Genre: Action Developer: BlueSky Software Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1 Released: 1994
The mega-hit film Jurassic Park has seen numerous video game releases since its debut in 1993. The 16-bit consoles, in particular, received a fair share of attention from the lucrative license. Though SNES fans were satisfied with the games by Ocean Software, Genesis fans were the ones who received something special. Rather than being developed from the ground up by Ocean Software, Sega struck a partnership with the developer BlueSky Software, a company which would later create the popular Vectorman series. The partnership resulted in two action-platform games which were vastly different from iterations on other machines.
Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition was the second of the two BlueSky developed releases. The game took the formula of the first, improved the graphics and animations, and threw in a whole bunch of new weapons for our main protagonist, Dr. Alan Grant. And while it has its share of fun and exciting moments (tearing through a level as a velociraptor will ALWAYS be fun), it fails in its execution. Overall, if you’re looking for a fun afternoon with the Genesis, you can’t do much wrong with Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition. Compared to BlueSky’s other releases, though, the game is a bit on the sloppy side.
The game consists of six distinct levels, three of which are selectable from the onset, and each of these can be completed with either Alan or the raptor. This does extend the replay value due to the very different play styles, and experimenting with the two play styles leads to the most enjoyable aspects. Alan attacks by shooting various weapons – tranquilizers, automatics, rocket launchers, and shotguns – and throwing grenades. The raptor is much more powerful, and attacks enemies using a tail whip. There is also a “rampage” mode that the raptor will go into once three specific items are picked up. So let’s recount: guns, grenades, dinosaurs, and rampagesâ€¦ where could this game possibly go wrong?
The answer lies in the mechanics. Nothing in Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition feels polished. The jumping is unpredictable, collision detection is spotty, and the level designs are terrible. The first level, the aviary, not only gives you no clue as to where you’re supposed to go but also features enemies hidden behind foliage. I can’t recall how many times I was killed by either too big of a jump or a seemingly invisible enemy. This made me enjoy the “just move right” levels much more. Some of the frustration is saved by mid-level checkpoints, and the final level/boss is a memorable one, but I’ve just come to expect more from BlueSky.
BlueSky was known for its 16-bit digitized graphics, and Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition is a clear example of their work. The revamped graphics engine is a step up from the original Jurassic Park for the Genesis, yet it hasn’t aged as well as BlueSky’s other games. While the dinosaurs and environments generally look realistic, are detailed, and animate extremely well, most everything comes off as bland. I think this has less to do with the limits of the Genesis, and more to do with the limits of the source material. Still, there are a few brilliant moments sprinkled throughout the game. Seeing the brand new T-rex was an absolute jaw-dropping moment for me.
On the audio-side of things, Rampage Edition is well done. Nothing is spectacular, but both music and effects work well in conveying the menacing atmosphere of the game. I enjoyed the small amount of added “ambient” sounds, and the effects sounded pretty spot-on. The raptor roar, when going into rampage mode, sounded especially good coming from the Genesis. The game is a fine example of how audio can really add to the immersion.
Though various improvements have been made upon the original, Rampage Edition contains very little of the polish developer BlueSky is known for. Quick and cheap deaths mar an otherwise enjoyable experience. The game can be found inexpensively though, which makes it a viable purchase if you’re looking for a day of fun. Ultimately it feels like a shallow, quick cash in on a lucrative franchise. If you’re only looking for one Jurassic Park game, your best bet would still be The Lost World.
SCORE: 6 out of 10