Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. Oh boy, have I sinned.
I have a great love for games in which stealth is an option for completing levels. I'll even try games that are a programmed stealth puzzle (like Splinter Cell), or in which gameplay seems to be a way to "earn" lengthy cutscenes (like Metal Gear Solid 2).
But I am a clumsy man, an impatient man, and rarely mindful of my surroundings. In short, I suck at stealth.
I give it a good try, I do. I try to sneak about, obtain disguises, creep along unused pathways to avoid enemies... but it never works. I mean, it goes okay at first, but then comes The Bust. Someone figures out you're there by spotting you, or spotting a body (I always try non-lethal stuff first--honest), or just, I don't know, they're psychic and can smell sucky assassins or something.
After regrouping in a quiet hidey-hole, I try harder to make the stealth thing work. But the guards are now on edge, and so am I. If I somehow pull it out and succeed in my mission without further incident or bloodshed, a cool wave of mingled relief and pride washes through me. More often, though, there comes a second bust, which prompts The Breaking Point. I lose patience with the stealth thing, and the kid gloves come off--for reference, the "kid gloves" are the ones with pockets of sand sewn over the knuckles to knock people out.
The surest way not to be seen is to keep others from seeing anything at all. Death works well for this. Once I have a hidey-hole, I go on hit-and-run operations and wipe out guards and, yes, the occasional innocent. If people get agitated and come after me, I zip back to my sanctuary like a big, creepy funnel spider.
I must confess, I actually enjoy this bit. There's a Warhammer creature called a Sneaky Git, and that's what I like being. Planting bombs, sniping from the darkness--these give me a tittering joy that rivals the sense of accomplishment of being completely stealthy.
The end result is a bloodbath straight from the Standard Manual of Shadowy Arts section on "When Things Go Wrong". But with my objectives accomplished, I feel like the usurping lord of my environment; I take an unhurried, triumphant walk on the now-squishy carpets, admiring my handiwork. Next time, though, next time I will keep my homicidal instincts in check and be totally sneaky.
In the name of Garrett, the Church, and the holy Spector,
The loci of my sins:
Deus Ex, Deus Ex 2, & Project Snowblind
Thief 2 (The Metal Age) & Thief 3 (Deadly Shadows)
Tenchu & Tenchu 3: Wrath of Heaven