|A screenshot from the game Dino Park: Invader, a game which could have been one of the best games ever created.|
Several weeks ago, I wrote an article concerning a new game that just came out on May 21, 2014 called Dino Park: Invader, created by the computer game company Unimaginable ©. As I said in the previous article about the Dino Park: Invader, it's supposed to be an action-packed dinosaur adventure game where your character has to try and make it off the island alive. I especially was excited about the game because . . . you guessed it: the dinosaurs! Dinosaurs are awesome! Well, the game has been released and people were so excited about it, that they bought a copy of the game in droves. They knew they were going to love it!
My trusty, junior photographer, Daniel P. Smithwater, Lizzy the Lizard and I also bought a copy of the game. I was so excited to finally be able to play it . . . when my computer crashed! So I rebooted my computer and tried it again. But it crashed! So I tried it a third time and it crashed again! I was getting really disappointed. So I had our Animal Adventures Inc. computer specialist, Mango the orangutan come and take a look. He figured out that I couldn't press any of the keys on the keyboard for the first few seconds while the game was loading up. Go figure!
While Mango was checking out my computer, Lizzy phoned a few friends who had also bought the game; some of Lizzy's friends were having trouble with their computers too! Mango told me that my computer wasn't the problem – the CD-ROM itself was. Oh well. Fortunately, I was able to play the game . . . finally! I wasn't able to finish it before I had to get the article you're reading done, so I'll summarize the game experience based on what I've played so far, what other people have told me and what the game's head developer Tyson Cortes has to say.
First of all, you might recall from the previous article we wrote about the game was that the game was originally pitched to have 16 exciting levels. Well, there aren't quite as many levels as initially planned! You can look at the list of the levels supposed to be in the game by clicking this link, and below you can see the levels that made it into the game:
- The Beach
- The Open Woodland
- The Jungle
- The Jungle #2
- The Worker Village
- The Laboratories
- The Mountain Forest
- The High Cliffs
- The Communication Center
- The Race to the Helipad
Six levels were taken out! Many levels were combined in the game's final cut. For instance, a level known as The Sauropod Valley was mixed into the Open Woodland level. Also, I and many other people had to work through a few more computer crashes to play! Fortunately, I didn't have any more after I finished The Beach level.
The 3D environments in the game are very nice, but you can't always enjoy them. In one level – The High Cliffs – there's this overlook where you're supposed to be able to look over the edge of the cliff and admire the view. I didn't get to that point in the game yet, but for many people, their computers crashed when they tried to look!
Each level also has a certain amount of puzzles to solve; some are cool, but others are so many and close to each other that they get kind of annoying.
Some of my friends who played the game found it hard to move Annie (the only playable character in the game) around without killing her. Sometimes a fall of only three feet would drop her health level to zero. I never had that problem though.
Sooner or later, I just had to mention the dinosaurs that the game features. The original pitch for the game was for there to be 27 dinosaurs that you'd have to encounter throughout the game. You can see that list here. And you guessed it, the number of dinosaurs is far less in the actual game:
- Tyrannosaurus rex
Only 10 of the original dinosaurs remain in the game. A new one – Parasaurolophus – was added, however. Now, according to Tyson, the different dinosaur individuals were supposed to have different “emotions”; I'm not talking about emotions like happy, sad or embarrassed though, I'm talking about ones like: hungry, territorial, placid, sleepy and etc. But there are only two in the game: a combination of territorial/hungry (for carnivores) and placid (for herbivores).
Now about the graphics of the dinosaurs – they move pretty unrealistically. Most of them walk almost as if they're on stilts! Their legs are stiff and there's no knee to speak of. However, there are some positives concerning the dinosaurs in the game: they can surprise you when they're on the hunt. Raptors will work as a pack to bring you down, Ceratosaurus ambushes from the shadows, Sinornithosaurus tries to attack you from the trees and Tyrannosaurus and Acrocanthosaurus are better at strategy hunting than you might expect!
So why was the game so buggy and worse than it was supposed to be? Well, I put that question to the game's developer, who's quoted for saying, “Dino Park: Invader was supposed to be one of the greatest games ever created. It was supposed to combine great storytelling with wonderful graphics. As we kept telling the public about the game to get their expectations high, we realized that we needed to continue pushing the envelope. It turned out that we'd pushed it too far; the deadline was close and we bug issues to resolve. Unfortunately, time wouldn't permit and we had to release a buggy game to the public.” He went on to explain that he wasn't too happy with the results, but he had no choice, as he didn't want to keep the public waiting. And concerning why so many levels and dinosaurs were missing, he said, “We were having more computer bug problems with those dinosaurs and levels than the ones we included in the game.”
I then asked him if he considered improving the game any and if he thought it would help the games now-infamous reputation. He smiled and shook his head. “I'm afraid not,” he explains, “you see, the game's already been officially released. The critics have said their final words and that's how the game will likely be remembered. However, we do plan to release patches for people to download. These patches will help fix up the game so it's less buggy.”
Despite his failure, Tyson doesn't feel as if it's a total loss. “Sure I wanted the game to be a success, but it wasn't. We failed. There's no denying that. I like to look at this as a learning experience. Unimaginable © learned from its mistakes and will do better with its next game.”
In closing, I decided to ask what game his company was going to create next. “The Lost World,” he says, “based on Arthur Connon Doyles book and the 1925 movie version and 2001 television version inspired by it. We're going to do something with dinosaurs once again, and this time we'll get it right!”
Written by: Mr. Smiley
Photographer: Daniel P. Smithwater
Edited by: Christian Ryan, Joy Hammond
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