You play Keef the Thief, a promising young thief who finds himself on the outskirts of the Mercon the Merchant City. Considering the penalty of thievery is the removal of certain body parts, our young hero must be careful in his profession and ultimately (among others) train himself to access and steal from the city treasury.
Keef the Thief - The Boy and His Lockpick is a mixture of adventure and role-playing games. You play as Keef, an orphan who was raised in a city from which he has been exiled, because he didn't have the talent for anything to do with normal fantasy life (which means he couldn't be one of the usual roleplay characters such as warrior, priest or magician), except for thieving. So he became a thief, and surprisingly not the sneaky kind, but a fighter. You begin your adventures at the gates of the city Same Mercon, which is in a middle of a jungle.
The graphics aren't really that awesome, but they do their job just like any VGA graphics. The interface is simple: you have buttons at the bottom of the screen, like 'talk', 'buy', etc. You have a compass at the top right corner, it can be used to navigate through the game. The white bar on the top has two buttons: File, and Keef. The first one is for saving/loading, turning music on/off (important!), etc. The second reveals character information, and has a special button used to sleep. The fights are somewhat interesting: a tiny black square will appear in the place of the picture, with coloured pixels in it. The white one represent you. You can move forward and backwards, and turn left and right with the cursor keys, and with the spacebar you'll attack you enemies. Under the "local map", there's a rectangle, where you can see the area from Keef's point of view (The fakest illusion of 3D enviroment I've ever seen, yet it was good for '89). You can also see how many health points you have, and if you die, well, it's over. You can change the difficulty of fights in the File menu. After every succesful fight you'll receive small amount of cash, which you'll need in the game VERY much. In the city of Same Mercon, speaking, or more likely, asking about anything will cost you money, so be careful what you do! You can also sneak into houses, but rich houses are full of traps, while cheap ones are empty, and guards are patrolling on the streets so be careful.
The music is... annoying. It seems the guy who made it was high. Perhaps it would be suitable for short fights, but you'll hear the same tunes over-and-over again from the intro picture until the end. Fortunately you can turn it off. The fight system of the game is fun, but the game itself lacks a lot on the other hand, because you can't interact with your surroundings too much. If you get stuck you can always use the walkthrough anyway.
The game was meant to be a parody, but except a few "thought-to-be-funny" lines don't expect a real comedy. It made me remember the game Eric the Unready. The plot is similar with its silly medieval madness, but Keef the Thief isn't that fun, for several reasons. It's good for rainy afternoons, though, and it's not even that painful to play. I'll give it a 3.
Originally released for the Apple IIgs, Keef the Thief is a unique parody role-playing game about a young thief. The game and puzzles are quite absurd, but strangely addictive. Some inside scoop from developer Naughty Dog's website: "Keef was a classic sword and scorcery role-playing game. While we were making it, Andy entered sarcastic text as a place holder for what we believed would be the real text in the final release. EA liked the humor so much that they decided to make the entire game a comedy. The effect that this decision had on sales was no joke, however."
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