Hey all! Today we’re taking a look at the recent Dinosaur Planet leak (including videos!) of the formerly in-development Nintendo 64 title from several decades ago. It is pretty neat though, so strap in for this fun trip back in time.
Back in the ol’ primary school days of reading gaming magazines (in print!) to quench the gaming news thirst, my brother and I were very, VERY excited for an upcoming Rare developed title for the Nintendo 64. During the early stages of development, this space shooter was known as Dinosaur Planet. As big fans of Rare’s previous titles on the console (Goldeneye 007, Blast Corps, and Jet Force Gemini) plus, of course, the Legend of Zelda series, this blending of the two games styles seemed perfect. Additionally, dinosaurs are ALWAYS pretty cool. Fast forward several years and one console generation later, Rare had been sold to Microsoft, and the formerly known as Dinosaur Planet was eventually released as Starfox Adventures for the GameCube. Unsurprisingly, my brother ended up buying me Adventures for my birthday, as well as a WaveBird Wireless controller (which I still own by the way, along with the box and lil’ bags and such that came with it). That WaveBird is probably worth a ‘few’ times what it cost back then, haha.
Back on topic; Starfox Adventures is quite a divisive amongst GameCube fans. Some love it, some hate it, most…don’t honestly seem to care about it at all. I have some great memories from playing the game back in the day, and I still genuinely think it’s one of the best on the ol’ Cube. Even though they’ve had games released on Microsoft platforms since the 2002 acquisition, Starfox Adventures really felt like the ‘golden-era’ of Rare provided us with a fitting swan song on a Nintendo console. I always thought it would’ve been an amazing bonus to be able to try out Dinosaur Planet as it was originally meant to be seen…
…oh hey, would you look at that! It was leaked recently. What perfect timing. Trying the prototype game now that it’s available out’s now something that us retro gamers can now do; how wonderful.
Having missed my chance to do something similar not long ago when the also amazing and filled with nostalgia-fuel Xbox 360 remaster of Goldeneye 007 suddenly appeared online for the masses, I wanted to document my short time with Dinosaur Planet thus far. And, after earlier unsuccessfully trying to stream my play-through, I ended up recording my experiences, which is how the videos below came into existence.
First up is something I put together to compare the introduction sequence of Starfox Adventures to how it compared to Dinosaur Planet’s in-development opening. Besides things like tutorial sections and certain languages being different in each, it’s neat to see how similar they are and how close things stayed on-track between iterations of the game. In the video, arrows point to whichever version has audio playing. It switches between both at certain points to better reflect and demonstrate the similarities and differences between the two.
And secondly, here’s a suss at my first hour and a half or so with the game. The video includes various authentic aspects of the incomplete title including crashes and graphical issues. Additionally, I’ve added some speeding-up of the footage when I couldn’t quite remember how to progress (haha!). Other issues to watch out for are the aspect ratio, which would occasionally mess up during recording, and parts of the screen are cut off for much of the video. Still, this in-development title could be considered as ‘mostly working’.
One interesting thing of note would be the graphical quality of the game; besides it obviously not running in a particularly optimised way, things tend to still look very nice. Similar quality games were released during the end of the Nintendo 64’s run, including a few from Rare themselves. There’s definitely times during gameplay where Dinosaur Planet looks much closer to a Dreamcast title than something from the generation prior. What Rare were capable of wringing out of the N64 is pretty gnarly to watch and play.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed that little vacation to Dinosaur Planet. If you get a chance, definitely give the game a go. It’s well worth it, and a great piece of playable video game history. I may possibly do another story in this series as I progress further through the game, hopefully with more comparison footage.
Have a great day, peace out and much love!