You probably have no clue what Jurassic: The Hunted is but it's definitely a game you should know about. While the game doesn't redefine the fps genre or give us a highly polished experience the game is worth checking out since it's almost the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" of video games. Bad voice acting and writing, average visuals and surprisingly fun gameplay yields an odd combination that makes Jurassic: The Hunted worth playing, especially if you like dinosaurs and fps games.
Most of the visuals are pretty good and do an excellent job of setting the mood and making the dinosaurs seem believable. The controls are tight and there's a nice variety of weapons for you to blast dinosaurs with. Despite being bad the voice acting and writing makes the game really damn hilarious.
The game may be too short for some and there isn't a lot of replay value since there are no online modes. It would've been nice if there were a few more original game mechanics instead of the game just borrowing from others. The animation can be pretty bad at times which definitely takes you out of the experience a bit. Depending on your sense of humor you may hate how bad the writing and acting is.
There’s no denying that dinosaurs are awesome. People simply love seeing these relics of the past displayed in museums or in more of an interactive nature through films and video games. When it comes to dinosaurs getting their limelight in video games it’s been a bit rocky. Back in the day you had the Turok franchise which was good for its time before quickly fading away into mediocrity. Then Capcom gave us two amazing Dino Crisis games before going to the land of silly with Dino Crisis 3 which featured space dinosaurs/mutant creatures that were terrorizing a spaceship. Last year Disney resurrected the Turok franchise with a reboot that was an odd combination of Gears of War mixed with dinosaurs, i.e. everything the Turok franchise shouldn’t be. Now we have another dino blasting game with Jurassic: The Hunted, a game that has crept up on us during this busy holiday season. Despite being a stealth release of sorts Jurassic: The Hunted is a game you shouldn’t miss merely so you can see how amazingly bad yet oddly enjoyable it is.
If you go into playing Jurassic: The Hunted with no expectations or have them set very low then you’ll have a fun experience. The game basically presents a never ending wave of jokes due to how bad it is through terrible writing, voice acting and animation and visuals that look like they’re missing a few layers. What’s presented in the game is so bad and at times is such a misfire on a technical level that it’s perfect to sit down with some friends and do a Mystery Science Theater 3000 style roasting.
The story follows aptly and generically named soldier Dylan accompanying a young scientist who is researching the disappearance of her father on a mysterious island. On the plane ride to the island things get a bit bumpy and Dylan, the scientist and Dylan’s wonderfully named fellow soldier Rock, a man who despite looking like he’s in his 50’s is sporting a Mohawk, have to evacuate the plane since they’ve flown into a fierce storm. Once on the island Dylan finds himself amidst a variety of dinosaurs and he stumbles across the remains of his crew which appear older than they should be. But for some reason Dylan can’t grasp that these are actual dinosaurs appearing through a time rift or understand that the remains of his colleagues look ancient because he jumped through time. Instead the bewildered Dillon says such wonderful things as “Dude, these are just big lizards.” and “What the Foxtrot is happening here?” when he sees things his menial mind can’t process.
The delivery of these lines and how they’re written is one of the things that make the game so much fun. You never once get the feeling that the developers set out to do a corny or tongue-in-cheek action game but instead were trying hard to give us something good and they just failed miserably at it. Honestly, the voice actor for Dylan could very well dethrone Barry Burton in Resident Evil 1 as the worst voice actor to ever appear in a game. The attempted shift in tone for some of the “serious” moments of the game or when Dylan is in a struggle are just hilarious and at times you can’t even tell what the actor is going for. It’s just that bad. But at the same time the voice acting and dialog never becomes fully cringe inducing especially if you love watching bad movies since Jurassic: The Hunted is bound to become a cult classic of “Carnosaur” proportions.
Seeing the game in motion may make you think that a young staff of college students, perhaps from one of those game design school commercials you see on TV, developed the game. When it comes to the jungle things are pretty serviceable as the foliage is nice and the game offers a nice amount of variety with narrow caves or eerily dark jungles. While the game presents a linear path and most of the geography is pretty flat it seems like the developers thought things out to an extent and tried to do more than simply throwing some trees, rocks and dinosaurs into an environment.
But when it comes to the animation and quality of the CG cutscenes the game reaches an almost laughable low. Dylan animates in an almost unnatural manner at times and the character models almost look like they were ripped out of a highly polished Xbox game. And let me just say that the opening CG cutscene for the game will go down in history on certain message boards as being the most hilarious one ever produced. The lack of quality is amazing especially when it comes to the animation when characters are talking. They have this weird look where their lips are moving more than they should and in awkward directions. It’s so bad that you would get better mouth movement if you made a face puppet with your hand.
With all that being said when it comes to gameplay Jurassic: The Hunted is honestly pretty fun to play. There aren’t any tricks or real gameplay gimmicks and things in general are pretty basic albeit slightly ripped off from a few games. You just go around the various environments shooting different types of dinosaurs with a nice array of weapons ranging from automatic pistols, shotguns, machine guns, old rifles or magnums. Some may be disappointed that the game doesn’t present any crazy fantasy style weapons but I think shooting an endless wave of Raptors with a gattling gun makes up for the somewhat standard arsenal. The guns all pack a nice punch to them and always feel satisfying when you get that headshot or unload an entire clip from your automatic pistol into a Raptor. There’s always a nice amount of ammo or spare weapons laying about so you can always switch weapons if you grow tired of one and you certainly don’t have to worry about ammo management.
The one gimmick the game does use is that you can slow down time which for some reason allows you to shoot at the vital organs of the dinosaur. While this effect isn’t really anything new it does make for a cool visual since you can see the skeleton of the dinosaur along with their brain, heart and lungs. It just would’ve been nice if the developers made this an essential thing to use in certain scenarios since it’s never required to take down a dinosaur that’s giving you trouble.
Shooting dinosaurs never gets tiring as there’s a nice amount in the game and often you’ll face three or more at the same time which lends a certain frantic pace to the encounters. The famous Velociraptors serve as your primary enemies but along the way you’ll see some more exotic ones such as the poison spitting Dilophosaurus and even giant scorpions. Each dinosaur has a nice amount of detail as they have that leathery skin look to them in general they move in a somewhat realistic manner with things like the Raptors lunging or doing a guttural call for back-up when you’re spotted. And I can’t even begin to say let alone put in words how entertaining and hilarious it is to see a dinosaur body go limp with rag-doll style physics after you shoot it.
The game does seem to borrow a few elements from other games with the most notable being the fortress missions. Along the way you’ll come across small makeshift fortresses where you need to protect yourself against the almost never ending hordes of Raptors. The thing is these fortress missions seem highly inspired by the Nazi Zombies mode from Call of Duty: World at War since the player can restock on ammo and even repair windows that the Raptors are destroying so they can gain entry.
These fortress missions don’t occur often and when they do they’re over quite quickly but they just seem to be lacking the amount of tension the concept promises since it’s easy to repair damaged windows and you never fight any dinosaurs besides the Raptors. The game also rip-offs Turok to an extent since during certain dino encounters you’re knocked down and you’re forced to smash a button quickly to avoid the Raptors deadly grasp. It would’ve been nice if the developers tried something original for the QTE section but the payoff is worth it since Dylan in his bad-ass mercenary glory punches the dinosaur in the face. Yes, a man punches a dinosaur in the face in this game. Please try to restrain your glee at this news.
Jurassic: The Hunted is far from being a perfect game and matching the amazing experience that was Dino Crisis 2 but as a whole the game is worth playing. The bad writing and equally horrific voice acting injects a lot of unintentional humor and walking around nicely rendered locations shooting dinosaurs is fun. You never get the feeling that the developers were looking to set the world on fire or give us a game that would rival Modern Warfare 2 and the game as a whole has that B-game type vibe. It also helps that the game doesn’t outstay its welcome since you can finish it in around 4-5 hours (Modern Warfare 2 style, yup I went there) and the Trophies/Achievements are easy to get. So if you like dinosaurs and fps games and want an easy going game to kill some time with then I highly suggest Jurassic: The Hunted as it’s an enjoyable and highly funny trip to the Jurassic age.