Dinosaurs fascinated a lot of us as kids. But the basic, unavoidable truth is that they’re extinct (you, with the Nessie t-shirt in the back - don't say it). And because we unfortunately have no way of traveling back in time to interact with (read: get eaten by) these amazing creatures, we must rely upon movies, books, and games like prehistoric Pokemon-clone Fossil League to satisfy our desire for dino interaction.
To make a long story short, the high-school - like main character - has futuristic accessibility to travel to and from the prehistoric age with the help of a time machine. In typical RPG fashion, his trips to the past end up with a bad guy mysteriously entering the time era as well, where he hopes to re-shape time because we - you guessed it - screwed up the future. Or maybe just his future. Something like that. The point is, past this traditional RPG set-up is a Pokemon -esque, paleotological ingredient that fills this quest with admirable innovation.
Although you're handed one particular dinosaur to become friends with in the beginning, you'll eventually come to a point where you’ll need to collect other dinosaurs - even Pikachu has his Bulbasaur, right? There is some heavy level grinding, and the battle system is all too familiar, as well; each reptile has a few attack methods, but past this it’s all about having the necessary healing items to survive. This can get old fast, especially since there’s only one dinosaur allowed out into battle at a time. But, with a total of five dinosaurs in your combat party at any given time - and tons of different types of dinosaurs every area, each with unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses - this doesn’t quite ruin the game.
While dungeons are rather basic, Fossil League has an odd exploration view that doesn’t help you see where you’re going as well as it could. There is, thankfully, a map on the upper screen of the DS to keep track of big areas you’ve been to, but even that doesn’t coincide with your actual movement. We’re not sure why the view is so centered on the main hero and not the environment surrounding him - there's some neat scenery to stomp through.
We really wish you could battle using multiple dinos at once, but in the end, the combination of paleontology and Pokemon won us over. While not every gamer will want to sink their talons into this, dino-philes and Pokemaniacs should dig it up.