GVMERS: The Rise and Fall of Dino Crisis

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Or is it just one of Phil's balls in my throat?

Capcom published the Shinji Mikami and Tokuro Fujiwara-created Resident Evil for the original PlayStation in 1996, lighting the way for survival horror as a genre and reinvigorating interest in zombies across popular culture. Several sequels and spinoffs followed in the wake of its meteoric success, and though Mikami produced each one, his hands-on involvement in the franchise’s day-to-day development significantly reduced after the release of Resident Evil 2 in 1998. Such a pivot gave the visionary room to lead production on Dino Crisis, another tension-filled adventure that shook survival horror to its core.

Mikami set his sights on a sub level of the horror spectrum, however, conceptualizing the “panic horror” sub-genre to differentiate Resident Evil’s fear factor from that of Dino Crisis. Like its undead enemies, the zombie series induced terror slowly, evoking tension at a plodding pace which allowed players time to escape, hide, and gather their thoughts. Dino Crisis permitted no such reprieve, its prehistoric antagonists proving faster, stronger, and smarter than the average Resident Evil foe. This change in tempo, along with the introduction of a 3D engine, begat a winning recipe, one that turned Dino Crisis into Capcom’s next big franchise.

Naturally, sequels were pursued and developed. Many would contend Dino Crisis 2 stood head and shoulders above its predecessor. Others were unconvinced. Reverence for the Dino Crisis follow-up entries effectively stopped there, with most fans harboring no love for titles such as Dino Crisis 3. Worst still, the brand’s dormancy following the third mainline outing suggested Capcom struggled with how best to bring its digital dinosaurs back from extinction.

This is the rise and fall of Dino Crisis.
 
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