Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species

a game by Microsoft
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 1 review
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See also: Zoo Tycoon Series

Besides the expected incremental enhancements to audio, animation, and graphics there is plenty new in this Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species add-on to rekindle and renew your appreciation for this gentle, educational and fun franchise.

Added here are some of the endangered creatures of the title, but the game is not too blunt an instrument in the politics of animal salvation. Most of the new animals included are quite interesting and exotic, both the endangered and the not-so-endangered sorts. For instance, the Koala is a new creature but is rated as "lower risk" under Conservation Status in the informative article about them included in the in-game documentation. Some of the other new animals include the Galapagos Tortoise, the Komodo Dragon, Thomson's Gazelle and the Fennec Fox.

Besides the animals there are new types of fencing and buildings. Two other major additions provide the ability to build Jeep and Sky Tram tours. These are in-park transportation systems that will delight your guests. Also possible now are elevated pathways to give high angle views of your carefully crafted exhibits.

The building tools are still easy to use and smart, although it is possible to create dead spots where your animals ' and their keepers ' can get stuck at times.

You may get a small charge out of your first Komodo Dragon hatching, as this reviewer did. Apparently the Komodos aren't very particular about the conditions, but some stickler animal buffs may think less of the game's realism when the dragon youngsters are able to walk freely among the adults without getting themselves eaten.

Such are the gentle compromises for a game such as this. A little too much realism may not always be welcome by its young audience. Nevertheless the overall feel of the animal behavior is close enough. Leave a lion in an enclosure with a giraffe and when the lion becomes hungry, the giraffe becomes lunch -- except the kill itself is depicted as a cartoon cloud-of-dust tussle. Animal Planet has all the realism you'd need, this is just a computer game, and it's good to see that the designers are aware of it.

It is possible to lose track of the hours spent tending to your zoo. In our view, this is the base measure of a successful strategy game. So for anyone owning Zoo Tycoon 2, acquiring this expansion pack would surely be a consideration. Now where to out that koala exhibit. They're not really bears, you know.

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