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Video Game / Nanosaur

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Nanosaur is a third person shooter developed by Pangea Software and released for the Apple Macintosh in 1998. In Nanosaur, you play a genetically engineered raptor from the year 4122 sent to the Cretaceous Period to retrieve the eggs of five dinosaur species to save the Nanosaur species in the future. You only have twenty minutes to complete your mission before the asteroid hits Earth. During the mission, your Nanosaur will have to blast its way through several dinosaurs while collecting weapons and powerups.

A modified version, titled Nanosaur: Extreme! was released in 2002 for the Macintosh and Windows PC. This version is exactly the same as the regular version, except more dinosaurs appear at a time as well as more powerups available.

A sequel was released in 2004 titled Nanosaur II: Hatchling. In this game, it is assumed that the first Nanosaur completed its mission successfully and returned to the future. But a group of rebel Nanosaurs stole the eggs and took them to distant planets, where they intend to use them to build an army to fight their battles against Earth. But one egg was left behind, which turns out to be a pterodactyl. This pterodactyl is sent on a mission to retrieve the stolen eggs and return them safely to Earth. The basic concept of Nanosaur II is similar to that of the first installment, in terms of collecting eggs and powerups, except that it contains three levels that take place on different planets, and you must kill hostile dinosaurs as well as turrets and other future defenses.

Nanosaur contains examples of:

  • Alien Sky: in the second game. Justified since it doesn't happen on Earth.
  • All for Nothing: Almost. The second game starts with the theft of the eggs you took from the past, meaning another character has to go through the ordeal once again.
  • All There in the Manual: The human race is extinct in 4122, thanks to a plague.
  • Ambiguous Robots: The Nanosaurs themselves. Are they just genetically-engineered dinosaurs? Cyborgs? Uplifted Animals with added cybernetic parts? Or outright robots, given that the protagonist of Nanosaur II (although supposedly naturally born) emits smoke upon getting hurt and explodes upon dying?
  • Arm Cannon: The protagonist in the first game.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology:
    • Stegosaurus did not live during the Cretaceous Period, it lived during the Jurassic.
    • Dilophosaurus also lived in the Jurassic (only even earlier than Stegosaurus), and it did not have a frill or spit venom like in Jurassic Park.
    • Due to its weight, it's highly unlikely Tyrannosaurus could jump.
    • Pterosaurs are depicted with grasping feet. In the first game the Pteranodon can grab rocks with their feet and drop them on you, whereas in the sequel, the main player character is a Ludodactylus-esque pterosaur (although the intro portrays it as a Pteranodon) which grabs the eggs with its feet.
  • A Winner Is You: Finish the first game and your character gets a medal. Finish the second game and your (other) character gets… a medal!
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Lava in the first game deals heavy damage if you fall right in it, but none if you stand next to it. Sometimes it can even be jumped upon with next to no damage!
  • The Cretaceous Is Always Doomed: You were sent back twenty minutes before the asteroid hits.
  • Deflector Shields: One of the powerups. It stops all damage but only works for a fixed amount of time in the first game, and is a second health bar that can be refilled with the appropriate powerup in the second.
  • Double Jump: The player character in the first game.
  • Dumb Dinos: All of the dinosaurs besides the player character fall under this trope - they neither notice nor care that you're trying to help. Doubly Justified by the fact that the player is both an intelligent dinosaur whereas the ones encountered are just savage animals, and a raptor who came to take their eggs. Though it could arguably also apply to the intelligent dinosaurs from year 4122; whose genius idea was it to send their agent to retrieve eggs in the Cretaceous Period only 20 minutes before the asteroid hits?
    • Works doubly so in the second game, where you're not supposed to have gone back in time and are just on another planet, which has futuristic elements and is supposedly populated with fellow advanced nanosaurs… yet any dinos you encounter behave like feral ones, and the eggs are just laying in natural-style nests instead of specialized facilities.
      • Inverted with the player character, who is stated to have hatched from one of the eggs the rebels left behind… yet is intelligent as any regular nanosaur and can use weapons and a jetpack.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: If you thought dinosaurs were bad enough, you also have lava-balls, spore-shooting fungi, and rolling boulders to worry about! The second game swaps some for defence turrets and jumping worms.
  • Excuse Plot: Both games start with a barebones premise that borders on No Plot? No Problem!, and the details keep making less and less sense the more you think about them.
    • Nanosaur: You're a genetically engineered/cyborg dinosaur from the future with a fusion gun and a jetpack, who goes back in time 20 minutes before an extinction event to salvage dino eggs. Why? Who cares? You're a genetically engineered/cyborg dinosaur from the future with a fusion gun and a jetpack!
    • Nanosaur II: You're an uplifted dinosaur in the future, and the eggs you gathered in the past were stolen by rebels and taken to another planet. Go get them back.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Both games feature a bomb weapon that harms or kills everything within its blast radius, including you.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Dilophosaurus-like dinos in the first game run as fast as you and have a venom spit attack, but die much quicker than any other enemy.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The point of the first game is to gather one of each of the five types of eggs.
  • Handguns: The Nanosaur's weapon, which has five different attacks: standard laser, heat-seeking missiles (which can lead to a Macross Missile Massacre if the player has plenty to spare), sonics, a dividing shot, and nuclear weapons.
  • Here We Go Again!: The second game assumes you completed your mission in the first game, only to have the eggs stolen so you can do it again with another dinosaur on another planet.
  • Jet Pack: The Nanosaur has one.
  • Lamprey Mouth: The sequel features jumping alien worms with such mouths, who constitute an environmental hazard.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The second environment, after the rainforest zone in the first game, and the fourth one right before the dusty gorges biome feature liquid lava, and require some platforming to avoid damage.
  • Made of Explodium: Dinosaurs, apparently. (Though they actually "shatter" when they die.) There are also plants that explode if you come near them, and crystals that explode if you shoot them.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Stegosaurus can only slowly lumber towards you, but require several shots to be brought down. It's easier to simply avoid them.
  • Multiple Life Bars: in Nanosaur II. Damage first depletes your shield, then your health. Interestingly, different attacks will damage either by a different amount.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot
    • You are a raptor, armed with a jetpack and a laser cannon.
    • Or a pterosaur, with a jetpack, various weapons, and a sonic scream.
  • Terror-dactyl:
    • The Pteranodon from the first game carry rocks with their feet so they can drop them on you. Afterwards, they attack by swooping down on you with their feet.
    • The sequel features disproportionately large Rhamphorhynchus which serve as Airborne Mooks.
  • Raptor Attack:
    • Inspection of the game files will reveal a skeleton called "Deinon.skeleton", which hints that the Nanosaur is meant to be a Deinonychus and not the usual Velociraptor. However, the Nanosaur model doesn't even have the sickle claws on its feet, making it look more like a miniature Allosaurus.
    • The Velociraptor from the sequel are Jurassic Park-styled as usual, with feathers on their heads.
  • Temper-Ceratops: The Triceratops will charge if the player gets too close. Some even hide in bushes to ambush them.
  • Tough Armored Dinosaur: Out of all the game's enemies, the Stegosaurus take the most shots to bring down due to their thick skin.
  • Toxic Dinosaur: The Dilophosaurus spit venom at the Nanosaur upon noticing it.