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Carnivores Series:

Carnivores is a niche but well regarded franchise in the hunting “sim” community. The premise is rather simple, you hunt various “alien” dinosaurs in another planet using typical hunting equipment. The maps are decently sized and open ended. There are various secrets and interesting terrain for many of the maps. You can choose to hunt dinosaurs using live ammo (and whatever you kill will be on displayed in a trophy room) or you can hunt using tranquilizers for a better score. Using equipment like radar, camouflage, and scent cover will decrease your score for each kill you make. As you obtain more points, you’ll get access to new weapons as well as permits to hunt new dinosaurs. Some dinosaurs are herbivores and will flee if they spot you, smell you, or hear you. Others are carnivores and can be very dangerous to hunt, especially if they decide to go after you.

The fact that you can be killed during a hunting session makes this particular hunting sim one of the more exciting games of the genre. You can be tracking, trying to keep a low profile, taking into consideration of the wind direction, line of sight, and noise as you stalk a Stegosaurus, only to be pounced from behind by an Allosaurus. This game alone provided my childhood with some of the best jump scares of any game (even compared to some of those “horror” genre games), but that didn’t stop me from going back to try again. Just keep in mind that this isn’t what I would consider an action game. Hunts are going to slow and methodical. Occasionally, you aren’t going to simply one-shot dinosaurs and will have to do some tracking and stealth if you want to take a dinosaur down. Also, the weapons are configured in such a way that they each have their own pros and cons. Using the crossbow is silent enough not to alert the dinosaur you are shooting at or potentially any nearby carnivores but the sights do have a learning curve to use efficiently. The shotguns are generally high power and loud which can be good for taking down dinosaurs at close range but accuracy can be mixed and the loud noise will scare off or alert dinosaurs to your proximity. There are of course, various other weapons depending on the game/mod.

Speaking of which, there are a ton of games in this franchise as well as various mods that explore other aspects of prehistoric “alien” life. As a starting point, I would recommend getting Carnivores + and Carnivores 2+. These two mods are essentially stand alone versions of the original games that you can get for free. Then you can look at some of the other various addons and total conversions. There are some mods that look at eras such as the Carboniferous, Triassic, Ice Age, Modern era, and even a Jurassic Park spin off. Getting the games to run isn’t too hard on modern systems. Just make sure you have your graphical drivers and set compatibility mode for each mod exe to Windows 98. Modern resolutions (as far as my knowledge) aren’t really supported so you will probably have to settle with one of the original resolutions. Getting the game to run on Linux is a mix bag. On Manjaro, I got the original game to run just fine. On Linux Mint, the game had some mouse input issues as well as various graphical glitches with some of the video settings. You’ll have to experiment and see what works, even if you are running these games on Windows.

There’s also a mobile port of Carnivores 2 and Carnivores Ice Age. These games are free to play but do have optional ads and micro-transactions (though you can play through the game without watching any of the ads or buying the in game currency, you will have to deal with a tedious grind). I haven’t look at Carnivores Cityscape but from what I know, it’s not a hunting sim and isn’t really good. There’s a modern reboot of Carnivores though I heard it’s very lackluster. I’d stick to playing the standalone mods or old games.

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