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Jurassic Park: Trespasser

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Released: 1998

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: PC - Windows

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Developer: DreamWorks Interactive

Submitted by: Duncan Rule

If I only had two words to sum up Jurassic Park: Trespasser, they would probably be “epic fail”. Trespasser is one of the most well known flops in the history of gaming, and it still annoys me even today to think of the utter wasted potential of this title.

Massively hyped before release, Trespasser promised us a gaming experience like no other, featuring robust, true-to-life physics (à la Half-Life 2), vast outdoor environments populated with hundreds of trees, the ability to interact with pretty much anything via a fully controllable “arm”, dynamically created sound effects, and an assortment of other sensory delights. Not only that, but it was set within the world of Jurassic Park and featured all manner of dino-nasties intent on chomping on your face as soon as they got the chance. Unfortunately, the resulting game failed on nearly all levels.

The biggest stinker in the pile is undoubtedly DreamWorks’ attempt to introduce real physics to the game; a system which rarely works properly and seems intent on destroying any suspension of disbelief you may have had by creating some truly bizarre on-screen antics. Stare in disbelief as you bend your own hand back on itself and nearly shoot yourself in the face! Marvel as Velociraptors spasm and contort before dropping through the scenery! Struggle pathetically as you attempt to throw a rock! The promised amazing graphics also fall miles short of the mark, and everything just ends up looking amateurish. Objects in the distance are rendered as 2D bitmaps before suddenly popping into full 3D objects before your very eyes.

While Trespasser certainly isn’t unplayable, and can be a fun diversion if you can ignore the flaws, it still manages to offend my sensibilities with just how good it could have been if only everything had come together. I wanted to like it, I really did, but allowing yourself to think of the promises made by DreamWorks back in ‘98 will make you want to track down the developers, sit them in a room, and not let them leave until they finish what they started.