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In 1993 Steven Spielberg brought his vision of Michael Crichton’s novel to the silver screen with ground-breaking computer generated imagery and superbly detailed animatronics from the talents of Stan Winston and his team; famous for many special effects used in films such as The Terminator, Predator and Aliens.
Now I can remember my Dad taking me to see this movie at the local cinema and that moment when the dinosaurs first appeared on screen. I was completely blown away!
Over the next few months, Jurassic Park the video game was released on the NES, Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive or Genesis. They were quite different, but in this review we’re going to focus on the Sega version.
“Welcome to Jurassic Park”
In Jurassic Park you can choose to play as a Velociraptor or Dr Grant. These offer two different perspectives and play styles which add a nice bit of variety to the game.
Playing as Dr Grant is the default option if you just jump in and makes for quite a well paced adventure, where you must use your wits and weapons to defeat dinosaurs and escape the park. This is the most challenging character to play as, but there is a password system in place to help you continue if you die.
Opting for the Raptor is a little more action-orientated. Your goal is still to escape the park, but the approach to each level is slightly different and you must kill enemies using your teeth and claws. It’s a little shorter than Dr Grant’s adventure as it misses out the boat vehicle level, but it’s lengthy enough and an enjoyable addition.
The graphics in Jurassic Park are pretty impressive. You can see the developers were inspired by the film and tried to achieve an authentic look and experience, considering the technical constraints of the 16-bit system. Games based on movies often feel like quick and lazy cash-ins, but you can see here that a lot of effort went in to the animation and environments. I was really quite surprised to see the detail of the intro sequences, the variation in Dr Grant’s movement, traversing the environment and how good the dinosaurs actually looked.
The sound is great too and whilst the theme tune from John Williams is unfortunately missing, the audio does a good job with plenty of ambient sound effects which help immerse you in the gameplay.
It’s a shame that so many movie tie-ins don’t appear to put this much effort in their games. Jurassic Park is an excellent example of paying tribute to the film and offering players a way to experience and enjoy that world and setting for themselves.
The only real downside is that the game is a bit on the short side. This is compensated a little by the presence of two characters to play as, but overall it won’t take you too long to finish once you’ve mastered the weapons, level layouts and the initially slightly tricky learning curve. I died quite a few times in the beginning, but with a little patience and persistence I did get a handle on the gameplay mechanics and found this a very enjoyable adventure.
This game would have been worth renting back when it was released and hard to recommend a purchase. However, as it can be found quite cheap now I would say pick it up if you find it for a reasonable price.