No matter how old we get, we’ll never lose our fascination with dinosaurs. They’re the closest thing we have to real, actual monsters of myth and legend. Not only are they fearsome and awesome to behold, but they’ve also managed to capture our minds in a way that few other species can.
Is it any wonder we’ve unleashed a plethora of dino-based video games over the years? Here are the top 10 games featuring dinosaurs, ranked. If you’re courageous enough to brave any of these titles, make sure to take your heart medication!
10 PRIMAL RAGE
Ray Harryhausen would have been proud of this 90’s fighting game featuring dinosaurs and other primeval heavies engaging in one-on-one combat against the backdrop of an ancient world.
Gamers loved playing as a dino God worshiped by impressionable stone-agers! It was the closest thing we got to a full-on Godzilla-style fighting title, even though it didn’t age very well in the end.
9 BONK’S ADVENTURE
The TurboGrafix 16 is not-so-fondly remembered for a misleading marketing campaign and a sub-par gaming library, but it wasn’t without its gems. One of them was the Bonk series of games, featuring an adorable bald-headed cave-baby (we think?) with a penchant for dishing out punishment using his exceptionally large melon.
As a platformer, the original Bonk’s Adventure was an excellent competitor to established genre kings like Super Mario Bros., which was still in full swing at the time. Cartoon dinos are everywhere in the game, sometimes in hilarious fashion. It’s still a great game for the entire family to play, providing a light-hearted take on the dinosaur formula.
8 CADILLACS & DINOSAURS
Capcom’s arcade take on the Cadillacs & Dinosaurs comic book property was a staple of 1990s arcade beat em’ ups. It used the same CPS Dash system as The Punisher and Saturday Night Slam Masters, with glorious QSound to round it off.
The game features human baddies and dinos alike in a variety of 26th century environments. The combat is fast, detailed and furious, and it’s a blast to play with 2 friends in 3-person co-op.
7 DINO D-DAY
Dumb as a boot, but beloved by its fans, Dino D-Day focuses on a looney toon plot involving Adolf Hitler resurrecting dinosaurs as a weapon for the Nazi army. Think Day Of Defeat mixed with The Isle.
The goofy premise is actually the game’s best selling point, and one of the reasons it has remained a fan favorite for so long. Players can rip and tear using a variety of Nazi dinos, or join the side of the allies to save the world from prehistoric Third Reich madness. What’s not to love?
6 TUROK: DINOSAUR HUNTER
The N64 scored an unexpected hit when Turok: Dinosaur Hunter launched close to the system release date. Veteran gamers remember the awkward reverse-style control scheme, but the real focus was on the dinosaurs.
Turok mowed down humans and dinos alike with a selection of weapons including a bow, shotguns and more. The platforming elements went a long way to selling the uniqueness of the level design, but it was nothing without seeing charging dinos in full 3D glory for the first time.
5 HORIZON ZERO DAWN
This PS4 masterpiece took the dinosaur formula and spun it up in a blender, pouring out a completely new gaming experience in the process. Horizon’s dinos are robotic in nature, which was a cool and fresh take on the traditional model.
The scope and spectacle of the battles are still one of the best play experiences for PS4 gamers, but never fear! PC gamers will soon get a chance to learn what all the fuss was about when a port drops sometime during the summer.
4 JURASSIC PARK
We use the title “Jurassic Park” loosely here, because there are a billion games based on the property, at this point. Jurassic Park brought dinos to gaming through a mainstream channel, and it’s been featured on most video game consoles, from the Sega CD to the arcade cabinet.
The strength of the Jurassic Park games lies in their diversity. Some are on-the-rails arcade shooters, while others are puzzle titles, action platformers, and even park simulators. There’s something for everyone if you’re willing to dig a little.
3 THE ISLE
This Steam Early Access title has been out since 2015, but it still retains a solid fan base and surprisingly excellent reviews. The game sports two modes – Survival and Sandbox, with emphasis on the former. Players become one of a number of available dinosaur species, and must quickly grow up if they want to survive the harsh environment around them.
The game is notorious for its scare factor, forcing gamers to constantly live in fear until they’re strong enough to defend themselves. For those who can’t take the heat, Sandbox mode is a much more peaceful road to take, allowing you to focus on the spectacle of The Isle, rather than the terror.
2 DINO CRISIS
Capcom’s Dino Crisis made a massive impact on the original PlayStation at a time when survival horror games were in full swing. Utilizing the same fixed camera engine as Resident Evil, it held crossover appeal for gamers who wanted something different to fight besides zombies and giant snakes.
Dino Crisis may not look like much by today’s standards, but it was sheer, unadulterated heart attack material for classic gamers stalked by velociraptors in claustrophobic hallways, or eaten alive by lumbering, limited-poly T-Rexes!
1 ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED
Other dinosaur games may have dropped first, but Ark is the one that everyone remembers. It isn’t a perfect game, but as far as the dinosaur experience goes, it’s the one to beat.
Ark’s focus on survival gameplay made it a hit with gamers who preferred a more hardcore experience, and part of that included being trampled, chewed and slashed to death by some of the most fearsome dinos ever to have walked the Earth. It also allowed players to tame them and live out their dreams of opening their own Jurassic Park, sans the frills.
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