Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis

12_1Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis was described by its publisher as a “world-builder”, something not seen a lot on consoles, but generally known as a “tycoon game” on the PC (think Zoo Tycoon or Theme Park). The real twist here is that Operation Genesis is infused with the 3D dinosaurs that made the original movies such beloved classics. Your job is to develop the dino population and build a theme park around them, managing all of the star characters from the movies and churn out a profitable operation for your boss, Dr. John Hammond and Ingen.

All of this is done within a typical sandbox-type game engine that, unlike the RollerCoaster Tycoon or Theme Park series, is completely rendered in 3D. It captures the setting’s tropical atmosphere with a 3D graphics engine resplendent with detailed dino models, pixel-shaded water and smooth lighting effects. Moreover, its unusual subject means you’ll get more than a standard ride-building sim.

14_1Before you can have dinos to attract visitors, you’ll need to uncover and rebuild their genetic information from fossilized remains. Even once you’ve done this and built the necessary pens and infrastructure to keep them and your visitors safely separate, all sorts of problems can spring up, from vomiting Velociraptors to angry Allosaurs. The former can be remedied with TLC and medicine. The latter, however, introduces the game’s action component, which involves jumping in a chopper to gun down the uncontrollable beast, or at least rescue any humans in close vicinity.

With only a few teams to dispatch, you pick the choice dinosaur graveyards to yield the best genetic results and start bringing them back to life in a genetic lab. Even once you have a particular dinosaur’s genome nailed down to the necessary 50 percent, it’s a good idea to keep researching, as the more accurate your picture of the species, the longer they’ll resist disease and old age when romping around your park. Mutated rheumatic giant frogs might come cheap, but the tourists won’t be impressed.

2_1You’ll also have to lay down the basic layout of your zoo, and Operation Genesis adapts the tycoon formula in straightforward fashion. Though your island is portrayed in three dimensions, you’ll only have to worry about two when tackling the game’s simulation element. The first step is to lay down electrified pens to contain whatever you create. Take care, however, as low-voltage rails won’t be much use if something big decides to get nasty. The next task in line is emplacing hatcheries inside the pens to spit out dinosaurs.

Once your newborn dinosaurs start roaming – Operation Genesis includes about 30 species to flesh out your theme park – you’ll need to learn the ins and outs of feeding and maintenance. They can get sick through either infection or eating modern plant life, both of which affect their lifespan and happiness. Herbivores need tree cover to be happy, while carnivores need space to roam.

While food dispensers are an easy way to keep all your exhibits happy, planting cheap modern trees can provide a false economy, as they’re toxic to some of the big critters. Paleo trees are much more palatable, though very expensive. The pens being gigantic electrified fences, you’ll also need to plop down special viewing domes and vents to grant access to the dinosaurs. Outside the wire, you’ll need to build the essentials of any entertainment facility, from toilets and fast food joints to souvenir stores and security stations.

System Requirements: Pentium III 700 MHz, 256 MB RAM, WinXP

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