Apart from Terminator 2, no other film from the early 90s it seemed could compete in the merchandising department like Jurassic Park. Kids love dinosaurs, after all. So that translated to seemingly everything, including lunchboxes, bedsheets, action figures, colouring books, clothing, and of course, Jurassic Park video games.

Throughout the film series’ existence, we’ve had dozens of games that ranged the gamut in terms of entertainment and education, with varying quality. To whet your appetite for Jurassic World Dominion on June 10, here’s a sampling of what kids grew up with (and in some cases, tolerated) as part of the film experience.

Seriously, there are a lot of video games related to Jurassic Park. As such, we’re not going to list every single one, so let us know in the comments below if there’s a glaring omission.

Jurassic Park – Super Nintendo, Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy (1993)

We’d mentioned the SNES version of Jurassic Park not too long ago. Developed by Ocean Software, this game was the same for the various Nintendo consoles at the time. Playing as Sam Neill’s Dr. Grant from an overhead perspective, you ran around doing things like restarting generators or getting the computer system back online, all in order to get off the island. You’ll have to contend with the obvious dinosaurs like Raptors, Dilophosaurus and so on, but you’ll have a variety of weapons at your disposal. The notable thing about the SNES version is when you enter a building, the game switches to a first-person perspective a la Doom. The SNES isn’t quite powerful enough to make these segments appear more than a choppy mess, but it’s still impressive. Sadly, the game doesn’t come with a password system, so you’ll be having to beat the game in one sitting. Which when coupled with the huge maps, might not make it worth your while.

Jurassic Park – Sega Genesis (1993)

I remember playing this at my cousin’s house, thinking it was awesome. The commercial at the time sold me on the game, particularly the fact that you could play as the raptor and munch on people. Developed by BlueSky Software, you could also play as Dr. Grant as you try to escape Isla Nublar in this sidescrolling action platformer. The game was set up so that you could play as either character from the start, with the raptor and Dr. Grant having their own unique story and levels. Unfortunately, going back and playing this game now with fresh eyes is a bit of a disappointment. While the animation on the characters (particularly the raptor) are awesome, the backgrounds didn’t receive as much love. The soundtrack is okay, but you won’t be finding John Williams’ score in here. The main issue is the floaty controls, which will have you frustrated when having to make the several blind jumps to progress in the levels; coupled with how easily you take damage as Dr. Grant. The obvious draw was playing as the raptor, which is still pretty fun. That being said, the game will be testing your patience more than you’d like.

Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition – Sega Genesis (1994)

Given the wild success of the film, of course you’d have a video game sequel, right? Rampage Edition carves its own story not related to The Lost World. Rather, Dr. Grant must stop InGen from attempting to smuggle out more DNA and eggs, for fear of them starting another park. Once again, you can also play as the raptor, which is also looking to escape the island to find a place to nest. The gameplay is a little faster-paced this time, with Grant being able to use ziplines and ride dinosaurs. Graphically, BlueSky Software decided this time to give the characters a black outline, which helps them stand out from the background which have been made a bit brighter this time with more detail. The music is about the same in terms of quality as before. However, the game overall just isn’t that much of a leap from its predecessor, and the overly long levels can leave you lost quite easily.

Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues – Super Nintendo, Game Boy (1994, 1995)

Just as before, Ocean Software developed this sequel that creates its own narrative different from The Lost World. In the SNES version, John Hammond has enlisted Dr. Grant’s help in stopping rival corporation BioSyn from taking over the island. In the Game Boy version, BioSyn isn’t mentioned, but you still play as Grant, who has to make his way to Jurassic Park’s headquarters in order to restore power to the island. Rather than an overhead action game, Jurassic Park 2 is a run ‘n’ gun, and in the case of the SNES version, two players can play simultaneously, with the second player taking on the role of tactical sergeant Michael Wolfskin. The unique mechanic for this game was the idea that you couldn’t kill any of the dinosaurs (apart from the raptors and T-Rex), so you’d have to use non-lethal ammo in those cases. That being said, the game tends to be unbalanced with the damage output, with some dinosaurs requiring a lot more effort than seems necessary to put them down. The Game Boy version emphasizes action platforming, which is fine, but again with the complex levels, your patience will be tested. Overall, both games are serviceable, but not something you’d put down as must-plays.

Jurassic Park – Arcade (1994)

If you didn’t have the opportunity to play this one in your local arcade, you missed out. Not only was this rail shooter darn fun, Sega built each unit so that you were in a small version of the Ford Explorer you saw in the film. Best of all, the seat was equipped with hydraulics that moved according to action on screen. The game takes place on Isla Nublar a few months after the events of the film, where your vehicle is attacked by dinosaurs, and the ultimate goal is to get the dinos back in their cages. Using a mix of 2D and 3D graphics, the game had you (and an optional buddy) clearing out four areas, with the last area having you battle the T-Rex. Admittedly, the story was thin, and was only there to get you set up to blow away dinos. Even then, the action did get a bit repetitive, though the graphics and the “feedback” from the chair made it a blast for kids.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park – Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn (1997)

Continuing what Sega and Blue Sky Software had started, DreamWorks Interactive’s (and Appaloosa Interactive for Saturn owners) The Lost World lets you play as either dinosaur or human. Though you have to complete all levels sequentially before unlocking the next character, you have the option of playing as either a Human Hunter or Sarah Harding for the humans, and Compsognathus, Velociraptor and T-Rex as the dinosaurs. Ignoring the film’s plot entirely, you are basically tasked with surviving on the island. What they don’t tell you is that the gameplay feels like you’re stuck in the 8-bit era of sidescrollers, with ho-hum level design, frustrating jumps and an annoying checkpoint system. Fans at the time seemed to ignore that for the PS1 version, as it was later granted a Special Edition re-release, where DreamWorks attempted to fix up some of the original game’s balancing issues.

Chaos Island: The Lost World – PC (1997)

A strategy game involving dinosaurs? DreamWorks certainly thought it could work. Based around the plot of The Lost World, you control several characters from the film (who are voiced by their actors), to breed and train a team of dinosaurs that can be used against enemies across twelve missions. Each character has their own attributes, which includes the speed of their movement, the number of supplies they can carry, and their eyesight for the game’s Fog of War. Eight dinosaurs from the films are featured, including the T-Rex and Velociraptor. The game is reminiscent of Command & Conquer, but nowhere near the quality and execution. The AI isn’t particularly tough, a shallow take on RTS fundamentals (notably omitting a hotkey for assigning units or groups of units to call up for later use) and overall lack of challenge makes it geared towards casual players.

Trespasser – PC (1998)

Last year, Luiz touched on DreamWorks Interactive’s Trespasser, which you can either view as an experiment totally gone wrong, or a game that was ahead of its time. Taking place a year after the events of The Lost World, you play as Anne (voiced by Minnie Driver), the sole survivor of a plane crash onto Isla Sorna, aka “Site B”. You’ve got to make your way across the island and get yourself rescued. While the AI for Trespasser was pretty good, and the game looked amazing at the time, technical issues (and the lack of a beefy PC) left many people frustrated. Truthfully, there are aspects of the game — the physics engine, control scheme, and use of voiceover narration — that would go on to influence other games that would see the benefit of Trespasser‘s missteps. There’s still a cult following to this day that has managed to rework the game’s source code and fix some of the original game’s issues.

Warpath: Jurassic Park – Sony PlayStation (1999)

Primal Rage, this is not. Again, what seemed like a good idea on paper with a fighting game involving dinosaurs, Warpath missed on its execution. You choose from an initial roster of eight dinosaurs, with an additional six to be unlocked. Developer Black Ops Entertainment took an obvious bit of artistic license with each dinosaur, as each has its own fighting techniques and style. That also happens to involve scaling some of the dinosaurs way out of proportion each other. The game looks great, but when you realize that you can potentially finish off your opponent using the same two moves in a relatively quick amount of time, things start to sour. The crappy AI, complex control scheme and sluggish gameplay doesn’t help matters, either.

Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor

Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor, Jurassic Park III: Park Builder and Jurassic Park III: Island Attack – Game Boy Advance (2001)

Konami managed to snag the license for Jurassic Park III, and the result was a trio of different games with varying quality. The DNA Factor is a sidescrolling affair where players controlled either Mark Hanson (a photographer) or Lori Torres (an ace pilot), who have to wander the island collecting DNA. The game looked good for a GBA title, but the gameplay was a sloppy and frustrating mess. Poor controls and collision detection aside, players had to bounce between the foreground and background, which made grabbing DNA difficult when nothing cast a proper shadow.

Island Attack has you (as Dr. Grant) crash-landing on Isla Sorna, where you must reach the island’s coast in order to be rescued. Again, the game graphically looks good on Nintendo’s handheld, but the gameplay can be best described as tedious. In addition to some annoying gameplay mechanics (who thought it was a good idea to mash buttons repeatedly to open crates?), the game’s difficulty is ratcheted up unfairly with blind jumps and the inability to get your grappling hook to work on practically anything. The horrible sound and music just add insult to injury.

Park Builder is probably the most competent out of the three GBA games, and can be seen as a sign of things to come later for the series’ video game adaptations. The premise is literally players designing and running an island-based Jurassic Park theme park. Admittedly, the game is pretty simple, but in hindsight, for a GBA title, it’s pretty good. It’s surprisingly complex, with you having to build and maintain the park, but you also have to research new dino DNA to create more dinosaurs for your park. You also have to care for your dinos, which can get sick. Lastly, you must also advertise your park in order to attract visitors. There are better Jurassic Park park sims out there, but this one deserves a look, at the very least.

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis – PC, Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox (2003)

Stepping up from Park Builder, Blue Tongue Entertainment expanded on the original concept, and gives fans a different (though nonetheless complex) theme park simulation. Again, you’re tasked with creating a theme park, create and house dinosaurs, make your park popular, and keep it safe. You once again must research DNA from specimens trapped in amber or fossils, with the higher quality DNA resulting in a heartier dinosaur. There are a total of 25 species of dinosaurs featured in the game, with each group having its own requirements. The game has 10 missions in total with varying objectives. After completing the 10 missions, you unlock “Site B” mode, which allows you to create an island for dinosaurs only for your viewing pleasure. It’s definitely a better game than Park Builder, though the fickle AI and lack of a way to increase the game speed can be irksome.

Jurassic Park: The Game – PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (2011)

Telltale Games got their usual episodic game on with this one. Set during and after the events of the 1993 film, Jurassic Park: The Game is a point-and-click affair when you control multiple characters set across four episodes, with the central plot thread involving that canister full of dinosaur embryos that Dennis Nedry lost in the original film. If you’ve played any of Telltale’s other games, you know what to expect in terms of gameplay. Unfortunately, the writing across the four episodes doesn’t hit home as well as it should. Many of the characters aren’t as endearing as they should be, which is compounded by the story decisions that force you to stay on the island instead of escaping it. It’s an okay time, but you’re better off just re-watching the films if you want compelling characters and a properly-executed storyline.

Jurassic World Evolution – PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (2018)

Continuing the evolution (pun sort of intended) of Park Builder, Evolution represents further expansion of the park management sim idea for Jurassic Park. This time, players construct a dinosaur park on Las Cinco Muertes Archipelago. The sandbox mode from Operation Genesis returns, this time set on Isla Nublar, though you don’t have to unlock it this time. Featuring more than 40 types of dinosaurs, players can now alter their dinosaur’s genes to introduce new features. The game divided critics, with some calling it too simplistic and easy, while others said it was too complex and hard. Regardless, it still garnered award nominations, and developer Frontier Developments kept rewarding fans with plenty of DLC packs, including the final DLC that saw the reunion of the original Jurassic Park cast.

Jurassic World Aftermath – Oculus Quest (2020)

If you’ve wanted to relive that famous kitchen scene in Jurassic Park, Aftermath is your answer. Taking place on Isla Nublar two years after the events of Jurassic World, you are Sam, a security expert sent to the island to infiltrate its ruins and obtain information. After an unfortunate encounter with a Pteranodon, your plane crashes on the island. From there, you’re hunted by velociraptors, which forces you to employ stealth tactics to constantly evade them and progress in your mission. Despite the decision to use cel-shaded graphics in an attempt to make the dinos less scary (and appeal to a wider audience), Aftermath still manages to contain its fair share of frights. The bigger issue is the gameplay, which can become repetitive and lacks variety, particularly in the puzzle department. More frustrating is the 3-hour length of the game, which can be expanded with Part 2 (after you pay for it, of course), but that second part sadly feels more of the same.

Jurassic World Evolution 2 – PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series (2021)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Frontier Developments kept that in mind with Evolution 2. Taking place prior to Jurassic World Dominion, players are once again tasked with building and managing a dinosaur-theme park, this time in the United States itself. Evolution 2 further expands upon the original’s concepts while introducing more dinosaurs, a revamped AI system, and new gameplay tweaks that furthered the complexity. The Challenge and Sandbox modes make a return, and are joined by the “Chaos Theory” mode, which revisits key narrative moments in the films for players to carve their own paths. As with the previous game, some aspects of micromanagement (namely in employees) can be frustrating for some players, but the depth of personalization and what you can do with your park can offset the headaches. And as with the previous game, Frontier has kept things fresh with new DLC, the latest being based on the Camp Cretaceous Netflix show.

Jurassic Park: Survival – Nintendo Gamecube, PC, Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox (Cancelled)

A bit of a twist for this one, as Survival was never released, yet held so much promise. Survival began development in October 2000, and was originally going to be based on Jurassic Park III. However, due to the lack of references, the development teams decided to implement their own designs and ideas. Survival was to be played from a third-person perspective, with players assuming the role of a member of a security team sent in to oversee a secret third island that was threatening to become overpopulated with dinosaurs. The gameplay was described as Tomb Raider-esque, but contained a heavy dose of Survival Horror that Dino Crisis fans would’ve loved. Unfortunately, development ceased in July 2001 due to payment conflicts with developer Savage Entertainment and Vivendi Universal, the latter being dissatisfied with the progress of the game.

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