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VIDEO GAME REVIEWS

THE THING



The Thing on XBox
WHERE TO FIND
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PLAYSTATION 2
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PC

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Reviewed By LessonNo5

For a while there was a real lull in the horror gaming genre. Most of the games being released were of fairly low quality as far as game play and graphics were concerned, and the really great games were far and few between. This caused a lot of people to claim the genre was dieing a slow agonizing death. If nothing else, The Thing proves that great horror games will have amazing potential regardless of console advances or the increasingly jaded mindsets of the gamers themselves. This is a great game, and these are the reasons why. Hold on tight.

This game is based on a movie, "John Carpenter's The Thing" released in 1982. If you've never seen the movie, the basic idea of it involves a viral infection of some type, which takes over the bodies of humans and eventually converts them into "Things." If you have seen the movie, then you'll really like how the game basically takes things right out of the film. A lot of the areas and characters are torn from the silver screen, digitally manipulated, and brought to you in full pixilated glory. However, previously viewing the movie is certainly not a requirement to enjoy this game. I personally hadn't seen the film until about half way through the game.

The second great thing was something I was actually quite leery about when I purchased the game. Namely, the squad controlling feature. In previous games where the player is in command of a squad of NPCs there are usually a ton of problems with the most basic of functions. That means everything from the AI to inventory management. While a lot of these problems DO carry over into The Thing, they aren’t nearly as annoying. The AI is great, and reflects very distinct personalities for each and every one of the 40 plus NPCs you’ll encounter. If you happen to be with someone that is particularly squeamish, then they’ll vomit when you come across a disfigured corpse. You might encounter a character that has a propensity for crapping their pants when you get some up-close and personal trigger time with a giant creature. You have to carefully watch your squad, because their reactions are generally important. Especially since they can completely go nuts and shoot everyone in your squad before offing themselves. There are only generally a few small problems with the NPC movement. Occasionally they will get lost or snagged on corners or around boxes.

The controls and battle system (Which pretty much go hand-in-hand with this game) and extremely easy to use, for the most part. The pre-set controls don't really make a lot of sense, but if you switch it to the second available control mode, it gets easier. Admittedly, they make about as much sense as they can, but when you have that many buttons and they all perform some kind of function, it's hard to get things to work perfectly. The battle is simple, and there's a first person shooter switch for precision shots. The weapon list is standard. Shotguns and assault rifles flesh out the list of usual suspects. You also often have to arm your squad members when you find them, and this adds extra dimensions to tactics and inventory management.

As I said, this is a great game. The only real flaw is the lack of any real terror. The biggest fear in the game is the fact that at any time your squad member can become infected and turn in a second, ambushing you from behind. The fact that it's not really that scary doesn't stop this game from being fun, though. The graphics are crisp and smooth; the tasks are varied and interesting. You don't get to the end and start to get bored with doing the same old tasks over and over again. I think that's a credit to the game mechanics. There's a trust system with the party. For example, you meet someone hiding in the bathroom. You earn their trust by giving them a weapon.... But then somewhere down the road a member of your party begins to act suspiciously, so you frag'em. You might have just saved everyone ass, but now all of your party thinks you're infected because you just killed an "innocent" person.

Basically this game has everything. It's like SOCOM or Conflict: Desert Storm with an extra edge of paranoia. It's like Run Like Hell without the tedious game play. So get your winter jacket on, find yourself a gun, and hope you come across a medic hiding in a locker somewhere, because chances are you're going to need one.


RATING

(Out of 5)


LESSON NO.5'S ADVICE
The great AI in this game means less work for you. Position your squad in a room and they guard the entrances. Basically everyone in the game turns sooner or later, so let them do the dirty work. Also, don't test squad members just let them turn and then take them out. Use the test kits on yourself to build trust.
THE WORST PART
Due to the cold temperatures outside, you can't leave shelter too long or you freeze. Too bad, because it would have been nice to be able to explore more.


RELEASE DATES
Playstation 2 - 08/19/02
XBox - 08/20/02
PC - 09/09/02
REVIEW POSTED
April 24 2004
# OF PLAYERS
1
OFFICIAL WEBSITES
www.thethinggames.com
CHEATS/WALKTHROUGHS
Walkthroughs/Maps at GameFaqs.com
PUBLISHER
Vivendi Universal
DEVELOPER
Computer Artworks
ESRB RATING


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