Dino Crisis Hands-On

Capcom is porting its dinosaur shooting adventure over to the Dreamcast with slightly enhanced graphics. But with Dino Crisis 2 already on the market, is a better looking version of the original game worth the average Dreamcast owner's money?

Capcom is cashing in on its wildly successful survival-horror titles by bringing new and improved versions of the games over to the Dreamcast. Dino Crisis comes to your Sega system with polished graphics and a cleaner look, but are there enough positive changes to merit a second look?

From the intro movie to the later cutscene featuring the T-rex, the game's graphics have been cleaned up noticeably. The Dreamcast hardware helps the textures and polygonal backgrounds really come to life. Regina is smoother, and the dinosaurs are slightly more impressive. Still, the graphics haven't received enough of an overhaul to bring the game up to standards set by other Dreamcast games.

While the graphics have received major improvements over the PlayStation version, absolutely no improvements have been made in terms of gameplay. If you've played the PlayStation version of this game, you've seen all there is - the Dreamcast version doesn't have any extras or gameplay changes, and the story unfolds exactly like it does in the PlayStation version. From the layouts of the rooms to the location of supplies and dinosaurs, everything is identical.

You still control brave Regina from a third-person perspective, pushing up to move her forward, drawing weaponry and aiming with shoulder buttons, and using the action button to fire your weaponry and manipulate the environments. None of the gameplay revisions found in Dino Crisis 2 are in this version - your run still slows to a crawl when you draw your weapon, and you can only hold one weapon at a time.

Dino Crisis makes interesting use of the Dreamcast VMU, informing you of your current health and ammunition status. While this may seem somewhat useful, you really can't make much use of it - glancing down at your controller during a tense scene isn't as tactically sound as simply accessing your in-game menu. It would have been nice to see some analog support, but it's nowhere to be found.

Dino Crisis 2 was such an impressive change to the flow of the series that a rehash of the original Dino Crisis with slightly improved graphics just fails to make any sort of lasting impact. If you're a die-hard fan of ammo conservation, key fetching, and the occasional dinosaur battle, then this game will certainly entertain. Those who haven't played Dino Crisis on the PlayStation might be interested in taking this game for a spin, but Dino Crisis veterans won't find anything new here.

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