Game Over Online ~ Carnivores: Ice Age

GameOver Game Reviews - Carnivores: Ice Age (c) WizardWorks, Reviewed by - Jimmy Clydesdale

Game & Publisher Carnivores: Ice Age (c) WizardWorks
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 200MB HDD, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 60%
Date Published Wednesday, January 24th, 2001 at 08:02 AM

Divider Left By: Jimmy Clydesdale Divider Right

Here woolly mammoth, here woolly woolly!

Carnivores: Ice Age is the third instalment in WizardWorks and Action Forms' prehistoric hunting series. The original Carnivores rumbled onto the scene in January 1999 amidst a growing number of hunting titles the likes of Deer Hunter. It brought a unique twist to the hunting genre, allowing players to stalk larger-than-life dinosaurs. Carnivores 2 soon followed in November 1999, a sequel that established the series as more than just a drop in the bucket. Now that you've had your history lesson for today, let's fast forward to the present, as Carnivores: Ice Age prepares to take us for another expedition. Will this be another fantastic journey, or is this Jurassic adventure getting a little stale?

Carnivores: Ice Age certainly isn't based on any Michael Crichton novels. The story, which is essentially the same as the previous editions, revolves around the DinoHunt Corporation. Mankind has discovered yet another planet but this time it's not occupied by Dinosaurs. Instead, this icy world is populated with animals from… you guessed it, the Ice Age. Mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and wolves, oh my! As usual, DinoHunt Corporation gets their greedy little hands on the newly found rock and sells the rights to bag a cave bear to unsuspecting victims… errr, hunters. This is basically where the story takes a hike, leaving you to your wits and itchy trigger finger, but do you really need a reason to go hunting?

If you ever got around to exploring Carnivores 2, Ice Age should be quite familiar to you. The game mechanics are unchanged, right down to the weapons of the trade. From the main menu, you have the option of visiting your trophy room, to catch a glimpse of taxidermy at it's best, or you can go out on a hunt. The later option takes you to secondary set of menus where you'll select the items and weapons you'll be equipping yourself with, along with the specific animal you'd like to spend your day stalking. As with previous versions of Carnivores, the weapon and animal selection is limited. In order to unlock the remaining items, creatures and locations in question, you have to accumulate enough points.

Points are obtained by successfully hunting your current prey. In politically correct fashion, you can kill the animals you're hunting but if you choose to put them to sleep instead, using a tranquilizer, you'll actually be awarded more points. So if you have any qualms over destroying an artificial creature, you're actually better off. The only benefit of actually killing an animal is showing it off to your hunting buddies in your trophy room. The icy planet is inhabited by all sorts of creatures, so even though you're hunting a particular animal you'll often have the opportunity to bag a few extra goodies along the way.

Carnivores: Ice Age begins by offering very basic weapons, including the always trusty pistol. As you progress through the game, more high-powered weapons the likes of crossbows and double-barrelled shotguns will become available. In the same vein, new stomping grounds, animals and equipment also make their way into the game. This is where Carnivores: Ice Age disappoints, however, as all of the weapons and items are recycled from Carnivores 2. There's not a single new addition to the series in that respect.

Carnivores: Ice Age isn't your average hunting game. That's because the hunter can become the hunted very quickly. Hungry sabre-toothed tigers are always on the prowl for meat so if you don't watch your back, the last laugh just might be on you. One of the welcome changes in Ice Age is the slightly improved artificial intelligence. Animals will run away when shot at and often will smell you coming a mile away, avoiding you at all costs. The downside to such intelligence is hunters wandering around for hours without coming across a worthy prey, or a single prey for that matter. Animals still don't quite act the same around other animals, attacking them and such, but at least they react better to human presence.

As we've become accustomed to with this hunting franchise, Carnivores: Ice Age boasts some extremely impressive visuals, particularly for a budget title. The animals are well animated and the environments are very convincing. Although some of the locales are a little barren, the frozen tundra in particular, others are stunning, especially the swampy habitats. The sound effects are tight. Whether it's the roar of a mammoth or a pack of wolves howling, it adds a great deal to the atmosphere of the game. You can also mimic animal noises in the game, calls that are returned if a similar animal is in the immediate area (an addition that makes hunting evasive animals a little easier). In the end, the audio and visuals are by far the highlight of this package.

Carnivores: Ice Age does not support multi-player, a feature the franchise has never offered. This would have been the perfect opportunity to implement it since the single-player experience wears thin pretty quickly. Once you've seen each of the weapons, animals and locales Ice Age has to offer, the replay value fails to click in. Even less, those hunters who have already experienced Carnivores won't see any weapons they haven't before, leaving only the animals and locales as new additions. This lack of new content will have Carnivores fans scratching their heads. Now that the unique twist of hunting dinosaurs no longer exists, the intensity level seems to have diminished. The video and audio can only compensate so much. The end result is a stale excursion that is in need of a little more bite.

[ 29/50 ] Gameplay
[ 07/10 ] Graphics
[ 08/10 ] Sound
[ 07/10 ] Controls
[ 04/10 ] Replayability
[ 05/10 ] Fun Factor


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