Memory card: Nanosaur 2 – Hatchling

If you were ever to ask me the exact moment I became a gamer, I’d tell you it was at the young, impressionable age of nine, as I stared in sheer adoration at the picture of a gun-toting Velociraptor while the voice of God (presumably some distant relative of James Earl Jones) grimly introduced me to the year 4122; an age when time-traveling dinosaurs rule the galaxy, brains the size of oranges be damned!

It’s hard to pin down exactly what game genre Nanosaur 2 belongs to. If I had to describe it with only one word, it would probably be “cool”, but only because autocorrect keeps telling me that “radtacular” does not exist in the English language. You play as The Hatchling, a jetpack-wearing Pteranodon on a mission to retrieve stolen eggs, all while battling both ancient dinosaurs and futuristic machines with the aid of a colorful assortment of weapons. Now, if you were a kid who’d broken his VHS player trying to rewatch “The Land Before Time” like me, this came short only of meeting an actual live dinosaur. But the question is, does it still hold up to this day?

The game’s strongest point is definitely the graphics, vital to a game with such an absurdly over-the-top setting; with the exception of a few odd textures here and there (the Hatchling has a bad habit of exploding into a cloud of confetti-like stars whenever the player clumsily crashes him into a tree trunk…), they have kept surprisingly well over the past decade. The flight system is also exceptional, and it is quite easy to immerse yourself into the situation as you dodge barrages of AA fire while you propel yourself across the sky.

Now, if you were a kid who’d broken his VHS player trying to rewatch “The Land Before Time” like me, this came short only of meeting an actual live dinosaur.

Unfortunately, the game also has quite a few flaws too big even for a time-travelling dinosaur to fix. While the combat system is fun and dynamic, the rest of the general gameplay is rarely so; collecting the eggs and taking them back to the extraction area is rarely more than a chore, and God help you finding one back when you end up dropping it by accident. The soundtrack (all seven minutes of it) is great the first few times you play the game, but it can also easily take a turn for the grating the twelfth time you get shot out of the air. Luckily, it makes up for the lacking areas in its Adventure mode by offering surprisingly great splitscreen, a function which has slowly disappeared from most PC games over the years with the rise of the online matches, allowing for incredible one-on-one Pteranodon dogfights and races, along with significantly less incredible egg-collecting competitions.

Bottom line, I still strongly recommend giving this game another chance up to this day; despite it’s extremely light size, the singleplayer is challenging enough to keep one entertained for hours and the local multiplayer helps to give it something of a replay value, despite its flaws. Overall, I’d say this is an old fossil you don’t want to miss.

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