Friday, December 2, 2011

Remembering the Horror: A Resident Evil Retrospective Pt. 2

So Part 1 of my Resident Evil retrospective ended on a bit of a sad note. Code Veronica, although a decent title, felt too held back. With C:V taking steps back, while it's cousin on an inferior platform took strides to enhancing the series, it wasn't one of my favorite titles; and to this day is very devisive in terms of the fanbase. Some love it, some dislike, some speak very loudly about downright hating it.

But not all is bad for Resident Evil right? Well, yes and no.

Read on to find out dear friends....

Biohazard: Gun Survivor 2: Code Veronica
Release Date: 2001 (date unspecified)
Platform: PS2
Lowest Price: $35
Highest Price: $200

Gun Survivor 2.....I've never played it. Being an import only title, you need a Japanese PS2 to play it. This might be a good thing. turned a cumbersome Resident Evil fps into a faster paced....equally cumbersome fps with a time limit. And if you fail that time limit....Nemesis comes after you. Because hey....continuity...

What I found equally disturbing was that this was an arcade game. With a cabinet and everything. Meaning people had to pay a rather large sum of money to get the game, and then most likely charge people a hefty amount to play.

If there was ever a reason for arcades to die, this game could be a leading catalyst.

I recommend burning it with fire

Resident Evil Gaiden
Release Date: December 14th 2001
Platform: Gameboy Color
Lowest Price: $20 - cartridge only (I paid $40 for just a cartridge *sob*)
Highest Price: $300 (fuck this noise)

Resident Evil Gaiden is an abortion of a game. A side story that tells the tale of Leon Kennedy and Barry Burton fighting a shape shifting BOW on a cruise ship (later mirrored in setting in Dead Aim and the upcoming Revelations). It featured a top down exploration mode, and a first person mode for combat. Want to see it? What? No?

Oh well, here you go:

Now you can see, it's fairly terrible. Now granted, the GBC probably was not the right platform for Resident Evil; but this begs the question as to why the fuck it wasn't canned like the GBC port of Resident Evil 1.

Why would anyone want to even play this is beyond me. And the only people to even venture into owning a copy are the fools who are collectors.

Which is why I'm out $40.....

Resident Evil (2002 remake)
Release Date: April 30, 2002
Platform: Gamecube
Lowest Price: $1 (a bargain!!!)
Highest Price: $230

You remember how I told you about those exclusive rights to numbered games Sony had? Well, somehow back in 2002 Capcom seemed to have forgotten this. And announced Resident Evil for the Gamecube. A full blown remake, in the true image Mikami wanted for the series. It would add new areas, enemies, and lore. It would reintroduce concepts thought of back in 1995, it was what Resident Evil was supposed to be. Harder, scarier, more brutal. This game got the formula perfect; it walked the fine line between challenging and punishing. And the fine line between building dread and outright panic.

For starters the game put a new wrinkle into the gameplay. No longer was a dead zombie a safe zombie. Due to an occurence called V-ACT, a zombie whos brain is left intact would mutate again and return as a crimson head. A crimson head you see, is a stronger, faster zombie. Capable of running you down and gutting you; and they were tough. Basically this made every zombie a greater threat, unless you burned the bodies. but with limited kerosene you had to pick and choose, or else face much more dire circumstances later on. It made hallways you suspected to be safe unexpected death traps, and it only added to the horror.

But that's not to say that your hero had no tricks up their sleeves. The game also introduced defense items. Capable of negating a frontal attack, a defense item was the smarter answer to the dodge mechanic. It wasn't a god tool, capable of making the game a breeze. But it was a finite tool, you could run out and be left defensless. But if you were stupid enough to be caught off guard from behind....well, you suck.

And the game is simply gorgeous, possibly one of the best looking of it's generation. Forboding, moody, haunting. It nailed the proper atmosphere dead on. It's a crime it's a Gamecube exclusive, as this would have made for a better HD port than Code Veronica would. Need proof? Just watch this video, even in a low resolution it looks pretty damn good.

That's also not to exclude the epic intro to the game. Gone is the cheesy live action, B-movie grade horror movie. Replaced with a slick, and well put together movie that still gets my blood pumping to this day. It also showed off the new face of Jill Valentine, actress/model Julia Voth.

Yes, if you play your cards right, you too can have your own Jill Valentine
Now as much as it excites me that there is a real life Jill out there (Sienna Guillory is actually not bad too, despite the shitty film), it depresses me greatly that Capcom never gave us the remakes of RE2 or 3 that were seemingly promised. Despite teasing us for a good long time about a Resident Evil 2 remake, it seems we will never get one. But then again, with the way Capcom is treating the franchise now, that may be a good thing.

But in all honesty, this is one of my favorite titles, sure it lacks the awkward charm of the original, but it makes up for that with one of the most balanced Survival Horror experiences out there. It's what got me to want a Gamecube (despite RE3 being why I bought a Gamecube). I can recall exactly reading about this game is a Playstation Magazine. And being honestly pissed off as a fan that it was a Gamecube exclusive. In fact it was  this game that made me a fervent Nintendo hater for several years, and brought me back to Nintendo at the very same time.

Resident Evil 0
Release Date: Nov 12, 2002
Platform: Gamecube
Lowest Price: $4.25
Highest Price: $300

Originally planned as a title for the N64, Resident Evil 0 saw quite a shift in developement. With  the fast approaching Gamecube nearing release, Capcom decided to start developement over. Taking advantage of the newer hardware, they created a rather gorgeous game, using what seems like a slightly modified RE (2002) engine. But despite the restart in development, all the concepts and game design elements actually never changed. You see, RE0 was going to utilize a partner swapping system. Two characters co-exist in the world, and you could zap in between them at will. It was believed that the N64 would allow this, as catridges don't really have that much loading time. I'm not sure how that managed to pull it off on the disc based Gamecube, but it worked. You could have characters completely independent of one another, doing their thing. Of course, you had to keep a close eye as even if you aren't controlling one, they can still be in danger. So the incentive was there to keep Rebecca and Billy together.

Gone was the defense items and crimson heads, which is understandable, as the game was in developement before REmake was even a thought. But rather, the removal of item boxes was a huge change. Gone was the magic storage units, and added was the ability to drop items on the ground. This was an interesting element that did add some thought to items you wanted to bring. But, it did make it a hassle to carry all the things you wanted later in the game. It was a note worthy change, albeit, not a very good one.

As far as story goes, this game is kind of funky. Feels like a lot of Retconning going on, with a little bit of Metrosexual Leech King thrown in.

In short, don't play it for the story, but rather for the gameplay. Which in this case for a Resident Evil title has a completely different pace due to all the changes.

Resident Evil: Dead Aim
Release date: June 17, 2003
Platform: PS2
Lowest price: $0.99
Highest price: $99

Dead Aim was a worthy experiment. It tried to meld the styles of the older games with the first person mechanics of the Survivor spin offs (in fact it's called Gun Survivor 4 in Japan). In fact I called it the precursor to Resident Evil 4 because of that.

In fact it did many things Resident Evil 4 was thought to do first. Free aiming, over the shoulder camera. If it wasn't a fairly okay game, and longer than 5 hours, it might have gotten a fair bit of credit. Case in point, the main character Bruce's character model design is strikingly similar to Leon. Coincidence? Most likely.....but I don't want to think so.The similarities are pretty sparse. But deep down you can see some design aspects that might have crept through. Given that Resident Evil 4 was well into developement, this game could have ripped it off beforehand, and I have made myself a fool.


Resident Evil Outbreak Files #1 & 2

Release date: March 13, 2004; April 26, 2005
Platform: PS2
Lowest price: $4; $8
Highest price: $200; $99

Outbreak was a failed experiment. But not due to a lack of ambition, or even a quality product. The game foundation itself was very sturdy. You and several survivors work together through scenarios against the clock, trying to survive. It forced you to work as a group. Sadly this is where it fell apart.

Sony had terrible online for it's PS2; and this led to massive latency in the game. Coupled with long loading screens, and a lack of voice chat; it crippled the two games. It developed a loyal fanbase though, who kept the game alive on private japanese servers well until the release of Resident Evil 5. 

Of course with the advent of skype, it was possible to talk to one another. Although latency still caused massive issues. Dot50Cal of Resident Evil fansite The Horror is Alive posted several videos of the game while playing with friends.

Despite it's flaws, it did what many thought RE5 failed to do. It successfully took the Survival Horror style and put it into a co-op setting. Because of this it garnered a strong fan-base, who to this day still beg for File #3 to be made. Sadly, I doubt this will ever happen. In fact I doubt that a return to classic Resident Evil form will ever be made.

And to be is the reason why....

Resident Evil 4 was released....

 Resident Evil 4
Release Date: January 11, 2005
Platform: everything under the sun
Lowest price: $1.25
Highest price: $800 (mother of christ)

Resident Evil 4 changed it all. With an emphasis on fighting against all odds, it brought a different kind of horror to the series. And although it was intense, it was....different. In developement for a long time, this entry saw at least 3 complete restarts.

The first one birthed the first entry to another large Capcom franchise, Devil May Cry. This was largely due to Hideki Kamiya's very action focused style. Sadly it was the only precursor to Resident Evil 4 that saw it's version rebranded and released. Which is a shame, as it would have been great to see what the other scrapped versions played like.

Of course the first version was never much more than a trailer. Dubbed the "Fog Version" it showed Leon on an airship of somesort, being overtaken and infected by some kind of fog. It would have been interesting to see where this version went, or if there was even more than just a trailer.

Sadly we will never know, and it kind of hurts to think of it that way.

Of course, what hurts even more is the hooked man version of Resident Evil 4. Why? Because it looked fucking insane!

I'm not sure when this version was shown off. But it just looks too good to be real. It eschewed some of the traditional viral themes of the series, and went with what looked like a more paranormal approach. Although knowing the series for having twists, it probably would have worked out in the end. I'll just let the footage speak for itself, because this is what I wanted Resident Evil 4 to be...

Of course, that's not to say the final version of the game is any less better. In fact it's quite possibly one of the best games of the last 10 years.

 Humor Tumor is currently becoming knighted by the Queen of England....because there is nobody more worthless to modern society. Follow the Twotter or perish at the hands of Sir Humor of Tumor.


  1. I love REmake... it would be nice if they somehow still had the assets to create an HD version of that to download. I would gladly pay the $20 that I'm hesitant to pay for the RE4 and Code Veronica re-releases that came out recently.

  2. Damn, great job, as always! Back when I worked at GameStop, I always saw a copy of Dead Aim sitting there, and I always wanted to try it despite it probably not being very good...

  3. I would pay more than $20 for a HD REmake....the CVX RE4 HD updates are okay. But it was obvious they were rsh jobs.