Thief : The Dark Project – Day 9

This next mission is going to be a little different to the previous ones. Instead of the usual back door approach, I start the mission disguised and can just walk in straight through the front entrance.

I’m primarily here to collect the amulet but I have the usual expert mode additions. I can’t kill anyone, I have to collect 2400 in loot + I also have to steal the first hammer. This artifact takes little finding and is near the entrance.

I progress rapidly through this mission quickly clearing out each level and collecting the required loot with ease. After the last mission, this is stupidly easy in fact. My disguise means that I can get away with literally walking straight up to a guard, then I get behind him while he is asking who I am and whack him on the head. It’s all a bit silly but I’d rather have things too easy than too hard.

I find the amulet but its over a gap and in a cage. I guess that I can get over the gap by carrying a hammer here. It’s the obviously extendable bridge, the picture of a hammer on the floor and the nearby rack of hammers that makes me think this but I expect there was a note about it somewhere. I still can’t get into the cage with the amulet though.

I find a note with the instructions for this. I have to flick 5 levers in 5 minutes. These levers are hidden all over the map.

The first in behind a platform in the room where I found the first hammer.

This one in in the torture chambers.

This one is in the kitchens.

This is on the ceiling in the tomb of one of the order.

And finally this is hidden in the garden at the back – this one took a bit of spotting.

After doing this task the cage is open. I still have to read a prayer scroll before I can grab the amulet but I’ve picked it up somewhere along the way and head straight back outside again completing the level.

This level was extremely easy but fun enough. Since I got through it so quickly, I decided to push on and get another level in today.

At long last, I have all the amulets so its back to the cathedral to get the eye. My objectives here are brief with no loot requirement, I just need to get the eye and leave.

I use all the amulets and the front door opens.

The cathedral is full of ghosts and zombies and is generally a bit of a pain. I can already tell I’m not going to like this level but I do manage to work my way around the cathedral into a position where I can jump for the eye and take it with me.

Getting the eye was far too quick so I expect more tasks to show up and sure enough as soon as I get out of the cathedral a ghostly monk mistakes me for an initiate and starts giving me jobs to do. First off I have to fetch his rosary beads which are in his old bedroom.

There are several religious buildings in a little complex here and for these tasks I’ll be making my way between them all. They are plagued by the usual ghosts and zombies and its not easy making my way around. I can clear out the ghosts with a sword chop from behind but the zombies are an ever present nuisance. I find the room I’m looking for in a few minutes though, I’m told it overlooked the fountain which narrows down the possible locations.

Next I’m told to go make myself a holy symbol. One of the buildings is a factory of sorts and in here is a smelting pot full of molten metal. There are a choice of moulds in the room to go with it. I figure the hammer must be the holy symbol of the Hammerites and use the hammer shaped mould.

Next I have to find a prayer book, which is in the library building. This is a little tricky to get to as I have to jump onto a table then mantle up to the second level.

Next I fetch a candle which is a lot harder to find. I need to go through the factory building and jump out through a chute. Before hitting the ground, I have to jump onto the nearby shed roof. Why this guy would leave his candle on a shed roof I have no idea….

Now he tells me to go to the cemetery and perform a consecration ritual on his grave. I make my way there only to be told that my holy symbol needs blessing so its back to searching round church buildings.

One of the buildings has a tower with a telescope at the top and a bath full of holy water. I throw my hammer in there and its now blessed.

I take the hammer back and use the items one at a time to consecrate the grave. This is an annoying task in itself as I have to dodge zombies while scrolling through my inventory one item at a time. I’m expecting that to be it but I’m still not done with this guy. Now he wants me to fetch bodies back to the empty graves here.

I trek all the way back to the cathedral basement to grab a body I noticed earlier then haul it all the way back. The journey back with the body is no fun, I’m still avoiding zombies and the body slows me down + I can’t even open doors without dropping it first. I get back in the end only to be sent all the way to the cathedral again for another body….

The novelty has worn off long before this point but I know where the next body is from earlier, up in the rafters of the cathedral. I’m a little fed up with this task so instead of showing respect for the departed, I hurl the body off the beams to the ground floor to save a bit of time.

I pick it up again on my way out then lug it all the way back to the cemetery as I’d done with the previous one and throw it in a grave. I’m rewarded with a key for the armoury. I’ve only noticed one locked door in my travels which was, (surprise, surprise) back in the cathedral. So I head back there once more past the same zombies and let myself in.

In here is a bag of explosives + instructions. It looks like I’m finally getting somewhere. It’s another trek back through the same church building I’ve just done about 6 times first though.

I drop the explosive in front of the gates and shoot it with a fire arrow. This blows the gates, and I walk out to complete this level at long last.

In a disturbing cutscene, I return to Constantine with the eye and he reveals himself to be the Trickster. Him and Viktoria morph into what are presumably their real forms and I’m rewarded by having my eye extracted to give the other eye the power of sight. This betrayal has blatantly been coming the whole time, we wouldn’t have had a plot otherwise but I’m unclear where things are going from here on out. Constantine leaves me to die but I’m rescued by the keepers who hint that I should sort this mess out. Constantine is long gone and I’ll have to find out what he is up to first.

This last level was the worst of the game by a mile. I can’t stand it where I’m sent backwards and forwards through the same territory over and over again. Maybe it would have been better on a lower difficulty setting but the endless tasks from the ghost Hammerite felt forced and the level was spun out for the sake of it.

The tasks in this mission seemed to show some weaknesses in the interface for this game. There are a couple of problems which I hope are cleared up for Thief 2. My biggest problem is I can’t open a door if I have an item selected. This is a pain throughout the game, especially given that doors tend to snag on things when they open. So if I’m picking a lock, the door bangs into my face when I open it, and I have to cycle through my whole inventory before I can get the thing open. Not ideal if a zombie is right behind you…. It also stops me being able to prepare an item on the way to a task.

The main trouble I had with this last mission was being unable to open a door while carrying a body. Then after I throw it down its not always easy to pick the body up again as I can end up highlighting the door instead and closing it again. The item selection can be a little temperamental and a simple task like this shouldn’t be this difficult. These are very minor annoyances and they definitely weren’t in System Shock 2 so I’ll assume that it will be fixed in Thief 2.

The end cutscene had a bit of the same atmosphere that I saw in System Shock 2 with similar sound effects. The visuals have little similarity though. They deliberately go out of their way to not show much and have a very unique style. Its all a cut above average but the games story hasn’t been up to much. What there is has been well done but I’d like to have seen something a lot more complex. I always have the impression that there is a load of backstory I’m not seeing that is going to waste. I’ll be curious to see what happens with these final 3 missions and whether they manage to keep the thieving aspect of the game going. A typical FPS would end with a boss fight which wouldn’t be appropriate here at all. I’d struggle to think of a fitting last mission for a stealth game like this and am looking forward to seeing what Looking Glass came up with, as long as its not more zombies.

4 thoughts on “Thief : The Dark Project – Day 9

  1. Funny, Return to the Cathedral is probably my favorite level in the game. Mainly because it’s so damn scary, with all the undead. I vividly remember one moment, where I was sneaking past some skeletons, reasonably sure that they hadn’t noticed me. I was somewhere on a staircase in the cathedral, when I heard chains rattling. They came closer, and closer, and in panic I ran, stopped, looked wildly around me, not seeing anything. I ran again, stopped, looked to the front, back, to the front again, and out of nowhere: one of those armored skeletons raising his sword to hit me.

    I think I literally jumped from my chair. That level almost killed me.

  2. Good news. I think you are done with undead in Thief Gold!

    I have warmed to Return to the Cathedral over the years, but my initial impression was pretty much the same as yours. Thief 2 has far, far fewer undead to worry about and is built much more like the missions you like. Generally, to deal with zombies you can holy water arrow them twice to kill them or blow them up with mines. Flash bombs also damage them if I recall correctly. (Oh have you been using flashbombs? They are VERY useful in Thief.) The haunts are more easily dealt with by “backstabbing” them with the sword. (Sneak up behind them and hit them with an overhead smash while you are still undetected.) I do like RttC in that you can and should use stealth to avoid/deal with the undead in it. Although, with zombies it often is just easiest to run away.

    Your next mission is a fun one, though it is quite hard at the beginning. A bit of advice – save your broadhead arrows for spiders!

    Of the 3 missions you have left, the next one is my 2nd favorite, the one after that my favorite and the final one is my least favorite. The final mission does have a suitable “boss encounter” to end the game, but the mission is generally made up of the elements of Thief 1 I don’t prefer.

    I will be curious to hear your opinion of the next game. It is generally considered the best game in the series (by a long way in my book). But, some people prefer the story in the first game. There really is a lot of background to the plot in all the missions of the games, you just need to read everything you find. Frankly, you appreciate the background more on subsequent replays.

    • There seems to be a varied opinion of this level then. I wouldn’t say I ever found it scary but it could certainly be tense at times. I used to find Ultima Underworld really scary playing it first time around though and that is far more basic than this game. I think the graphics are just too simple for me to get that involved any more. Modern graphics must have ruined my imagination as far as 3D games go.

      I’ve found the various methods of disposing of zombies but I never have enough of them to be able to clear a level. I took out the haunts with backstabbing but I used up my supplies of holy water on the wrong zombies in hindsight. I could have made my life a lot easier if I knew what was coming up.

      The problem with the story in Thief for me is that there is a whole load of backstory and very little frontstory. I might well be able to appreciate the backstory on a second run through but on a first playthrough a lot of it seems irrelevant and a little confused. System Shock 1 & 2 did a much better job of telling their stories.

  3. There’s no argument that in Thief the story is secondary to the game play and rich game world. They do more overt storytelling in Thief 3 which has a lot more cutscenes to move along the plot. They also got rid of the mission briefing videos though (replaced with text and voiceover only) which I thought was a horrible decision. Thief 2 is a bit better in having more foreground storytelling than Thief in that very quickly the missions get into the main plot whereas in Thief you didn’t really have any story until after the Sword mission.

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