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Dino Crisis Review


Entertain me.
Feb 15, 2012
Dino Crisis is a difficult game to review. It comes from a time when games were still struggling to create a cinematic experience and because of that, can’t be judged the same way that it would’ve had it been released today. I will do my best to judge it based on how I feel it compares to the technology and standards of the time. No time period is safe from fundamental flaws and cut corners, though. Please keep in mind that a review is the reviewers opinion and, though you may disagree with my conclusions, I will be doing my best to make them based on reasonable grounds. I will not be handing out “scores” either. I think a score is misleading in a review. I’m going to look back on my experience and try to break it down for everyone. Let’s get started.

Dino Crisis came out in 1999. As you might expect from a game in the era of the original PlayStation and Nintendo64, the graphics aren’t terrible, though they reflect that it’s in the first generation of games to be 3 dimensional. They’re a little pixelated, but the fixed camera is always zoomed out so it’s much easier to gloss over the patchy spots. The controls are a bit sloppy. The default button layout is… okay, but the game is set up to make it very difficult to maneuver effectively. The various dinosaurs you encounter maneuver with ease while Regina, the protagonist, is forced to run wide laps around the room to avoid taking severe damage, let alone get enough breathing room to fire a shot without taking damage. Ammo is scarce, so the majority of your time is spent trying to figure out what the code to open a door is or which key card you need.

It gets a little bit tedious after a while solving puzzles when, in reality, there really shouldn’t be anything puzzling about many of them. One example that stands out is that the cranes can’t simply be moved. The game gives you a list of possible maneuvers like up 3, down 2, left 1 and you have to select the correct sequence of preset motions in order to move the crates around and to open up the path ahead. The problem with puzzles like these ones, which are pretty frequent, is that it breaks the games continuity somewhat. You’re supposed to be wandering around a top-security research facility where people, presumably, worked up until recently. There’s no reason that they would need or want to have that sort of complication in their daily routine. The guy who’s in charge of handling shipments would probably quit if that is the best crane that the supposedly advanced technology if Ilbis Island is capable of coming up with.

Speaking of the workers, they are strangely absent. You run across a corpse or the odd survivor from time to time, but the facility looks like it housed a staff of one hundred or more and the body count doesn’t come anywhere near demonstrating any such number. Holes in the games universe such as these become apparent from time to time, but they can be ignored if you are able to accept that Dino Crisis is essentially a campy action movie turned capcom survival horror shooter. I get the feeling while playing that part of the games design was INTENDED to be cheesy and campy. Every single character is a complete stereotype to the point where it’s funny. All of the scientific memos and journals you read throughout look like they were cut-pasted from a 6th grade lab report.

All in all, the game has plenty of flaws. The choppy controls, cheesy voice acting, constant, inexplicable barrage of puzzles, and lack of corpses could be seen as game breakers by any gamer. Whether or not Dino Crisis suffers from these or is just characterized by them depends on whether you are capable of loving a movie that is so bad it’s good. I don’t mean to say Dino Crisis is bad. It’s not bad by any standard, but if you laugh every time you watch the movie Planet Terror, there’s a good chance you’ll love these flaws more than hate them.

La Femme Fatale

Super Moderator
Feb 13, 2012
I thought this review was pretty fair, especially for playing this game for the first time in 2012. You've actually noted a couple of things I never picked up on - you're right, there should have been either more survivors or a higher body count. I'm guessing the explanation for this would be that most of the researchers and staff had already high-tailed it out of the facility by the time SORT got there, or Capcom just never took it into consideration. :p

I also agree with your sentiments in regards to the puzzles - I didn't mind them in itself, but in the context of the storyline they should have been far more practical than they were. With regards to the ammo however, I did notice you didn't really use the An. Aids, and I probably should have told you that they would have been really helpful. Mixing enough of them (along with intensifiers and multipliers) with a Resuscitation pack will give you a poison dart, and you can make at least 10 of them if not more during your play-through.

I actually didn't find the voice acting itself that bad for what the voice actors had to work with - but I constantly use Barry Burton's 'what IS this' line in the first RE game as a basis of comparison so this is probably why. :p The script though was super cheesy, for sure. For me, the reason this game still appeals to me is probably the nostalgia of it. Apart from like, Super Mario this was really my introduction into gaming and I've alot of memories staying up and playing this with my friends during sleepovers. I imagine this is probably why it's not difficult for me to wave off these flaws and partly why I adore the game so much.