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Jurassic Park Legacy - Chaos Island PC
Chaos Island (PC)
"Think fast. Move even faster. You control a team of scientists stuck on an island with prehistoric perils. Have courage, have guts, but most of all have a plan of attack. Strategy, fun, and total chaos in a battle to save THE LOST WORLD!" — Package description

Developer: Microsoft
Publisher: DreamWorks Interactive
Distributor: DreamWorks Interactive
Released: 1997
Origin: United States
Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Players: Single
Control Elements: Keyboard, mouse
ESRB Rating: Kids to Adults


Chaos Island’s release date was chosen by distributor DreamWorks Interactive to coincide with the theatrical release of The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Many actors appearing in the film; Jeff Goldblum (Ian Malcolm), Julianne Moore (Sarah Harding), Vince Vaughn (Nick Van Owen), Richard Attenborough (John Hammond), Richard Schiff (Eddie Carr) and Vanessa Lee Chester (Kelly Curtis), also provided their voices for Chaos Island. More likely than not, however, this was the result of contract obligations as director Steven Spielberg also owned DreamWorks SKG at the time.

The game hit store shelves in time for the holidays although with disappointingly slow sales. Further, critic reviews were generally unsympathetic, ranging from mediocre to downright bashful. Gamers and Jurassic Park fans may have chosen to leave this title stranded in store shelves due to an unappealing marketing campaign (Chaos Island was advertised mainly as a children’s game), or they may have been awaiting another more promising title based on the film; PlayStation and Sega Saturn’s The Lost World, which was to be released several months later and was being heavily promoted. More likely than not, however, Chaos Island failed due to the poor quality of the game itself. Even celebrity voices as a marketing gimmick failed to attract buyers.

In short, Chaos Island was ultimately created to capitalize on a popular film and style of game. Rushing by developers to release the game in time further diminished its quality and resulted in a dull and uninspired product, over what could have been a rather promising concept.


Chaos Island is a real-time 3D strategy game similar in style to many popular unrelated titles such as Westwood’s "Command & Conquer" and Blizzard’s "War Craft" series. As such, the gameplay is very familiar; players control characters displayed on a map using the mouse, hotkeys, and menu to gather resources to build their base. Missions are fairly straightforward, although usually amount to little more than amassing dinosaurs which are sent against the opponent. Players who are fastest or gather the most resources usually win.

Supplies are represented as yellow boxes, which are scattered randomly throughout the map. The base camp is needed as a deposit for resources, as well as for gathered eggs. A tool shed is required for updates to other structures. Other buildings accessible later in the game include shelters (used in healing characters), which can be upgraded into hardened shelters (faster character regeneration), as well as high hides to protect characters from terrestrial dangers and eventually the advanced science lab, which plays a critical role in the game’s later stages. Players also construct artificial nests (upgraded into an incubator) which are needed to hatch the eggs that are found on the island.

At the title screen players are able to select their leaders from five animated characters, all actors appearing in the film. Each character has their strengths and weaknesses such as field of vision (as with most strategy games, unexplored areas of the map remain shrouded in darkness), strength and health, accuracy with a rifle, running speed, and the amount of inventory characters are able to carry. This becomes important when players select characters to perform certain duties, such as scout the map, in which case a character with a balance of good vision and speed is preferable. Nick is a fine choice as he is excels at covert operations and sabotage. Eddie can rig communications and other gear. If one wants to gather eggs a character with higher inventory space is desirable and so forth.

Each character costs a certain amount of points to "buy" so that they are playable, although players are able to gather points later in the game by gathering supplies. Regardless, only Malcolm, Owen, Carr and "Research Assistant's" are available from the start. As stated above, the game features the celebrities' real voices; unfortunately, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) only provides his voice for cut scenes and is never actually playable, although to be fair he does have the most dialogue.

Chaos Island features twelve unique missions with three difficulty settings (easy, medium, and hard). As one progresses through the game enemy hunters and wild dinosaurs attack in greater numbers, and become more fearsome and harder to avoid and defeat. In the first two missions, Malcolm, Carr and Owen are on Isla Nublar, rather than Sorna, and only later travel to Sorna by freighter ship after meeting with Harding who has DNA serum necessary for controlling the dinosaurs that they breed. Kelly is later found to have stowed away on the freighter and becomes a playable character.

The game features eight different dinosaur species in total, listed here in order of strength (health and attack power); Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Velociraptor, Stegosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Compsognathus and Parasaurolophus. Each species has a different personality, as well as other strengths and weaknesses. However, only the two weakest dinosaurs are available to players from the beginning although as the game progresses more powerful dinosaurs are able to be bred. Dinosaurs that you, the player, breed wear blue collars and are “friendly”, while wild dinosaurs have white collars and those bred by hunters wear red collars and are hostile.

Chaos Island’s graphics looked dated when it was released and the limitations are extremely evident today. There is only one graphics mode (256 color 640 x 480 SVGA) and limited frames of animation. The musical score is composed of five clips that repeat continuously and average short to medium in duration (some of the music is taken from the film). The sound effects are nothing special, even when compared to other games released in the late 1990s.

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