Entry #14: The Music of Sibel (Thief II, 2013), by skacky

This mission drops you down with a plop.

Some do that, to simulate Garrett jumping down from over a wall at the beginning.

After the landing, you’re looking at a tight, Dark Project-in-Thief II FM made in under forty-eight hours, and it will take you under an hour to beat.

The Music of Sibel was made by Thief 1-style practitioner skacky in AntiMatter_16’s 48 Hour Contest held in August 2013, and got third place. It’s another great small FM done in Thief 1 style, but the difference is that it’s made in Thief II.

There have been debates on whether there is any noteworthy difference between missions made in the The Dark Project / Gold and The Metal Age engines. Personally, I think there’s a slight enough difference that if you want to make a TDP style mission, you should make it in the original Thief’s engine. However, to make a Thief 1 style FM in Thief II DromEd is fine and acceptable. The Music of Sibel feels Thief­ 1-y enough, but there’s a little something missing. I promise, I’m not just making it up. More than subtle differences, most of the NPCs speak with Thief II dialogue. This dampens the Thief 1 atmosphere, but is excusable.

No matter. This mission is neatly designed, with a couple clear paths into Lady Sibel’s manor. The first is through the front door – you know how that goes. So, the path you’ll take is via a Hammerite chapel. Getting to it means going to the area to the right of the start point. There’s a Hammerite here you can have some fun with – as you sneak along the shadows to reach the machinery you need to climb up, you’ll be constantly alerting him, so he’ll be saying “Over there!” or “I thought I spied something” time and again, and then reassuring himself everything’s fine, the whole time you creep.

The Music of Sibel - Hammerite

There are difficult patrols in this mission, and the first is in the Hammerite chapel. Then, when you climb down a vine out of the chapel, you have to rope arrow way up to a window of Sibel’s manor – and then face more tough patrols! I had trouble even seeing the wood texture on the window. For the longest, I walked back and forth between the yard connecting the chapel with Sibel’s and a pathway back out to the City area. I decided to use a rope arrow just to try, and lo! It attached.

Speaking of the “City area,” this mission takes place in the Old Quarter. One readable is of a servant leaving employment at Sibel’s for some place else because she can’t stand how creepy it is, even suffering from nightmares. Would you like to live in Old Quarter? Part of me is intrigued by the thought of living somewhere with such history, and the haunted house explorer in me (I wish!) would love being in an area with such legends and abandoned places. However, at night I might get a little too scared. Unlike the guards, I likely would not be dismissing every little noise as “just the wind” or rats.

Sibel’s wind chime offers another bit of dark backstory. The thing repeats music Lady Sibel plays and causes her to sleep deeply and to dream. It’s obviously magical, but where did it come from? Maybe from some old magician’s place, buried in the ruined part of Old Quarter. That it only affects Lady Sibel suggests it only charms the person whose music it remembers.

The Music of Sibel - atrium with wind chime

The Sibel manor has flickering lights and tough patrols. If you don’t blackjack, timing your grab of the wind chime will be difficult. Once you have it, getting back to the start point is as difficult as getting inside. Since it’s hard to climb down a rope arrow from Sibel’s window, I just take the front door. The guards don’t seem to mind (but that’s ‘cause I’m so good).

I finished at thirty-three minutes and forty-seven seconds. It was a good one: the Thief II voices and engine blunts the Thief 1 atmosphere, but you still get a good dose of it, and you’ll enjoy the tight design and dark little story bits throughout.

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