By Kieron Gillen on May 16th, 2008 at 9:39 am.
True fact. The makers of Off-Road Velociraptor Safari have released an alpha of the much anticipated Jetpack Brontosaurus (“Splendid jetpack dreams of the Apatosaurus named Brontosaurus”). It includes what looks like four missions and a brontosaurus with a jetpack. Some initial impressions follow, in the format of words.
Well, it’s cute and dream-like and you suspect it’s going to be more of a niche concern than the buggy-racing fury of Off-Road Velociraptor Safari. It’s clearly derived from the Thrust school of games – which makes Thrust clones have more than their fair share of the greatest game names of all time, Jetpack Brontosaurus joining the hyper-pretentious Zarathrusta – with your controls being limited to directing your enormous hip-based thrusters and tapping space.
(Oh – and holding the left mouse button to fiddle with the camera, if you fancy)
In a sort of hub world, you direct yourself to challenges via the mini-map, which are basically tests of flying dexterity against time-limits, with various pass rates. While in the open environments it’s easy to achieve the basics, getting a decent score will require hugging the landscape and all the agility a 50 ton lizard can muster. It’s relaxing and cute and I’d like to see more.
It’s an alpha, so the team are actively fishing around for feedback about what people like and don’t. My initial problem is the camera – while it’s okay in the outdoor areas, the second you start going through the tunnel you start regretting you’re about seventy foot long and with a head that bangs into everything. Especially when you brake, it flies far too close obscuring the vision – and the manual adjusting is so sensitive it’s not really something that you can use to correct.
(With that in mind, my advice to anyone who plays it would be to go and explore the outdoor missions rather than delving into that exciting hole. Missus.)
Like Velociraptor, it runs entirely in a web-browser via plug-in (with optional full-screen), so just follow the link and get into those splendid thunder-lizard dreams.