The full title of this game is Thief: The Quest For The Jewels, and it centres around a fine young gentleman whose collection of illegally acquired jewels have been stolen by some friends who have betrayed him. I only mention this now because, as you'll see from the screenshots that follow, if these are the kind of people you hang out with, you're lucky they just took your loot.
I mean, let's be honest - imps can't be trusted, and our hero was a damn fool to think they could be. Actually, "hero" may be too good a word for this guy. Let's not forget, as the title implies, this guy is a thief. Everything that he's going to collect, he stole from someone else. So really, he's just finding out how it feels to have everything you own stolen from you by some dick who can't find a real job. Excuse me while I savour the delicious irony (or would this be poetic justice? Either way, it tastes great with relish.)
The thief is controlled by the mouse, and you move around collecting the jewels while trying to avoid the enemies. If this all looks like a bunch of sprites cribbed from Final Fantasy games floating over generic backgrounds stolen from other old Nintendo titles, that's because it is. I was expecting a platform game, or at least something that required players to use stealth and puzzle solving (you know, like a thief?) But that's not what I got.
Instead, we get some kind of retro arcade style game that comes across as half-baked, repetitive and boring. It's only after seven levels that things start to get interesting, mainly because the game goes batshit crazy!
I mean, God dammit, look at this crazy collection of monsters! The game becomes more challenging as more crap gets thrown in there. But that doesn't mean it becomes any more fun. Come on, if this game had any redeeming features, I'd have forgotten all about it and reviewed Foxy Sniper instead (which requires the skill of an actual sniper to complete.)
With so many enemies all moving rapidly around the screen, death is pretty much inevitable. What I don't get is why the developers would include a button that says "Skip." Skip the Game Over screen? How lazy does one have to be to not draw a button that says "Retry" or "Main Menu"?
On the bright side, there is an option to continue the game at the last level you reached, which is handy as it allows me to show you this!
Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, what the fuck!? OK, when people are throwing exploding lumps of flaming rock (or "meteos", as our dark mage friend calls them) at you, it's time to let bygones be bygones and just let them have those jewels. Hey, you managed to get plenty. You can let those ones go.
Still determined to recover every one?
How about now!? How about now that two mages are hurling giant white orbs and firing lasers at you? Yeah, I figured that might deflate your enthusiasm slightly.
It's levels like this that almost make me think the game is punishing me for doing well. Like some part of it is designed to say, "Oh, you think you're so great? Well take this and fuck you!" And while I'm willing to take that kind of attitude from, say, Shift 3, that's usually because I know I'll be rewarded in the end or that the game is just so good I can't help but keep playing.
But I can easily stop playing Thief, because it is pants. Big, giant Y-fronts with horrible yellow stains - that's how pants it is. I wouldn't call it the worst game I've played this year, but that's only because the year's not finished yet, and there's still plenty of shit for me to wade through in the meantime.