Today I kicked a Spinosaurus’ ass.
Jurassic: The Hunted is one of those games that I’ve probably seen a million times and have always wondered whether or not I should play it. I knew it wouldn’t be all that good, there was no way, but (perhaps brought on by early memories of Turok) something in me needed to play it. What I found when I eventually made my way to Jurassic: The Hunted in my backlog was a game that was one part completely and totally awful, one part surprisingly fun and one part shooting dinosaurs in the face… oh who am I kidding, that was the fun part.
Jurassic: The Hunted isn’t just a budget title, it is a budget title from very early on in the 360/PS3 console generation made by Activision. Now, you may be thinking of Activision as “the Call of Duty guys” but before Modern Warfare there FPS games were a little… well they were largely very very bad. Not all, by any means, but more games resembled Jurassic: The Hunted than Modern Warfare at that point. So even more so than certain budget games you have to take certain things with low expectations; like story and plot.
The story behind Jurassic: The Hunted involves storms that cause time travel in the Bermuda Triangle, a mysterious island where dinosaurs are running around, and of course mercenaries. Which, if I recall correctly, is more or less the same basic plot as Casablanca. The point? Don’t expect much from the story, the important things to know is that you are a registered bad-ass with a big gun and a lot of oversized lizards to shoot. So get to it!
The game handles surprisingly well for something so dated. The “Halo model” for FPS controls had already taken hold by then and as such the game plays pretty similar to that of Halo or the last few COD releases, making it easy to pick up. The controls are fairly tight, and outside of the fact that you throw grenades like a three year old with a particularly bad arm, this isn’t a game that becomes difficult because of the controls. An assortment of guns from various eras also adds some extra layers of fun to the game. The developers could have easily just kept everything pretty standard, but instead decided to make use of the time travel plot device to go ahead and throw in some guns from several different periods in history.
Visually the game looks much better than you might expect. The environments and models for the dinosaurs all actually look pretty good. The character models and animations for the few other humans that are present in the game don’t hold up as well, but overall I didn’t find myself constantly thinking how bad the game looks (which is pretty impressive for a older budget title).
Ultimately though, with a game like this there is really only two things that matter; do I get to shoot dinosaurs? Is the game any fun?
Luckily the answer to both is yes. There are plenty of stupid dinosaurs to shoot in their stupid faces (they had small brains people, go look it up!). In fact, there is significantly more dinosaurs to shoot in Jurassic: The Hunted than there was in the last Turok game, which is probably part of the reason no one liked Turok. Of course it falls naturally from shooting dinosaurs in their faces that the game is also kind of fun. It has some ridiculous moments, well a lot of ridiculous moments, and some flaws due to being the kind of game a developer makes on a weekend bender, but who cares if you are having fun? As a bonus, when you beat the game you unlock both a harder mode and a baler futuristic gun that never runs out of amo and melts dinosaurs’ faces off (not really, but close).
One major thing to note though is that like Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011, there appears to now be a save glitch with the game; at the very least shutting off your Xbox causes it to forget what you have and haven’t beaten already (though you can continue the game where you left off, it mostly affects the level select). Luckily the game can easily be beat in a single setting.
Tomorrow I travel in time once again with Spider-Man: Edge of Time.
Final Rating: 5.5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: 2 hours 45 minutes
Gamer Score Earned: 800/100
Price Bought at: $12
Current Price: $18.41 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $10 or under is a fair price for this.
Why you should buy it: You shoot dinosaurs. Duh.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Your name is Ian Malcolm.