Everyone loves dinosaurs. They are captivating, exciting, and fascinating. It’s no wonder why movies that involve dinosaurs go on to gross hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office. People are perpetually drawn to them, and knowing that these massive and powerful creatures actually lived on this planet adds a layer of terror and intrigue.
It is also this combination of fear and fascination that keeps dinosaurs at the forefront of our imaginations. So, what could be better than a dinosaur video game? How else can people interact with creatures from 65 million years ago? Here are 10 dinosaur video games that are exciting, scary, and filled with adventure.
Updated on June 15th, 2022 by Melody MacReady: As Jurassic World: Dominion dominates at the box office, there will be a renewed interest in the best dinosaur games ever. Dinosaurs have a way of capturing the eyes of players, whether they are interacting with them, running away from them in terror, or blasting them down.
It’s impossible to talk about just ten dinosaur games, especially when there have been so many across the decades. From classics for older generation consoles to newer smash hits, dinosaurs are still a relevant source of entertainment. Some of these games stem right from the Jurassic World brand while others are original games from the minds of talented developers.
15 Nanosaur (1998)
Over a decade before Jurassic World decided to genetically modify dinosaurs, the PC game Nanosaur decided to try it out. However, whereas Jurassic World used genetic splicing, Nanosaur grafted machinery onto dinosaurs, creating some powerful killing machines.
From raptors with machine guns to pterodactyls with lasers, what more could a gamer ask for? While the graphics weren’t phenomenal, the gun-wielding dinosaurs still compelled players to carry on playing the game.
14 Primal Rage (1994)
After a giant meteor strikes Earth and most of humanity is killed off, four massive deities are awakened from their slumber beneath Earth’s crust. Now, four godlike creatures – the yeti, raptor, T-rex, and triceratops – must battle the evil occult monsters who want to plunge the planet into chaos.
Primal Rage was a huge hit on 4th-gen consoles like Genesis and SNES, as well as 5th-gen consoles like the often-forgotten Sega Saturn. These offered graphical improvements as well as more interactive settings.
13 Robinson: The Journey (2016)
Though the VR controls can take a while to get used to, the learning curve is worth it due to Robinson: The Journey being a beautiful experience on another planet. The player controls Robin, a teenager stranded on another planet that is still in its prehistoric age with an AI companion and a pet baby dinosaur named Laika.
Thanks to being made in the Crytek engine, Robinson: The Journey is visually stunning and ahead of its time as one of the early examples of a VR game. The biggest issue is that it is a little short but the alien dinosaurs including Laika make it a memorable experience.
12 Jurassic: The Hunted (2009)
Intentionally cheesy and similar to a B-movie, Jurassic: The Hunted is an often forgotten first-person shooter in which scientists and mercenaries end up back in time during the prehistoric ages. The plot and dialogue are ridiculous but that adds to the charm of the game in many ways.
What really makes Jurassic: The Hunted stand out is the first-person action with satisfying gunplay and well-designed dinosaurs. The Spinosaurus really shines as the big villain dinosaur of the game but there are other more obscure dinosaurs such as Deinonychus and giant scorpions that add a lot of variety.
11 ARK: Survival Evolved (2017)
In ARK: Survival Evolved, gamers get washed up on a mysterious island filled with roaming dinosaurs and warring humans. The game is part Minecraft, as it requires you to build shelters and harvest food. It is also similar to Skyrim, as the player enters into a giant, mythical, open-world environment.
While the game was praised for its massive, dinosaur-filled gameplay, it was also criticized for its difficulty and how much time gamers have to waste performing menial tasks. It was recently released for free on Steam due to the hype for the upcoming sequel.
10 Star Fox Adventures (2003)
Star Fox Adventures was an unorthodox addition to the series of Star Fox games. For the first time ever, Fox McCloud had been removed from his spaceship and was let loose in a Legend Of Zelda-style adventure. He was also surrounded by dinosaurs, leading to backlash from some fans but it has become a cult classic for the GameCube.
It was later revealed that Star Fox Adventures was born out of an N64 game that Rare was creating, called Dinosaur Planet. Nintendo and Rare had a secret meeting, where they agreed to merge Dinosaur Planet and the Star Fox franchise together, thus creating Star Fox Adventures.
9 Oakwood (2019)
In the same vein as the Outlast games, Oakwood is a linear horror game with the main threat being dinosaurs such as deadly Velociraptors. It relies on classic tropes such as abandoned buildings, forests, and even sewers but effectively delivers on making the dinosaurs scary.
Each location adds to dinosaur challenges and puzzles in the environment, allowing Oakwood to refrain from becoming boring. And since it’s not that long, it makes for a short but sweet experience that showcases the potential for dinosaur horror games reminiscent of the scarier Jurassic Park sequences.
8 Peter Jackson’s King Kong (2005)
This first-person shooter is based on the movie of the same name and is one of the few times where the game is just as good, if not better than the source material. It not only features the cast of the movie reprising their roles but it has no HUD, making ammo conservation difficult.
The monster sequences from the film are expanded even further with even more creatures of Skull Island always appearing. Of course, the biggest threat is the dinosaurs such as the smaller theropods reminiscent of Velociraptors, the giant long-neck stampede, and the V-Rex that makes for some of the tensest levels in the game.
7 Jurassic Park – Genesis Version (1993)
When Jurassic Park was released in 1993, two competing video game versions were soon released – one for Genesis and one for SNES. The two games were completely different, with SNES having a top-down view, and the Genesis game is a sidescrolling platformer.
Players and critics agreed that the Genesis version was far superior. It was the first video game ever to pit players against larger-than-life dinosaurs, and there was even a mode where gamers could play as a velociraptor.
6 Jurassic World Evolution (2018)
There are some video game trends that come and go, but tycoon games have been popular since the inception of gaming itself. In Jurassic World Evolution, players are tasked with creating their very own dinosaur theme park, with the hopes of making it profitable.
This involves breeding and incubating dinosaurs, building enclosures, and keeping the dinosaurs fed and healthy. However, looming disasters, such as power failures, weather events, and dinosaur breakouts keep gamers on their toes in what is considered one of the most exciting tycoon games to come along in years.
5 Horizon: Zero Dawn (2018)
For fans of action RPGs, Horizon: Zero Dawn and its recent sequel are must-plays. The game puts players in a giant world filled with mechanical animals and dinosaurs. In the game, the robots were originally created as militarized weapons but soon took over the entire planet.
Horizon: Zero Dawn isn’t just an exciting game, but it’s also incredibly beautiful. Aside from the intricate designs of the mechanical monsters, every single aspect of the world was built with incredible detail.
4 Jurassic World: Evolution 2 (2021)
There is no denying that Jurassic World: Evolution made for a stellar tycoon game but it was also a little too simplistic. With the sequel, not only are there new dinosaurs but there are many new factors in play when running the parks: new mechanics, new biomes, new threats, new things to manage, and so much more.
With new DLC expansions including content from Jurassic World: Dominion, Jurassic World: Evolution 2 does what a sequel should do. It takes everything that the first game did so well and improves upon the formula, making it bigger and better.
3 Turok (1997)
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was a game for the N64 that still holds up today. Gamers play as Tal’Set, the chosen Turok warrior, who must protect the world from the Lost Land: a mystical realm filled with vicious dinosaurs, monsters, and aliens.
Both the original and its sequel (which was also released on the N64) were met with rave reviews and are still seen as two of the best games on the console. The games have remained so popular that remastered versions have even been released on PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.
2 Horizon: Forbidden West (2022)
Similar to Jurassic World: Evolution 2, the Horizon sequel simply improves on greatness and crafts one of the biggest and most immersive RPGs in years. With so many side quests, memorable characters, and even better combat, Horizon: Forbidden West earned its many accolades.
The robotic dinosaurs are expanded upon even more with a multitude of new enemies that are all works of art themselves. It’s not often that a sequel completely blows its predecessor out of the water but Forbidden West did it, making for a modern classic duo of games.
1 Dino Crisis 2 (2000)
When the original Dino Crisis was released for PlayStation in 1999, it was deemed “Resident Evil with dinosaurs” by many critics. Naturally, the survival horror gameplay of Resident Evil, combined with the dinosaurs, was a winning formula. The game went on to be one of the bestselling PS1 titles ever.
Its sequel was also hailed by critics and audiences. It took a turn towards adventure over horror and created tons of new, intricate settings. Dino Crisis 2 is still remembered as one of the PS1’s best games, that, unfortunately, has never been remastered or rereleased.
NEXT: 10 Reasons Capcom Needs To Remake Dino Crisis For PS5 & XSX
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