Review by HEMIstation

Reviewed: 02/22/06

PS1= Jill Sandwich... Gamecube remake = Jill Masterpiece


If you are reading this review, then chances are you have played at least one of the many games in Capcom’s Resident Evil series. Most likely, you have played the PS1 version of Resident Evil or Resident Evil: Director’s Cut and are wondering how the Gamecube makeover went. Screenshots on the internet cannot do this game justice. This is by far the best looking game I have ever played. Graphically, this game is like night and day compared to those PS1 versions. In my opinion, RE4 actually lost some of the Gamecube’s golden-touch compared to the RE1 remake. Let’s get on to the review.

For starters, it’s been a while since I played and beat this game. I played the game as Jill (which most people consider “normal”, whereas playing through as Chris is considered “hard”) Why is this? For starters, Jill takes less damage from enemies, she has 2 extra inventory slots when the game starts, she can pick locks at will, and has the frequent assistance of Barry Burton and his big ol’ modified magnum revolver (Barry is sort of like Jill’s partner) When you play as Chris, you are truly playing RE alone.

No matter how die-hard you are, I still recommend playing through as Jill first… because trust me, this is head-over-heels harder than the PS1 version.

STORYLINE:

I will keep this brief. If you want more details just grab a random person at EB games, they will surely be able to explain every detail of this famous Resident Evil game. There are some major additions in this GC remake. Mainly the addition of the monster “Lisa.” You will know her when you see her, and it is a quite disturbing meeting to say the least.

You are Jill Valentine (or Chris Redfield), a member of the Special Tactics and Rescue Squad (STARS) Bravo team. A couple strange disappearances in Racoon City near a big Mansion prompted STARS’ Alpha Team to investigate. They crash and are not heard from again.

Now your team is dispatched. The first thing you notice is one of your team members saying “Look over here, I think I got something!” He reaches down into the grass and rough about 50 yards or so in front of the mansion, and realized as he looks closer that it’s a severed human limb! Then a couple zombie dogs jump out and essentially chase you into the mansion. You slam the door behind you, thinking your worst problems are those crazy mutts. You, Barry, and your commander, Wesker, think you are safe. How wrong you are. Now the real stuff begins… You will see how insidious the Umbrella Corporation is, and that they have secretly been using biological and viral experiments that turn people, animals, and more otherwise “normal” creatures into bio-weapons that stop at nothing to hunt down and slaughter any humans in sight.

Resident Evil is all about Umbrella Corporation… it’s about betrayal inside the ranks, condemnation of an innocent town, cruelty against all forms of life, horrific truth finding, and ultimately, forging ahead to survive it all.

GRAPHICS:

When people were saying the cute, boxy little Gamecube wasn’t as graphically capable as Sony PS2 or Microsoft XBOX, they abruptly shut up once this game came out. I’m sure Nintendo secretly thanked Capcom for taking the time to squeeze every ounce out of this remake. This game is the only reason I bought a Gamecube for cryin’ out loud!

In case you don’t own a Gamecube yet, and are thinking about getting one purely to play this artful and enhanced RE1 remake, the Gamecube is a very quiet machine. It is just as quiet, if not quieter, than the PS2. There are a few *minor” load noises here and there, but nothing to distract you from the survival horror experience. It is WAY quieter than the XBOX… but then again, my Dodge Ram’s HEMI V8 muffler is quieter than an XBOX!

Let me make this clear: Every SINGLE thing from the PS1 game went into the Gamecube saltshaker as an ugly, polygony, blurred, ugly duckling--- and came out an expertly crafted, Greek God sculpted, full of luster, horrifyingly realistic looking, beautiful goose.

Everything from the lighting fixtures, flooring, carpets and walls--- to the characters, enemies, grass (that’s right, you get to REALLY go outside this time!) and of course, the rooms, has been re-done.

RE4 is not as realistic as this. The graphics are so real looking that your TV will literally suck you in. You will scoot your seat closer and closer to the TV until all you see is Resident Evil. You won’t want to sit back and relax in your chair while you play this game, you will want to lean forward and drool down onto the carpet!

GAMEPLAY:

First, let’s talk about the GC remote controller. It is a little different than a PS1 or PS2 controller. You still use the analog stick to move your character. The only problem I have is that the shoulder buttons are a little chunkier than on the PS2’s controller, and it’s very noticeable. It feels like the shoulder buttons lash at you when you depress them, but it’s not that big a deal.

Resident Evil is viewed through “camera angles” as a 3rd person game. (3rd person = you see your whole character on screen, 1st person = you see your characters hands, for example: Halo and Duke Nukem) As you walk through a given room you will see a still frame of what’s going on. As you run around in this pre-determined arena of attention, the camera will stay fixed. It will not pan, zoom in, or zoom out. However, as you approach the outer-boundaries of tise area of attention, a different camera will then show what you see on screen. Almost always, this next camera will have a radically different position to show you the action. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes this is bad, other times, it is intentionally bad.

For example, you may walk through a door and when the camera “comes on” you will see that it’s positioned 8 feet down the hallway, looking square at you. This can be troublesome because you KNOW there are zombies approaching you… you can hear their groans… but they are BEHIND the camera. So you don’t know where to aim your gun until they pass the border and are visible on screen. It’s kind of confusing, because technically Jill is looking right at the zombies approaching her, but you (as Jill’s controller) cannot tell exactly what’s going on at ALL times, you have to take what Capcom gives you. If you want, you can run ahead to get in the next camera’s view (which likely shows you everything perfectly) but then you’ll probably run right into a zombie’s outstretched arms with that kind of impatience!!!

I like this. However, I DO NOT LIKE what they have done to RE4! Above all else, the camera angles have been what define Resident Evil.

You can walk, or run in Resident Evil. You can hop up on boxes, push boxes, and climb ladders and stairs. When you open doors, a 1 or 2 second cut scene ensues that shows the door you have chosen to open, the act of swinging the door open, and lastly the thud of the door closing behind you—after this brief sequence, the “cameras” come back on and show you what the next room has in store for you. One note: You CANNOT jump in resident evil (and you don’t need to.)

As for other details, you collect weapons like grenade launcher, shotgun, magnum, etc etc. There are bullets for these weapons here and there, not always in plain view. You have to be willing to search. There won’t just be a table in the middle of a room with a huge box that says “AMMO.” Keep this in mind, because there is LIMITED ammo in this game. There is more than enough to get through the game and have some left over, but if you shoot with reckless abandon whenever you feel like (ie: it takes you 12 half-hazard Magnum shots to kill 1 zombie) you will end up in a “dead” game, meaning your only chance to complete the game is to make it the rest of the way with the KNIFE as your sole weapon (because all your other ammo has been exhausted). Be smart, shoot what must be shot, but nothing more. (this means you should RUN past those pesky bees, NOT stand there and shoot bullets at them!!!) Confucius say “Don’t use cannon to kill mosquito” Take his advice!

One great addition to this game is self defense weapons. For example, Jill has a stun gun. If it has enough charge, she can quickly shove it into an attacking Zombie’s face and zap him off of her before he bites her. This is really cool!!!!

There are puzzles to complete, and you must do so to collect clues or keys to continue your progress. None are that difficult to figure out, but they are all interesting. ½ of the puzzles are in a relaxed environment, with no pressure on you. The other ½ have a penalty if you falter. For example, on this one puzzle you have to press buttons underneath these paintings in a certain sequence. If you don’t get it right, a flock of crows begin to attack you.

You have A LOT of stuff to collect in this game, from weapons and healing herbs to door keys, cranks, and other items. You can carry a certain amount on your person, the rest you can stash in an item box. These are located in safe locations where you can pick and choose what you feel like carrying around, and then keep the rest stashed away. The item boxes are all magically connected. So if you dump your handgun in the first item box you see, and then run into another item box in a different room, you will still be able to pull out the handgun if you choose to do so.

Strategically placed save points (typewriters) can be used to save your progress, but to do so you have to find ink ribbons. This limits the number of times you can save your progress. How many times you save affects your final game ranking. The fewer the better.

The most important thing in RE is that you collect diaries, letters, and private Umbrella documents that reveal the horror behind this story. Piece by piece, you learn how deep the rabbit hole goes.

What’s the goal of RE’s gameplay? Kill everything you see. If it’s too difficult to beat, run past it. If it scares you, stand strong… point your shotgun upward… wait for the assailing monster to get close… and give him a lead-spray shot to the face in retaliation.

SOUND:

Pretty creepy soundtracks, but they are beautifully done. It’s almost like when RE plays a track that gives you the willies, you want to put your controller down and applaud Capcom for a job well done because scaring people through a video game is not easy.

Voices are slightly upgraded from PS1, some of the dialogue has changed to be less cheesy. Sound effects are good. Guns sound like guns, specifically, the noise made by the Magnum alone gives you a feeling of its strength.

Zombie groans are great… but NOTHING can prepare you for the crimson head zombies. They are new to the Gamecube remake. Buckle up, they will scare the tar out of you, I guarantee it!

BOSSES:

There are plenty of bosses in RE. There is the “Crimson Head President,” Yawn (a gigantic zombie snake), Lisa the monster, Plant 42, Neptune (who scares the doodus out of me!), and of course, the infamous Tyrant. Sometimes the conclusion of your boss battles will not result in ultimate victory. Most times it will just make the enemy retreat and lick his wounds, only so you can fight them and finish them off later in the game. Bosses, like Lisa the monster, cannot be defeated at all… she can only be contained!

Certain weapons are intended as “boss slayers” such as the Magnum and Flame Rounds of the grenade launcher. These weapons should be SAVED for boss fights because they will mean heavy damage and a short duration of the battle. Why run around dodging the Tyrant trying to plug him with 45 shots from your handgun, when all it takes is 6 good plugs from the shotgun? Come on, common sense people.

Are the bosses hard? Sometimes. Most times they will hit you at least once or twice, dealing heavy damage. Bosses like the Giant Tiger Spider are way too easy.You can shoot bosses anywhere and it does about the same amount of damage. Some are more susceptible to damage from certain weapons, for example, PLANT 42 is susceptible to more damage from Flame grenades or flame-thrower than from the shotgun.

Boss fights are not that long, most times the hardest thing is making sure you have enough healing items. For example, when you fight Yawn (the snake) you better make sure you have at least one blue herb in your inventory (blue healing herbs cure you if you get poisoned.)

GOOD DECISION:

To take advantage of this cosmetic remake opportunity and add additional locations to the mansion. I’m not just talking about a new room or two. There are numerous rooms that were not in the PS1 version… at least a dozen. There is a huge outdoor locale to explore with spooky zombie infested dirt trails and long un-mowed grass that sways with the wind, a creepy cemetery, an extra guest house where you encounter Lisa the monster, and 2 new underground lairs!!! The lab hallways have also been redone.

I am flat out mystified as to why Capcom didn’t give RE2 and RE3 the cosmetic makeover that RE1 got.

Man on man, did Capcom miss a huge opportunity. I think they were sensing so much pressure for a new installment to the series that they took the easy route and just ported RE2 and RE3 over to the Gamecube instead of tricking them out. Quite possibly the most acclaimed game in the series is Resident Evil 2, however, in my opinion RE2 was in the greatest need of a remake and additional areas. Remember how easy the bosses were in RE2, it nearly ruined the game!

Resident Evil 3 (Nemesis) revolutionized the series and is truly the foundation for all that is good and liked in the RE world. Now Capcom will never have the chance again to touch up these fantastic titles. Oh well, enjoy this RE1 remake and move on.

RE-PLAY ABILITY:

Not only can you play through as Chris after you’ve completed Jill’s mission (or vice versa), you can also play through again to get new costumes or play with the rocket launcher (only if you have earned the right with a good enough ranking). This game initially takes about 6-7 hours to complete if you were any good at all at the PS1 version of RE.

If you’ve forgotten all your RE skills, it might take you 8 hours. If you are completely clueless it may take you upwards of 12 hours. Most of the time I can complete Resident Evil in 2-3 hours by running past half of the enemies, shooting others only for the purpose of dazing them (again, so I can quickly run past), and only sparingly standing around long enough to shoot a monster to death. However, this is not recommended because then you don’t have a chance to enjoy the game… you’ll be all hustle and bustle.

I DO recommend playing through in an attempt to clear it in under 3 hours, but not until you have played through it 100%, all the while soaking up the hard work that Capcom put forth in re-making this already fantastic game.

There is a re-arrange mode where items are in different locations and item boxes are no longer magically connected (good), an invisible enemy mode, where all the game’s enemies are invisible (now you’re talkin’)… even though it would probably result in a lot of wasted ammo and frustrating use of healing items… and a kamikaze zombie mode (imagine the stalker in “Nemesis” and multiply him by TEN!!!)

You may find yourself playing this game during the daytime with the blinds open to let the sun shine in. Again, this is ok for your first time through. Heck, you need SOMETHING to ease the fright of a crimson head zombie springing to life and chasing you down to sink their razor sharp, pineapple-yellow fangs into your jugular. (The crimson head zombies act much more like Vampires than zombies) But, to truly experience RE, especially THIS vividly recreated installment, you must play it at night. You are doing yourself a disservice if you play this only during the daytime. Sure you may have some bad dreams or trouble sleeping. If you do, just do what I do, play RE like it should be played (at night) and then play another game such as Mario 64 or Gradius before you go to bed.

CONCLUSION:

Is this game worth your money? Absolutely. Is this game worth your money, if you also have to purchase a Gamecube in order to experience it? Well, you might be able to get a used Gamecube for a cheaper price, but the answer is still YES!!!

Also, you may want to get the strategy guide. It will help you with all that has changed from the PS1 version. Usually I do not recommend Brady Strategy Guides for Resident Evil because they are dark and not very good (I like “Versus” perfect guides, they are the absolute best, but are only made for RE2 and RE3). However, I own the Brady Games guide to this game and it is pretty darn good. Could be better, but it is worth a purchase as well.

What’s that you say? You don’t need this game? You are content with your old PS1 Resident Evil? Keep telling yourself that buddy… the old Resident Evil talks about “Survival” and “Horror”, but these two ways of behaving are hardly ever fused together in the PS1 version. Being pitted against one of the Gamecube’s Crimson Head Zombies truly makes “Survival-Horror” a single word.

The only reason this game doesn’t get a 10/10 is because the Giant Tiger Spider boss stunk.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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