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Game Profile
Game Boy
Mobile 21
GENRE: Adventure
November 25, 2001
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Jurassic Park: Survival

 Written by Alan Rumpf  on January 22, 2002

Review: This isn't happening, this isn't happening...

Konami brings us the third Jurassic Park III title for Game Boy Advance in the form of Jurassic Park III: Island Attack. This action-adventure title puts players in the role of the movie's protagonist, paleontologist Alan Grant. When Grant's plane crashes over Isla Sorna, he is forced to escape and find a way off of the island. The only source of information available to him is a single wireless transmitter, fortunately left unscathed by the accident. Through transmissions with the rescue team headquarters, he is provided with the information that he must rely on to reach the port where a rescue boat awaits his arrival. However, don't think that the dinos were just gonna let him walk to the rescue boat. Island Attack does stick to the plot of the movie pretty well but falls short in the all-important gameplay department.

Grant's first difficulty will be his inability to move effectively. The stationary camera has a isometric view point to it and makes it very difficult to control Grant. He can move in all 8-directions, however whether you run or walk depends on if you tap the d-pad twice or just once. This movement can become very awkward due to the combined camera location and the size of the d-pad. When you're being chased by three raptors, you will wish the controls had been cleaned up a bit.

The R and L button switch your current ?use? item back and forth. These items include a wireless transmitter, medicine, first aid kits, wire, tranquilizer gun, and flare gun. To use these items you will press the all-purpose B-button, which also serves as the action button. When you approach certain items like a door or a breakable crate, a blue target will appear telling you that it's an action item. You then must pound the button for a certain amount of time to break open a rusted door or a broken down crate. However, this target scheme can get very tedious. If Grant is not lined up exactly right he'll miss the item and instead pull out his transmitter radio or flare gun. Surprisingly, the jumping scheme is pretty fluid in this title and can be utilized with the A-button.

The next headache comes from trying to aim your gun. Tapping the fire button will make Grant quickly shoot in whatever direction is he is facing. However if you want to aim, you must hold down the fire button and then spin around to face your target. This targeting system makes it almost impossible to hit the right explosive crate when you're in a hurry with dinosaurs on your back. Granted hitting them with flare guns just gets them angrier, but the weak targeting system plus the lack of weapons make some of the areas very tedious.

The graphics in Island Attack are also disappointing as heavy pixelization and mute colors actually end up affecting gameplay. The tiny screen and fixed camera do not serve this game well in the visual department either. The textures are very blurry and quite often key objects will blend in with the background making it even more tedious to play this game. Fortunately, the sound is not a horror story as the in-game music is actually decent. The sound effects aren't that hot, but there's not much to expect from barrel explosions and screeching dinosaurs out of the GBA's one speaker when compared to a surround sound movie.

Bottom Line
Jurassic Park III: Island Attack comes up short as far as an enjoyable gaming experience goes. While you can go back and play past stages in Stage Select mode, the replay is kind of thin since most people will not find enjoyment out of going back and achieving new Time and Hit records. The battery save at the end of each level is a nice inclusion and without it getting through this game would be a real nuisance. Still the pixelated visuals and mediocre gameplay, with the combination of sub-par controls do not give this game any punch behind its license.

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