When Capcom announced that they had signed up for a deal with Nintendo that would see a remade version of the original game, re-released versions of the sequels plus a few new games (Resident Evil 0 & 4) appearing on the GameCube, every owner of the system rejoiced.
It showed Nintendo’s dedication to prove that the ‘Cube wasn’t just a kids machine & as a fan of the Resident Evil series I couldn’t wait to see what the original game would end up looking like & I wasn’t disappointed…
The GameCube version of Resident Evil is probably the definitive version of the original game. If someone asked me which one they should play having never entered into the world I would send them to this game.
If you don’t already know it the story is straight-forward enough & thrilling (when was the last time that was said about Resident Evil?). Spates of murders have been according in the Arklay mountains & the surrounding areas including Racoon Forest just outside Racoon City. A news report suggests that some of the victims had been found partially eaten.
The Raccoon Police Department has no luck solving the murders so calls in the specialist S.T.A.R.S squads Alpha & Bravo to investigate the areas around the mountains believing this is where the killers are hiding out. Bravo team is sent in & promptly disappears…fearing the worst Alpha team are sent in to find Bravo which do. It seems Bravo’s helicopter malfunctioned & they crash-landed in the forest killing the pilot, the rest are all missing.
As Alpha search the nearby area for any signs of Bravo they come under attack from badly disfigured dogs that kill one member & chase the rest. The surviving members of Alpha manage to escape to a nearby mansion & this is where the game begins properly for the player.
The same grand hall, the same plot development depending on who you chose to play. If you’re Jill it is Chris who has disappeared where-as if you choose Chris it is Barry who is missing. The first thing worth noticing is just how much the mansion has changed. It looks glorious, dark & foreboding. Where-as the original was brightly lit & colourful this place is miles ahead in just how good it looks.
This is a mansion that you just can’t wait to explore but do so with a sense of fear as there have been many changes to the original layout & several new areas have been included! It is not the mansion you remember even if some areas seem familiar.
These new areas are some of the most well-done & genuinely chilling places to explore in any Resident Evil game (nay, any survival horror game). One such area sees you back outside making your way along a graveyard path to a cabin. This cabin has a lived in kind of quality & someone has recently lit a fire…that would Lisa Trevor.
Another brand new element is Lisa, the product of many experiments & now driven mad in her search for her dead mother. Lisa is terrifying not just in her look but just how relentless she is. Those who remember the Nemesis will understand but there is a major difference with Lisa & that is her story, its heart-breaking stuff.
As well as all of these major improvements & changes, Capcom went to town on the little things & it is those that stand out the most. Elements that were never present in the original such as lightening flashing suddenly lighting up a darkened room or the mist that moves as you walk through it. It’s all hugely impressive stuff helping immerse you in the world & often distracting you from the many threats that surround you.
Of course were would Resident Evil be without its threats…mainly the zombies. These guys have had the most impressive tune-up, they look freakin’ awesome!
They conjure up the image of rotting flesh, terrible smells & appear to be a much larger threat. I found myself often backing away when I didn’t need to just so I could keep them at a distance. They also happen to have one the cleverest upgrades as well…
So in this Resident Evil destroying the head is actually important ‘cause if you don’t the zombie won’t stay dead. The only way to guarantee that they stay down is to either take their heads off (shotguns etc.) or find some petrol & a lighter to set fire to their bodies. If you don’t later they will have evolved into ‘crimson heads’. Unlike the crimson heads of Resident Evil: Operation Racoon City these crimson heads act very different to their zombie counter-parts. They are faster, tougher & much more dangerous…it is worth taking the time to make sure they stay dead with some fire.
All the bosses & other threats have had a significant upgrade as well & all look extremely impressive (the shark tank bit is so good now).
A constant source of amusement with the original was always the terrible voice acting, bad character interaction & cut-scenes. In this remake all of the dialogue has been re-done & it is a vast improvement (although at times does feel a little stiff). The character models all act like human beings now & relationships seem more natural. Also these early versions are easy to match up to there eventual looks in modern Resident Evils.
The game is longer & tougher then the original was & will take a bit more time to complete. Exploring is key as it is easy it miss something that later hinders your progress as well as there just being so much to see & take in. For those who want & can manage speed runs there are plenty of unlockable items as well as many endings to unlock (all just small variations though).
The definitive way to play Resident Evil & the reason why we keep screaming for this version to be released on modern consoles (if they can do it with Resi 4 & Code Veronica…). It takes what made the original so good, adapts & changes things for the better & vastly improves every section of the game. There isn’t a single part of it that will see you prefer the original version.