Sea Monsters A Prehistoric Adventure- DS

Another week another Dinosaurs in Games update. Phew! You must be on the edge of your seat. Today we're going to look at a contender for Game of The Decade, National Geographic's Sea Monsters A Prehistoric Adventure on the DS. Do not be misled by the screenshot below [from IGN] what it lacks in aesthetic appeal in more than makes up for with Gameplay.
This game (also available on PS2 and Wii) is an adaptation of the National Geographic's recent IMAX blockbuster film of the same title. Now if I think National Geographic-Games-And documentary tie-in then I'm instantly forming an idea of a game in my head that's part Clever Kids in Dino Land, part Catz by Ubisoft and part whatever the latest Pixar lazy mulitplatform effort is. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

If only the DS was HD
Imagine the stealth-hit, Crackdown for the Xbox 360, but replace city heights with sea depths, replace cybernetically enhanced agent with extinct marine reptiles (and a flying one) and exchange hunting down increased abilities with collecting fossils to unlock other organisms to explore the depths with. All of this on the DS! Yes it is that good.
Playing as a Sea Monster you have to explore various marine environments to unlock the full cast of playable characters to then further explore hidden areas in order to beat all the challenges and collect all the fossils. Each reptile has advantages and disadvantages. Players start out with the generalist Thallasomedon who is quite nippy in the water but cannot go too deep in the water column before expiring. Progress then rapidly unlocks the rest of the cast. Henodus is slow, tiny and is restricted to the shallows but can dig in the sea bed to expose hidden fossils, Temnodontosaurus can dive to the sea bottom, Tylosaurus is the top predator and can bash through walls to uncover new areas. Players have to use a combination of the 7 characters in order to complete the game.

Dinosauriness: Of course, no dinosaurs but the cast of prehistoric animals is pleasantly diverse; Archelon, Cretoxyrhina, Dolichorhynchops, Enchodus, Gillicus, Henodus, Hesperornis, Kronosaurus, Nothosaurus, Pteranodon, Shonisaurus, Temnodontosaurus, Thallasomedon, Tylosaurus and Xiphactinus feature .

Scientific Accuracy: Unfortunately, not all of these creatures are coeval but unlike ever other title that makes this mistake there is a disclaimer at the beginning. So, ultimately, forgivable. But unlike the majority of other dinosaur and extinct organism titles, this one is educational but not in the usual obvious "here's a fact way" but in a more subtle learning through experience way. So for example, if I were to ask you how do marine reptiles breath underwater? Would you be able to answer confidently? Play this game and you'll know. To be commended by reviewers who can see past the simple nature of the game.
This game does show some mild strain being crammed onto the DS though. Occassionally the Cretoxyrhina sharks will swim through walls, above the surface of the sea or upside down but palaeontologists have not strictly ruled out this behaviour in organisms in this genus so who knows, it might be correct.

Buzz Bonus: Other reviewers slated this game for being too shallow but in terms of the DS this is a quietly revolutionary title. The controls are difficult at first but then quickly become second nature and the gentle exploration is engaging and relaxing. The sandbox nature of the game is a welcome addition to the DS which up until now has been primarily minigame titles or lazy RPGs that have little to offer in terms of replay value. Oh and Advance Wars. Plus it's always nice to be able to play as the creature themselves rather than continuously running from them (Dino Crisis), managing them (Operation Genesis, Zoo Tycoon) or merely learning about them (Clever Kids Dino Land). 10/10 Game of the Decade and new benchmark for dinosaurs in games (and other prehistoric creatures. In games)


Ryan said...

how do you dig with henodus i cant figure it out!!!!

brendon said...

u gow to were u want 2 dig and touch the little radar button wen ure at the bottom.then you can move arround the bottom of the ocean floor going back and fowerds over the fossil will bring it up.

hope this helps

do you now how to jump over walls????

Cunzy11 said...

You need the "sea monster" that can do the jumping trick.

To jump over the walls you need to find the jumping arrows. You then need to line up to the jump, accelerate and then double tap the screen when you are near the jump arrow.

Doing this and landing in water again can be tricky, occasionally because you are jumping blind you'll end up slapping against a wall or landing on dry land (which results in death).

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

How do I get temnondontosaurus?

Anonymous said...

Hey, got the temnodontosaurus! Now I'm looking for the fast swimmer and the strong sea monster. I'm down to the last three monsters. Any hints would be appreciated.

Lewin said...

I can 't find the skull for temnodontasaurus. Any help?

bamagrad said...

which monster do u need to jump the wall? BTW i have the henodus and i went up on land and didnt die but on another island when i went on land i died!

NnoitraJiruga said...

You guys must see this, awesome monster and Zombie Killing Games online

Nancy M. Dukes said...

Thanks. Monster Jump is another good game.