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Game Over Online ~ The Thing

GameOver Game Reviews - The Thing (c) Black Label Games, Reviewed by - Rorschach

Game & Publisher The Thing (c) Black Label Games
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II 400MHz, 64MB RAM, 8MB 3D Accelerator, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 85%
Date Published Wednesday, September 18th, 2002 at 12:14 PM

Divider Left By: Rorschach Divider Right

This is going to be the shortest review you’ll ever read at the venerable GO network; a super-quickie of the don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it variety. We’ve already got an excellent review up for the PS2 version of The Thing by Carlos McElfish, and I can’t see rehashing all of it here for the PC port of the same game, especially since I agree with almost everything he wrote.

The Thing is excellent, moody and atmospheric, and at some points downright creepy. The music, the sound effects, brings it all to together, and the cinematic scenes interspersed with the action move the plot along. Some of the cinematics appear to have characters talking (you can see their lips moving), but all you hear is a thunderous heartbeat. Is that a glitch, or is it someone being artsy? As my art humanities teacher in college told me, if you’re not sure, it’s not art.

The morale approach to the AI of your squadmates is kind of unique. I like that you have to keep the members of your squad satisfied that you’re leading them properly, and keep an eye on their stress level or they’ll stop listening to you. It’s a little unrealistic at times, as a guy will be in a room freaking because there’s a dead body there, and you take him out of the room and he calms down. Then if he goes back into the room he freaks again, and then calms down when he leaves. In, out, in, out. Freak, calm, freak, calm. Goofy. I would often give my teammates flamethrower fuel, because it keeps their morale up, and they’re better with the flamethrower than I am, as I often roast myself trying to use it. The downside, of course, is when one of them turns out to be a Thing.

Almost all of the flaws in this game arise from failures in the ported graphics to the PC to perform properly. Shake it up, baby, there’s a whole lot of clipping going on. You can often tell what is behind a closed door because its legs and arms are sticking through it. A creature I was shooting at ran right through a wall, which I bumped into trying to follow it. Sure enough, around the corner and down a hallway into the room on the other side of that wall, and there the creature was. Do you want to see what’s going on inside your squadmate’s head? Just step close enough to him and the whole side of his face will disappear! And it’s empty in there! The game also does the keep-the-processor-workload-down-by-having-everything-vanish-in-a-fog-in-the-middle-distance thing that is familiar to console players. In snow or fog, it’s not such a bad thing, but to have the far end of a largish room in darkness is a little fake looking. In a PC game, where I am used to a little graphical distance, it makes me feel kinda claustrophobic.

I’m not quite sure what made them produce a game based on a moderately successful science fiction/horror movie of maybe 20 years ago, but this is one of the best PC ported games that I’ve played, a few graphics glitches aside. Not for the squeamish, full of bodies, blood, beheadings, and disembowlings, it should probably be rated G for Gross.

(56/60) Gameplay
(06/10) Graphics
(08/10) Sounds
(07/10) Controls
(08/10) Plotline


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