I first played Resident Evil at a friends birthday party back in the late 90’s. We stayed up all night playing the game and finally beating it. It was HARD and SCARY! I loved every minute of it. These days, the original PSX game looks a bit aged, but lucky a few years after its original release, Capcom released a remake of the game on the Gamecube, and boy was it awesome! I never owned it growing up but remember playing it at a friends house. It was so much darker and scarier, and still had those awful controls! I have recently been playing the most recent entry in the series on PS4, so I decided that it was about time that I revisit the game that started the series!
In terms of story, it takes its pages right out of a horror-themed B-movie. The story takes place just outside Racoon City where strange canabalistic-type murders have started to take place! The city police department sends in Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS) team to investigate! The first team is sent and looses contact, so the department then sends the Alpha team in after them to figure out what happened. This is where the story begins! As the game unfolds, you find yourself in a scary mansion with the undead roaming all over the place, and slowly – piece by piece – the mystery satisfyingly unfolds. While silly, I really enjoyed the story and set-up for the game. It kept me wanting to play further and further into the game, to try and figure out what exactly was going on!
Whats really interesting about the game is that you can actually play through it with one of two characters from the STARS team. You can play as either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield. While the story unfolds in the mansion for both characters, each have slight modifications in their story and have unique abilities. For instance, Jill has a lock pick that helps her gain access to items storage areas and has access to more overall firepower. She also has a large inventory slot capable of handling eight items. Chris on the other hand is a lot more durable but can only hold six items at a time. Jill’s play though is considered the “easy” mode, whereas Chris’s is considered the “hard” mode.
This game is a survival horror game at heart. As you take control of either Jill or Chris, you must roam the haunted mansion fighting the undead, collecting items to survive, and solving puzzles to progress further. There is always more bad guys then bullets, which creates fantastic tension that holds most of the way through the game. The further you get, the harder the enemies become, and there are even some epic bosses that require a ton of ammo to defeat. The exploration of the game is also excellent because each new area you find leads to the discover of more helpful supplies! Survival is more complicated than just collecting items however, because the inventory is limited. This forces players to make tough decisions between either taking more firepower or healing items, but not both.
I was ambivalent about the inventory system because I often found myself with an inventory full of puzzle items, with little space for anything else, and this forced me to backtrack to a storage chest which I didn’t like. I do like the idea of having limited storage for healing and weapons, because it creates the opportunity for touch and engaging decisions, but not at the expense of regular backtracking. I also didn’t like the need for ink ribbons in order to save – the game is hard enough as it is, and the ribbons themselves take an already valuable inventory slot! The puzzles of the game where a lot of fun though – even if they were bit too easy. Usually, players find keys after completing puzzles, which then allows them to proceed even further
The controls feel a bit archaic now, as they utilize the old “tank controls” to navigate around .Pushing up on the control stick always move you forwards, and the lateral buttons change the direction you face. While awkward, they do tend to work, but sometimes during tough enemy encounters, I felt like I didn’t have enough mobility to properly get around and dodge attacks.
The graphics of the game are awesome for Gamecube game, and are a huge upgrade from the PSX version. A new PS4 version of this game came out a few years ago, and it still looks good! While the game does not use 3D environments, the backdrops are beautiful, scary, and really set a great mood. The lighting effects are substantially better as well, and the 3D models of enemies and protagonists looks great. There isn’t a ton of music in this game, but there are lots of ambient noises and sound effects that really make the game scary. The sounds really helps to build tension and is a great addition to the overall atmosphere.
Overall, the remake of the original Resident Evil is an awesome game with great atmosphere and clunky but workable controls. This game basically created the genre of survival horror, and it can till convey that tension throughout. If its your first time thought the game, it can take a while to beat, so you will get your money’s worth! Overall, I give this game a final score of 8/10.
Final Score: 8/10