Review by SegaSaturn2kX

Reviewed: 08/11/05

Ported to the Saturn, the birth of a new genre

Resident Evil spawned a completely new genre known today as the survival horror. It was such a hit that Capcom saw fit to release RE on the floundering US Saturn market in 1997 with brand new gameplay elements and other enhancements. Some people do not like the stiff controls, bad camera angles, multiple load times, ugly 3D graphics, and slow gameplay. I, however, prefer all of the above except for the ugly 3D graphics. RE is not intended to be fast action experience where the gamer runs around fluidly blowing up zombies. Rather, it is a puzzle action experience where the game's mood is just as important. Navigating slowly down the halls of the mansion makes the game creepier, which is where the real experience is at.

Graphics -- 7/10
3D polygons set against prerendered backgrounds. It arguably looked great in mid to late 90s, but they have aged horrifically. The characters' facial details are hardly identifiable and their bodies are blocky. As expected the prerendered backgrounds look great, dark, and creepy. Some might say it is too dark. Controlled camera angles allow the game to hide any glaring graphical glitches so there are no complaints there.

Sound/Music -- 7/10
The majority of the game is played without music. Only a few areas like the storage/save rooms have any music. Otherwise the gamer is treated to the sounds of footsteps, gunfire, groaning zombies, squawking birds, and howling dogs. This department fits the atmosphere of a creepy mansion perfectly.

Gameplay -- 8/10
The mansion and its surrounding grounds provide the perfect setting for RE's horror film storyline. RE is game that revolves around finding keys, cards, and other items (weapons, healing herbs, ink cartridges, etc). It is slow moving as Chris or Jill explore their ways around the mansion until the next necessary item or cutscene. Although the mansion may seem huge, the gamer will learn his way around quickly. Most puzzles are simple or only require a little intuition to figure out. The initial wandering zombies do not pose any great challenge, but some of the later monstrosities will require skill to defeat. Capcom was kind enough to include 2 adventures in this game as well as different difficulty levels. Chris is stronger, but can carry fewer items while Jill is weaker, but can carry more items. I recommend playing Jill first because of the enormous amount of items to pick up. Yes, controls for RE require time to adjust. Once the controls are mastered, however, you will wonder why you griped about it initially. This game is challenging in part because of the save system. The gamer is limited to only saving at a typewriter, which also requires an ink cartridge. So save with caution; it is not an unlimited affair like Deep Fear.

Last thoughts
This game probably will not scare anyone. There are some jumpy moments, but calling RE a horror game is a stretch. The Saturn version supposedly has improvements. Outside of a Battle mode, which consists of running around blowing up stronger and stronger enemies, all changes are cosmetic. There are supposedly a new enemy -- palette change, and Chris and Jill have additional uniforms. Fans of that other system have said the graphics are superior on their system; I have no idea what they are looking at. Both versions took advantage of, or were limited by their home console. Controlled camera angles provide solid graphics, prerendered graphics allow the game to move at a tolerable speed, and opening of doors/climbing down ladders/walking down stairs account for the necessary loadtimes. This game receives my recommendation.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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