Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

a game by Universal Interactive
Platforms: XBox Playstation 2 PC
Genres: Action, Strategy/War
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 3 reviews
User Rating: 7.8/10 - 18 votes
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See also: Jurassic Park Games

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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Game Reviews

The Jurassic Park franchise has entertained the general populace while educating most of us about the history of dinosaurs. Now, Universal Interactive is releasing Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, a fully integrated dinosaur theme park simulation based on the trio of popular films. From concessions to attractions and everything in between, you control your very own Jurassic Park.

The first thing that jumps out when playing this title is the extreme polish and artistic layout. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is quite possibly the prettiest title I've ever worked with, both in fantastic game detail, excellent cut scenes and movies, and overall general visual atmosphere.

JP:OG is in many ways a difficult game to classify, in that it utilizes many different gaming aspects. Part 'tycoon'? sim, part adventure game and even some FPS aspects, Jurassic Park looks to redefine the genre. Gameplay is smooth and almost lag free, and there is an excellent tutorial section, along with over 20 scenarios to play. Game control is also extremely intuitive, for the most part. Controlling some aspects of the game will take a bit of effort, but will quickly become second nature.

This being said, doesn't it seem a bit late to add yet another dinosaur based sim to the already crowded software market? Yes, JP:OG is visually and aurally stunning, and has somewhat interesting if uninspired gameplay, but doesn't have enough interest to hold die hard niche fans. However, if you're new to sim style games and are looking for an interesting twist to the genre, give Jurassic Park a look.

It's been a while since the big lizards hit the big screen, but that hasn't slowed down the number of spin off games and merchandising of the Jurassic Park name. The latest release, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, puts you in control of an island. You control the technology research priorities, the deployment of fossil hunting teams across the world, the decisions regarding which species to clone, as well as all the mundane operational decisions regarding the park. Make the right decisions and your park will earn a 5-star rating. Make unwise choices and you will end up in chaos, with INGEN's investor coming to look for you. Nothing draws people to theme parks like extinct, oversized reptiles, but is the excitement of running a dinosaur filled theme park enough to warrant purchasing the game?

Playing a simulation on a console poses its own unique challenges. No keyboard, no hot keys. Without hot keys you are forced to scroll through several menu and sub-menu screens each time you need to accomplish a specific task. While this is bothersome, there really isn't any alternative and JPOG makes the best of it. While the controls take a bit of getting used to, the game itself was surprisingly decent. It's a bit complex, but for you micromanagers, you will enjoy the thrill of dictating decisions from the incredibly important to the mundane tasks, like deciding what food to serve at your kiosks and how far apart you should place your park benches. You even get to charge a per usage fee on the restrooms. Due to the general complexity, you would do well to take advantage of the comprehensive tutorial levels.

The island itself is beautifully re-created and of course, the stars of the show (the dinosaurs) look almost as good as they did on the big screen. I did experience some clipping from time to time, but generally, it wasn't enough to distract from the game play. There is good depth to the game itself. The primary goal is to just keep your customers happy. This means give them great entertainment, a clean park, places to purchase food, drink and souvenirs and restrooms. Sounds easy, but at the same time you need to allocate money to research, hire staff, collect fossils, etc. Just when you think you have everything under control, a storm will break over the island and drop fences, freeing your dinos to mingle with your customers, or worse yet, a prize exhibit might develop a disease, which you will need to allocate money to research a cure.

For the action fans, there is something here for you as well. I was surprised how many 'missions' actually take you out of God-mode and put you in the seat of a safari land cruiser or even in a helicopter where you must 'retire' many of your creations. While there were portions of this game that I really liked, the bottom line is that it's a niche game that will only appeal to fans of this genre. If you enjoyed Zoo Tycoon, you are sure to like JPOR. All others who are interested should rent first.

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