Reviews for Carnivores 2 in Action for PC-Personal Computer ( PC ) :
I don’t hunt, for real or in video games. I’ve never played Deer Hunter, Varmint Hunter, Road Kill Hunter, or any other Hunter for that matter. Carnivores 2 is, at its core, a simple hunting game. But in Carnivores 2 you get to hunt dinosaurs, and the dinosaurs get to hunt you, so I decided to give it a try. Besides, at the bargain bin price of just $14.95 over at the local Best Buy, it wasn’t like I was taking a terrible risk.
Carnivores 2 takes place on a primitive alien world populated by dinosaurs. This world acts as a vacation resort of sorts for earthly hunters like yourself who pay big bucks for the chance to take down a Velociraptor or a big T-Rex. With this simple back story in place, the rest of the game is stripped down to the very basics of a hunting simulation: you start on some strange island equipped with a weapon (or weapons) and other equipment, and you hunt dinos. When you run out of ammo, or just get bored with hunting the critters, you can exit back to the main menu with whatever credits you earned for your kills. Or, the hunt can end with you getting eaten by a hungry Thunder Lizard. It’s all very droll, but the excellent graphics, realistic behavior modeling of the dinosaurs themselves - not to mention the fact that you can be eaten - make Carnivores 2 a pleasant and occasionally exciting diversion after countless stressful hours of Rogue Spear, Unreal Tournament, or whatever 3D action game you prefer. Carnivores 2 also features some nice touches, like the spaceship that arrives to collect you kill while you watch, and the 3D trophy room where your kills are displayed, along with a set of statistics for each dinosaur. It’s all very simple but well thought out, and makes this bargain bin special actually quite a gem.
This is a “no frills” game. No full motion video clips, no string of credit screens before the game starts. The title screen doubles as the main menu, and it’s all very clean and simple. The interface is designed to get you into the game quickly, and this it does well. You start the game with a set of credits (which grows as you pile up the kills) that you can use to buy access to any one of the five islands, types of dinosaurs to hunt, and weapons. You can select additional equipment at no cost, but using this equipment results in a percentage deduction of the credits you earn from your kills (for example, if you use radar to track the dinos, 30% is deducted). You can choose day, evening, or dawn hunts. You can also choose to hunt with tranquilizers, which is riskier and therefore rewards you with more credits for each kill. Finally, there is an observer mode, so that you can get acquainted with the surroundings before hunting.
The game starts with you being inserted into a random location on the island you selected. Dinosaurs are also randomly located throughout the island – both those you are hunting for credits, as well as the rest. The beauty of this game is its non-linearity. You can go practically anywhere, even scaling all but the steepest peeks, and swimming across lakes and rivers. The designers took a very liberal attitude toward your ability to traverse the environment, and this is good. For those of you who played Trespasser – and suffered through its forced linearity – you will really appreciate this open environment. When I first stepped into the world of Carnivores 2, I asked myself, “Why couldn’t Trespasser have been like this?”. Dinosaurs react to you by sight, sound and smell. Predators will stalk you, while herbivores will run from you. When you simulate a T-Rex call, the leaf-eaters around you will scatter. When a predator is on you, there’s no drawn-out fight – you’re killed instantly, just like you should be when a three-ton monster gets you on your back. The whole effect gives you the feeling that you are in a real place populated by real creatures.
Hunting in this game is slow and methodical. This is not a game for someone with a FPS, instant gratification mentality. A big complaint about this game is that you have to kill way too many of the lesser dinosaurs to earn enough credits to access all the areas and weapons, not to mention the “fun” dinos like the Velociraptor and the T-Rex. This is easily remedied by editing a simple and straightforward text file that contains all the game’s statistics. Here, you can change the starting credits, the cost of the different areas/dinosaurs/weapons, and the amount of credits earned for each type of kill. You can ev
en change the dino stats – for example, you can give the T-Rex a horrible sense of smell, or the Stegasaurus super hearing. I don’t like to use game cheats much, but in this case, it really adds to – rather than detracts from – the experience.
All I can is “WOW!”. The outdoor environments are as realistic as they are breathtaking. Hills, valleys, swamps, canyons, beaches, lakes, rivers, glaciers, lava, mountains, forests, jungles, deserts, dry river beads, land bridges – all are meticulously rendered in exquisite detail. These are some of the best outdoor environments I have ever seen in a game. Water sparkles, and laps at the shore. You can see the land slope below the water line, where a piece of seaweed pokes up through the surface. Ground fog hugs the swamps and bogs. A sandy beach gives way to low vegetation, which in turn blends into forests. The outdoor areas are enormous, with great attention to detail, and a wide variety of land textures and plant life. It all comes together so seamlessly that the environment looks and feels natural and lifelike. No hard angles here – surfaces curve and blend into each other, just like in the real world. And as you move through this world, there is very little popup, which reinforces the illusion that you’re in a real place. Mountains gradually materialize in front of you as you walk toward them. Sky textures are very pretty, but have a painted watercolor effect. Not as good as the skies in Unreal, but very good, and the clouds move across the sky. Light and shadow change depending on which time of day you are hunting (dawn, day, or evening), and there’s a good solar flare effect when you look straight at the sun. I particularly enjoy the scenery at night, with a full moon in the sky and the island dark yet luminescent as viewed through night vision gear.
The dinosaurs themselves are beautiful to look at, are drawn to scale, and are expertly animated. They move in a very natural looking way, and look like dinosaurs probably looked while goi
ng about their business of eating, killing, and being killed. They also come in various sizes for each species. For example, when I looked at a couple of T-Rex’s in my trophy room, I saw that one looked almost twice as big as the other. Sure enough, the stats indicated that the one T-Rex was about ten feet longer and five tons heavier than the other (the smaller one was probably just a young pup!). This attention to variety and detail is exceptional. Dinosaurs will leave blood trails when hit, but not footprints – the only negative at all that I found regarding the graphics. Weapons are adequately animated, and the environment responds to their use in a realistic way. When you shoot at water, for example, it ripples. Overall, the graphics in this game are what put it over the top, by creating a world you can both believe in and get lost in.
Carnivores 2 supports 3D audio and EAX. I play with EAX, and the sound is fantastic. The predatory dinosaurs can make some downright scary sounds. Also, you can simulate the calls of dinosaurs you are currently hunting, and they will respond to you. Position and distance is accurately reflected in the sounds you hear. Ambient noises and generic wildlife sounds are done very well. Weapons sounds are also surprisingly good. The only game I’ve played that has superior weapons sounds is Half-Life. I thought the sounds you make while moving about could have been a little louder, especially while moving through foliage, but this is my only quibble. Dinosaur movement is handled extremely well. The sound of approaching footsteps as an unseen T-Rex emerges at the top of a crest and bears down on you, is so real and frightening that I have literally jumped out of my seat. No music in this game, but you don’t need it – it would just spoil the illusion.