Capcom – undoubtedly one of the Dreamcast’s staunchest allies – brought some superb games to the swirl-shaped table. You only have to look at stuff like the Marvel Vs Capcom fighters, Resident Evil Code Veronica and Power Stone to see that when it came to the DC, they had their fingers on the pulse. It is for this reason alone that I decry Capcom releases like Dino Crisis. Why? Three little words for ya: Shitty PlayStation Port.

Look at Code Veronica. Look at it! It’s frigging awesome! The graphics are some of the best on the Dreamcast, so why does Dino Crisis look like it was dragged backwards through a hedge before being thrown up on and then shat on by Brian Blessed? I’m getting ahead of myself here, but come on people! The DC is capable of so much more and Capcom should be shown up as the money-grabbing twats they are for releasing such a shoddy looking cash-in on our favourite defunct console.

But before I really start laying in to Dino Crisis, let’s view the whole picture.

Dino Crisis was originally a PlayStation game very much in the vein of Resident Evil – you know the sketch: fixed camera angles, badly animated characters, appalling voice acting and laughable cut scenes. These things are all present and correct in Dino Crisis, but where Resi had shambling zombies and stuff, Dino Crisis has been out and employed a gang of immigrant dinosaurs. Possibly for below minimum wage, judging by the game’s production budget. And that’s about as complex an explanation I can give: it’s Resident Evil with dinosaurs. You play as a sassy female member of a sort of rescue team (hmmm…S.T.A.R.S, anyone?) dispatched to a remote island to investigate the disappearance of an undercover agent who has vanished whilst trying to infiltrate a dodgy laboratory. Once there (and after the team gets – surprise! – split up), you get to explore the deserted facility, find keys, open doors (by using the most contrived key/code set up I’ve ever encountered in a game, I hasten to add), stumble across half dead lab workers who hand you vital items before kicking the bucket, and shoot/run away from various time displaced dinosaurs.

The old Resident Evil-style loading screens also make an appearance, but you get the added bonus of being able to see your character now, instead of being a disembodied head clunking up the stairs.

Quite why Capcom decided to release Dino Crisis on the Dreamcast is something of a mystery to me. From the outset you can tell it’s a direct port from an inferior platform with virtually no attempt at making use of any of the extra system resources available. The options screens are bargain basement, the music and sound effects akin to what you would expect from a Megadrive game and the graphics…well, lets have a looky…

The game is viewed from a third person perspective, but the locations switch from fully rendered 3D to 2D pre-renders depending on where you are. For example, in some rooms the camera will follow you as you wonder about, ducking under pipes and around corners; whilst in other rooms it just stays static because the background just appears to be nothing more than a low-res drawing. I may be wrong here (as I usually am in these matters – as I’m sure some smug cunt will gladly tell me via the comments thingy), but that’s just how it looks to me. The characters themselves are bereft of any real detail and are generally quite angular – nowhere near the standard of Code Veronica or even Blue Stinger’s protagonists. Pick-ups take the form of rotating floating boxes no matter what they are, so health, ammo etc all look the same until you acquire them and can see what you’ve got in the ‘items’ subscreen. It’s a bit like Deal or No Deal but without the Lovecraftian horror of Noel Edmonds’ goatee and strange tattoos. The map too is very antiquated – you just get a basic line drawing of the floor plan of the facility and whichever room you’re in glows blue whilst your destination glows red. Your character (who goes by the improbable name of Regina) isn’t actually shown on the map though, so it can get confusing and annoying when you’re trying to work out which door you’re meant to open to get to where you’re going. Especially when two of the three exits have raptors lurking behind them and your health and ammo are both minimal.

Look! A floating, rotating box! Wonder what's inside...

One of the remedial class puzzles. Put the fuses in the right order and press the button. Krypton Factor it ain't.

The dinosaurs don’t actually look too shabby – they move quite well but they’re just as dense as the zombies were in Resi so you can just run past them if you can’t be arsed standing there popping caps into their leathery green asses. To be honest, running past them is probably the best course of action in most cases considering the relative scarcity of ammunition and pathetic stopping power of the weapons at your disposal.

There are a few nice ideas in Dino Crisis – such as the branching storyline, the way you drip blood after being attacked and the way dinosaurs can follow you through doors so you can’t just keep being a cowardly be-atch by running away.

On the plus side, Regina's quite fit. Wonder if she's a natural red head.

However, as you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m not Dino Crisis’s biggest fan. On the 32-bit consoles it’s probably par for the course, but not on a console that has stuff like Shunmue, Nomad Soul, Code Veronica, Headhunter or even Carrier knocking about. If you want a decent adventure game, go and seek out one of those badboys. If you want a by the numbers Resident Evil clone with a shit, cliché-ridden story, poo graphics (it’s even got that weird texture-warping thing going on that most PSX games have), and acting straight out of the Barry Burton Academy of Drama and Dance then by all means have a crack at Dino Crisis.


Verdict: More Barney the Dinosaur than Jurassic Park.

In the next gripping installment? Why it’s a double header! F1 Racing Championship and Spec Ops: Omega Squad. I can almost feel the testosterone welling up inside me. Fast cars AND guns? Lock and load, people – Lock and Load.


NebachadnezzaR said...

Not Dino Crisis biggest fan, eh? I, for once, love it. Really. It's Resident Evil with dinosaurs, and I fucking love dinosaurs!

My only complaint is that the sequel was never ported to the Dreamcast, for it is a truly awesome game. In fact, I think that it was the only game I've beaten twice in a row in my whole life as a gamer.

BTW, Spec Ops sucks...

Caleb said...

I played the original Dino Crisis and the Dreamcast one and I was disapointed they didn't enhance it more. It does have some cool VMU logos and such.

Resident Evil 2 had sharper backgrounds and looks much better on the Dreamcast.

And it is a shame they didn't remake Dino Crisis 2. It pushed the PS1 to the limit. That was an awesome looking game that I was stupid enough to let go after I beat it.

Caleb said...

Muhahaah! Hey Gagaman(n) they just mentioned you over at the Escapist website on one of their main articles!

They called you a "Dreamcast Dork".

Muhahahahaha! A guy writing about the "Wii Fit" calling someone else a dork?

It's a shame they didn't use my video as well. They just showed that Japanese kid's video who didn't even use the movement stick to play.

Unknown said...

I can hardly remember playing it much... I know I never finished it.
Was it the first or second one that you had some kind of jet pack..?

RE:CV I did finish and thought it was great... It was quite the upgrade in looks from playing RE2 on my PS1.

Tom Charnock said...

I've tried to finish Code Veronica twice, but on both attempts I got my ass kicked in the back of the plane at the end of disk one. Bah...

Tom Charnock said...

And Caleb's right about those Escapist dudes calling you a 'dork,' GM! Lol

Caleb said...

Hey TL that fight is like the hardest one in the game.

You can always "Cheat" and use all three of the BOW gas rounds on the Tyrant before you hit the luggage catapult. It's the easiest way to beat that pert without cheating.

fatherkrishna said...

I remember almost crying with rage and frustration at that part of RECV, got past it though and played right up to the dying moments of the game and then gave up on it. It still remains one of my top ten DC games though...

Dino Crisis... I'll have to check it out!