Lion is one of the few games I know of that tries to simulate the life of a wild animal (the other game I know of is wolf, also by santuary woods), and for the most part gets it right. There are several different scenarios included in the game, and each lion has its own personality. One may excel at hunting warthogs, another hunting zebras, ect.
Your primary (and only?) goal in the game is to survive on the plains of Africa. Most of the animals you will encounter in the game will be immediately recognizable to any one who has ever been to the zoo or happened to watch one of those wildlife shows on tv.
You, of course, take the role of the king of the jungle (or queen) and your goal is to kill and eat other animals. Of course you canít just waltz up to the animals and expect to kill them. Wind direction plays a big role in how you hunt and your chances for success. You use your sense of smell to detect prey from long distance, and if they smell you coming, you can forget about catching anything. Speaking of senses, you also use your sense of sound and eyesight to locate potential victims. Of course you canít kill everything, elephants for example will simply trample you and the larger prey animals require a bit of team work. This unfortunately is one of
the weak points in the game, as coordinating attacks is overly complex and not very accurate. I understand that they are lions not people but some sort of command system would have been nice. Instead you have to manually change to each of the hunting lions in order to get them to work together and this gets quite tedious.
I have seen the AI controlled lions hunt together, but Iím not sure if this was just coincidence or not. The other big gripe with the game is that after a kill there is really not much to do and if you just go around killing things your goes down. Not that the score means anything, but some sort of diversion would have been nice, maybe take control of the male and fight for your turf, or a clash with hyenas over your hard-earned kill? My other gripe is that the poacher who plague your land are invincible, or at least nearly so. In my experience Iíve never managed to kill one they always spot me and kill me first.
Overall the game is solid, with a refreshing premise. I hope someday a designer will further develop this genre - imagine a game where you played as a T-Rex or raptor in a world with no humans?
Graphics - 3/5 functional but not flashy
Sounds - 3.5/5 some nice touches but gets repetitive after awhile.
Gameplay - 3/5 hunts are nice, downtime is boring.
Interface - 3/5 some sort of command keys for pride would have been nice.
Overall - 4/5 very interesting diversion, wonít hold most peoples attention long, but well worth playing just to experience. Also very good game for schools/parents to teach children about African wildlife.