Thief 3 : Deadly Shadows – Day 6

I’m back from my weekend off and will make a concerted effort to get somewhere near to finishing Thief 3 this week. I wake up back in the Keeper’s Library this time rather than my house but the routine is the same and I make my way back to the docks. While stocking up on equipment I buy some climbing gloves for a silly price. These let me climb up bricks but I only find one place where this is any use in today’s game. I’m sure they will be handy later and I had plenty of cash to spare.

I struggle to find my way into the sewers until I realise that my map of the docks isn’t North facing and it becomes a bit easier. From here I just have a short walk to the start of the next mission.

A Keeper called Rafe has been down here looking for the glpyh already. He never came back and the rest of the Keeper’s couldn’t be bothered looking for him. He has left a series of glyphs for me to follow to find him but my immediate concern is the big green scaly thing walking around with a giant sword. These things have very loud and deep voices and are initially a bit scary but they are basically the same as any other guard except for appearance. There is a lot of water down here which they seem to like paddling through and makes things tricky for sneaking around but other than that it’s business as usual.

In addition to the lizards there are a few giant rats. This is the only one I ever have to deal with though as they are mortal enemies with the lizards whose eggs they apparently like to eat. If I see the two sides fighting I leave well alone and just cope with the survivors.

The caverns give way after a while to a huge temple full of bits of treasure and loads more lizards. I slowly make my way through it, still following the glyphs left behind by the Keeper.

Eventually I find the Keeper’s skeleton. I don’t notice it at the time but he already found the glyph and it’s lying on the ground by his arm. Why it has to be the same colour as the ground I don’t know, as I end up searching around for ages before finding it back here.

I’ve also picked up a subquest to steal the lizards crown which appropriately is in their throne room near to where I found the skeleton. The room is well guarded but I approach it from above and take all the guards out one by one from behind.

That just leaves a bit of treasure to be found + the glyph which I discover after a lot of walking about. Even highlighted it’s not that easy to see.

I head back to the Keeper’s with the two artifacts and they immediately set to reading the book. The information is disappointingly vague and says something about time stopping which I take to mean stopping the nearby clock tower. The Keepers disagree about deliberately making prophecy occur but I head off to do it anyway. The cutscene here is a bit disappointing and lacking in the usual Thief atmosphere. It’s more like the usual lone wolf, heroic thing you see in every other fantasy game and hopefully not a sign of things to come.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I didn’t play for a week  but I didn’t especially like this mission. It was a little bland and generic and followed up by a sub par cutscene at the end. I’m going to have to kind of force myself to play the next level but I’m sure things will improve. In general, I’ve never been keen on any of Thiefs ruins/tomb type levels. Sabotaging a clock tower sounds like much more fun.

Thief 3 : Deadly Shadows – Day 5

I head straight from my house to the rendezvous with the Keepers. I’m asked to follow the guy I meet and he opens up a ghostly blue doorway which leads straight to the home of the keepers. A lengthy cutscene follows where I don’t learn a huge amount except that the Keepers are still worried about the coming Dark Age and expect me to help somehow. The Dark Age is basically where all their prophecies stop so they don’t know what the inevitable threat I’m going to have to face is. I’m allowed access to their library to find some clues.

I notice in this cutscene that a gargoyle is panned over in the background. This happened in the first scene where I met the Keeper in the plaza and I could have sworn that one moved. I’m suspicious that we are being eavesdropped on but I may just be paranoid.

It’s straight off to the library where I get to read a few select books and overhear some conversations between Keepers. I quickly learn that there is a lost glyph key and a book it opens that tells all about the Dark Ages and the clues that the Keepers have been looking for, are sat out in plain sight which is very convenient for me but you do wonder why no one noticed before.

There is a rumour that the glyph is to be found in a sunken citadel. The Keepers decided it wasn’t worth the effort of investigating which is where I will come in.

There is another Keeper who thinks that the book was brought in on the plague ship that I heard about earlier but another Keeper talks him out of it when I overhear their conversation.

One of the Keepers has a note for me from the Hammers. They have learned that about the little theft I made and are now all hostile to me. I can redeem myself by killing undead or rust mites. Rust mites are the beetle things I’ve seen scurrying around occasionally in the city levels. I also have to avoid killing Hammers or stealing from them. I get an arrow upgrade so that I can accomplish the mite killing. My faction button now works on my menu as well. It’s not quite what I expected then about choosing a path to follow and is simply a sub quest in effect to make the city levels easier.

Another keeper makes me go through a glyph touching ritual and I now have the ability to walk through Keeper doors in the city which I previously couldn’t see. This will handily open up the quarantined areas for my upcoming missions.

I set about shooting rust mites while making my way to the docks.  I’m back on neutral ground with the Hammers in no time without really trying.

I spy a glyph near the quarantined area and use this to open up a doorway.

I don’t explore thoroughly but I have a bit of a look around the docks and find a note from the Pagans detailing what they would like me to do for them to redeem myself for stealing their paw. I never actually see either of the things mentioned here in the letter but I’ll have a look later. I do run around the Pagan area with them chasing after me Benny Hill style for a bit and there is a fountain that restores my health in full. This could be useful if I get the Pagans on my side although dashing in and out worked as well.

Nearby is the dock and the plague boat. This is a creepy looking place full of zombies. I have to get to the bottom of it to find the ships manifest.

The further down I go, the creepier this place gets and I don’t find enough holy water around the place to deal with all these zombies so I end up running past a lot of them as best I can.

I find the manifest and this gives me the next mission – finding a boat to the secret boathouse of the ship’s captain.

The boat is about 15 seconds walk away and walking into this glyph starts the mission.

It’s taken a good bit of gameplay to get to the actual mission. Maybe the game isn’t going to be too short after all. My aim is simple anyway, grab the golden book although I get the usual added goals of 90% treasure + some special items.

I start off in some stereotypical smugglers caves but soon make my way to the secret (and extremely large) boat house.

I set about exploring the place and overhear one of the widows relatives planning to rob her of a certain spyglass. I’ll have to see if I can’t get there first which I do when I find it in the middle of the rotunda.

Knocking the three of them out in this room proves to be a challenge but I manage it in the end. There isn’t much penalty for getting caught in this game. The guard notices the body when I club this guy but I just run away, hide, wait for a bit and then when he gets bored looking for me I know he will head straight back to his starting point and I just have to ambush him.

The second part of the level is built around a giant hall with various rooms attached to the sides. There are a few servants around who I try to take out one by one in the usual fashion.

This gramophone plays the captains message to his wife that he left in case anything happened to him. I switch in on straight away of course and it mentions a secret switch in his study which I’ll have to find.

His wife doesn’t seem to have taken to his death well and is talking and singing to herself in a very creepy fashion at the top of a tower with lightning flickering all around. She is blind and thinks I’m one of his friends and asks me to bring some wine which I do (grabbing a bottle from the kitchen) but it doesn’t appear to get me anything other than another creepy monologue about her husband.

Some more exploring and I find the secret switch I learned about before under the desk in the library.

A quick dash to the display room later and I get there in time to see this new door open and take the lift down.

The book I’m looking for as well as a load of treasure is in here. I grab it all and make my way out of the level after getting a few missing bits of treasure.

This was another great level. I especially liked the lightning in the house as you had to allow for the possibility of being lit up when trying to sneak around. I’ll need to try to find the sunken citadel next but I’m away over the weekend so it’s probably going to be the middle of next week before I get chance to have a go at this.

Thief 3 : Deadly Shadows – Day 4

The cathedral is an impressive location. One of the things that has been done particularly well in this game is the moonlight leaking into the buildings. There is a sparkling shafts of light effect giving the illusion of dust drifting around infront of the windows which works really well in all these levels. I’ve also been using the EAX sound which is particularly in evidence in here with some serious echos although the transitions between rooms can be harsh and unrealistic. It’s all adding atmosphere though which is key to the Thief experience.

I explore the areas inside the main church and find a note mentioning a holy symbol which then appears as an objective in my list so I guess I’m going to have to find it.

There are a few subrooms but most of it is just the central worshipping area. I even steal from the offerings bowl in here which is pretty low but if I’m going to get that obligatory 90% of the treasure I’m not leaving anything behind. I find a route into the factory attached to the church but I leave this for now to attempt to explore this half of the level in full first.

I quickly find the holy symbol when I start exploring the living quarters off to the East side of the church. There is also a note saying how I must use it and a stamped gear to get to the chalice. I’ll need to head into the factory to do this but I finish exploring first. The treasure placement is a lot better in this level and I have 49% of the total before I leave for the factory.

The factory is the usual giant machines you would expect to see in a Hammer temple. I can turn a lot of them on and off with large switches. This one throws out fire when switched on which gives me an easy kill on the guard in this room. Most of the other switches I find just turn off light sources though.

I find a machine to use the holy symbol in but I still don’t have the gear I also need so I carry on looking around.

I find a room belonging to a builder inspector. This guy is the builder equivalent of the witchfinder general by the sound of it, going around the towns seeking out evil. He’s probably not someone I want to meet but his journal is interesting and talks of a hag he is chasing. I expect I’ll hear more of the hag.

Near here is a room where a man is burned alive the moment I walk in. Having knocked out the builder responsible, I turn off the fire, open up the door and steal the valuables off the cremated corpse. Garret is showing a definite lack of virtue in this mission even for him.

I find the gear I’m looking for nearby and get it stamped with the holy symbol.

There are some great looking locations in this game so far and rooms like this in the factory are some of the best yet with the curving staircases and giant machines. I was impressed with this engine in Deus Ex 2 but it’s really come into its own in this game.

I take my cog and use it on the machine from earlier which lowers a cage down from the roof containing the chalice + a few other treasures. I’m still slightly short of my treasure target although I’m in the high 80’s by now so very close.

I find the missing treasure I’m after back in the barracks in a chest I’d somehow failed to see first time around. This contains the last of 3 special loot items I had to find and also takes me over the 90% to complete the mission. I leave the way I came in and wake up back in my house.

After not enjoying the last level especially, this was much more like it. Finding 90% of the treasure should be about exploring the whole map, not spotting invisible items in the dark which is what happened in the last level. The downside was that I got through this one extremely quickly. I get the feeling that if I sat down to play this game as quickly as possible, I could probably finish it in one go. That’s not likely to happen for now though as I’m short on time this week. I’ll be interested to see what the keepers have to say next as so far the game has just been building up to the main plot. I’ve listened to some conversations about the hag the inspector is looking for, the quarantine in the city and a boat arriving carrying something dangerous which are hinting at what is to come but I still don’t know exactly what crisis it is that I’m going to have to solve. I’ve also noticed a faction value in my stats which suggests that I get to pick sides but there hasn’t been a side to choose so far.

Thief 3 : Deadly Shadows – Day 3

I’m not the first person to come stealing in here and the first thing I see is a couple of thieves discussing their plan. I wait for them to finish and tail along behind. I’m glad I kept my distance as they are attacked by a load of pagans who throw green fireballs at them. The thieves don’t manage to take any Pagans out so I have to do it the hard way.

After I’ve dealt with the 3 Pagans, I make my way through another sewer. You can guarantee you end up crawling through a sewer at some point in near enough every fantasy game. I make my way through trying not to alert the giant thing that is stalking about. This creature is clearly on the Pagan’s side as there are loads of them around and it doesn’t attack them.

I soon find my way to the second part of the level. This part is where the Pagans live and is larger and more complicated, not to mention full of Pagans. There is a combat training area for them here with some sparring Pagans. I discover later that I could have crawled into the rafters and dropped a cog on them if I’d wanted. I manage to blackjack these two but really struggle for a while after this until I realise that I can kill any Pagans on this level and don’t need to knock them out. A headshot with an arrow does the trick and gets me through a few of the trickier situations.

I discover a note that tells me that I will need to perform a ritual to get the Paw. I now need to find out what this ritual is.

While I’m looking around I discover a few of the special loot items I need to find. Finding these is never a huge problem as they tend to be noticeable and/or have notes hinting at their location.

I’ve soon found a book detailing the ritual. I need to offer water, moss and blood to the giant root in that order.

The giant root is at the base of the level. There is another of the creatures wandering around. I manage to kill it off with about 4 headshots so I can explore in peace. By this point I’ve practically cleared both levels of Pagans. The Paw is being held onto by roots so I need to perform the ritual before I can prise it out. The water and moss are obvious and I shoot arrows at the root partially freeing the Paw. The blood is less obvious but I carry an unconscious Pagan up to the root and in grim fashion stab away at her until there is a good splash of blood and the Paw is released.

This just leaves finding the required 90% of treasure and this takes far longer than the rest of the level did. I was up to maybe 50-60% at this point. Getting to 80 was just a case of exploring but the last 10% was a nightmare as I end up going backwards and forwards over the levels looking for what I’ve missed. I manage to get agonisingly close at 88% but end up resorting to a walkthrough. This points me towards this cup in the rafters, which is near invisible in the dark and doesn’t even put out a glow like I’d assumed all the treasure was supposed to so I wouldn’t have bothered picking it up even if I had seen it. I guess this means I have to pick up every single object on the off chance it might be valuable from here on out then. I’m not impressed with this, if the next level gives me as much trouble I may well drop to a lower difficulty level.

As soon as I finish the level, I’m returned back to my house a day later. This time I don’t bother to explore the city and just sell my loot, buy some more arrows and head straight to the church running through any guards. There appears to be no reason whatsoever not to simply run through the guards as I know I’ll be returned safe and sound back to my house after the mission.

There is another creepy cutscene showing the hammers worshipping in their factory. At least I shouldn’t have to worry about giant monsters in this level, although I’m curious to see if they have any of the Thief 2 technology such as security cameras.

I had been intending to play through a couple of levels today but spent that long looking for treasure that I didn’t get chance in the end. I wasn’t too struck with this level if I’m honest although I started enjoying it more once I realised that I could just kill everyone. It’s not easy sneaking up on people in expert mode as they are extremely alert even when approached from behind and it feels a little like Expert mode would be more fun if I knew more about the level already (i.e. a second playthrough). I’ll stick with it for now but it’s likely to be fairly slow progress as I just complete a level at a time.

The treasure placement seemed arbitrary a lot of the time and a lot of the items are extremely small with little chance of me seeing them unless I happen to be looking when they are glowing. In other games, treasure has been where you would expect it and not among the rafters and the like or lying around in some hidden corner. I always did prefer the house/mansion levels in Thief anyway and the next level in the church should be more along those lines with any luck.

Thief 3 : Deadly Shadows – Day 2

Just a short post today as I just had about half an hour on Friday to play a bit more Thief 3. I start out in my house which is small and basic but there are a couple of arrows I can pick up at least.

I take the opportunity to explore and pick a few locks while I’m here and break into my landlords room. I learn that he is being blackmailed and where to pick up his bribe money.

After looting all the apartments, it’s outside to explore the city. The engine handles the outdoor environment very well and it looks excellent. I figure that I’m going to steal everything I can although all I really need to do is find my fence.

There are quarantine notices up and I overhear a conversation about a boat coming into the docks possibly carrying some sort of plague. I’m sure for now this is just a way of locking me out of part of the city although the quarantine might be relevant to the plot.

There are plenty of city watch around. I knock them out where possible and attempt not to get caught. I’m not always successful though and I end up being chased by the watch occasionally. After half a minute of running they always get tired and stop for a rest which would make just running through these levels a definite possibility. It certainly makes escaping from them very easy as I can just run round in circles until they need to catch their breath.

After collecting my landlords bribe money I visit my fence in a shady area of town. He has been beaten by Lady Elizabeth’s thugs and has told them I was responsible for stealing the opal. He can’t trade my opal because of this but I do sell him all my other stuff. He tells me to go to Black Market Bertha in stonemarket. There is also a shop next door where I can buy arrows, flashbombs and the various tools of the trade from the last 2 games.

I carry on exploring and find the Lady and her goons blocking my path to Stonemarket. They soon split up when one goes to collect his payment and I take them out one at a time, as well as stealing the payment money from Elizabeth, knocking her out for the second time in as many levels.

When I arrive in Stonemarket, these two are stood in front of the Hammerite temple discussing burgling it. While they argue I pinch the map one of them has pinned to his belt. I don’t find a way into the temple for now but I’m sure I’ll be going in there later.

I find Bertha’s shop behind the temple and sell her my opal. She gives me a note from the keepers saying that they want to meet with me in the plaza.

I head straight to the rendezvous. The keepers are going to allow me to see their prophecies apparently but first I have to prove myself by carrying out two missions for them.

I’m given a note with the two missions. I head for the well first to steal a paw from the Pagans.

There is another strange and creepy cutscene to start the mission where a pagan is apparently growing plants using his blood. I’m not sure I want to be stealing from these guys, especially after we were starting to get on so well in Thief 2.

I left it here for now. I quite like the way the city hub level works so far. I don’t feel like I got any real benefit for exploring it thoroughly though. There was a little treasure but one of the things with playing on expert mode is that I’m always forced to burgle huge amounts of treasure in each mission so I’m never short of it anyway. The little bit of the city I played through here was split into 3 zones + another for my house all of which load far too slowly, I just hope I don’t end up having to do too much crossing the city later on to sell and buy stuff. I’ve been warned that the hub level gets tiresome later on so I may just go straight to my objectives from here on out in the interests of keeping things moving along quickly.