“ Universal Interactive¿s The Thing, a game inspired by Universal Studios¿ and John Carpenter¿s classic horror film of the same name, picks up where the movie left off and features an all-new cast of characters. You are a military squad captain sent into the frozen Antarctic to investigate the mysterious deaths of an American scientific expedition. „
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The Thing is a third-person shooter game for the PC developed by Computer Artworks in 2002. It is based upon the 1982 film The Thing and borrows many elements from the plot of the film. In the film, a research team at an Antarctic scientific research station encounter a dangerous alien life form which has the ability to resemble other creatures. They soon find out that they cannot trust each other, since they can't be sure that any one of them is not an alien. The plot of the game takes place after the film. You play as a member of a rescue team sent to the Antarctic to investigate the disappearance of the research team from the film and bring back any survivors. You soon realise that things are not as they seem and have to fight for survival and escape.
The best things about the film are the paranoid atmosphere sprouting from the distrust of each of the characters, and the graphic gore special effects. The game incorporates both of these factors into it with a lot of graphic violence and a trust system. When you do irrational things like shooting indiscriminately or shooting other team mates, other team mates will distrust you or fear you, as indicated by symbols above their head. If they distrust you too much they may try to kill you. This adds some realism to the game, and echoes the paranoid tendencies of the characters in the film. One possible criticism however, is that this system doesn't really have much impact on the storyline, it is just quite an interesting feature.
The storyline of the game is interesting, with a lot of suspense and some genuinely scary moments. The graphics are very good, and the setting with the snowy wastelands and concrete research labs adds to the atmosphere of the game. The sound quality is also good with some very atmospheric music. The gameplay is also very good with fluid character movements, and controls which are easy to get to grips with. The game works well as both an action game and a survival horror game like Resident Evil. There are a huge variety of weapons including machine guns, grenades and flamethrowers, and there are a lot of different enemeies with some jaw-dropping bosses. It is quite a long game and is very challenging in parts so is very good value for money.
Overall, The Thing is an excellent game which to its credit has stayed very faithful to the feel and atmosphere of the film. It is very entertaining and terrifying in parts, and I recommend it to anyone who has not yet played it.
The Thing is pretty much a direct sequel to the events the film of same name. The game was developed by Computer Artworks and published by Konami in 2002.
The game starts with you as a member of squad investigating the ruins of the outpost from the film, presumably not too long after the events of the film. Basically you and some other army guys have been called to investigate what's going on up in penguin country. Upon your arrival it becomes evidently clear that something isn't right (is anything ever right in these situations?) and you lead your squad in an attempt not only to figure out what the deal is, but also to survive while finding off aliens (are they aliens? i'm not sure, there's a ufo but things seem a little shady to me............ yes they are, wiki just told me). As per usual when the army or some other government corporation is involved, its all part of a huge conspiracy involving genetic tests and mutations on these (now verified) aliens. This kinda story could have been ripped right out of a textbook its that generic and overused. However I did feel myself becoming more involved as I found squad members around the place as you have to work together to find out the truth, all the while your never too sure who has or hasn't become infected. There are quite a few moments when the story takes a sharp turn down twisty lane where the good guys are now the bad guys, but nothing prepares you for the killer ending which sees our friend MacReady from the film return, only to leave it wide open as to whether they escape or not.......... hmm ambiguous.
Now in my opinion the gameplay was the glue that held this game together, its without a doubt the best part. Why you ask? Admittedly on the surface the game appears to follow fairly generic third person survival standards but scratch away at the surface and you'll find there's more to this game that makes a pleasure to play. Firstly there's the squad control system. Since your player character is not a god he cant do everything. At certain points you'll come across barriers that will prevent you from progressing, like for example a fuse box that only one squad member can deal with. This adds an extra dimension to the game as you have to work with your squad to progress. Also you have full control over who your squad operates. For example you can dish out the weapon and ammo supplies in order to create a balanced squad ready to deal with any nasty little alien problem. Quite often dealing out with weapons is a way of gaining trust. Yes, several squad members will not trust you at first (fair enough considering the whole alien infection thing going on) so you have to win their trust over, whether its by handing over weapons or performing a blood test to prove your 100% human. The best however is fear system (for lack of a better way of saying). At any time within the game your squad members may start to loose and get scared, an example being when you walk into a room with a high count of dead bodies. If their fear gets too intense they will start getting a bit trigger happy with no care as to who their target is. It adds that extra dimension you know? And before you say anything, The Thing was released before Eternal Darkness which had something kinda similar.
I'm gonna stick my head out here and say that for the year of release (2002) this game has very impressive visuals. Everything is well detailed and the textures are nice and sharp. The most impressive part however is outside in the snow. There's a constant blizzard going down the snow and the fog/mist superbly contributes to the overall atmosphere of isolation that the game aims to create. As soon as your outside of the compound it dawns on you just how isolated and alone you really are. The fire effects created by the flame-thrower are also rather awesome considering fire is really tricky to do in games (at least to a degree of realism). The only thing that lets this game down ever so slightly is the alien 'things'. They can appear quite blocky and pixalated at times to a degree where it wouldn't look out of place on the playstation.
Erm.....what sound? There isn't really much audio to talk about here but that's a good thing really. Just like the blizzard howling outside, the sound, or lack-there-of, actually reinforces this sense of complete and utter isolation that gives the game such an amazing atmosphere. The aforementioned blizzard is almost deafening when outside which makes it difficult to hear your squad members screaming in the enveloping darkness or the growls of approaching alien thingys. Weapons sound a bit generic but then again at the end of the day a pistol can only sound like a pistol, not really much you can do with it.
Scare Factor 7/10
I was absolutely freaked out by the film (yeah, kurt russell has one of those faces) so i was expecting good things from the game. Boy it delivered and then some. As mentioned in the previous sections the idea of being completely isolated is the main theme here. Its weird because even though you have a squad with you most of the time you still feel very much alone, probably because anyone of said squad members could turn out to be a 'thing'. The fear system is quite immersive because oddly enough I found myself getting scared when my squad were. I cant say i was too scared by the 'things' themselves as they were rather generic mutant like things that I've seen a thousand times in films and games but it was scary not knowing who the next person to be taken over would be.
Final Score 70%
This game actually one of those game my brother hates. His the one who actually played the game and I only got his opinion and tried to put it in writings.So far, here's what he said.
First thing should be the Bad
1.The story is not well handed well. It's based on the original movie called "The Thing" way back 1982 (very,very old one) and I've never seen it.
2.A little confusing at time, there are lots of running around, guessing where to go next.
3.Very frustrating at time since you're character cannot jump or dodge
4.Enemies tend to pop up which are not fun and also deeply frustrating
5.The so called "Save slot" is severely aggravating and utilized badly.Sometimes you have levels with no save game slots for ages, then other times you have them very close.
6.Most of the puzzles are mind numbingly boring.
But surely, every game has its own good points as well.
1.A very good horror game, genuinely scary and should I say nasty horror moment.
2.Graphics are fairly good enough at most of the time.
3.The scary sound effects do create a scary feeling as well.
4.Monster are all original and disgusting.When you do meet them, they look fairly original and rather disgusting. Each is designed superbly and moves/acts very convincingly it must be said!
5.Bugs are not too often manifest which is good for a game
6.System requirements is low and no slowdown observed even if your playing with minimum specs.
7.Fairly entertaining and lots of action packed moments to keep you on your toes.Most scares are pulled off by sudden attacks by unseen Things pouncing at you and Things chasing you, but sometimes the settings you are in are actually rather spooky (combined with the added excellent atmospheric sound effects).
And what about the plot???Somewhere in the Antarctic, a research station has gone silent.So they send you (Captain Blake) and your team to investigate.And after doing some walks, you realize that the station was overrun with alien forms that infects humans.And they can also shape-shift to assume any creatures it kills.And you also found out that the military has something to do with this..Quite plain and obvious for such game.
But after writing all the facts, I actually see more good points than bad.I guess my brother doesn't like to play the game by himself alone in his room...LOL.He's too scare watching those monster and eerie sound the game has to offer.
With this I would say that the Thing is certainly worth investigating if you have some time on your hands and fancy a quick "pick-up and play" game where you don't really need to remember the story. Here you have a perfect action and adventure console game, but for your PC instead! Only you can decide whether of not that's good or bad.