The Retro Critic

Jurassic Park

To celebrate the release of new movie Jurassic World, I thought I’d talk about that Jurassic Park game on the NES.

Of course, 1MoreCastle already boasts a fab video review of that game (see Episode 9 of The Backlog with Joe Walker) so, being one sneaky fellow, I instead picked the Game Boy version to look at.

Incidentally, they’re both basically the exact same game.

The game gives us a (sort of) top-down view of Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill’s character in the movie) as he attempts to escape the doomed theme park which is already swarming with loose dinos. You’re required to collect dinosaur eggs and pick up ammo to refill your weapon.

Your weapon which happens to be a friggin’ bazooka!

JP Bazooka

Dr. Alan Grant is a BADASS.

Also: probably the worst paleontologist in the world.

Your ammo isn’t infinite and there’s a good chance you’ll run out of it at some point so to succeed in the game you’ll need to use your weapon sparingly. Make sure you’re facing whatever dinosaur you want to shoot at before you pull the trigger. It sounds easy but the characters don’t always aline properly sometimes.

Then again, occasionally a dinosaur runs to you from inside a bush and there’s barely any time to react.

Clever girl…

Before the game even begins, it’s successfully giving you nightmare-worthy material. Just check this out:

Dinosaur JP

Start JP

The “Info” option better explain to me why this particular dinosaur is so darn scary!

Going back to Dr. Grant using a bazooka to kill the very creatures he’s worked his whole life to understand, I love how he basically reduces the animals to ashes every time he shoots at them, which is ironically the exact opposite thing a paleontologist is meant to be doing.

Explosion JP

And I thought Jurassic World was violent: this is like dinosaur Rambo!

Mostly, the game is Grant walking around a certain location doing pretty much the same thing over and over but there is some variety as one level sees your character try to avoid a stampede of Triceratops.



More than one Triceratops.

Triceratops JP

Another level has you on a boat, rowing around what I can only describe as Loch Ness monsters.

Boat JP

Add to that a level where Dr. Grant tries to outrun a T-Rex and you’ve got yourself one surprisingly varied game which is never dull. Often tricky but never dull.

T-Rex JP

Plus the graphics are actually good for the Game Boy and, considering how many ugly, cheap transfers are on that console, that’s lucky. The music is also worth mentioning as it’s all kinds of awesome despite the fact that it isn’t the classic John Williams theme.

I love it.

Batman on the Game Boy also had original music and that was also one hell of a score so I guess that’s another thing the Game Boy did well somehow.

Plot-wise, though, the game stays relatively close to the movie, keeping some of its DNA throughout.


Love this guy, by the way.

There are many Jurassic Park games on various consoles from the Sega CD to the SNES, some point-and-click games, some side-scrollers and more. The Game Boy (and NES) Jurassic Park games are fun, underrated takes on a classic blockbuster. They’re straight-forward but challenging and while they may not be quite as memorable as, say, that Sega Genesis port which gives you the option to play AS a Velociraptor (genius!), they get the job done and provide a respectable kid-friendly gaming adventure.

Well, I say “kid-friendly” but there is that creepy dino from the game’s opening and the hardly uplifting text at the end of the game…

Ending JP


“You Have Succeeded Where Others Become Dinner..”

I don’t know why but I just like how that phrase is structured. Then the game hits you with the idea that the world itself is in peril, which is, like, totally a big deal! And then the message just… ends.

Gaming found a way.

A way to frighten me on a very small console.