The Thief series is one of the best ever created, at least in my humble opinion. Great characters, story, and gameplay flexible enough to let you concoct your own solutions to the levels. The third in the series was released for the original xbox as well as the PC (it runs on the xbox 360 too), so it has better graphics but the levels are smaller than the first two games.
Only recently has a game matched (even exeeded!) Thief: Dishonored. Go buy Dishonored and play it! If you like it, please consider buying and playing the Thief series as well. The gameplay is very similar.
Due to their age, there are some issues with the first two thief games:
Fortunately, these problems can be fixed! See below for gory details.
If you have a shiny new Vista/Windows 7 computer, you'll need to install DirectX 9 before you can play pretty much anything at all. So go and install it. It's included with lots of current games, but you can also find it in Microsoft's downloads section.
If you have an ATI graphics card, consider disabling Catalyst A.I. in your Catalyst Control Center. It's been known to cause problems with many games, particularly when using multi-core graphics cards or crossfire systems.
As is often the case, double-clicking may not run an installer with enough privileges to work properly. You may need to right-click and select Run as Administrator.
Thief 1 and 2 keep seperate keyboard setups. Once you have the games installed, you may wish to configure the controls in Thief 2, then copy the Thief 2 user.bnd file into Thief 1, replacing the existing one. This is an easy way to ensure both games have the same keyboard setup. (The patches described below include a range of control setups you can Load and customize within the game's menu)
All three Thief games are available for purchase and download at Good Old Games. Each game is only $9.99, and GOG have modified the game to ensure it installs properly. There's no need to insert a CD to make it work, no DRM licensing rubbish to get in the way.
Even if you already have the old Thief game CDs, the easiest way to get Thief installed on Windows Vista or 7 is to buy these excellent Good Old Games ready-fixed versions. Kudos to GOG for making these great titles available to people with modern computers!
Note that while the GOG installers will get the games installed, you need to apply patches to get the best stability and graphics. See the sections below for patching instructions.
This is the original (non-Gold) 12-mission version of Thief The Dark project, available only on old CDs. If this is the version you have, I advise you to buy the more recent 15-mission version as explained in the article above. It's longer, and has fixes built-in. It even has a hidden blooper level.
Here's how to patch the GOG version available for purchase online, without patches it is unstable and has graphics issues. If you have a version of the game from a different source, these instructions might work if modified appropriately.
You may also want to try the following tweak for sound:
All done! Experiment with Options>Mouse sensitivity and Options>Video>Gamma Adjust until the mouse feels comfortable and the gameplay brightness is acceptable.
Here's how to patch the GOG version available for purchase online, without patches it has graphics issues. If you have a version of the game from a different source, these instructions might work if modified appropriately.
You may also want to try the following for sound:
After patching, experiment with Options>Mouse sensitivity and Options>Video>Gamma Adjust until the mouse feels comfortable and the gameplay brightness is acceptable.
The first two thief games are very old by current standards, and Thief 1 looked a little primitive even when it was released waaaay back in 1998.
Fortunately, the patches I've outlined above include a great many fan-made fixes released over the years, which sort out pretty much everything. That said, there are some additional options you may wish to consider:
Finished Thief Gold, and interested in the Thief Blooper level?
The blooper level is an altered version of Bafford's mansion, with notes from the developers and examples of things that went wrong, or things they just thought were amusing. If you are familiar with editing configuration files, it's easy stuff.
In the Thief Gold folder is a file called USER.CFG. Open it with notepad, and add a line with these words:
Then save the file and start a new game. Easy! (Say hello to the baby burricks for me) When you are done and want to set it back to normal, edit the file again and remove the line you added earlier.