Home Reviews Thief Fan Missions [T1] Autumn In Lampfire Hills
[T1] Autumn In Lampfire Hills PDF Print E-mail
Written by Silver Sorrow   
Sunday, 15 October 2006 18:00
Game: Thief: TDP/Gold
Title: Autumn In Lampfire Hills
Author: Anthony Huso (Purah)
Filename: fire.zip
Filesize: 3.87mb
Download: http://thiefmis...o.cgi?m=fire
French Version: http://thiefmis...ampfireHills
Score: 8.00 / 10.00

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_001.jpg

Rating Revision: My apologies to everyone out there who were fooled by my 5 out of 5 rating. This mission is extremely difficult in some ways, and as such, I'm revising the rating downward slightly; in converting to the 1 to 10 scale, I can rate these missions more comprehensively than my crude 1 to 5. Keep in mind that an 8 out of 10 is extremely good for an add-on that's about six years old.

Preliminary Note: This is a heavy revision of a review I concocted for Hangar 16 about thirty million years ago; as such, the screenshots aren't all that great, and the prose was unspeakable. I decided to remove all of the extraneous crap that blurred the review into a chaotic mess, but when I was done with the surgery, I noticed its bleeding corpse was reduced just to the title and where to download it. So I put some of the crap back in. I also included some all-new crap. This is where we stand today. Knee-deep.

Anyway, this is the first of several old miscellaneous reviews I'm reposting from That Other Site. This keeps me happy and non-productive. I have a ton of reviews I posted over there, so I never have to write anything again and STILL have content to contribute! Now I believe in recycling. Oh, and the screens? They were just thrown in here with no particular ordering in mind. Pride in my work, yessir. That's what I need...

Note: I use custom recolors -- my own -- for Garrett’s arms and weapons, as well as the visibility gem. The rest of what you see is what you get, except for the Haunt. He’s mine.

Note #2: That visibility gem is an awful red, isn’t it?

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_002.jpg

Abstract:
Well. If it isn’t almost Halloween again. I thought we had a Halloween just last year, but some people insist on observing it again. Repetition is really gauche, people. Join the herd. Let’s all dress up like ghosts. Boo. You know? Ghost and goblins and demons aren’t scary. You people don’t know from scary. Here’s a costume suggestion: dress up as a large, reddish lump. When asked, tell them that you’re the troubling lump one finds in their groin. Go as a cancer cell. Make an E.Coli costume. Tell people there’s been a loophole found in the Constitution that would make it possible for a certain universally-hated President to run again. Being chased with a chainsaw is one thing, but how do you explain the fear you experience when...

...never mind. Don’t want to get into a Carnival of Souls thing. Enjoy your caramel apples, you unsuspecting fools.

The Basics:
Equipment Store: Yes
Skill Settings: Yes
Map/Automap: Yes/No
Puzzle Difficulty: Obscure
General Difficulty: Hard
Gameplay: Live things, dead things, and in-between things

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Briefing/Story?
Since you -- Garrett -- have gotten yourself out of debt completely thanks to the Lord Rothchest job,** it’s time to get away from the grind of the City and settle down in a quiet suburb for a while. So you buy a cottage and hire a guard, and you’re all set. You’ve even mowed the lawn wearing Bermuda shorts and knee-high black socks, but you’re not quite ready to retire completely yet. If you were, you probably wouldn’t be interested in the fact that your cottage has a mysterious history, with terrible things whispered about its previous owner. Typical.
[** SEE: The author’s own The Shadow of Lord Rothchest in the original Thief version, and/or The Shadow of Lord Rothchest , the Thief 2 version, converted by John D.]

So upon finding a curiously unpickable lock on the chimney in the back yard, you decide to get to the bottom of the mystery (I pick you from the mystery of my bottom) and set off into town to find some information. Since it’s the community’s version of our own Halloween (called Autumn Soul’s Eve), everyone is either vacationing outside the region or locked inside their homes while guards patrol the streets with diligence. Not good for you.

Read your journal, explore the grounds, say “hi” to your henchman (he’s the guy in black out front) and do a little trick or treating...or breaking and entering, in this case. And stealing and clubbing and...

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_004.jpg

Onward!
In celebration of Autumn -- or “Fall,” depending on your regionality -- I give you an early mission from the guy who brought you “The Shadow of Lord Rothchest,” “Calendra’s Cistern,” and its sequel, “Calendra’s Legacy.”

“Autumn in Lampfire Hills” (which I will henceforth refer to as AiLH if I need to do so) is something of a legend in the FM community for its difficulty and its overall quality...and that quality is excellent, much like McDonald's french fries were until the Health Nazis got hold of them and turned them into complete crap. As was the case with several stellar FMs released around the same time, AiLH is unique in atmosphere, story and execution. The town is quaint; I can see why Garrett wanted to retire here. The streets are narrow and cobbled, and the general air is one of a sleepy, rustic little community away from the bustle -- not to mention the lice and body odor -- of the City. Washington Irving probably would’ve put a headless Hessian in the nearby woods...it’s just that good a place to live.

As I mentioned in the Story section (you may remember it), the town is celebrating Autumn Soul’s Eve. Normally, this is when the people lock themselves tight in their homes, for nasty things are thought to walk the streets on this night...you know, Pamela Anderson and her equally-misshapen, Botox-puffed ilk, spreading disease and stupidity as they are wont to do. So the people visit distant relatives or simply stay inside, shivering in fear, hoping that their flimsy locks will shelter them from the plastic horror that Canada spawned.

Mere superstition, you think...but strange things have happened in Lampfire Hills. You own a home where you think you’ll probably retire for good. Well, yippee-skip, you’re in for a hell of a night. With the townsfolk huddled inside their homes, afraid (quite correctly) of a spontaneous Baywatch reunion breaking out. (“Builder preserve us! The Plastic Demon has brought her minions with her! What sins have we committed to deserve The Hoff AND Traci Bingham??”) The guards patrolling the streets have orders to kill anyone or anything that isn’t a guard. But hell...you’re used to that sort of thing. The mystery of your cottage is driving you nuts, so it’s time to venture forth into the crisp air of the night and find out what’s what, despite the very real danger that you may run into Yasmine Bleeth and her Big Bucket O’ Snotty Cocaine.

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_005.jpg

AiLH is one of those missions I hesitate to recommend to Thief newbies. I had severe problems myself when I first attempted it; only after a year or so of much Thief playing was I good enough to solve it with few problems. It’s not horribly difficult, no...but it’s hard enough to demand plenty of patience as well as a slate cleared of all distractions, at least until you finish. For one thing, actually figuring out *what* to do is a problem; even though it’s a small town, the place is absolutely stuffed with places to go. The clues (as sparse as they are) aren’t all that enlightening either, so you’ll have to pay especial attention to any clues given to you through readables.

In addition, there is a portion wherein you must sneak past an unkillable/unKOable entity, a part that might make a poorly-skilled sneaker rip off his thiefy hood and eat it out of sheer frustration. Other missions of the same approximate time frame fell into this “odd and tough” category as well (“The Order of the Vine,” “Calendra’s Cistern,” et al), but I hold a special place in my heart for this mission, since I wanted to kill it.

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_006.jpg

I admit, I take these things WAY too personally. I see difficult missions as an affront to my well-being; I will hammer at them until I’ve either broken the damned thing or I’ve physically mangled myself by bashing my head against the nearest available flat surface. You don’t want to know how many desk-induced injuries I’ve suffered through the years. It’s too bad that I’m not as tenacious in most other areas of my life, otherwise Laura San Giacomo would be having MY children! Or at least filing charges...

So we come to the crux of the matter: if it’s so difficult, why am I reviewing it? Because despite the difficulty (or because of it), I still consider this mission to be one of the best ever released for original Thief. It challenges, it entertains, and it gives your quickload key a healthy workout.

Several elements from this mission found their way into “Calendra’s Legacy”; for example, you’ll notice that part of this mission is at the very beginning of the first map in CL. Early on in this mission (if you’re observant), you’ll break into the home of a Psychic, who knew you were coming. You’ll most likely also break into the same person’s shop in the second mission of CL.

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_007.jpg

So what about the mission itself? Ah, but therein lies the mystery. You need to pore over this town, break into a few places, crack a few skulls, and go into detective mode. You will find yourself confounded, but never fear: it IS possible. The clues are obscure, but as long as you don’t have someone interrupting you every five minutes to do their bidding, tasks that they are perfectly capable of handling on their own except that you’re apparently not doing anything “important,” you’ll be fine. Also, watch out for people who apparently cannot read something quietly to themselves without interrupting whatever useless thing you’re doing (such as revising a review, say) to read you a lengthy, boring passage and your head’s about to blow every goddamn blood vessel shut up shut up shut UP leave me ALONE.

Not that I speak from experience. Anyway, along with the obscure clues, secret buttons are hard to find and the guards are downright hostile; it really takes a lot of patience and determination to progress in this mission without seeking help.

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_008.jpg

If I’m putting you off this mission entirely, I do apologize; this is a high-quality mission. It’s worth your time just to walk around and see the town...or rubbernecking while being chased by guards, if that’s your thing. And after a lengthy pursuit, nothing caps off an evening like a refreshing dip in the town’s water supply.

There are a couple of bugs and shaky things, as is usual with most 3rd-party add-ons without access to professional testers and/or millions of dollars in capital (with that said, I still wonder how Bethesda’s games still come out so damn buggy...). One problem is that you cannot get all of the loot; your total, even with inhuman scrutiny, will probably be about 800 short of the final tally. Another thing, and probably the most irritating: the framerates get pretty chuggy after tripping a trap in the king’s tomb, and yes, it’s unavoidable. It’s those stinking magic bolt shooters, which really should have been set to quit after a while.

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_009.jpg

Another problem is in no way the author’s fault -- for how could he have foreseen? -- but the Indiana Jones-like rope arrow swinging (near the magic bolt shooters, natch) is made insanely difficult by Thief’s stupid rope arrow bug. Jump on a rope and have a very good chance of being launched directly into the ceiling at warp speed, then down into a pit of spikes. Welcome, Death. Have some nachos.

Side Note: Now that I re-read what I’ve just written (contrary to popular belief, I *do* proof-read my work...just not very well), I wonder exactly why the notion of jumping from rope to rope is attributed to the Indiana Jones movies. I admit to having done so in the past, but I realize now that it doesn’t ring true; he didn’t do a lot of rope-jumping, from what I recall. I do remember something similar in Dragon’s Lair, however. Remember jumping from flaming rope to flaming rope, suspended over a fiery chasm? Of course you do. I’d refer to that instead, but who remembers the good games anymore?

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_010.jpg

But back to the mission: I’m being vague about this map, but I can’t help it; I’d hate to wreck the plot just for the sake of elaborating on the basic “map good, play map” premise of my Thief reviews. (My whole point for the Thief section is to showcase my favorites, NOT to review every map out there...I’ll leave that to my colleagues.) And really, I don’t need to say a whole lot about the mission at all. Chances are, you’ve either already played it by now, or are about to do so. Unless you’re just reading my reviews because I wrote them. If so, I’m touched. And a little creeped out. Stop touching me.

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_011.jpg

Summary?
Tough, beautiful, and slightly insane. Which reminds me of Lucy Liu, for some reason. Remember when she revealed that she had sex with a ghost? I wondered, but it finally hit me: Casper finally got his freak on! Now we know why he's so damn friendly: every Hollywood nutjob who gets all "spiritual" (so to speak) gets to meet the Casp-Masta. Yeah.

On a thoroughly unrelated side note, I’ve always wondered if Casper was really the ghost of Richie Rich.

Rating?
Eight out of Ten.

Annoyance Rating:
Oh, no...you can’t put a number on something like *this*.

The Grace Scale
Grace gives it a...3 of Very Good!

[Scale: 1 orgasmically excellent, 10 bottomlessly abominable. 5 okay. 2 insanely good. You get the point.]

http://starfoxweb.com/rimage/T1ssrevs/ailh_012.jpg

Game Rated 8/10
 

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