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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

at popapostle-dot-com
The Thing: Cold Case The Thing
"Cold Case"
Video Game
Designed by Andrew Curtis
Directed by William Latham
Developed by Computer Artworks
Released by Black Label Games
Released in 2002


A U.S. Special Forces team investigates the remains of the American and Norwegian bases in Antarctica.


Read the video game story summary at Wikipedia


Notes form the Thing chronology


Although the game is intended as a direct sequel to the 1982 film, for purposes of placing the story in PopApostle's Thing chronology, I've decided to place it after all of the stories published by Dark Horse Comics. It's not entirely clear how much time has passed since the end of the film and the beginning of the events in the game, but pre-release publicity for the game suggests it's supposed to be a couple of months, so there is time for the Dark Horse stories to have taken place. And it makes a certain amount of sense that Captain Blake in the game does not find more notes inside Outpost 31 because they were already taken by the U.S. research team in "Questionable Research" (though it does leave the question of why the arctic marines here were sent if the researchers of the Donachek were known to have already been there; perhaps the marines were sent simply as a cover, to hide the fact that the U.S. government had already sent a research team there and recovered materials for study). Also, in the game, one must ignore the discovery of Childs' frozen body at Outpost 31 since he was seen still alive in "The Thing from Another World" Parts 1 and 2, to finally become Thingified at some point after "The Thing from Another World" Part 2, and his Thing version finally killed with flame in Tierra del Fuego in "Climate of Fear" Part 4.


Didja Know?


The video game is a sequel for the 1982 film The Thing. The game is actually called simply The Thing; I have chosen to apply the title "Cold Case" to differentiate it from the 1982 film and the 2011 prequel film also called The Thing.


This video game seems to be inspired not only by 1982's The Thing but also the 1986 film Aliens. Here, a military team is sent to investigate the U.S. and Norwegian stations, facing multitudes of Thing-creatures along the way, just as the Colonial Marines do against alien xenomorphs in Aliens. Some of the dialog here is also reminiscent of that of the characters of the latter film.


The character of Dr. Faraday is modeled on the face of John Carpenter, director of the 1982 film. Carpenter also provided the character's voice in an uncredited role.


Didja Notice?


(Unless otherwise noted, references to "the film" are intended as references to 1982's The Thing.)


The map of the Antarctic continent at the beginning of the game seems to indicate that Outpost 31 is located on the eastern side. Another later in the game shows the relation to the Norwegian base on the continent.
Antarctic continent Norwegian and US bases


As Blake arrives at Outpost 31, he reports to Whitley over the radio that everything is FUBAR. FUBAR is a military slang acronym for "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition".


The military patches identifying members of Alpha and Beta teams indicate they are considered "arctic marines".

Arctic marines patch


The interiors of Outpost 31 in the game are fairly primitive looking and not particularly like the rooms, doors, and corridors seen in the film.


When Blake walks into one of the rooms at the beginning of the game, a computer screen blows up. Why? No explanation is given. Possibly we are supposed to assume that power surges are occurring due to the damage throughout the base.


A narrative note during the game claims that the "virus" has the ability to replicate living organisms, including clothing. The Thing has not been shown to replicate a victim's clothing in the past. It has to be careful about damaging or blood-staining the victim's clothes or put on fresh clothes after mimicking a human body. replication note


Blake finds a note on Dr. Copper's computer stating he's written a 5-page report on the anomalous body that was brought back from the Norwegian outpost. The body shown here does not look like the twisted double-body seen in the film. Copper's message also states that access to medical supplies is limited to himself and Garry, code 1138. The "1138" is likely a reference to George Lucas' 1971 film THX 1138.
Anomolous body Two-face body
Anomalous body in the video game Two-faced body from The Thing movie


Blake's team finds Childs' body, apparently dead of exposure after sitting down by the fire with MacReady at the end of the film. In "The Thing from Another World" Part 1, Childs is depicted as having survived the ordeal. The absence of MacReady here clues the player in that he could turn up at some point during the game.


Of course, having been released in 2002, the game's depiction of the Norwegian base and its circumstances does not match that seen in the 2011 prequel film beyond what was known of it from the 1982 film.


At the Norwegian outpost, Blake discovers one of the special ops team, Carter, and tells him he came from investigating the U.S. outpost five klicks south of there. A klick is military slang for "kilometer". This is much closer to the U.S. base than is stated in the novelization of The Thing, in which Fuchs mentions that the Norwegian station is about 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) from U.S. Outpost 31.


In the prequel film, we learn that the Norwegian outpost is called Thule Station, but no name is ever stated here. The station also seems to be much larger and covers more ground than the one seen in the two films.


As Blake is about to perform the blood test on himself to prove to Pierce he is still human, he says, "Now I'm gonna show you what I already know." This is almost the same line spoken by MacReady in a similar situation in the film.


In the video game, it turns out that a company called Gen-Inc had an underground research station below the Norwegian outpost. Obviously, this was not hinted at at all in the prequel film. Gen-Inc is a fictional company, modifying Thing cells, and even Thing-creatures, as a potential bioweapon.


Gen-Inc refers to the infective capability of the Thing's cells as "the Cloud virus".


Where does Whitley obtain all the extra biomass to transform into the gigantic Thing near the end of the game? Since it happens on top of the crashed spaceship, was the extra biomass somehow stored within?


At the end of the game, MacReady jokingly tells Blake he's on his way back from an extended arctic vacation. But he should have said "antarctic"...the south pole, where they are at is the antarctic, the north pole the arctic.


Notice that MacReady is wearing his so-called Vera Cruz sombrero which he wore in the film.


The song that plays over the end credits of the game is the 2001 song "After Me" by Saliva.


Memorable Dialog


Christ, what is that?.wav

a God damn UFO.wav

we're not alone in the universe.wav

what's your name, smart-ass?.wav 


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