Dino Crisis was a game that released on the Playstation back in 1999 by Resident Evil creator, Shinji Mikami. It is a horror game, like Resident Evil but substitute zombies with time displaced dinosaurs in a research facility. You play as Regina, a weapons specialist and a field operative with a talent for gathering intelligence. Regina is sent to a research facility on Ibis Island to find and retrieve Edward Kirk, a researcher at the base. Upon her arrival, Regina is attacked by time travelled dinosaurs. Because, why not? Armed with her trusty shotgun and other weapons she ventures on, unravelling the mystery as she goes.
Dinosaur fever was big in the 90’s. Jurassic Park was a killer (get it, dinosaurs?)at the box office and what followed was a slew of other dinosaur films or TV shows. Jurassic Park sequels, Barney the Dinosaur, The Land Before Time, Theodore Rex and even Godzilla, which I know it’s meant to be a radioactive lizard, but look at it! That’s a T-Rex. So, it’s no surprise that video games decided to have a go at the craze. Dino Crisis spawned two sequels and was a hit franchise until the third one. I believe Jurassic Park played a big role in its success and so did Dino Crisis acknowledge this inspiration? Quite possibly.
Regina’s shotgun is a SPAS-12 (Sporting Purpose Automatic Shotgun), the very same shotgun that the character Muldoon, can be seen sporting in Jurassic Park. Whether this is a nod to Jurassic Park is up in the air as the SPAS-12 was a common weapon in a lot of games. But, the fact that these are both characters whose job it is, to take down dinosaurs on a remote island, leads me to believe it is a reference to Jurassic Park. At least Regina didn’t meet the same fate as Muldoon. Clever girl!
The Thing was a 1982 horror film by famous director, John Carpenter. The film is considered a horror classic and boasts a fantastic cast, setting and plot. Starring Kurt Russell, a group of Antarctic researchers are beset upon by a shape shifting alien. This alien can become any living thing and therefore who can be trusted? What follows is a game of guess who as our characters are stuck in their isolated Antarctic base with a sly, killing machine.
With the success of the film, it wasn’t long before game developers decided to make The Thing into a video game. They were so eager, they waited a full 20 years to make it. Putting it alongside Reservoir Dogs and Scarface as a ‘Huh, there’s a game of that?’. Although The Thing the video game isn’t a perfect game, I had fun when I rented it. It had some novel ideas too. In the film, the only way to tell if a person or animal was The Thing (I keep forgetting to capitalise The Thing), was to take a blood sample from the individual, and apply searing heat to it. The Thing was a living organism and it would do anything to survive. That’s why when heat is administered, the blood will activate fight or flight mode from its attacker. This idea was implemented into the game, with an item that was a blood test kit.
The game developers, Computer Artworks, tried so hard to get the feel of the film into their game, that they even brought the director John Carpenter aboard to help. John Carpenter, an acid video game fan was happy to join the team and help put his vision into the game. He enjoyed the experience so much, that he even gave permission to use his likeness for the character, Dr. Shaun Faraday. The director even voiced the character himself.
Although John Carpenter voiced the character, he was not listed in the actors credits. Instead, a special thank you message can be seen, thanking the legendary director for his input.
Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem released on the Gamecube in 2002. The game is a 3rd person, survival horror that features elder gods and controlling multiple characters throughout history. The game itself is more remembered for its sanity effects. As you control characters, you will be attacked by Eldritch horror-esque monsters. When your character encounters these monsters, they will have a dip in sanity. Their sanity can be regained by killing the enemy with a finishing move but sometimes this just isn’t an option without risk of death. There are also monsters that focus primarily on attacking your characters sanity. More than likely as you progress as this character their sanity meter will deplete quite a bit.
This leads to some scary, unnerving, goofy, confusing situations. Whilst, your character is losing their marbles you will hear them muttering to themselves things like ‘This can’t be happening’. And, when you transition to a room there is a chance of a sanity effect taking place. These can include:
- Your character shrinking to child size
- Their head suddenly exploding, followed by the limbs too
- Walking on the ceiling of the room
- Swarms upon swarms of monsters attacking you, making you hope that it is a sanity effect and not a steep spike in difficulty
- The character will attempt to reload their gun but will accidentally shoot themselves in the stomach, causing their death (not really but in the sanity effect)
- Bugs suddenly appearing on your TV screen and eventually covering it with creepy crawlies. This one got me the first time, I was sure there was fly’s on my TV
- Your inventory will be empty of ammo and health
- When you save your game a message will pop up saying ‘Would you like to delete your saved game?’, picking yes or no results in a message saying your game has been deleted
- Your screen will go black and you will hear the sounds of your character being attacked or eaten. Making you believe that the video output is faulty but the game is still playing
Other grim effects involve finding a man hanging from the ceiling or your character finding themselves in a bathtub of blood. There are loads more sanity effects too and it really helps to set the game apart from others. I would find myself purposely trying to lower my sanity just so I can see more freak out moments. A great horror game, just a shame the planned sequel never came to fruition. I’ll never forget the mini heart attack, thinking I just deleted my save data. Good times.