Everyone's getting hyped for the home-release of Jurassic World. But, what if I told you that in 1994 there was another sequel to Jurassic Park? What if I told you it starred Sam Neil's character: Dr Alan Grant? What if I told you it was about Sam Neil grabbing more guns than Rambo, returning to the park, and blowing away anything that dared to get in his way? What if I told you it's even more awesome than it sounds? Don't believe me? Keep reading.
Some months ago, my colleagues made a list of the “
Best Jurassic Park Games of all Time.” It’s a good list. I encourage you all to read it. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed by the fact that it contained one glaring omission: Jurassic Park: RAMPAGE EDITION for the SEGA Genesis.
SEGA's original Jurassic Park game was an enormous success, and they wanted to capitalize on it as quickly as possible. The only problem was that there was no sequel to Speilberg's 1993 blockbuster. So, with no other options at their disposal, SEGA decided to write their own.
This bug-nuts game picks up where the first Jurassic Park movie ended. Remember this scene? Where everyone is on the helicopter, booking it out of Dino-land? This game literally picks up from that scene.
So here's the plot: Dr Grant is taking a final look back at the island of horrors from which he has only just escaped. When suddenly, he spots military helicopters flying towards the island. Using his background in paleontology, he somehow deduces that shadowy quasi-government agencies are planning to abduct as many dinosaurs as possible to raise some sort of unstoppable dino-army, or maybe just open another theme park. Either way, he’s having none of it. So, he orders his own escape chopper to turn around. When the pilot ignores Grant’s dino-conspiracy theories, Grant storms the cockpit and seizes control of the aerial-vehicle.
Unfortunately, Grant has no idea how to fly the thing. So, moments later he emerges from the chopper's flaming wreckage, armed only with a tranquilizer gun, and a serious score to settle.
Sadly, Grant’s one-man-army plan instantly runs into a snag. As soon as he charges into the jungle, a pterodactyl snags the deranged Dr of Paleontology, and dumps him into its nest full of human bones. Thinking Dr Grant is dead the dinosaur flies away. This mistake will prove its last.
Within the first minute of gameplay, Grant murders a dozen of the armed forces, storming Jurassic Park. After looting their bodies,Grant has enough fire-power to take on the prehistoric world. With machine guns, shotguns, hand grenades, rocket launchers, flame throwers, and some sort of mega-tazer that fires bolts of lightning capable of disintegrating anything it touches, Sam Neil has become death come a'walking.
Being a doctor of Paleontology, Grant has already mastered every fire arm known to man. So he wastes little time in dispatching hundreds of angry dinos and black-ops units, as he repels down a series of 500 foot tall trees.
Now if you think that was intense, hold onto your butts. Because, we’re just getting started! The second level opens with Grant hopping onto a Galimimus and riding it across a Savanna like it's Yoshi. Being a paleontologist, Grant is a natural Dino-Whisperer and can tame any of these beasts. He just chooses to shoot most of them.
In fact, he shoots pretty much everything he sees as rockets across the grasslands on his dino-steed. Tree-mounted snipers, packs of pursuing Velociraptors, and several Apache attack helicoptors all try to take out Dr Grant while he's exposed in the open. Clearly, they have no idea whom they’re dealing with.
By level three, Grant is infiltrating and sinking entire tanker ships. I think it’s to somehow thwart the plans of the evil mercenaries, but at this point it’s impossible to tell. Grant’s bloodlust has grown to point where I doubt even he understands his motives any more.
Then Grant somehow stumbles into an ancient, subterranean shrine. I have no idea what this has to do with Jurassic Park. But, I have no problem with the Temple of Doom being in this game, and I guess Grant sort of looks like Indianna Jones in Khakis, so I'll roll with it.
Once he reaches the temple’s sub-basement Grant encounters the enraged idol of an Incan Sun-God, which rains fire balls down upon his head. I can only assume this ancient evil was awakened by the sheer amount of carnage that the paleontologist has generated in his wake. No matter; a few missiles take care of vengeful deity. Then Grant just uses his beast-master abilities to hop aboard a Triceratops ram his way through about a dozen walls to to make his own exit out of the ruins.
Finally, Grant descends upon “Raptor Rapids.” This final stage reveals that Grant has somehow acquired a motorboat and is merrily putting along downstream. And by downstream, I mean casually steering straight over the edges of enormous waterfalls. At this point Grant has taken out hundreds of killer dinosaurs, thousands of combat-hardened mercs, multile Apache attack choppers, and an angry God. Do you really think basic gravity can put a dent in him?
At first, the Rapids seem like a lazy river ride attraction that fell into disrepair when all hell broke loose in the park. It’s pretty laid back compared to the insanity that came before it. Then you keep playing…
As you progress further down the rapids the entire background slowly shifts from a serene blue to jarringly crimson red. I’m not sure if this is supposed to represent the park catching on fire, or all the blood of Grant’s victims finally washing downstream. Either way, the effect is genuinely creepy and lets you know that the worst is yet to come.
As you exit the Rapids, everything becomes quiet. Too quiet. For the first time in the entire game, there’s nothing to shoot, no platforms to jump onto, just a straight path of water. Both Grant and the player know something's up. But without any other options, you keep sailing along its rocky coast, taking in the waterfalls and miles of jungle engulfed in fires you doubtlessly started. And just as you start to settle back and admire your handiwork, the T-Rex appears.
Rexie is the one enemy in the game that cannot be killed. Fire as many rockets as you like, chuck all your grenades into her shout, taze her with your lightning ray! It all ends the same:
All you can do is run. What follows next is a high-octane race to the finish, with you constantly unloading every gun you have to try and slow the behemoth down just enough for you to stay a few feet ahead of its ravenous jaws.
However if your thumbs are fast enough, you can survive to see Grant once again escape the Island on an outboard motor boat. Fortunately, before the credits roll, you can see him madly steering his tiny craft towards a nearby cruise ship and safety. For Grant, that is. If this game’s taught me anything it’s that everyone on that Carnival Cruise is probably human toast.
Now, I know that all of that was pretty over-the-top. And with all the Pterodactyl hang-gliding, Galimimus riding, Raptor incinerating action that I’ve already presented, I think that even my most jaded critics would begrudgingly agree that RAMPAGE EDITION is pretty insane. But, you see, the game has one other feature that really puts it ahead of the competition, and makes it the MOST insane Jurassic Park game ever made: you can play through all of it as a Raptor.
That’s right. The Apache fights, the battle with the sun god, the slaughtering of thousands of machine gun toting mercs, you can do it all as a Velociraptor. Its levels even have their own story-line. You want to know what it is? Well, according to the manual, it’s to take over the last cargo ship on the island and sail away before Dr Alan Grant, destroyer of worlds, has a chance to completely burn every inch of Jurassic Park to the ground. And if you've already played through his campaign, this should provide plenty of motivation.
I’ll admit that in terms of pure graphics and sound, RAMPAGE EDITION is far from the most polished game to ever grace the Genesis. It’s not the the best run & gun game ever put to pixels either. But, that doesn’t matter. This game is a must see because of the brilliantly-twisted ideas it brought to the table. It made Grant into Rambo with a PhD, and had players embark in what’s probably the best worst sequel ever written. It may be a guilty pleasure. But it’s still a pleasure through and through. If you love Jurassic Park and want to feel like you’re seven years old again, try out this game. You won't be disappointed. Presently, RAMPAGE EDITION works on the original Genesis, as well as our, Retron 3, and Retron 5 consoles. It's also part of our new Retron 3 Jurassic Rampage Pak.
But what do you think? Is this game as intense as I make it out to be, or did you find it to be little more than a walk in the park? Either way, let me know in the comments. If there's one thing I love, it's talking about all things Jurassic Park.