Game Over Online ~ Jurassic Park: The Game

GameOver Game Reviews - Jurassic Park: The Game (c) Telltale Games, Reviewed by - Steven Carter

Game & Publisher Jurassic Park: The Game (c) Telltale Games
System Requirements Windows XP/Vista/7, 1.8 GHz CPU, 2 GB RAM, 256 MB DirectX 9.0 compatible video card, 2.5 GB HDD, DVD-ROM
Overall Rating 78%
Date Published Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 11:10 AM

Divider Left By: Steven Carter Divider Right

Jurassic Park: The Game is the latest release from Telltale Games, which has started branching out from jokey adventures like Sam & Max and Monkey Island to take on more serious film franchises. Their previous effort, Back to the Future: The Game, was a perfect fit for them, since the Back to the Future trilogy is lighthearted and offers plenty of opportunities for puzzles. But the Jurassic Park trilogy is more about "running and screaming" (to quote everybody's favorite chaotician), and so its marriage to Telltale Games doesn't work as well, and the resulting game might not be what you'd expect.

In Jurassic Park: The Game, you control a variety of people who were at Jurassic Park during the events of the first movie, but who didn't appear on camera. This includes Nima, a mercenary waiting for Nedry and his Barbasol can, a veterinarian named Harding who picked a bad day to invite his 14-year-old daughter to see the the island (law requires that all Jurassic Park stories have at least one young teen in them), a scientist who would get along well with Vince Vaughn's character from the third movie, and a handful of soldiers sent in to evacuate the survivors. This collection is interesting because at times they have to work together, but they all have different motivations, and so their alliance is uneasy at best.

Unfortunately, instead of making Jurassic Park: The Game an adventure or even an action game, Telltale Games chose to make it an interactive movie. That means instead of controlling characters, most of the time you just press the right key at the right time to keep events flowing along. For example, there are numerous instances where you have to evade dinosaurs, and that might mean you have to press a trio of keys within a limited amount of time to duck and roll out of the way, or press one key as quickly as possible to run away, or press some keys at just the right time to move silently. On the PC, you can use the WASD keys for this, but the game also supports a game controller, and so you can use that as well.

There are also a few puzzle sequences, but these aren't especially complicated. Most can be completed by interacting with all of the hotspots at the current location (all of which are clearly marked for you), and most of the rest, even if you don't understand them, can be completed with a minimal amount of trial and error. I only found one puzzle to be halfway decent -- where you have to set up the cars for a rollercoaster ride -- but I only struggled with it for a while because I didn't realize how many cars I could have on the track.

Other parts of the game work better. The action sequences are exciting, the graphics and voice acting are well done (the actress for Harding's daughter did an especially nice job), and the premise is fun. You get to see more parts of the park during the game than you did during the first movie (including a rollercoaster ride and a marine exhibit), you find out what happened to the Barbasol can, and you learn why the trilogy moved on to Site B rather than returning to the original island.

It's just that the game is a lot more fun to watch than it is to play. The game rates you during the action sequences, and if you miss a single key then you drop from a gold rating to silver, and if you miss a second key then you drop from silver to bronze -- and that's independent of the missed keys that turn your character into dinosaur chow and force you to load your game. All the loading I had to do to maintain a perfect rating and keep the characters alive really killed the momentum of the game, and the key pressing sequences, which weren't all that much fun to start with, got seriously tedious by the end.

And so I'm going to give Jurassic Park: The Game a mixed review. The production values of the game are excellent, and I enjoyed returning to Jurassic Park and learning some new things about it, but the gameplay mechanics leave a lot to be desired, and the price for the game is little high given the 5-10 hours of content it provides. But overall I enjoyed my time with the game more than I didn't, and so Jurassic Park: The Game is an option if you're looking for something a little different to try out, or if you want to brush up on the franchise while waiting for the fourth movie to come out.

[30/40] Gameplay
[12/15] Graphics
[13/15] Sound
[07/10] Interface
[08/10] Storyline
[08/10] Technical


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