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Soon after the announcement of the 1993 Jurassic Park feature film, based on the critically acclaimed novel by Michael Crichton, developers Ocean Software, BlueSky Software and Sega of America were licensed to produce games to be sold to coincide with the release of the film on the popular platforms of the time.
Jurassic Park (1993)
As the film was released, Ocean released three very distinct Jurassic Park games optimized for the different platforms.
Jurassic Park released for the NES and Game Boy were isometric action adventure titles, with various goals that loosely follow the plot of the film. Several levels were notably absent on the Game Boy version. Another variation was the Super NES version of Jurassic Park, which incorporated isometric gameplay for outside environments but used a first person perspective as if looking through a pair of night vision goggles for indoor environments. The Super NES version of Jurassic Park was also noted for being one of the few Super NES games to incorporate four-channel Dolby Surround. The player has to complete several objectives to beat the game and escape the island, such as turning on the park's power system and rebooting the main computers, as well as collecting raptor eggs. The Japanese version of the Super NES game was published by Jaleco.
The Nintendo versions used some plot elements of the novel. For instance, the last objective in the games is to wipe out the Velociraptor nest with nerve gas grenades. This plotline loosely resembled the novel, in which Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Robert Muldoon and Donald Gennaro (Muldoon does not enter the raptor nest) visit a Raptor nest to count eggs, and have gas grenades (which they do not use) as protection.
Lastly a version of Jurassic Park was released for PC:DOS and Amiga, which incorporated some isometric and first-person shooter gameplay, with notably improved resolution and artwork compared to the console versions.
This game can be played in two modes, either as Dr. Alan Grant or as a Velociraptor. Playing as each provides the user with an alternative story and level design. The climax of the game mirrored the unused climax of the film, in which Grant must defeat a pair of Velociraptors by causing the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in the Visitors Center to collapse on top of them. Grant himself is the final boss in the same location for the raptor storyline: your dinosaur character must cause the bone structure to collapse via specifically placed kicks to cause Grant to flee. A sequel was released using a new game engine and new artwork (with some of the original art as well), entitled Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition. In it, Grant's helicopter (that he just escaped on in the first game) crashes. Now he must deal not only with dinosaurs, but InGen as well. A new raptor must also make it off the island.
The Sega Master System and Game Gear versions of the game differed greatly from the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version, containing driving sequences using a jeep, and did not have the raptor choosable as a player character, only Grant. While the game was still a side-scrolling, platforming game, it was a completely different game from the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.
A very distinctly different game was also released for the Sega Mega-CD developed by Sega of America that was a point-and-click adventure game, with a strong emphasis on action sequences which require split-second timing. The game involved collecting dinosaur eggs around the park itself within a real time 12 hour time limit, much like Prince of Persia. It was played from a first-person perspective, giving the player a panoramic view of his/her surroundings as well as various tools to interact with it, and a trio of weapons to contend with whatever dinosaurs came into his path. Because none of the weapons (a stun gun, tranquilizer darts, and gas grenades) were lethal, each situation was in the form of a puzzle disguised as combat which required more than just shooting to survive. This game also related to characters and events similar to the original books written by Michael Crichton.
Sega also released a rail shooter in arcades under the name Jurassic Park which featured arcade style missions that involved protecting your vehicle by shooting any targets that appeared on screen, much in the style of Operation Wolf. The machine's cabinet resembled the rear of the Ford Explorer Tour Vehicles and contained hydraulic pistons to move the seat according to action on the screen. The player equipped with a joystick must protect the vehicle from dinosaurs that appear on-screen. The game blends three dimensional polygons and two dimensional sprites to give the sense of movement. This was the first game of this genre to include 3D environments which paved the way for later Sega titles like Virtua Cop that included totally 3D environments. The game ran on the Sega System 32 hardware.
Continued success (1994)
With the film being released on VHS and the high level of success achieved by both the film and the video games, a second generation of games was ordered, limited to only the two most popular platforms of the last generation. A separately designed arcade game was also released that was originally going to coincide with the film's release, but was pushed back until 1994, with Sega; the developer citing time constraints as the cause of delay.
Ocean developed a simpler action side scrolling platform game titled Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues based on an original sequel story to the feature film. The game appeared on the SNES and the Game Boy. The story for the SNES version takes place one year after the events of the film and you play as either Dr. Alan Grant or Sergeant Michael Wolfskin who are sent to Isla Nublar by John Hammond to prevent BioSyn (a rival genetics company) from stealing dinosaurs from the island, while the Game Boy version was a re-imagining of the first film. The SNES version was considered to be drastically harder than its predecessor.
Universal Interactive also released Jurassic Park Interactive on the ill-fated 3DO system. It was the only Jurassic Park game to feature RPG-elements and a simulated PC interface. The game featured FMV segments starring look-alikes (of varying degrees) of the main characters.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
They released The Lost World: Jurassic Park, a side scrolling platformer, but portrayed in a totally 3D rendered environment for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn by Electronic Arts. The game featured five playable characters through many linear paths facing over 20 different dinosaurs. A sprite based version was ported to the Game Boy Color by Torus Games. Due to the large amount of animation each dinosaur possessed, controls were imprecise and made jumping and attacking difficult. Players also complained that not enough levels featured the Tyrannosaurus rex. These factors made EA go back and release a budget-priced special edition of The Lost World for the PlayStation that better balanced, but didn't completely eliminate, the previous flaws.
Another version was developed by Appaloosa Interactive and published by Sega for the Mega Drive/Genesis. Played from an overhead view, the game contained levels brought together by four hub areas on Isla Sorna and also contained four unique boss levels. It also had driveable vehicles, a large number of dinosaurs, excellent graphics for the age of the console, and a GPS system used for mission objectives and a map.
There was also a video game developed for the Sega Game Gear handheld console.
A version developed by Tiger Electronics was released on their short lived handheld game console, Game.com. Also released was Jurassic Park: Chaos Island, a Command & Conquer style strategy game for the PC. It is noted that some scenes portrayed in the game do not parallel the movie. InGen is attempting to cover up the incidents by killing anything with scales on the island, with those that are supposed to be dead taking precedence over those that are still alive. The cast remains much the same as in the movie in terms of characters; for example, Ian, Sarah, and Eddie. However, their missions are now laid out by Hammond. Another discrepancy is that the usual assortment of dinosaurs are not the only enemies you face; in the game you encounter InGen's mercenaries and guards on several occasions, and late in the movie there is a mutual alliance based on the fact that neither group wants to die. In game, however, there is no truce and the mercenaries clearly have more equipment than they did in the movie. In addition to the wandering batches of mercenaries on foot, they also make use of 20-30+ Jeeps and even tanks.
In 1998 a PC first person shooter game named Jurassic Park: Trespasser was released, billed as a digital sequel to the movie The Lost World. The game was highly ambitious and featured one of the first large scale physics engines in an action game. The developer was pushed by the publisher to ship it to coincide with the VHS release of The Lost World whether it was ready or not. This meant many elements of the planned game design were shelved and many bugs, some major, still remained in the game. As a consequence many players felt the game was clunky and awkward to play, and the game did not fare well critically. The forced early release also caused the game to receive poor marks for requiring incredibly powerful PC hardware in order to achieve playable frame rates; the physics system of the game also does not handle achieving higher frame rates well, behaving at its best between 20-30 FPS and becoming increasingly erratic above and below. Players installing the game on a modern system have often found it unusable, as the combination of too-powerful hardware (the game lacks programming to properly limit its behavior in high-framerate situations) and graphical anomalies (due to the heavy use of now-deprecated DirectX 5 and 6 programming routines) make for an extremely unsatisfactory gameplay experience. But after a few years the game received a large modding community called Trescom. This community helped to rebuild the game; they made it more fun, more playable, and with good graphics, fewer bugs, and less frustration.
In 1999, another PlayStation title, Warpath: Jurassic Park, a console fighting game in the style of Tekken and Primal Rage, was released by DreamWorks Interactive as a sort of follow-up in similar style to the original platformer. The game featured 14 different fighting dinosaurs, although around half of those were re-meshes (a new model animated over a duplicate frame) with mixed results. Different scenes from both previous films provided the arenas, considered decently detailed and destructible for the era. The game received mixed reviews, applauding the dinosaurs but criticizing the slow controls and (for the system) overly-complex graphics, which caused considerable strain and polygon-tearing by the PS1 processors. The dinosaur's realism is also extremely exaggerated; many of the dinosaurs can leap straight into the air with no problems.
Jurassic Park III (2001-2005)
To coincide with the third film in the series, Jurassic Park III — the first film not based on a Michael Crichton novel and not directed by Steven Spielberg — a number of software related merchandise items for the PC, Arcade and Game Boy Advance were released.
A side scrolling platformer primarily aimed at a younger audience was released, titled Jurassic Park III: Dino Defender, and its accompaniment Jurassic Park III: Danger Zone!, developed and published by Knowledge Adventure for PC. The game possessed noticeably brighter graphics and a lighter atmosphere than the previous platformers in the series.
A 3D action game titled Jurassic Park III: Scan Command, was also developed and published by Vivendi Universal Games for PC. This game came with a barcode scanner accessory which was used to scan barcodes which were then converted to DNA pieces in the game. The plotline was rather strange for a Jurassic Park story. It revolved around an evil scientist at InGen taking over the park with an army of dinosaurs and clones of people called Primos that were recreated from an ancient tribe that once resided on the island and referred to the dinosaurs as the "Great Protectors". In the game a group of kids try to save the park by using dinosaurs which can be controlled by a radio transmitter that submits commands to the dinosaurs to fight the evil scientist's dinosaurs. The DNA pieces were used to modify the player's dinosaurs. The player controlled multiple dinosaurs, and issued commands in real-time during fights.
A number of other games were released on the Game Boy Advance:
- Jurassic Park III: Island Attack was developed by Mobile21, published by Konami Corporation, and released prior to the film's first screening. The game was an isometric action adventure game, where one plays Dr. Alan Grant trying to escape the island by reaching the rescue boat on the other side by means of traversing the 8 different game environments. The game allows the player to choose to run from many of the enemies encountered, or collect and use items to destroy them. The levels were also long and considerably hard.
- Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor was released on the 30 July to coincide with the release of Jurassic Park III. It was developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Hawaii and was a side scrolling platformer with many puzzle solving elements. The game allows you to choose from a professional photographer or pilot to search the island for DNA of dinosaurs featured in the Jurassic Park series. Each level involves fighting dinosaurs while searching for all of the DNA to open the exit. Then, using that DNA collected, you must correctly create different species of dinosaurs, which becomes increasingly complex as the game progresses.
- Jurassic Park III: Park Builder was released on the 30 September by Konami Computer Entertainment. The game operated like many Sim or God games, such as SimCity and Theme Park World where the user views the game from an omnipotent perspective tailoring a virtual amusement park, that includes building rides, shops, food outlets, dino facilities and more.
- Announced in 2001, Jurassic Park: Survival was a third-person adventure game in development by Savage Entertainment for the PlayStation 2. However due to conflicts with Vivendi Universal over payments, the title was canceled.
- Jurassic Park III: Danger Zone! came out on June 29, 2001. In this game you can play as single player, or multiplayer. You go around Jurassic Park collecting DNA for InGen, and finally create a dinosaur in the end.
- There are currently a lot of rumors on the internet that describe a "Lego Jurassic Park", in the theme of Lego Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones, as the next Jurassic Park game.
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (2003)
In March 2003, Vivendi Universal Games released a game developed by Australian company Blue Tongue Entertainment very much similar to Jurassic Park III: Park Builder. The game titled Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis allows the user to recreate their own Jurassic Park featuring 25 dinosaurs and a multitude of rides, shops and other attractions. The game was released on Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC. This game is similar to the popular simulation game, Zoo Tycoon. The dinosaur's behavior was researched in more detail than its predecessors; the Jurassic Park Institute helped in this task.
Jurassic Park in 2010
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