Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Platform: Playstation 2

Nothing quite beats a good theme park. The hurl-inducing rides, the overpriced food, the useless souvenirs, the long lines'doesn't get any better than that. It's also a well known fact that adding dinosaurs to anything makes it better' well, at least I think so. So what happens when the two combine? Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis results, the newest offering from BlueTongue and Universal Interactive.

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis takes a spin on the theme park simulation genre, popularized by the Roller Coaster Tycoon series, by adding elements from similar games. The main objective is the build a successful theme park, but instead of roller coasters as the main attraction, dinosaurs are on display. Gamers not only design and build their park, but will also be in charge of a multitude of tasks, from overseeing day-to-day park operations to more exotic tasks such as fossil expeditions and DNA research. Along with the standard park building mode and the sufficient tutorial, there's also a mission mode where subduing angry dinosaurs through a first-person mode is a common staple. All of the different aspects work together well and provide a worthwhile experience, although there are some flaws, most notably the camera. It allows you to zoom up close to dinosaurs, which provides an inspiring view, but it's not completely functional for overseeing a theme park. There's no option that lets you zoom out and see the entire park to quickly access certain parts. Instead, you have to manually move your field of vision around which can be very cumbersome the larger your park gets. Navigating the menus can be just as problematic. Games like these are a dime a dozen on the PC, but they don't come along often on consoles because they just don't translate well onto a control pad. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis suffers this very fate. The interface is very cluttered and navigating through the endless submenus can be an absolute pain.

When making a game about dinosaurs, it's usually a plus to make sure they look good and in Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, they look excellent. Other objects such as buildings and landscapes look just as nice with plenty of detail, although the textures up close are a bit muddy. Framerates don't fare as well though. When manipulating the camera, things tend to get sluggish and all fluidity is lost. Graphics are further hampered by the prevalent pop-up due to the small draw-in distance. Audio is the standard stuff, but the Jurassic Park theme is used too much which can get annoying, regardless of how many variations there are.

When all is said and done, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis translates decently onto the PlayStation 2 albeit with major problems. It won't be for everyone, but for fans of the genre, it's worth checking out. It has the solid gameplay and worthwhile use of the license to boot, but it's held back by several fatal flaws that keep it from being a Recommended Buy.

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