The first Designasaurus game was released in 1988 for the Apple II, Amiga, Commodore 64 platforms. It was lauded as a pioneer in edutainment for being educational yet highly enjoyable to play and very original in concept. The basic idea behind Designasaurus was to create your own dinosaur and then attempt to survive out in the wild.
Designasaurus II takes this same concept and expands on it with more gameplay possibilities and a storyline involving stolen DNA. To survive in the wild, one must explore, hunt, fight, scavenge, avoid environmental hazards and most of all avoid being eaten. In addition to this you can also breed with another dinosaur if you locate one of your species, after which you must raise and defend your young. Designasaurus II takes place in the Mesozoic era, The "Age of Dinosaurs", which encompasses the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Paleontologists were consulted to ensure that the appearance of specific dinosaurs and plant species was appropriate for each time period. Climates for each period include desert, volcanic, oceanic, mountainous, plains, arctic and varietal, which contains a bit of everything.
In the year 2501, The Designasaurus Research Foundation is attempting to recreate the Gigantodon species of dinosaur. Yay, dinosaurs!
Unfortunately, the diabolical Dr.Max Von Fusion, renegade scientist extraordinaire manages to steal all of the DNA geneprints! Drats! Dr.Max Von Fusion breaks the geneprint data into several pieces and teleports them back in time to various prehistoric periods. The only lead you have to go on is a riddle detailing the scattered whereabouts of the Gigantodon's genetic information. It is now up to you to utilize The Foundations state-of-the-art equipment to design the ultimate dinosaur and save the day! Once you've created your dinosaur you must send it back in time to retrieve all of the geneprints and return them to The Foundation.
Stage 1 - Create a dinosaur:
Stage 1 consists of creating a dinosaur, though it is also possible to simply pick from a list of pre-made dinosaurs. When creating a dinosaur you are given access to an assortment of dinosaur arms, tails, heads and bodies which can be used in any combination. If you want a Tyrannosaurus head on a Stegosaurus body, go ahead! Make sure to print out a picture of your dinosaur to put on your wall. The body parts you choose will affect the gameplay in stage 2 after you transport your dinosaur back in time. Your choices will affect the speed, attack, defense and endurance of your dinosaur, as well as the type of food it will eat. If you choose the head of an herbivorous dinosaur you will only be able to get nourishment from plants. It is possible to be omnivorous.
Stage 2 - Survive and find the geneprints:
Once you transport your dinosaur back in time, your main objective is to locate the geneprint data and then locate the teleporter to return to The Foundation. This can take a long time as locating a geneprint simply means scouring the entire map from top to bottom until you find one. After you've found a geneprint, the even greater challenge of locating the teleporter becomes priority. The found DNA can be used to further modify your dinosaur with new parts.
Between your dinosaur and the precious genetic information are vast tracts of harsh environment littered with predatory dinosaurs and other hazards. Your dinosaur may encounter lava flows, tar pits and snow storms, all while contending with other dinosaurs for food, or lack-there-of. When you kill another dinosaur, other dinosaurs might swarm to the carcass to thieve the delicious rewards of your hard-earned kill. Survival is key. Your dinosaur has four status meters that you will need to pay attention to: Health, Rest, Food and Water. Ignoring these will lead to failure, though it is not possible to actually die. When your dinosaur is near death it will be teleported back to The Foundation. In addition to finding food and water and fighting other dinosaurs it is also possible to breed with other dinosaurs of your species. A successful mating will create a nest of eggs. If you defend the nest from predators the eggs will eventually hatch, bearing little versions of your dinosaur. Having little awesomasurs around sounds like a good idea, but really they just require you to find even more food and water to keep them alive. Lastly, as you traverse the unforgiving prehistoric landscape you will be treated to occasional fun facts about dinosaurs. Joyous edutainment! If you are able to survive long enough to collect all of the geneprints and transport them back to The Foundation, you will be rewarded with the title of Chief Scientist!