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Review by: Brian Pipa
Published: June 2, 1997
Just in time for that big dinosaur movie by that Spielberg fellow comes Pyrosaurus, a strategy game like no other. Think T. Rex is a pansy? Would you laugh in the face of a ‘Raptor? Create your own dinosaur that could have ruled the Prehistoric Age. Try your hand at creating and training your own team of dinosaurs to fight it out against teams created by other players like yourself.
Pyrosaurus has a marketing strategy that I have not seen before. The full game is available to download from the Pyrosaurus website. Use it to create and train your own dinosaurs and form a team out of the dinosaurs you create. When you’ve built a dino-killing team and are ready for some competition, use Pyrosaurus to dial an 800 number and upload your team and compete against another human-trained dino team. Call back in 24 hours to download the contest results and watch the battle results. Your first contest is free. Thereafter, contests are $1.60 each and are sold in groups of five.
You begin by creating a species. You can choose just about every characteristic of your species. Things like number of legs (0, 2, or 4), design of feet (webbed to hooved), size of body, skin color and thickness are all totally customizable. You can design a small, legless blue, snake-like dino, a larger, red, T. Rex clone or anything in between. All of these options do come with a price tag, though. For the first arena, you only have $3000 that you can spend on your team. So what is your strategy? Do you have 3 small snake-like dinos that cost $1000 each or do you invest all of your cash in one larger dino that is much more powerful?
Each dino has one and only one weapon — fire. The dinos shoot fire from their mouths. This, too, is customizable. You can adjust the range and spread of the fire along with other factors that affect your dino’s accuracy like how often it swings its neck and how long its neck is (longer neck equals more powerful fire). These options also cost money. As you win battles, you progress to bigger and better arenas and you are allotted more money to spend on your team.
All of your customizations are shown on-screen as you make them. As you move the slider to, say, increase your dino’s tail size (longer tail means a better turning rate) you see the tail grow and the dino moves in circles to show its new turn radius. Every customization is done this way. To change the dino’s skin color, you are given a red, a blue, and a green slider and the dino’s color changes as you move the sliders.
The most important part of creating a dino is the training. There are 3 types of training: movement, decision, and fighting. A well-trained smaller (and cheaper) dino can defeat larger, more powerful, dinos that are poorly trained. The winner of a contest is the team that kills the other’s queen dinosaur first. Each team has one queen which you choose. You can train your dinos to attack the queen, defend your queen, run away from a fight when injured and look for food, and almost every other possibility. Teach him how to fight. Make him weave in and out while shooting fire or make him attack enemies from the rear. It’s up to you.
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