- Developer: Capcom, Nex Entertainment, Capcom Production Studio 4
- Publisher: Capcom, Virgin Interactive
- Platforms: Playstation, Playstation 3, Playstation Portable, Microsoft Windows
- Release Date: 1st July 1999
With last years reboot of the Jurassic park franchise it got me thinking about what dinosaur related games I used to play. The Jurassic park games of the 16 bit era were fair to middling, with the titular game being the usual platforming licensed games of the early to mid 90’s. We had to wait until 1999 when resident evil director Shinji Mikami developed the survival horror classic Dino Crisis.
The game is set in the futuristic year of 2009, a team of special operatives named Secret Operation Raid Team, or SORT for short, are dispatched to Ibis island to take the evil scientist Dr Edward Kirk (who was presumed dead) back into custody. You control stunning polygonal sexpot Regina, and on arrival at the island you discover, that it has been taken over by dinosaurs, and not the nice friendly triceratops kind, but the flesh eating carnivore raptors! Its up to you and your team to discover how and why this has happened and get off the island (hopefully with all your limbs intact).
The gameplay is similar to resident evil but has some key differences. Namely the rooms in resident evil had pre-rendered backgrounds whereas in Dino Crisis they are all real time generated 3D and was a technical marvel on the PS1. The enemies also follow you from room to room, and in a nod to Jurassic park the raptors can open doors! Shinji liked to describe the game not as survival horror but as panic horror due to quick movements of the dinosaurs and random events occurring involving the giant T-REX. Other than the technical difference the game does play like your typical survival horror fare such as reading diaries of previous employees and solving puzzles.
Which brings me onto one of the negatives about this game, the puzzles. Towards the back end of the game I found the game relied on them too much and these rooms usually meant no dinosaurs which was slightly disappointing. Also, even though the game was a technical achievement for the ps1 you could still see the machine straining to the point that you could predict that the rooms with the most stuff going on in them e.g. an x-ray machine, that there would be no dinosaurs to fight as good ol’ PS1 just couldn’t cope.
Other than that the game was a great experience and in some ways my 16 year old self preferred this to resident evil. The game was ported to Dreamcast and windows but in all honesty there’s not much difference between all the ports. Dino Crisis was a huge hit on release and is currently Capcom’s 18th best selling game of all time- not bad to say they release a street fighter every 5 minutes. It also spawned two sequels the action orientated Dino Crisis 2, which added combo building and basically unlimited ammo into the mix, and the obligatory Dino Crisis in space with number 3. Both these sequels have there plus points and negative points but for me it will always be the first and original game that I would always come back to, If you’ve never played it give it a go. I just hope one day they reboot it instead of releasing lacklustre resident evil sequels every few years and with the success of Jurassic World now is a better time than ever.