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PS2 Preview - 'Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis'

by The Six Billion Dollar Man on March 5, 2003 @ 12:59 a.m. PST

Now is your chance to fulfill Dr. John Hammond’s dream by successfully designing and managing the ultimate dinosaur theme park. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis allows gamers to create the most amazing theme park he world has ever seen. As the first ever fully 3D action-sim, Operation Genesis gives players two games in one. Either build the ultimate dinosaur theme park or engage in 12 action-packed missions that will truly test your gaming skills. Dream it. Build it. Survive it. This truly is Jurassic Park... your way! We had a near final build and decided to let loose the dino's! Read more and find out what happened next!

Genre: Strategy
Published by Vivendi
Developed by Blue Tongue S.
Release Date: 25-Mar-2003

Following in the footsteps of such “tycoon” games like Roller Coaster Tycoon and Railroad Tycoon, “Jurassic Park Operation Genesis” gives you control of Jurassic Park, and you must build its glory into the greatest theme park of all time. There are no kiddy roller coasters involved here, just pure dino goodness. JP Operation Genesis is what the original movie was and wanted to be, which is a complete and functioning theme park for tourists to come and enjoy the animals that were extinct 65 million years ago. As with all “tycoon” games, you start out with a bare piece of land and a substantial sum of money to get things going. Before you start building, you must select the type of land upon which you will be building. You can change its size, the amount of rivers, foliage and even mountains. Once you have your land set, it’s off to start building your theme park.

The gameplay in JP Operation Genesis is your standard “tycoon,” with a twist. Developers continually merge different aspects of gaming genres into one game to make something new or more fun. JP Operation Genesis does the same and blends some FPS with Sim building. The building of your park is easy enough and is accomplished via simple drag-and-drop actions. The fun begins when it’s time to run your theme park. You only have a couple of dinosaurs available to you when you start, and minimal security and amenities. To expand your park, you must research new technology as well as discover new dinosaur genomes. To acquire more dinosaurs, you must send Dr. Grant out to dig sites to unearth fossils and amber so you can extract the DNA and generate new dinosaurs. Each dino requires a minimum amount of its genome to be discovered before you can breed it. Increased quantities of a certain dinosaur’s genome ensure a longer lifespan, and a low amount of genome means your dino won’t live for very long. Therefore, constantly researching the genome is a must for your park to be successful and to stave off the loss of your dino’s life. Paying attention to dinosaur health is crucial because sickness is also big problem; if one dinosaur gets sick, it’s very likely that all of them will get sick.

In addition to creating and maintaining your dinosaurs, you must tend to your theme park by preparing for adverse weather, which can rip through your park and destroy buildings, people and dinos. One aspect that is not typically seen in tycoon-type games is violence, aside from a few roller coasters crashing into each other and exploding. Since your dinosaurs are living, breathing creatures and not mechanical carts, JP Operation Genesis is able to venture into new territory. If all my viewings of “When Animals Attack” have taught me anything, it is that animals can be downright vicious. If you’re not careful, your carnivorous dinos will go berserk, break down the fences, and feast on the people in your theme park. This is the first time I have seen this type of game depict a graphic ending of human life. This can be achieved by not fixing your rides and causing your guests to drown in Roller Coaster Tycoon, but that’s hardly as entertaining as watching a T-Rex eat people (at least for me). Also, the development team seemed to pay a lot of attention to way money and expenses are handled in the game. You don’t have to worry about spending money and not seeing a profit, ultimately putting you into major debt and forcing you to close the park (*cough* Sim City *cough*). You can easily make your money back tenfold, which is great because it actually urged me to go further. When you get a weather warning, though, take it seriously because if you don’t, you WILL have to close the park and start over. Trust me on this one. One last thing I forgot to mention is the game’s controls, which are simple and easy to master. Somehow, a game pad always seems to make controls easier.

Graphics in JP Operation Genesis are above standard. Everything is in 3D: people, surroundings, buildings and dinos. I must stress that the graphical quality and animation of the dinos are fantastic. You can zoom in super close without a loss of graphic integrity, and the dinosaurs act and behave like I have seen in the movies, with fluid movement and well-blended 3D models. I have played the PC demo of JP Operation Genesis, and despite the fact that the PC brings high resolution and support for the latest hardware (environment bumpmapping, etc.), the PS2 can easily hold its own.

The audio accompanying the game is kick ass and completely immerses you in the world: your dinos roar, people scream, and the world is aflutter with activity. As mentioned above, all the original people from the movie work for you at the park, like John Hammond and Dr. Grant. The actors that performed the voiceovers were not the original actors, but they came pretty darned close to sounding the same. One thing I was pleasantly surprised with was that the game utilizes the original movie soundtrack. The music continuously plays in the background as you progress with building your theme park. Top-notch sound and music.

To sum it up, Jurassic Park Operation Genesis builds on the foundation set forth by the “tycoon” games of the past and adds its own twist. I still can’t get over the dinosaur rampages, ahh those were some good times. I liked JP Operation Genesis, and I can guarantee you will too. Check out this game when it’s released in a couple of weeks.

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