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In the 2002 video game The Thing, there are three classes of non-player characters (NPCs): Soldiers, Medics and Engineers. Here you will find a list of all the characters Captain Blake can acquire into his team, aside from notes on their recruitment: some can join him the normal way, others require mods or bugs, others can be recruited for just a few seconds before they turn into Assimilants.

Soldiers

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In the 2002 video game The Thing, Soldiers are combat-oriented non-player characters (NPCs), who utilize weaponry more effectively than other NPC classes, and spend less ammunition during firefights. They are the most courageous class.

Soldiers can be identified in the squad menu profile by a green-colored background and a submachine gun icon.

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North, a Soldier. Notice the green background and submachine gun icon.

The following is a list of Soldier NPCs from The Thing:

  • Iversen (*can only spawn and be recruited via mods)

Medics

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Combat Medics are military personnel who are responsible for providing first aid and frontline trauma care on the battlefield. In the 2002 video game The Thing, Medics are non-player characters (NPCs) who automatically heal squad mates. They are unable to heal themselves, and have less courage than Engineers or Soldiers.

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Weldon, a Medic. Notice the pink background and syringe icon.

Medics can be identified in the squad menu profile by a pink-colored background and a syringe icon.

The following is a list of Medic NPCs from The Thing:

Engineers

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Combat Engineers are military specialists who performs a variety of construction and demolition tasks under combat conditions. In the 2002 video game The Thing, Engineers are non-player characters (NPCs), required to unlock many doors in the game by repairing advanced Junction boxes. Engineers have less courage than soldiers but more than Medics.

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Burrows, an Engineer. Notice the blue blackground and wrench icon.

Engineers can be identified in the squad menu profile by a blue-colored background and a wrench icon.

The following is a list of Engineer NPCs from The Thing:

  • Larsen (*can't be encountered in the game, assumed to be an Engineer)

Technical limitations and criticism

The game usually offers the player three instead of the four squad mate slots that the squad menu can handle. There are a few times in the game where it's possible to recruit four squad mates at once (in the Strata Medical Laboratory and Strata Furnace levels) but it's never for long. In the Strata Laboratory, it's possible to reunite five squad mates at once (Falchek, Dixon, Fisk, Carter, Stanmore) which will cause one NPC to be left out of the squad menu (two of these NPCs burst out almost immediately precisely to solve this problem). The game usually handles three NPCs at once and makes the others be killed, disappear or become infected so that this NPC overload doesn't happen. According to developer Andrew Curtis:

"NPCs could be infected in battles with the aliens or by being left alone with an infected squad member," explains Curtis, "but sometimes we had to script an infection to remove an NPC from play due to technical and design constraints." Curtis admits this was a 'big mistake' with many players inevitably feeling cheated as fellow soldiers, tested moments earlier and proven genuinely human, could suddenly sprout more tentacles than a Japanese restaurant and attack the player. Diarmid Campbell also recalls the conflicting infection concept."

Trivia

  • Some Imitations disguise as a class, but get it wrong: these include Iversen (Norwegian Radio Operator), Carter (Soldier), Guy and Austin, who are designated as Soldiers in the squad menu, but are dressed as Medics and Engineers. Thus, you can't rely on an NPC's uniform to tell you which class he belongs to. Anyone who doesn't seem to belong in their class is most assuredly an Imitation. The Unnamed Medic (NPCEntity_I) is the only one of these that isn't an Imitation, but he was never meant to be reached by the player.
  • The characters of Hawk and Hobson were scrapped, and only their voices can be found in the game files. It's unknown what class they would have belonged to, but judging by their dialogue they might have been researchers (Medic/Engineer classes). It is theorized that the Unnamed Medic could have originally been one of them.
  • In the game files there are files for a character named Ryder, but he doesn't have any voice files.
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