It's RE with dinosaurs, and without a lot of the fun.
Dino Crisis: seen by many as another Resident Evil clone--a very succesful clone they might add, but in short people seem to see as RE, but with dinosaurs.
To be honest on my first hour of playing I could see the resemblance, and throughout it does contain Resident Evil's signature gameplay quirks such as the controls, animations and even gun sound effects. Although I never remembered Resident Evil being this dull and lifeless.
Dino Crisis starts off like most survival horror games start out; you've just arrived at what seems to be a deserted facility in a small squad of three. There's the black comic relief, the tough guy leader who would fit well with a nickname akin to Sarge with all of his cliche' attitude, and then there's the anit-hero babe with a butt the shape of a well pixilated orange, called Regina. Regina is the leading lass who through the bland script and average voice acting who, again, acts like a saucy, anti-hero-ish type character that doesn't seem to take many of the situations seriously and is more than able to make a sly joke or two.
Unfortunately what I've just written is basically the whole teams complete character descriptions; they're all incredibly boring to the point that I couldn't care if any of them were to become Dino chow. Rick is probably supposed to be the slightly imature but caring cliche' bomb you usually find in a movie of this type, and while he does sort of contain that role well enough he still ends up leading to an equally annoying black guy who you just want to shoot. The script as I said is incredibly boring and lifeless and doesn't give you much in the way of a personality to play as never mind likeable NPCs.
The story that features all of these pile of pixels is prominent throughout, but it again is still mundane and predictable to the point where you could basically forsee the whole game after the first few hours of gameplay and script to endure.
It has the team to search and rescue (only to take hostage, though) the elusive Dr Edward Kirk. I can't quite remember why specifically and can't be bothered looking it up but suffice to say that crazed little genius is up to good. Of course Dr Kirk being a doctor falls into the mad scientist category. So much so that I'm surprised he doesn't have a lumbering hunchback he bosses about at his side.
Oh and of course there's also the hordes of dinosaurs prowling the facility that is centred pretty strongly too.
Onto gameplay, which I did enjoy at first because of just how similar it is to its neighbouring citizens of Raccoon City, with it practically copying the control scheme, though unlike Resident Evil you can actually walk while aiming. Not shooting, just aiming... completely useless, but it's still something that does set it apart from its freaky cousins at Zombie HQ. Of course, instead of fighting off hordes of BOW and accidently infected monstrosities you are handed a couple of dinosaurs to fend off, and while they do indeed offer a different battling style with them predictably being much more agile than some slumbering sack of undead flesh, the little variety in dinosaurs and not to mention general lack of them leads to yet even more boredom. Another less than appreciative twist from the RE series is the switch off puzzle solving and creature blasting. In RE you did a fair share of both but in the end the battling with foes came out on top with the oh so attractive amount of weaponry and bosses to overcome. Dino Crisis, however ,does the complete opposite; the dinosaurs themselves I'd guess look to be going extinct yet again because there's just so few of them around. It should also be mentioned this time around that 80% of the game has you solving puzzles, and while some can be fun and unique, the majority consist of simply looking for a passcode to type in, which results in an insane amount of backtracking that would make RE appear completely linear! Another huge annoyance with the puzzles is that you don't save the files you read that store the hints and clues to figuring out the puzzles anymore either. Once you've read it you'll have to memorise if there was anything important to note instead. You can still write it down yourself of course but after the RE series notably having the files being stored for you read over again a figure point of the series it seems like a really annoying step back for this survival horror title.
Back to the combat, another fault is the lack of weapons, there is only 'three' different weapons throughout the whole game, you may come across some customisations for them but they don't do anything drastic besides increase the power so don't expect to be able to play around with how your weapons work. Though instead your given a variety of ammo, such as the shotgun having shotgun rounds aswell as tranquilizer darts too, but that honestly doesn't make up for it...I want to make a species extinct again not give a nights sleep! There is also no boss' etheir, sure theres some sort of boss at the very end but it hardly matchs up to...well any other boss' in survival horror, it was more or less just a quick interactive scene to set the ending.
So as the gameplay goes its rather bland and while I'm all for exploration and puzzle solving, not when its on this calibur.
Onto to sound, now that at least can bring it some merit since like most survival horror soundtracks this one is rather good and help set the mood and atmosphere, though it does have some annoying tracks here and there that sound like they belong in a 1930s hammer horror movie. The voice acting isn't exactly atrocious, just totally put down by a bore-fest of a script, though Gails voice actor doesn't help by being actually rather bad.
But Regina's Jennifer Hale sound alike does seem like she had potential to make Regina another survival horror heroine that could of been as memorable as the likes of Jill Valentine and Aya Brea.
Graphical that too is definitely an upside, even if it just ps1 and where up the rising quality of the ps3, I still enjoy the pixilated graphics just for their cool $tyle and probably because its the type of graphics i grew up with. Decent animations too that look like they were pulled right out of the original RE trilogy with all the weird hand gestures and the like.
Onto to replay value, now for a ps1 game, taking on average around 7-10 hours on your go thats pretty impressive, but unlike most CAPCOM games theres not at all that much reason to go back. I found it boring in the majority of my first run, but still had hope that some unlockables weapons and characters would really help bring some well needed fun into it. But sadly theres nothing like that, no special weapons, there is 'one' minigame but its boring beyond beleif and also only has Regina playable (this has got to be one of the only CAPCOM games to feature only one playable character!). There is three very different costumes to unlock, but didn't really appeal to me honestly didn't tink that Regina suited em all that well. There is at least a total of five endings to unlock and do vary some such as certain characters dieing and other characters getting away and some real difference to maybe have you motivated to see them all, but to be honest the endings is the only reason for me to even contemplate playing through it again.
Plus a major difference between RE and Dino Crisis is the enviroments, in the Re series you traversed through a number of varied enviroments with RE1 having the infamous Mansion to an underground aqua tank to one of Umbrellas many secret laboratorys, in Dino Crisis you travel through the some facility throughout the whole game...once you do the equivalent of moving to a next area, its just a different floor of the facility and contains all dull shiny stuff that you've seen for the past 3 hours.
This truelly is survival horror at its worst, its very unbalanced in what makes survival horror great, too much puzzle solving, so much backtracking I'm surprised the carpet in the facility hasn't been worn through, an absolute bland infested story filled with everything that bland stands for and some of the most dull combat ever to embrace a survival horror title.
But still, it does have some fun hidden deep within. Problem is it's far too taxing to get to it. This game isn't just Resident Evil with Dinosaurs: it's Resident Evil without everything that made Resident Evil great.