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/ Reviews / Shooters / Trespasser / Page 2
Trespasser is a game that gets better after you spend time with it. As you have probably heard, the biggest setback is the system requirements.










Gameplay
Trespasser is by far the most ambitious game of '98. While I was sitting in on the 3DGN chat with the developers a few months back without knowing anything about the game, I just couldn't believe what they were saying Trespasser could do. Things like being able to knock over a trailer by removing one of it's support beams, amazing dinosaur AI, looking down and seeing your body and your holster (compared to the nothingness of other games), picking up any object you see, and being able to interact with it. I was surprised that a game with those features would be coming out before Y2K. Needless to say, I was as giddy as a little schoolgirl when I got this baby on my HD.

After about 10-15 minutes of play, I was frustrated. The physics were amazing, just the way everything moved so realistically, but I couldn't stand anything else. I tried to go through a door on a fence, and then the door fell off on top of me. It didn't slide off of my head or hurt me; it just got stuck around my waist. Walking or running in the game is already slow, but with a 10-foot tall door stuck on your legs it's just about impossible. I rebooted and was much more careful when I went through the door for the second time.

Once inside, I found a nice little target range for me to try out the weapons. I picked up a handgun and discovered that aiming was quite difficult with the "Amazing" arm. If you haven't played the demo, then you haven't experienced the most marvelous arm in the world. While your other arm is never seen (I assume it was lost in the plane wreck.), your Amazing arm more than makes up for it. At the press of a button Amazing arm snaps up in front of you, moving around as you move the mouse, then twisting and turning in a full 360 with the help of a couple other buttons, and picking up anything it can find. Amazing arm can also throw objects including sticks, rocks, staplers, or even a basketball! While it sounds very fun, it isn't. My arm flopped around for a good amount of time before finding the gun.

Aiming is done by actually looking through the gun's site, so getting a sharp aim on something is hard with Happy Arm in charge. When walking through the forest your gun will be dropped every time it brushes against a tree. Very annoying. I tried picking up some of the bigger weapons and was disappointed by how they worked. The shotguns and rifles are held entirely wrong. They are held straight-armed fully in front of you, without using any sort of shoulder or left arm support. When Dreamworks decided to use the gun's site to make the game more realistic, they should have made the handling of weapons realistic as well. Aiming simply can't be natural the way these guns are held.

Since Trespasser is so different from other games, it takes a good amount of experimenting before you can enjoy it. After enough time, I got so good at the Amazing arm that it seemed like a deformed, mechanical, strangely erotic arm of my own. I am now able to take my gun and throw it straight up in the air and catch it when it comes back down (ladies, ladies... calm down, it's just a trick). Aiming accurately with the arm-gun combo doesn't really improve over time, but it gets a little easier to estimate at close ranges where the lead will hit. I can't stress how much accurate aiming would have helped in an outdoor shooter like this.

After a week of playing Trespasser, I was really into it. I found that it was not the fast paced dino-shooter that I had expected but a tense action/adventure game. You are presented with obstacles varying from dull key finding to getting around a seemingly undefeatable pack of Raptors. The great thing about each of the challenges is that there is always more than one way around them. To get past the raptors I could have used a turret placed about 40 yards away, or tried taking them out with my shotgun, but I found that climbing up on the abandoned monorail and dropping boxes on their heads worked best for me. There are even ways around boring key finding puzzles, in one instance I found that I could easily climb a gate rather than search the gigantic town for a key.

When the developers were talking about large outdoor environments at the chat, I think someone asked if the outdoor levels would be as big as Unreal's. If you have seen this game in action, you will know why the Dreamworks guys had trouble answering through their laughter. About 95% of this game is played in huge outdoor plains and forests. Finding your way around this world may seem daunting at first, but you really just need to use common sense. Your goal is to contact another person to help you get off the island, so if you see a sign of civilization (power lines, trails, train tracks), follow it. This method of making linear gameplay in a non-linear world is very unique. Many people complain about the player speed, but when Anne (that's you) is running she goes about 30 MPH. When looking at the vast world in front of you, it seems slow.

As far as action goes, Trespasser has many shortcomings. In the Jurassic Park movies, the raptors were smart and quick, teaming up on their victims with amazing stealth. In Trespasser, they are usually no faster than you and seem really stupid. Sometimes for no apparent reason a dino will freeze and stand in place like a statue. I would normally lower the grade for something like this, but it's just too much fun to play with a frozen dino! Playing with a dead dinosaur is cool, but a frozen one is a real treat. I can throw rocks at it and make a big blood pile, stick my gun in it's eye, push it around so it walks funny, get under it's belly and jump up while making pig squeals... did I say that out loud?

Your first encounters with the dinosaurs will be very frightening, especially when the T-Rex comes straight for you and lets out its loud roar. Raptors can be scary as long as they aren't in open fields. If they are in open areas, it's too easy to predict their movements, and your only threat is to run out of ammo. When walking through dense forests you can't help but get nervous when you hear the familiar thumps of the Raptors knowing you will turn around just in time to see a screen full of teeth.

Trespasser's gameplay is truly original. It could use a lot of tweaking and polishing, but that is expected for a game that was developed from an entirely clean slate. Dreamworks took the first person genre an entirely new direction. It has been said before, but it's true: Trespasser is far ahead of its time. Running it on my PII300, 96mb with an 8mb PCI voodoo2 card could tell you that. I was stuck with about 15-20 fps in the dense areas. The amount of math being computed on every screen is insane due to the real world physics. My system should be the minimum you run Trespasser on with an AGP 1x or PCI video card. If you have a PII 266 to 400 and a RivaTNT or other AGP 2x card this game will run without a hiccup. The tweaking and polishing of Trespasser is going on right now. Here are some of the things that will be addressed:

Patch Info
Tighter jumping
Faster character speed
Fixed cheats
Easier to use keypads
Various bug fixes

Those fixes should be released in December. The next patch will include more serious changes like enhanced combat, better audio collisions, plant floating objects, and any other tweaking that needs to be done.

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