(Played on PlayStation 1. The game is also available on PC, sadly not Steam though.)
Dino Crisis 2 is the sequel to the successful 1999 survival horror game Dino Crisis which was developed by Capcom. Dino Crisis was a fantastic survival horror game, it added a level of tension that the Resident Evil games didn’t have. Zombies in Resident Evil are slow and lumbering whereas dinosaurs can are fast and relentless. Given that Dino Crisis was a great survival horror game you’d think Capcom would continue the series within the horror genre.
Dino Crisis 2 however ditches the survival horror atmosphere that was praised in its predecessor and opts for a more action-adventure style. Does the change in tone damage the game? No, not at all but we are left with a big question when it comes to the direction of the series.
Graphics are pretty good for the time and for the hardware the game is on. Sure there are PS1 games with better graphics but these are a definite improvement over the first game. Character models look nice, their faces are done better than the first game and there is subtle detail done to the attire of the main characters. The same goes for the dinosaurs, they look great and their level of detail has been improved.
The biggest visual change and one the biggest changes from the previous game, is the inclusion of pre-rendered backgrounds. The first Dino Crisis had 3D rendered backgrounds done with the in-game engine. Some might say that the move to pre-rendered backgrounds is a step back. I actually quite like pre-rendered backgrounds. There is something about them that is appealing, maybe they help with the sense of nostalgia. 3D or pre-rendered backgrounds, at the end of the day it’s down to preference.
Dino Crisis 2 ditches the slower survival horror gameplay in favour of a fast and action packed style. Gone are the times of going slow, solving puzzles and conserving ammo. In Dino Crisis 2 it is best to run and gun or stop, aim, shoot and carry on. When you leave each area you are given a score based on the amount of enemies you kill, the rate you kill them to keep the combo multiplier going and if you take damage or not. Dino Crisis 2 has a very strong arcade feel to it and it is very fun. You’ll get the urge to go back to an area just to beat your score or to get more Extinction Points. Extinction Points are obtained when you defeat enemies and when you leave an area. The points are used to get ammo, increase the ammo capacity for weapons or to buy new weapons, tools and health items.
The controls are pretty much the same as they were back in the first Dino Crisis but they are bit more refined which is expected. Both movement and gun-play are much smoother and faster than its predecessor and the Resident Evil games that released before this. The game has tank controls which are as you’d expect them to be. I personally have no problem when it comes to tank controls but I know that they aren’t for everyone.
In Dino Crisis 2 you play as two characters TRAT Lieutenant Dylan Morton and Regina, the main protagonist from the first game. Each character has different weapons and tools (a few are shared) but they pretty much play the same.
Dino Crisis 2 is a fairly easy game, there are only a couple of parts in the game that may present some difficulty. If it’s challenge and difficulty you want, then play the game on hard. Enemies are tougher and they deal a lot more damage. Because of the number of enemies on the screen you can easily get swarmed and get killed on hard. You have to be alert and your reflexes on point.
There are a couple of problems when it comes to the gameplay and that is the aiming, to be more specific aiming at pterodactyls. Sometimes when you aim at them it will either focus at another pterodactyl or not aim properly at the enemy. The problems happen when there are more than two pterodactyls on the screen. It doesn’t happen often but it is worth mentioning. There is a part in the latter half of the game where you drive a tank whilst a T-Rex is chasing you but the controls aren’t exactly brilliant. Moving the tank isn’t a problem until you go off the screen into the next area when suddenly, the controls will change due to the position of the fixed camera angle. Rotating the barrel is a simple press of either the left or right bumper but it can get frustrating when again, the camera turns suddenly because of the fixed camera angles. The controls here don’t ruin the game but they may test your patience.
Dino Crisis 2’s story starts off with your general introduction, introducing you the characters and setting. You play as TRAT Lieutenant Dylan Morton and intelligence operative Regina who was the main protagonist in the first Dino Crisis. You are transported to the future and into a world where dinosaurs roam the Earth, however things don’t go to plan. What turns out to be a simple but dangerous job turns into a fight for survival. The story isn’t that bad but it is short. It’s easy to follow and there are a couple of twists that will surprise people. Some may like the story, some may not, it really is down to preference but I quite like it and to me it is rather memorable.
There are some little throwbacks and mentions of the previous game, in the game’s collectable files that fans of the original Dino Crisis will appreciate.
The music in Dino Crisis 2, with nearly every track giving you that action vibe. The music is very memorable I often have the Jungle tune in my head, it so catchy. I even hummed along to it as I played it. The best track in the game has to be the Save Room music, it stands out from the others and it is very memorable (I haven’t forgotten the Save Room music since I was a kid). There is something about the music in the Save Room, it puts you at ease and actually makes you feel safe.
The sound effects aren’t bad either. Dylan’s shotgun sounds like a shotgun and Regina’s handgun sounds like a handgun. The dialogue for each character is said clearly which is good, the last thing you want are characters whose dialogue is too low in volume or cuts out half way. I will say though that there are some cheesy lines in Dino Crisis 2. I won’t ruin any but you’ll know when they happen.
Each dinosaur has their own sound effect, so they all sound different. This is good because as funny as it would be, I don’t think a Pterodactyl squawk would work with a T-Rex. The sound effects are clear as well, you’ll know when a Velociraptor and when they attack. The roar of the T-Rex is somewhat terrifying and whenever you hear it you go, uh oh I’m in trouble.
Game Length and Replayablity
I mentioned in the “story” section of my review that Dino Crisis 2’s story is a bit short. The game can take someone who has never played a game with controls before between 4 to 5 hours. People who have played games with said controls can complete Dino Crisis 2 between 3 to 4 hours. The game can be done in less than two hours as I attempted a speed run of Dino Crisis 2 and completed the game at around two hours and fifty minutes. A playthrough on hard difficulty can take 5+ hours depending on your skill.
I know what you may be thinking, that Dino Crisis 2 is a very short game. You aren’t wrong but there’s a weird charm to it. As I played through it once I wanted to go through it again. Aside from the tank section, I enjoyed the game immensely and I became addicted to it. I played through the game three times, once on easy, once on normal and once on hard. All three playthroughs were really fun even and even now, after I’ve completed the game on every difficulty I want to go through it again.
After completing the game once, you unlock Extra Crisis, a side mode that has a coliseum. The coliseum pits you against several kinds of dinosaurs then at the end you face the T-Rex. You can play from a selection of characters including people from the first Dino Crisis. The best thing about coliseum though is that you can play as a dinosaur and you can imagine how fun that it is. Extra Crisis also has Dino Duel which is a two-player mode where both players choose a dinosaur and duke it out to see who is the best dinosaur.
It was nice to go back to game that I played a lot throughout my child and look at it critically. I’ll happily admit that the nostalgia I have for this game is strong.
Dino Crisis 2 is a really fun but short game however, the length of the game’s campaign doesn’t harm the game at all. After completing the game once you almost feel compelled to go through the game again to beat your previous completion time. It becomes a cycle of trying beat your previous time over and over and each time is as enjoyable as the last.
Of course the game isn’t perfect as it has a few flaws however they don’t detract from the fun experience that Dino Crisis 2 gives. If you want a fun game that you can keep playing over and over, then Dino Crisis 2 is for you.
Now back to the “big” question I mentioned at the beginning of the review. Which direction should the series take should it get rebooted (I know there is a third game but people and fans of the series would like to forget that it ever happened). Should Dino Crisis be a survival horror like the first game or should it be an action adventure like Dino Crisis 2? In my opinion I think either route would work and I’d be happy with either style of game.
However which style of game would you prefer for Dino Crisis? Let me know in the comments below.
Do you want to talk about retro games, Dino Crisis or dinosaurs? Why not follow me on Twitter – @ThatGreenDude95