THIEF II - THE MEnTAL AGE is an "anti-walkthough", as writer Joseph Morris would have it. However, unlike Drugs, drugs and violence: A short page about Thief: The Dark Project, this one takes a humorous look at bugs, quirks and eggs in Thief II: The Metal Age, version 1.07.
If Deus Ex made you want to break into pharmaceutical companies, this game will have you looking strangely at that low fence behind the supermarket.
This was all done with 1.07, the Sold Out edition.
The first mission is totally out-of-character, but rather entertaining. Basso the Boxman, who I accidentally killed in the last game, has returned from the grave, decided to go straight and run off with a fair maiden, whom you have to rescue for him. Basso is very good with locks, but not so good at wiping out the opposition (is ANYONE as good as you?) to clear a path to his girlfriend.
This is your goal. The complication is that you're not allowed to kill any guards since it will upset his Significant Other. Curiously, you're allowed to knock out as many guards as you see fit: a trail of beaten-up unconscious bodies lying everywhere is somehow less disturbing to her than a single 'disappeared' guard. Indeed: on the maximum difficulty level, cracking at least 8 skulls is mandatory!
And no, throwing the corpses into the furnace and telling her that they've gone home isn't a viable option. Robin Hood never had problems like that...
The basic idea is that you have to clear a path to Basso's girl, and then 'run the program' by whistling to him using a bird-call from close quarters. The bird-call itself is a lot of fun; run around the building clicking frantically on the bird-call everywhere you go. Only Basso is capable of hearing the device, so you can actually knock guards out from behind in a flurry of demented birdsong (just as long as they don't hear your feet).
I would happily have run amok with the bird-call on every subsequent level (and a duck-call would have been even better: see episode 5 of 'Dr Who: Invasion of Time') but unfortunately Basso wisely confiscates the device following the end of the mission.
Returning to Basso, you have to be more-or-less outside his hut for him to hear. Whistling during a heated battle in the garden won't work (though it might if you unlock the gate first!). You also have to follow Basso or he will chicken out and go back into the hut.
It is tempting to immediately give Basso the call, but he will swiftly be cut down, thus killing you too. One of the key problems is the guardroom, which is illuminated. The guards will see you (or Basso) and come out in force. The suggested tactic is to extinguish the lights with a water-arrow thus allowing you and Basso to sneak past. Alternatively, if you sneak upstairs and around, you can then go down the other set of stairs in the ballroom, creep into the guardroom and break head since the light won't matter if no-one is awake to see it. This approach causes Garrett to have a hissy-fit everytime he approaches the torches, though.
The Screaming TreesEdit
The Battle of the Garden is another source of high entertainment. The entrance is upstairs, since you enter the house via the basement. You'll have to have KO'd at least one upstairs guard in order to get the key to the garden. Just through the doors are two archers, who can easily be incapacitated with a blow to the back of each head. That should leave one archer circling the trees. Throw one of the other guards down and he will go into a frenzy. Run into the garden, and get a tree between you and the archer. Get close together, so that the archer is exactly opposite the tree, and his arrows will get stuck in the branches. This makes a brilliant holding pattern since the archer doesn't KNOW he's missing you and stays there frantically attacking the tree, with the words "this is just like picking off baby burricks".
Furthermore, his arrows get stuck in the tree, and you can pick them up (through the tree!). I've managed to gather 480 arrows through this method, by leaving the game running unattended for about 30 minutes. Incidentally, with more than about 100 arrows stuck in the tree, the game was running out of visplanes and the tree (and archer) had disappeared by the time I came back.
When the entire household is lying with a lump on the back of their heads, it's time to fetch Boxo the Bassman. If you have burgled the workshop including the secret cupboard, you should have around three flash-bombs, and much fun can be had with these later. When Basso finally reaches the door to his beloved, he stands there and unlocks the door with his gibbon-powers. If you then run inside and grab the red key from the table, you can lock the door again, leaving yourself locked in and alone with Basso's girl. Fearing for her virtue, Basso will frantically scrabble at the door and try to unlock it again (unsuccessfully!).
Hitting either Basso or the girl with your club is considered bad form and the game will end, even though you could carry their limp bodies out of the house.
If you throw a flash bomb inside the girl's chamber, it will detonate blinding both her and Basso. This is amusing to you, but the game doesn't like it one bit and starts to panic. Basso and Jenivere will now both be doing Zombie impressions, and everything starts to come apart.
Distracted at the critical moment of their reunion, Basso and Jenivere are now totally confused and just stand there like lemons. Basso comes out of it first, but doesn't pick up from where they left off because the flash bomb has re-flashed his brain.
Not bird-call, club nor broadband arrow is sufficient to bring either one back. If you close the door again, Basso will start to unlock it, sometimes giving Garrett a strange look as if to say "What the hell did you do that for?". Opening the door doesn't avail him any and he will even begin to pick the lock when the door is open. Time to reload I think.
Running Into FearanceEdit
If you wait until Jenivere and the Bassman are actually on the move (Basso says 'Sssh!', not knowing that all the guards are unconscious) and running through the corridors, you can split the two of them up by using a flashbomb later. If you find it amusing, you can then run out of the building following Jenivere and club her from behind as soon as your mission is complete. (Running her through with the sword will violate the 'No Killing' directive and cost you the mission).
Over the wall we goEdit
There are loads and loads of crates in the basement. What can we do with them, we wonders? Aye, we wonders..
This has to be one of my favourite missions. It's almost completely free-form and tremendous fun.
In the beginningEdit
There is a Hammerite in the forecourt, one of two that I know of throughout the game. Don't kill or beat him up, because the Hammers are much more fun alive than they are dead or unconscious. First, smash open the doors so you can get into the building. If you go through, there is a bowman on the other side of the door. If you can stun him (No disassemble... he is a latent Pagan), lay the body at the bottom of the stairs and hide in the shadows. This will totally freak out the peasants and set the guards off on a merry chase.
|“|| IDM: Look out. There's a bowman behind that door.|
JPM: No! There's two bowmans!
The guards are much more vocal than in the original, and they can be far more emotive as well. They never usually twig what's going on though... as the corpses pile up, they keep saying "The thief's killed again!" and things like that, so often assuming they're up against a thief, not a raging psychopath. Leave a trail of stunned guards lying around, and you can have some serious entertainment. The big vat by the waste chute is a good place to lurk as there are lots of guards in the vicinity to upset with a few bodies, and you can dive into the vat as soon as they get dangerous. Finally, you can climb up onto the side of the vat and scramble up the ladder to the catwalks when it's time to make a getaway.
There are some noblemen lurking around outside. If they see you they will often call you a lout or something. An antidote to this is to approach them with a dead guard over your back: they'll be a little more polite after that, in case they get the same.
If this doesn't work and you end up giving them a blow over the head, shoving them down the stairs can sometimes cause them to shout 'Careful, you lout!' or something similar. Don't do it too many times if you want them alive, though.
In a similar vein, unconscious female guards will sometimes taunt you as they too are flung from on high, or protected from the Terrible Secret Of Space.
Spiders from MarsEdit
When all other resistance has been neutralised, go aboard Captain Davidson's ship, carrying one of the now-dead guards. This will elicit fun responses from the pirate , such as 'Hehehe... That ain't loot you're carrying!'. Then jump off the gangplank to avoid your present death. I have noticed that when the pirate is critically injured he goes into a freaky behavioural loop, constantly running up to the bridge and jumping off of it. Whether this is easy to reproduce, I do not know.
When you open the wardrobe-thing on the deck, two spiders will emerge and try to eat you. Dispose of the spiders by leading them off the boat and on to the shore. Then walk into the sea. The spiders will follow you, and then spontaneously wave their legs in the air. You may also be able to persuade the spiders in Merrill's spidersteak factory to partake of a similar misadventure.
Captain Blackheart and his Magic BandEdit
In Blackheart's unit, we find some weird victorian recording studio, based around some kind of steampunk Tascam 388, an 8-channel console with integrated 1/4" 8-track master recorder. Theoretically you wouldn't bother stealing his master tapes, since Garrett would be able to live for a year after pawning the Neumann U87 microphones. Unfortunately the bastard knows this and took the mikes away with him. So, you'll have to work the safe. Inside you'll find his current piece, recorded on to a wax-coated toilet roll.
In The EndEdit
|“|| IDM: Shouldn't you be hiding that body?|
JPM: I don't know. What does 'hiding' mean?
IDM: It's when you cut off his hide as a trophy.
JPM: Oh, I see! Like peeling an orange!
(Bizarrely, Ian and I had almost exactly the same conversation while playing Thief 1. But I didn't notice the duplicate for nearly a month. I must be getting old..)