Far Cry (X-Isle) [PC – Alpha & Tech Demo]

Far Cry (X-Isle) [PC – Alpha & Tech Demo]

Far Cry is a FPS developed by Crytek Studios from Germany and published by Ubisoft in 2004 for Microsoft Windows. The codename of the project was “X-Isle”, a tech demo with dinosaurs on a jungle island. Crytek history starts with the ECTS 2000. It was there that they impressed all the big publishers with their tech demos at the NVIDIA booth. They continued releasing various tech demos over the years and the X-Isle one evolved into Far Cry.

From the original X-Isle: Dinosaur Island the plot of the game was changed many times before the final one, and once there were aliens too. As we can read from an old Gamespot preview:

In the game, players will be pitted against an ancient alien life-form closely related to the dinosaurs. The aliens have re-created a colony of dinosaurs in an attempt to take back control of the globe. The player must overcome the advanced alien technology in addition to the brute strength and power of the dinosaurs in order to succeed.

In the pre-alpha version of the game, there were some differences as noticed by Slayermaggot81:

  • Different Hud/Health Bar
  • Different and unfinished levels (low textures)
  • More sunny lightning and clear transparent water (ain’t blue-ish like in the final game)
  • Enemies does look different than in the final game
  • Effects like explosions, smoke and blood were looking different

A Far Cry demo from E3 2002 was found and preserved online, you can read more on the “BRP: Beta Restoration Project” ModDB page!

Thanks to Slayermaggot81 for the contribution!




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6 thoughts on “Far Cry (X-Isle) [PC – Alpha & Tech Demo]

  1. bionicman1024

    X-Isle was also to be released on xbox, there is a plot synopsis for the game here:


    It is interesting, I have been playing Far Cry Instincts Evolution recently (cool game BTW) and I think from a visual standpoint, the game engine technology seems to have a similar sophistication to what is seen in the early screen PICS for X-Isle. I wonder if Crytek kept the original code and outsourced it to Ubisoft for the ‘Instincts’ games.

    At the time when X-Isle was first demonstrated, Nvidia’s Geforce 3 was very new, and the tech. the demo of the game demonstrated the capabilities of Pixel and Vertex shaders. Funnily enough, the original xbox came out around the same time as that graphics card, and subsequently the proprietary ‘X-Chip’ graphics processor of the xbox had similar capabilities to the aforementioned graphics card, although the xbox’s custom chip was even further ahead of its time, with features that would later show up in The Geforce FX range of graphics cards.

    1. monokoma

      Thanks for the info Bionicman! :) Imho the xbox version was just a rumor, as X-Isle was just still an early tech demo, they probably never did anything on the real xbox hardware.. but maybe i’m wrong ;)

  2. LiqMat

    You can still find the X-Isle: Dinosaur Island tech demo download here >> https://www.guru3d.com/files-details/demo-of-x-isle-dinosaur-island.html >> This is the last and latest version dated 03-15-2001.

    There is an earlier version (v1.02) here >> https://www.fileplanet.com/archive/p-34577/Cryotek-X-Isle-Tech-Demo/download >> This version is dated 09-18-2000. You can download the v1.03 patch for this earlier version here >> https://web.archive.org/web/20020126123944/http://www.crytek.de/xislepatch103.zip

    The newer 2001 version seems to run fairly well on a Windows 7 64 box, but the earlier versions run on some Windows 7 64 systems I tried, but not others. You may need to use a virtual machine with WinXP or real vintage hardware to get it running properly.

    The only version I could not find was version 2.01 which is dated November 2000. I based my version info from this link >> https://web.archive.org/web/20010330072446/http://www.crytek.de:80/hp/xisd.htm

    Update: v1.02 is an early non-interactive version of this tech demo and has a few graphic glitches/artifacts visible in the skybox, landscape and around certain creature models. VSync doesn’t seem to work (at least not on modern graphic cards). The v1.03 patch seems to correct these problems. You will also notice that the landscape in versions 1.02/1.03 is a bit different than in the later X-Isle: Dinosaur Island tech demo. Another big difference between v1.02/v1.03 and X-Isle: Dinosaur Island is the latter has an interactive mode where you can walk around the island on your own and it also has a soundtrack. Make sure to choose “Interactive educational” under the “Demo mode:” pull down menu when you first start the X-Isle: Dinosaur Island tech demo. I noticed on modern machines none of the demos exit properly (at least for me) so I had to alt-tab out of them and force close through task manager. Still on the hunt for version 2.01 of this tech demo.

    1. LiqMat

      So another great find for the Crytek X-Isle tech demos. Apparently the website “SomeBody Else’s Place” has been around for awhile and contains three separate patches for all three X-Isle tech demo versions. These patches unlock hidden settings for all three tech demos. Look on the right side of the webpage for English language descriptions and you will see the patch downloads for X-Isle v1.02, v1.03 and Dinosaur Island. If you scroll down to the “History” section of the webpage you will find the key combination to unlock an interactive mode for the early v1.02/v1.03 tech demos! This allows you to roam the early tech demo map, which is different than the Dinosaur Island map, which was not an option in the original releases of v1.02/v1.03. Now if only someone could find the Crytek Engalus tech demo which is based on this early Crytek engine.


      Note: This does make me wonder if v2.01 of the X-Isle tech demo was ever released to the public as “Somebody Else’s Place” does not mention that release nor has a patch for it.

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