30 Days of Dreamcast – Day 12: Carrier

Carrier
Publisher: Jaleco
Developer: Jaleco
Genre: Survival Horror
Release Date: 1/31/2000

Ahhh, the halcyon days of survival horror – the late 90s. After Resident Evil made its big splash stateside, there was a lot of selfsame flotsam following in the wake (wasn’t there one with dinosaurs?). Carrier is another piece of the flotsam. It tries to punch some originality in the genre by the same recently used methods of the Lonely Island – putting it on a boat.

So – does Resident Evil (ON A BOAT!) work? Does it appear to be a forgotten Dreamcast Classic ten years later?

Read on to find out…

Story/Mode
The setup is pretty simple – you land a helicopter on a boat and bad things happen. There is a bit of backstory, which is that a quasi-futuristic north versus south (the hemispheres, this time) world standoff/embargo has occurred. The north has some fancy new boat called the Heimdal that they are going to use to combat southern terrorists known as the Southern Cross. So they go off with their fancy new boat and launch an attack against a terrorist base. Oh ,and also to pick up some mystery organism, because that’s totally what the Navy does. Anywho, on its way back to base, the Heimdal goes silent and you, dear player, are sent in to investigate.

Of course, something eeeeeevil has taken over the crew and it is now your job to investigate. You run around for a bit in the now (and, come to think of it, then) cliché “Key Card 1 opens Door 1” mode and eventually discover that there are….evil….plant…things. Yeah. Evil plants have taken over the ship. Not vampires, like the cover might imply. Plants. Oh well, sink the thing. That is about it. There is one cool twist in that you play through as one character (Jack) and then play through with another (Jessifer) in order to see what goes on elsewhere in the ship. Besides the kinda-sorta neat perspective offered in the final part of the game, there is nothing here beyond survival horror cliché. Limited ammo, blue key cards, red doors, some jump-scares. Absolutely unimaginative.

Score: Bad

Graphics
Graphics in the game, while nothing to really write home about, are certainly adequate. While I have a limited knowledge of DC games, most of what I’ve played looks a heck of a lot better than this. The game uses a LOT of dark and shadow, and not as effectively as was certainly technologically possible in Y2K. There are some bonus points, however for being rendered fully 3D, unlike previous games such as RE, which use 3D characters over pre-rendered backgrounds.

Score: Mediocre

Sound
Back when RE came out and I was in high school, my friends always used to act out the whole overacting hand movement thing that always accompanied the dialogue on the RE game. “If you, Jill, the master of unlocking…” *waves arms frantically*…. Yeah, that stuff always amused me.

Well, its here in Carrier as well. There is a lot of silly, stunted dialogue in the game and the voice actors never fail to bring the mediocrity. As for music, it just all seems so blasé I can barely remember it. Nothing great, nothing awful, it just is. It serves a minor function in ramping up tension, but, like every other aspect of this game, nothing really stands out as “cool.”

Score: Mediocre

Control & Gameplay
OK, its been a few years since I’ve played Resident Evil or, really, any game with rigidly fixed camera angles, but, I’ll be goddamned if I remember them being this awkward. Perhaps I’ve grown used to the now-standard two analogue sticks control scheme, where one is generally a camera control, but the control scheme in Carrier just felt awkward to me. This seems to be a pretty standard setup for survival horror games: one stick for running, a trigger button for shooting and some item buttons. One of the actually unique items in the game is the BEM-T3, a set of magical goggles you can wear that will let you identify the contents of treasure boxes, see infrared beams, or determine if someone is infected with plantpox or not. Kind of like in “They Live,” really. These are kind of cool, but ultimately, I found them tricky to use with the pseudo-3D control scheme. The one thing that helped is a slight auto-aim feature, which lets you pretty quickly target specific areas for shooting and/or blowing off. Not as cool as, say, blowing a guys legs off at the knees in COD4, but still useful.

Score: Poor.

Replayability
Other than nostalgia, I really see no reason to return to this game once you finish it. There is no difficulty modifier or unlockables, and it just plain isn’t fun. Of course, if its nostalgia for old, clunky survival horror games you’re after, there have been a number of re-releases of the first RE game. Go play those instead.

Score: Awful

Balance
While there is no ability to select difficulty level, the game does do an adequate job of balancing the bad guys. (I will assume that “Ëœcontrol’ is not a factor.) You start with the easy guys, and then move on to harder foes and cooler weapons, etc. The scheme is entirely standard and will be familiar to anyone who has played similar games (and who hasn’t, at this point?) but it functions. It’s like getting a generic bandage after you’ve grown used to the cool-ass G.I. Joe ones, tho. Yeah, it functions, but where’s the cool fancypants stuff?

Score: Decent

Originality
Is Jaleco, like, Spanish for Capcom? Coz this game is Resident Evil. On a boat. Seriously, I think Steven Speilbergo was on the design team. The one glimmering beacon of originality is a broken flashlight. Well, technically, it’s bad guy goggles, but same effect. No real enhancement to game play, and not particularly original at that.

Score: Worthless.

Addictiveness
Once I started this game, I knew immediately what it was. It certainly didn’t live up to my nostalgia for the first RE game, which Carrier is gleefully cribbing. The gameplay was awkward, the storyline did not drag me in, so there was really very little to keep me going. Becoming addicted to this game would be like becoming addicted to children’s Tylenol. I guess I prefer my heroin.

Score: Bad.

Appeal Factor
Oh Boy. There are two ways I can think about this: either base the appeal on the original release or base it on general appeal now… Lets do both, shall we? When this game first came out, back in 2000, 4 years after RE, it would have been old news from the get-go. With nothing to drastically set it apart from its predecessors, it would have a very limited appeal. Now, of course, who the hell still plays DC games? A bad game on an outdated system is likely to be not-noticed by anyone and unnoticed by everyone.

Score: Dreadful.

Miscellaneous
Ok, here is my chance to throw some pity points at this bitch. That mismatched, overacted, hand-gesture-ridden dialogue I mentioned in the sound section? I love that shit. Way hard. So, props for that.

Score: Great

The Scores:
Story/Mode: Bad
Graphics: Mediocre
Sound: Mediocre
Control & Gameplay: Poor
Replayability: Awful
Balance: Decent
Originality: Worthless
Addictiveness: Bad
Appeal Factor: Dreadful
Miscellaneous: Great
Overall: POOR GAME

Short Attention Span Summary
Remember the first Resident Evil game? Carrier is Resident Evil. On a boat. With plant-monsters.

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One Comment
  1. Steven Kess

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