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Dinosaurs for Hire (Genesis) artwork

Dinosaurs for Hire (Genesis) review

"Dinosaurs for Hire?! Raaaaaad! Oh..."

Dinosaurs for Hire was a game that I rented waaay back in the day when I was a kid. Back then, I thoroughly enjoyed it but never beaten it. Many years later I come across it online for real cheap, we're talking like five bucks so I figured, what the hell? I'm still in the process of buying and playing on Genesis games and I used to really enjoy this one as a kid. In a nutshell it's basically one of those side scrolling shooters like Contra, or Gunstar Heroes which is also on the Genesis. It tries to fall in line with those games but ends up failing pretty miserably.


If you didn't know, this game is based off of a series of comic books done by Malibu Comics in the early 90s by the same namesake. It's about a group of dinosaur mercenaries who make pop culture references and wise cracks that wield machine guns and fight Godzilla, a minotaur, and ninjas. probably one of the most 90s things I've ever heard of and the game fits that bill too. If I was judging this game based off of the sheer concept alone, I would've already given it a perfect score...but that's not how things work here. This is a video game, and video games need to be playable and fun, and we're already hitting a wall...


As I said before, this game follows the late 80s early 90s scrolling shooter/platformer formula. You jump, you shoot, you avoid pitfalls and hazards. That stuff mostly works, but you'll start to notice some problems right away when you just start the game out. For starters, your characters are too big, they're huge targets in this game and so many of the enemies are smaller than you are, or you're expected to dodge bullets and it's actually pretty hard to do when your character is at least four times the size of a normal enemy.

One other quirk about this game and it's different characters is that they're different but not in a good way. There's three of them, Archie (a T-Rex), Lorenzo (a Triceratops), and Reese (a Stegosaurus). At first you'd think that the three characters being different would be good, but actually they aren't all that different at all except for one thing. Their jump height. Archie has the best jump, Lorenzo's jump is a little shorter than Archie's but it's still serviceable, and Reese's jump is short which can be absolutely crippling in some of the later stages.

There's no trade off for taking a character with a weaker jump you simply don't jump as good as who ever is playing Archie. I'm sorry but what is the point of that? Essentially if you're playing two player, whoever is playing Archie is going to have fairly big advantage over whoever is second player, and you'd be an idiot to play Reese so what's the point? As you continue to play the game you'll notice for a scrolling shooter there is a severe lack of interesting power ups. The only things you get are these power ups that make your bullets bigger and do more damage, or a thing that gradually gives you more spread the more you pick them up.

For a scrolling shooter, this is a major design mistake because power ups and different types of weapons is an element that can really change up the gameplay. It also makes the game more dull if there aren't any real power ups like Spread in Contra, there is a spread like thing in this game but everything takes multiple hits so it's effectiveness is stunted. Another thing you'll notice is that this game is full of cheap deaths, pitfalls and beginner's traps. A lot of this goes on for different reasons.

One reason is that the graphics in this game are pretty unclear about what you can and cannot stand on. You'll see something and think you can stand on it but you'll fall right through, you know? The typical cheap or lame graphics design death traps that plague some 2D games? That stuff is here.

Also, when you're playing two player you have to keep up with one another or you'll be left behind and take a bunch of damage and get teleported back up to where your friend is. This is really irritating because the camera will pan a lot and you have to be very careful. Unfortunately this is kind of hard for me explain and you'll just have to take my word for it, trust me, me and a friend of mine had a lot of trouble with this aspect of the game. It sucks, but this flaw with the game makes this almost unplayable with two players. The two of you will constantly be struggling to not lose life.

Dude, Nirvana this is not...

Graphically, there are parts of this game that look pretty good. However, some of the backgrounds are not so impressive and as I mentioned above there are graphical traps that will cause you to fall to your doom, so that knocks off quite a bit of points for me. Why? I just feel like designing a game like that, especially if it's not even an Arcade game is just cheap and lazy. Either that or they messed it all up in programming, who knows?

The music in this game is actually pretty good. Bass and rhythm heavy stuff which the Genesis excels at along with some pretty sweet synth guitar licks. There's just one problem, the music will get drowned out by your character's gunfire. I assume this issue has something to do with the sound programming, and sound channels and stuff to do with the Genesis' sound chip but bottom line is that they messed it up and ruined a pretty good score with poor programming.

Once you beat this game though, if you decide to, you'll probably never want to play it again. As a 90s platformer/shooter, it's pretty sub par for a lot of reasons. You'll most likely just play this game for novelty, and trust me the novelty wears off sooner than you think. Yet another one bites the dust due to time, damn shame too. I love the concept and I really enjoyed it as a kid.

+ This is the most 90s game ever. The concept alone is awesome.
+ There's some pretty rad music to listen to here...

- ...Unfortunately it's drowned out by gun fire and poor sound programing.
- It's nearly unplayable in two player mode.
- For a 2D scrolling shooter, there's a serious lack of cool power ups. Contra this is not.
- Lots of cheap deaths and beginner traps.
- Graphics are not all that good, and sometimes they can be misleading.
- You'll probably never want to play this game after beating it. It's not really all that fun, and it can be irritating and listless at times.


zork86's avatar
Community review by zork86 (September 30, 2017)

Sometimes, Zork reviews something other than Resident Evil games. And when he does, he gets the hose again.

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