Entry #7: Endless Rain (Thief, 2014), by skacky

Skacky’s Thief Gold mission is a surreal, moody masterpiece of Thief 1 ambiance and style. It is a refreshing, rare entry to the Thief / Thief Gold FM library and a reminder that great missions can still be made with that game’s assets. The winding streets and towering city structures make you feel like you’ve stepped into a fantastic world as from a fairy tale. The streets are wide and areas large such that you may say it’s out of proportion, but you won’t – it works beautifully.

The author notes in the readme to play without any HD enhancement packs as the mission was made “with the vanilla experience in mind”. This warning pertains to the texture alignments, but it extends to the overall mission experience. I am a vanilla enthusiast – with only a few exceptions I play games and fan-missions un-modded – so I love a mission that recommends vanilla, especially for Thief Gold. I even play with TFix Lite so I can have the original guard models.

In skacky’s vanilla Thief experience, Garrett, fallen on hard times, takes a job from a greasy beggar named Cutty: stealing Lord Monsegur’s opal, the Moon Tear. Monsegur is the warden of Stonemarket and his abode looks out over the rest of the district from way high up. Getting there is fun and you’ll discover paths and secrets above and below.

Endless Rain, screenshot 1

On Expert, I went the longest time without a rope arrow. I finally found one, late in the mission. I wish I had started with a rope arrow – not having one for so long in a mission with so much up above is a bummer. On a second playing, I found a rope arrow close to the start, which made the experience much better.

In Endless Rain, you have to look hard. Finding the next big area or a way up to the roofs and across is not easy – no path is obvious. You earn the thrill of finding a wooden beam or an open window. There are also several dark nooks and crannies with loot, readables, and moody ambiance.

One tucked-away area has a note on which an herbalist or doctor has noted the effects of a deadly tonic. Described as a note that fell down the drain, it must mean someone is up to no good – wanting to end someone else’s life, or their own. According to the note, though, it might also mean someone just needs a better night’s sleep.

Endless Rain, screenshot 2

Lord Monsegur’s manor is a tiny slice of the whole experience. It’s up high and, on Expert, tight with guards. You will find it difficult to reach Monsegur’s bedroom. Once there, you need artistry to dodge Monsegur, who patrols around his room, muttering lines voiced by Yandros. You need to find a hidden area that thankfully provides you a straight path back down to the main floor.

Endless Rain is brilliant but I did experience a problem with sound propagation. Several times a guard’s voice or footsteps would cut out once he passed a threshold. Other times a guard nearby sounded muffled. Whether this is due to room brush placement or something else, I have not invested the time to find out. I only experienced it and note it here as the only blemish.

Endless Rain is a Thief Gold treat. If you’re a fan of the original, you’ll love the mood and look. It’s a reminder that the first Thief needs more fan missions. The Black Parade, of which skacky is a designer, will surely answer that reminder.

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