Seems that not a month goes by without Disney Pictures swamping us with yet another animated movie masterpiece. Personally I really dig the animation, but rarely enjoy the stories, particularly the musicals that only serve to set my teeth on edge! However, their latest venture "Dinosaur" is intriguing, using the finest computer animation money can buy and digitally enhanced photography, to create a veritable feast for the eyes. As is the trend these days, a computer game is being developed based on the film, and I took a ganders at what it has to offer.
"Dinosaur" is set sixty-five million years ago, at the end of the Mesozoic era, in times when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and huge winged creatures filled the sky. The story begins with the snatching of an egg from an Iguanodon's nest. The thief however drops the egg, and it tumbles into a tree seemingly to be lost and forgotten. A family of friendly Lemurs discovers the egg, nurturing it through to birth, and treating the newly born as one of their own.
Life is just peachy for Aladar, the Iguanodon, with his surrogate family, until disaster strikes as a meteor crashes into the island they inhabit. Forced to flee their comfortable surroundings they head for the unknown mainland where they are stalked and hunted by Carnotaurs and Velociraptors. To compound their predicament, food and water is sparse; this alone threatens their very existence.
The game has you controlling Aladar, Zini - the Lemur and Flia the Pteranodon across fourteen levels, with cinematic sequences dotted throughout captured directly from the film. The levels span across four different zones and four mission types, ensuring enough variety to keep things fresh and flowing.
A points system is utilised, meaning that the more successful you are in battles or on specific missions, the greater your character's skill level. Your main aim is to protect your friends, and lead them to the sanctuary of the nesting grounds. This is not going to be easy with ferocious oversized lizards trying to make you their main meal for the day!
If there is one thing that fascinates the majority if not all of us, the prehistoric era is it. The mystery and intrigue surrounding the gigantic creatures that once roamed this earth is enough to stir anyone's imagination.
With the movie, Disney is onto a sure fire winner there is no doubt, but the success of its computer game cousin remains to be seen. It is certainly going to be interesting soaring around as a Pteranodon, and from the colourful screenshots it looks like the graphics department is well catered for.
My only reservation is in the diagonally scrolling nature of the game, though perhaps that is the first person addict in me. The thought of flying through the air over a prehistoric landscape in a first person view somewhat appeals to me. That said it looks to be an entertaining little shoot 'em up/strategy game, that could well be a big hit for the New Year.
"Dinosaur" will be released on the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Colour and Dreamcast.