A ghost wanders the flooded wine cellar of the abandoned Hammerite cathedral, speaking backwards and spitting skulls. Haunts patrol the altar above, rattling their chains. When they give chase, they do so at breakneck speed, as if played back at double-speed on a VHS. Strange laughter seeps between their bleached teeth as they swing their swords, two or three times a second.

Which is all to say that, as well as being the first-ever PC stealth game, Thief: The Dark Project is a surprisingly effective horror experience. Yet more terrifying than the restless undead are the hard floors. It’s not the chittering craymen in the caverns beneath the opera house that keep me up at night—it’s the marble corridors that connect the balconies in the auditorium, and the steel walkways suspended above the stage. The clang of Garrett’s shoes against metal still brings about an involuntary, Pavlovian cringe—connected to memories of running guards and sounded alarms.

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By nmybx

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