Dino Crisis Review

For PlayStation

By Contributing Writer Rob Pecknold

Rating: Average
   Given that it's a survival horror game from the same development team 
that created Resident Evil, I had high hopes for Dino Crisis, but it came 
up short in nearly every area.
   Let's start with the story:  You are Regina (no last name given).  You 
work for a government agency (no name given) who has sent you to infiltrate 
Ibis Island (whose name was only told in the ending, as far as I can 
recall).  Gail and Rick (no last names that I heard) are your teammates on 
the mission, which is to infiltrate the island, find Dr. Kirk (a scientist 
who was presumably dead but has supposedly resurfaced on the island), and 
get him back to your home country (again, no name given, but let's say it's 
Bangladesh).  This sounds more like the preliminary outline of a story 
rather than the final draft.  The fact that there are almost no plot twists 
in the game just adds to the incomplete quality of the story, and what 
story content the game does have isn't that interesting.
   I'm one of the many people who enjoyed Resident Evil's hilariously bad 
voice acting, so I'm sad to say that the voice acting in Dino Crisis is 
actually quite good.  However, it is funny how Regina constantly shrugs her 
shoulders during dialogue for no reason when saying everything from "That's 
disgusting!" to "Let's get outta here!"
   Dino Crisis' control is fairly bad.  While the 180-degree turn is a very 
welcome addition, I found that I didn't use it very often and instead used 
the directional pad to manually turn.  This is due to the fact that I'm 
used to turning that way in survival horror games, and it seems to take the 
game longer than it should to make you turn 180 degrees after you press the 
button.  It would be much more intuitive if you could just back up and 
press square to turn around like you can in the Resident Evil 3: Nemesis 
demo included with Dino Crisis.
   Dino Crisis has mostly basic sound effects, including some weak dino 
roars that sound more like a giraffe dying than a fear-inducing roar out of 
a giant, dangerous beast.  Again, the voice acting is good, with Gail 
having the best voice acting of the three main characters (Regina's voice 
is a bit too "Saved by the Bell" for me).  
   I gave Dino Crisis an "Average" rating instead of a "Crappy," so there 
must be some redeeming qualities, right?  Well, the graphics engine makes 
the game look great, and it's much better than Silent Hill's engine (even 
though Silent Hill is a much better game overall).  Unlike Silent Hill, 
there is almost no fog to be seen anywhere in Dino Crisis.  The dinosaurs 
are admittedly very beautiful.  The raptors really look and move like 
raptors, and the T-Rex really looks and moves like a T-Rex.  It even has 
moving eyes.  
   While the T-Rex looks good, it isn't as impressive as the T-Rexaur 
monster found in Final Fantasy 8.  Considering that FF8 has hundreds of 
monsters and Dino Crisis has around four, it's sad that Square can do a 
better job rendering a minor enemy than Capcom can do rendering the last 
boss in their entire game.  I've heard from several different places that 
Dino Crisis' dinosaur animations are supposedly awesome, but I didn't think 
they were that impressive.  FF8's T-Rexaur death animation is better than 
any animation I saw in Dino Crisis.   
   I don't know what game a certain Imagine magazine was playing when they 
called Dino Crisis "the most frightening game of the year," but it sure as 
hell wasn't the same game that I beat in one sitting while never being 
truly scared once.  A big part of the reason the game isn't scary is 
because it's so easy.  I don't mean easy in the "easy puzzles" sort of way,
as many of the game's puzzles are well thought out and fit in nicely with 
the story line.  Dino Crisis is easy in the sense that a wounded, heavily 
bleeding, limping, 110-pound woman can easily out-run a giant, 65 million 
year old beast with a desire for human flesh.  The only dinosaur that ever 
killed me throughout the entire game was the T-Rex and its cheap, one-hit 
   The T-Rex sequences are the worst-designed sections in any Capcom game 
I've ever played.  I ran around in one section with a T-Rex chasing me on a 
balcony for what seemed like an hour trying as I tried to avoid the dino, 
use the turn move to escape from it, and basically play in vain until I 
found out how to beat it.  It turned out that the solution was to back into
the wall where it can't bite you.  No skill whatsoever.  Just back into the 
wall and stand there.  If that's not bad game design, I don't know what is.
   Dino Crisis is one of the most disappointing games I've played all year.  
Don't buy it unless you enjoy wasting $40 of your hard-earned money.

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