I'd suggest running like a girl.

Wonder if they sell ice-cream here.

I knew those tap-shoes were a bad idea.

Don't forget your towel.

Review by: Goit

  • Mission Name: The Shadow of Lord Rothchest
  • Author: Anthony Huso
  • Mission Type: Neutral Human
  • Map Size: Medium
  • Difficulty: Medium

    Fundamentally this is a good level, it falls down in minor details but all the basic elements are sound and is unusual in that I found I enjoyed it more the second time I played it.

    The story behind the mission is well written and very atmospheric, I won't spoil it by giving details, but suffice to say that Garret's best laid plans have gone decidedly pear-shaped and the time has come to fix things. Garrett being Garrett, this is largely going to entail a bit of breaking and a lot of entering, interspersed with hefty dollops of Grand Larceny, with a spot of running-away for the denouement. Nothing original, but a good basic plot that leads into a Bafford/Assassins style mission.

    The mansion which forms your environs is intricately constructed with many features such as spiral staircases, multiple entrances/exits and secret passageways that demonstrate level design confidence and make for an enjoyable romp. Unfortunately the design is let down by naive choices of textures. Sometimes these are poorly aligned but more often they are simply inappropriate. Flowerbed textures being used as carpet is a prime example. Whilst one can suspend one's disbelief and still enjoy this mission, the atmosphere is permanently destroyed.

    The use of AIs is also sound, I didn't spot a single bug, but it's essentially unimaginative. Still, it's refreshing to see a level where the AI seems to work as intended throughout. The interconnecting design of the mansion is used to good effect in the construction of AI patrols, which are more difficult than usual to predict. It also prevents the tactic of blackjacking everyone in an area then running around in an unstealthy fashion because you WILL be heard by guards in other areas. The fact that there are no difficulty levels and so you can kill anyone you want does, however, make defeating the AIs ultimately unchallenging.

    Some minor niggles though: There's a loadout screen but nothing to buy; there's no map so often your wanderings are speculative rather than directed; some ladders are poorly placed making them tricky to get off and on. One major niggle: There's no loot-quota objective, even though the mansion is stuffed with loot. Although this must have been a conscious design decision by the author, I feel that the level suffers from the lack of a loot-quota. Firstly, it causes the level to lack some that elusive Thiefy feeling. Secondly, with no map and minimal direction given by placed scrolls etc., the level lacks the short-term objectives (e.g. sneak into this room and grab the gold candlesticks) that ratchet up the tension. Also, if sneaking into the room looks a bit tricky then you might as well just go around.

    The best phrase I can find to describe The Shadow of Lord Rothchest is 'classical', in the artistic sense of the word. While missions like Gathering at the Bar and Shunned are the romantic side of Thief level creation, The Shadow of Lord Rothchest takes many of the traditionally good formal elements of Bafford/Assassins missions and puts them together in a traditional manner. It's just a shame about some of the details. In short, I'd let Mr Huso build my house but I wouldn't let him touch the decor! All said, a recommended mission.

    • Pros: Good design, atmospheric background story.
    • Cons: Dodgy use of textures so good design wasted, occasionally directionless gameplay.
    • Bottom Line: A mixture of several minor flaws and several minor triumphs. Unspectacular but definitely worth playing.
      Mission Score (On a scale of 1-5 (5 is best)
    • Architecture: 1
    • Atmosphere: 0
    • Completeness: 1
    • Story: 3
      Extra Credit
    • Originality Bonus: 1
    • WOW Bonus: 0
    • Rip-off Penalty: 0
    • YUCK Penalty: 1 (some very iffy use of textures)
    Reviewers curve: n/a

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