As a nearly 30-year-old film franchise, Jurassic Park has had more than its fair share of game tie-ins, spin-offs, and oddities. The pitch of “dinosaurs on an island” has been stretched to the point of breaking with the recently released Jurassic World Dominion, and dozens of games exist to fill in any gaps. The result is a truly strange patchwork of arcade, home console, and PC games that vary in quality and experience just as much – if not more – than the films do.
When the original Jurassic Park stomped onto the scene in 1993, game developers were quick to vie for the rights to create tie-in games for home consoles. These early games were anything but faithful to the movie, trading sci-fi thriller for run-and-gun shooter – despite Robert Muldoon’s iconic line of “shoot her!”, the first trilogy was remarkably light on killing dinosaurs. Still, battling dinosaur hordes quickly became the norm for any Jurassic Park game for the first decade of Jurassic Park games.
Jurassic Park games tend to fall into a few different categories, from arcade shooters to full-blown park management sims. Comparing a 1993 NES release to a 2015 LEGO tie-in is debatably fruitful, but doable nonetheless. So, here’s a list of every Jurassic Park game released, ranked from worst to best.
Jurassic Park Game #29 – Trespasser
First and worst is Trespasser, a 1998 game developed by DreamWorks Interactive for Microsoft Windows and envisioned as a sequel to the film The Lost World. Trespasser was technically ambitious, but over two decades later it has a reputation for just how bad it is. The game’s unintuitive controls, buggy physics systems, and poor performance on even high-end PCs all resulted in a frankly terrible game. The concept may have been sound, however, as the upcoming title Instinction looks like Jurassic Park Trespasser 2.
Jurassic Park Game #28 – Jurassic Park (1994 Arcade Shooter)
The first shooter arcade game themed to Jurassic Park, this game is something of a mess. It’s terribly paced, visually incomprehensible, and barely Jurassic Park. Considering the quality of its sequel released for The Lost World, this game is better off extinct.
Jurassic Park Game #27 – Jurassic Park III: The DNA Factor
One of several Game Boy Advance Jurassic Park III games, The DNA Factor is a side-scrolling puzzle game. While the game looked and sounded decent, it was clunky to play and featured frustratingly difficult puzzles.
Jurassic Park Game #26 – Jurassic Park Builder
Unsurprisingly, Jurassic Park came to mobile games too. Builder was a freemium title for iOS and Android that released in 2013 to coincide with the 20th anniversary 3D theatrical re-release of the original film. Of the many Jurassic Park tycoon-style games, Builder is definitely the least complex. The mobile game was decently well received, but criticized for its lack of challenge. The abundance of in-game timers and advertisements common to mobile games are also immensely frustrating.
Jurassic Park Builder was later re-released as Jurassic World: The Game when Jurassic World came to theaters, though it received little more than cosmetic updates. As such, the overall reception hardly changed. Builder was eventually shut down in March 2020 as support for the game was ended.
Jurassic Park Game #25 – Warpath: Jurassic Park
While much of Jurassic Park focuses on human characters surviving dinosaur threats, there’s something to be said for throwing out the humans completely. 1999’s PlayStation exclusive Warpath does this by turning Jurassic Park into a bad fighting game, with a roster of of eight dinosaurs – most of which hadn’t, and still haven’t, appeared in Jurassic Park films. Warpath was likely a response to the commercial success of Atari’s earlier Primal Rage, though it fell far short. Ultimately it’s a bland, slow, uninteresting game that fails to capture the excitement of dinosaur fights in the Jurassic Park films.
Jurassic Park Game #24 – Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues
The sequel to the SNES’s Jurassic Park predates The Lost World by three years – solidifying it as strictly non-canonical. Unlike its predecessor, The Chaos Continues is a side-scroller, more reminiscent of the Genesis’s Jurassic Park game than the SNES’s. The gameplay was heavily criticized on release, and this game leans more into shooting mechanics than even its contemporaries.
Jurassic Park Game #23 – Jurassic Park (Sega Game Gear/Master System)
Possibly the worst of the early wave of 1993 film tie-ins, this Jurassic Park is not great. Nothing about it visually says Jurassic Park, and the forgettable music is a consequence of failing to license the film’s iconic soundtrack (an issue faced by the vast majority of Jurassic Park games, even today).
Jurassic Park Game #22 – Jurassic Park (NES/Game Boy)
The original Jurassic Park game on Nintendo’s Game Boy and NES systems that released in 1993 is most responsible for the paradigm of featuring significantly more human-on-dinosaur violence than the actual films ever depicted. This was likely done out of a desire to empower the player in ways not present in the original movie – though years later, horror games like Alien: Isolation and Amnesia proved that disempowerment can make fantastic gameplay. Many later games in the franchise followed this gun-fueled trend, and Jurassic World eventually brought the somewhat widespread shooting of dinosaurs into the films.
Titled simply Jurassic Park, this game featured fairly standard adventure gameplay as the player explored Isla Nublar. In this era, the dinosaurs were this particular Jurassic Park game’s most unique selling point. Jurassic Park stood out from other licensed film tie-ins of the time, but ultimately it’s nothing too special.
Jurassic Park Game #21 – Jurassic Park (Sega Genesis/Mega Drive)
This is likely the Jurassic Park game people think of as the 1993 classic, but that place might not be deserved. While it was initially received moderately well, the Sega Genesis’s Jurassic Park makes for a poor movie tie-in and a somewhat generic feeling dinosaur game. The ability to play as both Alan Grant and a velociraptor, with different objectives and items for each, is neat at least.
Jurassic Park Game #20 – Jurassic Park Interactive
Developed exclusively for the 3DO, Jurassic Park Interactive is a collection of minigames themed as finding survivors on Isla Nublar from a computer console. Interactive utilizes full-motion video in some moments, definitely making it a stand-out game, and is one of the few games to actually feature the film’s score. Regardless, the minigames are boring and unfocused.
Jurassic Park Game #19 – The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Sega Genesis)
While the SNES Jurassic Park sequel traded a top-down view for side-scrolling, the Genesis’s take did the opposite. Still, it’s pretty normal for Jurassic Park and Sega Genesis games of the time – exploring level-based environments as a khaki-clad man who’s more than willing to explode dinosaurs with grenades. This is perhaps even less fitting for a sequel, however.
The novel and film The Lost World entailed a sizable thematic shift from their predecessors – while creating dinosaurs was definitely a mistake, humans now had a responsibility to protect them, like any other animal, from being exploited. Consequently, humans get a greater antagonist role as poachers and hunters, which carries over into the game. While the player does still shoot a lot of dinosaurs, their focus is at least primarily on hunters this time around – so there’s a veneer of The Lost World‘s themes.
Jurassic Park Game #18 – The Lost World: Juassic Park (PlayStation/Sega Saturn)
Another side-scrolling Lost World game, DreamWorks Interactive’s PS1 version introduces 3D graphics and features more gameplay as a dinosaur that most of its predecessors. The game ignores the plot of the film, and presents five different playable characters – three dinosaurs and two humans, one of whom is Sarah Harding. Jeff Goldblum also makes a surprise appearance to reward the player for 100% completion.
Jurassic Park Game #17 – Jurassic Park (SNES)
Another top-down action game similar to the NES game (also developed by Ocean Software), the 1993 SNES version is superior on a few counts – improved visuals, for one, as well as combining both top-down gameplay and first-person sections. Unfortunately, this early entry also helped solidify shooting dinosaurs as the go-to gameplay for Jurassic Park.
Jurassic Park Game #16 – Jurassic Park III: Island Attack
Island Attack is another Game Boy Advance title; this one is a fairly traditional action-adventure game with the player controlling Dr. Alan Grant in an attempt to escape Isla Sorna. Gameplay involves a lot of shooting dinosaurs and a lot of running away, and not in the Alien: Isolation horror game way – resulting in a fairly repetitive play experience.
Jurassic Park Game #15 – Jurassic Park III (Arcade Shooter)
Simply titled Jurassic Park III is the last of three arcade shooter games tied directly to the original Jurassic Park films. Aesthetically, it fits Jurassic Park significantly better than the following Jurassic Park light gun game from 2015, with a combination of jungle, metal, and concrete to depict abandoned industrial environments and dinosaur designs pulled directly from the films. Unfortunately, the gameplay is fairly repetitive, and the dinosaur animations are far from impressive, resulting in a fairly forgettable arcade game.
Jurassic Park Game #14 – Jurassic Park: The Game
In a world where routinely shooting dinosaurs with rocket launchers is an essential part of Jurassic Park, Telltale’s attempt at a franchise spinoff game that adapts the material to a strictly adventure game is admirable. However, the result was more like a movie with the occasional interaction than it is a game. While Telltale’s later franchise games like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones were successes, Jurassic Park: The Game was something of a flop.
Narratively, the choice to pick up on Dennis Nedry’s stolen-then-lost container of dinosaur embryos is also a questionable one, as it turns an open and shut plot threat into a strange, canon-divergent tale that struggles to fit with the events of the film. The game also introduces a new threat in the form of the goofy-looking troodon and a slew of new human characters – none of which could have been on Isla Nublar. The desire to expand upon the Jurassic Park universe makes sense, but fitting this story alongside existing canonical events just doesn’t work.
Jurassic Park Game #13 – Jurassic Park III: Dino Defender
Even as Jurassic Park routinely makes dinosaurs terrifying, the franchise has always drawn the fascination of kids, and Jurassic Park III: Dino Defender knows this. The game, developed for Microsoft Windows by Knowledge Adventure (now JumpStart Games), is a simplistic puzzle-platformer featuring an armor-clad Defender who travels the island capturing escaped dinosaurs and restoring the power grid. The main problem, however, is that the game is somehow too hard for younger players and too simplistic for older audiences, with very few mechanics but a brutal checkpoint system and remarkably little room for error.
Jurassic Park Game #12 – Jurassic Park Arcade (2015)
Compared to its movie tie-in predecessors from the ’90s and 2000s, this 2015 light gun arcade shooter strays further from faithfulness to the IP and more towards arcadey gameplay. Power-ups like beams of ice and lightning, abundant explosive barrels, and brightly colored dinosaurs lend to the game feeling too much like a generic action game. One may be left wondering how much money InGen is wasting by cloning dinosaurs only to kill them themselves.
Intending for the non-stop action of an arcade shooter, Jurassic Park Arcade is mostly massive on-rails setpieces. An early level features a helicopter flight over cliffs and tropical jungles and tasks the player with shooting down dozens of blue and red pterosaurs – a scene that belongs on Pandora from James Cameron’s Avatar far more than it does in Jurassic Park. It’s only Jurassic Park superficially, but it is a blast to play.
Jurassic Park Game #11 – Jurassic Park III: Danger Zone!
Another product of Knowledge Adventure for Microsoft Windows, Danger Zone! is perhaps the strangest game on this list, as the core premise seems to be combining Jurassic Park and Mario Party. The game tasks up to two Defenders with recovering dinosaur DNA samples through various minigames. It’s clearly for younger children, as the minigames aren’t overly complex but aren’t quite fun enough to be compelling for older players.
Jurassic Park Game #10 – Jurassic Park III: Park Builder
Park Builder for the Game Boy Advance is exactly what it sounds like – the player builds and runs their version of Jurassic Park. The game received a mixed reception, as the limitations of a handheld platform really showed. Still, it managed an impressive roster of 140 different creatures, and fairly deep management systems.
Jurassic Park Game #9 – Jurassic World Evolution
Studio Frontier Developments, known for various successful management and simulation games like Planet Zoo and Roller Coaster Tycoon, should have been the perfect developer to deliver a modern Jurassic Park building game. Their first attempt didn’t quite hit the mark – the game is fun, but has too little staying power, as evidenced by the game’s sequel three years later. The original Evolution was unfortunately shallow on management systems and lacked some key features at launch. These were eventually added in, but Frontier was already moving on.
While seeing such a huge roster of Jurassic Park dinosaurs brought to life is exciting, Evolution revealed a fundamental problem with “Jurassic Park tycoon” – Jurassic Park is far less interesting when the dinosaurs are all contained. The game’s best moments arose when disaster sets dinosaurs loose – it’s no wonder that the movies aren’t about content, contained dinosaurs. Such events were too few and far between in Evolution.
Jurassic Park Game #8 – Scan Command: Jurassic Park & Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Battles
Knowledge Adventure’s third and final Jurassic Park game, Scan Command is a surprisingly deep game compared to its predecessors. It combines a 3D fighting game with Tetris-like puzzle elements as the player reconstructs DNA to power up their dinosaurs and foil the plans of an evil scientist. Perhaps most interestingly, the player gains access to additional DNA ‘blocks’ by scanning bar codes with a physical scanner while not playing the game. While interesting, this element is more of a gimmick than core gameplay, as the game was also released under the name Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Battles without the scanner. Also of note, Scan Command introduced the human cloning plot of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom almost two decades earlier, and features a remarkably prolific voice cast, including Dee Bradley Baker and Richard Steven Horvitz.
Jurassic Park Game #7 – Chaos Island: The Lost World
Chaos Island is, of all things, a Jurassic Park RTS. It loosely follows the plot of The Lost World, giving the player control over characters from the film (voiced by the original cast, even) to fight off dinosaur hunters and escape the island. The player must also stay safe from wild dinosaurs while cloning and training their own Jurassic Park dinosaurs to fight alongside. The result is a somewhat decent strategy game that’s deep enough to be enjoyable but can’t quite stand up to more dedicated strategy franchises.
Jurassic Park Game #6 – Jurassic World Alive
Jurassic World Alive is very similar to Pokémon Go!. Using phones, GPS, and AR technology, players can collect various dinosaurs in the real world, battle against other players, and make their own hybrid dinosaurs. While the game has been very well received, recent updates have introduced a number of game-breaking bugs that dramatically worsen the play experience. While Alive isn’t quite dead, it’s definitely lacking the long-term appeal and sizable player base of the highly popular Pokémon Go!, with many still playing in 2022.
Jurassic Park Game #5 – The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997 Arcade Shooter)
Easily the best of the Jurassic Park arcade games, The Lost World: Jurassic Park is unsurprisingly a tie-in to the franchise sequel. It features several marked improvements over its 1994 predecessor, including greatly improved audio and visuals, 3D models dinosaur models, a semblance of a story, and a significantly greater variety of enemies and environments. There’s also a moment where players shoot a dinosaur’s droppings as it defecates – what could be better?
Maybe most interesting of all, The Lost World game resembles the novel more than it does the film – characters Sarah Harding and Ian Malcom are visually more in-line with their book descriptions, and a carnotaurus features prominently as a boss. The carnivore even has the chameleon-like camouflage capabilities described in The Lost World novel. Both the carnotaurus and dinosaur-cloaking would eventually appear in the Jurassic World films, albeit removed from one another – camouflage went to the first film’s antagonist, Indominus rex.
Jurassic Park Game #4 – Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
While Jurassic World Evolution revised the Jurassic Park building sim, Operation Genesis had already surpassed it. In the era of the original Zoo Tycoon, Jurassic Park management sims were perhaps inevitable. The Gameboy Advance’s Jurassic Park III: Park Builder came first, but the 2D handheld game was only capable of so much. Operation Genesis presents the ability to excavate and clone 25 fully modeled and animated dinosaurs, including those most iconic to the films, which are capable of hunting, fighting, socializing, and other complex behaviors. The game’s management elements aren’t as deep as they could have been, but they were present enough to constitute meaningful gameplay, and the game looked great for the early 2000s. Operation Genesis also features a variety of scenario missions and more adventure-like ranger missions, adding even more longevity and variety to this park management game.
Jurassic Park Game #3 – Jurassic World Aftermath
Considering the technology’s growing prevalence, it’s surprising that there aren’t more VR games featuring dinosaurs. Jurassic World Aftermath is a stealth survival game following the events of 2015’s Jurassic World in which the player spends most of their time hiding from velociraptors. The experience is evocative and thrilling, perhaps being more in line with the intended feel of the films than any park manager or shooter could ever be.
Jurassic Park Game #2 – LEGO Jurassic World
LEGO Jurassic World released in 2015 to coincide with the reboot and rebranding of the Jurassic Park franchise. LEGO had reacquired the license for the films for use in building toys, and developer TT Games was no stranger to adapting movie franchises to LEGO games, having already done so for another iconic Steven Spielberg franchise in LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures. LEGO Jurassic World presents the standard LEGO game formula pre-Skywalker Saga, covering the three original films and Jurassic World with goofy level-based story missions and a mix of open-world and freeplay for mixing and matching characters. While it isn’t necessarily one of the better LEGO games, that’s a high bar to clear – and it is one of the best Jurassic Park games out there.
#1 – Jurassic World Evolution 2 Is The Best Jurassic Park Game
Calling Frontier’s 2018 release of Jurassic World Evolution a failure may be a bit harsh, but the game was far from perfect. It did, however, pave the way for 2021’s Jurassic World Evolution 2. True to the title, the newer game is more evolution than revolution, but it adds enough compelling features to keep a long shelf life. Introducing new flying and swimming reptiles alongside more dinosaurs in Jurassic World Evolution 2 feels like an obvious step, and the Chaos Theory mode fixes its predecessor’s biggest issue by introducing crises from the films to the challenge. That, on top of deeper management systems, makes Evolution 2 king of Jurassic Park games.
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