Dinotopia.gif - 84.6 K
By Al Giovetti
Price:
Genre: graphic animated adventure, top down perspective.
Release: August 96
Developer: The Dreamers Guild
Producer: Tom Lopez and Mitch Klebanoff
Publisher: Turner Interactive
Phone: 800-239-8201
Website: www.turner.com/dinotopia/
Requirements: IBM or 100% compatible 66 MHz 486, 8MB RAM, DOS 5.0 or later, double speed CD-ROM, Windows 95 compatible but not required, SVGA Local Bus Graphics, 16-bit Soundblaster or 100% compatible sound card, mouse.

License: Based on books by James Gurney: "Dinotopia" and "Dinotopia: The World Beneath." In Dinotopia, dinosaurs still live, but like the garden of Eden they are harmless intelligent and peaceful creatures who talk and live on the island as equals with people. In fact these dinosaurs and everyone on the island live in total harmony. prslide2.gif - 5.9 K

"Dinotopia is more than just a book, it's a whole interactive world of art, science, and invention. A classic lost island of high adventure and discovery, philosophy, humor, and exploration, Dinotopia is beautifully and realistically created by the author and artist James Gurney. "Dinotopia is a state of mind," says Gurney. "I want it to be a terrific place for viewers to conjure their own dreams, to participate in high adventure, and to see our own world through new eyes. It is a celebration of imagination and reality." James Gurney

Prior products: The Dreamerís Guild has produced a number of products since forming their company in 1991, including

Plot: Dinotopia is set on an uncharted island that Nathan, the protagonist, was shipwrecked on. Nathan has been separated by his sister, Constance, who as a result of the same shipwreck, is lost on the island. Nathan must search for Constance, and he talks to dinos and humans to obtain clues about where she is. Either the dinos or humans are incredibly stupid or they are totally without any compassion for Nathans plight, because they are not very helpful.

The purpose of the game is too explore. The only conflict is to find Constance. There is no one to fight or kill. Nathan has access to any point on the island at any time. You will journey through the Desert, the Hatchery, Pumice Town, Waterfall City, the Beach, the Savannah, Treetown, the Temple Ruins, the Alpine mountain Blackshear, and the Forest. You will ultimately devise a plan to reach the mysterious World Beneath.

Interface: The upper portion of the screen, about three-fifths of the area, is a top down oblique perspective of the local area that resembles the latest in the Ultima series of stories with characters positioned in eight facings (N, S, E, W, NE, NW, SE, SW) with basically the same pose. Clicking on objects with your cursor results in either a hand to pick up and manipulate things or an eye to examine items or talk to other people and dinosaurs. Animation is not striking and there are no cut scenes in side perspective.

Character Interaction: There are over 130 characters to interact with. When Nathan clicks on humans or dinosaurs who have something to say, they say it. Many of the dinosaurs only have inane comments to make. Nathan is denied the ability to ask questions or to make comments of his own. In fact, Nathan is a mute, who never speaks. This makes for rather boring communication. dino10.gif - 6.6 K

At the bottom of the interface screen is a control panel. On the left side is the item inventory. The center is a map of the island. The right bottom of the screen is the utilities access and the pickup, manipulate, examine and talk icons.

Puzzles: Extremely simple puzzles aimed at children and their parents. Treasure hunt puzzles, Learning the dinosaur language.

There are points in the game where a travel system would have been a good feature, since things are pretty far apart in some areas, such as the mountain and the desert. You will eventually be rewarded by the ability to travel by dinocart, a Dinotopia equivalent of a taxi, and ride on the back of a flying dinosaur, but basically you walk everywhere.

Sound: There are voice recordings which are spotty in quality.

References:
Scorpia, Computer Gaming World, number 146, September, 1996, pg. 121-122.
www.cdaccess.com/html/pc/dinotop.htm
PC Games, June 1996, B (85%)
Computer Player, July 1996, 7/10, (70%).