Jurassic Park: The Game takes place simultaneously with the first Jurassic Park movie. Instead of focusing on the cast from the film, it tells the story that was behind the scenes. Jurassic Park: The Game follows several characters during their adventure on the Isla Nublar: Gerry Harding (who also had a brief role in the first film), his daughter Jess, the mysterious Nima Cruz and the Ingen mercenaries, Billy Yoder and Oscar Morales. The plot begins right before the park goes haywire, with Nima Cruz waiting to meet with Dennis Nedry. Once Nedry doesn’t show, she infiltrates Jurassic Park to find him and recover the stolen dinosaur embryos. Gerry Harding is the park’s veterinarian, who is giving his troubled teen daughter a tour of the nearly finished attraction. When the systems start failing, they have to struggle to make it back to the visitor’s center. Through a series of fights and flights, all of these characters come together to escape the island. By the way, this plot would have made a much better sequel to the original Jurassic Park film than Jurassic Park: The Lost World. I mean, dinosaurs in San Diego?! Come on!
I think the most important thing to keep in mind while playing Jurassic Park: The Game is that gameplay takes a backseat to story. The actual gameplay is a mix of point-and-click settings and constant quicktime actions, without any real player control over the characters. While I was a bit disappointed to find out that it wasn’t what I was expecting, I’m completely satisfied with the unusual style of gameplay. It’s more of a story driven game, not an involved action game, demanding your every second of attention. This is more of a game where you can crack open a preferred beverage, sit back and push a button occasionally. While some may be let down that they can’t tap “A” to murder a dinosaur, I think most of the people buying this game love Jurassic Park enough to get past the style of gameplay.
You’ll spend most of your time watching the characters progress through the story, without any “direct” involvement from yourself. Jurassic Park: The Game is really more of a movie, where you have to hit buttons to continue watching. I really enjoyed the relaxed gameplay, because it’s a nice change of pace to the average game. Normal games try to burn your eyes out while testing the dexterity of your poor hands, while JP:TG lets you just watch the story that they’ve made for us. I have to admit, this game is really making me believe in Telltale Games again.
While the voice acting wasn’t perfect, I would say that it is better than the average game. Usually, the dialogue is just a bonus that comes along with the gameplay, but Jurassic Park: The Game has a different approach. With the point-and-click style of JP:TG, the dialogue and plot become the driving factors of the game. Because of this critical need for good dialogue and believable voice acting, Jurassic Park steps up the mean of the talent. While none of the voice actors “wow’d” me, they all did a good enough job to illicit emotion from me. I started to become invested in their characters, wanting them to escape the island and SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOIL. I’ll avoid going to deep into the story, since it is the main driving force of the game.
While the unique gameplay is fun and interesting, the replay value completely drops off after completing the game. There are no multiplayer, trial modes, time attacks, or game cheats. Without anything to drive the replay value, Jurassic Park is a “One-Trick-Pony”. Luckily, after you beat the game, the disc is a competent coaster or bookmark. So, there are multiple purposes for purchasing the game. I can’t recommend that you actually purchase the game (like I did), but try to rent it somewhere.
Ok, the graphics aren’t great. I’m being straightforward because we can all appreciate the effort that smaller companies have to put forth, in comparison to larger companies. All of that stuff aside, the graphics are good enough to compete with the current generation’s games. You’re not going to pick your jaw up off of the ground after seeing your first T-Rex, but you will still feel an emotional connection to the characters that you’ve followed throughout the game. I feel that if the graphics are good enough to still get me attached to the characters, then there’s no reason to bitch about it.
The sound is where Jurassic Park: The Game really shines. Not only do they stay faithful to the music of the film, they even keep the same sound effects. So, everything from the dinosaurs to the computers all sound exactly as they did back in ’93. Hearing this game is a pleasant nostalgia trip within itself, making fanboys like me squeal with joy. I feel like JP:TG may have missed the mark on some other categories, but they absolutely nailed it on sound.
The achievements are a very mixed bag, to me personally. I say this because, on one hand, I love that they are extremely easy. I mean, you could take a nap during the playthrough and still complete the achievement list. But, on the other hand, I don’t want a game to be this easy to complete. Achievements are called their name for a reason, you must achieve it. Achieving something like, “Pressing Start” or “Farting Gently” simply doesn’t satisfy the player. So, as an Achievement Whore, I really enjoy this game; it’s a quick 1000/10000. But, as a lifelong gamer and achievement enthusiast, I can’t help but feel shorted by the achievement list.
Overall, Jurassic Park: The Game is an absolute thrill ride for the avid Jurassic Park fan. Whether or not the average gamer would like the uninvolved gameplay, I’m not sure. While this isn’t the average action game, Jurassic Park: The Game brings a fun and interesting plot to the table. Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t drop the full $40 on this game, but you should at least find a way to get a single playthrough out of it. Jurassic Park fans should be pleasantly surprised by this exciting new addition to the Jurassic Park family.
I Give Jurassic Park: The Game 4 ”Dinosaur Parties” out of 5
By Blake Edwards