It’s no surprise that licensed games have developed quite a reputation over the years. While recent titles like Alien isolation and Death by the light of day suggest that licensed properties are no longer a digital death sentence, there was a time when games that managed to break free from the curse bound were considered miracles. Unfortunately, Jurassic Park: intruder is not one of those miracles. Loaded with bugs, confusing design choices, and serious compatibility issues, it’s far from a good product, and I don’t blame the reviewers for bashing it in 1998. However, despite its flaws, Intruder It also happens to be one of my all-time favorite games, and a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is still worth talking about more than two decades later.
the jurassic park The franchise is no stranger to related games, having released a plethora of platformers and licensed shooters on everything from arcade cabinets to the NES, so with the release of 1997 The lost World (itself an underrated sequel that also boasts the best link marketing in the franchise), DreamWorks Interactive spared no expense in creating tons of video game adaptations. From a bizarre RTS narrated by Jeff Goldblum himself (Chaos Island) to a surprisingly violent Tekken clone (Warpath), no genre was immune to JP mark, although it was ultimately an FPS that brought the developers to their knees.
The first-person renaissance was already in full swing in the mid-90s, with developers around the world trying to come up with explosive new FPS titles. While most of the games were still arena and arcade shooters-y Loss clones, we also had gems like Golden eye and (no doubt) System shock, which allowed for slower exploration and construction of the world. This goal of creating a believable interactive world was what drew Dreamworks Interactive to the project that would eventually become known as Intruder. Approved by Spielberg himself (just like the infamous AND on Atari), the game aimed to tell a terrifying side story in the jurassic park universe, focusing on hardcore survival and realistic physics over the usual over-the-top action.
As the game entered production, the list of innovative features from the developers only grew, promising advanced AI for dinosaurs that would make every encounter unique, and a one-of-a-kind physics system that allowed gamers to interact with the world as if they were really there. The game was also meant to have a more similar tone to the original Michael Crichton novels, swapping the (somewhat) child-friendly thrills of Spielberg’s vision for a spookier, more down-to-earth experience.
In the sense of the story, the game would take place after The lost World, putting players in the shoes of Anne, an original character who must fight to survive after a crash at the infamous Site B, where the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park were originally cultivated. Facing voracious predators with makeshift weapons and limited ammo, Anne would also recall parts of John Hammond’s memories in the universe, further plunging players into a prehistoric nightmare.
Produced by Seamus Blackley, who would eventually lead the development of Microsoft’s Xbox, Intruder It felt like it would be an immersive masterpiece that would raise the bar for both licensed games and FPS titles. Unfortunately, over-ambition and a tight budget led to something much more disappointing on the store shelves. Even after a significant delay (which resulted in the game being released more than a year after The lost World in theaters), the developers were forced to cut corners and break promises in order to simply complete the game, which resulted in a disappointing and poorly optimized experience for the lucky few who could actually run it on material from the late 90s.
With little time for testing, the developers had to remove the advanced AI, making all dinosaurs permanently aggressive while preventing them from jumping or entering buildings, lest they get tangled in the air. Level geometry and don’t crash the game. The physics system has also been simplified, with objects lacking friction and most puzzles turning into basic crate stacking affairs. If that wasn’t enough, the motor couldn’t handle two fully interactive arms at the same time, leading the writers to explain that Anne had broken one of her arms in the crash, making her look like a little silly when she brandished a rifle.
Beyond the technical issues, the studio also took issue with some of the horror influences of the developers, insisting that the game be more action-packed despite everything being planned as a slower-paced thriller. Add to that countless bugs and unfinished levels, and it’s no surprise that this has been widely regarded as the worst game of 1998 and is often cited as a prime example of the curse of licensed gaming.
However, even with all of these reviews, I think there is a lot to like Intruder. There’s no denying that the developers couldn’t keep their promises, but their dedication to trying something new is always admirable. When the game is running, the detailed environments and the absence of a HUD make it incredibly atmospheric. Even the convoluted aiming controls (which would have inspired Octodad and Surgeon simulator) add tension during the fight much like the awkward action in classics like resident Evil.
Ironically, the game’s subdued horror elements make it some of its best moments, as wandering around this seemingly post-apocalyptic space while dreading your next Raptor encounter can be incredibly intense. Had the developers been allowed to embrace the horrific roots of the projects, the fight could have been rightfully terrifying instead of messy and boring, and some of the other shortcomings would have been easier to forgive.
Pilot MinnieThe hapless Anne’s internal monologue is also great, and I’ve always been amused by her weirdly charming remarks about how slim her chances of survival are. The legendary Sir Richard Attenborough Also reprise his role as John Hammond for the memory sections of the game, making these curious anecdotes about the history of inGen and Jurassic Park much more compelling. The game may not have much to do with a conventional narrative, but it still feels like a worthy companion of the JP franchise.
The reach of the developers definitely exceeded their reach, but they had the courage to attempt things that then contemporary games could only dream of. Even Valve admitted that Trespasser had an influence on the physics-based elements of Half Life 2, which is funny when you consider that the original Half-life released only a few weeks later Intruder, surpassing all his attempts at immersion-focused FPS. Peter Jackson King Kong also boasted of a surprisingly entertaining video game adaptation that featured numerous tributes to Intruder, like the missing HUD and the fact that the protagonist lets out the amount of ammo you have left before shooting the dinosaurs.
Fortunately, I’m not the only one who appreciates IntruderUnique attempts at survival, as the game has developed a solid following of fans and modders who have kept the title alive after all these years. This dedicated community regularly produces quality of life improvements and compatibility solutions at Trescom (some of them even working on full game remakes), making it the best time in history to try and enjoy. from the unfortunate one from Dreamworks Interactive. project.
Intruder The groundbreaking blockbuster the developers foresaw may not be remembered, but it’s still worth revisiting as a landmark in FPS history. Despite all the janky elements, the game was definitely ahead of its time and worked for future immersive survival titles to work. If you put the messy presentation aside and install a mod or two, there’s still some real thrill to be had at Site B, whether you’re fending off the velociraptors with a human skull or just enjoying a prehistoric 65 million adventure. years.