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The Thing is a third person survival horror game, and sequel to John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing. It was developed by Computer Artworks. A PlayStation 2 version of this game was released in North America on August 21, 2002, and in Japan on February 27, 2003.
During the player's investigation of the ruins of the Outpost, they will find the UFO from the film. They will also find the body of Childs, one of the survivors from the movie. Upon securing the facility, Blake is airlifted to the Norwegian research station to locate and reinforce Alpha Team after Whitely informs him that they have lost contact with the team. There Blake and his group encounter swarms of Things that slowly dwindle down his team as Blake rescues Colin and learns of a government conspiracy with Gen Inc in conducting experiments on the alien lifeforms before they began to infest the research facility. Blake learns that Whitely was behind it the whole time and even injected himself with a Cloud Virus B4 Strain. With a new group, Blake fights his way through numerous black ops and creatures before killing the transformed Colonel Whitley. The player has the assistance of a helicopter pilot, revealed to be R.J. MacReady, the hero from the original film.
The game used a fear system and a trust system to increase the realism of the game. This was implemented by making it possible for one of the player's teammates to be 'turned', and for the player to not realize that until it was too late.
In the trust system, the player may lose the trust of his squad if he kills a teammate on the belief that that teammate had been 'turned'. The squad would react to the killing depending on if the slain teammate was or wasn't 'turned'. If the teammate had been 'turned', the squad will praise you for killing him. However, if the teammate was still human, the squad will lose faith in you and may even try to kill you.
In the fear system, the squad reacts to the environment of an area. An area that is covered in blood, or an area where there is a lot of wreckage present, might inspire fear in the squad. Also, the number of 'things' present or the sizes of the 'things' may frighten the squad members. The individual members of the squad may react in one of three ways:
1. The teammate runs away.
2. The teammate becomes irrational and begins shooting (with both regular guns and flamethrowers) indiscriminately. As this places the player and the squad in significant danger, the player often has to kill this teammate. If the player kills this teammate, the squad will neither gain nor lose trust in the player.
3. The teammate will simply give up and commit suicide.
There are several different ways that a player may kill a 'thing'. A small 'thing' may be shot to death, while a larger 'thing' will have to be shot to near death with a regular gun and then torched with a flamethrower. This does not carry over to the boss 'things'; it varies from situation to situation as to whether a player can kill the boss with a traditional gun or kill the boss with the flamethrower.
The Thing received a generally favorable critical reception with an average critic score of 80% for the PS2 version, 78% for the PC and 77% for the Xbox at Game Rankings. Edge magazine awarded it 7 out of 10 in issue 116, highlighting the well-managed tension and atmosphere, and the impressive weapon effects (such as the flamethrower.) However, the reviewer was ultimately disappointed by the game's linearity.
GameSpot also awarded the PC version 7.7 out of 10, while giving the Xbox and PS2 versions an 8.4 criticizing the "fear/trust/infection" system (one of the main features of the game) as having little impact. However, the reviewer felt that the game still worked as a good shoot 'em up with almost flawless presentation. IGN rewarded The Thing with a 8.5 out of 10 for the PC version and their complaint about this game was its lack of replay value. GameZone gave it a 8 out of 10.
Official UK PlayStation 2 Magazine was very taken by the game's high quality, awarding it a 9 out of 10 and describing it as "top-class survival horror meets one of the best sci-fi movies of all time. Excellent."