|System: Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Atomic Planet||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Destination Soft.||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
As a member of the male specie, it's only natural that I gravitate towards games that involve aliens, monsters, and giant robots. I mean, these are a male gamer's staples.
But can dinosaurs even be far down the list? I mean, these things are alien to us. They are monstrous indeed, and they are the size of giant bots. Let's face it; a dinosaur can fulfill all of one's gaming fantasies. At least they should, but there's not a lot of great dinosaur games out there. Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure is definitely not going to take its place among the best dinosaur games ever. The fact that it features aquatic dinosaurs just goes to prove this game is all wet.
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure would have made a better documentary than a video game. It's tied in with the Imax movie of the same name. And because of its movie tie-in, you have every right to be suspicious. The gameplay is haphazard and lacks any focus. It's boring and repetitive. It's supposed to be educational, which can definitely be a good thing, but the only education you'll receive is the "buyer beware" axiom. You would be much better off going to the movie or the library if you want to learn about monstrous sea creatures. This game should have been made available on the PSP (due to the superior processing power) as a National Geographic Interactive Special. That's what it tries to be on the DS, but the results are that it's neither a documentary, or much of a game.
Giant prehistoric fish are, by nature, a bit of a letdown when compared to T-Rexes. Sea monsters at least have some mystique and charm. Aside from a few weak attacks, we don't get to fight these scary behemoths of the deep; instead we get to play as them. It really takes the mystique out of things, reducing these monsters to little more than virtual goldfish. You control one of six different sea monsters. By moving it around a claustrophobic-inducing section of the sea, you attempt to keep it alive by feeding on other life forms while avoiding predators that are trying to do likewise to you. It's like a shallow version of Ecco the Dolphin.
Using the weak map to guide you, food is acquired by making a thrust, or dash, at it. As long as the creature is smaller than you, it can be considered a meal. Creatures larger than you are to be avoided, but they are almost too lethargic to worry about. Avoiding them is as easy as keeping your distance. If they totally annoy you, a few good, well-placed thrusts will cause them to give up the ghost. All of this activity, as exciting as it is, requires energy. In order to sustain your energy you will need oxygen, which can be acquired by surfacing. The oxygen, in combination with the food you eat will in turn increase your stamina level, giving you the fuel you need to repeat this endless cycle. You'll want to stay close to the surface not only to replenish your oxygen but also to keep from drowning. If you go too deep underwater, you'll get a warning. Fail to heed this warning, and you're dead. These are sea creatures, right? Fortunately, the sea doesn't get too deep so you're almost always close to the surface.