To understand why, you have to understand what I had to go through to play this game. My Sega Dreamcast is very, very old (obviously since its at least over a decade old considering the console itself died in 2002). So trying to play games on it is not as easy as just turning it on and popping a disc in. A lot of time and effort has to be put in to get these games to work, usually recalibrating the laser in it. So after an hour of trying to recalibrate the laser (twice), having to use CD repair kit on the game disc since it had one or two problematic scratches on it, and emptying half a can of compressed air into it, I finally got the game booted up.
Now, putting that all aside to look at this from a professional standpoint, I still wasn't sure if I would like this game. I played it years ago back when I first got my Dreamcast in the mid-2000s. It was one of the first games I got for the system, so I played it alot not having much of an alternative. Since then my collection has grown in size and quality. So going back to this game, I feared my taste in it would have suffered. I remembered at least not hating it back then, but then again I remember liking a lot of things that I regret liking. Let me just start the review by saying this: Even keeping that in mind, this could be one of the worst games i have ever played for the Dreamcast. I'm even gonna be as bold as to say this is one of the worst retro games I have ever played.
Blue Stinger was one of the many launch titles for the Dreamcast back in 1999. Its essentially a Resident Evil clone, and was the only traditional action title that was exclusive to the console at the time, with the only other action title at launch being a port of the PC game, Expendable. I think that fact is worth mentioning because at the time of launch, this game got pretty high marks from sites like IGN and the now defunct Gamepro magazine. I'm gonna assume this was because there really wasn't anything else in terms of traditional single player action. This game represents the worst of Shovelware, which if you're not familiar with is a term used to for a game that is thrown onto a console's launch just for the sake of being there at launch.
The game starts with text crawl and narration outlining the base of the story. It all revolves around a mysterious island formed off the Yucatan Peninsula in the year 2000. Said Island forms after a meteor strikes the Earth, which according to the game is the same size as a meteor that fell from the sky 65 million years ago back in the Cretaceous Period. Naturally the island is cleverly named "Dinosaur Island". We then cut to the year 2018, where we meet two men out at sea, one of them being our main character, Eliot. Its here that we see the biggest problems with the game. Not only are we treated to the worst dialogue in modern gaming, we are also treated by equally bad voice acting. This is worse than the original Resident Evil. None of the dialogue spouted reflects the emotions of anything going on on-screen, attempts at brevity are groan worthy even for a cheesy action game, and the voice actors themselves deliver each line so wooden and stiff that sentences just crash into each other. But perhaps the biggest affront to the presentation is that, I'm gonna assume in translating the text from Japanese to English they just translated the text verbatim and tossed it into the game. At NO POINT in the game does the dialogue said by the characters match the lips on the characters themselves. Characters will speak when their lips are closed, while other times they will be silent and yet still flapping their lips. It doesn't help either that all the characters pantomime their dialogue in ridiculous and over the top ways. Characters will flail their arms and shake their heads around at even the most calm and subdued dialogue. All these factor combined ruin any of the atmosphere this game attempts to build.
And then there's actual gameplay. One of the key factors that set Blue Stinger apart from its Resident Evil counterparts was the last minute choice to go from a more cinematic fixed camera to a dynamic moving 3D camera ala Tomb Raider. This choice was ill conceived. The camera is constantly whipping around to lock itself behind the player, causing some frustrating movement issues. Half the time I was having to walk in a serpentine pattern just to center the camera in place as im running. It's almost impossible to run in a straight line thanks to the camera. Combat itself is bland. You have the choice to switch between two characters, the fast yet not as powerful Eliot or the character of Dogs the fisher man, who can take more damage and has access to heavier weapons but is much slower. Both of their traits tend to cancel their negatives out, so there's really no point to switch unless one has lower health than the other. You also have the ability to use not only ranged weapons but melee as well. Shooting in this game is like any other in that its auto targeted, so nothing to speak about. Melee on the other hand is hollow and spotty, with punches and kicks just randomly landing no matter how close you are to your target. Also this game has probably my biggest pet peeve with games: regenerating enemies. Clear a room of enemies, walk out, walk back in, all the enemies are back. Considering how much back tracking you do in this game, that is just inexcusable. I get why they did it, because the game also has a currency system in the form of coins (yes, literal coins spew out of fallen enemies) that you use to buy health and weapons that you can use to kill bigger and badder enemies. So i get that the enemies re-spawn for coin fodder. But the way the game implements that just makes the combat feel like busy work.
Really, that's the best way to describe the overall gameplay of Blue stinger: busy work. Most of the game is spent running from place to place finding locked door and key cards with the occasional important knickknack along the way. Of Course, its a Resident Evil Clone. But where RE had a taut atmosphere and pace as it unraveled its mystery slowly, Blue Stinger's awful presentation ruins any mood or intrigue this game could muster. The characters are so unlikeable, charmless, and annoying that I don't care why things are happening or what will inevitably end up happening to them. And combine that with the lackluster gameplay, and its a wonder why I was ever lenient to this game. The only area the game steps up in is in the graphics department. Character models are mush more intricately detailed than what was possible on the previous consoles, although most suffer from bad texture work that makes them look unfinished, especially in the case of the main characters. Enemies have a lot of originality, and environments are fully 3D, something that even RE at that time couldn't claim to have.
Even with that little ray of light, this game is terrible. Its the worst kind of launch title. Terrible presentation ruins any mood this game could have made, while boring combat and gameplay make this experience forgettable at best. If you need Resident Evil on your console, pick up RE: Code Veronica. and if you can only afford a knock off, find a copy of Carrier. It's derivative, but its a step up from this game.