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PC Reviews: The Thing


The Thing Screenshots

The Final Say!


The Thing reviewed by Andrew B
Review Date: 22 September 2002
Review Score: 8.5/10 
Distributor: Vivendi Universal

The Thing is the latest instalment from publishers Vivendi Universal that is based on the cult 1982 movie called the Thing.

The storyline takes place right after where the movie ended, in the frozen wastelands of the Antarctic. In the movie, an entire American scientific outpost was wiped out by a mysterious and deadly alien entity. This alien could also shape-shift into people it just touched, making the line between foe and friend almost indistinguishable. 

With all contact lost with the outpost, the American government have decided to act by sending in an elite military rescue team to investigate. Unfortunately everything goes horribly wrong and you and your team are trapped in the harsh climate of the Antarctic with a deadly creature stalking you...and thus begins the fight for your life!

The main aspect of the game is to keep you and your squad free of alien infestation. The developers have decided to gone one step forward and introduce a number of elements that really turn on the suspense in this game. Each of your squad members contain two attributes that highly effect their performance in the game, trust and fear. The lower the trust, the more likely it is that one of your squad members attacks the person they believe may be infested by the alien entity. Fear is also vital in your squads performance as it effects the way they can handle danger efficiently. They may fire aimlessly at shadows or even start vomiting. 

Apart from trying to keep your squad together, you must also combat the deadly Antarctic weather. The longer you stay outside, the more chances you have of succumbing to frostbite. Unfortunately the longer you stay inside, the more chances you have of meeting something insidious. The biggest problem with The Thing is that it was originally designed for the console world such as the PlayStation 2 or the XBox. This means that you cannot just save the game anywhere you want, you must find tape recorders throughout the game in order to save. This can be quite frustrating at times, especially when you are low on ammunition as sometimes these tape recorders are hard to find.

The combat system in the game is a little awkward at first because it uses a very "lose" fixed weapon aiming system that is ideal for consoles. The problem with this system is that you can only fire your weapons at one level, that is, the centre of the screen as you cannot aim up or down. Fortunately, the different types of weaponry that you have access to makes up for this inconvenience. 

Weapon selection is done via the mouse wheel that makes for some very fast weapon swapping, from military flame-throwers to deadly piercing automatic weaponry.  Movement in the game is done via the keyboard, much the same as a first person shooter but the view is 3rd person. Because the game is not a first person shooter, every member of your squad is vital in your survival. Your squad contains various different type of characters that include a soldier, medic and engineer. The soldier is used for brute power in engaging hostiles whereas the medic is used to heal and the engineer to repair. The game is heavily reliant on icons that is used to perform a number of different functions in the game such as telling your squad to follow or stay.

Graphically, The Thing is a very impressive game and contains some extremely nice graphics and special effects that is guaranteed to thoroughly increase your enjoyment. All the characters are highly detailed and well animated and nothing has been left to chance and everything comes together perfectly such as weather and lighting effects. There is also enough "animated" gore and blood to keep hardcore gamers pleased with the realism of the game. 

The sound effects of the game cannot be faulted, from the harsh winds of the Antarctic to the down right creepy background sounds of the game, it almost makes you feel like you are part of the movie. Apart from the awesome sound effects and voice acting, the game also contains a great movie soundtrack that changes dramatically as the storyline progresses. The game also features the hit song "After Me" by Saliva.

The Thing does contain a few bugs that are the unfortunate left overs of a console game but the story, graphics and sound truly make up for this. The last game that truly gave me a fright was Half Life, The Thing is also another game that is sure to make you a little paranoid while playing it. If you're looking for a game that contains suspense and hardcore gaming action, then this is the game for you. Check it out!

- Andrew B


Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com