Review by: Matthew Dujnic
Published: September 5, 2002
It’s about time someone made a video game out of The Thing. John Carpenter’s science fiction masterpiece spun a claustrophobic tale about a group of research scientists battling an enemy they couldn’t see. It was a horrifying story of survival before there was “survival horror.” Now it’s an interactive entertainment product endorsed by Carpenter himself, no less. Universal Interactive and Computer Artworks have crafted this title’s tale as a sequel to the film; let’s see if it overcomes the usual movie-to-game curse.
For anyone who hasn’t seen The Thing, the premise goes like this: About a dozen research scientists, all men, were stationed in Antarctica for a couple of months. A tremendous storm ripped through, cut off all radio contact and utterly isolated them from the outside world. Unfortunately, they were not alone; an alien was among them. Not a traditional monster, but something much more insidious: an alien that could take the form of any of its victims. Paranoia and fear ran high as these desperate men tried to figure out who was still human and who was the enemy.
At the end, the movie didn’t wrap things up with a bow, so there was plenty of room for a sequel. That’s where The Thing: The Interactive Game kicks in. You’re Blake, a soft spoken, tough-as-nails soldier who’s been sent to investigate the awful events at the American research outpost. Things start off with slow-burn creepiness. You and your crew trudge through the dilapidated remains of the outpost, digging up clues in the bloody mess and trying to avoid overexposure to the extreme cold.
Fans can drink a tall glass of references to the movie, including a tape recording that sounds almost exactly like the one Kurt Russell’s character made “as some kind of a record.” Similar to the movie, things start to go awry almost immediately. It soon becomes apparent that this “Thing” isn’t dead, but that it’s actually spread to other bases in the area, killing your fellow members of Team Alpha all around Antarctica. Your commander wants to pull you out, but you’re determined to rescue your compatriots and destroy the alien once and for all.