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Playing Thief: The Dark Project again…

Life is sometimes do funny things to us. Like when you have to buy a new computer for work, because your old one went puff. Now I have a decent computer, without a dedicated graphics card. Played computer games since mid-90s. And here comes the good part, that a bunch of really good games are actually really old now, and doesn't require that much 3D power.

Like the Thief trilogy, which is still my favorite game series, that I actually never got to finish. Always lost the save files. So I decided I will focus my gaming time on this game now, and dedicate my time and energy to actually finish the game.

Thief: The Dark Project came out in 1998, the same year as Starcraft, Baldur's Gate, Half-Life and Unreal. Lots of good games that year. Immortal games that shaped genres in the last 2 decades.

What makes Thief an amazing game?

You play as master thief Garrett in a medieval-steampunk city, where different factions are at each others throat and you just try to make a living. However with a skillset like Garrett, he soon will get in trouble by nature.

Garrett while is a master thief, he is not really a fighter. He travels light, and his main weapon is using the shadows and keep out of line of sight. Thief is a hardcore first person stealth game, where timing is everything. For best experience: dark room, closed doors and headphones.

Each mission starts with a video that continues the story, and prepares us for our next mission. Then you choose the difficulty settings and you will see what are the goals for that mission. You can't change it during the mission, only before start. We have options for buying equipment before the missions, and you can't save money, so use your money as you want.

These equipments are pretty unique in my opinion, other than a basic sword and blackjack, you have many different type of arrows, that would put even Hawkeye into shame. We have waterarrows which can take out torches, rope arrows for climbing high (if you can find the proper surface), moss arrows for making surfaces soft, etc.

The atmosphere and lore is just amazing, from the environmental sounds to the guards conversations. They created a whole new world in the City where our adventure plays, with different faction, and interests. Your character has a reputation, but you never feel that you are overpowered by default, more likely you can be a thief that is powered, because of you, the player themselves doing the job right.

Listening is your greatest ability. The sound effects are great, as we can hear human enemies and other creatures, where they are and how far they can be, all by just listening.

We don't have special abilities, that we could train and get better, like in a role-playing game. Instead we learn by playing the game. We learn how to use our ears, or what the guards can see in the light-dark. It's an amazing process that not many games get today.

What I like that you don't play a hero, and not even a powerful one. This is not a game for people who likes shooting or fighting, this is an absolute steath game. While you can definitely win a swordfight against one opponent, you might loose too many hit points, and healing is not easy to do. Also on higher difficulties you have less HP. Much less.

Level design

The level design is really what can sell this game to old players. It's multilayered, and most of the time we have largely incomplete maps, which only shows us areas in a general sense like, let's say Barracks, or living quarters, etc. Or just simple "Where am I?". Yet the discovery of places are rewarding. Maybe because I got older, but my latest run in "Down in the Bonehoard" and "Thieves' Guild", it wasn't frustrating, but I felt that it was an interesting place, and I tried to discover as many thing as possible. I am not sure how I will feel later though. :)

Thief Gold on Linux

It's one of the easiest to install and play on Linux. I just used the latest Wine staging as I usually do (currently: 3.20), and installed the game from GOG into a separate Wine prefix, with this command in terminal (where you downloaded the setup file):

WINEARCH=win32 WINEPREFIX=/where/you/want/thief wine setup_thief_gold_1.26_nd_(21948).exe

In this way it doesn't interact with other Wine stuff, if you decided to use for other games. The best part is that I didn't have to install any extra stuff. It just works.

You can turn on EAX, in the winecfg's "staging" tab. Then in the in-game options/sounds menu you can see that it is turned on.

Or you can use Lutris too. After installing the software from the repositories, go to the Thief Gold page and choose whichever you want. I however don't know if they work, so I still recommend the above method.

Where to buy the game of Thief series?

Personally I think GOG is your best bet, especially if you are on Linux. All the mods are working with this version too, and you can make a backup for the future.

For more resources, visit my Thief Corner page!

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