With how successful the Resident Evil series is, it’s easy to overlook Dino Crisis. Created over 20 years ago by the same man – Shinji Mikami – it’s an equally excellent survival-horror experience. It took place within a remote research facility and replaced the typical zombies with agile reptiles to great effect. Moreover, blending the horror and puzzle elements of Resident Evil with much faster combat worked like a charm.
But after the first two entries, the series failed to reproduce its own success. Receiving low review scores, Dino Crisis 3 – an Xbox-exclusive title – seemingly doomed any hope for a continuation. And even though rumours of a potential sequel surface occasionally, nothing has materialized since 2003. At this point, should you even hold your breath?
That depends. Following the incredible success of Resident Evil 2, Capcom is once again enjoying time in the spotlight. But it’s not mandatory to put all eggs in one basket. While Dino Crisis never boasted the same reputation, it still maintains a cult following. And with new consoles on the horizon, it’s high time to revisit old beloved franchises. Let’s find out if Dino Crisis warrants the remake treatment like its zombie-infested sibling.
In a Pinch? They’ll SORT Ya!
Dino Crisis released in 1999 to exceptional commercial and critical acclaim. It was inspired by the likes of Jurassic World and Aliens, and of course, Resident Evil. Many of its story elements and gameplay mechanics are especially reminiscent of the latter.
Its narrative follows a group known as SORT which is sent to the fictional Ibis Island in order to capture certain Dr Kirk and find their missing comrade. But soon after arrival, they discover that the island is inhabited by prehistoric creatures. That’s because Dr Kirk worked on an experiment which brought back dinosaurs to modern-day.
The mission itself is simple: find the bad guy, save the girl, blow up the island and escape in a helicopter. Only this time, you’re the girl! Meet Regina, a badass member of the raid team whom you take control of. More than likely inspired by Jill’s character, her speech, appearance and mannerisms somewhat resemble those of Resident Evil 3’s heroine. And her black leather outfit even appears as an unlockable costume for Jill.
If Resident Evil 2’s story of bioterrorism could still capture an audience, there’s no reason why Dino Crisis couldn’t accomplish the same. And in our predominantly digital age, its increased focus on science fiction is more than appealing.
They’ll Set You at Ease, too…
From the very first minutes, the game’s inspirations become apparent. If you’ve never played Dino Crisis before, there’s a simple way to sum it up: it’s Resident Evil with dinosaurs. Gameplay involves moving from one room to another, collecting items and killing dinosaurs. Progression often requires a particular item or solving a puzzle. These weren’t as intricate as in Resident Evil, but still prompted the gears in your head to turn.
Similarly, dinosaurs tested your combat prowess. Even though they lacked in the variety department, dinosaurs were much faster and more resilient than most zombies. Fighting these ancient reptiles was futile and running was often the better option. Hence, many corridors were fitted with laser walls; activating one of these would create a barrier between you and the dinosaur. Alternatively, you could hide in one of the save rooms.
They were pretty much re-created based on those in Resident Evil, with boxes for storing items and calming music playing in the background. And the electronic notes perfectly matched the game’s more futuristic feel. There’s something so serene about these rooms that only Capcom knows how to reproduce.
Welcome to the Jungle
Most of the game takes place in confined research environments. Imagine if Resident Evil took place entirely in lab space and you’ll get the idea. But with a graphical overhaul and improved lighting effects, even these bland spaces could gain a new life. Picture running through a dark corridor with a giant T-Rex observing you from the outside.
For the original Dino Crisis, developers also intended to feature a full jungle environment for exploration. However, due to the technical limitations of PlayStation One, this idea ended up being too ambitious. With the expected horsepower of the new consoles, however, that’s no longer an issue. We could explore a dense jungle environment under the guise of the night with deadly creatures roaming around.
Unrestricted environments like these could open up room for bigger enemies overall. Just how frightening would the new T-Rex look, with its scales and fangs imposingly glaring in the dark. We rarely see dinosaurs in video games today. And with a few tweaks, mainly to accommodate the bigger enemies, Dino Crisis could beautifully run on the RE Engine.
With a spin-off in the vein of Resident Evil Outbreak seemingly in the works, Capcom will no doubt place emphasis on its flagship franchise. We will more than likely find out more about Resident Evil 8 and the remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis after that. And there’s also a slight possibility for Resident Evil Code: Veronica to make a resurgence.
But afterwards, who knows? Dino Crisis could easily hold its own against Resident Evil, so long as the original ideas remain intact. And with how similar both franchises are, I could even see a non-canon crossover between the two. How about Jill and Regina fending off zombie dinosaurs on a gigantic space vessel like the USG Ishimura? Capcom could even give it a fancy name, like Dino Crisis: REgina Edition.
Nonetheless, these are the thoughts and opinions of but one man. But how do you feel about a remake of Dino Crisis? Leave a comment down below and let me know if you’d like to see it on next-gen consoles.