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Carnivores II

Forgive us, Oh Deity of Computer Games, for we are about to give a hunting game a passing score
Uh, is sausage on a velociraptor's diet?
Many gamers are skeptical about the rise of "hunting" games. Crusty gamers like us often consider the hunting game a sorry excuse for a first-person shooter, lacking the cutting edge technology and design quality of blockbusters like Half-Life or Quake II. Early hunting games certainly helped to create that opinion, with dated graphics, poor gameplay, and hick appeal. Besides, why hunt ducks when multiplayer gaming showed the most dangerous game is man himself? Even crap like Microsoft Windows can get better with time. Carnivores 2 just crashed through the brush and made us eat our words.


This title is, at first glance, like a lot of the other hunting games. It's inexpensive at $19.99, is simple to operate, and has a simple focus -- hunt dinosaurs. Armed with a pistol, players kill dinosaurs to earn credits which open more dangerous locales, enable use of better weapons and tools (like scent masking or radar), and allow a player to select lizards for a "hit list". The hit list is a way to designate specific dinosaur types, those a player wants full credit for and wants to appear on the radar. Gaming veterans will find the credits system restrictive, but it does a good job of helping (and forcing) the player to traverse the learning curve in steps.

Bagging the lizards starts easily enough, when the only prospects players can mark on their hit lists are placid herbivores. Once players earn their way to targeting carnivores, they are transformed from hunter to hunted. The dinosaur AI is respectable. Most of the creatures will run away once they see or smell a hunter, but the more aggressive dinosaurs will charge and sometimes flank a player. In an encounter with a velociraptor, the beast charged head-on but veered away. We lost sight of it until it killed us from behind. It recalled the scene in Jurassic Park, where a velociraptor pops its head from the bushes to surprise a flanked hunter who mutters a concession just before he dies, "Clever girl."

There's also an abundance of mundane walking and waiting while looking for dinosaurs. Some might consider this a realistic part of hunting, but it's also a realistic part of boredom. A player who doesn't use the radar to help find prey is in for some very long afternoons.

In all fairness, the walks aren't terrible because the scenery is beautiful. The forests are dense, mountains high and steep, and swamps rife with water and vegetation. Hunts can take place any time of the day or night. The dinosaurs are convincing, and their animation is excellent. We sat and watched one benevolent dinosaur reach its long neck to the water, grab some plants, then chew, and send a lump down its throat with a swallow. Injured dinosaurs leave a blood trail. Frankly, Carnivores 2 looks better than some much more vaunted games.

The majority of gamers will still prefer a traditional title with gobs of combat, and for most of us, it's because those games will be more fun. Carnivores 2 has some quirks and boring segments, but we have to give it credit for doing well what it intended to do. It's a highly affordable package that's easy to operate and looks great. While it may not replace more glamorous affairs like Rogue Spear on a gamer's hard drive, it's good enough to earn a look. Clever girl.

- Bernard Dy

From a distance
Big Ones

"The majority of gamers will still prefer a traditional title with gobs of combat, and for most of us, it's because those games will be more fun. "


Velociraptor charging! And he ain't using MasterCard!

After a kill, have your kills collected and stuffed by Han Solo's Hauling and Taxidermy.

Yeah! Who's the bitch now, you stinking allosaurus?

Developer WizardWorks
Publisher WizardWorks
Genre Shooter
Pentium 233; 32MB RAM; 200MB Hard drive space; 2X CD-ROM drive; DirectX compliant video card; DirectX 6.1; DirectSound compliant sound card; mouse
Pentium II 300; 3D video card; EAX/A3D/DS3D audio card
The Most Dangerous Game
What could the makers of Carnivores 2 do to make the next dinosaur game better? Aside from the usual leaps in graphics and sound technology that occur every year in PC gaming, they could add AI squad mates or multiplayer support. Team competition and cooperation would certainly put new wrinkles in the gameplay and help give players a better chance to survive encounters with multiple beasties. It needs more weapons too. Lots more weapons. The most powerful gun in the game is the double shotgun, and it's still not enough to take on velociraptors coming from different angles. Give us a squad of SEALs, decent weapons, and some goals, like escorting airplane crash survivors out of the jungle while the T-Rex is licking his lips, and this game gets more interesting real fast.

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