With the earth-shattering success of Jurassic World and the reveals of both Horizon: Zero Dawn and ARK: Survival Evolved, dinosaurs are all the rage right now. So we thought what better time to take a look at our prehistoric buddies in video games.
We'd be lying if we said there are many great games with dinosaurs, most are pretty bad, but there are a few worth playing! Especially if you've got the itch right now. It's OK, we all have it. So, read on and find out what Dino-delights await you.
Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
Far Cry 3 was a pretty bonkers video game but the DLC really cemented it as one of the most insane things we've ever seen. Blood Dragon was announced on April Fools day and everyone assumed it was a joke, which was a pretty ingenious move from Ubisoft. Anyway, Blood Dragon was a DLC story in which you play as Rex "Power" Colt, a cybernetic soldier sent to a mysterious island to find their colonel, who has went rogue. Needless to say the island is bizarre with its red skies, constant lightning storms, shining beacons and, of course, blood-thirsty, genetically-modified dinosaurs. Yep, it's as weird and awesome as it sounds.
An arcade fighting game from 1994, Primal Rage put you in the....shoes?....of dinosaurs and giant apes, and threw a "VS" sign in the middle. It looked a lot like the original Mortal Kombat but with beasts. Pretty simple and pretty great.
The game was subsequently released on home consoles and even handhelds but never managed to recreate the feeling of the arcade classic. It's odd that we don't get games like this anymore, unless you count Killer Instinct. Which I don't.
Primal Carnage: Extinction
As the most recent entry on the list, Primal Carnage is also one of the most unique. It is a class-based multiplayer PC game that allows you to play as both the humans and the dinos.
It isn't very pretty, nor is it incredibly fluid but it's still really fun to sneak through grass as a Velociraptor or soar the skies as a Pterodactyl.
Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
As far as movie tie-ins go, the King Kong game was a pretty great one. However, that should come as no surprise considering it was developed by Ubisoft and Michel Ancel, creator of the Rayman series and Beyond Good and Evil.
The game is about surviving the immense threats of Skull Island as Jack Driscoll, while also playing as Kong himself. The game was really fun and immersive, largely due to lack of any real HUD. This is a real testament to how good a movie tie-in can be, not to mention monster battling.
Here we have a true classic. Dino Crisis was a survival horror game released on PlayStation, Dreamcast, and Windows. The game played and looked a lot like the original Resident Evil, and the plot could have been a sequel to Jurassic Park, which may be a reason why it was so successful. The original title sold over 2 million copies and established a franchise.
Jurassic Park: The Game
Although it is far from a beloved or well regarded game, Telltale's attempt at continuing the story of Jurassic Park is definitely one of the better dinosaur games out there. Sure the controls are wonky and it takes a few episodes for the story to really ramp up but there are some memorable moments when it all comes together. Or falls apart, whatever way you wanna look at it.
The Hunter: Primal
The Hunter: Primal is described as "The most realistic prehistoric survival game ever created," as per its Steam listing. The game was made by Avalanche Studios, the team behind Just Cause and the upcoming Mad Max, so it has some pedigree.
As the prettiest Dinosaur game ever made, The Hunter: Primal is also the most realistic. The game's island is inhabited with all types of creatures, all of which will happily tear you apart. It makes for a pretty terrifying experience but a fun one that could be developed further.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter
Probably the most well-known of all the dinosaur games, Turok was a pretty big deal back in 1997. As a Nintendo 64 exclusive, Turok was about a titular Native American warrior who must protect his island from ancient evils, in this instance, Dinosaurs.
The series is still quite popular, despite there having been only 2 games released in the series since 2002. Rumors of a new game have been swirling lately and of all the games on this list, Turok is your best bet for a comeback.
Next we have a game that isn't exactly known for its Dinosaurs. PS1 classic, Tomb Raider featured a T-Rex level that was popular enough that iterations of it made its way into both Tomb Raider II and Tomb Raider III. There's usually some Dino-appearances in every Tomb Raider, except for the 2013 reboot.
While Tomb Raider may not be widely associated with Dinosaurs, the presence of the creatures has been a mainstay of the franchise right from the beginning.
OK, so this is probably the least obvious example of a Dinosaur video game. When we think of such, we tend to imagine being chased by them or causing immeasurable damage with a T-Rex. We rarely imagine punching windows with our muscular arms and being called "Lizzie."
And yet, Rampage was awesome. The objective of the game was to destroy everything and eat everyone. You could play as the Dinosaur, Lizzie; a giant Ape, George; or Ralph, the Werewolf. The last Rampage game was a 2006 Wii title that failed to impress. But fear not, Rampage fans, myself included, a movie is in the works! Go figure.
Jurassic Park (Sega Genesis)
This list would be pretty incomplete if it didn't feature this Jurassic Park tie-in game. While the Telltale game stood on its own, the Sega Genesis game put you right in the shoes of Dr. Alan Grant.
Jurassic Park is a pretty straightforward action/platforming game of the time: move to the right, don't die, etc. But it was based on the awesome movie, which makes it 10 times more awesome by association. The game was quite nice looking and played just fine, which should come as no surprise considering the lead developer also worked on Earthworm Jim.
While the Jurassic Park game may not have set the world on fire, it is still the best place to play as Alan Grant and traverse Isla Nublar.
So there you have it! Dinosaur games are aplenty but good ones are a few. There aren't too many examples of epic Dinosaur encounters in games but with any luck ARK: Survival Evolved and Horizon: Zero Dawn will bring us the most defining yet!
Dinosaurs are back in a big way, no pun intended, and I have a hunch that we can come back to this list in a few years and give it a redo! Until then, wait patiently and go see Jurassic World.