Saturday, October 10, 2015

VGR Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition

The closest the franchise's ever been to its original horror roots in the novel.

While waiting for an actual sequel for the film, the video game developers started coming up with their own follow-ups.

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

VGR: Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition or also simplified to Jurassic Park Rampage or just Rampage
From BlueSky Software/SEGA of America
Played on Sega Mega Drive
Also available on /

Type Sidescroller
platformer/action game
Year 1994

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...

Developed by BlueSky Software for the Mega Drive/Genesis Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition is the direct sequel to the main Jurassic Park game for the Mega Drive.

The story actually takes place immediately after the events of the first game.

Alan Grant had just escaped from the island by helicopter.. when he suddenly crashed back on Isla Nublar! Now Grant must deal all over again not only with the dinos but also the full-on invasion forces of the InGen mercenaries!

But wait, there's more! He has to do all this before the Costa Rican army gets to blow up the island (just like in Michael Crichton's original novel).

Sort of predicting The Lost World, the InGen soldiers are trying to collect as much information, eggs and DNA samples from the dinosaurs to build their own Jurassic Park and even militarize the creatures (à la Jurassic World?).

Now Grant must travel through all the different places he mostly skipped the first time around including the aviary and a volcano.

The game kept most of the basis from the previous title.

Like in the previous game you get to play as either the Raptor or Alan Grant. It's also a sidescroller action game with some emphasis on platform.

As Grant you can fight with all kinds of guns. You start off with this infinite dart gun, but you can also get your hands on a wide selection of different weapon such as rifles, shotguns and even grenades or a flamethrower!

The stages aren't many, but they're fairly long each with a lot of sub-segments. Taking notes from the novel, there's the infamous aviary (that would only get to appear in the third film), full of dangerous Pteranondons that quickly get a lot more annoying than you would imagine, they can take you back to the beginning of the level. There's also a savannah stage, it's a fun long stretch you can do on the back of a Galliminus (!), the cargo ship mentioned by Dennis Nedry in the film with some stressful flooding sections, jungle ruins similar to the first MD game only they took the time to completely revamp them to make the visibility easier on the player and there's a great fun Triceratops ride in the end, the "Raptor Rapids" from the novel which we already glimpsed in the previous game as well but with a much better level design this time and finally a final stretch inside the volcano were the T.rex has her eggs.

The Tyrannosaur only makes a comeback as the final boss this time (it appeared through the whole game in the first episode), once more "missing its entire body" like last time only the effect was a lot better this time and more effective.

As the Raptor, it's an entirely different type of game, using the same environments. The gameplay is a lot more fast-paced and you can just zip through hordes of enemies.

The Raptor mostly has to face human soldiers, but there's still plenty of dinosaurs on your path.

She can claw her way through enemies, use her tail as an attack or bite to gain some health back. She can even perform a spin dash attack for no reason at all!

This time there's also a "Rampage mode" for the Raptor. After accumulating some hits the screen will turn red and the Raptor will become invincible for a short time. 

The goal with the Raptor is to escape the island aboard a cargo boat! Now, that's the kinda sequel I would have loved to see instead of the T.rex let loose in San Diego!

There's only real boss fight in the entire game, and it's in this campaign. The Raptor gets to face another Raptor, "Red".

While the game mostly plays and looks like the previous installment, BlueSky brought enough little new ideas here and there to the table to make this a really fun sequel. 

This is not a special edition or a re-release of Jurassic Park 1 on the Mega Drive. But really a whole new game! Sure there are a couple familiar locations (the river and the jungle), but they were completely revamped, made a lot more visually engaging and interesting to go through.

The game itself uses slightly revamped graphics as well. I always found the graphics kind of muddy and messy in the first game, but this time they added a nice sort of early "cell shading" around the characters which really help make them pop up on screen.

The game is also appropriately titled Rampage for a reason. There's always tons of enemies to face on screen. InGen agents are a real pain in the butt this time.

It's a nice mix of new ideas and familiar elements. It even feels like a sort of early form of a survival horror game what with the limited ammo and health around and really creepy atmosphere. 

Speaking of, let's also mention the incredibly badass music composed by Sam Powell for the game. It really boosts you through the game and keep you on edge. This is a perfect example of a great use of the Mega Drive's hardware. Lot of tense themes and fast-paced jungle drum beats.

Overall, Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition is a great game that tries bridging the movie-influence first game and the novel. And it's a really stressful yet captivating experience. 

The game has some great interesting ideas. The galliminus stage is so fun and unique! I really fixes most of the issues I had with the first game. Better more-defined graphics. Tense gameplay. And really good replay value, you want to see more or just go back to the game to have some fun with the Raptor.

Sure, the game can be a bit frustrating at times, specially if it's your first JP game (at the time). But personally? This was my first experience with a JP video game license as a kid and yet I always adored it. It must be the violence and mature vibe coming from this game's unique atmosphere. 

Rampage has a great tone I always found fascinating but perhaps too scary for the children audience. Anyway, it makes this game the closest the series' ever been to its horror roots and that makes it one of the best entries in the series.
I give it:
2.5 / 3 Bruces!

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