In my mind, the Resident Evil series is one of the most overrated video game series in the late 90s (let's not forget Tomb Raider either). I have always found the voice-acting bad beyond belief (who could forget that "master of picking locks" line), puzzles to be ridiculously contrived (what kind of police station uses magic stones in its security system?), and the control interface limited to running around with stagnate shooting. Those oh-so distracting 'door entrance' load-times didn't win me over either. But don't get me wrong; I didn't loath Resident Evil. I enjoyed playing the original and the sequel which both managed to rattled my nerves pretty well (though nowhere near as much as Kenji Eno's underrated D did). I just couldn't understand how a game with so many obvious flaws could be considered a masterpiece!
So when it came time to review Resident Evil's perennial follow-up, Dino Crisis, I was fairly skeptical. To my surprise, Dino Crisis was much better than I expected and held up pretty well under my scrutiny. Laughable voice-acting (marginally better than Resident Evil's) and the old 'door entrance' load-times are still present, but there's an effort to fix or improve on all other problems that have consistently plagued the series. Bad camera angles obscuring enemies and objects are less apparent since the use of real-time rather than prerendered environments allows the perspective to pan around when necessary. Targeting enemies in the distance no longer requires guesswork because an automatic lock-on feature has been added. Like Dale mentioned, raptors are far more interesting adversaries than brain-dead zombies. Lastly, most of the overly contrived puzzles have been ditched for more realistic ones thanks to the whole Jurassic Park situation.
For my money's worth, Dino Crisis represents the first 'survival-horror' entry in the genre actually done right. It may have taken Capcom three tries (usually the charm) to get there, but they finally did and I'm happy to recommend it. I still feel the locked-down camera angles and limited control scheme characteristic of this genre hamper it from reaching the pinnacle of gaming bliss. But in spite of its flaws, Dino Crisis, like its predecessor Resident Evil, remains fun to play. Just don't expect me to proclaim it 'Game of the Year.'
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