REVIEW: Retro 8-Bit & 16-Bit Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection by Limited Run Now Available

Shannen Ace

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REVIEW: Retro 8-Bit & 16-Bit Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection by Limited Run Now Available

In collaboration with Universal Products and Experiences, Limited Run Games’ Carbon Engine has revived a series of retro 8-bit and 16-bit Jurassic Park games with new features.

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection

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The Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection is available now, just in time for the gift-giving season, and includes the following seven fan-favorite titles, originally released across NES, Game Boy, SNES, and the SEGA Genesis:

  • “Jurassic Park” (NES)
  • “Jurassic Park” (SNES)
  • “Jurassic Park” (Game Boy)
  • “Jurassic Park” (Genesis)
  • “Jurassic Park: The Chaos Continues” (SNES)
  • “Jurassic Park: The Chaos Continues” (Game Boy)
  • “Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition” (Genesis)

Updates to the games include save states, in-game maps, and various quality-of-life fixes. The collection is available digitally on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam for $29.99. Watch the trailer for the game below and then keep scrolling to read our review by Doug Hack.

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection Review

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Limited Run’s Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection consists of seven games from the 8-bit and 16-bit eras of video games. The games included are “Jurassic Park” (8-bit, originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System), “Jurassic Park” (Portable, originally released on the Nintendo Game Boy), “Jurassic Park” (16-bit, originally released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System), “Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues” (16-bit, originally released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System), “Jurassic Park Part 2: The Chaos Continues” (Portable, Nintendo Game Boy), “Jurassic Park” (Genesis, originally released on the Sega Genesis), and “Jurassic Park Rampage Edition” (Genesis, originally released on the Sega Genesis).

From the main menu, players can select and start a game, listen to a soundtrack, or view the credits for the selected game. The soundtrack screen is a fun nod to Dennis Nedry’s desk from the first movie, complete with the Barbasol can that would house the stolen embryos prior to Nedry’s demise. Other than the ability to listen to soundtracks, there really are no other special features, such as digital versions of the instruction manuals or developer commentary.

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Despite a lack of additional bonus features, there is still plenty for gamers to sink their teeth into with the included games. All games now include a save state feature which is a massive improvement for several of these games. “Jurassic Park” (16-bit), in particular, is actually a somewhat lengthy game that previously had no save system at all, so to say the ability to save improves that experience is an understatement.

Players can add a CRT filter to the console games to give them more of a retro TV feel. For the portable games, the player can add a Dot Matrix filter which will give the game a more authentic Game Boy look. Players are also able to change the screen size. Much like other retro collections, there is a new ability to rewind gameplay to correct mistakes or immediately replay a freshly cleared level section. There is one other new feature that several of the games make use of, but we’ll touch on that new feature a little later.

“Jurassic Park” (Genesis) and “Jurassic Park Rampage” (Genesis)

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Both Genesis games are 2D platforming games where you can play as either Dr. Grant or a Velociraptor. The character that is played determines the gameplay. Dr. Grant is able to make use of a variety of weapons to defeat dinosaurs and guards, while the Velociraptor makes use of its teeth, tail, and claws to defeat enemies. Regardless of character, the main objective is to reach the end of a level to progress the story. In both games, the story will differ based on the character you play. Perhaps most important is that the controls in both of these games are quite responsive and we didn’t experience any issues when controlling either character.

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Beyond that, though, is where the similarities between the two games start to differ. The speed of the gameplay in “Jurassic Park” is significantly slower than that of “Rampage Edition.” I mean that literally, as both Dr. Grant and the raptor move at a much slower pace in “Jurassic Park.” There is one level in “Rampage Edition” as Dr. Grant when you ride on the back of a dinosaur. The pacing of that level felt more like a Sonic the Hedgehog game, making it ideal for players who prefer up-tempo gameplay. Both games do offer the ability to adjust the difficulty, so it is pretty accessible to gamers of any experience level. 

Along with that difference in pace comes a difference in graphics. “Rampage Edition” features brighter colors and overall a better graphical experience than “Jurassic Park.” “Jurassic Park” features darker colors and weaker backgrounds that sometimes make it difficult to differentiate what is a ledge to climb on and what isn’t. That said, the character models in both games look really good for a Sega Genesis game.

If you are a fan of the Sega Genesis’ music and sound effects, you’ll find a lot to love here. The soundtrack and sound effects in both Genesis games still sound excellent in this collection and thanks to the updated technology of today, sounds are clearer than ever before.

As someone who has very little experience with either Genesis game, I was very happy with the addition of the rewind and save features. I enjoyed my time with both of these games, but I feel like “Rampage Edition” is just the superior of the two. I can see why both games are in the collection though as they are different enough, I’m just not sure how much I’ll be going back to “Jurassic Park” as opposed to “Rampage Edition.”

“Jurassic Park” (8-bit NES) and “Jurassic Park” (Portable Game Boy)

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The 8-bit and portable (NES and Game Boy versions) are actually the same game with the same objective: to escape the island! While the 8-bit version looks like it always has, the portable version sees a massive, yet simple upgrade thanks to the modern consoles this collection brings it to.

For those unfamiliar with the system, the Game Boy did not feature any kind of built-in lighting until the Game Boy Advance SP model came out 10 whole years after the release of “Jurassic Park.” This collection brings lighting to “Jurassic Park” (portable), and while it maintains the greenish color that was present with the original Game Boy, it is much easier to see and actually looks really good.

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The levels offer a small variety of challenges ranging from the common collecting dinosaur eggs to paddling up a river to fending off the T-Rex. In comparison to the other games in the collection, both of these are pretty short. That said, there is a degree of difficulty to them that was a hallmark of games of the early ’90s. Much of the difficulty in these games comes from dinosaurs jumping from out of nowhere to attack you along with a small health bar that can only handle a few hits. This difficulty is only increased in the portable version as the Game Boy’s tiny screen caused screen crunch, which led to characters taking up more space on the screen, leading to less room to maneuver a character safely.

Graphically, the games both look good for their respective consoles. Character models look good and the colors of the 8-bit version really pop! Since the games are in a top-down perspective, there aren’t any instances of something rushing onto the screen that you cannot react to.

Speaking of reacting, the controls for these games are okay at best. The 8-bit version controls better than the portable, which makes sense. However, in both games, I had a few times where I really struggled to line up a shot, and other times the control seemed a bit laggy in terms of response. Granted, those lag issues were present in the originals as more things were on the screen, so I’m not sure if that was just missed for the collection or intentionally left in.

In terms of music and sound effects, it’s 8-bit goodness all around! This is one of those times that the music from the NES translated well to the Game Boy originally, but with the hardware of today, both game’s soundtracks really shine in comparison to the original releases. I found myself listening to both soundtracks and came to the conclusion that I prefer some tracks from the 8-bit version and some tracks from the portable version.

Both of these games feature the same enhancements as the Genesis games in terms of the ability to save, rewind, turn a CRT filter on for the 8-bit version or a Dot Matrix filter for the portable, and adjust screen size. My only wish is that the portable version had a couple of different filters to make the game appear like it was running on a Game Boy Pocket or Game Boy Color.

Both of these games also feature an enhancement not seen in the Genesis games in the form of in-game maps. This, along with the ability to save, are easily the two biggest quality-of-life improvements this collection offers these two games. Both operate on somewhat of an open-world map, similar to games like the original “The Legend of Zelda” on NES. Unlike that game though, neither of these “Jurassic Park” games offered any kind of a map at any point. Even the instruction manuals of these games lacked a map.

While the map doesn’t pinpoint where the player is, it is an invaluable tool that I found myself checking frequently to get an idea of where I was and where I had been already. I do wish though that there was an option to turn off the egg locations, as the map reveals the location of all the eggs in the level which does take away a bit of the need for exploration.

All in all, the two oldest games in the collection do feel a bit dated, which makes sense given the year they came out, but I still found them as enjoyable as the 8-bit games. Compared to the other games in the collection, though, they just don’t have a ton to offer — which, again, given the year they came out, is to be expected. I do wonder if it would have perhaps been better to include the Game Boy version of “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” or even the Sega Master System or Game Gear versions of “Jurassic Park,” since any of those would be a unique game as opposed to a handheld port of a game included in this collection.

“Jurassic Park” (16-bit SNES)

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“Jurassic Park” (16-bit) plays in a similar non-linear fashion to its 8-bit predecessor. That said, the game is upgraded in many ways and may be one of the better movie tie-in games that existed on the Super Nintendo. The objective, as you may have already guessed, is to escape the island. In order to do so, you’ll need to complete a variety of tasks.

Originally a problem of this game was that some of these tasks, such as collecting all of the dinosaur eggs, took a long time to do. The average time to complete this game was around 10 hours, which was an incredibly tall task considering the game had no save system. This was a huge disadvantage for players of this version of the game as opposed to the Sega Genesis games, which featured passwords to load the game to a certain level. This collection rectifies that problem with the save state feature, allowing players to put down and pick up the game as they please.

The graphics are overall great and players will be exposed to two different views. The first is a top-down view of the overworld similar to that of the 8-bit versions. The 16-bit graphics are a huge upgrade and everything in this game looks super colorful and vibrant. The character models all look great and the dinosaur attacks look far more convincing than that of the 8-bit games. Two of the early standouts of this in the game are the Velociraptors and stampeding Gallimimus. The upgraded graphics also feature more “Jurassic Park” theming, such as signs and posters on the buildings. In addition to the top-down view, the 16-bit version of “Jurassic Park” features something that was, at the time, pretty uncommon.

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Any time the player enters a building, rather than maintain the top-down view, the game shifts to a first-person view. This was not a common thing in the 16-bit era like it is today, so the first time a player saw this in the early ’90s, it was pretty shocking. While the overworld’s top-down perspective still looks good today, the first-person views have certainly not aged well. That being said, they are still great for their time period. The transition from top-down to first-person views is seamless and there is no real load time on either the Super Nintendo or in this collection, which is also quite impressive given such a radical shift in views. 

The gameplay does vary based on where a player is in the game. In the overworld, the controls are very responsive. The controls inside the buildings are a bit laggy and it is harder to line up a shot against a charging raptor than it is against the ones on the overworld. This small issue is present in both the Super Nintendo original and in this collection. That being said, the lower frames per second of the first-person sections add to the survival horror feel that the game takes on. The overworld has the new in-game map feature which is a welcome addition, but inside of the buildings, there is still no map. I really like that, as the insides of the buildings do really feel more like an early horror game with raptors lurking around corners and corridors requiring night vision goggles. 

One of the highlights of this game is the soundtrack. This is especially true in those first-person sections. The music that plays here is really suspenseful and instills a sense of dread, especially when you hear the scream of a raptor or attack of a Dilophosaurus. The overworld music is also very well done and will change depending on the area of the map that the player is in. All in all, I wasn’t able to find a bad track in the game. Personally, I am more a fan of the Super Nintendo’s sound hardware than the Sega Genesis’s so to hear these songs as good as they sound in this collection was certainly welcome.

Of all the games, I feel that this game makes the most use and benefits the most from the new features that this collection brings to the table. The map of the overworld is more than welcome, as “Jurassic Park” is actually a fairly large island complete with mountains and a forest maze that are not exactly the easiest to navigate. I would have still liked it if there was an option to hide the location of the dinosaur eggs, but given the size of the game, I was more okay with it than I was with the 8-bit games. As mentioned before, the ability to save is massive for this game as it was very difficult to beat in just one sitting.

“Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues” (16-bit SNES)

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“Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues” offers a unique story that takes place after the events of the first movie. It’s an interesting idea, with In-Gen’s competitor BioSyn attempting to take over the island and In-Gen sending Dr. Grant in to stop them. While the idea sounds interesting, in practice it didn’t work overly well. Rather than expanding on the ideas of the first game, the developers went in a completely different direction.

This game plays closer to run-and-gun games like “Contra” rather than what we have played thus far in this collection. You run along shooting both people and dinosaurs with both lethal and non-lethal weapons. The idea is that you want to preserve the dinosaurs, with the exception of the raptors and T-Rex, while eliminating the BioSyn guards. If you kill too many of the dinosaurs, the game will end, so players will be switching weapons frequently between lethal and non-lethal. The levels themselves can be completed in any order, but none of them really offer anything special.

There is no real sense of exploration like in other games in this collection, as most of the levels are quite linear, only offering a small degree of a need to explore to find an exit. The difficulty level in this game is significantly harder than the others. Some enemies just seem to die right away while others are basically bullet sponges. All in all, Dr. Grant feels underpowered.

Not all is bad here though, as the game does offer a two-player co-op mode! The controls are solid overall and graphically, the game does look good, but a bit darker than the previous entry on the Super Nintendo. The opening cutscene looks great, like it could have been cut out of a comic book. Much like the other games in this collection, the music and sound effects are really solid. Out of all of the games, this is the one I found myself using the new rewind feature the most. It was a lifesaver quite a few times along with the ability to save states. Otherwise, this game features the same CRT filter and screen resizing as the other games.

“Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues” (Portable Game Boy)

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Out of all the games in this collection, this is the one game that I had no prior experience with. I am happy to say that out of all of them, this one was quite surprising. After playing the 16-bit version of the game I was a bit worried about visiting the portable (Game Boy) version, but my worry was quickly put to rest. Much like “Jurassic Park” (Portable), this game greatly benefits from simply being on newer hardware. Much like “Jurassic Park,” this game was originally on the Game Boy and suffered from being on a console with no backlight. 

In terms of graphics, there isn’t really much to say here. For what they are, they are great. The character models are all well done and the animations of characters on screen are surprisingly smooth. At the end of the day though, they are 8-bit graphics on the Game Boy so there isn’t going to be much to them. The music is once again great, as the game features new tracks and remixed tracks from the original game. Where this game really shines is in its gameplay.

“Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues” (Portable) plays a bit like “Metroid” and “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night” (known as the Metroidvania style of game). Players must collect magnetic keys to open security doors in each level. In order to find the keys though, players will need to explore high, low, and even underwater as the keys can be anywhere. This is where that Metroidvania gameplay comes into play. The controls are super responsive for a Game Boy game and the difficulty is much more forgiving than its 16-bit counterpart. In fact, the game may be a bit too easy. I had a lot of fun with it though and would consider it a hidden gem on the Game Boy. 

Once again, the same new features can be found in this game. Just like in the portable version of “Jurassic Park,” the optional CRT filter is replaced with a Dot Matrix filter to give the game more of that authentic Game Boy look. Despite the game having some Metroidvania features, there is no map to be seen. I think that is acceptable as the game is still divided into levels as opposed to operating in a single non-linear world. None of the levels are really large either, so it is pretty easy to remember where you have been, so I think the lack of maps is acceptable for this particular game. Out of all the features, the save feature stands out the most here again as, much like the original “Jurassic Park” (portable), it seems the game had no native way of saving.

Overall Review

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Limited Run’s Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection manages to capture the fun of the original games but only addresses a couple of issues within the games themselves. The improvements all come in the form of new features that were added as extras to the game. The in-game maps in “Jurassic Park” (8-bit, 16-bit, and portable) all help to eliminate confusion within their respective games and are a welcome sight. The ability to rewind helps to navigate the brutal difficulty of “Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues” (16-bit), and the save state feature is perfect to use in all of the games, especially since so many of them previously had no way of saving. Without these add-ons, these games are in the same state as they were on their original consoles, which is not by any means a bad thing.

My time with this collection was spent on the Nintendo Switch. The added feature of being able to play all of these games handheld was fantastic. While the portable games were already handheld, they were never released on a console with a screen like the Nintendo Switch OLED and to be able to play the 16-bit games handheld for the first time was a lot of fun too. The collection overall played very well and never crashed. I also did not experience any glitches or frame rate drops that were not already present in the original versions of the games. My feeling is that the Jurassic Park Classic Games Collection is a must-own for any “Jurassic Park” fan, especially those with memories of playing these games when they were originally released!

Written by: Doug Hack

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