Quick Review – Dino Crisis

I just got back from a two-day vacation at the beach, and guess what I did for seven hours of that time? I played Dino Crisis. I brought my PSP along and played through the entire game on a little 4.3-inch screen. And now I’m going to tell you about it, because that’s what I do here.

Dino Crisis is like a more intelligent Resident Evil. I also like to describe it as “that scene in Jurassic Park when Laura Dern goes down in the service tunnel to get the power back on, except over… and over… and over again.” It’s a good analogy for the amount of puzzles in the game, but… you really do spend a lot of time trying to get power back on.

Dino Crisis is less about gunning down a bunch of dinosaurs, and more about solving puzzles. Many, many puzzles that get increasingly difficult and require item collecting, number and pattern memorization, and back-tracking, and the game rarely tells you what to do next. You run across a book that contains a number, but the game doesn’t exactly tell you where or when you have to use that number. Or you find a key that has a number on it, and several computers in several rooms that require several numbers and keys, but your key and number may not go to any of them. Plus, there is no “data” section in your inventory with copies of files you’ve collected like in Resident Evil. So, you just have to remember everything and use context clues and process of elimination, which in the end makes you feel quite smart. And that is extremely rewarding.

Games like Dino Crisis NEED to be remembered, especially in this generation of increasingly “dumbed-down” games. If Dino Crisis were made today, it would either have less puzzles and more shooting, or puzzles that would simply be, “Hey, here’s a number written on this paper on a desk right in the middle of the room. Go use it on that safe over there and get the next plot device so you can hurry up and beat this game and buy the sequel.” Dino Crisis might still be fairly short, but it really makes you work for one of its three endings. I can’t remember how many times I was totally stumped on a puzzle, so I took a look at a guide and couldn’t help but smile while smacking myself in the forehead at how ingeniously subtle the developers were in hiding clues and puzzle elements. I might expect that from a game like Myst or some other point-and-click, but then, I suppose survival horror came out of the point-and-click generation. Maybe the apparent evolution of the Resident Evil series could be likened to the evolution of point-and-click games branching into other genres and becoming more action oriented by directly controlling the character. Even the Dino Crisis series started shifting more towards the action genre before it died.

The dialogue in the game is typical Japanese fare, with wooden voice acting and sometimes slightly hilarious translations. The cheesy jokes were amusing, like Rick commenting “it’s just like that movie” (referring to Jurassic Park), and asking Regina if the dinosaur she saw was Barney. The story is also typical of other Japanese media, with talks about what the government is doing behind closed doors and people getting political asylum. I don’t know why, but Japanese games and anime almost always have to have someone getting political asylum.

Dino Crisis was an overall enjoyable experience, though I remember liking the second one much better, which I played years ago (at the time I played it, DC1 wasn’t available). However, Dino Crisis has a certain charm about it that reminds me of the first Resident Evil. Definitely a cult classic, and I really wish they would make a fourth one. Sadly, as of now, Capcom has no plans for a fourth entry, and the last time the series was even officially mentioned was in 2010 during an interview with Christian Svensson, in which he basically said the franchise is outdated. I suppose it is true that zombies are more popular right now than dinosaurs, which is why we haven’t seen another Jurassic Park or really any other dino-related media recently. There was Orion: Dino Beatdown, but that was poorly executed and didn’t do too well. That said, I think Capcom could pull off Dino Crisis 4 as a launch title for the next gen systems. With the right marketing and making sure to take advantage of the latest technology, it could work.

Also, I love this. Best ending reward ever.


By the way, none of the images in this post are mine. All were retrieved from Google Images, as I couldn’t take screenshots on the PSP.


~ by The Retro Gamer on July 31, 2012.

6 Responses to “Quick Review – Dino Crisis”

  1. I share your love for this game~~ I still remember watching my brother play it when I was younger, [he never let me play :(] but I’ve played it many times since then and I can say it is really an awesome intellectual-puzzle-solving game and not just shoot bam bam die~ haha sorry for the long comment eih GREAT REVIEW!

  2. Reblogged this on Gigable – Tech Blog.

  3. Loved this game. Still have my Dreamcast copy somewhere… along with my Dreamcast and Resident Evil games. Damn my messy flat! 😦

  4. Reblogged this on The Life of Decci.

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