With Jurassic World now just a week or two (depending on where you live) away I thought that today I would look at the very first Jurassic Park game I played as a kid, Jurassic Park on the Super Nintendo. Released in 1993 to tie in with the movie, Ocean Software would be the guys who would bring this game to the Super Nintendo.
Jurassic Park was a game that was literally on anything that could play a video game! Ocean did most of the games like the ones on Nintendo platforms and home computers, but Sega would make the Jurassic Park games for their consoles. In the months leading up to the release of this game, many gaming magazines here in the UK would put the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis version of Jurassic Park up against the Super Nintendo one in previews.
Jurassic Park starts off well enough with some nice use of a mode 7 spinning island and some eerie and atmospheric music setting the tone. Jurassic Park is a game that has two different styles when it comes to its graphics. For the most part you view the action from a top down, Zelda style perspective. You play as Alan Grant who needs to find a way off the island along. The dinosaurs look good and there is a fairly decent selection of dinosaurs for you to kill, avoid or in some cases just run away from, but when the T-Rex does show up she is sadly not all that imposing. Still though everything is nice and clear and you would not say this is an ugly game at all…. During these parts of the game.
As well as having a top down perspective, Jurassic Park on the Super Nintendo got a lot of attention for its first person 3D graphics. Man the Super Nintendo really tries it’s heart out here and at the time when this game was released I loved these sections of the game as I had never experienced anything like it! But now, wow has this aged poorly. The graphics are rougher than a raccoons butt! All the textures are flat and the dinosaurs seem to have only about two frames of animation. Still as bad as it looks now I will always admit that as a kid I was pretty blown away by the first person sections of the game.
Playing as Alan Grant you have a number of different objectives that you need to do in order to get off the island. Finding Raptor eggs, restoring power, finding ID cards and many, many other tasks are required of you. Make no mistake about it, you will have a lot to do as you explore this pretty damn big island. Dinosaurs will constantly be getting in your way, but you have different weapons you can use. You always have a cattle prod type weapon, but you can pick up multiple other weapons such as darts, rockets and smoke grenades. The island is fairly big and the lack of a map can make navigating around a major chore sometimes.
When you enter a building, Jurassic Park switches into a first person game…… and it all kinds of goes to hell. As a kid I loved these sections, but there is no map and pretty much ¾ of the rooms of every building you go into look the same. You will spend an age walking around the same areas over and over again with no clue where you are supposed to go! This was one of those games where you had to make a map on a piece of paper to help you out. Also you move so slowly that if you enter a room and a Raptor is behind you, chances are by the time you turn around you are dead! These first person sections can be controlled with the Super Nintendo Mouse, but it does not make things any easier.
Jurassic Park on the Super Nintendo would be a passable game. Sure it has its flaws, but this is one huge adventure that can be fun…….. but there is one huge flaw. Bigger than the controls and shoddy animation of the first person shooter sections. The thing that completely ruins, Jurassic Park on the Super Nintendo is that there is no save game option! There is not even a password save system! You have to beat this monster of a game in one sitting! For a game like this that is just completely unacceptable and for me it ruins the game completely. Which is a shame because if it did allow you to save you game I think it would have made it all the more enjoyable instead of being forced to sit and play it for hours and hours on end to beat it.
Man as a kid I was so sure that the Super Nintendo version of Jurassic Park would be the best version, but the lack of a save game really kills it. I got this Christmas of 1993 and at first loved the game, but having to do the same missions over and over again each time I fired the game up made me lose interest very quickly. With a save game feature I would have probably gave this game about a 6 or a 7.