I still have a soft spot for Steven Spielberg's sequel to Jurassic Park. Released in the summer of 1997, The Lost World may have it's detractors but it's filled with memorable and iconic directorial touches that still leaves me in awe. Much like the first movie, there were many games based on the blockbuster. Are they as varied and vibrant as those that came before? Let's find out...
Let's start with the game that not many will be familiar with. SEGA again had the arcade rights to the license and this time they took advantage of their impressive Model 3 hardware. This board would also bring such classics as Virtua Fighter 3 and SEGA Rally 2 to your local bowling alley, many would see perfect ports the ill-fated DreamCast. Unfortunately no home version of their Jurassic Park arcade games exist.
The Lost World is a light gun shooter, much like the first game. The full 3D environments allow for a lot more detail on screen with a level design that feels true to the film and like a real location. There are moments on each of the five levels that allow for diversions and alternative paths in a similar way to House of the Dead 2. This adds to the replay value greatly and also leads to some humourous asides. One alternative path requires you to shoot a Brachiosaurus in order to dodge his incoming bowel movements.
The plot diverts drastically from the movie, which gives the developers much more scope for invention. In one particularly memorable boss battle, you fight a Mosasaur, a sea creature that wouldn't be seen on the big screen until Jurassic World. Funnily enough in both iterations this huge ocean dweller completely steals the show.
It's to be expected to have very little depth in this genre and The Lost World is no exception. The simple game-play and bombastic nature is what them perfect for sucking up your loose change. SEGA uses the license very well here so it's a shame that no home port came about.
DreamWorks Interactive and Electronic Arts had the rights to release their own game for the 32bit generation. What we got was by no means a bad game, but there are a lot of flaws that mar what could've been a classic and gritty platform game amongst the many bright and cartoony contemporaries.
The game's plot has even less to do with the movie than the arcade game. In fact there's no plot here whatsoever. You are basically tasked with making sure various dinos and humans survive to the end of each level. You can play as a gun-toting human, a tiny compy (or compsognathus if you can pronounce it - I can barely type it), a vicious velociraptor and, for the very first time, a huge Tyrannosaurus Rex!
Each play very differently. The compy is a tiny creature so your attacks aren't very strong. Sure you can have a munch on other small beasts but your best bet is to dodge as many as you can and get to the end. The raptor is similar, but his attacks have a lot more bite. These levels require a lot more fighting if you don't want to be overwhelmed by the frequently re-spawning enemies.
Despite the huge appeal of controlling paleontology's greatest discovery, the T-Rex is perhaps the least entertaining of the levels. There's little platforming here as you basically attack men with guns and hope your life-bar can handle it. The re-spawning enemies are much more of a problem here. Because of the T-Rex's large size, dead enemies return much closer to you than the other characters, making fights a frustrating experience.
The human sections are by far the most fun. You are given a Bionic Commando style rope gun in these sections which allows you to swing between platforms and it controls very well. What will annoy is again the amount of enemies that will swarm on you and take you out. Your not without defense, however, as you're also given a gun and later a bazooka, which will make easy pickings of most enemies.
This is an often overlooked game that is very entertaining. If you can look past its flaws and the occasionally unfair difficulty, you're in for a treat.
The Mega Drive / Genesis also received a Lost World game from SEGA. An arcade port would be out of the question for the 16bit console, so a whole new game was created.
Developer Appaloosa eschewed the platformer and seemingly took notes from Ocean's previous attempts. This is a top-down shooter with the odd first person level thrown in. Being released late in the consoles lifespan, the levels do look very good if nothing else. Each stage has several mission which are given to you though e-mail messages. They are essentially fetch quests with the odd rescue mission and target to blow up.
I know that was pretty much the SNES game as well, but here they are a chore. The levels are often confusing with graphics that don't distinguish where you can and cannot go, the enemies are difficult to hit once let alone the multiple times it takes to kill them and replenishing items are few and far between. What does save it are the excellent end of level missions when it shifts into the first person.
Unlike Ocean's attempt to recreate Wolfenstein 3D, these play more like an on rails shooter. You chase - or are chase by - various dinosaurs in an attempt to trap them. Not only are these section spectacular to look at, but they are also incredibly exciting. It's just a shame you have to complete four missions per level before you can play them.
The last two games based on The Lost World were for the GameGear and GameBoy. They were developed by SEGA and THQ respectively but they share a lot of similarities.
The SEGA game is the better of the two. It's a generic licensed platformer but it's competently made. The GameBoy game has even less going for it. The controls are terrible and the level design is bland. It makes the GameGear game look like a masterpiece by comparison. Being one of the later games for the console, it had Super GameBoy support, but that doesn't stop it from looking like something a brachiosaur pooped out after eating the wrong flower. Play the GameGear version if your curious and avoid the GameBoy one altogether.
Jurassic Park 3 was an abomination. I haven't ever seen a film where I wanted every single character (barring Sam Neil of course) to die horribly. The Kirby's played by William H. Macy and Tea Leoni (whose constant screaming and whining makes me think she must have the same lung capacity as her video-game namesake) are the worst and they don't even get their comeuppance! I don't know how they thought this would make good entertainment.
Anyway, the small cluster of games that came out in the movie's wake are thankfully of a higher quality. To begin with, there were three very different and interesting games released on the GameBoy Advance by Konami.
Island Attack is something of an oddity for the system. This is a survival horror game and to my knowledge the only one for Nintendo's handheld. You run away for sharp toothed dinos in an isometric perspective, solving puzzles and opening doors. It's biggest flaw is the system it's running on. The ambition was perhaps too great for the console's capabilities but I found my time with it to be highly enjoyable.
The DNA Factor is the lesser of the trilogy. It's a standard platformer that takes place on two planes. It's by no means broken like the GameBoy game, but it does get repetitive fairly quickly. At the end of each level there is a mini-game that tasks you with completing DNA strands. These play like a mix between Space Invaders and Bust-A-Move and breaks the action up well.
The best of the three shares DNA with the best overall. Jurrassic Park: Park Builder is a tycoon strategy game in the same vein as Operation Genesis (see my previous review). It brings back a lot of the warm memories I had when I played the first Theme Park back in the day. You can build some fairly impressive parks on your small screen, but the true objective is to collect all of the dinosaurs. The number of different species numbers over a hundred, dwarfing Operation Genesis' 40, though their appearance and characteristics are not all so well defined. Definitely worth it if you want some strategy on the go.
That's almost it for Jurassic Park games. There were a couple I couldn't emulate well enough to include but from what I've heard it's probably a blessing. Jurassic Park Interactive was a 3DO FMV game that only just passes as one, Jurassic Park: Warpath gave the Saturn and PlayStation an awful 3D fighting game and there were a couple exclusive to Japan for the GameBoy Advance and PlayStation 2. There were also several PC games and multimedia CDs, but they're either hard to find or hard to run on Windows 7.
I may like licensed games more than its reputation suggests, but Jurassic Park proves that with a little ingenuity and talent, you can get a variety of different experiences. They may not all be great but there's enough here to not make you regret taking the time to play them. Let me know which ones you enjoyed in the comments below.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses VirtualBoyAdvance-M, Supermodel3 and Retroarch with the Mednafen_PSX and Genesis Plus GX cores to emulate the games on modern PCs. XBox 360 controllers supported for the console games. Manuals for some games included. Tested on Windows 7 and Windows 10.
18.05.2016 - Version 2 - Added Institute Tour GBA game
Updated emulators, menus and fixed installer
Jurassic Park: The Lost World for SEGA and Arcade is © SEGA
Jurassic Park: The Lost World for PlayStation and Arcade is © DreamWorks Interactive & Electronic Arts
Jurassic Park: The Lost World for GameBoy and Arcade is © THQ
Jurassic Park III for GameBoy Advance is © Konami
Jurassic Park (The Movies) are © Universal
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me