Island Attack is presumably the third GBA title to come out based on the Jurassic Park III movie license. The previous two titles received absolutely atrocious critical reviews and Island Attack is supposed to be a fresh take on the games borne out of this license as a whole. True to the Jurassic Park archetype, you begin your mission marooned on one of the Jurassic Park islands with very little in the way of supplies and weapons to defend yourself.
The one thing that you manage to salvage from your wreckage is a radio to the coast guard who advise you to evade all dinosaurs and make your way to the coastline. Of course, even the coast guard has trepidations in coming to the islands, but at least they are willing to come. Throughout the game, the radio provides a constant dialogue source similar to the radio in Metal Gear Solid on a less sophisticated level. The game all changes when you find out you assume the role of Dr. Alan Grant. There is a reason as to why Grant ventures out to the island again, completely alone, but such trivial plot devices are not the concern of the game.
Island Attack is all about dinosaurs; not so much attacking them but actively evading them either through jumping through myriads of puzzles or actually fleeing in the presence of them. The only weapons you can collect throughout the entire game serve only to stun the dinosaurs for not more than a few seconds. As such, this game is all about solving environmental obstacles and adventuring. Unfortunately, the latter is
hampered by the near constant attack Grant comes under. You'd think with Grant visiting the island so many times, the dinosaurs would recognize him as a potent enough enemy to leave him alone. Or maybe they simply have seen him too much and want to co-operatively remove this menace from their habitat once and for all. Either way, Grant's
adventure romps are far or few in between. Indeed, he has probably been to all the ruined buildings and surveyed the entire island by now, although in the game itself, he still demonstrates quite a marvel at the flora and the fauna of the place. Paleontology is perhaps an ever-engaging subject after all.
The adventure section entails you combining certain items and the process of exploring environs to retrieve them. The puzzle section is where the bulk of the game is and you manipulate Grant to circumvent obstacles, more often than not by jumping. As such, the end result is a wholly unfulfilling adventure through Jurassic Park, yet again. And it
probably explains why turning Jurassic Park into a place of tourism was the wrong idea altogether considering you can actually get quite bored of just running away from them.
The visuals in Island Attack are generally highly detailed but unfortunately, there is a clash between realism and artistic value. On the GBA's dark screen, and really on any limited screen in general, bright symbolic colors make a game better playable than say, a realistic palette. In Island Attack, the fauna is often colored green and the rest of the island looks brown. The dinosaurs, especially the smaller ones, are different shades of brown or green, making the entire landscape of a pastel of colors faithful to a badly drawn up Monet painting. The audio is somewhat better but even extraordinary technical
components fail to offset the bland gameplay.
The most impressive thing about Island Attack is the animation of the large dinosaurs and of Grant as well. The subtitle is a slight misnomer though. Those looking for an action game will be dealt with a conservationist's idea of an action game, where the most effective weapon in Grants' arsenal tranquilizes a dinosaur, and only then, momentarily. Unfortunately, like the movie itself, Island Attack overstays its welcome for far too long. There have been decent gaming titles coming from awful movie franchises but while Jurassic Park III was not deep in any sense, it at least had a sense of fun for the first hour. Grant's further adventures in Island Attack are anything but exciting. The movie had a tired sense after a mere ninety minute running time. Island Attack does not fare much better.