With the amazing success of both titles in the Splinter Cell series and all of the Metal Gear titles, it would seem as if they were the ones to really create the stealth action titles. However, there was another released near the end of 1998. That game was Thief: The Dark Project. It was the first title to really make use of shadows and silence to carry out your missions. Before it, going in guns blazing was the entrance of choice for action heroes. However, Thief’s protagonist, Garret, utilized those shadows, light and sound to sneak around. Well, it’s been nearly six years since its release, and in the wake theSplinter Cell series has been created. It’s unfortunate thatThief: Deadly Shadows, the third game in the Thief series, is a mediocre title in the genre it spawned.
Thief:Deadly Shadows places you back in the role of master thief Garret, as he’s asked to steal a number of items for his former colleagues. Most missions in the game simply put you in an environment and, as you’re given the task of stealing specific items, the story will gradually develop. The start of the game places you in a training mission of sorts that will get you acquainted with the controls and style of the game. After that mission is completed, you are placed in your apartment in The City. The apartment is basically a hub for the rest of the game, and your missions will be assigned from various citizens throughout The City. It is also where you must go to shop for goodies for your next missions; your loot can be sold in exchange for more arrows and other accessories. Navigation of The City can become quite frustrating, due to its great size. Also, the citizens all remain neutral to you, so it doesn’t really feel like a bustling city.
Unlike the more action-oriented stealth titles like Splinter Cell,Thief doesn’t allow you to simply resort to full-on combat if you can’t sneak your way around. If a guard does spot you, you want to get out as fast as possible. Trying to engage him with your knife will most likely result in death. Not only because they just overpower you, but the knife slashing is little more than what you’ll find in Morrowind. Garret is so good at evading guards, however, that you shouldn’t have to tangle with them. Aside from just sticking to the shadows while running around, Garret has a very handy supply of items. Perhaps the most helpful are the water arrows. Since most of the light in the game is the result of candlelight, fireplaces and other flames, Garret must extinguish them with the arrows. On the opposite end, he also possesses fire arrows to relight areas, since the game is just unbelievably dark. Through some hallways and rooms, you can’t see anything aside from an odd blue glow emanating from Garret.