It's fun to watch Jurassic Park's story play out, but this cinematic adventure isn't much fun to actually play.
- Interesting story that smartly expands on that of the film
- Good use of locations, sound effects and music from the movie
- Intuitive, unobtrusive interface enhances the cinematic presentation.
- Most puzzles are too easy to be satisfying
- Absence of consequences diminishes sense of danger during action scenes
- Frustrating lack of context for conversation options
- Frame rate hitches and control quirks interrupt the flow.
Few who made the journey to Jurassic Park via Steven Spielberg's 1993 film have forgotten the island attraction and its prehistoric inhabitants: the spitting dilophosaurus; the swift and intelligent velociraptor; the towering tyrannosaurus. Now, Telltale Games has planned your return trip to Isla Nublar, and it's an authentic Jurassic Park experience through and through. Like the film, the game balances moments of awe and wonder with moments of terror, and its story finds an intriguing link with that of the film by using the movie's all-important Barbasol can as a branching-off point. This cinematic adventure is so rigidly linear that you're much more of a spectator than a participant, but it captures the film's atmosphere and excitement effectively, making it a worthwhile journey for those eager to see dinosaurs up close again.
Jurassic Park is a story-driven game, and it benefits a great deal from its diverse cast of characters. Happening concurrently with the events of the film and beginning before all hell breaks loose, the game introduces you to park vet Gerry Harding, who is showing his teenage daughter Jessi the unique wildlife of Isla Nublar. You also meet Nima, a Costa Rican mercenary hired to ensure the safe return of the dinosaur embryos the ill-fated Dennis Nedry stole and placed in the Barbasol can. Eventually, the cast expands to include two soldiers of fortune hired by the InGen corporation to safely get people off of the island, and Dr. Sorkin, a scientist who is fiercely committed to the ethical treatment of the creatures InGen has brought back from extinction.
The often conflicting motivations of these individuals give rise to a fascinating dynamic as they attempt to work together for survival even as they sometimes try to undermine each other's goals, and it's absorbing to see the ways in which they sometimes pose as much of a threat to each other and themselves as do the deadly predators roaming the island. Strong dialogue gets you invested in these people; warm banter between Gerry and Jessi quickly gives you a sense of their history, for instance, and the ideological arguments that flare up in the group help you understand what drives characters to take certain desperate actions, even when you object to those actions.
The game is broken up into scenes, some of which have you playing as a single character and others that let you switch between characters. Most of the time, you can pan the camera around your current environment, and objects that you can examine or interact with have unobtrusive button prompts on them. Strongly reminiscent of Heavy Rain, it's an intuitive and seamless interface that aids the game's cinematic presentation. When you're trying to solve environmental puzzles and move forward, this arrangement also keeps you focused on only the things that are pertinent to your situation, and because your options for how you interact with those things are extremely limited, these puzzles tend to be quite easy.
Unlike in most of Telltale's previous adventures, you don't have an inventory here, and if your character picks up an object, he or she typically knows what to do with it. For instance, in an early scene in which Nima is hunting for the Barbasol canister, if you pick up a soda can, she automatically drops it down a slope and uses its trajectory to attempt to discern where the canister might have fallen. This keeps the action moving, but also makes you feel more like an actor hitting a predetermined mark than like a character in an unfolding adventure, and it means that Jurassic Park rarely offers the satisfaction that comes with untangling a tricky conundrum.
- Game Universe:
- Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis (PC, PS2, XBOX),
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park (ARC, SAT),
- Jurassic Park (GEN, SMS, PC, ARC, GB, GG, NES, SNES, SCD, AMI),
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park (GCOM, GG, GEN, GB, PBL),
- Jurassic Park: The Game (PC, MAC, PS3, X360),
- Jurassic Park III: Danger Zone! (PC),
- Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Battles (PC),
- Jurassic Park III: Island Attack (GBA),
- Jurassic Park III: Park Builder (GBA),
- Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor (GBA)