Burglar! is a game that is fun from the first board to the last. You play as Luke Steel, an aspiring burglar looking for a good time. Baglarr and Sons is the organisation that supports your criminal activities and they assign you places to rob and items to steal. Each robbery requires figuring out different ways of breaking in and avoiding detection. The amount of liberties you have in this game is what makes the gameplay really fun. First you must select three items from a collection of tools for use in the robbery. Some tools are required, some only allow you to steal more from the place you are robbing. Figuring out the best combination of items to maximise the amount of goods you can steal is a enjoyable test of perception. During the robbery you can basically grab anything of worth that isn't nailed down or too heavy. You also have to prepare for the unexpected, like noisy and restless children. There's plenty of tension as you sneak around and work against the forces that try to thwart you. Frantically running around and touching everything while a cleaning lady is slowly getting closer was something that actually got my heart racing. The varity of the missions is good ranging from your casual petty theft to breaking in to the city's own police station. Also part of the action is a pickpocket free for all where you try and pinch as many billfolds as possible within a period of time.
The story starts off seeming secondary to the fun of going around robbing places, but later as you begin to get yourself in trouble you uncover the misdeeds of the company's very own leader. The character you play handles this in a very singular way, by breaking in to the Boss's office. Luke Steel himself as a character is an impulsive one. Picking the pockets of everyone, kneeing the guard in the crotch repeatedly, and generally being a bad-ass who doesn't care who he steps on to get to the top. He never doubts why he is stealing or stops to wonder where it will lead him. Getting caught or killed is always on his mind, but he knows that that will not, in the end, be the results of his deeds. On top of the good characterisation and story, the writing and humour is spot on. Numerous references to Drac0 and Knightt combined with humour that everyone can understand makes for a game that is both fresh and familiar.
The graphics in Burglar! are entirely on par with the rest of the game. The street is shown at an impressive 2/3 perspective and the cutscenes are well drawn with plenty of objects used for small details like cigars, cigarettes and drinks. The colours contrast very well and the backgrounds are bright and provide plenty of eyecandy. The mood set by dark scenes and drained expressions makes you feel for your character and makes you want him to succeed though the dark times of his experiences.
Burglar! stands out as one of the best games ZZT has to offer. It's fun, original, and addictive. The graphics are detailed and atmospheric. The music needs to be released on CD. The game needs to be downloaded and experienced.