Platforms: PSP (reviewed) | PS3 compatible | iPhone
Developer: Tatem Games
More Poundsaver Turok than Monster Hunter for this PSP Minis title. You roam across several islands hunting dinosaurs with modern weaponry. There's no plot, just here's a gun, kill as much as you can, then return to base. Rinse and repeat.
The landscapes are just so deserted. Without the radar you're only going to come across small dinosaurs that aren't on your specified hunting list. It's like going to a safari park that's mainly populated with the dino equivalents of dogs and squirrels.
The environmental graphics are bland but the dinosaur animations have a slight charm to them, even if it’s just because you’re grateful to see something move once in a while. If the maps had been a little smaller there might have been more room for a bit of polish.
The rest of the game's presentation is sorely lacking. The menus only respond to pressing up and down even though most of things are side-by-side. Navigation through them is often slow and unresponsive too. The map screen also seems to be possessed, as when you leave it on while moving and travel in an apparently straight line you can see your ‘this is you’ dot change directions several times over.
It’s not all bad though; the movement controls in-game make a brave departure from the norm for PSP shooters. The face buttons are used to go forwards, backwards and for strafing while the analogue stick looks around. Effectively the replicated twin-analogue system has been swapped around. Initially disturbing, but then you realise it's pretty good as using the face buttons to aim in other PSP games was pants.
No room has been left for a jump button though, so you're left trying to climb the slopes with your chin. You can get trapped in some ditches too. You can choose to respawn at another random location on the map, but it's always somewhere crap. It would have been better if you could choose somewhere a little more specific.
Pressing the left shoulder button brings up your gun sights but aiming from here is so slow. Your first encounter with a meat-eating dinosaur will most certainly end in it eating you alive. You don’t get any gory animations or howling death-cry to let you know, the controls will just stop. It would seem we're playing one a 'one bite and you're dead' policy too. It's almost like the game doesn't expect to be played for long as you're only given one clip of ammo and the points system for unlocking new guns and levels is an unpredictable pickpocketing bitch.
- Switching the FPS controls around works quite well
- It's got dinosaurs in it
- Balls if I can think of anything else, I'm off to watch Jurassic Park to forget about this.
- Terribly slow aiming
- Feels like an abandoned rush-job
- Terrible unlock system
The Short Version: The FPS movement is done well for the PSP. Unfortunately the game's poor structure, slow aiming, dull hunting and rough graphics make Carnivores: Dinosaur Hunter a forgettable experience.