Jurassic Park holds a very special place in my heart. When I first read the novel at 12 years old, I remember closing it and saying to myself, “This needs to be made into a movie.” Little did I know that Stephen Spielberg was already filming the movie as I was reading it. And when the movie came out, it was an amazing experience. After seeing it in the theater, I remember being scared to death as I was riding my bike home, thinking that every noise was a Dilophosaurus hunting me down. Weeks later, I saved my Chuck E. Cheese tickets just to get a raptor stuffed animal and collected Jurassic Park trading cards. I even supersized my Extra Value Meals at McDonalds in order to get the collector’s cups. I was fully engulfed in the dino-mania that was sweeping the globe. Everything about Jurassic Park was amazing, with one exception… the video games.
The Jurassic Park games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were completely different, but unfortunately, neither hit that high standard set by the book and movie. I rented Jurassic Park for the Super Nintendo and found the mixture of overhead exploration and first-person shooter to be quite shallow. My friend had the Sega Genesis game, and while I did enjoy the graphics, animation, and 2D style, I found it too difficult to enjoy. Since then, I haven’t really found a Jurassic Park game that I enjoyed – that is, until Lego Jurassic World. Playing it brought back fond memories of growing up watching these movies, and while it isn’t perfect, Lego Jurassic World is still a fun romp.
Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 (Version Played), Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Traveller’s Tales
Genre: An Adventure Game 65 Million Bricks in the Making
Release Date: June 12, 2015
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+
Lego Jurassic World is an amalgamation of all four movies in the Jurassic Park series: Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Jurassic Park III, and the recent box office smash, Jurassic World. You start off at the beginning of the first movie, as Muldoon as his team are loading one of the raptors into its pen. The prologue continues to the part where Grant, Sattler, and Malcom first arrive on the island via helicopter. From there, you get to choose whether to play through the first Jurassic Park movie or go straight into Jurassic World.
The game continues from there in typical Lego fashion as you play through the plots of the Jurassic Park movies, collecting Lego pieces and solving puzzles along the way. For anyone who has played Lego video games in the past, this should be fairly common ground. And for those of you parents who may be concerned about the more violent content in the Jurassic Park movies, don’t worry: the game remains family friendly throughout. Nobody dies in the game, and humorous scenes replace the more serious deaths. Remember where the construction worker is pulled into the raptor pen? Instead, the feisty dinosaur steals his lunch. It makes sense in the Lego world, and anyone looking to play the game should expect as much.
As is the norm for Lego games, different characters have different abilities. Dr. Grant, for example, uses his trusty raptor claw to cut ropes and vines. Other characters can dig up bones and use their hunting skills to follow dinosaur tracks. While these character-specific powers are nothing new to Lego games, Lego Jurassic World does bring some new gameplay aspects into the fold. First off, you can play as the dinosaurs. Granted, the Sega Genesis version of Jurassic Park and the PlayStation version of The Lost World: Jurassic Park allowed you to play as dinosaurs, but in all honesty, this is the first time I actually had fun doing so. Some story levels put you in the role of Velociraptors, Triceratops, and the like, and using these dinos in free play only adds to the replay factor.
But don’t think that the game is strictly limited to recreating the movies. If you want to take a break from the story levels, you can freely explore Isla Nublar, helping the Jurassic Park workers and earning gold bricks. Granted, some of the puzzles can only be solved if you have the correct characters, which are unlocked during story mode. But it is a nice change of pace if the main story levels become a bit too tiresome.
Lego Jurassic World also contains a wealth of unlockables. From characters and vehicles to the dinos themselves, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the game if you want to unlock everything. I never thought there were this many characters in the Jurassic Park movies, but it is fun to see such minor characters as Dr. Harding and that jerky kid from the dig site scene in the first movie. Having multiplayer helps too, as playing with a friend is a lot of fun.
The audio, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. Lego Jurassic World uses the orchestral score from the movies, and it is great to hear that famous music while playing the game. The dialogue is also lifted from the movies, but unfortunately the results can be hit-or-miss. I’m not sure if it’s due to licensing rights or audio quality (the first three movies are at least fifteen years old), but some of the characters were re-voiced by different actors. Only Wayne Knight can produce that signature whiny voice and laugh, and it’s kind of off-putting to hear someone else speak his lines. Additionally, some of the voices that were taken from the movies sound a bit washed out. Again, this is likely due to the age of the films, so I fully understand why there’s a dip in quality.
Lego Jurassic World sets out to create a family-friendly version of some of the greatest adventure movies of our time, and in that regard, it succeeds. Aside from a few hiccups that appear to be out of their control, Traveller’s Tales has put out yet another solid entry in the franchise. The game doesn’t really break any new ground, but it does build upon past entries to make yet another fun experience for fans of all ages.
Review Disclosure: A review copy of Lego Jurassic World was provided by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the purposes of this review.