Jurassic Park: The Game

jpboxart
7 Overall Score
Graphics: 5/10
Sound: 8/10
Dinosaur Murder: 10/10

Funny at times and an entertaining return to the 1993 film

A bit of graphical clunkiness

Written by on December 6, 2011 in [, , , , , , ]

So let’s talk about Jurassic Park. Not the weird Metacritic kerfuffle that’s come out of the game, but the game itself. I was pretty into Jurassic Park growing up, mostly because I was little and dinosaurs, yo. Seeing this, my loving parents acquired not one, but several of the Jurassic Park video games.

I almost never forgave them.

So, given the reaction of others and my past, tragic history with the games, I approached Telltale’s adaptation with some caution. I’d played a bit of the game at PAX, and the element of the game I discovered there still holds true today. Seeing people murdered by dinosaurs is hilarious.

Don’t take this the wrong way. Though Jurassic Park looks…crude…at times, the set pieces are fine and the action is plenty visceral (in that same PG-13 way the movie was. No blood fountains after a pounce, but a lot of screaming followed by a quick cut), but Jurassic Park by nature is so kid-friendly that abruptly seeing your character fall to be devoured, or get crushed under a fallen electric fence, or munched by a T-Rex, is so incongruous with the rest of the action that all one can do is laugh.

For example, in an early scene (mild spoilers ahead, though this sequence has been shown multiple times), you control a park worker who must make a mad dash through the space two fighting dinosaurs are about to occupy. Failure results in him being tossed up ragdoll-style between the two and summarily flattened, all while the character’s teenager daughter watches in horror. The violence is so abrupt and cartoonish its hard not to be amused as your death toll rises.

And rise it will. The game tracks your death count over the course of one of the four episodes (all of which are chapters in a larger story, see virtually anything else Telltale has made for an example), and a few achievements are tied to make a perfect run, arcade-style. I could see a player becoming flustered with a difficult sequence, but the game rarely sets you back too far following a death, and it’s relatively easy to see the entire story if score isn’t an issue. I will admit to a controller-snapping bout of frustration here and there, but no more so than any number of other titles.

Jurassic Park plays like a cross between Dragon’s Lair and Heavy Rain, with the score elements and linearity of the game favoring the former. There are a number of dialogue options and a couple extras to find in the game, but the majority of the story follows a pretty direct path. You interact with the game through a series of timed button prompts, and Telltale uses these in clever ways occasionally. A dinosaur attack or other event will often interrupt a mundane task, and often the puzzles in the game come from using the surrounding environment to make your situation easier (yelling at the driver to slow down is immensely helpful when giving an injured survivor a lifesaving injection). None of the puzzles seem overly convoluted, and the QTE nature of the game is like much of what you’ve already played in similar titles. This won’t sell you on the style, but it’s reasonably well done and doesn’t detract from the game itself.

I played a whole bunch of Jurassic Park on the PC, and plan on going back in later to poke around a bit. If you have the choice I’d probably go with this version, as it offers native support for the 360 controller and the mouse both. I played the game perfectly well with a gamepad, though, and the cinematic nature of the game (and hilariously murdery fail screens) could make this a good couples game. While it won’t set any graphical benchmarks, Jurassic Park sounds great. The same chirps, growls, and roars from the movie are back, and the game works to showcase these.

At the end of the day, you probably already know if you’re going to have fun with Jurassic Park. It’s a quicktime event game, though it borrows heavily enough from Heavy Rain to make that a less hateful experience. It’s not great looking, but in the mass-market (and mass console) style of a Telltale game it’s fine, and set pieces are memorable and engaging. I’m trying to avoid talking too much about the story, as the nature of these games is about letting it unfold, but the narrative is serviceable if a bit predictable at times, and takes place directly after the events of the first film (leaving plenty of opportunity to bring back memorable scenes). If good sound design and more opportunities to see a dinosaur maul a wholesome American family aren’t selling you on this game, it probably isn’t for you. I enjoyed myself with it, for what it’s worth.

A copy of the Jurassic Park: The Game was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Zach Snell View all posts by
Hi there. If you're reading this you've probably read some material of mine. If you want more go here and read my stories about a guy who punches wizards. http://www.amazon.com/Zachary-Snell/e/B008G0MORI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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