North American cover art
|Programmer(s)||David Schroeder (Apple)
Leonard Bertoni (C64)
Dino Eggs is an Apple II platform game designed by David Schroeder and published by Micro Fun in 1983. It was ported to the Commodore 64 by Leonard Bertoni and the IBM PC. Dino Eggs is Schroeder's second published game, after Crisis Mountain.
Playing a time traveller, "Time Master Tim," the player's objective is to collect dinosaur eggs and rescue hatchling dinosaurs while avoiding snakes ("proto-snakes"), gigantic spiders ("proto-spiders"), flying creatures ("proto-pedes"), and the dinosaurs' mother (or "Dino Mom"). Physical contact with any creature will cause the player to be contaminated, and the player will experience "devolution" into a prehistoric spider (as a result of "contamination"), and lose a life, unless the player returns to the "time warp" transport force field before a de-evolution timer runs out. Contamination also destroys eggs and hatchling dinosaurs on contact, reducing the player's score. While within the transport force field, Tim is safe from all creatures except the Dino Mom.
A player's first hazard is the Dino Mom. The mother dinosaur will try to crush the player by stomping on him. When starting a level, a player has a short period of time to build a fire to keep her away. Building a fire is done by collecting one of several logs present in each level and placing that log atop another. The player then tries to collect all the eggs and hatched baby dinos before the fire goes out. A fire started at any time will prevent the Dino Mom from stomping. Even if her foot is coming down when a fire begins, she will pull it back up. The player can also attempt to rescue the eggs and baby dinos without a fire by avoiding the mother's enormous stomping foot.
On each level, the player is presented with a number of dinosaur eggs, some of which eventually hatch into baby dinosaurs, and all of which must be rescued (in the event they are not killed or destroyed through contamination beforehand) to complete the level. The player does this either by collecting the eggs before they hatch or by placing a time-transporting force field around each baby dinosaur by jumping over them.
Other hazards include snakes, spiders and centipedes. Snakes appear out of thin air and disappear again after a period of time, and can be avoided by jumping. In higher levels, centipedes appear and run below the platforms (above the head of the player, thus making Time Master Tim vulnerable to their attack while jumping, climbing, or falling only). In still higher levels, additional centipedes run along each of the four platforms at ground level. Spiders appear at the top of the screen and slide down to the bottom on weblines; they can be avoided by moving out of their way, or killed by cutting (walking into) their line, causing a fatal fall. Snakes and centipedes can be killed by dropping boulders, and sometimes they kill themselves by slithering into the player's fire. The players gets one point for each killed spider, snake or centipede.
Time Master Tim can also be killed by walking into his safety fire. If the fire is newly built (energy 9), or about to go out (energy 1), then it can be safely walked upon or through, and will not kill creatures. A fire may be extended, which causes it to start over with energy 9 through two methods: If it is at energy 1 stage, a log can be added to it; if it is at any other stage, Tim can jump over the fire while carrying a log and it will extend. Stoking the fire in this manner increases the rate of efficiency of wood consumption by almost fifty percent. Dropping a boulder on the fire causes it to go to energy stage 1 and burn out.
When the player first arrives on a level, only dino eggs, boulders and logs are present. The player can collect up to three eggs before having to warp them back to the future, and returning for more. The player may collect the "Power", which allows him to carry more than three eggs at a time. If, while carrying eggs, the player comes in contact with a spider, snake, "proto-pede," or hatchling, the eggs become contaminated, and are lost.
If a fire is started, after a period of time some eggs will hatch (presumably from the warmth). Baby Dinos emerge, and the player must rescue them as well. The player can place force fields around them by jumping over them. This encases the baby Dino in a force field that will transport them back to the future with Time Master Tim when he transports back on a delivery. Up to three baby Dinos can be present at any one time. Once they are caged by force fields, the player can warp out to continue playing.
Boulders hang below each platform. When the player rolls away a boulder, he will either discover nothing, some dino eggs, or some bonus feature like a power flower or hidden log. Snakes, spiders and centipedes hit by the boulder will be smashed to death, and fires will be reduced to energy level 1. Falling boulders will kill baby dinos whether they are caged or not. Eggs which remain covered by a boulder are neither visible to the player nor subject to hatching.
Baby Dinos face far more hazards than do the nearly invulnerable eggs. First of all, the player's touch will destroy them. Secondly, they must avoid the safety fire, as they may accidentally wander into it and be burned to death. Thirdly, on higher levels, spiders may attempt to abduct them. The death of a Baby Dino by any means results in a deduction of ten points from the player's score. Caged baby dinos will not wander into the fire and are protected from being touched or abducted.
The game's levels consist of four levels of platforms. Via stone ladders, players can climb up to and jump down between gaps in the platforms (the player can climb down the ladders, but by using the "jump" button, the player will fall down the length of any ladder he is presently climbing; this trick enables the player to descend to the lower platform more rapidly). The bottom platform is continuous with no gaps. The screen is wrap-around: Exiting on one side, the player will enter on the other side of the screen. After collecting one or more eggs and/or detaining one or more Dinos in force fields, the player may "warp out," delivering the Dinos back to the future. The player will then return to a different location on the same level, and attempt to save more eggs and Dino hatchlings.
The player may leave a level permanently at any time, by warping out while not carrying any eggs, with no Dinos detained. By leaving the level, the player will receive a bonus for rescuing all hatchlings and all eggs, and then move on to the next level. However, if the player warps out without collecting all of the Dinos and/or eggs, points will be lost for each Dino egg and live baby Dino not collected, and the level will be repeated. The levels get progressively harder, with more snakes and spiders, and fewer logs. Level 9 is the final level; completing this level just loads level 9 again. There are two differences in level 9: The player must build two fires, instead of one, to prevent the Dino Mom from coming, and the bonus for rescuing all of the eggs and hatchling Dinos is raised from ten to fifty points. The sound effect that plays when the level is loaded is also different for level 9.
Time Master Tim starts with three lives, but if the player attains a sufficient score (approximately 400; the exact score is unknown), he receives a fourth bonus life.
Softline stated that Dino Eggs had the same "unmistakable style" as David Schroeder's Crisis Mountain. The magazine called it "a rich game [with] excruciating pleasures", and concluded that Dino Eggs "is just a thumpingly good game and deserves to be a big hit". Ahoy! stated that Dino Eggs is, despite its "pretty tired and familiar" genre, "well-dressed and eager to please" with "first-rate action and a touch of humor".
An independently produced remake of Dino Eggs called Dino Legs saw a limited release in 2011. It featured an arcade mode that was close to the original game except it allowed for multi-player action. It also included a story mode featuring 65 levels to complete without losing a single egg or baby dino. This mode brought a more strategical approach to the game. Dino Legs was created by Eric Ferrot.
Subsequently, Ferrot and original Dino Eggs author David Schroeder collaborated on a full-featured revival of the game entitled Dino Eggs: Rebirth. This version adds new game features, including new types of boulders, fires, eggs, and baby dinos. It also adds puzzles, achievements, and an extended story in which Time Master Tim plays alongside his daughter Tamara.
- "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". dadgum.com.
- Dino Eggs at Lemon 64
- Dino Eggs - Cover Art - Back Cover from MobyGames (retrieved on January 7th, 2009)
- Christie, Andrew (Sep–Oct 1983). "Dino Eggs". Softline. pp. 43–44. Retrieved 29 July 2014.
- Davies, Lloyd (April 1984). "Dino Eggs". Ahoy!. p. 57. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
- Dino Legs, at IndieDB
- Dino Eggs: Rebirth