Dinosaur King is a video game for the Nintendo DS that is based on the Dinosaur King anime and was released in November 2007 for Japan and September 2008 for America and Europe. It features a very different storyline, battle mechanics very similar to the arcade game, and other overall mechanics reminiscent of the Pokémon games, such as a chibi sprite overworld interspersed by 1v1 battles triggered by both boss confrontation and random encounter, though has many different or absent stats and mechanics compared to that franchise, such as how new dinosaurs are acquired and the lack of stat variance between individuals.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Characters
- 3 Enemies
- 4 Mechanics
- 5 Dinosaur Cards
- 6 Move Cards
- 7 Animations
Reese has used recently discovered Stone Fragments to create dinosaur-summoning DinoShots, letting fossils live once again. Suddenly, the Alpha Gang attacks and steals one, the nefarious Dr. Z beginning a global crusade to use dinosaurs for world domination! Max and Rex of the D-Team must use dinosaurs of their own to stop the Alpha Gang, their robot army, and their sinister schemes at fossil sites across the continents in a race to acquire all the Stone Fragments, all as an even bigger unseen danger approaches…
- Max Taylor (player option)
- Rex Owen (player option)
- Zoe Drake (support)
- Dr. Spike Taylor/Dinoman (support)
- Reese Drake (support)
- Minmi (D-Site support)
- D-Site Regional Branch Heads (Europe, Asia, N. America, Antarctica, Africa) (D-Site support)
- Ovi Shop Keeper (support, Items)
- Doc and Torr (support, Drills and Radars)
- Blazing Chef Bao (side quests)
- Master Excavator
- Euro Town Mayor
- Don the Gardener
- Gobi Village Elder
- Pair of Bandits
- North America
- Sheriff Watt
- Fossil Bandit Holiday
- Detective Dory
- the Straw Man
- Alpha Droids (5 variants in each of three colors; both static and random)
- Laura (boss)
- Ed (boss)
- Rod (boss)
- Zander (boss)
- Ursula (boss)
- Seth (boss)
- Dr. Z (final boss)
The DS game features many old and new battle mechanics compared to the arcade. Players may carry up to three Dinosaurs in their DinoShot at a time, each with up to three (later four) compatible Move Cards (with default Moves filling unassigned slots). The DinoShot's Customize Dinosaurs menu is used to assign Moves, check stats, and reorder Dinosaurs.
Being a story-based RPG, it also features new out-of-battle mechanics not needed for the arcade or TCG, such as a money system. The currency is called "chell" and uses the euro symbol "€". Small amounts are received after every battle won or by selling various valuable items found by drilling, and can be used to buy healing or field effect items at Item Shops.
As the game lets one collect multiples of dinosaur species, the Send Back option exists to send any Dinosaur back to its original time period to remove clutter in the D-Site's Dino Room, losing it from the game forever; this cannot be done to a Dinosaur currently loaded into the player's DinoShot. Players can also use their DinoShots to teleport back to the current continent's D-Site from anywhere in the field, and can teleport between D-Sites they have already visited.
Battles can be initiated either by random overworld encounters outside of towns with Alpha Droid opponents controlling a single random Dinosaur from the area's set encounter table, or by interacting with a visible Alpha Droid or Alpha Gang member who use predetermined Dinosaurs and Moves (warnings are given before encountering a boss battle, allowing a player to back out if they are not prepared). Opposing dinosaurs often differ from those available to the player through that continent's fossils.
In battle, players must choose one move button (Rock, Paper, Scissors) to attack with, the result of the turn determined by how it matches to their opponent's choice (as in the arcade). Only one Dinosaur, the Rock-Paper-Scissors winner, will attack each turn and deal damage (letting good move choice potentially lead to flawless victory regardless of Attribute or level deficiency); tying with the same Sign will result in each Dinosaur taking percentage damage based on their level gap, 20% max HP at the same level, more when at a lower level than the foe, and less when at a higher level. Many enemies on many turns will give some dialogue hint as to what their play will or might be, which get more vague and less frequent as the player progresses. Most random Alpha Droids follow one of several predictable patterns on most turns, though Alpha Gang bosses follow no pattern and must be read turn by turn to win without luck; static Alpha Droids often follow unique personal patterns, but can also act much like Alpha Gang bosses later in the game.
The battle screen options are Fight, Change, and Escape. Fight is used to select a move button, as described above (see also the MP section below). Change is used to switch one battling Dinosaur for another, though doing so counts as not attacking and gives the opponent a free hit (this differs from the arcade's switching mechanics). The Change menu lets you see your other Dinosaurs' HP and MP meters, but not their Moves. Unlike the arcade game, there are no Partner Effects from sidelined Dinosaurs. Escape is used for fleeing random encounters and is unavailable in static and boss battles. Fleeing is not guaranteed, however, and a failed attempt counts as not attacking and gives the opponent a free hit; the exact mechanic is unclear, as fleeing can both fail at many levels above the opponent and succeed at many levels below them, but appears to be chance-based, as a player can fail to flee and then succeed the next turn. Though healing items exist, there is no Bag menu during battle, so healing there is impossible outside of Move effects.
If a player's Dinosaur runs out of HP (labeled "Disabled" in the Change menu), the next Dinosaur in line in the DinoShot is automatically sent out without player input, so choosing a good order ahead of battle is helpful, such as one with an advantage over the Attribute strong against the Dinosaur ahead of it; if a player had switched mid-battle, the Dinosaur after the switch-in is sent out, not the earliest remaining in the party. Disabled Dinosaurs do not gain EXP no matter their degree of participation in the battle, as EXP is only rewarded at the end of a battle; all Disabled Dinosaurs are revived with 1 HP after each battle. If all of a player's Dinosaurs run out of HP and the player loses the battle, they are returned to the nearest D-Site and their party is restored. They do not lose any money and, if it was a static battle (Droid or boss), it is available to be triggered again, the same dialogue replaying as if it were the first attempt.
- See also: Drilling
Dinosaur Fossils are one of the possible items discovered through drilling, and are kept in a separate Bag pocket. New radar and drill upgrades are needed on each continent to find its respective fossils at a new lower depth, though other items are still available with older equipment before unlocking the upgrades.
Fossils must be taken to a D-Site to clean them, a process overseen by Minmi, who repeats the cleaning instructions every time. Players must use the DS's touch screen (stylus recommended) to etch away the rock covering the fossil, using up their pick's durability as they go; the cleaning is done when either the fossil is "fully" uncovered (some point above 95% seems to be sufficient) or the pick breaks. The quality of the fossil cleaning job determines the level the Dinosaur will be revived at (see also Level below). Clearing the rock also produces dust which partially covers the surrounding area and which can be blown away using the DS microphone, but this is merely a visual distraction and does not affect the quality of the clean. There are at least eight standard fossil skeletons, each of which can be found flipped or rotated along the cardinal axes, and each of which revives as any skeletally similar dinosaurs of the same Element: generic theropod (Wind), iguanodont (Grass), seemingly Stegosaurus (Earth), ankylosaurid (Earth), seemingly Protoceratops (Lightning), seemingly Camarasaurus (Water), spinosaurid (Water), and tyrannosaurid (Fire); reports indicate Eoraptor possesses a unique fossil formed piecewise from the others (unconfirmed). Fossils are named after the continent they are found on (European Fossil, Asian Fossil, etc.), with no identifying features until the cleaning process begins.
Some valuable items are also fossils (Knightia, Conodont, etc.), but belong to non-dinosaurs and can only be sold.
As Dinosaurs level up, their numerical stats (HP, Attack Power, and Technique) will increase according to preset curves. All Dinosaurs of a given species at the same level will be identical in every way (with limited exceptions), with no factors being influenced by prior situations or activities. All Dinosaur species of the same Rarity will share most of the same numerical stat curves, though other factors may vary.
- See also: Attributes
Much like other media, Dinosaurs are assigned to one of 7 Attributes (sometimes termed "elemental attribute"): Fire, Water, Lightning, Earth, Grass, Wind, or Secret (here uniquely termed "Mystery"). The first six form a ring of effectivenesses, where each Attribute is good against the previous but bad against the next (in the order listed), and neutral to all others, including themselves (Secret is neutral to all). Considering only the Attributes of the attacking and target Dinosaurs, using any Move (Normal or Super) will result in 80% damage to a bad match-up (e.g. Fire attacking Water) and 120% damage to a good match-up (e.g. Fire attacking Wind). Dinosaurs can only be assigned Super Moves that match their Attribute, but Normal Moves ("no attribute") can be given to any Dinosaur.
- See also: Signs
Like the arcade game, Sign (termed as "hand sign" in the DS) quickly identifies the Dinosaur's Critical Move, its strongest Attack. The Critical Move determines what Sign of Move Cards they will usually create while leveling up (though some at certain levels will be of other Signs), and many enemies will give hints to their upcoming move in reference to either their or the player's Critical Move. On the stat display screen, a Dinosaur's Critical Move is listed twice, once by Attribute (also visible from team overview menus) and once by Attack Power (only on the full stat screen).
Unique to the DS game in this manner (compare TCG#Level). A Dinosaur's level increases as they reach experience milestones and increases their HP, Attack Power, and Technique. A Dinosaur's level upon being revived from a fossil is determined by how good a cleaning job the player did, but the maximum revival level is set by game progress and gradually rises. For example, initial revives are around level 1 (finish cleaning in red pick durability or broken pick) or level 3 (finish in green durability) in Chapter 1 and increase to levels 5, 6, and 7 with Chapter 2 story progress. After beating Ursula (1) in North America, the maximum revival level caps out at 16 for the rest of the main story and the post-game. The starting Triceratops or Carnotaurus is always at level 1. The maximum level a Dinosaur can reach is level 99 (not 100).
HP indicates a Dinosaur's health and how much damage they can take. Outside of select Move Card effects, there is no Defense stat, and the damage formula involves only Attack Power, Move or effect multipliers, and HP, with no passive hidden values. Health bars are green from (approximately) 100-61%, yellow from 60-26%, and slowly flashing red from 25% to 1 HP. An opponent's current and max HP are visible in battle in addition to the health bar. For every step a player takes outside of battle, each of their Dinosaurs' HPs replenish by 1 point. All Dinosaurs which faint in battle are revived after the battle with 1 HP. When a Dinosaur levels up and their max HP increases, their current HP does not increase to match, leaving them with the same numerical HP as before but which is now less than 100%. HP is fully restored upon entering a D-Site. It increases with higher Rarity.
A system of 1-6 stars indicating how rare a Dinosaur's fossil is to be discovered; most 5-6 star Dinosaurs are only available through special or static means, or in later areas. Rarity and Battle Type combine to determine which stat curve group a Dinosaur belongs to, higher Rarity usually implying higher stats. All Dinosaurs of the same Rarity have the same Technique curve, and most Battle Types also share HP and Attack Power curves; Attack Types have higher Attack Power and Defense Types have higher HP than other Types within the same Rarity. Secret Dinosaurs feature a Rarity of 6 question marks instead of stars, and have a very different set of stats.
Much like the arcade, each Dinosaur has one of several Battle Types: Attack, Defense, Tie, Crisis, Blitz, and Counterstrike (with special Dinosaurs having Super versions), seemingly being shared with the arcade's 2006 and 2007 editions, though for slightly different effects. Certain Battle Types simply indicate stat differences among Dinosaurs of the same Rarity (Attack Type indicates an inherently x1.1 higher Attack Power curve, Defense Type indicates an inherently x1.05 higher HP curve), while other Types (Tie, Crisis, Blitz, and Counterstrike) belong to Dinosaurs who all have identical stats, but possess unique passive effects. Tie Types take less damage during a tie; Crisis Types get x1.2 boosted Attack Power possibly after getting hit (circumstances unclear); Blitz Types get x1.2 boosted Attack Power possibly before getting hit (circumstances unclear); and Counterstrike Types get x1.3 boosted Attack Power on the turn immediately after a loss (not after a tie). The Super Type variations typically exhibit more extreme versions of these effects; they are only confirmed for 4- and 6-star Rarity Dinosaurs, and the 4-star Super Type Dinosaurs feature very different stats seemingly shared with Secret Dinosaurs.
Most Dinosaur species have only one Battle Type, though some (Iguanodon, Allosaurus, etc.) can have 2 or even 3 Battle Type-differing variants available from different locations, though all still the same Rarity.
Attack Power determines how much damage a Dinosaur deals. Each Dinosaur has three Attack Power stats: two identical and a higher Critical Move, based on their Sign. A rough total is also displayed for quick reference, but is not used for any calculations. It increases with higher Rarity.
Technique determines how much a Dinosaur's MP meters refill at the end of each turn: by 1 for 0-299 Technique, by 2 for 300-599, etc. by passing multiples of 300. Technique is the only stat to scale inversely to Rarity, being highest when the other stats are lowest and vice versa, and no Battle Type signifies an increased Technique.
- In-Depth: DS Stat Tables/Experience
Dinosaurs gain experience for defeating opponents, and the stat page shows how much is needed to reach the next level, but does not indicate how much has been gained. All Dinosaurs have the same Experience curve regardless of Rarity, and reaching each level requires a sometimes inconsistent amount more experience than reaching the previous level. Every Dinosaur who both participated in and survived a battle will gain the same experience payout; it is not divided if multiple Dinosaurs gain experience, each gets the maximum. Experience is only awarded at the end of the battle, and any Dinosaurs who are defeated before that will gain none, even if they defeated a Dinosaur during the middle. The experience payout is determined by the opponent, being 10 times the level of a random encounter opponent, or a set amount often less than twice the expected payout for static and boss battles. Various Book items can temporarily influence the gaining of experience points.
Upon reaching certain levels universal to all Dinosaurs from a given continent (Mystery Fossils are sometimes exceptions), a Dinosaur will create a Move Card which usually matches their Critical Move sign (and sometimes the Sign weak to it). The Normal Moves are the same for all dinosaurs of the same Sign, and Super Moves appear at the same levels though vary by Attribute. The specific levels and Moves also vary by the continent the fossils can be found on, with later continents' Dinosaurs not learning any Moves until a level closer to their initial maximum revival level. Once created, Move Cards are kept in the DinoShot and can be assigned to the corresponding move slot of any Attribute-compatible Dinosaur rather than being locked to only the Dinosaur which created it; however, they must be manually assigned outside of battle through the DinoShot menu. Each card can only be assigned to one Dinosaur at a time, making players train multiple Dinosaurs of the same Sign to get multiple copies of the same Move. Leaving a Dinosaur in a D-Site will automatically remove all Moves from it, making them available again.
Players begin with 9 copies of each of the base-level Moves for each Sign (Tail, Ram, and Throw), even though only 3 (later 6) could ever be in use at once; these Moves are automatically assigned to any Dinosaur added to the DinoShot until the player replaces them, and will be reassigned if they leave the Move selection menu while a Dinosaur still has empty Move slots. In the DinoShot menu, Moves are listed in a preset order regardless of acquisition order, and are sorted into successive nested folders by Sign and then Attribute.
Upon reaching North America (Chapter 3), Reese upgrades the player's DinoShot to fit a fourth Move onto each Dinosaur at or above level 15; this Move can be of any Sign and either it or that Sign's main Move can be selected to indicate attacking with that Sign, though the two slots have different MP meters, the advantage being that the player can assign a situational or high-cost Move but can instead use a substitute Move for bad-fit situations. Static enemies also gain this fourth Move at the same time, and random enemies a few stages in, but the Move' Sign is hidden from the player until it is first used (it is usually but not always their Critical Sign, sometimes merely a second copy of their main Move for that Sign).
Most Moves are part of a related trio, each Sign featuring its own version either being identical in all but animation or slightly varied in effect. However, these Moves are not learned at the same levels between Signs; for example, Serial Slash (Scissors), Double Deal (Rock), and Hack and Slash (Paper) are identical in effect, but learned at European levels 10, 12, and 17 respectively. Some trios are even divided between Dinosaurs from different continents, such as the identical All-Out Blow (Paper, level 7, Europe), All-Out Strike (Rock, level 11, Asia), and All-Out Slash (Scissors, level 17, North America).
Move Card Stats
Move Card statistics are listed in this order: MP, "color box", Sign, Attribute, and effect, which includes the Attack Power increase.
Each Move Card features a cost of MP (Move Points), draining its Sign's MP meter upon attempted use, whether successful or not. The meters have 10 MP and refill by at least 1 per turn (more with higher Technique). If a Move requires more MP than is available, that Sign cannot be selected until enough turns have passed to sufficiently refill the meter. As enemies are restricted by MP just like players and their MP meters are visible, this can lead to player advantages when enemies have Moves with high MP costs. Higher MP Moves are usually better or feature stronger effects. MP meters are completely refilled after a battle ends.
Not featuring an obvious name, this "colored box" indicates something inherent about the Move. A red burst indicates a Damage Move, which lets the Dinosaur attack with a multiplier on their Attack Power for that Sign. A blue ring indicates an Effect Move, which lets the Dinosaur attack, typically with their unboosted Attack Power and the Sign's default Move animation, then trigger a stat boost or other extra effect, such as increasing their damage given going forward or healing them. A yellow spiral appears to indicate both an Attack Power multiplier and an added effect, though there is some overlap with certain blue ring Moves going by that definition, leaving the exact difference unclear. There are Normal and Super Moves with each color box.
Each Move Card has a Sign and Attribute, much like the arcade game. A Move's Sign determines what Dinosaurs can create it (usually those with the same Critical Move) and which move slot it can be assigned to (the matching Sign); Dinosaurs create some Moves of the Sign weak to theirs at specific levels, giving them an advantage over foes who start by blocking the player's Critical Move. A Super Move's Attribute (Normal Moves are labeled as Attribute "None") also determines which Dinosaurs can use it, needing to match Attributes; they will only be created by Dinosaurs matching Attribute and (usually) Critical Move.
Instead of giving a numerical base increase like in the TCG, DS Move Cards boost the Dinosaur's Attack Power with a decimal multiplier (possibly like the arcade), sometimes giving a higher multiplier than normal if a special condition is met (similar to many TCG Moves).
Many of the DS game's battle animations are copied from the arcade game, but with minor changes in camera angles, and numerous "reskins" of a Move to make weaker, stronger, element-themed, or other variants (sometimes the same animation with a new camera angle is the only difference between several entire Move trios). Some new animations are also introduced, which are likewise augmented for use in many Moves each.
There are notably many quality issues with the animated dinosaur models while attacking, including clipping through opponents, not touching opponents when hitting them, mouths not being hinged at the right point on the skull (herbivores especially), and even separately rendered elements of a single dinosaur (back spine ridges, inner toes) sliding away from the rest of the model while moving, or limbs flattening when bent. Size discrepancies between dinosaurs are also common, such as many sauropods being far too small or select species (Fukuisaurus, Alioramus) being far too big.
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- Death Grind
- Dr. Z
- DS Game Unused Elements