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Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Score: 80%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: VU Games
Developer: Bluetongue
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

Jurassic Park is the mark of the 90s just as the Ninja Turtles is of the 80s, and it could hold the title for the movie that truly introduced the benefits of prerendered computer generated animation to Hollywood. Other than survival horror first person shooters, there's no genre more perfect for the Jurassic Park movies then the amusement park sims that were made popular by games like Zoo Tycoon. With Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, there are more drastic concerns (like keeping each party on their correct sides of the fence).

The island that your theme park is based in will be just as detailed from a few thousand feet into the sky as it is a few inches from the sand. This is reminiscent of a mipmapping technique from Black & White that had players zooming in and out just for the hell of it... the only drawback is the meshes are hindered in the amount of polygons they can use, and as such, there are a few jagged impurities. Thanks to the great textures (and jaw-dropping water effects), the player will probably glance right over them, though.

So the engine is every strategy player's wish, and the interface is quite simple. In my humble opinion, it is a little too simple. Menus are so specific that you'll find yourself navigating through them and through them again, and in a real-time environment this is not always acceptable (especially when a pack of velociraptors has just broken out of their pen and discovered a nice feast of raw tourists). Input is seemingly aimed more at the joypad, as it relies more heavily on hotkeys then I would have wished.

The original Jurassic Park soundtrack constitutes Operation Genesis's background music, and while it is of a lower-than-CD quality, it is also John Williams and, as such, is as immersive as ever. Each dinosaur's voice is most persuasive and reminiscent of the movie, and the player will have little problem judging each creature's attitude by the pitch of the noises it produces. The park advisors, while voiced by different actors then those in the movie, are very similar on-screen counterparts and the voice acting is well done.


Operation Genesis is mainly focused on business strategy, but you will undoubtedly find yourself armed with a rifle taking a chopper out to liquidize a few, shall we say, unexpected disturbances, as well. The idea is normal: build a park with a few necessary attractions before the time limit. There are probably as many ways to generate revenue in this game as there are dinosaurs, too. The different learning modes are great contributions.

In one mode, you can assume the job of a park worker, executing a few missions that, at times, can get violent. This is really not much different then what you will be doing in an actual game when disturbances occur, but for a simple learning mission, these are hard to beat. There are also a few other learning maps included that show you how to execute simple park-building tasks like research and DNA development. They are relatively short and will take many of the questions out of park-building.

The actual goal of park building is universal - you're job is to generate revenue as quickly as possible, using it efficiently to build more attractions and in effect, generate more revenue. Who said economics couldn't be fun? In reality, specific things about this game make it much different from the regular park sim. One of these is that you can't simply buy DNA to use in hatching a creature. Instead it must be discovered in different excavation areas on the islands and extracted. This is a time consuming process that lasts throughout the entire game.

Investing in cages and fences, tourist rest areas and bathrooms, transportation and other attractions (such as hot-air balloons) are a few of the options the business player will have to keep in mind. Strategies will become more obvious as experience grows, such as having pens ready for quarantining sick creatures so others won't be infected, and having safety and rescue crews stationed in more than a few places on the island.

As the training modes imply, there will be times when the player will assume a more hands-on occupation, be it taking out an imposing threat, rescuing an endangered tourist, or simply tranquilizing dinos to move them to another location. All of these contribute to the game's immersiveness and enjoyment factor. There are also lots of dinosaurs to discover and create, so making an interesting park is something that will be a unique and fun challenge even for more experienced sim gamers.


Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is not hard to pick up on, and is one of those games that can't really be mastered. Difficulty will depend mostly on where you set your goals and what the player considers failure. Because of this, Operation Genesis is one of the more suitable games for nearly every type of gamer of any age group.

Game Mechanics:

Input is probably one of the less inspiring aspects of Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, as keyboard hotkeys are, in my opinion, a pain. Mouse input is nothing new, and the inexperienced will find themselves at home in just a short while. With the mouse, the camera can be rotated, zoomed in really close or a good thousand feet up in the air, and of course, moved in any direction parallel to the ground. Building different structures is very traditional, as it involves nothing more than choosing the structure and placing it in an applicable spot. Pumping out prehistoric life is also a simple, if time consuming, process of waiting.

Please notice the Teen ESRB rating on the game's box. If you are a stickler for the effects of violence on children, you might look elsewhere for entertainment for the kids, as it will sometimes involve humans being ripped apart by dinos, dinos being ripped apart by dinos, and, would you believe it, even the poor cows won't have much hope around the dinos. For an all-around immersive, widely agreeable game to keep on the PC, Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis is not a bad choice.

-Goat, GameVortex Communications
AKA Brandon Arnold

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 98 or later, 400 MHz proc, 128MB RAM, 700MB free HD space, 640x480 resolution, 16-bit High Color, 16MB graphics card

Test System:

Windows XP, 1.0GHz proc, 512 MB RAM, 1600x1200 resolution, 32-bit True Color, 32 MB nVidia GeForce2

Nintendo GameBoy Advance Rocky Sony PlayStation 2 Blade II

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated