Jurassic War is an RTS set in prehistoric times that includes RPG elements. It is reminiscent of Warcraft, both in graphics and the units' movement and control.
At the beginning of the game you have to choose among several tribes. Each of them has got "simple men" (not just workers like in other games as they can evolve here), and then each tribe slightly differs with regard to most advanced kinds of units, such as "magicians" and the like.
The RPG addition comes with experience: every time an unit of yours has killed something (be it an animal hunted for the only resource of the game, that is food, or be it an opponent unit) it earns this kind of experience you can see in the form of bars in the upper-right corner of the screen (when the unit is selected). Each unit has got these six bars showing its velocity, its light radius, its magic power, and so on. You can also choose to boost some of these bars only, that is they will fill up faster but at the cost of no progress for the other ones.
Then the six bars are summed up in one only bar located at the top of each unit, and whose colour represents that unit overall strength. White is the highest level/colour units can reach. The most frequent white-barred animals you will encounter in the game are Tyrannousaurus-like dinosaurs. You need a lot of training with high-level monsters to have your units become that strong. Obviously also animals earn experience, and this happen only when you die fighting them, because they don't attack themselves.
The goal of the game is the same of almost every other RTS - that is killing the opponent units and getting rid of their presence on the map.
The first time I played Jurassic War was when I was no older than 10 years old. I was thrilled. Many late evenings and lots of complaining from my mother. My father though, who played this more, were more understanding. This game was the first RTS I've ever played in my life, and might have changed my view on gaming the most, together with classics like Doom and Duke Nukem.
So how do you describe a game like Jurassic War? Well it's a game who take place in the ancient times, with cavemen and dinosaurs! The game is a RTS where you control units and buildings with the goal to destroy your opponent or completing different missions like finding artifacts. You start the game by choosing a tribe, and there's eight to choose from. Each tribe have their special abilitys with the caveman represented in each tribe. The tribes can have everything from the Tyranno who tame dinosaurs to fight, the Radumba who's skilled with the bow, the Romack who use conjurors, to the Koomba, the lazy muscleman tribe.
You start off every map with a number of units and eventually buildings with a mission on each map. The goal is to extend your hunting grounds with the prey being wild animals from dogs to the mighty tyrannosaurus rex, at the same time that you're fighting other tribes. The hunting is also the way to gather the game's only resources - meat.
What makes this game so unique for its time is the way your units gather experience the more units they kill. In games that we play today where you get experience on your units, there's often a "hero" who collects items. It's the same here, but you can use all your units to do this. You can even choose what your units should improve in. If you start off with a so called "commoner", the weakest of the cavemen, he can focus on being strong with a lot of HP to grow into a muscle man, or if you want an athlete warrior, you can train the commoner to a "warrior", everything based on how you choose your commoner to train his skills.
Jurassic War is a game that will keep you busy for a lot of hours, as it takes loads and loads of hours to finish, and there are 9 campaigns (!), one for each tribe. If you're going to play on the hardest difficulties - suit yourself, you will be playing for months.
The good things about Jurassic War, is that though the game is old, it was kinda new with some functions. To train your warriors to become stronger, hunting animals, searching for ancient artifacts, arming your units to the teeth and finally just burn your neighbor tribe to the ground. That my friends. That's a mighty feeling.
The music and sound in the game is also good. The soundtrack makes you feel like you're in Jura, and there's even a jukebox so you can choose the song you want to listen to. And the sound when a t-rex roars out of the forest, that's nothing to play with.
The bad thing about the game is the AI, that's sometimes very confusing and sometimes you don't understand what your opponent is doing. Standing in their hunting grounds and just waiting for you to attack them, without showing any will at all to attack you. Another bad thing is that the units have a very short agro-range, which means that if two units stand, let's say 3 squares away from each other, they are not going to help each other if attacked. It's also pretty annoying when you are going to move your army around on the map, as they have a tendence to get stuck in trees or even bridges. I mean, how hard could it be to pass a f#cking bridge?
The graphics though are ok, with the landscape maybe a little boring, but the units look just fine and the buildings looks like nothing you've ever seen before.
So my final words. Jurassic War is a very entertaining game which had far too little attention when it came out. If you can play this game today, is it still up to date? Yes if you can look past some of the bugs this is a really good game. When you get the hang of it, you will have many rampaging hours on the Jurassic Island.
People who downloaded Jurassic War have also downloaded:
Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, Kingdom at War, Lords of Magic: Special Edition, Into the Void, Jagged Alliance, Knights and Merchants: The Peasants Rebellion, Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games, Jagged Alliance 2
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