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Jurassic Park


Hoskat

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Genre: Action

Publisher: Ocean

Total time played: 6 Hours

Short review: A top down action adventure featuring a good mix of action and scavenger hunts throughout its well designed levels. One of the best licensed movie games on the NES.


Interesting links related to Jurassic Park


 

Why Wasn’t This Game Popular?

Of all of the licensed movie games on the NES this may be the best. Jurassic Park is one of the most popular movies of the 1990’s and the NES was a mainstay in almost every kid’s home in the 1980’s and 1990’s. But, because the game game out in 1993, after the release of the Super Nintendo it didn’t gain the notoriety it deserved and was quickly forgotten.

What Do I Do?

I was given this game by a high school friend in the mid 1990’s and popped it in for a few minutes to make sure it worked. I didn’t touch it again until 2018. It isn’t immediately obvious what the goal of the game is. I wandered around the large stage aimlessly shooting dinosaurs and picking up eggs and ? boxes but couldn’t figure out the goal of the stage.

A little reading of the manual told me that the goal is to collect or destroy every egg in each stage. There is a counter under your health bar that tells you how many eggs are left. It isn’t labeled and is fairly small so it isn’t obvious what the counter is, but once you know it is nice that is small to not distract from the great graphics. Collecting eggs isn’t the only goal of each stage but it was enough to get me going.

Stage Breakdown

Stage 1

  • Collect all eggs, pick up a keycard from the last egg
  • Enter building 1
  • Collect all eggs inside, pick up keycard from the last egg
  • Enter building 2
  • Collect all eggs inside
  • Access the computer inside building 2 to open the gate
  • Return to the beginning of the stage and enter gate
  • Avoid Triceratops stampede

 

Stage 1.png

Collect the eggs and open this gate.

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Avoid the Triceratops to beat the stage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stage 2

  • Collect the eggs and pickup the keycard
  • Enter Building 1, collect the eggs and pickup the keycard
  • Ride a raft upstream avoiding dinosaurs and logs.
  • Defeat the T-Rex without getting eaten

I couldn’t believe how big and awesome the Triceratops in stage 1 and T-Rex in stage 2 were. I couldn’t wait to see what other bosses were in the game. As it turns out, there are no other bosses.

The T-Rex fight isn’t that bad. What makes it hard is that you have to protect a kid who has a mind of his own and continually walks into the path of the T-Rex and gets eaten. I found the best strategy is to stand by the tuft of grass near the top right corner. When standing here the T-Rex was never able to eat me or the kid I was protecting.

Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 8.56.11 PM.png

Avoid the logs and dinosaurs to stay alive. Thankfully you never have to interact with the Medusa Trees.

trex.jpg

Stand here to avoid getting eaten.

Stage 3

  • Collect the eggs and pickup the keycard
  • Enter the building and turn on the power
  • Enter another building and turn on each computer in a specific order.

This level is a bit tedious. Once you collect the eggs and turn on the power you aren’t even halfway done. You must turn on 8 computers in a specific order. The only way to know the order is trial and error. The 8 computer are spread across a fairly large area. Luckily if you select the wrong computer it will either tell you that you have already turned it on or that it is not the correct computer.

The first time I played through this level it probably took 30 minutes to turn all the computers on. Of course I didn’t take notes and didn’t remember the order the next time through so it took just as long. After the 3rd attempt I just looked up the order online to speed things up.

Stage 4

  • Collect all the eggs and pickup the keycard while avoiding the volcanoes.
  • Enter the building and pickup three explosive devises.
  • Enter each of 3 caves, pick up all the eggs and leave the explosive devise on the ‘X’

Stage 5

  • Follow the linear path across the boat docks and pick up all eggs.
  • The Triceratops stampede is back. Avoid the much faster triceratops to proceed.
  • Collect all eggs on the boat and pickup keycard.
  • Enter door 1 and collect all eggs and pickup keycard.
  • Enter door 2 and collect all eggs and pickup keycard.
  • Enter door 3.

Stage 6 (Final Stage)

This level is slightly different. The entire stage, both indoors and outdoors is one giant area. For the first time you don’t have to pick up all eggs to enter the building. Also, there are way more dinosaurs to kill on this level making it a bit harder. This is how I completed the level:

  • Pickup all outside eggs.
  • Enter building, collect all eggs, pick up keycard.
  • Enter door inside building to access rooftop. Pickup eggs and keycard
  • Enter other door on the roof
  • Collect all eggs and pickup keycard.
  • Enter door to second rooftop.
  • Pickup eggs and keycard
  • Backtrack to the first building and enter door to a second rooftop
  • Pickup eggs and keycard
  • Go back to the building after the second rooftop and enter door to last roofop.
  • Pickup eggs and keycard
  • Exit building and enter second building at the top of the game map.
  • Collect final 2 eggs that are hidden in the bushes
  • Fight T-Rex while protecting two kids.

This level seems confusing and is really large but after a little bit of exploring you realize there is only one path to take. The hardest part is dealing with the hoards of dinosaurs. The final T-Rex is a nightmare because he is faster and now you have two kids to protect. No matter how many lives I made it to this boss with within a minute they were all exhausted and the T-Rex was full of kid meat.

It took me about 10 tries to finally beat the T-Rex. This wouldn’t be so horrible if the game wasn’t so long. It takes 30-40 minutes to play through and there is nothing more frustrating than just having to start over. Turns out the same strategy as before works, just stand near the tuft of grass in the top right of the screen.

Weapons

In order to dispatch the dinosaurs throughout the game you have to pick up bullets and shoot them to smithereens.

  • Yellow – the most common to be discovered and dropped by dead dinos (alliteration!)
  • Green – more powerful than yellow and also more rare
  • Blue – This bullet is really strong and once it kills a dino keeps traveling across the screen killing anything in its path.
  • Red – Shoots 3 bullets at once in a spread.

? Blocks

One of the most annoying parts of the game are these question blocks. Inside them is either a health refill, an extra life or a bomb. There is no way to tell which box contains which. Luckily, the items inside do not change between playthroughs so it is possible to learn where the good boxes are.

But, each stage contains 10 or boxes meaning you need to memorize the contents of 60 or so boxes throughout the game; not an easy task.

Also, most of the 1-up boxes are hidden behind walls. So, in order to find them you have to literally explore every nook and cranny of every stage. You pick them up without ever seeing the box. I would have never known there were 1-ups in the game if I hadn’t seen someone pick one up in a video online.

Game Over

You get 3 lives and 4 continues. Once you are out of lives it is game over. Be prepared to play through this game a lot to beat it.

Final Thoughts

This game reminds me of Zombie’s Ate My Neighbors. It has a similar top down view. Instead of collecting neighbors you collect eggs. The game is hard and it took me several attempts to learn the nuances of how to play. But, once I got the hang of it I started to really like the game. It is tough but fair, it has great graphics and sound and is probably the best late release game and best licensed movie game on the NES. If it weren’t for the random nature of the two kids you protect in the last T-Rex fight this would be a near perfect game.

 

Jurassic Park.jpg


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