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(NOTICE: this review is long and detailed as hell)
OK, the virgin is coming through!! Make a way!! What, not like that! You pervert. What I was trying to say, before you interrupted me, that I haven’t played this game before. I have seen it a little bit back in the day but that doesn’t count. Our controllers didn’t touch.
I do remember this game of being ultimately (back then) scary and there would be jump scares here and there. And if someone don’t know what this game is about, it is a lovely story of a massive laboratory and testing area where is, somehow, dinosaurs and now they are roaming free killing anyone in their way!! So, a special force team is sent to the very location and they need to figure out what to do.
First of all I need to say about my PlayStation, I haven’t played it in ages and plugging it to an old style TV with my other consoles I was excited when the familiar tune of PlayStation’s starting screen started to play. More excited about I was of how many games I need to revisit and experience again. Oh, man, there are lot and many to be bought.
The starting screen of Dino Crisis, ディノクライシス [Dino Kuraishisu] is very simple, very Resident Evil —like and if no—one doesn’t know this either that this game is work of Shinji Mikami and game company Capcom. A man behind original Resident Evil, バイオハザード[Baiohazādo] (1996), resident evil 4, バイオハザード４ [Baiohazādo Fō] (2005) and The Evil Within, Psychobreak サイコブレイク [Saikobureiku] (2014). Titles that were game changers, especially resident evil 4 (I have no idea why its name is written with non—capitals). Back in the day it was one of the praised games out there. Anywhere you looked resident evil 4 was at least 9.5/10 minimum.
So there you have it. A little bit of history of gaming. If you know these titles, you know what I’m talking about. But looking back in the time Dino Crisis was very well and very poorly taken. The space between review scores was wider than space between Earth and Moon. I can see why that is since lot of reviewers and gamers were divided not just because the basic similiarity between Resident Evil —games but the story as well.
(Some of these photos are in 6k. Yes. 6k photos of an old CTR TV. Makes sense)
When the game loaded it asks me a crucial question: NORMAL or EASY?
I have no words. I don’t know. Older games tend to be much more difficult than today’s so I went for EASY. Not simply because I always do when it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m at bar leaving after it’s getting closed and I desperately need someone to bring home with me. No, but I just didn’t want to burn my nerves if the game went super HARD (NORMAL) somewhere in the middle of the story. So EASY it was. (I would’ve chosen EASMAL if there was any.)
The game starts with a team coming in a chopper to an island. In the island there is a huge research facility and the team notices immediately that something is wrong. Their objective is Dr. Kirk who has been thought of being dead but it have come to in—lightment that he is in this very facility doing his experiments. The team went on and quickly you are attacked by a flesh greed dinosaurs.
The game couldn’t begin more lovely way. It’s a perfect cocktail for you to take when entering a party. The game seems dark but vibrant and it got certain kind of touch that is recognizable and I quickly found out what it is. As of Shinji Mikami’s game this is and Capcom as the studio this is very much like Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 and 3 —games. All the character models and movements and even little sound effects are, I am claiming, straight copy paste from Resident Evil folder on their development computer to Dino Crisis folder.
Wow, don’t know what to say but that is what I immediately thought and it changed my positive first impression to kinda bad one :/ talking about turn off.
(Yeah, I’m also watching the pixels like waah?!)
Are these dinos animals tested before produced? — A Millenial
My, my… I somehow knew or I knew, since I have seen this gameplay before, that this game is to be played with, famous and infamous, tank controls that maybe drove half of the gamers to insanity back in the day. For me, personally, I like the controls, actually. I have used to it from early Tomb Raider and Resident Evil —games. And to be honest I think it did suite the Resident Evil —games, at least, since the game had fixed camera angles. And this game is from the same makers so you can be prepared the sameness of these two.
If someone doesn’t know what this “tank controls” is, it’s kinda hard to explain. I can’t, simply CAN’T, see any AAA—studio to use this control scheme ever again. Maybe some small indie developer might use it, though.
The controls are like a tank; you need to press up key on your controller to move forward and if you wanna turn you press left or right button and the character turns his/her fat ass, but usually very slowly. And then you need to press up again to move to the new chosen direction. This also works in a “flow”—like manner when you move the character forward you can push the turning button and forward button same time and the character runs in a smooth motion. But for newcomers it might be very extremely weird and confusing, when the fixed camera angle quickly changes, which button moves to left and which is to right and you easily see yourself to turn around and run back where you came from and possibly to your inevitable death — if you were running away from something.
So the controls are outdated as fuck but so is this game as a whole. Dino Crisis came out shortly after first two — three Resident Evil —titles in 1999. This game is close to the PlayStation 2 era which fixed a lot of things in console gaming (pardon me if I sometimes use “gaming” as a whole. What I truly mean is “console gaming”) and more.
I have hard time to decide would some 13—year—old gamer like, hate or even manage to master the control scheme of Dino Crisis? I really do not know so I have to go on with my intuition and common sense for that. What I think is that teens now days wouldn’t play this kind of controls since it’s so far out there for them to reach.
But to my kinds of depressed, forever alone, overweight 30—year—old nerds, this is familiar to play with. Trust ‘n’ believe.
Regina can also do other things than run around like a tank. She can shoot with different kinds of weapon such as handgun, shotgun and grenade launcher. She also collects key items such like keycards and other objects in need.
There is one thing that struck me. Regina could also aim and walk at the same time. What the F—word? This luxurity was long wanted addition to the Resident Evil —series that came only from Resident Evil 6, バイオハザード6 [Baiohazādo Shikkusu] on in the year of 2012. 13—years apart. I honestly don’t understand logic behind that.
Story like Jurassic Park
I can see many Jurassic Park—isms in this game. The T—Rex putting its head inside from the window and eating you alive or there is some suspicious sound coming from… somewhere and you’ll go to investigate and a dino jumps at you. There is many movie—like isms and scenes like that. But what comes to the story it is very basic at the beginning and it turns very interesting towards the end. Everything isn’t as simple it seems and be prepared for plot twists. Muhahahaa!!
The story tells of a team (what a surprise) that is sent to a disclosed location (if I remember correctly it was an island) to investigate the happenings of the huge laboratory and research area. Their main mission is to apprehend Dr. Kirk. Soon they found out the place is filled with roaming flesh eating dinosaurs that is to get you, if you don’t run. And the team finds almost everyone dead inside and outside of this place (the game is very gore of this matter. Everywhere is lying pieces of human body or torso or whatever. It is kinda disgusting).
As they want to search the whole research area they need to do things to get past the tight security systems. So, as a player you need to do this and that to open the next door to go onwards.
What I found kinda boring of this story was how similiar it is to the Resident Evil —game. At the first glance the story is basically identical but in a place of a zombie is a dinosaur and in a place of the mansion is the research area. If you have played Resident Evil —game you can imagine how this game is. I kinda felt offended as a gamer that this is just copy pasted from Resident Evil —folder to the Dino Crisis —folder. But towards the end the story changes very drastically and it doesn’t seem to be in the “Resident Evil” category any longer.
I have a secret to tell you. Come closer. Closer. Now listen; I PLAYED THIS WITH A MONO SPEAKER!!!
I surely did since my tiny little bit TV doesn’t have a stereo speakers. I changed the audio settings to Mono, too. I wanted to test the stereo audio so I needed to plug it in with my headphones. I did dug up all the old wires from my closet and found the right plugs and wires to set up my ultimate experience: a PlayStation game on CTR TV with stereo headphones on. Futuristic!!
The headphone—thingy worked well but it had a big downside; the audio was very quiet. It’s due the lack of an amplifier between the console and the headphones. I don’t own one so I had to turn all the audio settings high but it only helped a bit.
Even though that happened I could hear enough to make my judgement. The audio overall is 7/10. The differences between sound effects, background music, voice acting is very noticeable. Usually the sound effects were very low in quality of Kbps and old—school—like. But other than that it’s not bad to ears but you do need an amplifier or something to deal with the basic low input of the audio.
The background music is very Resident Evil—esque. The memorable tunes and sometimes scary undertone makes the gameplay more frightening and when a jump scare comes or a cutscene has dramatical scene ongoing the music goes to Full Drama Mode. It’s all good.
What I must say specifically about some of the audio effects itself, for an example, the sound of your character’s footsteps. It sounds like she is running with 6—inch red pumps or something. The same kind of “high heel sound” —theme was in the older Resident Evil —games, too. I just found it funny.
Other noticeable matter is the volume level of the sound effects or when scene changes. When something happens (e.g. a dino attacks through the wall) the volume jumps to so loud that even my neighbours jumped. I wanted to hear what the characters are talking so I turned up the volume but forgot it too high and then all hell broke loose when something happened in the game. And this was when using TV’s speaker, that is.
Even though it was 1999, this is PlayStation —release. The graphics are very much the same as they were in 1996. But not quite!! I can see some improvements in details and shadows. I like the dark and shadowy surroundings and you never know what is waiting for you around the corner… or in the next fixed camera angle, that is.
I have a very small… CTR TV, that is, and the graphics are tawn down greatly because of that. The smaller the resolution or image quality is and the smaller the TV is the game looks even better. It’s basic technology. So with my conditions the Dino Crisis looked fairly good. The edges weren’t so raspy and everything overall was readable and it’s important in games. Especially older ones where the graphical limitations were huge deal and one downside of console gaming.
One thing that bothered the shit out of me was the interface of the inventory. It was super difficult to maneuver and the text was very awful. It was like a screenshot taken from a text and then squashed to smaller size so the text gets almost unreadable. It’s the details that counts as well and this is something that player is using all the time so why not make it the best way possible?
Some things about this topic I already said above. Such as the tank movement. What I want to talk about in this section is the gameplay overall; the cutscenes, performance, and how the game is played.
You play as a character named Regina, who is one of the team members of the group who was sent to the scenery of the facilities. As a starting point she has a handgun (I played on EASY, since I learned my lesson long ago that older games tend to be much difficult. There is couple reasons to it; no auto—saving, bad controls, graphical limitations and not clear enough what to do. Those were the most of the problems of the older games since they were very much like “I tell you this only once you shall listen very carefully” and then the character talks so quietly that you can’t hear it and there went your only hope of knowledge what to do next. And also mostly lack of subtitles.)
It’s about the performance and optimizing that I want to dig into next. The game runs smoothly and when a dinosaur jumps out of no—where the game won’t lack. Mostly there is just couple NPCs on the screen at the same time with Regina so the game won’t get overcrowded. That is very likely intentional and it’s part of the optimizing the game. I recognized that immediately.
As a performance—wise Dino Crisis looks nice and the power the PlayStation holds I think this is the best it can do. The areas are relatively small and there surely is those very famous loading screens everytime you go through a door. But it loads very fast so no worries there.
You will also come to across puzzles which usually includes doing something moving or arranging things or finding a right part to some machine. I didn’t find the puzzles to be super difficult but some of them were technically weird and I misunderstood couple things because of it.
Sometimes the game makes you choose an option from two. You have to make a decision what to do next strategically; do you do this or that or follow person A or B. I didn’t play the game 10 times and tried all the different variations what would happen. I don’t know is there multiple different endings or multiple variations of the endings like the early Resident Evil —games have.
(UPDATE: Quickly googling I found there is at least one secret ending.)
The camera isn’t completely fixed. It sometimes moves along the player but still it is fixed for me. There is no controlling the camera at all and many would think this is super restricting but in these kinds of older games the fixed is fine if included with the tank movement. Many doesn’t realize that this is the most pleasant way to enjoy these kind games. (Let say you could move “freely”; it wouldn’t work since you would instantly run backwards or different direction as the camera angle changes. I have played with these kinds of controls before and it’s super annoying. At least with the tank movement the character is moving constantly forward as intended.)
There are item boxes, but they are little bit different than item boxes from Resident Evil —games. These ones have different colours in them that indicates what the box contains for you to have and opening each box uses plugs. Green, yellow and red is the colours of the boxes and they either have healing, mixing or ammo related things. The boxes are connected to each other with some mysterious magical way that lets you teleport items between them thorough the game (such as do the item boxed in Resident Evil —games.)
What I have to say about the items and key items of this piece? Well there is million types of keys, cards, chips, disks. Usually one locked door takes two different keys and a password until opened. #toomuch
You have map in your inventory but it has to be one of the worst I’ve seen, ever. It will indicate which room you are in but it doesn’t show your pointing direction or you at the map at all. So it’s half useless and it took time for me to position myself to the map and sometimes I needed to exit other doors to find out only to where I’m GONNA BE in the map when moving on. It’s super weird, annoying and totally last season.
As I said above about “mixing”, you need to mix things in Dino Crisis. You can mix to create poison darts or healing items and there are different kinds of formulas to be mixed for you to heal yourself.
In this game there is no health meter. The meter is in your perception as of you need to think when Regina needs healing item as when her walking gets difficult or she is bleeding. It makes the gameplay a bit more exciting.
The only difficulty would be riding on a T—Rex
I played this on EASY (out of only other option of NORMAL) and I think it was easy all along. Now thinking that maybe I should’ve played this in NORMAL —mode instead since it didn’t seemed to be that overly difficult. It was more difficult to try to understand what the hell to do next, where to go, which objects to use and where and when, for Christ’ sake, and usually I just ended up trying every object to everything and running towards the scenery pressing X repeatedly. That what was difficult in this piece. I can also blame myself since I played this on my mini TV that has a single mono speaker so until I started to play it with headphones I heard more easily what the NPC’s said and asked me to do (even though the audio was quiet.)
One thing that was difficult was to memorize all the passwords, codes and numbers since Regina didn’t collect any of them with her. She could only read them where ever the paper or memo was. That made the gameplay more difficult and I tried to take notes of everything (usually number combinations) and my memos looked pretty much like this:
I would say this game is no difficult at all. It’s more technical. It’s like the one friend you got who has to correct and analyze everything you say: “Oh no. It is not a peanut. It is Arachis hypogaea.”
And you just roll your eyes.
The last dinosa… well they all died in the end
I love this game even though it’s almost an exact copy of the original Resident Evil —title, but with dinosaurs. The dark and gloomy theme is gorgeous and graphics are good if you play it with small CTR TV. I am sure this game would look horrible on 65″ flat LED TV with SCART connection in. No. Please, don’t do that to your eyes!!
I think you can find Dino Crisis with any PlayStation console that has access to PS Store. (Well, I don’t know if this is in PS Store, PS Now, or where ever, but I would like to believe so. And If I have to remind you this review is the original game and it basically have nothing to do with digitalized versions since they look completely different due the technical differences. The game itself is the same, but the way it is “processed” is different. If someone didn’t know.)
(UPDATE: I couldn’t find Dino Crisis on PS Store. I have no idea where you can play this other than the original.)
So do play this title, with what ever console you have access to it, if you like killing innocent dinosaurs that want just to kill and eat flesh. You monster!!
Dino Crisis is really exciting experience. It’s not as scary and horroring and disgusting as games today but it has its own charm and scare—factor. I wish I would’ve played this sooner since it seems to be big part of Shijni Mikami’s work and I like how much food he can put on a small plate.
As of being just barely nearly 20—year—old release Dino Crisis feels farely good. It has its flaws and it could’ve been even better just adjusting a little things. But 20—years—ago no—one saw to fix these kind of little tweaks that are today’s norm of not—to—do in any video game. But those days were rough for video game makers since the tools were at least ten times more primitive as they are today. It seems little tweaks were left as is, best not to fuck up the whole project because of the few little things which nobody would ever even care to notice of (until this review).
As a price—wise I bought this gem from 25€ and it was pretty much the price I was expecting to pay. I really don’t know the true price range of this and it also depends of the condition they are in. Mine is almost like a new without some wear and tears on the cover. What I got with that price was much more what I can have some new AAA —title today. Even if the price would be exact same Dino Crisis doesn’t come with microtransactions or paid DLCs or half done and the rest half is coming after 6 months from release as an update. No—oh! Even though Dino Crisis has little flaws it is million times more money worthy than most of the new titles out there.
But seriously though, Dino Crisis is a great game and it’s a piece of gaming history. It’s part of Capcom and the Resident Evil —gang. They are now hanging around in a senior home and thinking all the great times that they were part of some long time ago and how they helped to create the gaming as it is today.
Yes, they are actually doing that. I asked from them.
I like the dark and shadowy surroundings and you
never know what is waiting for you around the corner…
or in the next fixed camera angle, that is.
Creator: Shinji Mikami