The Thief mission levels have always been designed to allow maximum flexibility to the player, to complete objectives in whatever manner he or she sees fit. Over the years, numerous styles have arisen from hard-core and casual players alike. This page outlines the most notable.

Play StylesEdit


Also known as Ghosting.

  • Keep to the shadows; the darker the better. Being silhouetted against a light in the background is not a factor by default, and in TDS, the shadow Garrett casts is not noticed.
  • Move less:
    • Flattened against a wall (TDS), or even standing against a wall (T2) is less visible than standing away from one.
    • Crouching is less visible than standing, and very effective in low light, but in TDS is not as effective as being flattened against a wall.
    • Tapping the forward button while creeping (although slow) will completely minimize if not eliminate sound made from walking over noisy surfaces.
    • Crouch and creep instead of just creeping.
    • Creep instead of walking, or crouch while walking.
    • Walk instead of running, or crouch while running.
  • Put weapons away until needed. Just having the normal sword, bow, or TDS dagger in hand will increase visibility, and will be considered hostile if an AI sees them.
    • Constantine's Sword will not attract attention when drawn in most cases (in T1 and TG only). The weapon Exposure is 0 same as the blackjack, the normal sword exposure is 10.
    • Fire Arrows will fully increase visibility when drawn.
  • Observe the terrain:
    • Look for small dark spaces above, under, and adjacent to the lit areas, to move from dark space to dark space when the AI aren't looking.
    • In TDS, don't lean into the light, as leaning into the light affects visibility, and so does general illumination of the body, while in the other games, it only matters if Garrett's unseen "feet" (at a spot straight down) are in shadow, and the rest of his body doesn't factor in.
    • Move objects to hide behind them. This is limited to crates and some barrels in T1, TG, and T2. In TDS there are more movable objects.
    • In TDS only, move objects to create shadows where needed.
    • In TDS only, follow behind a moving AI in the shadow it creates.
  • Observe certain AI behaviors:
    • Stay behind the AI, or to their side but more toward their back, except in the case of spiders, when passing through a lit area, even if it's minimal lighting.
    • Increase the distance from the AI, they are nearsighted.
    • Being above or below an AI that has not seen makes it harder for them to do so.
    • Except for TDS, the humanoid AI actually see from their stomachs, so when they turn their head, they are still seeing forward from their abdomens.
    • Spiders see backwards, from their big abdomens, and when they are idling in one place, the direction their abdomen points at the most is the direction they see, even if their body turns 90°.
    • Be wary of moving light sources, such as Fire Elementals, Fire Shadows, flame spurts, pulsing Healing or Holy Water Fonts, TDS's torch-carrying AI, or the Will o' the Wisps.
  • Turn off light sources:
    • Use Water Arrows to douse fires such as torches, gaslights, candles (including TDS chandeliers), rare furnaces or ovens, and most fires in fireplaces.
      • Most furnaces and all cauldrons cannot be doused, so save the Water Arrows.
      • Glowing mushrooms cannot be snuffed, even the one in T1/TG that can be picked up and thrown leaves its corona behind.
      • Bulbus glowing mushrooms in T2 can be snuffed, but are rarely found.
    • 'Pinch out' a lit candle in TDS only.
TDS electric lights

An electric light and switch, when turned off and on, in TDS

    • Find switches or levers to shut off electrical lights or T1/TG's Power Grids.
    • Find switches to shut off Watchers, or when they look away, go stand beneath them to gain more time.
      • Nearly all electrical lights and other electrical devices are impervious to water, so don't waste Water Arrows trying to short them out, unless it's the electric securities in the Wieldstrom Museum.

Kill every hostileEdit

This play style emphasizes violence. Very difficult, as enemies are many and Garrett cannot attack quickly.

Blackjack everybodyEdit

If there is anything alive, then it should be knocked unconscious. Very easy once gameplay and Dark Engine exploits are used.

Harm nobodyEdit

Not even the blackjack should be used. A good lead up to ghosting.

Games T1 Icon Thief: The Dark Project · TG IconThief Gold · T2 Icon Thief II: The Metal Age · TDS Icon Thief: Deadly Shadows · T4 icon Thief (reboot)
Game Design Storyline · Lighting · Sound · Weapons · Abilities · Light Gem · Compass · Loot · Approach · Architecture · Cut scenes