Dinosaur Hunting is a third-person adventure/hunting game with an emphasis on tranquilizing dinosaurs with the perfectly balanced formula. To get these formulas you’ll examine clues like footprints, downed trees, and -- most frequently -- piles of excrement. Examining your environment also reveals clues about dinosaur movement, abilities and the progress of your rival teams.
Money is awarded based on the condition of the tranquilized dinosaurs so the goal is to find their formula, discover any weak spots and take them down with as few shots as possible. Regardless of how you do it you also receive some of the component ingredients to formulate tranquilizers from every dinosaur you knock out. Between formulating darts, conserving ammo and searching for clues the game becomes very methodical with rankings based on time taken, damage dealt to the dinosaurs and the number of special targets you were able to find and take down.
Five characters are ultimately playable but each controls mostly the same, armed with a handgun, shotgun and rifle that all fire tranquilizer shots. The pistol is ideal for tiny dinosaurs and herbivores, the shotgun good when ambushed by raptor-sized dinos, and the rifle crucial for dealing with the largest creatures. You also carry two sizes of health kits, flashbangs and a map. The on-screen display also shows you a map and waveform implying some mechanics based on sound, wind and smell but they rarely have an impact on if an animal will notice you.
Hoping to streamline the tranquilizer process the developers simplified the mixing ingredients down to a red/green/blue system. You carry separate supplies of each color and can tailor the mixture whenever you want. Before finding the exact numerical values for a formula you may find a clue that shows the color of the final dart or a hint that reveals the amounts but not the exact number to mix. Once discovered the formulas will stick with you for the rest of the game and a “quick mix” button lets you instantly create the dart again and again without having to hand-make it.
The game uses Deinonychus and Velociraptor frequently as jump scares, springing them onto you from high, around corners, or seemingly out of nowhere. Sometimes you can spot them well in advance, just standing around, and pick them off with a formulated shot but most of the time a quick dive roll and a couple handgun shots will put them down.
Each stage opens by designating a target and a time limit. You are also given time to use your cash from previous missions to restock supplies, ammo and ingredients as well as check out the animals you’re expected to encounter once you start. A simple map shows the lay of the land and is colored in as you explore but be aware that you don’t have to do or see everything in order for the stage to end. Special target species will also only show up after certain conditions have been met.
Comparisons have been made to Capcom’s Monster Hunter which debuted just after Dinosaur Hunting as both games encourage slow, methodical stalking of dinosaur-like monsters and a little grinding to get the best results. The developers have also mentioned that they wanted their dinosaurs to stand out so many of them are covered in feathers or are brightly colored. T-Rex, for example, has a blue mohawk and the Velociraptors practically explode in a delightful confetti of feathers.
In an alternate 1910 where airships, wireless radios, spandex and hair highlights are commonplace it should come as no surprise that dinosaurs are still stampeding around just a few hundred miles off the coast of Florida. The British Geologist Norton Klast discovered dinosaurs living on the highlands of Guiana in the Amazon interior. Due to a tectonic shift, the highlands became enclosed by towering cliffs which cut the dinosaurs off from the rest of the world. Defying fate, the dinosaurs have survived for thousands of years, but now are facing extinction as the area becomes unstable and threatens to erupt.
Lord Andrew, using his personal funds to create the Ark Foundation, sent an army of scientists to the region but given their inexperience with the wilds and unexpected encounters they were all wiped out. As the situation grows more volatile Lord Andrew assembles an international team of hunters and scientists from England, France, Canada, and the United States, ready to begin the largest rescue operation in human history. Lord Andrew sent them to the Guiana Highlands to investigate. In these hostile highlands, Earth’s final frontier, the largest hunt in the history of mankind is about to begin.
Character information from Metro 3D's website for what would have been the english language release of the game:
Known as the "World's Greatest Hunter¨, Malone displays marksmanship bordering on divine inspiration. He is credited for resolving the "Mountain of Tragedy" incident in Canada, as well as accompanying the adventurer Robert E. Peary in the North Pole expedition of 1909
Katie is Andrew Karnegee's granddaughter and a genius. She attends Harvard University, where she majors in biological archaeology and paleontology, along with other complex subjects. Like Malone, Katie was involved in the "Mountain of Tragedy¨ incident in Canada. She found out about Malone -- the one who resolved the incident -- as a part of the team. She joins this expedition against her grandfather's wishes.
Sir Arthur is the author of the world-famous "Sherlock Holmes¨ detective stories. He is skilled at many sports, including his favorite: boxing. He has great ambition toward exploration. He heard about Malone from an adventurer friend and became interested in his exploits.
Jeanne is one of six grandchildren of the great adventurer Jules-Sebastian Dumont. The gun given to her by her father was a major influence in her choice to join the hunting profession. She has great pride but also has a hard time expressing herself. She is self-protective, and conflicts tend to arise between herself and others.
A strong hunter, Gregory grew up with guns. He's talented, but he is obsessed with money and fame. His self-centered personality may cause trouble sometimes. He's still humiliated that the "Mountain of Tragedy¨ incident was solved by Malone, when it happened on his home turf, Canada.
The advance team were members of Lord Andrew's Ark Foundation and did much of the work to survey the area that Malone and the other hunters are passing through. They set up base camps and remote outposts which you find in various states of decay and usually contain a clue to an animal in the area or part of a formula.
They also stashed crates of supplies and left electronic voice plate recordings around the region. These provide hints and information that the player may otherwise never figure out on their own.
Dinosaurs and Animals
Below is a listing of all species of creatures the player can encounter through the course of the game. There are 52 animals in all with 2 of them listed as "unknown". These are most likely the Quetzalcoatlus and Supersaurus and may require additional playthroughs of the game to reveal.
- Albino Tyrannosaur
- Albino Velociraptor
- Cave Lion
- ** Mystery Entry - most likely Quetzalcoatlus
- Variation Ceratosaurus
- Saber Tiger
- ** Mystery Entry - most likely Supersaurus
Released in Japan in September of 2003, Dinosaur Hunting was developed by Scarab and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was in translation for a U.S. release in 2004 when publisher Metro3D folded. Review code, box art and screenshots were all distributed in the U.S. and several magazines had reviews ready to go but the game was never released.