It must be the season for dinosaur blasting. Last week we looked at Turok Evolution, which didn't really realise it's potential, and this week it's the turn of Dino Stalker from Capcom. Unlike Turok Evolution, Dino Stalker is an arcade shoot' em up that remains non-stop from start to finish.
The big difference between Dino Stalker and Turok Evolution is that Dino Stalker is purely an arcade game. Whether the stages are on land, in the air or on the water, the action is fast, frantic and furious. The objective is to destroy wave after wave of a multitude of dinosaurs that are all trying to take a piece out of you. The arcade nature of the game is given away by health items such as resuscitation which brings you back to life should you die. Of course being an arcade shoot' em up usually means two things. First of all the action is incessant and secondly the longevity of the title is not as long as it would be with more 'realistic'(and I use the term very loosely) FPS games such as Halo. This is certainly true of Dino Stalker.
From the moment you begin playing it is obvious that the game was designed with a light gun in mind. Using the Dualshock 2 is acceptable but never allows you to aim with a great deal of accuracy. The problem with this is that most of us here in the UK will probably not have a light gun, as they are not that easy to get hold of over here as they would be in the US. You have also got to factor in that there are not too many games that make use of the light gun so it can prove to be an uneconomical purchase.
Graphically the game is OK. You can blast rocks and objects out of your way and do some damage to the environment but the quality of the graphics is about the same for what we usually see on the Playstation 2. The cutscenes are OK too. What I was particularly impressed with was the water effects which look as good as anything seen on the XBOX never mind the Playstation 2.
The introduction to the game is subtitled with a bright orange text that sort of swirls in and out of focus. For the most part it is easy to read, but some lines of text don't remain onscreen long enough to read them all. The in-game cutscenes are not subtitled. They usually aren't too long though and contain only small amounts of speech but it still would have been nice to have had them subtitled. There aren't really any objectives to be recalled, the task is straight forward in that you have to shoot everything in sight that moves or could prove an obstacle.
Giving Dino Stalker a rating is a somewhat tricky business. For light gun owning fans of arcade shooters it's probably worth around 7 out of 10 but for gamers who like me have to rely on their Dualshock 2 to get them through the game, the difficulty in aiming reduces your opinion somewhat and would probably only receive 5 out of 10. The reliance on a good light gun, to do well at the game, is probably something that will put most gamers off.
Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10 You really need a light gun to aim with sufficient accuracy. The Dualshock 2 just isn't accurate enough.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems. There are little subtitle omissions but they do no major damage.