Review: Jurassic Park Arcade from Raw Thrills

Posted: May 28, 2015 in Jurassic
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Along with toys, cups, clothes, and other such merchandise as well as the movies there has also been another staple of marketing and entertainment for the Jurassic Park franchise: arcade games. The original SEGA Jurassic Park arcade game is one of my all time favorite games, and I have many fond memories as a child going to places like Chuck E. Cheese and nearly wasting all of my tokens on playing the game from start to finish. Then SEGA released The Lost World: Jurassic Park arcade game which was just as fun and perhaps even more enthralling . The graphics had been boosted, the models looked amazing, and the game drew from the mythos of the films as well as Crichton’s novels (yeah, who can remember that amazing tense sequence in the game with the disappearing Carnotaurus!?). Then for the third film  Konami released the Jurassic Park 3 arcade game. While perhaps not as groundbreaking or immersive as it’s predecessors the third game still offered a great FPS experience with some good graphics and great moments.

And then it went quiet, much like the film series. For years there was not another arcade game and it seemed like the three we had were getting harder and harder to find.

Then Jurassic World was announced, and a year later (closer to the release date) Raw Thrills (an arcade company known for making heavy duty action driven and  fun arcade games for independent properties) announces that they are coming out with a brand new Jurassic Park arcade game. And not only that, that it would be hankering back to the style seen in both SAGA’s JP and TLW games. A few days ago I contacted Raw Trills about locations close to me with the game, obviously wanting to play it asap) and they told me locations close by so I was able to track one down.

When I first saw this game at the arcade, I was stunned. I had done research on the types available to the public, which there are two. There is the one you see in the header image (the one I played) which is a Jurassic Park Arcade™ 55″ Environmental SD (which is very much akin to the SEGA TLW Environmental Arcade version) and there is also the Jurassic Park Arcade™ 55″ Motion DX (which is like the original SEGA JP arcade game, with moving seats and vibrations. THIS version of Raw Thrills’ JP game is also a BOSA 2015 Best of Show award winner.) The cabinet is absolutely gorgeous, and I wish I had snapped more images (maybe on a return visit.) There are tons of small details and sounds that completely immerse you before you even put in your change. It completely drowns out the other sounds from the arcade, which is fantastic.

The game itself is broken in to three main stages/missions- which are then divided in to three levels each (making for a total of nine levels.) The first mission is to capture a Triceratops, the second is for Tyrannosaurus, and the third is Spinosaurus. The games story is kind of a pseudo-prequel to Jurassic World. The island has had an eruption from the volcano and the dinosaurs are still on the loose. Your job is to round them up to protect them from the volcano, and from other dinos (and one can assume as well as for use in the new Jurassic World park.) The levels that break up the missions start off easy and progressively get harder. Obviously to get the most bang for your buck/best experience/most story you start off each mission from the beginning, but you are allowed a level select- so you can just go right to the final level of each mission if you wish (much like how in SEGA’s TLW you were allowed to pick beginner or expert, and with the beginner you actually get a longer story and experience than with the expert- where it essentially starts right at the final level of the game.)

The guns, unlike with the TLW and JP3 arcade game, have unlimited ammo- which is like the original JP arcade. You also are able to collect grenades (activated by buttons on top of the gun, away from the trigger) as well as various other type of super powerful ammunition. Used them all wisely though because unlike the regular ammo all of the special powerups are limited supply. Like all of the other JP arcade games, the game allows for two players.

The game itself is pretty straight forward with what you need to do and little prompts pop up letting you know when and where to shoot certain threats. The game gets progressively more difficult as you continue on, but not having to reload (like you do in the TLW and JP3 games) is a life saver. Still, you will die- so make sure that you have some coin saved up if you want to play the game from start to finish (most arcades, since this is new, have each play at $1 or more.) To play through the entire game (all nine levels) it’ll probably take you around 30-40 minutes.

The graphics are nice, but not something that I’d consider super groundbreaking. I do think that out of all the JP arcade games the JP3 game probably had the best graphics and all of the animals in the game looked exactly like their film counterparts. In this game we are treated to a lot of animals seen in the JP films, as well as a lot not scene but none of them really look anything like the animals seen in the films. Many of them have bodies with very vibrant coloration. It’s a sharp contrast to the humans and even the environments which are actually fairly natural and realistic.

The environments in the game look PHENOMENAL, with my favorite being the Visitors Center. The game takes place on Isla Nublar, the original Jurassic Park island and we are treated to visits and glimpses of some of the most memorable locations of the film. The Visitors Center is great looking and there are some amazing sequences in there in the game, especially in the rotunda involving the rex and the kitchen involving the raptors.  I also love the nods the developers put in to the other films, such as the The Lost World poster appearing on walls in buildings.

The game showcases nearly thirty different prehistoric species throughout the experience. Like I said before, some have been in the films and some have not. While the general public won’t mind it’s sure to raise a few brows, I’m sure, among the die hard JP fans. Questions like “why is there a spino on Nublar,” “why are the brachios attacking people,” and “since when are their archaeopteryx’s on InGen’s list” are a few that come to mind. Obviously Raw Thrills had to include not only famous dinosaurs to the series, but new threats so that there is some diversity but it’s because of reasons like these that the game can’t be considered canon (which doesn’t make it any less enjoyable!)

The sounds are great! While the game has what I’d say is a pretty generic arcade score (with a few majestic moments sticking out) it’s defiantly not the highlight or overly memorable. The ambient, and general sounds for the game are the real treats! There is a great balance of sound effects mixed in to this game, ensuring for a captivating experience. While I would have liked to have heard more of the iconic sounds of some of the dinosaurs, they all still sound imposing and terrifying. And when the tyrannosaur actually DOES burst out it’s iconic JP roar (as opposed to the Dino Crisis roar it has for most of the game) it’s absolutely chilling!

Raw Thrills’ Jurassic Park is a blast, plain and simple. Which as an arcade game, it should be. While moments of it seem somewhat nonsensical (seriously… why did the brachiosaurs try to nom on people?) it’s nearly all forgivable due to the overall experience. It’s a wild romp through Isla Nublar where you track down these terrifying dinos, or… escape as they track you down. While the game is fun it does have some thrilling moments, constant weapon violence, explosions and creature violence, a few human deaths, and at times moments of gore (most of it coming from when you shoot some of the smaller threats like parasitic bugs and flocks of archaeopteryx,) so I’d give some parental advisory before letting small children play.

The game is incredibly nostalgic, capturing a lot of the feeling and moments (two tyrannosaurs!? again!) of the original arcade games while bringing something new to the table. If you see it in an arcade do yourself a favor and give it a play.

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Comments
  1. […] comes JW, and fans have been pretty damn lucky with the amount of merch we’ve been getting. A new arcade game,  food products (which so far include four different WalMart pizzas, three different Mike and Ikes […]

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