Jurassic Park is a 1993 point-and-click adventure game developed and published by Sega for the Sega CD on December 17, 1993. The video game is based on the 1993 film of the same name, and includes elements from Michael Crichton's 1990 novel, which the film is based upon.
Jurassic Park is a point-and-click adventure game, with a strong emphasis on action sequences which require split-second timing. The game is set after the events of the film. The player controls a scientist who is sent to Isla Nublar and becomes stranded there after a helicopter crash. The player must search the island to retrieve eggs from seven different dinosaur species and place them in an incubator at the Jurassic Park visitor center. The eggs must be collected within a real-time 12-hour limit.
Jurassic Park is played from a first-person perspective, giving the player a panoramic view of the surroundings as well as various tools to interact with, and a trio of weapons to contend with dinosaurs. Because none of the weapons (a stun gun, tranquilizer darts, and gas grenades) are lethal, each situation is in the form of a puzzle disguised as combat which requires more than just shooting to survive. First-aid kits can be used to replenish the player's health, while night vision goggles allow the player to see in dark environments. Paleontologist Robert T. Bakker makes appearances throughout the game to provide the player with hints and dinosaur information, via special Dinosaur Field Kiosks that are located near dinosaur paddocks.
Jurassic Park was the first Sega CD video game to be developed exclusively in the United States by Sega of America. Sega purchased the rights to develop a Jurassic Park video game at an estimated cost of $1 million. Initially, the game was to include three different perspectives: top-down, side-scrolling, and first-person. Development began on prototype versions of each perspective. The game's designers later realized that the game was too big, and decided to concentrate on only one perspective instead. The designers chose the first-person perspective which was the most complete prototype out of the three at that point in development. The designers scrapped the previous game design and re-began development to redesign everything. The designers felt the game would work better as a first-person point-and-click game. While point-and-click games were popular on PCs at the time, they were less common on home consoles.
Elements from Michael Crichton's novel, Jurassic Park, were added into the game. Full motion video (FMV) sequences were created for the game using Cinepak. In addition to appearing in the game, Bakker also provided information to the developers on how the game's dinosaurs should move and behave. Bakker filmed the video segments in a studio against a white background. Afterwards, the footage had to be compressed to be playable on the Sega CD. Background sketches were created by artist Mimi Doggett, and were then converted into pixels and sprites. In addition to dinosaur sketches, models were also created for the animals to aid artists in creating dinosaur sprites on Silicon Graphics computers. In January 1993, a demo of the game was shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Spencer Nilsen composed the game's soundtrack. Sound designer Brian Coburn, along with a recording team, traveled to Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp to create audio recordings of angry alligators. According to Coburn, "We tracked down and cornered alligators in the swamp to try to get them angry so that they would hiss. We were cocky and deliberately aggravated the alligators to get a more dramatic response." Coburn and the recording team were nearly attacked by an alligator during the process. The alligator sounds were used for the game's Tyrannosaurus roar, while bird sounds were used for other dinosaurs. Jurassic Park was one of the few Sega CD games to utilize the system's QSound feature.
Shawn Sackenheim of AllGame gave Jurassic Park four stars out of five. Sackenheim wrote that the game's graphics suffered from the system's limited color palette, which made "everything dark and dithered, though it, somewhat, adds to the mood of the game." Sackenheim also praised the game for, "A well rounded soundtrack and immersive sound effects."
GamePro praised the sound effects but criticized the graphics: "Although this is a CD game, which implies that it will showcase powerful graphics capabilities, you won't see any particularly fascinating images jumping off the screen at you." GamePro noted the game's excessive amount of searching required by the player, writing that while "this doesn't distract from the fun, it certainly slows down the action." GamePro wrote that the Sega CD version was "definitely the most educational and entertaining" video game adaptation of Jurassic Park, calling it "as much a classroom tool as an enjoyable game," although the magazine noted that younger players "may be bored by its detailed gameplay."
Mean Machines magazine gave the game a rating of 73 out of 100 and praised its FMV sequences, but also wrote, "Lack of excitement is the factor that brings down Jurassic CD's lastability. Jurassic CD doesn't deliver the elements of the film you really want." Bob Strauss of Entertainment Weekly gave the game a "C" rating and wrote that it "moves at too leisurely a pace to satisfy action fans, though it has some admirable features, such as scholarly dissertations on various breeds of dinosaur." Mega placed the game at number 9 in their Top Mega CD Games of All Time.