A brush with the law

Keef the Thief logo

SO, after another swift telling off, Keef was pushed out of the town to survive the perils of the jungle. Realising that he was new to this civilisation, he studied some of his many notes strewn throughout his clothing, and remembered the history of the Tri-City and Tel Mercon.

Many centuries ago, a man without power or influence rose to become Emperor. Nobody knows how, Telloc was his name.
Telloc was more egotistical than Duncan Evans, loved himself more than Green, and showed it by plastering his name on all and sundry. A city was built called Tel Mercon. After a prophet predicted his future. Telloc had a fortress built and named it Tel Hande. He locked himself away for many years and forgot about the welfare of his people.

Tel Mercon began to look strangely like the streets of London, with peasants begging on the roadside, living in dark corners and alleys. The rich stayed wealthy and the poor grew poorer.

Enough was enough. Grouping together, the streetbound and homeless revolted. They lay siege on Telloc's fortress, while the man himself was locked inside chanting spells he believed would save him from the prophet's prediction. But a single word out of place caused Telloc to disappear in a puff of sickly smelling green smoke.
The city rose from the gutter and was renamed Same Mercon, The Jewelled City.

Releasing the notes from his grasp, Keef looked around this foreboding place. Surviving he must, because at least one elder from his old town had 50 gold pieces riding on him.

Keef The Thief is another game in the long line of point and click adventures.
Keef begins in the jungle close to the city of Same Mercon, where he can talk to many people and steal from many houses. But Same Mercon has a great police force which patrols most streets and has an incredible knack for catching low-lifes like you.

The objective of the game is to break into the city's treasury and steal a most valuable ancient artefact. But the treasure is periodically moved around a maze - pinching it is not as easy as it at first seems.

There are a few busty women in the game, all of them quite tempting for a young thief like yourself. I had no luck chatting them up. But then I'm ugly.

The game is certainly challenging, especially creeping into empty houses and walking out with the booty without getting caught. I still haven't got the hang of combat and rarely survive an attack.

I enjoyed Keef The Thief, but can see that my days as a tea-leaf are numbered.

Keef the Thief logo


What a lousy punk! You have not the self discipline to continue your studies to become either a magician, priest or warrior and you learned to live the life of a thief. Thus exiled, you are slightly adept in each, making you one hell of an ideal adventure character and ready for action.

Keef the Thief is a graphic adventure in the traditional role playing mould as seemingly favoured by Electronic Arts. The more killing you do, the more experience you gain as a warrior and the same principle applies when you use magic and practice theft. You can find, buy or steal extra items to help you along on your quest and if you eventually get a few status levels higher, you are laughing.

The problem is just that starting with a mere few hit points and a tree branch in your hand does not offer good odds for survival. Saving the game is of prime importance and should be done frequently, it really is vital and thankfully, quick and easy.

You begin the game outside a wealthy city called Same Mercon where - armed with that tree branch - you can hear (or rather buy) the latest rumours, buy the strongest ale and other essential commodities, and practice your art. Once you think you are ready to 'kick ass' you wander into the jungle (having first requested easy monsters). Here you can wander the tri-city area at will, hacking and slashing all the way round.

It is not particularly a massive area or game, but just large enough: not too boringly big or too patronisingly small. Here you meet varied and largely unintelligent characters along with various dungeon arenas where you can romp round with a manic smile, or search around for booty.

The game is pretty fast, with nice colourful graphics that have a certain cartoon quality about them. The graphics plus the music blaring away make it a very cheery game: one that brings a smile to your face as you hack away at some goblin swordsman or walking sprout.

The aim of the game, although never actually stated, is to become the Magician King, the top force in the land. Through various rumours, you gain more understanding of what is going on in the tri-city area, such as other powers and what happened to the old Magician King.

The game is easy to use when you get into it. To start with you are likely to die every two minutes, with more experience you may last five; but do not lose heart, persevere and save the game frequently. The gist of the story will grow on you and you will learn to master the fighting screens with ease, knowing when to hide and when to run. The perfect coward!

Keeft the Thief becomes more intriguing the more you get into it. You want just one more romp through the jungle, or another five attempts at removing a trap. It is a simple and fun game. The actions you can choose from are few and only for the ones available to you are kindly highlighted. It is easy to pick and then chop and change. What more could you ask for as you slob in a chair, mouse in hand?

An absorbing hack 'n' think game. Great in its simplicity and addiction and not too tough with the puzzles, but still full of ones of a 'how-to-get-round-this?' nature. A good laugh that will keep you engrossed for many slaughterhouse night.

Keef the Thief logo

Immer mehr Spielefreaks vertauschen ihr gemütliches Heim mit Begeisterung gegen eine Welt voll düsterer Verliese, Monster und Magier. Rollenspiele sind in! "Electronic Arts", seit der Bard's Tale-Serie anerkannter Spezialist auf diesem Gebiet, präsentiert nun eine humorige Variante des Themas.

Die Hauptrolle übernimmt Keef, ein Anti-Held von echtem Schrot und Korn. Seine genervte Mutter hat ihn seinerzeit als Baby vor den Toren des Tempels Mem ausgesetzt, so die ansässigen Priester an dem Bemühen scheiterten, den kleinen Kreischer zu einem gottesfürchtigen Prediger heranzuziehen.

Ein Versuch, den jungen Keef beim Militär unterzubringen, erwies sich ebenfalls als arger Flo[: Er nutzte die Ausbildung an den Waffen meist nur dazu, einen wilden Kriegstanz auf's Parkett zu legen.

Auch die letzte Anstrengung, aus Keef einen gelehrigen Magie-Schüler zu machen, schlug fehl, da seine Lehrmeister auf Dauer keine Lust hatten, sich von den dummen Witzen unseres jugendlichen Rebellen veralbern zu lassen.

Jetzt haben die Bewohner Mems die Nase gestrichen voll und setzen den Taugenichts kurzerhand vor die Tür: Der Älteste bringt Keef persönlich vor die Tore die Stadt und überläßt ihm zum Abschied ein paar Goldklumpen und den guten Rat, es doch als Dieb in der Tri-City Area zu versuchen - vielleicht würde er ja sogar Gotteskönig? So steht der heimatlose Held also im Dschungel und hofft auf den Einfallsreichtum des Spielers...

Um an den witzigen Programmtexten und der Anleitung Freude zu haben, sollte man beim Englischunterricht immer gut aufgepaßt haben. Ansonsten gibt sich das Programm sehr umgänglich.

Die Umgebung ist stets aus der Perspektive Keefs zu sehen, gesteuert wird per Mausklick auf ein Richtungskreuz. Um Aktionen in die Wege zu leiten, genügt es, einen de zahlreichen Befehle in der Leiste unter dem Grafikfenster anzuwählen. Der zweifelhafte Held kann kämpfen, Zaubersprüche zusammenmixen, sprechen, Gegenstände suchen und benutzen, und natürlich... Stehlen!

Da sich seine Fähigkeiten und Charakterwerte im Verlauf des Spiels ständig verbessern, gibt es die Menüs "Abilities" und "Status" (Menüleiste am oberen Bildschirmrand), wo man sich jedezeit über die aktuellen Prozentzahlen informieren kann.

Keef the Thief ist ein ungeheuer lustiges Spiel, ständig trifft man in der mittelalterlichen Welt auf Anspielungen moderner Errungenschaften wie Camping oder Radio. Oder die Frauen: Egal, ob Prinzesin oder Kneipenwirtin, stets sind es verführerische Wesen mit sehr ansprechender Anatomie.

Aber auch der Rest der Grafik verdient bewundernde Blicke - alle Bilder bestehen durch Farbenpracht und Detailreichtum! Dazu gibt's stimmungsvolle Melodien, die die tolle Atmosphäre noch weiter verdichten.

Keef the Thief ist ein Game, das Einsteigern ebenso viel Freude macht wie gestandenen Dungeon-Masters. Wem die Sache stellenweise zu stressig wird, der kann in einem Menü ganz einfach die Anzahl der Monster reduzieren! (Carsten Borgmeier)

Keef the Thief logo

Electronic Arts
Price: £24.99

E's a likely lad is Keef. Dumped on the Temple's steps as a nipper. The priests took him in - they also kicked him out. And now you get to play Keef, the medieval world's answer to Ronnie Kray and the good-for-nothing character in Electronic Arts' latest RPG. It is up to you to give Keef a boost and to bring him fame, fortune and popularity. Start off with just a few gold pieces and your wits about you. Survive the jungle, the wilderness, a few random attacks and head off to the nearby town. This is where the real fun starts...

Depending upon which phrase you choose, you can elicit some very funny replies from the locals. Some of them provide you with interesting snippets of information; some sell you handy equipment. On the other hand, you could always steal...

More often than not you will find yourself being rumbled, or even mugged, so you will always need to defend yourself.

The screen display changes to show a forty-five degree view in front of Keef. Move him around to face his opposition and click on the fire button to batter them. Unfortunately Keef tends not to fare too well in combat in the early stages of the game. And he often ends flat on his back.

Keef The Thief is a typical example of the high quality of Electronic Arts' RPGs. Keef contains lots of scope for exploration, puzzles, stacks of humour, great graphics and just about everything else you could want. With a very easy play method, I can heartily recommend this to any Bard's Tale fan, or to just about anybody else who enjoys an amusing RPG. I just hope we do not have to wait too long before we see more from the programmers, who, aptly, are named Naughty Dog Inc.

Keef the Thief logo

Electronic Arts, Amiga £24.99

This RPG is great for parties, not necessarily 'cause it's a good game but 'cause it's so difficult to say properly. Have a couple of shandies and get your guests to utter the title without resorting to saying 'Keef the Feef', it's a great fun. I tried it at the last party I held and everyone had so much fun they had to go home early to recover.

In this novel game you're a compulsive feef, er, thief who's recently been banished from your home town. The priests there tried to educate you in the traditional ways of their elders, but you decided to adopt their teachings to suit your own, less-than-lawful exploits. Even now, you remember the words of the town council as they exiled you; 'Admit it Keef, the ways of the priest shall forever remain foreign to you (although you steal things religiously). You're a natural nicker, a brilliant burglar, a perfect pilferer, you'll thrive as a thief... but not in this town.'.

As the game begins you find yourself in a dense jungle, just outside the city of Same Mercon, owning just a few gold pieces. Now, for a street-wise dude like yourself increasing your wealth, or just survival, would be no problem. But your destiny is more of a challenge - you're intended to become God-King of Tri-City!

Your first move is to explore Same Mercon, where you swiftly discover information costs money. Encouragement, if any was needed, to take a gander round the back streets of the city, where rows of empty houses are just waiting to be burgled. But take car, for guards patrol these streets and they won't take kindly to your kleptomania. To avoid capture pop in and out of houses while the guards are elsewhere. If there's any booty worth plundering, the steal option lights up. However, it's not just a case of pinch 'n' run, as you may set off a trap or fumble while in mid nick and 'sustain a rather nasty owie' (don't ask me!). I died trying to nick a booby-trapped teapot!

The way to progress is to constantly save your position and begin by stealing easy pickings such as a dirk from the weapons store, to build up your thieving skills. Combat is a major feature of Keef and it makes sense not to indulge in too much fighting at the outset of your quest as most enemies are merciless and well armed; you need to be the same to survive.

Screen area is split in two, with a graphic of what you see or what you're doing situated above an option panel. Options consist of Talk, Look, Search, Cast, and so on which change to suit your current situation. There are, in fact, three main types of screen: the movement/manipulation screen where most everyday interaction takes place with other characters and objects, the combat screen where you basically turn to face your foe and attack with the most appropriate weapon in your possession (magic if it's needed), and the magic-creating screen where you mix ingredients to make spells. All the screens are neatly laid out (although I found the graphic style odd) and user friendly; enabling you to use mouse, keys or a combination of both.

Keef founders slightly because of its 'high difficulty factor' and 'high learning curve' (EA terminology). Sudden deaths abound and game's logic is frustrating (why should I fumble and hurt myself when trying to nick a necklace from an empty house?). Combat is confusing and unfair to begin with (although you can adjust the number and ferocity of enemies), making the urge to continue initially weak; just when I thought I might be getting somewhere (by cruising the streets and diving in houses for a quick pilfer), I noticed my Hit indicator turning red. Obviously food and rest were needed, so off I strolled to the nearest hostelry only to be beaten up by a mad dog and a drunk... for nor apparent reason. I had no chance. As I've said before, SAVE REPEATEDLY!

As in real life (is there any such thing?) you need to get enough sleep, keep your stamina up, and stay sober(?) to survive, while aiming to increase your strength, speed, constitution, and so on. Objects are never in the same place as the last game, and your character's attributes change with each new game. If you don't like what you're given, start again. Try to get high thieving skills, high hit points, and as much as possible.

Keef the Thief certainly takes a lot of getting used to (and only being able to save one game position is odd) but if you're prepared to play 'n' save you'll slowly progress and eventually become addicted.