Carnivores: Cityscape Review


A number of years from now, humans are colonizing space and expanding across the galaxy.  In their travels they come across a planet inhabited by dinosaurs, and decide to load a bunch of them onto a ship and use them for a traveling, interplanetary sideshow.  Of course, this turns out to be a monumentally bad idea, as the ship carrying the dinosaurs crash lands and releases a bevy of hungry dinosaurs onto a human colony world.  This is the premise behind Carnivores: Cityscape, a first person shooter that puts players in the role of a mercenary hunting down the escaped dinosaurs, or lets them play as the meat hungry dinosaurs themselves.

The two campaigns are played as a series of missions either from a dinosaur's or human's perspective.  Each mission opens with a short paragraph describing the situation, but that's about it for storyline - this is not a game for those who like a little meat to their stories.  As a human, or agent as the game calls them, you select two weapons from a list of five to go along with your pistol before entering the mission.  These weapons consist of three of the rifle/shotgun variety, a grenade launcher, and a sniper rifle.  That's it.  And don't expect to find any more powerful weapons hidden in the levels, there aren't any.  Why anyone would select the weaker weapons is a mystery, and you can expect to approach each mission with pretty much the same two weapons.  The extra ammo in the missions is of a generic type that seems to fit all weapons, so even this is not a consideration when selecting weapons.

As a dinosaur you have two attacks available: a slash and a pounce that ends with a slash.  As the game progresses you will have the opportunity to play larger dinosaurs, but the only real change you'll notice is that you become slower and stronger.  Your attack strategy is to run up to every human you see and start slashing.  Because your strategy is so limited as a dinosaur, the novelty of playing as one will wear off before too long.  Carnivores does have an interesting feature in that as a dinosaur you can feed on your kills to restore health, but for some reason the designers decided that feeding required an in-game cutscene.  This might look cool at first, but after seeing your dinosaur feed the exact same way a number of times, the novelty will wear off and you'll wish that you could somehow skip the scene.

Hunting dinosaurs as an agent suffers from the same problem in holding the player's long-term interest.  Dinosaur attacks consist of head-on charges right at the player and the lack of variety in the attacks makes hunting dinosaurs a straight-forward and repetitive exercise.  The human AI is not that much better - they'll jump around a bit as you try to charge them, but they don't seem to try too hard to avoid you and can't seem to work cooperatively against you.