Monday, July 27, 2015

VGR Jurassic Park (Master System)

The official prequel to Jurassic World!

No seriously, the game ends with the park finally opening for the public after the original incident!!

God creates dinosaur. God destroys dinosaur. God creates man. Man creates Jurassic Park!

VGR: Jurassic Park (Master System) aka Jurassic Park (8-bit)
From Sega
Played on the Sega Master System
Also available on Game Gear

Type Sidescroller action/shooter/racing/platformer
Year 1993

Over the years there's been dozen of video games based on the Jurassic Park franchise. Most of those released in between the release of the original Jurassic Park 1 and The Lost World.

Since the screenplay of a movie can be stretched so far, a lot of those games often used elements Steven Spielberg cut from Michael Crichton's original novels. Which was always a neat plus, I always loved the presence the aviary had over several of these games despite only getting screentime in the later Jurassic Park 3! But since the developers rarely stuck to using dinosaurs as the main villains of these games, you also often spent most of those games fighting InGen stock soldiers...

There was a pretty straightforward split over the franchise depending on the game consoles you owned. Ocean Software got to develop the games on Nintendo's systems while Sega took care of their own games in-house, and Universal Interactive/DreamWorks Interactive would take care of the other consoles.

After having a look at Nintendo, it's time to check on the Sega Jurassic Park games. And there's been a lot of those. Platformers? Rail Shooters? Adventure games? They made all sorts of games with the license...

This game for the Sega Master System shares some elements with both the SNES and Megadrive titles but it's actually completely different and does its own little thing. It was developed by Sega Japan and differs quite a lot from the mainstream Mega Drive version.

For once the story doesn't seem to be neither based on the book nor the film. Instead it appears to be set some time after the original movie.

John Hammond's people have been trying to get the "Jurassic Park" open, but due to malfunctions the electric fences keep shutting down, dinosaurs escape, casualties happen and who else would they call to save the situation?

None other than Dr. Alan Grant! Wait, what?

The goal is to bring back these huge dinosaurs back to their paddocks. 

The game takes the structure of a Mega Man game. There's five stages in total, you're free to choose where to start on a stage select map. At first there are only 4 locations - the area of the Velociraptor, the Pteranodon stage, a Triceratops one and the Brachiosaurus. You can play the stages in any order. And at the end you can finally face Tyrannosaurus Rex

Gameplay is broken down in two different play styles. 

To get into the stages you actually need to drive there from the Visitor Center located in the middle of the island.

These driving sequences take the form of a fast-paced shooting segment on rails. The idea is to aim and shoot any dino that pop up on screen before they get you. Survive long enough and your friendly neighborhood T. rex will appear on screen to chase you just like in the movie! But unlike the movie you can shoot him back - in the FACE!

These stages can be a bit tricky but they're always pretty short.

And if you die? Don't worry, they're actually bonus stages. Winning them means you get a lot more health in the following action stages.

Once inside the "action stages" the games takes a more familiar route and becomes a simple sidescroller. There's a lot of platforms. A lot of shooting too.

Grant starts with a pretty weird spray-like gun but you can also find a rifle, grenades, etc.

There's a lot of environmental hazards and traps. This is probably the only JP game to make use of the storm coming on the island just like in the film. You have to get down to avoid the wind. Fires will start up in the forest and you need to be quick and have some reflexes to avoid those. Dinosaurs will jump off from the background scenery. The idea is to locate the InGen installations to progress there.

There the stages takes a more maze-like approach.

The main objective is to reach the main escaped dinosaur species and fight them in a boss battle.

Thankfully Alan Grant has access to a lot of moves in this game. He can duck, climb, etc.

The game is actually... pretty good!

The visuals look pretty impressive for an 8-bit system. The dinosaurs look pretty good even if they're oddly colored sometimes. 

The game even has a little animated cutscene that has nothing to shame from similar intros at the time.

And the controls are pretty simple but precise.

All in all, this is surprinsingly probably one of the better JP1 games out there.

Overall, Jurassic Park on the Master System is a fun little action game. Not too short and not too easy.

As far as similar movie tie-in adaptations can get, this one turned out pretty good all things considered.

It's a pretty fun sidescroller. Pretty decent. One of the better adaptations on the Master System,

This 8-bit Jurassic Park Sega game was ported on the Sega Game Gear as well, where it remained basically the same game - aspect ratio aside The game is identical to its home console variant, just slightly more zoomed in, otherwise it matches the other version pretty close. Well.. With the exception of one very distinct detail - for some reason you don't get to play as Alan Grant as usual but instead you get to play as this completely random generic InGen soldier! Why? I have no idea. It just seems to come out of nowhere. But that detail aside it's the exact same replica of the game. Same overall controls, same level design and mostly the same graphics, no noticeable downgrade! Easily one of the better Master System to Game Gear ports out there!
I give it:
2.5 / 3 Bruces!

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