Following on from the success of their Resident Evil games Capcom were eager to branch out to a different style of game while retaining similar game play that would appeal to Resident Evil fans; they came up with Dino Crisis. Described by critics as a Jurassic Park meets Resident Evil & it’s very hard to not see the similarities.
4 agents (Regina, Rick, Gail & Cooper) are on route to Ibis Island to apprehend Dr. Kirk who is said to be working on a secret weapons project. During their parachute descent Cooper is blown off course & promptly gets munched by a T-Rex. The other 3 arrive at the facility only to find it deserted & what appears as signs of battles.
It soon becomes clear that dinosaurs are the cause having been brought forward in time by Dr. Kirk’s experiment with a new energy source called ‘Third Energy’. The player will control Regina throughout the game as she attempts to find Dr. Kirk & then escape the island alongside Rick & Gail.
Dino Crisis utilizes a very similar game system to Resident Evil with a few small changes. The games look very similar although Dino Crisis employs a different style of graphics. Dino Crisis also allows you to move while aiming your gun, use tranquilisers instead of live ammunition & the use of haemostats that don’t heal but will stop Regina from bleeding. This is a pretty nifty feature actually as the dinosaurs will smell the blood trail & come running.
Dino Crisis has an interesting enough story, the mad scientist angle isn’t exactly fresh but the idea that an energy source would bring dinosaurs through time was pretty clever. I liked that the 3 surviving agents are often at loggerheads with each other, particularly Gail & Rick who spend most of the game arguing & trying to get Regina to side with one of them.
These are branching points in the story where you have to side with one of them. They don’t affect the ending in any way, there is a one final decision at the end of the game that can alter the ending you can get (3 different endings).
The quality of the voice-acting in Dino Crisis is very impressive especially if you are used to Resident Evil’s type. All the characters suffer from the over-gesturing that features so heavily in these games but it’s easy to overlook it as the action/survival side of the game is so much fun.
So you might be thinking how do dinosaurs work as enemies? Surely as human you would have no chance against a T-rex or even a ‘raptor? The key here is running…
A lot of the facility has laser style shutters that can be turned on & off to escape chasing dinosaurs. If you do stand & fight be prepared to go through some ammo & take some damage, there are no easy fights in Dino Crisis & survival is the name of the game. There isn’t a massive amount of variety within the dinosaurs but it’s not something you are really going to notice. Any concern about the threat of the dinos only gets heighten when you first have to deal with the t-rex. You will have a number of running battles with him leading to a final boss fight & all of them require a level-head & planning.
The most frustrating thing about Dino Crisis is the difficulty of some of the puzzles requiring you to really think hard & read the material given. This is no more prevalent then when trying to work out passwords for doors & you may end up reaching for the internet instead of hurting your brain.
A great game that can proudly stand on its own 2 feet. It’s comparisons to Resident Evil are there to see but it offers an interesting story with a much more survival themed direction. Its locations are hardly the most interesting of places to explore but never knowing what’s around the corner is nerve-racking. The game has some fiendishly difficult puzzles that will frustrate rather then entertain & sometimes you may feel like you’re running away a little bit too much.