Join Date: Nov 2011
(Review contains spoilers)
A few minutes ago, Nima, Jess and Gerry Harding made it to the boat and to safety - and I'm sitting here replaying the scenes in my head and forming an opinion as I go.
As a big fan of the Jurassic Park films and books, I'm always pleased and excited when something new is being produced or published. When this game was announced, I followed the production and signed up on the TellTale forums to read up on the progress of the game. Some of the news had me smiling, other bits of information that got out had me worried: though Iím not much of a gamer, word about the game play had me concerned. People complained it would be a ďpoint and clickĒ game, something for kids. Which had me thinking, Ďif this is a childrenís game, it might be childish and not live up to the original intend and content of the books and films.í Which is: messing with nature is a bad idea. And if you are unlucky enough, the consequences of that messing around will be deadly.
That last aspect of the game certainly did not let me down. From the very start of Jurassic Park: The Game, itís clear that something has gone terribly wrong, and it wonít get better any time soon. If itís not a group of Dilophosaurs hunting you, a T-Rex might be sneaking up from around the corner. Dr. Sorkinís little Troodon project has gone terribly wrong as well, with the nocturnal predators out and about tracking our heroes constantly.
And those heroes are developed well enough to care for them. The parkís veterinarian, Gerry Harding, is the lead in this game, who has taken his daughter Jess to Isla Nublar after she got in trouble at home. (As is confirmed during a discussion between the two, Sarah Harding from The Lost World: Jurassic Park is his daughter as well.)
Itís not long before the two encounter Nima, who has her own reasons to visit the island (aside from retrieving the canister with embryos), and the mercenaries Yoder and Oscar, hired to rescue the remaining survivors. On their way to safety, the group has to pick up Dr. Laura Sorkin and her assistant, David. The latter has become dinosaur food by the time the group makes it to the field laboratory, but Sorkin is still alive and hell bend on staying on the island. What follows is a wild chase and a race against time, during which the characters even find some time to discuss ethics and morals.
For the larger part, the storyís pretty well worked out: it sheds a light on INGENís background and Isla Nublarís history. At the same time, this back-story does not seem consistent with the information we can gather from both the books and the films. INGEN and the Costa Rican government forcing the islandís locals in favor of the park does not seem something John Hammond (at least the filmís character), would approve of. And thereís no indication in any of the books that this happened Ė if any, in the novel The Lost World itís established that the Five Deaths were all uninhabited, and Nublar most likely was as well.
The option of choosing different directions in which to steer conversations, makes it possible to gather more information about the characters and the park.
Both characters and story make for an entertaining game: the game play isnít hard to follow once youíve gotten the hang of it. (I have to admit, it took me a while to figure it out and I needed some help from the boards before I got into playing mode properly.) Itís good to see that the Dilophosaurus, which we only see once in the film series while they do make for formidable foes, get proper treatment in this game. The Velociraptors presence had me puzzled (the game takes place after the original three have been killed and locked up in the first film), but Dr. Sorkinís journal solves that mystery as well. They are not overused, but do pose a serious threat during the time they are seen and confronted in the game.
Our old friend (or nemesis, if you wish) T-Rex is, of course, present as well. She gets a good amount of time to do some serious damage, but shares her screen time with the three newcomers: Herrerasaurus, a pack of Troodons and a Mosasaurus.
The Troodons are the real danger in this game, with venomous bites, night vision and a nasty way of building a nest (which I will not reveal here Ė but it would fit into a horror film.) They do look somewhat like the Raptors, but are smaller and nastier creatures: their poison paralyzes and gives the person or animal bitten a hard time being delusional before death finally sets in.
The Herrerasaurs reminded me of the Raptors, a bit bigger and lumpier, but in this game they serve as filler, only appearing once and shortly during the roller coaster ride.
The Mosasaurus is the biggest and most refreshing newcomer when it comes to the prehistoric predators. Almost as big as a Tyrannosaurus, this swimming creature causes the main characters a lot of trouble when they get locked up in the underwater observatory. Sadly, the chapter featuring it is rather short Ė but perhaps it will return after Dr. Sorkin opened the waterways from the exhibit into the open ocean.
Sadly, the herbivores are limited to encounters with the Triceratops and the Parasaurolophus. A missed opportunity, it seems, as many fans are fond of the Brachiosaurus, the Gallimimus and the Stegosaurus (featured in the book and sequel film, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and there certainly would have been room for them in the game. On the plus side, we do get to see a lot of familiar locations, among them Nedryís car (and his body!) and the Visitorís Center.
The biggest nuisance this game offers is the relatively long video fragments of the characters talking and debating, during which the player can only watch and listen. But, more often than not, these talks will be followed directly by a relentless action scene, demanding you to punch buttons like a maniac. When not prepared because of looking away for a moment to pick up a drink or snack from the table, you could be killed in seconds.
Another problem I had with the game was the amount of time Jess got to talk: Iím not against the presence children in the Jurassic Park films or games, in fact they are an integral part of many of the storylines, but Jess was more annoying than Eric Kirby from Jurassic Park III: trying to smoke, stealing, lying, being obnoxious and calling everything she could not properly name ďthingyĒ. Another missed opportunity was her ability to speak Spanish: instead of making her fail at it, she could have bonded with Nima much easier due to the shared knowledge and mastering of the language.
All in all, itís an entertaining game which features a lot of dinosaur action and allows us to return to Isla Nublar and explore it. Iím not certain yet if I would call the events in this game ďcanonĒ in regard of the film(s), but it certainly is a nice and worthy addition to Jurassic Parkís alternative universe.
Last edited by Neelis; 11/20/2011 at 12:06 pm.