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"Think fast. Move even faster. You control
a team of scientists stuck on an island with prehistoric perils. Have
courage, have guts, but most of all have a plan of attack. Strategy,
fun, and total chaos in a battle to save THE LOST WORLD!" — Package
Developer: Microsoft Publisher: DreamWorks Interactive Distributor: DreamWorks Interactive Released: 1997 Origin: United States Genre: Strategy Platform: PC Players: Single Control Elements: Keyboard, mouse ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults Official website: DreamWorks Site (Defunct) Microsoft's website:
Chaos Island’s release date was chosen by distributor DreamWorks
Interactive to coincide with the theatrical release of The Lost World:
Jurassic Park. Many actors appearing in the film; Jeff Goldblum (Ian
Malcolm), Julianne Moore (Sarah Harding), Vince Vaughn (Nick Van Owen),
Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), Richard Schiff (Eddie Carr) and
Vanessa Lee Chester (Kelly Curtis), also provided their voices for Chaos
Island. More likely than not, however, this was the result of contract
obligations as director Steven Spielberg also owned DreamWorks SKG at
The game hit store shelves in time for the holidays although with
disappointingly slow sales. Further, critic reviews were generally
unsympathetic, ranging from mediocre to downright bashful. Gamers and
Jurassic Park fans may have chosen to leave this title stranded in store
shelves due to an unappealing marketing campaign (Chaos Island was
advertised mainly as a children’s game), or they may have been awaiting
another more promising title based on the film; PlayStation and Sega
Saturn’s The Lost World, which was to be released several months later
and was being heavily promoted. More likely than not, however, Chaos
Island failed due to the poor quality of the game itself. Even celebrity
voices as a marketing gimmick failed to attract buyers.
In short, Chaos Island was ultimately created to capitalize on a popular
film and style of game. Rushing by developers to release the game in
time further diminished its quality and resulted in a dull and
uninspired product, over what could have been a rather promising
Chaos Island is a real-time 3D strategy game similar in style to many
popular unrelated titles such as Westwood’s "Command & Conquer" and
Blizzard’s "War Craft" series. As such, the gameplay is very familiar;
players control characters displayed on a map using the mouse, hotkeys,
and menu to gather resources to build their base. Missions are fairly
straightforward, although usually amount to little more than amassing
dinosaurs which are sent against the opponent. Players who are fastest
or gather the most resources usually win.
Supplies are represented as yellow boxes, which are scattered randomly
throughout the map. The base camp is needed as a deposit for resources,
as well as for gathered eggs. A tool shed is required for updates to
other structures. Other buildings accessible later in the game include
shelters (used in healing characters), which can be upgraded into
hardened shelters (faster character regeneration), as well as high hides
to protect characters from terrestrial dangers and eventually the
advanced science lab, which plays a critical role in the game’s later
stages. Players also construct artificial nests (upgraded into an
incubator) which are needed to hatch the eggs that are found on the
At the title screen players are able to select their leaders from five
animated characters, all actors appearing in the film. Each character
has their strengths and weaknesses such as field of vision (as with most
strategy games, unexplored areas of the map remain shrouded in
darkness), strength and health, accuracy with a rifle, running speed,
and the amount of inventory characters are able to carry. This becomes
important when players select characters to perform certain duties, such
as scout the map, in which case a character with a balance of good
vision and speed is preferable. Nick is a fine choice as he is excels at
covert operations and sabotage. Eddie can rig communications and other
gear. If one wants to gather eggs a character with higher inventory
space is desirable and so forth.
Each character costs a certain amount of points to "buy" so that they
are playable, although players are able to gather points later in the
game by gathering supplies. Regardless, only Malcolm, Owen, Carr and
"Research Assistant's" are available from the start. As stated above,
the game features the celebrities' real voices; unfortunately, John
Hammond (Richard Attenborough) only provides his voice for cut scenes
and is never actually playable, although to be fair he does have the
Chaos Island features twelve unique missions with three difficulty
settings (easy, medium, and hard). As one progresses through the game
enemy hunters and wild dinosaurs attack in greater numbers, and become
more fearsome and harder to avoid and defeat. In the first two missions,
Malcolm, Carr and Owen are on Isla Nublar, rather than Sorna, and only
later travel to Sorna by freighter ship after meeting with Harding who
has DNA serum necessary for controlling the dinosaurs that they breed.
Kelly is later found to have stowed away on the freighter and becomes a
The game features eight different dinosaur species in total, listed here
in order of strength (health and attack power); Tyrannosaurus rex,
Triceratops, Velociraptor, Stegosaurus, Dilophosaurus,
Pachycephalosaurus, Compsognathus and Parasaurolophus. Each species has
a different personality, as well as other strengths and weaknesses.
However, only the two weakest dinosaurs are available to players from
the beginning although as the game progresses more powerful dinosaurs
are able to be bred. Dinosaurs that you, the player, breed wear blue
collars and are “friendly”, while wild dinosaurs have white collars and
those bred by hunters wear red collars and are hostile.
Chaos Island’s graphics looked dated when it was released and the
limitations are extremely evident today. There is only one graphics mode
(256 color 640 x 480 SVGA) and limited frames of animation. The musical
score is composed of five clips that repeat continuously and average
short to medium in duration (some of the music is taken from the film).
The sound effects are nothing special, even when compared to other games
released in the late 1990s.
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