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.
In Bioshock, the game starts with the player aboard a plane over the Atlantic ocean, in 1960. The title card pops up and the very next scene is our hero drowning underwater. Due to the debris sinking around him we can gather that something has gone wrong and the plane crashed. Our hero, Jack then quickly swims to the surface and thankfully doesn’t drown. Amidst the fire and wreckage, Jack sees a lighthouse. A lighthouse in the middle of the ocean. There are no other islands nearby or anything and so what purpose does a lighthouse have in the middle of the ocean? But Jack isn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth and so proceeds to the lighthouse for safety. Within the confines of the lighthouse, Jack finds a bathysphere which takes him on his adventure through Rapture. I’m going to skip Rapture for today, even though it is a fantastic setting and has lots of lore surrounding it.
Today, I want to focus on the lighthouse. An odd thing to have in the middle of the ocean. So, I wanted to see how far away from land this lighthouse was. I was going to try and pinpoint the location using speculation and the process of elimination. But that’s not going to be needed. “When Mum and Dad put me on that plane to visit my cousins in England, they told me, ‘Son, you’re special, you were born to do great things.’ You know what? They were right.”. That is a quote on the Bioshock Wiki said by Jack. I personally don’t recall the visiting cousins part in England but I trust the Wiki. So, I was going to work backwards from that to see where he was coming from and where about he crashed. But………..the actual coordinates for the lighthouse have been published by the Bioshock team. There is no lighthouse there sadly. The coordinates are 63° 2′ N, 29° 55′ W, which brings us to here:
As you can see, it all adds up geographically. Jack was coming over from somewhere in America to visit his family in England. Along the way something went wrong and the plane careened off course and into the ocean below. The location of the lighthouse is between Greenland and Iceland. It’s still not close enough to land to serve a purpose to the residents of the islands. But, to get into it’s purpose is another topic all together and one that involves spoilers for the game. That’s why I’ll just leave the alone for now.