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The Thing

Thursday, September 05, 2002 by TheDoc

The Thing
Overall: 3
Graphics: 4
Interface: 3
Welcome to the aftermath of John Carpenter's 'The Thing'. In the freezing depths of Norway, your team is sent out to find another missing team. Along the way, you start to discover mysterious things are happening at the deserted camps. Medical research describing creatures in horrifying detail, members of the expedition that have mutated into other creatures, and dead bodies (or what's left of them) laying all around.


The graphics of the game are not bad for the swinging camera view that combines first person with third sometimes. It does get to be a hassle sometimes when you have creatures jumping at you and you corner yourself, and cannot get the camera angle to change while you are dying... Also, the fire effects leave a lot to be desired. It's a pretty poor attempt at fire, after seeing the fire in RTCW. Other than that, everything is pretty well done. The fog effects are a nice change (well, everything is white until you get close enough to see something) but the little blue light sticks in the ground have a pleasant glow, especially when you are lost and dying of exposure...


The interface for the game is a little unfriendly. Most everything is done with in-game menu's, which require a number of clicks. Some of the weapon fire is kind of point and shoot, but the flamethrowers and blow torches suck to use. You are basically pointing at the ground in front of you. You cannot aim anywhere else, so you have to get close to a thing and shoot at it with the flamethrower. This tends to get you hit a lot. Not all of the interface is clear, and it sometimes requires you to search through the manual for what an icon means, or hunting through the field manual (in-game). Also, some of the 'puzzles' are not quite a straight forward as they think. I was stuck at a part for some time, running around trying to find a way into a building, only to find that I had to shoot some grates out while in an attic... Kind of hard to think of since you cannot aim any of your weapons up or down, so shooting didn't get me anywhere, I had to use my flamethrower which I didn't think of for 15 minutes or so of running around. Another thing that people will either like or dislike is the save options. Around each location is an old reel to reel tape recorder that you can save the game at. You cannot save it by pressing a key, or escape and save, you must find these points to save at (and go back often if you have to because you'll need it so you do not have to replay a whole level over and over again).

Multiplayer (if any):

Unfortunately they didn't bother to include any multiplayer in the game. This detracts from the game rating, as it would be nice to include some sort of multiplayer mode so you can kill aliens with friends.


All in all this is a fairly fun game. It doesn't really scare you like the movie, as things are foreshadowed so you know when something is coming. It occasionally has some surprises, like the time one of my teammates suddenly exploded and turned into a monster, but mostly you know when something is coming. The game keeps you into the storyline by providing things more like quests for you to do to rescue members of your missing team, or find out what happened there. With all of those though, you can get lost in the number of activities the game gives you. The game has enough of a size to it to keep you actively playing, but it's rather linear in that you need to do activity A to gain access to place B to rescue person C. I will have to admit that there were some points that I thought I was going to have to replay a number of times due to the amount of creatures they were throwing at me. Thankfully they had provided plenty of ammo around the location. At this point, I think it's a good game, that can be made better, but it's keeping me playing. Now only if they'd offer multiplayer.

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