Dino City (SNES)

Pub: Irem | Dev: Smart Egg | September 1992 | 8 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Irem | September 1992 | 8 MEGS

Ah, Dino City. Although I never played it as a kid, it holds something of a special spot in my gaming heart. I remember seeing the ads and previews in magazines and wanting to play it so badly. Alas, I never did. My SNES resurgence in early January 2006 allowed me a chance at gaming redemption.



Did you know Dino City is based off the 1991 made for TV film, Adventures in Dinosaur City? That was news to me not too long ago. So technically, Dino City is a licensed game. And a pretty good one at that (in an era where licensed games were often times more bad than good).

The big bad of the movie -- Mr. Big (Not Art of Fighting)
The big bad of the movie — Mr. Big (Not Art of Fighting)

Dinosaurs have fascinated me for as long as I can remember, dating back to when I was but a wee four year old child. It started with Godzilla in 1987. Followed by Dino Riders in 1988. Jim Henson’s Dinosaurs sitcom (TGIF!) in 1991. And of course Jurassic Park in 1993.

Godzilla (AKA Gojira)
Godzilla (AKA Gojira)
Dino Riders
Dino Riders
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

In addition, there was a dinosaur game quietly released on the SNES in late 1992 that always caught my eye. Sadly for me, I never got to play it back in the day and so it became one of countless childhood curiosities. I still remember EGM’s preview of Dino City

I must have read this blurb 50 times over...
I must have read this blurb 50 times over…
Such a bizarre box art. Totally early 90s!
Such a bizarre box art. Totally early ’90s!



After returning to the SNES scene on January 17, 2006, I decided to hit the flea market on an innocent chilly Saturday morning of February 4, 2006. It was my first trip to the flea market in four years. Ironically, before heading out that day I distinctly remember thinking to myself, “I have a funky feeling I’ll run into a copy of Dino City.” Sure enough, it was meant to be. It was just one of those mornings! Click here for more.








Yesterday was November 21, 2017. That meant the Super Famicom, and Super Mario World, turned 27 years old. Dino City clearly borrows a bit from Super Mario World — it even incorporates riding on a dinosaur.


I recommend using Jamie and Tops
I recommend using Jamie and Tops as well







There’s no difficulty option but Timmy is definitely the “hard mode” due to his dino buddy’s short range attack.







Nobody’s surprised when this goes haywire.







Reason all you want — it’s not going to save you from being sucked into an interdimensional warp!













Flexing those beautiful Mode 7 muscles!

Know what this reminds me of?
Know what this reminds me of?
One of my favorite scenes from Pee Wees Big Adventure
What a nostalgic scene from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure







Cavemen are no match for your darts. Jump on the Trampos for an added boost, but don’t do it while they show off their spikes.







Princess Peach this ain’t! Meet Crazy Cindy. Shout out to my girlfriend Cindy who thankfully isn’t crazy.


That sounds kinky… Cindy has a problem indeed :P







Levels end with two doors. Sometimes they lead to a bonus stage. Regardless of which door you select, you still have to go through all the stages. I appreciate Irem giving us a choice, though.







Transitions in video games are one of my favorite small details, and Dino City does it extremely well.







Sometimes you can’t go any farther while riding your dinosaur. In such cases, hop off to solve whatever obstacle blocks your way.

Definitely a cool feature!
Definitely a cool feature :)


Moments like this make playing Dino City a blast.







Tossing darts at cavemen never gets old. Reappearing tiny ledges are well represented here.







There’s something ultra satisfying about these sliding stone slabs.







Although not mind-blowing or anything, the visuals in Dino City are lush and vibrant. It just screams “late 1992 SNES” era. In fact, when I think of SNES graphics from that era, Dino City is always the first game my mind thinks of.







Watch out for those damn Dino Traps. They’ll swallow you up and spit you out if you get too close, costing you a precious heart.







Rather clever and fun this is.







Shooting or stomping on baby seals is almost too heart-wrenching to do, but it’s your ass if you don’t!







Disable the Skull Munchers by jumping on top of them. This is where you’ll push their jaws down into the frozen ice for good, rendering them harmless. I love the sweet sound effect they make as they buckle under your weight.







Stages that start out a bit unconventional or unique are always pet favorites of mine. Take the opening of this stage f’rinstance. I just love how weird and different it is.







ProTip: Avoid the falling rock.







Another nice transition. It’s the small stuff!







Springer said it best: “I’ve got better things to do tonight than die.” Jamie and Tops couldn’t agree more! The first boss is a weirdo by the name of Crasher.







Crasher operates a block throwing contraption. Nail the blocks to break them apart. The pieces will crash into Crasher, damaging him to the point where his spectacles will momentarily fly off his face. Funny detail. Dino City isn’t a long game but thankfully offers you a password at the end of each stage.













Teamwork, baby! It’s a thing of beauty :)







Barrel-tossing Rockys and spiny hedgehogs try to put a damper on your day. Don’t get crushed by that moving platform. The Super Mario World influences are clearly evident.













Teamwork makes the dream work!







You’ll occasionally run into the random odd bonus stage. I’m a sucker for whenever a platformer displays an arrow in the form of collectibles. It’s exactly the kind of stuff I would program too if I were in control.







Cutting it awfully close there!







Speaking of cutting it close! Yo Tops, let’s not try to kill Jamie, OK?







Monster Moles look like double trouble, but they’re actually quite a cake walk.







Prepare for the roller coaster ride of your life as Stage 3 opens up with a bang.







Knock off the Rockys and ride into your station.







Slightly reminiscent of the huge swinging chandeliers from Super Castlevania IV, no? The Careless Circus as this level is known is arguably the most infuriating level in the game. Those bees are a bitch!


There are many more levels in Stage 3 not shown here; you’ll have to discover those for yourself. The boss of this stage is the Trampo Bird.







Things get hectic here in a hurry. Thankfully, you’re safe now. Right?







Technically, yes, but only if you keep moving. Crazy Cindy and Retarded Rocky actually go leaping to their doom. Seeing Cindy’s grin as she plummets to her death is a bit disturbing!













There’s no time to waste as a bald beefy barbarian attempts to crush you alive. Survive the terrifying ordeal and you come to a block that is just out of your dinosaur’s reach. Dismount and hop onto the block to activate it so it can move closer to your dino friend. Nice.







Leaps that see you barely landing on the next platform is so damn satisfying.







Influences to Super Mario World are readily apparent.

Eat your heart out, Yoshi
Eat your heart out, Yoshi


This is easily the game’s most bizarre boss.







Usually you’re riding your dino but here you have to go at it alone for a bit. Freeze the fish to use them as makeshift platforms.







Sometimes you’re required to jump off of two fish which makes it far dicier.







Nasty enemies are out to get you, sans dinosaur, if you make it this far.







Thankfully you can freeze their asses. Come to the end where your dino buddy is back in play and pick from the two doors.







There are so many levels awaiting you. Play Dino City to discover the rest.







Watch out for the Fire Birds guarding Stage Five. If you can make it all the way to the very end of Stage Six, you’ll face off with the movie villain himself, Mr. Big (no relation to Mr. Big from Art of Fighting fame).







Defeat Mr. Big and get treated to a rather cute, almost anime-esque ending.








Password systems (or lack thereof) have plagued a many Super Nintendo games. The last two games I reviewed (Jurassic Park and its sequel, Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues) could sorely have used a save or password feature. Thankfully, Dino City gives you a password at the end of each level. The 12 character passwords are fairly reasonable and easy enough to decipher; the same can’t be said for some other SNES games with a password system. Way to do it (reasonably) right, Irem!








Although Dino City upon first glance appears to be a “kiddy” game thanks to its bright and bold graphics not to mention the overall aesthetics, it’s anything but. The game is surprisingly far more difficult than you might first assume. It’s not impossible or anything, but it’ll take some practice and persistence. I also like how you get two different characters to play as. Timmy and Rex make beating the game far more difficult since Rex punches whereas Tops (Jamie’s dinosaur) throws darts. The difference between the two increases slightly the game’s longevity, not to mention it serves as sort of a “normal” and “hard” mode for a game that is already moderately difficult to begin with. So don’t walk into Dino City thinking it’ll be a walk in the park. Some stages start out easy but they can get tough in a hurry!

Like how a roller coaster starts easy then gets crazy
Like how a roller coaster starts easy then gets crazy…
Bosses are pretty easy -- it's the stages that are tough
Bosses are pretty easy — it’s getting there that’s tough
Choose Jamie and Tops if you want an easier game
Choose Jamie and Tops if you want an easier game
Not your typical easy SNES "kiddy" game!
Not your typical easy SNES “kiddy” game!
Shame they didn't used a more appealing box art
Shame they didn’t used a more appealing box art


EGM's sister publication, Super NES Buyer's Guide
EGM’s sister publication, Super NES Buyer’s Guide


Dino City fared pretty well with the critics. It was considered a great looking game that played pretty well. EGM gave it scores of 6, 7, 7 and 8. Super Play rated it 83%. It’s not often talked about in retro gaming circles but when it does come up, most people seem to vouch for Dino City. While it isn’t good enough to be considered a full blown hidden gem, it’s a quietly solid and underrated little game.






I remember thinking back in the day that Dino City looked like it would be a pretty good game. I never got to play it then but just based off the previews, it looked like a fun platformer. After returning to the SNES scene in early 2006, I found a copy at the local flea market for $5. It’s such a rewarding feeling when you finally fire a game up years and years later only to discover your gut was right on the mark. Dino City is pretty much everything I expected it to be. It’s far from perfect but there’s this sort of charming and whimsical quality backing it. The visuals are lush and scream “Late 1992 SNES Era” if that makes any sense. I love the small details like day to night transitions (even if it only happens once) and the sprites (not to mention the levels themselves) all look pretty great. The music is fairly charming as well — the intro piece actually reminds me a lot of a tune that would have fit perfectly in the Mega Man universe! The game controls pretty well and I rarely found myself blaming the control whenever I died (which happened a lot by the way — your typical easy SNES kiddy game this ain’t). It’s not a long game but Irem was kind enough to give us a password system to deflect possible player fatigue. I will never fault a 16-bit game (especially platformers) for having a (reasonable) password system, and this one thankfully does.


But now for some things that could have been improved. First of all, I loved the idea of dismounting from your dinosaur and playing solely as the child protagonist. I feel this feature was slightly underutilized and could have been further expanded upon and explored. The few instances where you are required to dismount are pretty effective, so it’s a case of there should have been a little more. Secondly, the levels are far too short for their own good. They feel more like bite-sized action zones than actual levels. Although there are a good deal of levels overall in the game, most of them are disappointingly short. Just when you’re beginning to sink your teeth into them, they suddenly end. It kind of takes away from the game and kept it from going to that next level. But all in all, Dino City is a pretty good little platformer that kind of has been forgotten to time. Riding a dinosaur also helps to differentiate it a bit from the rest of the me too pack of which there were plenty on the SNES. I appreciate this game for what it is. Even little things like most stages having two different exits made me smile. Maybe it’s not quite good enough to attain that ever attractive title of “hidden gem,” but it’s certainly an underrated little game that’s well worth playing and can easily occupy you for a weekend or two.

Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7.5
Longevity: 6

AwardOverall: 7.5
Bronze Award


Jurassic Park 2 (SNES)

Pub & Dev: Ocean | November 1994 | 16 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Ocean | November 1994 | 16 MEGS

Jurassic Park fever swept the world back in the summer of 1993. After the smashing blockbuster hit, dinosaurs were back and bigger than ever. Later that November, Ocean released a video game adaptation of Jurassic Park to mostly rave reviews. Exactly one year later, they were at it again with a sequel. But this time, rather than an overhead action game with first person shooter sections, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues was a more basic and traditional side-scrolling shoot ‘em up. Jurassic Park 2 comes off a bit like a mix between Alien³ and Contra III, proving that going back to the basics can be what’s best for business.

That Barbasol can is in honor of one, Dennis Nedry
That Barbasol can is in honor of one, Dennis Nedry
Rest In Power, Dennis Nedry
Rest In Power, Dennis Nedry



I never played Jurassic Park 2 back in the day but I fondly recall the crazy 6-page EGM preview in their December 1994 issue. When I got back into the Super Nintendo nearly 12 years ago (January 17, 2006 to be precise), Jurassic Park 2 was one of the earliest games I picked up. It’s a fond memory for me as it fell on the first day of my final undergrad semester at my old college. It was a Wednesday I can still vividly recall. That semester Wednesday was the best day of the week because I only had one class on Wednesdays (9-10:15 AM). After class that day I had a couple girl friends go buy some books with me at the local campus store. Afterward it was 11:30 and I decided to drive to a nearby Game Crazy to see what SNES goodies they might have that day. Game Crazy was a hub attached to Hollywood Video back when these relics existed. There was a time when Game Crazy was actually pretty damn good. They used to carry a solid variety of top-notch SNES games in excellent condition, but this was before the SNES scene exploded. On this particular afternoon, much to my delight I found The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues and The Lost Vikings. I got The Lost Vikings free as part of Game Crazy’s buy 2 get 1 free deal. Talk about starting off my final undergrad semester with a bang!


I remember asking the cashier that day if he had any Sega Saturn games in storage. I don’t know why but I asked him and boy am I glad I did. He said he received a stash of Saturn games recently but that they had not yet put out on display. He pulled out a thick black binder, unzipped it and revealed a bunch of somewhat scarce Saturn titles in high demand. I ended up buying Shining Wisdom and Iron Storm for $2.99 each while getting Saturn Bomberman for free. Talk about highway robbery! It was one HELL of a deal. I couldn’t stop grinning from ear to ear as I drove home.

Hard to believe it's been nearly 12 years
Hard to believe it’s been nearly 12 years


Here’s a shot of the actual Hollywood Video from my childhood town. Man, it brings back so many memories. The mountains in the back. How Target was right across the street and how just to the right of the Target sign stood a classic mom and pop rental shop by the name of Video Mart. One time my mom was shopping at Target while I sat on the little lawn right there by the Target sign, reading Goosebumps book #26, entitled My Hairiest Adventure. Man, for some reason that sticks out in my mind. Good innocent times from a bygone era. It’s really a shame that kids these days only know of Redbox and NetFlix. I like those modern conveniences too, but damn if it’ll ever match the pure joy and wonder of visiting the local rental store on a Saturday afternoon. If you were a kid growing up at any point between the ’80s to mid ’90s, it was a ritual and a way of life. There’s something incredibly sacred about those old video stores and memories that I cherish and hold near and dear to my heart. And always will.


Here’s a shot of that same Hollywood Video that I captured on a cold rainy Monday night in January of 2006. Hollywood was one of my favorite stores to visit as a kid. I wasted hours going up and down the long aisles staring at the back of horror movie VHS boxes and gawking at the latest 16-bit video games. It was a big part of my childhood, and it saddens me that the kids of today will never know what it’s like to roam through a video store on a lazy Saturday afternoon. This particular Hollywood Video location finally died off in 2009. It was one of the last relics remaining from my youth. Thanks for the memories, Hollywood! Farewell dear old friend. Long live 16-bit and horror movie boxes!



Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues holds a fairly distinct honor. To the best of my knowledge, it’s the only “movie sequel” game on the SNES that came out before the actual movie sequel itself. The Lost World: Jurassic Park didn’t come out in theaters until May 19, 1997.

Handy tips, especially the last one
Handy tips, especially the last one


Screw ya, Hammond! You chickenshit :P
Screw ya, Hammond! You little old chickenshit :P
The manual said "ASSES." Sorry, I'm easily amused...
The manual said ASSES. Sorry, I’m easily amused…









Dodgson is a key figure in the book more than the film
Dodgson is a key figure in the book more than the film


Little do the BioSyn soldiers know it's a suicide mission
Little do the BioSyn soldiers know it’s a suicide mission





The soft glow of a full moon pierces the eerie night sky
The soft glow of a full moon pierces the eerie night sky





It's time to kick some dinosaur and BioSyn ass!
It’s time to kick some dinosaur and BioSyn ass!

It’s interesting that the intro focuses purely on the bad guys. That might be a first in SNES history. The best thing about this game is its 2 player co-op mode. Player 2 controls Michael Wolfskin, a character entirely made up for the sake of this game and has no canon to either the film or novel.


Love how the raptor claws at the screen for the II mark
Love how a raptor claws at the screen for the II mark
You can even bring your partner back from the dead
You can even bring your partner back from the dead

The six weapons are split into two categories: lethal and non-lethal. Lethal guns will kill dinosaurs and humans. But here’s the kicker: there’s a dinosaur counter that keeps track of the dinosaur population inhabiting Isla Nublar. It starts at 100 and drops each time you kill a dinosaur (excluding raptors and the T-Rex). The game ends if the number drops too low. But the number also rises the more you kill them (due to natural reproduction). It is best then to maim dinosaurs with your non-lethal weapons. Note however that non-lethal weapons do zero damage to the humans. The good news? You start off with all six weapons and can switch on a dime. This may sound confusing but it’s pretty natural after playing it for a bit.







I appreciate the ability to pick and choose
I appreciate the ability to pick and choose







Objectives are listed before entering a mission.

Alan Grant is agile and he can shoot diagonally
Alan Grant is quite agile and can shoot diagonally
Cattle prod and rifle have unlimited ammo (999)
Cattle prod and rifle both have unlimited ammo












They ain't your dumb blind raptors from the first game
Not your dumb blind raptors from the first game…
See what I mean?
See what I mean?
John Hammond I swear... I will WHUP DAT ASS
John Hammond I swear… I will WHUP DAT ASS


You activated the gas... now the clock ticks. Get out fast!
You activated the gas. Now the clock ticks. Get out!
The gas may be the least of your problems...
The gas may be the least of your problems…












Awesome how you can leap from behind ladders and swing around them to latch on safely. It’s always the little details.










Satisfying to pick off these bastards. Doing so will blow their sorry asses SKY HIGH. Boom.






This came out in the early '90s. What a time to be a kid
This came out back in 1991. What a time to be a kid


There was even almost a Toxic Crusaders game on the SNES. But it got canned before it could ever get off the ground. Despite the game looking kind of awful, I was disappointed it was never released. Call it morbid curiosity if nothing else.

Ah, the good old days
Ah, the good old days
They also appeared in Elevator Action Returns...
They also appeared in Elevator Action Returns



Sigh... some people just never learn
Sigh… some people just never learn





Contact with the steam gas results in pain
Contact with the steam gas results in pain
Best adrenaline rush in gaming BAR none. Sorry
Best adrenaline rush in gaming BAR none. Sorry
Use your non-lethals and watch out for falling rocks
Use your non-lethals and watch out for falling rocks
You're out there somewhere, Mac, thinking of me
You’re out there somewhere, Mac, thinking of me
Crap, we just found MOMMY
Crap, we just found MOMMY
This is the best looking level of the game
This is the best looking level of the game
Damn you, John Hammond
Damn you, John Hammond
I know that's you, John! Yer going down, HAMMOND!
“I know that’s you, John! Yer going down, HAMMOND!”


And hey, the mission is called "Protect the Gallimimus"
And hey, the mission is called “Protect the Gallimimus”



Shades of Metal Slug
Shades of Metal Slug



At least he didn't bust out the selfie stick
At least he didn’t bust out the selfie stick

[No walk in the Jurassic Park? Sorry -Ed.]
No walk in the Jurassic Park? No? I’ll see myself out






Emergency missions are a BITCH.

To make things worse, they're bloody TIMED
To make things worse, they’re bloody TIMED




Front and back attack. I felt that one
Front and back attack. God damn
Good luck
Good luck


Where's Rodan when you need him?!
Where’s Rodan when you need him?!

Jurassic Park 2 received a whopping 6-page preview in EGM issue #65 (December 1994). The next month EGM gave it scores of 6, 7, 7 and 8. Super Play rated it 83%. The sequel didn’t get the hype or praise that the first game did, despite it being considerably better than the first one. The first game benefited from being based off the actual movie and naturally had more hype due to its timely release following the summer blockbuster. The fact that Jurassic Park 2 is the only SNES game (to the best of my knowledge) that is a sequel to a film that had yet to exist speaks to the mega brand of Jurassic Park. It makes Jurassic Park 2 a unique footnote in SNES history if nothing else. Speaking of unique, how many SNES games can you name that features a voice-laden intro?



Guess he didn't see the Raptors Crossing sign
Guess he didn’t see the Raptors Crossing sign

Jurassic Park 2 has a little of the intense run ‘n gun action of Contra III but it’s also sprinkled with the exploratory aspects of Alien³. Oh and of course, plenty of dinosaurs. The visuals are quite good. Raptors look a thousand times more realistic and menacing than they did in the first game. Guns fly out of the hands of BioSyn soldiers as you mow them down. Some of the stages have a striking look. Sound and music is both rock solid with lots of nice loud explosions and unsettling dinosaur roars. The game is harder than a two dollar steak, however, and that may turn off some players. Memorization and knowing when to fire which gun is critical to success. Perseverance will lead to a fairly rewarding experience, especially if you can find a buddy to join in. Not too shabby, Ocean. Certainly a marked improvement over their first Jurassic Park outing.

"Um, can this thing please go faster?!"
“Um, can this thing please go faster?!”

However, the game is plagued by a few flaws. Similar to the first game, Jurassic Park 2 doesn’t employ a password system. It makes beating this game in one sitting a very daunting task. It’s a shame Ocean didn’t learn from their previous mistake. Also, the difficulty approaches unfair territory at times; the annoyingly timed emergency missions are a total pain in the ass. But if you’re willing to overlook these flaws then Jurassic Park 2 is a pretty solid two player dinosaur blasting romp. It doesn’t get talked about often and seems to have been largely forgotten. It’s not great, or even good perhaps, but it’s definitely a solid addition to any SNES library that already has everything else.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 7
Longevity: 6

Overall: 7.0

"He'll never see me lying here..."
“He’ll never see me lying here…”
“… AW SHIT!”

Jurassic Park (SNES)

Pub & Dev: Ocean | November 1993 | 16 MEGS
Pub & Dev: Ocean | November 1993 | 16 MEGS

Who didn’t love dinosaurs as a kid? Jurassic Park hit theaters in June of 1993 to critical and commercial success. Five short months later, Ocean released a movie video game adaptation on the SNES — although technically, it’s more based off the book than the movie. Jurassic Park is an overhead action adventure with a first person mode. Wait, Zelda meets Wolfenstein meets dinosaurs? It sounds like a wet dream. Dream being the operative word. Unfortunately, Ocean’s effort fell a bit flat. I guess uh, Ocean finds a way to mess it up didn’t they, Malcolm?



I was obsessed with dinosaurs growing up. In first grade, my class took a field trip to a museum that featured amazing dinosaur animatronics. I got to see my favorite, the T-Rex, in all its glory. It towered over me and I was absolutely terrified. The whole exhibit was breathtaking, recreating the wonder and terrors that roamed the earth more than 65 million years ago. Several years following this unforgettable field trip, Jurassic Park hit movie theaters nationwide in the summer of 1993. But as much as I loved dinosaurs, I somehow missed the theatrical run of Jurassic Park. That definitely ranks up there on my list of “Small Childhood Regrets.” My brother and I didn’t watch a lot of movies in the theater growing up. I guess we were too busy renting and playing the latest video games instead. Our first movie we caught in the theaters? Super Mario Brothers. Oh, lucky us indeed.


Made on a budget of 63 million dollars, it became the highest grossing film of the time, toppling E.T. on its way to a nutty 914 million. The movie was an adaptation of the Michael Crichton novel. The plot is simple: on an island off the coast of Costa Rica, a preserve has been built to host cloned dinosaurs. Jurassic Park was to be the theme park attraction of the ages. But of course, as Ian Malcolm prophetically stated in the film: LIFE FINDS A WAY. And sure enough, life does. And then massive dinosaur shit hits the fan. It was a simple concept that worked on so many levels thanks in no small part to its groundbreaking usage of computer generated images. The CGI was stellar for its time, and even to this day many feel it holds up particularly well. It’s an epic film with many memorable breathtaking scenes. F’rinstance, remember when Dr. Grant and the kids (Lex and Tim) rested on a tall tree limb overlooking an ominous night sky, complete with a Brachiosaurus enjoying a midnight snack? Scenes like this were buried in our minds and hearts even nearly 25 years later!


My favorite scene? The infamous one with the raptors stalking the kids in the kitchen. It’s one of the most (in)tense movie scenes I’ve ever seen. Just the sheer terror of being trapped in a kitchen with two wild ferocious raptors is enough to make my heart skip a couple beats. That moment where the one raptor is shown standing as upright as she can, snorting at the air like some kind of savage war cry, gives me the heebie-jeebies! And perfectly positioned in that same shot was poor little Tim, his face a frozen rictus of horror. The raptors in Jurassic Park were genuinely scary. Even today that scene still freaks the hell out of me. What a movie! :)

As for the game, it fell under the file of “I wanted to play this 20+ years ago but never did.” Thanks to Jurassic World, which came out in theaters summer of 2015, I decided it was finally time to quell a 20+ year childhood curiosity. I wish I could say the game is even half as awesome as the film, but it was largely a bittersweet experience…

Ocean spent six figures to acquire the licensing rights
Ocean spent six figures to acquire the licensing rights
It's compatible with the SNES mouse, oddly enough
It’s compatible with the SNES mouse, oddly enough






The Triceratops spent the film sick as hell but it’s perfectly healthy here. It only appears in a few sections, rumbling through the landscape each time it does appear. You can’t kill or sedate it, so get the hell out of its way.


Ah, Velociraptors. Arguably the star of Jurassic Park, raptors hunt in packs and strike with blinding speed. If not dealt with immediately they’ll slash you to pieces in no time flat. I recommend using either the bola or rocket launcher. The shotgun takes 2-3 shots to put them down, which leaves you vulnerable to counterattack. Raptors love to hide in the thick dense trees, revealing themselves only after you’ve crossed over into their territory. They may seem tough at first but they’re really not too bad once you know where the ammo and raptors are situated.


Ever a perennial favorite, the classic T-Rex is terror on two legs personified. Even though he only appears twice in the game and always at the same locations, his presence is still strongly felt. The music changes to this bone-chilling rhythmic jungle beat whenever you’re near a T-Rex zone. You’ll feel a jolt of adrenaline kick in when the king comes barreling out of the left side of your TV screen. Escaping the jaws of death at the very last possible moment is always a major rush!








KEY TIP 1: The cattle prod is most effective against the little Compys. Remember that…

KEY TIP 2: You can carry two weapons at a time. I highly recommend carrying the rocket launcher and bola

KEY TIP 3: Even when carrying two weapons, you can always press select to switch back to the cattle prod. Don’t forget to do that when running across a group of little angry Compys. Trust me…


You'll get eaten alive without a guide...
You’ll get eaten alive without a guide…

Jurassic Park is a non-linear open world action adventure that can be viewed as sort of a sandbox survival horror game. Trust me, it isn’t nearly as awesome as that may sound, but it’s certainly playable. You won’t find set stages or levels here. The game is split into two modes: an overhead mode and a (primitive) first person mode whenever you enter a building. Unfortunately, these scenarios are rather plodding, not to mention clunky and somewhat confusing. In general, the game can be extremely confusing if you go into it blind so I recommend using a guide if you possibly can. To help you out, here’s a general overview.







There's something creepy about these critters
There’s something creepy about these critters







You can get lost without a good memory or a map
You can get lost without a good memory or a map







Who doesn't remember the dramatic kitchen scene?
Who doesn’t remember the dramatic kitchen scene?



Could have used your help here, Mr. Hammond
Could have used your help here, Mr. Hammond




Sorry, there are no vehicles here. Backtrack by foot :(
Sorry, there are no vehicles here. Backtrack by foot :(
Lots of this [Sounds like my marriage -Ed.]
Expect lots of this [Sounds like my marriage -Ed.]
I recommend using a guide. You might go nuts if not
I recommend using a guide. You might go nuts if not




Text boxes are too damn big. Speaking of which...
Text boxes are too damn big. Speaking of which…


At least you can get rid of these boxes with L or R
At least you can get rid of these boxes with L or R
Of course not. You're way too smart for that T-Rex...
Of course not…
Oops. I spoke too soon
Oops. I spoke too soon
Learn from the movie: NEVER listen to Nedry
Learn from the movie: NEVER listen to Nedry
See? STAND STILL MY ASS. Raptors don't care
See? STAND STILL MY ASS. Raptors don’t care
WHAT A DAMN PRICK [I like his sense of humor -Ed.]
WHAT A DAMN PRICK [I like his sense of humor -Ed.]



Jurassic Park was well received by the critics of the time. EGM gave it scores of 6, 7, 8 and 8. GameFan lauded it with ratings of 89, 92, 95 and 95%. Super Play rated it 89% and called it the 84th best SNES game on their Top 100 list (issue #42, April 1996). However, reception among retro gamers is almost nearly the complete opposite. Most seem to find Jurassic Park clunky and not so good. Reasons for this mainly include the cumbersome first person sections as well as the ridiculous amount of backtracking, thanks to all the scattered ID cards required to grant you access. I find critical reception of this game to be quite fascinating; there weren’t too many games that were scored highly back in the day that people now more often than not DO NOT like. (ActRaiser 2 is another example). Jurassic Park also marks the first SNES game in which I completely disagree with the “Big 3.” Usually, I find one of EGM, GameFan or Super Play “gets it right,” so to speak. But in this case, they all endorsed the game by and large, and I gotta say that I disagree.

Of the big 3, this opinion most closely mirrors mine
Of the big 3, this opinion most closely mirrors mine


What a fantastic film. The game? Yeah, not so much
What a fantastic film. The game? Yeah, not so much

Jurassic Park is one of the most epic, memorable and badass summer blockbuster hits of all time. The idea of a game that mixes elements from Zelda and Wolfenstein is an enticing combination indeed, especially when you add dinosaurs to that equation. But unfortunately, it’s really not Zelda meets Wolfenstein. What you’re left with then is an uneven experience. The overhead sections are above average while the indoor first person parts are below par. But if you play Jurassic Park using a guide, you just might get a bit of enjoyment out of it. The visuals are decent enough. The sounds and music are well done; raptor roars and the like are convincing and even a bit frightening. The music switches from one zone to the next with each theme suitably befitting to that part of the island. It’s just too bad then that the game as a whole fails to capture the awe, wonder and magic of the blockbuster 1993 film.

Dont be fooled, its not an action-packed game
Don’t be fooled by this, it’s not an action-packed game

Speaking of negatives, Jurassic Park would have hugely benefited from having a save feature. It’s just lengthy enough that finishing it in one sitting isn’t ideal. Not to mention, the insane amount of backtracking and finding ID cards put a real damper on a game lacking a save system (hell, even a password system would have sufficed). Although, this issue is slightly mitigated to a small degree if you play with a guide. And that’s really the only way I recommend playing this game. Sadly, pictures like the one you see above may suggest lots of action but the real game lacks these white-knuckle situations. Dinosaurs are sadly few and far between, and remain stranded to their fixed positions. They don’t chase or stalk you like they did in the movie. They only jump out at you if you happen to pass by and they don’t give chase if you make a run for it. Instead, they just saunter back to their hiding spots like college kids working at the local Halloween haunted house. It takes away considerably from the intensity of the game. Jurassic Park actually isn’t hard — the game provides plenty of ammo for survival. The real challenge comes in the form of endurance. Can you put up with all the slow clunky first person levels, gathering all the ID cards and powering through in one long sitting? If so, you just might enjoy Jurassic Park. But for the rest of us, it ends up being more frustrating than it is fun.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 5
Longevity: 4

Overall: 5.0

... not to endorse this video game
… not to endorse this game. Jurassic Park 2 is better
"Say that one more time; I'll find a way to hurt you"
“Say that one more time and I’ll find a way to hurt you!”
Cmon Ian Malcolm. This game isn't THAT terrible...
C’mon, Ian Malcolm. This game isn’t THAT terrible…
That Barbasol can is in honor of one, Dennis Nedry
That Barbasol can is in honor of one, Dennis Nedry
Rest In Power, Dennis Nedry
Rest In Power, Dennis Nedry

On a hot lazy summer afternoon back in 2015, I spent 4½ hours beating Jurassic Park in one long sitting. Probably never doing that again! While I did find some odd sense of enjoyment out of it, it really isn’t a “good” game by any stretch of the imagination. But is it playable and enjoyable? It can be BUT I highly recommend using a guide.

But why not just rewatch the film? :P

Or listen to the main theme?
Instant goosebumps!