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What is your favourite Trespasser level (retail or else)?
1. BE (Beach)
2. JR (Jungle Road)
3. PH (Plantation House)
4. IJ (Industrial Jungle)
5. IT (InGen Town)
6. PV (Pine Valley)
7. LAB (Laboratory)
8. AS1 (Ascent Pt. 1)
9. AS2 (Ascent Pt. 2)
10. SUM (Summit)
Can't decide!
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:45 am 
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Tonight I had a fair bit of free time and decided to play all the way through Build 96 for only my second time ever. Just finished about half an hour ago and managed to make it through the game during a five-hour marathon without using any guns or bunny-hopping (since Trespasser2020 had mentioned doing it recently as well!) with only a couple of deaths on the monorail in JR and four from usual Raptor-swarm in AS1. Still, had a good time, especially in PV when for once the puzzle decided to work properly.
Anyway, a thought came to me while halfway through AS1 - have we ever had a "best/favourite/hardest levels" thread? I was curious as to whether anyone shared my difficulties with AS1, as well as my fondness for IJ. Figured I'd throw a poll in to get a better tally as well, so be sure to pick your favourite! Feel free to include the beta and alpha levels as well if you like - it wouldn't be fair to cut out PV or even PH. :wink:

Here's my list, from best to worst:
1. IJ - lots of variety, the opening gorge is cool, the valley at the end makes a good change of pace. It's challenging but not excessively so, though the Raptors in the gorge can be unforgiving and there's that annoying ledge jump down into the Raptor canyon. Also the introduction of T. Rex, and of course all the awesome early versions of it that have been unearthed over time. The level is always engaging and even feels briefly peaceful when you first get a look of the IJ3 valley...until of course the albertosaur pops up!
2. IT - so much to see in Burroughs. The Hammond easter egg and the puzzles - as well as the way you can skip them if you're creative - lend very well to Tres' physics-based gameplay. Then after the Town itself, there's the challenging Plains area followed by the Dam (and the excellent Greenwood easter egg). This is also the only level which contains any elements of the PL level, which makes it all the more interesting.
3. JR - the first "real" level after BE. Very open terrain, especially in the early versions, allows for a lot of exploration, and the monorail area is an interesting and fun challenge after fighting Raptors for most of the level. This one is the one that feels closest to the open-world vision of the developers.
4. PV - I was torn between this one and JR, but this one was ultimately held back by the sometimes broken Geothermal Plant puzzle. Otherwise this level is great - lots to explore, a nice change in scenery from the jungle levels, and the unique Geo Plant puzzle. All of the mystery surrounding it over the years also gives it a sort of "legendary" aspect :P .
5. AS1 - I love-hate this level. On one hand, it has some serious challenge, with the albertosaurs and dreaded Tribe C Raptors, to the point that I think this is the hardest level, especially if you want to bring the Toxin Rifle all the way to the Rex at the end. The Mayan Village is also awesome. However up until that point, if you discount the heavy combat, the level is rather empty, especially in early versions with the longer opening part.
6. LAB - Aka, "the Lesser Town Level". I think the actual Lab complex and the docks are interesting, but the gameplay is a bit less focused here, and it feels a bit anti-climactic when you open the harbour gate only to have to do another big puzzle at the Lab itself. I do like fighting the Rex at the warehouses, though, and when Raptors attack amongst the shipping containers it can be tricky. The Atlantic puzzle is the one that took me the longest the first time I played since it wasn't especially clear what it was talking about, so perhaps that's part of my reasoning for its place.
7. AS2 - The actual mountain ascent part is exciting when you're fighting Raptors on the side of the mountain, but it does get a bit repetitive, and the opening area may as well have been more of AS1. At least the lift puzzle at the end is good, and I like the platforming on old trailers.
8. BE - Pretty simple and easy since it's the starting level, though I remember that first Raptor encounter being a good scare. The brachiosaur scene mirroring Jurassic Park and the various ruined structures do well to establish the setting, but overall there really just isn't a whole lot to this one.
9. SUM - I don't hate SUM, but I do find it to be both short and, well, rather ugly. The lack of vegetation and the rush at the beginning with the Raptors make this one a bit lame, and the final boss being just another Raptor is a bit of a letdown, though I like the Ozymandius easter egg. Also, this level is the last one in the game, so there's a bit of a bittersweet feeling when that low-res video shows the helicopter whisking you away from Isla Sorna if you love the game like most of us probably do. :cry:
10. PH - Yeah, it's the most coveted lost level that isn't PL, but to be honest, even if it were finished, it would probably still be mediocre. The house itself is interesting and Cathy's Beach is an eerie easter egg, but other than that, the actual layout of the level is really weird, there is a lot of open area without much happening, and the Hunter's Camp is...well, it isn't there at all (even if it were, it would instead reduce the impact of seeing the old Plantation out there in the middle of the jungle).

And to arrange them into a "tier list":
5 STARS: IJ, IT
4 STARS: JR, PV
3 STARS: AS1, LAB, AS2
2 STARS: SUM, BE
1 STAR: PH

Note that I don't actually really dislike any of the levels at all - I think they're all fun in their own way. Is there a BAD level? Maybe PV when it decides the Geo Plant wants to break. :P
So...what does everyone else think?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:52 am 
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Cool list. I still believe PH could have been nice if it were developed long enough. It's hard to say what dinosaur encounters might have been come up with. Possibly the landslide would have been more interesting. And if things from the walkthrough got in like the dino traps and Albertosaur damage.. Glad you like IJ so much. It is a really nice level, used to be my fav. Still a huge fan of all the versions the different areas have. Anyway, I'll try a list. My head can't do as much as before, so I'll do a top-5.

1 - JR
2 - IJ
3 - PV
4 - PH
5 - TstScnNght

JR is just an awesome level. My favorite version is the b55 rendition. Still with all the alternate paths, terrain textures so alluring from the perspective of only having the retail game so long, the longer beach. You can go into that level and look out for quite a ways at just jungle. It even has a touch of Mayan ruins. But I like all the versions. Next to IJ, it seems the most common level from pre-release versions we have. It's nice to see so many versions of a single place.

IJ also has some nice multiple versions. My favorite is still the Walkthrough version which was never made. An actual lake to boat across... The swamp trees (which DID get made) being used for an actual swamp instead of jungle filler. And yes the Blighted Forest would probably have been pretty neat. I am pretty fond of the IJ1 palm bridges - it's one of the main things I make sure to do when playing the beta. Those things are meant to be climbed! The IJ2 replacement-gorge I have split feelings on. It is pretty cool to have a big blue rocky pass in the middle of the level. Gravel Hill, I still remember being named by... Remdul? Or Rebel? Heh. And then my theory the the BioSyn helicopter went in the spot where the Monolith now is, from the music trigger etc. Pretty nice.

PV is just great. Actual forested valleys of considerable size. My first experience of Tres was the demo, where this area felt boundless and eerily cool, on software rendering and soundless. ! The ruins here a nice, and the Raptor Nest is a gem we never got to see finished. I quite appreciate the time that was put into attempting to recreate this level but I only did a little bit myself, so. I still really like that control room building, and remember when (Rebel/Remdul) sent me their 3ds Max progress. And Sam's recreation of the view building. This level was more work than play!

PH! This level is special to me because of how late in the game it was believed to even exist, from the cool video GlitchHunter recorded once it came out to show everyone, from the large new space to study and decipher. Really nice area. I think it's all the cooler for having an odd dead-end area, because this level is more of a coolness playground than a functional Tres level, sort of like the re-included scenes in the Lord of the Rings extended editions. I had a great time making a couple new levels out of it, too. The basement has hand-shaped hold magnets... It's just great. We may never find out what sort of puzzle had two little ravines at the end leading into IJ.

TstScnNght I'm putting here, because I really like playing Tres at night. Apparently you could use this level back in the day to reload and play other levels at night, but I never did this. I'm a darkness fan person and it's cool to see the night sky, the (albeit foggy) moon, and that AlphaChannel ray. I'm glad the devs seem to have snuck it in last-minute.

Cool topic!

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 6:27 am 
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Interesting that you enjoy PH so much while I place it at the bottom. I find it cool from a development/alpha perspective, but I feel the level design itself to be off compared to the other ones, even with the wide-open early JR and BE. I understand why it was cut from the game as if you skip the beach, it's actually really short. I believe the puzzle to get across the ravines may have been a "balancing beam" or something like that as was in the walkthrough. The whole game could have been so much more than what they were rushed to release had it matched the walkthrough more accurately.

JR has so many interesting versions, and that B55 version is the most accurate to the walkthrough of any levels which definitely makes it special. You can actually read the walkthrough and follow it to every location that is mentioned. The same goes for IJ, especially that early version with the semi-swamp and lake area.

I didn't really think of the TestScene levels since they're a different beast entirely. The unused assets and ideas in there are like relics of what once could have been features of the main game in the early days. CE fixed the fog colour glitch which is why the old ATX trick to play the other levels at night no longer works.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2021 12:43 pm 
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I started working on a list for this topic (cool idea!), but I'm not very good at making cohesive paragraphs for these type of things. For me it mostly boils down to atmosphere, story (voiceovers), puzzles, and memories :) But I'll do my best.

#1 - LAB is by far my favorite level for those reasons, and booting up the Cray will always be my most memorable and favorite moment in the game. Sometimes I'll boot up the game only to once again only play this level. I love hanging around at the harbor, teasing the Rex at the warehouses, and unlocking the lab buildings.

#2 - PH is also really high for me, not really for the level as a whole, but for how it makes me feel and how it looks (the green!). It felt surreal to be able to walk around in the level of which we'd only ever seen a few images. In fact, I can only think of a single one, at the moment. But yeah, the plantation house, all the green around it, Cathy's actual beach. I kinda get why it was cut, I guess. But for me, seeing the house added to JR instead - PH is far superior to retail JR. Like Draco, this level feels special to me. It's my favorite anthing EDIT: my fav anything uncovered from devs :)

#3 - Funny you mention LAB being the lesser IT for you, for me it's the other way around :) I like exploring Burroughs, but the raptors kinda ruin the atmosphere for me. I get they had to be there, I guess. But the game has never been about mowing down dinosaurs for me. Burroughs itself is great, but I'm not a fan of the long and boring trek to the dam. I've had LOTS of fun in IT recently with a 20-year old scavenger hunt savegame.

#4 - Industrial Jungle is next for me. It's so varied and delightfully long. I don't really know what else to say about it, just lots to like and a good balance in difficulty. Maybe it could have done with less weaponry around.

The above are my absolute favorites, the other levels are a bit harder to put into a list order for me. But Ascent 1-2 and Summit are definitely at the bottom. I don't hate them, in fact I can enjoy Ascent 1-2 for the challenge that they provide. But Summit is, in my opinion, too hard to be any fun. Beach was a fun introduction, I'll never forget my RAGE trying to make that bridge/ramp jump unpatched. But not for a second would I give up on seeing the rest of the island.
I'm not a big fan of retail Jungle Road. I mostly liked it for the plantation house, and when we got that in its own level, there wasn't even that. I think it was absolutely butchered in the end, because the build 55 version is truly a sight to behold. I do (literally) get lost in that, though. Which I don't mind.
Pine Valley I like for the geothermal plant and the bridges, the level itself isn't that great to me. It looks kinda barren, but I think for me that the terrain color may also have to do with it. But I'll never forget first firing up the actual level - only to successfully resist playing. I made myself play all the other b96 levels first. Like with PH, it felt very surreal to be able to see and play in areas of which we've only seen images and some videos. Powering up the plant was great. Right now from the top of my head, I'd say:

1. LAB
2. PH
3. IT
4. IJ
5. BE
6. PV
7. JR
8. AS1
9. AS2
10. SUM


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2021 9:11 pm 
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the Lab is my favorite :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:37 am 
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morningstarring wrote:
the Lab is my favorite :)

I like the way you think 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 6:20 am 
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Huh, I just can't get behind you guys with LAB. I think I'd like it more if the Docks area was its own seperate level, as for me the actual Lab part is the lacking section, even though I do like the CRAY puzzle.
The Docks are definitely a lot better if you turn off the AI boxes and let the T. Rex get into the hangers...

And it seems everyone is at least somewhat fond of IJ! For me, it's simply the most memorable. It's rather long and features so many unique locations, and the first T. Rex encounter if you discount PH. I'd be curious to hear if anyone dislikes IJ, and why (yeah, the Raptor Canyon - not to be confused with the gorge at the beginning - is rather random, but it's still one of the most impressive locations in the Retail game).

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2021 7:57 am 
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You're describing my Burroughs feelings :) But honestly I think the buildings in both Lab and Burroughs are pretty empty, but Burroughs more so, to me. Hammond's house is definitely my favorite section of the level. As you might enjoy the Docks as its own level, I think I might have rated Burroughs higher without that boring trek to the dam. Lab has one as well, but I do like the view you get on the harbor and warehouses. For sure, moving the Rexes is fun :)
I think I've always liked the canyon area in IJ :) Mostly for the challenge, though. In fact I think it's my least favorite area of the level. But that's only because I enjoy the other areas more. The gorge, the water area with Rex and Para, the gravel hill, even the walk to Burroughs :)

Edit: I think earlier cuts of Burroughs would land the #2 spot for me. I liked the terrain a lot more, it had more detail and didn't yet (I think?) have the trek to the dam. Also loved seeing vehicles near the Ops building in the very early versions.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 2:01 am 
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TheIdiot wrote:
Huh, I just can't get behind you guys with LAB. I think I'd like it more if the Docks area was its own seperate level, as for me the actual Lab part is the lacking section, even though I do like the CRAY puzzle.
The Docks are definitely a lot better if you turn off the AI boxes and let the T. Rex get into the hangers...

And it seems everyone is at least somewhat fond of IJ! For me, it's simply the most memorable. It's rather long and features so many unique locations, and the first T. Rex encounter if you discount PH. I'd be curious to hear if anyone dislikes IJ, and why (yeah, the Raptor Canyon - not to be confused with the gorge at the beginning - is rather random, but it's still one of the most impressive locations in the Retail game).


I think the lab would have made more sense in the IT level. I really like the docks though. I feel like the docks should have led into AS1 rather than the actual lab.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2021 1:36 pm 
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Interesting. Normally I'd say that sounds quite out of place. Or I just still begrudge that the designers of TLW film sets labeled the Ops Center as the "Laboratory" in their concept art, believing such a massive book location could be dummed down to a tiny building. But strickly speaking those locations are next to each other in the book, and a docks-to-wilderness transition sounds pretty cool. Might have made a nice railroad too.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:26 am 
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Hilwo wrote:
I think I might have rated Burroughs higher without that boring trek to the dam.

Agreed. The dam itself is cool, the trek up there isn't. If they'd left the Plains in, it might have had a bit more to it, but then the actual Plains level itself would have felt out-of-place being sandwiched between IT and LAB.

morningstarring wrote:
I really like the docks though. I feel like the docks should have led into AS1 rather than the actual lab.

I'm guessing that the Lab is the final major industrial location you visit due to it being such an important location in the story.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2021 5:20 pm 
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I am a bit mixed. I don't know if I can give one specific level as my favourite as I enjoy them all in different ways, and it hasn't helped when working on them on the Isla Sorna project.
But if I am gonna pick one, I'd say the Town. My reason is more nostalgia and memories however of it when I first played the game, and it was the first one I started learning TresEd in. It was before I knew about how to save it (not being on disc) and I remember doing various stuff in it, telling my siblings not to quit TresEd when they used the PC. :D
I also quite enjoy LAB a lot - I really like the voiceovers for Hammond used in the lab area, how it is more serious and about the downfall.
PH is also one, but those feelings are more related to it being a missing level that we finally got. PV never interested me much, probably cause we already knew so much about it before we got a copy of it.

If I would pick a level today, I can't say. Working with Isla Sorna my views of the levels have changed too much and I see so much potential in all of them. :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 1:35 am 
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So after several days of pondering this question I cant come to a decision. Sure the Town came to mind because of its abundance of man made structures but then I thought of the early JR with its wide open areas and secrets tucked away, literally only recently learned that the waterfall pond actually existed. Honestly I could go through and list every levels strengths and weakness and be no closer to picking a winner. This is greatly due to my fascination with Isla Sorna in general, ever since seeing that scene in The Lost World of the group on the boat and the heavy fog , which I always thought looked like a sauropod, I've been drawn to this island, wanting to know what else is hiding in those jungles and forests.

So for me its not so much a favorite level but which levels did the best job of providing details to what was going on and still giving you a good feeling of discovery.

1. JR (there may not be a whole lot in the way of different structures but the various locations scattered across the level make for a fun and rewarding exploration)

2. IT (reason is pretty self explanatory even if many of the buildings are empty)

3. IJ (can't deny that wandering through the thick foliage of the valley isn't fun, and the pond/swamp area would probably have been a very tranquil site with a brachiosaurs and some Parasaurolophus drinking and wandering around. plus I'm quite curious about the purpose and path the swamp bridge would have gone - like really why is this here, mixed feelings on the third area but the crashed heli would defiantly appealed to me as an easter egg)

4. Lab (has its moments but not much exploration off the path, plus I'm biased on the small lab area when thinking of JP III and the novel. Have a few theories about this that I will explain later)

5. Be & PV ( some good structures and areas to see but kind of linear in design, PV's road path is kind of boring and the bridge areas always confused me with them almost looking like there should be a structure here with the pits serving as an anti dinosaur barrier, guess they're really just to help keep the road from becoming flooded)

6. PH, AS 1&2, Sum (To put it simply there's just not much to be scene in these levels, only a big thing here and move on. PH despite having a good chunk of the noted features sadly is missing the explorative and content that would have made it more worthwhile, I.E. the divided first segment, the hunters camp not being something you would have to search for - ruins that keycode puzzle in IT if they really intended for the camp to be where it is. And the house itself is to lacking in content, still cool to see but not a whole lot going on.)


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2021 10:41 pm 
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I am sure the last time this was polled, I picked a different answer, but I think I spent most of my free time in game exploring the town. There is a lot of environmental storytelling there

The lab is my second choice, It's a great environment. My name is David, so when the game told me the card was in the Atlantic, I was very much surprised! The area with the Cray, and climbing through the window and skylight of the admin building was very cool.

I also liked the demo level! Shooting that trailer was my first experience with physics. I was probably stuck on the helipad for 5 minutes before I figured out what to do. How many of us spent a lot of time there? Does that count as Pine Valley?

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2021 1:01 pm 
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I spent a lot of time in the demo. Like, a lot, since I had it for a while before the game. For a while it WAS Trespasser. And it took fooorreeeevverrrr to figure out how to get down from the helicopter pad. Very oddly I feel that little puzzle and area are a bit of a higher, ah, quality bar? than the rest of the game, as the puzzle aspect is basically gone in retail Tres.

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