3.5 out of 5


  • Seven games
  • “Jurassic Park (16-Bit)”
  • “Triceratops Trot” music track
  • Ability to save anywhere
  • In-game maps
  • Presentation


  • Missing games
  • Some games quite difficult
  • Minor graphical glitches
  • No digital instruction manuals
  • No button remapping

The year was 1993. Movie audiences saw for the first time the existential fantasy comedy Groundhog Day, the very bizarre live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, and the Sylvester Stallone action flick Cliffhanger. However, nothing prepared us for the film phenomenon that was unleashed upon the world that June: Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Michael Crichton’s book about dinosaurs running amok in a theme park blew EVERYONE away. Not only was it a rip-roaring great film with an incredible score by John Williams, it changed the face of visual effects forever. For two hours, dinosaurs walked among us, and it was both wondrous and terrifying. I was just becoming a teenager at the time, and I, like many others my age, couldn’t get enough of Jurassic Park. I had the shirts, the Making Of book, the actual novel (the first I’d ever read in a day), the CD soundtrack, and more. Of course, the video game industry wanted their share of dinomania, too. Developer Ocean, known for their movie licensed games such as Batman for the NES, developed Jurassic Park titles for the SNES, NES, and Game Boy. Meanwhile, Sega released games for the Genesis, among others. Now, in 2023, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the film and those games, Limited Run Games has released Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S, putting these 8- and 16-bit titles in one package. Was it worth it to resurrect these titles for a new generation of gamers? Well, in the immortal words of chief engineer Ray Arnold, played by Samuel L. Jackson, “Hold on to your butts.”

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection - Title Screen screenshot

Welcome to Jurassic Parks

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection contains seven games from the 8-bit and 16-bit era of video games. Four were named simply Jurassic Park and took elements from the film and the original novel. The rest are sequels that are not connected to the actual Jurassic Park: The Lost World book/movie follow-up: Jurassic Park II: The Chaos Continues<\span>, and Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition<\span>. All these games will certainly keep you busy for a time. However, the collection is missing a few Sega titles: the Game Gear and Sega CD versions of Jurassic Park, as well as the 1994 arcade shooter. Whether these will be released as part of a future collection or as downloadable content is unknown at this time.

Most of the games have you playing as Dr. Alan Grant, the white hat and blue shirt wearing paleontologist, as you try to survive an island full of dinos and danger. Another has you playing as a nameless InGen commando, but the two Sega titles flip the script entirely. They let you play as a velociraptor trying to hunt down Grant and escape the island. What a great gameplay twist! The seven games approach the various adventures in two distinct flavors: top-down action and action-platforming. Still, even with the shared foundations, some are more enjoyable than others.

Old School Escape

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection - 8-Bit screenshot

As mentioned above, Ocean developed the original tie-in games for the SNES, NES, and Game Boy. All three feature a top-down perspective similar to the classic 2D Legend of Zelda titles. However, instead of swinging a sword and finding rupees, you’re toting guns and collecting eggs and keycards.

The NES and Game Boy versions, known respectively in this collection as “Jurassic Park (8-Bit)” and “Jurassic Park (Portable)”, are pretty much identical. As Grant, you collect all the eggs in a limited-size level in order to get keycards, which then allow you to enter buildings and proceed to the next area. You’ll also travel via raft down a river, a sequence in the book but left out of the film. There are, of course, dinosaurs to contend with—compys, raptors, brachiosaur heads in water, and the occasional spitting dilophosaurus. Dinos you kill drop ammo (because it’s a video game), and you have a few weapons to select. However, if you’re facing off against the mighty T-Rex, you can only use what you brought, so I hope it’s a lot. You’ll also have to endure a triceratops stampede, which is more about evading dinos than shooting. Unfortunately, you don’t move fast enough and you and your rescuee have to stand perfectly vertical to not get hurt, so expect some trial-and-error to survive.

Trial-and-error is definitely integral to the gameplay experience. For example, there are question blocks strewn about each area that can either give you a bonus (health refill, extra life) or damage you. It’s annoying, but when you die and have to restart—you have limited lives and continues—at least you’ll know not to touch it the next time. The game isn’t “Nintendo hard”, but you’ll be dying a lot as you learn and play through the game. You might actually have an easier time playing the Game Boy version. Due to its weaker hardware, fewer enemies appear on screen. Plus, they move slower, which gives you time to attack that fast-moving raptor or to line up the shot against a hard-to-hit compy. Try it out.

The Legend of Zeldasaur

The SNES game, named “Jurassic Park (16-Bit)” here is by far the best of the top-down gameplay style in this collection. It’s also the game I rented (but never beat) when it first came out and playing it again was like seeing an old friend. It’s far more like Zelda in that you actually traverse one large, mazelike world map (and buildings). You also have to find items like night vision goggles and character keycards (e.g., Ellie Sattler, John Hammond) in order to progress.

Unlike Zelda, though, the gameplay style changes when you enter one of the buildings. As soon as you’re inside, the game shifts to a 3D shooter similar to Wolfenstein 3D or the original Doom. You then have to explore the interior, shooting dinos and looking for objects that will help get you off the island. The graphics and movement controls in those sequences are crude compared to today’s games, but it’s a cool change of pace. The graphics are much better on the overworld, and without a doubt, the title screen for the game is visually the best in the entire collection. The music for this game is also impressive, evoking various moods depending on where you are on the island. I have a special shoutout to “Triceratops Trot”, a song that’s been stored in my brain for thirty years. And for dino lovers in general, you even get random dino facts displayed if you stand idle for a little bit! In short, play this if you like adventuring because all the other games in the collection are much more about running, jumping, and gunning (and clawing).

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection - 16-Bit screenshot

Doctor Vs Claw

Hopping consoles, Sega’s dino offerings for their home console are much different than the ones on Nintendo systems. Known in this collection as “Jurassic Park (Genesis)” and “Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition”, both titles are 2D action-platformers where you explore large levels not unlike in a 2D Sonic the Hedgehog game. However, as mentioned earlier, you get the choice of playing as Dr. Grant, who is trying to survive against dinos (and also, in the case of Rampage Edition, hostile humans), or as a fearsome velociraptor hunting Grant. They’re different experiences, but playing as a raptor is much more fun. You can jump higher, slash and bite at enemies, and basically be the dinosaur your child self always wanted to be. Grant has a tougher time in his journey because the floaty jumping controls are pretty lousy, which is not what you want in a platformer. He also has tough dinos surrounding him. Really tough—I died within seconds on the very first level. You do have different weapons you can use, including unlimited but weak tranquilizers, so you at least have some chance of making it out alive.

Rampage Edition is much more forgiving, difficulty wise. Instead of being dropped straight into the action, you can at least pick your destination out of three levels. Of the three opening possibilities, my favorite was the cargo ship, which is overrun by soldiers and dinosaurs alike (who, sadly, won’t attack each other). Plus, it takes place at night during a rainstorm. You explore the exterior of the ship and then the interior, and at the end of the level, you have to escape the ship as it floods. It’s pretty thrilling. The levels are quite long and rather large. Thankfully, there are square “JP” logo checkpoints that tell you which direction to head in when you touch them. You get an even bigger arsenal this time, thanks to the soldiers you get them from, including a machine gun, a flamethrower, and a lightning gun. You’ll need it. Aside from the humans, the raptors are even smarter, dodging your attacks and being sturdier than the other dinos. Thankfully, you’ll be able to hear them coming, since each dino has a distinct vocal cue. The visuals in both games are impressive, with smooth animation and excellent pixel work. The dinosaurs actually look close to their film counterparts. Between the two, Rampage Edition is definitely more accessible, but the other one can provide satisfaction, too.

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection - Genesis screenshot

Shooty Shooty Bang Bang

Ocean released two more Jurassic Park games for the SNES and Game Boy, both called Jurassic Park II: The Chaos Continues. The collection calls them “Jurassic Park II: The Chaos Continues” and “Jurassic Park 2 (Portable)”, respectively. These noncanonical sequels have completely different stories, but they both follow in the footsteps of the Sega games in being 2D action-platformers. (You don’t play as a dinosaur, though.) I remember seeing previews of the SNES version in Nintendo Power and/or GamePro magazine way back when, but I somehow missed their actual releases. I’m glad I have a chance to play them now because they’re some of the most fun games in the collection. I especially liked the fully voiced opening cutscene in the SNES game. You didn’t get that much in the 16-bit era.

Anyway, the SNES version has you playing as an InGen soldier who runs, guns, climbs, and shoots in order to stop a rival company from stealing the dinosaurs. There’s some exploration, too. One of the opening levels, which you can select, has you making your way through a building to plant bombs and then having to backtrack and escape before they go off. The Game Boy game takes a different track. It puts you back in the shoes of Dr. Grant. It’s more platforming and exploration than action, requiring you to find all the keycards in a level in order to move on, but you still need your weapons for those pesky dinos. Watch out for some of the more unforgiving enemy hitboxes on the water levels, too. They’re a killer.

Spared Some Expense

Given that all these games were decades old, they did need some modifications to make them more palatable to modern gamers. Thankfully, Limited Run Games added some much-needed quality-of-life improvements. Most notably, they all have a save and load option for each game, which can easily be accessed from a separate menu at any point during gameplay. Prior to this, only the Sega games had access to a password-based save system. If you were a Nintendo gamer, you had to finish the games in one, long sitting, which is why I never finished Jurassic Park for the SNES. Next to that, the most helpful feature is the addition of a map to the top-down games. Since those games have the heaviest emphasis on exploring, the full-color map is most welcome.

In terms of other additions, you can choose from multiple languages options (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish), listen to the music from each game in a Music Player, add faux CRT filter effects, set the gameplay window size, and add a sunset background that appears behind the gameplay window. The options and the selection of games themselves are slickly presented in the form of detailed rearview mirrors and tube TV screens that harken back to the 1993 film.

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection - Game Select screenshot

However, there are some issues with the collection. The ports are faithful and the games look great for their era, but there are some minor graphical hiccups that crop up in a couple titles. In “Jurassic Park (16-Bit)”, during the course of normal gameplay, you receive messages from some of the other characters by way of a dialogue box. In the original game, the characters’ faces would also appear in a box within that box, but they are not appearing here. I also noticed in “Jurassic Park (Portable)” that in one of the still cutscenes showing dinosaurs, the top 20 percent of the image was greatly distorted. Having never played the original, I’m not sure if that was always present, but it’s definitely noticeable here.

There are also some glaring omissions from the quality-of-life improvements, at least from the digital copy of the collection. For one, there are no digital instruction manuals available in-game for any of the titles. Unlike today, where in-game tutorials tell/show you the game’s controls and other important gameplay aspects, here you’re left to figure things out on your own. Stuff like letting you know you could swap weapons or that you needed to collect all the eggs or keycards to progress used to be included in physical instruction manuals that came with games back then, so their absence here is noticeable. Similarly, there is no ability to remap controller buttons or to even see what the existing controller mappings are. I’d much rather use L and R to swap weapons, but I’m stuck wasting ammo until I figure out what button actually does it. Hopefully, these issues can be fixed with a patch.

Dinos, Dinos, Everywhere

With Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection, Limited Run Games resurrects a solid batch of 30-year-old 2D action-platformers and top-down action games, most of which are still fun to play. The quality-of-life improvements do make the gameplay experience more accessible to modern gamers (and to those who never finished them back then), but some curious omissions and ancient design decisions hamper it. Even so, these games did capture a small part of the cultural zeitgeist and are worth checking out, even today. So welcome back to Jurassic Park.

Disclaimer: A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher. Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection available on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC (Steam). A limited physical release for consoles available on Limited Run Games website.

Jurassic Park: Classic Games Collection

About Chris Jackson - Editor & Writer

A lifelong Nintendo fan and lover of anime who hopes to publish a book one day

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