Very good reveiw, The Mike
Thanks for the great review, Mike! I'm glad you liked the mission and enjoyed my special brand of crazy. It took a long time to get Wicked Relics whipped into shape, but I'm awful proud of the results. WR pretty much distills all my favorite things about Thief, crams them into one mission, and then adds more DewDrops. You can always use more DewDrops.
And I see you found the lever I left for you. *evil laughter* Sometimes I just can't resist my dark side ... and that sign was begging to be used in an irresponsible manner.
Very good reveiw, The Mike
First "nerdgasm" & now "sexymazing" - Mike, you really should talk to Mr Webster
Great review, Great FM.
Thanks for the comments everyone, also thanks for all the Happy Birthdays; YOU PEOPLE JUST...YOU GET ME ALL CHOKED UP. (also I should probably say "Happy Birthday" to you as well Clearing, judging from the other thread near the top of the forum. HIGH-FIVE. High fives are still cool right?)
And yes StickyFingers, me and Webster have been at war for quite some time. Bastard just can't accept my subtle reworking of the English language. In retrospect my newest word "sexymazing" might be a little too close to my previously invented word "sexytastic"...but what can I say? "Sexy" makes for a surprisingly versatile prefix.
Thanks for commenting also Kfort, I always like actually hearing from the authors of the missions I review. By the way, when I pulled that lever I somehow survived the subsequent explosion with one remaining health point. SEEMS YOUR MIKE TRAP HAS BEEN BESTED.
Last edited by The Mike; 15th Jul 2009 at 00:52.
Another great review The Mike! Very entertaining. And I too loved this mission, even after playing it close to a hundred times! Kfort did a tremendous job with this FM. And happy birthday, btw.
I too had the pleasure of testing it (not as extensively as Tannar did though, whew! Talk about a machine!) as I've mentioned before and found myself doing something repeatedly that I had never really done before when testing a mission - looking forward to playing it for the 20th or so time
Even now after testing it through so many rounds of changes and differences I still could load it up and have a blast - its just one of those missions where the gameplay is so strong and so fun that even after you've tested it two dozen times you can still pick it up and play and have a good time. I find that very few missions hold up that well for me (Pirates Ahoy! and Broken Triad's first mission and The Seven Sisters come to mind immediately) so I love when a mission comes along that can fit into that group.
Then again I gushed about it enough in my review so I'll leave it at that before I go into another rant about how its a perfect mansion mission and yadda yadda.
Excellent review as usual, The Mike, though I was slightly disappointed by the lack of dash.
Happy Birthday to you and congratulations on getting one year closer to achieving the amazing goal of being able to rent a car - it's obviously something dear to your heart. I'm thrilled to bits for you!
So, if you only manage one review a month, this means we can all be looking forward to another 12 The Mike Specials by this time next year, hopefully followed by a review of a new fm entitled, 'Garrett rents a car'. Marvellous!
And my thanks also to all the other reviewers I've neglected to thank recently. This is a fantastic thread - great for re-reading in the middle of the night when you can't sleep.
Ooops - it wasn't meant to sound like that!
I also re-read the 'Who Are You? thread as well. And no! That's not boring either.
What Lies Below By Yandros
What is the story?: Taking place after the events of Thief 3 Garrett finds himself in The Old Quarter in semi-retirement when he gets a message from the Hammerites asking for a meeting - you find out that the Hammers are looking for a particular item that will help them reclaim the old cathedral by putting the recently raised dead back to rest, and they've got a few new goodies to help your cause as well. Lets get to it.
How does it play?: Like a nightmare. I don't mean that in the way that I'm calling the mission poor - the mission literally reminded me of nightmares I've had in the past and the surreal nature of the slight color on grayscale look makes it feel as if you are literally trudging around in the dark places of someones mind and looking for trouble. The feeling of dread is constant and the atmosphere will keep you on edge worrying about the next enemy noticing you before you notice them..
There are alot of impressive engine tricks on display here - keeper glyphs that can be activated to turn solid walls into doorways, raising and lowering of water levels, jump-out-and-make-you-crap-your-pants moments and on and on. The mission is also very complex in that though there are usually multiple routes to any given section they are gated off and present you with the challenge of finding how to not only open the gate to continue but how to even reach the switch itself - a few spots will literally have you searching high and low for a solution.
Dealing with enemies this time around gives you the chance to be creative - you'll encounter enemies in areas you wouldn't normally expect to see them and you'll really have to be on your toes due to their.. well.. secretive nature, shall we say. Unlike guards who stroll out into the light and make their presence known you'll need to use vision and sound well to deal with these baddies.
There were a few minor bits that hampered the gameplay a bit - for some reason every time I'd come out of one of the holes in one of the control rooms I'd get terribly stuck and have to jump at least a half dozen times to get out of my invisible prison - but all in all I found no major issues with bugs or problems in the mission.. and considering the amount of engine trickery on display it makes for quite the impressive feat.
Also making an appearance here are some of Yandros' custom weapons - I particularly enjoyed the grenade like projectiles that made the hordes of undead a bit easier to deal with - though the strength of the weapons (particularly the frag grenade) seemed horribly underpowered and took far too many to take an enemy down. Luckily this is offset by there not being tons of enemies to deal with throughout the mission, but I would have liked to have seen the weapons be a bit more effective with their stopping power.
How does it look?: The vivid red blood and small bits of color splashed across colorless walls and floors not only give the mission a noir feel but also gives a feeling of uneasiness that helps to ratchet up the fear factor a bit.. definitely something Yandros is quite good at. See also: Deceptive Perception 2. At points this mission definitely tries to give you a fright - so be sure you are alright with horror themed missions before giving yourself a heart attack at certain points as I did. The mission looks fantastic and the noir effect really works well.
With all the subtle touches such as bones at the bottom of a drainage area, water running out of pipes all over the place and rooms covered in blood and cobwebs - visually you get the feel that its been a while since a living person has been in the area but when they were things certainly didn't turn out well for them. Great looking mission and a great effect that I hope to see in future missions at some point.
How does it sound?: From the screams of Hammerites being cut down by the undead to the rushing of water and the clanking of machines - this mission sounds like a nightmare as well.. cold, unforgiving and bleak. I wouldn't have it any other way - the mission sounds excellent.
So what is the verdict?: A frightening mission with a great story, a great look and fantastic sound - if horror themed missions tickle your fancy this one is going to certainly deliver.
Check this one out if you enjoy: Horror missions, water based missions, undead, puzzles, pants shitting.
Screens: (All my screens are optimized for the dark themes on the forum - if they are hard to see or appear too bright then try switching to a dark theme, you'll get used to it and it makes screens look so much better!)
Hope you don't mind getting your feet wet.
Unfortunately that hammer isn't as effective against ghosts as one might hope.
Cold, desolate and lonely.
Well at least he didn't drop his hammer and run.
Hopefully this fellow wasnt sitting in his chair when he ended up a splash on the back wall - I can't even imagine how that happened and probably don't want to.
Time for a swim!
SJ, I don't think the Hammer or Mushrooms are supposed to be in color... are they? Yandros? Try it without the EP and see. Also, did you add the Eshaktaar water in yourself, or is it also color in the mission?
Pretty sure the water is right, but the other stuff I'm not sure on. It's been a while since I fired this one up.
No, you're right Digi, the things being taken from the EP are in full colour but aren't intended to be (the EP didn't exist yet when I released the mission). The banners in the original were faded but still slightly red, for example. That's OK I suppose, but if I ever update the mission I'll probably make sure it plays the way I intended both with and without the EP. The water is mine, made for this mission, not Eshaktaar's (which also hadn't been released to the public in Sept 06). As far as I know that texture hasn't been reused by me or anyone else since, because it isn't animated - those are water conveyors with a static texture floating on a current.
SJ, thanks for the review!
Sorry about presenting the wrong coloring by using the EP - I didn't even think about it. If you ignore the water and mushrooms I think the effect is still the same. I suppose I could go back and grayscale those areas in photoshop if it bothers anyone.
I'm attempting to play Haddur to review at some point.. but after dying in mid air for no reason during the briefing mission and being chased down by super speed ghosts at the beginning of the second mission I'm beginning to think that Haddur is designed purely to frustrate the hell out of people
Is it worth sticking it out or is the entire 12 or so mission series designed like that?
Edit: Bloody hell, I think this one has passed Rebellion Of The Builder in my mind for most frustrating campaign ever. After being grossly overpowered throughout the entire first part of the mission on part 2 I've managed to not only die more than a dozen times but I've nearly lost my will to even try the mission again. I honestly don't know if this is worth the frustration, haha. I really enjoyed the scenes with the thieves guild battling the undead - but seriously, god damn.
Last edited by SneakyJack; 16th Jul 2009 at 03:52.
Well, I just intended to play the Haddur series for the first time... but you make me wonder if I should do it...
P.S. Review coming up, folks!
I guess there aren't too many people reading this stuff anymore. A few, yes, but not the 'random' ones, that don't seem to be as visible. Eh, maybe they just skip the commenting part.
As for me, I'll try to get it together and finally play & review something, but no promises.
And this year doesn't feel so swarmed with people as last year's 2nd part side (August-December) around when I joined. "Around when I joined" probably explains it. AND the ridiculous amount of FM releases i guess? Even Mission X got released in the middle of august. Wow was that a run...
Maybe a lot of folks are working on FM's and therefor have less time to spend here?
Indeed. Sorry, that was insensitive.
Could somebody name a few straightforwarder/easier missions here?
- A Shopping Stopover
- All For A Night's Sleep
- A Water Arrow In The Fire
Must be heaps more...
Good day, ladies and gentlemen!
How would you like to:
- Meet new, interesting people?
- Examine old and shiny artifacts?
- See creatures kick the sh*t out of each other?
Well, all of these desires can be fullfilled in:
A Brawl in the Tombs
*A-team music sounds, audience applauds*
A Fan Mission, made by John D. and remixed by Dark Assasin!
Well, that's enough nonsense for this review. Let's get to work. But before you start reading, please check these notes:
- This mission is made in...2004 I think, but has recently been remixed by Dark Assasin. Although I'm sure the mission looks a lot cooler like now, it's still a bit unfortunate that I have not been able to play the original mission. Why? Because if I admire something in this mission (believe me, I will), I don't know if to give credit to John D. or Dark Assasin. So, I won't mention these names, I'll just say 'the author'.
- Before playing this mission, I suggest you play the earlier missions of John D. You will understand the story better, because somehow all missions are connected to each other, sometimes a strong connection, sometimes weak. And if you play all his missions in order, you will have a great time. John's missions are:
- Dark Beginnings (3-mission pack including Burglary in Blackbrook, Shadows of the Past and Quick Cash.)
- Your Last Breath
- A Brawl in the Tombs
- Island of Iron 1: Fortress of Steel
- Island of Iron 2: Confronation
- Deep Trouble - City under the Sea (3-mission pack including Deep Trouble, Deep Trouble - City under the Sea 1 and Deep Trouble - City under the sea 2)
Trust me - they are all worth playing.
- I made a delicious apple pie some days ago, so if anyone wants the recipe, be welcome to ask me.
Now all these formalities are done, let's get to the review.
First, like always, the story. After going to Blackbrook, getting the BloodStar Gem, making some Quick Cash at a Hammerite temple, and having His Last Breath, Garrett decides to have a nice holiday in the small town of Lithscon. After getting in contact with a friend, Garrett hears there is an enormous tomb complex beneath the town. It seems the great undead fighter, the Hammerite Thoren and his crew are fighting their way to the lower levels, and to make things worse, there are rumours of Mechanists being seen in the tombs. Also to be seen: a thieves' guild (they are friendly, thanks to your contact) and there are Keeper Glyphs, outside the tomb entrance. Hmmm, are that enough reasons to have a look in dangerous tombs full of undead? Maybe, maybe not. But there are sure enough reasons when Garrett hears of a golden skull, a magical sword and Thoren's rosary, all in the tombs! Time to KO some Hammers, laugh at some Mechanists, peek at the Keepers, give a hug at some thieves, and fight the undead...
A Brawl in the Tombs are really suitable for those that, after playing OMs, still are not used to undead. In these large tombs it's easy to avoid them, and ghost the level. And after a while you even get help from some thieves, so that makes it even easier. Though also if you like undead, this is really a mission for you. It's really fun to attack them or ghost them, they are placed in a way that you won't get 15 behind your back when you kill one (except for some places).
We'll be right back with Weird Review Part 2, after the break!
Are you tired to ghost past a lot of Mechanists and their machinery? Annoyed of getting hurt all the time by their robots and turrets? Well, those days are over! Just buy the GiantGangOfUndead - Killing Edition!
The GiantGangOfUndead - KE is designed for problems like this! It makes thieving a lot easier, and if you order now you will get two haunts for free!
The GiantGangOfUndead. Because ghosts... are awesome.
one noisemaker arrow is necessary to activate the GiantGangOfUndead - KE, and it's not included in our pack. Bring it yourselves, and don't complain about our service.
And welcome back. We'll continue our review. As I have said before, gameplay is suitable for everyone, and it's a lot of fun. You'll see a lot of different areas, and you will watch some pretty cool AI fights. To be honest, I never really liked AI fights, they were a bit boring if there wasn't a good story. Except... humans against undead. Those fights are really fun to watch, and they look beautiful (as far as you can name a flying skull hitting someone's head beautiful). 50% of the enemies in this mission kill each other, which makes it a lot easier.
Architecture is very good in this mission. There won't be any special effects, but it looks great when you walk through the tomb corridors, and the defenses of both Hammerites and Mechanists are really realistic and beautiful to see.
But architecture would be nothing without his brother, sound. Sound is really good in the mission, you won't hear the same tune over and over again while wandering through the tombs. The music is sometimes a bit scary, though in my opinion the mission is not. The undead are easy to avoid, or they slaughter humans and get slaughtered by humans.
Forget what I all just said, just remember one thing: Everyone should have played this mission! A great mission in multiple ways, and until now one of my favorite undead missions.
And now...it's.... *Monty Python's Flying Circus music, but picture just the word 'Screenshots!*
Take a good look - you won't see the sky for quite some time.
What on earth did happen here? (And do we actually want to know it ?)
"Looks like this place was built by my old pals the Keepers..." NO GARRETT, REALLY?
Praise him... and loot him.
Thieves' lair - the place to be in the Very Scary Tombs.
You just know tons of undead will appear if you grab this thing - but it's so shiny!
Well guys, this was another rev...Argh! *chokes in bad-made apple pie*
Last edited by PotatoGuy; 16th Jul 2009 at 07:15.
By the way, I know some of these screens really suck, I tried to make them good but if I make them darker (like they first were) you can't see a damn thing. Guess I'll have to quit Irfanview and download Photshop soon...
In response to Thor02's undoubtedly justified comment to which I plead guilty, thank you PotatoGuy for another smashing review. I've played most of Brawl in the Tombs and really do recommend it too for undead haters/dislikers. Unfortunately, I was never able to get much of a fight going between anyone. Not sure what I was doing wrong exactly but reading this, I think I must have another go. And the screenies look fine to me - at least I can see them without using Gapa.
Do you think you could post a link to where I can get the GiantGangOfUndead - Killing Edition please. My googling reveals nothing.
Reviewing the review: It was nice, interactive, creative and a bit reviewy too.
Ok, I should shut up for a while now and do something myself too, for a change.
Edit: Aw, nickie, I didn't mean to make anyone feel guilty and spread the misery. :/
I don't feel at all guilty. BUT . . . you guys put in a lot of effort doing these reviews, the least I can do is make a comment!