Jurassic Park Rampage Edition (SMD):

Spoiler Warning for Jurassic Park Rampage Edition… I guess… This post is part of my ongoing quest to explore Jurassic Park games.

A few weeks ago I embarked on the 16-bit Sega take of ‘Jurassic Park’ for Sega Mega Drive… and if you didn’t read that one then at least give it a quick Bristol flyover as I’m going to be referencing it quite a bit... My overwhelming opinion was that it is ‘ok’. It does the job. It is technically a 16-bit Jurassic Park videogame that does the minimum to meet that standard and stave off being referred to as a ‘bad game’. But nothing about it really stood out, either as a game, or as an homage to the most Jurassic of Parks.

Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition is a direct sequel to that game, and one that I have technically played in the past thanks to a Blockbuster rental on some otherwise uneventful weekend in the 90’s. I was always a little confused as a kid by the ‘Rampage Edition’ subtitle. It didn’t seem to be clear if it was a new game, or just an amped up version of the original. Having picked up it up on eBay I was kind of amazed how much of it came flooding back to me once I put the cartridge in. Yes, this is a new game which, despite superficial graphical and genre similarities, one that is quite different from the original Mega Drive outing. I’m not saying that the developers, BlueSky, have time travel technology, but it seems a little too convenient that I write a piece about the JP game and there just happens to exist a sequel that addresses all the negatives.

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Jurassic Park (SMD): Rooaaeeggaaaaarr

Part of my ongoing quest to play lots of Jurassic Park Games, this article also contains spoilers for Jurassic Park on Sega Mega Drive

Jurassic Park on Sega Mega Drive“, jam that into a shellsuit and you might have to sit down for all the early 90’s that it is emitting, but that’s just how I like my JP experiences.

With a permanent inhome location for my retro consoles (aka ‘The Retro Nook’) I decided that it was time to undertake the first platforming title in the ongoing JP exploration. Resurrecting my childhood Mega Drive II is always fun, but knowing that I now have a space to leave it permanently setup is even better. The icing on the cake has been the acquisition of a good quality shielded component cable (from retrogamingcables.co.uk … no, this is not sponsored, I just like them that much) and an OSSC line doubler gifted by the amazing Kim & Pete at LaterLevels (I cannot say Thank-you enough!). When these powers combine, they produce a magnificent and crisp image that finally matches my retro-vision memory of the console. Without wanting to disappear too far down a techtalk rabbit-hole, I also play with added scanlines courtesy of the OSSC because I genuinely think it matches more closely my own idea of how a 16-bit system should look.

This shiny new-old setup now deserved a fresh-aged experience, so I picked up the original Jurassic Park title for Mega Drive and (after a little contact cleaning) jammed it in to be greeted by a T-Rex Roaring “Sega”, those iconic park gates opening, a flash of lightning, and flickering torches, all in grimy, dithered, graphics. My JP experience so far has taught me that the Jurassic-park-ness of a game is often set, or at least telegraphed by the title screen and so far the SMD JP was performing well. The game lets the player pick between two scenarios; Alan Grant or Raptor. I opted to begin with Alan Grant, hit the start button, and watched the opening cutscene showing the tour LandCruiser being attacked by the T-Rex…

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Mad Dog McCree: Slippery Shoes & Sticky Floors

Erm… Spoiler warning for Mad Dog McCree .. I guess… Does that need a warning?…

If movies, T.V., and the unreliable 4-year-old-me memory are to be believed, the U.S. in the 80’s & 90’s was a haven of amusement complexes and arcade machines, which the U.K. never seemed to latch on to. As a kid growing up in the U.K. my gaming, like so many, started with home computing before moving on to SEGA consoles. Arcade machines were rarely seen out in the wild beyond a small handful sitting nervously amongst fruit machines or penny falls in seaside towns, and popping up sporadically in the foyer areas of larger cinemas. The only place I could guarantee a reasonable selection of arcade machines was at a bowling alley, so take my hand and join me back in the early 90’s as we push through the double doors and on to the garish carpet of Anytown’s bowling alley*. Past the newly opened Quasar laser tag, past the Addams Family Pinball machine, toward the arcade section, and marvel as you set eyes on a huge rear projection TV cabinet. A solitary tethered pistol in the holster, the words ‘Mad Dog McCree’ emblazoned across the top, and some grizzled prospector onscreen enticing you to part with whatever small change you had in your pocket to try and take down the outlaw.

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Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis – I Don’t Know Why It’s Called That…

Long time readers will know that I’m on a quest… one of the slowest burning quests in history maybe, but a quest none-the-less… to play all the Jurassic Park* games out there. So far I have played ‘some of them‘, But hey, who’s keeping track? I’ve sampled a good variety, including PnC, platform, FPS, and, whatever the heck you classify the DOS one as, but I’ve yet to try a park builder, which is where Operation Genesis comes in.

I’d been keeping my eyes vaguely open for a copy of JP:OG for a while now, but with my recent retro-gaming kick I happened to spot a copy of the PlayStation 2 version going at the same little online shop where I picked up a GameCube so I decided to give it a shot.

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Somewhere Beneath the Sea: Bioshock 2

Warning! Contain Spoilers for Bioshock 2 and the DLC ‘Minerva’s Den’

The City of Rapture is easily one of my favourite game settings. That art-deco undersea metropolis not only provides a unique backdrop for some fine first-person horror, but is inexorably linked to the plot through the vision of Andrew Ryan, its in-game conceptual architect. I like this setting so much that I’ve revisited Bioshock several times in the past few years, and replayed Bioshock Infinite an equal number of times to justify replaying the ‘Burial at Sea’ DLC in order to get back to the vistas of Rapture.

However, until earlier this year, I had never completed Bioshock 2. There was a failed attempt to play it a few years ago which petered out a couple of hours in and left me generally poorly disposed to this oft overlooked child in the Bioshock Trilogy. I think there were key barriers to me wanting to pick it up again. Firstly, without the original team at the helm, I wondered just how good that sequel outing under the sea would really be, and secondly, I didn’t want to play as a Big Daddy. Sure, they make a great imposing ingame element, but the lumbering sections imitating a Daddy towards the end of the first game certainly didn’t warm me to the concept. Plus there is an undoubted emphasis on melee combat, something that I tend to avoid in first person titles, which I ultimately ignored in favour of firearms. That being said, the draw of rapture is strong, and one of the biggest plus points about leaky-corridor-simulator 2 is that there is indeed more Rapture to discover here. So, I hung up my misgivings, greased myself up, and slid in to an oversized diving suit to give it another shot.

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Resident Evil: Dead Aim – Survivor Bias

Just recently I did something that I thought as pretty cool… and I don’t say that lightly, I rarely find anything I do ‘cool’. But this was really a little bit cool, and if you follow me on Twitter you may already know what I’m going to talk about. Oh yes, I’m talking about the ‘Zapstrasse!’. A little while ago I had an idea of how you could fool a Playstation G-Con (or G-Con 2 for PS2 in this case) style light gun in to thinking it’s looking at a CRT TV and make it playable on a modern flatscreen. Unlike many of my other random ideas, I followed through on this one and built a proof-of-concept prototype to see if the idea worked. And it kinda does. I mean there are problems and the current version isn’t super stable, but yeah, the idea worked.

… But I’ve already given the technical rundown of that if you’re interested.

No, this is about the next bit, the bit that made me want to do this in the first place, the bit where I got to put it to the test on a game that I haven’t played through since it was a new release. I used the ‘Zapstrasse!’ to go back and play one of the often forgotten Resident Evil Games; Resident Evil: Dead Aim.

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Resident Evil 3: The Resident Evil 3 Perspective

This Article Contains Spoilers… likely for both the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (’99) and the 2020 Remake. You have been warned!

Late to the party as ever I’ve been in a bit of a Resident Evil hankering type of mood recently; which is not a mood I’m unfamiliar with. So whilst everyone with a PS5 or beefy enough PC to handle it has been exploring a certain Village, I finally got around to picking up and playing last year’s big Resi-offering; the remake of Resident Evil 3. Sitting as a direct sequel to the previous years remake of Resident Evil 2, the REMake3 (yes, I’m going with that shorthand) is mechanically and visually very similar to its predecessor but offers something quite different in the gameplay department.

Now, honestly I finally put the REMake3 down a couple of weeks ago, but I really wanted to digest the game that I’d just played through twice in a row, something virtually unheard of for me, before I publicly spoke about it. Eventually I settled on doing pretty much what I did with the RE2Make and sidestep all the regular review nonsense that so many other have covered to consider how it compares to he source material; in short, is the REMake3 a good remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (’99)?

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Sniper Elite III: Chewing Gum for the Thumbs

Step in to the shoes of Buck ‘Elite Sniper’ McSniper-Elite the most elite sniper in all of the sniping elite sniper division. Armed only with his elite sniping gun he must snipe more elite-ly then the other elite snipers to become the most elite sniper in all the sniping world of elites to prove once and for all who the most elite sniper is.

I mean, I assume that’s the general gist of the game. I wasn’t paying too much attention; oh, and you have to shoot nazis because it’s WW2 times, except in Africa which is slightly different to all the other WW2 times games that involve shooting nazis in mainland Europe. The problem is that, despite the amount of sarcasm that I’ve jam-packed in to that opening few sentences, I’ve sunk a fair few hours in to ‘Distance-Shooty-Number-3″ which probably says more about my current state of gaming than being a reflection on the game’s quality… and for the record, if spending all your ingame time crouched to the point that your back starts to sympathetically ache is something you enjoy, then knock yourself out because there’s kind of nothing seriously wrong with Sniper Elite III, it’s just that I’m struggling to tease out what qualities made it worthy of the hours I’ve personally played it for.

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Night Trap: Awww Grrrrrrr…

Spoiler Warning: This article contains plot spoilers for the game ‘Night Trap’

Call me childish, but there’s a small part of me still smirking at playing ‘Night Trap’ on Switch; a game that Nintendo’s North American President once said would “never appear on a Nintendo System”. Even stepping away from that, it’s clear that the game wears the controversy that surrounded its original release like some robe of state and that without the original drama it’s fairly questionable that it would have received a 25th anniversary re-release. Now, I know that it’s a title that has an unquestionably vast library of opinion pieces, critical breakdowns, and impact articles already associated with its name, but now that I’ve finally experienced the game myself, something that my eight year old self would have been super jealous of having seen those futuristic FMV graphics splashed across the pages of Mean Machines Sega, it’s a good moment to throw out my own views on the controversy surrounding it and how it actually stacks up as a game.

Night Trap is one of those titles where the events surrounding it are at least as (if not more so) interesting as the game itself. Graphics are mainly comprised of live action FMV video that is cut and changes depending on your actions as a player and represents that weird time when CD based games were young. With this new physical format developers were presented with a vast amount of storage space compared to the cartridges that they may have been used to, and like all new tech, they didn’t seem to quite know what to do with it. Thus games like ‘Night Trap’ were born, and for a brief instant were going to be the direction that all games were going; real actors in live action video where the player gently influences the actions in something more like an interactive movie than a traditional game. It was released on the MegaCD (or Sega CD), Sega’s CD drive add-on for that 16-bit blast-processing fuelled monster the Mega Drive (… sigh… or Genesis), in 1992 at arguably the height of Sega’s presence in the home console market on a system that was at the time one of the more widespread CD based platforms. This relatively high level of exposure to the general public arguably led to what happened next, but the twist is that this game was originally meant for a completely different (and more primitive) technology.

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Trüberbrook: Pointing, but not Clicking

Spoiler Warning: This article contains major plot spoilers for Trüberbrook

Point-n-clicks are one of those genres that has found a home in the arms of small and indie developers. Whilst mainstream triple-A releases focus on increasing levels of action and frame-rate, the humble PnC offers gamers something at a more sedate pace which I almost completely ignored growing up only to uncover their charms when I was a little older; and there’s a lot for me to like about PnC’s give my gaming tastes. One of the reasons I enjoy classic survival horror is that feeling of exploring, unravelling and gradually unlocking an area which a good PnC encapsulates. I also enjoy a good story and that certain brand of gaming where you don’t need to have twitch reflexes to play.

It was with this thirst for a story and world to explore that I picked up Trüberbrook, a PnC adventure that drops the player in to the scuffed shoes of a Quantum Physicist, Hans Tannhauser. Arriving in the small remote German village of Trüberbrook in the 1960’s, under the unquestioned circumstance of having won a competition that he didn’t enter, Tannhauser is drawn in to the mysterious local activities of the Millennium Corporation and ends up saving our reality. The visuals, made up of hand crafted model shots, are probably the most immediate draw with its intricate diorama-like presentation and an almost claymation quality to the onscreen cast of quirky characters. Regular readers will know that ‘small town mysterious events‘ and ‘diorama-like‘ are two of my triggers to an almost instant purchase, so it seemed like I was on to a winning formula already. Continue reading “Trüberbrook: Pointing, but not Clicking”