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Thief: Deadly Shadows

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Thief: Deadly Shadows is a stealth video game where the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief. It is set in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed.

One of the game's major new features was the ability to explore the City. While previous games sent Garrett straight from mission to mission, Thief: Deadly Shadows allows him to walk the City streets between missions where he can steal from passersby, spy on the townspeople's daily lives, and search for sidequests in addition to major story missions. The game also introduced an ability to switch between first and third person views, and to flatten against walls.

It was released for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox in 2004, on May 25 in North America, and on June 11 in Europe. Development for both platforms started simultaneously. Like its predecessors, Thief: Deadly Shadows has received almost globally positive reviews, winning IGN's "Editor's Choice" award and "Game of the Month" award for May 2004. A follow-up to this game, Thief 4, is confirmed to be in the early development stages by the "very best core team" of Eidos Montreal Studio.[1][2]


Thief: Deadly Shadows is a first-person and third-person 'sneaker', similar in gameplay to the previous games in the series. The player takes the role of a Garrett, an independent master thief who aims to steal his way through the City, using stealth, devices and weapons, in order to complete objectives and make profits on the side. The player may steal from or mug innocents for loot, and avoid, distract, attack or knock out guards. Loot and weapon ammunition may be stolen simply by 'touching' it, when close enough. Locked rooms and chests can be broken into after completing a lock-picking minigame.[3]

Mission Levels

Mission levels may be traversed by sneaking through the shadows, since walking or running will alert nearby guards, who detecting the presence of a vandal will search around for an unknown face. Upon discovering the player, the guards will give chase and possibly hunt him down. In order to make minimum noise, the player must actively monitor the noise each action creates. The player may usually view a hand-drawn map of the immediate surroundings, realistically, the player's location is not indicated on the map and must be deduced from the surrounding landmarks. The game has a fairly open-ended structure, allowing the player to approach every objective in multiple different ways. Upon completion of all objectives, the mission ends and the plot is further revealed through cutscenes.

City Levels

After each mission, the player reappears into the nearest district within the City, which may be freely explored by foot. Most civilians don't recognize Garrett as a criminal, although wanted posters are frequently visible on City walls. City areas unlock as the player progresses through missions. Within the City, the player may sell previously stolen goods on the black market to Fences, for gold, which can be used at various Shops to purchase weapons, equipment and supplies.[4] Special loot such as "Artifacts" cannot be sold but are involved in the objectives and plot. As they are collected, loot, gold, equipment and weapons retain in the player's inventory through the game, making it possible to 'hoard' for later use. While exploring the City, the player may break into homes for additional loot, spy on and steal from the townspeople, and complete the occasional side quest. Allying with major factions will motivate its members to fight alongside the player, against the City Watch guards.


Both the PC and Xbox versions of the game are relatively easy to play, with conventional and reconfigurable shooter-style controls. The first mission is an interactive tutorial that guides the player through a typical robbery, set in an Inn. The player may save progress at any point, and must do so manually from time to time, since the game never autosaves.[5]

The Xbox version has considerably more tactile controls since it uses a game controller instead of an all purpose keyboard. Within the lock-picking minigame, a rumble effect can be felt based on the relation between the lock picks and tumblers. Moving the left analog stick gently makes Garrett creep, and forcefully makes him run.


The game begins when Garrett steals a rare opal from a nobleman's castle. After fencing it, he is contacted by Keeper Artemis to steal two Artifacts; The Builder's Chalice and the Jacknall's Paw from their respective peoples, in exchange for access to the Keeper Prophecies. After hearing about a coming Dark Age, Garrett reads about a lost book, the Compendium of Reproach, which supposedly offers information about it. Garrett manages to steal it, the "Glyph" Key required to open it and the third Artifact, the Kurshok Crown. The Keepers read the Compendium's prophecy, including: "When the progress of time ceases, the evil one will be pointed out for all to see". Not willing to wait, Garrett realizes that the prophecy might be referring to the clocktower in the city being stopped rather than time itself, and so Garrett sabotages its gigantic mechanism, stopping the clock but causing the entire clocktower to collapse, after which it appears to point directly at First Keeper Orland's office.

The Interpreter of the Prophecies; Caduca of the Keepers is found murdered. Orland blames Garrett for it, and fixes a trial where Garrett is "found" guilty. Garrett manages to escape, causing Orland to send the Keeper Enforcers, an elite unit of telepathically-connected assassins, after him. Garrett is contacted by a group of friendly Keepers, mentioning that the clocktower's rubble forms an arrow which points directly at the Keeper Library instead. Orland plans to promote a young girl named Gamall to replace Caduca. Garrett believes that Orland is the "Brethren and Betrayer" mentioned in Keeper prophecy, so he returns to the deserted lower library of the Keeper Compound, and finds a note addressed to him. Garrett then encounters a mysterious old woman, who uses Glyph magic to bring the nearby Keeper statues to life and instructs them to search for Garrett and kill him. The woman vanishes and Garrett eventually escapes the ambush.

Garrett visits Inspector Drept and mentions of the old woman, whom Drept realizes to be the Hag. Drept advises Garrett to search the abandoned Shalebridge Cradle, as that was where Drept first saw the Hag. The Cradle had once been an orphanage, and then an insane asylum. The building was abandoned after a fire broke out, killing all its inhabitants, and became a dark and haunted place. In the attic of the Cradle, Garrett finds a painting and the glowing white sprit of the young girl Gamall, who is actually Lauryl. It beckons Garrett to help her trapped spirit leave the Cradle, by finding her old belongings and removing them from the building. To do this, Garrett returns to the past by entering a cage with a belonging of an asylum patient, taking on his/her appearance. However, Garrett is no longer able to leave, as the Cradle now remembers him. Garrett enters the past as himself and tricks the Cradle into "thinking" that he had committed suicide by jumping out of the highest tower, landing safely outside in the present time. Lauryl's spirit leads Garrett to her secret tomb, which is covered in magical Glyphs left by the Hag, enabling her to use Lauryl appearance. Years ago, the Hag killed Lauryl for the purpose of becoming Interpreter, so she could harness the Glyphs and destroy the Keepers. Garrett washes away the Glyph marks on Lauryl's grave with her own blood. Gamall the Hag, about to become Interpreter in a ceremony, loses her disguise and is revealed to be a hideous monster, and attacks the Keepers, ruins the Library and flees.

The Hag has found the Final Glyph, and stolen two Artifacts from the Keepers. Orland wants Garrett to find Gamall's hidden lair, learn what she wants the Artifacts for, kill her, and find and destroy the Final Glyph. Inside Gamall's underground lair, Garrett steals back the Chalice, the Paw, and the Glyph of Unbinding. Keeper Artemus appears in Gamall's lair, and reading a map they discover that the five Artifacts - the Eye, the Heart, the Crown, the Chalice, and the Paw — must to be placed in specific locations in the City to activate the Final Glyph, a safeguard in case the Keeper Glyphs are used for evil, which, when activated, all Glyph magic and Keepers' power will be destroyed. Garrett goes to the Wieldstrom Museum in Auldale to steal the remaining three Artifacts before the Hag is able to find them herself. Keeper Artemus is outside the Museum, waiting for Garrett, who asks him give him the Artifacts. Orland then hurriedly appears and tells Garrett that he activate and not destroy the Final Glyph. Keeper Artemus turns out to be the Hag in disguise, and kills Orland.

Garrett places the Artifacts into the corresponding positions to activate the Final Glyph, causing all Keeper Glyph magic to be destroyed. The Keeper's key symbol burns into his hand as he places the final Artifact, revealing Garrett to be the One True Keeper mentioned in Keeper prophecies. The Hag and her walking statues lose all their Glyph powers. All the magical Glyphs in Keeper books have disappeared, and the Keeper Library is visible to citizens being no longer concealed by Glyph magic. The Hammerites discover the Chalice where you put it in the Hammerites' Fort Ironwood to activate the Final Glyph. The Pagans similarly discover the Paw where you put it in the Pagan-controlled Docks to activate the Final Glyph.

Later on, Garrett catches a young girl attempting to pickpocket him, saying, "It's no easy thing to see a Keeper, especially one who does not wish to be seen", nearly identical to Garrett's first encounter with a Keeper in The Dark Project.


  • Garrett: Protagonist and master thief, Garrett received extensive training from the ancient sect known as the Keepers before rebelling against their secretive and hierarchical nature and leaving the order. Garrett's vision is augmented by a mechanical eye, given to him by the Hammerites after his natural eye was plucked out by Constantine the Trickster (The Woodsie Lord of the Pagans) and his consort Viktoria. Garrett has attained a fearsome reputation through his prodigious skills and his habit of becoming involved in the epic events portrayed in the Thief series.
  • The Hag: A mythical serial killer who purportedly stalks the night, slaying victims and stealing their skin. Even the Pagans, who deal regularly with monstrous creatures, regard her as an abomination. The Hag appears to be the bogeyman of the Thief world and is featured in a variety of children's rhymes and night-time tales. However, few believe she actually exists except Garrett and a Hammerite inspector named Drept, who actually encountered her as a child and survived. According to Drept, the Hag "wears death upon her as a cloak. Some who meet her doth vanish. Others perished with bloody work upon their bodies." There are hints spoken of creatures made of stone. The tale of a Hag, a bent old woman, who is ever old but grows no older.
  • Robert Moira: The captain of the ship Abysmal Gale and resident of a mansion on an island not far from the City. A battered Abysmal Gale docked in the City one day as a ghost ship, devoid of crew and occupied by zombies. The City Watch quarantined the ship and dispatched at least two people to investigate, including one named Reggy, but they did not return. Moira's log indicates that he had found a strange golden slab in a cave and brought it back to his mansion. According to a sailor's log, Moira had begun acting strangely, forsaking food and furiously searching for an unknown item. The crew had decided to mutiny at one point. It is assumed that Moira and his crew were either killed or transformed into zombies.
  • Edwina Moira: The wife of captain Moira. She sits in a room facing the sea, murmuring, and seems to have lost her mind.
  • Lord Julian: A nobleman who has sworn revenge over his cousin, Lord Ember, who resides in Rutherford Castle. He has vowed to find the Bloodline Opal, but in the End of the Bloodline mission Garrett beats him to it and the Opal is sold on the black market.
  • Inspector Drept: A Hammerite bent on tracing and finding the Hag due to his childhood experience. When he was a young child, he lived in the Shalebridge Cradle, an orphanage and insane asylum. One day he was playing hide-and-seek in the attic with his friend Lauryl. During the game while Lauryl was searching for the hidden Drept, the Hag appeared and killed her. Drept was frozen with fear and could do nothing. Afterward he informed the Cradle staff that it was done by a hag and not an insane patient, although no one believed him. When he grew up he joined the Hammerites and began searching for the Hag.
  • Lauryl: Originally an orphan who resided in the Shalebridge Cradle, as did the eventual Inspector Drept, but was killed and skinned by the Hag. Her body was buried in a secret room in the catacombs in Fort Ironwood with a spell marked on the tomb. Since her death her ghost haunted the attic in the now-abandoned Cradle. During the events of Thief: Deadly Shadows, Garrett liberates her spirit.
  • First Keeper Orland: The elected leader of a secretive faction of guardians known as the Keepers, who quietly watch over the City and attempt to maintain a near-equilibrium of power in the City. Orland held a lifelong distrust of Garrett, believing him to be too unpredictable, and retained negative feelings toward him after he left their order.
  • Keeper Artemus: Artemus is the Keeper who Garrett attempted to steal from in the beginning of the first game, and was the one who introduced him to the Keepers. He was sent to find Garrett and inform him about two lost artifacts, the Jacknall's Paw and the Builder's Chalice. Near the end of the game, however, he is murdered by The Hag, who steals his skin and wears it as a disguise.


After Looking Glass Studios, the developer of the original two titles, went out of business in 2000, many former employees moved to Ion Storm Austin. Here they began developing the long-anticipated third part of the series, Deadly Shadows. The same voice actor, Stephen Russell, was selected for the lead character, Garrett.

Unlike the original two titles, Deadly Shadows was developed simultaneously for Microsoft Windows and the Xbox. The game is powered by a heavily-modified and tweaked version of Unreal Engine 2, which Ion Storm had previously used in Deus Ex: Invisible War.

Ion Storm decided not to entitle the game Thief III for fear that it would alienate console gamers who had never played the previous two titles.[citation needed]

It is the last game produced by Ion Storm before its demise in February 2005.


Like its predecessors, Thief: Deadly Shadows has received almost universally positive reviews, garnering a GameSpot rating of 8.3 with an 8.5 rating from selected notable critics[6] and the PC version has reached an average score of 8.6 on IGN. The game also won IGN's "Editor's Choice" award and "Game of the Month" award for May 2004.[7][8]

Most reviewers praised its artistry, exceptionally refined standard of lighting, graphical and level design, visual and sound effects, music, immersiveness, voice acting and solid gameplay.[6][7][8]


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