Hey, did you ever play Thief: The Dark Project, the classic game that came out in the late ’90s? This cool first-person computer game put players into the stealthy leather boots of a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk version of the Middle Ages. It essentially felt like playing a Dungeons & Dragons campaign in the role of the thief class, and it nailed just about every aspect of what would make that a spine-tingling experience. While playing Robbery Madness 2: Thief Games for this review, I couldn’t stop thinking about (and comparing it to) that renowned Looking Glass Studios game from twenty-four years ago. This is both a good and bad thing, as it’s tough to be compared with a beloved masterpiece—like a scrawny little brother being held to the standards of his super-jock older brother, it’s just not fair. But I can’t help where my brain goes, and that’s immediately where it went: Robbery Madness 2 wants to be a twenty-first century version of Thief. Let’s see how it stacks up...
Robbery Madness 2 is a more of a beefy update than a true sequel to the original Robbery Madness, but it remains a first-person game with stealth, action, and RPG elements...much like the aforementioned Thief. I couldn’t just wander around the city, robbing random places to become a big-time bandit though. I started off at a run-of-the-mill house, then worked my way up to the mall, a museum, and the mall once again, except now overrun with zombies...because everything needs zombies these days. This level changed things up a bit by playing more like a traditional first-person shooter than a stealth game which is a refreshing change of pace from the tip-toeing tropes of the previous levels.
During Robbery Madness 2’s heists, I had to overcome security systems by hacking and exploiting them. I employed tools like a snake cam to see what was hidden behind locked doors. I avoided guards (both human and robot), cops, security cameras, and dogs by outwitting them or using stealth tactics...or I could always just take them down with a well-timed sneak attack.
All of these tactics were inevitably in service of finding and stealing loot tucked away in treasure chests or hidden in secret rooms. Once I’d grabbed enough valuables, I could peruse the Black Market to exchange these ill-gotten gains for tools of the thieving trade. In time, I built up enough wealth to create my own private mansion—a cutpurse’s palace to show off the many expensive and precious artifacts I had nabbed. And it’s then, when I looked around at this empire of dirt I’d created, that I realized I’d become just like Walter White from Breaking Bad. Whether you think that’s cool or not depends on where you fall on the morality scale, I suppose...
So how does Robbery Madness 2 measure up? Well, it doesn’t hold a candle to the Thief games...but I consider those games as close to perfect as it gets, so perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. Robbery Madness 2 proved fun enough when I was darting around the various environments and stealing stuff, which always provided a visceral thrill. But it also has some poor design decisions or limitations that took me right out of that fun. Here’s one particularly egregious example: To exit (and thus complete) the house level, I needed to steal the car in the garage, but said car was missing one of its front tires. Now where could this wayward tire be, you ask? Well, it was up in the tree in the backyard, which just happened to be right next to the doghouse...where the dog was patrolling as well.
Let me just say that never in my life have I ever seen a car tire up in a tree before. This just made no sense at all and was poor puzzle design, plain and simple. And realistically, why couldn’t I just hop the fence to beat a hasty retreat? Why did I need the car at all? The best stealth games (à la Metal Gear Solid and Thief) typically offer open-ended solutions to their challenges, but this game requires finding the one and only path forward.
Robbery Madness 2 also allowed me to collect a ton of items on each level, but many of those trinkets were seemingly useless. When I tapped on them, I was given no information about what they were (or what they could possibly be used for) beyond what they appeared to be. Again, by way of example, I found a can in the house that said MEAT on it. Now, one would think that you could use this to lead the dog away from the tree, but no. Nothing could lure the dog except a bone and only a bone. These already-annoying limited options were made even more aggravating by the game’s inclusion of all these extra items that seemed like they could have been implemented in some way.
The low-poly graphics of Robbery Madness 2 are colorful and serviceable, but nothing beyond that. The same can be said for the nondescript music and sound: not grating or anything, but nothing to write home about either. The touch controls are fine, but they took some getting used to at the outset, and the game does not feature controller support, which I find perplexing for a first-person game. And while microtransactions are limited, the game itself is riddled with ads—some voluntary, some not.
To paraphrase the great Dr. Evil: Robbery Madness 2: Thief Games is like the Diet Coke of thief games...just one calorie, not thief-y enough! It has its moments, and I was rather entertained when I was looting museums and the like. But too many of its insane design choices broke my immersion and reminded me that I was just playing a decent enough thief simulator and not a genuinely new take on a beloved classic.
SCORE: 3 STARS OUT OF 5
PLAY IF YOU LIKE:
• Robbery Bob. Play Robbery Madness 2: Thief Games if DECA Games’ burglary game also stole your heart.
• The Thief series. Robbery Madness 2: Thief Games isn’t a stealth classic like Looking Glass’s trilogy of thievery, but it does provide a good many kleptomaniacal thrills.
💬 Have you played Robbery Madness 2: Thief Games? Let us know what you think of it in the comments! Even if you haven't played it, leave a comment sharing your thoughts on your favorite stealth games!
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