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It's a dog-eat-giraffe world

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Entertainment,Ryan Vogt

Humans once feared the long, sharp teeth of canines. Now we brush them. We were once afraid of their claws tearing into our skin. Now we call them nails, and trim them. "Tokyo Jungle" sees a future when all the pampering is undone and our pets' hardware is more than a vestige.

The game is set in an post-apocalyptic city, except instead of Will Smith watching lions hunt deer, the lions and deer are the stars of the show. The game lets you play as dozens of animals, from beagles to chimpanzees, surviving in Tokyo after the extinction of humans. It's pretty much "Life After People: The Game," and has as much sex and violence as entertainment involving humans.

In surprisingly graphic fashion, it teaches us about a "Circle of Life" that you aren't gonna find in a Disney movie. So that's what happens when dogs catch cats. And, because the screen fades to black a full second too late: So that's what happens when males catch females.

The object of the game is to eat a bunch -- plants or animals, depending on what you're playing as -- mark your territory by peeing on flags, and mate. This involves a whole lot of sneaking through tall grass to pounce on prey or, if you meet a more dangerous species, fleeing across rooftops and through subway stations. Along the way, expect plenty of unlikely fights -- chicken vs. hippo is more common than you might think.

'Tokyo Jungle'
» System: PS3
» Price: $14.99
» Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Pity that the experience is almost identical no matter what animal you play as. Who knew the lives of Pomeranians and crocodiles were so similar?

What's worse is the game's arbitrary objective system, which doesn't acknowledge that you've completed tasks if you complete them in the wrong order. Right when you're about to unlock the dinosaur as a playable character, the game faults you for marking your territory before killing six animals, instead of the other way around, and you have to restart. Of all the creatures in this urban jungle, the most fearsome is a bug.

rvogt@washingtonexaminer.com

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