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Jurassic Park: The Game

Jurassic Park: The Game is one of TellTale’s first graphic adventures, and not much so Point & Click as some of their later titles. Although some of it’s characteristics remained, this adventure helped TellTale Games established a new step for Point & Click adventures.

Jurassic Park: The Game takes place in-between the events of the original movie from 1993, so it’s highly recommended that anyone playing this, does still remember the movie, or at least watched it at some point.

The story follows the events after Dennis Nedry shuts down the park’s security, to carry his plan of stealing and delivering dinosaur embryos to his outside contacts. One of the contacts is Nima Cruz, who together with Miles Chadwick, plan on meeting Dennis and complete the transaction. Unfortunately for them, Dennis dies (as seen in the movie) and the player takes control of Nima Cruz, a mercenary who’s going to fight for her life, and for the paycheck to save the future of her daughter. She's also the first character we play with, among a few in later episodes.

While Nima searches for the embryos under the tropical storm, Dr. Gerry Harding shows her daughter Jess the views around the park. There’s no much time for father-daughter bonding as dinosaurs are running loose, and while escaping the area they come across Nima, who was bitten and injured.

This concludes the first episode, called The Intruder. The second, entitled The Calvary, takes the role of a small group of three mercenaries hired by InGen to rescue the survivors remaining on Nublar Isla. The team consists of William "Billy" Yoder, Oscar Morales and Daniel "Danny" Cafaro, and their mission is simple; Getting In and out with as many survivors as possible!

Along the three already known survivors, we meet a new one; Dr. Laura Sorkin, a scientist who was still on the island, and joins our group but refuses to leave. Although the dinosaurs are loose on the island, they all suffer from lysine deficiency, and although this would help the world not having to face the dangers of giants roaming the earth, Sorkin wants to save a few, as it’s the humane thing to do. The group agrees, and so it concludes the third chapter The Depths.

Among the dangerous mission of saving some dinosaurs, a lot happens, and the group finds itself fighting to survive among hostile environment. In the final chapter; The Survivors, it’s the final showdown for the group. Plot twists, characters revealing themselves and of course, the T-Rex encounter. To tell you more, is to spoil it, and that my friends, I won’t!

To short it up, Jurassic Park: The Game manages to deliver a simple story that blends perfectly with the original movie, maintaining the original locations, events, as well as adding a substantial good quality to the new characters. Every single one of them interacts amazingly with each other, and have their own reasons to survive the nightmare on the island.

TellTale Games did a fantastic job writing the plot, and for a few seconds, one could swear they were watching a movie… Unforntally, Jurassic Park: The Game has a very distinct gameplay and performance, making it pretty much avoidable at all costs.

When we think about a graphic-adventure, or an interactive game, we imagine fantastic Click & Point games that we grew up loving, but things turn for worst when realizing this is actually a Quick-Time Event adventure, and the only thing TellTale Games did when resembling a Point & CLick, is the ability to travel through different places, by selecting them.

A handful of puzzles are available as part of progression, and they are fantastically done by using visuals and simple methods of thinking to achieve the objectives. Everything else is just a fast-paced Quick-Time Event game, and not a good one.

But let’s not go there, not yet. First, let’s all agree on the simple fact that Jurassic Park: The Game it’s just not a very good port… PC port that is, because the game was a straight console port, and it shows, it really does, and as usual, not in a good way!

Due to its natural bad-optimization, the smallest amount of graphical options won’t change much in the visuals, but hava tremendous impact on performance. Shadows and Anti-Aliasing are some of the most heavy options, even with modern hardware, it's a real struggle to run a smooth and stable 60 fps experience.

FrameRate was obviously meant to be locked at 30, as it is on consoles, and the PC version can easily reach 60, but drop to 30 in very specific moments, not that they demand resources, it’s just poor optimization with some particular angles.

The simple task of changing resolutions is a nightmare. Usually, the player goes through a list of available resolutions, to choose the desired one. But in Jurassic Park: The Game, one has to go through every resolution possible, one by one, and every time one is selected, it’s automatically applied. This means, the players have to actually go through every resolution until reaching the one they want. Not only is this boring, as it takes time, a log of time actually, particularly if you want to play in 4K!

Main Menus aren’t optimized either, and sometimes can lock at 30fps, with no apparent reason. These are very slow, and buggy, as I personally found myself having to click several times before actually going to the specific option.

As you can see, by how things are going, it doesn’t get much better. But there was still hope, if only the gameplay wasn’t so frustrating…

Jurassic Park: The Game might as well be called Jurassic Park: Arcade Edition, because that’s exactly what it is. This so-called adventure shares barely nothing in common with other Point & CLick adventures, in fact, it’s a glorified Quick-Time Event where the player is rated from Bronze to Gold, based on correct inputs. It actually looks like fun, if weren’t for the terrible key-registration detection, the incredibly fast paced options and the inconsistent frame rate affecting decisions.

Other games out there, mastered the Quick-Time Events by allowing the player to press the right button or key with enough time. However, we have a different scenario here. The only way someone can hit every key correctly, is to know beforehand what the combination going to be like.

The developers used three major events; The normal Quick-Time Events, which means the player has all the time in the world to complete, the fast-paced ones, usually in danger, where unless one knows what to press, it’s easy to miss by just being too late, or the input-registrations didn’t work properly.

The other Quick-Time Events are the tedious “press the same key 20 times, really, really fast”, in which you can actually fail. Just to give you, dear readers, an idea, I had pain in 2 of my fingers just by playing this. It’s literally a pain… in the fingers!!!

It saddens me, because with a pretty good and balance storyline that tangles so well with the main movie, it’s a shame many can’t really appreciate what's going on due to the extremely frenetic action of Quicktime Events. To make things deeper, the Bronze, Silver and Gold ranks displayed on everyone’s profile, are also glitched. (See picture below.)

(In this image we see three contradictions. The first showing in-game scenes, where the first scenario of the third chapter is locked, like it wasn’t played yet. However, my Silver rank proves the scenario was completed. If that’s not enough, I have the achievement unlocked where that same scenario had to be completed without missing any Quick-Tive Event, what should have given a Gold)

The Arcade behavior is well present, in a game that didn’t need to be competitive with such an amazing story behind it. It’s a solid 8 to 9 hour game, and could gain so much more by just being a choice-based adventure!

Although choices don’t matter much, visuals do, and Jurassic Park: The Game is actually pretty decent, with a nice character design, very charismatic, and behavior. It’s not perfect and can look goofy at times, especially when you fail the Quick-Time Events, but blends perfectly with everything else. It’s a game with 7 years old, and one of the first to use Tell Tale Tool, the engine behind the game. At the moment the studio moved on to a much more updated version of the engine to support the latest DX versions.

The dinosaurs look really good with details like the Triceratops, Velociraptors and Herrerasaurus. T-Rex, however, not so much… which is kind of ironic! Color schemes are good for the setting, and in some scenes it can actually resemble the original movie, in which that was the original plan.

Although lip-sync is actually decent, audio is not. There are some bugs when hearing some particular voices. This could be in an issue with specific recording sessions, or just another glitch that gives the idea of the character talking far-away. It’s rare, but it happens.

Jurassic Park: The Game can’t really be recommended, but TellTale Games improved vastly, and I believe they learned from their mistakes, but still doesn’t change how they ruined a fantastic story that could become a beacon for Jurassic fans!

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