|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Blue Fang Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Microsoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 16, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Along with some added danger and excitement, Extinct Animals provides players with access to a wide range of extinction-themed items to decorate your park, some new buildings, and additional staff positions. Among the several significant facility additions, the new Fossil Education Center lets you place a hilarious costumed staff member - dressed in one of several silly outfits - on the grounds to entertain and education visitors.
Once an Extinct Research Lab is constructed you'll be able to enter into a first-person mode to scour the zoo grounds for digging sites using a radar gun device. When you stumble across a potential fossil location you can mark and excavate the site in hopes of discovering much-needed artifacts to assemble new dinosaur skeletons. Finding all of the different fossils of a particular species lets you enter into a puzzle mini-game to assemble the skeleton. With a completed skeleton you can then scan the DNA - via another simple mini-game - to clone the dinosaur and add it to your zoo.
Those who are too busy to look for fossils themselves scan hire paleontologists to do the dirty work for them. One other interesting addition is the ability help sick animals by taking samples of their food, surrounding vegetation, and the creatures themselves to come up with a diagnosis and cure for their fictional illnesses. The mini-games and other activities are meshed seamlessly with the flow of the rest of the game so they don't seem out of place.
In the end throwing dinosaurs into the mix is all fine and good, but if all Extinct Animals had to offer was a handful of new animals then the benefit would fall way short in comparison to the game's $30 price tag. Fortunately, there's a good deal more to keep busy with. Expansion packs are a great way to extend the life of a game, especially while you're waiting for the next full installment. It's probably inevitable we'll see a Zoo Tycoon 3 in the future, but in the meantime fans would do well to pick up this Jurassic gem.
CCC Freelance Writer