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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1276
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Oh, yay. Guess I kinda won the screens argue. Guess I shouldn't have sent that nuke to Potato Guy's home country 3 days ago then, huh... Well, there may still be hope. Still, I'll try to brighten-lighten the screens up.

    The Mike - yay - 10 reviews in one, that's big! Thanks for the positive comments too. I guess this weirdly duo reviewio it then. Back to real life now! (Aka Thief, TTLG, TV-shows, books etc.)

  2. #1277
    Desperately Dodgy Moderator
    Registered: Nov 2001
    Location: Dragonsreach
    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    I don't really consider the stuff I do give three cogs bad at all.
    I wasn't meaning to try and make you change your review, I was just expressing surprise, that's all. But I also didn't mean to suggest your triple cog rating was 'bad' either, - just 'average'. According to your rating system:
    Triple Cog Award
    The three cog rating award is given out to releases of an average calibre where both design and gameplay aspects are of an average quality throughout the project.
    I guess most folks here would consider AA1 to be of far above average quality compared to other FMs - but now I understand you're not just comparing to other FMs but to a broader set of releases. Anyway, not trying to belabor anything or discourage anyone here, so please keep posting more reviews!

  3. #1278
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Thanks to those who have been continuing to add reviews - I'll update the index hopefully tomorrow afternoon with all the new stuff. I've been away the last couple weeks dealing with the madness and family drama that comes with a younger sister being diagnosed with melanoma and going through many surgeries - most of my free time has been devoted to keeping the family together and laughing as best I can. I've only had a couple minutes here and there to read threads and offer a quick post or two.

    My apologies for my taffer duties having to take a backseat to that - but sometimes life gets in the way.

    Please continue rockin' those reviews!

  4. #1279
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing: "Rust Belt Prison" Part 1/2

    Behold... My First review of the Autumn!

    Presenting . . .

    Rust Belt Prison!

    Game: Thief II
    Mission: Rust Belt Prison (No way, Sherlock!)
    Author: John Denison (john9818a)
    Released: 15th Nov 2008
    Mission Thread

    Let me start off with an ironic notice - This is the last mission I finished this summer, so - just when I escape a prison, I end up in another one (school)! Now that's just bad luck!

    Another note... You might be wondering, why I did a 2 parter review on this one. Well, maybe because I've been playing this mission like forever and I finally just completed it. No, it's not that long, it's just my goofiness.

    Introduction

    The City Watch caught you in the slums and took you to jail. Today is your trial date. The Judge and Jury have found you guilty of manyhundreds of crimes ranging from grand theft to assault. Before you are taken to your prison cell, you stand to witness the next court case. The court has found that both you and this prisoner aided the escape of Mr. Joe Oh Dear.

    The prisoner on trial is Joe's brother Jack. Both have been identified as invalids from an evil place. Jack would have been given an automatic death penalty, but Jack was given a fair trial in exchange for telling the City Watch the location of the invalid's hideout. You, Garrett, have been given the same life sentence for many numerous crimes in addition to aiding Mr. Oh Dear's escape. Had it not been for your unwaivering assistance in clearing out the city of over one hundred fifty thousand invalids, you would have been given an automatic death sentance as well.

    Your main objective is to get out of the prison. All of the ground level entrances are locked tight, so you will have to find another way out. The Judge ordered that you were to be imprisoned forever, so make him pay for it. Using your intuition, you feel that the judge is hiding something, so this place may take you by surprise.


    By the repeated title and the briefing you should already understand, that it's a prison mission. You also seem to have a pretty harsh fate. The plot evolves around The prison, the judge's dark secrets and overall it's a great adventure with many interesting areas.


    Insight

    This level is sort of special to me for several reasons, like:
    * It is a prison mission - there aren't so many around in comparison.
    * This mission has a well done atmosphere and I liked the choice of textures & sounds.. At least I found it to be quite moody.
    * It let's you be creative and deal with various situations in various ways. That's not so with every situation, but a fair number of them, yes.

    Don't get intimidated by the judge's hall...


    Because You'll realize, that it'll soon get like...


    The mission is fairly linear, but that's okay. It's big... dark, yet... light mission! Ok, ok, let's put it like this - the start is like a fairly realistic prison and the rest of the area is even bigger and still realistic.
    The choice of optional objectives was great. I only disagree with one thing - knocking out the spoilersjudgespoilers should have been made optional too, because now you can't really ghost it or Lytha-way it. Well, I guess you 'could' make that exception... The other optional objectives weren't hard, but they were really cute an all.
    The one thing that got me on my ass were the secrets. I found none of them, even though there's supposed to be at least some of them. Because of this alone, I'll definitely be replaying this some time again.

    The, the, the, this mission, blah-blah-blah! I am so sick of those same ways to start a sentence, someone, help me out here!
    *Somebody from the crowd throws a bucket full of cool water on Thor. The bucket hit his head, and the water was only spilled on legs*
    Much better, my ingenious nemesis, mr. Annonymous!

    Here, have a screenshot, my child (or grownup, ya, see, ya).


    One of my best screens yet, I'd say. You disagree? Go get a better one!

    Here, have some more!


    Just some halls... You know, if this was rocksbourg, the textures would be photorealistic and like that, but I really like replaying original stuff too.


    I would have finished the triathlon, but some smartass locked the way.


    Okay... The shadowing creeps me out a little bit, but otherwise - nice, open hallway, eh?


    -Tickets, please!
    -Oh, um, no.


    Ahh, the art... I'm a big fan of art! The right light doesn't seem to be working so well on the painting, but oh well, guess I'll have to sound the alarm to get some guards here. Maybe they'll fix it... If only...
    Last edited by Thor; 1st Sep 2009 at 17:51.

  5. #1280
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing: "Rust Belt Prison" Part 2/2

    Behold... My First review of the Autumn!

    Presenting . . .

    Rust Belt Prison!

    Feeling a bit of a deja vu, yes? No? Oh, well, at least I tried...


    In this part I thought I'd write some events, that might actually be cool in this review. I hope theire cool... Sharing some fun little, evil stuff I did or epic failures. Might contain some spoilers you (or just the people that haven't played this mission) won't understand anything about.

    1. I didn't take a screen of this one, unfortunately, but... I was fairly proud of my smart-ass acrobatism. I jumped down like 30 feet and on a ladder and thus avoided a sure death and didn't lose a single health bar!

    2. In the barracks I put stuff from one locker into another so the guards would start to fight each other.

    3. I also let a dumb archer gal shoot at me through all the window... Later there came in a robot, that was disturbed by all the noise, so he shot himself and died with his first shot. By the gods, these guys are crazy!
    Unfortunately I didn't tkae a screen of it even though I thought I did...

    4. My best number yet, which shows you just why I love bugs.
    Do not do this at home, kids (Or grownups, whatever)! I saw this strange gal up there, but couldn't get there.

    I also couldn't kill her. So I then I experimented with random items in my pocket. Threw some flashbombs to blind her and she slowly made her way forward.... She walked a bit too much forward...

    So the guards chased the immortal one like a little pig, I laughed about my success in doing something out of the ordinary and chased her... I'll leave it up to you to guess, what happened and how I felt. xD

    5. Last, but not least... As much as I hate it... I didn't relize in the main hall with the judge you could turn off the lights right at the entrance until... It was done! The objective, not the game. And I avoided this objective till the very end, hoping there would be some special way to do it... That was so stupid! Busted my ghosting for nothing. That gave me the motivation to makea risky run through the rest of the map. Oh well, at least I've got all pockets now.


    And now, the thrilling Conclusion!

    I haven't played much prison missions, really, but I'm pretty sure I'm rating this one pretty high. The use of prisoner mourns, invalids, generator rooms, garbage chutes, laborotories, inprisoned cook stories - this kind of stuff got to me. Very recommended.

    *Initiating song "Off he Goes" by Eddie Vedder. Am I advertising? Don't care, leave me alone!*


    Shuuush, the nice melody just started.


    Oy, drunk, get up! *knock* *knock*


    Why howdy, there, partner! Oh, wait, the difference is, that I'm on the other side of the bars, unlike you! Hahah, gawd I'm cruel!


    Had to end this nice run with a nice sight of a part of the torture chamber and people mourning from below!

    Oh, look at that, song is almost done too. Well, taffers, time to get back to my busy schedule of lying around and doing nothing!
    Last edited by Thor; 1st Sep 2009 at 17:48.

  6. #1281
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    Thanks to those who have been continuing to add reviews - I'll update the index hopefully tomorrow afternoon with all the new stuff. I've been away the last couple weeks dealing with the madness and family drama that comes with a younger sister being diagnosed with melanoma and going through many surgeries - most of my free time has been devoted to keeping the family together and laughing as best I can. I've only had a couple minutes here and there to read threads and offer a quick post or two.

    My apologies for my taffer duties having to take a backseat to that - but sometimes life gets in the way.

    Please continue rockin' those reviews!
    Sorry to hear all that SneakyJack, I hope everything ends up working out alright and things start getting better soon. RL certainly does suck pretty hard sometimes. I never mentioned it but I really do appreciate your continued updating of the thread's index- it's a really cool idea and you keep on top of things amazingly well. Sorry I never said anything earlier, but thanks!

    I'll write a new review as soon as I can think of a mission to write it about...or possibly another top 10 list. I enjoyed writing the last one a lot, which is odd for me and anything that requires deep thought/work.

    Also your reviews are great reads as usual Thor. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, YO! (God I'm hip)

  7. #1282
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2009
    Location: Situation's changed, Tom.

    Hahah! Again thou art caught by surprise, thanks to my sneakyness! Yes, in these times, where I have to find a place to live in the city where I'm going to study and where vacation has come to an end, there is, alas, no time for Dracula reviews. However, this little review has been lying in the archive for some days now and has finally decided to show himself. But first, a taste of FM talk by yours truly.

    Every fan mission I've played so far did have at least one good thing. Sometimes it's just an unique beam construction, sometimes a nice painting of two cats. But there are some missions that almost give you a heart attack by seeing uncountable good things. And some authors are that good you just want to put them in a cage in your secret basement, so they can make a FM for you every day. (Everyone occassionally has those thoughts, right? Right? *having a thought of laughing very hard and villain-ish while Eshaktaar hands over a new mission*)

    And some authors are specialized in one aspect of Thief, and improve it so good that it's even better than eating bacon with strawberries (I notice a weird look, but don't worry, I won't forget to put peanut butter on top.) Those people are truly the Masters of DromEd. And thus they shall be reviewed. To tell their story. To tell their prestations. To make weird references to strawberries.

    As a starter I'm going for the Master of Mansions. Mansions are a returning element in the world of Thief, and it's hard to decide who has made the best. In the end I was hesitating between Eshaktaar's Ominous Bequest, Lady Rowena's Rowena's Curse and Ramirez' Fat Old Burrick's Conspiracies in the Dark. After an epic battle in my mind that almost caused me to double my daily take of strawberries the final mission standing was...

    Transitions in Chaos 1: Conspiracies in the Dark

    This mission is an unusual mansion mission. Before I start giving an endless list of compliments, let's take a look at the story. Lord Paul Marton is murdered and somehow everyone thinks you're the killer. There's only one thing to do: sneak into Marton's house and find evidence of who the real killer is. And while you're in there... Marton has a beautiful sceptre, which would be better off in your hands. Six guests are staying at his house to attend the funeral, six of those classic snobbish, egocentric nobles. Can't live with them, can't live... with them. Maybe a visit to the guest rooms can't hurt...

    I've always been a fan of whodunnit's and this mission really starts like a lovely Cluedo game. You'll begin in the streets and immediately you are totally drawn into the mission: Rain, fog, greenish light, and the best part is that it's like someone is watching you... but detective Garrett isn't intimidated that easy. But after entering the mansion you'll encounter some problems so you can't focus on the investigation: you will be completely distracted by the beautiful architecture and stunning design. But later more about that. First I would like to say how I like the concept of this mission: one murder, six guests and a lot of hidden things. Hey, it's not just for show that this mission is called Conspiracies in the Dark, when you'll play this one you'll venture deeper and deeper into the story. Not only the main story is good, I also like the many side stories put into this mission: almost all of them are based on the main events.

    But now, something I'm planning to do in all of these 'Master Reviews'. (The double meaning is completely coincidental, of course.) The three main reasons why this mission has been chosen to be the of that particular element. So, here we go...

    The Three Reasons

    1) Like in one of ROFB's previous missions The Focus, this mission is full of secrets that make the gameplay easier. In this case, you'll find out most of them help you ghost the mission, if you want to. I always liked hard-to-find secrets, and if you like it too, you're in for a real treat. (If you don't like that, don't worry - most of it is just optional.)

    2) This house is beautiful when you look at the objects and layout, but still ROFB is able to create a creepy atmosphere. And the best part is I have no idea how he does it. Perhaps it's a combination of color, sound and readables, but for some reason you'll have the feeling that horrible things happened and are happening in this house, even if you still barely know anything about the story. That's something you don't come across often while playing a FM.

    3) This reason is for me the best reason that this is the mansion of mansion, de creme de la creme, the strawberries in the fruit basket: this mansion is asymmetrical. Think about it: even Omnious Bequest and Rowena's Curse have many symmetrical figures in the design of the house, so this mission is truly unique. I don't know how ROFB did it, but he managed to place the chambers in a way everything fits really good. No room is the same, and in the beginning the ground floor and first floor are a maze. The design of the house is unique, and unbelievable clever.

    My point is: if you think you've played some good mansion FMs and you haven't played this one... think again.

    And because I need a good final argument, here come the screens!


    The start area - immediately devilish impressing.


    Do you dare to enter?


    Everything...looks...so...damn...good


    Makes me think of the Beatles.


    I never knew sewers could look beautiful.


    One of the best places in the mansion.


    To your right: fondly remembered Lord Marton.
    To your left: The captain of the guard, imitating his boss.

    Well, that was my first 'Master review'. I'm thinking of doing at least four more, but I can't tell when they will be coming. Meanwhile, you better (re)play this one!
    Last edited by PotatoGuy; 3rd Sep 2009 at 15:01. Reason: Slowly PotatoGuy begins to understand how to write proper English

  8. #1283
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2009
    Location: Situation's changed, Tom.
    Just wondering if anyone actually likes this idea - or should I go back to the old way? (You got me, just fishing for compliments!)
    Last edited by PotatoGuy; 3rd Sep 2009 at 14:58.

  9. #1284
    Moderator
    Registered: Apr 2003
    Location: Wales
    Sorry Spuds, been busy writing inane comments elsewhere. I like the idea and the format very much. Clear and concise as usual and highly amusing. I really enjoy the ways you guys present your reviews so any way is great for me. I do prefer my bacon without strawberries though. Hope you don't mind. I also very much like Thor02's 'events' review as well - an excellent variation on a theme. Different things that people do in fms are fascinating - I just want to go and try some of them out for myself.

    Originally posted by The Mike
    I'll write a new review as soon as I can think of a mission to write it about . . .
    Pretty much the sorriest excuse I've come across in a long time. From what I've been reading in any number of threads recently there are at least 700 to choose from.

    And now, since the 'mustavebin rats' have returned, I should go and do some rat catching.

  10. #1285
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Just read your latest review, PotatoGuy; entertaining as always & each review better than the last

    This 'Master Review' idea sounds great; very original. And it's your very own idea, so go for it!

    (Actually, considering the sheer number of them, it's gonna be interesting to see which Mechanist mission you choose for a master review )

  11. #1286
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Wassup! Got another one for you guys. Actually it's technically another two. I know, I'm finding it hard to contain my excitement as well. The question is, CAN YOU HANDLE THIS MUCH MIKE??

    Double Review 2: Review Harder

    So last time I did one of these crazy double review things, as I was being carried down the streets by my raving fans singing songs of my bravery and heroism in wrestling two FMs to the ground and critiquing them into submission* while simultaneously bench-pressing a car with my free hand and teaching a class on advanced trigonometry, I couldn't help but think to myself- "Hey, I should do this again sometime". Well guess what sister, "SOMETIME" IS NOW. Here, before your very eyes, I will review the entire "Momento Mori" series, which is thankfully enough only two missions at the moment- because a "triple review"...pfffft...HAH, pshaw...that sir is just crazy talk. CRAZY TALK I SAY.
    *ahem that act of bravery is on page 45 of this thread by the way.

    Review the first: Nostalgia

    "Nostalgia" is a city mission by Random_Taffer (yes, the underscore is necessary- or so Random_Taffer tells me as he holds a gun to the back of my head and shouts "write monkey, write!"...please don't send help immediately to this address) and Drysils Chosen (I'm sorry to say I not only get that name, but I'm writing this with a character sheet about 10 inches away from me. I'm a halfling ninja with no chosen deity by the way. And no, I don't plan on breeding at any point in my life, thanks).

    Honestly, "city mission" is kind of a misleading way to describe it. In fact, both this mission and its sequel I would describe as "interactive fan-fiction"*. I should say though that I would give both these missions that same label for two very different reasons. I would call mission 2 interactive fan fiction because it's essentially a heavily story based adventure game with less emphasis on traditional stealth then there is on thinking things out, collecting items, and solving problems in order to advance the (excellent) story. I would give mission 1 that label however for the reason that...well...the story here is intriguing but there's not really that much to talk about as far as actual gameplay goes. Huh...with all my explaining of new-fangled terminology this paragraph turned out pretty damn boring. Uh...how 'bout that last Giants' game huh? They whupped some ass amiright? Oh God it's hopeless ABANDON PARAGRAPH, WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST.
    *That phrase is now trademarked by the way, meaning every time you say it you owe me five dollars and a caffeinated drink of my choice as well as a turkey sandwich with the crust cut off and EXTRA mustard for God's sake.

    So, being as I've made a big hullabuhloo about the story being so important to these missions I should probably give you a brief run-down of it, eh? You play a young lad who is told by his father "Hey, would you be just swell and go grab some dinner from the local market" while his mother also chimed in "and don't go starting any more of those zombie invasions, Beaver, no matter how much the other kids pressure you!". Naturally, on the way to the market much hilarious hijinks ensue leading to the grabbing of a cursed book and the dead rising from their graves and feasting on the sweet gooey insides of the living. The Beave is gonna be in SO much trouble! Naturally, I'm drawn to this story mostly because zombies are present; zombies are to storylines what MSG is to Chinese food- they suddenly seem tastier no matter how stale they are. Not that I'm saying the storyline here is stale though, actually not playing as Garrett for once is a breath of fresh air...or should I say, a breath of noxious fumes exuded from a zombie infested tomb? No...I actually probably shouldn't...that's pretty damn unpleasant sounding. Unless maybe someone hung one of those pine tree-shaped air fresheners in the tomb and maybe sprayed around some fabreeze- sprucing it up with a row of azaleas might not be a bad idea either. What was I talking about again?

    As I said earlier, on the gameplay side of things there really isn't much to talk about here. You walk through some streets, sneak through a tomb or two, dodge some haunts and then watch the "mission complete" movie. It's really more of a setup for what's to come later in this series story-wise. Sure, your heroes hometown burning down isn't a plot device that's really shocking at this point (if you happen to be the main character in a fantasy setting I'd suggest dousing the streets of your home turf in gasoline to help it burn faster since it's so freaking inevitable), but there's one plot related McGuffin here who's real purpose already has me guessing. I'm officially intrigued, and I normally don't get intrigued by anything other than the use of the words "nacho chips" and "cheese dip" in the same sentence together, so that's saying something*. While I'm on about the whole gameplay thing I should also talk about the stealth section in the tombs. It's hard. I mean REALLY hard. I was stringing curse words together in new and creative ways. Frankly, I would have loved a blackjack or some form of defense during this section in order to even out the odds. Perhaps it's for the best though that I wasn't given anything pointy, considering how irritated I got during this stretch of gameplay if the FM had handed me a sword at one point I probably would have blacked out and woken up two hours later foaming at the mouth and drenched in the blood of my enemies.
    *I'm suddenly struck by the picture I'm painting of myself- I swear I'm not some horrible food monster! I'm just broke and therefore hungry all the time, honest. Now where's that emergency double size turkey grinder I always keep locked in a compartment on my computer desk, just in case? AH, there it is! OM NOM NOM.


    As if the tomb section wasn't hard enough, those gems on the ground there happened to fall out of the mouths of those statues and sent EVERYONE in the area into alert mode for 20 minutes. GOD SOMETIMES I JUST WANT TO GIVE THIS GAME A BIG HUG.

    So is this FM worth playing? Well, despite the fact that I've been doing a lot of complaining and spent even more time warning you that there really isn't much to do here, I would say yes- it is worth a play through. Why? Because for any good story, setup is extremely important, and the "Momento Mori" series is looking to be an amazing story that you will undoubtedly want to digest every part of. This particular mission might not leave you with much to write home about (which is good because your hometown was burned down my zombies, HEYOOOO), but it's an enticing lead in to something that looks really special. Want further proof? That's kind of a problem, I mean, it's not like I can write another review or something...OH WAIT I CAN AND I DID.

    Review the second: Vagabond

    Oh HI. Mike here, and this time I'm reviewing part two of the "Momento Mori" series entitled "Vagabond". Despite the fact that the first mission was co-authored by Drysils Chosen, only Random 'underscore' Taffer is credited as the creator of this mission. Let me tell you, even though this is now a solo act, he is doing just fine. This is not only a terrific FM, this is some of the most interesting Thief fan fiction I've ever experienced. I was completely engrossed from the first moments. I don't know what this author did exactly to wrap me up in this mission so completely, but shortly after loading this up I WAS Darren- a lonely vagabond wandering around in a city I didn't know and desperate to prove myself. In fact I didn't realize I was Mike again until hours later when I tried mantling onto my kitchen counter and air-KOing my roommate. Now I owe rent AND hospital bills- THANKS ALOT, UNDERSCORE.

    What really makes the story so damn engrossing is, for me, three things:

    1. The town feels alive. What I mean by that is everyone that inhabits this level seems to be doing something and is always where they are for a reason. There's never anyone just there because the author thought it would be good to have someone else patrolling, or at least it never seems that way. This really helps suck you into the story and gets your imagination going.

    For instance, I saw a servant waiting outside of a mansion I couldn't access who had a note next to him reading something along the lines of "Here is my best servant Lord Somethingerother, I can't pay you what I owe you so take him instead.". Seeing my objective to "find a place to stay" I tried looking for a way to knock the servant out and take his place so I could get into the mansion. This was completely the wrong idea for how to progress but the fact that I was being that clever and not just checking to see if the character model had something that could be pick-pocketed on it and then walking away shows that I really bought what was going on in this town. Of course, my complete initial plan involving the servant was to club him over the head with his bag full of all his earthly belongings, steal his rags, and leave him beaten and in a state of undress in a nearby crate while I stole his life from him...so maybe it's best that my imagination doesn't function?

    2. There's a new faction and it's awesome. This is the same thing that the "A Night in Rocksbourg" series did with its dark Keepers or "Souls", and it works here just as well. The new faction in this story is the "Night Masks". They're basically a thieves guild that watched "V for Vendetta" a few too many times and like getting recruits by sending them notes that are along the lines of "Hey, wanna join our secret club? If you say no we're totally gonna stab you.", which is not-so-surprisingly effective*. In short- they look cool, they're mysterious, and they have a totally kickass secret fort. What's not to love?
    *Hey, I like secret clubs! And I LOVE not getting stabbed! It's WIN-WIN!


    A shady look at the mysterious new faction. Emphasis on "shady."

    3. The atmosphere. As I said, I really felt like I was there seconds after loading this mission, and part of the reason for that is the atmosphere the author sets up. I really don't know how he did it, but it's a combination of a lot of things. The rain effects (which look great by the way, complete with the droplets splashing upon hitting the ground...hey, I was pretty amazed), the ambient music, the people seeming to talk amongst themselves, the readables that suck you into the story. If I were just slightly more corny I'd say that I was "whisked away", but I'd like to survive this review with a shred of dignity, so instead I'll say that if they bottled whatever it was that made this mission's atmosphere so thick and enticing I would pour it over some corn flakes and devour it*.
    *I am NOT a horrible food monster.

    I feel that despite all this praise I should warn people that this is most certainly not your typical Thief mission. It plays much more like an old-school adventure game, with you gathering items, finding the right people to talk to, and thinking over problems in order to find solutions. You don't even do any actual sneaking until right near the end. You even go on side quests. SIDE QUESTS! And they aren't boring! AREN'T BORING!* One involves a house haunted by an evil leprechaun that lives in the chimney- further proving that hallucinogens do not impair your ability to use Thief's level editor.
    *Anyone else feel like they're at a monster truck rally?

    Overall, I can't recommend this FM enough. GOOD fan fiction is hard to come by, and good fan fiction that comes with great gameplay is even more rare. As you may have guessed that I've been subtly leading up too, this mission has both. The wait to see what happens next is going to drive me crazy, especially because the ending is so damn tantalizing. What does the "Night Mask" hideout look like? What's the purpose of the cursed book full of blank pages? What's up with that gem that woman gave me? Will Jack and Kate ever get together? What does "Rosebud" mean? Who's going to save Han Solo now that he has been frozen in carbonite?!

    I demand another sequel Random Underscore! My lingering questions need answers!

    Until then though, I will be signing off- but first, OH MY GOD THE SCREENSHOTS, THEY'RE COMIN' RIGHT FOR US!

    Nostalgia screens:


    The *really* eerie thing about this screenshot is that, for some unexplainable reason, my fog is working.


    http://img35.imageshack.us/img35/3046/nostalgia3.tif[/IMG][/URL]
    A spooky hallway...


    ...and the uh...exact same spooky hallway (POST zombie invasion, and complete with me nervously quicksaving).

    Vagabond Screens:


    Dat's some goood atmosphere right der'.


    The atmosphere is so damn convincing! Even outside of the boudaries of the level, characters are doing something. GOD HELP ME, I'M ENTRANCED.


    CAUTION: Leprechauns crossing.


    The guard on the right didn't think to punch eyeholes in his helmet.


    Hope you people enjoyed all that. Next I'm thinking I might do the same thing with "Ominous Bequest" and "Rowena's Curse". Either that or I'll do some sort of special for the Vertical contest missions. Or maybe I'll just have a bowl of chocolate pudding?
    Last edited by The Mike; 20th Nov 2016 at 13:50.

  12. #1287
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in
    Next I'm thinking I might do the same thing with "Ominous Bequest" and "Rowena's Curse".
    Actually, Rowena's Curse doesn't follow Ominous Bequest, Broken Triad does - still, it'd be fascinating to see you try to combine OB & RC in a double review

    Another great review (sorry, reviews) Mike. And why do I suddenly feel so hungry

  13. #1288
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    As always, thanks for commenting Sticky Fingers! And uh...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticky Fingers View Post
    Actually, Rowena's Curse doesn't follow Ominous Bequest, Broken Triad does
    -yep, I'm aware of which FMs are directly related to which (though I appreciate your vigilance in continuing to make sure I don't unintentionally make an ass out of myself), however these two are so similiar and I always end up playing them back to back so I thought they would make a pretty interesting double feature. (Also I'm stealing ideas from Potato guy, he mentioned them in his last review and I was all "HEY, I COULD TOTALLY DO THAT!")

  14. #1289
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Thanks muchly for a generous (perhaps overly so) and quite hilarious review, Mike!
    I'm really glad that you seemed to enjoy the missions!

  15. #1290
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Quote Originally Posted by Random_Taffer View Post
    Thanks muchly for a generous (perhaps overly so) and quite hilarious review, Mike!
    I'm really glad that you seemed to enjoy the missions!
    NP man, thanks for reading it and...y'know...that whole making the mission thing. As I've said, I really enjoy actually hearing from the author's of the missions I review since I write these for them first and foremost. I even try to lure them into commenting by misspelling or entirely changing their names/the titles of their missions. You see? There is a method to my madness.

  16. #1291
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2008
    I'm playing Calendra's Cistern right now, and I'm very impressed. I don't think I'm too far in (hardly any gameplay so far - just wandering around gawping at the city architecture), but I will definitely see this one through until the end.

  17. #1292
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2003
    Location: ...nothing but flames...
    Quote Originally Posted by PotatoGuy View Post
    Tales From The Cleft: Vandal
    Thank's for the nice review, PotatoGuy. I should have noticed it sooner, but I've been very busy for the last three months (nudge nudge, wink wink , if you know what I mean), but now that that's out of the way, I can get back to the sequel, Ladytaker. Several months yet to go , but it should be worth it.

  18. #1293
    Member
    Registered: May 2005
    Location: Full on Kevel's mom
    Quote Originally Posted by Neb View Post
    I'm playing Calendra's Cistern right now, and I'm very impressed. I don't think I'm too far in (hardly any gameplay so far - just wandering around gawping at the city architecture), but I will definitely see this one through until the end.
    *thumbs up*

    That's a great one!

  19. #1294
    Member
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: North Carolina

    A short post of no consequence

    I hadn't played a lot of FMs.

    So I decided to make it my quest to find the best T1/TG FM in existence.

    I played many FMs. I enjoyed many FMs.

    Then I played "Sepulchre of the Sinistral."

    My quest is over.

  20. #1295
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2009
    Location: Situation's changed, Tom.
    Very good, young acolyte. But thy quest isn't over yet. First the gods demand thee to review this mission!

    (Just a try to lure more people in the review trap...)

  21. #1296
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Just wanted to say that I had a few minutes for Thief this weekend (Hectic schedules suck) and got the chance to play the 4th and 5th missions from Intruder's Keeper Investigations series.. Holy smokes! Fantastic missions with a sense of scale that is off the charts in some areas. Great stuff.

  22. #1297
    Master Builder 2018
    Registered: Jul 2008
    Nice to see you back around SneakyJack!

  23. #1298
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Thank you Tannar! Personal life is slowing down somewhat so I hope to get everything updated and some stuff added within the next week

  24. #1299
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Well, I haven't been able to contribute to this thread quite as much as I normally like too lately what with all of the stuff that has been going on with me in that annoying "real life" thing, but I finally managed to finish a new top 10 list! Not only that, but this one I made especially for Halloween month. I'd have served it up to you with a batch of pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies but SOMEONE had to go and eat them all (you know who you are).

    Anyway, ENJOY!



    I've made no secret of my love of zombies. It's a hard love to have as it is doomed to remain unrequited as they will never stop lumbering towards me, arms outstretched, longing for the sweet gooey nectar of my plump amateur writer's brain. Still though I love them: I love them for their refusal to give up as they pound on my boarded up windows, I love them for their never-subtle social commentary*, I love them because they don't care what people think of they're outward appearance as they proudly march through the streets with their lower jaw and an eyeball or two missing. Most of all though, I love them because of their way of making good things stupidly badtastically awesome things. And yes, as you might have realized I was leading up too you astute reader you (you win a cookie- FETCH!**), that includes Thief FMs.
    *OH I get it, they're mindless and they're in a mall! It's a comment on consumerism! LET'S SEE YOU SURVIVE THAT STINGING BARB, AMERICA!
    **Hey, I said "Fetch"! Yeah, I realize it landed in the middle of that zombie hoarde. You'll be fine; I'll be watching from that shrub over there.

    Of course, the fact that FMs benefit heavily from a liberal smattering of zombies is something that I've mentioned before. However, I get the feeling that it hasn't sunk in with many of you yet. You all seem so content to knock out human guards while zombies sit by themselve in a seperate room with nary a brain to feast upon, the poor little fellas. So, to support my case, I've assembled a list of the top ten missions made better through the use of zombies. PLEASE NOTE: this is not a top ten list of my favorite undead missions. This is a list of missions that I feel were genuinely improved because of the addition of the shambling undead. Now you know, and knowing is half the banana....or something*.
    *As an unrelated side-note: I have a spellcheck program open to help me out with the words whose spelling I'm not so sure of, and at the moment it now reads "Consumerism banana". I don't know why, but I want one.

    10. The Seven Sisters

    What it would have been without zombies: ...Probably still the greatest city FM ever. This mission is huge and beautiful and has an intriguing storyline with many very human elements to it which makes it easier to get into, even if Garrett does seem to be a little bi-polar: "Here, have this journal where this guy like OH MY GOD totally says he likes you! Also I'm gonna go steal your life savings and spend it on booze."

    What it is WITH zombies: Just about the greatest city FM ever which is huge and beautiful and has an intriguing storyline and a possibly skitzo Garrett...and then there are zombies. Okay, so this is why I placed this one so low on the list. It isn't really made all that much better because of zombies, I still added it though because I enjoyed the whole undead plague storyline more than just about anything else in this incredible FM. Shooting zombie citizens with holy water and having them turn normal again never got old, and I actually felt like I was doing some good for once; though most of them would turn human only to yell "OH NO A THIEF!" and force me to KO them. What a way to get shafted out of being the hero. Imagine if Superman saved someone and they were like "OH NO, AN ALIEN!" and started running around in circles screaming. They should just be grateful Garrett doesn't have heat vision.


    What kind of twisted curse even turns our beloved HOBOS into zombies? Is nothing sacred!!

    9. The Inverted Manse

    What it would have been without zombies: Garrett is in possession of an ancient pagan artifact, and needs to learn it's true meaning quickly, as it has every faction in the city breathing down his neck to get their hands on it. He has no choice but to travel to the Magical Gumdrop Village and see Mayor McBunny immediately, for there was it forged, and only there shall it's true meaning be revealed. Along the way, he meets a pack of dancing squirrels who sing to him about the joys of friendship and must do battle with a platoon of happy gnomes who Garrett can only banish by shooting them with rainbows shot from his Wand of Love*.
    *That wasn't an intentional innuendo.

    What it is WITH zombies: FAR, far less horrifying.
    Also you have to admit that the level design, while not bad by any means, isn't anything special- but GOD is the atmostphere great after you fill it with hot zombie sauce*!
    *That also wasn't an intentional innuendo, you sicko.


    Before zombies were implemented into the storyline, this was a happy little elf rolling around in a puddle of strawberry ice cream. I know, I'm scared too.

    8. Ack! There's a Zombie in My Basement

    What it would have been without zombies: Pretty much exactly what it is now, except it would have been titled "Ack! Nothing is Really Going On I'm Just Easily Horrified".

    What it is WITH zombies: Either way this would have been an above average small mansion mission, but you have to admit, with the addition of a zombie in the basement it became much more intriguing. So many questions! How did a zombie get in the Basement? Is it suppose to be there? Should I be alarmed? Have I checked for zombies in MY basement today? Most of all, who's reaction to a zombie being in their basement is "Ack!"? Though I guess "HOLY ******* **** THERE'S A MOTHER ******* ZOMBIE IN MY BASEMENT, GET THE ******* CAMERA I'M ******* YOU-TUBEing THIS ****!" would be a pretty unwieldy title.


    Sure his unholy moans keep the kids up, but he's so well behaved!

    7. Yume No Rozen

    What it would have been without zombies: Honestly, I don't know what this mission is WITH zombies, so I can't even begin to guess.

    What it is WITH zombies: God, I don't KNOW! It's just absolutely crazy! So uh...Garrett breaks into this house where a few maids are aimlessly patrolling and goes upstairs where uh...a possessed doll appears and suddenly everyone becomes a zombie and Japanese pop music starts playing. This is like one of those "I'm trying to be funny but only coming off as intensely creepy" Japanese commercials, except there's no one trying to sell me hairspray at the end of it. Instead it ends with Garrett learning he died long ago and is now doomed to continuously re-live his last job. Wow, deep man, DEEP. In short, I don't know what the hell this is, but I'm pretty sure that zombies made it better.


    "Hey, don't ask me what's going on in this FM, I just work here."

    6. Annihilated

    What it would have been without zombies: This is a hard one because the mission is basically just Garrett's house, the zombies pretty much ARE the mission. But let's look at the facts- not only do Garrett and his wife clearly sleep in seperate rooms, but he's so afraid of her that he keeps a chest full of fire arrows near his bed for protection. He also for some reason goes to sleep spooning with his quiver of rope arrows. I don't know what it would have been like if zombies hadn't shown up other than real awkward.

    What it is WITH zombies: "Huh, the sound of my door opening? OH GOD IT'S MY WIFE SHE MADE THE FIRST MOVE I'M DEAD MUST MAKE LEAP FOR BOX OF FIRE ARROWS. Oh wait, it's just an army of zombies in the hallway and she's already been eaten. PHEW! Shhh my precious rope arrows- now no one will come between us."...well, this may or may not have been Garrett's intended mind set at the start of the mission, but the point is a whole swarm of zombies has annihilated Garrett's unheard-of-before-now wife and now it's time to get even Van Damme style: by blowing things up indiscriminately. This mission is oddly therapeutic in a way that few others are. I love it for its simplicity: here are zombies, here are fire arrows, enjoy. By the way, the key is on the rafters in the room with the statue; there, I just made it much easier for you to get straight to the zombie splattering. You're welcome.


    You know the zombies in an FM are really overachieving when they present you with their portfolio.

    5. Bloodmist Tower

    What it would have been without zombies: Pretty much exactly the same- an absolutely crazy trip through an insane level designed by a mad genius (KFort), though at one point you would be like "Y'know what would have been great here? A rave party that ends with everyone becoming a zombie. Ah well...you can't have everything I suppose..."

    What it is WITH zombies: ...but OH WAIT you can, in fact, have everything- BECAUSE THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENS.
    This has to be my favorite "moment" in FM history, and it wouldn't have been possible without the help of zombies. Come now, tell the nice zombies "thank you". Come on, say it! DO IT OR SO HELP ME I WILL TURN THIS LIST AROUND.


    "Whoa, back up man! No one gets in unless they on the list!"

    4. Happy New Year Mr. Lambert

    What it would have been without zombies: A tense, well-made murder mystery; however instead of all the killings having been commited by a rampaging zombie, they would have been commited by....uh...hmmm....well actually considering the supernatural elements involved in all the murders there really isn't anyone other than a vengeful spirit that could have commited them. If this mission was zombie-less, everyone would probably do the only sensible thing and blame all the killings on Harrison Ford. He'd be innocent of course, but at least we would get to see a chase scene on the roof of a train or something.

    What it is WITH zombies: I should say that this mission represents a bit of childhood wish fulfillment for me. Every frigging week I would watch Scooby-Doo and hope to GOD that it would actually be a monster this time and not some old guy in an absurdly elaborate ghost costume. Is it asking too much, I would think, to just ONE WEEK have Shaggy reach to pull off some monster's "mask" only to pull on actual skin and have the tied up abomination bite his face off*? Well guess what? This time it actually IS a monster behind it all; it's about DAMN TIME. My ten your old self would be floored. For that reason alone I have to say that this mission was made better with zombies.
    *At which point the monster would be all "Oh HEY, all this time he was just a bunch of blood and viscera in disguise; and he would have gotten away with it too if not for me biting his face off, lawl!" ....too much?


    Alright, the jig is up Old Man Henderson! Take off the mas- OH GOOD GOD MY ORGANS!

    3. Weekend Getaway

    What it would have been without zombies: Given my natural fear of hotels, probably only slightly less scary. And I'm not just talking about the proven fact that all hotel rooms have been haunted ever since the day I read "The Shining". Have you ever stolen a towel or something from a pricey hotel room and then turned in your key to the room at the front desk? I swear those clerks can stare into your very soul and feed upon the guilt within!

    What it is WITH zombies: Every time I stay in a hotel room I expect the door to the room to burst open and a zombie hungering for human flesh to stumble in. This mission proves that my perhaps outlandish fear is justified. I HATE hotels, and this mission shows exactly why- they're an evil spirit infestation just waiting to happen. With its inclusion of zombies, this mission is like something out of my nightmares, and I respect that. Had it featured no zombies it would have painted an entirely false picture of hotels: that you can stay in them without the possibility of an undead monster eating you in your sleep.


    Oh GREAT. First the overpriced room service now zombies! I'm paying $85 a night for this freaking room!

    2. Left For Dead

    What it would have been without zombies: Well, considering the fact that the mission starts with Garrett being dead, if the whole zombie thing had never come into effect it would have been an FM simulating what it's like to be a rotting corpse. This I suppose means that "Left for Dead" is one of the missions that is most improved via zombies, as I can't imagine gameplay elements such as "tap 'w' to decompose" and "click left mouse to be stinky" would have been all that compelling.

    What it is WITH zombies: You play "Zombie Garrett". I mean...do I really have to say anything else to sell this mission to you? Zombie Garrett! I think I said it best earlier, so instead of being clever I'll just quote myself:

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mike View Post
    I would have to deeply meditate by a quiet mountain stream for six months to come up with anything even half that awesome.
    Thanks Past-Mike! Sure, it doesn't really change the gameplay a whole lot, besides the fact that you can throw around your head and use it as a scouting orb (!!!!!!<---that was me trying to contain my excitement about the previous statement) and the fact that your arms look all skeleton-ey. It's most certainly a gimmick, but when you have a gimmick that is this entertaining, it goes a long way. Also, I have a feeling that playing this while listening to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" might be something truly special. Wait a sec...*tries it*...OH....MY...GOD. If I worked for a science institute that studied good ideas, we would all be shaking hands and congratulating each other right now, because I think I just stumbled upon the best one ever.


    "GARRETT! LIVES YE STI- oh....oh...I'm so sorry. Wow...awkward."

    1. Deceptive Perception

    What it would have been without zombies: Right near the end of the FM, Garrett finds a note that reads "We're here.", he turns around to witness a horror that turns the blood in his veins to ice water! It's the entire cast of the popular-for-some-reason 90's tv show "Friends", and they're each holding a script for pilot episodes of their own seperate spin-off sitcoms. As the horrible barrage of pitches for terrible prime time comedies begins Garrett sees no other option, and throws himself out of a nearby window; he faintly hears the sound of David Schwimmer saying "-and what if my character had a monkey for a roommate? Wouldn't that be WILD?!" before he hits the pavement and sweet merciful darkness takes him.

    What it is WITH zombies: An FM with THE GREATEST FREAKING "HOLY CRAP I JUST SIMULTANEOUSLY HAD A HEART ATTACK AND MESSED MYSELF" ENDING EVER! Maybe it's possible to use zombies in a more skillful way than shocking the player by having them turn around after reading an eerie letter and seeing a previously empty room now being full of undead all moaning and stomping towards them with arms outstretched: maybe, but I haven't seen it done yet. The ending to "Deceptive Perception" is one of the most shocking moments in FM history, and might I add, it's brought to you by zombies. You might say that it's kind of a downer of an ending, but HEY, the screen goes black so who knows what happened next? Yeah...I guess anything other than "Garrett gets eaten eyeballs first" seems pretty unlikely, huh?


    "UUUuuuuuugghhh...SPOOoooILeeeeRRRRrrSss...uuuuuuuuhhhhhh"

    Well there you have it boys and girls, my list of the top ten missions whose entertainment value was given a big shambling brain-eating shot in the arm thanks to zombies. In the slightly paraphrased words of Homer Simpson "...Is there anything they can't do?". No. No there isn't.

    OH, one more thing. WE'RE HERE.



    .....


    Admit it, you turned around! And uh...if a dozen or so zombies did in fact appear behind you I apologize profusely, though I do find it quite awesome that I apparantly have zombie-summoning super powers.

    NEXT UP: Ah...uhm...I dunno. Any ideas?
    Last edited by The Mike; 20th Nov 2016 at 12:39.

  25. #1300
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2006
    Location: Great. Now I can't get back in


    A wonderful read, Mike; maybe your best yet!

    And, how about "The 10 Strangest FMs"?

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