It’s hard to believe that Spielberg’s Jurassic Park is nigh-on 30 years old. Whatever you may think of the sequels, the original was a seminal piece of cinematic adventure, a lightning-in-a-bottle moment of film-making (even if the science is as wonky as ride on a bus with hexagonal wheels); even now, the scene where Grant and Sattler first see the dinosaurs on Isla Nubar, complete with John Williams’ soaring theme, can bring a lump to the throat and cause the eyes to water.
I cannot promise the same reaction when visiting Justice Vought’s Jurassic Park! in Second Life – but I can say you’ll get to have quite the adventure when visiting (complete with a extract of Williams’ theme). In places drawing on the entire film franchise but with a strong emphasis on Isla Nubar, Justice presents a personal interpretation of the film and novel that captures several of the former’s iconic moments, and which includes some rather unique chuckle moments that set outside of the film’s story, but very much feel well-suited to the moment here.
A visit starts down within caves where dinosaur skeletons are being uncovered together with insects trapped within fossilised amber. From here, visitors are invited to find their way to where they can board a helicopter (rezzed on touching the box at the helipad) to fly, a-la Alan Grant, (Sam Neill), Eliie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Ian Malcolm (the always brilliant Jeff Goldblum) to John Hammond’s fabled park.
From there, and progressing through the visitor centre, the park is laid out as several distinct sky-based areas linked by teleports and various means of travel (including the caverns of the arrival point). The visitor centre itself gives a nice feel of the one seen in the film, complete with the T-Rex skeleton (check for a sit-point!) and the huge banner that is intended to greet guests. A little ride (best taken in Mouselook) reveals the secrets of creating dinos, whilst touching the door at the back of the centre will carry you to the park gates, where you can start your tour via jeep.
I really do not want to give too much away here, for fear of spoiling a visit; however, some elements are hard to avoid mentioning. The jeep ride will take you so far – passing by way of the T-Rex enclosure and its hapless goat – before you’ll have to continue on foot, coming across a Triceratops and a pair of Diplodocus, passing on the other side of the T-Rex enclosure (now looking somewhat the worse for wear and with a fun pose), whilst close by, a Baryonnyx appears to be stalking a Parasaurolophus.
Other dinosaurs waiting to be encountered include Carnotaurus, Pteranodon (one of which you can rez and ride), Stygimoloch (which may actually be juvenile Pachycephalosaurus), Iguanodon, Allosaurus – and, of course, velociraptors and ol’ T-Rex himself, complete with a novel recreation of a scene from the film (with pedal extremities replacing the jeep!).
Along the way there are numerous things to click on, from rezzers to givers and assorted interactive elements – look for the red and blue arrows and click where directed – but also be sure to Mouse over in places. There’s also a trap featuring monsters of its own, and one particularly novel way of … blasting … yourself between points in the park!
At the end of the adventure, you can rez and grab a helicopter to escape what might otherwise be a grizzly fate, and this will carry you to a waypoint you can use to either journey back to the start of the adventure, or hop back to the visitor centre or the disaster area. With tiny meteor periodically falling the the ground, this also offers a reminder of the eventual fate of the dinosaurs. Donations for the maintenance of Juctice’s Oxygen locations (of which this is a part) can be made here as well.
Justice always puts a lot of effort into his builds, and Jurassic Park is no exception. The range of dinos means that most of the film franchise is represented, although the focus is clearly on the original film / book, as noted. Yes, not all the reptiles are animated – but this does help reduce script load and things like animation loading / running on the viewer, and it doesn’t stop a visit from being fun; I think I can safely say it’s the first time I’ve ever been digested by a closet when travelling!
Fun to visit and explore individually or with friends. My thanks to Justice for the personal invite, and to Shawn for also sending me the LM!
- Jurassic Park! (River, rated Moderate)