I wasn't prepared for how evil you can be in Let's Build a Zoo's dinosaur park DLC

by John Stapel

  1. Home
  2. Features
  3. Sim
  4. Let's Build A Zoo
Let's Build a Zoo simulation game
(Image credit: Springloaded)

"I've been present for the murder of every little creature on this island." That's something the evil version of Dr. John Hammond, founder of Jurassic Park, might say if he were devoted to using dinosaurs to make steak dinners instead of populating a zoo.

Dr. Hammond is already pretty evil, at least via neglect: A hell of a lot of people have died as the result of him cloning dinosaurs and sticking them in a park where they continuously break out and eat people. I, however, am pure evil in Let's Build a Zoo's new Dinosaur Island DLC. No visitors have died in my park (yet), but a heck of a lot of dinosaurs have.

I didn't intend to play as an evil dinosaur park director. It just sort of slowly happened. For a while I'm very ethical, paying researchers around the world to dig up bones and clone living dinosaurs from them, then deliver them to my park. I create suitable habitats for each type of dino, make sure they have enough space, water, and fun things to do in their exhibits. For instance, I make sure the wooly mammoths have a nice cold climate, velociraptors have plenty of chew toys, and brontosauruses have trampolines to bounce on—just like they would if they were living 150 million years ago instead of today. My park (The Bone Zone) is a very safe and happy zoo for both the humans and the dinosaurs they've come to look at. For a while, at least.

But Let's Build a Zoo likes to throw a few tempting evil options your way, and it didn't take long for me to start my descent into the dark side of zoo management. A company suggests we can dig up dinosaur bones faster by using explosives, and that seems like a good idea to me even though it's destructive to the environment. At the time this offer arrives, I'm a bit impatient for new breeds, because between the early-game dinosaurs like microraptors (which just look like birds), epidexipteryx (which also look like birds), and chirostenotes (birds) I feel like I'm running a duck pond instead of a dinosaur park. I'm impatient for the kind of dinosaurs you gawk in wonder at from a Jeep, not the kind who look like they'd poop on one.

So I agree to blowing up entire dig sites with dynamite and hoovering up whatever bits of DNA can be found in the dust. But once you've done something mildly evil, the next evil choice gets a little easier to make. Later I spot an electricity siphon on the tech tree that will let me power my park by leeching energy from nearby utilities, thus saving me money. And that's money I can spend on buying black market dinosaurs from a shady dealer that are far more interesting than my collection of ancient birds. After that, I'm approached by someone offering to pay me for a dinosaur egg so they can, and I quote, "make the biggest boiled egg in the world" and "jump into the yolk and swim around" in it. I immediately set up an egg incubation facility.

Let's Build a Zoo simulation game

(Image credit: Springloaded)

I guess word gets around, and if you dabble in evil like stealing electricity and selling enormous eggs to yolk fetishists, eventually some really dastardly people will come calling. It's not long before someone approaches me about turning dinosaurs into steak dinners. And that doesn't really sound all that evil to my somewhat evil ears. Surely if giant meaty prehistoric monsters were brought back to life, we'd want to eat some of them. Just to see what they taste like. Right?

The offer to process and sell dinosaur steaks comes at just the right moment, too, because my park has been getting very crowded with dinosaurs, and some of those dinosaurs have been here for so long they have begun to die of old age. I have a crematorium set up, and someone to go collect the dead dinos and burn them before the park patrons get too upset, but seeing as how I've always got an eye on profit, why settle for just torching dinosaur remains? Can't they be put to better use? Why not strip them for parts, like old cars? It doesn't sound all that evil.

Soon I've got a processing plant running and I'm turning dead dinosaurs into various smaller chunks of dead dinosaurs. But as always, there's a problem. Only my dumb bird dinosaurs are dying peacefully. My bigger creatures arrived later and thus are still pretty young. I don't think anyone is interested in eating chicken when they could have a ribeye.

Let's Build a Zoo simulation game

(Image credit: Springloaded)

So I do something that even I can't pretend isn't evil. I hire someone to go into the exhibits with a big knife and just straight-up murder some dinosaurs. Not indiscriminately, of course! Just kill the old ones, I tell them. I'm basically hitting fast-forward on their eventual, peaceful deaths. 

After a few days I only see the corpses of more bird-dinos, which I realize is because my bigger dinos still aren't old enough to be "culled" for cuts of steak. So I tell my murderous employee to head to the mammoth exhibit: I only have four mammoths, and I've already started cloning more so I'll have replacements pretty quickly. I instruct my culler to harvest the animals based on their weight instead of their age, and I move the weight slider all the way down so they'll be sure to kill all four of my big, meaty mammoths.

One small issue: when I selected the mammoth exhibit for culling, I forgot to turn off the other exhibits. While I'm off managing the rest of the park, hiring employees, buying more transportation, and building new facilities, my dinosaur culler walks briskly into the marshland exhibit—which houses dozens of dinosaurs—and culls roughly 95% of the creatures inside it. It's a bloodbath. 

A bunch of dead dinosaurs

(Image credit: Springloaded)

I'm evil, but I wasn't intending to be that evil. The exhibit is piled high with butchered tsintaosaurus, ornithomimus, ammosaurus, edmontosaurus, and sarcosuchus. What are those? I dunno. They're not famous enough to be in movies, I guess. But they were happily hopping around the last time I looked. And now they're nearly all dead, except the ones who didn't weigh all that much.

I'm not even sure if I can make steaks out of them, but it barely matters. I've only got one corpse carrier and the meat factory is already backed up with a couple dozen elderly bird carcasses to process before I even get to the meat of the marshlands massacre. In the meantime, all my guests are arriving and staring in what I assume is horror at a pen full of dinosaur bodies. It's a bit grim!

I decide the mess is too big to clean up, so I do what Dr. John Hammond would probably do. I quietly dip and open a brand new dinosaur park, pretending none of this ever happened. "Next time, it'll be flawless." That's what Hammond said. I doubt that, but at least next time I'll keep a closer eye on the employee with the big knife.

Christopher Livingston

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.