Total Reviews: 4
Average Overall Score Given: 8.00000 / 10
Total Forum Posts: 0

Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

Overall: Jurassic Park has gotten more of its share of really lousy games, seeing how good the first movie was. Operation Genesis takes a step in the right direction to change that. It's a park builder combined with an action game. You build your own version of Jurassic Park from the ground up, and work to set the balance between entertaining visitors and keeping the dinosaurs happy and healthy. However, when things go wrong you step into the shoes of the park rangers, chasing after escaped dinosaurs and wrangling them or gunning them down. Besides the freeform mode, the game includes action oriented missions, park building missions, and a "Site B" mode where you just watch the dinosaurs interact, which is alot more interesting then it sounds.

Gameplay: Both the park building and the action aspects arn't as deep as I would have liked them to be, but seeing that the two are blended so perfectly this is excusible. Some things are quite complex, like cloning dinosaurs. For each animal you must start by searching the globe for fossils. Once you get enough, you extract it and can hatch the dinosaur. The more DNA you have, the longer the dinosaur will live. What my real beef was is the lack of unique structures to keep parks diverse and interesting. I believe there are only between 20 and 30 total. However, the dinosaur quota is up at 25, and every animal has very different and complex behavior. Just watching the dinosaurs running around kept me entertained for ages, because they are so full of surprises. And one of the guilty pleasures is seeing the big carnivores like Tyrannosaurus or Acrocanthosaurus ripping the feeder goats apart. The gameplay leans toward being too easy, though, which makes the replay value short lived.

Graphics: The visuals are where the real meat of this game is. You have complete control of the camera, similar to Black and White. You can zoom way out and see the entire island, or go down to the level of your visitors and tour the park from their perspective. Almost everything is exquisitly detailed and many of the dinosaurs look like they lifted the CG models from the movies. Phenomenal work here.

Audio: The sound is either great or terrible. The visitors all make wierd grunts and squeals rather then actually talking, and this gets annoying quickly. Some of the dinosaur vocalizations get repetitive too. However, the majority of the dinosaur sounds are great. Most have been lifted from the movies and the ones created for the game have alot of thought put into them, rather then just generic roars. The music is the best part of the audio. The classic Jurassic Park themes are present, plus track after track of original and very good music. This is motion picture quality stuff, and thers alot of it. I particurally liked the themes for the thunderstorm and tornado.

Suggestions: I would extend the game's lasting appeal with a better variety of structures. With the current set all my parks end up pretty much the same. For the most part, though, this is a very high quality game!

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Turok: Evolution

Overall: Turok:Evolution is the latest in the Turok franchise. I've never played any of the previous installments so this is a fresh slate for me. The storyline is rather convoluted, involving mythical warriors in a lost world populated by dinosaurs and evil lizard men. The good guys switch randomly between an aboriginal tribe and high-tech marines living in a city suspended in the sky. Good stuff.

Gameplay: The game consists of both FPS levels and flight levels, where you go through a linear course on the back of a Quetzalcoatlus. The controls are good, although it took me awhile to figure out how to use the zoom. The levels are populated to the point where it is just rediculous. There are so many kinds of animals running around in this game, and even more kinds of enemies. You have a huge variety of weapons, from a melee club to a poison-tipped bow to a minigun to a gravity disruptor. The levels are all on the challenging side, which is heightened by very sparse save points. Some of the levels toward the end have you fighting countless enemies of the same type while you run back and forth through the same small area, and that can get rather tedious. But the game has some truley amazing gameplay moments as well. The enemy AI is impressive. The evil lizard men take cover, work as a team, and surrender when they've had enough.

Graphics: I don't understand why people say this game has poor graphics. Visually, Turok is far superior to Halo, both in variety and detail. From the perspective of my sick and sadistic mind, this game is great because of excessivly gory death animations. You can blast the arms, legs, or head off all the different enemies, or chew them to shreds with the minigun. You can unleash swarms of micro-chainsaws that shred the evil lizard men before your eyes. Its a great visual gore fest that you never get tired of. The look of the maps is a mixed bag. Some of them are absolutly brilliant like the suspended city, while others suck horendously, like some of the outdoor enviorments.

Audio: The music and animal sounds are top notch, but mostly Turok fails in the sound catogory because of the character voices. You can barley understand the garbled giberish the evil lizard men are spewing, and ussually I just tune it out. When other humans give you an order, they just mumble it and you can't hear them. Half the time I was wandering around not knowing what I was supposed to be doing because of the terrible sound.

Suggestions: Turok is a pretty long game, and if you cut out some of the more repetative parts you'd still have a solid game. I would have shortened Turok a bit, improved the sound, and added bots to the multiplayer.

Overall Score: 8.0 / 10 Aliens vs. Predator: Extinction

Overall: I've been a long time fan of the Aliens and Predator franchises, so of course I picked up AvP: Extinction the day it came out. Hell, part of the reason I bought my Xbox was because this game was on the way. AvP:E is making a real gamble. The other recent AvP games were PC based first person shooters, but AvP:E is a strategy game aimed at consoles. The game tries to have a plot, but its really just an excuse to get all the elements of Aliens and Predators toghether. We have our greedy corporation, our hunters who feel that their honor has been disgraced, our colonial marines, and our hordes of alien monsters. Good stuff.

Gameplay: I'm not a big fan of RTS games, so I don't have much to compare too here. Apparently this is really watered down as far as strategy games go, but that appeals to somebody like me who prefers shooters. The game includes 21 missions with seven from the perspective of each species. All three campaigns intertwine into one storyline, and events in each campaign effect the storyliens for the other species. Despite the bad press that console based RTS games get, the console is very easy to get the hang of. This game was designed on consoles from the ground up rather then having been ported from PC, so it works really well.

As the marines, each level involes searching for people and objects and moving the entire squad from checkpoint to checkpoint. Marines get funding by repairing structures as they go, and they use this funding for more troops and upgrades.

Predator units are all self contained and self healing, as well as very powerful. However, you only get a few of them, making gameplay very different. Because of their small numbers, Predators rely mostly on stealth, and bennifit greatly by their cloaking ability. Predators order more units and upgrades by collecting the skulls of those they have killed.

Aliens are the most fun to play as. The aliens have the closest thing to a base of the three species, which is the hive. While Marines and Predators are constantly scurrying around the map, aliens secure one area and then expand from there. The aliens have some of the coolest units in the game, and are very different to play as, because they are all melee fighters.

Overall the gameplay is challenging but not too hard as you progress through the game. Its simple minded fun disguised as a strategy game.

Graphics: AvP:E is entierly 3-D, and looks very good for an RTS game. The units are surprisingly detailed, and you can zoom in pretty close to the action. While the graphics don't measure up to, say, Soul Caliber 2, they are reasonable for the kind of game AvP:E is. Additionally, you will be drooling over the coolness of some of the upgraded units. You can get a good look at everything with the in-game bestiary, with pages and pages of info and stats for every unit.

Audio: The sound is a mixed bag. While most of the sounds are taken straight from the movies, they all mush toghether once the action starts. The music isn't very memorable, and everything else gets repetitive.

Suggestions: The main thing AvP:E is lacking is replay value. Its a good, solid game while it lasts but once you finish the missions, theres nothing else to keep you entertained. There is no freeform mode and no multiplayer. The game would have been so much better with these two features, and how hard would it be to add them?

Overall Score: 7.0 / 10 Halo: Combat Evolved

Overall: Halo is the ultimate hyped game, cited as one of, if not the, best games ever made on any platform. I prefer to save money and buy games used or a few months after their release, but Halo's remained enough of a hit for just about every store to still demand list price. And there are very few used copies avaliable. Apparently people are hanging onto Halo. So finnally I willed myself to shell out the $50.

Halo is but one of many futuristic first person shooters, although it has a certain amount of vehicular gameplay as well. You play one "Master Cheif", a cyborg super soldier on a mission to aniallate a cult of religious aliens. Its a tad unorthodox, but doesn't stray too far from the basic formula we all know and love.

Gameplay: Gameplay is standard for a FPS. Its well thought out and alot of fun. Finally, at least one game developer has relized that we don't want to restart 30 minutes back if we die. That's one of Halo's real strong points. The game auto saves very frequently, at checkpoints about two minutes apart apiece. The saving does nothing to disrupt the gameplay, which is an added plus. Other unique twists are rechargable armour, and a limit to carrying only two weapons at any time. Despite a rather meager selection of opponents, the maps are extremly varried and the story is convoluted enough to keep you entertained. What I really like about the gameplay is how closley intertwined the vehicular and foot combat are. You can jump in and out of the vehicles at any time, without any sort of loading. In other games you switch between levels that are spent entierly on foot and levels that are spent entierly in a vehicle. In Halo, you are allowed much more freedom. Additionally, there are no levels that require certain tactics. I hate it when games decide that the player absolutly must use stealth, and design the mission accordingly. At any point in Halo you can try to be stealthy or you can go out guns blazing, its up to you.

Graphics: Despite what others have said, Halo's visuals are nothing special. In fact, the outdoor enviorments are a little sparse and blocky if anything. Turok: Evolution had far better graphics, but it sunk to the bargain bin very, very quickly. Apparently visuals arn't everything. There's nothing absolutly stunning visually in Halo, but the gameplay is good enough for this not to matter too much.

Audio: Sound effects arn't very memorable, but they arn't bad eiether. Voice preformance is okay, but thats better then most games. What really strikes you is the music, which is extremly varried. Sometimes there is an eerie tribal beat with lots of vocals and sometimes you're playing to heavy metal and techno.

Suggestions: With Halo 2 on the horrizon, I would urge Bungie to work harder on the look of the game, and give us some really stunning enviorments and effects. Halo would be great if it were loaded up with lots of chrome. Make every surface reflective.

Overall Score: 9.0 / 10

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