Review by The Dodo

Posted:
23 Apr 2006, 21:18
For: the Lost World episode
Level rating: 9.1
Rating
N/A

Hmmm, can’t seem to log into my old account. Oh well.

So, it’s been about five years now… time, I think, for a retrospective:

Looking at it now I have to say I find the start of the episode a bit underwhelming, the design is rather dull, with little platforming challenge to speak of and the eye candy doesn’t work too well… however, once you reach the cliff face in the second level and start your climb up the mountain and into the caves it starts to get more interesting. The bits with the falling rocks still work quite well I think, especially in the caves and the fact that you can take multiple paths in several places adds a lot to the fun.

“Sorna Falls” also holds up pretty well, though not a terribly complex design it’s a nice natural landscape and a bit more challenging than the earlier levels. After that it’s back to the linear left to right gameplay with “Into the long grass”… which to be honest is a bit boring. It works adequately as a story level but is not much of a challenge.

“A call for help” works better as it’s more contained, focusing more on story and exploration and less on just traversing the area. There’s a few puzzles blocking your way that, while simple, make for an amusing aside from the platforming action. “Down the tubes” is super-linear, but somehow it works and the flood at the end is cool.

Then comes arguably the most spectacular level of the pack, “Goose Chase”. Though the layout of the level itself is essentially very basic, the fact that you’re being chased through it by a giant T-rex makes it all the more interesting. :)

This is followed by an unfortunate return to the familiar left to right traversing with “Climate change”. While the subterranean path of the level is slightly more interesting, as a whole it doesn’t really hold up and could have done with some more platform challenges.

Which brings us to the finale that spans “the storm” and “coastal cliffs”, better than some of the previous levels but not among the best, though I like the way the story plays out with the chopper diverting to a different meeting point and Jazz’ sarcastic comments breaking up the action…

GRAPHICS & SOUND

The limited colour palette definitely hurt the look of the tileset. All I can say is, never do 3D tilesets unless you have more than 256 colours at your disposal. It just doesn’t really work. It’s too detailed to have flat surfaces of colour and dithering is scarcely an improvement in most cases. I think the dinos still look pretty cool and the rock surface and a few other things work well, but the foliage and trees could have looked A LOT better, as could many other things.

I would like to note though that Jaws and I created ALL the graphics ourselves. We did not “steal them off some website” as has been suggested by a certain reviewer who should perhaps think more happy thoughts.

But I digress…

The cutscenes, today, are interesting to look at. With all I’ve learnt in the past five years I could easily pick them apart and go into all the things I could have done so much better but as a support for the story they did the trick at the time and that’s what matters.

I definitely don’t regret the decision to not have any music. It was more than made up for by the various atmospheric sound effects that supported the levels, from the crashing of waterfalls to the roaring of T-rexes.

CONCLUSION

While I’m glad so many enjoyed the episode enough to give it a 9 or 10 I think I’m gonna have to agree with the more moderate reviewers and give it a 7.7. It has its moments.

(Since we’re not supposed to rate our own packs I’ll refrain from actually submitting that rating, though)