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Thread: General Fan Mission Review And Discussion Megathread

  1. #1451
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "Three Crowns" by bbb

    Made by bbb in 2007 for Thief II

    Three Crowns

    Just for fun, I'm gonna immitate SJ's exact method of reviewing. I'll see how it goes.

    What's the story? Well, my friend, the story is, that you must meet up with a keeper in the eastern tower. He'll tell you the further details.

    How's it playing? It's playing fantasticly, my friend! You can go climb around the city, go play some "catch" with the guards with you in the role of the ball and the guards as the bullies! Ok, but seriously, the city part was ok, but I missed some life in it. The city felt a bit dead without good ambients. Music makes you feel better emotions for the exact moment it's playing and I suppose I missed that there. Repair that mistake and it's a great city. Later on you get a bit of a major twist - (that's right, I'm gonna spoil it for ye!) the ratbeasts have stolen the three crowns and hidden into their vast networks of caves. Those cowards! I have no idea why they did that, but all I know is they still all know this by the end of the day: "Mess with the best and die like the rest..."

    // I love SneakyJack's method. It's easy going offtopic and it's like making friendly fun of him. //

    How does it look? It look fantastic, George! No, wait, that was just making an awesome joke. No, no, it's not like that either! The map looks fine, I hated some city textures to their guts, but that's only because... ok, I simply hate them. Everything honestly looks great considering it's just pretty much default textures. Architecturally most of it looks good. Some houses could've used some more outer detail, but generally this mission is about the caves, booyeah!

    How does it sound? It sounds normal. Period. Ok, one more sentence... If you're not feeling lonely, you won't need music in background, but if you do, this mission might become tedious. I honestly don't remember where it sounded and where not but I'm pretty sure it wasn't in the city section.

    So what is the verdict? If you haven't played this yet, ditch your next workday and give it away for this fabulous mission. It's a great straightforward, but with much exploring adventure that you shall learn to love.



    Apebeasts fire brigade


    Sorry, but I just can't make every comment funny, but I feel like funny now. Curses...


    This is the city I've been whining about. It looks good, right? Aww... *hugs the city complaints and turns them into flowers*


    The ultimate dilemma!


    We are here to chew lava and spit fire... and we're all out of lava...


    Hey, those fire elementals were lying. They do have lava!


    These guys prefer their house floors warm and high.


    Time to die!

  2. #1452
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing "Greyfeather Gems - Rodamill"

    ... by Morrgan, in 2005, for Thief II

    Greyfeather Gems 2 - Rodamill

    This is the sequel to "Greyfeather Gems 1 - The Shipment", which was released in 2003. It was an atmospheric mission, with way too much lockpicking, but that's pretty much the biggest flaw there was.

    Gonna tell the story from my memory: You've been hired by Greyfeather II, who wishes to retrieve his ancestors treasures and they are hidden in the Rodamill mines. First you must get to Rodamill. In first mission you get into a crate in mechanists's seminary, that's being shipped to Rodamill. Finally you're there, time to explore this creepy, abandoned place.


    In the sequel Morrgan has pretty much murdered that annoying flaw of half of the game spent on picking locks and expanded the gameplay area and quality. For all you explorers out there, this is something you must play. The only thing I could think of to complain about in this mission was my superior skill level of getting lost.

    Rodamill looks beautiful, the author seriously has a distinct like for green mushrooms, sometimes contrasting with red mushrooms. I had never liked mushrooms so much as in this mission. They make it a uniquely memorable visual experience. I mean it, they changed my perspective on life. They're very moody.

    Frankly, this mission reminds me of Greenbay. The building style feels similar too. Imho this mission is even better then Greenbay. Sorry, DrK.

    One thing I remembered to mention only when looking at screens - fog! My wall of fog actually looks quite good in this map just like in Eclipsed. Good for my standarts anyway! It's green, it gives you the rusty feeling and there's a good reason it's there - the early parts of the city are flooded, which means... *tells a boring physics thing everyone knows about anyway*

    All in all, this is mission is kinda like Melan's missions, just done by a completely different author! I bet that made sense! Ok, ok, to clarify - a lot of areas were just for player's good will to explore and enjoy the mission, lots of secrets, optional areas, which makes a rusher worried, that he might have lost the main track of the mission.

    At any rate, if you're there just to complete the mission, you probably won't need forum help, for the puzzles aren't unrealisticly hard, just... realistic.


    Overall standout traitrs - beautiful use of colored lights and fog, great "fallen city" atmoshpere, good varying in environments. Hope you enjoyed.


    These screens are using the the wall of fog. The best I've got.


    Visual atmosphere, a quick wow moment.


    Yes, there's even some beautiful vertical action.


    Red mushrooms in their glory.


    Fresh fish right on the market district! *Thor chokes laughing about his own joke*


    Don't you walk away from me, Sandra! Don't... goooo.....


    I think I just beat everyone, EVERYONE. I challenge anyone to beat me. Even Rose Cottage doesn't beat this!


    Maybe we should go back, Henry...


    The best and the most beautiful AI fight you have ever set your eyes upon. Enjoy!
    Last edited by Thor; 18th Nov 2009 at 20:01.

  3. #1453
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great reviews there, but you probably should have imitated my review style moreso before I completely changed it for the last couple reviews to get maximum comedic effect. It was funny to read, I wasn't expecting to get roasted. I used to stick to that style mainly out of the need to keep my reviews as painless to read as possible.. I tend to jump from subject to subject very quickly if I don't adhere to some sort of structure or section so it made it easier for me to keep on course.


  4. #1454
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Hey, thank you.

    I only came up with that idea to have more on-topic reviews myself. I didn't intend to do comedy, until I realized I wrote it. That's also why I didn't give the maximum effect (besides the one you mentioned).


    On a completely unrelated note: Watching the final two T2x commentaries mission walkthroughs. Damn I love those guys, but who were they? I thought one was fett, but now I'm going into doubt. Anyhow, I feel I'll miss them after I'm done watching.

  5. #1455
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    I love movie commentaries and had a blast listening to and watching all of the commentaries for T2X - I wish mission authors would do that more often. Its fascinating to see what their thought processes were for each section and how they view their own missions.

    You can find the answer for who the team was here. I'm sure you'll see some familiar names

  6. #1456
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    And I'm done with the commentaries! Dang, this is addicting.

  7. #1457
    Member
    Registered: May 2008


    I really like this shot - great job with it.

  8. #1458
    Classical Master 2008
    Registered: Jun 2002
    Location: Civitas Quinque Ecclesiae HU
    Good reviews, Thor02! The thing about Three Crowns is that it starts out fairly unassuming, but keeps on going and going and going and turns into a really epic thing by the time you finish it. It is also very impressive from a technical standpoint - you would think tha author would have used up all available Dromed resources to build something that big, but nope, it is something like 2000 terrain brushes out of 4000 or something. That's something.

    Rodamill, I liked that a lot as well. Great ambience (Morrgan's missions have always had a very distinct colour scheme) and fun gameplay, the best of both worlds.

  9. #1459
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing VC FM - "Lady Mossy" in 2009, by Marzec

    Author - Marzec
    Released in 2009
    Made for Thief II, Vertical Contest

    Yes, I'm now going through the 3 Vertical Contest missions. Someone needs to review them for god's sake! Before that, I want to say, that Vertical Contest was overall successful, but I would have bet, that it could've had more entries, should it had happened in authumn-winter seasons instead of summer. Maybe it's just me, but I thought more people would've had more time to construct something at those times.

    Anyway, I'm reviewin'...

    Lady Mossy

    The story sets out simple. Get a scepter from Lady Mossy and escape through the sewers.

    Really, the story advances in an interesting way and I liked it. Made me feel I'm living around it more than other two FMs. Plus centering it around a pagan woman, that lived in the city was mysterious and intriguing. Honestly, I think the story was underrated in this FM.


    I liked the use of simple logic in this mission, that many authors miss to do. I'm talking about key namings. If you put many keys in an FM, you should name them accordingly too (where you got them from, for example). There were 2 exceptions, though, but I liked the idea anyway.
    On a related, ironic contrast, this is pretty much a keyhunt mission. Obviously Garrett hasn't met Basso yet. Say what you think, but I found this keyhunting pretty challenging and fun.

    On an unrelated note, Lady Mossy was a fun name, especially since she's a pagan. It's like an obvious joke, that still tries to hide.

    Unfortunately this mission was filled with many bugs, but in total I didn't encounter any fatals ones. Luckily, the updated version has a lot less of them.

    Gameplay was slippery in this one. If you don't think similarily like the author, you're gonna need to be persistent, slip and trip lots of times or just search for hints and spoilers in the thread.

    This map sounds and looks well, especially after the updated version. All resources were default...

    All in all, I think this mission was alright and a little unique overall and as a random FM I think I would easily replay it in about a year or so.


    I guess my work here is done. My creativity-funnyness(?) factor died, I guess, but I'm sure I'll do better soon enough. Here, have a screen or two.


    View over Lady Mossy's pagany mansion and the city.


    This guy cares little that there's a tree growing in his workroom's ceiling.


    How on earth did I get behind the bars here??


    cozy kitchen with a sewer hatch in the middle of the supply shelves


    This room was evil to me in particular. Had lotsa time wasted at some point.


    Typical bathroom.
    Last edited by Thor; 19th Nov 2009 at 07:28.

  10. #1460
    Clearinghouse
    Registered: Aug 2002
    Location: Siberia, Russia
    Thor02, without fog?

  11. #1461
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Um... Huh?

  12. #1462
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing VC FM - "When Angels Refuse To Die" by Balboa

    Thanks for responding, guys. Here, have another one.

    Made by the Balboa
    Released in 2009 for Thief II's Vertical Contest

    When Angels Refuse To Die

    A keeperess visited you and sent you to a trap in Angelwatch. Few groups of people that went there had never returned, so you're sent there to investigate and you've got a baaaad feeling about this.


    Onward, I'd like to say, that this mission was my favorite as far as puzzles and story goes. It was a pretty good idea to take everyone's favorite OM and make something additional out of it. I think this mission could've been better, but I suppose time and space limitation does take it's toll on the author.

    What I pretty much disliked about thi mission were a few fatal bugs, that caused me to break the game and so once I pretty much had to replay it. Also, the use of the slowfall potion is devilish. You don't see those kinds of situations in every FM and for that I applaud the author, but he made evelator shaft situation kill any iron man's hopes of winning without replaying, imho.

    Now that I'm done with what bothered me most, I'll move on to what I likd most. This mission was linear and with little extra exploration to do, but when you have to solve such puzzles as given in this mission and find hidden switches just to continue with the mission, you're thankful for the layout. It's also very nice from the nostalgic point of view. You revisited some rooms of the OMs and some things have changed. It's just too bad, I loved the party in LotP!

    A nice touch was, that when you were still a servant, you had considerably lots of loot around you that you couldn't take, so when you broke free, you could shove in it the mechanist's (or anyone's for that matter) face, that you not only escaped, but you also robbed the mechanists blind.

    An even nicer touch was the humor - Fredrick's Rothchild invite evelope thrown out into threashcan!


    The mission is overall great fun with some potential frustration places, but just as well some nostalgia places. Here, take a peek!


    -Shall yo pass me some salad, honey?
    -Here! Shall you pass me a drink, dear?


    Damn fat iron beast, blocking my way!


    There he is... If only I had a blackjack...


    Looking familiar?


    Eh, um... typical workroom?


    THIS IS VERTICAAAAAAL!!!

  13. #1463
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids

    Reviewing VC FM - "Third Time's The Charm" by Ottoj55

    Author: Ottoj55
    Released: 2009
    Belongs to a contest? Yes. Vertical Contest

    Third Time's The Charm

    HOP! To start off, this FM won the Vertical Contest and with good reasons too. It's beautiful, the environment is immersive and the architecture induces pretty amazing doses of gameplay.

    The story sets out, that you've been hired by someone to rob the monestary blind from a few items. What's interesting, though, is that two thieves were hired to do the same thing, but they never returned... Anyway, get onto those mountains and kick some monk ass.


    Regrettably, I haven't played a lot from ottoj55,but this mission was great. All the objectives were either easy enough to find of well enough hinted to not be overlooked. Perfect balance. Nothing gave me any frustration, except maybe the dangerously thin rope over the castle. Fell off at least once or twice, without having saved for a while.

    The map layout is logical and a joy to navigate through (unlike my review!), yet not primitive at all. The architecture, lightening and textures were all beautifully done and some places, like the dungeon, felt pretty realistic like I was in the real medieval dungeon, even though I don't really know how medieval jails looked like.

    One thing that I thought was inappropriate, was that you had to discover at least 2 secrets to actually complete this mission, since 2 of the objectives were marked that way.

    Probably the only thing I missed in this mission was a major twist. I know, it's annoying to put such things in every FM and this was fine on it's own too, indeed, but it was so well done in all other aspects, that a twist would have met my expectations.


    To sum it up, if you want something classic and captivating thieving experience, with no epic story or twists, but solely *knocks out The Mike and robs him* kicking a ridiculius of ass in gameplay, beauty and atmosphere, then this is the mission for you.


    Oh, before screens, I'll proudly state, that I collected all of the loot, even though I wasn't aiming for it and I picked all pockets, even though I KOed some and only then collected their pockets. That made me slightly surprised as I thought it wouldn't count then. Weird stuff!


    Screens, say hello to the public!


    By this start showoff I immidiately knew I'm going to enjoy this mission.


    This room made me feel like I'm in a bit of a warehouse or a ship or a harbor. Neat, huh?


    Oh my god - mega arch - smooth arch combined with awesome stairs to dungeon! And it all looks so medieval-realistic! I can now die happy and fulfilled.


    The books tell me they're study table, but the layout and everything else tells me it's a restoraunt.


    Intimidating!


    Them wasting their nights patrolling.


    Master's chest - magical and fancy.


    Beautiful. Epic. Goodbye, monestary in the mountains!

  14. #1464
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great reviews Thor! I noticed your "Thanks for responding, guys" comment.. If you are doing this for a big response you might want to re-evaluate

    We have alot of folks that read this thread regularly but they don't respond after every review (it would probably just litter the thread with tons of posts you'd have to wade through to get to the discussions or reviews) so don't let little response get you down, people are definitely reading and enjoying from what I see. I'm glad to see you got your desire back.

  15. #1465
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Quote Originally Posted by SneakyJack View Post
    Great reviews Thor! I noticed your "Thanks for responding, guys" comment.. If you are doing this for a big response you might want to re-evaluate
    Um, we already talked about this, I believe. I do it for all of it. Replies, encouragement, entertainment and that longshot to cover all FMs together.

    I'm just saying thanks for reading and responding positively. I sometimes worry, that at least some of my reviews are off the track or something. So the encouragement made my confidence go up. As everything in life, it slowly rots and because of that needs to be updated. (I have some confidence issues, but I'm working on it...) I'm not asking for comments and occasional comments I get will do just fine.

    There, hope I got myself covered.

    Hmm, since I'm on a bit of a roll, I'll try to do some more until it's over.

  16. #1466
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2009
    Location: UK
    And I guess its my turn to contribute. Been doing some other things these past few days, so reviews from me will come slightly slower than usual. Who knows, maybe the opposite will happen. Edit: Forgot to mention, additional Silver/Gold awards will be given out once my archive has grown some more. I do this now for any section on the site.

    Rose Cottage

  17. #1467
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Quote Originally Posted by quakis View Post
    And I guess its my turn to contribute. Been doing some other things these past few days, so reviews from me will come slightly slower than usual. Who knows, maybe the opposite will happen. Edit: Forgot to mention, additional Silver/Gold awards will be given out once my archive has grown some more. I do this now for any section on the site.

    Rose Cottage
    Thank you for yet another contribution quakis!

  18. #1468
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Tannar Appreciation Society HQ
    Jason remains one of my favourite authors, I cannot think of a mission he's made that I haven't enjoyed. If you haven't played many of his missions I would highly recommend that you start. The vertical contest entry was just awesome. I don't get to play many missions anymore but I'm so glad I played it.

  19. #1469
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    I'm glad I played it too. It will remain as a good memory for me and I will likely replay it soon.

    I will surely try to play all of his missions in time. In time, because playing them all at once would just be like eating a cake in 10 seconds. (That's the best comparison I could come up with on short notice)

  20. #1470
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Ottoj55's attention to detail, architecture and texture work are staggeringly good. I think I remember him catching a very minor texture misalignment for a mission someone had released or was asking feedback on and thinking 'holy smokes, this guy takes pride in his work'. That and I agree that all of his missions are excellent.

    I have yet to play that last one, so I'm really glad you posted screens to let me know I needed to check it out!

  21. #1471
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Third Time's The Charm By Ottoj55
    Released: 2009
    Vertical Contest Winning Mission

    My apologies for second opinion re-reviewing a mission so quickly (the last review was on the previous page) but this mission struck me as such a quality piece of work that I had to put the words to paper (keyboard?) and let everyone know what a fantastic mission this truly is.

    You find yourself once again in search of a few special items - but you are not the first to try to do so in this particular location.. there have been two before you that have attempted with less than favorable results (Hence the mission title, which I thought was clever) and you aim to not become the third victim in this clumsy thief lineage.

    From the moment the mission starts you have no doubt that this is a creation from Ottoj55 as all the telltale signs are in front of you from the get-go. Incredible looking fire (his attention to detail to fire, candles and torches in particular should be commended) and textures along with rounded arches show you right away that the mission is destined to be a feast for the eyes.

    You'll have a few nifty gadgets at your disposal in this mission - from tranquilizer darts to gas bombs to flammable liquid and more. One thing I always enjoy about this authors missions would have to be all the different ways he gives you to dispatch your foes, should it come to that kind of situation during your sneak-fest. The gas bombs and flammable liquid in particular I found came in quite handy during my playthrough, and I was very happy to see these custom weapon/tool additions.

    The design of the mission is very well done - in some areas you'll see that the author seemed to go out of his way to create a fully functional dungeon and 'castle' type setting. Everything is very realistically done and the scale of the objects and rooms are spot on. You could imagine this mission as a fully functional Hammerite monastery and this adds a tremendous amount to believability and immersion. Arches are most time nearly perfectly rounded - quite a sight in the dark engine - and the custom objects, AI skins, weapons and textures are all great looking and high quality as you'd expect from the authors previous missions.

    The design also lends itself well to the exceptional gameplay. You'll find multiple ways into and out of each part of the structure, and your agility will definitely be tested in this one. Ghosters will rejoice when finding multiple doors/windows into any rooms, and explorers like myself will find plenty of routes as well. You'll hop from window to ledge, you'll find secret areas and items, you'll sneak around the always wonderful Hammerites and you'll have a blast while you do so.

    One thing in particular about the sounds in the mission that stood out to me were the difference in Hammerite voices - the authors readable states that some are from a Hammerite development kit and they are used to great effect here. The different voices are a very welcome change and mixes up the sounds you'll hear quite well. The mission is heavily populated with Hammer brethren lending to quite a bit of chatter flying through the air - and this kept hearing the same lines over and over from becoming stale and boring.

    Small details here and there also added quite a bit to my enjoyment of the mission. Secret objects are hidden just out of sight but not enough to make them impossible to find. Candles will still flicker with flame a time or two immediately after being doused. Loot placement is very intricately done and made finding alot of the loot great fun. Scratch marks on the floor will let you know that there is more to a certain room than meets the eye and many more details that have you thinking "Wow, he really put alot of thought into this" - the mark of a true master mission builder.

    As someone who very much enjoys Hammerite themed mission and exceptional gameplay as well as fantastic visuals - this mission has quickly jumped to the top of my list of favorite mission of all time. Highly recommended!

    Screens: (tried to make sure I didn't recreate and of thor02's shots)



    Very soon in the mission you realize you are in for quite a treat.




    I want whats in the glowy chest, this much is certain.




    Dinner is served.




    Just a hop skip and a jump to that Hammerite.




    Need to brush up on my scripture.




    Multiple routes to everywhere and great gameplay design.




    I'm down here - I need to be up there.




    Lookin' for loot in all the wrong places.

  22. #1472
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2008
    Location: in your second eyelids
    Well written! I myself totally forgot about all those ottoj55 gadgets, since I was shy at using, well, any of it. Just my trusted ol' blackjack.

    I thought they were monks, not just hammerites.

    For me, it was nice to read and compare our reviews, so thank you.

  23. #1473
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    The Night Before Christmas By Darkshadow
    Released: 2009

    Just in time for the holiday season we've got The Night Before Christmas - a mission that does an excellent job of getting you into the holiday spirit and roarin' to not only do some good deeds, but to fill up the ol' loot sack while you do so.

    TNBC puts you in the role of the unlikely heir to the responsibilities of father Christmas - you'll need to not only collect the right items to fulfill those duties but you'll need to carry them out as well. I found this to be a clever twist on the 'collect-o-thon' style mission and enjoyed the objectives in a similar way that I enjoyed the bonus good deed objectives in Christine's 'Pirates Ahoy!" mission. You not only get the good feeling of doing something un-dastardly for once, but you'll have alot of fun doing it.

    Gameplay in this mission is classic thief fare and harkens back to missions of the past in the simplicity of the objectives. You'll scale rooftops, use rope arrows, climb into windows, traverse metal piping trying to get into open areas and more - those of you who enjoy more 'classic' feeling thief missions will definitely enjoy this one. Alot of fun gameplay to be had. You'll come in contact with a few different foes - in one area in particular you'll come across a few Hammerites and as a big fan of the faction I always enjoy seeing them in a mission.

    Visually the mission looks pretty good (if a bit boxy at most points) and overall it seems alot of care has gone into making the wintery atmosphere come alive. You'll see ice hanging from the rooftops, snow falling all around you and guards keeping warm by a fire. It would have been nice to see a little more diversity in the boxy architecture, but the mission still looks quite good all things considered.

    There were a few issues here and there with areas being hard to get to (when they really shouldn't have been) and it could have probably done with a little more tweaking in the overall city design, but for the most part the mission is built solidly.

    My main concern with the mission really was the story - in particular the readables. Unfortunately the author didn't seem to enlist the services of a native English speaker to smooth out their texts (I myself would proofread any mission for any author if asked and I know many folks here would do the same) and overall the text is pretty much a mess. Broken English, unreadable sentences and overall lack of textual effort (Putting blah blah blah at various points in your texts for a mission you've spent so much time working on? Why would you do that?) really disappointed me as it seemed like the author had bits of story here and there that would have benefited from a little proofreading and overall would have made the experience much more solid.

    A solid mission that offers fun gameplay and a great atmosphere - if you are in the mood for a winter mission that celebrates the holiday season, this one is definitely going to be right up your alley. As long as you don't mind your missions a little rough around the edges, you'll have a great time. Recommended!

    Screens:



    Its that time of the year again!




    I meant, of course, that its time to get drunk!




    Bustin' out the christmas carols.




    The city watch, or as I like to call them - "Grinches in blue".




    Time to find out what tasks need to be done this evening!




    Snowman makin' time!




    Quite an imposing building!




    This scene actually struck me as more tragic than I think the author meant it to be - this poor fellow is alone guarding a place that is obviously going to see little or no action.. and its the night before Christmas.

  24. #1474
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Normally I'm in the batcave.
    Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've contributed anything, so without the usual string of lousy excuses, here's my review for "Eclipsed". I pretty much wrote it just to get my creativity flowing again, I'll be back to doing Top Ten lists shortly since that's the new and exciting format everyone is talking about these days (or at least I'm talking about it anyway...to, you know...my cat. Which is admittedly kinda creepy). So yeah, once again, ENJOY!

    Oh yeah, and if you want to read this review with a pretty-spiffy-if-I-do-say-so-myself title card (I made it myself ), it's also up over at Southquarter.

    Eclipsed Review

    You know what I really hate? Being scared. Honestly. Yeah, I know I'm always ranting about how much I love zombies and anything that involves undead creatures ripping things limb from limb, but that's not really scary- that's just awesome. What I hate is being honest-to-God scared out of my mind. That feeling where the hair on the back of your neck stands on end and you're looking over your shoulder every half a second like someone in the witness protection program even though you're just sitting in your room reading and the biggest danger that could possibly befall you is standing up too fast and hitting your head on the ceiling fan (wait...MY GOD I'D BE KILLED!). This is why to date I have beaten none of the Silent Hill games*. This is why when I get to the "dark zone" section of "A Night in Rocksbourg 3" I mute the game and crank up an "all Celine Dion" playlist (I FIND HER MUSIC SOOTHING, SHUT UP). This is why when I saw the movie "Paranormal Activity" I stayed up all night clenching a crucifix. But as much as I can't stand the quivering mass that being truly terrified turns me into, I tend to love the things that manage to bring that feeling on me. This is why I loved Hipbreaker's latest thief 2 FM "Eclipsed": because of it I am now a 24 year old man-baby who is too afraid to walk through his house at night, is convinced he's under attack by demonic forces every time his pets knock over something in the next room, and is probably going to sleep with a light on tonight. THANKS HIPBREAKER!
    *...and once bought and returned one for the purpose of it being too scary, and yes, that did require the simultaneous refunding of my man-card.

    But first, it's time for me to take my shirt off and get sexy with the storyline (or...y'know...talk about it and stuff). It starts with Garrett deciding to head out to the town of Port Aerinth, since supposedly it has great beaches, lots of unguarded homes, and only minor problems with demon invasion. Of course on his way out the keepers stop him with a cryptic warning which he of course shoots down with sarcastic one liners (it strikes me that the keepers might actually get through to him once if they just stopped with the roundabout stuff and were just like "YOU'RE GOING TO GET TORE UP BY A DEMON, MOTHER F---ER!"*). So Garrett goes anyway, but something definitely feels off about this job- and it's not just that demon chewing on his foot...but it is mostly that.
    *Which brings me to the point of this article: Samuel L. Jackson should totally be a Keeper.

    What I think I like most about this mission's story is how much controversy and debate it caused among thief fans. All of it centered around the fact that Garrett isn't really his somber anti-hero self and is more of a...well...a total douchebag, honestly. Okay, starting here, HUGE SPOILER ALERT FOR THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH AND THE NEXT; if all you want to know about the story is what you already read at this point, stop reading now and just skip a couple paragraphs ahead. So basically, at about the halfway point of this mission, Garrett has seen 0 demons (well okay, HALF a demon, tops) and has acquired enough loot to leave the town happily. However, he has read about powerful relics buried underground that are used in some way to keep the demons out of our world, and yeah, sure it would be a good idea to leave them there but have you SEEN how much those things are going for on E-bay?! So he goes underground into a Silent Hill-esque rusty walled demon menagerie and steals these relics only to find, not so surprisingly, that doing so re-released all of the demons on the town. He then skips through town passing out "How to Serve Man" cookbooks to the head demons and opens the town's main gates while yelling out all the names and locations of earth's major cities and how full of fresh meat they are (more or less). When a keeper asks him why he did all this douche-baggery he responds with "BECAUSE I'M A SURVIVOR, NOT A MARTYR. AND YOU'RE A BIG DOODY HEAD! insert childish pouting noise here". Anyway, back to the debate, some people are saying that this doesn't come off as heroic. Go figure, right?!

    I've previously referred to overly selfless characterizations of Garrett as "Saint Garrett". Well this is "Danger Junkie Asshole Garrett", and you know what? I like this guy more. "WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU EVIL EVIL MAN!?" you shout at me, tears streaming down your face as you clutch your homemade Garrett plushie. Why? Because this guy is interesting! This Garrett is in it for the thrills, only he has seen and survived so much, the thrill is starting to wear thin. So he takes on a job that has "guaranteed death and dismemberment" stamped all over it, just for the challenge. A lot of people have complained about the fact that Garrett doesn't just turn back when he accomplishes his loot goal. I thought the reasoning was pretty obvious: he's not in it for the money, he's in it for the danger and he hasn't seen a damn thing yet. To put it frankly, it's not always easy to watch and probably isn't even true to the character that was established in the official Thief games, but this guy has been in hundreds of missions and when was the last time he had a friggen character arch? Exactly. Basically, I really liked it because I'm a bitter person who despises all that is good and cheery and will never, EVER give Bob Cratchet Christmas day off. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go chase some happily playing children off my front lawn.


    Something about this hellish vortex gives me a bad feeling...

    Anyway, three paragraphs of story discussion aside, there's also some gameplay here. CRAZY I KNOW! Eclipsed is a heavily exploration based horror mission. As you all know, half of what makes great horror is build up, and this mission certainly has a whole HELL of a lot of build up. For almost half the mission you don't fight any monsters, however: lights go out by themselves, you see things run by in your peripheral vision, strange sounds echo from nearby rooms that are mostly empty when you investigate. To put it as eloquently as I can, it's pants-crappingly scary. Then the monsters actually do show up, and despite what you may have heard from others, it continues to be pants-crappingly scary. Maybe I say this because I've never been much for horror, or maybe it's the much more reliable reason: everyone else is wrong*. Sure these monsters aren't anything completely unlike what you may have seen before in other games, but they follow the simple rule of "dirty + no face = scary", and who am I to dispute fact? The first time one ran out of the shadows howling at me, I felt something that should have been much lower in my body rise up into my throat.
    *...except anyone who has the power to erase this review from wherever you're reading it. They are not only right, but extremely good looking.

    Still, all the monsters in the world couldn't make up for shoddy level design (well okay, maybe ALL of them could- no one could stop that much synergy). Fortunately, the level design here is top notch and full of the kind of evily creepy moments that get under your skin. There are at least a couple chilling scenes that will stick with you until long after you have beaten it. One area in particular where a man hangs from a noose in a candlelit room while a music box plays is almost beautiful in a disturbing kinda way. Another area with corpses hanging from the ceiling that aren't quite as innate as they appear is awesomely sick and twisted. It's fantastic, but as anyone who has read my reviews knows, I am a master of nitpickery. With that said, at one point during the first half of the mission in order to make further progress you have to pass through a small hole in a wall that's covered by vines and pretty much has to be found by accident since no one who isn't half hawk could see it otherwise. An extremely minor complaint I know, but I had to pick that nit...it was eyeballin' me, YOU ALL SAW IT!

    To wrap things up, I loved this mission. Not only did it admirably perform its job of scaring me out of my friggen' mind, but it offered an interesting take on a pre-established character which I found pretty damn intriguing. It's definitely going to split people, however. It turns a beloved gaming icon into a total jerkwad, and after a fantastic slow-burn setup suddenly starts throwing gobs of monsters at you with little fanfare (they're just kinda like "Yo wassup, we're the bad guys" when at that point you're expecting them to burst through a wall like some herd of demonic Kool Aid men and instantly melt your face off with their incredible terrifying-ness), but it just all worked extremely well for me. My advice is to stop being a big sissy and download it. Now if you will excuse me, I have to finish boarding up my windows to completely demon-proof my house. Never can be too careful.



    This my friends is how you do "moody".


    I, personally, see no reason NOT to follow the trail of blood into the ominous doorway.


    Why do I have a feeling that this monster is going to suddenly get real close, real quick?


    Yes, whatever horrors this hallway holds, surely my moss arrows will save me.


    Oh, and before I go, great reviews SneakyJack! I have to especially comment you on your screenshots- freaking godly as always. I honestly have no idea how you do it man. They are always a blast to read also, of course. Keep cranking them out dude!

    I think next I'm going to (finally) do that Top Ten Favorite Crazy FMs list. And this time I'll do it real quick-like, honest!

  25. #1475
    Member
    Registered: May 2008
    Great review Mike, and thank you for the kind words! I'm looking forward to any top 10's you may do in the future, I had a blast reading the previous ones. I may do a few of my own in the future but I'll probably have much more obscure subjects like "Top 10 Weapon Shops"

    Edit: Someone asked me via PM if I use dromed to 'stage' my screenshots or what have you and my only answer to that is "Ive never used dromed and wouldn't know where to begin". I loaded it once in the past trying to create my own mission and just about passed out from the complexity - I have tons of respect for those of you that create these missions, trust me. I just try to get the most 'cinematic' angle or scene possible while I'm sneaking around enjoying the mission. Unfortunately that leaves me playing a mission more as a screenshotter than as a player sometimes. I'll come across something completely visually mindblowing and only be thinking "so how would this best show up on the forum?" I think I'm damaged.

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