The Resident Evil series has spawned a plethora of 'survival horror' games since its inception on the Playstation back in 1996. Fast forward to 1999/2000 and we are still seeing such games. Blue Stinger was Dreamcast's first offering in the genre and the second has arrived in Jaleco's first Dreamcast offering, Carrier. The story goes something like this: the superpowers of the world is divided into Northern and Southern hemispheres. The North has all the wealth while South suffers with starvation and an energy crisis. Thus anti-North terrorists exist. The Northern Hemisphere Treaty Alliance (NTA) was created to deal with such threats. On its way back from a mission to destroy a key Southern base, the NTA flagship the Heimdal goes on a side mission to pick up an ancient organism. What should have been a routine pick up turns into chaos as the ship experiences an explosion in the engine room. As a result communications have been cut off and the ship has remained silent on a course for the American mainland. Naturally the ship contains nuclear weapons among other nasty things.
A special forces team was dispatched to the ship, but they too were silenced. This is where you enter the story as part of the second team sent to investigate the events of recent days on the Heimdal.
A bit of a mixed bag. When I first saw this title in its early build last Spring at the Tokyo Game Show it sported some very detailed graphics and cool lighting effects. Unfortunately those visuals now one year later aren't as impressive when compared to other first generation games. The character models are quite weak considering what Dreamcast can do. They do not really resemble a next generation look. This however varies from character to character. The male characters in the game are pretty basic. Jessifer, the one woman in the game was done quite well. Nice facial expression and overall look. The monster design on the other hand is varied and fresh to the usual zombie experience. In Carrier you will find creatures that have different kinds of attacks instead of simply trying to bite you. For example, as one creature approaches it suddenly sends spikes out of its chest in an attempt to impale you. What is quite impressive however, are the environments. The story takes place on large aircraft carrier and the designers of the levels have paid careful attention to the smallest of details that one would find on a ship. There is some very eerie lighting effects in some of the corridors you will encounter. The most impressive aspect I found were the flooded levels of the ship. In these levels you have to make your way through some very murky water keeping an eye for 'weird' things popping up on you. Very scary and had my heart skipping a beat or two. There is a lot of vegetation on the ship due to the mysterious organism known as ARK. The visual representation of this is pretty good but could have utilized more colour and texture.
The explosions are done well but tend to get repetitive as the game progresses. By the end they become downright boring. With all of the development tools, I am not sure why Jaleco didn't take the time to vary them a bit.