I really love reading this thread! Keep up with the amazing work, SneakyJack!
I really love reading this thread! Keep up with the amazing work, SneakyJack!
Rowena's Curse By Lady Rowena
Where to begin on this fan mission - it truly is a tour de force of thiefy goodness that only Lady Rowena can bring us!
You may know Lady Rowena's fan mission work from The Seven Sisters - which in itself is one of the best fan mission sets ever produced - but years before the sisters caused their own unique brand of terror Rowena was causing Garrett trouble in this gem from 2003, Rowena's Curse.
The story in this mission has you discovering just how far into the spiral Rowena (the character in the mission, not the mission author) has gone and what you must do to stop her - along with some very interesting side stories like a kidnapping rescue and a love story of sorts with one of the guards and his lady. There are many plot twists and reveals along the way - and the story here really is top notch and well written. Lady Rowena knows how to write a story, and it definitely shows here.
Gameplay wise this mission is a strong - if not mixed - bag of different gameplay styles. There is alot of marble - something I know alot of folks are not thrilled about (I'm not particularly fond of marble use in fan missions but it does add to the challenge) so your sneaking skills will be tested quite often - keep those moss arrows handy. A good bit of carpeting in the main halls does sort of even out the marble use - but marble hallways throughout the whole mansion seems a bit like overkill. Marble should probably be reserved for a few main rooms in most missions. (Wishful thinking on my part I guess)
Also making an appearance is the dreaded jumping puzzle. Never been a fan of those, but at least the one here is not that bad or taxing on your nerves. I fell to my death once, but only once - so no big problem there. I dont think the dark engine was built for jumping puzzles, really.
Those two minor points aside, this mission is incredible fun and throws alot of different situations at you. A major showdown that you can solve a few different ways, lots of guard activity and even a creature or two will cross your path in this one. Shadow placement and cover are always nearby, and you can make it through the entire mission using only your blackjack if you use your head.
As far as looks - this is one fine looking mission. Everything is textured very nicely - and the different locations and feels really give you variety. The mansion layout is very well done and linked in the middle by a courtyard to help you keep your sense of direction. Plenty of nooks and crannies to sneak through and quite a few secret areas will keep you looking for switches - just the way I like it.
I guess the final thing I should mention is the length of this mission - you will spend some time on this one. It isnt a lunchtime mission, that much is certain - prepare to devote three to seven hours on this one depending on your play style, how well you know the mission and how often the jumping puzzle hands your behind to you. I've refrained from showing many of the locations and talking about many of the story points and objectives due to them being interesting enough to want you to see them for yourself - so give this one a spin.
Lady Rowena's Curse is one of the finest fan missions ever produced - set aside a few hours and experience it yourself.
This shadow game thing must be catching on. Moments later the guard in purple also began to repeat everything the other guy said.
The backyard. You always know sh** is going down when the yellow moon is out.
Regardless of what you'd think, this fellow was not friendly to me at all and a handshake offering did not help.
Inside the mansion.
I have no idea why one guard was eight feet tall while the other one was a midget begging to be tossed - but I do know who was in charge of this outfit.
I don't know who the lady in the picture is, but she apparently is trying to start a new "hair bra" trend.
I don't think I have to say anything about this picture - many of you know the horrors of jumping puzzles in the dark engine.
After screenshotting and reviewing a few well known fan missions in a row I decided to jump into some rather unknown ones to see what they were all about - next up is
The Librarian By Nightshifter
This mission has you in search of the fabled spear of destiny housed inside a huge library complex. On your journey you'll meet up with foes both mechanical and magical - along with a few surprises that I wont ruin for you here. Needless to say, it isnt as easy as you might hope.
The first thing I have to mention right offhand (thanks to pavlovscat for reminding me in another thread after I forgot to include it here) is the hilarious theme song to this mission played at the main menu screen. I don't want to ruin this song for you, just give it a listen, its pretty funny.
Storywise this mission is pretty solid. There are a few readable scattered here and there that talk about the objects you are after along with a little backstory. The spear of destiny (The real historic one) is always interesting to me due to how important it really was in religion and history - so I wanted to find out what happened in this mission indeed.
The gameplay in this one is pretty uneven. It starts out really slow with very few guards to encounter and alot of ground to cover - and there are a few negatives (Marble floor abuse and whats up with the metal doorframes? There is almost no way short of a moss arrow to cross over them without making a loud metal CLANG every time you enter the room. Not a good design choice I dont think) but overall the mission gives you plenty of shadow skulking chances to sneak by both human and camera on your way to the fabled items. Nothing too frustrating is encountered really, but the metal door frames can be a pain if there is a guard so much as two rooms away.
Architecture wise - this mission is not going to win any awards.. Most of the rooms and hallways are completely empty of any decoration or anything that really makes them even worth going into - about 90% of the first floor is made up of rooms that have no point or even anything to look at. A future re-release with added texture enhancements and decor items would be really great with this mission - it would add so much production value to an otherwise solid level. The overall design of the building is good - lots of hidden ladders and passageways leading to every corner of the building to make your way around without being seen - though difficulty is really not an issue in this one. The camera areas are a bit rough - but even if you set off the alarm - the turrents usually end up in the floor giving you no worries there either. This is more a bug in the turrents than the authors fault, however.
Though this mission has a few bits that may get to you - it really is worth a look if you have not yet checked it out. Its a fine mission overall and a good bit of fun once things really take off - the last half of the mission is much better than the first half. I won't spoil anything, but there are surprises.
Hope you brought your library card.
A look at the upper level.
Big brother is watching.
I managed to get a shot of Excalibur, but not before causing this turrent to slam its head into the floor apparently frustrated at my catlike reflexes.
This guard had some funny custom recorded dialog like "my daddy told me you cant buy homegown tomatoes - it kinda makes sense when you think about it" and "You ever wonder why zombies don't talk?"
I just.. I don't know.
He'll never see it coming.
This guard had a horrible sense of humor. The "arrow in the neck" trick did not amuse him at all.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 3rd Feb 2009 at 20:32.
By Order Of An Unknown By BlackThief
I don't know how this one managed to slip under the radar for me for so long, but this had been my first playthrough (that I can remember) and I was really impressed with this mission.
Storywise this mission has you being approached by a mysterious benefactor wanting you to break into the estate of a hammerite and specifically obtain the Book Of Death. You also learn of a long lost magicians tower that most people dismiss as nonsense. Time to find out!
As far as Gameplay I had a ton of fun with this mission - and it only makes me all the more disappointed that I somehow missed it until this evening. The mansion does suffer from a bit of the ol' Marble abuse but not enough to get frustrating (in fact, only in one or two main halls which I guess isnt really abuse at all) and well placed lighting and switches make it a joy to sneak through. I guess If I had to have one complaint it is the magic bridge item that you need to advance that I used pre-maturely and screwed myself into a reload - but thats just a minor thing. This mission contains no frustration and a good bit of fun and sneakery. I don't think sneakery is a word - but I'm using it anyway.
This mission will not leave you wanting when it comes to looks - this is a fine looking mission. Every room is well furnished and decorated - there is one room with a twisting staircase that is particularly well done and the hammer decor is always a welcome sight - and extra points specifically go to the texturing of the guards clad in red and gray - the colors used on their uniforms really stood out and looked fantastic. I don't know if BlackThief made them or borrowed them from another author - but those are the best looking guard uniform colors I've seen in a fan mission to date.
There are a few surprises in this one that will keep you playing to see what happens, and the mansion estate is littered with fun little areas of things to see and do. I very much recommend this one.
Hammers with lanterns. Yeah - best to stay hidden.
Those hammers sure know how to decorate.
Inside the estates main hall.
"No flash photography, taffer!"
The master bedroom.
That twisty staircase looks like fun.
Time to get drunk and practice my Jerry Lewis impression.
Eerie fog is... Eerie!
The Abominable Dr. Dragon By ChiefDreams
This is the first fan mission from ChiefDreams, and he sure does pack alot of punch into his first outing - you'll find a little bit of everything in this one.
The Story: You know, there probably is a story somewhere in this mission but I'll be damned if I found it. I was too busy running whilst pants-crapping to have time to stop and read anything, let alone take in the story. I think it has something to do with a crazy doctor that likes to keep all brands of things that will kill you in his castle - but thats just what I got from it. Which brings me to..
The Gameplay: This one is HARD. You'll spend your time running, and running alot. You'll run from treebeasts. You'll run from hammer haunts. You'll run from thieves and guards teaming up on you. You'll run (swim) from evil eyed fish that will try to kill you. You'll run from skulls that shoot multiple projectiles at once that absolutely destroy your health and you'll run from statues that come alive to give you a good trouncing as well. There are so many things in this fan mission that are out to kill you - you'll barely have time to breathe let alone take in the surroundings and story. God help you if you are a ghoster, I'd like to hear how you make it through this mission without being caught, haha.
That being said, there are some fun things in this one. Once in a while you will see a thief in battle with a skull or a guard (when they arent teaming up to kill you) and AI vs AI battles are always exciting to watch regardless of the outcome. There are tons of surprises that I wont ruin for you here - good luck getting to see them all. I played on easy and made it through the mission with two shields left trying to hide the best I could and after using a healing potion. I'm not even going to attempt it on hard or expert - I don't hate myself that much.
The looks: This is a great looking mission once you get inside the castle. The outside looks a little plain and blocky, but the inside is very nicely textured with tons of strange S&M style art and interesting color choices. The stained glass windows you'll see in one of the screens are particularly nice to look at and well done. The textures on some of the monsters you'll encounter (such as one I have not mentioned to keep it a surprise - hint, you'll hear zombie noises) are really well done.
Overall this mission is well done with some impressive enemies and effects. Its definitely more combat oriented than a sneaker - so keep that in mind going into it. I died half a dozen times just getting through this one for screenshots.
This is one that may divide people into love-it or hate-it - so i'd really like to hear what everyone thought about this mission after playing it. It'll be interesting to see more perspectives.
Welcome to hell. To be honest, I'm surprised the torches and gates are not out to kill you as well.
Inside hell castle.
This guy was pretty tired due to his back ache.
Great looking windows that probably try to kill you, I didnt get close enough to find out.
The entrance from above.
Wonder what happens if I break this gla..
Oh damnit! The two dimensional effect on the hammer haunts was actually very cool.
Circle Of Strain By Mokkis (Converted to T2 by Jimmy)
Whats the story?: The story here is pretty simple. There is a noble named Lord Jack (great name!) that has the ever so stolen Serpentile Torc and you are just the guy to take it off his hands.
How does it play?: This mission was a conversion from its original form that was created way back in '99, so I've taken the time at which it was released into account. That being said, this mission is a pretty nice sneaker that will pose a bit of challenge - but for the most part its very basic Thief gameplay. Guards aplenty, good shadows and lighting and a decent amount of loot. What more do you need? The no frills approach does not work against it in this case. A word of warning: I did experience a slight graphic stutter during my time playing this mission - I dont know if it was my system or the fan mission itself - but look out for that.
How does it look?: For a Thief 1 mission released in 1999, this one looks pretty good. I don't know if Jimmy added or removed textures when it was converted, but it still looks alright to me. Its obviously not going to hold up to a mission like The Seven Sisters or Ink and Dust - but being released nearly 10 years before those missions has to be taken into consideration. Again, very basic but does well enough on looks.
Whats the verdict?: This mission is a fun way to spend 30 minutes to an hour of your time. Its not the best looking or most technically impressive fan mission - but it is an oldie I can recommend. Give it a try!
Gonna need to find another way in, im afraid.
The main hall.
Wonder if he'd rather have drinks and laugh than fight. Doubt it.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 4th Feb 2009 at 16:22.
I loved Dr Dragon, there was a real Hammer Horror atmosphere to it. You could kill the skulls with broadheads, which made things easier.
Collector's Greed By DewFreak
Released: August 2001
Whats the story?: We're once again asked to go into a rich guy's estate and procure an item - this time a golden skull.
Hows it play?: This one is pretty fun. The difficulty is very low and you should have no problem ghosting or blackjacking till your hearts content. Not many surprises in this one with most of it being typical thief gameplay at its very basic level. This is another much older fan mission, so take that into account as well.
Hows it look?: Looks wise everything is very plain and blocky. This one isnt the best looking fan mission - it it is not helped by the fact that many of the rooms are completely empty or void of anything at all. Even in the rich nobles home the walls are bare and there is not much to look at. A couple areas had me thinking "why did you rush this mission out? With a little bit more work it could have been so much better".
Whats the verdict?: This mission will not take you long at all and really doesnt have much that you'd be missing if you didn't take time out of your day to play it. For those who want to play every mission I'd say give it a try - but if you've got limited fan mission time there really are many better choices to spend your time playing. Fun, but ultimately could have been much better.
The archer on the left longingly waits to be accepted by the guards.
Needless to say, this guy spotted me.
Private eyes.. are watching you. (I'm sure no one gets these song references or even reads these image captions)
A look at the small city area.
An archer to your left. "A yard of pain for you, taffer!"
I just.... why? Really, why?
a reference to the secret area in the TG keeper training, I believe. Every fm should have one.
Continuing with the Old School Mission celebration brings us to:
Dyers' Eve by Metalhead
Released: October 2001
Whats the story?: After a bad run in with The Brotherhood Of The Raven Garrett looks to extract some revenge. Garrett needs information on the brotherhood - and befriends a local "contact" who'll cough up some names or locations in exchange for a Navigation Globe from an ancient temple. There is always a catch.
Hows it play?: As far as spooky missions go - this one is fairly scary. You'll know by the loadout screen (tons of holy water, fire arrows and such for sale) that you are in for quite a bit of the undead - and this mission does not disappoint on that front. A mixture of zombies and haunts will keep you busy and afraid. There are some puzzles that can be frustrating if you don't know what to do, but for the most part its fairly straightforward loot-without-being-found type stuff. My advice: Save a few fire arrows for a rock puzzle you'll encounter.
Hows it sound?: This mission should be praised for its custom voicework for the zombies and haunts you will encounter - the female zombie was especially frightening sounding but also funny at the same time. Lines like "Do you think I'm pretty?" and "Kill me" (and after you do the deed "Thank you") remind me of system shock. I don't know if these lines were from somewhere else or custom recorded, but they were impressively done. Really adds alot to an otherwise typical undead mission.
Hows it look?: For being released in 2001 this mission looks pretty good. Everything has the run down feel you'd expect, and plenty of great touches here and there (broken pieces of the surroundings, statues, bodies) really add production value to the mission. For the timeframe it was released, this one looks good.
Whats the verdict?: I'm not a fan of undead missions but must give this one credit where it is due: This is a great undead themed mission. If that sort of thing suits you, you will not be disappointed with this one and should give it a spin.
Immature of me to mention that this building looks phallic? It does. Sue me.
A dead keeper, a note and holy water in the corner. Some serious undead shenanigans are going down and we both know it.
This room looked great.
Things just got more complicated, im afraid.
By this point I had run out of supplies and was armed with nothing but a prayer.
The Eye Of Ruthaford By William The Taffer
Released: July 2001
Whats the story?: A simple mission where Garrett is tasked with breaking into Ruthaford's estate and bringing back with him The Eye.
Hows it play?: This mission is somewhat short and fairly simple, but it looks great and is very fun to play. The gameplay here is very good for a smaller mission. There is alot of marble to deal with and you may have a tough time ghosting this one, but there will be no frustration to be found if you place a few moss arrows well enough.
Hows it look?: This is a great looking mission. Everything is well decorated, the textures used are good and there are a couple areas that really look great (the bar area and the standup comedian to name a few) so you'll have no problem enjoying your surroundings in this one.
Hows it sound?: The opening conversation between the guards is hysterical. I don't know where this came from (Thief 1 or 2 Original Mission?) but its between a guard coming down with a cold and another guard who seems to always get him in trouble - and it isn't to be missed. One of my favorite guard conversations of all time. Otherwise, not many custom sounds in this one.
Whats the verdict?: This is a short mission that will take you less than 30 minutes but packs alot of fun gameplay into a smaller mission area. I highly recommend this one if just to experience the humor within. There are alot of funny touches that I did not mention here.
The thermometer on the fireplace made me laugh.
This guys neck is not broken, he was just in mid yell toward me.
Oh joy, another basketball secret reference.
Keeping the rotting zombie next to your jewels sounds like a brilliant business model.
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful in your life? I wish every mission had a stash like this.
Times of peril indeed.
This fellow had an almost supernatural ability to sleep sitting up yet still be in bed. The shelf on the right side of the room was facing the wall as well - making it worthless and making me question the sanity of this fellow.
Well, that makes around 50 missions by my count that I've personally touched on so far in this thread - I hope I haven't worn out my welcome as of yet.
I'm gonna put the brakes on the reviews for short time - I want to have some discussion going as well and take a small break from doing them so I don't burn myself out.
A couple questions to start the discussion off:
Does anyone know where the conversation from the beginning of Eye Of Ruthaford came from? I don't recall hearing that one in the original missions unless my memory is just hazy, which is probably the case.
Also: Anyone remember the first fan mission that really hooked them and got them into the fan mission scene? I've been really trying to remember what the first fan mission was that really got me but I'm having trouble coming up with which one it was. I know it must have made quite an impact on me for me to be posting screens and thoughts on them years later!
Thanks to everyone thats been following this thread so far.
My first FM was T2X. I was completely blown away by it. Nightwalker encouraged me to try the others and helped me get going. She recommended Christine's missions, so those were the next ones I played - Lord Ashton, Night Falcon, Curse of the Falcon and the Lady Lotti Series. Given those were the first ones I played, it's no wonder I was so easily hooked!
I believe my first fan mission could have been a Christine mission - I'm still trying to remember which one it was. That being said - I think I'm going to make my way through Christines missions next for screens and impressions - its a tough job but someone has to do it!
All joking aside, playing through her missions and series will be pure thief gameplay heaven mission after mission. I'm looking forward to it.
I donīt really remember which mission actually hooked me. I think it must have been somewhere among these four (those were up next, I donīt remember the order...):
Hush, Hush, Sweet Harlot
Cult of the Resurrection
Lord Edmund Entertains
Later on came Lord Edmund Entertains, The Vigil and, of course, the Circle of Strain series (the third part being probably the best). That, and Calendra's Cistern, which has remained my personal favourite over all the years. Interesting how those early FMs tended to have briefing movies much more often than they have today.
I love this Thread, SneakyJack.
The first FM i played was "Hammerhead: Return to the Docks " for Thief 1 by Gongchong , a really good FM.
And for Thief 2 was "Alliance" by HipBreaker my first FM, which i played.
Thanks HipBreaker for this really good FM.
Death of Garrett was my first FM too I remember being impressed at the grand scale of it, very high ceilings and wide corridors, good stuff.
The Order of the Vine was my second FM and is still one of my all time top FMs today.
And third was Calendras Cistern, I love that mission, I remember I emailed Purah (didn't know him before then) and asked 'how does she get up into that tower when theres no stairs?'
and he said 'I don't know.....magic?'
but I think he meant 'f**k off*