While movie licenses are very hot commodities in the video game industry, what the companies do with them has been less than spectacular over the years. LucasArts has done an admirable job with most of the STAR WARS titles, but for the most part, video games based on movies lack in a lot of areas. When I first heard about THE THING from Black Label Games, I can't say I was truly enthusiastic about it. While the movie was good, I didn't see how a good game could come from it. But, never judge a game until you play it.
THE THING takes place a few months after the movie takes place, and is basically a sequel to the movie. For a bit of a back-story, John Carpenter's THE THING takes place in Antarctica, where a team of American scientists reside. They stumble across a dog, which they unwittingly take in, and that's where all the bad stuff begins happening. The dog is apparently inhabited by an alien creature. Soon, both man and beast begin to turn into this "thing" (pun intended). Soon the hero of the movie, Kurt Russell, decides to find out who the "thing" really is. Everything goes awry, and the two remaining humans decide to blow up the whole compound. A few months later, you are sent in, with a group of soldiers, to find out exactly what happened.
The game starts off rather slowly, but apparently this is what was intended by developer Computer Artworks. John Carpenter was brought in a few times on the project to help the developers bring out the full startling effects that were in the movie. The game has some really terrifying sequences that would more than likely freak anyone out.
While THE THING isn't the best looking game on the market, it makes do with what it has to offer. The character models and backgrounds aren't anything other than ordinary, but the game provides an eerily creepy feeling. From the body parts scattered around the room to the headless body hunched on the floor, THE THING manages to keep the lights on at all times when you're playing.
Where THE THING really shines is its gameplay. When you start up, you know this game is for real from the Freeze Gauge. In other words, stay outside too long without finding shelter, and you'll freeze to death even before the game gets started. One of the coolest features in this is the Trust/Fear system. This had a big role in the movie, and Computer Artworks got it right. At the beginning of the game, your team members trust you. But as you progress, and the computer members become scared, they're likely to do other things. They will piss in their pants, they'll begin shooting at dark shadows thinking they see something move; in the worst case scenario, they even kill themselves rather than live another minute. This is one of the most frightening things in a game that I've seen.. Even though it is a computer generated character, seeing a person take his own life in front of you is enough to send chills down your body.
To gain your team members' trust, you'll have to do things to get it back like giving them ammo, shooting "things" in a fight, or just showing them you are human. When you do find out one of your members is a "thing", he'll transform right before your eyes. It is actually kind of sad when one of your members do turn. During the game, if you get into it, you begin to feel a sense of a personal loss when a troop turns, as they are your comrades in the game.
Here is something you all need to watch out for, though. The Trust/Fear system only works to a certain extent. I've had numerous people on my side for a long time, have tested their blood and everything, and they still turn on me. So basically, be wary of anyone...even the person who is firing at enemies along with your character.
The voice-acting is done pretty well, and the sound effects are just creepy at times. The main character's voice sounds like any other gruff hero out there; think Solid Snake from METAL GEAR SOLID. At times you'll hear the "things" moaning from other rooms, or down corridors, and you actually will get a feeling of dread that one is close.
THE THING is one of the best survival horror games on the market, even giving RESIDENT EVIL a run for its money. The game boasts tons of gore, so it obviously isn't recommended for kids. But if you like the movie, or just want to be scared out of your mind, give THE THING a shot.