|1. Seven Jurassic Park titles from the NES, SNES, Game Boy, and Genesis.
|2. Playing the games is fine, but there is no extra content to give a documentary or collector feel.
|3. One save state per game, iffy filters, and a laughably short rewind can barely be called modern improvements.
Elder gamers have been blessed with an abundance of reverent retro collections in the past few years. Atari 50 gave us a look at the growth of an entire company, The Cowabunga Collection was a near-comprehensive collection of an entire era of a franchise, and The Making of Karateka dove deep on a single game from a singular creator.
The Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection doesn’t do that.
This bundle of NES, SNES, GameBoy, and Genesis games isn’t comprehensive, and it has fewer bells and whistles than Jim from The Office in that movie about a noise-sensitive monster or whatever. Forgive that reference, I never saw that movie, but I want to emphasize that this is an extremely straightforward collection.
If you just want to play these games it's fine. Buy the collection, play the games, have a great time. If you were hoping for something more, like I was, read on to enjoy my repeated disappointment.
7 Distinct Titles
Limited Run Games has collected most of an era of Jurassic Park games in The Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection. Essentially, they’ve focused specifically on games developed based on the first movie, so any game with “The Lost World” in the title is immediately ineligible. Even in that limited scope, though, there are some exceptions.
There are four games called “Jurassic Park” (NES, SNES, GameBoy, and Genesis), two games called “Jurassic Park 2” (SNES and GameBoy), and a sequel to the Genesis version of “Jurassic Park” called “Rampage Edition”.
The missing games based on the first movie include an Amiga and DOS release that sounds similar to the NES and SNES games, an arcade shooter, a platformer released for the MegaDrive and GameGear, and a Point-and-Click adventure game for the Sega CD.
I know that this release doesn’t claim to be comprehensive, but it does feel a little weird to try to describe what it includes. It’s not all of the JP games for the 8- and 16-bit eras or even all the games based on the first Jurassic Park movie. Without the MegaDrive title, it's not even “all of the home console 8- and 16-bit era games based on the first Jurassic Park movie”.
Maybe it shouldn’t bother me, but it feels weird that it's a collection of “almost but not quite all of the home console 8- and 16-bit era games and also the GameBoy games based on the first Jurassic Park movie”.
Moving past what games are in the collection, let’s look at how they are played. The title menu is a simple look at the iconic gates asking you to press start. From there, you get a look at a jpg of a TV monitor and a name badge.
The monitor shows footage of whatever game you have selected, while the badge shows an icon for the game, and its original system (sort of… more on that in a minute) and gives you options to jump to a Music Player, Language Settings, or Credits.
The biggest thing you might notice missing from that list is a manual. This collection does not include the original manuals of the games (which is where you’d get a lot of the story of the games back in the day). It doesn’t even have a simple “How to Play” slide. If you want to know why Dr. Grant is still on the island in Jurassic Park 2 or what the difference between red and blue darts is, you’ll have to search Google for a PDF scan of the manual and hope your ad-blocker and Malware detectors are up to date.
The music player is the closest thing to a DVD extra that this collection gives you. You can click on it to… listen to the music from these games. I don’t think any of them have a soundtrack worth listening to on their own, but if you want to listen to the music without playing the games, then you can. I guess.
Under languages, you can choose from English, French, Italian, German, or Spanish. The default setting is English, and the are arrows pointing left and right, except you can’t go left. When you go all the way to Spanish there are still arrows pointing both ways, but you can’t go right. This is an extremely minor gripe. Redundant arrows aren’t going to ruin the experience for anyone, but I feel like it is a good bellwether for the barebones nature of the whole package.
Do you remember how I left a tease about the collection telling you which console the games were originally released for? The only console named is the Genesis. I gotta assume this is an issue with Nintendo because the NES game is labeled “8-bit”, the SNES game is “16-bit”, and the GameBoy games are just “Portable”.
Finally, there are the credits. For the port. While finishing any of these games will show you the original credits, clicking on “Credits” shows you information on the team that ported the games with the most bland and generic elevator music playing in the background THAT IS LIKE FIVE SECONDS TOO SHORT TO GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE RUN OF CREDITS SO IT FADES OUT AND THEN STARTS OVER AGAIN AND THEN GETS CUT OFF RIGHT AWAY CAN YOU NOT EVEN HAVE THE DECENCY TO MAKE YOUR OWN CREDITS NICE?!
Ahem. Sorry. Presentation isn’t the strong suit of this collection. Nothing is broken but there is also nothing extra. So, what about the games themselves?
“Classic” Games? “Modern” Improvements?
They are fine. These weren’t amazing games when they came out and they aren’t amazing games today. I never owned any of these as a kid, but I remember playing them at friends' houses. I’m not sure if my parents thought they were too violent or if my older brother just wasn’t interested in dinosaurs.
In any case, the first Genesis game is the one I have by far the most nostalgia for, and I had fun revisiting it, even if it is janky and ugly and hard. The difficulty is mitigated a bit by two of the Collection's new features, an ability to save state and rewind, but both of those are flawed.
You can only have one save state per game. For most folks that’s probably fine, but if you are coming to this collection from an emulation background or even playing something like the Castlevania Advance Collection, you’re used to being able to make multiple save states.
The biggest reason it bugged me here is because the Genesis games both have two campaigns. You can play as either Dr. Grant or as a Raptor through totally different levels. If the game has two different campaigns, you’d think they’d at least give you two different save slots.
The rewind is activated very simply by clicking the left trigger. It’s pretty quick to respond, shows things moving in reverse, and even has a fun rewinding VHS filter over the screen as it goes.
Unfortunately, in the Genesis game, it only lets you go back about 5 or 6 seconds. That’s enough to save you after you took a raft off a waterfall that was just a bit too tall, but not enough to undo wasting all of your ammunition trying to kill what you would later learn is an invincible T-Rex.
If you think that sounds bad, you don’t even know. In the SNES games you can only rewind about two seconds.
Filters and Maps
Another little feature you can and should check out is the filters. Since these games were never designed to be viewed on a modern screen (even one as basic as the Switch Lite), you can turn on filters that endeavor to recreate what they would have looked like on an original display. This is a common feature in both retro collections and retro-inspired games, but the CRT filter in this collection is bad.
Instead of busting up pixels into little glowing clusters of color that blur into one another to make the image really pop, the CRT filter here just sort of misaligns color overlays and a scan line filter, so it looks more like looking at a 3D magazine without glasses on than anything else. The Dot Matrix filter on the GameBoy games is better, but since it uses the green palette of the original GameBoy but doesn't have any of that system's iconic ghosting, even it looks weird.
The final Quality of Life addition mentioned in the promotion of the game is in-game maps, but that only applies to the NES, SNES, and GameBoy versions of “Jurassic Park”, which use a top-down view. The side-scrolling games don’t have a map. To be fair, they don’t really need maps, but since this is one of this collection's touted improvements it is a bit of a shame that it only applies to 3 of the 7 games.
Jurassic Park The Classic Games Collection isn’t a bad package if you just want a way to play some classic Jurassic Park games. It has some of but not quite all of the 8- and 16-bit games released based on the first Jurassic Park movie. It even makes playing them a bit easier by allowing you to create a single save state per game, or to rewind about six seconds if you make and immediately recognize a mistake.
What this collection does not do is offer any kind of extracurricular material to make it feel like a collector's piece.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5
|Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection
|November 22, 2023
|Number of Players:
|Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, Steam
|Limited Run Games
|How Long to Beat:
|Recommended for fans of:
|Classic Game Collections, Dinosaurs, and the 90s