Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Thief – the story of games about one skillful thief

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Restarts of successful series from the past are as commonplace for the gaming industry as remasters. Relatively recent ones include Hitman, Doom, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Killer Instinct and, of course, Thief. Square Enix failed to revive Thief, which in no way detracts from the merits of the original trilogy. Today we will talk about the adventures of the thief Garrett, the cynical savior of the world. Let’s touch on the gameplay features, setting and plot.

Thief: The Dark Project
Debut: 1998. Platform: PC

Thief: The Dark Project is produced by Looking Glass Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. Looking Glass was well known to gamers in the 1990s through System Shock and Ultima Underworld.

According to the gameplay in front of you is a stealth action. Thief: The Dark Project has had the same profound impact on the genre as Metal Gear Solid and Hitman. Without Thief, Assassin’s Creed might not have been born, although Ubisoft’s lineup has certainly taken a course towards role-playing games in recent releases.

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The events of the first Thief take place in a city without a name, where the features of the Middle Ages, steampunk and fantasy have merged. Three factions are brought to the fore: the Guardians, the religious order of the Hammerites (from the English Order of the Hammer) and the pagans. The Hammerites believe in technology, the pagans stand for the protection of nature, the Keepers are formally inactive, but in fact they provide a balance of power. The main character, Garrett, grew up among the Guardians. Then he left them and continued what he did in his hungry childhood – he began to steal.

For 1998, an era dominated by first-person shooters, Thief: The Dark Project was unusual. Here, too, the view “from the eyes”, but the bloodthirsty thief will not advance far. On the contrary, a neat thief who does not leave marks or soil the blade will excel in his craft.

As a result, Garrett hides in the shadows and tries not to make unnecessary sounds. It is desirable to play for complete immersion in complete darkness. Missions – a set of rooms that need to be “cleansed”. Looking Glass encouraged improvisation and did not limit missions to a couple of obvious solutions.

The character has an impressive arsenal, and you will constantly have to use different tools. For example, a “water” arrow extinguishes torches and washes away blood, “moss” (yes, from the word moss) – allows you to silently step on a stone floor, “gas” – lulls opponents, and so on. Although the assignment of individual arrows sounds silly, in fact, fussing with them is addictive, just like the gameplay conventions of Resident Evil.

The thief also has mines, bombs, master keys. The baton is useful to stun the guard from behind. But the sword is unlikely to do good service. Opponents are more powerful and agile, AI commands respect, and when there are more than one enemy, Garrett has almost no chance.

Difficulty in Thief: The Dark Project is allowed to be changed before the start of each mission. It affects the number of additional targets. Curious step developers. With the map available to Garrett, they also acted in an original way: it shows a rough plan of rooms, drawn by hand. A reason to pay more attention to the environment!

Thief: The Dark Project

In the story, Garrett thwarted the plans of the Trickster, the god of the pagans. He saved the world reluctantly and, to some extent, out of revenge for the lost right eye. His eye was replaced with a mechanical prosthesis.

The niche opened by Thief was noticed by other developers. First of all, Looking Glass itself rushed into it. First – with Thief Gold (1999), a re-release with new missions, edits to familiar locations and a level editor. Then with a sequel.

Thief 2: The Metal Age
Debut: 2000 Platform: PC

In the sequel, the Hammerites are brought to the fore, or rather, a group of mechanists that has detached from them. They are even more tech-savvy. With the Mechanists, the City tilted more towards steampunk. So, steam robots and electric lamps appeared on the streets. The mechanists have gone so far as to want to erase people from history altogether, leaving the world to their beloved mechanisms.

She managed to write a new script for Looking Glass. She had to drag the level framework and gameplay formulas from the original almost unchanged. The American studio injected some fresh ideas into the gameplay, like a tiny surveillance camera from around the corner, but in general, gamers got the same Thief.

However, in 2000 they did not complain about it. Judging by the reviews of the Western press, Looking Glass gave exactly what the fans of the first part were counting on. Even angular objects and character models from a small number of polygons did not scare them away.

The trouble with Thief 2: The Metal Age is that it didn’t sell fast enough. Looking Glass closed shortly after its release, with the rights to the series going to Eidos.

Thief 2: The Metal Age

Thief: Deadly Shadows
Debut: 2004. Platforms: PC, Xbox

A triquel, Thief: Deadly Shadows, was directed by Ion Storm. In its ranks, there was a place for ex-employees of Looking Glass. But even without this, it was clear: Ion Storm would take Garrett’s adventures seriously. Still, Deus Ex was listed among her achievements.

In the first part, the pagans harmed the world, in the second – the Hammerites / Mechanists, in the third, the hour of the Guardians struck. Gamers got the opportunity to get to know the order better, walk through its library, and talk with its various representatives.

Gameplay Ion Storm finalized in some ways boldly, in some ways – carefully. As an alternative, players were offered a controversial third-person view and finally allowed to roam the City between missions to their heart’s content: here they had to sell the fruits of robberies and pick up equipment for subsequent outings, there were side tasks and houses that beckoned with closed doors. It was also possible to eavesdrop on the amusing dialogues of the townspeople.

From the delicate edits, we highlight this. Ion Storm replaced the arrow with a rope with special gloves, they have the same purpose – to climb higher. If Garrett wanted to set up a trap for the enemy, then he spilled oil on the floor. He threw the sword out of the arsenal, left the club, added the dagger. Why a thief needs a dagger is not entirely clear, in duels he is still almost helpless.

Like Thief and Thief 2, the third installment proved to be underwhelming in terms of graphics. Real-time dynamic shadows were paired with console-quality textures. The reason lay in the simultaneous development of Thief: Deadly Shadows for PC and Xbox.

Thief: Deadly Shadows

Thief
Debut: 2014. Platforms: PC, Mac, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One

The latest Thief is the brainchild of Eidos-Montréal and Square Enix. It was separated from the third part by 10 years. And in the world of the game, several centuries have passed, and the modern Garrett is not at all the same person who played hide and seek with the guards in the classic parts.

Eidos-Montréal scrapped old factions, inserted spectacular scenes, and limited Garrett’s choice to two options: stay true to stealth or break through with combat. The levels in the restart are linear, the enemies do not shine with observation and intelligence.

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The life of a thief was made easier by a hook for vertical races and supernatural “concentration”. With its help, the hero highlights important objects and slows down time. This is seen as an indulgence for beginners. Well, no wonder, because Eidos-Montréal made the game not only for veterans.

Looking at Thief’s system requirements, it’s hard not to smile. Square Enix recommends that you play the stealth action on a computer with an AMD FX 8000 processor, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 graphics card, and 4 GB of RAM . It will take up 20 GB on your hard drive .

Thief with its linearity, alas, led the series to a dead end. The average score on Metacritic for different versions is 70 out of 100 points and below.

Hundreds of thousands of gamers have been introduced to stealth action games thanks to Thief. The series introduced the audience to a new type of hero – a kind of anti-hero who prevents disasters more out of love for himself and his profession than guided by noble impulses. What do you remember about Thief? Share in the comments!

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