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Monday, February 23: Twisted List: Dinosaur Games

Martin Sargent

In Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad taught us that deep within even the most restrained men are primal, prehistoric urges that might some day bubble forth, overtaking and Neanderthalizing any refinement we humans have collectively accumulated through thousands of years of civilization.

Maybe that's why I often make believe that I'm a wooly mammoth. (But in my pretend games the wooly mammoth always beats the Tyrannosaurus Rex, so it's actually a lot cooler than it sounds.) I also fulfill my primal urges by playing these five prehistorically themed computer games.

  1. Dynomite (http://download.com), also known as Egg Sucker, is like the unbelievably addictive game Snood or the arcade classic Bust-a-Move, but with a dinosaur twist. The object is to line up sets of three like-colored dinosaur eggs, causing the eggs to explode. If you can't destroy the eggs quickly enough, a huge dinosaur stomps on you. Highly recommended.

  2. 3D Caveman Rocks (http://download.com), just as Dynomite was a rip-off of Snood and Bust-a-Move, this is a shameless revision of the arcade classic Donkey Kong. You're a caveman climbing up tilted terrain, jumping over and smashing barrels, trying to reach the top where a big gorilla awaits you. It actually gets a little less Donkey Kong–esque as you advance through the levels, but it never really gets much more fun.

  3. Rampage (http://www.shockwave.com) isn't a rip-off of an arcade classic, because it is an arcade classic. In Rampage, you play one of three monsters: a gorilla, a wolf-man, or a dinosaur. The goal is touring the United States and destroying the downtown areas of major cities. The premise of the game wouldn't be so sinister if there were as many Starbucks coffee houses when the game was created as there are now. At least you'd be doing some good when you toppled a building.

  4. Caveman Cards (http://download.com). I've been playing this a lot since I bought the DVD edition of one of my favorite all-time films, The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas. In Caveman Cards, you can play a range of casino-style card games, taking on Gar, the dealer. Unfortunately, the game is published by Zapspot, which is notorious for flooding your system with garbage and popping up ads during the game. Unless you want to lose 20 pounds or regrow your hair the herbal way, you might want to avoid Caveman Cards.

  5. And no. 1 is Carnivores (http://download.com), in which you hunt dinosaurs or get hunted. Some of the dinosaurs are so easy to kill that you occasionally get the feeling that you've just clubbed the equivalent of a baby seal. You'll need to pay for the full version.

Site of the Day: Smilie Games

Find terrific time-wasters right in your browser at http://www.smiliegames.com.

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