This is one of the many quaint little areas that make this mission so cool!

This is a man who does not expect you to get past his guards!

Is this dark? Yes, this is very, very dark! I hope I don't stub my toe...

The lighting work and atmosphere are fantastic!

Review by: Master Nightfall

  • Mission Name: Circle of Strain
  • Author: Markus "Mokkis" Lappalainen
  • Mission Type: Human
  • Map Size: Small
  • Difficulty: Easy / Intermediate

    Iíll say it up front, this mission totally rocks!

    That being said, no one will start yelling at me if I start off with the bad things. First off, the plotline is just for show. I confess, I didnít read the mission background until after I played the mission. I still enjoyed it immensely, however! Second of all, there are several inconsistencies. First off, itís a day-time mission. Okay, so this is daylight robbery, I can buy it. After all, the outdoor areas look just beautiful in the daylight. I can also excuse the fact that several guards and servants are sleeping. Okay, so they have the day-shift. Iíll play along. The main inconsistency here is that some areas of the mansion are pitch black. Pitch Black. This would be granted at night, but during the daytime? There is a delicate trade off here, since the darkness adds to much to the atmosphere inside, and the brightness really creates the atmosphere outside. The gross inconsistency can be overlooked then, in my book. Okay, enough with that minor rant. There is the usual slew of bugs here and there. I got caught on objects far more often then I would have liked to. Some of the stairways seem to require a running start to climb. Thereís a servant whoís sleeping IN the bed, not ON the bed. Youíll see what I mean. Last but not least is the fact that English is clearly not the authorís first language, since there are many spelling errors. Okay, so the Lord of the mansion was illiterate, I can pardon the errors. (Lord knows I canít spell worth a sot!) Finally, The mission is just far too short, simple, and easy. Like a fine cut of steak, itís just never big enough, ya know? Iíll try not to give too much away, so I wonít elaborate, seeing as I donít want this comment to stop you from downloading it and giving it a whirl!

    Now that my rant is over, itís time for me to rave. WOW! That is the first thing I said when the mission loaded. The initial scene you are looking at is just amazing! Whatís better, is that the quality never drops! The entire mission is crafted as if it were a piece of fine art - carefully and intricately. Every room in the mansion is constructed to have a purpose, and is a believable environment in which a lord and his servants live. Itís a joy to explore and plunder!

    Now that Iíve had my rave, itís time to rant once more. This is the big one. This map is a poly-hog. Advanced environments come at a price, it seems, and this level designer felt that we should all pay. When outdoors, donít look up. If you do, the world will fall apart. The guards at the front door are nearly impossible to fight, seeing as the game slows to a deadly crawl when they become hostile! This mission will NOT run on the minimum Thief system requirements, and it certainly wonít run any better then a slide-show in software mode. Once you get indoors, however, things do better. Just watch out for the foyer.

    All that being said, I am happy to tag this mission with the highest score TEG has ever given! Congrats to the author!

    • Pros: Extremely impressive architecture and atmosphere are this missionís strongest points.
    • Cons: A few bugs & inconsistencies. Story can be ignored. Very heavy on the poly-count!
    • Bottom Line: This is an awesome mission, reeking with atmosphere and jaw dropping visuals. If you like a simple & straightforward burglary, this is the mission for you! But watch out! It may cause your computer to gag!
      Mission Score (On a scale of 1-5 (5 is best)
    • Architecture: 5
    • Atmosphere: 4
    • Completeness: 2
    • Story: 1
      Extra Credit
    • Originality Bonus: 0
    • WOW Bonus: 1 (outdoors area & foyer)
    • Rip-off Penalty: 1 (nearly exact same style & textures as Assassins)
    • YUCK Penalty: 1 (high poly count drags the game to a crawl)
    FINAL SCORE: 2.5
    Reviewers curve: n/a

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