I had been planning on just sticking to Origin’s guides but I got the chance to buy this for 60p from Oxfam and wasn’t going to pass it up at that price and I’ve scanned it in as usual.
It was published in 1998 by Prima. The format is fairly standard with the early stages having a little scene setting with some character descriptions, before ploughing into some general tips on the game with weapons, items, etc and then the level guides.
Something that struck me right from the start with this was the size of the text. Combined with the screenshots, there isn’t a whole lot on each page and not much content for the number of pages. Most of the information before the level walkthroughs is the sort of thing you would expect in the game manual in all honesty but it does prep you for the game with no major spoilers.
The level guides are where this book really falls down. To start, there are no detailed maps of the levels beyond those you see in the game with a few annotations. The walkthrough consists solely of text telling you verbally a route through a level. I sure this could help if you are stuck but it doesn’t strike me as the best format. The guide was done before Thief Gold so the extra levels are not included also.
When I was playing Thief, my biggest problem was finding the treasure I was missing at the end of a level. The main thing I would expect from a guide would be lists of where all the treasure in each level is, what it is, how much it was worth etc. The only information is in the text walkthrough with no specifics. I would be reduced to tracing the route through the book, reading every paragraph and hoping that anything I’ve missed gets a mention along the way and that I can find it. I would probably be better off just exploring the level for myself. To add insult to this, the book states on the back and in large letters on the spine that it has the location of all the loot.
Aside from the poor walkthrough, there is no added backstory or expansion on what is in the game. There are no interviews with any of the developers. In brief, there is little to add value to the game and the walkthrough is worse than most faqs you could find on the web. All in all, 60p was about the right price. If you are stuck, this will probably have just about enough information to help you out but I expected something a lot better.