I hope you’re prepared to hear about dinosaurs. Because my favourite game beginning with J is all about the dinosaurs.
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis.
As we’ve seen previously, I’m fond of city builder type games. That love of creating things also runs to genetically modified dinosaur theme parks.
There are a great many Jurassic Park games, from point-and-click narrative driven Telltale games, to first-person tattoo health bar shooters. But park building dino sims are a rarity (she says, as Jurassic Park Evolution is days away from launch).Step into your own Jurassic Park and try to succeed where John Hammond failed.
Operation Genesis puts you in the role of chief park builder, head of a larger team of researchers, scientists, security staff and ultimately responsible for up to 100 park visitors. And, of course, dinosaurs. Pulling dino species from the three Jurassic films that had been released at that point, and utilising a number of ‘attractions’ from those films, such as the guided safari from the original Jurassic Park, you must try to build the park of John Hammond’s dreams without letting your guests (and staff) fall prey to herbivore stampedes, sudden storms, and T-Rex/Spinosaur battles.
Although the game was released on Windows, Xbox and PS2, I had the PS2 copy, which seems to be the version that received the more favourable reviews.
So, where do we begin to build a dino park? First, you need the dinos. Or, you need to start extracting DNA while you also build suitable enclosures for them. Whilst you’re busy putting up fences and security stations, your paleontologists and scientists need to be sent off to dig up fossils and DO SCIENCE, respectively. Once they are good to go, veggiesaurs need plenty things to eat, Lex, and veggie friends to play with.
On the other hand (and other side of the park I hope), Meatysaurs need live prey to hunt – yes, like that goat – and will probably need a herbivore to eat and chase at some point. The more DNA your scientists extract, the longer that species will live, unless you start feeding them to each other or random natural disasters kill them off.
Guests, meanwhile, are a bit more complicated. They require things to see, things to do and things to buy. And toilets. If you’re familiar to any kind of park builder, you’ll know that research for these amenities is a necessity. And so the game goes, occasionally throwing complicatiions into the mix like a tornado, or perhaps your T.Rex is stressed and goes on a rampage.
The aim, ultimately, is to manage the park and get it to 5 stars. There are 10 missions to playthrough to unlock Site B, but otherwise it’s a fairly open ended game.
If you’re a veteran of city building and park management sims, it isn’t going to show you anything new. Watching the dinos interact is fun for a while, and the occasional tornado makes things interesting for a short time. If you haven’t played it (looking at you Hundstrasse) and you have a PS2, do try to find a copy at some point. I’m super excited for the new Jurassic Park Evolution game, despite the hefty price tag, and I really hope it lives up to Operation Genesis.