Jurassic Park III: Park Builder
Unlike SimCity, Godzilla can't attack: he's the main attraction. In Jurassic Park III: Park Builder, you get to design and populate your own dinosaur theme park. It is up to your research crew to find and cultivate the DNA for your own dino attractions. Like all simulation games I have played, the goal is to turn a profit while having a balance between services and attractions to offset the cost. If your park is not designed well you will pay the price. You can target your park for specific gender groups, such as male, female, couples and more. This is the first simulation game I have seen with advertising, which allows you to bring more visitors to your park. It is easy to overbuild, so keep an eye on your funds. You will also have to keep an eye on the health and strength of your dinosaurs and learn how to balance your carnivores and herbivores so you don't end up with a few carnivores and a pile of bones.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The interface is a bit complicated. Absolutely every button is used for this game. Menus pop up from almost every control. I would have liked to have one menu system from one button and then be able to scroll through the choices. It takes some time to get used to what button to push to access the intended menu, so I would recommend playing it on the slowest mode to start. You do not want the learning curve to be the reason you lose customers or even worse the game.
There is no multiplayer mode for this game. However, you can trade that abundant DNA you may have found for something a little hard to locate with others though a game link cable. It is required that you have more than one DNA block, as you cannot trade your last strand of DNA. This at least allows you to help out a friend at the same time they can help you out. Nice touch.
The graphics are okay. They did very well, considering the screen size and the scale. It has a cartoon feel, however, and does lack some in detail. This is the first simulation game I have played on a portable game system. It is a big step for portable gameplay, but I am a bit spoiled by the realistic views you get from simulations on a PC. However, I cannot take my PC with me in my pocket either. You will find that there is a lot of scrolling around required to view your park and the progress that is happening all around you. The colors are good and the shading is nice. I found it easy to distinguish differences between things on the screen. There also seems to be enough contrast to play this in normal light.
The music got on my nerves after awhile, so I usually played with the volume turned off. I did not find a way to just turn off the music in the game while still keeping the sound effects on. This may have hindered the gameplay a bit, but it was worth it.
This is a must. I would recommend that you read the booklet cover to cover before loading the cartridge into the Game Boy unit, then keep it handy as you play. This is not the type of game where you can learn as you go. If you do not want to read the book first, you should take a pass on this game. You will not have much fun in exploration mode. Did I mention READ THE BOOK? You will thank me later if you do this first.
If you like simulation games, this is worth playing. It is tough on the small screen, though, especially if you are used to playing simulation games on the PC, and the controls are quite complicated. It is almost guaranteed you will not keep the first park or two you design. As you play, you will find things that work for you and things that do not work so well. If you have never played a simulation game, this is not the game to start with. The controls are spread out and the manipulation of the elements is a bit tricky. I liked the game but I do not know if it will appeal to anyone except the serious simulation game player. I think it is a bit hard until you get the hang of things and that is why I gave it a score of 77.