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PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:07 pm 
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A worthy sequel to 'Jurassic' flicks

-The Toronto Star




After countless magazine cover stories, interviews and screen shots released on the Internet, Trespasser has enjoyed a dedicate following, long before the product even shipped. Gamers drooled at the notion of stepping into the perilous world of Lost World: Jurassic Park, and the savvy folks at Dreamworks Interactive promised they'd deliver the goods.

So, did they give us a worthy interactive sequel to Spielberg's nail-biting films? The answer is yes, but it's probably not the game you were expecting . . .
In Trespasser, the player assumes the role of Anne, a young woman leaving for a vacation in Costa Rica, when her plane crashes and she's washed ashore on the Site B island (remember . . . "something has survived"). The goal is to stay alive long enough to find a way to radio for help.
As you walk - or run - through the island, Anne's voice is heard as she comments on her surroundings, supplied by Minnie Driver ("Good Will Hunting," "Grosse Pointe Blank"), while the soft-spoken voice of John Parker Hammond is delivered by the same celebrated actor in the movie, Lord Richard Attenborough.
Throughout the game, he reads excerpts from his memoirs on how dinosaurs were brought back to life - and what went wrong. Anne travels around from a first-person perspective, that is, you will see what Anne sees, as if you were looking out of her eyes. If you peer down toward her body, you'll notice Anne has a heart tattoo above her left bosom. This serves as a way to gauge your health in the game. The closer you are to dying, the heart will begin to fill in with red.

The game is controlled best by using the assigned arrow keys to walk around, jump, crouch or shoot, and the mouse for the head movement and for picking up objects. Most of the game takes place outdoors, and with the stunning graphics and authentic sound effects, it really does feel like you're smack dab in the middle of a subtropical island teeming with "wild" life.
But this realism is not only achieved through graphics - never before has a computer game simulated real-life physics so well. For example, players can pick up rocks, a barrel or a 2x4 wooden plank and it has real weight and size. Therefore, dropping them into a small pool of water will produce a different reaction for each kind of object.

Or perhaps you'll need to stack a pile of boxes for some reason, repair a bridge or knock down a gun from the top of a ledge by throwing a rusty can at it? It is these kinds of logical puzzles, where you must manipulate the environment with the objects you find, that will eventually get you off the island.
I mentioned Trespasser is not what you expected because it is more of a slower-paced adventure game than an action game. Sure, Anne must find weapons to kill deadly raptors and other dinosaurs, but the emphasis is on exploring the environment and traveling inland to seek a means of communication.
In other words, if you're looking for a "shoot-em-up" game, blow the dust off of last year's Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, instead.

That doesn't mean there aren't moments of tension in the game. At one point, I had only three bullets left in the gun I was holding and I heard the distinct growl of two fiendishly clever velociraptors making their way over to me. The scary part is that I couldn't see where they were, but I heard them, all right.
As luck would have it, when I peeked around a large tree to see how much longer I had to live, they decided to make a meal out of a stegosaurus instead.
As beautiful and open-ended as Trespasser is, the game certainly has its price. The system requirements are extremely steep so don't even think of picking up the game unless you're using at least a very high-end Pentium or Pentium II PC with lots of RAM (32MB RAM is required, but 64MB is recommended). A good 3D accelerator card is also a plus for less-blocky graphics and smoother gameplay.

So, if you're itching for a unique and immersive computer game that is quite different than the norm, Trespasser is a wise choice, assuming you've got the power to run it. Just keep in mind it is a game that relies more on brains than brawn, and don't bother buying the game for its gorgeous scenery - if you keep your eyes on it too long, you just may end up as a prehistoric snack.
Download a free demo of Trespasser at http://www.trespasser.com.

~~~~~~~~

By Marc Saltzman

Marc Saltzman is author of "Gamer's Web Directory: Sites & Secrets" and hosts radio show "M @ rc's Web Watch" on 102.1 The Edge. E-mail Marc at saltzman @ passport.ca.








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Photos: ON THE RAMPAGE: Some of the dinosaur nasties you might encounter in Trespasser, from Dreamworks Interactive.

Source: The Toronto Star, November 19, 1998, Thursday, METRO EDITION


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