October 30, 2000

Disney's Dinosaur - Preview

Release Date Publisher Developer Rating Players Price

Click To Enlarge ImageWhat a lot of people may not know is that Dinosaur was actually Disney's first computer generated movie made within the company. Previous movies such as Toy Story 1, Toy Story 2 and A Bug's Life were actually created by Pixar Studios and only distributed by Disney. Disney's first digital effort was actually fairly good, although a little childish at times. It is rather surprising that it has taken this long to develop a video game based on the movie on the Dreamcast but both versions are set to arrive in December.

This game seems to follow the plot of the movie quite closely. The story of Disney's Dinosaur begins at the end of the Mesozoic era where dinosaurs roam the earth and gigantic winged creatures soar over miles of raging seas. When an egg is snatched and dropped from an Iguanodon's nest, it tumbles into a tree on an isolated island and is found by a family of friendly lemurs. Life is peaceful for Aladar, the Iguanodon and his lemur family until a meteor collides with Earth and the island is destroyed by fire. Aladar and his family are forced to move to the mainland -- life as they knew it is over. Velociraptors and Carnotaurs stalk the family, food and water are scarce and their future appears bleak. Join Aladar, Zini, and Flia as they confront the unleashed forces of nature while fighting massive dinosaurs in order to protect their friends and lead them to the safety of the Nesting Grounds.

Click To Enlarge ImageDinosaur (the game) includes 14 levels in which you take control of different dinosaurs including Aladar the Iguanodon, Zini the Lemur, and Flia the Pteranodon who was created just for the game. In this action game, players must experience teamwork and combine the skills of three heroes in order to fight hostile dinosaurs encountered in unknown locations throughout the expedition. The "points system" of the game allows the skills of each character to progress during the game - the more successful a character proves to be in a fight or a quest, the more proficient his skills will become.

Making a game based on this movie was always going to be quite challenging. The movie relied more on visual effects then plot to generate interest, which quickly waned after the movies opening weeks. Exactly how Ubisoft plan to build an interesting game around this movie remains to be seen and the top-down viewpoint does little to inspire confidence in a world where 3D games are the norm.

Click To Enlarge ImageThe developers have stated that they are including some 15 minutes of video footage to tie the levels together. It remains to be seen what quality this video footage is but with Disney having to approve everything in the game it should be pretty good. UbiSoft have also used the same actors to record the voices for the game to retain the feel of the movie.

While the graphics in Dinosaur (these are Playstation 2 screens) don't look like pushing either the Dreamcast or Playstation 2's limits in any way Dinosaur should be a fun title, especially for fans of the movie. Disney Interactive, who are overseeing the development of this game, usually ensure that game licenses are used to their potential and the game retains the feel and plot of the movie fairly well. This game may be aimed at a younger market, but older fans should also get some enjoyment from this title as well.