A small child is pulling at my arm, this child looks familiar.
It’s a young version of me: ‘Hey there’ I say, ‘what do you want?’.
He is eight years old, and Jurassic Park is the stuff dreams are made out of he’s just seen it for the fifth time and now my young self informs me that Telltale Games are releasing Jurassic Park: The Game, on April 20th 2011.
‘No, no, no’ I reply.
‘Jurassic Park: The Game... really? It sounds terrible, I’m not interested, I’ve seen too many JP games try and fail’.
This kid won’t quit though, he keeps jumping around and getting excited: ‘Who cares if it’s bad, you always enjoy Jurassic Park games even if it is a point-and-click-styled adventure with limited graphical capability’ he says.
Damn it, he’s right. I will get this game. The child within always wins out in these cases, the heart will rule the head, but will I let that get in the way of my trip back to Isla Nublar? No chance.
Telltale Games, who gave us Monkey Island, Sam and Max and recently Back to the Future, have taken a big gamble on the prehistoric franchise, and although there’s always a stigma attached to ‘movie games’, the biggest battle will be with expectation.
In a world of studio mega-bucks, mass multiplayer and an eerie fetish with FPS titles, Telltale are taking us back to the old school.
The recent success of Heavy Rain (PS3) signaled a shift away from the modern shoot ‘em ups and it looks as though Jurassic Park will continue in this direction.
From the screenshots, videos and interviews, the game looks adequately animated, but created with love. This is what I’d expect from a modestly sized studio. The real pull of this game will be the story.
Set alongside the events of the first film, we follow a female mercenary sent to retrieve the infamous shaving can embryos left by Dennis Nedry before his well deserved demise.
She soon finds herself amongst a group of park workers, attempting to flee the doomed island before the last boat leaves. The unfortunate group inevitably find themselves stranded when the power goes.
On the island of Isla Nublar, the last thing you want is a power outage and, as we know all too well, nature finds a way, meaning a fight for survival ensues.
Anyone playing this game should expect moments of joy in failure. It’s been reported so far that the game’s best moments are the various ways in which you can get your character killed, whether it be on the receiving end of a Triceratops charge, a T-Rex bite or a Velociraptor ambush, you get the picture.
Kevin Boyle, executive producer at Telltale said about the project: “If you’re not on your toes, and you let a dinosaur get the better of you, then things will end quite poorly for you”.
The graphical power of this downloadable game, may not be crucial to its success, and the presumably restricted exploration opportunity (given the quicktime-heavy nature) should mean running it won’t demand too much of your machine.
Those who prefer their games carnage-filled, head-shot focused and online might find this game isn’t the one for them.
If mystery, dinosaurs, and more specifically, Jurassic Park is your bag, then get on board. As I’ve aged, not so unlike a fine wine, I’ve become far more critical and picky with the games I choose to play. It takes a lot to really hook me, but for some games, I make an exception.
I would assume that everybody has a ‘kryptonite’ game, a true weakness. This is me right here. Ignoring gaping plot-holes in the three movies was a good pastime of mine, and I’m willing to overlook certain failings.
Joe Pinney, writer and designer of the game, says the team wants to bring ‘the feeling’ of the first film back. After the steady decline of The Lost World and then Jurassic Park III, any original fans of either book and film, will be hoping this game takes them back to their original love, awe and fascination of dinosaurs.
The team behind the game have taken time to learn about the creatures and understand them following consultations with paleontologist Kevin Padian. This means that for the dino-geeks like me, who want gritty realism in their Jurassic Park stories, more akin to Michael Crichton’s books, the Dinos should be created with both love and science (ignoring the famously over-exaggerated raptors).
Overall feelings for this game then: childish excitement. Telltale have tapped into a resource with great potential, and if you can accept this won’t be a visual stunner, then it’s definitely a game to take interest in.
Telltale say this game will retail at about £20/$30 so, if it runs well, has a decent story and impressive dino-animation then I, for one, will be happy to hand over the money for a chance to dip back into my impressionable youth.
Plenty of gamers will feel a subconscious loyalty to to this old childhood favourite, and let’s just hope that after the release, we can admire an almost long-lost genre of gaming and say: “Clever girl”.