Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs
Zoo Tycoon was one of the better Tycoon games of recent times. The theme of the game was unique. Never before had you been given the chance to maintain a zoo and learn something about the preferences of all our favourite wild animals. Blue Fang Games have decided to take it the next step further with the first expansion pack for Zoo Tycoon. This time around you'll be able to incorporate some dinosaurs into your zoo. It's a sort of cross between Twycross Zoo and Jurassic Park.
The dinosaurs in the game are taken from the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Ice Age periods. They include legendary beasts such as Stegasaurus, Tyrannosaurus rex and the Wooly Mammoth. It's a bit of a shame that they aren't to scale though. Sure they are larger than the lions and the hippos but they aren't as huge as they should be. What is funny though is when you let them out of their cage and they pick up a person and toss them to one side like a rag doll. There is no gore here though and the victim simply gets up and continues to walk around.
Of course with a collection of dinosaurs to look after the game was going to have to change a little to accomodate these prehistoric creatures. The zoo keeper is not sufficient for these creatures, so scientists are now at your disposal. When you purchase a dinosaur you don't get the live animal as such, you get an egg which must be looked after by the scientist. After a short while it will hatch and from then on the scientist will look after it.
Of course with these monstrous beasts that you will have walking around inside your zoo, you're going to need fences that are far superior to the ones in the original game. Two different types of electric fence and three different types of concrete fence should do the trick nicely. Should the dinosaurs escape then you'd better hope that you have a DRT (Dinosaur Rescue Team). The DRT will tranquilize any escaped dinosaurs and secure them in a crate which you have to pick up and return to the exhibit. Of course if you don't repair the damaged fence then they will simply escape again.
To get you accustomed to the new features Blue Fang have added a Dinosaur Digs tutorial (in text) to the list. This quickly, but effectively, picks up on the new elements. It shows you how catering for a dinosaur is slightly different to looking after the mainstream animals. The tutorial also goes over one or two of the interface changes. You can now access more menus to help you see at a glance how exhibits are faring and how well your merchandise is selling, or not as the case may be. You can even filter animals and buildings etc. when you are creating your exhibitions. The choices are All, Zoo Tycoon and Dinosaur Digs. This allows you to find things that are applicable to the dinosaurs only or vice versa.
Just like the original Zoo Tycoon, Dinosaur Digs is perfectly suitable for deaf gamers. There is no verbal content at all and all information is provided in text.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment with Dinosaur Digs is that apart from the different nature of looking after the dinosaurs it doesn't feel that much different, although the dinosaurs can be a bit of a handful to keep happy. The look and feel of the game is the same as the original and if you didn't find anything in that to appeal to you, then Dinosaur Digs will do nothing to change your mind. For fans of the original though the added breadth, if not depth, to the game will be appreciated.
Overall Game Rating: 7.8/10 Dinosaur Digs is a welcome addition to the Zoo Tycoon series but it only adds a small twist to the gameplay.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems here. Every piece of information is given in text and there is no verbal content.