I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of Dinosaur Planet before today, but any time an old unreleased game gets discovered, let alone gets leaked online, it’s something to take note of. Rare’s gaming history is storied and illustrious, with numerous classics in their resume. Banjo-Kazooie. Goldeneye. Donkey Kong Country. Perfect Dark. Now, it’s understandable to say that admittedly, if history had been different, that Dinosaur Planet wouldn’t have been as well-regarded as those names I just mentioned, especially when you consider the fact that it did eventually see a release of sorts in 2002 when it became Star Fox Adventures for the Nintendo Gamecube. You can even see elements of Star Fox within the build, most obvious being the (changed) design of the main character, made to look like Star Fox protagonist Fox McCloud.
Dinosaur Planet got shelved and Rare moved on to bigger and better things. However, fast forward 21 years from when apparently the game was last worked on (according to the date in the leaked build), we have a playable version of Dinosaur Planet available to download. Credit must go to Forest of Illusion, a preservationist group centered around old Nintendo games, who, as they detailed in a thread on Twitter, bought the game from a private collector in Sweden. They went on to say that despite the late date of the build (December 1 2000), it would require some work on their end to make the game playable.
While a great amount of effort has gone into making Dinosaur Planet playable, there are still some bugs and issues that players are likely to bump into. As Forest of Illusion state themselves:
The game will currently not run 100% perfectly on any emulator. Expect many graphical issues with shadows and lighting, and some slowdown. It should however, work perfectly fine with flashcarts.”
Digital Foundry’s (the experts on video game performance and the like) John Linneman has had hands-on with the Dinosaur Planet build and has confirmed that the game will also run on a real N64 console. Here’s the video below:
The Rare of then may not be the same as the Rare of today, but that’s not to say they haven’t had a decent run of success. Sea of Thieves, the company’s latest title, recently got its own Monopoly set, for example. It’s clear that regardless, they’ve come a long way since their humble beginnings.