Video Game: Thief: The Dark Project

"What the hell is a taffer, anyway?"

Thief: The Dark Project is a 1998 first-person stealth game, and the first of the Thief series. It was designed by Looking Glass Studios and published by Eidos Interactive.

It begins with Garrett as a young street urchin being found by an organization called the Keepers, who taught him in the ways of stealth and balance before he left the organization to pursue a career as thief. He soon finds himself entangled in a conflict between the forces of order and chaos.

The following year, Thief Gold was released, adding three new levels and a host of bugfixes.

Along with Metal Gear Solid (released the same year), it is regarded as one of the first video games to pioneer the modern stealth genre.

This game provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Downwind Thieves' Guild is headquartered in the sewers beneath the Overlord's Fancy tavern and illegal casino.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: A Keeper outpost has one as a booby trap.
  • Affably Evil: Constantine, at least until his reveal.
  • Always Night: There are only two missions set during daytime, and even in those, you spend most of your time indoors or in an abandoned old mine.
  • Ancient Tomb: The missions "Down in the Bonehoard" and "The Lost City".
  • And I Must Scream: The Hammer Haunts are in eternal torment, judging by their patrol dialogue.
  • Big Bad: Constantine, a.k.a. The Trickster.
  • Bow and Sword, in Accord: Garrett carries both a bow and a sword, though the bow sees more use for delivery mechanism for Trick Arrows than killing people, and the sword is a last-resort weapon, not his primary. If the player is very good, they will never use the sword.
  • Devil but No God: Partially averted. We never see The Builder, but we do see (and kill) The Trickster.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: By the end of the game, you kill The Trickster, the devil figure of the entire in-game universe, with a magic bomb.
  • Eldritch Location: Besides the Old Quarter and the Lost City, Constantine's mansion. The first few halls are quite conventional, but once you infiltrate it deeper, the weirdness starts, and it's quite unsettling.
  • Eye Scream: Garrett suffered from one when the Trickster betrayed him. We later see a brief, detailed close-up of the shriveled, bloody gap in his face.
  • Hand of Glory: One of the objectives of the Cragscleft Prison section is to retrieve Garrett's lucky Hand of Glory from the beggar, Issyt who somehow managed to smuggle the Hand with him into the prison.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How the Trickster eventually meets his end.
  • Marathon Level: The Thieves' Guild level. First there's the restaurant, then the casino, then the sewer passage to Reuben's place, get the picture.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Return to the Cathedral and the Hammer Haunts. Oh Builder, the Haunts.
  • Oh Crap!: Garrett, when he realizes not only that The Trickster is real, but that The Hammers' crazy prophecy about the end of the world is really happening AND Garrett's own greed made it happen!
  • Plot Coupons: At one point, Garrett has to find the four keys to a locked cathedral.
  • Refusal of the Call: Garrett does not want to be a Keeper or to be involved in their plots. This doesn't stop The Keepers from seeking Garrett out.
    Artemus: You cannot run from life as you did from us, Garrett. Life has a way of finding you, no matter how artistic a sneak you are.
    Garrett: Tell my friends that I don't need their secret book, or their glyph warnings, or their messengers. Tell them I'm through. Tell them it's
    Artemus: (after Garrett departs) I will tell them this: Nothing has changed. All is as written. The Trickster is dead. Beware the dawn of the Metal Age.
  • Retirony: A variation - Garrett expresses his intention to retire after stealing the Eye from the cathedral in the first game, before the Trickster betrays him and leaves him for dead.
  • The Order: The Hammerites, a group of anti-Pagan, anti-nature, intensely conservativeChurch Militants that Garrett runs into on occasion. However, they're not as much of a problem in this game as they are in the sequel.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: The Keepers. They have access to prophecy and have master spies in every shadow, but they don't seem to actually act on any of this information, even when catastrophe looms. Somewhat justified, as this is one of the implied reasons Garrett quit.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Well, you can either simply bypass guards and/or knock them out with your blackjack. Or you could run around stabbing them from behind, knocking them out and throwing them off cliffs/into water to drown/into lava...
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Only on harder difficulties does doing the above yield a mission failure (usually, some missions require no death whatsoever), but it's still there.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Viktoria, Constantine/The Trickster's emissary (and the one who removed Garrett's eye) doesn't appear for the rest of the game. She does re-appear in the sequel... and when Garrett sees her, he is ready to kill her at once.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Constantine to Garrett, in a memorably horrific fashion after revealing himself as The Trickster.