Dino Crisis is a 1999 video game developed by Capcom Production Studio 4 and released in 1999. Produced by Shinji Mikami, the game took inspirations from Resident Evil's RPG features such as item management and exploration. However, unlike other so-called "Resident Evil clones" that had been released since 1997, Dino Crisis instead relied on 3D environments as opposed to pre-rendered backgrounds, and a greater focus on physical puzzles to advance in the game. As horror-themed action-adventure gaming was still in its infancy, Dino Crisis rejected the label of "Survival Horror" in Japan, which was seen as merely a tagline for Resident Evil. Instead it was marketed as "Panic Horror" to demonstrate its uniqueness. However, due to the dominance of Resident Evil over similarly-styled horror games oversees, "Survival Horror" became accepted as the general name for the genre.
The game centres around a special forces team who must find a way to survive in a secret government facility that is being infested by time-displaced dinosaurs. While Dino Crisis did not achieve the same level of success Resident Evil did, it was popular enough to gain two sequels: (Dino Crisis 2 and Dino Crisis 3) and a light gun-based spin-off in Capcom's Gun Survivor series, known as Dino Stalker in America and Gun Survivor 3 : Dino Crisis in Japan.
- Regina (Stephanie Morgenstern) - The protagonist and the sole female member of the team. She is an intelligence agent and weapons expert, specializing in weapons maintenance.
- Rick (Richard Yearwood) - The African-American second member of the team and an expert computer hacker. He carries an FN FAL in the North American version of the game and a scoped G3 in the PAL version. He seems to be much more easy-going than Gail, providing most of the comic relief.
- Gail (Adrian Truss) - A veteran spy, and the leader of the team. He is well known for his cold demeanour and seems to have a heart of stone. He carries an M4A1 carbine with a red dot sight, the butt stock removed, and the front sight removed, and his field of expertise seems to be combat. He cares a lot about his mission.
- Edward Kirk (Alex Karzis) - The genius behind the Third Energy Theory. He was approached by the Borginian Republic who were interested in the properties of Third Energy as a weapon, and promised him all the funding, facilities, researchers and equipment he needed. To that end, he staged his death and moved to Ibis Island, to where a Third Energy research facility had been set up for him and killed most of his workers with the help of the dinosaurs.
- Tom (Robert Tinkler & Bino Tautorrez) - An agent of S.O.R.T., who has infiltrated the Ibis Island facility to investigate the reports of new-type weapons being researched. He is wounded by a dinosaur, and later dies.
- Cooper (Robert Tinkler) - The fourth member of the extraction team. He's blown off course at the start of the mission and ends up being eaten by a T. Rex. The rest of the team never learns this, and he is declared M.I.A. He carried the only outsourcing radio on the team, and his death puts the rest of the members in a bind.
There are only a small number of dinosaurs featured in the game, however some species have different forms that provide different levels of resistance to being killed, and do varying levels of damage.
- Velociraptor: The first species encountered in the game, and the most common throughout. Velociraptors lurk in the corridors and rooms of the facilities and can ambush the player on occasion, helping to give the game a suspenseful atmosphere.
- Compsognathus: A small, bird sized dinosaur found in the corridors of the facility, around decomposing bodies. There can be a number of them in a group, and can damage the player in the game.
- Pteranodon: A large pterosaur that frequently attacks in open, outdoor areas. Due to their ability to fly, they can pose a problem to kill, and cause serious damage when they attack, on occasion picking Regina up and dropping her again.
- Therizinosaurus: A large sloth like carnivourous dinosaur with huge claws. These are found in the latter part of the game, and are quite hard to kill, especially when there are more than one of them. They are found in more open areas generally.
- Blue Raptor: There is more than one color model for the raptors, with animals encountered later in the game harder to kill.
- Tyrannosaurus: The single, large tyrannosaur is one of the main aggrivators in the game, taking out a misguided team member in the beginning, and continually harassing Regina throughout the course of the storyline. It should be noted that the Tyrannosaurus can't be killed with any weapon Regina possesses.
The game takes place on a fictional location known as Ibis Island in the year 2009. The Secret Operation Raid Team (SORT) has sent an agent, Tom, to investigate a military research facility. During the recon mission, he learns that Doctor Edward Kirk, a world-renowned scientist who was reported dead three years ago, is leading a secret weapons project within the facility. SORT sends four agents (Regina, Gail, Rick, and Cooper) to acquire Kirk and return him to custody.
They arrive onto the island via parachute. Cooper is blown off course and lands in a jungle. A tyrannosaur appears and chases him a short distance throughout the jungle before eating him. The other three agents, unaware of his death, proceed with the mission.
Once inside the base, they discover the mutilated and partially devoured corpses of security personnel and scientists. Shortly thereafter, they discover that dinosaurs are the reason behind the bloodbath at the base. After evading and disposing of many dinosaurs, Regina and the team manage to locate Kirk and apprehend him. As they are preparing to leave via helicopter, the tyrannosaur returns and destroys the helicopter, forcing them to flee back into the base.
Kirk reveals that the dinosaurs were brought to their time by an experiment he was running using his Third Energy technology. A rift in space was created and a pocket of the island from their time was exchanged with the same from the past, bringing dinosaurs back into their time. As the base becomes infested with more dinosaurs, and the tyrannosaur manages to gain entrance, the team discovers an underground river and a hovercraft. They use the hovercraft to escape before the Third Energy reactors, set to overload by Regina, detonate, wiping out all of the dinosaurs on the island and preventing them from escaping to the mainland.
There are four possible endings based on choices made by the player. Near the end of the game, the player has the option to either go after Kirk or find their way off of the island.
- The first ending is achieved by first following Rick's plan - knock out Gail to prevent him going after Kirk and risking his life. They choose to leave the doctor behind and ready the hovercraft. The Tyrannosaurus wakes up and chases them. Rick fires a rocket at the dinosaur. The rocket hits a fuel tank, causing a massive overload in the Third Energy generator and completely disintegrating a portion of Ibis Island in the process killing the Tyrannosaurus and all of the other dinosaurs. The three agents escape safely, but the status of Kirk is unknown.
- In the second ending, Regina follows Gail's plan in locating Kirk with the transmitter. Gail reveals that the mission was the retrieval of the Third Energy data, but soon after dies from injuries sustained earlier. Regina punches Kirk in the face for making a joke out of the situation. As Regina gets fuel for the hovercraft, the T. Rex awakens. As the agents and Kirk escape, unbeknownst to them, the T. Rex splashes into the river. Regina distracts it, and Rick shoots a failsafe system that would have kept the tunnel closed. After the explosion, Regina is forced to throw an explosive into the Rex's mouth and detonate it.
- The third ending can be achieved by agreeing with Rick's idea in retrieving the Third Energy data, but heading to the underground heliport using the Transmitter. Regina catches Kirk trying to fly out and knocks him unconscious. Rick and Gail abandon the hovercraft when the Tyrannosaurus destroyed it, and are alerted to the helicopter's location. All three agents and Kirk escape the Island, with the Tyrannosaurus being killed by a bomb dropped by Rick.
- The last ending is similar to the above but involves choosing Gail's plan but instead going to the Underground Heliport first. After a brief cutscene showing the chopper, the player then will have to go to the area where Gail is normally found in the ending where he dies. Instead of dying, Regina will tell him about the chopper and then Regina handcuff's Kirk and takes him to the chopper with Gail limping behind them. After this cutscene, Gail will be keeping an eye on Kirk from inside the chopper. Regina will call Rick and tell him that Gail is doing fine and that Kirk has been apprehended. Rick will then head over to the chopper because the hovercraft was destroyed. The final battle with the T. Rex is basically the same as the other good ending above, as well as the CG cutscene as well.
|Gail survives||Kirk survives||Helicoper||Hovercraft|
The game keeps track of how many endings the player has unlocked at the end of the game. In the American PlayStation version of the game the player can unlock "Operation: Wipeout", a minigame where the player must eliminate a set amount of dinosaurs in a certain time with limited ammunition, by completing the game once in under five hours. However, in the PC and dreamcast versions, this minigame does not have to be unlocked and can be played without completing the normal game.
Development of Dino Crisis began in late 1996. In the first few months of production the game went through significant changes, having originally been set in a jungle environment and the player fighting off snakes and gorillas, which Shinji Mikami is credited as replacing with dinosaurs. Development was put on hold at the start of 1997 when Production Studio 4 needed more people to work on Resident Evil 2 so it could be completed ahead of a delayed May 1997 deadline. That game restarted development, instead, and staff returned to Dino Crisis.
To properly render the graphics, Studio 4 created an entirely new engine which at the time of release was not expected to be used for any other games. The engine allowed for the team to implement animations to make the skin move.
AI development for the dinosaurs was handled by Miyuki Ohiro and Yuji Hagiyama. The two operated independently, with one working on the larger dinosaurs and the other on the small dinosaurs. Studio 4 did not look into palaeontological research on each species' strengths and speed, and instead judged their stats based on their role in the game.
The Tyrannosaurus model was created out of 500 polygons to make it look realistic.
The game's backstory and script was entirely written in-house by the planning department, and lasted over a period of two months. Shu Takumi was put in charge of writing the first half of the story; he for a short time been the game's director, but inexperience led to him being replaced with Shinji Mikami. Kuniomi Matsushita and Hiroyuki Kobayashi served as co-writers.
- Triceratops and Ankylosaurus were originally planned to appear in Dino Crisis but were cut out early on.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Dino Crisis: Prima's Official Strategy Guide, p.109.
- ↑ Capcom Special Interview
- Official Japanese Website (archive)