Game: Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection
Genre: Action, Adventure
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows), Xbox and PS4 & PS5)
Developer|Publisher: Bluesky Software | Limited Run Games
Age Rating: EU 7 | US Everyone 10+
Price: US $29.99 | UK £26.99 | EU €29,99
Release Date: November 21st, 2023
Review code provided with many thanks to Embracer Free Mode.
Welcome to the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection
I’ve always been very fond of the first Jurassic Park film. I vividly remember seeing it at the cinema at a young and impressionable age and instantly becoming smitten with dinosaurs. From there, I begged my parents to take me to the Natural History Museum in London and even had an awesome black lunch box based on the film. Even though my family had a Mega Drive, the video games eluded me. Money was always tight, so we relied on rentals and possibly one or two game purchases a year. I was perfectly content with Rocket Knight Adventures.
However, patience has paid off for my inner child as I have been given the opportunity to review several Jurassic Park games in a new retro collection released to modern systems, including Nintendo Switch. So, after all this time, how was it? Well, it’s okay. Age hasn’t been kind to all of these games, and being tied to the film, it’s a bit of a mix of quality. To keep it simple for the intro, if you love your retro titles or the film, you’ll easily find some enjoyment in the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection. It may be best to leave these in the past for everyone else.
Hold Onto Your Butts
Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection features seven retro games from the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System), GameBoy and Mega Drive. When you boot the game up, you’re greeted with a menu selection screen to pick a game and watch a small TV screen, giving you a short preview of what to expect. As I often do with these retro collection reviews, let’s briefly review each game with some thoughts.
Jurassic Park – NES
This is a top-down shooter where you appear to play Alan Grant from the film on a mission to save the other characters. But Grant is taking no chances with these dinosaurs. He’s packing what looks like a bazooka to keep the prehistoric baddies from nibbling on him. The general idea is to explore a large map, hunting for dinosaur eggs to access the next area. It’s pretty good, if not a bit clunky in the control department. Like many of the games on this list, it’s pretty hard in places. Took me a bit of time to figure out what I was doing. My favourite part about this game is how some of the dinosaurs will literally bounce out from trees to get an amusing jump on you. Maybe these moments were supposed to be scary, I don’t know. The developers certainly did the best they could do with the limited hardware.
Jurassic Park – GameBoy
Jurassic Park is really just a carbon copy of the NES game in GameBoy form, only the controls are even more clunky, and Grant feels like he’s floating around the map. It was very normal for the original release time to have an NES and GameBoy version. What’s interesting about this port is how closely it resembles the NES game since, usually, developers try to tweak the game to suit the hardware. It’s certainly fascinating to try if you love your retro, but this felt like one of the weaker games on the collection.
Jurassic Park – Mega Drive
Probably my favourite on the list. The big standout of this title is you have a choice of two campaigns. You can play as Alan Grant trying to find his way back to safety. Or you can play as a velociraptor on a mission to eat Alan Grant. Why is it specifically targeting him? Maybe Grant blew a raspberry at him while he was in the pen. Both campaigns have a unique feel. Grant uses various weapons to sedate the dinosaurs, while the raptor kinda gets by with his claws or simply jumps on the enemies. It’s a lot of fun, but there are some nasty difficulty spikes, especially with a certain raft level with Grant, which is interestingly inspired by a scene cut from the film.
The main trouble with the title is the sprites are very big, and I often found you take a lot of leaps of faith into the abyss. The Mega Drive iteration leads with one hell of an introduction. It features an opening cutscene mimicking the scene from the film where the T-rex escapes from its pen and starts chomping on the car. Even with its old pixel appearance, this delivers an impressive first impression. The sprite work is detailed, and the game looks gorgeous, doing a great job recreating the feeling of the film. My biggest disappointment is not the game design, but they cut the intro where the T-rex screams SEGA! I get they probably had to, but it’s certainly missed here.
Jurassic Park – SNES
The SNES Jurassic Park version takes us back to the top-down view but does its own thing compared to the NES version. Here, Grant uses multiple weapons, which are handily scattered around the map. Once again, you explore a large open map, shooting at dinosaurs and completing objectives. What stands out in this game is when you enter buildings, you move into a first-person perspective, which was quite uncommon even when this game was released. These scenes see you very clunkily exploring various corridors and shooting dinosaurs while looking for computers to activate. It looks pretty cool, but when a dinosaur starts nibbling on your ear, it takes Grant ages to turn around to deal with the problem. I preferred this to the NES game, but it didn’t win me over as much as the Mega Drive one. What can I say? I’m a Sega gamer.
Jurassic Park 2 The Chaos Continues – SNES
Now, we head into sequel territory. So, these last three games are not based on the second film. Basically, we are still focusing only on the first film. The film was such a runaway hit it got a video game sequel. The second SNES game, Jurassic Park 2, is a simple 2D run-and-gun platformer. This time, you are a marine sent to the island to take it over.
A much simpler approach to the first SNES, you have a selection of simple missions to complete, which you can tackle in any order you fancy. You have multiple weapons at your disposal and various dinosaurs to take on, including the odd giant insect not even featured in the films. The most appealing part for some players is it can be enjoyed with two players in local co-op. So both of you can get eaten together. But at least have some fun doing it.
Jurassic Park 2 – Game Boy
The second GameBoy game has its own unique design. This is another 2D shooter platformer; only you’re playing Alan Grant again. Grant seems to have it in for these dinosaurs this time as he walks and jumps through the levels, shooting any dinosaur that even gives him a funny look. It’s a very simple design but it gets the job done, and I had a lot of fun with it.
Jurassic Park Rampage Edition – Mega Drive
Lastly, we come onto the most bizarre game on the list; of course, it would be the Mega Drive. No, Jurassic Park Rampage is not some remaster of the first game; this really is a standalone title completely different from the first, even though it’s called ‘Rampage Edition.’ Like the first Mega Drive game, you can play as Grant or the raptor in a new campaign. Since the developers exhausted all the material from the film, they went for something much more wild and wacky here. In Grant’s campaign, you can now ride on dinosaurs, shoot military folk, and attack helicopters. It’s the most bizarre retro experience I have had in gaming for some time. It’s also ludicrously difficult in places, but I kinda liked it.
Didn’t Stop To Think If They Should
Each game has good emulation, but the extra features feel very bare bones. It’s very similar to A Boy and His Blob Retro Collection. You have a few screen filters to tweak with each game, such as the more CRT look. Save states are there, too, and for some games, you can use an overlay map to help you get your bearings.
It looks a lot like the maps you might get in old retro magazines in the guide section. You can even use a rewind button to correct those little oopsies in each game. To me, this seemed only to go back a few seconds, which didn’t feel enough in some circumstances. Sometimes, I fell down a bottomless pit and pressed the rewind button, only to return to the point where I would just fall down again. It felt a lot like that Simpsons episode where Homer falls down the cliff repeatedly.
Another cool feature is you can listen to the soundtrack of each game, which is most certainly welcome, though it did get me some funny looks when doing the washing up. That’s kinda it. A lot feels absent. There are no manuals, no history, and the collection doesn’t even present you with a menu of the controls for each game. It feels like you’re going retro cart only and just making your best guess as you go. It’s really a collection of just the games with minimal extras, which feels lacking compared to other retro collections.
Conclusion: Life Finds a Way
At the end of it all, I had fun with the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection. The games are an unusual mixture of difficult yet intriguing experiences; some hit the mark while others certainly didn’t. Little has been done to make the games more accessible outside of save states and a rewind button. With that, it makes it hard to recommend for everyone. If you utterly love Jurassic Park or want an affordable way to play some obscure retro games without going to the expense of finding the original cart or hardware, then this Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection is worth the price of entry. My inner child was certainly happy I got to experience the games.
Final Verdict: I Like it