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Resident Evil

A video game for Playstation

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Goes right for the throat and doesn't let up

  • Dec 17, 2004
  • by
Stephen King once wrote of two types of horror. There's the cerebral, subtle horror of things like the Twilight Zone, and then there's the gross-out factor, the gore-fest, the glee of splattered blood and rotting corpses.

Make no mistake, "Resident Evil" is firmly horror of this second type, and it pulls no punches in its attempt to spill as much blood as possible. Particularly this Gamecube re-make of the classic game, in which the graphics and the sound effects have been lovingly re-rendered to highlight each and every grisly detail.

To be honest, the original "Resident Evil" games never really captured my attention before. The graphics seemed choppy, the storylines cheesy, and the sound effects overdone. This version for Gamecube, however, has turned all of that around, and the game is better for it.

The graphics are probably what did it for me most of all. Wonderfully moody and evocative lighting effects, dramatic camera angles, lush moving backgrounds, and of course, brutally gory splatter effects abound. I spent a great deal of my first run through the game just stopping and marvelling at the sheer graphic beauty of it. From the dust puffing up under your character's feet as she (or he) runs, to the wind blowing through the grass and trees outside, to the realistic reaction of a water puddle as you splash through it, to the shifting shadows thrown by a swaying chandelier...there's eye candy everywhere in this game. And, of course, we get to see the cracked skin and bloody lips of the zombies which lurch after you, the decaying flesh of undead dogs as they chase you down a hallway, and the bright flash of fire as a corpse is immolated in purifying flame. Put simply, the graphics of the new "Resident Evil" are one of the best features of the game, and I challenge anyone to not be impressed by them.

Other aspects of the game have definitely improved as well. Sound is used far more effectively for the game, and the storyline seems to have been cleaned up quite a bit as well. In the game, you get to play as one of two S.T.A.R.S. operatives: Jill Valentine (a fan favorite) or Chris Redfield. Their missions are mostly the same, but the details of the story are subtly different, with different characters weaving in and out of their quest through the mansion and its environs. Gameplay, in terms of controlling the characters, is still a little more clunky than other similar games, but once you get used to it it's quite adaptable.

One of the good things about "Resident Evil" is that it's not a simple shoot 'em up game. If you shoot everything you see early on, you'll quickly run out of ammunition and you won't last long enough to get to the really good stuff. No, the trick here is to conserve ammunition whenever possible, and if you don't like what you see...RUN. Trust me, you'll be doing a lot of that if you expect to survive. Strategy and thinking ahead are key. You'll have plenty of chance to blast away at things as the game progresses, believe me.

The game definitely has some replay value as well, as new modes, weapons, and costumes are introduced as you finish the game the first couple times. Real Survival mode is tricky, and Invisible Enemy mode (yes, you read that right) has to be played to be believed. And, I must admit, getting to see Jill Valentine in her camouflage pants and army-green tank top is worth the effort of a replay in itself. Something about a girl in uniform...

There are some games in the survival-horror genre I love for their ability to set a mood and stick with it, such as the "Silent Hill" series. These are amazing games, and come highly recommended for good reason. The Gamecube version of "Resident Evil" also comes highly recommended, but for a completely different reason: "Resident Evil" is just pure, evil fun. I lost count of the times I caught myself grimacing and laughing at the same time as I discovered some new and surprising way to take out the undead creatures attacking me. The first time you're blasting away at a zombie in front of you while the one behind you tries to swallow your Flash Grenade and gets his head blown off for his trouble, you'll see what I mean.

Even if you've played previous versions of "Resident Evil" and enjoyed them, there's more fun to be had with this one. Turn the lights out, lock the doors, get your shotgun ready and prepare to kick it when it comes at you. This one goes straight for the jugular.

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Rich Stoehr ()
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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About this video game


Resident Evil, the game that is often credited with starting the survival-horror genre, is being reinvented for the GameCube. For those unfamiliar with the series, a mysterious corporation has secretly been performing ungodly biotech experiments in the sleepy little town of Raccoon City. When reports of gory attacks come in from nearby areas, two crack military squads are sent to investigate. Players take the role of either sharpshooter Chris Redfield or demolitions expert Jill Valentine to track down the source of the town's problems--specifically, something in a decaying mansion that's mutating animals into grotesque killers and turning humans into bloodthirsty zombies. Supplies and ammunition are scarce, so players have to know when to fight, when to run, and how to keep their wits about them. Players can't afford to waste their shots and expect their characters to survive.

The story is being retrofitted with motion-captured animation, next-generation graphics, real-time lighting and shadow effects, new areas, and newly rendered in-game video segments to create an even more cinematic experience. Also, a redesigned combat system lets players attack and defend themselves with a variety of items found in the environment.

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ESRB: M - (Mature)
Number of Players: Single-player
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Console: Playstation
Genre: Action RPG
Release Date: March 22, 1996
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