Jurassic Park's Best Video Game Was On The SNES
Jurassic Park is a series about dinosaurs escaping their cells and eating humans, yet its best game was on the SNES 27 years ago. Here's why.
With Jurassic Park's explosive popularity, combined with its limitless potential for video game adaptations, one would assume that there are a plethora of high-quality dinosaur shooters on the market, but the unfortunate truth is that the best game based off of Spielberg's science fiction thriller was on the Super Nintendo. Ever since its release in 1993, Jurassic Park games have ranged from uninspired rip-offs of other popular games to mediocre point-and-click snooze-fests.
The Super Nintendo release was simply titled Jurassic Park and was developed by Ocean. Players explored Isla Nublar as Dr. Grant, armed with a gun capable of firing various types of ammunition which the player could find throughout their adventure. The game requires players to locate keys to access buildings, manage their ammo, and grab powerups that allow them to access areas they couldn't access before. Jurassic Park also transitions between an overhead perspective and a first-person perspective when indoors, which was an impressive amount of gameplay variety at the time.
Its best achievement is the combination of exploration that games like Zelda and Metroid made so popular with elements of survival horror like would be later seen in titles such as Resident Evil. The game was daring to be something unique, which is more than can be said for most Jurassic Park games.
What Other Jurassic Park Video Games Got Wrong
For example, 2011's Jurassic Park: The Game is practically an animated spin-off that requires the viewer to press specific buttons at specific times to keep the film rolling. The game features no further interactivity than quick-time events, which makes it significantly less engaging than it could have been. Other popular games in the Jurassic Park franchise, such as the various arcade installments, are of decent quality, but they serve little purpose other than to pull quarters from players.
The sequel to the Super Nintendo installment, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues, is an unimaginative copy of Contra, except the player spends their time shooting at dinosaurs instead of aliens, and even the character designs look exactly like Contra. Another popular Jurassic Park game, Jurassic World: Evolution is just a simple business simulation and park-builder title. While both of these titles are certainly fine games in their own right, they're held back by a lack of distinct and unique qualities besides sporting the Jurassic Park brand and featuring dinosaurs as set dressing.
The Super Nintendo Jurassic Park isn't a perfect game either. It's a lengthy experience without a save feature, and messages from other characters cover the player's entire field of view during gameplay. Its first-person segments may have impressed gamers in the 90s, but they've aged like milk and are as clunky to navigate as they are ugly. The game is no masterpiece, but it dared to be unique and stand out from its competition regardless of its recognizable name. Jurassic Park games released since may be more polished and appealing to the eye, but they lack a sense of creativity and ambition that pushed the Super Nintendo game to truly stand out among the crowd.