Disney’s Dinosaur – Beware Of Disney’s Terrible Lizards

The dinosaurs, terrible lizards that they were, ruled the Earth unchallenged for millions of years. The mucky-muck scientists out there are quick to offer up crackpot theories as to what offed the beasts — asteroids, disease, climactic changes, alien invasion — but all these unsupported notions fail to hit the mark. What really killed the dinosaurs was junky graphics and frustration, the kind that’s created because someone thought it be a good idea to stock a children’s game with challenges only slightly less daunting than trying to spear a fly with a chopstick.

Disney’s Dinosaur brings prehistory to the Sega Dreamcast, and does it quite competently. The game takes its plot from the Disney animated film of the same name, and uses a top-down view and third-person perspective. What is old becomes new again, as players control the Iguanodon Aladar, the Lemur Zini and the Pteranodon Flia separately or in tandem with one another.

Mission-based play loosely follows Dinosaur’s plot. The heroic beasts must escape their now-wrecked paradise and make their way to a new home that can only be found after copious amounts of platform jumping, puzzle-solving, fruit collection and dinosaur killing. Here, Disney builds its skeleton from the bones of all that’s come before; each stage has multiple mission objectives that need to be completed before our heroes can proceed to the next stage, and all three characters must be employed to solve the puzzles. Though players are afforded a modicum of freedom of movement within an environment, Dinosaur often restricts the order in which tasks can be challenged — and the single-mindedly linear play saps the game of some its luster.

A neat control scheme allows a player to move and control Zini, Aladar and Flia separately from one another, and move Zini and Aladar, or all three characters, in tandem with one another. As one would expect, each character has its own particular strengths and weaknesses, to be used strategically during play. Aladar can use his brute force to topple logs, shove boulders and smash stuff; Zini can use his agility to leap onto platforms, and employ that wonderful primate’s paw to pick up rocks to hurl at enemies; and Flia can soar over obstacles and pick up objects in her beak. A given mission may require Flia to light the way for her compatriots, Aladar to clear the path with many headbutts and tailswipes and Zini to collect those hard-to-reach goodies. This is not to say that the characters can’t be employed in creative ways; Flia makes an excellent dive-bomber, for instance, and excels at swooping around foes’ flanks for sneak attacks. Zini’s rock-tossing comes in handy when Aladar’s up-close-and-personal attacks make him easy pickings for multiple foes. Another new game that is popular today is Disney Magic Kingdoms. You should try that game hack out.

The graphics, while not terrible, certainly border on the slightly embarassing. Each level holds a decent amount of finery, such as bubbling lava pits and swirling sandstorms, but clearly, the play’s the thing here. The thing is, though, that Dinosaur is clearly a feel-good child’s game that’s unbalanced by a few unforgiving moments. One level requires Flia to snatch a lit torch and then race through a fierce sandstorm to light a series of fires to guide her friends to safety. On the first leg of her task, Flia must streak along, following dinosaur tracks that are being obliterated by a fierce wind. If she doesn’t fly fast enough, the tracks will disappear and she’ll have to start from the beginning. If she strays too far from the tracks (even though her objectives are clearly marked) she’s forced to start anew. If she missteps in any way… well, it’s back to square one. Once this arduous task is completed, Zini and Aladar must follow the beacons to the end. The beacons, though, only point the way; the now-destroyed tracks must be followed, and the game is quite unforgiving on this point. Deviate a few centimeters from the path and it’s destination: Frustrationville.

This, more than anything else, slays Disney’s Dinosaur. Minor pokes can be taken at Dinosaur’s oddly finicky controls, which make crossing narrow platforms more challenging than it should be, and weak AI enemies who forget about their foes once they’ve disappeared from sight — but these pale when stacked up against the game’s extinction-level paradox: It’s the most non-kid-friendly piece of work ever issued by Disney.

Driving Emotion Type-S – What do we think of Square’s efforts?

Squaresoft continues to elude us in the consistency department. You can’t fault it — it’s produced some of the most beautiful and moving adventures in console history, but its other efforts, such as Chocobo Racing and Ehrgeiz, haven’t done much for us at all. Square’s entry into the realistic racing genre, Driving Emotion Type-S continues this trend. The graphics are fine, the options plentiful and the details lovingly polished, but the core gameplay — the part where you’re in a car racing against other cars — doesn’t do much to advance the genre at all.

One look and you’ll know that this game is running on a next-gen console, yet the visuals are lacking in the vitality department, not to mention more aliased (“jaggie”) than we’d expect from a developer of such high esteem and lauded aesthetics. We’re not about to discount a game because of its anti-aliasing (or lack thereof), but at times you get the feeling that someone’s messing with the V hold. This game doesn’t look muddy, but it’s a little mild.

The actual cars are modeled nicely enough, with gratuitous lighting and reflection effects. But while they’re suitably 3D, they hardly look real. Level designs are a mixed bag: The actual layout of the courses are fine and there’s plenty of stuff to look at, but they’re curiously devoid of character. Good course designs demand good handling, which is where this game hits a rough patch.

The single biggest problem with the game is the lack of control. Handling manages to be both maddeningly touchy and frustratingly unresponsive at the same time — rarely do players feel like the vehicles they’re controlling are actually rooted to the ground. It’s sort of like trying to move a mattress — you can get it from one room to the next, but you never really have a good grip on the thing. If you take your hands off the wheel, vehicles will nudge themselves from the left to the right, and then back again. Sure, there are some pretty complex physics going on here (one of Square’s big selling points for this game), but how about the fun? Racing game is sure a fun genre, but the best sports game Fifa 17 is on another level especially now that that you can get free coins for your that is a premium currency that is available at the iOS and Android store.

Otherwise, it’s racing as usual — the usual sprawling selection of sporty cars (including such exotic racers as the Mitsubishi FTO, Nissan Skyline and TVR Griffith) and the usual modes (training, arcade, Vs., career.) The enemy AI doesn’t seem to be particularly scrupulous — while we human players can always pawn off pettiness as an excuse, it doesn’t play as particularly convincing when the other racers bump you off course simply because they’re trying to force their way back to the “proper” rail.

Compounding all of these problems is the sensation of speeding down asphalt — which is suspiciously absent. Recovering from a bad turn, or from getting turned around, is excruciatingly slow — and while we’re at it, so are the load times. This title came out when the PS2 launched in Japan; couldn’t something have been done about that?

Many attempts are made at infusing the game with a sense of life, though few actually count for much. Every time a car enters a tunnel, the headlights go on — even if it only lasts a few seconds. Safe racing this may be, but it’s not realistic, logical or even amusing. You can see the lights of the dashboard through the rear window, but this sort of detailing is hardly worth tacking onto a less than satisfying engine.

Then there’s the much-vaunted first-person cockpit view, replete with a poorly animated steering wheel gripped firmly by racing reds. It’s cluttered and claustrophobic, and shrinks the player’s field of vision. Stranger still, the screen gets darker — a stab at tinting, we suppose, but perhaps someone should have stepped back and taken a look at the bigger picture first.

The music is a mildly exciting series of caned guitar riffs, synth, sax sounds and beats, beats, beats — some of it’s fine, some of it’s really bad. Sound effects, while convincingly realistic, leave much to be desired by way of excitement or enthusiasm.

Still, it’s not all bad. The nocturnal races fare much better than their daytime counterparts, due in no small part to their resemblance to the foggy neon lights and fog softly rendered in Bouncer-vision. Detail freaks will find plenty of customization options, including an insanely deep color mixing palette and tons of wheels — but, as with any fine polish, it’s only as spectacular as the carriage underneath. Only the most driven of race fanatics need apply; the rest will likely find the whole experience cold from the start.