Part of the 2nd 9 Days of Heck! This is it! It’s finally time to look at one of the greatest games in a long running franchise! Be sure to burn the corpses!
Year: 2002, 2015 (HD Rerelease)
Played on: Gamecube, PS4
Also on: PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Xbox One, Windows
Back from the dead
Date posted: October 29, 2018
Do I have to say anything? It’s Resident Evil in it’s purest form! Review over!
Okay. I guess I’ll give an actual review on why the Resident Evil Remake circa 2002 is worth your time, and why it’s one of the greatest in the genre… (Sigh….)
The year is 2002. The Gamecube is out and about, and overall…. yeah, not everyone was onboard, at the time. The PS2 and the Xbox seemed to be head and shoulders above the competition, and even though the Gamecube had some killer apps coming down the pipeline, many were still unsure if the GC could go toe-to-toe with the competition. Looking for partnerships, Nintendo signed a deal with Capcom to make some exclusive games for the system. One of those games was of course, a new remake of Resident Evil.
So why remake a game that was only about 6 years old? Well, Shinji Mikami, one of the forefathers of RE, decided that the original did not hold up as well as he wanted it too- it simply wasn’t his grand vision he originally dreamed up. So, he decided to remake it, and man, what a remake it was!
The story of the original game is still here- It’s 1998, and in a sleepy mountain American town called Raccoon City, a special team of officers called STARS is sent to look into a series of grisly murders that took place right on the outskirts of their quiet mountain town. However, something is wrong, as these are no ordinary murders… upon landing outside a strange and ominous mansion, the team is attacked and split up by a pack of vicious dogs, and the survivors seek refuge inside of the mansion. They enter, and the true nightmare begins…
You play as either Jill Valentine, master of lockingpicking, or Chris Redfield, master of punching boulders, as you unlock the horrifying secrets of the Arklay Manor, facing creatures from your greatest nightmares and solving puzzles.
This is the “Haunted House” trope perfected. However, this is no ordinary haunted house, as there is always a feeling that something lies beneath. Something wicked…. The atmosphere grabs you by the throat and never lets go until you finally escape. This is helped by the excellent visuals- in which the GC original still hold up, and the HD version looks even better! These are some of the best looking prerendered graphics back in 2002, and in 2018 they still look great.
The atmosphere comes to a head when you go outside. There’s something about the pitch black sky and trees moving in the wind… it’s perfect. They nailed the atmosphere, and I’m just going to say it here- atmosphere is the most important thing in a horror game.
The gameplay is classic Resident Evil. You go back and forth though tight corridors trying to survive the onslaught of zombies and other terrifying genetically enhanced creatures while solving puzzles. You have a huge arsenal of weapons- if you can find them- but keep in mind that ammo is limited, and so is the various healing items like herbs and first-aid sprays.
There are many great additions to the formula, such as the ability to look at items in the inventory, which can be used to solve a puzzle or two. There’s also some dynamic moves, such as being able to stick a grenade into an enemies mouth and shoot it, among other things. The deadliest new addition is the necessity to either burn or decapitate zombies, for good reason- zombies now come back as Crimson Heads, a more powerful, more agile zombie. This adds a new layer, as now you have to make sure you have a lighter, or know how to dispatch zombies right.
There’s also much incentive for clearing the game multiple times with both characters, including new overpowered weapons, new game modes (Invisible Enemies anyone?) and even costumes (in which more were added to the HD version) so there’s always a reason to come back for more.
Sadly, there is no more cheesy voice acting. The original RE is infamous for it’s “so horrid it’s good” voice acting. Thankfully, the voice actors in the remake do a great job, delivering a straight performance that works- but hardly any memes, sadly.
The soundtrack is fantastic, and increases the overall desperate mood, and at the same time, complements it. The saving room theme has to be one of the greatest horror tracks in video game history. The hopelessness and overall slow melodic tone captures the feeling of being trapped in place where survival is no longer guaranteed, almost as if you’re already dead, but at the same time, you are eerily calm. Just listen to it…
Let’s talk about fixed-camera angles, and why they matter. You see, this is one of those eternal debates in gaming- fixed camera vs over-the-shoulder. Fixed camera angles and tank controls (which are fixed with an alternate control scheme in the HD versions) are thought to rev up the tension in the game, as it forces the player to think in a different perspective. The fixed camera also allowed the devs to use prerendered backdrops, which at the end of the day, still hold up. Of course, this choice is not for everyone, and if this is your first RE game, it’s going to get some taking use to!
The controls can be a bit wonky (even with the new alternate control scheme!) Sometimes it can be hard to aim your weapon, so you have to be careful when doing so, as ammo is a precious commodity.
The mansion can also be a bit confusing to navigate, even with the map. You get use to it, but playing for the first time, you might be floored on how big this place is! Use the map, and keep note on where everything is, and you’ll be okay!
There’s only two major versions of REmake (and a port). I’m not counting the original PlayStation version of RE- that’s a review for another time….
Gamecube- The original release. Still holds up, even though has less content and runs at a lower resolution. If you’re a Gamecube collector, the game is also cheap (goes for $10-$15) for a CIB copy.
Wii- Pretty much the GC game on one disc, with an optional control scheme (Yes. You can still use a gamecube controller!) That’s it! Another “not bad” version!
PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, PC (HD Version)- Improved visuals, better sound quality, and better resolution! The ability to play as the RE 5 version of Chris for some reason! A new control scheme! Yes, this is the best version of the game. I heard the PC version is the best, followed by the Xbox One and PS4 version, then the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. This version is being planned for the Switch as well.
Clear Winner: HD Version
Alright: Gamecube, Wii
After all these years, Resident Evil still holds up, despite some age-old debates about tank controls and fixed camera angles. If you’re a horror fan, then you owe it to yourself to play this excellent horrifying experience. In the dark, with the window open, the trees blowing in the wind….
Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!