Head back to the distant past (read: the 90s) for a fully featured exploration of some of the best-loved Jurassic Park games ever.
Jurassic Park is pretty easily one of the biggest film franchises of all time at this point. Spawned from the original Michael Crichton novel, the series of sci-fi/action/adventure films has long-since jumped to the modern era as well, morphing into the Jurassic World series. And while the latter is a set of movies that’s somewhat dubious in quality, it’s nonetheless taken a serious bite out of the box office, and proven that people love Jurassic anything.
It’s been much the same story with merchandise surrounding the property, which is still hot as ever, and that naturally includes video games. JP has had a long history in the interactive medium, though modern titles don’t typically tie-into the movies in the way that the property’s legacy installments did. Those classic games were direct or indirect (with a good deal of creative license) adaptations of the original movie, and are the subject of a relatively new collection from Limited Run Games.
With a boxed edition still coming up, LRG has a digital edition of its Jurassic Park collection that is out now digitally. And if you’re looking to relive some of the most impactful movie-games of the 90s, you’re going to want to check it out.
Well I said it pretty clearly already, but sure what the heck: Limited Run Games’ Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection is a bundle of classic, dino-loaded titles from the golden age of gaming. That’s not to say though, that these games are based on the entire original trilogy, because they’re definitely not.
Instead all of the titles included focus either on the original movie or the (non-canon) period of time just after it. The first and second Jurassic Park films had about four years in between them, so there was a good long time to get some tie-ins out there, in an age where that style of game was incredibly common.
But while the label fits, it’s important to remember too that tie-ins nonetheless tended to be pretty loose adaptations in decades-past. You’ll find that to be plentifully evident in this collection, with titles that star Alan Grant as a dinosaur battling action hero, and… a raptor. Yes, there’s a Genesis game where fans could actually play as one of the famous carnivores.
- Jurassic Park (NES)
- Jurassic Park (SNES)
- Jurassic Park (Game Boy)
- Jurassic Park (Genesis)
- Jurassic Park: The Chaos Continues (SNES)
- Jurassic Park: The Chaos Continues (Game Boy)
- Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition (Genesis)
While you’ll see some overlap there though, all of these games are different. So we’re not talking about the same game being recycled four times with maybe some slightly different visuals. Jurassic Park on the SNES is radically different than Jurassic Park on the Genesis, so with that in mind, you get a save pack of different games to play here.
It’s a solid value for sure, but is all of it worth playing? Well…
Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection isn’t strictly a set of side-scrollers, overhead adventures, or handheld games. For that matter, it’s not even a collection of solely 8 or 16bit games, and instead stocks a little bit of all of the above with some handheld stuff too. So yeah, there are some radically different gameplay styles at play here.
Pretty much everything is spot-on with the ports present however, and after spending quite a bit of time with them, I can say that all play well. I had the good fortune to try out a number of these on their original platforms as well, and the inclusions in Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection feel darned familiar.
That said, and if I can add a persona note, I find the Genesis games to be a mess in terms of controls. And I don’t mean that Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection messes them up, because I’ve felt that way since they originally hit launch for Sega’s 16bit console.
I know there are fans of them out there too, but I have never had a good time with them, and the same thing proves true here. If you’re looking for recommendations though, the original SNES game is still a favorite, and The Chaos Continues is a sharp little action/platformer.
Through the miracle of cloning
Limited Run Games’ Carbon Engine is at play in Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection, and does a terrific job of bringing all of the various included games back to life. Compared to the originals, they all look fairly identical to what was available on their home hardware. Or rather, they can if you want them to.
As with most classic game collections, fans now have the ability to shake up the visuals if they so desire. Included is a “CRT” filter to replicate the original on-screen look of these games, a blended one that kind of softens the visuals, and the ability to forgo either. I like the look of the CRT filter, but whatever floats your boat.
You can also use a neat little border (these games are 4×3 in presentation) that mimics the edges of the movie poster, or just have negative space instead. That’s all in terms of looks, but the set goes deeper than that, and touts the now-standard (with retro stuff) rewind feature, meaning that you can roll back the seconds if you screw up.
Limited Run has also added the ability to play around with screen size, and make use of save and load features, something that I believe was absent from all of these games originally. That might be hard to believe now, but there was indeed a time where saving your progress wasn’t a given by any means.
Also not included in the original versions were in-game maps. LRG has added those for the overhead action titles in the collection, which is a very welcome addition and makes Jurassic Park on the SNES even better than it already was.
If you’re longing for the classic days of Jurassic Park games, or you’re a fan who’s never played these digital-fossils, then Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection is a title you’re going to want to check out. It might be a little bit of an acquired taste, and not all of the games included are going to be for everyone, but I found it to be an overall fun trip back to an adventure that was 65 million years in the making.
A copy of Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection was provided by Limited Run Games for this review
Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection
Releas date: November 22nd, 2023
Platforms: Switch (reviewed), Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Limited Run Games, Universal Games
Developer: Limited Run Games, BlueSky Software, Ocean Software
MSRP: $29.99 USD