Thief II: The Metal Age (PC, 2000)

I was introduced to Thief II by a friend of mine at college way back in 2001. The idea of a stealth game set in a kind of hybrid steampunk/medieval setting really appealed, and said friend gleefully hooked me up with a dodgy copy of the game (can we say this? – Ed.)

It goes without saying that Thief II is the sequel to Thief, a game that saw you play the role of Garrett, a master thief in The City. Your only goal in the game, to begin with, is to steal loot from City residents to pay your rent and other bills, but eventually you get caught up in a plot that, with your assistance, helps prevent a City-wide catastrophe.

Thief II starts where the plot of the first game leaves off. You have to steal to make ends meet, and once again assist the Keepers in preventing the rise to power of a mysterious cult leader named Father Karras, who starts to gain influence in The City, with his various machine inventions ushering in The Metal Age.

One mission about halfway through the game, called “Casing The Joint”, sees you — as the name implies — breaking into someone’s residence to check out the security in the place before coming back to finish the job on a later date.

The house you break into has a Library inside it, and it’s this library that is responsible for giving me one of the biggest scares I’ve ever experienced while gaming.

(image from YouTube)

It was 2.30am in the morning, I had been playing the game for about five or six hours by this point, my bedroom was dark and I had headphones on so as not to disturb my sleeping parents.

After sneaking around the Joint that I had been Casing for a good 15 minutes, I entered the Library.

I did not know that it was a haunted Library.

Upon entry, immediately my ears were filled with ghostly sounds. It was deafening. It took me completely by surprise, and I just about jumped out of my chair. And then, out of nowhere, an actual ghost appeared and started to attack me. And then a second ghost appeared and did the same.

I died in the game, and a part of my actual soul died inside. The noises pummelling their way down my ear canals freaked me the hell out, and I had to, as the cool kids say, nope out of there.

I eventually returned to that library, during the day this time, to complete the mission. It wasn’t as scary the second time around.