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Review: Bafford's Manor

If you haven't played Thief this holds very little value as a level

Project information

Bafford's Manor
Ryan Armstrong
Single Map

Main review

This map is an attempted port of the first level of the game Thief combined with some awesome music from Shadow of the Beast 3. As I love both those games it sounded like a match made in heaven... Unfortunately it turned out to be anything but.

The layout of the original Thief level is generally preserved, however it lacks important sections like the streets outside and the lower basement area. You just start right in the basement with no real clue how you got there; there is no attempt to bring in any of the storytelling of the original Thief level, or create a new story that fits the port. The original level ended when you reached the throne room and stole a staff, in this all you get is a flashlight and no exit.

A kitchen

Architecture is a little mixed; some rooms and corridors have no detail whatsoever, while others contain semi-complex prefabs and similar to approximate things in the original map, some of this is part of being a port (visual detail is not one of Thief's strengths), but it mostly feels a bit confused and perhaps rushed too (the throne, for instance, is an oversized chair that now looks more like some sort of toilet). Texturing is similar; some choices don't fit at all, while others are aligned well, and it mostly at least manages to feel like some sort of house. Lighting is very basic, but it is sourced and makes a rudimentary attempt at contrast. There's also a skybox that attempts to be a look at the city outside but ends up looking overscaled and silly. There are no ambient sounds and only the music for ambience; as good as that music is, beyond switching it out as you progress very little was done with it. I encountered no technical issues, but a level like this shouldn't have any. A related issue however is that many of the doors require you to careful when opening them so they don't shut in your face, which is an irritation that should have been fixed.

Without any of the story, context, NPC interactions, rewards for exploration and objectives that make the level great in Thief it ends up essentially being a maze with some enemies and equipment (along with a few Nali as "civilians"). Very little was done with the gameplay, but there is at least a small ramping up of foes as you make progress and some AI patrol routes. As a remake I can't give it any points for conceptual inspiration at all; not only does it not even recreate the whole original map, but it makes no attempt to provide any sort of gameplay experience that fits Unreal either.

The central pool room


Download it for the music? Judged as a port you may as well just load up Thief and play the infinitely superior version, and if you haven't played Thief this holds very little value as a level.

download links:*

*Note that only the Unreal Archive uploads are checked to be the newest and most compatible/stable download link.

Build (8%)
  • Architecture
    Imagination, realism and detail of structures used in the design of the level.
  • Texturing
    Use of textures in the level. Technically speaking, alignment and scaling. Choice of textures, and quality of any custom textures used.
  • Lighting
    Lighting of the level: does it look cool? Use of light colour and other effects, and sourcing of lighting (no light out of nowhere).
  • Sound
    Use of ambient sounds and event sounds to give the level atmosphere, and the quality of any custom sounds. Appropriate use of music and silence to complement the atmosphere.
  • Technical Execution
    Technical soundness of the level, i.e. no visual glitches, no random deaths or other gameplay bugs, and a good framerate.
Cast (1%)
  • Conceptual Grandness
    Scale, imagination, awe & originality of design and layout, physical foreshadowing of future areas.
  • Story Construction
    Backing story & progression via translator, subplots, and script of voice acting where applicable. Logical choice of opposition.
  • Story Implementation
    Progression of the written story via the events of the level, and performance of voice actors where applicable.
  • Gameplay Awe
    Quality of scripted sequences, originality and staging of combats. Maps that force the player to "learn by dying" will be penalised.
  • Gameplay Balance
    Balance of weapons and items to creatures, including difficulty settings. Most importantly, fun factor.

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