Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection Review
Sometimes a game collection is a sobering reminder of how good we’ve got it now. I loved Jurassic Park when I was kid. Read the book, watched the movie, the whole nine yards. I even played one of these games back in the day. Running around with dinosaurs and shooting huge guns should be amazing fun. It should be an absolute blast! The Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection is neither of these things. This is two games scraped into seven releases, with a solid 2.5 of them being any kind of fun.
First, the collection itself. This is a Jurassic Park digital museum, a monument to the lost art of the tie-in release. You mostly play an unusually murderous Alan Grant. I guess his career’s viability depends on the dinosaurs being dead. While the different versions have their quirks, you’re mostly hunting dinosaurs from one of two perspectives. Two of the Genesis games let you play as a raptor, but it’s a cursed gift. In exchange for incredible power, the controls are floaty and vague. The top-down dinosaur hunts are easier to control, but you’re more prone to getting lost. Meanwhile, the side-scrolling games are borderline unplayable without the rewind feature. Somehow, the Gameboy titles are the most reliable of the bunch.
Thank God For Rewind
On that note, Jurassic Park 2 for the Gameboy ended up being the most fun. The simple controls are a snap, while the level design is clear and sensible. Also the music is chip tune excellence. Actually, most of the soundtracks are pretty great. This version of Grant is also a trigger-happy psychopath, albeit a reliable one. There’s even a crude narrative arc. You start out running from the T-rex, only to eventually face him in battle. It’s a pretty short game, but that’s not always a bad thing, honestly.
On the flip side, Rampage Edition for the Genesis is sort of a nightmare. You’ve got the clumsy controls of the previous Genesis game, along with the tinny, crunchy music. On top of that, the difficulty is cranked right up. The raptor side of the game is basically bullet hell, only your ship has lopsided wings and no ammunition. Alan Grant’s end of things is a slapdash, chaotic mess. It’s not impossible by any means, but it is deeply frustrating. If you use the rewind function constantly, you can beat it. But you won’t enjoy it. The sad part is that the Genesis games have some awesome visual set-pieces that I’ll never see, because they’re buried under so much garbage.
Raptors Are Supposed To Be Cool
Speaking of Genesis, The Chaos Continues is the home console version of Jurassic Park 2. You control a random action dude with a vendetta against all dinosaurs. The basic design philosophy is the same as the Gameboy version, only worse. They added time limits, harder enemies, and slightly clunkier controls. You’ll be shocked to know I was never a Sega kid, so I’ve got no nostalgia filter on any of the three Genesis games. On the other hand, I grew up playing SNES games, and that version of Jurassic Park is also pretty bad.
The SNES version features a first-person section that makes the whole game a lot worse. People forget how much better Doom was at this sort of thing. Your movements are stilted, the visuals are a muddy mess, and the level design is horrendous. This section aged worse than anything in the entire collection. Aside from this awful segment, the three JP One titles are pretty interchangeable. You hunt for eggs or other McGuffins, randomly unlock doors, and get murdered by raptors.
Pretty Excellent Music
My favorite feature has to be the music players. So much of these soundtracks are total bangers. Aside from the Genesis titles, every game is crammed with punchy chiptune hits. Even the Gameboy games have a few outstanding entries. Aside from the tunes, every game has a CRT filter you can turn on, a rewind function, a save state, and a border image to fill out the sides. If you’re feeling truly adventurous, you can turn on native resolution and see how tiny the screen is supposed to look.
Much like the movies, the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection takes a couple good ideas and stretches them way out. If you’re a diehard fan, you might have a great time diving into each iteration of Alan Grant’s murder safari. For me, these games were mostly penance. My childhood fixation was used as leverage, cracking open the door to let in this hodgepodge of mediocre slurry. Unless you’re an absolute freak for the Jurassic Park franchise, I can’t in good conscience recommend this collection of games.
***A PS5 code was provided by the publisher***
- Music player is cool
- Gameboy games are pretty fun
- Rewind feature is useful
- Nonsense level design
- Floaty controls
- Random difficulty spikes
- First-person sections are brutal