E3 2011: Jurassic Park: The Game Preview – When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth
Written Saturday, June 18, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
We were just 11-years old when Jurassic Park was in the multiplexes, but it left an impression on us and we've always wondered what on earth happened to that old Barbasol shaving foam can that the hapless Dennis Nedry dropped into the mud. Telltale Games has been wondering the same thing too, as it's the lead-in to Jurassic Park: The Game, which takes players back to the movie and novel's Isla Nublar in Costa Rica amid the events of the film as the disastrous storm shuts down the park's security systems and the dinosaurs run amok.
Jurassic Park: The Game, picks up just hours after the events of the 1993 movie, where the lost Barbasol can full of dinosaur embryos provides the perfect starting point for a new narrative strand. Let us explain... In the original movie, you may remember Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) meeting with the shady Dodgson, who hands him the aforementioned shaving foam can to help in stealing a cache of dinosaur embryos. Nedry tries to get to the Isla Nublar docks where he plans to hand over the canister for a tidy sum, but ends up caught in a violent storm before meeting a sticky end. The canister ended up rolling down the embankment where Nedry's jeep gets stuck and sinks into the mud, and so JP: The Game begins with the perfect loose end to tie up.
The storm has subsided completely in the demo and Nedry's contacts at the docks are wondering what happened to him. As such, you'll get to meet Miles and Nima who are on Isla Nublar covertly and enter the game at the same scene as Nedry's ill-fated encounter with a Dilophosaurus, where the exploratory gameplay kicks in. Playing as Nima, you first wrench the door open to Nedry's jeep, finding his mutilated corpse slung back in the driver's seat. “Dodgson's gonna kill me,” says Nima as she fails to find the canister in Nedry's jeep, before the penny drops and she plays through what must have happened. Grabbing an empty coke can from the jeep, she rolls it down the hill to get an idea of the route the canister must have taken, before shimmying down the bank to investigate.
Nima finds Nedry's glasses in the mud and can examine them for clues. At any time, you can bring up a picture-in-picture interface to review the clues and transition between the scenes you've explored to refresh your memory. Continuing to search the scene for the missing can, Nima returns to the jeep and using a series of context-sensitive button presses and quick-time events – one to open the door, one to start the engine and so on – she switches on the headlights to shed some light on the area below. Nima can use a dialogue wheel to interact with Miles and there's plenty of banter to be had back and forth. She can also talk to herself to help review the clues she's unearthed and after finally digging up the canister, the inevitable dinosaur attack begins.
As a dilophosaur rears its ugly head, hissing with its neck frills flapping, Miles pickpockets the can and throws Nima into the line of fire, prompting a QTE to wriggle her way out of the potentially fatal situation. Whatever happens to Miles now is fair game as far as we're concerned as he essentially just tried to kill us, so when the dilophosaur spits venom into his face, knocks him to the ground and savages him to death, we can't help but think that he had it coming. Nima can also die if you fail a QTE, but with mid-QTE sequence checkpoints and autosaves, the frustration is minimal. More QTEs ensue as Nima is set upon by another group of dilophosaurus, and she has to scrabble her way up the muddy bank to the jeep. First, she retrieves the canister from Miles' bloodied corpse, then gets the jeep going having dodged the swift lunges of the dilophosaur by using the jeep door as cover and kicking her way out of close encounters. Successfully behind the wheel, she drives to safety and the demo ends.
This is just the beginning of Jurassic Park: The Game though, and Telltale is promising a new narrative-driven story that continues events from the 1993 movie with new characters, new dinosaurs and familiar locations as your efforts to escape the dangerous Isla Nublar unfold. With cinematic gameplay, Jurassic Park: The Game will be a treat for both fans of the first movie and the book and will tie up some of the loose ends you might have been curious about for all these years.
Jurassic Park: The Game will be coming to Xbox 360 this autumn as a full retail release, with the entire season of episodes on a single disc.