September 5, 2012 by misterblank22
I play a lot of games from all genres and enjoy almost all kinds, except RTS games. So it is really hard to pick one game over another. But I have and I made my choice when I was 17 during a long month of root canal infection (I still ate candy even though it felt more like I was chewing on glass and salt). So my choice is and always will be Thief: Deadly Shadows. It is my all time favorite game, I’ve beaten it so many times that I can only play on expert difficulty to get a little challenge out of it. Though I play it over and over making nothing a surprise anymore there is a mission I still refuse to play at night or alone. It is the Shalebridge Cradle.
But it is the mission that strikes fear in me not the cinematic that precedes it. Yes in Deadly Shadows the cutscene is meant as a setup which is very suspenseful and does make you second guess even traversing the City to complete the mission (And it fills you with fear of possibly running into the Hag) but it lacks what the Trickster cutscene has in Thief: The Dark Project (Hints why this post is called Thief: The Dark Project not Thief: Deadly Shadows).
In Thief: The Dark Project just that short cutscene sends shivers up my spine. It just goes from bad to worse in seconds. Some gamers may not feel the same effect as me or others who are scared by this scene mainly because of the graphics (Keep in mind the game did come out in 1998). But in my opinion graphics should not be such a big concern for people. I recently played Siren again, which is a PS2 horror game, that looks extremely dated but I found myself just as scared as I would have been if it was made with this generation’s graphics.
The Dark Project used a style of gameplay where darkness played a big roll, hiding in shadows to avoid detection and various other uses, which in turn served it well by covering up the “dated” graphics during the cinematic portions of the game. These shadows actually add to the suspense/fear of the Trickster scene creating a horrible atmosphere.
Take a look and see what you think of it.
The funny thing about this game along with all the other Thief games is that they are not horror games at all. They are first person stealth games, the first of the genre actually.
The first two Thief games were made by Looking Glass Studios which had a key member, Ken Levine, who wrote a game almost everyone is familiar with called BioShock. Things should be falling in place for you now. Both of these games are not meant as horror games but have horror moments built within them. Ken Levine can combine elements from various gameplay mechanics, genres and story to make something very unique which spawn new genres. Every stealth game that has come after Thief: The Dark Project has a little piece of it built within it (Splinter Cell is a big name that is heavily influenced by Thief’s gameplay).
Because of Ken’s writing style and the feelings I get from the Trickster cutscene/ Shalebridge Cradle mission I am looking forward to BioShock Infinite and Thief 4. But until they are released I’ll keep replaying Thief: Deadly Shadows over and over again. (Holding someones hand during the Shalebridge Cradle mission of course)