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Thread: Old Southquarter FM Reviews

  1. #1
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands

    Old Southquarter FM Reviews

    Southquarter was hacked back in 2011, and all the reviews users submitted over the years were lost. But recently I was able to recover most of them from The Wayback Machine, so I decided to post them here for reference/posterity.

    Some are good, some are bad, and then there's a whole lot in between. Still fun to read though. Sorry for any grammatical or punctuation errors - some of that is due to the fact that reviews were not proof read back in the day, but some of it is also due to conversion and copy/pasting from The Wayback Machine. I may still edit them going forward.

    If any authors don't want their reviews posted here at TTLG, just let me know and I'll remove them.

    Enjoy...

    Table of Contents
    (FM Title) (Reviewer Name)

    Ack! There's A Zombie In My Basement! by Morrgan
    The Affairs of Wizards by Dan7
    Ashcourt by Renault
    All Torc by Morrgan
    The Ashen Age Part 1 by Bulgarian_Taffer
    Elizabeth Bathory - Chapters 1 and 2 by TheImmortalThief
    Bestest FM by Renault
    Bestest FM 2: Fairground Attraction by Ganac
    Bestest FM 3: In The Link Of An Eye by Ganac
    Bestest FM 4: Wishy Washy! by Bulgarian_Taffer
    The Blackhearts Recording by Renault
    Bloodstone Prison by Morrgan
    Broken Heart by Renault
    Burglary in Blackbrook by Morrgan
    The Cell Next Door by Morrgan
    Chain of Events by Melan
    Chronicle of the Metal Age: Chapter 1 - Clefts in the Hammer by russellmz
    Citadel of Douro by Renault
    Mr. Chuz by Morrgan
    The Cistern by Weasel
    The Curse by Weasel
    Curse of the Hammerites by Renault
    Darkness Falls: A Dire Venture by Spitter
    Darkness Falls: The Royal Garmyth by Morrgan
    Debt To Nate by Ganac
    A Debt Repaid by Weasel
    Deceptive Perception 2: Phantasmagoria by The Mike
    The Deceptive Scepter by Username
    Down We Go! by Username
    Dracula Part 1: The Love Thief by Renault
    Dracula Part 4: The Darkthrone by Renault
    The Folly of Youth by Renault
    Forgotten Forest 2 by Renault
    Freedo Finds One by Renault
    From Beneath The Sands by Renault
    The Gallery by russellmz
    Geller's Pride by Melan
    A Guard Called Benny by russellmz
    The Haunting by Ganac
    Hedgerows & Hammerites by Morrgan
    Heretics and Pagans by Renault
    Hidden Agenda by Morrgan
    The Hidden Stone by Renault
    Hightowne Museum by Morrgan
    In Dubio Pro Garrett by Renault
    Jenivere De Ja Vu by russellmz
    Karras Apartments by Renault
    Keyhunt by Weasel
    A Living Nightmare by Renault
    Lost Souls by Snake
    Mann Mansion by Renault
    Mann Mansion by Username
    Mission With No Name by Melan
    Mystic Gems 1 - Unlucky Soul by Renault
    A Night at the Theatre by Ganac
    A Night In Rocksbourg 3: Ink and Dust by The Mike
    The Night Watch by nicked
    Ominous Bequest by nicked
    Orthodox Wedding by Renault
    The Power of Suggestion by Renault
    The Quiet Heat by Renault
    Raid on Washout Central by Dan7
    Reflections by Renault
    Rowena's Curse by nicked
    Saints and Thieves by dlw6
    Saturio Returns Home by Morrgan
    Secret Breaking of a Pyramid by Renault
    The Seven Sisters by The Mike
    A Shopping Stopover by nicked
    Sir Lector Comes To Dine by Morrgan
    The Sisterhood of Azura, Part 2 - The House by Renault
    The Skygem Connection by Renault
    Snobs Part 2 by Renault
    Some Shopping by Renault
    Squeeky's Secret by Ganac
    SSDD: Tipping The Scales by TheImmortalThief
    Swamped by Preno
    Tears of Blood by Morrgan
    A Thief's Holiday 2004 (WIP) by Ganac
    Thief Noir by russellmz
    THORK by Ganac
    Through The Lookin' Glass by Renault
    Torben - The Traitor by Sperry
    Transitions in Chaos, Part 1: Conspiracies in the Dark by Renault
    Transitions in Chaos, Part 1: Conspiracies in the Dark by Curunir
    Treason and Plot by Renault
    Turning The Tables by Sperry
    Unfinished Business by Morrgan
    Unfortunate Formulae by russellmz
    Your Last Breath by Preno
    Zombiekiller by Ganac

    The following reviews existed, but I was unable to recover them (if anyone has them, please send them to me!):

    Benny's Dead by Dan7
    Hookshot Demo by Ganac
    Rose Cottage by Dan7
    The Secret Way by Sperry
    The Seven Sisters by nicked
    Trial By Night by Melan
    Last edited by Brethren; 11th May 2017 at 13:34.

  2. #2
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The Deceptive Sceptre
    Review posted on January 28, 2008 by Username
    Tagged with Bafford • City • thief1/gold

    The Deceptive Sceptre is a small sized level that has you reclaiming Lord Baffords sceptre from a small hamlet. In order to get it, you have to take out the hired hand who is guarding it. All difficulty settings have the same two mission objectives.

    You start in a room with very high walls. There is a servant who is apparently admiring a painting on the wall. He can hear you but he cannot see you. A wooden ramp leads down to another room. There are the same painting again, three chaiselounges, a chair and a table with 100 loot on it. There is also a guard who will attack you on sight. A door leads outside the building down a narrow cobble street. You can jump up for a quick peek behind the walls surrounding the street. There is nothing behind them except the blackness the level boundary. The street ends at a small stream and a bridge. Two more swordsmen are guarding it. You cant sneak by them but you can try to get the stream between you and them, sometimes they fall off the ledge and drown. At the other end of the bridge is a table with 8 water arrows on it. You dont really need them because behind the door nearby is that guard you have to kill anyway. Go inside and take him out, then grab the sceptre.

    Kill a guard and get the sceptre? That sounds suspiciously like the LGS-tutorial for DromEd. The Deceptive Sceptre is no doubt a first time effort. Its like the author started toying with DromEd and after a couple of days he decided to release what he had created so far. Hence unpolished architecture and unadjusted lighting in a level where objects dont cast any shadows and people look like the Charcoal Man from some angles.

    So, how is it? Bad yet inoffensively so and most importantly: mercifully short. And hey, the author got doors working. Thats more than I managed on my first day with DromEd.

  3. #3
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Down We Go!
    Review posted on January 26, 2008 by Username
    Tagged with Crypt • thief1/gold • Underground

    This mission consists of two segments that are separated by a gate: the first one contains three buildings with some loot and a lot of guards, the second is a large, open area with a deep hole at the end.

    Somewhere in the underground exists the tomb of a magician where some more loot can be found. While this isnt not a hugely imaginative idea, the concept offers a clear-cut mission objective that even a designer with little skills can tackle. The crude architecture can be forgiven - this is one of the first fan missions ever created. Phantom images and crashes due to high polycounts in some areas can be avoided. Even the broken winning conditions dont bother me that much - I can still manually end the mission.

    What really does bother me is that Down We Go! is nigh unplayable. Dozens of guards patrol a grassy field under an oddly bright night sky. You cant hide because there arent enough shadows to hide in. You cant fight because you start out only with the blackjack and a few rope arrows. If youre create a Thief fan mission you should at least have understood how the gameplay works.

  4. #4
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Elizabeth Bathory - Chapters 1 and 2
    Review posted on January 15, 2008 by theImmortalThief
    Tagged with City • Guards • horror • Mansion • Thief 2

    These missions are another set of gems by Sensut. Weve seen many spectacular missions from him (the Dracula series) and these are no less. Sensut has experienced new mission aspects than the ones he explored in the Dracula series. The results show that he is a master of his trade regardless of the missions type and setting.

    What sets Sensuts missions apart are two important elements, first is his uncanny ability and eye for putting together sound, texture and light in a fashion that results in a chokingly intense and exciting atmosphere. Second is his superb mission layout and planning. As a mission author I can see that a stunning amount of forethought and planning must have gone into the designs of his missions.

    In this series Sensut has picked another of Romanias notorious historical figures as the central role of his story. Doing some research on Elizabeth Bathory I was stunned at the magnitude of the crimes attributed to her. She is known as one of the greatest mass murderers in all of human history. Some believe these charges to have been grossly exaggerated. Sensut has another take on what really happened back then. This will start to be revealed as the player progresses through the missions. All the important characters of Elizabeths story appear in the missions. Their roles are cast in a different light that of the common belief.

    Mission one starts at a citys gate. The setting is classic Sensut, its sunset. There are many native elements in the mission, this combined with the knowledge that this is the authors native land gives a special feeling to the mission. You feel as if you have an insiders view of the story from someone who may actually have better grasp of the events. Getting into the city which apparently is under curfew is interesting and creative. The city is not large but at first you can hardly access anywhere. Here we reach one of the shows of Sensuts brilliant layout. Without visibly and unreasonably limiting the player, the player is artfully channeled through the course of the story. Unlike most city missions where certain portions of a city are initially inaccessible, the whole city is accessible at the start. The mission expands in the z axis, from the streets to the rooftops.

    Not all is perfect though. There are some few very odd hallways and doors on the rooftops which dont make much sense. The textures and buildings contain many wooden sections, but rope arrows hardly ever stick in any of them. A player may stop trying to shoot arrows into wooden surfaces, but that wont work. In order to progress you need to use your rope arrows in two occasions. In contrast to all other places in the mission, one of these occasions requires shooting an arrow in a place that youd normally think is not wooden!

    Sensut encountered another problem in this mission, and that was the loot objective, which in my opinion was not very gracefully handled. In such story-driven missions with a no-return point, leaving out the loot objective is probably a logical choice, especially considering the fact that the players character is not a thief on a looting spree and actually is an agent trusted with an important job. The loot objective seems rather unnecessary.

    Mission two starts right where the first one ends, but with an interesting change in the players character. The first 15 minutes through the mission are rather boring, as the architecture is pretty bland and actually seems a bit halfheartedly done. I was almost starting to be disappointed, but worry not! The mission suddenly picks its pace up and the architecture improves dramatically. Here more of the story unfolds and history is retold, but with Sensuts creative take on it. There are a few large and empty places in the mission which dont seem to have been necessary to have been so big and empty, but little by little the players starts to get a feeling of the huge estates layout, and I can tell you that once again, Sensut has done a great job. Sections are blocked and accessed and the player is channeled through the storys flow through a series of keys and well placed locked doors. although this system seems pretty simple in the first glance, if you pay attention youll see that its actually very complicated and once again, well executed.

    All in all, these missions were very enjoyable and Im looking forward to chapter 3. They are fun, interesting and highly original. My hat is off to you, Sensut!

  5. #5
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The Folly Of Youth
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Crypt, Outdoors, Hammerite, Church, Underground
    January 3rd, 2007 by Renault

    Brought to us by The_Dude, this very lengthy FM creates quite a few different environments to explore and goals to accomplish (although not all in the form of the standard Thief objectives), and will likely keep the player busy in excess of three or four hours. Garrett moves from forest to church to crypt and back and forth all over again during his adventure, which leads to a pretty good sense of accomplishment but also at times a lot of tedious backtracking. Be aware that the difficulty here is also pretty steep, and may require some direction from the nearby forums. Still, the plot is intriguing enough and kept me interested, and with the help of some nice technical touches, the FM delivers in a big way overall.

    One interesting feature is the periodic spawning of the AI, who appear within the level as the events unfold. This really keeps the player on alert, and while you may not be used to it, it does provide a decent challenge while also generating a more realistic setting. You also have to appreciate the authors sense of humor, with many tongue-in-cheek jokes and movie references spread throughout the mission to keep us entertained. While the architecture is bland in several areas (particularly the outdoor ones), the journey more than makes up for it. The lengthy storyline could have used a larger number of objectives to push the narrative along and direct the player on what to do. Some may find this frustrating (me including), as for quite a bit of the mission, the player is not exactly sure what they are trying to accomplish. Still, this is a very fun FM and highly recommended. For a first full mission (contest entries not included), this is quite a gem and will prove to be very rewarding for any fan of Garrett's endeavors.
    Last edited by Brethren; 8th May 2017 at 23:39.

  6. #6
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Ashen Age Pt. 1
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Campaign, Classic, City, Keepers, Guards
    December 2nd, 2006 by Bulgarian_Taffer

    FM Title: Ashen Age part 1
    Author/Builder: Sliptip
    Thief Version: Thief 2
    Genre: Daylight, City, Guards
    Size: Medium
    Number of times played: 1
    Difficulty levels played: Normal

    REVIEW

    Its one of the best daylight missions ever made. This is a very good first attempt, so I applaud Sliptip for his work.

    The briefing in the mission readme tells us about strange disappearences of people in the city. Even members of the Keeper order are missing. Garrett has to find out whats going on as soon as possible and that explains the fact why he cant wait for the night to come.

    The mission starts in the Garretts appartment. Of course, the first objective is to find out some information about the missing Keepers, but there is also a loot objective. When you get out on the streets you find that the architecture of the city is very well made and gorgeous. There are guards lurking around (it seems that even little noise can alert them), thats why I chose the safest way to move around - swimming into the canal. Later I discovered that this part of the city is not so big as I thought at first. Actually, I was able to complete this medium-sized mission in about 50 minutes.

    The atmosphere is very tense. What are these portraits of the Keepers doing here? There is a lot to investigate, though many questions remain unanswered in the end. After you finish this masterpiece, better calm down and patiently wait for the second part, taffer

    WHO WOULD LIKE THIS MISSION?

    If you enjoy daylight missions, this one is for you. If you dont - please, dont hesitate to download it, it offers a lot of game value so you wont be disappointed.

    WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

    UliB: Great FM. It felt a bit like T3. Very nice textures.
    Aspirin: This is Taffers heaven !!!
    Angelot: A wonderful and state of the art mission, for graphic and sounds! Great!!
    SlyFoxx: Fantastic work Sliptip. Youve really broken new ground. You should be proud!
    DrK: Well, what should I say a Masterpiece !
    cardia1:i want to congrat the Author of this mission for the beautiful Architecture, Textures, wonderful light, i loved the ambient sound
    Dia: WOW! Absolutely GREAT FM!!! The architecture is breathtaking; the textures and sounds are fantastic!

    RATING

    Ill try to rate this mission as they did on the Circle long ago. Sorry, Digi, if I didnt do it well, but I tried my best
    Visuals: 10.0 - It gives you a bit Thief 3 feeling.
    Atmosphere: 9.0 - Very tense
    Story: 9.5 - Excellent, though it needs a little polish.
    Gameplay: 10 - Very challenging, interesting, a lot of areas to explore.
    Pros: Gorgeous architecture, excellent texturing, the story is just great.
    Cons: Nothing significant comes to mind, except that sometimes you get the feeling as the guards have eyes on their back.
    Bonus/Penalty: +1.0
    Final: 10
    Last edited by Brethren; 8th May 2017 at 23:37.

  7. #7
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Lost Souls
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Mansion, Contest, Guards
    November 4th, 2006 by Snake

    This mission was released as part of the Water Contest in September 2006 by TheNightTerror.

    The plot, which you may need a family tree for, gets quite confusing, involving Basso, Jenivere, Bassos Mother, sister and niece (see what I mean). Anyway, thats not very important as it revolves around the premise that Dayport is experiencing severe rainfall and flooding as a result. Garrett, Basso and Jenivere must evacuate, but not without his mother and sister who have disappeared at the manor they work in. Enter Garrett who must find out what happened. The things he does for Basso.

    This is a beautifully created mission with a very clever and intricate plot and the nice touch of an impending flood. The weather effects are well implemented with the foreboding sound of thunder in the background. The manor is small but with wonderful architecture and choc-full of custom textures and objects. I especially appreciated the Victrola classical music which added a terrific atmosphere in some parts. AIs are sharp and polys are kept low. I just wish this wasnt a contest FM as its kept small. Could have been a real classic otherwise. At almost 7MB I felt a little cheated, dont know why the file is that size.

    Verdict

    Superb little mission with lots of innovative touches throughout and a great atmosphere, but make it bigger! 4/5

  8. #8
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    A Shopping Stopover
    Posted in Reviews
    October 6th, 2006 by nicked

    This fairly small mission is set in a log cabin building in the depths of winter. Theres good use of weather with a heavy snowfall in all the outdoor areas, and the architecture and texturing looks good at all times, although the poly count creeps up in some areas!

    The missions storyline is that Garrett has to steal some weapons, having retired from thieving some time ago. The mission is a prologue to a larger mission (yet to be released) and as such is quite small and easily completable in about half an hour.

    As Garrett has to get some tools as his objectives, the levels main focus is ghosting, which proves a challenge but not too difficult - theres lots of good hiding spots. There is a lot of keyhunting - as Garrett has no lockpicks at first. However, there is a solution - if you can find it!

    The plot is interesting with a lot of very well written readables giving an insight into the lives of the inhabitants of the cabin, although it can be tricky to read some of them, as the text appears onscreen temporarily for most of the signs, and unless youre a fast reader, you can get caught by a guard mid-sentence!

    The most memorable part of the mission is when you find the barn around the back of the cabin. I wont spoil the fun for you, but suffice to say, opening the barn doors results in some amusing chaos!

    All in all, its a very fun mission and well-designed although small. Its good for a quick 20 minute to half an hour blast - and one day it will hopefully nicely complement its sequel!

  9. #9
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    A Debt Repaid
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, City
    September 21st, 2006 by Weasel

    A Debt Repaid by Ottoj55 (Jason Otto), released 8/30/2004

    In an interesting twist, A Debt Repaid features a now-playable Basso on a mission to save Garrett for once. Never having gone through Keeper training himself, Basso is not as stealthy as Garrett. He sports a blood-red lightgem that rarely reaches its darkest level, and he needs to stay out of the line of sight of guards rather than simply blending into shadows. He can still hold his own with the blackjack and bow and the rest of the familiar Thief tools, so the experience isnt all that different from playing as Garrett. The switcheroo lends more to a unique (albeit relatively simple) plot than to a change in gameplay. Garrett has finally been captured by the city watch, and Basso has to rescue him before they make him pay for his crimes.

    The environment starts off deceptively plain. There are many buildings around the central city watch station that cannot be entered. They look nice enough, but none of them are particularly memorable. The station itself is even less exciting from the outside, but you cant see a whole lot of it at first. Things get immensely more interesting when you enter confined spaces, which is where the construction excels. A sewer offers little more than a path from point A to point B, but it is filled with pipes and dripping vents that look slightly different (and more believable) than most Thief sewers.

    Aside from brief stints in the out-of-doors and the sewers, the entirety of the mission takes place within the station itself. Most of the rooms are simple rectangles and most of the halls are boxy, but its appropriate for the setting. The texturing, lighting, and decoration are so well done that it doesnt matter. Every inch of the station is packed with details.

    Its clear that function is more important than appearance in this station. The walls and floors are grimy (several textures have been lifted from Max Payne and put to good use). There are no decorative tile floors, which is a good balance against Bassos shadow-blending deficiency. Every room has a clear purpose, and eventually youll find everything youd expect to be in a police station.

    The gameplay is heavy on exploration, and you need to find several hidden switches and passages throughout the course of the mission. Some of them are hinted at in readables, and as I played I developed a sixth sense for uncovering the secrets. Where the switches were hardest to find, I somehow knew that I was searching for them (it was hard to say exactly why in some cases). I never had a sense of being stuck.

    There are several puzzles that require carefully following directions. One of them is very similar to the use of the machinery in Soulforge, but without the lengthy treks between rooms. For the rest of the puzzles, it was hard to tell at first where each clue would be applied. Half of the challenge lay in categorizing the information at hand (Will this help me in the electric room, the dungeon, or secure storage?). It may sound annoying to some people, but on the contrary I found it highly rewarding as everything finally began to make sense.

    The mission includes several new inventory items, and they are very useful. For example, the gas bomb, which is thrown like the familiar flash bomb, is perfect for taking out guards who would otherwise spot you and cut you down while you readied a gas arrow (and Expert difficulty include a few of the thick-helmeted guards that cant be blackjacked).

    There are many readables throughout the station, and they are uniformly well-written. They tie this mission into the OMs very well, and the clever references to Cragscleft and Shoalsgate had me chuckling.

    The attention to detail, which I mentioned briefly before, is really the star of this mission. Its clear that a lot of thought went into every area, from the large patrol room down to the elevator shafts and cramped steam tunnels. The myriad details are better experienced than described. The environment immersed me to a degree that is rarely achieved in the OMs let alone FMs and this immediately became one of my favorite missions.

  10. #10
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Mr Chuz
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 1/Gold, Mansion, Undead, Guards
    August 29th, 2006 by Morrgan

    The mission description of Mr Chuz by Azrarhn gives little background to go on: the mission is set before the events in Thief 1 and Garrett needs some cash in order to stay low for a while. The objectives screen gives few hints about the mission itself: the target is a mansion owned by a Mr Chuz and in addition to regular looting you need to obtain some notes of his as well as a tome called the Book of Magic. Not exactly what Id call the usual set of goals for a usual mansion heist, with no explanation given as to why Garrett should find those extra items.

    Your first view as the mission starts up is a brick wall seen very close, which continues the baffling impression; but turning around, you get a nice view of the facade of the mansion. The bottom half of it boasts a few unusual but pleasant architectural details; the second floor of the mansion looks unfinished however, creating a strange contrast between the two parts. This type of conflicting design continues throughout the mission: the mansions architecture ranges from imaginative and detailed to extremely simple, giving the mission an unfinished feel. Most plain areas make sense judged by their purpose, such as the servants quarters being less decorated than the guest rooms. In this case however, less decorated means single-textured cubes. In general, the use of textures seems sloppy.

    One problem I noticed is that many brushes are not aligned properly; leaving a thin edge that usually has the wrong texture, sometimes even the default jorge. I encountered another construction problem with some of the stairs: the steps are too high, which means the AI can get stuck on them.

    Once inside the mansion, three things caught my attention. First of all, the use of lighting is effective. Light sources are used well to create an interesting contrast between bright areas and shadows. A small complaint is that no torches seem to have a light radius set, so that their effect on the light-gem continues well beyond the range of their visible light: meaning that if you want to create a convenient shadowy area, you must extinguish all torches in sight.

    Secondly, while sneaking further into the mansion, I noticed the effectiveness of the guards patrols. It seemed that every time I thought I had cleared a corridor, yet another guard was just around the corner. The patrols are not that complex but they overlap, making them hard to predict and adding that extra bit of tension.

    Thirdly, the mission contains numerous details linking texts and story to the level itself. For example, a text mentions a card game that occurred earlier in the evening; soon after that I found cards on a table. The person who wrote the text also declares that he will get drunk tonight; what do you know; a little later I stumbled upon a very drunk guard. I do love little details like that.

    The mansions layout can be confusing and there is no map. The keys that can be found have no names to indicate what they are for, which can result in a lot of running back and forth, trying to remember the locations of those unpickable locked doors that are found before the keys. The keys are few though, and the mansion is not that large, so this isnt as frustrating as it may sound.

    The story is revealed piece by piece as more of the mansion is explored. To begin with, the mansion seems like a normal building, perhaps with a more peculiar choice of textures here and there. However, not too far into the mission you find the first worrying hint, then another, and soon it becomes clear that something is amiss; a nice way of building tension, I must say. Near the end you leave the mansion for a while, and this is when things get really absurd. At this point many players might find some of the oddities too much to stay immersed in the level. I know I did the first time I played the mission, although the second time I already knew the story and could appreciate most of them as part of the plot.

    A major weakness of Mr Chuz is the lack of background. Why did Garrett choose this mansion? How did he find out about the Book of Magic? What will he do with Chuzs notes? Some of the areas found in the level would also benefit from an explanation. Still, the mission itself is quite fun to play and has a delightfully creepy atmosphere - not to mention being a pleasant change from the usual mansion heist.

    Pros: Good gameplay; creepy atmosphere; some creative architecture can be seen.
    Cons: Too many questions remain after finishing the mission; architecture and terrain could be improved in many areas.
    Bottom Line: A very strange mission, but strange in a good way.
    Note: The original mission had a problem with a couple of objectives that didnt tick off when they should have. This problem has been fixed in version 2.0 according to the readme, but for some reason a warning is still given on the objective screen. The objectives ticked off when they were supposed to every time I played the updated mission.

  11. #11
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Jenivere De Ja Vu
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, City, Guards
    August 24th, 2006 by russellmz

    Author : John Denison
    Date Finished : May 31, 2003

    Really liked the first half of this mission. Big old city design, inventive ways to get into buildings besides lockpick front door and some good little plots like missing keys and prisoner movements.

    The problem comes from the loot limit. Theres just one difficulty setting and it has a 2000 gold requirement (out of ~2500). Considering Im the thief who likes to make a quick buck and run (sometimes getting as little as 50% of a missions loot before finishing a missions objectives), getting 80% of a large maps loot is crazy. I knocked out over 50 guards, practically memorized the map running back and forth, and after using the walkthrough, got 2014 gold. I was particularly pathetic when at 1917 gold I was chasing down one coin worth 5. Some loot is in weird places. Almost two hours on the part of the mission after all the guards are knocked out is madness.

    The map was excellent but had one or two minor errors like a sign that you couldnt read the text on. Nothing serious but the loot requirement is a killer.

    Definitely download, but non-experts like myself will need some help beating the loot objective.

  12. #12
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Squeekys Secret
    Review posted on January 26, 2008 by Ganac
    Tagged with Bad Mission • Guards • Thief 2

    This is surely Manos: The Hands of Fate Thief FM, one of the lowest of the low.

    The story is lame. The settings are big bland and empty. There is no attention to design. The only loot is rings scattered RANDOMLY ON THE GRASS! One guard is glitched where you cant even knock him out. The ladders work poorly, and you cant even kill squeeky, which is kind of dissapointing.

    Worst I have ever played. Not worth the .4 Mb.

  13. #13
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Unfortunate Formulae
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Guards
    August 24th, 2006 by russellmz

    Author : Timon
    Version : 1.0
    22 January 2003

    Good story, but it forces you to ghost. Still, even with my meager skills I was able to avoid getting killed (I got through with one health left plus four from apples and carrots). Of course with so few enemies and such a small map it would be pretty boring to slam a path straight through with a blackjack.

    Loot was well dispersed: I had trouble meeting the minimum loot goal, and then when I looked at the stats I was amazed to see I barely got over the halfway mark! The problem is that if you did all the other objectives you cant explore and get the remaining loot easily.

    There is at least one sickly labeled pretty item you can pick up.
    Worth a download, but if you think ghosting is the devil (like me) you might take pause.

  14. #14
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The Curse
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Mansion, Crypt, Undead
    August 15th, 2006 by Weasel

    The Curse (La Malédiction) by Ramirez Old Fat Burrick, original release date January 20, 2005

    The Curse starts off as a standard break-and-enter mission in mansion thats reputed to be haunted. The thick fog and eerie sounds at the Herman estate give you an idea of how the reputation was earned, but everything looks empty and deserted at first. However, you soon meet the ghost of the man you intended to rob and he actually wants your help. He no longer cares about his riches, but simply wants help in lifting the curse that has befallen his home and his family.

    With no weapons and no guidance beyond a letter the dead man has written for you, you set off (against your better judgment) to solve the mystery and break the curse.

    The property quickly fills up with zombies, and you have nothing to dispatch them with. Luckily, the place is dark enough that you can escape from the zombies readily when you need to. Walk 5 feet away from them and they lose sight (or smell) of you and forget you were ever there. If you absolutely dont like zombies, you may not like this mission; but youll be missing out.

    You eventually do get some weapons and learn about three deadly foes that must be dispatched before you can lift the curse. These three foes are well-designed (and very nice-looking), and you need more brains than brawn to defeat them. Along the way you gradually get access to more and more rooms of the medium-sized house and you venture into the family crypts beside it.

    Every every room and every hallway has been given thought, and it shows. The architecture of the house feels unique, but at the same time very real. The house and crypts are just small enough that they never get repetetive or confusing without being too small. Some new textures and new paintings fit right in with the assets from the original games.

    The sound is top-notch, and keeps you creeped out the whole time.

    The story is revealed to you a little bit at a time and is integrated into the environment very well. Its easy to recognize locations that have been mentioned in the diaries and notes that you read, and just as easy to imagine how the described events unfolded before you arrived.

    The one aspect of the mission that is potentially the most frustrating is finding the necessary keys and switches. They are hard to see, and you dont always know exactly when you need to be looking for one. The locations of some of the keys are hinted at in the readables, and you just need to be observant of everything as you explore. The functions and locations of all of the keys and switches do make sense as soon as you find them, so it never reaches the point of feeling unfair.

    If you like to be creeped out and you can stomach the zombies, this is the mission for you. If you dont like zombies, you should get over it and play the mission anyway. The length is just right for playing in one sitting. Besides the possible moments of frustration before you find the next key or switch, there is nothing bad I can say about the mission.

    The mission includes both French and English versions.

  15. #15
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The Cistern
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Crypt, Undead, Sewer, Creatures, Underground
    August 10th, 2006 by Weasel

    The Cistern by Gumdrop, original release date December 12, 2002

    Since as far back as Baffords Manor, sewer-diving has been a common activity in Thief missions. In Gumdrops mission The Cistern, its the main focus, and very few missions have done it so well.

    Gumdrop admits that the level was inspired by Tomb Raider (the original, which has a level of the same name), and he even uses a few assets from that game.

    The graphics sound boring when describedalmost everything ranges from gray to dark greenbut the precise texturing, the ambient lighting, and the subtle use of fog make the dim stone alcoves and tunnels beautiful. Some new textures have been borrowed from (or at least inspired by) Tomb Raider, and they fit right in. The architecture is unique and truly three-dimensional, and feels very real.

    The story is no more than a sentence or two to get you started, but thats appropriate for a place that seems to have been forgotten long ago. The rest of the story, if you can call it that, is told through what you observe. You come across the bodies and bones of a few previous explorers, and you can only assume that they came for the same reasons as you.

    The gameplay includes only a small amount of sneaking and thieving, and just as much swimming, key-hunting, and climbing (or descending). If youre looking for human guards, this isnt the mission for you. Your only foes through most of the mission are a cadre of bugmen, a rare sight in FMs or OMs. I found the bugmen annoying in Thief: TDP, but theyre used well here and add significantly to the creepiness of the place. You eventually find your way into a crypt at the end of the mission, and its suitably infested with zombies. You get a vial of holy water and a pile of water arrows when you start this section, and its not too hard to take out all the zombies if youre quick enough on the draw. Alternately, you can dodge around them and taunt them. Zombie-haters beware!

    The real star of the mission is the sound. Theres a lot of water aroundsome flowing, some dripping, and some just sitting. Many different water-related sound effects are used, as well as some ambient creepy noises. Each area has a distinct soundscape even when the visuals are similar, and the different water sounds make it seem as though the water is being collected, pumped and channeled all around you. An ambient track and two foreboding songs from Tomb Raider are used in just the right places to set the mood.

    The mission is rather short and the most difficult aspect is finding the keys (and on the hardest difficulty setting, enough loot to meet that requirement). The gameplay is not like that of most Thief missionsthe closest comparison is Down in the Bonehoardbut if youre looking for atmosphere thick enough that you can taste it, this mission has it in spades.

  16. #16
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The Night Watch
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Campaign, Mansion, Guards, Creatures
    April 7th, 2007 by nicked

    This four-mission campaign from Fidcal is, at its heights, a thrilling, challenging and unique experience, filled with some inspired ideas and real depth. Originally envisaged as a single FM, the size clearly got the better of the author, and as such it has been split into four. This means that in places, you will be revisiting areas from previous missions, but rarely does this drag, as the author has filled each location with an evolving and intriguing story.

    An associate of Garretts, Jack Midcoat, has got him a job as a Night Watchman for the mysterious Lord Drakan, a reclusive and powerful man who lives in a huge castle estate on top of a mountain. Your objective is to help Jack escape with his secret lover, a servant called Gwendoline. But things are much more complicated than that, and the synopsis barely scratches the surface of the deep and interesting plot that slowly unfolds. The story is told through many well-written books and scrolls, and my only criticism is that at times theres a little too much story to take in, and you may find yourself a little confused by the end.

    Visually, there is a huge amount of custom content, including many new enemies and AIs, some of which require unique strategies to defeat. Occasionally it appears slightly disjointed however, as some of the new content seems a little out of place. Another nice touch is that some of the readable plaques scattered throughout the levels are made of custom textures that are readable from in the game - a realistic approach rarely taken by FM authors.

    A lot of thought has gone into keeping the gameplay fresh throughout, and there are a vast number of unique and fun puzzles, although some of them can be frustratingly difficult, and the complex scripting behind some of them means it can be tricky to get things exactly right. Very rarely, a few of them break, requiring a reload, or even restarting the mission. Thankfully this is extremely rare, and the frustration is eased by a handy new feature - as important clues are revealed to you, Garrett takes down notes that you can refer to at any time, meaning its not so vital to memorize every conversation you hear.

    Speaking of conversations, theres some fantastic new sounds, mainly a wide variety of new voice sets to accompany the wide variety of custom AIs. In particular the heroic voice of Jack is the icing on the cake and really helps you to invest in the character.

    Things are kept fresh by a wide variety of locations - beginning with the giddying heights of one of the castle towers - a rickety ladder climb of vertigo-inducing proportions! Opulent halls, eerie, claustrophobic rooms, and a brilliantly-designed sewer section that is almost remeniscent of the bowels of the Black Mesa Research Facility mean that you will not be bored while pursuing your goals.

    With four long missions to complete, you wont be completing this in a short sitting, but persevere, as there are some really great moments later on that you wont want to miss! Its occasionally rough around the edges and can be frustrating, and is quite often bizarre and unusual, but these are minor flaws in an otherwise exceptional game. The 90Mb download size is well worth it.

  17. #17
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Through The Lookin Glass
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Mansion, Thieves, Underground
    March 9th, 2007 by Renault

    Its great to see a mission from Schwaa again, who's back at it after a 3+ year hiatus. There seems to be a mini-trend with old designers rejoining the scene, definitely a good thing. In this case, we're treated to nice mansion mission with multiple points of entry. Construction is very well done, and there are some good AI placements around the perimeter to keep the player on their toes. The plot is a bit strange, with reports of a cult living in the mansion and being able to extract diamonds from the sky. Even so, the story is revealed in pieces after entry into the mansion, and the player will be given a fair amount of things to accomplish via objectives. Overall, its definitely a satisfying Thief experience you should check out for yourself.

    We also get some interesting new objects and technical effects, the primary one being alluded to in the title of the FM. Although not directly related to your specific goals, they really do add to the gameplay and create a unique atmosphere. With that in mind, there are a few chinks in the armor here, the main one being playing time. While this is a fun mission, its fairly short, clocking probably around 45 minutes to an hour. I remember thinking I was probably only about halfway through the level, when I suddenly realized there wasn't anything else to do. Also, despite all of the author's great new objects and effects, we don't get any new wall/floor texturing, which is surprising. Last, the level could have used a few more ambients to set the mood. These are minor criticisms, all in all this is an entertaining level, and one can only hope that the author will stick around for a while to crank out some more of them.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 12:07.

  18. #18
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Broken Heart
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Mansion, Thieves
    March 6th, 2007 by Renault |

    Another month goes by, and we have another FM by Cardia1. This author really seems to be cranking out the missions, and this time the player is dropped into a seemingly deserted castle with an ominous history. This is definitely progress, as this time around (unlike in Citadel of Douro) there actually is a story present, and a pretty good one. But despite some impressive architecture (again) and pleasing soundtrack material (again), this author has fallen into a few of the classic traps of Thief FMs, namely a gigantic keyhunt and some excessive combat. Inspiring authors take note - these are not elements that the majority of Thief players wish to see in their ideal mission. Back to the story though, it could have been developed better, but the end result isn't bad and it has it's moments - right up until the point where the player is reduced to the role of a commando near the finale. It was certainly a bad omen when the keyhunt portion of this mission ended in the armory (but in all fairness, at least the player is equipped generously to tackle the job). Still, if you can stomach the violence, this mission is fun to play through, and I again can't help but notice the potential this author has if they could ever put it all together in one package. At the pace they're creating levels, there's a good chance we won't have to wait too long to find out.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 12:09.

  19. #19
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Mystic Gems I - Unlucky Soul
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Series, Mansion, Warehouse, Sewer, Guards
    March 5th, 2007 by Renault

    I'm not sure if this FM by Wille is their first release (the info I have is a bit unclear), but if it is, they've certainly beaten the learning curve. Anyone who plays this mission for even just a few seconds will realize that it is as visually stunning as anything weve seen to date. I dont believe there there is an original Thief2 texture or object in the entire level. In addition to that, the attention to detail is unparalleled. Just browsing around the kitchens and basements and bedrooms, every location is full of objects, decorations, and readables, and the ultimate illusion that most authors seek is delivered - this is a actual place, and a real person was standing here just a moment ago. This is immersion by definition, and with Thief games, the impact is even greater than with other 3D games.

    There's a solid story in play here, although not overly detailed or involved. Garrett needs to (yet again) steal the Mystic Soul gem that he first encountered in the Bonehoard level of the first Thief game (the other gem, The Mystic Heart, will be tackled in a future installment). In doing so, he'll need to traverse a sewer, mansion, and a warehouse. One interesting aspect of this mission can be noticed during the mansion portion, where there are several points of entry. This is refreshing, given the linearity of the majority of FMs out there. Not only does it enhance replay value, but it allows the player to think a little more about their actions.

    Everything may sound too good to be true so far, and truth be told, it is. The major shortcoming of Unlucky Soul is that its too short. You can easily finish this mission in under an hour, and 30-45 minutes isn't unreasonable. And speaking of easily, this FM is exactly that. There aren't enough AI in place to give the player much of a challenge. Things get a bit tougher near the end when Garrett is forced to ghost (which may rub some players the wrong way,) but even then, its not going to cause most fans to break a sweat. Still, despite a few criticisms, this FM should not be missed, if for no other reason than it being one of those rare Dark Engine games that looks too good to be a Dark Engine game. And, you can at the very least envision the forthcoming sequel and hope that the experience will last a little longer.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 11:53.

  20. #20
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Sisterhood of Azura Part 2: The House
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Series, Mansion, Mechanist, Guards
    March 4th, 2007 by Renault

    After a nearly five year hiatus, And has returned to bring us the sequel to his Sisterhood of Azura mission (Estheridge). That five years seems to have been well spent, and the result is a fantastic mansion mission, probably one of the best of its kind ever created. The player is treated to an extremely large house (hence the subtitle) with detailed architecture that is a blast to explore. Accompanying this great design is an intricate plot that really uses objectives as they were intended, driving the player towards their final goal. Some may argue that the mission is reduced to a bit of a keyhunt at times, but with Thief, this is occasionally just the nature of the beast. In any case, this FM has an extremely polished and finished feel to it, almost if it was straight out of Looking Glass Studios, and that's rare these days. Its also a fairly long mission, likely requiring anywhere from 3-6 hours to complete. If you're about to dig in, you better set aside an entire afternoon.

    The House starts with Garrett locked away in prison, before being sprung by one of his Keeper pals. His first goal is to reach a specific area of the mansion to discover secret information, and along the way, the story is revealed piece by piece. I'm not a ghoster, but it seems this mission would be ideal for such a style, with lots of small dark places to hide but also an abundance of AI. On that note, the AI are placed extremely well throughout the mission, making it just difficult enough but not overly so. Later, as certain events unravel, new AI are spawned strategically in the players path, just to keep the gameplay from getting too dull. We've seen this tactic in a few other recent FMs, and its one I'm a big fan of. Related to this, there are some good subtle technical effects spread throughout the level, which keep the experience interesting and fresh.

    In the end, there's not a lot to criticize here. Worth mentioning is the lack of custom material - specifically textures, which I believe are all stock Thief2 resources and nothing new. To be honest, while this is rare for an FM of this size and scope, its not that noticeable, mainly because the design and use of the standard textures was so creatively executed. A few times I did feel a bit stranded, stuck within this huge building and not quite sure where to go to achieve my next goal, but that's a problem I don't mind dealing with. Finally, there were a couple of sound issues, specifically one area where it seemed that certain AI could hear me even though they were one floor up, as well as some spaces with no sound at all. These are minor beefs, at best, and I guarantee this mission wont disappoint many fans. In the readme file, the author mentions that this is his last map, and if true, that would be extremely disappointing. I think the majority of the Thief fanbase would love the opportunity to visit the Sisterhood (at least) one more time.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 11:58.

  21. #21
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Secret Breaking Of A Pyramid
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Crypt, Undead, Creatures, Underground
    March 3rd, 2007 by Renault

    This Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider style FM created by Zmey gets off to a very bad start - a long, narrow corridor full of dozens of spiders. You have to wonder what the author was thinking, as you certainly won't endear many die hard Thief fans this way. Once this portion of the level is over, things get a little better, but not significantly. Garrett must maneuver within an ancient pyramid, seeking treasure and searching out the original roll (a ancient text). While the premise sounds good, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. First off, that's about the extent of the plot - no new objectives are revealed and despite some cryptic scrolls left behind, we never get much of a backstory on the pyramid or why Garrett is here. That aside, the most obvious criticism from the get go is the design of the pyramid, which contains way too many excruciatingly long hallways devoid of detail or any kind of decoration or adornment. Most of the adjoining rooms are not much better, simple cubes with minimal objects and uncreative texturing. At least a lot of the textures are new and unique to this type of setting, or the player might fall asleep altogether.

    On a positive note, there is a significantly gratifying feel of discovery and exploration within the pyramid, as many areas are accessible by rope, key and secret buttons. That said, many of the puzzles are just too illogical, with (for example) one button opening a door way over on the opposite side of the level (and no indication that it is doing so), or a sapphire key opening a door that has nothing to do with its title. There's a lot of guesswork here as to what needs to be accomplished, and that coupled with the long corridors that take time to navigate can really frustrate the player. Loot is another topic worth discussing. The loot count on expert was extremely high (40,000 gold), and the majority of the loot are found in rooms where it is stockpiled, meaning the player may spend a full minute or two just frobbing loot items. This isn't necessarily fun for most people, and I think the loot should have been spread throughout the level a bit more evenly. Lastly, combat is inevitable in some sections of the map (AI often appear out of nowhere in brightly-lit areas), and many fans will not look upon that favorably when they prefer to sneak around (or even ghost). Its hard to criticize this mission too much as a first-outing, but when considering the overall design one has to wonder how in touch the author is with the Thief community.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 11:55.

  22. #22
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Freedo Finds One
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Crypt, Outdoors, Bank, Guards
    March 2nd, 2007 by Renault

    OK, yes, this is a first-time mission by Cloaked In Darkness, and it shows in several areas. There certainly wont be any architectural awards handed out today, and everything is shaped rather square and fundamental. The sound propagation is questionable in many areas, and there isn't anything fresh or original here that we haven't seen before. But still, there's fun to be had within, and this is a very good rookie effort that makes it apparent the author put some solid time and effort into their release. There's a fairly straightforward plot, but some creative objective choices were made to carry it out. The loot objective in particular created an nice challenge, and that aspect in particular extended my playing experience to over an hour. We witness an ample variety of settings, everything from a bank to a crypt to an underground warehouse area. AI placement and lighting was certainly carried out competently. Overall, this mission feels very complete and well-rounded for a freshman entry and it seems obvious that an intentional effort was exerted to make it this way. Hopefully the author can build on this success and reach even higher for their next mission release.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 12:11.

  23. #23
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The Skygem Connection
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Crypt, Outdoors, Undead, Keepers, Mechanist, Creatures,Underground
    March 1st, 2007 by Renault

    This slightly different and intriguing endeavor by Dyald will provide the player with quite a variety of settings and enemies, all packed into one single mission. You'll see Mechanists, Keepers, a few undead, and, err, well, something else (trust me when I say its just one of the cooler enemy AI seen in any Thief FM). A clever initial camvator sequence sets the stage and puts the story in motion, and Garrett is off to a hidden Keeper temple to locate a secret book. The plot is interesting and definitely gets your attention, but I found it hard to follow in a few spots (I'm sure part of this is from missing Damsel in Distress, the previous mission by the same author). The design and architecture of this level is also very good, especially when you consider all of the different motifs that the author chooses to integrate together. In regards to length, even though it feels like you've traveled a long distance from start to finish, the opposition is minimal (more on this in a second), so overall this mission shouldn't take too long to finish, say just over an hour. Judging from the ending, its safe to say that more content is forthcoming in a future installment.

    One of the things that bothered me about this mission was sound, or rather lack of it. Almost no ambient sounds were used, and they could have had a great effect here in conjuncture with some of the dark and spooky areas the player moves through. In addition, using what are typically guards voices for the Keepers seemed extremely out of place and ruined a bit of the mystery of the Keepers for me. On the plus side, the new voice acting is top notch, carried out by a few of the talented folks at TTLG. Moving on, this FM has an element that is occasionally seen but has always perplexed me - loot scattered throughout the level with absolutely no loot requirement or objective to satisfy. But the most glaring weakness of this FM to me was the non-existent challenge. Simply put, it was just too damn easy. Should you really be able to walk right through the front door (unlocked no less) of any Keeper compound with only one novice guarding it? In most areas, at least at the beginning, the AI are sparse, and not difficult to defeat. To make matters worse, the author loads the player up with an abundance of weapons and tools, making the trek even easier - I had 25 water arrows still in my inventory when I was done. Better balance in the setup of resources and AI would have made this FM substantially better, and it could have provided the player with a greater sense of accomplishment in the end. I cant completely dismiss this type of shortcoming, mainly because it does detract quite a bit from the overall gameplay experience for me, but at the same time, I dont think it should stop anyone from checking out what is principally a solid and well-designed adventure.
    Last edited by Brethren; 9th May 2017 at 11:59.

  24. #24
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Chain of Events
    Posted in Reviews, City, Guards
    May 26th, 2007 by Melan

    Chain of Events by Uncandonego

    There is a common perception in the Thief community that excellence in fan missions is best achieved through technical innovation, attractive environments created with a judicious use of custom content, and finally a well-realised story. A lot of progress has been made in all three fields, and the results are nothing but impressive. With years of experience, fans have taken the editing tools far beyond their intended use, used new textures and objects in ways that almost cover up the fact that the technology is close to seven years old; moreover, they developed entire campaigns coming close to or surpassing the original missions in scope and complexity.

    Even so, some concepts seem to remain unexplored, and lessons from OMs unlearned. Thief and Thief 2 weren’t just revolutionary games for adding a stealth element to first person shooters and providing a game engine to support this mode of play. They were also notable for their open-ended approach to solving problems in complex environments. Alternate paths to fulfill objectives, sizable hidden areas, and innovative level building making good use of the 3rd dimension were also factors making the Thief games different from the competition. It is unfortunate that relatively little of the practice has leaked into modern games. It is doubly unfortunate that even Thief FMs tend to neglect this aspect of the LGS legacy. Most are either excessively linear, or provide only a small measure of non-linearity, usually through a few “built-in” sidetracks. It has been my suspicion for a while that thinking of level design in the terms of stories may be one of the main culprits: stories are the easiest to construct when they are sequential, or reasonably close to it (e.g. they give you an open space, but then still force you to go through points A, B and C in that space in a given order to “unlock” D, E and F, etc.). Level design under a different paradigm is a concept that is hard to learn and even harder to master.

    Uncadonego’s FMs are notable because, while they are extremely stingy with resources (indeed, these are mostly restricted to original Thief 2 stock), they succeed at learning from and improving on original levels like Assassins and especially Life of the Party. Chain of Events is only one example, but probably the finest to date. The level’s premise is basically an excuse to go on exploring - the recovery of a letter that shouldn’t fall into the wrong hands, and collecting the usual big heap of loot. The FM takes place in a small city district consisting of one larger block surrounded by a circular (okay, rectangular) channel and a number of smaller areas connected to the main area with bridges. Here, Uncadonego employs a device also seen in Purah’s Midnight in Murkbell: waterways serve as an obstacle to reaching parts of the level, as a conveniently available escape route, and finally as a method of making the player “pay” for using it too often: while there are several ways in, there are only a few out. Good AI placement maintains a constant threat level, but doesn’t become overbearing, especially since you usually don’t need to pay a high price for failure. Where I usually find myself knocking out the majority of foes and (if allowed) mercilessly butchering those who are placed in annoying locations or otherwise anger me, here, it was enough to thin them out a little.

    Although Chain of Events looks very small on first sight, this is far from reality. All buildings can be entered (there were only two places I couldn’t find a way into, but this is likely just a failure on my part), there are opportunities for getting on the rooftops, opening up hidden passages, exploring a small sewer system and so on. There is something very thiefish about encouraging breaking into someone’s house or shop from above, below, through a balcony, with rope arrows, by climbing up on a ledge, or jumping from one rooftop to another. Well, taffers, here is your big opportunity!

    If there is an aspect of Chain of Events I had a problem with, it was probably the strict loot goal. You have to find quite a lot to finish the level, and almost all of it is hidden, sometimes in secret places located inside secret areas found beyond yet more secret things. This can either make exploration very rewarding, or extremely frustrating. Fortunately, the FM is just doable on Hard difficulty, and is much more forgiving than other Uncadonego missions.

    Technical execution is solid. This is a very low tech mission; no camvators, conversations, scripted sequences or extra tools are to be found, and as already written, the author hewed very close to TMA’s baseline in the resources department. There is, however, no overwhelming need to do it any other way (I personally greatly prefer environments with a distinct Thief 1 look, but can also accept that T2 is okay with others), plus what the level lacks in looks, it more than makes up in gameplay. The architecture is clean, without excessive eye candy but far from feeling empty. It would probably have been a good idea to place a few more ambient sounds around the level. Still, this is just a minor complaint, and doesn’t detract much from my positive impressions.

    To sum up: Uncadonego’s Chain of Events doesn’t break any new ground, but does things we have seen before so well that it is highly recommended to play - and maybe equally importantly, for Dromeders to learn from.

  25. #25
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Rowenas Curse
    Posted in Reviews, Thief 2, Mansion, Undead, Guards, Creatures
    August 23rd, 2007 by nicked

    At first glance this mission appears to be just another mansion mission, the house in this case belonging to the Bafford family. It seems there have been some strange disappearances, and Garrett has been hired to investigate. So far, so typical

    However, this mission goes above and beyond the call of duty and this is what raises it above the level of just another mansion mission.

    The storyline is long and involving and there are many twists and new developments to keep you hooked. However, the story never loses sight of its goal, and you are rarely faced with a situation where you cant figure out what to do next. Puzzles are challenging, but logical, and my only complaint with the gameplay is there are an awful lot of keys to find! There are many useful text hints for most of the games puzzles which stops the mission grinding to a halt.

    The challenge mainly comes from a large number of well-positioned guards, some with heightened alertness. Fans of ghosting may find they have to give up during the slightly more action-oriented later stages, although for the most part there are multiple ways of traversing the large and well-designed house.

    Graphically the mission is impressive; although not quite as breathtaking as more recent missions such as Conspiracies in the Dark or Ashen Age pt1, the architecture is well-thought out and flows nicely, and judicious use of select custom textures adds that little something extra.

    The sound effects that permeate the mission add huge depth to an already weighty story. They appear to be mostly original Thief sounds and music cues, but somewhat remixed in inventive and original ways. The sound really complements the gameplay well and is never obtrusive.

    Ultimately though, the most impressive thing about the mission is the little details. There are lots of nice touches that show that real thought has gone into the story and setting. For example, all the guards and servants in the house are labelled by name which helps you to really identify with some of the books and scrolls you read. Theres even a painting which is completely unimportant to the gameplay, which subtly changes partway through the mission after a significant event, for no better reason than to add atmosphere.

    Overall this mission does what has been done before, but does it much better and with an extra garnish of well-thought-out details that will make you want to play through again to try and find all that you may have not noticed the first time round! This is one that no Thief fan should miss!

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