Dino Crisis 3 Hands-On

It's like Jurassic Park in space.

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The third game in the Dino Crisis series was on display at Capcom's E3 booth, and as you might've guessed, the setting is quite different from that of any of the previous Dino Crisis games. Dino Crisis 3 takes place aboard a spaceship infested with all different kinds of prehistoric creatures, ranging from the enormous tyrannosaurus rex to large worms with razor-sharp teeth. The combination of space and dinosaurs doesn't sound all that plausible at first, but Dino Crisis 3 manages to pull it off well with some especially gruesome cutscenes, one of which shows a T-rex being devoured alive.

The gameplay mechanics in Dino Crisis 3 are fairly straightforward, though the main character's jetpack adds level of depth to the game. The jetpack is capable of speeding you around the floor or up into the air of any room. This is particularly useful when you're being accosted by various types of space dinosaurs, since you can blast into the air, where you can safely fire at the creatures below. Speeding around the floor can be just as effective, but both jetpack skills can leave you vulnerable for a few seconds after you've depleted the jetpack burst. It's almost similar to Sega's Gunvalkyrie, only the learning curve for the control isn't nearly as steep.

Not surprisingly, quite a bit of the level design revolves around your ability to use the jetpack and explore the surrounding environment. For example, in one area of the demo, you not only have to use the jetpack to find your way to a particular ledge, but you also have to use it to maneuver your way into the next area. In another area, you have to make your way across an electrified floor by making some platforming-style jumps to safe areas of the floor. It remains to be seen what types of puzzles will make it into the final game, but the demo didn’t really have anything other than the basic door-unlocking puzzles.

The environments in Dino Crisis 3 all do an excellent job of fitting with its theme, and the changes that Capcom has made to the dinosaurs (which actually could be classified as zombie space dinosaurs) give the game an added sci-fi twist. Dino Crisis 3 is scheduled for release on the Xbox this August.

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