Jurassic Park: Trespasser – Next Time It’ll Be Flawless

… You know that bit where John Hammond spoils the magic of the flea circus by telling Ellie that it was all motorised? Well, I’m not like John. This article contains spoilers about the bizarre & obscure PC title Jurassic Park: Trespasser, you have been warned… 

After the excitement of that first groundbreaking movie, the cinematic adaptation of Michael Crichton’s follow up “Jurassic Park: The Lost world” was a huge deal. I remember all the promotions and merchandise tie-ins alluding to the mysterious “Site B” – I’m pretty sure that even now, if you utter that short word coupled with a solitary letter most people (at least in my age range) would immediately think of dinosaurs. A year later in 1998 DreamWorks Interactive released “Jurassic Park: Trespasser” (actually just called “Trespasser”) to coincide with the home release of  the movie. Sadly, rushing a game tie-in out to meet with some other release schedule is, as I’ve mentioned before, often one of the big problems with such a title and Trespasser was no exception. It was buggy, had sections cut, and largely failed to live up to the ambitious intentions of the designers. Twenty years later I decided to give this notorious game a shot in my ongoing quest to find the best Jurassic Park game out there. Continue reading “Jurassic Park: Trespasser – Next Time It’ll Be Flawless”

There’s a Hole in the Sky, Through Which Things Can Fly – A Portal Retrospective

Shhhh… I have a confession to make and I’m pretty sure that I can trust you all, right? I got kinda starstruck the other day on Twitter, but it’s OK because I played it cool and I don’t think the person involved was any the wiser.

Now I’ve grabbed your attention I can reveal that the mystery person was the most excellent game designer, Kim Swift. Through the magic… or weirdness… of Twitter we shared a short exchange about successfully (or not in my case) driving in snow. Unfortunately, despite being strangely informative, that is not what I would ideally have liked to quiz Kim about. In that ideal world I would have asked her about her time heading up the team that developed Portal; her involvement in the Left4Dead games; why she left Valve; what she thought about Portal 2; and her hopes for the future. The whole incident left me thinking about Portal and its legacy. Even the story of Gabe Newall hiring Kim and her team after seeing their short title, ‘Narbacular Drop’, has a touch of mystery about it. Continue reading “There’s a Hole in the Sky, Through Which Things Can Fly – A Portal Retrospective”

Weird Retro Mumblings: Oh My! NBA Jam T.E.

Apparently first released back in 1994, NBA Jam T.E. (For Sega Mega Drive) holds the illustrious honour of being possibly the only ‘team sports’ game that I’ve ever really enjoyed. As I’ve often mentioned, one of the great things about gaming is the breadth of the medium, so whilst it’s not my preferred “Heftgröße” (as our German speaking cousins would say) I know that there are gamers out there who revel in ‘Fifa’ and ‘Madden’ as much as I do in ‘Bioshock’ and BotW. Continue reading “Weird Retro Mumblings: Oh My! NBA Jam T.E.”

QotM*: Poor Wardrobe Selection

*Question of the Month is a metaphorical puppy let loose in a ball-pool orchestrated by Later Levels

As always the game blogging community isn’t afraid to tackle the really big issues of our chosen sphere of interest. For November we’re looking at fashion choices, but not the most stylish, or sexiest, … Or even those outfits that we as gamers would like to steal from our favourite digital protagonists and strut around in from time to time (answer to all three is Link’s barbarian armour set from BotW). For this question we’ve been asked to come up with the character who has just made a plain bad choice because of the practicalities of their chosen activity. Continue reading “QotM*: Poor Wardrobe Selection”

That Was No lizard: Dino Crisis

Spoiler Warning: This article contains plot spoilers for Dino Crisis and strong dinosaur references

Motivated by my recent nostalgic ramblings about games with fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds, I decided to give something new, but of the same era and style a go, so I leapt on to eBay to pick up a copy of Capcom’s 1999 PS1 release, Dino Crisis … and now owe everyone an apology because Dino Crisis doesn’t have pre-rendered backgrounds, it takes place in 3D environment… so, sorry everyone… I was wrong… It is however a game that follows the Resident Evil style of gameplay remarkably closely which is unsurprising being directed by Shinji Mikami, produced by Capcom at a time that the early Resident Evil games were at their peak, and even mentions Resident Evil on the boxart. At the time I was aware of it mainly through playing a short (and seemingly mis-remembered) demo, although given that there were two sequels, it must had had at least a fair following and reception. From my own point of view it strummed all the right nostalgic chords that I had hoped for when I got the urge to revisit a “Resident Evil” game; so much that I played it through to completion which is more than I can say for some retro games I’ve tried to turn my hand to.   Continue reading “That Was No lizard: Dino Crisis”

Immovable Viewpoint: Reminiscing About Pre-Rendered Backgrounds

With current generation PC’s and consoles able to render glorious scenes on-the-fly in almost photo-realistic detail… well, at least until the next step forward when we’ll all look back and wonder how we ever coped with the current blocky mess of low-resolution graphics… the idea of pre-rendering backgrounds feels like a quaint footnote in the annals of gaming’s heritage. It occupied the fabled spot of cutting edge practice for a few short years around the mid to late 90’s and is most closely associated with Capcom survival horror games (the early Resident Evil games and Dino Crisis) but was used in a few other notable games including Final Fantasy VII. Of course with my self acknowledged predisposition to Resident Evil 2 I do have a soft spot for this particular visual style and, having been reminded of it following my recent nostslgia trip into Devil May Cry, my brain has been idley mulling over the technique from a practical and stylistic point of view. The ‘What’ & ‘Why’ of pre-rendered backgrounds is worth picking over before getting to how I feel about them, especially as there may be (shockingly) more than a few people reading who’ve never experienced a game with fixed camera angles and pre-rendered backgrounds. Continue reading “Immovable Viewpoint: Reminiscing About Pre-Rendered Backgrounds”

Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 2 – Devil May Cry (Podcast)

The long awaited second episode of  Please Insert Disk Twois finally here!

Sure it’s been a little while since out last audio outing, but Chinery and I have rustled together the next instalment of our gaming cultural exchange. Once again one of us has picked a gaming favourite from their personal history that somehow passed the other by… but this time the roles are reversedContinue reading “Please Insert Disk Two: Episode 2 – Devil May Cry (Podcast)”