Capcom was on a roll in the late 90’s and early 00’s with their survival horror titles, the numbered Resident Evil games were amazing and Shinji Mikami’s other franchise was also giving survival horror lovers another game to bite into. Unfortunately, Mikami’s hands didn’t touch this game that much, unless he was playing it at home and it shows. Mikami not being a part of the sequel didn’t ruin the game, but it certainly took the horror out of survival horror. You can’t make a serious horror game without one of the greats, and Mikami is one of the greats, if not the greatest. Dino Crisis 2 is closely linked to the first game, unlike later entries in the series like Dino Crisis 3 and Dino Stalker. As the series progressed the game strayed more and more from what made the first one so great, and that is pretty sad.
The game takes place after the first game, where once again scientists are messing things up. Their research into Third Energy has transported an entire military base and surrounding city Edward City into another time with all the residents. Regina is called in as an advisor to the rescue team seeing as she has had some experience with this before. She and her crew must travel through the Time Gate, rescue the 1300 hundred survivors and return safely. When the team is finally camped they are attacked by Raptors and only three survive, Regina, Dylan, and David. Your job now is not only to save yourself but find those survivors and ensure their safety as well. You not only fight dinosaurs in this game, you have to find helmeted assailants that are hell-bent on keeping you in the past. When it rains, it pours; and I right?
One mechanic that they left in from the first game was the “bleeding” mechanic. If a dinosaur bites you or claws you, it has a chance of causing you to bleed. Should you not stem this bleeding with bandages in the game you could bleed out or dinosaurs will find you quicker. The controls are pretty self-explanatory and you can pick between three options, I’m sure one will suit your needs. I also chose the first one because I realize you can change it in the middle of the game and it is far too late for my muscle memory. I chose Control Configuration A; Circle will be your sub-weapon, Square and X are attack; you can only attack when you are pressing Left Trigger down they have to make it a little confusing right? So when you’re surrounded by dino’s hit Circle a few times to scatter them with your machete then lay into them with Left Trigger and X. Not the best controls in the world, but it was the tank control era which added that extra stress to the survival horror genre. This annoyed me in the first and second game. However, this game is much less survival horror than its predecessor. The developers turned this into an arcade style shooter that still has some scares, but fewer puzzles and more shooting. You can see that this was slowly turning into what Dino Stalker became, which is a neat little concept, but it takes the scares and intensity out of the game. They tried to bring back the horror in Dino Crisis 3 but by that time I think that true survival horror enthusiasts had already been burned.
Graphics in this game are a smidge better than they were in the first one. Capcom developers were still smart enough to use the pre-rendered graphics to make the game look all that more real. Obviously, the 64-bit era was not the prettiest of eras, but it was the gameplay, strong stories, and originality that kept the video games industry afloat during its awkward and ugly years. The Regina and Dylan character models are done quite well, then all the nameless enemies look similar. It is no wonder they are all wearing helmets and the same uniform, it was easier for the developers to put them in the game. Even in today’s games some of the NPC’s are all similar, it is getting rarer and rarer that they do this, but it still happens from time to time. So should you hop into this game, just remember, real beauty is on the inside and that consists of story and gameplay. You will still like this game even if it makes you squint now and then, just be ready to die a lot.
I enjoyed this game a lot, it was nice to see Regina back in action for one last time before Capcom scrapped her for some very different offshoots. I’m one of the few people who really misses this era in gaming, lots of people I’ve spoken to who weren’t alive or too young for this time have no desire to play these games and it is quite sad. We wouldn’t have a game like Resident Evil VII or The Evil Within if these developers hadn’t cut their teeth on some very old tech. I love the tank controls, I love that fact that if you save poorly you can lose hours of progress with one dinosaur bite. This was part of the era in gaming that made boys men and I miss it. I wish I could play this game again and it be as new and fresh as it was when I played it for my first time. There are a few titles in this era I still need to play for the first time, but these early survival horror gems can only be played once for the first time. I urge all new survival horror enthusiasts to download or find a copy of both of these titles and enjoy them in a dark secluded room where you can scream to your heart’s content.