Review: Jewel Thief (Windows 16-Bit)

In this review, we check out a simple action game for the Windows 16-Bit operating system. This game is called Jewel Thief and we find out if this is one of those games worth revisiting.

This particular game was released in 1991 and is one of the many shareware games floating around at the time.

The basic premise is that a museum has had all of their jewelery stolen. Since you are a top notch thief, it is up to you to travel the world and steal all of the jewelery back.

This is one of those games that is extremely simple. Your cursor turns into the Jewel Thief and you have to simply run the cursor over all of the jewels in the playing field to move on to the next level. You start off the game with nine lives, but if you touch either an enemy or the edges of the screen, you lose a life.

Some enemies are confined to the lower playing area where all of the jewels are. This allows you to utilize the upper sky area as a temporary safe haven while you wait for enemies to move out of the way. Not all levels are like that and most of the enemies do fly.

There are some notable glitches in this game. Depending on your set-up, the thief and/or enemies sometimes disappears from screen, making gameplay that much more difficult. Another known glitch is that sometimes, jewels are drawn on the playing field, but aren’t actually there. So, if you run your mouse over a jewel and it doesn’t pick up, then it’s just a glitch that you can ignore since if you collect every other jewel, you advance to the next stage anyway.

Even though this game is dead simple to understand, that doesn’t necessarily make this game easy. Even with an ideal set-up, it’s still difficult to avoid all of the enemies – especially in later levels. In fact, I only managed to beat the game once and, if you do beat the game, you’ll get to enter your name into the hall of fame.

One of the major problems outside of the glitches is the fact that touching one of the enemies could cause you to lose half of your lives in an instant. One hit? Yes, I can understand a lost life. Losing 4 for a single mistake? That is just too much punishment for one mistake. What I also don’t like is the fact that sometimes an enemy will spawn over top of your cursor, causing you to lose a life before you even have a chance to react. I thought that was also a bit unfair too.

The graphics don’t seem to be all that great on the surface. Then again, when this was released, there were numerous NES games like Monster Truck Rally and Home Alone. Considering this was an independently produced game at the time, even if the graphics look like they were drawn in MS Paint, they weren’t exactly terrible for a game of it’s time. Could it be better? Definitely, but the graphics weren’t absolutely abysmal.

There is no music and the sound effects simply use the default Windows “Ding” sound. Would’ve been great if there were simple sounds added, but it’s better than absolutely nothing.

Overall, this is one of those games that has its own charm. It’s simple and easy to understand, but is also extremely challenging – especially on those rainbow levels at the end if you can make it that far. Since rounds only last a minute or so, playing for a good 5 or 6 minutes shows very good replay value. Definitely a worthy quick distraction game.


Furthest point in game: Beat the game, though typically didn’t make if much further after the green hill level.

General gameplay: 18/25
Replay value: 8/10
Graphics: 6/10
Audio: 1/5

Overall rating: 66%

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85

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