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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #2901
    New Member
    Registered: Apr 2014

    HushÖ Hush, Sweet Harlot by Ithel, KGoodsell and Kyloe

    What happened to sweet harlot?

    This mission is one of the classic first city levels for Thief 1. Garrett needs to return his lockpicks, which were "borrowed" from him by courtesan ironically named Chance from some brothel. This is simple beginning, at first glance, but plot thickens, firstly, because the brothel is in a separate area of the mission, with some complicated access to, and we need to understand how to find way there which is not so easy. And in the middle of the mission we are faced with a plot twist, connected with Chance’s fate.

    I do not like such rigid division of the mission into separate isolated areas, which can be penetrated in a strictly certain way. Also, we can find fault with the architecture of the mission, which is a bit angular and very simple (almost like “Autumn in the Lampfire Hills” and other missions released at that time), but according to how old this mission is… I think it’s not justified claim. And, finally I found somewhat disappointing its abrupt ending (authors planned a sequel, but unfortunately it was not released).

    However, all these flaws are not breaking the gameplay of “Hush… Hush, Sweet Harlot” which is full by large number of hidings, and secluded places for access to which you need to strain the brain. And, it is not easy to get into each new area, and the process of finding the path itself is a combination of logic and stealth, which further increases the interest in the mission. In addition to the main plot, the mission has several mini-sub-stories and so makes an impression of lived world.

    Also, there are some tense stealth-moments (especially a brothel with guards, courtesans and clients), as well as rather tough moments of the plot. Very good work with scripts and conversation scenes. In general, this is the classic dark atmosphere of Thief 1 may be with some slight feminist motives.

    This short text comes to conclusion in which I can designate “Hush… Hush, Sweet Harlot” as an interesting combination of some adventurous elements and puzzles and sometimes very intensive stealth situations.

    Added - nickie
    Last edited by michael a; 4th Nov 2017 at 11:48.

  2. #2902
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Apologies for delay in adding the latest but they're done now. Thanks very much.

  3. #2903

    Vengeance for a Thief Part 3: The Art of Revenge

    Wow, I'm behind.

    Part three of Vengeance for a Thief is live.

    The Art of Revenge takes place a year after part two, and our hero has returned to Bridgeport to take some sweet sweet vengeance against the one who set him up by re-stealing the Angelís Tear and a valuable painting donated to a museum by the backstabber.

    This is probably the most balanced mission in the VfaT series. It starts out as a small city mission before moving into the museum for the actual heist. The difficulty is balanced, with a fair few guards patrolling but giving you the room to maneuver around them, and making the ambient lighting far less strong outside (though the same canít be said for the inside, lighting-wise). The loot goal is also more relaxed, to the point where you donít even have to take any from the display cases lying around to get to it...which is good, because the guards will notice if any are missing. The mission also assigns you to track down five golden lions belonging to the Order of the Golden Lion. This is optional, but isnít too hard if one is willing to explore a bit.

    The mission continues the trend of gigantic buildings, though a little more controlled than in part two, with most of the massive size being saved for the museum itself. It makes the place look very impressive, though it can make guards hard to see from across the room. The interior is nice and varied, with multiple exhibits to search through. One thing that I liked about this mission was being able to take certain arrows from one exhibit to use, which I only found out you can do in my second playthrough.

    On the whole, this is a good conclusion to the VfaT series. Recommended.

  4. #2904
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: Sunnyport
    Murder Most Foul (Thief II, 2017), from Death's Cold Embrace, by Yandros, Random Taffer, Polygon, Tannar, Moghedian, R Soul, and Peter Smith

    As this is a recent mission, I have placed spoiler tags where needed.

    Death’s Cold Embrace has a different vibe than most major fan missions. It is repetitious in theme: the same music bits play in and out for the majority of the first few missions, respective to their levels, and you visit the same area of Dayport in the first, third, and fifth missions. This repetitive quality does not mean it’s bad, it just means it has a different flavor than Godbreaker, The Black Frog, or equivalent FM campaigns. Another uniqueness is that the coldness extends from the title into the environment as DCE is set in snow, rare for FMs.

    "Murder Most Foul" is the first mission and establishes the audio style. Rather than standard Thief II environmental sounds for exterior and interior, Yandros has musical bits fade in and out. It feels like exploring in Oblivion or Skyrim while the same orchestral tracks play. You could be out in the town or inside a haunted house, but no matter which the same tracks keep looping. Objectively, it works well in Murder Most Foul and DCE’s other early missions, but for my personal tastes it isn’t as atmospherically effective as standard Thief II ambiance.



    You’re in the city area of Dayport surrounding Fairbanks Manor. There are shops, inns, residences, and a power station. Readables indicate that there is much frustration going around, with insights into economic hardships.

    Thief has real moral dilemmas. You feel guilty stealing from these desperate shopkeepers. After plundering each shop, I felt a foul taste creep into my mouth, feeling morally conflicted more so than in recent games when I’m given a highlighted, binary decision. I had to remind myself that I’m a heartless thief and keep on going – but I don’t think that lowly of Garrett, so still struggled.

    The two apartment complexes in this part of town highlight class differences. The rich one, the Biltmore Apartments, is right across the street from the poor one, Greenwood Apartments, each facing the other. Biltmore is guarded, quiet, and fully functioning. Greenwood is open and guard-less, with loud music blaring from one apartment, a bent sign, a flickering light and a meowing cat.



    The backstory to the mission involves a mythical Keep, an artifact, and competing gangs of thieves. The way the artifact is guarded is clever – they’re paying a man to act as a ghost to keep prying eyes from the apartment where the chest is stashed. From Yandros’ location of the past few months and the title of one of the mission threads, you know that this backstory has ramifications for the campaign in the long run.

    The Trickster’s Tail pub is where you’ll go once you have the research journal Fairbanks wants, so you’ll want to save that place for last. The Harlequin Inn is very difficult to enter save by an upper story window, and no matter how you enter stealing from the main lobby is a challenge.

    Outside this inn is one of the most clever bits of dťcor in a Thief mission: the “Eternal Flame.” Did you douse it out? I couldn’t bring myself to.

    The torch offered another quality moral dilemma. I’m surprised I haven’t seen something like it used in other FMs; it gives non-ghosters a reason to feel guilty for using a water arrow. Let’s hope there aren’t ever any sacred wooden beams.

    The Jewelry store has a tough patrol to dodge, but if you do it, or blackjack the guy, the reward will be enormous. Remember those moral dilemmas I wrote about? Some are easier to quell than others.

    You discover in a readable that the painter has been commissioned to paint a portrait of Karras. I thought, “Is it that one?” When you break into his basement you find out, yes, it’s that one.

    The inventor’s apartment is your main objective, and if you’ve been reading, you have reason to dread entering it. The mystery of a she-beast, you discover, is a Franken-maid monster gone mad, lurking in the inventor’s basement. The basement is one of the most atmospherically impressive moments in a FM. The air is thick with dust, the lights flicker, and the she-beast cries from the distance. I was terrified of the moment when I would finally see it.

    It is built from the cyborg midwife model of System Shock 2, but it’s no less terrifying as it walks with the prance of a bug beast. The cyborg maid has rigged up the inventor’s body in an ironic display of revenge. He’s sitting at a dinner table with music playing as a device sends currents through his body. Take that, you hear the maid saying, see what it’s like to be kept alive past death. Whether he was actually alive or not, I don’t know, but I flipped the switch to free him from potential misery. The maid didn’t notice.

    Further horrors await in the form of a bronze Mechanist child – and I mean the actual child-thing, not the Children of Karras. You can deactivate it so it won’t be alerted – it’s triggered by unlocking the safe with the journal for Fairbanks.


    When you finish this mission, the premise for the next is calmly set. No grand whirlwind of events has started yet. Story-wise, the terror of the maid passed, everything is standard and settled. This being a classical tragedy in three acts, you know that won’t remain the case.
    Last edited by twhalen2600; 25th Nov 2017 at 23:38. Reason: Removed, but then added back in, the spaces before the images.

  5. #2905
    New Member
    Registered: Sep 2017
    Location: Coveting hither and yon
    The Cistern

    (Thief II, 2002) by Gumdrop

    If I might briefly interrupt the warm embrace of DCE reviews

    "Time to go raid some tombs..."

    ...and time to look at the other, less well-known mission involving a cistern . Garrett sets off on a short quest into the sewers seeking out long-forgotten loot and dodging some nasties along the way. This mission is inspired by the very first entry in a certain well-known game franchise starring a certain well-endowed heroine.

    This old carcass well remembers playing the original Tomb Raider on its release, and Gumdrop really captures the lonely atmosphere of this mission's namesake from that game, making good use of its textures, along with some subtle fog. He also uses some of the original incidental music, which, when it plays, adds a wistful feeling and will summon up nostalgia for anyone who's played Lara's early adventures.

    As in the original, there's plenty of swimming, along with gates, switches and water level changes to be negotiated. One maze-like section requires passing some gates, and locating the switches to open them, all while underwater. I've never been a fan of these, but it's apt given the inspiration, and not too long. No breath potions, though (or at least none that I could find), so you'll need to make good use of air pockets.

    There are only two objectives - get both the Hand of Glory and enough loot. The lack of an "escape" objective (even on "Hard" - the highest difficulty) means that the mission ends as soon as you complete the first objective, so, if you so desire, go hunting for loot and secrets before doing this.

    Anyone who'd like a brief reminiscence of what Lara's very first outing was like will find it here. At least Pierre won't be shooting at you all the time...

    Screenshots (brightened because this place is really dark...)



    Just below the surface, and we gotta get through that hatch. The depths await!




    ♫ Don't bug me now, 'cause I'm having a loot time, having a loot time... ♫




    Flushed with success, Garrett starts humming "Cisterns are doing it for themselves".




    They were going to complete the walkway, but they couldn't plug the hole in the finances so the project went down the drain.




    Having considered performing a graceful swan dive worthy of Miss Croft,
    Garrett instead decides on a cannonball into the waters below.




    And here we are, in the tombs at last. And there's loot - let's do some raiding!
    Seems too quiet, though - someone's surely out to put a dampener on things...




    More sarcophagi, more loot, plenty of stone, and still too quiet. But, guess who's about to rain on your parade?




    Three ancient urns, two blank walls, one rotting corpse, and a rolled-up ta-a-pes-try.
    Last edited by Covetous Carcass; 5th Dec 2017 at 16:55. Reason: Tidyin'

  6. #2906

    A New Job/The Tears of St. Lucia (TDM)

    Man, took a bit to get to this.

    A New Job (by Springheel) is the first mission of the official Dark Mod campaign which inverts normal trilogy creep by being planned for three and then becoming two (for now anyway). Our hero, Corbin, has been hired by a client for an unknown job, and while on the way to the meeting, decides to slip into a nearby inn and swipe some rubies belonging to a nobleman.

    A New Job is designed for newer players to The Dark Mod, and is also an exercise in showing off those sweet sweet new models and textures. To the missionís credit, they look quite well, looking sufficiently grimy and claustrophobic to give the impression that the player is crawling around the back alleys of the city. Little touches fill the mission, such as an NPC interacting with a facut to get water. It sounds petty, but itís the first time Iíve seen it in this game. Little touches of worldbuilding and short puzzles are also well done.

    The mission isnít overly hard, with even the loot goal being optional. Considering how some of it is tucked out of the way, this is a good thing, giving players a chance to be challenged without being jammed. I played on the highest difficulty, so I didnít get much in the way of help, but Iím informed that lower difficulties provide hints to help the newbies along, which is appreciated.

    All in all, a short, satisfying introduction. Recommended.
    ------
    And now, a bonus!

    The Tears of St. Lucia, which I reviewed way back when, has gotten an update for the new release, but I found myself mildly disappointed. Itís mainly a graphic overhaul, which looks quite good and looks like it was done by the same guy who did Lords and Legacy. I admit, I wished that a little bit more had been added to the mission. There were some additions on higher levels, such as a few more guards and spiders, as well as an alternate route via an outside duct. Itís also worth noting that on the easiest difficulty, you can get through the front gate, which you couldnít in the original. A hint about those blasted water arrows has also been clarified on all difficulties.

    Most of my complaints come from the fact that Iíve played it before and wished for something new, but in all honestly itís still a very solid and worthwhile mission, and new players will definitely enjoy it. Older ones who donít have the expectation of something brand new will also enjoy.

  7. #2907
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Precarious Business by ObservingEye.
    Simple job, fat nobleman, break into, priceless trinket. This is a mission from the well-known Bafford playbook, and the big thing it accomplishes is how well it does it. While made for Thief 2, Precarious Business is a Thief 1-style affair in both style and execution. It uses stock textures and deep shadows to build a dark city and a cramped, run-down mansion where you must find your prize. Now, when I write “dark”, I mean dark dark, Shadows of Doubt -style. This mission is not simply gloomy; your surroundings are mostly barely lit, and finding your way by orienting yourself by the meagre light sources and sometimes the sounds is half the challenge. You will wish you had a lantern, but not having one is the point. It takes some eyesight to find your way through barely lit streets and corridors, and some more to pick up the more carefully hidden loot (as far as I can tell, it is mostly fairly placed, although I also missed almost a thousand golds’ worth of it). This is the core challenge, since you will only encounter tricky patrols in the second half of the mission.

    There are gorgeous city streets here, mostly in the Bafford / Assassins style, built with obvious care and an eye for variety. These are ramshackle, chaotically built houses on the city outskirts, climbing over each other to fit into tiny lots and conserve space. Sadly, the streets are also fairly linear and you don’t interact much with them. Even the tantalising rooms and open windows you spot high above you in locations seem to largely be red herrings, and the patrols are minimal. In some way, it seems superfluous, with precious little gameplay... but didn’t the original game have stretches of empty space which were just there so you could be there? Maybe we should consider it a sign of generosity. And generous it is: there is an entire side mission there, if you can just find it. It is another cool-looking area, and has more good-looking content. Then, we get to the mansion, which is at once opulent and bare; it also has one of the coolest brush-based toilets I have seen in a fan mission (believe me, I have seen some), as well as an interesting possible explanation for Garrett’s visit (nothing spelled out, but you can put things together – that is always cool).

    All in all, Precarious Business is well worth playing. As ObservingEye’s first mission, it is very promising (it would have been a strong contender in the 20th Anniversary Contest). May we see more missions like this!

    Pictures:









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