Park was a phenomenal success at the box office, grossing hundreds of millions
of dollars, therefore it was no great surprise when Steven Spielberg decided to
set his team to work on the sequel, The Lost World.
What did raise a
few eyebrows was the fact that special effects genius Spielberg allowed the
video games development team, Dreamworks Interactive, special access to
materials used on the movie. Furthermore, the Playstation version was completed
in time to be released alongside the movie. This allowed it to ride on the wave
of promotion that is pushing The Lost World movie towards blockbuster takings.
Eat your heart out Batman and Robin.
In case you have been extinct for
the last 100 million years or so, both movie and game are based on the Michael
Crichton novel where scientists have been breeding dinosaurs on a remote island.
good news is the game is actually more fun than the movie which must be a first
in the concept of tie-in's.
Lost World is a platform game that is set in a style similar to the excellent
Pandemonium. Although the player is restricted to a set path there are many
circumstances where an alternative route may be chosen. Add to this 3D
characters, enemies and scenery with a swinging camera that gives the game
further depth while increasing the tension.
are in store for the development team who have provided us with some of the best
graphics seen to date on the PSX.
The backgrounds are extremely well
drawn with lighting and shading providing a depth that give the surroundings a
real 3D effect. Although you predominantly guide your character across a level
from left to right, a sudden reverse and backtrack will lead you off into a new
direction towards or away from the screen. The camera will then swoop around to
restore the usual side-on view.
The structure of the environment also
allows you to move up and down as cliff faces may be scaled to reveal hidden
areas, rivers can be swam and perilous spike pits must be hurdled or swung over
Tarzan style. Creatures are alerted to your presence and weave in front of, or
behind, the scenery as their instincts motion them towards their lunch.
animations of the dinosaurs are so fluid that they could almost be real. The
little Compy skips and jumps across various obstacles with the athleticism of a
frog before using it's light and powerful anatomy to hunt down it's prey. The
'King of the Dinosaurs', the T-Rex, stumbles along heaving it's 7 ton framework
around with a 'don't give a shit' attitude, and to be honest, who's going to
superb orchestration brings The Lost World to life. The soundtrack could well
have been taken directly from the movie and compliments the action by building
to a crescendo as the gameplay becomes tense.
The atmosphere generated
by the sound effects is quite frightening. The pounding reverberations of the
40 foot long T-Rex reaches earthquake proportions and duly puts fear into your
Every dinosaur and reptile has it's own distinct roar and each
one translates into a solitary message - run for it!
The human characters
omit terrifying screams as they are chosen from the menu and promptly gobbled
up. Not before they are ripped to shreds first, I hasten to add.
at any time, during any level and listen! The effort that has been taken to
provide a complete ambience is remarkable - running water, distant screams,
occasional gunfire, the sound that only creatures of the night would provide -
it's all there and contributes towards a fully living environment.
Lost World is made up of 25 levels that are divided into groups of five playable
characters. There are three levels of difficulty - easy, medium or hard which
offer 5, 3, and 1 lives respectively. I would first like to say that anyone who
can complete this game on a hard setting should not be sitting at home playing
video games. Join the Marines or the SAS. You're country needs you. This game
is tricky, to put it mildly. Furthermore, passwords are only offered after
every FIVE levels and your chances of survival on any setting but easy is about
a likely as walking into a lion's den smelling of Bambi's glands and emerging
The game begins with you controlling a 40 inch long
Compsognathus. Now Compy may be the smallest of dinosaurs but he holds a
ferocious snap attack and one hell of a spring in his heels. Compy must be
guided through five differing levels that involves leaping across narrow
platforms where the slightest error will see his demise, avoiding the massive
feet of a herd of long necked Brachiosaurus and out-running the bizarre looking
meat eater, the Carnotaurus.
Controlling Compy is straightforward with
buttons to jump, evade, lunge and snap attack. Once the enemy is defeated,
feeding on their blood will recharge your health. Various power-ups are
available throughout each level which appear in the form of instinct boosts.
The better your instincts, the more damage you inflict during fights.
each level there is one DNA key to find which will unlock a gallery of images at
the end of each five levels. To be honest, these are simply a collection of
information cards similar to those that kids would collect and put in a scrap
book. Slightly disappointing after the extra effort needed to collect all of
the DNA keys.
Compy provides a stern challenge for the opening
levels as each jump must be pixel perfect and a simple error will return you all
the way back to the start losing a precious life which can become increasingly
The Velocirapter bounds around multi-level platforms where
power ups can be found inside packing crates but beware as some containers
contain a nasty surprise. The Raptor is hunted by humans who constantly bombard
it with an array of firepower. In return it will leap at the men, wrap its legs
around their bodies and duly chomp their heads off. Lovely!
two human characters to control. Both are armed with a multi-purpose weapon and
a grappling hook which may be fired at overhanging ledges to swing over hazards.
The first Homo Sapien is the Hunter who must scale great heights to avoid
dangers lurking down below. Should he venture onto the lower levels be prepared
for a rough ride as a wide range of meat-eating nasties await. The second
controllable human is Prey. These levels involve a race across a selection of
obstacle courses with a rampaging T-Rex breathing down your neck. I found these
levels the most enjoyable, even though it took over 50 attempts to complete the
first course (5 lives? What a joke.)
The T-Rex is one hell of a
beast to control and this group of levels are quite amusing when you eventually
get past the opening section. The feeling of power as you charge through fallen
trees as if they were matchsticks is awesome. He is very sluggish to control
and this can become quite frustrating when small groups of enemies attack from
the front and the rear at the same time. It is worth playing these levels just
to see the mighty T-Rex grab hold of a human with his teeth, throw him up in the
air and swallow him whole. Tasty stuff.
you refuse to use the cheat codes, I can guarantee that this game will take
longer to complete than any other in your collection. Whether that means
longevity or slow torture is for you to decide. The question is - does that
make it value for money? Well, the graphics are stunning, the music and sound
effects are excellent and the gameplay is extremely hard. If only a password
had been offered after every level I would be praising The Lost World from the
highest rooftops. As it stands - use the cheat code that gives you 90 lives and
cut down on your frustrations.
am one of the few who believe that cheat codes spoil a game. I mean what is the
point on spending your hard earned cash on a new game then coding in
'Indestructible' and completing the task in a couple of nights. I sometimes use
level codes for reviewing purposes to inform you readers of the graphical
content later in the game but only after giving it a fair crack of the whip
completely unaided. The Lost World proved an exception to this rule. Without
using the extra lives code I would probably be only reviewing the first few
levels after playing this solidly for many days. It will provide a stiff
challenge for the hardened gamer but is definitely not for whimps.