I’ll try and get the Thief II ponderings written-up in the next couple of days. In the meantime I’ll point you all in the direction of a new indie game. L’Abbaye des Morts (which was brought to my attention by Gnome) is a new platform game in the style of the classic ZX Spectrum titles of the ’80s, notably the likes of Jet Set Willy. Interestingly, though, this one takes as its inspiration the Cathar sect of medieval Europe and therefore combines two of my favourite things – retrogaming and history. For those who don’t know, the Cathars were a highly nonconformist Christian sect in what is now South-West France in the middle ages who flourished in the area and were largely tolerated and protected by the local Catholic nobility. However, a Crusade was declared against them and their protectors beginning in the early 13th century and leading to excommunication for much of the local nobility, war, persecution, mass-executions at the hands of the inquisition and, eventually, the sect effectively being made extinct. It’s an interesting, but inevitably depressing, story and if you want to know more I recommend reading Stephen O’Shea’s The Perfect Heresy.
In this game the player takes control of a Cathar, Jean Raymond, who begins the game being pursued by Crusaders and who takes sanctuary in an old church leading to him discovering an ancient evil…
The game can be downloaded from this site here. On my Windows XP machine, I found that the game tried to run in a window in Windows in Low-Res when it started which makes it unplayable; however, pressing “f” will adjust the game to fullscreen mode, solving this problem. Happy platforming!
EDIT: A new version of the game (1.1) has been written which fixes the display problem.