Jurassic Park logo

Ocean 061-832 6633 * £25.99 * AGA version reviewed AF55 70%

Previously available as AGA only, Jurassic Park gets a multi-format outing and the price has been cut by two quid.

So it does not look quite as good. So what? Well, to be candid, looks are the most impressive part of JP because much of the gameplay is a let-down. Sure, there is a huge gaming area and it does have some fetching and atmospheric 3D point-of-view perspective levels but, on the whole, it is a disappointment. Too much wandering around and not enough action.



Jurassic Park logo AGA

The biggest movie of all-time reaches the small screen, but is it a Jurassic classic or a monster flop?

The biggest movie of all-time and I didn't see it, but I did watch the dreaded hype machine roll into action. I may have missed the film, but I can tell you the storyline, who played who and what dinosaurs were in it. It's all thanks to the mass media who went "dino" crazy for a month last year.

While everyone was enthusing about how good the film was, Ocean, leading software house for film licences, were carefully planning their Jurassic attack. Ocean Manchester offices were constantly bustling with workers morning, noon and night trying to finish Jurassic Park.

By the time they had eventually completed their task, the Dino fever had calmed down, but along came Ocean with the game that every kid wanted and probably got for Christmas.

For those not familiar with Jurassic Park, here's a quick run-down of the plot. Thanks to astounding bio-technical advances, a group of scientists have brought back to life the most awesome creatures ever to walk the face of the earth.

These beasts are not just for scientists though, because multi-millionaire John Hammond has decided to turn the most incredible animal preserve of all-time into a theme park.

As Dr Alan Grant, a world-renowned palaeontologist, you have been invited to examine the cloned dinosaurs. The creatures are monitored and controlled bya huge super-computer and you have been assured that you can explore the island and see these breathtaking dinosaurs in complete safety.

But something has gone terribly wrong, like it always does. Jurassic Park's computer programmer, Dennis Nedry, has sabotaged the security systems. Electrified fences and motion sensors are down and hundreds of fearsome prehistoric predators have escaped their pens and paddocks to roam free on the island.

Raptors, spitters and even the feared tyrannosaurus rex have overrun the fortified visitors centre. As Dr Alan Grant you'll need to accomplish a number of increasingly difficult tasks before you're free to attempt the toughest one of all by getting yourself safely off the island.

You begin the game stranded in the tyrannosaurus paddock of Jurassic Park. Nearby, somewhere, are John Hammond's grandchildren, Time and Lex. You must roam around the park to find them, and once found you must take them through, various dinosaur paddocks to the visitors' centre.

RAMPANT
With hundreds of fearsome dinosaurs running rampant around the park, Dr Alan Grant must protect himself with various weapons. You start armed only with a tazer. This basic weapon throws out a bolt of electricity which will destroy some smaller dinosaurs and stun others. You'll find other weapons dotted around the park.

As well as weapons, there are pick-ups which can be found inside or outside of buildings. You will need these items to complete your objectives and get out of Jurassic Park. Some of the more common pick-ups are ammunition and first-aid kits.

Throughout the park are electronic motion sensors. These are used to keep tracks of the dinosaurs via the computer. Connected to the motion sensors are terminals which can be used to call up information. You will also need the terminals to control park functions, like opening gates and doors.

Most of Ocean's film licences tend to revolve around a multi-level format incorporating different gaming elements and Jurassic Park is no different. There are two different sections to Ocean's dino-'em-up. The first is viewed from above and involves a lot of running around while trying to find John Hammond's grandchildren.

The second is a 3D maze affair done very much in the style of Wolfenstein on the PC. The 3D bit is actually inside the visitors centre and you're slowly being hunted down by deadly raptors. The second section is much more atmospheric than the first thanks to the brilliant soundtrack.

The graphics are dark and moody in this section and it really generates a spooky feeling within you. In fact, Amiga Computing staffer Adam Phillips was so scared when he played it that when a raptor jumped out of the dark at him accompanied by a orchestral stab from hell, he literally jumped out of his seat. OK, so he got ridiculed for the best part of a week, but it just goes to prove that Jurassic Park is very scary indeed.

The first section contains some quite luscious graphics. They're highly detailed and very colourful and the dinosaurs and some of the backdrops are worth a second look. Your first go at Jurassic Park will probably be very exciting and highly enjoyable, but as time progresses the more tedious the run around the section will become.

Most of the dinosaurs except the really large ones are easy to kill, but they have a tendency to keep re-appearing and just annoy you more than anything else. Luckily once you've completed a section you are given a code which can be typed in at a later date.

The adventure comes on four disks and is not hard disk installable, so you'll spend quite a bit of time swapping disks. As an example when you go to use one of the terminals you have to swap disks and this becomes very annoying indeed.

Jurassic Park contains some really great graphics and looks like one of the best film licence tie-ins to ever grace the computer screen, but unfortunately is let down by some really bad playability. This makes the game boring in parts and gamers are easily going to lose interest with it which is a crying shame because, it could've been a classic.


EVERYBODY WALK THE DINOSAUR

Jurassic Park
Compsognathus
Alternatively known as Compies, these small carnivores will attack in packs, weighing you down by their sheer numbers. The compys will also bite, their venom weakens and will eventually paralyse you.

Jurassic Park
Gallimimus
These mild herbivores will not attack you, but are very easily disturbed and are quick to stampede. They can run extremely fast and will run into you unless you get out of the way.

Jurassic Park
Velociraptor
Entitled raptor for short this beast stands six feet tall the most vicious dinosaur that ever lived. They hunt in packs and will attack just for the sport of it. They can figure out where you are, how to get to you and even split up to head you off.

Jurassic Park
Dilophosaur
Also known as the spitter, this four-foot high kangaroo-like animal seems playful and friendly. When your guard is down, a brilliantly coloured crest fans out over its head and then tries to spit a venomous projectile at you with speed and accuracy which can blind and paralyse.

Jurassic Park
Triceratops
The triceratops is nearly the size of an elephant. It is built low down to the ground with huge stumpy legs and a massive head with three horns, the longest protruding from the middle of its face. They are very easily startled and will charge you.

Jurassic Park
Tyrannosaurus Rex
The T-rex is the most famous predator in history and is the classic blood-thirsty carnivore. Standing 18 feet tall with a head five feet long, the tyrannosaur has huge and powerful jaws which can swallow a man whole. They are capable of eating a ton of fod at one time.



Jurassic Park AGA logo AGA

Want to spend a day at a dinosaur theme park killing all creatures great and small? Steve Bradley takes a walk in the Park.

Do you really believe that dinosaurs have ever existed? Huge lumbering creatures, some meat-eaters, others veggie, wandering about the earth, spending the odd weekend in Filey. Clever people have stuck bones together and dropped them off at some museum or other in London, but how do they know what they looked like? It just does not wash somehow. Still, where would Marc Bolan be with Tyrannosaurus Rex?

Questions of historical accuracy aside, Jurassic Park made a huge impact on cinema-going folk in the summer (particularly on AF production editor Richard Jones' 'Significant other' Maggie, who went into labour shortly after seeing it), so it is no surprise that the game of the movie should appear on the back of the hype.

For the benefit of those (like me) who missed the film, Jurassic Park is about a dinosaur theme park on an island off America.

A bloke called John has brought our large prehistoric pals back to life in order that young children might gain a valuable insight into animals from a bygone age (no Terry, you cannot take that Brontesaurus home for the Easter holidays).

In order to make the book, film, and game reasonably interesting, things have gone horribly wrong. Jurassic Park's computer programmer Dennis has sabotaged the computer security system (apparently, they took away his company dinosaur) and now the Raptors, Spitters and Tyrannosauruses are roaming the island killing people, which is not very good for business.

Doyouthinkesaurus?
If your ambition is to be a world-renowned palaeontologist, then you are in luck. You take the part of Dr Alan and your task is to rid the island of the beasts before fleeing. And as if this was not enough, you have also got to rescue John's two grandchildren along the way.

Starting in the Tyrannosaurus paddock, you must locate the kids and shoot your way through a variety of other paddocks, each with different dinosaurs in. The overhead perspective works well and graphically, it is a rather tasty number although when you are charging around the edge of the screen the view can be quite limited. The paddocks are real mazes so much of the early part of the game is spent wandering around looking for those darn kids. When you do eventually pick them up, they follow so closely on your heels that they become something of a hindrance when you are trying to do away with those feisty dinos.


You spend a lot of time just wandering about the park clutching with your gun

The Dr Alan sprite looks great but it can be difficult to manoeuvre, particularly when a dino is really close up and you have got to shoot it a bit sharpish. In fact, shooting the beasts can be a tricky operation because you have got to be directly in line with them. Stray even slightly and you miss.

You start with an effective laser weapon called a tazer which throws out a bolt of electricity, and then takes a second or so to recharge. There are other weapons lying around to pick up (look out for the red footprints) as well as extra ammunition. Other pick-ups include keyboards which enable you to get through locked doors and first-aid icons that restore your energy. The panel on the screen provides a constant reminder of weapon and energy levels.

The theme park is one heck of size and the gaming area is enormous. There are wooded areas to explore, fast flowing rivers to dinghy-down and when you eventually get to the visitors' centre, the game change to a 3D point-of-perspective. This basically consists of wandering through a maze of passages clutching a gun and blowing away the dinos as and when they appear. This, however, is not quite as exciting as it sounds and you can spend an age just trying to get out of there, even with the aid of a map.

Inevitably, in such a huge park, there are times you get completely stuck. The customer care service provides crèche facilities and... erm, no that is all wrong. To help you find your way there are computer terminals with map other options, located throughout the game. To access them, you simply walk up to one, press the Return key and follow the on-screen prompts thus enabling further progress. Yes, it sounds boring and it is.

The park side
Unfortunately, Jurassic Park suffers from the great looks, huge game but little playability syndrome. So much of your time is spent wandering around that before long you become interminably bored. The levels offer little variety and despite the two distinct styles within the game (overhead and point-of-view perspectives), the lack of real action leaves you somewhat cold.

Once you have shot the same type of animal a hundred times you really do not want to see them again. But the compies (small dog-like creatures that nip you) just keep on hassling you. They are not difficult to kill, just intensely annoying.

Those of you who loved the film may glean some satisfaction from exploring the park and killing heaps of animals from a bygone age but I would much prefer a day out at Alton Towers with Beavis and Butthead.

Ocean are also releasing a non-AGA version (available in January at £25.99).



Jurassic Park AGA logo AGA A1200 Speziell

Michael Crichtons gleichnamiger Roman war ein Bestseller, Steven Spielbergs Verfilmung der Kintopp-Knüller des Jahres - ist Oceans Versoftung für den 1200er nun der Dino unter den Actiongames? Wohl kaum...

Dabei ist die mehrfach ausgeschlachtete Story immer noch pures Dynamit: Nachdem es Genforschern gelungen war, aus in einer Urzeit-Mücke konserviertem Saurierblut originale Riesenechsen zu klonen, wurde flugs ein Freizeitpark auf einer Insel errichtet, wo die Biester nun Touristenattraktion spielen sollen. Doch gerade als der Paläontologe Alan Grant samt Begleitung zur Besichtigung eintrifft, legt ein Saboteur das Sicherheitssystem lahm - und frisches Besucherfleisch schmeckt bekanntlich am besten!

Drei Leben hat unser Wissenschaftler, von denen er zumindest eines unversehrt durch die acht Paßwortgesicherten und jeweils in zwei Abschnitte aufgeteilten Levels retten muß, bevor er das Eiland via Hubschrauber verlassen kann. Im ersten, aus der Vogelperspektive gezeigten Teil darf er zudem die beiden Enkel des Parkgründers John Hammond durch die soft scrollende Grünanlage schleusen.

In rätseltechnischer Hinsicht müssen dort z.B. bestimmte Gehege geöffnet oder die Obstvorräte für die Dino-Fütterung entdeckt werden, aber vor allem ist man damit, sich die frei herumlaufenden Echsen mit der Elektrokeule oder guten, alten Bleikugeln vom Leib zu halten.

Gegen den riesigen Tyrannosaurus Rex richtet man so allerdings nichts aus, hier hilft nur Bestechung - mit Fersengeld... Vom Spielerischen her bekommt man es in diesem Abschnitt mit solide gemachter Hausmannskost zu tun; die Grafik ist ganz nett gezeichnet, aber nicht überwältigend, außerdem wird doch merklich langsamer gescrollt, sobald mehrere der Urviecher auf dem Screen herumtollen.

Nach dem Erreichen des Hauptgebäudes geht es in 3D-Optik weiter: Die einzelnen Räume sind nun aus der Sicht des Helden zu sehen und werden in alle Richtungen gedreht. Die verwendete Vektorgrafik wirkt zwar ganz ordentlich, allerdings erreciht sie nicht das Niveau des PC-Gegenstücks, darüberhinaus ruckelt das Scrolling hier auch ein wenig. Ansonsten darf man sich beim Marsch durch die Dino-Dungeons in den Disziplinen Saurier abballern, sabotiertes Sicherheitssystem aktivieren sowie Munition und Verbandkästen aufsammeln bewähren.

Sieht man mal davon ab, daß einige der Soundeffekte zwischendurch aus unerklärlichen Gründen das Weite suchen, sind die Begleitmusik und die verbliebenen FX durchaus anhörbar. Auch über die Steuerung via Tastatur oder Joystick kann man kein böses Wort sagen; angesichts des happigen Schwierigkeitsgrades wäre das ja auch noch schöner.

Trotz alledem ist Jurassic Park keineswegs der große Reißer, den man erwartet hätte: Weder das Gameplay noch die Präsentation sind auf dem neuesten Stand, was gerade beim einem reinen 1200er-Game besonders unangenehm auffällt. Wie mögen da erst die angekündigten Version für die übrigen Amigas und das CD32 ausfallen? (rf)



Jurassic Park AGA logo AGA

Nothing to do with Dino Dini, this is more Dino Saurus Rex. With an ego-sized budget.

Michael Crichton has got much to answer for. Too much to anser for, some would say. Yes, he is the man responsible for the much-vaunted book which inspired the vastly over-hyped dinosaur film Jurassic Park (Oh no. - Ed).

I will let you into a little secret now. The fame looks even better on screen than you could imagine from the screenshots. In terms of aesthetics. Jurassic Park is probably the most beautiful game you will ever see on the Amiga. It is a vibrant exciting work of art. In fact, it is so lovely that it is surprising that the Late Show on BBC2 has not picked up on it to discuss its quality, meaning and symbolism in an age of disposable consumerism.

But hey, (drums, roll, trumpets trumpet, dogs bark, children scream, grown men faint in anticipation) great graphics do not a game make (phew). We are here to let you know which games are good and which are crap, and with Jurassic Park, there is a real dilemma on this front. The best way of describing the gameplay is to draw an analogy with the film.

DON'T BELIEVE IT
Yes, my steely, rock-hard mind composition had fallen victim to the hype. Yes, I really wanted to see the film almost as much as I wanted to live. And Colin The Publisher provided the means to see that film (he came into the office one day when he was bored and took all the AP staff to the local cinema).

Funnily, the film was incredibly disappointing. Yes, the sound was fantastic. I could feel my heart flutter with every thudding footstep of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Yes, the bit with the kids and the Velociraptors was terrifying. Yes, Jeff Goldblum provided relief in his own inimitable style. But NO, the film was not any good. It was ultimately tedious with more holes in the plot and characterisation than Rab C Nesbitt's string vest. In fact the best part of the film for me was watching all the wimpy little kids being escorted out of the cinema by their mothers.

Unfortunately, much the same can be said of the game. We have already discussed the graphics. They are the most stunningly radiant visuals that you will ever let reside on your optical cords. They massage your retina with the soft soothing stroke that flesh makes against silk. And er, that is about all they do.

LEISURED
So why the negativity? Simple. The gameplay - with some reservations, see later on - is utter crap. Dull, tedious, boring, bland etc. It is basically a big maze that you have got to explore. On the way, you have got to pick things up in a sort of 'collect as you go' fashion.


The puzzles are linear and never change

Dotted all around the park are motion sensors which contain terminals that you can log onto. These are vital to the completion of the game. They give you access to the park's map and allow you to open doors in buildings and so on. You can conclude from this information roughly what you have to do in each section of the park.

So without giving too much away, we will use the first level as an example of the challenged gameplay. You start off beside the overturned car, and you have got to find the two kids on this stage. The little boy is a piece of cake (well, he is more like a collection of pixels actually). He is always, and I mean always, in the same location. From there, head off in the direction of one of the motion sensors and log onto the park's computer system. Unlock the door of the building near the bottom of the enclosure. Locate the front door and go in. You will now have picked up a toolbox.

Toolbox in hand, go to the drain near the top of the enclosure. Let yourself in. you are now in a rather unpleasant sewer maze. Flop around in the effluent until you locate the little girl. Make your way back outside. While searching for the girl, you will have come across a door pass. Use this to let yourself out and ta da - that is tragic, ladies and gentlemen.

The real disappointment is that the puzzles are linear and they never change. Not much scope is left for lateral thinking. Those of you who are good at real puzzle games will crush Jurassic Park underfoot.

COME INSIDE
Okay, that aside, we have got this far and I have not mentioned that a lot of the Jurassic action takes place indoors in a texture-mapped 3-D environment. So let us redress that now. This is also the part of the game which could be considered the saving grace of the package. It is not that it plays all that differently. It is still a walk-around-collecting-things-and-switching-things-off-and-on kind of a romp. But oh, the atmosphere. It blows Hired Guns away with a 'Punchhhm ka-Chak a Dagga Dagga Doo. (Push pineapple, shake the tree. - Ed).

For the first time ever in my life I was afraid. I was very afraid. Imagine your first viewing of Jaws or Alien. Remember how your heart started to tighten in anticipation of something nasty happening? Your breath quickened, throat dried and pupils dilated with the tension. That happens with the 3D section of Jurassic Park too.

It is all achieved by the soundtrack which has the same effect as the Jaws buildup dooroo... dooroo... dood dood dood dood dood doodle OOH. (Oh God. - Ed). Yes, it starts low and builds high, the music pounds away as you get closer to any approaching Velociraptors. The energy released when they attack you and you get to blow them away with your big gun is almost orgasmic in its intensity; die die DIE, you fetid fossilised, er, fantom.

JACK IT IN
You must, repeat, absolutely must, play this section of the game with a powerful hi-fi or pair of headphones jacked in. You are entering another world. One where you inhabit the ether of bogeymen in the cupboard and psychopathic clowns under the bed. That is right, a scary, frightening, exhilaratingly exciting world.

And with that said, it is time for a rather ambiguous conclusion to the game. Imagine that you had to fold a whole pile of till receipts and then had to bring the washing in. You have got to admit that they are both pretty tedious jobs, but they have to be done in a certain manner. Now imagine that the till receipts were in fact fifty pound notes and that the washing was a line full of Armani suits. The jobs would be a lot more pleasant but would still be ultimately be tedious.

That is what it is like with Jurassic. It is lovely to look at and hold. The graphics, sound and 3D sections are gob smacking. Probably the best seen this year. The 3D sections stop it from being an utter flop. But ultimately (I know I am repeating myself, but imagine a towering edible ant machine constantly shaking his head in disbelief and disappointment) Jurassic Park is more than a little tedious. What a dreadful, dreadful shame.



Jurassic Park AGA logo AGA CU Amiga Screen Star

The scariest thing about Jurassic Parkmania is that we've still got the video to come. In the meantime, content yourselves with the myriad money-making items of merchandise and a surprisingly good game from Ocean.

Ocean have taken some liberties with the plot. The film's hero, Dr. Alan Grant, is now the only human left in the park and the dinosaurs are hungry. But Grant isn't the kind of hero to tell the world to 'go hang' and save his own backside. Rather than do what most of us (certainly me) would do, which is to run really fast to the docks, get into a boat and sail for home, he's taken on the awesome responsibility of rescuing the remaining humans, then making sure the dinosaurs stay put on their island and don't decide to holiday on mainland South America.

The mission brief is simple. Grant has to first track down Tim and Lex, the grandchildren of park owner John Hammond, who are holed up with several other people in the visitor centre. If he makes it he's then got to reactivate the park's security systems and finally summon a helicopter to get them off the island. The spanner in the works comes in the shape of a pack of two-ton lizards called velociraptors. These hungry dinosaurs have a newly discovered taste for human flesh and would much rather Grant and Co. hang around the island for a while.

A DAY IN THE PARK
Ocean are famous on top licences and turning them into standard platform games. Something's gone very wrong here though, as Jurassic Park is original, good to look at, excellent to play and varied throughout.

It's a mixture of two distinct styles. First there's the top-down view stages where Grant has to be steered out of the path of the marauding dinosaurs while trying to track the objects he needs to save everyone from becoming the velociraptors' next meal. I wasn't very taken with this bit of the game at first, after all, it's running on a 32-bit machine so I was expecting something a bit special.

However, it plays a lot better than it looks and the dinosaurs are very well animated, although you don't get to see much of them as you sprint for cover. The aim is to activate and deactivate bits of the park's electric fence so you can find your way through to the children, preferably with all limbs intact. Once you've found the sproglings you've got to guide them to safety before heading back into the thick of it to complete the job.

Grant isn't totally helpless. Human ingenuity has given him a slight advantage over the dinosaurs as he can arm himself with a variety of weapons including stun guns and dart rifles. As well as guns there are plenty of other pick-ups such as keys and ammunition which are used automatically when you need them, so there's no scrabbling around an inventory screen looking for a bigger gun while a pack of hungry 'raptors close in on you.

FREE DEE
The game really takes off when you enter a building though. Here the top-view is replaced with some amazing 3D graphics, dinosaurs being especially outstanding as they charge down the corridor towards you at the first sniff of lunch. One of the aims in the 3D stages is to get the park's generator running again, which will give Grant's chums in the visitor's centre something to smile about.

The smooth-scrolling backgrounds aren't as detailed as they could have been considering the game is on the 1200, but the dinosaur graphics more than compensate. The scaling as they comes towards you is pixel-perfect with no nasty blockiness to spoil the atmosphere.

I have to admit to be genuinely gobsmacked by Jurassic Park. It's hardly state-of-the-art stuff, but it's nice to see companies like Ocean bthering to put a bit of time and effort into their products. Jurassic Park is nice to look at, and great to play. I found the 3D sections to be especially nerve-wracking after a late night working and plying my tortured body with ultra-espresso coffee. It really is hold-onto-your-pants time when a velociraptor leaps round a corner just as you come towards the end of a stage.

Well done Ocean, you've restored my faith in movie licenses!


MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE FARM...

Jurassic Park, the computer game, now comes in three distinct styles. First is the excellent Amiga version, which is the same on the SNES, NES and PC. For the Mega Drive version, though, Sega's developers obviously taken some kind of talent-inhibiting concoction as all they were capable of producing was a rather staid platform game (surprise, surprise).

They have made an effort with the Mega-CD version, though, plumping for the multi-media option. Using specially-filmed footage you get to roam around the park looking at it in first person perspective and calling up information files on its various inhabitants. Unfortunately, this novel approach hasn't worked and the game is a bit of a duffer really.