Released in 2000, Thief II: The Metal Age is an acclaimed stealth game following the cynical main character Garrett, who acts as a kind of steampunk Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (i.e. himself). Unfortunately, his day-to-day thieving business is interrupted by the plot, involving an evil scheme to exterminate all organic life in the city.
Best time: Single-segment 1:02:09 by Joe 'SocratesJohnson' Lunde on 2013-11-14.
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Thief II: The Metal Age
Run By: Joe "Socrates Johnson" Lunde
Mission 1: Running Interference
In this mission, Garrett is helping his friend, Basso, rescue his love, Jenivere, from the mansion she is an indentured servant in. The intended route for this level requires Garrett going a set path marked on his map, clearing the way of any interference, and then signaling Basso with the birdcall. Basso would then run to Jenivere's door to pick the lock, and they would all leave together.
This route disregards all of that. I rush to Jenivere's door, slaps it in a specific place with his blackjack, which let's Jenivere unlock the door somehow, and start running back to Basso. I'm not entirely sure how this works, but if you listen closely, you'll hear a faint metal clank as he hits the door, instead of a loud one. The next step after that is to race Jenivere out of the mansion to signal Basso, and also take some loot along the way, but looting isn't necessary. Since Basso runs so slowly, signaling him before Jenivere is out of the mansion is perfectly fine. As long as they are both outside of the mansion and nobody has been killed, the mission is finished.
Points to improve upon: None – the movement of the guards can be random, which can block Jenivere, yet if I take too much time trying to manipulate them, I could be late getting to Basso.
Mission 2: Shipping... and Receiving
Garrett's rent is due, and so he must obtain at least $500 worth of loot in order to pay his landlord, so he heads for the docks. All he needs to do is to get into the main office, steal the loot, and leave; pretty straight forward.
There are two tricks in this level that, when combined, can save around 30 seconds or so. The first trick utilized is a wall clip of sorts, where I am able to use a key through a wall. The doors to the warehouses don't have a lock directly on them, but a keyhole on the inside wall which I can manipulate through the wall. This is used to get into the importer's warehouse, as well as the inventor's at the end. The second trick is being able to grab items through tapestries on the walls, which is seen on the bottom level of the importer's warehouse. My previous route, which did not use the key through the walls is, on average, about 25-30 seconds slower than with this method.
Points to improve upon: Positioning to unlock the doors with the key through the wall trick. Even though it took a little bit of time to set up the key locations, this was still a pretty solid run through Shipping... and Receiving for me.
Mission 3: Framed
The local sheriff, Gorman Truart, has some beef with Garrett, who is tipped off to this fact by a late night visitor offering Garrett some money. So, Garrett heads to the Sheriff's department to frame one of the sheriff's lieutenants.
I purchase a scout orb and a slowfall potion for this mission to cut out a good amount of time. I have never timed it myself, but the intended route is much, much slower. Right away I use the scout orb and drop it on my head at the wall. This is a trick called, "elevatoring," in where the item hovers on top of my head, and allows me to jump up, getting stuck in it, and being able to jump again to reach new heights. Elevatoring will not work if there is only a single scout orb in your inventory, which is why I needed to purchase one. If there is only one in your inventory and you try to drop it on your head, it will pass right through and be ineffective.
After mantling onto the wall and jumping across the street, I use another trick with the slowfall potion. While the slowfall potion does as its namesake, it also slows all movement, which includes jumping. To time the jump over the moat, I jump, and immediately drink the slowfall potion to keep the movement speed and upward motion of the jump. Otherwise, if done the other way around, the forward momentum and jumping height would be lessened on both accounts.
Along the wall, I make my way towards the main gate and operate the lever to open it through the bars. I'm unsure if this is intended or not, though the gate isn't completely solid like other doors, so at the right angle, the lever can be manipulated.
The rest of the level is pretty straight forward after that. I drink the invisibility potion to steal the key from the guard, grabbing the handkerchief, and vault key to avoid detection. The code for the vault door will always be 4026. Next steps are to drop off the handkerchief in the vault, steal the strongbox, drop the box in Lt. Hagen's office, and get out.
Points to improve upon: This is usually a really good level for me, yet I stuttered in the evidence vault trying to locate the hanky, which is usually never a problem (3 items down from the key).
Mission 4: Ambush!
Well, it was a set-up, so it's time for Garrett to head home and avoid the cops.
No special tricks in this mission, just routing. One of the trickier parts comes from jumping to the fountain, but otherwise I just make sure to grab the key and speed potion and head to Shoalsgate. I use the speed potion right after I jump out of the window so that I'll lose the effects of it while I'm in the air jumping over the river to get a little bit more out of it. I try to jump just as I land to try and keep some of that momentum. There are a few slopes near the end of the mission that I jump on to gain speed as well.
Points to improve upon: I missed the jump to the fountain, but I caught it as I fell. It's pretty rare, from my playing, that I can recover like that, but it cost several seconds, nonetheless. It can be a bit difficult to grab the items while the secret wall is opening in Garrett's house. I only need the key and the speed potion, but I end up losing some time by grabbing things that aren't needed, and doubling back for the speed potion.
Mission 5: Eavesdropping
Garrett was visited by one of the Keepers, to tell him about a prophecy that he is apparently involved in. After disregarding the message and not wanting to get involved, Garrett is stopped and given a message with information regarding the sheriff, and to listen in on a conversation Sheriff Truart would be having with Karras, the leader of the Mechanists. Garrett reluctantly agrees, and decides to loot the place while he's there.
Right off the bat, this mission isn't exactly my favorite. I wouldn't have a problem if I could skip the conversation between the sheriff and Karras, but I can't, and it takes a long time (roughly 5 minutes). There is also a reason to pay attention to the conversation, at least the end of it, because that tells you where the safety deposit box key is located (random), which you will need to grab to make a copy of and return back to that location.
Right away, I rush to get the conversation over with. During this time, I just mess around, waste unneeded inventory items, show you what Garrett looks like through the scout orb, and just some other little tricks. After what seems like forever, I'm informed that the key is located in the shed above the acolytes' quarters, which is a decent location for it. The route to gain enough loot on this mission all stems from the location of the key. Most of the loot is in the church area, and luckily I'm able to exit to the roof with the shed, grab the key, and head to the factory to make an impression of it. I use the invisibility potion when going into the factory to knock out the two guards there. I take a little time to make sure the second guard is down so that he doesn't block me on the stairs back up. With enough loot and they key imprinted, I return it to the shed and head for the exit.
Points to improve upon: I missed when jumping to the ladder that leads to the blue chest, so aim better next time. Looting the pulpit in the church is always a little awkward, so some work needs to be put into that area.
Mission 6: First City Bank and Trust
Garrett made the key to the safety deposit box of the Mechanists, makes a copy, and decides to grab the recording that is stored there to blackmail Sheriff Truart with it.
I purchase two health potions and a fire arrow. The health potions are for safety, as there are large blue mechs that shoot cannonballs at Garrett, which hurt very much. There is also a point where I could miss dropping down to a ledge and take the full fall, which causes a lot of damage as well. I don't need the extra fire arrow at all, so I'm not sure why I buy it all the time; maybe for good luck.
The fire arrow and mine combination opens most locked metal doors, and is an intentional method of opening doors (though, not stealthy). I drop the rest of my mines near the mech in hopes that they will destroy it. I find out later that they did not. The cannonball explosion alerted the guard I got stuck on in the doorway, but luckily it wasn't a lot of time wasted. Interesting fact: the camera by the ramp down to the basement isn't always there. This time, it was, and I'm not sure if the alarm it sets off does anything, so it's not an issue. The basement goes pretty well, even with the mechs showing up and hitting me with a cannonball. With the lock disengaged, I enter the vault, climb up to the top and steal the recording. I missed dropping onto the ledge and landed right on the floor, but luckily I had enough health and another potion to keep me up. The door I entered through was now closed, and I'm not sure what causes that as sometimes it's left open.
Points to improve upon: Getting stuck on the guard lost some time, but it can be pretty random, depending on the blue mech alerting him. The mech wasn't killed with the mines, which led it to block the door I usually re-enter that area though, so I took the other way around. I also hit the wrong button on the elevator, and wasted about a second-and-a-half before correcting the mistake. The jump back down didn't waste time, but if I didn't have enough health to take the hit, I could have died. No time was lost to the fall, however.
Mission 7: Blackmail
With the recording in hand, Garrett can't pass up the chance to break into Sheriff Truart's home and confront him with it. It's also a great opportunity to rob the sheriff blind.
Right away I shoot a rope arrow into the tower, as it's easier, and more consistent to line up the shot from the same position every time. I have a little extra time at this point, as I have to wait for a guard to make his rounds to the kitchen. I use this time to loot the houses in the area before climbing over the wall, opening the gate, and then head for the basement entrance. I wait before exiting the kitchen to pick the gear off of the guard that wanders by, as I need it to access the second floor. The rest is pretty much just looting and making my way towards the sheriff's bedroom, where we discover that he's been murdered. I find some evidence, which is a key ring, and head for the exit where, luckily, the gate is still open; it can be closed sometimes even though the switch has been hit.
Points to improve upon: I stuttered on picking up the silver gear in the pool, but that usually doesn't happen. Otherwise, it was a pretty clean mission.
Mission 8: Tracing the Courier
They key ring belonged to Lt. Mosley of the sheriff's department. In order to take the heat off of himself, Garrett decides to tail her and find out what the deal is.
The only things I need to buy in this mission are two speed potions; those are never a bad pickup. This is another boring mission, at least for the first half of it, as we're just following Mosley until she drops the letter. There are three certain points to speed her up at, I believe. The first is right before the torch that get's doused, and to keep her moving, she just needs to be distracted a bit by the splash of a water arrow. The next is after knocking out the second guard and before the drunk. The final place she distracts herself if you douse the last torch near where there civilian woman walks.
After picking up and reading the note, I drink the speed potion to get over the fountain easier, and just for some extra speed (never bad). When entering the graveyard, I use a noisemaker arrow to distract the pagan agent. If the agent sees me, the mission fails, as I'm supposed to wait for him to pick up the letter and follow him to the graveyard undetected. Since I bypassed all of that, I can just distract him and head for the portal.
The reason I don't use the second speed potion is that unused items and loot carry over to the next mission in this instance.
Points to improve upon: Better running while using the speed potion. I take some of the corners hard, but they're not terrible.
Mission 9: Trail of Blood
Still curious, Garrett decides to tail the bleeding agent to see where he's going.
I used to hate this mission, but have grown to love it. There is a huge time saver in this mission as well, using a speed potion and slowfall potion combination that I've gotten pretty consistent at. I start the mission off by jumping to take advantage of the speed gained by landing on slopes. I jump across the river to grab the red gem, where there is somewhat of an invisible wall there, which is why I don't head straight for it. The guard on the bridge cooperated nicely and got out of my way in a timely manner; he'll be there every time. After grabbing the second gem, I head up the tower for the speed potion, which is used later. I pick up the slowfall potion for the aforementioned trick with the speed potion, and set the gems in the eyes to open the portal. Climbing on the face seems a bit faster than walking around, though I haven't successfully timed it.
I take advantage of the slopes after exiting the portal, and traverse the eyeball plant fields. The eyeball plants seem to have larger hitboxes than it seems, and it's easy to get caught on one. The trick to performing the slowfall "jump" is to not jump at all. I try to line up near, not against, the wall on the right and aim just to the left of where the wall ends, drinking the slowfall potion just before that point (kind of hard to explain in text). This launches me in the air, where I hold the jump key down and grab onto the ledge, saving I don't know how much time, but quite a bit. The rest of the level is very straight forward, as it's just traversing the apeman village to the end.
Points to improve upon: I missed picking up the first red gem, and had to do a double take on it. I also paused a little bit when placing the gems into the eyes, only very slightly.
Mission 10: Life of the Party
Garrett meets with Viktoria, a former acquaintance and enemy of his. She explains that they need to lower their weapons and become allies against Karras and the Mechanists. She enlists Garrett to break into Angelwatch, a towering building of the mechanists, to learn more of what Karras is up to. This sounds like a great opportunity to loot the city, as well as Angelwatch.
I really like this mission, as there are many tricky jumps and smooth operating involved. The first part of the mission is very straight forward to get to Angelwatch, picking up any loot in the way. Inside Angelwatch, frogbeasting comes into play. After knocking out the Mechanist and listening to the recording, I set the elevator to floor 5, and jump right down into the shaft. Near the bottom, I look directly down and throw a frogbeast egg under me, where it breaks open, releasing the frogbeast inside, which breaks my fall, and can sometimes launch me back a ways. I wasn't lucky enough for it to launch me a great distance, but I wasn't stuck in the bottom of the shaft.
I listen to the recording and climb up the angled pillar to get back to the second floor, and head up the stairs to the third. There is another dangerous (somewhat) jump over a large gap to the next recording, then it's up to the library for the fourth one of the run. I wasn't lucky/fast enough to make it up to the fifth floor in time to catch the guard exiting the door, so I stole the key instead and entered to read a passage from The New Scriptures of the Master Builder. The guards were alerted (probably from me dropping the key right away – it can make a loud noise), so it became somewhat chaotic on the fifth floor. On the sixth floor, I use the gas arrow that I just picked up to knock out the mechanist to steal the key. I jump onto her to make a loud enough noise on the tile floor to alert the civilians close by so that I don't have to run too far to knock the man out and take his purse.
The chaos on the fifth floor was still happening, and some guards got in my way, but wasn't a really big deal. I make sure to lock the door behind me when entering the main office, so that guards can't get in and trap me behind the desk where they wail on me. Luckily, the golden boy (I hate him so much) wasn't blocking the door to the kitchen, and let me pass to the elevator that I frogbeast down. I start to head back to the bell tower by going a little bit out of bounds by jumping on top of the bank, and using a speed potion to run across the roof. I grab the fire arrow from the secret area to blow away the two boards over the hole, exit, and get back to the bell tower.
Points to improve upon: Well, it wasn't the best run of this mission, but still pretty decent. I didn't want to risk not hitting the button for the fifth floor when I first jump down the elevator shaft, which cost me a second or two, and also put me behind on the guard routes. The guard from the second to third floor blocked me in the archway, which also cost some time. With the time lost from getting blocked by those guards, and the archer in the library door, I missed my mark to just slip by the guard that exited the room with the book I needed to read, causing the chaos.
Mission 11: Precious Cargo
Finding information on the Cetus project from Angelwatch, Viktoria sends Garrett off to meet with her agent, Lotus, and also to kidnap Brother Cavador.
I purchase a speed potion and a fire arrow for this mission. The fire arrow I need for the following mission, as loot and items are carried over for this one as well. I also need more fire arrows for this mission, so I grab the two conveniently placed at the beginning for me. I choose to blow open the door to the cold storage since it's faster than grabbing the key at the very top of the lighthouse. I was able to dodge the cannonball the mech fired at me upon leaving, which was a good bonus. The rest of the mission went pretty well and straight forward. I grabbed the keys for storage 1 and 2 so I could grab some items for the next mission. It's always a little awkward when it comes to opening the storage bays, because of the inventory scrolling and the doors being in the way, but I wanted to grab at least the speed potion and the mines.
The previous route that I would use was to not grab the keys or additional fire arrow, and I would not use the speed potion, saving the potion for the following mission. I've found that taking the time to get the keys to storage 1 and 2, and using the speed potion (grabbing another in storage), equals the time it would take if I wouldn't make the pit stop for those items. While this doesn't save time for this mission, it saves time in the next.
Points to improve upon: Better execution of looting the storage bays, and dodging the guard that stopped me on the stairs.
Mission 12: Kidnap
Garrett still needs to find and kidnap Brother Cavador, and finds himself in the lost city he's been to, and looted, before.
I use the mines and a fire arrow to blow open the first door, where another passage of The New Scriptures of the Master Builder is waiting for me, as well as an invisibility potion, health potion, and a stack of two mines. The switch I flip in the area opens a gate to the rest of the mission. On my way to pick up Cavador, I drop a gas mine, and an explosive mine. I heard the gas mine go off, but not the explosive. I dropped them in hopes that they would take out a couple of guards, but only the gas went off. So, when I was on my way out with Cavador, I had to stop and detonate the mine so that I wouldn't die ("that's never happened before"). If I didn't die from the blast, I definitely didn't want Cavador to eat it either. Afterwards, it was a pretty standard extraction.
Points to improve upon: Make sure there are guards chasing me when I drop the mines to avoid having to stop and detonate it. I also need to get out of the building with Cavador before the doors close on me, which I can usually pull off.
Mission 13: Casing the Joint
Garrett and Viktoria find out that Cavador was at the lost city to find artifacts of the Precursors, and that they were using the masks for their servants. To investigate the masks further, Garrett heads to case Lord Gervaisius' mansion, who will be having an art show featuring masks.
This can be a difficult mission, since it will end if spotted. So, I play it safe and shoot down a moss arrow before grabbing the cuckoo from the workshop. I make sure to enter the main entryway to initiate the conversation between the guard and Mechanist, so that the Mechanist will not be there when I exit. I go the long way to the library so I can shut off the turret that shoots cannonballs, as that can alert guards, and make me easier to spot. Otherwise, this was a pretty easy mission.
Points to improve upon: I used a moss arrow, which cost some time, but is safer as the guard across the hall could still hear my footsteps on the tile flooring.
Mission 14: Masks
After learning of the secret passage to the third floor, Garrett and Viktoria think it's time to see what's up with the masks, and a device called a, "cultivator."
This is a pretty fun mission for me. It's a pretty standard mission of looting and objectives, so it was more about finding a good loot route for it. The first guard I come across is always in that doorway, and can either get out of the way quickly, or slowly. I use flashbombs on the two guards before heading up to the third floor so that they don't follow me, and another on the guard at the top so I can knock him out. The reason I knock out this guard was more for safety while I use frogbeasts to open the door to the study. If he were walking around, the frogbeasts would try to jump towards him, and I wouldn't be able to use them to blow open the door. It's slower to knock him out, but not necessary, and I didn't feel like taking the risk. I also use the frogbeasts to open the door to the cultivator, but with the newly found fire arrow, it's more consistent. I definitely didn't want to fall to the ground after jumping out of the window ("that's never happened before"), but luckily my health was high enough that I survived.
Points to improve upon: The guard in the start will always block me, so just dodging or pushing him back better will help. I could save time by not knocking out the guard on the third floor and risk missing the frogbeast shot. I should also not jump out of the window and onto the ground, and try to hit the ledge right below like I usually do.
Mission 15: Sabotage at Soulforge
Learning about the cultivator, the masks, and the rust gas, they determine that Karras has been sending the servants, equipped with all that, to the homes of nobles with large gardens to sustain a reaction with the rust gas and destroy all organic life while he's holed up, safe from the gas, in Soulforge. Viktoria decides that if Garrett won't stand up and help her, she'll assault the compound herself. Garrett realizes that she won't make it alone, and rushes to help her, where she sacrifices herself to spread plant life throughout the building. The final plan is to reconfigure the beacon that issues commands to the servants to bring them back to Soulforge where they will be activated while sealed inside with Karras and the plant life that Viktoria created.
Oh boy, this mission is rough. Well, I start by buying the three speed potions, a frogbeast egg, and a fire arrow. Right away I use the speed potion at that particular point to jump past a mech while simultaneously avoiding detection by the alarm, which would add another one to the mix. I use two fire arrows to open the storage room, where I grab the stuff to make the new beacon with. I would have liked to only have used a single flashbomb upon exiting, but the other mech was hiding around the corner, and I needed to use the second to blind it.
After using the first machine, and frogbeasting down the hole, and the second machine where I combined the glass encased bolt with the metal sheet, I was lucky with the placement of the mech in the hallway. For some reason, the mech never sees me when it's in that position. I'm not entirely sure if there are triggers or if it's timing that causes the mech to wander, but I've seen it earlier, and also later, on its route, when I don't think I've been either faster or slower up until that point. It will take some more research and testing to figure out.
Bay D sucks. That's the short of it. The long of it is I have to blind the two mechs at the entrance, try to distract them with a noisemaker and keep building the beacon. Missing the first vine arrow shot can be deadly, since it makes a loud noise that those little worker bots hear, and they go and alert the mech around the corner, which they did. Luckily, I was able to dodge the cannonballs it fired at me, and the other two didn't show up for support, and I was able to jump to the vine and escape.
It goes pretty normal from there until heading up the elevator to the beacon tower. I use a trick I refer to as, "the gate clip," as I lean through the gate at the same time I run into it, and manipulate the lever to open said gate. This can save some time from the previous method of making a dangerous climb up the tower. After hitting the switch, I frogbeast down the ladder, and again back down the elevator shaft where I quickly switch to fire arrows to blow open the next door. I thought I'd be able to blind the mech before he was able to shoot at me, but I was too slow, and took the hit.
The next room is what I like to call, "the pillar room," because of the pillars, no doubt. I wasted some time in here by subduing the second Mechanist, but that guy can return later in the mission to screw things up, and I didn't want to take that chance. I also used noisemakers to distract the mech so that it wouldn't block my exit passage and cost me even more time. I was a bit slow on the Mechanist, and I don't know how long the elevator had been down, but up I went anyways. To try to save time, and since I had the health, I sent the elevator back down before hitting the switch.
I tried to hit the button for the elevator from afar with a broadhead arrow, but I missed. It's worth a shot, at least. I managed to manipulate the mech to shoot at me so I could dodge it and run in to use the elevator, trying to stay out of its sight. I managed to get hit, but it didn't do too much damage, and I still had a health potion. I tried to hit the elevator button again, but missed it, so I just went for the switch.
I missed opening the chest with another flashbomb in it, and was a little disappointed. I got the slowfall potion, though. The crusher gave me a bit of trouble, but I was able to get past it, and the fire, with relative ease. I opted to not go through the hallway with the three mechs since I only had a single flashbomb left, and knew I would need it later. I always hate taking damage from falling with a slowfall potion, but luckily I still had enough to cover it.
I was able to hit the next button before the switch, which was nice. I also chose to bring out my water arrows for the next section, as it could be dangerous with the mech still around. I usually use my extra flashbomb, but since I wasted an extra one near the storage area, and failed to pick up the one in the chest, I decided to just incapacitate the mech instead. It's slower, but safer, and I didn't want to risk it when I was so close to victory.
The rest of the mission was nothing special. I got the plans (after already making and using the thing), and just ran for the exit, using the last flashbomb to blind the mech that was looking at me all wrong.
Points to improve upon: Lots, hah! Not using an extra flashbomb near the storage area, Bay D in general, opening the beacon gate the first time, taking out the Mechanist in the pillar room faster, having enough health to hit the button to send the elevator back down before the switches, hitting the elevator from afar with the broadhead (noisemaker CAN be a bit dangerous there when leaving, as it alerts more mechs), grabbing the flashbomb in the chest, running past all the mechs in the factory area (need flashbombs), having an extra flashbomb to stun the mech instead of hitting it with a water arrow (again, more flashbombs). With all mistakes considered, I'm happy with 12:13 on that mission!
With the servants sealed in Soulforge, and Karras being none-the-wiser to Garrett's schemes, they are activated and snuff out the existence of Karras, saving the city from becoming a playground for machines.
I was very surprised, as well as happy to see the time of 1:02:09 (RTA 1:03:44) when I finished. I was also just surprised that I finished without restarting any missions or reloading! It's been about 4 or 5 months since I started working on this game, and am again surprised at how far and how fast I've come with it. Thief II: The Metal Age has been a favorite of mine since first playing it when it was released in 2000, and I've found extra enjoyment in it via speed running.
Poesta, for getting the ball rolling all those years ago and starting the thread on SDA, as well as a lot of the routes and tricks that I used.
DarkDEVASTAT10N, for tips, tricks, and encouragement, as well as being a good runner of this game.
LotBlind, for continued encouragement, criticism, suggestions, and being an all around good guy.
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