Thieves (Dark Mod mission)…

Thieves (Dark Mod mission) review after the break…

Thieves (Dark Mod mission) review…

“Thieves” is a “Dark Mod” mission with a potpourri of contributors. The original map is by “Silencium,” with additional mapping performed by “RailGun and Fidcal” & the story by “Springheel.” Will this be a case of “too many cooks spoil the broth” or will this be a classic “Thief-like” mission worthy of the early “Dark Mod” missions?

Just to let everyone in on the secret, “The Dark Mod” is a modification (“mod”) of the video game “Doom 3.” “The Dark Mod” is, in essence, a recreation of the game play found in the video game franchise “Thief” (or, more specifically, “Thief 1” & “Thief 2” but without the intellectual property) but using more up to date graphics & capabilities. Now that you’re out of the coma, let’s continue.

“Thieves” involves our unscrupulous “hero” meddling in a civil war between a thieves’ guild called “The Black Hand” & a breakaway faction. It seems that the breakaway faction has been disrespecting too many people (Black Hand thieves & normal civilians alike) & it is time for the head of the breakaway faction to not breathe anymore. Our character has decided to perform the anti-CPR technique himself if only to get into the good graces of the Black Hand gang if ever there comes a point where such good graces should come in handy. Oh, yes… And also rob the breakaway thieves gang blind.

First, I was able to play this mission all of the way through without a single crash-to-desktop or other similar snafu & for that, I’m very thankful. I played on the Easy setting &, from start to finish, the game took about two hours to complete. I understand that there may be a bug with the hard setting but, since I can’t play it I can’t report on whether that’s true or not. Your System May Vary.

Since the only difference between the difficulty levels were the amount of gold that you needed to “repurpose,” I chose the Easy setting. I understand that the harder levels involved more enemies holding more torches (For the coma-enhanced… Torches equals light & light is bad, especially when you are a thief that relies upon darkness to hide). Again, I didn’t play those settings so I can’t report on how much harder those settings are.

The game starts you off in the city & you must wind your way until you get to a run-down bar that is serving as the gang’s hideout. Two city guards patrolling the streets mean that you just can’t streak your way to the bar. In all fairness, though, the first guard that you meet practically hangs a sign on his back saying “Blackjack Me!” & the other one is immensely avoidable.

One of the things that I liked about this mission is that there appeared to be three ways into the bar: Through the door, through the open window & through a broken out section along the side. I didn’t even spot the broken out section until after I entered the bar. So much for my observation skills.

Once inside the bar, you have to contend with five thieves, not including the boss.

I always hate nitpicking anything because of my unsurprisingly low ability to create virtually anything beyond a “Hello, World!” or equivalent program. However, I also nitpick out of an absolute love for my activities & also want to see them shine as brightly as they can. After all – This is as close to classic “Thief” as we’re ever going to get for the next decade so why not put a little extra love into everything you do? (Yes, I know about “Thief 4” – For anyone who thinks that “Thief 4” is going to be either “Thief 1” or “Thief 2” but with better graphics & capabilities, you may now stand in a corner, smile & continue to live in your delusional haze.)

There were a few graphical nitpicks about the mission that should be fixed, most notably the ceiling as you descend the bar staircase. Also, I noticed a graphical anomaly above the “tower” when you first start the mission. Fortunately, such sights were few & far between.

A bit more noticeable were some level design quirks. An alleyway takes a a few peculiar turns to reveal… A dead end? Can you open the window at the dead end? Was there supposed to be something here? Is this a not-so-subtle place to put the second guard? Also, you eventually find a loud generator but no way to turn it off. Certainly, the debris around the generator suggests that they were able to turn it on so why not be able to shut it off? Why is the bucket near the generator unable to be picked up? Finally… Why can’t I climb onto roofs? I’m also foiled by invisible walls preventing me from accessing some very accessible roofs.

A major gameplay tenet of “Thief / Dark Mod” is that people wander about in very predictable routes & it is your task to either avoid or incapacitate them. Therefore, you must set aside at least part of your reality expectations when you see people wander about in ways that clearly make no sense in the real world.

Take for instance, a person in this mission who I will call “Bathroom Man.” Bathroom Man, when you first see him, walks in & out of a door, from one room to another. When you finally muster up the courage to follow Bathroom Man, he leads you right into a… bathroom? (Hence the name.) Not only is his entire life composed of walking in & out of a bathroom but he doesn’t even sit down on the toilet! He just walks into the bathroom, stands staring at a light & then turns around, walks back out of the bathroom & repeats all of this endlessly.

Give this guy a story – He has diarrhea or something. Explosive, unpredictable diarrhea. Or maybe he’s sick & needs to constantly visit the toilet because he thinks he’s going to vomit. Give me a reason why this guy does nothing but walk back & forth from the bathroom to the next room. Give him a line saying, “I’m never eating that stew ever again!” or “Oh no, I’m feeling sick!” Something!

Also, what about the man that is, literally, walking around a column? You will meet a man who is walking around what is essentially an one-room area with a column at it’s center. Why? Can you imagine that conversation…

Boss: I want you to patrol this area.

Man: This area?

Boss: Yes, patrol it.

Man: But there’s only one entrance to this area.

Boss: Well… Maybe someone will dig a tunnel & burrow their way up from the ground.

Man: Don’t you think that I could hear that from this area here, near the light?

Boss: Maybe the tunneling is very quiet. A quiet tunneler.

All in all, I enjoyed this little mission. I think that some of the quirks can be forgiven out of gameplay while others should be addressed to elevate the mission from “good” to “very good.” Maybe there should have been one or two more readables but I enjoy readables so that’s never a worry.

So, this Thanksgiving, give thanks to The Dark Mod team for providing to us this wonderful mod & the handful of missions available for it thus far. “Thieves” is an enjoyable mission that will provide some short-term relief to your thieving addictions.


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