Jurassic Park (Sega video game)
European cover art
Jurassic Park is a video game for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis published by Sega and developed by BlueSky Software. It was released as part of the tie-in merchandise to the movie of the same name from Universal Pictures. Jurassic Park was released on nine separate video game consoles, all of which include elements from the Jurassic Park novel by Michael Crichton on which the film was based.
Due to the game's critical success, a sequel of the Genesis game was also released, called Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition, which relies more on action and more on-screen enemies.
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Jurassic Park is a standard side-scrolling action video game, with platform gameplay elements. The end objective is to reach the end of each level, using items placed at fixed locations. However, the game features a then-uncommon variation in action games, giving players the option of using two characters that played independently to one another. The game is playable as either paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, or a Velociraptor. Grant is the default character and can be switched to the Raptor using the "Player" option on the game's main menu. The game has three selectable difficulty levels: "Medium" is the default neutral setting while "Hard" means more damage taken from enemies (who move faster and attack frequently) and "Easy" mode makes for less troublesome foes from which relatively little damage is taken.
Each player is given three lives; when one is lost, the player restarts at the beginning of the level. A game over will reset the game entirely, although passwords are displayed in between levels, allowing the player to continue from a specific level rather than from the beginning. A Password option is displayed in the game's main menu.
When playing as Grant, his objective is to navigate through seven areas of Isla Nublar, and make it safely to the Visitors Center to escape via helicopter. However he must contend with the various dinosaurs that roam the island, now free of their enclosures. Grant can use various weapons, including a tranquillizer gun, a stun gun, flash grenades, gas grenades, and a rocket launcher. All of these items require ammunition refills which are scattered throughout the island, sometimes in hard-to-reach places. Grant's recovery item is a first-aid kit, a few of which occur in each level.
The Velociraptor player character can jump higher than Grant, and run much faster, although it can only attack from close-range using its teeth and claws. The Raptor's goal is to elude (or eliminate) the Jurassic Park security guards, and corner Grant at the Visitors Center. The Raptor plays for only five levels, however. Along the way, stray dinosaurs can be bothersome for the Raptor, who can knock them out. The enemy guards wield grenades and missiles but can be easily overpowered by the Raptor, although the final level increases the guards' presence and temperament. The Raptor's health item is generic "meat", although it has the ability to eat a "compy" to refill its health as well.
Acclaim Entertainment and Activision had both bid for the rights to produce the Sega Genesis version of Jurassic Park, but lost to Sega. Doug TenNapel, who created Earthworm Jim, was the lead artist for the development team. The game's animators consulted experts who worked on the film on how the game's dinosaurs should look. The development team also consulted with paleontologist Robert Bakker, who dissected a supermarket chicken to demonstrate the similarities of dinosaur anatomy to bird anatomy. Bakker also appeared in a commercial for the game.
For the game to reflect the latest dinosaur discoveries and theories, the development team took field trips to museums of natural history; and to zoos to observe the feeding habits and physical movements of birds and reptiles, such as ostriches and alligators. The 3D models for the game's dinosaurs were created using stop motion photography while a team member was filmed acting out Grant's movements and was then digitized. Many dinosaur models used for the film were sent to the game's development studio so they could also be filmed and digitized while in motion. A $75,000 Velociraptor puppet from the film was also used for production of the game. The game features "Artificial Dinosaur Intelligence" that causes the dinosaur enemies to react differently every time a level is played, giving the player a unique experience each time.
Elements from Michael Crichton's novel, Jurassic Park, were featured in the game, including the presence of procompsognathus and pteranodons, and the Jungle River attraction. The game used the film's original planned ending, in which Grant would eliminate the velociraptors by manipulating a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton in the visitor center. The game's volcano level was not featured in the novel or the film. Sam Powell composed the game's music and sound effects. By June 1993, the development team had been working on the game for 15 months. The game's development had been kept secretive up until that month, when the game was publicly unveiled for the first time at Chicago's Summer Consumer Electronics Show.
Christopher Michael Baker of AllGame rated the game four and a half stars out of five. Baker praised the game's graphics, the ability to play as either Grant or the Velociraptor, and the sound effects and intelligence of the game's dinosaurs. Baker concluded, "It's the type of game that -- even though it is the product of movie merchandising -- is fabulous on its own. A rare find indeed." Bob Strauss of Entertainment Weekly called the game "a blast" and rated it a "B+".
In 2005, Morgan Webb of X-Play criticized the game as a poor movie tie-in and included it on the show's list of "Games We Wish Were Buried In New Mexico." Game Informer magazine declared the Genesis version of the game somewhat superior to the SNES version in a 2012 comparison of the two games.
- Baker, Christopher Michael. "Jurassic Park review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014.
- Baker, Christopher Michael. "Jurassic Park - Overview". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014.
- "Jurassic Park: It Took 65,000,000 Years to Make This Game". Sega Visions. Infotainment World. August 1993. pp. 8–9. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
- Battelle, John; Johnstone, Bob (December 1993). "The Next Level: Sega's Plans for World Domination". Wired. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
- "The making of Jurassic Park". Sega Visions. June–July 1993. p. 14, 20-24.
- Horowitz, Ken (May 18, 2007). "Behind the Design: Jurassic Park". Sega-16. Retrieved July 1, 2015.
- "Jurassic Park on Sega Genesis Commercial w/ Robert T. Bakker". YouTube. April 29, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- "Jurassic Park Preview". Computer and Video Games. August 1993. pp. 112–113. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
- Thompson, Pamela Kleibrink (December 1997). "Welcome to the Neverhood" (PDF). Animation World Network. p. 9. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- Horowitz, Ken (May 15, 2007). "History of: Jurassic Park". Sega16.com. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
- Strauss, Bob (May 20, 1994). "Jurassic Park Interactive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
- "Games We Wish Were Buried In New Mexico". X-Play. September 13, 2005. Event occurs at 1:47–2:16. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
- Ryckert, Dan (May 8, 2012). "Same Name, Different Game: SNES vs. Genesis". Game Informer magazine. Event occurs at 5:33-13:22. Retrieved February 19, 2015.