Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 07/01/08

Evil is beautiful

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Resident Evil, and I am for good reason. The original Resident Evil is an addictive game with plenty of memorable moments packed in and single-handedly defined the fifth generation for me. That original masterpiece has been re-released on plenty of systems with various modes added. However, Capcom has not just re-released the same game again, but they have released a very new game with new plot elements, graphics that rival those found on the Xbox 360, and new gameplay mechanics that bring the experience to the highest possible level. This is Resident Evil the way it was meant to be played.

Puzzles are a mainstay in the Resident Evil series, even with its transition to a more action-oriented series with the release of Resident Evil 4. Fans of the original game will be happy to learn that some of the more famous puzzles return in the remake, but there are also a ton of new puzzles for them to solve. These puzzles are brilliantly designed and have plenty of consequences, like getting crushed to death for instance, that will simply make your jaw drop when they happen. It’s moments like these that define the Resident Evil experience.

Many people have complained throughout the years about the tank-like movement of the characters in the Resident Evil series, and this remake still has those mechanics, though with the improvements found in the sequels, including the 180-turn. There are plenty of new rooms to explore and items to collect, but the new gameplay mechanics themselves are what should really matter.

An awesome new mechanic is the ability to equip a “defensive” weapon which is different depending on whether you’re Chris or Jill. Basically, these defensive weapons are weapons that Chris and Jill use to ward a zombie off that is trying to bite at them. They both can equip little daggers to take out these zombies, but they each have their own unique weapon. Chris can collect grenades to shove in a zombie’s mouth to satisfying results while Jill can use a taser to burn zombies to a crisp.

This game is exceptionally more difficult than the original, and this is mostly due to the inclusion of the “Crimson Head” zombies. After you kill a zombie, their body won’t disappear. I know what you’re thinking, “That’s pretty awesome!” Well, yeah, that is pretty awesome, except for when they come back to life and can freaking run at you! So, there has to be something you can do to prevent this from happening, right? To make sure the zombies don’t come back to life more powerful than before, you have to burn their bodies in order to completely destroy them. This adds another element of item conversation to the game and provides fans of the original game more of a challenge.

Just like in the original, you have a choice between Chris and Jill; the same difficulty rule applies (choosing Chris provides for a more difficult mode while choosing Jill is an easier mode). However, there are some plot events that weren’t found in the original and there are various choices that will arise. Depending on what you choose will affect the outcome of the game, so this provides for multiple play-throughs.

Resident Evil isn’t that weird, corny B-movie game anymore. While the story is basically the same, some story elements that were taken out of the original game have been put back in and the tone is much darker. Some cannibalistic murders have been occurring in the mountains surrounding Raccoon City and the special S.T.A.R.S. team has been sent to investigate. The Bravo team was deployed first and they have stopped responding to radio transmissions, so the Alpha team, headed by Albert Wesker, is sent in next. However, it quickly becomes apparent that there is much more than cannibalism going on as the Alpha team is attacked by rabid and deformed dogs, is separated from one another, and is abandoned by their teammate who takes the helicopter with him. To make matters worse, the mansion they have went in to seek refuge is filled with zombies and monsters…welcome to hell.

What makes this remake so great is the amazing graphics. I know I have said about a dozen other games before this have had “amazing graphics”, but this game is the definition of amazing graphics. Since the environments are pre-rendered, everything looks extremely realistic. So realistic in fact that you could show someone this game and they might think it was on the Xbox 360. That is not an understatement. The character models are amazingly done and extremely realistic. The creatures are brilliantly designed and the sight of the first zombie will still send chills up your spine. Lighting is done in an ingenious way and the tone is simply perfect. The game does suffer from some annoying load times as you go from room to room, but on the bright side of things there are very little glitches.

Unlike in the original game, the voice-acting is not corny and is actually very well done. The background music is chilling and all of those classic music jumps that made you wet your pants back on the PlayStation return. When you hear a zombie moan off-screen, your blood will turn cold and your hands just might start shaking. There is nothing more thrilling than the audio presentation in a Resident Evil game.

Now onto the game’s biggest flaw and that is its length. You can beat the game in about three hours, which just might happen on your first time going through the game if you are familiar with the original. The unlockable modes are extremely difficult to the point of being a little ridiculous, but they are still thrilling…you just might not want to go through the whole game again, though. There are difficulty settings, alternate endings, plus you can go through the game as the other character, but by now going through the same game again is getting on the boring side. Still, fans will have much to love about this title and for newcomers it is the perfect way to be introduced to one of the most influential and popular video game series of all time.

Resident Evil has seen many sequels, prequels, and spin-offs, but the original will always be held in the highest regard as the game that coined the term “survival-horror” and propelled a brand new genre to being one of the most well-known and played genres in video game history. Without Resident Evil, there never would have been games like Silent Hill or Fatal Frame. Without the revolutionary gameplay in Resident Evil 4, games like Gears of War (which adopted the over-the-shoulder camera from Resident Evil 4) probably wouldn’t be as great as they turned out to be. The point is this series has helped shape the way video games are played today and without games like Resident Evil, video games just wouldn’t be the same. I hope that you have had a chance to play the original, but if you haven’t, then this remake is just as good, plus it boasts amazing realistic graphics and new gameplay mechanics that add another element of entertainment to the title. In conclusion, this remake of Resident Evil is a must-have for fans of the series or anyone that owns a GameCube.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Resident Evil (US, 04/30/02)

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