Contemporary Alternatives: Dinosaur Edition

If you haven’t noticed this week, I’m on a bit of a dinosaur kick and for good reason. As I said in my Miscoded Confidence, dinosaurs are pretty awesome. Now, there are plenty of reasons for this. Perhaps it’s the ridiculous amounts of horns, bony defenses or the fact that they can run down something and tear it to pieces within the span it would normally take you to find the remote control and change the channel on the television.

But putting aside all pretenses, dinosaurs are just cool, pure and simple. If you haven’t read my piece on Jurassic Park, go back and read than. It’s cool, I’ll wait.

Now, if you’ve played Jurassic Park, you’ll immediately be aware of what I’m talking about. A game that allows you to not only play as a human struggling to make their way across an island in the hope of saving the day. All the while, you have a raptor chasing you across said island with the pure, instinctual intent of ripping your face off and enjoying it for a mid-day snack. Coincidentally, you can also play as said raptor.

If you don’t think this is cool, then there are plenty of other games that have come out over the years that allow you to get your prehistoric creature on, or kill them, depending on your preference.

For those of you who would rather be playing fighting games like Mortal Kombat or Tekken, there was a little known game that you might have overlooked in your Sega Genesis days called Primal Rage. Taking place on an Earth that had been hit by a meteor reducing everything to rubble and humans to cavemen, these giant ass creatures kick each others asses perpetually in the name of world domination. Proffering a total of seven fighters, each has their own pros and cons – capable of appealing to anyone who has the itch for a good fighter – the game was memorable in its own unique ways.

Despite being a relatively generic 2D fighter on the surface, like any good fighting game, it was the fighters that gave an underlying life to the experience of Primal Rage. Characters separated into good and evil groups each have distinct personalities that for one reason or another allow gamers to connect with them in the same way everyone has a favorite fighter for whatever fighting game they happen to be playing. Blizzard, one of the ‘good’ gods is a take on Sub-Zero from Mortal Kombat as all of his special fighting abilities revolve around ice and cold manipulation moves. On the other hand, there is Chaos, a giant ape-like god that uses moves stemming from flatulence to dominate his opponents.

Needless to say, Primal Rage, despite it’s falling to the wayside since the days of the Genesis was a pretty awesome game. Sadly though, it was easily eclipsed by other games that were released at the time.

For the first-person shooter fans in the crowd, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter allowed gamers to destroy just about everything from people to dinosaurs to fantastically horrible creatures that were a Baskin Robbins load of disgusting flavors. While the series eventually went downhill unto oblivion, the first two games were something special for the era in which they were created. Where games like Goldeneye allowed people to step into the shoes of a suave, secret agent secretly killing his way from mission to mission, Turok was all about standing your ground with high-powered weapons and annihilating every goddamn thing in sight.

You can say whatever you want about the series as it exists today, since the last incarnation was a piece of garbage. But back then, it was simply such an amazing change of pace that it was enough to keep me hooked and going back through it time and time again. But I guess that just goes to show you that games involving dinosaurs are so fantastic that they’ve begun to border on the farcical.

I suppose that is my underlying problem with a lot of game nowadays, because amongst space marines, rockstar simulators and the occasionally clever indie game – there haven’t been all that many new, high-profile games involving dinosaurs. And the simple fact of the matter is that they have a great deal of excellent subject matter to expound upon in just about any video game – pending the developer is up to the challenge.

But, I guess that just leaves me waiting, wondering and hoping when exactly we’ll be seeing a new game featuring some pretty awesome dinosaurs. In the meantime, I guess I can just go back to playing Jurassic Park and Turok. Here’s hoping I don’t have to wait 65 million years for one. Yeah, I know, lame joke. Now make a good game about dinosaurs Sega!

  • grolt

    Turok was definitely the grown-ups killer app when the N64 first hit. That game was a ton of fun. The fog background masking was always such a legendary limitation of the N64. I remember having so much fun pwning dinosaurs back then, that when Turok 2: Seeds of Evil came out I pre-ordered that day one. That series proved to be a flash in the pan, though, since the novelty really wore off by the second game. One of the few games I ever bought that I really wished I could have gotten my money back.

    Primal Rage I always liked. The 32X port is my favorite. Tougher to find, that one, though.

    No love for Dino Crisis? That was a cool Capcom game for PSOne, and you can get that now on PSN.

    Anyone remember the SEGA Jurassic Park arcade light gun games? The first one was released on the Model-32 board and the second one, which I’m more familiar with, was a Model 3 game. It had a cool “private” little cabinet with a kind of curtain around it, and you’d go all Virtua Cop on the ‘saurs. SEGA really pollinated their light gun games to every license and genre once House of the Dead really broke out in the mid-nineties. They still have The Lost World at an arcade in my movie theater…I try to play it whenever I can.

  • Another post on AWESOME dinosaurs! I remember playing the Jurassic Park light gun at the arcade.

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