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Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad, Steam

Everybody hunt the dinosaur

Product: Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter (a.k.a. Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD) | Developer: Tatem Games | Publisher: Tatem Games | Format: iPhone | Genre: Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter (a.k.a. Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter HD) iPhone, thumbnail 1
One of the more controversial video game genres to arise in the past decade or so has to be hunting category. Usually focusing on the cruel slaughter of digital creatures in the name of sport, this particular brand of interactive entertainment has come under fire - pun absolutely intended – from wildlife activists who insist such titles encourage people to murder innocent beasts.

We’re not quite sure what the same campaigners will think about Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter, a port of a PC title from 1998 – when the hunting genre was just beginning to load up its rifle.

The general aim is identical, but instead of remorselessly pumping bullets into Bambi, you’re taking down extinct reptiles in a fictional world not a million miles away from the one seen in Jurassic Park.

However, before you get grand ideas of going toe-to-toe with a T-Rex it’s worth noting that there’s a definite progression to Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter. A points system is in place which ranks you according to your previous kills, and to begin with you’ll only be able to tackle harmless herbivores.

Terrible lizard

Points are earned via successful kills but your eventual score depends on a variety of factors. For example, taking down a dino with a tranquiliser rather than slaying it outright will bag you a 25 per cent increase in your tally.

However, making use of aids such as disguised scent, radar tracking, and camouflage will reduced the number of points you are awarded at the conclusion of each foray.

To begin with, it’s a sacrifice you’ll be willing to make as you’ll only have access to short-range weapons, which need to be discharged several times to take down the larger targets. Therefore, it’s vital that you’re able to mask your scent and blend into the scenery so you can get close enough to your prey to land that fatal blow.

However, as your score builds up you’ll find you can unlock more powerful firearms that have a longer operation range, which naturally allows you to take out dinosaurs from a distance, thereby avoiding the risk of them detecting you.

The hunter becomes the hunted

In the case of herbivores, being spotted merely results in them scarpering in the opposite direction but with the more aggressive meat-eaters it can spell certain doom: nippy dinos like the Allosaurus and Velociraptor will attack on sight, dodging and weaving in and out of cover to avoid your shots. True to form, they’re also capable of hunting you down in packs and outflanking your position.

By the time you ascend to the likes of the T-Rex you’re in a whole different league of difficulty: this monstrous king of hunters requires several direct hits to bring down and is able to reach many positions you may have previously considered to be safe sniping points.

Boosting your score and honing your hunting skills will swallow up a lot of your time, but there’s also a Survival mode which grants unlimited ammunition and offers up the opportunity to perfect your aim even further.

Make the shot

Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter plays like a dream, with responsive controls, smooth visuals, and an immersive hunting experience. Those of you that lack patience may find it a bit demanding as tirelessly tracking the larger targets is often a drawn-out exercise in biding your time, but the sense of reward when you eventually take down a slavering T-Rex is incredible.

There’s room for improvement – once you’ve bagged every potential target and acquired all the available weapons there’s little point in continuing other than to better your score – but for now this is one of the most intriguing action titles available on the iPhone. If you tire of the trigger-happy first-person blasters already on the App Store then this thinking-man’s shooter could be bang on target.
Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 24 June 2010
Methodical and hugely satisfying, Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter isn’t your typical shooter and while it makes considerable demands of the player, the feeling of reward you get in return is immense. The only real complaint is a lack of variety
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