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PC Game Review: Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals

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This creative expansion pack, fourth in the Zoo Tycoon 2 series, features more than 30 extinct animals, including the bush antlered deer, dodo bird, elephant bird and woolly rhinoceros.

The game has immense options yielding great control/customization and fun experimentation. The game packs in expanding elements as players formulate creatures to populate an eclectic zoo. You must attract as many visitors as possible while managing all your inhabitants.

Players can explore environments and take photos and zoom in with the camera options. Your photographs can also be shared online. If you want to take a more active role, then utilize the various interactions while referring to the “Zoopedia” for background information on how to successful handle each animal scenario.

The minigames are fun, especially since you get some cool results on both ends of the success scale. For example, you can find fossils, then assemble these rare finds and finally recreate the creature. A paleontologist (who can also inform guests during presentations) can also find fossils. A successful high score in the lab will finally recreate the creature, while lower scores (below 50%) will get some interesting results (check out the killer penguins – keep these amusing animals around for even more good natured mayhem).

The dinosaurs, which include dimetrodon, stegosaurus, tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptor, originating from the Dino Danger Pack, previously available on the Zoo Tycoon website. These updated wonders have male and female counterparts. If you make dinosaurs, they might go “Jurassic Park” on you if you don’t keep them happy. You can go after the rampaging dinos yourself with a tranquilizer gun or hire the Dino capture team to complete this seemingly daunting task.

Players can make simple or complex scenarios, which won’t overwhelm you. Just about any situation you can imagine is realized within the game’s context (e.g. watch what happens when you release all the extinct animals).

The colorful graphics enhance the environments — authentic prehistoric settings like tar pits and glaciers — which feature expanded first person game play and cool surprises. Your overall color scheme and aesthetic design can affect your guests. Players get plenty of hints (press H) and excellent tutorials – perfect for those younger players who need help getting started.

Some nice humor (frozen cavemen, killer penguins) and even first person shooter action, where players can tranquilize upset dinosaurs when they rampage after their living arrangements go south. Players can manipulate many situations, which matches perfectly with the God-like power players look for in tycoon games (e.g. curing diseases, absolute control, etc.). Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals is ideal for younger players, but there’s enough content and customization here to satisfy any age.

Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB.

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