Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis Review

Managing your dinosaurs can best be described as nuisance management.  As you're playing the game you'll get messages popping up telling you that one dinosaur or another is sick or distressed forcing you to send a ranger chopper out to resuscitate or inoculate the problem dinosaur.  You'll also need to move dinosaurs that wander too far from your viewing areas, but this is a slow process of sending out a ranger chopper to sedate the dinosaur, waiting for the dinosaur to fall unconscious, and then dispatching another helicopter to airlift the beast.  There is no way to jump to another point on the map while airlifting the dinosaur, so you'll have to scroll around until you find the drop off point.

To provide for your visitors you need to use the standard sim method of building support structures connected by paths so that they can be reached by visitors.  Jurassic Park differs from most other sims in that there are surprisingly few structures available.  For example, the only support structure you'll need to build besides the ranger station is a cleaners' station that houses employees who's sole duty is to keep the paths from looking muddy.  There is only one type of eatery and although you can specify that it serve one of four different entrées, the structure always has a giant burger on the roof.  You can also build restrooms and a souvenir stand, but that's it.  No hotels, fancy restaurants, ice cream parlors, or what have you.  This leaves your parks looking generic and virtually identical every time that you play.  It also makes park building dull, as there is no way to put your personal touch or add character to the parks you build.

You can take control of your safari vehicles.

There's not a lot you can do with the attractions, either.  There are three types of viewing platforms, and only two rides.  The two rides, safari car and hot air balloon, let you jump into the vehicle and take control in the case of the car.  You can enjoy looking at your dinosaurs from close up, and even go into camera mode to snap "photographs" of your dinosaurs that are graded on composition.  Unless you really like looking at computer dinosaurs, though, it won't hold your interest for too long.

The game is also light in the reports and graphs department.  There aren't any financial reports outside of a simple profit and loss graph, and the other reports are sorely lacking in really useful information.  For example, you can see a list of the dinosaurs in your park, but there is no way to use the list to determine the status of your dinosaurs or jump to their location in the park.  Instead of giving you useful summary information, the graphs force you to go out and check every dinosaur, building, and visitor individually to get their status.

Graphically, the game is a mix of good and not so good.  The graphics engine is fully 3D giving you full camera freedom, but it won't let you pull back far enough to get a good wide view on things.  The structures are only minimally animated and not that interesting to watch.  For example, when a visitor buys a meal he simply walks next to a food kiosk, a dollar value appears above his head, and then he turns and walks way.  There is no feeling that your visitors are actually interacting with your park's features.  The dinosaurs look good even when fully zoomed, but the structure and environmental textures are not very detailed.  In fact, the game has the look of a console port in which the graphic detail was left at videogame levels.

If you enjoy theme park management sims, then you will probably be disappointed by the lack of depth in Jurassic Park.  If not for the dinosaurs and Jurassic Park setting, it would be a below average sim instead of on the low end of average.  The game is probably best for younger gamers with an interest in dinosaurs.  The management aspects of the game are simple enough that they can spend time watching their dinosaurs once their park is up and running.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 66%.  Jurassic Park is theme park simming light, and best left to those who can't get enough of dinosaurs.

System Requirements:  Pentium III 400;  128 MB RAM;  16 MB Video RAM;  700 MB Hard Drive Space;  Mouse.


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