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Dino Strike is one of many games I discovered from Classic Game Room. I saw it in a GameStop years ago for around three dollars and didn’t get it for reasons I don’t remember. I regret it because I haven’t seen it in any stores since and it has gone up in price online. I found a copy complete in box on eBay for around thirty bucks but some people are charging over fifty for it. I wanted it because I like dinosaurs and rail shooters. Developed by N-Fusion Interactive, Dino Strike is a rail shooter released for the Wii and I think it’s a budget title. I can’t find a lot of information on it but apparently it came with a gun peripheral which I don’t have. I played it using the Wii Remote and Nunchuck.
The story goes that a cargo ship gets caught in a storm and ends up wrecked on an island full of dinosaurs. The only person to survive the wreckage is the protagonist. Equipped with a radio and pistol, he makes contact with a woman who is on a search and rescue mission and her plane was damaged by the storm. His only chance to get off the island is to leave with her but he has to find her before her plane is repaired. The plot is simple and there are cut scenes in between levels which include images accompanied by narration that explain what’s going on.
Dino Strike is a rail shooter/light gun styled game which means the character or camera moves automatically and all you have to do is point at the screen and shoot. You press buttons to shoot, reload, and switch weapons. The game supports up to four players locally and there are two game modes or ways to play through it; Single Wield mode and Dual Wield mode. Single Wield mode supports up to four players and each player can use one Wii Remote. Dual Wield mode supports up to two players and each player can use two Wii Remotes. The Dual Wield mode is actually pretty cool but trying to be super accurate with both Remotes will require at least decent hand eye coordination which this game showed me I don’t have. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options to mess around with. You can turn subtitles on and off and that’s it.
I question why the developers made the health indicator so big and why it’s located at the top center of the HUD. It can obscure your view of Pterodactyls at certain points. I do wish the reticle would change depending on the weapon you have equipped. You can reference the weapon icons at the top left of the HUD but I think some kind of visual indication in the center of the HUD or a reticle change would have been welcome. Sometimes I would forget which button was associated to which weapon and having to take my eyes off the action to look at the weapon icons is not always ideal. Furthermore, when dual wielding, the second reticle isn’t altered enough to make it stand out. It has some extra lines but it’s the same color as the other reticle. Despite the fact my coordination sucks, it would have been better if they were different colors or shapes or anything to make them really stand out from each other.
There are three difficulty modes to select from; Scout, Hunter, and Survivor. The lower the difficulty, the easier the gameplay and the more continues you start with. Survivor is challenging mainly because enemies can take a lot of shots before going down and it’s easier to drain through all of your ammo. The game plays out in regions or levels and the objective is to get to the end of each level. You’ll want to kill as many dinosaurs as you can along the way and try for a high score and high scores are tracked for each difficulty. Each kill rewards you with points and kill streaks multiply your earned points. If you miss a shot, the multiplier is reset. You start with a pistol with unlimited ammo and as you progress you’ll acquire other weapons like a shotgun, machine gun, and crossbow that fires explosive arrows. Every weapon except the pistol requires ammo which can be found by shooting ammo crates. You’ll lose health if you get attacked and can replenish health by shooting the health pickups found in health crates. Raptor Eggs are also scattered around the levels and shooting three will grant you an extra continue.
Dino Strike is a short game. You can beat it under an hour. The gameplay can get challenging in the later levels, especially on the Hunter and Survivor difficulties, but since Raptor Eggs are everywhere, I always had plenty of extra continues. Dino Strike is a somewhat simple game. However, good aim and reaction times and some thinking is required if you want to achieve the highest possible scores. Keeping the multiplier going is probably the biggest challenge and some weapons are better for certain situations. The shotgun is great against anything, the crossbow is great for taking down multiple enemies simultaneously, and the machine gun is great for mowing down multiple enemies quickly but you have a higher chance of missing. You need to be mindful of reloading since you can easily get attacked during a reload. It’s easy to consume more ammo in the later levels and a good way to conserve ammo is to use the pistol to shoot crates and Raptor Eggs.
There’s not many enemy types in the game and only one boss. Raptors make up the most common foes and will lung at you when they get close enough. A Dilophosaurus will spit venom, Pterodactyls can fly into you, and Ankylosaurus can use its back as a shield and strike you with its tail. The T-Rex is a boss enemy and shows up a few times but you only engage it in the final two levels and it’s not very hard to defeat. Enemies will arrive in numbers and the further you progress, the more you have to deal with. You can shoot an enemy to prevent it from attacking for a few seconds which is helpful when you’re up against multiple foes at once.
Dino Strike includes six levels and you can replay through any already completed levels from the Level Select screen. You’ll blow away dinosaurs on a beach, in a temple, and in volcano caves, among some others locations. Health, ammo, and Raptor Eggs seem to be around almost every corner and in the later levels, you’ll have to be quick to shoot pickups or you can easily miss them. Despite the game’s short length, it does have some replay value besides just trying for better scores. If you meet certain requirements, you’ll unlock Journal pages. The Journal can be accessed from the main menu and provides backstory and information.
I can’t say Dino Strike looks great but the audiovisual presentation does a decent job at capturing the whole dinosaur island feel. Some textures are blurry, jaggies are noticeable, and the dinosaur models look decent at best. Their animations are okay, they bleed when they take damage, and the smoke effects look cool. The audio is more impressive than the visuals. The weapons sound loud and powerful, the shotgun sounds beastly, and the reload animations sound great. The soundtrack is full of adventurous and dramatic-sounding tunes and the songs do fit the whole dinosaur theme. You’ll hear birds chirping and dinosaurs roaring and growling and they screech and squeal as they die. On the technical side, the game ran pretty smooth overall. I noticed some hitches whenever the game had to load something but nothing ever hindered the gameplay.
I didn’t go into this expecting much and even though it’s better than I thought it would be, it definitely feels like a budget title but it’s not a bad game. I like rail shooters like this because they make me feel like some kind of badass hero even though the reality is I’m just a regular guy sitting on a couch pointing a controller at a screen. They’re fun. The appeal of Dino Strike is the dinosaurs and I love dinosaurs. I feel like this is the kind of game I would think is best thing ever if I was a little kid. In the end, I got what I wanted. I got to shoot dinosaurs from the comfort of my own home. I wish it had more variety but, overall, I enjoyed my time with it. It won’t take you long to beat, it’s not super challenging, and it should appeal to players of all skill levels. The Dual Wield mode is cool and the game does have some replay value. Ultimately, it’s a simple but fun game and a good choice if you’re looking to kill an hour or so or just want to shoot shit.
I would only recommend Dino Strike to those who really enjoy the genre. If you’re merely interested in trying it, I would say it’s not worth buying unless you can get it for ten bucks or less which may be hard to do now. If you’re a collector or just hellbent on trying it, now’s the time to get it as far as I can tell. If you look on eBay, it’s already up there in price. To be clear, it’s an average rail shooter and there are better games in the genre. Dino Strike is fun for what it is and if you don’t go into it expecting much, I think you’ll have good time with it. If you’re looking for some decent dinosaur shooting action, definitely check out Dino Strike.