DinoCity

aka: Dinowars: Kyōryū Ōkoku e no Daibōken
Moby ID: 36585
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Description

Timmy and his friend, Jaime go into Timmy's father's lab to watch a movie on the big screen. Little do they know that the big screen is actually a time machine. When Timmy touches the remote they are both sucked into prehistoric times. Now in order to return home they must reclaim a time machine fuse that was stolen by some Neanderthals who go by the name of "The Rockies". The Rockies are also looking to destroy DinoCity, so two dinosaurs named Rex and Tops decide to help out the two human children in their fight against the Neanderthals.

Gameplay involves one of the humans riding one of the dinosaurs throughout six stages, To defeat the enemies, the player can jump on top of them, punch them, or throw projectiles at them. Defeated enemies may drop eggs. It is also possible for the human to dismount the dinosaur. The human will now be able to jump and reach higher places.

The player can only take three hits before losing a life. Energy can be refilled by finding hearts throughout a level. Time is of the essence as all stages are timed.

Spellings

  • Dino City - Common spelling
  • ダイナウォーズ 恐竜王国への大冒険 - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (SNES version)

16 People (14 developers, 2 thanks)

Planner
  • Rush Work
Assistant Planner
  • Eraser Head
Map Planner
Character Designer
  • Munou No Hito
  • SDR 200
Back Ground Designer
Assistant Designer
  • Hiroyuki
Programmer
Assistant Programmer
  • Wakkun
System Programmer
Sound Programmer
Sound Composer
Producer
Executive Producer
Special Thanks To
  • All Test Players
  • Bug Check Members
Presented By
  • Irem Corporation

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 75% (based on 9 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 5 ratings with 2 reviews)

How come nobody remembers this game?

The Good
You know a game is special when you go to the Mobygames page and there is no cover art, no accurate release date, no pictures and no reviews on it. This is however one of the first times that I am kind of confused as to why this is. The second you boot up this game, you know it's going to be special. It might have that distinctive Super Nintendo style where everything is slightly wacky, but combined with the great music, great use of sound-effects and the amusing enemies, it creates a very entertaining atmosphere that kept me in the mood to play this game, even if I died and had to restart everything, I would still play some more of it.

In Dino City you have to platform your way across the levels, something that plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of SNES games have done before and after this game. What makes this interesting though is the fact that you are riding on a dinosaur and you can separate yourself from it, just like in Super Mario World. Unlike Mario though, neither you or the dinosaur may die or you'll lose a life. As the dinosaur you can can kill enemies, but when playing as the person riding it you can jump higher and freeze enemies, something that becomes a necessity in some of the sections.

The platforming also deserves some praise because the level design and controls are great. Creativity is the word I would use to describe the levels in this game, every level has some clever mechanics and tricks and none of it feels like they are just going down a list of platforming-cliches. Very early on you will run into platforms that will start sliding downward the second you step on them, this can really save or ruin a jump. A few moments later you will have to time your jumps as water is constantly been frozen and molten as you try to cross it. I like it, it makes me feel like I am playing something that people put genuine thought and love into.

The boss-fights are also equal to the levels and I was constantly looking forward to them. You don't just spam attacks on their weak-spot until they die, you have to dodge their moves, wait for opportunities to strike and watch out for your surroundings. Even a very basic fight with a snake monster whose head was his weak-spot was made challenging because there were two of the bastards that could pop up anywhere on the field and had an unavoidable attack.

In terms of graphics this game is also one of the better titles on the Super Nintendo, featuring not only great sprites and animation, but a freaking day-to-night cycle. How many games had that in the SNES-era? Maybe four or five? It's not even scripted or anything, if you spend enough time in a level it will just happen, you will see the sky slowly changing until it's midnight.

Is it challenging? Yeah it is! At the same time however, I also found that this game was relatively fair towards the player. I never felt like dying was the fault of sadistic level-design (Super Meat Boy) or faulty controls (Ice Climbers), if I died it was because I miscalculated a jump or because I didn't pay attention to that enemy in the corner. It's not the hardest game in the Super Nintendo catalog, but it is sure to provide you a meaty challenge for both the casuals and die-hard gamers.

The Bad
One thing I always like about videogames is speed, I love going fast and a lot of games jump unto this desire. Mario runs, Sonic rolls, Link rides on horseback, Alex Mercer glides and so forth. Dino City on the other hand plays kind of slow, you move sluggish, jumping feels like I have a parachute and overall, I just don't get the satisfaction of racing through levels.

The life-system is really useless and I never grasped why developers are so persistent in putting it in their games. It made sense in the age of arcade-closets where people had to put in coins for every single life they needed, but surely the concept of a console was meant to have people pay money once for endless amounts of gameplay. Why have an arbitrary life-system that sends you back to square one every time you run out? It doesn't make the game more fun, it doesn't make it more challenging, it just makes it more frustrating.

As the girl or boy you really can't do anything worthwhile, freezing enemies is cool I guess, but it's only temporarily. Chances to incorporate this attack into gameplay and puzzles are ignored with a few exceptions, but overall I feel like this mechanic really did deserve more attention.

The Bottom Line
Like I said before, I have no idea how this game stayed under the radar. Maybe it was the fact that it was based on a movie, maybe it was because of the generic name and lack of marketing (who the heck is IREM?), but one way or another, this is a forgotten gem. The platforming functions very well, the graphics and atmosphere are breathtaking and it has a very fair difficulty, you can't ask for much more from a Super Nintendo title. Sure it doesn't have the polish and magnitude of the Mario and Sonic games, but I can't claim to know any other game from an unknown studio that has the same quality as DinoCity.

If you are a fan of classic platformers or a Super Nintendo collector, then by all means, look this game up sometime. I paid less than 10 dollars for this game and had a lot of fun with it, so I dare to make the assumption that others will as well. Perhaps it will give all you guys something to do while the Battle.net servers are dead again ;).

SNES · by Asinine (957) · 2012

A colorful platform game based on a cheesy teen movie

The Good
If you happen to live in the US, UK, or France in the Nineties, you would know about a teen movie called “Adventures in Dinosaur City” released in 1991. Three friends go into Timmy’s parents’ lab to watch an animated TV series known as ‘Dino Saurs’ on the big screen TV. Little did they know that the screen serves as a portal to another dimension. Intrigued, all of them jump in and find themselves in Saur City. The following year, the guys at Irem America saw how successful this cheesy teen movie was, and released the platform game of DinoCity for the SNES.

The game’s intro is consistent with what happens in the film, with the teens being sucked into the TV and being instructed to find the fuse if they want to go home. There are six stages in the game, and you can control two of the teens, Timmy or Jamie. Both of them are joined by Rex or Tops, depending on which of them you select. The stages consist of small areas, and you always do something interesting in these, including destroying some stones blocking your path, staying on a spinning wheel without being pushed off, and riding a car while changing tracks. A two-player game is also available, with each player taking turns.

The first couple of areas are easy and you should be able to complete them in about two minutes. Later ones, however, are difficult to get through. For a start, there are puzzles requiring Timmy or Jamie to dismount from their dinosaurs so they can clear any obstacles blocking their way. If something happens to the two and the dinos are left behind – and vice versa - you lose one of your lives. Getting hit by a Rocky or an obstacle results in you losing one heart. If no hearts are left, you also lose a life. You may be lucky to get a heart floating around somewhere. Scattered throughout the level are dino eggs; get fifty of these, and you earn an extra life. You also get eggs by jumping on a Rocky’s head about five times.

Each area ends by going through either a brown or gold door. The gold doors let you tackle each area in order, while the brown ones let you fast-forward through a specific area. Some brown doors lead you to bonus stages, where the object is to collect as many dino eggs as you can before time runs out. When you go through enough of these doors, you have to face a boss, which have their own attack pattern and take a few hits to kill. Once you defeat them, you will see your team going back and forth across the screen, giving you the opportunity to write down a 12-character password until you press Start.

DinoCity is a colorful game with gorgeous graphics, and the effects are well done; I like how the first area of stage one changes from day to night. Although you can admire the backdrops, there is a time limit which you must adhere to; if you let this run down, you will lose a life. (The sudden speed-up of the music serves as a warning.) The background music is excellent; I enjoyed listening to the marching theme when you complete each stage. If there is any music you love, you are free to access the sound test and play it again from there. The four characters are seen doing nothing, but when you play some music, having all of them bop to the beats is a nice touch.

The Bad
I found the game a bit difficult. One of the puzzles I talked about earlier mentioned hitting some stones blocking your path. This was frustrating considering that there is a Rocky behind you pushing a pillar, and if you don’t destroy all the stones in a reasonable amount of time, you are crushed to death. Also, it takes more than one punch for a Rocky to go down.

The Bottom Line
This is a colorful platform game featuring four characters from Brett Thompson’s movie. The sound and graphics are excellent, and throughout the game you can do many fascinating things. Although the game is aimed at teenagers, I feel the game is difficult, due to certain sections of the game requiring both time and patience. That aside, DinoCity is enjoyable, even if you haven’t seen Thompson’s film.

SNES · by Katakis | カタキス (43093) · 2023

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 36585
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Alaka.

Additional contributors: Rik Hideto, WONDERなパン.

Game added December 23, 2008. Last modified October 19, 2023.