Hidden Gem Review: Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
Reviewer: Cliff Davenport
“Welcome …to Jurassic Park.”
You just read that in Richard Attenborough’s voice in your head, didn’t you? See,
it’s not just Morgan Freeman. Such was the impact of Jurassic Park upon so many
of us as children that aspects of the film have colored the interests of a generation,
and in light of Jurassic Park’s recent theatrical re-
Rather than leading players from one dino-
Especially that one. Tell me you didn’t waste $5 in quarters trying
in vain to beat it at the arcade. You liar.
Replacing guns and teeth with research and reports, Operation Genesis breaks the
trend by putting players in the seat of a John Hammond-
And when we say “niche,” we mean frickin’”niche.”
If you’ve ever played a Tycoon game, or even Sim City, you’ll find Operation Genesis’
interface a familiar, user-
It’s not just robo-
Still a better love story than Twilight.
Once players get their park on its feet, a range of business models become possible
options for progression. The film’s park model (which worked out so well, didn’t
it?) of well-
It’s not all quarterly reports and adorable dino dolls, though. No Jurassic Park
game worth its salt could pass without a few “clever girl” moments to keep things
interesting. Operation Genesis draws players out of the office and into the action
during certain random crises, such as safari breakdowns, which require a manual drive
back to their gates, and chopper-
No, not you! You were half the reason to own a Sega Genesis
when you came out!
Lacking thumbs with which to grip a proper stress ball, dinosaurs are needy creatures, and they tend to get uptight about our 21st century nonsense. If they’re not well tended to, this can lead to their open rebellion, and whether it’s due to faulty security or a twister’s disastrous aftermath, there’s always a chance that players’ stressed and angry dinosaurs could escape, spot their hated masters, and rampage. Then, it’s often up to the player to ‘retire’ their investments by way of a .50 caliber pink slip from the door of a chopper.
All of that’s well and good, but unfortunately, all is not blood-
Game mechanics are another source of frequent frustration, especially in Operation
Genesis’ early game. Every park or city-
Likewise, dino diseases, no matter which one, are mislabeled. Operation Genesis does not feature diseases. It features plagues. “Dino flu” spreading like wildfire I can understand, but when even something as innocuous as a tick infestation spreads like herpes at a frat party, something’s off balance here.
Most disappointing of all are the arbitrary limitations that Operation Genesis places upon players’ park resources, particularly upon the number dig sites that players may unlock for their park’s fossil procurement. Different sites yield different results, and an inability to sample them all means that players will never be able to build parks featuring Operation Genesis’ full catalogue of prehistoric attractions, short of modding the game to allow for it. Similar limitations on structure counts, especially fencing units, also constrain players’ ambitions for little to no discernible reason. It’s these things that keep players’ dream parks from becoming reality.
There is too much happiness here. Release the raptors.
After all that, you may well be wondering, “why is this a hidden gem, again?” and
that would be a fair question. Operation Genesis is certainly not without flaws,
and critically speaking, it’s not even all that outstanding. It’s a gimmicky, Tycoon-
There’s a phrase among tabletop gamers: “The Rule of Cool.” It refers to the reasoning
behind many game masters’ allowance of half-
I’ve enjoyed this game for many years, but in publishing this article, I would like
to issue a challenge to game developers: Make this game obsolete. Render its “Hidden
Gem” status moot, little more than an antiquated has-
Controls & Mechanics: 4
Atmosphere & Experience: 8
Entertainment Value: 7
Consoles: (PC), PS2, Xbox
Developer: Blue Tongue Entertainment
Publisher: Universal Interactive/ Konami
Release Date (U.S.): Mar 10, 2003
Release Date (U.K.): Mar 28, 2003
Release Date (JP): Jul 31, 2003
Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport Est. 2013. Links | Legal Notices
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