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Thread: Thief Gold final playthrough appreciation thread

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel

    Thief Gold final playthrough appreciation thread

    All,

    Yesterday I began what I believe will be my last playthrough of Thief Gold (to be followed by The Metal Age and Deadly Shadows). Why last? Well, there is always a last time for things we do, as time passes and life changes and flows by. When I first came here to TTLG, I was 23 years younger, going through a divorce, and had no kids. Now my oldest is going on 17, my youngest is 15, I'm married, and I'm pretty busy. All of that affects my time that I have for pursuits such as gaming. But the big driver is that in April 2021 I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Long, unhappy story. Short version is that it's not smoking related and is a genetic mutation. The good news is that treatments have advanced tremendously in the last 20 years, with targeted therapies emerging that has meant I only have to take a daily pill, and that I am currently free of detectable cancer. The bad news is that these new treatments inevitably fail, and can fail at any time. But that is the background to why I'm posting this thread, and not what I want this thread to be about.

    This thread is about Thief. The series is my all time favorite video game series, and though I've had a good time playing many other games, none of them pulled me in like Thief did. So I'm going to run through all of the games again, one more time. Like reading a favorite novel, or rewatching a favorite movie. And then I'll talk about each mission.

    I don't have any particular rules for the playthrough, though I would like to get 100% of the loot without looking at a walkthrough. I've already played Lord Bafford's Manor, and I did get 100% of the loot, but I had to look up the location of a stack of coins for 12 gold in order to complete it.

    So my next post will be about Lord Bafford's Manor.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    I'll read along for the ride. I've been playing since '98, '99.. when did the first game come out?

    I don't think I've ever gotten 100‰ loot in any mission.. either original ones, or FMs.. but I sure have had some fun.

    Sorry to hear about your medical issue(s). I don't know what to say, except "Keep fighting".

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel

    Lord Bafford's Manor

    I've been a gamer my whole life. In the late 70s/early 80s we had an Intellivision game console, and I had an Apple II GS (which stood for Graphics and Sound). I messed around early with programming, and I've been doing it ever since. I first learned to read source code so I could figure out the solution to a text based adventure game (in a locked room with only a piano. Take a key from the piano, unlock the door. Fuck that game). I liked the arcade games at the time, but I really liked the text based games for the feeling of playing a story. So when I encountered The Bard's Tale on my Apple II GS I was hooked. It had a story, it had some depth, and it had a first person perspective as you moved through the town and the dungeons. At that moment I fell in love with the first person perspective. Doom was amazing, Quake was too. Visceral, frightening, thrilling... but light on the story elements. Half-Life was awesome, and had more of a story, but was also on rails and the thing that bothered me most was the way the enemies would do nothing until you saw them. They would just stand there behind you, then you'd turn around, and then they would engage. I understand the design choice but it was a glaring reminder that I was playing a game, and I preferred to be immersed as much as possible. I played Unreal in there somewhere too, though I remember almost nothing about it.

    That was the context I was coming from when I picked up Thief Gold sometime in 1999.

    The cutscenes were perfect. Sketches and a voice over, text setting up the backdrop of the world, maps that aren't perfect replicas of the space you'll be moving through. Evocative, but leaving plenty up to your ability to explore. Set the scene, let the player play. "Steal another fat nobleman's priceless trinket and leave quietly."

    I wasn't sure what I was getting into, I just knew I was tired of the run and gun games I'd been playing and was ready for something different.

    So you start in the corner of the street near the front entrance of Lord Bafford's Manor. As you approach, the guards start discussing the bear pits and the fights therein. It's a nice touch, the guards acknowledging each other's presence and chatting away about nothing. As a programmer, I know there is a trigger there so the conversation doesn't start until I'm there to hear it, but given the games I'd been playing, the fact that there was a conversation at all was pretty cool. The stage is being set for a world that feels lived in. It's not there just for me, the guards have lives and concerns outside the game. It's all artifice of course, but well done artifice. As I move past the gate, I get Garrett's first voiceover in game. Stephen Russell of course did an excellent job with Garrett. World weary, cynical, to the point. The voiceover does well at conveying information, guiding the player, and getting you used to the notion that you'll hear his thoughts from here on out.

    Move past the front gate. Here comes a servant down the alleyway, heading to Bafford's. The first time I saw him, I panicked and tried to hide, only to have him ignore me. Here was a new concept, a neutral NPC. Very different from the kill everything that moves FPS's I'd been playing at the time. I would learn that servants can raise the alarm, so they couldn't just be ignored, but they wouldn't cause immediate combat or failure. As I continue along the street, I find the cache of arrows. OK, so I'll be able to find supplies along the way as well. Good. I wander around, and eventually accidentally highlight a sewer cover and open it. Down I go, into the sewer. I didn't really intend to come out behind the guard at the well, but that's where I wound up. The first several times I missed the loot on the floor in the room with the lever for opening the metal gate.

    I approach the guard very carefully, only for him to be very drunk. A little humor, and some realism as well. Guard duty is boring, some of them are going to drink. "What's with the crazy getup?" Had to chuckle at that as I lifted the key from him. Then into the well house and down the well to the water supply. Blue, instead of green, if I remember correctly. Clean, as opposed to sewage?

    Through the water, find the passage with spiders and a chest. So there are non-human characters here as well. The spiders seem bigger than normal, the size of cats. No compunction about killing them at all.

    A ha, a broken wall and a back way in. Lord Bafford really should repair that some day. Overhear another guard conversation, about keeping out intruders. As an intruder, I am amused at the irony, no doubt as intended. My first attempt at blackjacking the guard goes poorly I think. But eventually I get it. It's around this time that I realize the AI has multiple states, and that an unaware AI can be knocked out, and a searching AI can be knocked out from behind, but that a fully alerted AI has to be run from so that he stops looking for me, or flashbombed and then knocked out. Somewhere along the way, I learn that the AI talk to themselves, mostly so they can broadcast clues about their alerted state to the player. "Musta been rats." I'm sure in this quasi-medieval city, there were tons of rats. A modern remake would need to have them running around as ambient background animals, but the tech limitations of the time I'm sure precluded that. I make my way up from the storage areas and kitchen, stealing what I can find, knocking out servants and guards as I come across them, making mistakes and restarting the level as I learn these new stealth mechanics. I like the occasional texts I come across, laying out that Bafford is something of a jerk to his servants and guards. Now I don't feel so bad about stealing his shit!

    The thing I start to notice about the manor is how interconnected everything is. Rarely is there only one way to get to a place or objective. Multiple pathways leading to a place. This helps the game as it makes it easier to go from place to place avoid guards, and in reality no one would build a castle with no choke points, but from a player's perspective it's awesome and gives a real maze type feel so you have to pay attention. You are not on rails, there are multiple different ways to go, and it is easy to get lost. Compare that to Half-life where there is always one way forward. And, there are no convenient man-sized air ducts anywhere to be found. I hate that about games that try to give you a stealth option. No way to sneak past this guard! Oh wait, here's a convenient 4 foot high air duct that leads straight to where you want to go!

    Being able to control the light levels is another revelation. Garrett becomes invisible in the dark, guards walk right past him, but there are torches everywhere, lighting things up. The water arrows are a nice touch. Use these (in limited supply) to put out a torch. Voila! Instant darkness. Eventually I will realize that there are arrows that fit into the classic Greek elements of earth, air, fire & water. For now, I don't know that yet. I just think they are cool and very very useful. Every load out sees me buying every available water arrow.

    I sneak through the manor, stealing what I find, until I find the Throne Room. How pretentious! I get the scepter, and then I have to find the exit. My first time through I am seriously lost, so even though I have what I came for, I'm not done. I must also escape.

    After I get out, I am very intrigued by this game. It is very different from what I'd been playing, and the first mission is a nice introduction to the world, so I am ready to play more. It still may not be my type of game, but I've played for 60-90 minutes and I like the slow, deliberate pace, the exploration, the hint of a larger world. More complex AI that seems to have a bit of a life outside guarding, all very nice.

    Next mission is Break from Cragscleft, so I will update this thread when I play through it again.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    Quote Originally Posted by Hit Deity View Post
    I'll read along for the ride. I've been playing since '98, '99.. when did the first game come out?

    I don't think I've ever gotten 100‰ loot in any mission.. either original ones, or FMs.. but I sure have had some fun.

    Sorry to hear about your medical issue(s). I don't know what to say, except "Keep fighting".
    Thanks, there isn't much else to say. Luckily the treatment has been relatively easy compared to traditional chemo, so the fight, as it were, is pretty easy.

    I think The Dark Project came out in 1998, with Thief Gold coming out in 1999? 1999 was when I got it.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Been years since I last played the classic Thief games, so I'm looking forward to your playthrough posts.

    Here was a new concept, a neutral NPC. Very different from the kill everything that moves FPS's I'd been playing at the time.
    Yeah, I remember playing Thief with a friend of mine back in the day. He did try to be stealthy but was pretty terrible at it, so he ended up killing pretty much all the guards. Or probably died while trying to do so. No wonder he thought that the game "sucked" and never wanted to play it again. And actually, I think that's fair enough criticism in a way - even though you're not supposed to play Thief in that way, the game gives you all the weapons and gadgets to make it possible, and that part of the gameplay does suck indeed.

    Another thing that sucks is your health issues. I certainly hope that all these modern treatments will continue to work. Don't know if you still remember me, but you sent me the CD by your band all these years ago. I did my best to promote it to my friends, which most likely resulted in 0 extra sales, haha. For some reason I still remember this detail about you being sorry for not being able to send the CD to me earlier, because you had been too busy with your newborn daughter, so yeah, that really was quite a long time ago. I actually listened to the album again a few months ago! Some of the songs sound a bit too "early 2000s" these days, although it gives me sort of a nostalgic feeling now, but 'End of a String' particularly is still a great pop song. I sometimes find myself humming along its chorus while I do stuff.

    But we're going off-topic here I guess. Take care and keep taffing!

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2011
    When you get to Thieves' Guild, you know what to do Ctrl+Alt+Shift+End

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2009
    Location: thiefgold.com
    Quote Originally Posted by zajazd View Post
    When you get to Thieves' Guild, you know what to do Ctrl+Alt+Shift+End

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2021
    I love this kind of posts and the fact that many on this forum are 40+ gamers is one of the reasons I started engaging in the first place. As someone born in '94 and having popped the cherry of gaming very early in life, I don't have the memories of "a game can do that?!" that always appears when people talk about while remembering Thief. Plus, because of the game's idisioncracies, slower and more thoughtful gamers are more likely to be brought in, which are also the ones more likely to cherish the memory and explore and re-explore it as you are doing now (and then keep exploring it in a discussion or a written-down of those experiences).

    I know this thread is about Thief and not about death (and life), but it's a subtext impossible to escape from. I don't think it's a bad thing. It gives the read an extra layer that is very pretty. I have a somewhat eclectic and multifaceted life. People from one space in my life are always surprised that other, very different sides coexist as well. And through them, a very personal and mostly not-shared aspect is gaming, a very solitary kind of single-player gaming, where older games like Thief take the crown over most modern options. And I often wonder, between many other things about the future, what games will I still be playing when I get older. What games will stand against time, both because they age well as a game and because I simply just haven't extracted all I could from them yet, regardless of the years.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the post and will be reading the rest. Say, have you played Fan Missions at all? Any recent ones? I understand you have a busy life and it's more like a new encounter with an old friend, to see like in a mirror how much you've both changed and how much you haven't, but there are some very interesting new things out there made by fans. Previously this year I replayed Thief 1 and did not enjoy it (haha) but I knew that was going to happen. My first proper playthrough was kinda late in my gaming history: it was in 2017. And since then I've stayed because of fan missions.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    I was 28 when the first game came out, and I played the demo of the game until I wore it out. It was the first time in a long time that I could remember wanting to play something so badly that I stayed up well past midnight, even on work nights, just to find out what happened next.

    It wasn't long before my oldest son started playing the game(s), then the other two started, and we've been a household of Thief fans ever since.

    I remember the first time I ever got close enough for one of the patrolling guards in the streets before entering Bafford's manor to see me, and I had dodged the guards a thousand times up to that point... and he says, "How's it going?" real casual like, and I thought, "How many times have I snuck by this guy and spent all that time avoiding him?!?!" I also remember the next time I came across a guard somewhere and tried to just walk nonchalantly by him and got attacked. The game was excellent at keeping me on my toes. It just never gets old.

    I'm 52 now, and I enjoy a lot of different types of games... but Thief will always remain high on my list of all-time favorites.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomi View Post
    Been years since I last played the classic Thief games, so I'm looking forward to your playthrough posts.

    Yeah, I remember playing Thief with a friend of mine back in the day. He did try to be stealthy but was pretty terrible at it, so he ended up killing pretty much all the guards. Or probably died while trying to do so. No wonder he thought that the game "sucked" and never wanted to play it again. And actually, I think that's fair enough criticism in a way - even though you're not supposed to play Thief in that way, the game gives you all the weapons and gadgets to make it possible, and that part of the gameplay does suck indeed.

    Another thing that sucks is your health issues. I certainly hope that all these modern treatments will continue to work. Don't know if you still remember me, but you sent me the CD by your band all these years ago. I did my best to promote it to my friends, which most likely resulted in 0 extra sales, haha. For some reason I still remember this detail about you being sorry for not being able to send the CD to me earlier, because you had been too busy with your newborn daughter, so yeah, that really was quite a long time ago. I actually listened to the album again a few months ago! Some of the songs sound a bit too "early 2000s" these days, although it gives me sort of a nostalgic feeling now, but 'End of a String' particularly is still a great pop song. I sometimes find myself humming along its chorus while I do stuff.

    But we're going off-topic here I guess. Take care and keep taffing!
    Hey Tomi - yeah "End of a String" was a real high point on that record. That band broke up shortly after my daughter was born. Too many responsibilities, not enough time. But I thoroughly enjoyed making that record.

    My son tries to play Thief that way too, killing everything, moving through too quickly, not being deliberative, so it ends up not being fun for him. I remember Joel Hodgson once said about Mystery Science Theater 300 "Not everyone will get it, but the right people will get it". Thief is like that a little bit. Not for everyone, but for those of us that do get it, it's the best. Like MST3K.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    Quote Originally Posted by zajazd View Post
    When you get to Thieves' Guild, you know what to do Ctrl+Alt+Shift+End
    I find Thieves' Guild a bit frustrating, but I didn't hate it. Maybe it's my least favorite mission in the game, but I still like parts of it. So I will be playing it when I get there.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    Quote Originally Posted by Kubrick View Post
    I love this kind of posts and the fact that many on this forum are 40+ gamers is one of the reasons I started engaging in the first place. As someone born in '94 and having popped the cherry of gaming very early in life, I don't have the memories of "a game can do that?!" that always appears when people talk about while remembering Thief. Plus, because of the game's idisioncracies, slower and more thoughtful gamers are more likely to be brought in, which are also the ones more likely to cherish the memory and explore and re-explore it as you are doing now (and then keep exploring it in a discussion or a written-down of those experiences).

    I know this thread is about Thief and not about death (and life), but it's a subtext impossible to escape from. I don't think it's a bad thing. It gives the read an extra layer that is very pretty. I have a somewhat eclectic and multifaceted life. People from one space in my life are always surprised that other, very different sides coexist as well. And through them, a very personal and mostly not-shared aspect is gaming, a very solitary kind of single-player gaming, where older games like Thief take the crown over most modern options. And I often wonder, between many other things about the future, what games will I still be playing when I get older. What games will stand against time, both because they age well as a game and because I simply just haven't extracted all I could from them yet, regardless of the years.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the post and will be reading the rest. Say, have you played Fan Missions at all? Any recent ones? I understand you have a busy life and it's more like a new encounter with an old friend, to see like in a mirror how much you've both changed and how much you haven't, but there are some very interesting new things out there made by fans. Previously this year I replayed Thief 1 and did not enjoy it (haha) but I knew that was going to happen. My first proper playthrough was kinda late in my gaming history: it was in 2017. And since then I've stayed because of fan missions.
    I haven't played many fan missions. I played a few many many years ago, but generally my gaming time is very limited, so I never feel like I have the time to go through the massive archive of fan missions and play them.

    This is very definitely a nostalgia trip for me, a chance to reflect and to explore why the Thief games resonated so powerfully with me.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel

    Break From Cragscleft Prison

    The Mines

    It starts off well enough, swimming through an abandoned mine shaft filled with water. The first thing I see is a dead body. The flies are a nice touch. The mission briefing mentions that the mines are reputed to be haunted, but I didn't really get what that meant. I find out quickly as the dead body moans and stands up when I approach too closely. Ah, a zombie. I'm sure this zombie killed me the first time I played, as I did not know how to kill it. The next time I simply avoid it. I find several other bodies laying down that moan when I approach, I avoid them as best I can. I find it difficult to explore the area with zombies shambling after me, so I try not to wake them. I find the elevator, with a strange chirping sound coming from below. I want to explore, so I carefully get my bow ready and go down. Then I see the spider (this one the size of a big dog), which freaks me out a bit in the gloom, but it is vulnerable to arrows so I shoot it dead. I then find my first moss arrows, which I grab, not knowing what I'll need them for. There is a distinct lack of hand holding in this game, where they give you a new tool and don't explain it. It's possible the explanation is in the booklet that came with the discs, I don't remember. Eventually I find my way up to the chapel, and I find the holy water fountain. I click on it, and notice the Holy Water Arrows countdown. Putting two and two together, I do eventually come up with four, and shoot the holy water arrows at a pursuing zombie. After two hits, it explodes in a most satisfying way. Eventually I find the stairway guarded by the Hammerites. I overhear the Hammers talking about the lack of hard work from the new acolytes (the old always think the young are slacking, don't they?) plus a bit of backstory about how there just aren't as many new recruits as there used to be. I knock them out and enter the factory.

    The Factory

    I'm confronted with the maze of the Factory, luckily there are signs directing you in a few places. I explore around, not finding any loot, but seeing the Hammers at work forging, well, hammers. They need a lot of them I guess. Understandable, they are Hammerites after all. I do notice that their footsteps are much much louder on the metal flooring, so I assume mine will be too. I don't remember if the booklet told me, or if I read something online, or if I just tried it, but I use the moss arrow to muffle my footsteps so I can knock out a few of them. The factory area is a bit confusing but I do eventually find my way up to the Prison level.

    The Prison

    My first playthrough of this I remember so vividly. This was a legitimately disturbing level. The dank feel, the prisoners moaning in pain or babbling to themselves, the Hammerite zealots. This has to be one of the most atmospheric levels I've ever experienced in my life. Not scary, but there's an undercurrent of dread and creepiness. This is nearly enough to sell me on the game, though it'll be another level coming up that pulls me in 100%. I find Issyst and the Hand of Glory. I talk to Cutty, nice of him to wait until he talks to me before he dies. This acquaints me with a new game mechanic, the changing of my objectives during the mission. I find Basso, but I still need to loot more so I leave him in his cell for now. One playthrough I just opened every door in every cell just to see what happens. The prisoners run around, and eventually stop somewhere in the level. I can't remember if the Hammers kill the prisoners, but I've knocked most of them out anyway, so they can't. The alarm that can be triggered by the Hammers (or by me accidentally, not knowing what that button was for. I'll just press this....) is a nice touch, putting every enemy on alert and making it much more difficult to escape. I make my way up to the barracks to get my loot. But big kudos to the designer of this level for this portion. Excellently done.

    The Barracks

    Not a large space, but there are what feels like too many Hammers wandering around. I overhear the conversation between the mages about someone using a different company when building something, and how they will regret it. I really want these two to then go on patrol or wander around or something, since in order to get 100% of the loot I have to get the hammer that's up there. I loot the safes upstairs, read about Nammon and the missing evidence box, which I need to find anyway to get Felix's notes about the Horn of Quintus. Once I'm satisfied I've gotten all the loot, it's back down to the prison level to find Nammon, get Basso, and leave.

    Nammon

    Man, I could not find the little crawl space where he went to die, conveniently leaving the evidence box and Felix's notes. I think I eventually had to resort to a walkthrough to find it. It's still hard to find for me, even though I've played this game more than any other game. Plus there's that Hammerite just standing there watching and a primitive camera apparatus, so I tended to hurry through that section. Eventually I do find Nammon, so it's off to get Basso and get out. I think I just retraced my steps when leaving the first time, though I did discover the waterfall exit on subsequent playthroughs.

    Overall, this level is a bit of a mixed bag for me. Maybe a bit disjointed? I'm not sure why. I loved portions of it, especially the Prison section, but it isn't my favorite level. I really enjoy levels that make some logical sense. So the mines and the factory being close to one another makes perfect sense, even though the mines have been abandoned by the time I visit. It sets up the Hammers as being in a bit of decline, as do the conversations you overhear. And of course if there are workers for the mines and factory, you need barracks for them. But why a prison crammed in there? Overall, this level did keep me engaged, and made me feel edgy and tense, so it's a good level in a game that, in my opinion, has no bad levels and several levels that are flat out excellent. And the overall aesthetic of a medieval world with a bit of steam tech and some light magic is being set up very well.

    Next post: Down in the Bonehoard.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel

    Down in the Bonehoard

    And we get some text/quotes from the Pagans/Trickster now. That makes all three factions. The Keepers had their say in front of Bafford's, The Hammerites in Cragscleft, and now the Trickster. If you're really paying attention, the battle between Chaos and Order, with the Keepers trying to keep the Balance, has been set up, or at least alluded to.

    The mission itself is one of my less favorite ones. There are some nice moments, but there are too many jumping puzzles for my taste, and the tombs do not remotely feel like something that would have actually been built. Nonetheless, some new tools are introduced (fire arrows, rope arrows), and the scrolls left behind by Felix and his accomplices (RIP Felix, you've looked better) give some nice in world hints as to how to get the various items. A couple new enemies are introduced as well. Burricks and the Fire Shadow.

    I have a very clear and distinct memory of watching a friend of mine play this level while a bit drunk, and he had quick saved at the beginning, right before you descend the rope into the tombs. And he kept missing it. "It's a long way down", fall, die, reload. "It's a long way down", fall, die, reload. This must have happened 10 times, and for whatever reason it was hilarious to us.

    Anyway, back to the level. The burrick caves are OK, but I really dislike the Burricks as an enemy type. Too difficult to sneak up on and blackjack (I remember thinking "You can blackjack them?!?") A few items to loot, a cache of fire arrows, but mostly just figuring out which way to go to get to the tombs proper.

    In the tombs, tons of zombies. Leading to my favorite game - explode zombies. I will run around until I have a bunch following me, then activate the holy water vial and blow up as many as I can. If they're close together, one arrow can damage two or more at a time. And I really just find the animation and the sound of the zombies exploding very satisfying. But, that is on my later playthroughs. On my first, I found the atmosphere of the tombs pretty nice, and the zombies added to the feel of isolation and desolation, along with the constant threat of death. Lots to explore, loot to grab. Some traps clearly inspired by Raiders of the Lost Ark (I'm looking at you Mystic's Soul). The Hammer Haunt is introduced here with it's creepy voice and calls to Join us, Join us now! But overall, not my favorite level. I'd probably rank it in the lower quarter.

    On my first playthrough, this level didn't exactly leave me filled with awe or thinking I was playing a masterpiece. It was good enough that I was going to keep playing, but it wasn't as good as Baffords and didn't have the same creepy ambiance that Cragscleft had. Of the three missions I'd played so far, it was the weakest. I was going to keep playing, but if the remaining missions had been like this one, Thief would have been another unremarkable game in a sea of unremarkable games.

    Luckily, Assassins is next.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    I can remember having to find a fan I wasn't using at the time to play Bonehoard the first time(s) through, my hands sweated so much. Just keeping paper towels close by wasn't enough; I had to have one of those oscillating fans directed across my keyboard and mouse just to keep playing. The fear of falling, the zombies creeping around and wheezing and groaning in the dark... it was intense the first few dozen times playing through it.

  16. #16
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel

    Assassins

    This was the level that pulled me all the way in. The whole thing screamed Thief in the best possible way. The first time through I remember wondering a bit about why the level that will have me getting some new thieving tools and stealing stuff from the Hammers was called "Assassins". I found out when I took my first steps towards Farkus. Poor guy, luckily the assassin charged with killing Garrett forgot his glasses.

    Trailing the assassins

    My first playthrough, this was probably the coolest thing I've ever done. Here these guys just tried to kill you, and you have to follow them through the winding passages of the City back to their employers. So you know the threat of death is very real, which makes the tension in this section ramp up. I mean, generally the guards will attack you if they see you, but these two were sent specifically to kill you, and now you're following them back to their den. Every part of this was awesome, the tension of having to stay close enough to them to keep following, without being too close to be spotted. The occasional metal sections you have to walk over (love those moss arrows). The well lit areas that have to be moved through quickly. I loved it.

    Ramirez' place

    And then we get to Ramirez' place. He's the one behind this, and here's his mansion. I am gonna steal everything I possibly can from his mansion. What's nice here is that the mansion itself feels like something that would actually have been built. Nothing strange about it. Just a big place with servants and guards (oh so many guards, jesus, the guy almost has an army). I imagine ghosting this level would be challenging. Luckily I don't play that way, and given the recent assassination attempt, they're all lucky I don't just kill them. Knocking them out, though, that I do. The challenge in this part is all the guard patrols, so it's rare that I don't set off the alarm. I did manage to not be spotted once and I was shocked to have the mission end as soon as I got outside the mansion. It was a nice touch of them to add that feature for the very diligent, but one of the fun parts is getting back to your neighborhood, so sometimes I would set the alarm off myself just to have the experience. The first time through though I most definitely was seen and had the alarm go off. The addition of the lockpicks means we're almost done getting new equipment. The tension around picking a lock that's taking a long time while exposed in a corridor adds to the overall Thief experience, where you feel the tension build the longer it takes followed by a release when you enter the room and shut the door. Safe for the moment, unless the room happened to have someone in it. Overall the mansion section is nicely done and nothing there throws me out of the game. And it's very satisfying clubbing Ramirez unconscious and stealing all his money. That's what you get when you mess with Garrett!

    Getting home

    Not a ton to say about this, though I find it a nice section with some good tension with all the guards roaming the streets looking for anyone. It becomes a bit of a game of hide and dash. Find a nice shadowy spot to hide in, then wait for the guard coming up the street to pass, then dash to the next shadowy spot to hide in. One oddity is in one of the buildings near Garrett's home turf, where there is a cauldron on molten metal. Seems like a strange place to keep it, but whatever.

    Stray thoughts:
    Mines are also in this level, I think for the first time? I don't really ever use mines, especially in the human only levels where I don't kill anything. I suppose I could have used them on the burricks, which Ramirez keeps in his basement for some reason.

    This level, from the first moment when I started tailing the would be assassins back to their home, was the level that fully sold me on Thief as a masterpiece of gaming. I was all the way in after this, which made it easier to forgive some of the later levels for their flaws. Thieves Guild especially, which is long and frustrating and often times makes no damn sense. But it didn't matter, I was in the world and I wanted more.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2021
    "It's a long way down" lmfao, that's hilarious

    I like how you sometimes write as if you're encountering the level for the first time and other times trying to piece together what could you've possibly thought or felt through it. Same thing happens to me when I replay FMs I know I played. Sometimes I realize I just had the same idea to try X or Y than the first time I played.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shoshin View Post
    This was the level that pulled me all the way in. The whole thing screamed Thief in the best possible way. The first time through I remember wondering a bit about why the level that will have me getting some new thieving tools and stealing stuff from the Hammers was called "Assassins". I found out when I took my first steps towards Farkus. Poor guy, luckily the assassin charged with killing Garrett forgot his glasses.
    Funnily, during my last playthrough a few of the models had their textures reversed and I was too lazy to fix it, so thiefs had a completely black face (and their faces on the back of the head) 'cause of the hood. Realized this when watching Farkus die: he took the arrow and lifted his arms dramatically, while I wondered if he alywas had that burka-like clothing. Then fell down to his death, technically face down, but there was his face, expresionless towards the ceiling.


    Quote Originally Posted by Shoshin View Post
    This level, from the first moment when I started tailing the would be assassins back to their home, was the level that fully sold me on Thief as a masterpiece of gaming. I was all the way in after this, which made it easier to forgive some of the later levels for their flaws. Thieves Guild especially, which is long and frustrating and often times makes no damn sense. But it didn't matter, I was in the world and I wanted more.
    I agree with everything so far you've written on the ranking of each level. In my recent playthrough I did NOT skip the Thief's Guild, but I did play it about two months after I replayed Intertheft, a recently released FM that reimagines it keeping the same premise and general game flow, but rebuilt from scratch, and it really shines as an FM. The idea always seemed really cool to me, the two gangs stalling (and stealling) each other, which is a shame because yeah, the level is too convoluted to be traversed AND enjoyed.

  18. #18
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    Just a real quick update. Been super busy, so I haven't had much time to play. I'm about halfway through Thieves Guild. Hopefully I'll be done with it in the next couple days, depending on how much time I have.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    No problem, stuff happens. I've had way less free time over the last few days than I expected as well.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel

    Thieves' Guild

    Overlord's Fancy

    This level starts out well enough, with a funny conversation between thieves. Break into the restaurant using the back door, knock out the few guards and servants, then find your way down to the gambling den. As soon as you enter, possibly the worst music in the game starts playing. Stealing everything in the place is pretty easy except for the two guards in their guard station. Nearly impossible (at least for me) to get in there and steal the bags of gold without alerting them. So most times I do something to get their attention so they leave their little area, then knock them out, possibly using a flash bomb to do so. Spin the roulette wheel and you're into the sewers.

    Sewers/Thieves' Guild
    So I guess there's a bunch of rooms carved out underneath the city that the thieves all live in? At least the ones in the Guild. This area is sprawling and hard to keep track of, especially the first time through. When I play I usually close doors I've opened, to try to make it seem like no one has been there, but for this level I leave everything open so I know where I've been. There is a nice dank atmosphere to these areas that does make it feel like an underworld hideout for unsavory characters, and I can see why Garrett wants nothing to do with the Guild. Pay tribute, turf wars, better to go it alone. More risky, but more rewarding after the job's done. Garrett has a contrarian streak a mile wide that I appreciate quite a bit.

    Donal's House
    Wander through the sewers, kill a few spiders, find a diamond that's been left on the ground in the sewers. Did someone drop it while running from the spiders? Weird place for a bit of loot. There's levers that operate some of the doors, things are sort of labeled with numbers so you can kind of figure out what does what. Find the back door after swimming through some water (there was a nice note somewhere about that), and get into Donal's house. Once in the house areas of the game, the level comes back into focus. The house is relatively straightforward, and there's a hint about the banner room to let you know where you'll likely find some good stuff. Finally get to said banner room, find all the loot and the safe. Then realize that, once again, I've done this in the wrong order and that I really should have gone up the short ramp back near the secret entrance to/from the Overlord's Fancy so that you get the f#%$ing key first. Seriously, every time I play this level. I think I get stuck following a certain method, and while that method works pretty well it fails me here. I loot things from each floor or level completely before moving up or down, and in this case that means doing all the sewer sections first, and when I've been everywhere on the sewer level it more or less leaves me near the entrance to Donal's house, so I just keep going. So now I have to trudge back through the sewers to get the key from Reuben.

    Reuben's place
    So go up the ramp to find the entrance to Reuben's. He's a bit of a nasty character, with a torture room in his basement and a giant spider locked in a cage. Presumably he feeds prisoners to that spider? I don't know, but finding all that makes me feel better about robbing him of all his shit. First I have to find Thom, and get the key to the house, then get in the house. Once in, it's another place that's quite a maze, but eventually I find everything I'm looking for, including the key to the safe and the bracelet, which on my first playthrough I could not find. Now, it's back to Donal's house again, open the damn safe, get the vase and then trudge all the way back to the Overlord's Fancy, and out into the street.

    Random thoughts
    My stats tell me it took 2 hrs and 14 minutes to play through The Thieves' Guild this last time, and that feels accurate. I did have to do a few reloads after getting caught and killed, but not very many. And large portions of this level are just a grind. It's never such a grind that I felt like stopping or skipping the level, though I completely understand why others really hate this level and do skip it.

    Finding the bracelet the first time I played this game is what lead me to TTLG in the first place. I could not find it. Luckily, better players than me had found it and created a walkthrough, and some searching the internet brought me to this place. That would have been around 1999, shortly after Thief Gold came out. I've been hanging out here off and on ever since. I was much more active years ago, before life got super busy with kids and whatnot, but I am very glad that a place dedicated to a gaming studio that went out of business 20 years ago or so is still around. LGS produced some mind blowing games, and I was (and still am) sad that they never received the financial compensation that other less innovative studios got. I can see why, this is a game that does not provide a lot of instant gratification (other than blowing up zombies), but instead rewards patience, deliberation, and thoughtful and thorough exploration.

    And now the worst level in the game is behind me, with the best level in the game coming up.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Lost in the BSP...
    I think I've only ever played this mission all the way through just once. I've started it a few times, then skipped it. I just can't take that wacky music track that kicks in and sets my teeth on edge. I suppose it would be a simple matter to make my own track and substitute it in, but I've never done it. Once was enough.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    Quote Originally Posted by Hit Deity View Post
    I think I've only ever played this mission all the way through just once. I've started it a few times, then skipped it. I just can't take that wacky music track that kicks in and sets my teeth on edge. I suppose it would be a simple matter to make my own track and substitute it in, but I've never done it. Once was enough.
    Yeah, that music is rough. It doesn't fit with the rest of the game, and I can never tell if it's supposed to be the music playing in the gambling den, or if it's a soundtrack.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2021
    I'm loving this thread so far. Playing Thief at a friend's house was what convinced me to actually get a PC for the first time, and even if I'd only used it to play that it would've been worth it. It remains one of the only (non-strategy) games that I've replayed multiple times; I'm not sure if I'm nearing the last time I'll play it but it may be close.

    While I'm on the side of actually liking Thieves' Guild, it's clearly one that is frustrating on a first visit. Not only is it a big, spread-out maze between the two houses, it's a bit too easy to go the wrong direction first. They really should have done a better job guiding the player. I think they kind of wanted it to be a choice to go to one or the other first, but in that case the final objective should have been possible to complete without backtracking.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2001
    Location: Texas
    It has been many years since I logged in here to the TTLG forums and I wasn't expecting to see so much activity! This thread, though, has been a real treat to read. I feel like I am reliving the first time I played through the series all over again through your accounts. Maybe I'm inspired enough to try to boot up a copy of the game...

  25. #25
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Spinning off the karmic wheel
    I'm glad there's folks enjoying this thread. I wasn't sure if I'd end up just talking to myself about this, it's nice that I'm not.

    I'm halfway through The Sword at the moment, might be able to finish up tomorrow sometime.

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