Like System Shock 2, also by the sadly now defunct Looking Glass Studios, Thief and Thief 2 are two first person games that feature the kinds of innovative and refreshingly different gameplay that so often seems sorely lacking in today’s video game market. Playing as master thief and all round shady guy Garrett, you will need to use your eyes, ears and brain to sneak your way around the steampunk inspired city and uncover conspiracies, all while filling your swag bag of course. Forget charging in with blades drawn, the way of the master thief is stealth. With 15 missions to duck, dive and skulk through, you’ll need every ounce of your finely honed gaming skills to be victorious. Thanks to the efforts of a dedicated fan community, Thief 2 is fully playable on even the most modern PC.
If you have a re-release version of Thief 2, you can install the game normally, just by inserting the CD into your computer and following the usual on-screen prompts. The re-release versions of Thief 2 will either have a “Sold-Out” logo on the box or be part of the “Complete Collection”. You will still need to run the Tafferpatcher program we discuss in the next paragraph to patch the game to the latest version and install all the relevant updates.
To install Thief 2 from the original release on a modern PC, we recommend you use the Tafferpatcher utility. This utility can be downloaded from the ‘Through the Looking Glass’ forum here. At the time of writing, the latest version was 2.07 beta. Simply download and run this program, choose your installation language and click past the welcome screen, until you see the window shown in the picture below:-
If you already installed the game from a re-release version, make sure that the directory shown in the top part of the window is pointing to your Thief 2 game folder. If not, choose any directory on your PC and then select “Install Thief 2 into the specified folder”. Make sure all the sub-options are checked too. The program will then install Thief 2 for you, prompting you for the CD-ROM’s when necessary.
Patches and updates
After installing the game, the Tafferpatcher utility will offer to install various patches and enhancements, as shown in the screenshot below:-
We recommend that you choose “Full installation” and install all the patches and enhancements. The included enhancements help improve the games dated visuals while remaining true to the original visual style and not affecting the gameplay, just the sort of mods we recommend in our articles. Click on “Next >” and the Tafferpatcher program will offer to create various icons and shortcuts before patching the game.
Once the patches are installed, you are ready to start the game. Use the “Thief 2 The Metal Age” shortcut on the desktop or Start Menu/Screen to start the game. As with most older games, you may find you need to disable your secondary monitor if you have one.
Tweaking video and audio settings
Before you start pilfering your way through the in-game city, you might want to tweak a few settings in the game itself. From the main menu, click on “Options”. From here you can tweak various settings. Set the “Game” and “Controls” according to your preferences. You should then visit the video options and set the appropriate screen mode. The Tafferpatcher program updates Thief 2 to work with widescreen resolutions (though as you would expect, the pre-rendered intro and cut-scenes are still in 4:3 aspect ratio), so use whatever resolution suits your monitor best. Leave other settings as “ON” or “HIGH”. The picture below shows the correct settings for a 1080p full-HD HDTV.
Ensure that you choose a screen mode that has 32 bit colour depth (you can tell this by the x32 number at the end of the resolution setting). You can set the Gamma adjust however you like, this will affect the brightness of the game. Setting it too brightly can help you see in the dark corners of the game, but can also cause the picture to lose detail, so be careful.
With video configured, it’s time to move onto audio. The picture below shows the audio settings screen.
Make sure that the Hardware Acceleration mode is set to OpenAL. You should then be able to turn the EAX Setting to “ON”. This will give you surround sound in the game if you have the appropriate hardware. The Audio Channels setting seems to work best at around 24, but experiment if necessary. You can test if surround sound is working by clicking the “SPEAKER TEST” option. If you hear the voice from both the front and back speakers, everything is working correctly.
With everything configured, click on “DONE”. You can now start your quest and enjoy what is, without a shadow of a doubt, a classic PC stealth title. Below is a screen shot of the new mods in action taken by intruder on the Through the Looking Glass forum (originally posted here). Click the picture to enlarge it.
Can’t get enough of sneaking round the city and robbing its citizens? In that case, once you have finished Thief 2, you might be interested to know that there’s a fantastic, fan made expansion/sequel called “Thief 2X”. Far from a simple user created mission, over 60 devoted fans of the game came together to produce this impressive and highly polished expansion that could have easily been sold commercially. Instead, it’s yours to download entirely for free, visit this page to learn more.