Jurassic Park Rampage Edition…what a game. Released on SEGA Genesis in ’94 by BlueSky Software, it is the sequel to their self-titled Jurassic Park. BlueSky is the same group responsible for Ecco the Dolphin, but with Rampage Edition they let all that repressed anger and sexual tension from childhood express itself.
A hardcore MIDI riff that makes your ears bleed after a couple minutes greets you and will quickly become imprinted in your amygdala for life. A raptor with blood, maybe saliva, pouring out of its jaws stares you down as the world appears to be burning in the background. Is the raptor some kind of eco-terrorist…you put this behind you and hit Start.
Like the first Jurassic Park game, you have the option of choosing Dr. Grant or a raptor. Personally I like Dr. Grant because he gets guns… a lot of guns… so I am going to focus on him.
After escaping the Isle Nebula in the first game, you find yourself crash-landed right back where you started. Only now the Costa Rican army, which hasn’t existed since 1948, is destroying the island and all the dinos living there. Meanwhile the crafty InGen Coorporation (you may have seen their logo on the helicopters in the first movie) is prowling the island trying to collect dino DNA for themselves…
Your task is twofold, escape the island and collect as much dino DNA as you can, presumably to keep it out of InGen’s hands. Perhaps the task is threefold because you have to kill a great many people along the way – Costa Rican army dudes, InGen dudes in blue jumpsuits, and of course all the dinos are trying to kill you so you fucking blast them as well.
After a while the game feels like a combination of Cabela’s Big Game Hunter and Surviving the Game (also from ’94). You get into a rhythm of jumping over bad guys, ducking grenades, and vengeful killing: shotgun blast, shotgun blast, dart dart dart, flame thrower, electrocute – every now and again bust out the machine gun for good measure, or ya know, just to bridge the melody of death for aesthetic purposes.
As you progress between the six levels of the game, somewhere in the back of your mind a thought begins to grow. Why am I collecting DNA? Running around with phallic shaped eltrorods, killing all these other men – these threatening, dangerous men… these competitors…
But all the females in the game are dinosaurs; we learned that from the movie. I mean life finds a way sure, but I don’t think that is what’s going on here. I think if you really look at some of the symbolism going on, this might actually be Dr. Grant’s nightmare. Run with me for a moment…
Half of the levels in the game deal with water, representing the emotional subconscious. One is a stormy sea, another a confusing maze of river rapids, and the final level where a T-Rex chases Dr. Grant all the way to mouth of a river leading to the calm seas of salvation.
The fact that only the dinosaurs are female is the result of Dr. Sattler always pressing him for kids. This pressure manifests in his mind as monsters that he must escape, but the more he runs, the more he encounters them – always leaping and clawing at his pants and shirt sleeves.
He zaps them with his penis-shotgun but their satisfaction is only temporary – they want, rather they NEED his DNA.
Resisting his fear of giving in to the beasts, he runs across this burning island, hoping to escape the ticking biological clock, collecting all the DNA he can before the InGen Coorporation can take it for themselves and spread it to all the dinos.
InGen and the Costa Rican army are, of course, Dr. Ian Malcome. Alluding to his dual nature of being both relatable and eloquent in his argument against Jurassic Park yet doggedly, perhaps even unconsciously, pursuing Dr. Sattler’s affection.
Both actions threaten Dr. Grant, so despite his aligned goals with the Costa Ricans, he must blow their heads off anyways in his self-righteous pursuit to control the flow of DNA.
In the end, the cargo ship on calm seas that he must escape to is his dig site from the beginning of the franchise – there he can be safe. Away from competition and the need to exert his masculinity over others, safe to make his half joking protests to reproduction. Out in the desert where he keeps Dr. Sattler, who has nowhere to go, Grant can be her only option.
Other than that, the gameplay is pretty fun albeit a tad repetitive. Run, jump, crouch, shoot shit. Some have argued the aiming is clumsy – which it is. But then again, what game that forces you to aim with a D-pad isn’t? Besides, crouching and shooting generally hits everyone that isn’t above you, including bad guys slightly off screen.
Aside from the intro, the music is pensive and thematic. The soundtrack has a common factor of distorted metallic riffs woven into otherwise pretty chill tunes. Kind of impressive to have such a cohesive soundtrack; it’s almost like someone really thought about what they were doing.
For a ’94 Genesis game, the graphics are pretty nice. The kill animations are satisfying whether you are exposing someone’s skeleton with the flamethrower, electrocuting a dino, heaving grenades, or just pumping ‘em full of lead.
Level design is good – a special shout out to the boat level. In the boat level, one must battle across the deck of a cargo ship during a stormy night at sea. Bad guys strike out from all sides, even chucking ‘nades down from the masts. After reaching the inner bowls of the vessel and it begins sinking, you have to escape the rising water.
All in all, this game is worth a few hours of your time, especially if you are a fan of the JP franchise. Dreams aside, Rampage Edition is a perspective of Jurassic Park akin to a comic or graphic novel. It may not build on the actual timeline of the movies, but it immerses you in the world of Jurassic Park, leaving you to negotiate the perils of Isle Nebula without a tour guide.
By Gamesman Noname