Also an unusual PC game from 1998
. It was extremely long-awaited and hyped to high heaven
, and, inevitably, died a death on release. It was a polygonal
, first-person puzzle / shooter, based loosely on 'Jurassic Park
' and marketed as a spin-off of same. It featured the voices of Minnie Driver
and Richard Attenborough
The hype related to the game's realistic physics model, something which was very trendy in 1998. Simply put, gameplay was supposed to involve overcoming real-world problems with simple physics - the example frequently given was that, if the player found himself unable to reach a high ledge, he or she could balance a plank on a rock and, by throwing a rock at the other end of the plank, create a makeshift catapult.
As it turned out, gameplay actually revolved around stacking boxes on top of each other. This was hampered by the one thing that makes the game memorable and infamous - all interaction with the environment was achieved by manipulating the player character's right arm in the manner of a robot gripping device.
It's hard to express in words how surreal this appeared. The arm could twist in inhuman ways, and when holding an object, it stuck straight out from the player character's body in a phallic way. The player appeared to have no left arm, or any other limbs, giving the odd impression that the main character (Minnie Driver herself) was in fact a hovering blob, something which is not true (at least, from a purely factual point of view).
The graphics engine juddered on all but the most high-powered machines; the 3D acceleration seemed merely to blur the textures slightly; and gameplay turned into a simple race across a series of restrictive landscapes. All told, it was something of a disaster, and a good example of what happens when people lose touch with reality. The idea was sound - the execution was not.