Software Review: Zoo Tycoon 2

Polar bears and dinosaurs couldn't ever have met because but they do encounter each other in this simulation game.

zoo tycoon 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
zoo tycoon 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals, an expansion disk in English for the original Zoo Tycoon 2 game, by Blue Fang Games for Microsoft Game Studios, distributed by Microsoft-Israel, requires Windows XP and up and a Pentium 4 PC or better, for all ages, NIS 129. Rating: **** Polar bears and dinosaurs couldn't ever have met because they belong to different eras, but they do encounter each other in this management/simulation game. When the dino is carnivorous, the poor bear doesn't have a chance in the same enclosure and is quickly reduced to a few bones. You must already own the original 2004 program to add the extinct animals - a variety of dinosaurs, the saber-toothed cat, elephant bird, woolly rhinoceros, giant warthog, aurochs, bush-antlered deer, bluebuck, dwarf Sicilian elephant and the dodo, to name a few - to your zoo. The aim of the game, which targets kids but will gladden the hearts of animal-loving adults as well, is to test your management skills and educate, as an on-disk encyclopedia of animals tells you everything you want and need to know about extinct creatures. Begin with an empty plot of land and develop the terrain, plant trees, build food facilities and toilets, purchase animals and keep your visitors happy. Paying customers are usually satisfied if there are plenty of interesting, healthy and active animals in pleasant enclosures: The happier your visitors are, the more money you earn. To create long-gone species, find their fossils - by either hiring a paleontologist who searches for them or heading a fossil-hunting expedition of your own. Assemble the specimens and bring them back to life in the Extinct Research Lab. Fossil building is one of the minigames, along with animal creation, disease curing and coping with a dinosaur rampage. The freestyle mode lets you build the zoo and manipulate the animals as you wish, without a limited budget; the single-player mode poses 17 tasks such as coping with a troubled zoo; and the challenge sets goals such as earning a certain amount of money or designing custom zoos. The original Zoo Tycoon 2 game came out four years ago, which is considered light-years away in terms of graphics quality. So expect that the animals appear somewhat boxy and slow, even though the Extinct Animals add-on was produced years later. But if you enjoy being a zookeeper, you are willing to forgive this defect, and you will find the game to be quite addictive.