I managed to get a decent session in on Saturday although I made less progress than I might have expected. Thief is proving to be quite a difficult game even on normal settings.
Navigating through a tomb sounds like a zombie level and sure enough I come across my first zombie in no time. Hacking them is as ineffective as before so I stick to running past. They are so slow this is actually a safe tactic.
I find some holy water in the tombs which changes all my water arrows into holy arrows. A couple of hits from these takes down a zombie for good. The snag is that my arrows appear to corrupt the holy water and turn back into normal water arrows after 30 seconds. 30 seconds doesn’t get me far in levels this size so it doesn’t help much.
Other than the zombies the tombs have a few traps of their own, such as shooting arrows when I open a chest or dropping a boulder on me when I step on a pressure plate. None of these are especially dangerous and I can easily avoid them.
I was expecting this level to be tombs all the way but I end up in a strange red rocked area which isn’t on my map.
This area is infested with overgrown lizards which fire gas clouds at me if I get too close. I can take one of these down with my sword without too much trouble but I don’t fancy taking on a whole group like this much and run through the room instead.
The caverns are confusing to navigate and I end up wandering around for quite a while before I blunder into the exit and find myself in the tomb I was looking for.
The body of Felix is in here. Luckily for me didn’t manage to get the horn himself.
A note on his body tells me that the horn is near but doesn’t give any solid advice as to where.
A lot more wandering later and I find a large hexagonal room which I can climb up through a series of ladders. Getting here wasn’t especially easy as these tombs are crawling with zombies.
The horn I’m looking for is at the top and grabbing it instantly ends the level. I can’t say I’ve done a lot of sneaking on this level. I guess I could have attempted to sneak past the lizards or zombies but running through as quick as possible seemed to be the safest option every time. This sort of level doesn’t play to the games strengths and its much better when I’m tiptoeing around guards.
After the mission I go and buy some new tools with some of the money. This is going to open up harder targets and the mission starts out with me heading for the local hammer temple to relieve them of excess wealth.
Before I can leave the shop at the start of the mission, the shopkeeper is assassinated in an attack meant for me. I can overhear the attackers outside and my mission is changed before it got started. I now have to trail the assassins without being spotted to find out who sent them.
Tracking these guys, trying to keep my distance and stay hidden is without doubt the best bit of the game so far. It’s a long trek through the town with limited cover and the assassins keep checking behind them forcing me to be careful.
In the end I track them back to base and discover they were sent by Ramirez, an old client who would prefer that I worked exclusively for him. My mission now becomes to take revenge on him by stealing everything he’s got. With my newly acquired lockpicks I can get through the side door easily. I have two types of lockpick. I have to stand near a door holding down use while the handle slowly turns. I have to make sure I’m using the right sort of pick and sometimes have to swap types several times for the same lock. This is all simple enough but adds a bit of extra depth as I’m trying to quickly pick a lock while I hear a guard approaching in the distance.
The rest of the mission is fairly uneventful. I overhear that Ramirez is down in the basement counting his money so I head down there, steal the pouch off his belt and that ends the mission. This level was clearly about the initial section following the assassins.
As well as guilds of smiths, this world has guilds of thieves (which I’ve decided not to join). Two of them are arguing about rights to a sapphire chalice and I’m going to settle this argument by taking the chalice for myself.
I have to make my way into an illegal gambling den and into the thieves guild. Getting into the front building through a back entrance is simple enough.
Finding where to go next is less simple. I find this shaft in the floor and shoot a rope arrow into the ceiling above it allowing me to climb down.
This gets me into the casino. My stealth fails me at this point and I end up hacking my way through.
From the casino I soon find my way into the guild. This place is a maze by any definition and I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where to go.
I find a note which gives me a bit of a clue about going through the sewers. I’ve already found gate 47 but have no idea how to open it.
I do manage to find another route through the sewers which takes me to one of the guild leaders houses. After exploring the whole place all I find of significance is a safe key which I’ll need to use in the other leaders house. This means going all the way back through the sewers to the guild and getting gate 47 open.
I find a bit of water to dive into that I hadn’t tried before and swim through a couple of tunnels and at long last get to the gate 47 controls.
This gets me to the other house and using the safe key, I grab the chalice. I still have to exit to the streets to finish but I got the house key and can exit through the front door.
I’ve given the next mission by a contact whose name I’ve managed to forget since playing the game a couple of days ago… The mission, at any rate, is to steal a dagger.
That final mission today took me a long time to play through, maybe 3 hours. I was lost most of the time and trying to figure out where to go next. Apart from that it was another good level though and a lot of the time it took was simply due to the level being enormous. I’m clearly enjoying the zombie free levels a lot more. I’m maybe a third of the way through the game now and getting more of a feel for it. The gameplay stands out as being very unusual, I’ve not played anything else that has emphasised stealth to this extent. Because of this it is still holding up well, graphics are not all that important when you are trying to spend as much time as possible in the dark.
I wouldn’t say that I’m enjoying it quite as much as System Shock 2 but thats not exactly criticism. Before I started this I was thinking I might just play the first Thief game in this blog but this has been good enough so far that I’ll probably keep going with the series and play the other games.
Something I would like to see is an overall plot. The missions are linked in minor ways but I’ve no end goal yet. I expect it won’t be long coming.