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Jonas Ensby
09 May, 2003

Dino Stalker Review

PS2 Review | It's another lightgun shooter! With dinosaurs! That has to be fun, right? In one word: No. In a thousand words:
So you just acquired a lightgun for your PS2 and desperately want a game to use it with. Well, let me start off by saying that you can’t get this desperate. Dino Stalker is Capcom’s third attempt of a lightgun adventure shooter, and if it’s worth anything, it’s their best result yet. That’s not a huge accomplishment as the Gun Survivor series has been received with below-average critisism.

Survival of the fittest

It’s World War 2 in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Lieutenant Mike Wired’s plane takes heavy fire and he is forced to eject. Just as he is about to get hit by an enemy aircraft, everything freezes. Suddenly everything around him has changed. All the airplanes and battleships have disappeared, and he is no longer falling towards an ocean, but a massive jungle. Shocked and confused Lt. Wired hears horrific shrieks from afar. Suddenly a flock of flying creatures appears, and an unknown weapon emerges in your hand. The fight for your existence begins.

I pushed the get-eaten button again.

For those who haven’t played the Gun Survivor series, the main difference from other lightgun shooters like, say, Time Crisis, is the control. Unlike most lightgun games, you control your own movement instead of going on a ”rail”. This is by all means a good game design idea in theory, but when executed does not help the fun of the game in particular. Moving with the d-pad on the g-con2 isn’t exactly a very comfortable way of playing, and a few hours of play is bound to leave your hands hurting. Neither is it a very easy way to control your character, but with a double-tap of any of the side buttons, the view will automatically direct towards the nearest enemy making it a bit easier to find whomever you want to keep from eating you. However, this auto function is not of the most intuitive kind, as it might not find the most urgent threat every time, leaving you shooting an approaching dino, while another jumps you from behind. Frustrating is a mild expression. The fact that you have to start from the start of the level does not help either, as the levels can get pretty long towards the end. (Or maybe that’s just how they felt). They say any game can make you throw the controller into the wall in rage, but a great game make you pick it up again. This game will have you throwing both the G-Con and your PS2 out the window.

You might think, as I did, that lightgun action plus dinosaurs equals guaranteed fun, and if you’ve played The Lost World in the arcades you will probably agree with me that this equation can be true, but in the same way, Dino Stalker proves it’s not a definite truth. The main problem is that these dinos does not seem to act “naturally”. In fact, they don’t seem to act at all, if the spot you they will run straight towards you, each and every time. AI here is practically non-existent, as they will run towards you no matter what’s in the way. If they hit a tree, they will keep on running, as if they will make it through it if they try hard enough. The tree will come down, though, if the player helps it along. Shoot at rocks, trees, logs and whatever looks destructible, and you can demolish them, and if you’re lucky, you might even get a prize. Often this would be a time crystal that you can either shoot or capture to extend your countdown timer. But you also get powerups and special weapons as well.

The End... of part one, right?

Having shelled out full price for this game, I kept on trying to convince myself it was worth it, in an attempt of justifying my impulsive purchase. And after a few hours I felt I had almost convinced myself. This is starting to get better, I thought to myself. It was about that time the credits start rolling by, and I really couldn’t believe it at first. I actually tried figuring out for what possible reasons I was looking at the credit list at that moment. It’s finally when the The End screen appeared I accepted the actuality in that this was the shortest game I had played. While it felt too damn short, it was also too damn long in the fact that it really had gotten boring about halfway into it. (And believe me, that is not far) Lightgun games tend to be shorter than most games, but they usually don’t end before your palms are sweaty, and even so, good shooters features something called replay value. This game does not. Of course you could possible be tempted to try the hardest difficulty, but then again I’m willing to bet you won’t. If you do, you will find out that it’s a complete joke of a difficulty, way too hard even for the most experienced gunners, which is mainly the control's fault. Even if you look as impossibility as a challenge, you'll be sick of the game before you even get to the real challenges.

Looks like, sounds like, acts like a duck. Still might be dino.

Graphically, Dino Stalker is below average, even for a lightgun game. Dinosaurs look OK enough, but far away from what the PS2 is capable of. They rather remind me of the dinosaurs from Dino Crisis, which is definitely not a compliment, considering that it’s a PSX title I’m talking about. The environment is also pretty simple and blocky, as well as low-res textured. Of course you don’t expect a graphical experience in a shooter of this kind, but nonetheless you will be left disappointed. The cut-scenes also left a lot to be desired as you would expect pre-rendered FMVs to be above what the console can render graphic wise, but I can name dozens of PS2 titles from the top of my head that have in-game graphics way better than these story-pushing cut-scenes. They are of very low quality, and I would think that they had more than enough space for less compression, taking into account that the game was so quickly over.

These cut-scenes also feature what I can, with the right hand on my heart, say is the worst voice acting I have ever experienced in a videogame. It’s not really an important aspect of the game, but they could have shown more effort than giving the acting jobs to the first staff members to raise their hands. Otherwise, the sound in the game isn't anything special, at least not in the positive sense. Dinosaurs sounds like what you already think dinosaurs sounds like from watching Jurassic Park ten times. Overall the sound is pretty average, but all the other aspects of the game have murdered it, anyway.
The Score
I don't care how many times you saw Jurrasic Park, how much you love shooting at your television and how tempting the back of this cover looked. Do NOT use your money on this sorry excuse of a game. Even if you can get it for an eight of the price, your money is well spent on almost anything else. Buy a better game, a few good albums, treat your friends to a kebab, give the money to a hobo. Throwing the money out of the window will give you more of a reward than playing this game. Just don't spend them on this.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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1 Comment
1 decade ago
I finished this game in 2 days sooooooooooooooooooooo easy!!!!!!!!!!!
BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK!
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Capcom Entertainment
Developer:
  Capcom Entertainment
Players:
  1

Extra:
Analog Control
60hz Option

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