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My Review Of "the Thing" For Xbox A good game that a few simple changes could have made so much better.

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The Thing is a 3rd Person Shooter/Horror game. It's for both PS2 and Xbox, and even the PC. I have never played the PC or PS2 versions, so I'll reserve judgment on those versions until I actually play them. The story, a sequel to the movie "The Thing", follows a soldier named Blake who checks out a Norwegian science base in the Arctic (or perhaps it was the Antarctic... I never have been able to keep those straight). From there the game tells the story via cutscenes and computer screens.


The base gameplay is interesting and rewarding. The base control scheme is great. The thumbstick controls, however, feel as if they were designed for the N64's joystick and C-buttons. The left thumbstick and the right thumbstick work exactly as the joystick and C-buttons in GoldenEye's default setup. However, there is a way to use a more Halo-styled control, but it requires you to use some unintuitive button controls.


If you can get pass the controls, the base gameplay, as mentioned above, is quite fun. Essentially, you shoot enemies, befriend allies (Trust but verify, however, as that medic might just turn into a Thing the very second you heal them and shove a pistol in their hand), and solve puzzles. You'll also probably setup fire walls (just don't burn yourself to a crisp) and start a level with almost no health. Oddly for a survival/horror game, there's almost always enough ammo for you to show off to your friends and shoot a Thing's corpse 5 more times without thinking anything of it.


While the game is fun, there are glitches and design choices that can drive you up the wall sometimes. The medic incident listed above is hilarious for friends, but not so much for the player who just wasted a medikit (or Health Pack, as the game calls them) on an enemy when the part they keep dying on is about to come up (or sometimes, literally run up behind them while their back's turned). You might give all your ammo for a gun to a guy, only for him to disappear between levels. Your health is not refilled between levels, and there are very few save points (one level gives you one right before you leave rather than at, say, the halfway point). And there is no "Load Save" option on the "You are dead." screen, nor is there an autosave feature at the start of a new level. You either have to go to "Restart Level", or play from your last save on the previous level (get in the habit of saving right before the end of a level).


While the game has its failures, it also has it successes. I recommend you have a friend over and watching you play it (MST3K style), so that if you have no health and no clue what switch to throw to get to the medic rather than, say, the gas chamber, and you won't get to a save point for another half hour, you won't lose your mind. Just be prepared to put down the game for a week or two to get over yet-another-stupid-death.

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