May 26, 2021, 3:06 a.m.
(Last edited: 2 weeks, 6 days ago)
The Burning Bedlam takes Garrett back to the haunted Sealed Quarter, this time into the ruins of an abandoned Hammerite complex containing an "asylum"—that is, prison and torture chamber—from which Garrett must retrieve, of all things, a body. If that wasn't promising enough, the way in is through a complex of haunted mines and sewers.
This is one of those missions that's essentially linear-with-backtracking (once you find a needed key, etc.), and there's really only one goal aside from an armory near the beginning of the mission on the higher difficulties. There is some room for exploration, as the loot is pretty spread out, often hidden in side areas that have no real gameplay or progression purpose other than to hide a stray diamond. Difficulty is on the easy side: there are no surprises other than a sort of boss fight, and up until the very end it's pretty easy to either sneak through or, if you prefer, just kill everything since there are a lot of water arrows and several fire arrows stashed around, and a holy water fountain in the church.
The story is fairly simple. The asylum's matron was obviously up to no good (aside from torturing her "patients," naturally), and the readables give some background about her and her interactions with the Hammerites and so on. You can also find bodies resting in various places, along with their final journal entries and of course their valuables...
The Burning Bedlam may not reach the heights of some of the other TPD 20th Anniversary Contest missions, including the other horror levels like Lost Among the Forsaken or The Tomb of Saint Tennor, but it's a very solid bit of Thiefcraft that still manages to pack in some unique locations despite somewhat more average looks and easier gameplay. Things that come to mind include not one but two fast rides through the sewers, and the creepy vista of the one outdoor area. There's also some cool scripted events here and there. If you like undead missions this is not one to overlook. I do hope the sequel comes to fruition.