I’ve been on a dinosaur kick for a few months now, so I’ve searched for interesting dinosaur games left and right. In my internet search I discovered a long forgotten Capcom title called Dino Stalker. I had been playing Dino Crisis 3 when I found this game and was excited to play another title in that vein. To my surprise, Dino Stalker was an on-rails shooter specifically designed with a light-gun in mind. Instead of being a spin-off to Dino Crisis, this game was a spin-off to the Resident Evil: Gun Survivor series. Now, I’ve not played an on-rails shooter since House of the Dead 2 on my Dreamcast, but I was up for the challenge.
The story in this game, like all on-rails shooters, is insanely thin. You play as World War II hotshot pilot Lt. Mike Wired who, after getting shot down during an intense dogfight, is whisked away to a primordial age. Once arrived in this land, a communicator appears on his wrist and a nice gun appears in his hands. The communicator tells him to find Paula and save her. This is what you do throughout the game; you get glimpses of Paula and, in your quest to finally save her, you must kill thousands of dinosaurs. Save the girl, kill lots of dinosaurs, and return home. Sounds like an early PlayStation 2-era Capcom game to me.
I had to play with the controller, seeing as I don’t have a PlayStation 2 light-gun, but I wouldn’t have been able to play on my flat-screen with a light-gun anyway. The controls are quite simple: the two sticks control the aiming reticle and where Wired wants to go. This actually takes some time to get used to. Sometimes you want to go left, but for some reason you dive to the right and then go left. Right trigger is fire, and the face buttons allow you to choose your weapons, except for the X button, which is reload. Square is the “single shot” weaker weapon that you’ll have the most ammo for. Circle is the “special weapon”, like a rocket launcher and such, which you need to keep on hand for boss fights. And finally, triangle is your “snipe shot”, which allows you to zoom in for a nice dino head-shot. I used the single shot and special weapon the most to stay alive.
The game looks decent for an early PS2-era game; Capcom has always made pretty games and this one is no different. Looking at it through the lens of time, one does go “ick” when seeing those cut-scenes, but for the time they were damn amazing, even though the characters look as if they were made of rubber. The dialogue in the cut scenes is rife with “corn” though – I would giggle like a madman whenever Wired would open his mouth. It made me miss the good old days of gaming’s infancy and made me wish more studios took a chance with off kilter releases and adding a dash of “corn” to their games. I am going to hunt down the Resident Evil titles in this series, since I have had so much fun with them. I’d like to see if they hold up as well.
Fans of on-rails shooters and quirky, older Capcom games need to get their hands on this title. I had no idea what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised when I finally got around to playing it. My biggest problem with the game was the fact that most of the levels were timed. I’ve never been a fan of timed missions and that was almost a turn-off for me. So, if you absolutely hate timed missions, this isn’t for you but, if you like that kind of challenge and love shooting dinosaurs while listening to corny dialog with some old school graphics, this is your mecca.