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Best Game Ever – Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition

posted on June 30th, 2008 by wesley
Now Playing: Half-Life 2

Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition (hereafter referred to as JP:RE) is truly a one of a kind game. In my decades of playing games, I have never come across anything quite like it.

Whee!

Back in the early nineties some developer released the movie tie-in game Jurassic Park for the Sega Genesis. The game used digitized sprites, similar to those of Mortal Kombat. You moved a photorealistic (for the time) Dr. Grant around, shooting tranquilizer darts at spitters and compies so you could make it through very slow paced and quite challenging platforming levels. Any drop over 10 feet tended to kill you. Most dinosaurs would kill you with a few hits. 90% of your arsenal was tranquilizers and gas grenades, forcing you to save your concussion grenades and Quake lightning gun (no seriously, it’s in there) for the raptor encounters.

The game was moderately fun, albeit very slow paced, methodical, and full of clunky platforming. It felt like a movie tie-in game, through and through. A short while later, though, they released JP:RE (hereafter referred to as Rampage Edition). This game was an incredibly fun, balls-to-the-wall, 2d platformer/shooter.

What the devs cleverly did was reuse almost all the art assets from the first game. They kept the digitized Dr. Grant, all the dinosaur sprites, the rubber boat, the soldiers, and tons of scenery tiles. What they changed was making Dr. Grant three times as fast, giving him the ability to jump 10ft in the air, and replacing his arsenal of tranquilizer darts and sleeping gas grenades with shotguns, machine guns, flamethrowers, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and the Quake lightning gun (no, seriously). They also added sprites for dinosaurs and people catching fire and turning into ash when pummeled with said weapons.

The game suddenly went from average movie tie-in shovelware to a tightly controlled, challenging, more platforming-centric version of something like Contra…only with a photorealistic (for the time) Dr. Grant unloading on dinosaurs. I busted out the cartridge earlier this year and the game is still highly polished and a blast to play. Crank it up to the hard setting and you’re leaping around unloading grenades into enemy soldiers who want to kill you (for some reason), equipped with their own grenade & rocket launchers. It’s even complete with an on-rails section where you ride some beige dinosaur while shooting down helicopters that fire missiles at you.

The approach to this game is something I can’t recall ever having been done with a movie franchise game before. In every tie-in game that comes out, the gameplay and plot at least have some kind of relevance to the movie’s canon. Rampage Edition (hereafter referred to as Rampage), however, has nothing to do with the movies aside from reusing art assets from the original tie-in. Dr. Grant is some agile super-soldier that kills everything that stands in his way, eventually gunning down a T-rex in a palm-sweat-generating final chase sequence.

Yee-haw!

There’s also an entirely different facet to the game. You can play the entire thing as a velociraptor, with the objective of escaping the island on a boat to the mainland, where you’ll have an endless supply of human flesh to feed upon. You break open metal crates to fill up a rampage meter, which sends you into an invincible rampage mode where the screen turns blood red and you kill everything you touch. Think of it like the invincibility stars from Mario, only with a totally badass murderous dinosaur and no happy upbeat music to accompany it.

I highly recommend tracking down a ROM of this game (or a cartridge if you’re that dedicated) and experiencing it for yourself. There’s something mesmerizing about this funny looking Dr. Grant sprite leaping about, blasting pterodactyls out of the sky with shotguns. The controls are tight and fluid and the game is highly polished and pretty much glitch-free. It’s can also get pretty damn tough in the later levels. You owe it to the game history nerd inside you to give Rampage (hereafter referred to as Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition) a try.

4 Comments

  1. pat said on July 1, 2008:

    nice writeup. i played a lot of the regular, non-rampage jurassic park for genesis when i was a kid but never realized JP:RE was this different a game. i guess i’ll have to fire up the emulator.

  2. Wesley said on July 1, 2008:

    Youtube if anybody needs further convincing:
    Raptor – http://youtube.com/watch?v=0DNga61CipI&feature=related
    Grant – http://youtube.com/watch?v=GoYCR5l7CNs (this guy is terrible at it)

    Original Jurassic Park for comparison:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=6eHCQhD_Dmo&feature=related

  3. TrueTallus said on July 3, 2008:

    The developer of JP:RE apparently also made the Vectorman series. Weird. I guess I’ll keep my eyes open in the unlikely event that this makes its way to Virtual Console (licensing issues are probably a bear on titles like this). The gleeful disregard for cannon that this game seems to exercise reminds me a bit of what I’ve heard about The Goonies 2 on NES, though I guess that game had the excuse of being based on a sequel that never existed to explain away why Mikey was throwing molotov cocktails at Eskimos.

  4. Wesley said on July 3, 2008:

    Ah, that explains why it’s so good. Vectorman is one of my other top 3 for Sega Genesis.

    These guys know platforming-action.

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