Sunday, May 22, 2011

DINO CRISIS


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Dino Crisis
Developer - Capcom
Publisher - Capcom
Release date - July 1, 1999



Dino Crisis is a survival horror video game developed and produced by Capcom originally for the PlayStation console in 1999. It was developed by the same team behind Capcom's Resident Evil series, including director Shinji Mikami, and shares many similarities with the Resident Evil games that preceded it. The story follows Regina, a special operations agent sent with a team to investigate a secluded island research facility. Finding the place overrun with dinosaurs, Regina must fight through the facility to discover its secrets and ultimately escape alive.



Instead of the pre-rendered backgrounds of the Resident Evil games that preceded it, Dino Crisis uses an original real-time engine with 3D environments. Gameplay features traditional survival horror mechanics including action and puzzles. However, unlike the horror "fun house" feeling of its predecessors, Dino Crisis was developed to have more consistent visceral terror with the dinosaurs being quick, intelligent, and violent. Capcom would later market the game as "panic horror" as opposed to "survival horror" due to these design changes. The team used carnivorous animals as references for animating the dinosaurs and programming their behaviors. Mikami's vision for the game was not completely fulfilled, as he wanted to develop more complex dinosaur artificial intelligence. However, he did believe the team was able to create sufficiently detailed environments despite hardware limitations.

Story

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 research facility. During the recon mission, he learns that Dr. 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. The team arrives on the island under cover of darkness, dropping in via parachute. Cooper is blown off course and lands in the jungle away from the others. Lost in the dark, he is chased down by a Tyrannosaurus rex and eaten. The other three agents, unaware of his death, proceed with the mission.

Endings

The three possible endings are 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.

Gameplay

Dino Crisis features game design that is very similar to Capcom's early Resident Evil titles. The player controls Regina, a member of the special forces team that is sent to investigate an isolated military facility that became infested with dinosaurs.

Unlike Resident Evil, which featured polygonal characters and objects superimposed over pre-rendered backgrounds, Dino Crisis features real-time 3D environments, although the camera follows the player from fixed angles much like in Resident Evil. The player's actions are also performed similarly to Resident Evil, but there are small differences, such as being able to aim a gun and move at the same time, and a button that is assigned to quick-turning. Other changes from the Resident Evil formula include tranquilizer rounds that can be used in place of live ammunition for certain weapons and the use of hemostats in order to prevent Regina's injuries from leaving a trail of blood, which will slowly drain her health and can be smelled by predators if her injuries are left untreated. Regina can also use several laser shutters scattered throughout the facility to prevent the dinosaurs from following her. There are also "danger events" in which the player must fend off a dinosaur attacking Regina by rapidly pressing any of the action buttons.

While key items (including weapons) can be obtained indefinitely, Regina's carrying capacity for ammo and health supplies is limited and any leftover supplies must be stored inside "emergency boxes" if the player wishes to have room available for further supplies. Unlike the item boxes in Resident Evil, the emergency boxes in Dino Crisis can only be accessed by using a certain amount of plugs required to open it. Moreover, the player can only have access to other emergency boxes remotely if they're of the same color code (red, green or yellow).

There are many puzzles to complete in order for the player to succeed. Many of the locked doors in the facility uses a D.D.K. (digital disk key) system in the which the player must decrypt the password required to gain access by inserting a code disk and an input disk. There are also many branching points in which the player must decide in which Regina must choose between the often-conflicting advice of her comrades Gail and Rick.

Development

Dino Crisis was directed and produced by Shinji Mikami, and developed by a team that would later become part of Capcom Production Studio 4. It is a pseudo-sequel to Mikami's popular Resident Evil series, which Mikami and his team wanted to move away from the fantasy elements of and make something more real. He cited The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Aliens as influences, and liked dinosaurs because they were large, strong, fearsome, and violent. The game was developed and marketed as "panic horror" as opposed to the "survival horror" branding of Resident Evil. It was made to have more consistent fright, with the dinosaurs being more intelligent, quick, and able to chase the player room-to-room. Mikami described Resident Evil as "horror in the fun house" and Dino Crisis as more visceral horror akin to riding a roller coaster.

Dino Crisis utilizes an original 3D engine with real-time environments, as opposed to the pre-rendered backgrounds of the Resident Evil series. Mikami chose a real-time engine to challenge the theories of real-time backgrounds, as well as enable better cinematic action and dramatic character depictions that would otherwise be impossible. However, with the real-time engine came the challenge of hardware limitations, making it difficult for the team to create detailed environments. The team had to forego a jungle scene because of this issue. Mikami did however believe the team was able to create sufficiently detailed environments despite the hardware's polygon limitations. Like Resident Evil, the game takes place indoors in a enclosed environment. Mikami wanted to keep the claustrophobic feelings, thinking it was better to build fear.

Since it is unknown how dinosaurs moved in real life, the team had to use their imagination and animals such as crocodiles and dogs as reference. The animators first scanned in drawings, then used animation tools to see what was possible to animate. The dinosaur artificial intelligence was based on lions, tigers, and other carnivores that are not afraid of humans or weapons. Mikami's vision for the dinosaurs was not completely fulfilled. He wanted to include more complex dinosaur artificial intelligence, with the dinosaurs each having individual personalities that could understand the player's condition and ambush them. The dinosaur animations and cries also did not turn out as he originally envisioned them. The number of dinosaurs in the North American version was increased from the Japanese version.

Dino Crisis was first revealed at the 1999 Spring Tokyo Game Show. The game was initially released in Japan in July 1999, two months before Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. Ports were released for the Sega Dreamcast console and Microsoft Windows platform in 2000. A Game Boy Color version of Dino Crisis was planned by UK developer M4, but was cancelled.



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