In 2001, the third Jurassic Park movie disappointed cinemagoers to such an extent that it would take fourteen years for Jurassic World to rectify its tarnished reputation. Video games had a far easier ride with several games being released throughout the years. One of the most overlooked is perhaps the best of the lot; a 2003 tycoon game named Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.
When I first came upon the game, my first though was "why didn't they think of this earlier?". One of my favourite games, Theme Park, came out a year after the first movie and I often fantasized that I was doing right on my PC what Richard Hammond and company did wrong on screen. I now need a little less of an imagination as Operation Genesis is basically Theme Park with the number one dinosaur license.
There are three modes of play on your very own lost world. There is the standard sandbox mode where you are given free reign and unlimited time to unlock everything and create the best park ever. There is also a collection exercises which require specific task when designing your park. There is also an 'Action' mode which collates the mini-games you'll find in the park. These mini-games are not too bad either, though I'd be hard pushed to see an entire game created from them. You are tasked will shooting rampaging dinosaurs from a helicopter before they destroy everything. To mix thing up a bit, some levels require you to rescue lost visitors or herd stray herbivores. Each can be played in the main game if such an event occurs and they are a welcome change of pace.
The meat of the game lies in the park creation. Their are obvious influences from other games such as Zoo Tycoon and Theme Park, but this is much more that a clone of those games. Its unique selling point beyond the license comes from those extinct lizards themselves. None of these creatures exist so their DNA needs to be discovered and extracted from fossils. You have one or more dedicated archeological teams stationed at various locations worldwide that will find them for you. Your genetic lab will then extract the DNA and create a genome, but you'll need to pay attention to how complete they are. There is a risk-reward mechanic here where your dinosaur won't live as long if the genome isn't as complete, but the time it takes to increase the percentage costs money.
There are 25 dinosaurs in all and each are highly detailed and distinct in both design and behaviour. A 'Dinopedia' is on hand to give advice on how to keep each species, something that is required if you are to satisfy the most demanding of visitors.
Those familiar with other management strategy games will be right at home when designing the rest of the park. Guests need amenities such as toilets and restaurants as well as rides and safari tours to keep them happy. This element is nothing new, but it is always my favourite element of any strategy game. There is a great sense of pride when surveying your beautiful park after many hours of design.
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis uses the license far better that the action games that came before it. It is perhaps overlooked as being a copy of other established tycoon games, but I concede that this does a lot to hold its own, even today.
To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber will run natively on modern systems. Manual included. Tested on Windows 7.
Version 2 - Fixed installer
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is © Universal Interactive
Jurassic Park (the movies) are © Universal Studios
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me