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Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition (Genesis) artwork

Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition (Genesis) review

"Alan Grant is mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore."

Take the original "Jurassic Park" for Sega Genesis, polish the game engine, inject a load of adrenaline. BOOM. Now you've got "Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition", an unlikely action masterpiece. It not only eclipses the original tie-in SEGA game from 1993, but it even eclipses the actual sequel to the movie "Jurassic Park". As "Jurassic Park III" eventually proved in 2001, there's just no JP without AG. (Alan Grant, the protagonist of the original movie and games.)

Do you want to know what kind of game "Rampage Edition" is? Okay, consider the menu screen after you push start. It has the usual items: START, PLAYER, OPTIONS. You know what else it has? Compies. They're little green dinos that are the size of chickens, and they're just hanging out below the menu. Cute, right? But wait a beat. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. At the left edge of the screen, the silhouette of a T-Rex enters. ROARRR! The compies flee in terror. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. The silhouette recedes. That's the kind of game "Rampage Edition" is.

"Rampage" has five levels. You are allowed to tackle the first three in any order, though there's little point to this non-linearity. I guess if you suck at one level, you could skip to the other ones to try them out. If you choose not to move the cursor around, the game will have Alan Grant tackle the aviary first, then the savanna, then the cargo ship, and afterward some hidden ruins and the Raptor Rapids. The last two levels are always played in the same order.

My least favorite level is the aviary. The premise is that you're smack dab in the middle of a pteranodon den, and the things will frequently swoop in and try to grab you and take you up to their nest at the start of the level. That gets annoying really quick, but it does help you develop those reflexes you'll need later on. You gotta rapidly fire that tranquilizer gun at anything that moves. Raptors? Tranq 'em. Dilos? Tranq 'em. Human commandos? Don't bet on making friends. Tranq 'em.

The presence of enemy commandos in Jurassic Park will invite the following question: what the hell are they doing there? What's Grant even doing there? No story is supplied in the game itself, but the manual explains that the InGen corporation sent some operatives into Jurassic Park to secure samples of dinosaur eggs and DNA. Grant isn't going to stand for any of that, so he hijacks a helicopter and goes on a one man RAMPAGE. Makes sense.

Do you remember that scene in the first “Jurassic Park” movie where Grant and the kids found themselves in the middle of a dino stampede? In this game, you get to ride one of those ostrich-like dinosaurs that were stampeding. The savanna is an exhilarating, rightward trek atop a gallimimus mount. Every once in a while, a foolish helicopter tries to blow you up. Tranquilizer darts make helicopters explode. I hate the trip wires in this stage, but I guess life has to have its little challenges. Anyway, it's kind of thrilling to have to race to mount your gallimimus again before some raptors catch up to you.

I can't explain the logic behind the cargo ship level. Grant infiltrates the ship, works his way inside, then escapes it as it sinks. Nothing of value is acquired, and little explanation is given as to why the ship is sinking. I guess the people who made this game were simply big fans of "Lethal Weapon 2" and "The Poseidon Adventure". Even more mystifying are the hidden ruins. Isla Nublar was once home to an ancient civilization, I guess? Or are these ruins really a facade to conceal a hi-tech base, like the temple in "Licence to Kill"? In any case, the section where you ride a triceratops is pretty bitchin'.

Finally, there's Raptor Rapids. It's like Jurassic Park meets Action Park! I love the two signs that greet you at the entrance and exit of the level, and the human skeleton beneath the latter is a nice touch. With the exception of one part, this level's basically a breather. You already put up with the antics of the aviary and solved the hidden temple, so why not enjoy a relatively relaxing boat ride? I won't explain what the exception is. It's one of those great moments in gaming.

If there's one flaw that sticks out in "Rampage Edition", it's that the option to play as the Raptor feels like an afterthought again. Compared to the original game, the Raptor's levels are better designed. He (she?) even gets a final boss this time around, in the form of an enigmatic Raptor rival. Like Zeromus, he just shows up of nowhere. That's nice and all, but it's still obvious that the Raptor is playing around in levels that were clearly designed for Grant. Some original levels or layouts that cater to the Raptor's style of play would've been nice. The all-red "Rampage" mode is a nice touch, though, especially on the savanna level. In a puzzling twist, Raptor Rapids is less fun when you're the Raptor. Huh.

"Rampage Edition" is primarily an intense run 'n' gun. Shoot dudes and dinos. Collect guns and grenades. Eat chocolate bars and med kits. It's got variety, and there's action at every corner. BlueSky Software developed the game. They re-invented baseball sims the same year with "World Series Baseball", and they later created Vectorman. It seems they went into this project with less pressure and greater enthusiasm than they had when making the prequel a year earlier. I presume this on the basis of how polished and bug nuts the game is. A game like this feels like it could have been as much fun to make as it is to play.

Rating: 10/10

joseph_valencia's avatar
Community review by joseph_valencia (June 04, 2013)

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