Old Sneakers: Thief Deadly Shadows On GOG

By John Walker on May 3rd, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

Third-person mode: only used by lunatics and people taking screenshots.

It’s been eight years since Thief: Deadly Shadows was released. And if that doesn’t make you want to start slaughtering the young and drinking their blood in a desperate attempt to find some sort of means to stop the passing of time and your constant, constant ageing, then you must already have discovered the secrets of immortality. EIGHT YEARS. Eight years since Kieron and I were let into a nightclub for free because we’d both given the game scores over 90% (Kieron in Gamer, me in PC Format) and the doorman was a big fan. Eight years since I sat in PC Format’s weirdly anonymous office space, trying to do something to the screenshots so they weren’t just big black squares all over the magazine. Eight years since I task-switched out of The Cradle to calm the hell down, while Kieron mocked me via IM. And now you can play it all over again for ten bucks, via the regurgitating pipe of GOG.com.

Thief 3 is so much more than just The Cradle, but wow, The Cradle. The scariest level in any game, even putting Amnesia’s most frightening moments to shame, it not only managed to craft terror from its tension, but also the brutal, horrendous realisation of the history of the building. And it was the centrepiece of a magnificent game, consistently brilliant all around it. Yes, there are those who could not cope with the reduction in scale from the first two games, and there were others still who were so painfully ridiculous that they felt the need to dedicate huge portions of their precious life to complaining about the loot glint. But despite these heinous crimes, it was still a masterpiece of sneaking and stealing. Completing the trilogy, it went into the darkest places of the city’s twisted triumvirate, and who cares that the graphics were a touch behind – you were in the dark!

Although there’s one thing I’ll say against it. It bloody counted re-killing zombies as kills in a level. I completed that game without killing a single person who wasn’t already quite dead, and I will never forgive Warren Spector for not recognising that. NEVER! Mr Spector, if you’re reading and not waving your arms at a cartoon mouse, I challenge you to a sneak-based fight. We start either side of Bath, and we’re not allowed to touch the ground. First one dead loses.

Meantime, I am working out how I’m going to resist replaying this now, despite having eighty-million other things I should be doing.

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110 Comments »

  1. N'Al says:

    I have a confession to make: This is the only Thief I ever completed. Twice. On the Xbox.

    • empty_other says:

      My confession is that this is the only game that have scared me. And it isn’t even really a horror game.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        If it were a film, I’d classify it as horror. That’s good enough for me.

        It is wonderfully creepy. Starting with that book you find about the hag…I *loved* that.

      • Vorphalack says:

        It did have some really good horror moments, backed up by a lighting engine that oozed atmosphere. It was a real shame that they got so many of the other core Thief game mechanics wrong though.

      • Morlock says:

        The Cradle is scary *because* Thief 3 is not a horror game. It is this context that amplifies the scare factor.

        The suddenly appearing ghost of a Japanese girl is scarier if it appears in Minesweeper as opposed to Resident Evil or whatever.

    • Gassalasca says:

      My confession is that The Cradle didn’t scare me *that* much. Not as much as the scariest bits of System Shock 2 and Amnesia. Wonderful game, though.

    • Tuco says:

      This is also the only Thief I can’t love.

  2. kyrieee says:

    Never beat this game.
    Don’t think I actually got to the famous level either.

    • SiHy_ says:

      Me neither. Going from Thief to Thief 2 to this… I don’t know, something just didn’t feel right. I think it was that the movement felt weird and the blackjack was a canned animation. It just all felt so wrong to me and I couldn’t bring myself to keep playing. I was always surprised that everyone else seemed to love it so much. Each to their own. Thief 2 all the way for me though.

  3. Syra says:

    But it’s cheaper on steam, and has been for… about 8 years.

    • Screamer says:

      And what if you still have your original retail version… like ME! :P

      • Sheng-ji says:

        GOG do take most of the pain out of getting the thief series to work on modern computers though – I can only speak for t1 & 2 though…

        I play through them about once a year and the asking price is well worth it – this will be an automatic buy for me!

        • jon_hill987 says:

          No, if you want to get them working properly (widescreen resolutions and all) then you need the fan patches, GoG did the bare minimum.

          • Waltorious says:

            “Widescreen resolutions and all” is NOT “working properly”. The original games did not have widescreen resolutions. GOG did everything required to get the games working in their original form, including fixing issues with modern graphics cards and multi-core processors. Widescreen resolutions and other graphical enhancements are from fan-made patches that alter the original game, and they should remain so. It’s still quite possible to apply these fan-made patches yourself if you so please, but GOG does not have an obligation (or, indeed, the right) to include them with the game. I do not understand why people complain about this.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      And you have to patch the Steam version yourself if you have more than a single core in your CPU. It’s not terribly difficult, but it’s worth the extra money GOG is asking to not have to deal with that, and to get the soundtrack and other extras.

    • The Greatness says:

      Not on pounds sterling it isn’t, interestingly. Also DRM free etc.

    • Unaco says:

      In UK, on Steam, it is £7.99
      On GOG, it is $9.99, which works out at £6.16.
      So, it’s cheaper on GOG. You also get extras like design sketches and the soundtrack from GOG.

    • Syra says:

      That’s thief3 though – I played it a few weeks ago and it worked fine on win7 with an i7…

      I don’t recall fiddling with it with patches. Ofc it was 1024×768.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Thief 3 also has problems with multicore CPUs. However, I admit my experience with the Steam version is a year or so out of date—given your statement, it seems they may have patched it since.

    • thealienamongus says:

      no it’s not it is steam: USD $ 19.99, GBP £ 7.99, EUR € 9.99, if you mean the sale price of 4.99USD well not only is it unfair to compare sale to normal price but when it goes on sale on gog for 50% it will be the same price as when steam has it for sale at 75%

  4. ilves says:

    Whole new meaning to ‘cradle to grave’.

    That place scared the crap out of me

    • jezcentral says:

      I was so scared in the Cradle I would hide in corners for 10 mins on end too scared to move around.

      Afterwards I realised I hadn’t used any of my weapons (this was in the first part, rather than the unarmed second bit), I’d just been TOO SCARED to think of using them.

      And I genuinely (if fortunately momentarily) relaxed *that* muscle in fear when I heard the words “I can hear you breathing”. Headphones have never been so effective. I’m sure its reputation had something to do with it, but still, masterpiece of mood and level design.

    • Fumarole says:

      I didn’t find the Cradle scary at all. It may be because it was built up too much by RPS and sundry. Personally I found System Shock 2 much more unsettling than anything else I’ve experienced in a game. Now there’s a game that made me hesitate before opening doors for fear of what was on the other side.

  5. mentor07825 says:

    YES!!! \o/

  6. DrunkDog says:

    It’s always been seen as the dirty ginger sibling to 1 and 2 but it definitely contained some of the highlights of the series, despite it’s console-y-ness. You can mod alot of that devilry out of it though, so what’s not to like?

  7. rapier17 says:

    Oh the Cradle. First time I played it I bottled it within five minutes and went to bed with my lights on, vowing not to play it at night ever again. I completed it, eventually, but my goodness I’ve never experienced a level so scary, so thrilling, so dark, so grim, so rich in backstory, so… perfect, I suppose.

  8. Kestrel says:

    WHY WON’T GOG TAKE MY CREDIT CARD DAMMIT

    • mentor07825 says:

      Perhaps not enough money in the bank? :)

      • Kestrel says:

        I am an American therefore I have more than enough money.

        • mentor07825 says:

          SCIENCE!

        • Ignorant Texan says:

          Kestrel,

          Being a fellow ‘Murkin, that might be why. My bank refused to authorize the charge for a GOG purchase, and when I phoned to complain, even after I threatened to “explore other options” for my banking, they still refused to authorize the charge. This may have something to do with GOG/CD Projekt’s bank/payment processor being located in Cyprus. Or that they are a Polish company doing business through a bank in Cyprus. Or that I’m using an American bank to transact business with a Polish company that… I know that PayPal sucks, and all, but GOG, GamersGate, The Humble Bundle folks, and many other people use them.

          • orb says:

            For those of you with PayPal issues, have you tried transferring a little money to your PayPal accounts instead? If you use the PP reserve instead of sucking money out of a bank account/credit card it might be auto-approved.

  9. Celt says:

    Still feel like this got massively overhyped at the time. While it was a good game, and had some great bits(the cradle was good but not as genuinely creepy as some of the levels from the earlier games imho), reviews seemed to completely gloss over just how big a retrograde step this was compared to T1/T2.

  10. Unaco says:

    To my tastes, the third Thief was the best Thief. I still have my boxed copy on the shelf above my monitor.

    • Khemm says:

      Thief 3 was excellent, but it wasn’t the best – what undermined the experience was VERY small maps and the lack of fan-favourite things like rope arrows, climbing gloves were fun to use, but limited what you could do.
      Still, while T2 is my personal favourite, Deadly Shadows was a worthy ending to the trilogy, despite its flaws.

    • Khemm says:

      Thief 3 was very good imo, but it wasn’t the best – what undermined the experience was VERY small maps and the lack of fan-favourite things like rope arrows, climbing gloves were fun to use, but limited what you could do.
      Still, while T2 is my personal favourite, Deadly Shadows was a worthy ending to the trilogy, despite its flaws.

  11. tomeoftom says:

    I tried playing it on Steam a few months ago and couldn’t finish it – some bug that meant I couldn’t climb a ladder that I had to climb to proceed. Very, very angry – never buying old games from Steam again. At least GoG take some effort to ensure ease of use with modern machines. Definitely going to re-buy.

  12. Squire says:

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve never played any of them or even watched another person play them. Is it like Hitman in the sense that you can be really methodical and study the area/guards waiting for the perfect time to strike?

    Also what is the goal of the level, obviously I assume you purloin a “quest thing” for each level but are there things to be…side-purloined? Basically I love to strip a level clean of booty while trying not to kill anyone, is it for me?

    • mentor07825 says:

      You can study the area and time the guard’s patrols, waiting for the moment to move on or dim the lights and knock out the guard unconsious and hide the body so you can continue on unhindered without worry.

      The goal of the level sometimes has more than one, but generally speaking it’s about grabbing the big shiny item. You can steal other shiny things that are not related to the quest for money, which can then be spent on equipment to be used for the next mission, making your life a tad easier.

      You can go through entire levels without killing a single soul. Unlike Hitman you’re incredibly weak when it comes to combat. Going up against more than one guard in a sword fight is incredibly difficult and using bows and arrows are really important if you want to go down that route. However stealth is the name of the game and it’s by far more rewarding.

    • Janto says:

      Is it for you if you like methodically looting while doing your best not to stab/bludgeon anyone? Yes.

      Typically there’s a plot item you need to rob, but there’s typically plenty of candlesticks, goblets and gold to go into your magical sack, and even some side mission houses in the hub world that are there purely to be robbed.

      I binned my copy ages (and about 4 moves) ago, so I don’t exactly consider it a classic, but it’s well worth playing.

    • Grygus says:

      I have only played a bit of the first game, so someone else will no doubt come along and tell us how wrong I am, but in the interest of answering you:

      Some levels are exactly what you are looking for, yes, and they are glorious. Other levels devolve into killing zombies, which for me ruined everything. Since the game is linear and you can’t just skip the stupid zombie levels, I never got very far and didn’t even bother with the sequels. If you don’t mind the supernatural layer then you might well enjoy these games a great deal.

  13. mcnostril says:

    You are forgetting the most important part of this game: You could look down and see your leeeeeeeeeeeeeeegs.

  14. thegooseking says:

    Did Ion Storm make any other games at around the same time? I don’t remember any. Given how good Thief 3 was, it would have been cool if they’d made a sequel to Deus Ex.

    • mentor07825 says:

      There is a squel to Deus Ex, called Deus Ex: Invisible War.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        I think you need your someone-pretending-a-game-they-dont-like-never-happened-sarcasm detector fixed.

        • mentor07825 says:

          You’d be surprised, some people geniunely don’t know Deus Ex ever had a sequel. I think you need to change the dials on your detectors and comment bots to reflect this new data.

          • Vorphalack says:

            In the case of Invisible War, they are better off living in ignorance.

    • Celt says:

      They made Deus Ex: Invisible War.

      Laffo

    • Grygus says:

      Deus Ex: Invisible War is significantly better than the Internet would have you believe. Yes, it is the worst of the three. It is still a good game, though.

      • RedViv says:

        The problem is the “Deus Ex” in its title.

      • Grundig says:

        Here here Grygus, weight of expectation should not ruin the enjoyment of a good game.

      • yrro says:

        Good things about Deus Ex: Invisible War:

        1. The title theme is very good (as is the background music in Heron’s Loft)

        2. The NG Resonance subplot was interesting, though could have done with more fleshing out

        3. At some point in the game, you have to break in an apartment. If your character is male, you have the option of hitting on him to gain access!

        I think that’s about it.

        • ElPoco says:

          Deus Ex: Human Revolution plays more like Invisible War than like the original but nobody I’ve read on the Internet made to Human Revolution the complaints they made to Invisible War.

          • Celt says:

            I made lots of complaints about Deus Ex: HR on the forum actually.

          • Runs With Foxes says:

            Invisible War is a better Deus Ex game than Human Revolution.

  15. lowprices says:

    I played this first, and it’s a good ‘gateway’ game for getting into the more complex older games. Except for the Cradle, which quite literally scared the pants off of me.

    … Still not as good as Invisible War though. *runs for cover*

  16. db1331 says:

    The Cradle. Jesus. The part where you are walking up the stairs to the attic, and the door starts rattling more frequently the closer you get…

    I finished the game and enjoyed it quite a bit. On my second time through the game, as soon as I got back to The Cradle, I turned it off and never went back.

  17. DrScuttles says:

    Those texture packs by John P. make the game look a lot nicer. Or at least I remember they did. Been a while since I last played Thief 3. Bought it on a daily deal last year on Steam (lost the old discs in one of many house moves) and other than modding it to my liking, I’ve not really played it. But I should.

    • Maktaka says:

      I wish I could bump this harder. Seriously, get these texture packs: http://www.john-p.com/textures/Thief-DS/

      They are FANTASTIC. I don’t think a single texture didn’t get improved. This improves the textures from X-BOX era to better than what you’ll see on a 360 or PS3. Load times do increase somewhat as does the hardware demands, but it’s absolutely worth.

      • AlwaysRight says:

        Bought Thief on GOG just now and am now downloading the texture pack.
        Cheers for the recommendation.

        • AlwaysRight says:

          Its worth adding that if you run the widescreen mod you need to find another mod to “fix crashes” or you won’t get past the tutorial level.

          Also Im running Xpadder, leave the left stick unassigned because the game has support for analogue joystick movement.

    • Muzman says:

      I find they messed with the overall artistic balance at times. You make your textures too sharp and bright you highlight shortcomings in your renderer. But not always. Still a set worth checking if you like that sort of thing.

    • Muzman says:

      I find they mess with the overall artistic balance myself. People are often impressed by bright and sharp textures everywhere, but often they just show up the shortcomings of the renderer.
      Still worth a look though if you like that sort of thing.

  18. Berlot7 says:

    I loved Amnesia so I can’t wait to try this and get to the Cradle part. I can’t imagine it being scarier than Amnesia. That game scared the heck out of me.

    Should this game be played in the dark with headphones like Amnesia to get the full effect?

    • mentor07825 says:

      If you want to feel like a thieving boss, absolutely.

      Also the headphones help gameplay wise, hearing the direction from which the guards are moving and so on.

  19. faelnor says:

    The levels were so cramped and the whole Thief vibe was so off that I only managed to passably enjoy some of the levels, including the once-memorable but also one-hit-wonder Shalebridge cradle. Really, nothing like the replay value of the original games.

    Thief : Deadly Shadows is only slightly better than Deus Ex: Invisible War. Why mostly everyone praises the former and buries the latter is beyond me, both are mediocre games which include a few interesting bits.

  20. Schwerpunkt says:

    I know this will date me, but… I think the Cathedral in the original Thief was scarier. Maybe I was just younger. :)

    • Morph says:

      I’m with you on that. The Haunted Cathedral just messed me up. I couldn’t understand why people seemed to hate the undead levels, when this was the best one in the whole game.

      • JamesPatton says:

        Ah, but I hated the undead levels *because they scared me because you couldn’t kill zombies why won’t they die*. Well, you could, but I never carried that much holy water. So I hated the cradle because I couldn’t kill or neutralise *anything*, which terrified me.

        Then I realised you could flashbomb zombies to death, and kill the skeleton guards with an over-the-head sword strike from the back. Suddenly it wasn’t as scary, which was a shame. Maybe I should play it again without killing anything.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Oh absolutely. The rat men are super creepy, especially with their weird cant. The hammerite prison scared me the most, because I wasn’t expecting the undead. Personally I always found the cradle a bit heavy handed.

  21. Bluerps says:

    I still remember the Cradle. For a long time nothing actually happens. Just sneaking through a lot of dark rooms. But it is still terrifying. And then, something moves…
    That level is brilliant!

    • Maktaka says:

      Fun fact: Jordan Thomas, the man who designed Shalebridge Cradle also made Fort Frolic for Bioshock 1 and was the lead designer for all of Bioshock 2. As far as I know he still works at 2K Marin.

  22. Morph says:

    I’ll always look at The Metal Age as the best Thief, but this one had some great levels. The Cradle obviously, but The House of The Widow Moira was nicely spooky too.

  23. Eddy9000 says:

    Eight years since I discovered just how much better a gamepad was for this kind of game, and became an exponent of gamepads in all games where cursor accuracy was not a gameplay requirement.

  24. abraxas says:

    At the risk of sounding like an idiot, I would like for someone to explain to me the “great lengths GoG goes to to insure the ease of use for old games on modern computers”. Believe me, I love GoG as much as the next guy and have bought many games from them.

    However, short of bundling it with a functioning and easy to use installer and removing old DRM they aren’t doing a whole lot. Most games are just left “as is” since they still kinda sorta run on modern systems. Best example here is Sacrifice, which I can still not get to run like, 2 or so years after I bought it. I’m not the only one either, just check out the GoG forums for Sacrifice with people complaining about random graphical glitches and whatnot that makes the game basically unplayable on modern systems.

    For games even older than that, they throw in a pre-configured (mostly not very optimally configured, to say the least) DOSbox and there ya go.

    As I said earlier, I love GoG as much as the next guy but I honestly don’t see them going to any lengths to make games run better/flawlessly on modern systems. If they run, they run.. and if not then, well.. good luck!

    I feel like they’d actually need access to source code and things to really make it work well on modern systems. Which is not only impossible from the whole “getting the source code” kind of idea, it’d most likely also mean an insurmountable amount of work for the GoG guys.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Yeah, you really do need to do a bit of research before you buy anything from GoG. Dungeon Keeper 2 is another title that just doesn’t work and is still up for sale despite dozens of complaints. Even in the case of Thief 1 and 2 which can be made to run more or less flawlessly, the fix isn’t from GoG as they just link to it. You still have to manually patch it up and install the fix yourself. Buyer beware.

  25. Grundig says:

    AH HA! So PC gaming mags DO get kickbacks for writing positive review scores!

  26. DickSocrates says:

    Never played a single Thief game, didn’t have a PC at the right time, what with being a poor working-class/work-shy lad.

    Is this the one to get?

    • NathanH says:

      It’s probably quite a good one to start with actually. You probably won’t notice the annoying things if you haven’t played the first two games, then after playing Deadly Shadows you can go back and play the first two without being scared off by their occasional oldness.

      The first two games still hold up reasonably well though, so are not bad places to start either. Although they have the occasional stinker like Thieves Guild in Thief Gold.

    • faelnor says:

      Nope, Thief 1 and 2 are.

    • airtekh says:

      They are all very good games.

      If you really have to pick just one, then I would suggest Thief 2.

    • Tim Ward says:

      Clearly, you start with Thief 1 and work your way through the series. Story is good enough to make that approach worthwhile.

  27. deadly.by.design says:

    I forget why I didn’t play this one, but I loved the first two Thief games, and look forward to the new one.

    Maybe I should get it. (or maybe I don’t have time… I can’t tell anymore)

  28. Bobtree says:

    Thief 3 has a very painful case of console-itis. I regret playing it.

  29. MattK says:

    I have to say that this was one of the greatest disappointments in my gaming life – and not even The Cradle could save it. Indeed, The Cradle, while undoubtedly one of the most terrifying experiences in a game (I recall that I spent over an hour trying to find the next part of the level because I was too terrified to go up the stairs to the attic), was at the same time the so indicative of what was wrong with this game.

    The game itself made no attempt to connect itself with the past. The City, as it appeared in Thief 3, seemed to had forgotten that The Metal Age had even happened. There was a thoughtfulness to the city-scapes of Thief 1 and 2 (and particularly 2), that rooted The City as a character in the story being told (and I think that Adam Smith’s post on this is quite right). Thief 3 uniformly failed at this. The Cradle was a level in a world that had no need and had made no mention of a need for a Victorian Era Asylum. Its architecture and style was unique in the world (and it didn’t help that I had only recently seen House on Haunted Hill, which had more than a passing resemblance to The Cradle).

    The level that felt most like it was part of the Thief world was the one in Overwatch Mansion, which exuded far more atmosphere than The Cradle and left me rather haunted by the sadness of the place. It was also the point where I realised that I didn’t like the game at all, as I returned to The City hubs after finishing the mission, expecting people to be talking about the widow Moira killing herself – but my hopes were dashed that the world would react in that way, and I kind of gave up on the game after that.

    tl:dr – I don’t really like Thief 3, and feel it imitates the previous games without really getting them.

  30. fallingmagpie says:

    There was IM eight years ago?

  31. Muzman says:

    It’s extremely small compared to the first two, clunky and has dumb things like third person (*spitoooee*) but it’s not bad on the whole (I dispute the graphics were dated. They were pretty current when it came out, really. Is the first thing that people think when they think “Thief” just “Dated graphics”? Sometimes I wonder).

    People should try it with the minimalist project which removes a lot of dumb things like the Auto-Blackjack and puts in a old school HUD etc and /or use one of the AI hacks to make the opponents as sharp as they can be.

  32. codename_bloodfist says:

    John, is it really necessary to post about every single interesting release on GOG? I’m great fan of Thief myself, but an overhyped online retailer adding a game to their library is barely newsworthy.

    • El_Emmental says:

      come on, a news on a Thief game, that is not “the sequel is rather bad” or “the sequel got canceled”, and you’re still unhappy ?

      have some nice tea and biscuits first, then think about it : that news might have motivated people into replaying the Thief games, or even playing these games for the first time – that’s priceless

  33. ctrayne says:

    Absolutely wonderful game. Happy to see it on GoG.

  34. ctrayne says:

    Oh, also, if anyone buys the game, get these:

    1) Sneaky Upgrade: http://www.wsgf.org/dr/thief-deadly-shadows

    This is brand new and a must-have. Fixes a ton of problems and adds modern widescreen/FOV support. Be sure to check out the advanced tweaks in the CFG file for some really nice UI fixes.

    2) John P’s Texture Pack: http://john-p.com/textures/Thief-DS/

    A superb texture pack for T:DS. Really, really good. Cannot recommend this enough. It really cleans up the graphics and makes the level design shine.

    3) T:DS Tweak Guide: http://www.tweakguides.com/TDS_1.html

    Read the advanced tweaking section in particular. The walk/run swap is a must for me, and there is a cache setting you can change to try and improve loading times a little.

    Also, run the game as administrator. It fixes a few minor bugs.

  35. povu says:

    For me The Cradle is probably going to be just like the Ocean House Hotel in Vampire Bloodlines: After hearing so much about it being scary before having actually played it myself, I’m just going to end up feeling let down.

  36. El_Emmental says:

    It’s in my backlog for several years now, and I even **forgot** about it for several months.

    Now I’m afraid to meet its awesomeness and be ashamed for centuries, cursed on thirteen generations, for not giving this game the attention and admiration it deserves.

  37. Tim Ward says:

    Thief Deadly Shadows was all set to be crap, but it was saved by some very high quality level design. Not just the Cradle. A few classics in there as good as anything else in the series. Like the opening level and the Moira Mansion, which as accomplished a study of atmosphere as the Cradle is in fear. The overall plot is pretty cool as well.

    There’s no saving the city sections, though. Their pointless, cramped banality and deep stupidity just make me disinclined to bother replaying the thing. No amount of the Cradle is enough to make me sit through destroying giant beetles for ‘faction points’ or the part where the much hyped SUPER SECRET ULTRA SEALTHY KEEPER ASSASSINS wander the streets openly, murdering passers by for no reason.

  38. kukouri says:

    This game never gets old to me.

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