Have You Played… Lost Eden

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I never played Lost Eden. But I sure did watch the demo. A demo that brought me and my friend James the most ridiculous amount of utter delight, and a running gag that stays with us to this day. Wow, Lost Eden was terrible. Well, the demo was at least.

There’s no doubt that Cryo’s dinosaurific adventure was breathtaking to look at. Incredibly primitive now, but at the time it was like your computer monitor was doing actual magic. Like when you found the Weezer video on the Win 95 disc, and somehow your PC was showing a music video like a television. Here, share the moment with me:

Wow, it looks awful now. It’s hard to really understand how human eyes work, that they can see these graphics as lifelike, when they already know what life actually looks like. (See also: original Far Cry.) And gosh, that music. But then, after all those pre-rendered shots of impossible graphics, suddenly there’s Mr Blobbymouth Wizard Dude.

Sadly not included in that video is the moment of perfect stupidity, the appearance of Moorkus Rex, which was where James and I would lose it. Here he is:

It was the way his left shoulder was attached to his jaw. All that extraordinary rendering, those graphics like we’d never seen, and then they couldn’t even be bothered to animate his jaw separately from his shoulder. To this day, when we meet up, we’ll still exchange a hearty laugh with our shoulder bobbing up and down with our squared chin. Twas the best. The game was apparently terrible.

From this site

31 Comments

  1. Tanngnjost says:

    I remember watching it over a friend’s shoulder when I was just a wee lad. It seemed mysterious and frightening then, with the beginning when you’re in the palace and you see the mural with all the predator dinosaurs being jerks. How times change!

  2. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    The music is fantastic, you Tasteless John (done by the legendary Stephane Picq), but the game was just a very poor Dune follow-up that managed to make that premise very boring. It was one of the many misteps from Cryo when then tried to replicate their own formulas.

    • Ragnar says:

      I too liked the music, it was my favorite part of that video.

      Much like that Weezer video was my favorite part of Win 95.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Yeah talking about stuff he doesn’t know. The gameplay was somewhat repetative but kinda unique too.
      I still remember the music today and graphics were state of the art.
      Story was ok I guess.

      • Premium User Badge

        Risingson says:

        Hey, I realize that he was talking about that specific youtube, so he may be excused. Well, no: I remember the demo featured the digitalized music (this is exactly what I found very appealing in the demo).

        BTW, the soundtrack is here. link to youtube.com

      • John Walker says:

        I wrote, “And gosh, that music,” from which you’ve extrapolated a reason to insult me. Good grief, you must be bored.

        The music in *that video* sounds like a dying cat being scraped down glass.

        • Premium User Badge

          Risingson says:

          Sorry, John, but no, that was not an insult, that was an obvious sarcasm where I got the paper of an offended Picq groupie (which, er, I actually am) and added some info, and you did not want to pick just because you love to be offended. This is not an insult. I’ve been offended in the past by old RPS crew, for example, and I shut up because I know there is always the risk of a ban. Here I was just correcting you. And then, even then, I excused what you said saying that you were based on that video. Though I find it really funny how, you being a fan of videogames and all, talk about this game in disdain without any kind of documentation, even a youtube search. I think *you* insulted the game authors with this. But anyway, eye of the beholder. It’s your site, do whatever you want with it.

    • Premium User Badge

      alison says:

      I concur. Not that I ever got my hands on the game, though I have enjoyed the soundtrack for a long time. I will forever stan Stéphane Picq because the Dune soundtrack was the first CD I ever bought, and it remains a prized possession. Dune is perhaps the only game from the 90s I can bear to play today because it’s just so damn beautiful. Flying the orni at sunset was like walking sims before walking sims were a thing. And this demo reel has a similar aesthetic.

  3. Scobie says:

    I do remember this game! It was absolutely mindblowing to me at the time, and Moorkus Rex scared the crap out of me. In my defence, I was six.

  4. GWOP says:

    How is James these days?

  5. Maxheadroom says:

    Wow that takes me back, thanks for sharing. I was a scruffy teenager back then working in a local high street electrical shop. Would show that intro to try and flog 486s

    course if I was trying to flog Amigas it was the Shadow of the Beast intro all the way :)

    • Shazbut says:

      Every time someone mentions Shadow of The Beast, I feel compelled to mention the box art.

      But honestly that box art…

  6. Retrofrank says:

    Ugh.Even back then, I thougt that their games looked terribly sterile and liveless and where full of ridiculous charakters.
    Just look at some footage from “Dragon Lore”.
    If you want to see some of their better games, you´ll have to go back to the later 80´s when they where still named “Exxos” and made games for the Commodore Amiga.

  7. Baf says:

    I have played this. It struck me at the time as interesting structurally.

    Fairly early on, it’s established that you’re going to be traveling around the world from prehistoric village to prehistoric village, recruiting the locals to help build a citadel in each place by performing the same actions: talk to the human leaders about your plan, find the the local velociraptors and apatosaurs, strike deals with them to get their help. This becomes a routine.

    Now, in each place, at least one step in this routine hits some kind of snag, and this forms the basis of the adventure-game puzzles in that area. This sort of routine struck me as an interesting way to organize an adventure game. Adventure games are basically made out of special cases and exceptions, but few of them take the time to establish something for them to be exceptions to. The Lost Eden approach gives you a plan, and then lets most of that plan go smoothly.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    THUGG FIND APPLE

    HAPPY NOW

  9. padger says:

    I had to help my family play this, as it was bought for “all of us” one Christmas. Painful experience.

    Probably formative in some dark way. :(

  10. Shazbut says:

    Wow, it looks awful now.

    I may be broken, but I think it looks pretty good. God only knows how it must have seemed in 1994

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s really variable. Some of the art and scenes are perfectly good VGA-era stuff. Some of the it is “oh god we just couldn’t spend another second in POVRay, have an infinite flat plane with a dinosaur made of two spheroids”.

    • exile2k4 says:

      I never played this, but the graphics in games like this did seem incredible to me in my early teens because 4-5 years earlier I was playing games like ‘Citadel’ on the BBC Micro. When you consider the advances in the short span of time it did make it feel like anything was possible, whereas now in the same space of time we have Skyrim -> Fallout 4. I love games now, I think they’ve improved incredibly in all kinds of ways, but sometimes I do miss that late 80s/early 90s feeling of progress.

  11. Dominitus says:

    Looks pretty much like Avatar to me…

  12. Premium User Badge

    Dukey says:

    Well 10-year-old me didn’t think it was awful. One of the few games that I ever actually finished. Looking back, the graphics and animation look pretty bad but in 1994 they were pretty amazing.

    And I’m not going to try to argue that the story’s anything special but it was enough to keep me engrossed all the way to the end. There aren’t that many games I can honestly say that about.

  13. xaphoo says:

    Say what you will about the game, but that music is the something magical. It is the cool, pure water of Reality in the parched desert of illusion.

    • Caiman says:

      Just hearing those AdLib sounds gives me the warm fuzzies. That bell sound in particular.

  14. fledo says:

    Moorkus Rex scared the hell out of me when I played Lost Eden the first time. I still have the CD somewhere around here and I did get it working in DosBox sometime last year. I’ll upload my conf + ISO if anyone is interested.

  15. Muzman says:

    People sneering at it at first glance is interesting. Me and mine were blown away by that demo (which had the more polished music in it when I played it. Can be heard in this longplay link to youtube.com )

    The Enigma-ish music and the concept as well as some of the visuals seemed really evocative to us. So much so that it took quite a while for it to really sink in that the game’s target age is about five or six.

    I never quite forgot it. When the internet came along and these things were easier to find out I remember looking it up to see if anyone else remembered it and reading all about how Cryo were this famously terrible developer of dodgy adventures like this one.
    Good times.

  16. Raoul Duke says:

    Hooooooooooly hell. Thank you for this article! I just had one of those moments where something I had utterly forgotten comes flooding back.

    John, I must be virtually the same age as you. I got this on a demo CD on a magazine (PC Gamer probably) and watched this sequence over and over again. It blew my frigging mind! That bit when the pterosaur/don is flying across the landscape with particularly epic synth music has tapped into some primal memories from my youth.

    I also (now) remember the chill I got seeing that Cryo logo bit at the start. It signalled that suddenly PC games were capable of being something completely different to what had gone before.

  17. Carra says:

    1995, Jurassic Park is a huge blockbuster. I can see why developers would want to create a game with dinosaurs in it.

  18. Einsammler says:

    Mostly this makes me want to play Magic Carpet.

    (Are there any successors to that? Sacrifice came to mind, but it went RTS and took out base-building.)

  19. philosoaper says:

    Hah.. I remember this, I liked it too!.. what I remember the most is how great some of the music was.. like this track for example link to youtube.com

    It was also one of the first games I bought after buying that sweet sweet NEC MultiSpin 3Xi (SCSI) CD-ROM drive!