Jurassic Park 3: Island Attack

a game by Mobile21

Platform: GBA

Genre: Action

See also: Jurassic Park Games

Overview

Humans have always been predators with superior intellect and strength, both usually enhanced with tools and inventions. Quick reflexes and sheer determination have kept the human race safe from any possible extinction -- until now. Humans are the prey on Isla Sorna. Hunters of astounding strength, reflexes and determination are tracking the crash-landed humans. Intellect is the one thing that will make the difference between being rescued or being devoured. The humans will escape if they make it to the port, but can they get that far with only their wits and some items at their disposal? How do you outwit predators that are extinct?

Dinosaurs are roaming the media world and the Game Boy Advance has them running rampant. The latest release is Jurassic Park III: Island Attack. You are paleontologist Alan Grant, crash-landed on Isla Sorna, the infamous "Site B." Make your way through jungles, plains, laboratories and museums to the port for the escape craft and rescue. Can Alan Grant survive? More to the point, can you survive playing this lackluster and often annoying game on the GBA? Suggestion to Alan Grant and gamers -- avoid Jurassic Park III: Island Attack. It's just not worth it.

Gameplay, Controls, Interface

In brief, the objective is to run like hell from all dinosaurs and get the heck off the island. This will not be easy due to the poor controls, difficult viewpoint and nondescript graphics at your disposal. The viewpoint is the fly-on-the-wall angled view, giving this game a diagonal side-scroller feel. Alan Grant needs to move in all eight directions to escape the dinosaurs. Pressing twice in any direction allows him to dash. This becomes a difficulty when trying to press diagonally twice in order to run from Spinosaurus or dodging falling crates and avoiding Tyrannosaurus. The GBA control pad can be very sensitive when trying to tap, and it's nearly impossible for gamers with large hands.

The button choices do not make surviving much easier. The A button is the jump/select item while the B button is the use item/action-attack. The Left and Right buttons scroll through items in your inventory. If you accidentally leave the transmitter as your main item, you will continually contact the rescue team at the most inopportune moments, say, when trying to blow up an oil drum can and a bunch of raptors with what you thought was a flare gun. Trying to fire a flare gun at a dinosaur will stun it momentarily, but then will just make it more angry -- not much of a help there. When you find it, the tranquilizer gun is a better choice.

The most annoying aspect of the controls is aiming the guns. Rotating Alan Grant sends the targeting cursor around the screen but to hit accurately, a cursor needs to light up blue for firing on an object like an oil drum or a chained door. When the cursor turns red, you have a dinosaur in your sights. Remember, the dinosaurs are still moving and jumping around which means you need either to target quickly or start moving and jumping away. Even just to open a box without a gun, Alan Grant needs to be at the correct spot to make a targeting cursor appear, after which you can pound the button for all it's worth to bust the box and get whatever goodies are in there. Let's repeat one thing' Alan Grant needs to be at the exact designated spot to make a targeting cursor appear. Otherwise, you will be accidentally contacting the rescue team for the umpteenth time.

One bright spot of the game was riding the motorcycle and taking out attacking dinosaurs. That was somewhat fun and enjoyable.

Graphics

This game was not meant for the Game Boy Advance. The graphics are very pixelated and difficult to discern on the GBA. Colors are muted, not vibrant like many other GBA games. It is difficult to distinguish items from scenery and sleeping dinosaurs from clumps of mud. When it is important to pinpoint targets and plan some strategy, poor graphics do not make the game a challenge -- more of an annoyance. Puzzles ought to be the focus, not squinting at the screen and trying to decide if that really is a switch or just a stick. Island Attack would have benefited greatly if it appeared on the XBox, GameCube or PlayStation 2 and utilized the graphic/processor power from these systems. Direct sunlight makes the screen easier to view, but does not exponentially improve the experience. Forget playing this under ambient light; you will be bleary-eyed in no time.

Audio

Audio has little impact on this game. Screeching dinosaurs and explosions are a dime a dozen. The music is palatable but uninspired, lacking the strength and pulse of John Williams' stirring soundtrack. My expectations may run a bit high for sound, but there are GBA games that do produce excellent sounds and music. Once again, putting this game on a console system would have produced stellar sound and enhanced this game to phenomenal levels.

Bottom Line

Jurassic Park was a groundbreaking movie when it was released in 1993. Two sequels later, the movies still have jaw-dropping special effects. Game developers have tried to capitalize on the original and its sequels. The Game Boy Advance has three games born from this movie series: Park Builder, DNA Factor and Island Attack. Jurassic Park III: Island Attack could have taken a tip from its sister game, DNA Factor, and produced better graphics and gameplay. Island Attack sticks to the movie storyline but falls short in game control and graphics. As mentioned, placing this game on any of the latest consoles would improve the game by leaps and bounds overall. As it stands now, Jurassic Park III: Island Attack by Konami missed the rescue boat and could well be destined for extinction.

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