Dinosaur Planet Hands-On Report

This hands-on preview was written at E3 2000, when the game was scheduled to be released on the Nintendo 64. The game has since moved on to become Star Fox Adventures: Dinosaur Planet, and it will appear on Nintendo's GameCube in 2001.

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The demo of Dinosaur Planet that I played featured a short sequence where you rode on a pterodactyl's back and shot energy balls at this huge dragon-like airship. You had to avoid shots from the ship's turrets and shoot weak points on the ship to disable various parts of it. The control was typical flying fare - move the analog stick to guide your character up or down. Unfortunately there was no targeting reticule, so sometimes it was difficult to aim your shots correctly.

After you shoot enough spots on the ship you'll eventually disable it, and then the game shows a clip of you landing on the ship and exploring it a bit. From there you get a little taste of combat as you're forced to deal with a guard before you can proceed. The game uses a Zelda-like scheme of using the Z-button to lock onto enemies. Unfortunately, it isn't done as well as Zelda's is, and it's sometimes difficult to hit your enemy. I found that I was missing a lot of shots because of what seemed like poor control.

I was given an opportunity to explore some of the game's various menus, and found that it featured a pretty comprehensive menu system. You can collect and use items and magic, and interacting with your environment is done in a pretty uncomplicated manner. Once you progress past the guard you're treated to another cutscene, then the demo is over. It's nice to finally see speech on the N64, and it makes the cutscenes that much more dramatic. From what little I did get to see, I know I'm looking forward to playing more of Dinosaur Planet.

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