Dinosaur Games on Android

I've been desperately trying to breathe some life back into the ol' PC in order to finish Syberia. Whilst I was waiting for loading and installing bars to go up and down I thought I'd hit the Android market to see if there was any Dinosaur Goodness to be had. Over 700 hits for "dino"! This could truly be the future of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in games?

Of course, I'm not going to pay for any of them! Why risk paying for something that might be awful? So I downloaded a couple of free ones. The first game I tried  was called Dino Attack Hunt (screenie above). The "game" involves prodding the dinosaur pictures as they scroll down the screen. If you correctly prod them you are rewarded with a shotgun noise and the dinosaur's heads pop off. The game is fun for a little bit less than it takes to download. It was a really really quick download too. Annoying too is that the background is clearly a well looked after park. Is this really the future of games? There may have been a point where something other than prodding the three dinosaurs shown above happened but I just couldn't bear to see it through. Life is too short.

Next up is a game/app simple called Dinosaurs!. I was excited about this one. Somebody had undertaken some serious research into the ways that dinosaurs could possibly make different noises by looking at laryngology as well as a comparative analysis of vocalisation in reptiles from throat rumbles, specialised resonating chambers through to beak clacking. From this academic research they were then able to upload authentic sounds of 45 dinosaur (and other prehistoric creature) genera including relatively obscure genera like Herrasaurus (an apparently new genus to science, the first to be described in an app and surely definitely not a typo of Herrerasaurus), 'Parsaurlophus'Monolophosaurus and everyone's favourite Chirstenote(?!). Of course, I am being facetious here. Somebody has simply uploaded 45 random roary noises and attached them to 45 misspelled and poorly researched dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Accuracy alarm bells started to ring when the picture for Ankylosaurus, one of the most recognisable dinosaurs after Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, 'Brontosaurs' and Stegosaurus, instead depicts the sauropod Amargosaurus. The image below shows some of the errors on the first page. There are more, believe me. 
So there we have it. I'm not going to make a habit of looking at every single dinosaur (and/or other prehistoric creatures) app/game because most of them will be a pile of rubbish like these two but when I do there's a new section on the left here where they will be listed.

Disney's Dinosaur

Disney's Dinosaur was a game that was released on virtually every single platform at the time, Game Boy Colour, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Dreamcast and Windows. I've been meaning to pick up a copy of this game for a long long time.

It's a Ubisoft game, when Ubi wasn't so fussy about not for making awful games before the days of Assasin's Creed. That being said, this game (the PS2 version at least) isn't as bad as I expected. It isn't as good as it could have been either. The game plays like a bit like Baldur's Gate is as much as it an isometric 'dungeon crawler', although the water isn't as good as in Baldur's Gate. A nice twist on the dungeon crawling is that you need to combine the specific skills of Aladar the Iguanodon, Flia a Pteranodon and Zini a lemur to make it through levels that roughly follow the plot of the film. There's a neat little squad organising mechanic that makes it easy to split your team of three or to combine them all together. Aladar can give out and take a lot of damage, Zini can climb up ladders and hurl stones at enemies and to create walkways and Flia, who has been created specifically for the game, can act as a scout, access areas the land dwellers can't as well as being able to pick up and carry objects. The game occasionally falters in that unintuitive and cryptic mechanics are sometimes introduced in order to progress through levels requiring a number of frustrating failures in order to work out what you're supposed to do. Some sections also suffer from the classic problem in that bridges and ledges require a careful navigation that simply isn't possibly with the unrefined controls. I had to restart a couple of the escort missions because I'd fall off a ledge and respawn to find my escortees blocking the way through. As you can see below, the game isn't exactly a looker but it deserves some credit for not being a Pokemon clone, RTS or light gun game as so many of these Dinosaurs and other prehistoric creature games are.

Dinosauriness: The game departs slightly from the film including some dinos that didn't make the cut. Creatures featured are: Albertoaurus, Ankylosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Carnotaurus, Champsosaurus, Dryptosaurus, the bat Icaronycteris, Iguanodon, Oviraptor, Parasaurolophus, Pteranodon, Quetzalcoatlus (misspelled Quetzelcoatlus in the game), a' raptor', Spinosaurus, Styracosaurus (misspelled Styrachosaur in the game) Talarurus and of course a Lemur. A number of other genera appear in cutscenes including Pachyrhinosaurus, Struthiomimus, Stygimoloch and possibly Ichthyornis.

Scientific Accuracy: Where to begin? First off talking animals loses some accuracy points. Secondly, a lot of the dinosaurs have been found continents apart, Carnotaurus remains have only been found in Argentina, Styracosaurus is only known from Canada, Oviraptorin Mongolia and possibly China. This is not to say that they couldn't have met but current evidence doesn't suggest they did. Also many of the creatures represented weren't coeval. Champsosaurus resembles a giant lizard and is found roaming the desert rather unlike a Choristoderan really. Lastly, the lemurs (and similarly Icaryonecteris) really throw a spanner in the works. Not only are lemur fossils only known from Madagascar, Asia and continental Africa conflicting with the Dinosaurs from the Americas but even the most immoderate estimates for the appearance of lemurs don't go as far back as 75 Ma. However, most irritatingly in the game is that Zini sounds like some kinda New York wise-guy. Having been forced to watch the film again for fact checking, bizarrely this accent has been added specifically for the game. Thanks guys. Someone should really publish a paper on the independent evolution of NY wise guy accents in sidekicks.

Buzz Bonus: It seems almost obligatory for dinosaur games to have a 'dinopedia' and this game is no exception albeit with a shocking number of typos. This makes my life a lot easier because I don't have to keep quite so many notes. The dinopedia in the PS2 version is a nice little three-dimensional diorama that you can whizz around and discover various dinosaur (and other prehistoric creature) facts.

What no Turok?

My little gaggle of followers may have noticed a recent spate of posting. Unfortunately, I seem to be fighting a losing battle when it comes to covering all the games listed under "THE GAMES" over there on the left because as soon as I get round to playing through one of them another three pop up. Not that I'm complaining. We all know there aren't enough dinosaurs in games. The more the merrier! To infinity!

However, eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that the Turok series remains greyed out for the time being. Can't be fussed checking, here's the proof:

So what's the deal? Shirley, Turok is an obvious place to start when it comes to dinosaurs in games? Well I'm inclined to agree but I want to play through them all in order to get a better sense of the " "Storyline" ". At the moment I've been playing them in reverse order. I played the Xbox 360 one then Turok: Evolution. I want to start playing from the beginning but you know what it is like. Finding all the cables and setting up the N64 is such a pain... I was secretly hoping that they'd appear on the virtual console but alas that doesn't seem to be something that is planned to happen.

Tl:dr the short story is, I'm getting around to it, I'm not ignoring the series or anything jeez!

Planet Dinosaur

Planet Dinosaur was oh so briefly on the TV recently and as with Walking with Dinosaurs, an accompanying game has been made. You can go and play it right now, right here.

It's a fun little browser game. You can breed a number of species from the television series then let them loose in your own little panorama. It won't be breaking any records for looks. Or playability. But hey, it's free. Oh and it has achievements if you like that kind of thing. It is quite slow and if I was being cynical I'd say it was a cheap way to get people to keep coming back to the website. In fact, there are achievements for logging in every single day.... Here's my panorama so far:
Nuffin but a couple of Spinosaurus at the moment. They don't get up to much. They stomp around. There's a little sawfish catching mini game you can play for in game credits to buy more dinosaurs, food to help your babies grow to adulthood and extra bits of scenery to enrich your panorama. I'll hold off the final judgement when I've unlocked more of the dinosaurs and mini-games. If you decide to give it a go, let me know what you think in these comments.

A Bumper Crop For Mammoths Today

A Hirsute* of mammoths if you will. Typical! You wait for ages for a mammoth to come along and then two appear!

Just in via RPS it's Trine 2. Is this mammoth skeleton nought but a Checkov's Gun for the real thing? I'm hoping it is. Even if it isn't it's nice to see such a lovely mammoth skeleton.

* Sadly, not the actual collective noun.

UPDATE: Apologies if this post keeps changing. I've had to edit this post about five times for typos. I'm just too excited.

Dinosaurs and/or other prehistoric creatures in games spotted!

Spotted this screenie over on Capcom-Unity from Strider 2.

Yep. That's a cyber-mammoth if I ever did see one. Capcom have always got some love for dinosaurs and or other prehistoric creatures in games from Cadillacs and Dinosaurs through to the excellent (except maybe the third one) Dino Crisis. The question is, is it worth hunting down and getting? Or is this the only dinosaur or other prehistoric creature in the game? File this under needs more research.

Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep- Wii

What's that coming over the hill out of the deep? Is it a monster? Well sort of. It's a plesiosaur of some kind! Other prehistoric creatures made a bit of a cameo in the first Endless Ocean, the sequel fleshes out them old bones with a live and kicking real virtual plesiosaur. Can you kick with a paddle? Doesn't matter, down to bi'ness.

Dinosauriness: As far as I'm aware there's just this Plesiosaur in the game. I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to which species. It's fairly big, between 12-14m long and the neck is very long so probably an elasmosaurid of some sort. Don't quote me on it though. You can also find a 'Dinosaur egg' and some fossilised wood as treasures of the deep. Exciting stuff indeed!

Scientific accuracy: The consensus is that plesiousaurs bit the dust at the end of the Cretaceous*.However, there are plenty of myths about extant plesiosaur. The most famous is the Loch Ness Monster but it isn't the only cryptid plesiosaur story about. It is appealing to imagine that plesiosaurs are still hanging on somewhere, however, it is statistically unlikely. Fossil plesiosaurs haven't been discovered in rocks younger than the Cretaceous and no conclusive proof has been found of living plesiosaurs. Quite a lot of the "proof" that has been found has subsequently been debunked as deliberately hoaxed or misinterpreted. Shame.

Buzz Bonus: These photographs were snapped by my lovely wife! Endless Ocean 2 is one of a handful of games that make taking screenshots easy. More games like this please. As an extra extra buzz bonus here's an olden times photo of the same plesiosaur!
This plesiosaur is givin' me the vapours!

*Sure, I know this is a bad way to express it as the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous is used to define the end of the Cretaceous so this is somewhat tautological but you know what I mean right?

Jurassic Park: The Game

I've mentioned the any day soon release of Jurassic Park: The Game and how I'm quite excited about it. I was excited about it. Having caught up with the available information about it, I'm struck by five things.
  1. It looks quite QTE heavy. Like Heavy Rain but with dinosaurs. No biggie though. I prefer being explicitly told to "press A to win" rather than be given the mere facade of agency a la Modern Warfare 3 single player. Plus hopefully that'll mean the journey should be quite fun because it is so controlled? Not that you get to take in much of the action sequences when your scouting the screen for the next button to press.
  2. The characters are still worryingly reminiscent of the characters in Timesplitters 2. Not the style of the characters in Timesplitters 2 but as if somebody had transplanted the characters in from that nine year old (and excellent) game. The dinosaurs look mighty shiny too. Too shiny. Like early days of the Xbox360 shiny. Bad shiny. Not that I'm a graphics snob, as long as a game has dinosaurs in it I'll happily play it, but I can't imagine that this game will be pushing the 360 or PS3 not to mention the PC and Mac. Confusingly, I thought that one of the main advantages of making a QTE game was that you could make it look beautiful because the player is limited in their interactions with the game and environments......
  3. The Wii version was either never announced or dropped. I can't tell which, Telltale's own site says it'll be on "all major video game platforms". To not be on the third biggest platform (after PC and Mac) seems to make that sentence untrue. Sad because I think there's a lot of love in the world still for Jurassic Park. With some decent marketing I imagine it could have been a big hit on that particular platform. Ho hum.
  4. This game is another great example of how poorly game makers serve their potential consumers. Telltale's own website isn't very useful on actual information about the game. The game itself is confusingly described as episodic by some sites and others don't mention this at all. Also, that lovely deluxe PC edition we told you about? If you want it in Europe before Christmas, ermmm there's no guarantee you'll get it for Christmas. You know, Christmas, that time of year that people like to spend lots of money on expensive presents for each other, possibly on video games, possibly on video games that come out at the end of the year. Even friends of fans of dinosaurs in video games like to splash out on video games with dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures for their dinosaur fan friends. Not if it won't be delivered on time they won't though. Oh also aren't we in the middle of an economic crisis or something? Telltale not bothered in maximising their profits at all? Good on you.
  5. On that note, why is the limited edition for PC only? Xbox 360 owners get a free virtual T-rex for their avatar. Wait whilst I feign a yay. yay. Presumably it is the same game? Now I'm torn as to which one I contemplate getting (if I get it all straight away). Do I want to get it as quickly as possible with all that extra stuff to put in my big 'ol pile of limited edition game junk I've never opened or used? Or do I wait so I don't have to mess around with PC settings and get stuck with looking at Xbox 360 button prompts for my QTEs. I've not seen a video without Xbox pad prompts, presumably the mac version will be changed at least? A professional games company might clarify these things days before it is due out. Oh well.
Sorry to gripe. I like to keep this site as a happy place normally. Takes some doing to bring a dark cloud over talking about dinosaurs in games. Especially when talking about the biggest high profile dinosaurs in game release for a long long time.

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Well I tried guys but I'm afraid I'll have to phone this one in. It's hard to believe we used to put up with games like this in the 90s. Okay so today we are somewhat wrapped in cotton wool with quicksaves, infinite continues and restarts but boy this game is tough. The first chapter sees you playing as a Compsognathus. Each level has a double helix hidden in it if you get them all you unlock gallery artwork. The DNA in the first level is a real pain to get requiring you to do a bunch of fiddly jumps over a bottomless pit and then get the DNA, drop back down and do the fiddly jumps again. The characters also have a really weird momentum making tight, accurate jumps nigh impossible. You only get three lives and then thats it. Game Over. Start again from the beginning. So it was only the first level, what kind of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures in games fanatic would I be if I missed out on some artwork? 30 lives and 10 restarts later I finally get the DNA and make it out of the stupid jumping and bottomless pit area to discover that's area 1 of level 1. There's a load more levels to play through before you get given an end of chapter password (no saves here). Two lives later and it is back to the menu screen. Do it all over again. I quit after two hours of losing a life or two to get the DNA, getting it and then getting mauled/falling from a height/glitching through platforms on the third area. Sorry guys. I tried.

Also to note, now that publishers are pretty much forcing boxed products into extinction, I'm going to miss BACK OF THE BOX LIES. Here's what it says on the back of the box of The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • 40 levels of gripping gameplay
  • Interact with 20 dinosaurs accurately modelled from the movie
  • 25 unique 3-D environments with secret locations to explore
Being as charitable as I can, the first three levels I played were brutal and full of stupid jumps and poor collision detection. Not my definition of 'gripping'. As nice as it is to see them in the game, I don't recall Leptoceratops, Baryonyx or Orodromeus from the movies so I'm doubtful of the "modelled from the movie" claim. Lastly, I only got to the third level and already I saw some environments "uniquely" recycled. Anyway, on to business. A nice range and some dinosaurs unique to this game!(? needs checking).

Dinosauriness: Like I said, phoning it in. I only saw six of these in game and a further two from the rolling demo when you stay on the menu screen. Here's what the book says: Allosaurus, Baryonyx, Brachiosaurus, Carnotaurus, Compsognathus, Deinonychus, Dimorphodon, Euplocephalus, Leptoceratops, Orodromeus, Pachycephalosaurus, Parasuchus, Staurikosaurus, Stegosaurus, Tricerarops, Tyrannosaurus rex, and of course Velociraptor.

Scientific Accuracy: Of the handful of species I saw, seems alright. Didn't get to the Velociraptor levels to complain about them being somewhat oversized as they are want in the JP universe. Didn't even see any coelurosaurs to wheel out the old feathers issue (although from the book they're all naked) sad to say. Leptoceratops was a very unlikely neon teal colour. I'd advise that if you want to go into dinosaur palaeontology there are probably better references to draw on than this game when it comes to interpreting these wonderful creatures (fossils, books and journal papers perhaps?).

Buzz Bonus: This was a Dreamworks game and as such has the little boy on the moon logo at the beginning. Various Dreamworks games would vary what the boy would do (in Medal of Hono(u)r he parachuted off) and this is one of a couple of JP games to see the boy come to an unfortunate fate. See for yourself.

Too Many Dinosaurs In Games

There are too many! Orion Prelude seems to be coming along nicely as does the new Jurassic Park: The Game, not to be confused with the game Jurassic Park. Just look at this a super sexy deluxe edition. In other prehistoric creatures news, we've spotted a Plesiosaur in Endless Ocean 2: Treasures of the Deep and some of the cutest dinosaurs known to games in Kirby's Epic Yarn. Dino Strike for the Wii is out this month (not to be confused with Combat of Giants: Dinosaurs Strike also for the Wii and out this month). We've been so inspired by excitement for the new JP game to play The Lost World: Jurassic Park.


The Lost World Jurassic Park isn't very good. Expect a full review soon! I'll be the first to admit I've been bad a keeping up with indie and/or browser games. Soooo many indie and/or browser dinosaur games.

Dinosaur Zookeeper is an excellent game with dinosaurs in it. You can play it for free right now here. It's like a browser Jurassic Park Operation: Genesis, including "accidental" visitor deaths n'all. Full review sometime soon!

Seen any dinosaurs and/or other prehistoric creatures in games in the wild? Drop a comment and I'll add them to the to do list!