KEEF THE THIEF / Electronic Arts / PC
Keef the Thief starts off with a pretty good concept, and one unique for a late 80s RPG - you play as a completely amoral thief working his way up in the world from nothing, mostly by robbing houses and businesses in a merchant city located in the midst of a jungle. The execution trips up in a number of ways, however, making it rather cumbersome to play. I think this mostly has to do with the game originally being designed for the Apple IIgs, a system with much more humble powers than even the PCs of the late 80s, and with this game being the first major commercial release for the group that would go on to be known as Naughty Dog (Crash Bandicoot, Jax and Daxter, Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.)
The game gets off on the wrong foot with a really tiresome copy protection scheme that requires far too much fiddling about with the manual. In fact, the old game mag Dragon refused to review this one because the copy protection was so ridiculous. Likely you'll be playing a haxed abandonware version at this point though, or maybe a re-release through a download service, so we won't hold that against it too much.
Once in the game, however, you've got some pretty bad music constantly blaring, a confusing movement system where the static screens often don't indicate directions properly, and graphics that are really kinda ugly and lacking for animation. The gameplay is also pretty iffy. Keef spends much of the early game in the city of Same Mercon, since the surrounding jungle is far too overwhelming at the beginning. You literally begin the game with next to nothing ... but it costs money to ask anyone any sort of a question! What you end up spending most of your time doing is robbing the multitude of unlocked houses in Same Mercon, which consist of one samey-looking screen. You enter a house, you click Steal, there may or may not be one or two pieces of loot there. If your thieving levels are high enough, you grab the loot. If not, you "fumble it" and sustain an injury. Also, some loot is trapped, and traps kill you instantly if you don't disarm them first. This is where the mild adventure game element comes in, as disarming traps is basically a matter of just finding the right item on the screen to click, or sometimes using an item in the right way. This all gets very reptitive very quickly, and deaths often seem arbitrary and unfair.
* Lemon Amiga walkthrough
* Gameplay Video