When I first heard about the game Orion: Dino Beatdown, my reaction was simple. “Jetpacks and dinosaurs? Sound interesting.” After spending a few hours blasting Velociraptor while zipping around the virtual battlefield, though, I can safely say that I was wrong. The game isn’t interesting. As Dino Beatdown frustratingly demonstrates, jetpacks and dinosaurs can’t save a poorly-executed shooter.
There’s no story in Dino Beatdown. No introduction. No background. Nothing. Instead, your armor-clad player is dropped into forests and jungles where waves of Velociraptor and Tyrannosaurus try to eat you. The game is simply a first person shooter survival mode, and, provided you persist through the onslaughts, you gain points that can be traded in for bigger guns and vehicles. (The arsenal isn’t exactly original – you’ll find the ever-popular rocket launcher, and the vehicle selection includes rip-offs of both a BattleMech and one of the aircraft from the film Avatar.) It takes a few tries to figure out the ins-and-outs of the game, though. There’s no tutorial or explanation of how to replenish your ammunition supplies, and so players are mostly left to figure out the game on their own.
But, worst of all, Dino Beatdown is marred by various glitches. You may feel safe inside a building, but then a Tyrannosaurus will somehow poke its head through the virtual wall and chomp you, anyway. Other times, Velociraptor will accidentally jump on top of you, standing on your head as you wonder where that last pesky dinosaur you have to shoot is. That is, when the game doesn’t slow down to a crawl. Even though the graphics aren’t anything special, Dino Beatdown seemed to take up a heck of a lot of computing power. Play for long enough, and the game grinds down to a slow-motion crawl that requires a little ctrl-alt-delete assistance to close down the unwieldy program.
If done well, Dino Beatdown could be an enjoyable way to waste a little time. But the execution is shoddy, at best. The buggy game ends up being more frustrating than fun, and the combination of dinosaurs and jetpacks quickly loses its novelty. Better skip this one, and hope that Battlefield 3 delivers on the long-awaited “Dinosaur Mode.”