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