Hello my retro gaming friends, and welcome back to The Last Official Release where we dissect and ever so carefully analyse the last official game released for a particular console. Previous entries in the series have included the NES, the Atari 2600 and the Game Boy – but today, we’re inspecting Sega’s only child as far as handhelds go – the Game Gear. Well, there was the Nomad – but let’s consider that as a distant and weird smelling cousin today since the Genesis’s library was all it could play.
Released around the world between 1990 and 1992, the Game Gear sold a healthy 10.62 million units up until its discontinuation on the 30th of April, 1997. It was always under the shadow of Nintendo’s Game Boy, however, which sold a staggering 119 million units over a period that was only several years longer. While the Game Gear was technically superior sporting a backlit colour screen, it was crippled by its inferior battery life and of course missed out on Nintendo’s exclusive and extensive list of IP’s. This is not an article about comparisons, though, so without further ado, let’s get into the meat of it.
As with previous consoles I’ve looked at, the last game differs by region. The last game Asia received was G Sonic on the 13th of December, 1996, which was called Sonic Blast worldwide and released just slightly earlier in November. Both versions of the side-scroller were developed by Aspect Co. – and while the true final game differs, Aspect Co. is the common variable.
Released on the 26th of August, 1997 in America and Europe, The Lost World: Jurassic Park takes the crown. Loosely based on the movie of the same name, the side-scrollers gameplay involves taking the role of a hunter. His role is to investigate the state of the island, Isla Sorna and attempt to stop insidious teams (from shady organisations) attempting to capture and sell dinosaurs which are now roaming free after the events of the original film. Reviews of the game are hard to come by as it’s unsurprisingly quite rare, but the general consensus appears to be something like “okay, but not great”.
While the graphics and sound are considered to be of a decent quality, the levels are considered short and a bit basic. The basicness is somewhat deflected by variety since it includes a driving segment and even a few levels involving your pet dino, Compy – but overall, the Game Gear seems to have signed-out on a C note rather than G. Not a high note but a… well, you get where I’m going with this.
The Game Gear wasn’t the only console to receive this game. While unrelated versions with the same name would appear in arcades, on the Genesis and even the original PlayStation, similar games would appear on the big shadow that was the Game Boy, but interestingly, also some of the biggest oddities in gaming – the Game.com and the R-Zone, both by Tiger Electronics. All versions have their differences, but we can all agree that I know nothing about the Game.com or the R-Zone apart from what Mark on Classic Game Room has to say about them.