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Dino Crisis Review

publisher: Capcom Entertainment
developer: Capcom Entertainment
genre: Action Adventure

P200, 32MB RAM, 500MB HDD
ESRB rating: M

release date: May 19, 99
» All About Dino Crisis on ActionTrip

It feels funny reviewing a game which already has a sequel out on the shelves, but that's how it is when you have to fool around with PSX port jobs. And let me tell you, although I enjoy a decent story and the constant quality of game design seen in these Japanese action sagas, I just can't f-ing stand the constant lack of essential PC features any more! I could say I played most of the bestseller ports: Final Fantasy, Resident Evil, and Metal Gear Solid, just to name a few, but there has always been something lacking in these otherwise immersive and well-designed games. And that lack of that certain "something" in Dino Crisis made me so frustrated I had to load up a genuine PC title during playtime in order to vent out all the PSX-style-o-gameplay accumulated frustration. On the other hand, playing a PSX game is just like making love to an inexperienced chic (hold on there, I'll explain). Sure, you have to try extra hard to get her going, but when you do... There's great depth of gameplay hidden in there, if you know what I mean. Never mind the bad graphics and the clunky controls...

But sometimes, no matter how desperate you get, it might turn out that the extra effort just wasn't worth your trouble. Now, switch your dirty-little minds back into Dino Crisis mode, and I'll explain what I mean. First, let's start with the major PSX-related frustrations -- no mouse support, textures that were fashionable back in '96, and the darned loading screens that precede entering different areas (rooms, halls, offices). Oh yeah, how could I forget -- limited number of times you can continue the game without saving your position and the infamous saved games specific locations! You'd think that just once they'd actually consider the fact that we have 20Gb HDDs and megabytes of RAM to spare...

With these few rants out of the way, I can finally concentrate on the game review. C'mon, it has Dino and it has Crisis in the title! Guess what it's about? Er, try huge lizards and a post-carnage research facility deep in the jungle. The story takes the player on a journey to Ibis Island (not to be mistaken for that wonderful island of free lesbian love in the Adriatic). We find ourselves cast in the role of Regina (she'd be better of on Ibiza), an elite member of a special task force. Three years before the game's current events, Dr. Kirk, a Research Scientist, (looks like a glam rock groupie) died in an explosion during one of his experiments on Ibis Island. He was one of the country's leading men in the field of energy research. His last project was code named "Third Energy". What reeks of foul play in this story is that the explosion happened just after the government stopped the funding to his research. Two years after this unfortunate occurrence, in a surprising turn of events, an agent sent on a separate mission to the same island discovered that Dr. Kirk is still alive and that he had continued his research in the Borginia Republic. Naturally, the brass assigns the elite task force to recover Dr. Kirk, and find out what he has been up to all these years. Regina, Rick (jive-talking guy), and Gale (stiff, soldier-type) arrive on Ibis Island only to find that the research facility is crawling with Velocitoraptor, T-Rex, and the rest of the prehistoric lizards. They somehow managed to escape wherever they were kept in, and they casually started to feast on the poor scientists all over the compound. So you have dinos and you have a major crisis, hence the title - Dino Crisis!

Dino Crisis is the "next big thing" from the famous Resident Evil creators, Capcom, and it hits our PCs at the same time Dino Crisis 2 hits the console. Capcom is, as you all know, renowned for their fantastic survival horror games, and Dino Crisis is their next venture into the familiar genre. I've been a great fan of the Resident Evil series, but I guess I started getting serious flashbacks and Matrix glitches (d'ja vu) while playing Dino Crisis. And that's not all...

Apart from the fact that it's a PSX game, which implies all the aforementioned faults, Dino Crisis simply doesn't have an ounce of originality in it, and it's best described as a mix of Jurassic Park and Resident Evil (Rick even makes a Jurassic Park allusion once: "this is just like that movie"). Sure, there are plot twists, and a lot of suspense, but any experienced Resident Evil player should be more than able to illustrate a Dino Crisis action sequence without ever touching the game. Unlike RE, Dino Crisis features a smaller number of enemies and what's worst, they're pretty much the same throughout a substantial portion of the game. You have about four types of standard lizards, and precious little ammo to kill or tranquilize them. I've played the game on "NORMAL" and found it hard to stack up on the ammo, since it was scarce and insufficient to meet my, ughm, demands... Yeah, I wouldn't expect to find tons of bullets in every office of the research facility, but going for realism in a dino game just doesn't seem like a logical approach. The dinosaurs, although fun at first, prove to be nothing more than an annoying distraction later in the game. Dino Crisis is all about running around corridors and collecting clues, whilst solving an occasional puzzle. Resident Evil, in comparison to Dino Crisis seems like a much more action-oriented game, with more enemies and more gun slinging hoopla. Although Zombies weren't that clever, they relied on numbers to prevail.

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5.6   Okay

Recognizable Capcom atmosphere;

Unoriginal, lousy voice acting, PSX1 elements.


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