They just won’t stay extinct.
Having adamantly poo-pooed the previous Dino Crisis
foray into the ring as yet another Resident
Evil clone (and a bad one), I had little if any expectations for its sequel.
I feared it would be yet another cowpat upon the fertile field of gamedom. Alas,
my malice for the spore of Satan’s nostril that is Dino Crisis was to
be mildly ebbed by something almost…new. While conceptually flawed, Dino
Crisis 2 seems to bequeath (albeit sparsely) something the previous one
The story involves several crypto-military groups with uncharasmatic acronyms
being sent to another time to investigate an experimental “accident” at a government-run
energy lab. Their job: To rescue any victims from the area of effect.
You play as two would-be heroes, Regina and Dylan. Regina, returning from the
original Dino Crisis, is “an expert in stealth missions” with pink hair
who wears a Danskin leotard with guns strapped to her thighs (uh…I really don’t
think she’s sneaking up on much of anything). Dylan is a big corn-fed Kansas
farm boy apparently stricken with microcephalia, since his head is the size
of a walnut.
The non-interactive pre-rendered backgrounds and the graphics in general are
much more interesting than those in the first game. Much of the game takes place
in a jungle, which, of course, has more opportunity to provide eye candy than
redundant, sterile corridors. And let’s face it, it’s a more realistic place
for dinosaurs to be hanging out.
There are more varieties of thunder lizards than the paltry few dim bulbs parceled
out to us in the first game. And some of these guys actually take a stab at
being smart. Raptors not only gang up on you but they also attack from all sides.
Allosaurs will duck and dodge to protect their vulnerable flanks. Pteradons
attack in packs like a flock of vicious vultures. My personal favorites are
the evil little bastards who attack in numbers, spit poison, and do the crazy
Jet Li no-shadow-kick off the side of your head if you give them half the chance.
The combat is actually fun in a run-and-gun kind of way. You can actually run
while shooting two machine guns – with each gun locked onto a different enemy.
This is an improvement by light years over the original game.
Weapons and ammo are shamefully easy to get a hold of, and you’ll need them.
Even the most devout pacifist among you will find yourself bagging unwary lizards
left and right. The predator-to-prey ratio is off by miles; you’re doing them
In normal mode you don’t have to worry much about your health, and you’re not
in any real danger of dying (or staying dead). Health packs are as easy to come
by as bottles of Advil. Resuscitation packs have returned from the original
to bring you back to life, fully healed, and typically out of danger…just like
in real life.
while the whole Resident Evil clone genre relies on locked doors, DC2
has found other ways to keep you locked out and running back and forth between
areas. Regina can open doors that Dylan cannot and vice versa (she can short-circuit
locks, he can cut through vines) and, of course, you can’t toggle back and forth
between these two characters at your leisure. That might actually have been
convenient. No, you just continue with this linear affair until the computer
permits you to switch to the other character. Pretty cheesy, huh?
DC2 is a great deal more action-oriented than its predecessor. In fact,
throughout the game you will need to hunt dinosaurs for “extinction points”
which can be exchanged for goods at save stations (say…who’s counting these
points anyway?). While fun, it’s also very arcade-like and detracts a bit from
the whole “survival-horror” theme. But then again dinosaurs never were exactly
scary…not for several hundred million years, anyway.
DC2 has also pumped fresh blood into an anemic series by adding more
play varieties than any RE clone to date. You’ll be battling dinos on
land, under water, and via arcade style first-person shooting…not to mention
playing hide and go seek with a greedy little Compsognathus that can’t be harmed.
The original was key crazy. Often you would have to run all over the place,
not just looking for keys but components of keys. Dino Crisis 2
has dispensed with much of this nonsense. You’re still looking for keys, just
not nearly as many and they’re easier to find.
The back and forth gameplay gets tired after a while. You’ll likely be bored
after you’ve triumphed over your 10,000th raptor while trying to save up for
some nifty little item you saw in the shop. It’s very easy to get distracted
from the storyline and get sucked into the process of amassing an arsenal. I
don’t know about you, but if I were caught in an industrial accident and waiting
to be rescued, I wouldn’t want my rescue party out shopping.
Dino Crisis 2 is a nice surprise and a general improvement over an original
which left a great deal to improve upon. The additions to combat, varieties
of gameplay, and throngs of enemies who are serious about doing you harm make
this infinitely more playable than most of the self-styled “survival horror”