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Friday, August 29, 2014

Jurassic Park for the Sega CD: A Short Tribute

Ahh the forgotten Jurassic Park game.

I still cannot exactly remember WHY I bought it back then but I had little in the way of bills when in the Navy and mostly just spent my money on silly things.

This great game is one of them.

It is not an action game like the others.  It is a point and click adventure game, one of the only ones I actually like even if I wasn't able to ever finish it.

In the Navy some other people in my department even got into the game and in those 1994-95 times there were no FAQs or anything.  We just had to try to figure the damned thing out and help each other along as we did in Super Metroid on the SNES.  (Or hope for a magazine to cover the game as one did for Super Hydlide on the Genesis.  Another game I need to pay my respects to here one day.)

We probably should have made maps or something but didn't.

Thankfully one of the people behind the game has.

(And before we get into the screenshots taken in the Fusion emulator credit must go to a silly thread on Something Awful that inspired me to take it out and play a little.  http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3660703&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=1  )

 Littered around the park are these little 4 part videos with voice and limited video talking about the dinosaurs you will be trying to collect eggs from before your twelve hour escape limit is up.

 Dr. Robert Bakker hosts these little mini segments.

 OH WOW IT IS A PAIR OF BRACHIOSAURUSESESES!   Sadly I need a CD to play their information file.  Much of the game is spent in this first person viewpoint mode.  The crosshairs there can be used to look around and interact with things where it turns into a green X, or a couple of white action symbols.  (A magnifying glass for looking at a thing, an arrow for a place you can move to, a hand to use.)  You scroll around in a 360 degree arc with the top right satellite dish blinking a blue light when you have a VIDEO MAIL BECAUSE THIS IS HIGH TECH STUFF.  Obviously in the top center there is your compass.  Top right is your time counter which works in real time outside of when you travel to various locations where your time will jump instead of making you watch a 1-15 minute video of walking through a jungle.  (Instead it is a sped up couple of seconds.  It was the early 90s.  CDs were mostly used for video like this.)  And below that is your life bar.  Because dinosaurs like adventurers whose helicopters mysteriously crash on islands full of dinosaurs.  As a late night snack!

 While most places are standard 64 color Genesis pixel graphics, they stupidly made the Visitor Center from the movie prerendered 3d video.  Which in the color palette and resolution of the Genesis is mostly a semi viewable mess.  It would probably look a little better on an actual CRT TV set of the day.  A little.  I remember being amazed by it at the time however.

 See?  You can barely read the text on the doors.  Trying various emulation filter and video options didn't really help much.  It is actually more legible in the screenshot than in the emulator that I am not even running full screen on a 22" monitor!

(See the keycard?  You have one that gets upgraded to open various things and doors as you go.  You have to use it every single time you open these doors.  Kind of annoying.)

 IT IS A UNIX SYSTEM I KNOW THIS!!!  Actually it is where you save your game and check your video phone mail done in video.  Thankfully Jurassic Park is a Sega CD game where the FMV stuff is mostly just fluff.

Having to traipse back to the Visitor Center to save your game and thus waste in game time is kind of irritating but you can recharge one your weapons, use a First Aid box, and something we will get to.  (And of course get video where this nice lady tells you what is going on.  She is much better and less intrusive than Otis from Dead Rising.)

 I found a pair of pliers.  I can use them to remove a CD stuck in this kiosk at the front gate.  No I do not know why both power and torches are still working in Jurassic Park.

 One of your three remappable control pad buttons opens your inventory window and lets you select items.  Another button uses them on the main viewscreen and the final is your travel button when those arrows pop up.  It takes a little getting used to and the crosshairs stays as an inventory item if said item has been selected.  Which can be annoying when you are trying to survive some nasty dinosaurs or use a thing and get to a place quickly.

 The in game map is not the most helpful of things.

 Having to go here will probably be a bad time.

 Here too.  Your weapons are only stun type.  

 Grabbing a rock and placing it on this wobbly floating log lets me move deeper into this area.  The egg down in the lower right shows me I have some dinosaur eggs to bring back to the incubation chamber back at the Visitor Center.

 You have to get eggs from seven dinosaur species back to the incubator.  Once you pick them up your time is kind of short.  Again, make a map and grab eggs on return trips to save time.  But look out for living dinosaurs.  They do not approve of your baby stealing ways.

 So far I have saved two eggs from one type of dinosaur!

 Uh oh!  What is moving in the growth and hitting me for damage?  

OH NO.  Good dino, nice dino, sweet dino?

Nope!  I am now dead like...Newman.

This is a really fun and forgotten treasure of the Sega CD.  It has dinosaurs!  Dr. Robert Bakker!  Q Sound audio!  A point and click adventure with a time limit and a single place to save to amp the tension and give a little replayability as you try to save as many eggs as you can and complete the game in a faster time!

So give it a shot!  It is a very good introductory styled adventure game!

(And way better than most of Sierra's output...)

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