When I first heard about the Endangered Species expansion pack for Zoo Tycoon 2, I had a lot of mixed feelings. The original had just left me incredibly frustrated after my fences weren't working out, and the animals kept eating each other. So it was with hesitation that I installed the expansion pack onto my PC.
After a short installing time, I opened the game and started exploring it. I went through the tutorials first, so that I wouldn't feel as much like a dope as I did last time. The tutorials are really quite helpful; if you ever get stuck with something, that's the first place you should go.
I started out with River Zoo, in a temperate biome. Adding the endangered animals was fun, since there are so many new features in this expansion. The new features are marked with a small green leaf in the top left corner, to help provide the gamer with an easy selection, especially if they want to make their zoos a special place for endangered animals. When selecting animals, a small window will appear with more information about that animal, including how close to being extinct they really are. New animals include African Wild Dogs, Wolverines, and the Giant Galapagos Tortoise. Their enclosures need to be fairly large to accommodate many animals, especially if you are trying to breed these endangered ones. Try making the habitats much bigger than you would for the amount of animals present, because after they mate and give birth, you're going to need a much bigger space in a very small amount of time, otherwise the old will feast on the young.
New food options and educational items have been added as well. There are more themed buildings and structures (including new play areas for the kids), and they fit in well with the game. More biome-themed items would be nice; general and tundra items are very easy to find, but items for biomes like the boreal biome are somewhat sparse.
There are also many more ways for your guests to enjoy your zoo. Try building elevated pathways to give your guests a bird's eye view of their favourite animal, or create a Jeep adventure path that gives them more of a safari type feel. There's also the Sky Tram, which will take guests around the zoo in an open and comfortable environment, and a new way to experience the zoo. New kid-friendly attractions have been added - a bounce house, a playground, slides, and face painting are all available for your guests to enjoy. Additional attractions include animated scenery, like exploding volcanoes, which give the guests an added thrill when visiting your zoo.
Blue Fang Games has done a very good job on the Endangered Species expansion pack. While audio and visual work remains at standard, the new variety of objects and the more user-friendly interface allows for a more enjoyable gaming experience, and greatly adds to the enjoyment of Zoo Tycoon as a whole.