Dino Crisis 2
It's Nice to see that, while the GameCube's just been furnished with a souped-up version of Resident Evil, us PC owners get lumped with a no-frills conversion of this old PSone offshoot sequel. And graphically, it stinks. Foregoing the original's pseudo-3D backgrounds, it regresses back to painted inanimate surfaces. Designed for low-res TV screens, on modern monitors it looks risibly awful, as if someone's smeared Vaseline on the screen, and as turning up the resolution only results in key objects and characters sharpening, it often looks like they're not even part of the same game.
In gameplay terms, it's not the best example of the survival horror genre, the emphasis placed on shooting rather than traditional puzzling and ammo conservation. So you backtrack through long sections, firing at respawning dinosaurs, trading in your score for more ammo and health. Except the outdated control mode stops it being very intuitive. Attempts have been made to fix problems with better quick-turn and instant aim options, but laborious controls and bad camera angles let it down.
The B-movie plot gets suitably silly and awful towards the end, and the game tries to add a few different shooting sub-games but there isn't enough to save it from feeling average and anachronistic. A poor and tardy console conversion indeed.
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What's the deal?
It's pretty easy to sum up the original Dino Crisis Resident Evil with Dinosaurs. Sure the backgrounds were fully polygonal, but everything else was pretty similar to the survival horror standard set by Capcom's big zombie games. So is the sequel just more characters, more big lizards and better graphics? Hell no! Well wait, yes actually, but it's also so much more.
Capcom gutted the gameplay, and totally rebuilt it into a run-and-gun action fest for this sequel. You amass points by blasting down enemies, with bonuses awarded for speed and combos; later you can turn those points in for new weapons and ammo. It's more like Final Fight with guns than Resident Evil.
So why is It a must-get game? The first game was great, but we have been dying for something new to break out of the RE mold--especially now that every company from Asmik Ace to Jaleco has their own survival horror rip-off. Just from the short demo we've played, DC2 looks like it will deliver the teeth-gnashing, shotgun-pumping shot in the arm the genre needs.
Capcoms other survival horror series returns this October, with a crapload of new features: the ability to equip two different weapons at once, two playable characters (Regina is back along with a new special agent named Dylan), underwater sections, and over 10 different types of dinos. Most of the game takes place outdoors this time around, and is supposedly more action and battle oriented-- you even get points for each beastie you take down, which you can use to purchase weapons, ammo and healing items.
So how come all the big lizards are stompin' around again? Even though Dr. Kirk was successfully captured at the end of the first game, the government confiscated and continued his work, leading to (surprise!) another accident. When the research site, Edward City (close to Raccoon City?), disappears and is replaced by a patch of prehistoric jungle, Regina and Co. are sent in to rescue the scientists and figure out what went wrong. Check back after E3 for hands-on impressions.
We got our hands on the first short demo of Regina's new adventure Capcom was showing at E3 and we're really impressed by how it's shaping up. When they promised to up the action, they weren't kidding: Dino 2 is more of an arcade game than a Resident Evil clone.
First of all, there's a lot more dinos about; they attack almost constantly in packs of two and three. Luckily the controls are more combat-friendly: You dash automatically and can fire while running forward or walking backward. You've also got two weapons accessible at any time now, a main gun and a secondary weapon (like a knife). Points earned for killing dinos, with bonuses for "combos" (killing multiple baddies within seconds of each other) and for getting past rooms without being injured, can be exchanged for new weapons, ammo and healing items at save points. You may also notice the backgrounds are prerendered now, to allow for outdoor jungle locations and more nasties on screen at once. More on DC2 as the October release approaches.