Before I start this level, I decide I really should get some equipment so I reload an old savegame and stock up on fire arrows and the like. If I hadn’t done this, I’d have been in real trouble as it turns out.
I find a cellar hatch and let myself into the asylum. There are a lot of strange sounds around here like children laughing and heavy footsteps from things that don’t appear to be there but so far nothing attacks me. The fuses for this place are blown and it is extremely dark and hard to see where I’m going. I find the fuse box but I need to find a replacement fuse.
I don’t think I can describe in words how creepy this level is to play. The audio is extremely oppressive and despite it being bright sunlight outside I’m permanently on edge. There is a load of banging coming from behind the attic door but when I open it nothing is there. I do find the fuse I was looking for…
… and a scary portrait of the Keeper translator. When I look at this I hear a ghostly child’s voice….
A ball of light that casts the shadow of a child appears in the corner. This is the ghost of the child in the picture. She tells me that she is being held here by the cradle remembering her and she wants me to remove a vial of her blood from the cellar and throw it in a storm drain to get it outside the building. Like this level wasn’t creepy enough already, now I’m being guided around by a spectre.
I should have got the blood while I was down here, only I didn’t check my notes to see where it was but I go and turn the lights back on in the cellar. Somehow the level becomes more scary now I have the potential to see what’s coming. I still haven’t seen anything down here though.
Now that the power is on, I can throw this lever and open the emergency lockdown portcullis. This allows me access to the second part of the level, the asylum.
This is the main part of the asylum and unfortunately for me it’s populated by a particularly nasty sort of undead. I sneak up on one of these guys and I have no idea what he is but he moves like he’s being electrocuted and all the lights flicker when he’s around. I backstab him to take him down and finish him off with holy water. The snag here is I’ve only 3 bottles of holy water so I have to use fire arrows on the others and these sometimes work and sometimes don’t. I’m never quite sure if the body on the ground is about to get up and attack me which adds to the general unease.
If you turn and see one of these guys running at you on this level when you don’t expect it, it can make you jump out of your seat. It certainly raised goosebumps on a warm day for me.
The first guy I’ve taken out appears to have been arranging gems in the eye sockets of these paintings. Best not to ask and just take the gems. The rest of the asylum is truly horrible with electro shock treatment rooms, a morgue, etc…
I fully explore this area taking out every one of the monsters. I actually get to 100% treasure which is a first for me in Thief 3 and find all 3 special loot items. I don’t find anything to help me out on my quest for info on the hag though. Since it is the only thing to do, I decide to head back and get the vial of blood. It is of course still warm…. I then chuck this in a drain in the lobby.
This leads to another subquest where I have to eliminate all items owned by the ghost. One of the asylum patients stole her nightgown so I have to retrieve this from behind a bricked up wall in one of the cells and burn it in the morgue.
When I drop this in the morgue, I get another quest from the ghost. This is an interesting one, I have to collect toys from the patients which I can use at various places to go into the past as one of the patients. While I’m in the past I have to fetch her diary and drop it in the furnace in the morgue.
The toys are easily found and I go round picking up 8 or 9 of them from the patient rooms. Only in this place could an infants ashes be described as a toy.
Each toy works in a different location to transport me back. The location has something to do with where the patient used it. I only actually need to use one toy but if I fail my task first time around then the toy is gone and I have to use another to get back to the past. If I fail enough times then I have to go back into the past as myself.
I can fail by getting caught by the asylum staff who are present as shadowy figures. Since I’m a patient, I’ve no weapons to take them out so it’s sneaking all the way here. If they do spot me they are relentless in running after me so I stick to the shadows and try to keep out of sight.
The girls diary is in the nursery tower. Next to it is some paper giving me a bit of info on the hag. The girl claims to have been killed by the hag back when she lived here as an orphan with the Hammer Inspector. This begs the question, who is the Keeper translator?
I drop the diary in the furnace, but this ghost still isn’t done with me and now I have to clean up the bloodstain from where she was murdered + I have to do it in the past.
The cleaning solution I need is in the lobotomy room. I take an easy option and walk here in the present, then use a gramophone to transport into the past in this room. I grab the serum and am immediately caught but it doesn’t matter as I still have the solution when I go back into the past.
I go back into the past and take the long walk back to the attic, just about managing to avoid the staff. The blood stain cleans off and the ghost is now free. She wants me to follow her to the lobby which I do. I get caught by one of the staff at one point but it doesn’t matter as she is still there in the present.
Unfortunately for me, the cradle now remembers me so I can’t leave. I have to trick it into thinking I’m dead apparently. I’m not liking the sound of this straight off but first I have to shut myself in this cage so it transports me into the past as myself.
I can die in the past now but on the plus side I have all my weapons which makes things a whole lot easier. I have to make my way up the staff tower, which was previously unaccessible and then dive off to make the building think I committed suicide. Quite how I’m going to survive the fall I’m not sure. I run into the staff tower and take the slow lift to the top.
At the very top are a load of staff sat round a table. I have to quickly jump on here and run out the window at the end.
This doesn’t prove to be a problem and I’m soon plummeting from the top of the building.
The city loads and I’m still alive. The ghost is here and wants me to follow her through the city with her vial of blood. All the guards appear to leave me alone while I’m with her and I can’t say I blame them.
The girls body has been hidden away in at the bottom of the fort. By using her blood on it, I somehow reunite her with her body. While I’m doing this the fake girl is being promoted to Keeper prophesier (or something similar). She is no longer able to use the girls form and instead is revealed to be god knows what, but it has far too many mouths and appears to be extremely useful with sigils. I get the impression I was a couple of minutes too late.
This doesn’t look good but the girl is free at least. I’ll have to head back to the Keepers next to see what is going on. With a bit of luck they will be too busy to hassle me on my way there through the city this time around.
This has been the best level of the game, without a doubt but I’m not sure if I could honestly say I enjoyed it. The atmosphere the game creates with fantastic use of sound means that you spend the whole level in a state of dread. I can’t remember a game having this sort of effect on me in years. Games like FEAR and Doom 3 might have come close at times but they are nothing compared to this. I couldn’t cope with 10 levels like this but it really was exceptional and it’s worth playing the game just for this one level.
I was a bit unsure about Thief 3 when I was halfway through but it just keeps getting better. One more level to go….