VIDEO: Michael Crichton’s Timeline: The Game

The work of Michael Crichton is best known in the video game world via Trespasser, the Jurassic Park game that upon its release was considered the worst game of all time. Quite a legacy. Crichton was undeterred, however, and in 2000, he created a game based on his novel Timeline, which was released a few years before it was adapted into a film. Is it bad? Good? Try, “short”. Really effin’ short.

Note: This is an older episode–Kindly excuse some of the technical issues!

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  • Cristiona

    It’s not the only game based on a book.  There was also The Hunt For Red October.  It even came with a copy of the book.  The 1987 game, not the 1990 one based on the movie. And I suppose you could also count Infocom’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. As for how you’d judge it, I’d judge it similar to a movie or television adaptation of a book or a game adaptation of a movie. Of course, going from print to visual is hard enough without adding in interactivity. Probably a reason it isn’t done much.

    Wait a minute! Navigate a boat on an underground river dodging stalagmites and whirlpools? They ripped off Dragon’s Lair Part II – Escape From Singe’s Castle?!?!

    • Was Hunt for Red October released before the movie though? I think that’s where the cutoff is, since you can’t make a book-based game and NOT take some cues from the movie, no matter how hard you try (Lord of the Rings Fellowship game, ferinstance).

      • Cristiona

        Poking around on Wikipedia, it looks like there were two HFRO games.  The one in ’87 that was based on the book (and the one I played), and a movie-based one in ’90.  The ’87 game had you as the captain of the Red October (I think) because it was all on the sub.  The ’90 was apparetly like a typical movie tie-in, so you kind of played different people at different points in the game.

        My dad was a HUGE Tom Clancy fan, which is probably why he bought the game.  It was still pretty weird.

  • Katie4

    There’s also I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, a PC adventure game based on Harlan Ellison’s short story. 

  • spiff2268

    Another great review.

    Also, there was a game based on Robert Jordan’s “The Wheel of Time” series.  Never played it but I heard it was halfway decent.

    • ElfShotTheFood

      The Wheel of Time game should have been an RPG and not the paint-by-numbers first-person shooter it ended up as.

      It’s not a bad game, but not great either. I never finished it, thanks to a bug near the end that was never fixed.

    • I own it! Didn’t know about it until after I did Timeline. Plan to do a few videos “correcting” my oversight here. There might be a few more book-based games.

  • The_Stig

    Kate can pick it? I see, Kate is the master of unlocking.

    • I can’t believe I missed that joke! Damn!

      • The_Stig

        I believe you also missed a “YOU’VE CREATED A TIME PARADOX! (bum-bum ba-dum….bum bum BAH!)” gag too.

        Also, why haven’t you created a “Dr. Rolandsano” character yet? You call yourself a game reviewer?? (just kidding about that part)

        Timeline was more Half-Ass than Half-Life.

  • TheScottCSmith

    Beyond the horrible reviews, “Trespasser” does have the distinction of being the first video game to use ragdoll physics…

    • Hell yeah. Ragdoll effin’ RULES. I think it may be the only FPS to have no HUD elements. Every other game I’ve played that claims to have no HUD, sneaks a health bar or a reticule in there somewhere.