The Game Boy Advance is home to a lot of things: Mario, racecars, and now the dinosaurs from JURASSIC PARK. Konami's first of III... err, three JURASSIC PARK III games for the Game Boy Advance, DNA FACTOR, sells itself as a "fun and unique mix of side-scrolling adventure stages and intense puzzle action." While the unique mix part may be true, someone forgot about the fun. It isn't nearly as fun as the movies!
While DNA FACTOR carries the JURASSIC PARK III license, it has nothing to do with the plot of the movie. In the game, an InGen plane has crashed on Isla Sorna. You play as either a male or female character (the choice does not impact game play) as you race through side-scrolling levels to collect scattered DNA elements. After finding enough DNA and the DNA capsule, you are transported to the lab where you recreate a dinosaur using the newly found DNA. This in turn opens up a new level in which that dinosaur resides.
While the concept is sound, the execution is not. The side-scrolling levels are based on two tracks, but thanks to some problems on the graphics side, it can be very difficult to figure out which track an item or dinosaur is on. Another problem is only having one life. Once you die, you must restart from the beginning of the level. This isn't too bad until you realize that most of the dinosaur bosses kill you in a couple of hits. This makes the game play very unforgiving to beginners and advanced players alike. Nothing is more frustrating than having to restart a level.
After narrowly avoiding the giant feet of a brachiosaurus, you are faced with another giant feat (besides having to play DNA FACTOR in the first place). You must use a DNA injector to complete a DNA string. You are presented with a rotating DNA string that you must inject missing DNA pieces into. It's possible to speed up the rotation as well as move the string to make the task easier. However, the difficulty is greatly increased by multiple microorganisms that try to block your DNA shots as well as hit the injector. Konami must enjoy frustrating gamers; if the microorganisms hit you, you must replay the entire level.
There wasn't a moment that I wasn't frustrated by DNA FACTOR in some way. Whether it was the bad job with the graphics, the dinosaurs that were tough to see against the dark background, or the cheap-death bosses, it all just turned me off. The only bright side was the nicely captured sound, thanks to sound tools provided by Factor 5. The sound is the only element that makes the grade.
If you really are in to JURASSIC PARK, then it might be worth renting. Otherwise, avoid it like a pack of starving raptors.
Platform: Game Boy Advance
ESBR Rating: E
Developer:Konami, Honolulu Studio
Suggested Retail Price: $39.99
Fun Factor: F
Reviewer's Wild Card:D+