The ThingDeveloper: Computer Artworks
PC, Xbox, PlayStation 2
Like Tron 2.0
, The Thing
was a 2003 game based on a cult movie from 1982. Also like Tron 2.0
it failed to really make a big dent in the market and has been unfortunately forgotten by a lot of gamers, despite getting a lot of press and hype in the run-up to launch. Ah well.
The game of The Thing
follows on from John Carpenter’s classic horror film pretty directly, depicting the adventures of two separate military teams who are dropped off in the Antarctic and told to find out what’s happened to the science outpost there, which has fallen quiet recently.
The early stages of the game are thus spent re-telling the plot of the film for those who might have missed it. By searching the outpost and the surrounding area you’re quickly able to piece together that the scientists were slaughtered by a shape-changing alien. You even get a chance to examine the UFO up-close before you’re called away from the outpost and the plot starts to go in an entirely new and somewhat unexpected direction.
Kill it with fire!
What helped make The Thing
stand out at the time though was the unique trust/fear system that affected your squad as you went through the game. NPCs would react differently to their surroundings as you explored the outpost, possibly freaking out if they got pushed past their threshold or started to suspect that you were actually an alien shape-changer.
At the same time though, just because they might freak out doesn’t mean that they
are shape-changers – that meant you constantly had to watch them and try to discern who you could trust. Kill the wrong person though and the whole team might turn on you, which gives the game an interesting and paranoid edge.
Die Hard TrilogyDeveloper: Probe Entertainment
PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn
Truly a game from another era, back before games were expected to have cohesive plots that tied together every element of the design, Die Hard Trilogy
is an all-in-one package that brings all the Die Hard movies together into one place. The result is essentially three games in one, each with a completely different genre and setup.
The first game in the pack, Die Hard
is a fairly standard third-person shooter that has John McClane running around killing criminals and saving hostages in a huge skyscraper packed with extra challenges and secrets. The second game, Die Harder
shifted the action to first-person and strapped McClane to rails for a light-gun romp through Dulles Airport. The third game, With a Vengence
, changed things around again – to a Crazy Taxi
clone that had you running around defusing bombs as fast as you could.
Anywhere else the mish-mash of genres and plots would have been a bad thing. This was Die Hard though and, as the fourth film proved, John McClane rarely needs to make sense. All that really mattered was that each of the individual games was fun-filled and action-packed – which they were. Die Hard Trilogy
went on to be one of the games which helped make the PlayStation a hit and, while it’s definitely not aged very well, we still have many fond memories of playing it as youngsters, even despite the frenzied switching between controllers and play-styles.