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Dinosaurs for Hire (Genesis) artwork

Dinosaurs for Hire (Genesis) review

"Contra Clone? Who Cares, It's Fun!"

"Whoa! Slight problem with your Genesis' Blast Processing Unit! Psych!!! Anyways, the REAL game starts here. Good luck! You'll need it..."

Three aliens crash-land on Earth after being trapped in its atmosphere. Upon emerging from their ship however, it appears that these aliens are actually humanoid dinosaurs, albeit much smaller than the real dinosaurs which roamed the Earth millions of years ago. The dinosaurs decide to become mercenaries-for-hire and are tasked at going up against the evil Shadow Yamato, who is trying to take over and enslave the world.

The back story of the dinosaurs and their individual traits make for a good tale; being a comic book series originally, the story is better than most. Incidentally, the enemy, Shadow Yamato, may be related (or actually the same one) to Sega's Shadow Yamato from Eternal Champions, which also had a short comic run under the same company, Malibu Comics.

Dinosaurs for Hire plays like Contra would and it is easily just as fun; the difficulty however gets quite steep, quite quickly. The first level is a breeze, taking out ninjas and pyro-maniacs with your bullets or your gun itself, all the while you upgrade your gun with all of the power ups that you will come across. The second level is a bit tedious, with the constant destroying of gun emplacements and an all-too-easy boss fight. Once he is defeated, things begin to get tricky and by the eighth level, you are seriously doing your best to be as careful as possible. Other than the difficulty causing you to pull your hair out at times, this is one fantastically fun game to play; you can walk through whole levels doing nothing but holding down the trigger, then walking/jumping to and fro and it is super fun and satisfying. Each character has his own attributes, though there is not one character that is better than the next, for the most part (Archie appears to be the easiest to use, due to his jumping ability).

The enemies are a veritable kitchen sink of baddies, from tanks to ninjas, to lightning demons and of course, dinosaurs, they provide a constant challenge and nuisance. The bosses are all huge, unique and interesting to go up against and they too provide a significant challenge (all are some sort of massive beast, be it mechanized or organic), though they all have patterns and movements to exploit (like most games).

Nothing is super crisp or sharp, but everything looks great and fairly detailed. The dinosaurs have a ton of character and they look great; Archie with his leather jacket, Lorenzo with his Hawaiian shirt and Reese with his eye patch, they are distinct and well-done. The backgrounds can look drab at times but there is actually a lot going on and there is quite a bit of depth as well. The highlight of the graphics though, are far and away the bosses; while the sub-bosses all have their own unique looks, the big bosses are a marvel to look at, whether they are standing still or moving.

The sound effects are unlike anything you have probably heard in a video game before, however after a while, they can become tedious to listen to; for the first few years I had the game, the sound effects would bother me from the second level on. Now, I do not pay any attention to them. The music on the other hand, is superb to listen to and it fits in the game beautifully. Yes, while the music can be seemingly drab at times, it is fast paced, uses a bunch of instruments and is super catchy, with the first group of levels and the second group of levels being the standouts.

Dinosaurs is not a particularly long game, nor will you want to subsequently play through it again constantly, however as mentioned above, the learning curve is steep and as a result, you will be stuck playing it for a little while before you are able to beat it.

Dinosaurs for Hire was a lot of fun to play throughout the years and I really wish they could have released a sequel or supplementary game in the series. This did not happen, but the series itself is still fairly well-remembered by the fans and the game does play a solid run-'n-gun still to this day. Sadly though, with the demise of Malibu comics back in the mid-90's, this series got completely swallowed up and is now forgotten... a shame.

truck_101's avatar
Community review by truck_101 (October 03, 2015)

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