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Dino Crisis

ディノクライシス

Developer / Publisher: Capcom
01 July 1999
Dino Crisis [ディノクライシス] - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.41 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
232 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#1,570 All-time
#70 for 1999
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In collection Want to buy Used to own  
1999 Capcom  
CD-ROM
JP 4 976219 355681 SLPS 02180
1999 Capcom  
CD-ROM
XNA 0 13388 21054 1 SLUS-00922
CD-ROM
IT 5 028587 082528 SLES-02210
Show all 7 releases
2000 Nextech Capcom  
Disc
XNA 0 13388 25018 9
2000 Capcom  
CD-ROM
XNA 0 13388 31027 2
ディノクライシス PlayStation the Best
2003 Capcom  
CD-ROM
JP 4 976219 554985 SLPM-86903
Dino Crisis PS One Classic
2009 Capcom SCE  
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Title
(Preface: this review will make many, many comparisons to the original Resident Evil. I do not think this is unfair. They are both survival horror games directed by Shinji Mikami. I think these comparisons are necessary to understand the ways in which Dino Crisis sets itself apart from Resident Evil. I also think they are necessary to illustrate why Dino Crisis is so, so much worse than Resident Evil.)

In 1996, Capcom's Resident Evil defined the survival horror genre as we know it now. Building on Alone in the Dark's blend of graphic adventure exploration and puzzle solving with light combat and resource management, Resident Evil put players in a mansion filled with zombies, locked doors, and highly limited resources that had to be managed in a low-capacity inventory. I still think it holds up really well (as long as you play a version with auto-aim enabled, such as the Director's Cut or the Japanese release) as one of the PlayStation's essential releases. Its director, Shinji Mikami, would spend the rest of the fifth console generation with a more managerial relationship to the Resident Evil franchise. This was because he was hard at work directing his next survival horror IP: Dino Crisis.

Despite being billed by Mikami as "panic horror" rather than "survival horror," Dino Crisis is directly built from the framework set by Resident Evil: you use genre-staple tank controls to explore a large facility (in this case, an island research facility rather than a mansion), unlock doors, solve puzzles, fight or avoid dangerous enemies, and scavenge for a finite pool of resources. However, many of these core ideas are tweaked in ways that are, at the very least, interesting on paper. However, none of it coalesces into a game that's nearly as good as Mikami's previous survival horror opus.

The most immediate thing differentiating Dino Crisis from Resident Evil is right there in the name: the enemies you will be facing are all dinosaurs. They are big, loud, rude, aggressive, fast, and not even the slightest bit threatening since the game's very wide hallways make it far too easy to just run around them. However, many of this game's design decisions were made around the idea that these dinosaurs would be a pants-shitting terror. They can break through doors and follow you from room to room. You can grapple up into the ceiling's ventilation shafts to move between parts of the facility undetected. Many hallways in the facility have laser-operated shutters you can enable to block off sectors, rendering them inaccessible not only to the dinosaurs, but also to you until you turn them back off. Since dinosaurs are understandably able to shrug off large quantities of bullets and shotgun shells, you can instead opt to use tranquilizer rounds which kick in immediately, but only put them to sleep temporarily. If you get hit, you might start bleeding, which can attract dinosaurs to your location until you use a Hemostat to stop the bleeding. All of these ideas are very cool, and would make for a lot of fascinating and crucial decision-making if the dinosaurs were actually a threat to the player. Including the final boss fight, I fired a weapon at fewer than ten dinosaurs in my entire run of the game. By contrast, RE really did make me make tough decisions. Certain hallways would be so narrow and so cramped with zombies that I felt like I had to spend the ammo just to keep myself safe in the long run.

Resource management is also overhauled. Dino Crisis still gives you a limited number of inventory slots, but you're given more breathing room than in RE. Key items and weapons do not take inventory space. Instead, the inventory is reserved for ammunition, healing items, and mixing aids, which you use on ammo and healing items to make better Med Paks or stronger tranquilizer rounds. In addition, most items can be stacked within a slot. For example, Med Paks can be stacked up to three per inventory slot. The stacking allowed me to go through most of the game with nearly a dozen maximum-strength Med Paks on me at all times, which really diminished the tension, even though I deliberately carried only small amounts of ammo with me to save room. Speaking of "save room," saving is not tied to an expendable resource. You can save as many times as you want without penalty. Opening this game's equivalent to RE's item boxes, however, is. Instead of item boxes, Dino Crisis has emergency boxes, which have to be unlocked with key items called Plugs. The upside to emergency boxes is that they will always be pre-filled with supplies for you to take, as well as room to drop off whatever you don't need. The downside is that they're much farther apart from each other than RE's item boxes, with several save rooms not even having any emergency boxes. To complicate matters further, emergency boxes are color-coded: green boxes have medical supplies, red boxes have munitions, and yellow boxes have a mix of both. Boxes with higher-value supplies in them will take multiple plugs to open. I didn't hate the emergency box system, but they did come across as an attempt to fix something that wasn't broken. If anything, I spent most of my playthrough without thinking too hard about them, as the action and survival elements were so easy I never felt the need to make difficult decisions about what supplies to take with me.

Offsetting the complete lack of challenge with regards to combat or resource management is a greatly increased focus on puzzle-solving. Unfortunately, while they are higher-effort than the simple key hunts of Resident Evil, these puzzles tend to be slogs of the worst kind: push boxes, operate cranes, connect pipes, etc. They're less like brain teasers and more like chores begging to be brute-forced. The main exception is the recurring DDK puzzles. Several doors are locked behind a pair of disks called DDK disks, both of which need to be found and used on the corresponding door. When both disks are set, you then need to complete a puzzle in which you decipher a code using a mess of text from the first disk and a vague hint from the second. The actual meanings of these hints are found in files around the game world. While they tend to be near DDK doors, it is completely unacceptable that files you read in the world are not recorded to a file menu like in Resident Evil. If you didn't write the necessary info down yourself, you'll need to backtrack to find the file with the info you're looking for. That said, the DDK cipher puzzles are by far the most interesting of the bunch.

Actually finding these DDK disks, however, highlights what might be Dino Crisis's biggest failing relative to its older sibling game: its level design, and with it, its employment of key items. Resident Evil's Spencer estate was filled with locked doors coded with engravings of a sword, shield, helmet, or suit of armor. When you found a corresponding key, you basically found your next objective: go explore those doors you passed that were previously locked. These keys were exciting to find, because you always knew you had several new places to explore. You'd often find shortcuts and ways to loop back around into safe areas. Dino Crisis's Ibis Island facility does have hints of RE's looping level design, with a small share of rewarding and satisfying shortcuts to open up, However, key items in this game are all built for a single door, and the DDK doors require that you find two keys. This lessens the excitement that comes with finding key items, as you already know you have exactly one destination at all times. In addition, your route through the facility doesn't flow as naturally as the ideal route through the Spencer estate, with backtracking handled far worse than in RE. To make matters worse, the sterile silver corridors of the facility, while thematically appropriate, completely lack atmosphere.

If Resident Evil is Doom, then Dino Crisis is Hexen: a tedious slog built on an incredible template, whose attempts to shake up genre conventions are admirable at best and very annoying at worst. I don't want to call it a bad game, since it's mechanically totally solid and has a wealth of original ideas, but I can't recommend it to anyone other than the most curious Resident Evil fans.
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I really wanted to enjoy this game as much as a longtime fan of Resident Evil.
Its opening hour does an excellent job at preparing you for survival horror. Unfortunately the game ends up being a series of running through drab environments engaging in busywork puzzles accompanied by poorly translated notes.

I'll start with the good:
Regina is a great character and I genuinely wanted to know her and the rest of the crew beyond the story that failed to interest me.
Dinosaur encounters are tense and the survival horror starts off great. The idea of dinosaurs stalking you while having to sneak through vents and use laser shutters to stop them from coming at you is inspired and left me excited for the rest of the game.
The music is unique (iconic save room theme) and the camera stye is great. If you liked what Code Veronica for its camera you will appreciate this too.
Lastly, the inventory system is superior to RE... in theory. I found too many moments where I was with a full inventory and had to use items, which didn't even matter because I found the game easy enough that I rarely used the plugs, items that act as keys for emergency/supply boxes, and still had more than enough materials to get through the game.

I went into Dino Crisis expecting more dinosaur shooting and less puzzles/exploration than RE, but it actually offers the opposite by a wide margin. This isn't a bad thing, but save for a few exceptions, the puzzles are either flat out bad or just feel like uninspired busy-work elongating a very short game that becomes extremely easy after the first hour. I died a couple times in the beginning getting used to the mechanics, but after that I saw the game over screen only once, which isn't a bad thing. I wasn't looking to be punished, but that feeling of tension within the first hour disappears fast. Additionally, some of the notes which are intended to explain the puzzles are poorly translated and difficult to follow.

It doesn't help that all this busy-work mostly takes place in these bland grey hallways and offices that have little differentiation. It would have been nice if the game had more outdoor sections and less grey labs, but perhaps Dino Crisis was too ambitious for the PS1 in this area, and especially in regards to Shinji Mikami's intentions of a more advanced dinosaur AI that was supposedly intended to act as more of a stalker enemy.

I wanted to love this game, but was left disappointed in hope that, despite my complaints, Capcom will return to this series and do it justice.
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Bengals 2022-03-20T02:43:09Z
2022-03-20T02:43:09Z
6.0
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This is another classic horror game put out by Capcom in the same vein as the Resident Evil series, except you are now facing dinosaurs. I can see why this doesn't get as much love, it was released as the same year as Resident Evil 3, which overshadowed this and was the better game, but this is still a solid survival game. The main problem with Dino Crisis though is some of the mechanics seem odd, like in RE you had a health meter, but in this I could never tell when I was near death. The other thing is the way weapons and ammo worked seemed a little confusing, but the design of the game isn't bad, the story is cheesy enough to be enjoyable, and it does get the survival horror spirit right. Yeah are there some forgettable and less memorable parts, yeah it has some odd design choices, and there are some frustrating moments, plus the game does drag at parts, but its still classic Capcom at a time where they could do not wrong. But I preferred the sequel a little more than this.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T20:02:07Z
2017-07-21T20:02:07Z
3.5
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Catalog

LilHooty ディノクライシス 2024-05-18T21:34:45Z
2024-05-18T21:34:45Z
5.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
fav
trashjunkie Dino Crisis 2024-05-15T19:23:17Z
PS1 • XNA
2024-05-15T19:23:17Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
yubay ディノクライシス 2024-05-14T08:01:15Z
2024-05-14T08:01:15Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
astridsild Dino Crisis 2024-04-28T21:03:18Z
Dreamcast • XNA
2024-04-28T21:03:18Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SauloCav ディノクライシス 2024-04-22T13:34:34Z
2024-04-22T13:34:34Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
marutoshin ディノクライシス 2024-04-01T17:25:58Z
2024-04-01T17:25:58Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Webbyhx ディノクライシス 2024-03-27T15:52:56Z
2024-03-27T15:52:56Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dotnds ディノクライシス 2024-03-22T19:57:21Z
2024-03-22T19:57:21Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Smooth1e ディノクライシス 2024-03-15T19:02:47Z
2024-03-15T19:02:47Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eliottstaten ディノクライシス 2024-03-15T05:07:06Z
2024-03-15T05:07:06Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
The1993 ディノクライシス 2024-03-12T20:08:58Z
2024-03-12T20:08:58Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
starvedrusalka ディノクライシス 2024-03-10T22:22:02Z
2024-03-10T22:22:02Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
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Single-player
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1x CD-ROM
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  • peebles_ 2018-01-26 19:47:00.222779+00
    much more puzzle/exploration orientated than the RE games, which works out surprisingly well. combined with the modern facility setting - all feels right. although backtracking is made slightly difficult due to the level design (although fantastic) being less memorable than the mansion, police station, or even raccoon city's streets. great ass game with some neat mechanics.
    reply
    • wayfaring 2018-05-19 14:17:17.198032+00
      it also has the best save room theme
    • hopeascendchaos 2018-10-22 18:19:24.596281+00
      it also has the best save room theme [2]
    • mcluskyism 2022-10-26 14:46:55.964027+00
      I'd say REmake has the best, but DC has a damned excellent theme.
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  • fade_away 2019-02-14 15:04:06.275963+00
    underrated here
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  • A_Latin_Guy 2019-07-23 04:45:19.690618+00
    The first half of the game is great but the second half is boring as fuck.
    reply
    • A_Latin_Guy 2020-11-22 22:36:17.721533+00
      On a second play I gotta say that I kinda misjudged it. It's not boring, just different from what classic RE got me used to. Good game.
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  • Azel 2021-11-12 00:26:45.236779+00
    Really deserves a full remake in the form of something like RE2. A lot of its ideas of stealth, sectioning off areas of the facility and enemies tracking your blood/damage; weren't fully able to be realized on PS1-level hardware. You can clean up the second half as well and perhaps give it more of a realized narrative purpose. The core components of a strong survival-action game are here.
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  • mcluskyism 2022-10-26 14:42:07.134816+00
    Two titles stand out ahead of the pack as most deserving of a full-fledged remake: Code Veronica and Dino Crisis.
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  • Banana_PD 2023-01-21 22:26:51.108725+00
    Fuck these raptors, I'm restarting this shit on Easy lmao
    reply
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