Jurassic Park 2
Kick Dino Butt in "Jurassic Park 2"
By David SherwinNovember 4, 2004
Never thought I'd see a modern movie title on a 20 year old computer.
Looks like Dr. Malcolm has joined the HazMat team.
"This story happened in the summer of 1994
on the seashore of an island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Costa
Rica. For a small group of well-informed people this island is known as
the sad experiment of the InGen Company to resurrect dinosaurs..."
No, this isnít the trailer for some exciting summer blockbuster at the
multiplex; itís actually the background plot of Jurassic Park 2,
Video 61's interesting new platformer / side-scrolling shooter for the
Atari 8-bit computer line (64K minimum).
JP2 is an original game that was, apparently, coded by a Czech
software house in an unlicensed "tribute" to a certain storied movie
franchise in the mid Ď90s. Itís marginally similar to a number of other
dinosaur-themed platformers that appeared on a number of consoles in the
early Ď90s, but relies on background cinematic context more to provide a
sense of ambience than it is crucial to understanding gameplay.
This isnít an easy game, and its high degree of difficulty does
make it something of an acquired taste, but JP2 can be
recommended for being a highly polished and entertaining effort that is
a welcome addition to the 8-bit software library.
JP2 is a complicated, modern platformer, and gamers who come to
this game with expectations of a simple blastfest should park their
assumptions at the door.
Gameplay begins with no useful ammunition or tools, and you are given
very low energy levels; youíll be expected to find what you need to
survive in the general gaming environment. Unfortunately, the provided
instructions really donít tell you what you need to do in order to
complete the game, and youíll have to use your well-honed gaming
instincts -- and large doses of luck -- to make your way through the
game. The dinosaurs in this game are also big, mean, and nasty, and just
love to snack on intrepid explorers. Expect to die a lot in this game.
Useful items can be found throughout the game in the satellite
dish-shaped objects that can be found on nearly every screen. Itís
important to explore every one of these receptacles, as some of them
contain highly useful ammo or, in the case of keys, tools that youíll
need to progress through the game. Players can select desired items and
weapons by pressing downward on the joystick, but controls tend to be
overly fussy and youíll often find that youíve fired one of your
precious bazooka shells in the attempt to select a key or diskette.
Iíve been advised that it is possible to finish the game, although this
clearly will be a challenge without invoking any cheats during gameplay.
JP2 is a big, long, and tough game, and only the most tenacious
player will advance even to the easiest screens of this game.
JP2 features an excellent title screen that is emblazoned with an
-- ahem -- unlicensed reproduction of the famous Jurassic Park
logo. Unfortunately, only PAL computers will display this screen; itíll
just a blob for everyone with NTSC computers.
JP2 was originally programmed for PAL computers on floppy disk
and cartridge formats, so a few problems do occasionally pop up during
gameplay. Transition to different screens should, for instance, be
smooth and fluid, but the screen will occasionally jump, jitter, and
shimmy before settling down.
Aside from the occasional graphical glitch, JP2 boasts some of
the better graphics to be found in latter-day 8-bit efforts. Your
crushed helicopter can be seen at the top of the first screen, and all
obstacles, hazards, and vegetation are very finely detailed.
Monster animation is very impressive -- you can actually watch
pterodactyls flap across the top of the screen! -- and each of the many
different screens have a high degree of graphic detail. Each of the
monsters are very distinct from each other, and all of the accessories
at the bottom of the screen are nicely detailed.
Gaming detail can be lost in JP2's rather drab colour palette,
however; screens are largely limited to dull browns and blues.
Sound and Music
Many European games of relatively late vintage have distinguished
themselves in the 8-bit library with stunning sound effects and
innovative gaming soundtracks, and JP2 -- happily -- doesnít
stray from this winning formula by one single note.
Both the "Eurodisco" title song and game soundtrack are uniformly
excellent, and will make you think that Giorgio Moroder has been dropped
into your 800XL. The music is never intrusive, and the -- count Ďem --
five different available soundtracks should provide enough musical
variety to satisfy even the most jaded ear. Music can also be muted by
pressing "6" at the title screen.
Platformers have both their fans and foes -- and you know who you are --
and any decision to purchase this particular game will probably depend
on individual gaming tastes. Even the most vocal opponent of the genre,
however, couldnít disagree that JP2 is a particularly well-made title
that should provide hours of entertainment to the average gamer. JP2
is also, surprisingly enough, one of the few Super Mario World-type
platformers available for the 8-bit line, and kudos should go to Video
61 for recognizing -- and filling -- the very large gap that previously
existed in the 8-bit gaming library with this entertaining import title.
||Jurassic Park 2