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The Master Thief, Garrett, is back, with a story that isn't the most original but with action and gameplay
that allows for some of the best edge of seat gaming seen, ever! THIEF is played out in the very darkness
and shadows that most normal people cross the road to escape from. To begin with you are asked to turn
the  brightness on the screen down until the logo can barely be seen. Seeing as I couldn't make this logo
out clearly from the off I realised I was going to be in trouble as soon as the action started - I wasn't far
wrong !

You know that there is something wrong in the city when the city militia are the just about the only people
you see on the darkened streets. You can sense the evil in the air, the revolution is beginning but what do
you care and what can you do, it's not your problem. In fact there are even more opportunities to break into
houses and do what you do best - steal. It's not an accident that steal and stealth are virtually the same for if
you can master the latter, the former is just a matter of indulgence.

As Garrett you can move more swiftly or sneak more slowly than almost anyone else and you know how to
keep your face turned away to the wall or deep back in your hood so that if perchance a witness should see
you, they will not actually see you - just a figure in dark clothing moving through the shadows.


Learning how to move silently, dodge and/or distract guards, and burgle businesses and homes is the way to
play THIEF and get the best from all that is offered. What a lot there is on offer too - a whole city laid out to
be explored from high or low. With you for some of your journey is your one-time apprentice, Erin, who is
now very accomplished on her own, but a little too brash and braggardly for her own (and your) good. It will
be you, the player, who gets Garrett caught, but in many occurrences it will be Erin who causes the encounter
from which you need to escape - that is until she disturbs a gathering of Druids (or Mages or Witches, maybe
they are Masons?) and gets stuck in a beam of brilliant white power; another fine mess you've got me into Erin!


THIEF's strength is also it weakness. By this I mean the designers have gone to the trouble to create wonderful
city backgrounds of detailed buildings and then shrouded the whole lot in a misty darkness which although it
creates a truly dank, dark, dangerous, spooky atmosphere, and has you sitting on the edge of your seat straining
to make out what is happening onscreen, you can't for the most actually see more than a few feet in front of you.
It is just too darned dark.!

Garrett is an expert lock-picker and this is something you pick up on very quickly, mainly because the controller
I use rumbles and vibrates each time I get the pick in the right place in the lock. Using this skill you can get into
a myriad houses and buildings and once inside it is very unlikely you will encounter anyone. Sneaking around in
these places in the near dark (most of them have candles burning that give off enough light so you don't walk into
furniture) you see glints of silver light which are your clues to search in their vicinity - these places are where you
you find all sorts of things, from money to scraps of note paper to silverware etc. You collect this and it disappears
into wherever it is you carry that stuff - it never seems to cause you any encumberance or make any noise as you
sneak up to the back of a guard and either pick his pocket - the first time I did this I was actually shaking (not the
onscreen character, me!) - or take the guard down, usually knocking him unconscious; Erin on the other hand has
no qualms about killing.

One thing you can do is just about anything you want to as the game is not linear - you are not following a path from
which you cannot deviate. There is a lot of action for you in THIEF but most of it is not the type of action you might
expect. Very little of this action is combat and what combat there is isn't full on and exciting, it is cumbersome and
light-weight. You are first and foremost a thief, you burgle, you steal, you pickpockets and locks, you take things that
are not yours, you are not armed to the teeth and you don't kill. You look for the safe route over the dangerous one.

If you can get your head around the fact that you're not a fighter and that you are supposed to keep out of combat then
you will find THIEF a scintillating game.




© Chris Baylis 2011-2015