Relying heavily on the psychological aspect of fear, your life and well being depends on how well you manage your mates’ fears and perhaps more important, your own fear. Utilizing a very unique trust/fear interface, your survival is heavily dependant on your interactions with your squadmates. Hit one of them with an errant shot? You can expect them to remember the pain for a long time. Hook one of them up with some munitions? They’ll be grateful for your generosity. The entire system revolves around trying to discern exactly who has been infected by “the thing” and who hasn’t. How you act around your squadmates and NPCs will dictates the squadmates’ trust level. Icons are used to tell the whole story so that you’ll receive instant feedback from your squadmates.
It works brilliantly because it capitalizes on the foundation that the film built. It’s almost like mind-chess in where the protagonists were playing mental mind games in hopes of revealing the infected. It works exactly the same way here, acting out of the ordinary will arouse suspicions amongst your comrades. Usually there will be visual cues as to how you can gain trust, healing injured squadmates is usually a great way to do so. Fear is also present in the NPCs and they’ll do interesting things to show it, like wet their pants on the spot. It’s funny in some ways but in a lot of ways, it conveys a realistic reaction to the situation at hand. This game is great at building up a sense of fear because it doesn’t rely too heavily on cheap thrills a la Resident Evil
, but rather builds it up in the mind of the gamer. You never know when one of your squadmates just might spontaneously combust into an alien. After the first time it happens, you’ll find yourself being paranoid from that point on, I guarantee it. I was so scared shitless that I found myself worrying about it every ten seconds, I would tell my friends about it when they came over and of course, it never happened in their presence. Of course it happens as soon as they leave, was it really happening or was it in my head? I have no idea, all I know is that I almost wet my pants the first few times it happened.The Thing
is nice but there are a few problems that proved to be quite bothersome. This game is painfully short and perhaps even worse, the storyline is absolutely linear. So that means that there isn’t much replay value, unless you like playing the same game over and over again. The trust/fear interface also has a few problems. Often times the AI squadmates have a tendency to run into your range of fire. Well let’s say you’re blasting away at an alien and your buddy decides to wander into your path, you’re going to hit him right? Well guess what happens when you do? He gets pissed and starts firing at you. Even though it was entirely his fault, he’ll still get upset at you.The Thing
is proof that an excellent film to game adaptation is indeed possible. It’s not exactly the best game to come out of the survival horror mold (Eternal Darkness
holds that distinction) it’s still a damn fine game. Make sure to keep the lights on or you’ll be in for one hell of a scare. I never want to play this game again and I mean that in the best way possible.
More On:The Thing
Black Label games shows us that a movie to video game adaptation can in fact yield above average results. An interesting game that helps further define the survival horror genre.
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