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  The Thing
Overview

Did the 1982 John Carpenter film of the same name leave you wanting more? If so, this game is for you! Where the film left off is where you take over. You are dropped in the Antartica Wastelands to investigate the mysterious deaths of a military scientific expodition.

But you have a few suprises awaiting you upon your arrival. You end up trapped in the Arctic environment and infected by an unkown horrible enemy. Your job is to keep your squad together. You have to control their fears, maintain their trust or they can turn against you as fast as your mutant enemies.

Game Play

Using a combination of mouse and keyboard controls you command your troops in this graphically superb environment. The first couple of the 11 very interesting levels or missions do offer up pop up hints from time to time to help you get aquainted with what is happening and a few tips and control instructions. I found these to be quite helpful as I am not one to read a manual first. For you die-hard gamers, these tips can be turned off in the settings as well.

The controls make use of both buttons on the mouse for interaction as well as directional viewing. The key board commands are all nicely grouped on the left side of the keyboard and in very comfortable positions that allow for game play to be carried out without having to look down at the keyboard for the proper keys.

The graphics in this 360 degree, 3 dimensional world are simple amazing. The special effects used in fire and weather scenes are truly unique and really do make you feel you are part of the game. Graphics are very smooth and scroll along amazingly well in full detail.

Oh! Turn those speakers up as well! The sound directors did a masterful job of capturing every sound and if you have a good speaker set it really does draw you even further into the game.

The other characters that you must find throughout the game that make up your squad do act very realistically and logically with your character. You take command of each character as you find them and add them to your squad. But don't think for a moment that it will be easy. Some characters you need will be injured when you find them and you must first heal them while others simply won't trust you at first and you must not only gain their trust, but you must also maintain it. You will depend on the help of these squad members to complete your missions.

This game does take the best of four different game genre and combines them to make one great game! This 'Thing' is a masterpeice that is part Sim, Part role-playing, part shoot 'em up and part adventure. You really are in control and your actions do effect the outcome of the game and how long you will be able to survive. In other words, expect to die often.

The one thing I would have rather seen is the option to save the game at will. The way games are saved is there are strategically placed tape recorders placed throughout the game in which you can save your game. My advise is to make good use of these and save often! On the other hand, having these 'Save Stations' throughout the game does add another element to an already challenging game.

The skill level of this game I would say is moderate to high. Some puzzles are fairly simply and obvious while others will need proper use of your squad members and some luck. There is also a complete strategy guide available done by Prima. The guide is excellent and I will admit that I did refer to it during this review and it saved my butt more than once. However even with the guide, the skill and strategy required for this game is still a great asset. Even following the guide's walk through, I did still die many many times while being suprised by creatures and not reacting quick enough to gun 'em all down.

Summary

This is a super game! I tried quitting a few times only to be drawn back in for 'Just a few more more minutes', which many of you gamers know is usually very long minutes. Its quite addicting, the gameplay, graphics and sound draw you right into feeling the character and it is hard to walk away from it. This game is also available on Playstation 2 and will be a game I will continue lose myself in for many more hours after this review is published.

Review ID Number: 94
  Product Details
Black Label Games
Review Date: 2002-09-05
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
 
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