I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve lauded Steven Spielberg’s iconic movie about dinosaurs over the years. Jurassic Park was the film that made me realise the power of cinema and how impactful it can be, especially as a child. Like my father’s experience watching Star Wars when he was younger, at 10-years old, sat in a theatre and seeing a tyrannosaurus rex causing carnage quite literally changed my life. The Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection features titles I played around the same time, and while they helped to immerse me into that world as a child, playing them now has given me a rather different opinion.
I wouldn’t say they are niche, but they aren’t exactly thought of when you reminisce about great games from the 90s. Jurassic Park on the SNES was amazing when I was younger because not only did you get to roam about the park and face off against classic dinos like the velociraptor, it also flitted between a top-down viewpoint and first-person, something no-one else was really doing. While playing it now doesn’t have the same impact, it’s still relatively decent, despite some of the FPS elements not quite working. Turning is slow, and there’s no great way of aiming, more turn and shoot in the hopes you’ll put a bullet in the face of a dilophosaurus.
The 8-bit and portable versions of Jurassic Park play out pretty similarly, and don’t do anything particularly different to the 16-bit/SNES version. Collect or destroy eggs, shoot dinosaurs, open gates, and make your way through the park. The gameplay in the top-down segments holds up well, and are perhaps the better titles in the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection. While the difficulty can be changed, it is still tricky to move around and get a good aim, especially when dinosaurs can be quite frequent. Jurassic Park on the Genesis was perhaps my favourite when I was younger, but replaying has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Playing as either Alan Grant or a raptor, you make your way across the levels trying to wipe out other dinosaurs or security officers and guards. As Grant, some of the dinosaurs’ movements are particularly frustrating, specifically the pterodactyls, as they dive towards you without giving you much room to move out of the way. It’s also worth noting that using the D-pad is going to be much more effective as pressing up on the left analogue stick makes you crouch as opposed to pressing down. The D-pad works correctly, so I have no idea why the stick works this way, and with no way to change the control mapping, it seems like little thought has been put into how the modern gamer uses sticks for movement.
Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues in 16-Bit is one of the titles I quite liked, especially as I never had a chance back in the day. There’re some decent cutscenes that would have been quite impressive back in the day, and while movement is a lot better, some of the dinosaurs are far too aggressive and not the bullet sponges I would have liked. Some of the raptors dive straight at you and there’s no real way to evade their attacks. This leads to getting knocked down every few seconds as you fit in flurries of trigger pulling on your weapon, only to be left with a fraction of your health once they’ve finally be downed.
Playing as the raptor in Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition was one of the more fun parts of the collection, as you can run faster and launch into enemies, as opposed to the slower movement seen in the Genesis version of Jurassic Park. There’s no overhaul to the controls in any of the releases, acting as straight ports rather than a hint of remaster. They are not advertised as such, but each one shows its age, with none of them outside the SNES, NES, and Game Boy versions being particularly enjoyable to play. I would have liked to have seen some extra features across all titles, but there’s a distinct lack of anything other than language options and some interchangeable backgrounds.
The Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 was stunning collection of games that didn’t just include the original releases, but also scripts, and detailed histories through well-presented digital literature. It does include the soundtracks to listen to outside of playing, but that’s not something anyone will likely indulge in. Even original game manuals presented digitally would have been cool. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for content outside the actual games, there’s seldom included. I’m not sure anyone other than those gamers who remember them from the 90s are going to play the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection. One thing I do want to draw attention to is the ability to save at any point is available, and the in-game maps given you a clearer picture of where you are. If you are struggling at any point, you can rewind back to a time when a dinosaur wasn’t ripping your face off.
For those of you that have fond memories of playing any of the games included in this bundle, it’s still cool to jump back in after all this time, however, the gameplay doesn’t hold up all that well. The Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection features a lot of titles, but when many are similar, it’s unlikely you’ll be playing each one from start to finish. Personally, I would have taken the SNES version of Jurassic Park and given it some bells and whistles – maybe even a fresh coat of paint – but they are as they were back in the 90s, which, might have been good at the time, aren’t anything special in today’s landscape of gaming.
Plenty of games
SNES version is still enjoyable to play
Rewind/fast forward option
In-game maps help
Very little additional content
Most games don't hold up now
Control mapping on the sticks
Too many similar titles