Thief 2 Preview – PC Zone

There might not be much on here for a little while as I’ve just started Knights Of The Old Republic and it’s probably going to be eating up my spare time for a week or two. I’ve do a few more magazine scans in the meanwhile and will start with this preview of Thief 2 published in the March 2000 PC Zone.

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Thief 2: The Metal Age – Day 10

Replaying the final mission proved to be a lot easier than playing it the first time around. Getting the robots to blow themselves up works well – I only discovered this trick halfway through the mission before but this time I can save my ammo and still make the place safe. Now I know my goals and route through the level, I grab all the necessary parts and make my mine bulbs while I’m building stage 1 of the beacon saving myself a load of walking. I soon have my beacon rebuilt and I also find a few tricks that I didn’t notice first time around like a light switch in that gives me a chance to run through an area in the dark disabling all the security. After about an hour I’ve got the beacon built and 4 levers pulled.

I head to the turret room to give it another go. This time I’ve been saving my ammo. I notice another explosive for me to shoot with a fire arrow, which takes an extra turret out + I manage to throw the other explosive between a couple of turrets and blow two up with one shot. I also discover that I can throw a mine at a turret to blow it up. I take out all but two of the turrets like this and run through those to get to the lever and back out again.

I find the final switch through a couple of rooms of computers. I take the lift up being careful not to step to either side so that the sneakily placed turrets get a view of me. I throw the final switch and head back to the entrance.

I’ve taken out every danger on the way back so it’s just a five minute walk to where I came in and the final cutscene starts.

The cutscene shows me making my escape while the gas is released in the cathedral finishing off Karras and all his creations in one go. I meet up with a keeper who tells me that all this has been written but this isn’t the end and there is still more of the prophecy to fulfil (in Thief 3 no doubt).

The final mission really has been an anti-climax for me.  I’m sure I didn’t play it how it was intended but 14 levels of sneaking with no release from the tension probably influenced me here.  I was really enjoying this game for the first 2/3’s and it’s tailed off and left me a little dissatisfied with the experience. The lack of variety was possibly Thief 2’s biggest problem and it was relentless with its approach. In hindsight, I guess the zombie missions did break things up in the first game although I still prefered this without them. 

This was one of the last games developed by Looking Glass and it’s such a pity that a studio like that ended up going bust with the track record they had. Out of their major franchises the Thief series is probably my least favourite but that’s down to personal preference and they are still great games. I’m not interested in playing their flight sim games but I think I’ll give Terra Nova a go sometime if I can get hold of it. I’ve heard good things about it and I think it will fit into this blog as well as any other game.

I thought about going straight to Thief 3 next but the price on Steam was silly. I’ve bought a hardcopy instead which is in the post but I’ll have to wait for it to arrive. I can’t get the joystick working in Super Wing Commander with Freedo. Since the emulator is being developed, I’ll hang on until this does work before I play the game. I think the time has finally come to start Lazarus.

Thief 2: The Metal Age – Day 9

After a couple of days without chance to play I got around to trying to finish off Thief 2 again last night. When I left off I’d just built the beacon I needed to transmit a signal to recall all the servants. I now need to place this beacon and then flip 7 out of 8 signal towers to use my beacon instead of the original one.

Before I do that I decide to take JCC’s advice and manufacture some mines. I’ve got blueprints for all sorts of my equipment and it’s made in a similar manner to the beacon. I have to go all the way back to Bay B to make a mine bulb and then return to where I am to use the sealing machine to manufacture mines. On the way, I find this fountain in a dark spot which heals me. Very useful on a level like this.

For the first machine I can just chuck everything in together and keep pulling the lever and I get 6 mine bulbs out rapidly. The second machine is far less helpful and I have to make each one by one. This is particularly annoying when I have to get across a largish room and climb up and down a vine arrow each time I want to start the machine up.

The beacon needs to be placed at the top of the northern apse. It’s behind a locked gate which means a bit of climbing and jumping around the apse before I can get to it.

I soon have the beacon placed. Now I just have to flip the 7 levers.

The first of these levers is nearby (in a ridiculously dark screenshot) and I flip it to start the process off. Karras doesn’t appear to notice.

The northern half of this level consists of loads more giant machines. I wander around clearing out loads of robots and slowly flip more levers. I quite like this room with a giant burner in the middle that lights up the room each time it fires. The rooms don’t really have much more to offer though. It’s all about avoiding/killing the giant robots and there are certainly plenty of them. A room with 4 of them in provides a particular challenge but none of the rooms are all that interesting.

I find Karras himself although he is behind a locked door so I can’t get to him. He is as much machine as man by the looks of him and bears a strong resemblance to his servants. There doesn’t seem to be anything I can do here so I leave him alone.

I manage to flip 6 out of the 7 levers I need then come across this room full of turrets which is a complete nightmare. Almost anything I do seems to be instant death and I’m not exactly stocked up on weapons any more since I thought I was about done with the level and stopped conserving them. I find a big explosive which takes out one turret when I shoot it with a fire arrow but I find it impossible to get to the lever that probably opens the grate that would take me to the final lever.

I’m making a serious attempt to reach the lever and am just about there and make a quicksave when I’m shot in the back. Unfortunately my save game was just after I was shot and it still allowed me to make it. My last savegame before this was right back at the start of the level so this means I have to play the whole lot again…..

I’m not too impressed with this. The level was already my least favourite in the game without having to play it again. It’s been far too much about combat with robots and the sneaking has been left behind. Building things with the machines is less than entertaining also and more of a chore – especially when I was making mines. It’s a less than satisfactory end to an excellent game. I’m not going to get this far without finishing though so I’ll start the level again after a couple of days break. It will be a lot easier second time around. I’ve discovered that I can kill the robots off with fire arrows and frog beasts now + the trick with getting them to shoot themselves works really well now that I’m getting the hang of it.

I’m still not sure how to cope with that turret room although I’ve got a few ideas. Next time, I’ll throw my explosive down from the walkways high up in the room and I should be able to take out all the turrets near that switch in one go with a bit of luck. Provided I can get that switch flipped I should be able to run through and get to the last tower. Whatever else I’ll be making a second save game before I enter that room again.