Jurassic Park: Trespasser

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
He's bad news, until he trips over his own feet, or you hide behind a rock.
"Let's make this clear: Trespasser is not a good game. It could have been a good game. It had the potential to be a good game, but what was released in late 1998 and sold to the public was simply not a good game. You can liken it to babysitting a big, lovable and slightly retarded child. You know he means well, but that doesn't stop him from dropping trou and shitting in the middle of the aisle in Costco from time to time."

Jurassic Park: Trespasser is an infamous First-Person Shooter game released in 1998 for PCs by Dreamworks Interactive, developed as a tie-in to the film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The game stars Anne, a plane crash survivor who finds herself on the shores of Isla Sorna, also known as Site B, two years after the events of The Lost World, and desperately needs to find a way off the island, armed with nothing but her wits and one lone (surprisingly strong) noodly arm for her to pull boxes and throw rocks around with.

Trespasser was an extremely ambitious project, flaunting a skilled development team (with the occasional contribution from Steven Spielberg himself), a fully three-dimensional game engine with incredible draw distances, massive, sprawling outdoor environments, a full physics engine to simulate objects realistically, and artificially intelligent dinosaurs that would react accordingly to the player's actions... or that was the plan anyway. In practice, Trespasser was much less impressive: the developers were strapped for time and had to delay the game again and again, until they were forced to cut back on features and quality assurance just to get the game to ship on time, and the game that was released in 1998 was a glitchy, broken mess that was nearly impossible to play on most computers at the time.

Initially considered a massive disappointment, most consumers eventually forgot about the game when, within a few years, their attention was drawn to the spectacular Half Life and the even-more-awful Daikatana. The game's legacy lives on though because Trespasser still has an active mod community, dedicated to ironing out the game's problems, and the game essentially laid the groundwork for later developers in terms of game engines and interactive physics: Valve Corporation in particular considered Trespasser a major source of inspiration for Half Life 2 and its physics engine. If you'd like to try it out for yourself, good luck: the game sold only 50,000 copies at its time of release, and even if you find a copy, don't even bother running it on an "old games" box. What it did in 1998 made it unplayable, far more so than what Crysis did to late 2007 computers.

Tropes used in Jurassic Park: Trespasser include:
  • Adventure Narrator Syndrome: Since there's no way to visually check your ammunition, Anne will dictate either the exact count of bullets chambered ("Looks like twelve", etc) or will estimate magazine-fed firearms by weight ("Feels about half full", etc). This trope is also followed out of necessity, since Anne is the only living human on the island.
  • AKA-47: The AG47 isn't fooling anyone.
  • Apocalyptic Log: A surprisingly well-written and acted Dr. John Hammond narrates your journey.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • You can easily trick dinosaurs by running a round a rock. Raptors occasionally jump off of cliffs. One raptor tribe's attack is literally to just charge at you.
    • In development, dinos had many different emotions, but this resulted in them becoming paralyzed with indecision. In order to fix this, all emotion meters were set to zero, except for anger and hunger.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Barrett .50 deals ridiculous damage, but...
    • It cannot be carried,
    • You cannot move while using it,
    • You cannot use the scope and/or sights, and
    • It carries 10 shots. Tops.
  • Bag of Spilling: New level? All your guns are gone. For some reason, they thought this was a good idea.
    • Though some levels have weapons right next to the start, they're typically just a pair of .44 Desert Eagles.
  • Batter Up: Bats are the most common melee weapon. They also do nothing except kill you if you accidentally smack yourself in the face with one.
  • Beating a Dead Player: Your body will be eaten!
  • Crate Expectations: Used for every jumping puzzle.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: The Jurassic Park Dark Secrets mod has been in development since 2004, with the creator telling people it would likely be available to test and/or release within the year multiple times. Now, in March 2011, beta testers are finally getting copies of the levels, and the whole package is expected to be distributed sometime within the next few months.
  • Damage Sponge Boss: The Tyrannosaurs aren't immune to damage, but they have such a ridiculous amount of health that trying to kill one with conventional weapons is an exercise in frustration.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Certain objects, notable chairs and some statues, are "breakable" in the sense that they're composed of little piles of their constituent parts. A little nudge will cause them to fall apart.
  • Diegetic Interface: You have no HUD whatsoever. Your Life Meter is a heart tattoo on your left breast that fills with red as you take damage. Aiming your weapons requires you to line up their iron sights. Anne verbally keeps track of how much ammo guns have remaining. Almost every interaction in the world requires you to reach out with your arm.
  • Drop the Hammer: Don't even bother to pick it up, it does nothing.
  • Dummied Out: The discovery of an internal beta (which was subsequently dumped and uploaded the internet) shows what kind of a game Trespasser could have been if it hadn't been subject to a bunch of quick fixes to get it out the door... before its release, most of the cut content could only be accessed through the game's internal code. The beta runs twice as fast as the retail version, additional parts of levels, the fabled "Pine Valley" level (that was inaccessible in the final version), longer voiceovers, more dinosaurs, etc.
  • Exploding Barrels: There are barrels of fuel scattered about the island. Go ahead, shoot them. They don't do anything. One can guess they were meant to explode, considering most of them show up near an Albertosaurus you're supposed to fight.
  • First Person Ghost: Zig-zagged. Anne has an arm and visible cleavage, the latter of which bear the Life Meter in tattoo form. A fan-made third person mode make this even more absurd, revealing that she has nothing but an arm and boobs. Also, any weapon you happen to be carrying will be floating vaguely in the area where a holster would be, if you had a waist.
  • Flunky Boss: The Alpha raptor has minions.
  • Game Breaking Bug: Too many to count without the patches.
  • Game Mod: A surprising amount for a game that only sold 50,000 copies. The fan-base is devoted. They've actually made the game playable, and still release graphics updates 12 years after the game was released.
    • The fanbase also got a recently-discovered beta version up and running (as it was incompatible with most new systems) and discovered that it ran twice as fast as the retail version of the game. Makes you wonder what the dev team could have pulled off with some more prep time.
  • Gangsta Style: You can fire this way. Just don't expect to hit anything.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Inverted. Melee weapons (save for one) either do nothing, or kill you when you put them away.
  • Hand Cannon: Parodied with the ridiculously overpowered .38 snub nose. Otherwise, played straight; the most common weapon is a .44 Desert Eagle. Possibly justified, given what you're shooting with them.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Shooting a dino will more often than not result in a several-foot long arc of blood spraying out of the body. Taken Up to Eleven if you use the neurotoxin dart rifle on the T-Rex, with a single shot resulting in comically huge torrents of blood shooting out like a giant punctured beer can (and, as per usual, slowing the game to a crawl).
  • HUD: None. And there is no crosshair, and the mouse combined with four modifier keys control your arm. Aiming is difficult, especially if you don't bother to align a gun's iron sights.
  • Immune to Bullets: T-Rex and Brachiosaurus. The only way to kill the T-Rex is three headshots from a unique weapon. The T-Rex is near the end of the level, the gun at the beginning. The gun carries 3 shots and there are no reloads in this game. Still, it is satisfying to kill one of the bastards. They have such ridiculously high health that you'd have to find half of the guns on the level and unload them all into one in order to kill it. Also, the first T-Rex you meet, in level 3, can be killed by dropping a jeep on its head.
      • According to the shoddy documentation, with very good accuracy, the Mounted Machine gun, Barrett, Calico and the drum fed AK can kill the T-Rex in one magazine; eventually, all other weapons will require backups. This is only feasible in the town, as there are far more guns than raptors within, the multiple tranq pistols found there help.
  • Improvised Weapon: Throwing a skull at a raptor deals a surprising amount of damage.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The poison dart gun. It kills most enemies in 1 shot and is the only weapon that can practically kill a T-Rex. It is also one of only 2 weapons that is easy to aim, due to having a reflex sight. You only get 3 shots, but given all of the above, that's plenty.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Ann cannot go up most slopes. Possibly unintentional, as she is a rolling hitbox.
    • You'd think that Ann could strong-arm herself over any fence, considering that she can lug around huge metal girders with her single arm... but no such luck.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You can only carry two items at a time, of any size. One on your back/waist (depending on size), one in your hand. Normally, you would just carry two guns, but key cards also take up one of those spaces, halving your already limited firepower.
  • King Mook: The Alpha raptor is a palette-swapped Tribe C raptor (which was a palette-swapped Tribe B raptor, which...). He has more health, but he is also much bigger than other raptors, and therefore easier to hit.
  • Lethal Joke Item: Two of them:
    • Nedry's Mace, the only functioning melee weapon that won't kill you, and,
    • Hammond's Ladies Model .38 snub nose. In a game with the .44 Desert Eagle being the most common weapon, it deals more damage then anything but the Barrett .50 and the poison dart rifle.
  • Let's Play: A very popular video LP by Something Awful goon 'Research Indicates', who braves the buggy and often-tedious gameplay to bring viewers the game's excellent story in video form.
  • Life Meter: Nonstandard, as it is a tattoo on the character's breast.
  • Locked Door: Some require key cards. Others can be blown open with a shotgun blast.
  • Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair: The secret alternate ending has the Trope Namer poem being read by Hammond. Appropriate, for the ruins of an experiment Gone Horribly Right.
  • Magnet Hands: Subverted, sometimes you will lose whatever it is you're holding. Notably any time you walk up a slight slope. This results in a major part of the gameplay coming from flinging the item you're carrying as far as you can up the slope and then running up and grabbing it before it slides all the way down again.
  • Mini Boss: Albertosaurus. Unlike T-Rex, he can always be killed. There are less of them than T-Rexes, oddly. Then again, this is Trespasser...
  • More Dakka: The 100 round drum-fed AK-47. Of course, with the game's lack of crosshairs and thus total reliance on iron sights, you will use it up very quickly.
  • Musical Gameplay: The music is rather nice, so much so that most of it was reused for Clive Barker's Undying.
  • Obvious Beta: This is what happens when a game gets rushed to coincide with a movie release.
  • Palette Swap: T-Rexes, played straight, raptors, subverted.
  • Personal Space Invader: The Raptors' main form of attack is to make contact with the player's hitbox with the "damage strip" inside their mouths. This more often than not results in you backpedalling away madly with a Raptor's mouth trying to latch onto your face.
  • Ragdoll Physics: The original. In some cases, it was actually more advanced than modern games; for instance, every dinosaur is actually a ragdoll constantly animated via inverse kinematics, instead of using fixed keyframe animations.
  • Regenerating Health: As ResearchIndicates' Let's Play put it, Trespasser was ahead of the curve in many respects. This was one of them.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Played straight with the Redhawk and Hammond's snub-nose. The .357, however, is nearly useless.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The Raptor tribes were supposed to be hostile to each other, but this was not implemented. They will attack other dinosaur species, however.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. It works just like any other ranged weapon. While, this being Trespasser, it may be unintentional, OR, the dev team has heard of slugs.
  • Shout-Out: One of the levels contains The Monolith, complete with spooky music that plays when you approach it. This being Trespasser, this Easter egg is located in a section of the level inaccessible without the use of cheats.
  • Soft Water: At one point, the player is required to cliff-dive into a shallow pond.
  • Standard FPS Guns: Pistols, shotguns, SMGs, machine pistols, assault rifles, various implements for melee, mounted sniper rifles and machine guns... about all that's missing from the game are explosives.
  • Sticks to the Back: All items are stored on the player character's back (except keys and smaller guns, which instead go on the belt), which in the case of melee weapons has the unfortunate effect of occasionally clipping with the character model and causing damage. The developers fixed this by removing almost all mass from every melee item... which fixed the problem of them doing damage to the player, but introduced the problem of them doing no damage to enemies.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Played straight, then all of a sudden... Albertosaurus!
  • Super Strength: Unintentional example. The protagonist can lift absurdly large items with her right hand and arm alone because that's all she has.
  • Third-Person Shooter: They planned to implement this, but it was scrapped. With fan-made patches, the only thing you see when you enter third person is a pair of floating breasts and your noodle arm.
  • Throw-Away Guns: The guns are useless once you run out of ammo, and you can't restock your ammo supplies. Once the weapon has run dry, you might as well throw it away.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Number pads and various other buttons that the player has to manually operate with the infamous arm are all conspicuously large, as is any handwriting that presents important information.
  • Wreaking Havok: Trespasser was one of the first games to simulate a realistic physics engine in 3D, but the way it was created made it nearly impossible to stack objects on top of one another, meaning several puzzles and one entire level had to be scrapped.