Set in 2009, a special forces team must find a way to survive in a secret government facility that has been infested with time-displaced dinosaurs. It features similar gameplay to the Resident Evil series, and was promoted by Capcom as "panic horror". Dino Crisis was innovative at the time of its release, for it was the first game by the company where the main character moved through a flowing environment, as opposed to pre-rendered backgrounds like in the Resident Evil titles. Despite this change, the sequel Dino Crisis 2 abandoned this concept and went back to the static settings.
- Gail - A veteran spy, and the leader of the team. He is well known for his cold demeanor, and seems to have a heart of stone. He carries a large heavy machine gun, and his field of expertise seems to be combat. He cares a lot about his mission. He can either survive in the game or die, depending on choices made by the player. Non-playable.
- Rick - The third member of the team and an expert computer hacker. He carries a Sniper Rifle. He seems to be much more easy-going than Gail, providing most of the comic relief. He is African-American. Non-playable.
- Cooper - The fourth member of the extraction team. He's blown off course at the start of the mission, and ends up being eaten by a T. Rex. The rest of the team never learns this, and he is declared M.I.A. He carried the only outsourcing radio on the team, and his death puts the rest of the members in a bind. Non-playable.
- Tom - An agent of S.O.R.T., who has infiltrated the Ibis Island facility to investigate the reports of a new type of weapon being researched. He is wounded by a dinosaur, and later dies.
- Dr. Edward Kirk - The genius behind the Third Energy Theory. He was approached by the Borginian Republic who were interested in the properties of Third Energy as a weapon, and promised him all the funding, facilities, researchers and equipment he needed. To that end, he staged his death and moved to Ibis Island where a Third Energy research facility had been set up for him. During the course of the game he eludes the dinosaurs as well as the player, and even kills some of his researchers to cover his tracks. He shows no remorse for the consequences of his actions, and only cares about his work.
- Velociraptor - The enemy encountered most in the game. These powerful, fast carnivores can jump very high, and have a deadly claw on each foot. Much larger than the real Velociraptor, they look more like its larger relatives Deinonychus and Utahraptor and are obviously inspired by the raptors from Jurassic Park.
- Pteranodon - This large pterosaur attacks the player in groups throughout the game. They dive-bomb to ram the player with their strong beaks, and are impossible to shoot while circling high in the air.
- Compsognathus - Compsognathus is harmless and occasionally seen eating from carcasses or fleeing from the player.
- Therizinosaurus - These strange looking carnivores have huge arms with scythe-like claws which can severely injure Regina. They are often seen in pairs. If Regina is knocked onto the ground by one, it can stomp on her, killing her instantly regardless of her health. In reality, Therizinosaurus was a herbivore.
- Tyrannosaurus - The huge Tyrannosaurus frequently appears in the game, and cannot be killed on most occasions.
The game takes place on fictional Ibis Island. S.O.R.T. has sent an agent, Tom, to investigate a research facility. During the recon mission, he learns that Dr. Edward Kirk, a world-renowned scientist who was reported dead two years ago, is leading a secret weapons project within the facility. S.O.R.T sends four agents (Regina, Gail, Rick, and Cooper) to acquire Dr. Kirk and return him to custody.
They arrive onto the island via air infiltration (parachute). Cooper, however, is blown off course and ends up in a jungle. A Tyrannosaurus Rex appears and chases him a short distance, before eating him. The other three agents, unaware of his death, proceed with the mission.
Third Energy Edit
Third Energy is a new type of power source. It is the third generation of energy sources, following on the heels of the ages of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The process involved ensures an almost permanent supply of energy, using the ions present in the atmosphere. Air is brought into the Third Energy Reactor, where energy is extracted as the ions decompose, are reconstituted and then released.
If the energy reaction that occurs within the reactor core gets out of control, the air breaks down, and the energy that is created spills outside of the reactor. Depending on the scale of the mishap, the components that make up the atmosphere in the vicinity can be destroyed in an instant. In such an event, massive amounts of energy, not normally possible in the physical realm, are released. Such a release would cause time itself to shift and disrupt.
Dino Crisis is best described as a "Panic Horror" game, with the focus of the game not on action, but high suspense, and often puzzle-based gameplay. There are, of course, times when resorting to using weapons is the player's only hope of survival, but weapons and ammunition are often hard to come by.
The game's storyline is carried out exclusively at night, aiding the eerie and often disturbing feeling of the game. The music also contributes to the sense of isolation in the facility, and there is often no warning as to when a dinosaur may ambush the player.
Dino Crisis' weapons include a pistol, a shotgun and a grenade launcher, with varying forms of ammo found in the facility, including tranquillizer darts that can be modified using various substances into deadly poison darts. Generally, the larger the enemy, the more firepower is required to kill them.
The game integrates a range of puzzle-solving into the storyline, with various disks and password keys needed to open doors. Other puzzles involve logistics, such as moving pipes and crates in the right sequence to allow gameplay to procede. During puzzle solving, there are generally no dinosaurs to harrass Regina.