Friday, September 14, 2012
Blast Away Dinosaurs in Wii's Jurassic: The Hunted
Jurassic: The Hunted is the best first-person dinosaur shooter for the Wii that was published by Activision back in 2009. This may sound like a dubious honor, since other Wii FPS games such as Red Steel 2 and the Conduit games leave Jurassic in the dust. Nevertheless, it helps to keep two things into mind when considering a game like Jurassic:
1. Jurassic is one of the few horror/sci-fi themed FPS games for the Wii that doesn't involve aliens, zombies, or futuristic cowboy-ninjas.
2. The other Wii dinosaur FPS games, Dino Strike and Top Shot Dinosaur Hunter, are cheaply-made shovelware titles in comparison to Jurassic.
If you've got an itchy trigger finger that's craving for some carnivorous dinosaur thrills, keep reading for my complete review of this dino shooter game.
In Jurassic, you assume the role of former Navy Seal Craig Dylan. When the game begins, Dylan and his war buddy Armando "Rock" Depiedra are escorting scientist Sabrina Sayrus to the Bermuda Triangle in the search for her missing father, James Sayrus. When a strange electrical storm forces their plane to crash land on a mysterious island, Dylan becomes separated from Rock and Sabrina and he finds himself repeatedly attacked by various predatory dinosaurs. During the course of the game, Dylan learns the secret of the island and the electrical storm, and what they mean for the future of Earth and the human race.
The game play in Jurassic is very straightforward. Each level takes place in a specific location on the island, and you have to make it from point A to point B without being eaten by a dinosaur. Your ammunition is limited, but your selection of weapons increases at the game progresses. You also have the "adrenaline burst" feature, which causes the game to slow down for a few seconds and allows you to see a dinosaur's points of weakness (heart, lungs, brain, liver, etc.) that you can aim at for a faster kill. The story itself is simple as well--no complex conspiracies, no challenging puzzles, and no playable locations that take place outside of the island. The plot does feature some interesting ideas that could have been put to better use to make the game more interesting and unique, but it's OK for what it is.
Where Jurassic shines is in its depictions of lush prehistoric environments. The island scenery is gorgeous and multi-layered, and the dinosaurs move through the environments without looking like they were pasted in there through shoddy programming. A lot of work obviously went in to making this game look good, even if the game itself isn't very complicated; what you get as a result is an opportunity to shoot many, many dinosaurs without thinking too hard about it. Depending on what mood you're in, this format can make for a very satisfying gaming experience.
My only complaint about Jurassic are the fortification sieges, which happen at several points within the game. These areas are very difficult and even though they provide ample amounts of ammunition, it takes a while to figure out how to fend off dinosaurs that are attacking you simultaneously from multiple directions.
If you're in the mood for a FPS game where you kill dinosaurs with a decent selection of firearms and explosives, Jurassic: The Hunted your kind of game. Honestly, I would've preferred a FPS version of Dino Crisis and/or its sequels and spinoffs--something along the lines of what Capcom did for Resident Evil in its Umbrella Chronicles and Darkness Chronicles titles--but since that isn't going to happen, Jurassic is the next best thing.