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Carnivores is a hunting game with a twist. Instead of tracking down non-lethal animals such as deer, squirrel and rabbits that can't fight back, the player is thrust onto a newly found planet teeming with deadly dinosaurs. The ramifications of missing a shot take on a whole new meaning when an eight ton target like Tyrannosaurus Rex or an agility-laden killer like a Velociraptor turn on you in rage because you missed the beast's target-zone.
In Carnivores, the prey consists of seven prehistoric dinosaurs, each exhibiting intellectual, behavioral and reactionary (sight, hearing and smell) traits endemic to its species, spanning six unique environments. As the hunter, you have access to three weapons and eight hunting accessories, including an option to use tranquilizers instead of lethal bullets or arrows. Two of the weapons, the sniper rifle and shotgun, carry six shots each while the X-Bow can fire eight times.
The game supports 3Dfx accelerators and features gameplay techniques similar to those found in Deer Hunter such as stalking prey, zeroing in on the target with binoculars or sniper sights, getting upwind of the target or utilizing other hunting tools. Included in the accessories arsenal is radar equipment, maps, a camouflage suit, tranquilizer ammunition, wind indicator and compass, a cover scent and a dinosaur call. Use of some of these items affect scoring either negatively (map -30%, cover scent -20%, camouflage -15%) or positively (tranquilizers +25%).
The six environments in Carnivores are geared toward difficulty levels. Three at the novice level include self-explanatory titles of The Woods of Turan Choks (named after the science vessel captain who discovered the planet), Basmachee Rocks (an island), and The Jungles of Gravitsappa. The two hunting areas provided for the advanced hunter are The Pyramids of Shmu-Hadron (ruins from a long-vanished race) and The Ancient Temple, a location that provides a very limited safe area. Finally, experts can tackle The Great Lake area that contains the most difficult terrain on the planet, a barren and desolate meteor-made lake surrounded by insurmountable mountains.
Each level of difficulty requires the player to earn points in order to open up new territories and gain advanced weaponry. Points are gained by bringing down a type of dinosaur the user pre-selects before going on the hunt. Novices must amass 100 points to gain access to the advanced territories and the sniper rifle. Once at that level, reaching 300 points is the only way to gain the expert level and a chance at the big lizard T-Rex.
The real stars of Carnivores include four types of herbivorous (plant eating) dinosaurs and three types of carnivorous (meat eating) dinosaurs. In the former group are the Parasaurolophus (duckbilled), the thick-headed Pachycephalosaurus, the elephant-sized Triceratops and the heavy, plate-laden Stegosaurus. The meat-eaters that will hunt the hunter if given the slightest chance include the Allosaurus, the quick and deadly Velociraptor and the fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex, the only dinosaur rated as "excellent" in all three reactionary traits. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide