I can’t even approach the door because of the security cameras. There is a box nearby which I use to climb over the side wall instead.
There is a small building here (guest quarters?) with a guy in it snoring heavily. I knock him out while I have the chance and steal a bit of loot in the vicinity. I don’t find anything else here so instead jump back over the wall and climb in through the window of a similar house. Going out of the far side of this gets me to another side wall + outbuilding.
I knock out everyone in sight and flip this switch which turns off the security cameras.
With the camera’s out of order I soon take out the gates lone guard and pick the lock of the door nearby. This gets me into a tower with a switch to open the main gate. I can see the Sheriff’s enormous house in the distance.
There are a couple of guards at the main door. The surface makes a lot of noise but with some extra careful sneaking I manage to take both the guards here out. It doesn’t do me any good as there are more than I can cope with behind the door so I reload and try going around the side.
I soon find another entrance around the back of the house. My only problem is a metal helmeted guard who just clangs when I hit him from behind. Since I can’t kill him I just have to leave him alone.
I have to get a certain amount of treasure in this mission. The gambling room is a good source. As with most of the missions in this game I don’t have any difficulties getting the loot. It’s a big improvement on Thief where I often ended up going round in circles looking for the bit I’d missed.
This is quite a nice room where I have to run around the outside of the swimming pool avoiding the security camera and collecting all the treasure. Shortly after managing this I find a switch to turn the camera off which would have made things a lot easier. It is just as well as there is a gear key in the bottom of the pool which I’d never have picked up with the camera working.
The house is absolutely enormous but I keep exploring only to overhear the guards say that something has killed the Sheriff. It sounds like it was some sort of monster. I need to investigate for myself although the guards are extra alert from here on.
I manage to find a side route via a balcony. There is a key ring with initials by the body which is my only clue. I have to trek all the way back through the mansion to get out again although I dash through the front entrance this time since I don’t have to worry about alerting the guards on my way out.
The key ring belongs to a Lieutenant in the watch. I decide to keep an eye on her and spot her leaving early carrying a letter which is a cue for another mission as I follow her through the city to see where she is going.
I remember a similar mission to this in Thief 1. It’s a nice change of pace – I’ve got an added complication on expert mode of having to pick 6 pockets on my way through but this doesn’t prove to be any difficultyat all. I sidetrack to follow anyone I see with something to steal. The Lieutenant goes slow enough that I can always catch up again.
After following her for about 10 minutes she drops the letter and walks off.
I pick up the letter and read it, then decide to put it back and see who comes to pick it up.
I appear to have to pick up an invisibility potion from the nearby building first but shortly after I do a man who I later find out is a Pagan shows up and takes the letter.
I now get to trek all the way back across the city following this guy. Eventually we arrive at the cemetary and he is attacked and shot by 3 guards. He makes his escape and they don’t fancy going into the cemetary. By the time I’ve taken these 3 out he is long gone.
He is bleeding badly enough that I pick his trail up again in a tomb. There is a strange portal here begging to be stepped through.
I find myself in a creepy wood. I have to follow the blood trail through here to try to find the Pagan.
I don’t have a map so one of my objectives is to find one. I find this within 30 seconds of starting the mission though so it’s not a problem. Now I just have to follow the blood.
Wherever I am, the Mechanists have been through here slaughtering everyone. The people all appear as ghostly images playing out brief scenes.
There are a few guards and quite a lot of buildings to explore but the aim here is to find a couple of rubies which are hidden among bushes for some reason. I then have to slot them into the eyes of this giant head and jump into the portal that appears in its mouth.
I’m teleported to some strange place with an excess of coloured lighting.
Now I really don’t know where I am but I get the feeling I’m being watched….
I can still see blood on the ground so I keep following the trail through some very strange places.
There are some monkey things around here that can speak and blow darts through little pipes. They are less trouble that guards though as they don’t count as human and go down with a few sword swipes. I try to sneak up on them where I can but I don’t worry about it too much.
This level keeps going forever as I go through one realm after another then over this particle bridge.
It does show off some enhancements to the engine as I don’t remember the lighting being this good in Thief 1. These floating orbs acting as a moving light source are quite impressive. This could add an interesting challenge if I have them in later levels when I need to try and stay in the dark.
I find a letter which suggests that the Lieutenant was acting to help out the Pagans and to no ones surprise Truart was hired by the Mechanists.
I still want to find this Pagan. I come across ice crystals next blocking my path but they shatter with a single sword strike.
The Pagan is through here in a woody grove. He has obviously bled to death which is no great shock given that I’ve been following his blood trail for what seems like miles. As soon as I find the body the level ends.
At this point I miss a cutscene altogether by clicking my mouse at the wrong time. I assumed that I’d just missed the usual mission complete scene but when I went back to check there is a lengthy movie where Viktoria from Thief 1 shows up and somehow manages to get me to agree to work with her to take out the Mechanists. She takes an oath which she says the Earth will keep so I suppose I might be able to trust her but I can’t help but think I’ll regret this.
Viktoria knows more than I do about what Karras is up to but still very little. He is rewriting the Hammer scriptures for some reason and is also involved in something called the Cetus project. He is throwing a party for the local nobility. I need to get in and find out what I can about the Cetus project. As is usual in games working with someone means working for them and I have to do all the work on my own. I get the feeling this is going to be a large level so I leave it here for today.
Out of the 3 levels here, I especially enjoyed the first one. Just getting into the house seemed like a large task and there was a steady variety of challenges. The second was quite short and easy – trailing someone doesn’t allow much room for exploration and it easy on the whole. Finding the two red gems in the final mission was a bit of an annoyance as they were hidden quite effectively especially one under a bush behind a building. I think I prefer Thief in it’s more standard levels breaking into houses. The engine can’t really cope with outdoor scenes especially well. It was quite a creepy level for all that with the strange monkey creatures and a lot of ambient sound used for the woods.
I find myself nearly 2/3’s of the way through the game and I still don’t know what Karras is up to but I expect I’m going to be finding out in the next mission.