Jurassic Park Trespasser: The game that could have changed everything.
By Lo-Ping - Tue Mar 01, 3:57 pm
Where to start with this unfinished half-baked game. I suppose I’ll start with a bit of back story behind it.
Trespasser started as a small idea within Dreamworks Interactive. An idea that eventually tried to blossom into a beautiful game environment designed to be awe-inspiring, however it failed at this but it succeeded at being the first ever game with a physics-based engine, so take that Half-life! In fact the Half-Life 2 development team at Valve admitted that Trespasser had influenced them greatly during the production of the game. So I suppose that you could say Trespasser is in fact the grandfather of most current games.
The physics engine was both good and bad for the game. We could do things such as drag a steel beam over a ledge and drop it on a raptor (fun the first time after that its just dull). However it also caused the player to take damage when holding a melee weapon such as a stick or baseball bat in storage. It ran off the idea of using mass to cause damage when it contacts something. This concept failed and the fix to the problem of the player from being killed when holding a melee weapon was to remove all mass from them as a quick fix. The developers had planned for the player to control two arms but after they realized the sheer amount of coding to make the first arm they noticed they couldn’t due to an issue with time.
Like the title says, Trespasser COULD have been the game that changed everything, but they were confronted with a ticking clock and with each interview more and more secrets were being revealed. They basically backed themselves into a creative corner however the things they did were absolutely revolutionary. No matter how you slice it this game was amazing. Provided you didn’t stumble upon the experimental third person view where you would discover the protagonist (Anne) is nothing more than a rolling chest box. I dead serious, she is nothing but a pair of breasts an arm with a rolling box for movement (only able to be seen in debug mode i believe). Speaking of the arm this is the only game I know of to use an arm you can control and move including reach down and pick something up by doing more than simply looking at the item and hitting a button. Instead we have to hold down a button move our good ol’ noodle arm about crouch down and pick up say a rock. We can then swing it around all willy nilly and throw it at something which the game has you doing that a lot with its puzzles.
Some of which are better than others such as the so-called “wall”. The wall is actually a set of early civilization steps up a hill which is filled with traps. It has only two traps though a wall that falls on you and darts I think its been a while since I’ve played it so my memory is fuzzy. Another puzzle involves venturing to the hatchery I believe it was or the research lab but it involves wandering about two sizable buildings looking for a few key cards and a small set up of button pushing to activate a computer network or something. I just remembered it was in this area we find the only good melee weapon that works and that is Nedry’s mace. You may remember Dennis Nedry from the first Jurassic park movie as the greedy fat computer technician who stole the embryos. His mace actually has its mass put towards the end of it and its stored in the holster instead of on the back. This keeps the mass off of the character thus meaning you do not take damage!
So I will give the development team on their ability to make at least one weapon usable. When talking about weapons i just have to stop and mention the Smith and Wesson revolver they have in the game. It’s an honest to god beast of a gun nothing compared to the dart rifle. Yes that’s right they put the dart rifle in the game, you know the one from The Lost World that could stop your heart before you felt the dart hit you. Yeah that one I think it was a one shot kill for T-Rexes then again it would take every gun in a level to kill one. That, or infinite ammo. There are two versions of the dart rifle the tranquilizer rifle and the toxin rifle its a mere skin change and ammo type that changes the two. The Toxin rifle fires a one hit kill to all dinosaurs in the game toxic round, very useful.
Thankfully you don’t run into very many of them until the second to last mission but the most common enemy we see is the raptor. Or more specifically three types of raptors there’s the brown ones the yellow ones and the red ones the only real reason for the color naming is because of their markings. These annoying little monsters generally like to jump a lot unless you turn off that feature in options. They also have the ability to walk into buildings when the developers tried their best to remove that feature. Since whenever a dinosaur entered a building the game would have a fatal error and crash immediately. The cause for this is unknown but it kind of makes the buildings safe zones for the player. I had hopes that the ATX mod had fixed and it did so hurrah!
Being set on site B we also see some equipment left behind by the hunters from the lost world i suppose this is why there are so many weapons simply strung around the island. I guess them being so sloppy at clean-up is very useful for Anne’s sake. Except for the jeeps Some how they have all lost their tires and are placed in some fairly odd locations such as this one.
As far as i know the game has upwards of 15 square kilometers of play space for the player throughout 8 levels most of it consists of the occasional building or jeep and plenty of jungles and hills valleys and such, and occasionally you will find a spot that causes Anne to remember a short excerpt from John Hammond’s memoir that she happened to read before the flight. The Hammond you hear in the game sounds more like the Hammond from the book instead of the kind but deluded friendly old chap from the movies, he sounds forlorn and almost as though he regrets the park. Through these audio clips you begin to hear stories about what was happening behind the scenes of the Park and Site B, it really gives some new light to the movies to those who haven’t read the novels. In this game for one short level we see the small town where people lived on site B which is also the site that they did most of the research behind the idea of Jurassic park. The audio flashbacks alone are worth trudging through the game for, one that plays in the first level were Hammond says “Somewhere, in a darkened dusty room deep within Site B, lies the key to everything. Just waiting to be rediscovered once more.”
That clip alone made one of our Editors pull out his DVD trilogy and watch them once more.
Such information is very interesting if your into Jurassic park like me. In the end this game has a few twists and turns eventually ending not with an expected battle with an alpha male T-Rex, but instead a Utahraptor and his small pack who have apparently been orchestrating all of it!. To quote the late-great Robert Muldoon: “Clever girl”
Although, I’m not really sure its a girl though but either way… I didn’t stop to check to see if it had anything going on there really.
Don’t think anyone would unless they’re into reptilian bestiality. I would point out a person because I know no one who is into that stuff. So if your one of those people keep it to yourself and the internet after all that’s what it’s for right?
Well that’s all that can really come to mind about this game it’s really quite fun when you play it and it decides to actually work. Hopefully somewhere, in a darkened room lies a file with the secrets to finish this beautiful game. Waiting for someone to dust it off and sit down to finish it. Rebuilding it in Cryengine 2 wouldn’t be a bad idea either… Sadly however it is very unlikely this will be done by any real developer, instead it will be up to the fans. I suppose that fans doing a remake for it wont be all bad however I’m worried we won’t see the large amounts of creativity of that the original developers had.
As a note there is a group of awesome people out there working on a Trespasser remake using Crysis. For those who own the game and don’t already know about the fan community of trescom.org , it’s a sizable group that gladly produces content to help keep the game fresh and exciting.
Also, a scrunched up raptor.