Available: Fall 2002

The Thing © Computer Artworks
Article by "Soultrape"

Since always, gaming and Hollywood movies went side-by-side, we've witnessed movies from all genres being turned into some of the most fascinating games ever created (and most of the crappy games ever created too).

Although the trend did approach things the other way around (with cinematic games that have great movie potential and Hollywood-like plots, e.g. Anachronox, Max Payne), more and more games are created after best-seller books and classic/top-notch movies, The Thing is in no case different than the latter.

Although the game doesn't go after the movies' storyline, it does go after the same goal, Scare the heck out of you, and it doesn't fall short from doing just that. The story takes place around three months after the original movie, when the main character Blake (which you take control of in the game too) is sent along with a rescue team to investigate weird deaths of residents of the station, when they find themselves entrapped by the horrors of a shape-shifting "Things".

The game features a rich story, well delivered to the gamer, you get to taste the suspense straight from the start of the game, spooky and dark rooms sure do help the overall scary environment of the game, drastically sucking the gamer into a full experience of nerve wreck ness. The game is played from a 3rd person view, with more of a cinematic approach that the traditional Tomb Raider / GTA3 look, camera work is one of the best I've ever seen in a PC game, giving enough dynamic movement for the game not to get stuck in a not-so convenient angel and absolutely appropriate cinematic angels in normal gameplay positions (for example, when you crouch, see screenshots).

Now, if you have ever read another preview about The Thing, you probably heard about its Trust / Fear system, so, feeling tiny and insecure, I'll go ahead and tell you all about that: The system is deeply integrated into the game, if you do something that would naturally seem suspicious to your team mates, they would trust you less, on some level they will stop helping you out and if you really piss them off, they'd shoot you off too! So how do you gain their trust? You show them your not infected with The Thing, you give them guns and ammo (would get me to trust someone, I'll give you that…) , its more of a 'realism' addition, considering most if not all games do not even challenge your 'rightfulness', you might find it a bit of a drag at first, but a nice addition overall.

Fear on the other hand, can get quite annoying, if one of your team mates gets scared enough, he'll basically stop functioning, and you'd have to deal with your mission without him, but overall, the Fear/Trust system does give you something extra to deal with without being a drag, and pushing the realism within this sci-fi title a notch up.

The Thing uses its own in-house built engine, sporting great looking graphics, high quality textures and great looking special effects, the character models are more than drool-worthy, graphics wise, you are about to enjoy some of the better graphics you've seen in a game, the graphics are true to the mood, very coherent with the spooky nature of the game, three thumbs up. The cut-scenes are rendered in-game and look absolutely great, might remind you of half-life with much better graphics and animations, and they sure make you shizzle your nizzle (look that phrase in your common-English dictionary).
Overall, with varying gameplay that has puzzle solving, action killing and gruesome monsters, scary environments and great graphics, this title is sure to be up there with all the big boys that are due to be published soon, this is one title I'd pour money on, so get your wallets ready.