Review by Aganar

Reviewed: 02/21/03 | Updated: 02/22/03

Sim Park meets Jurassic Park

I have no idea where I got this game, only that I've had it for quite a while. With every computer upgrade I got it became harder and harder to get it to work, but every time I still spent hours so I could play it. This totally blows all theme park Sims out of the water. Never before has a game managed to mix dinosaur games with a theme park game and do such a great job. They even managed to make it somewhat educational! If you can make an educational game that is fun, you know you have done a great job.

The graphics are very good. While trying to be pretty cartoony in their portrays of the dinosaurs, they still manage to look fairly good. When just buying the monsters, you can't really see what they look like, apart from the info cards. But, once you actually place them in the park, you can see them full-sized. The monsters range from being small monsters no bigger than that of a human, to ones, which can take up 1/5th of the screen. Also, when you actually look at the info cards, it shows realistic drawings of what the dinosaurs looked like.

The idea of the game is pretty simple. Through the magic of cloning, you have been able to bring dinosaurs back to life. Instead of studying them, your first reaction of course is ''Hey! Let's make a Theme Park!'' (Then let's get sued by Michael Creighton!). The gameplay itself is like a simplified version of Sim Park or any other popular Theme Park franchise (preferably one BETTER than Sim Park). Instead of actually doing stuff with the dinosaurs, it's more of figuring out business strategies or stuff like that. First, you must buy an area of land in your park to house a dinosaur. After that, you must then put fencing around it, so your dinosaur does not escape. Then, finally, you choose your own dinosaur to place in it.

There are alot of other things you can chose from, depending on the kind of dinosaurs you will be wanting to have in your park. There's the normal setting, the plain setting, which is better for carnivores, and the marsh setting, which herbivores seem to like more. You must be careful when fencing your areas. Small animals might only need an electric fence, but bigger ones like the apatosaurus need a cement wall to keep them safe. You must also be careful where you place other dinosaurs. Don't place two opposite types in one pen. And, don't place a Tyrannosaurus right next to a Raptor. The T-Rex might get a bit hungry and ''snoop'' over into the next cage. You also need to remember to feed the little guys. It's important to learn which dinosaurs like what, so you don't waste your money.

The whole game is about managing your money. First, you must pay off your loan, as well as your taxes as the beginning of every year. You must also hire a staff to do everything. As your park becomes bigger, you find yourself needing more staff. You must do everything in your power in order to get people to come. When you start getting some money, it's time to start advertising, or maybe get a bathroom. When even more people come, upgrade your parking lot. Then, maybe buy a drink stand or a gift shop. As the game goes on, you keep modifying all of them making them bigger. The bathrooms go from two porta-johns in the beginning to huge luxurious bathrooms. And, your advertisement goes from simple flyers to on TV! At some points, your money problems may seem ludicrous (You're telling me people won't pay $5.50 to see a real life dinosaur!?!), but if you become a good enough salesman, it will pay off.

The sound is fairly good and cartoony. You have all the different dinosaur roars throughout the game. You also have the mindless jabbering of your staff (which makes you wonder why you are paying a guy 700 dollars to spill his water). The music, while quiet, isn't that bad. Like other Park Sims, it's just kind of relaxing theme park music to get you going.

Unfortunately, the game's difficulty really changes from time to time. While a lot of it is skill, some of it is sheer luck. How much money you make with one dinosaur can really make or break the game. If you start raking in the money with one dinosaur, then you can start doing a little advertising and maybe getting another one. But, if you find yourself only making a couple extra bucks, and decide to keep going anyway, you will find yourself taking loan after loan, and going bankrupt pretty quickly. A lot of it is just how many people decide to come for your first attraction. And, there are some random things. Dinosaurs, if displeased for one thing or another, can randomly break out of their cages and cause a riot.

The game never really ends, or if it has I haven't beaten it. But, it does have an outstanding amount of Replay Value. If it is not simply the incredibly addictive gameplay, then it is the cute little extras in there. The more items you buy, the more the bank gives you as a thank-you gift. It ranges from a small water-fountain, too many other things including a giant water-fountain and even a merry-go-round! There are little Easter eggs in there like the Vegasaurus, which you cannot possibly get, and the obviously programmer-influenced ''Albertosaurus''. But, you can pick this game up and play any time. Even now I still frequently enjoy it.

Overall, this is a really great game. Unfortunately, no one really knows about it. It may seem like nothing more than a Jurassic Park rip-off on the outside, but once you play it you will be pulled in. If you can manage to find it, it is definitely worth a try.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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