Looking Back at Telltale’s Jurassic Park: Survival Horror Meets Isla Nublar

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| August 25, 2023

Telltale Games is back with ‘The Expanse’, and they never looked better. It’s an excellent time for all of us fans who loved our choice-based games, even if sometimes, consequences from the previous choice seemed incredibly unfair. With this new release, many surveys are appearing on social media asking people which Telltale game is their favorite. They list games like The Walking Dead series, Game of Thrones, Batman, or Guardians of the Galaxy, but one of their titles is always missing… Jurassic Park: The Game. Of course, it became my mission to go around in the comments and talk about the awesomeness of this game and to remind people to play it, but I thought to myself: “Maybe there’s an easier way to do this.” Welcome to Jurassic Park: The Game article. 

Gerry Harding in the game and in the movie

Do you remember Gerry Harding from the movie? He was played by Jurassic Park’s producer Gerald R. Molen. Harding was the one Dr. Grant (Sam Neill)  and the group met as they exited the vehicles to check out the sick triceratops. He is a guy in a hat and sunglasses checking the dinosaur’s well-being. And that’s pretty much all we know about him based on the movie. He has a bigger role in the book, and an even bigger role in this game as he is one of the main protagonists that you’re gonna make decisions for. We soon find out that he brought his daughter Jess (Heather Hudson) to the park, so we are not left without a child in the story. A very annoying one, mind you, and I would probably even say that she is the weakest part of the entire thing, but she does get a tiny redemption by the end.

The story plays during the events of the movie and a little after it. How much it is canonically correct is a different question. They did change quite a few things about it but kept the main things rolling. We also meet Nima (Nika Futterman) who BioSyn hires to retrieve Dennis Nedry’s Barbasol can. The can that contained all the dino DNA. She basically served as a Plan B in case Dennis Nedry failed to deliver the can for BioSyn, and what a good thing it is that she was there right as all the shit was going down and Nedry became dino food. Her only goal is to get the Can back to her employers and provide a better life for her daughter. We also find out that she was one of the natives of Isla Nublar that InGen got rid of as they bought the island for Jurassic Park. 

The T-Rex breaking out of the Visitor’s Center

The game definitely goes deeper than expected. It drops the “family-friendly” approach, too, which was necessary for it to work as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the Jurassic franchise, but I always felt like they were missing out on a huge opportunity by not making it a survival horror. If you ever read the books, you know that originally Michael Crichton wasn’t playing around. Many parts of the books are pure horror, to say the least, and it works so well. Sure, we got a bit of gore and very suspenseful (looking at you kitchen scene) moments, but it was all within the very safe borders of filmmaking to sell it to a wider audience. It only just scratched the surface of what could be… but the game goes IN. Sure, if you play it right, there are miraculous surviving moments, but they were not afraid to be brutal. The death animations are haunting, to put it lightly, and this was around the time when Telltale wasn’t afraid to put you into some serious situation where one choice could easily lead to the character’s death. 

Billy, Oscar and Harding

We are following Harding (Jon Curry) and his daughter as everything crumbles around them. First, they bump into Nima, who got bitten by a new dinosaur, the Troodon whose venom is slowly killing her. Then they find themselves in some serious trouble as the now freely roaming T-Rex fights a Triceratops right next to them. Barely escaping, Harding makes the decision to get to the Visitor’s Centre the next day and get help. This is where the movie and game separate as we see the helicopter fly away with Dr. Grant and the survivors of the film’s events.

Harding arrives at an already destroyed Visitor’s Centre, and they once again come face to face with the T-Rex. From here on, it’s almost non-stop action and the fight to get off the island. A team of mercenaries is dispatched to locate the survivors, and we get introduced to the last two (playable) protagonists, Billy (Jason Marsden) and Oscar (Carlos Carrasco). And let me tell you all that a whole rollercoaster of a ride starts with them. You’ll go through a range of emotions once they are introduced into the story. 

I don’t want to spoil the game and instead encourage you all who ever enjoyed the Jurassic franchise to give a chance to this forgotten gem. I still play it all again from time to time as I remind myself of different aspects of the story. You get a lot of great dino action, some incredibly well-done suspenseful situations, loveable new characters, and a deeper look into the Jurassic story. 

Fans of Telltale Games, or simply put, fans of choice-based games, this is a truly good one for you all out there. Give it a chance. You won’t regret it. 

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