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Trespasser - A Different Perspective

In the gaming industry today, it is becoming harder and harder to have a game that will be able to stand against the competition. Sometimes a game that is incredibly made is just looked over and ends up in the bargain bin where it seems to collect dust, a la System Shock. Then there are those games that are so original and different, that they make themselves hard to accept. Such is the case with Trespasser by DreamWorks Interactive.

Trespasser was a game that was set in the Jurassic Park world a year after the lost world incident. You are Ann, a woman who crash lands on Jurassic Parks: Lost World site B island. The whole point of the game was to get off the island, and on the way you encountered the same dinos that made the movie a box office hit. This game was seriously over hyped and it seemed at one time that many eyes were watching this game to see if it was going to be the next game to significantly raise the bar.

Trespasser showed of its physics based engine that created a realistic world created by law of physics. For example, if you threw a crate on a slope, the crate wouldn't just plant itself. Depending on how the crate landed after you threw it, it may slowly slide down the hill or may roll down. Another highly boasted feature of trespasser is the extreme realism. Say goodbye to Quake like games that allow you to equip a gun just by running over it. Trespasser made you walk over to the gun and pick it up, line up the sights, and aim the gun at the target. All this set in a huge expansive island that was littered with dinos. Seems like a winning combo, right? Wrong! This game belly flopped faster then Flash Gordon could get to a crapper after taking an overdose on laxatives I bought this game the first week it was released, and I am still amazed by it. I plan to go into game industry, and I have one question for this game. Why? Why was this game regarded as "too ambitious"? Why did most reviewers not accept it? And most of all, why didn't the masses embrace this game?

First lets look at the flaws that game reviewers pointed out. Most people who looked at this game complained of ugly graphics (Screen Shots Included). The graphics of this game from my perspective were downright jaw dropping, but the reviewers didn't seem to share my opinion. They felt that the graphics were too grainy and felt that the forest was made of 2D trees. I can understand a reviewers concern for graphics, but how are you supposed to criticize something that has never been done before. As far as I know, I don't think that any computer game has attempted to create a forest environment. The forest appearance was an organic look that served the purpose and very well created the environment needed.

Another complaint that was brought up very often was the arm interface. You interacted in the world of trespasser via an arm that flung out when ever you clicked the mouse. You could stick that arm out and pick almost anything up and turn it and twist it around. Reviewers complained that this interface was too buggy and awkward to be used easily. I found that the interface, like many things in games, takes time to get used to. I remember when Castle Wolfenstien came out, almost everyone used the keyboard. Only a select few used the mouse and keyboard combo. Then Doom came and people started to use the mouse, but many complained at the difficulty to get used to it. People who used the mouse at the time of doom were usually also deathmatch junkies (Like myself). I still know so many people who complain that they can't circle strafe right now, where using the mouse means the difference between gibbing or being gib soup. It seems that this interface with the arm wasn't given the time or the effort to get used to. After a half-hour in the game I was able to use the interface very easily and towards the second level the whole arm thing became second nature. I also noticed that Trespasser was a hard game to place into a category. It seemed that Trespasser jutted out of the mainstream games that are usually found on the shelf. The game just didn't seem to fit anywhere. It was all in a genre of it's own. I thought that such a feature would be good, but it seemed to alienate the market from the game. It was hard for people to relate to the game. I bet you are thinking, then how come Wolfenstien was accepted. The answer is that Wolfenstien was always around in 2D games. If any of you have been playing games back into the 286, EGA, having 128k MB of ram was "da bomb" age will remember a little game called Into The Eagles Nest. That game was a total Wolfenstien copy. The game included keys and gun-toting enemies, all packaged in a top view format. You trudged around a little base looking for keys to gain access to the elevator to get to the next level while blasting any resistance in the way. See, Wolfenstien has always been around, although it may have not been in the form you see it now, but the idea always was there. Trespasser was a whole new idea all together. Maybe it was our inability to accept the game because it was so different for anything else we have seen. For some it seemed not to be fun because it was so slow paced. Walking mile after mile trying to realistically get off a virtual island. Was it too real for most to enjoy? This may be the reason that this wonderful game was over looked. It was not enjoyed because people felt that it was to close to life, it wasn't an adventure anymore, but a simulation. This may have been the reason that people couldn't take this game to heart.

After looking at this game and searching for a plausible flaw that I could grasp and really scrutinize it for, I found myself lost. This game obviously had flaws. Yet every game today does, but none of these flaws are so drastic that they ruined the experience. How can a game with so much originality and gusto be put down to the point that it wasn't accepted by anyone except the few, like myself, who bought the game blindly without looking at reviews? Towards the end of my analysis, I started to reach the conclusion that I can't trust the reviewers on what they say. There seems like a point when they only write to please the public, weather that means lying to us or not. I feel angered at the gaming society for letting such a game go down without a fight. The only one review that I found to be all true was from www.HappyPuppy.com. They took the whole issue to heart and reviewed the game as it really was giving it a solid score of 80 percent at the end.

In conclusion, I find that the media can not be trusted to rate anything, you have to see it for yourself. Maybe I am wrong and generalizing a large group just because of one bad experience. Yet it seems to re-occur all the time.

Mohammad Kakwan

Like always, let your voice be heard. I am open to your opinions and can be reached at [email protected], or you can mosey on down to the message boards and express yourself to your hearts content there too.

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