Thief – Official Strategy Guide

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.

2 thoughts on “Thief – Official Strategy Guide

  1. Totally agree on the problems with the maps. I bought this guide after I got stuck in the “Undercover” mission. Where I had to find 5 switches and flip them within two minutes or something. The book described where to find them, but I just couldn’t get to them all in time without getting lost. A detailed map was exactly what I needed. I gave up on the game at that point in 1998, and didn’t finish the game until 2009 (Thief Gold this time). Wonderful game. Strategy guide lacking. In fact Thief 1 and 2 are my favorite games of all time.

    BTW, there was also a separate official book released (very small) that covered the 3 additional Thief Gold levels. I got mine cheap back when Amazon was clearancing them, but last time I looked on eBay, people wanted a fortune for it. Worth having for the collector. 🙂

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