Lion is the second installment of The Predator Series, from Sanctuary Woods, and it is every bit as good as (if not better than) its predecessor, the excellent simulation Wolf. This disc places you, predictably, in the role of a lion prowling the Serengeti. Between poachers, hyena attacks, old age, thirst, fatigue, slow-healing wounds, and the fine points of feline social structures, you’ve got to plenty to think about in addition to your main concern, which is hunting to stay alive. Successful hunts take a lot into consideration: weather, wind direction, natural cover, time of day, and type of prey all have to be weighed carefully if you hope to bring down some meat. With all these factors to juggle, the creators of the disc have done an admirable job of keeping the simulation simple. Movement is a perfect example: the lion always walks towards the cursor, which is controlled with the mouse. The farther the distance between cursor and lion, the faster the lion moves. Click the right mouse button to skip down to the ‘taskbar’, which is presented as row of icons, and then click the left mouse button to use a particular sense, or examine a smaller-scale map of your surroundings. Keystrokes let you rest or sleep, which you’ll need to do – fatigue slows you down, and hunting is best at night. There are more subtleties than these, but you get the idea. Lion also offers several spins on its basic concept. There’s the straightforward, open-ended simulation game, and then there are twenty scenarios that have specific objectives (and colorful names). ‘The Biological Clock’ gives you four days to find a mate, while ‘Mau Mau’s Temptation’ challenges you to take down two of the Masai’s cattle. There’s also an educational section about the Serengeti and lions, the option of controlling a pride of lions instead of a single nomad, vivid sound effects, and some video. A well-crafted and unique simulation, Lion bodes very well indeed for future installments in the Predator Series.
– January 1996, Simulations
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