Edit: hmm, my english really is terrible.
I know nothing of dromed, but i just assumed the muddy textures are because of the incredibly large map, which would force you to make the best of use out of some limited amount of polygons (or however you call it). This is just wild guessing from my insane mind.
Personally, i loved it simply because it's something diffrent from most other FMs.
I do kinda disagree with you about the architecture, Ottoj55. In fact i salute it (especially all the ceilings) for being so good for such a large map. Then again, i think i might've been bought by those ceilings.
Oh and the beginning with the further thing contrasts indeed. If this was presented as a random FM, i believe people would've been absolutely shocked with how great it actually is.
I ghosted past silver guys, pretty much robbed them enough and i'll find the icon on my way back. The black guys are just awesome. This is probably my favorite part of the map. It's kind of funny, because i expected it to be less fun. The black guys are practically the ones in control and who know everything... until suddenly you own the sh** out of everyone.
I must say the difficulties are well balanced.
If i'm correct, on normal you don't even need to enter the Cathedral (the f***? O.o). On hard you play what would seem enough for many (me too, but i asked for it, again... and glad i did). On expert you also play the most difficult part of the map.
Anyway, please don't murder me cold blooded. Maybe just hit me on the head. Just sharing thoughts.
Phenomenal review again, The Mike. I laughed the whole time! By the way, the whole beginning part gets a lot easier the second and third time. Even more so if you use TaterMan's shortcut up the waterfall.
Ahh, one of the very first FMs I ever played.
I remember I really loved the music inside the Hammerite Cathedral, and if I thought the music in the Pagan sanctuary was awesome, it was totally topped by playing on Expert (one of the few FMs I've encountered where the gameplay was vastly different according to the difficulty level) when I got to the Room of Doors. Jeez, that part was frightening. .
After the hilariously long process of building my new computer, getting thief to work in vista and look decent (including fog, hooray!) and installing all my needed programs (including photoshop) I'm back in business.
Now to get that darn tutorial finished and get back to reviewing and posting screenshots
Again my thanks to everyone that posted reviews and contributed to the great conversations during my downtime - I hope that you continue long into the future
I'm glad you got your new computer working, I'm eagerly awaiting your next reviews
I second that.
Thanks fellas, I very much appreciate that.
I do hope that folks like Intruder, Tannar and The Mike continue posting their reviews along with me, the more the merrier so to speak
Decided to test out the new card and system on my (up to this point) favorite FM Pirates Ahoy to see how the screenshots would turn out using the new card and DDfix, and I think they came out looking great.
I know that lighting and colors are definitely much better with my new card and I'm thankful for that - and sound is much better (I'm hearing tons of little things that I never heard before in the game, its like playing it for the first time all over again - which is great!) so this only fuels my fire to get every fan mission reviewed at some point
Edit: Just noticed that DDfix leaves a faint gray line at the top of each screenshot - thats odd.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 25th May 2009 at 18:13.
Yep, those shots look great!
I also noticed with ddfix its more of a "what you see is what you get" type screenshot situation with gamma levels and such rather than the typical "holy crap, that looked perfect DURING gameplay and now I cant see anything!" effect I had before when loading shots into photoshop
Edit: For those of you who are having trouble getting fog to work in vista I can tell you that it definitely works in Vista 64 bit.. I didn't do anything special to fix it, it was just working right away after installing ddfix (though I did use an older version of ddfix)
Just took that about five minutes ago. So apparently its possible though I'm sure many folks already figured it out
Last edited by SneakyJack; 25th May 2009 at 17:22.
Into the Maelstrom By Morrgan & Vigil
Released: 2004 (KoMaG's 5th FM contest)
What is the story?: After a professional visit in Port Tyris turned sour you needed a safe ticket back
to the City - with your take and your skin intact. Pulling some strings has bought you passage in a cosy crate
aboard the Inigo, a swift merchantman with a tightlipped crew. The captain trusts you as far as he can throw
you - he insisted on holding onto your sword for the voyage - but it's as warm a welcome as you can afford.
All was not to be plain sailing, however: the Inigo foundered in a storm 4 days out, and now the currents have
dragged her to rest in a deep, sinister cavern. Being no seaman (and more unnerved than you'll admit) you
retired early to wait for the crew to finish repairs; only to wake in the night to the screams of men - and
of something else...
How does it play?: To accomplish this mission, you'll need all your sneaking skills. Undead pirates are
quite tough enemies...so avoiding them at all is the best way to get along! This mission also holds some nice
puzzles, some rope arrow opportunities and clever hidden loot. Rushing forward doesn't help at all, you need to
take your time and plan your steps carefully - if you not want to be seen...
How does it look?: It is one of the best looking maritime missions I ever played. Especially the wooden
textures on both ships are great. But the best looking part in this mission is definitely the sky! You should
take your time while gazing out of the cave into the night...simply beautiful!
How does it sound?: The sound is well done. Decent tones in the background create the feeling that
something has gone terrible wrong. The cave sounds very alive, as well as the ships. Small creaks and bubbles
everywhere give it a very natural sound.
So what is the verdict?: Into the Maelstrom is a challenging mission, if you like ghosting and aren't
afraid of undeads you'll have plenty of fun. I really enjoyed this mission! Although it is quite small, it will
take you some time to accomplish all goals and to find all the well hidden loot.
This is where you start, below in the cargo hold
Aye captain! Wait, where is he?
You are not afraid of haunted pirates, are you?
Very nice review intruder! And nice screenshots. This is one of my favorite missions.
Excellent work Intruder! I don't know if I've played that one yet or not (there are a few 'scare' typed FM's that I've yet to play) but I'm definitely going to give it a spin after your review.
I definitely recommend to do so
As Tannar said, this FM is very good.
I used an older version of ddfix as well but I dunno if that made any difference or not. It seems those with Vista 64 have fog and those with Vista 32 do not.
"though I did use an older version of ddfix"
which one, specifically?
First of all let me join in by saying nice review intruder- really good screenshots (they make my upcoming ones look like so much garbage), and I'm impatiently awaiting more from Sneaky Jack (things are looking good with your PC so you have no excuse now).
So yeah, it happens that I have another review of my own- now with 20% more pictures-of-me-stabbing-giant-spiders! ENJOY.
The Inverted Manse
HEY! You there! What's better than a whole swarm of zombies? If you answered "What the hell are you talking about?" you're absolutely right, because you should find this question extremely perplexing since there IS nothing better than a swarm of zombies. That, sir, is why I love the FM "The Inverted Manse". Released back in 2000 (which, unless I've got my facts crossed, means it predates Darkloader and therefore could originally only be played through the use of forbidden witchcraft) and created by a guy so talented he went on to actually work on a new Thief game ("Sledge" helped design some of the more impressive levels in "Thief: Deadly Shadows") "The Inverted Manse" is the grandfather of all undead FMs, and set a standard for them to live up to that few of them can truly meet, even now. Also, as I mentioned, it has swarms of zombies which makes me happy in a way only barrels of ice cream have previously achieved.
You play Garrett- thief, action hero, tap dance enthusiast- who has just emerged from the lair of the "The Cult of the Resurrection", after his misadventures in a previous FM of the same name which is for Thief 1 and is also required playing- but if I really have to sell you on it, let me just say you get to throw a mummy into a pit of boiling lava. I don't know about you, but I've wanted to do that ever since I wasted money on that Brendan Fraser movie. Anyway, He has emerged from their lair holding a new sword that lights him up like a Christmas tree but makes goo out of zombies (which knowing Garrett, he will end up putting next to Constantine's sword in his collection of actually useful weapons he chooses not to ever use or speak of again), as well as a ruby shaped like a human heart that emanates evil which seemed like a good idea to pick up at the time (I WAS DRUNK OKAY!?). Now the keepers want to take it off his hands for him, but Garrett being the savvy businessman that he is, decides he should find some information on it of the "dusty ancient tome" variety first. Luckily there is just such a tome in a nearby town...in an ancient evil pagan temple located beneath an extremely haunted hammerite smelting plant (once again, Garrett is a videogame character and therefore has less luck than the average bit of roadkill).
Garrett does have one thing going in his favor though, he happens to be armed to the teeth. At the start of the mission you get a whole selection of new weaponry, including arrows that create a gust of wind for knocking out multiple torches at once, razor head arrows for better haunt killing, holy water arrows, explosive head arrows for when Garrett feels compelled to jump away from an explosion in slow motion, his returning holy sword, and mud arrows...which I probably shouldn't have gotten too last since they aren't all that exciting. This all amounts to this FM subtly prodding you to mix up all your sneaking with some actual zombie splattering, which didn't take much convincing for me, bloodthirsty little bastard that I am, but some of you might still feel compelled to try ghosting. Let me tell you right now, DON'T. I'm sure it's possible and maybe even a lot of fun to ghost this mission, but trust me, "The Inverted Manse" somehow turns thief into a compelling action game. Sneaking should be reserved for tip-toeing up behind zombies so you can gib them with your holy sword in one hit, which is so satisfying you will probably need a cigarette immediately afterward. Also, finally being able to kill haunts with just an arrow or two is immensely enjoyable (Where are all those "flames around me" now, huh b****!?).
Of course, different styles of play is a major factor in the Thief community, and the author acknowledges this with the three difficulty modes, which each alter the game in such a way that it appeals more to someone of a certain thief-playing persuasion. First there's "Cutpurse" which is pretty much your usual snatch and grab find the loot and get out job, then there's "Rogue" which is for players more heavily into exploring and puzzle solving, and "Warrior" for those of us who just want to splatter some zombies (cut to me holding my hand anxiously in the air like a kid in school who desperately needs a bathroom pass). Out of all of these rogue is probably my least favorite, as it doesn't really have any areas that are specific to that difficulty alone, though it does let you see more of the entire level than the other two. "Cutpurse" is probably the most frightening being as you only get a glimpse of the manse itself and it therefore keeps an aura of creepy mystery about it. "Warrior" is, at least for me, where it's at. This mode is so ridiculously fun- once again though if you're going to make me sell it to you, let me just say you get to fight a zombie riding on a dinosaur. I would have to deeply meditate by a quiet mountain stream for six months to come up with anything even half that awesome. Let me also add that in all three difficulty modes you eventually find a gauntlet which lets you quite literally slap haunts into unconsciousness with a holy pimp hand, which almost by itself makes this one of the best FMs ever.
What's even more amazing is that this mission manages to be so engaging completely on the strength of its story and gameplay, as it doesn't look all that amazing. I'm not saying it's a bad looking level, it's certainly up to par with anything Looking Glass Studios put out there, but it certainly isn't in the realm of such visual greats as "Bob" or "Longy McTitle" (Notice: reading my previous reviews may occasionally be necessary to know what the hell I'm talking about). For the most part, old textures from the original game are used and none of the environments are really epic in scope or obsessively detailed. Everything just looks right, without the author needing to go overboard. With that said I should add that I found the slowly turning windmills the author managed to make really mesmerizing, of course I've said the same thing about the DVD menu for "Kung Fu Panda" and that light outside my house that's constantly flickering.
You play this mission for the story and the gameplay, which work through each other brilliantly. The story sets up all the scares with both horrific letters written in a moment of desperation by those who know they're about to be zombie food, and through more casual before-the-disaster journal entries that are almost more unnerving due to the clever way they foreshadow the horrors you will witness later by casting them off as ghost stories (just try to not gnaw off your fingernails nervously while you read that there "totally aren't mysterious voices coming out of the walls and evil spirits living below us and you should definitely not be nervous while opening the door to the lower basement. Mwah. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha."). The gameplay backs the story up by ramping up the difficulty and number of the enemy the closer you get to the titular manse. The only thing I found disappointing was the fact that the manse isn't really inverted in any way. I expected to see chairs on the ceiling and doorways you have to climb through but the architecture is actually pretty normal, the only thing really inverted is the fact that the manse is underground unlike most mansions (I'd suggest a better title would be "Crazy Joe's Underground Zombie Emporium").
What it comes down to is, you have to play "The Inverted Manse". Even if you absolutely hate zombies (personally they're right between raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens on my list of Faaav-Oh-rite things) this mission is absolutely worth giving a try- it might just make you a zombie enthusiast or at least make you want to give a haunt a big hug ("Sssshhh...no more 'join us now's, just emotions..."). It made me the giant fan of undead missions I am today, and taught me a valuable lesson in smelting factories and what ancient evils to not build them over. Play it, PLAY IT NOW. Who wants pancakes?
(okay that was kind of a stretch but I'm still going to say the score is now at "2" *if you are wondering what "score" I'm talking about, read my Deceptive Perceptions 2 review...in fact read it anyway because that would fill me with joy*)
And now, because nothing is worth reading unless it has pictures, some screenies (now in eye-strainingly dark!):
Welcome to the Inverted Manse! Bring the whole family! Enjoy our ominous atmosphere and steadily building dread!
I'm about to get all Samwise Gamgee on this giant spider's ass.
Only I could take a screenshot of a lost spirit and have it be boring. He's just kind of sitting there scratching himself.
This zombie went above and beyond and actually put on clothes and learned how to throw around spells. I was so impressed I almost didn't stab him repeatedly (almost).
Hope you guys enjoyed that- I'll probably do "From Beneath the Sands 2" next (but then, who knows. I'm a rebel and can't be tamed).
Your legend continues to grow, The Mike (& with pictures yet!)
Eagerly awaiting your next review, & the pancakes that make them even better.
The Five Tigers: HBS Iron Butterfly By Catman
What is the story?: You have been hired to steal the set of gem stones known as the Five Tigers. Each stone
is held by a different noble family: Eye of the Tiger by the Walkers, Claw of the Tiger by the Evans, Heart of the
Tiger by the James, Shadow of the Tiger by the Agees, and Soul of the Tiger by the Boles. Each family has the gem
locked in a vault which cannot be picked, and the lords keep the only key with them at all times. According to your
employer, four of the families have booked passage on the maiden voyage of the Iron Butterfly. They will board the
ship on June 22 and spend the night on board. The ship will leave port for a two week cruise at noon the next day.
You need to break into the shipyard, find information about the stateroom assignments, find the four lords on the
ship, and make wax impressions of their keys. Your employer has provided you with a rather detailed set of maps plus
a set of notes to help you complete your tasks. You should study them carefully before you begin.
Of course, with all the wealth lying about, you'll want to help yourself to whatever else you can find.
How does it play?: This mission is classic Thief gameplay. It felt almost like playing Shipping and Receiving.
There are plenty of guards on their patrol, loot everywhere and interesting readables which further the story and are
very entertaining to read. There is one point that was a little bit annoying: every door and chest is locked in this mission,
but you're a Thief after all!
How does it look?: The HBS Iron Butterfly really caught me between two stools. On the one hand, Catman focused on
technical details that made (especially) the ship very believable. Starting with the bilge deep below the waterline, the
coal room followed by an impressiv engine room and leading up through passenger rooms, dinner halls and finally the bridge.
The passenger rooms as well as the dinner halls are well decorated but the rest is almost empty. This is the other side
of this mission: most rooms are just empty cubes filled with furniture. There are no wooden/metal beams, no other elements
in them. The choice of textures was also very repetitive: mainly brick for the buildings and rusty iron for the ship.
If you are not interested in ships like I am, you'll probably find the overall look of this mission too boring. Different
textures and more details inside would be a major improvement of this mission.
How does it sound?: Sound is one of the weak points of that mission. There are no ambient sounds (e.g. decent tones
in the background) at all. There are machine noises in some spots and they really fit, but most parts of this mission
are completely quiet if you knock out the guards. The sound propagation inside the buildings was well done, but I
noticed many problems on the Iron Butterfly. The sound propagates almost through the entire ship. You will hear guards
patrolling on carpet 2 decks above you - unrealistic and disturbing.
So what is the verdict?: If you like classic Thief gameplay, nice readables and dock missions, you should play it!
People who are interested in ships and their technical details will have some fun exploring the Iron Butterfly. Catman
managed to create a very realistic looking steamer as well as a fitting dock environment. If the look and sound of a
mission is important to you, you probably shouldn't play it, or you might get disappointed.
A very common beginning
Taking a walk on the Iron Butterfly and watching the docks
Quite an impressive vessel!
...if it can look like this!
View from the stack deck
Inside the Terminal Building
Thanks for commenting Sticky Fingers, getting feedback is what keeps writing these reviews fun for me.
Also nice review Intruder- I keep passing by "Iron Butterfly" on my darkloader list but never can think of what mission it is. Seeing your screenshots was a big "OOOOOooooh, RIIIiiiiight...." moment for me. I might have to replay that one...
Thanks The Mike! I know what you mean with passing by the Darkloader list. Same thing happened to me, at least twice. I saw the review and suddenly my interest in the mission was growing...one of the reasons, why I like this thread very much
My thanks once again to The Mike (screenshots make your reviews even more enjoyable, well done! Your dark humored writing style is great) and Intruder (I'm going to leave the water/ship based missions alone - you do a much better job with them than I do so I'll let you handle those!) for your reviews.
Please keep them coming as often as you have time for - both of you contribute brilliant stuff that is great to read.
I tested out Thief: DS on my new computer today (hoping to dive into some Thief 3 fan mission reviews eventually) and I forgot just how much I dislike it. The entire thing is just.. well, clunky. The menus look awful (even for the time period it was released, they look like zero effort cheaply made menus.. you see better stuff in freeware games!) and blackjacking just feels wrong. How can you make a thief game where blackjacking feels incorrect? You have to be so insanely close for the blackjack to even register a hit - and 65% of the time I did a perfectly placed blackjack in complete shadows the person just turned around and said something snarky before running away. What the hell?
I also prefer T1 and 2's method of having the AI fall over slowly rather than just drop out of signt in a split second.
The walking, running, jumping, combat, mantling - everything was just very off and very clunky in 1st person. I refuse to play thief in 3rd person (what is this, Tomb Raider?) all the basic mechanics of what make thief such an important game were horribly broken.
On the plus side the voice acting was very well done and very funny, and I like how the AI searched when things like torches went out and all the intelligent comments they make about their surroundings ("Oh this light is out but I cant find a switch" and "He was too young to die") and the AI in general. Things like actually randomly searching an area instead of automatically gravitating toward you and townspeople running to get a guard and actually bringing the guard back to where they saw the body.
All that said - three missions in I quit Deadly Shadows once again - I really cant be arsed to play through a game that feels like a chore to finish for me. I may try some fan missions but the original missions are dead to me. I've finished the game in the past, so I'm not missing anything.
I apologize for the DS rant years too late - but I had forgotten how badly they cocked it up.
Anyway, back to fan mission speak - are there any "Must play" missions for Thief: DS? Mansion or castle missions would be a plus. I've never played a fan mission for DS and don't even know where to start.
Nice reviews intruder and The Mike. I actually enjoyed Iron Butterfly a lot.
SneakyJack, I haven't played all the T3 FMs yet but all the ones I have played were better than most of the OMs. One suggestion would be Valley. It is fairly challenging in some ways but lots of fun and very well done.