Morrgan's Dark Projects

A fun little mission, offering more enjoyment than you might expect from such a small download.

Final Score: 7 Hammers

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The Cell Next Door

Garrett was on his way to meet a friend after a job in order to split the loot, when he was arrested by Hammerites and is now locked up in a cell. Garrett plans to leave, but not before he finds out where the loot from the previous job is and how the Hammers knew where to find him.

Summary

Overview

According to the readme, the author used Lord Bafford's Manor from Thief 1 as inspiration, which is apparent from for example the sewers in the mission. Those of you who (like me) lovingly played the Bafford demo and Thief 1 to bits all those years ago, will appreciate the nostalgic memories this mission brings back. Otherwise though, The Cell Next Door is quite different from Bafford's.

Gameplay focuses on stealth, especially at the start, but at times you run into the irritating problem of shadows on the ground not corresponding to what the lightgem shows, making the sneaking a matter of trial and error. Some reloading is practically inevitable at the start, as you have no equipment and avoiding an alert guard in a small space is almost impossible. (Still, there's fun to be had even in these circumstances. How about locking up those pesky guards in their own cells, or perhaps squishing them underneath an elevator for the more sadistically minded?) The somewhat unpredictable shadows become less of a nuisance once youíve found your equipment and have more options for what to do if you're discovered.

This mission is generally well-built Ė there are no exceptionally pretty scenes to be seen, but the architecture is solid throughout the mission, with no plain areas either. I especially appreciate the little details one can find. Many of them tie story and location together and do much to make the mission seem like a real place with a life of its own.

The Cell Next Door is simply a charming little mission. It won't take very long to play through it, but with a file size thatís as tiny as 685 KB and more enjoyment than many larger missions, thereís no reason not to give this one a try.

Notable Bugs/Problems

At one point in the mission a barrel is blocking a door. The door can be fully opened if you break the barrel, but you won't be able to go through the doorway, as there seems to be an invisible wall blocking it.

Analysis & Rating

Architecture: 8

Construction is solid throughout the mission. The mission is compact, but no area feels too cramped. Lighting is used well, with shadows that really are dark for once.

Atmosphere: 7

Several clever little details make the place feel real and aid immersion. Itís hard to pinpoint exactly why, but somehow the mission just Feels Good. The lovely nostalgia brought on by the Bafford references is a nice touch. Thereís no real suspense apart from the usual Thief gameplay, though.

Story: 7

The story is sufficient for the setting, with enough background to make you interested. More story unfolds as you play, keeping your interest up.

Gameplay: 6

There are a few annoyances with the shadows and the challenges are few, but there are several opportunities for fun. The sneaking at the start is quite enjoyable. Ghosting on Expert difficulty gives even more opportunities for some satisfying stealth. There is a risk of the mission turning into a loot hunt if you're not observant, though.

Final Score: 7 Hammers

Screenshots

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