This week’s edition of Flashback Friday focuses on one of the unsung heroes of the PlayStation and Dreamcast, Dino Crisis!
Released in 1999 by Capcom and from the mind of Shinji Mikami, Dino Crisis was billed as Resident Evil with dinosaurs and on that front it certainly delivered. A suspense-filled action adventure that puts the player in the role of a protagonist named Regina.
As an agent of the Secret Operation Raid Team (conveniently abbreviated to SORT) Regina is sent to the island of Ibis (fictional) in the far future year of 2009. You’re there to investigate a worrying series of events at a shady research facility. You come across Dr Edward Kirk, a globally known scientist who the world thought was dead.
Kirk was, in reality heading up a secret weapons project based on the island. Tom is joined by four other SORT agent, Gail, Regina, Cooper and Rick, to acquire Kirk and evacuate him off the island.
During the aerial landing on the island, Agent Cooper is blown off course and touches down the jungle, miles away from the drop zone. Alone and disorientated Cooper is chased down by a bloody huge Tyrannosaurus rex and sadly eaten. Thus starts the Dino Crisis.
Drawing from the massive success of Resident Evil and the gameplay mechanics that drove it, Dino Crisis felt incredibly familiar from the moment you picked up the pad. The quiet, impending dread that slowly builds up to the first in-game dino encounter is an almost carbon copy of Resident Evil, and since Dinosaurs have never really been uncool the game was a success from the very start.
Dino Crisis used a real-time engine that produced 3D environments that were used for the game’s environment and was developed with the idea of having a “consistent visceral terror”. The dinosaurs were designed to be an actual threat to the player and the game had a sense of difficulty not just due to the clunky fixed camera but to the intelligence of the dinosaurs and their persistence in hunting you down.
The above scene with the T-Rex is a fond memory and was one of the blockbuster moments of the game of which the game had many.
Capcom attempted to market Dino Crisis as “panic horror” as opposed to “survival horror” due to these mechanics. The game turned out to be a commercial success, selling over 2 million copies on PlayStation ahead of the 2000 port to Dreamcast and PC. A 2006 re-release of PS Network followed and two Game Boy adaptions were canned.
Dino Crisis is remembered as a fantastic, suspenseful, challenging and genuinely scary in places game that maybe, just maybe deserves a reboot?