I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know why, but at one point in gaming history dinosaurs were rife in the gaming world and then suddenly… extinction. I’m sure that Turok’s last attempt wasn’t exactly helping to resurrect them, but back in the Nintendo 64/PlayStation era, the age of the dino-shooter was riding high. It brought about one of my favourite survival horror games, one which I think should make a return and reclaim the dino-throne amongst gamers, Dino Crisis.

Nom Nom Nom…

For those who didn’t play it, or were too young to buy it themselves or had parents who paid attention, Dino Crisis was a survival horror series which spanned from the original PlayStation to the original Xbox. It focussed on small squads of special operatives being sent in to either investigate a disturbance, or to end it. The first two Dino Crisis games take place in a then future (snigger) of 2009 and 2010, where dinosaurs are being created as a sort of weapon to help wage war. However, they obviously escape and kill everything. The third Dino Crisis takes place in 2548 and focusses around a spaceship investigating a disturbance which turns out to be dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, in space, in the future. How did this one not get a sequel?!

Unlike Turok, which chose to go for the much more over-the-top bombastic “OMG” IT’S A T-REX! RAWR!” approach, Dino Crisis took a lot of ideas out of the original Jurassic Park’s play book. When even a single dinosaur showed up it was a massive deal. It didn’t matter if it was a T-Rex, a raptor, or a tiny saltapus – they were all dangerous and all a match for you. Anybody who remembers being on the rooftop of that Dino Crisis level can vouch as to how terrifying it can be. Isolated, unequipped, and unaware of the situation you’re in. I want that terror back, now dinosaurs are at best a novelty, I want to fear velociraptors again because they are killing machines who are Hell bent on clawing my eyes out with their feet bones because I made too much eye contact with them.

I don’t think he’s going to make it.

I want dinosaurs to be taken as a threat again. You think when they existed 230 million odd years ago that we saw them, grabbed a spear, and charged at them screaming like a toddler at a kitten? Like fuck. We ran for the nearest cave they couldn’t wedge their fat ass into and waited out the comet – or whatever it was that finally took them out. I want that feeling back. I want to see Dino Crisis 4 remind me that not only can survival horror can be done well, but that dinosaurs can go back to being petrifying again.

To me it was one of the rarer horror games which somehow felt more realistic, as dumb as that sounds. There was nothing supernatural about it, and no hidden conspiracy style outbreaks, it was simply a clashing of two time periods which were not meant to meet. I can’t think of many survival horror titles of this generation where both the protagonists and enemies have physically existed in the real world. Even of the very few titles I can, none had dinosaurs. Making Dino Crisis automatically worthy of joining in the fray.

Dinosaurs… And jetpacks, in space. DINOSAURS. JETPACKS. SPACE!

Resident Evil 6 took a lot of heat upon release. Dead Space 3 is already getting panned by many before they’ve even played it because it looks like Lost Planet and Uncharted had a money baby. Even Silent Hill is getting the “Meh” treatment with a HD re-release that makes the originals look like gold in comparison. Survival horror needs something new, something fresh, and most importantly something scary. I think it would be fantastic for Capcom to resurrect this franchise, even if it means we have to wait a bit longer for the inevitable Resident Evil 7, because even thinking about the original Dino Crisis here has made my leg start twitching nervously.

God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates Dino Crisis 4. Done.

That’s it for this episode of Pipe Dreams, my name’s Duncan Aird and I approve these dreams.

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