“ An action game developed by Action Forms Ltd. and published by WizardWorks. In this game you have to hunt dinosaurs who can see smell and hear to varying extent what makes it harder to get them. „
There's been a lot of fuss made over hunting, especially over in the UK, where fox hunting has attracted a lot of bad press. I can't see why everyone's getting so uptight over it myself - I mean, it's perfectly fair in my mind. Fox hunting is a good way of disposing of vermin who give nothing to humans or the animal kingdom, and just cause trouble. Furthermore, they have every chance of escaping if they run fast enough - it's sporting, it's jolly good fun, and I think people should actually get their priorities right before they start having a go at it. After all, it's entirely my right, if I so desire, to gather a few friends together, along with an M16, a good few boxes of ammo, and a pack of specially trained hunting foxes, and track down and slaughter a few upper-class huntsmen. Yes, I said huntsmen - I mean, they're happy to hunt down foxes with dogs and horses, so it's only fair that the general public, at least the more homicidally inclined ones, should be able to hunt them down.
I wonder just how many people, fox hunters in particular, would actually hunt animals if they knew they stood a very good chance of getting their arses ripped off by their 'prey'. Send them to America and let them fight bears, perhaps. Carnivores, the new, and only, dinosaur hunting game from Wizard Works gives you a chance to hunt creatures who can do you a considerable amount of damage, virtually at least. The game is set not in the past, but in the future, on a newly discovered planet, inhabited by dinosaurs, dinosaurs and more dinosaurs. This scenario not only gives Wizard Works the excuse to include in their game dinosaurs who may well have lived during different eras, but also neatly side-steps the possible repercussions of blowing up a lizard that may well one day evolve into a future president - the kind of important issues that many hunting game fans probably couldn't care less about. You get to blow the brains out of all manner of dinosaurs, about seven different species in total, some of which are hostile and will fight back, while others, the herbivorous dinosaurs, will run like giant scaly chickens as you chase them frantically attempting to separate them from their essential parts.
But if this sounds like a cue for a frantically paced shoot-em-up, then you're so wrong you could well be the person at Dreamworks who decided to publish the incredibly dire, bug-filled, slow, and completely appalling, Trespasser, a game which is a world away from Carnivores in term of playability and entertainment value (or lack of them). Carnivores is primarily a hunting game, albeit a rather good one, in which you have to stalk the dinosaurs carefully, trying not to spook them, or alert to their presence, then grievously injure them with a choice of three weapons - shotgun, crossbow, or sniper rifle. No, there isn't a rocket launcher, but if you're looking for that kind of wholesale carnage then you're better off playing Half Life 2. Stalking the dinos is harder than you might think - they're capable of hearing, smelling, or seeing you coming and if they do, they will either run away, outrunning you in most cases, or attack you. Either way, remaining unseen and unsensed is the key to a successful hunt. And if you don't feel like slaughtering some dinosaurs, you could always have a go with the game's unarmed observer mode, which lets you just wander around observing the dinos undetected and just watch the creatures. On second thoughts, that's boring - virtual dino-carnage is much more fun.
One of Carnivores' plus points is that the dinosaurs in Carnivores actually roam free across each of the individual island levels that make up the game. This may well be a gaming first, and even if it isn't, Carnivores is still the first game that features this - Trespasser's dinosaurs were supposed to be free roaming but in actual fact their locations were largely pre-determined. In Carnivores, you can encounter any breed of dinosaur anywhere on an island. This means also that you can be surprised by carnivores who may wander into your location or maybe hear you firing the shotgun, or smell you, and then track you down. On several occasions my character was attacked - and killed, since you can only take one hit from a dinosaur - by a carnivore that I had no idea was following me.
This feeling that you can be attacked at any moment adds immensely to the game - things can get very tense as you sneak around a tree, trying to stalk a dinosaur, knowing that something else may be stalking you. That said, you aren't thrown in at the deep end. The first couple of islands are for novice hunters and are inhabited by largely unagressive herbivores and only one type of carnivore - the Allosaur - which, while being quite dangerous, is nevertheless nowhere as lethal or as proficient at tracking you down as the Velociraptors on the later levels. Another important thing to remember when you're hunting is that while you may be hunting a herbivore, there will nevertheless be several carnivores on the island, all wandering about as they will - forget this at your peril. When your character has been downed by a dinosaur, and you're watching him get munched by a dinosaur from a third-person perspective, don't say I didn't warn you.
There are a total of six dinosaur filled islands, all with their own distinctive scenery. Some islands are rocky, some are more jungle-ish, some come complete with abandoned pyramid, and some, like the final 'Great Lake' level, available only to expert hunters who have slaughtered enough dinos to prove themselves. Actually, you don't have to slaughter the dinosaurs; you can use tranquilliser darts on most of dinosaurs, which leaves them lying on the ground, sleeping, their chests rising and falling - a particularly nice touch. This is just one of the many reasons Carnivores is a better game than Jurassic Park: Trespasser. Tranquillising dinosaurs gives you more points, although this does mean that the dinosaurs aren't airlifted out and stuck in your trophy room, in which you can see all the dinosaurs you've blown away.
Before entering each island, you have to pick the dinosaur type you want to hunt and the weapon you want to take with you - the shotgun, Crossbow, or in later levels, the sniper rifle. You can also take with you up to three other optional items: a radar map, to show the location of the dinosaurs you're hunting, although not the ones you aren't hunting, a scent masking agent to make you less smellable to dinos, and also a camouflage suit to make you less visible to both carnivores and herbivores. These are handy, but if you use them then your hunt points are reduced, and the game is better, and harder, without them. You're then placed on the island, at a random location, with your weapon of choice, and a call which can be used to call the dinosaur species you're after - although you can still get points for killing other dinos even if they're not your chosen hunt target.
While choosing your weapon and accessories may be important, it's not the real meat of the game (pun very much intended). The game really starts when you get you get out into the field, hunting dinos and/or getting your face kicked in by angry carnivores - and the odd annoyed herbivore. In this respect, Carnivores is one of the more atmospheric games I've played for a while, and the fear factor induced by knowing that there may be a predator stalking you means that you can end up on edge. On the first couple of levels you have less carnivores to worry about, with an average of three allosaurs on each level to deal with. However, I could swear this number goes up if you choose to hunt Allosaurs - and they're not as good as hunting you down as the velociraptors are. Nevertheless, as you wander across the landscapes, shotgun in hand, it's hard not to feel slightly spooked by the knowledge that the carnivores can roam free and could surprise you at any moment.
But at least if you do get surprised by the dinosaurs you can blow their brains out . Can't you? It's not as simple as that - the dinosaurs tend to duck and weave around a bit when they're stalking you. They only approach head on when they're sure they can take you down. When you've got a velociraptor running at you at high speed you may only have the chance to get one or two shots in, and if you miss then you're in big trouble. On top of this, the dinosaurs can only be taken down by hitting them in certain areas, such as the head, upper torso, or back, depending which kind of dinosaur you're dealing with. One shot in those areas will kill them, but shots to any other areas will just bounce off. To make things even harder, you can't reload your weapon at all so you're stuck with the ammo you start the level off with, usually enough for six or so shots. And if you've used up those shots taking out a herbivore and you've got two velociraptors closing in, you may be in for a bad giblets day.
Given the above facts, Carnivores may not sound like much of a shoot-em-up, and, as I said at the beginning of the review, it isn't. Quake fans who are looking for a bit of frantic blasting, beating insurmountable odds, are better off playing Half Life. Carnivore is a hunting game, and a rather good one at that. Hunting herbivores is entertaining - stalking them, hoping they don't hear you, perhaps climbing up to a high hill so you can take them out with a single shot as they round the corner in response to your call. While that may be enough for some people, the kind of people who buy games like Deer Hunter, Carnivores really comes into its own when you're hunting carnivores, or are hunting in an area that is inhabited by intelligent carnivores (try putting 'dinosaur density' and 'aggressiveness' to max on the options menu, and then seeing how many dinosaurs you can bag before you get bagged yourself. Oh, and there's a T-Rex too. Yes, Carnivores has a T-Rex, several of them in fact, two or more, although they only appear once you've reached 'experienced' level. They are a real nightmare to hunt and will take you out if you don't kill them first. You can't outrun them, and your average T-Rex hunt results in many a virtual brown trousers moment. I defy anyone not to be scared when you try to hunt a Rex, think he hasn't detected you, only to see him lower his head, sniff at the ground, and roar, having picked up your scent. At which point, you frantically try to line up a shot to hit him in his one vulnerable spot, his eye, but alas, it's too late, he's got you. Very scary indeed.
But, Carnivores isn't all wine and roses, or in this games case, beer and viscera. The game does have a few faults. The fact that you have to shoot the dinosaurs in certain areas to take them down is slightly disappointing - it means that you can't wound dinos, making your job easier or harder depending upon whether the dinosaur in question would get enraged and attack you more ferociously or merely run like a big chicken. And there's also a couple of strange bugs in the game. The T-Rexes can't get up steep hills - which would be fine if they actually backed off and gave up the hunt, or waited around the base of the hill - instead, they rotate madly on the spot, like a spinning top, for no apparent reason. Also, while you can go underwater, as can some of the dinosaurs, you can't surface for air - the only way to get air is to walk out of the water, which makes it hard to take shortcuts through wide lakes, something that would be handy when hunting the dinos. Plus, the dinosaurs don't hunt or interact with each other, or, for that matter, make any growling or calling noises except in response to your own calls - there is the odd audible T-Rex call to be heard in the background, although you get this even when there are no T-Rexes around. Interaction between the dinosaurs would really add a lot to the game.
Having said that, Carnivores is still a pretty good game, even taking into account its flaws. It's very spooky and atmospheric, more so than other hunting games since your prey may actually fight back. On top of that the graphics aren't too bad, despite the game's age. Even if you usually turn your nose up at hunting games, which I do, Carnivores is still worth picking up. Playable and scary, and easily the best dinosaur game around, Carnivores is well worth hunting down.
(review by me, originally posted on GamesDomain)
"Carnivores" is a simulation video game. It was first released in 1998 as a PC CD-ROM game by WizardWorks. In the United States, the game received an age guidance rating of "T" which deemed it appropriate for ages 13 and above. The system requirements to run it are minimal but include:
System: Pentium-166 or equivalent
RAM: 16 MB
Video Memory: 2 MB
Hard Drive Space: 85 MB
I often dabble in the various deer hunting simulations for the person computer. While I appreciate their slow paced gaming experiences, the strong sense of realism puts me off making these games a regular pursuit of mine. Carnivores alleviates the realism aspect by replacing innocent forest animals with large, semi-hostile dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.
In this title, players assume the role of a tournament hunter. It is the player's objective to seek trophy dinosaurs through use of high powered weaponry. There is an element of fantasy to the available arsenal but most reflect an identifiable primitive crossbow or shotgun Each registered kill is represented as a plaque similar to many collections as displayed by hunting aficionados, and each addition to the collection increases the availability of stronger and more vigilant creatures within the hunt. Like many hunting games, players have access to items such as scents and call whistles but use of these items lowers the player's final score if a kill is successfully made; if a score is too low a player may find himself having to repeat a hunt in order to unlock further dinosaurs. Patience and persistence is the key to Carnivores and this trait lends itself well to a realistic modern simulation of a fantasy scenario.
The graphics of Carnivores are excellent. It was surprising to note such a low video memory requirement as the three dimensional aspect of the game shines through brilliantly. Each dinosaur reflects what is typically expected as per fossil discoveries and are very detailed on screen. Their large presence also makes detecting them simple; pursuing them, however, is another story. What I found hard about the game is the hunter's low field of vision. As the dinosaurs sport an excellent intelligence level they often flee from my advancing presence and are quick to disappear on screen. The animations throughout the game are fluid, and all movements are swift and readily adapt to my commands. The soundtrack is somewhat restricted in its lack of music. This could perhaps have been to compliment the realistic atmosphere of the game but the often repetitive atmospheric sounds grew to become very annoying as the game progressed. Players will find themselves in different environments such as jungles, swamps and volcanic plains, though the sound effects of what one might expect from these regions are often predictable and commonplace.
Overall, Carnivores is an excellent hunting simulation experience. I enjoyed the fantasy involved with dinosaur hunting and often prefer this title to the more dedicated realistic hunting titles which are currently available. It's likely that any hunting enthusiast may find this game to be entertaining and I would happily recommend it to prospective buyers.