Game of the Month April, 2003:
Jurassic Park

System: Super NES Developer: Ocean
I'll admit that Jurassic Park is neither one of the very best games I've ever played nor a game for everyone. But there is something about it that I liked, even enough to give it a spot on my Top 100, if only a temporary spot. In this massive adventure game that combines overhead exploration, shooting, and 3D "DOOM"-like interiors, you must solve the problems of Jurassic Park, and then attempt to escape in one piece. Without the game's manual, or a walkthrough, you'd most certainly be lost. The game is mission-based, and each task must be completed in a specific order so that you can progress. While the story is not quite the same as the movie, the spirit of the highly-popular Steven Spielberg film is definitely there. As you explore the island of Isla Nublar, you will be attacked at every turn by thundering Triceratops, vicious Velociraptors, and even the might Tyrannosaurus Rex. And that's just the overworld; the game is even scarier and creepier in the interior 3D environs.

Raptor at 2 O'clock!!

Now is a good time to...SCREAM! One thing I really love about this game is its graphics. The outdoor areas of lush jungles and rocky mountain cliffs couldn't possibly look any more inviting without ACM rendering. The interior areas, which are shown from a "3D" first-person perspective, rotate with Mode 7 effects. Although these areas are highly pixelated and the movement through them is a bit choppy, they just give off a really dark and eerie atmosphere. There is also a good amount of variety in these areas, with some rooms recreating scenes from the movie, such as the Visitor's Center's hatchery and infamous kitchen. You only fight Spitters and Raptors in these areas, but these dinos are huge and quite intimidating when they charge right at you. Aside from graphics, the game also has some incredibly good music and sound effects. The earth-shattering roar of the T-Rex is particularly unnerving. The music has a kind of "techno-beat", which may not feel entirely appropriate, but the lonely native flute-driven melody that accompanies the mountain areas is one of my favorite pieces of game music. But graphics and sound aren't the only things that make Jurassic Park good.

As a task-based adventure game, you must complete a series of missions in order to complete Jurassic Park. Some jobs are as easy as finding a computer in a building and walking up to it to switch it on. But others are more arduous, such as clearing all Raptors out of a boat or delving deep into the underground mazes beneath the island to bomb a raptor's nest. You can find many different kinds of weapons on the island to deal with the nasty dinos that you'll face (thankfully, weapons respawn inside buildings, so you'll never run out). You must also find key cards that will allow you access to restricted areas of some buildings, a la Metal Gear. There are no true bosses in this game, but some of these tasks can be as difficult to clear as any average game's boss fights.

Bon appetite!

One of the biggest downsides of Jurassic Park is that it has no save feature. Since it's an extremely long game, you will need a lot of spare time to finish it, or else you'll have to leave your SNES turned on over night. The game also lacks an in-game mapping feature, and the manual doesn't have any maps, either, so it can become confusing to negotiate the large overworld and the 3D mazes. But there is nothing here that is terribly overwhelming, and the game world can be "learned" and memorized with time. Overall, Jurassic Park is one of the better movie-based games I've played and worth taking a look at for both fans of the movie and adventure-seeking SNES players.

Jurassic Park Links

  • My Jurassic Park Review - A complete review of this fantastic game.
  • My Jurassic Park Walkthrough - My step-by-step barebones guide to beating this game.


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