Dino Crisis (Dreamcast) review
"Resident Evil! Jurassic Park! Survival horror! "
Resident Evil! Jurassic Park! Survival horror!
What do you get when you put those three terms together? DINO CRISIS!
Developed by Capcom, the creators of the Resident Evil series, Dino Crisis journeys into the popular survival horror genre and never looks back. Instead of RE's zombies, Dino Crisis uses dinosaurs as the enemies. Zombies were never really troublesome, as a few shotgun blasts would finish 'em off, but dinosaurs are a whole different story. If you were at all scared during the movie Jurassic Park, then you might not want to play Dino Crisis. They're quite similar.
Dino Crisis places you in the role of special agent Regina, a ''redhead'' with apparently no last name. You are sent out with a special military team to Ibis Island, where you must recapture a so-called ''mad scientist'' named Dr. Edward Kirk. Kirk was allegedly killed three years ago in an accident during one of his experiments, but a recent search of the island by other military members showed that he was still alive. Why is Kirk wanted so bad? He had been working on a dangerous experiment involving pure energy technology, aka ''Third Energy''. This energy was incredibly powerful and had similar effects to that of a time machine. Your mission sounds simple enough - infiltrate the base and capture Kirk, but things definitely don't go out as planned.
You'll understand why things don't go right as soon as you start the game. An amazing CG cutscene starts things off, showing one of Regina's teammates alone in a jungle area on Ibis Island. Her teammate, named Cooper, was apparently dropped off too far away from the base and is trying to find his way back. Cooper pulls out his flashlight and starts looking around. Out of the corner of his eye, Cooper sees something big, very big, and runs away as fast he can. His speed, however, is no match for the mammoth T-Rex that is chasing him. The T-Rex scoops up Cooper with his mouth and swallows him whole before yelling out a frighteningly load roar. This, my friends, is only the beginning. Welcome to hell, aka Ibis Island.
Thankfully, Regina isn't alone on this mission. She has two other military members on her side, Gail and Rick. Gail is the leader of the mission. He's the one who is determined to recapture Dr. Kirk by any means necessary - even if it means risking his own life. Rick is the brains of the operation. He spends most of his time messing with computers and hacking into security systems. He's more level-headed than Gail, but he is stubborn. During the course of the game, Rick and Gail disagree quite often. During their disagreements, Regina will sometimes be presented with an option - do what Rick says or do what Gail says. Both options will have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, at one point you have the option of either taking a shortcut that has 1-2 dinosaurs in each hallway and/or room, or taking the long way that has less dinosaurs but more work. Most likely you will want to take the shortcut since it involves less puzzles, but it is definitely not an easy task. The dinosaurs are not like Resident Evil's dull and sluggish zombies - these suckers are tough!
In the first half of the game, you'll mostly see raptors, which are not that big of a problem when facing them one-on-one. However, if you are up against two raptors at once, it is best to run away because you could very easily get cornered and die. These dinos are aggressive bastards, too - they'll throw you around like a ragdoll, ram you into the walls, swat at you with their tails, etc. Just when you think you've seen all of their attacks, they'll show you a new one. The dinosaurs in the second half of the game are even more impressive - these big lugs will hammer you with their forelimbs and then grab you by your leg and throw you. As the game goes on, the dinos get tougher.
Regina isn't defenseless against all of these gigantic lizards. Some halls have laser zappers and steam that you can use to your advantage against the dinosaurs. These contraptions will not kill the dinosaurs, but they are excellent at keeping the dinos away from you. Of course, Regina has an arsenal of weapons at her disposal as well. She starts off with a paltry handgun, but as the game goes on, she can acquire a shotgun and a grenade gun. Unfortunately, those are the only three weapons in the entire game. They can be modified into better versions of themselves, but in the end, they still feel like the same gun.
Besides the three weapons, Regina can pick up special health and dart items. Health items can be mixed together to create even stronger medikits, while the tranquilizer darts can be mixed together to make more effective darts. Other pick-ups, including the ''intensifier'' and ''multiplier'', can make the items even more powerful if mixed together. It's never hard to realize when Regina needs a medikit, either. If you have a VMU, you can use it to tell you what weapon you have, how much ammo is in that weapon, and how much health you have. Of course, you can always tell in the game by how Regina acts. The weaker she appears, the more she's hurt. The health system is a nice change from the ''HP'' meters found in most games today.
Just like in Resident Evil and other survival horror games, the game revolves around solving puzzles. Most of the puzzles involve pushing switches, decoding passwords, and replacing batteries. Most of it's common sense, but there are a few tricky puzzles thrown in there. Also similar to RE are the static camera angles. The camera angles are set up to give the game the most dramatic feel possible and for the most part, they work just fine. However, sometimes you will be wishing for an option to rotate the camera at your own free will, especially when there's a dinosaur right in front of you but you can't see it because of the way the camera's set up. You will probably take a few hits throughout the game because of the camera angles.
Dino Crisis is a gory game - it definitely earned its ''M'' rating. Throughout the game, you will see dozens of corpses of workers on the island. Some have their whole body intact, while others have their pieces scattered throughout the area. If you have a weak stomach, you are better off not to play this game.
Visually, Dino Crisis is great. It appears that the Dreamcast cleaned up most of the Playstation's graphical problems. There are still some noticeable spots of clipping and the characters still look a little blocky, but they aren't a big problem. The real graphical treat is the amount of detail put into the dinosaurs. All of the dinosaurs look lifelike, and quite frankly, they look amazing. From the gargantuan T-Rex to the tiny baby raptors, every single one of the reptiles look fantastic. The human characters also pack a good amount of detail. Also, instead of using prerendered backgrounds like in Resident Evil, Dino Crisis strayed away and used fully 3D backgrounds. Now it looks better than ever when a dinosaur bursts through a window! Just a nice looking game overall.
The audio is also very good. Capcom opted to hire professional voice actors for the in-game characters and for the most part, they sound great. The music in the game is composed of chilling orchestral music that make the playing experience more stressful. The dinosaurs all sound lifelike - you'll know when there's a dinosaur in the room because you'll hear its hindlimbs walking around. The sound is very well done and really adds a lot to the game.
All in all, Dino Crisis is a wonderful game. Choosing to create a survival horror game using dinosaurs was a brilliant move by Capcom, as Dino Crisis has sparked a lot of attention to the already popular genre. With its great storyline and impressive gameplay, it's no wonder why Dino Crisis is such an attention-grabber. Who doesn't like the idea of a combination of Resident Evil, Jurassic Park, and survival horror put into one fantastic game? For as cheap as it is nowadays, there's no reason why you should pass up the greatness that is known as Dino Crisis.
Best Feature: The dinosaurs!
Worst Feature: Static camera angles.
Graphics 7/10 - everything looks great, although there are some small graphical problems
Sound 8/10 - stressful music, good voice acting, excellent sound effects
Gameplay 9/10 - this is better than Resident Evil, folks
Control 8/10 - uses RE's controls, fits the game perfectly
Replay Value 7/10 - multiple endings and cool extras will keep you coming back for more
Challenge 8/10 - the dinos can get very tough
Community review by shady (January 28, 2004)
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