Written by  :  Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (589)
Written on  :  Sep 15, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars1.86 Stars

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I hate this game... so why can't I stop playing it?

The Good

The title of this review just resumes what I think about this game. It's one of the weirdest things that ever happened to me, and for being so weird, this review will be kind of weird also. For starters, I will begin with 'the bad' instead of 'the good'.
If you could be as kind as to scroll down and follow me... (or just click HERE if you're lazy)

So what's THE GOOD in Dino Crisis 2?
As I said, I hate the game. I believe I give enough reasons in 'the bad', but the fact remains, I played it all until the ending in about 3 sittings, and each time I found myself asking 'I hate this game... so why can´t I stop playing it?'.
The thing is plain simple: Dino Crisis 2 is FUN. I would load up the game and get stuck to my keyboard for about 3 hours or so, running around blasting dinosaurs, and I enjoyed the whole thing like a degenerated maniac.

Capcom just put together the most smooth interface I've ever seen in a survival/horror game. The controls answer brilliantly, the movements are quick and accurate, and the whole sense of gameplay is as dynamic as few times I've seen.
This makes the whole 'run & blast' thing as amusing as to justify to keep doing it for hours, just for kicks, which I've seen few times in any games and NEVER in a survival/horror.

You have a limited amount of ammo, but with every kill you earn 'extinction points' which you can trade in the save spots for healing items, armour, ammo, guns, and whatnot; hence, the whole very enjoyable dinosaur massacre thing can be extended at will all the way towards eternity without problems. As long as there are dinosaurs to kill, you will be able to reload —and even upgrade— your guns.

Adding to the normal running and shooting of survival/horror games, Dino Crisis 2 has a few 'alternate' missions in which you get a little of gameplay variety (like a mad running among huge dinosaurs while your comrade covers you from a tower, or a shooting-gallery-like scene in which your comrade drives the car and you get to cover against the chasing dinosaurs).
Plus, as any Capcom game, replayability is the order of the day, and every time you finish the game you get to unlock some secret stuff, including hidden levels.

The thing is just FUN.
I couldn't explain it better, I hated everything about this game. The graphics, the sound, the storyline... and yet it's among the top 5 most entertaining games I've ever played.

So, let's go for the bottom line. Scroll way down or click HERE.

The Bad

OK, here we are. This review STARTS here, in 'THE BAD'.
Why, you ask? Because of the very thing I said on the title: I HATE this game.

The first thing you see when the game starts is an awful low-res Capcom logo, and some quick camera trip through a jungle that takes you right to the options menu. By its structure, you can guess that Dino Crisis 2 has been taken straight out of a console game.
Upon starting, you'll see a fairly neat pre-rendered cutscene introducing you to an already-guessable-poorly-worked-out plot, about some messup in an experiment involving something called 'the third energy', a rift opened in the continuum, and the bringing back of a piece of land from prehistoric times, which means a huge jungle infested with dinosaurs taking over a small town. You play the role of two members of a military team (one male and one female) meant to find out what happened here, and to rescue any survivors. Unlike the nasty bad-asses of old school movies such as Aliens, these two are the kind of MTV-good-looking-marines that Hollywood is selling nowadays: the guy could be the blonde Backstreet Boy any day of the week while the girl is Britney Spears with a red hair.

As I said, the intro cutscene is technically great, but then it ends and you get to bump against the first awful bad point, a fact that's totally contradictory with the whole '(c) 2001, 2002' ranting on the title credits: the graphics.
Dino Crisis 2 has graphics as bad as I haven't seen in about 4 or 5 years, and it answers to a simple reason: the game is merely a 'port' of a Playstation game. You could just as well play the original PSX version with an emulator, Capcom didn't bother changing A THING to take any advantage of modern day PC's.
Low poly-count, low resolution single-texturing, no lighting effects, no shadows of any kind, no lipsynch... technically, the game is just an average DirectX 6-class PC game, and not even a slightly worked out one.

The game is a fixed-backgrounds survival/horror game a la Capcom, which means way more survival than horror. In fact, I don't think I got remotely worried about anything throughout the whole gameplay, let alone scared.
It's worth to mention that having fixed backgrounds one would have expected some beautiful eye-candy images... well, no luck here. The background graphics have as low definition as the poor character textures, and in fact you can easily spot pixels and jaggies all over the place. This is obviously not a game meant to be seen in a PC monitor.

The sound can just as well fit in 'the bad' because it doesn't add anything. There are a couple fast-paced tunes which seem to have been stripped from some ancient class-B horror movie, trying to put tension in boss fights and such, but they just make the game overall look even older.
The voice acting sucks, plain & straight. I'd stick with the voice acting of the worst low-budget porn movie ever, at least there would be moaning girls there.

The storyline might be the worst thing of the whole package.
Besides the fact that I'm still about to find out what the hell that 'third energy' nonsense was supposed to be (if they expect me to rollback to DC1 in order to find out, they can just as well keep waiting alright), the thing is, nothing happens in the game. You are running around in a town which is eaten up by a prehistoric jungle, shooting dinosaurs left and right, with the remote idea that you're looking for survivors or something, for about 70% of the game. Then, a third member of the team reports by radio, asking you to join him because he found someone, or he didn't find anyone, or he's in danger, or he misses you, or whatever; so from there on until the ending, it's all about finding the guy.
All of the while you are fed with data logs which are supposed to create some kind of intrigue about what happened there, but I had forgotten what ever was written in them by the time I finished reading each one.
Plus, there are some kind of 'teenage power rangers' that show up every now and then, shoot you, and run away, and the characters comment how weird that is, and who could they be, but the thing is you won't give a flying f*ck about it, and you will forget about them the moment they step out of the screen.
So, you keep running and shooting with the vague idea of having seen some mysterious power ranger kids stalking you while you fight dinosaurs... and, all of a sudden, it all happens. And I mean IT ALL.
In the last 7 minutes of game or so, you get to see like 5 pre-rendered cutscenes (you haven't seen any since the beginning of the game) and the whole sorry mystery folds and unfolds in a mmmbop (that's a good one, come on).
Not only the plot sucks with almighty sucking power in its own right once uncovered, but the way it is presented is the most sorry excuse for a twist I've seen since I can remember. You can't twist a plot if there's no plot. You're just bringing the plot late into the game.
It's like, about 5 minutes before the game ends, the plot strolls in saying 'yo! It´s me, the plot! sorry I´m late, am I still in time to unfold?'.

That said, a mystery remains: why can't I stop playing it?
Let's find out. Follow me up to 'the good' (or click HERE).

The Bottom Line

BOTTOM LINE, you ask?
Well the review title says it all.

I'm a storyline-driven guy. I'm a BIG fan of games such as THE LEGACY OF KAIN SERIES, the SILENT HILL SERIES, and the almighty DEUS EX. In this regard, I don't trust Capcom as I'm already quite familiar with the confusion they have between 'plot-line' and 'flat-line'. Unsurprisingly, Dino Crisis 2 has no better storyline than any other Capcom game. In fact, if not for the Street Fighter series, this might be their worst storyline ever.

The game is a PSX port, as in 'a PC game released in 2002 which looks like the worst games of 1998 used to'.
The music is average-to-bad, and the voice acting sucks.
I HATE this game.

However, the control interface is one of the smoothest things ever, the gameplay has some interesting variety to offer, there are lots of replay bonus, and overall, DINO CRISIS 2 IS ONE OF THE 5 MOST FUN GAMES I'VE EVER PLAYED.

That's all I can say. Even though I hate it, I can't help but recommending it to anyone who wants to have a GOOD time.