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Resident Evil Impressions from Planet Gamecube

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Resident Evil Impressions from Planet Gamecube

Old 04-19-02, 12:51 PM
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Resident Evil Impressions from Planet Gamecube

from www.planetgamecube.com:

When it was announced that Capcomís Resident Evil franchise would be GameCube exclusive, it was a confusing revelation to many. Compounded by the admission that Capcom would be remaking the original Resident Evil games for GameCube, people wondered what on earth was going on. Why would Nintendo be backing a port of an old Playstation series?

Then the screenshots, and the movies. This was Resident Evil the way it was meant to be experienced. Dark, gritty, foreboding Ö full of atmosphere. But would the public embrace yet ANOTHER port on the GameCube?

Wonder no more.

Resident Evil is by far the best looking GameCube title yet. Yes, itís largely pre-rendered, but you canít hold that against it when the environments are just as interactive as anything else weíve seen. Lightning fills rooms with light, reflecting off the walls and scenery in a very realistic manner. Animation in the environs is handled through small FMV clips, making for very smooth and impressive fire and water effects. Anyone who is looking for an example of what a next-generation video game should look like neednít look any further. The meshing of pre-rendered backgrounds and polygonal objects is handled very well, much more realistically than the Playstation version.

The sound is teriffic, bringing the STARS team and the zombies to life. A true Surround mode would have been a great addition, helping make the game even more engaging. Still, the creaking of the doors during room transitions, the sound of thunder in the distance, flickering candles, footfalls Ö all these noises are reproduced wonderfully. This combined with the graphics form a wonderfully scary mood Ö you will certainly be startled on several occasions, if not outright frightened when playing the game in the dark with the lights dimmed.

So much has changed from the original that it really isnít fair to call the game a port. The script is significantly different (and improved); areas have been changed and added, and the challenge has really been ramped up. In fact, the game is so difficult now, that folks new to the series are very likely to die if they try to take on any of the first several zombies. It seems that the game is somewhat encouraging running early in the game, until you assemble the arsenal needed to take these monsters on face-to-face. The initial difficulty selection when you start a new game really makes little difference Ö the zombies are simply much harder to kill now. Itís one area I think Capcom should have re-thought. Not everyone that will be playing this game is familiar with the first title. I can understand them wanting to keep the game fresh for the fans, but the game is so hard that people are going to be turned off by it. Much like in the original, save points are few and far between. There are more than in the original, but still scattered and scarce enough to add to the challenge.

That is, if they arenít turned off by the atrocious control scheme first. Capcom did such a great job updating the game that the omission of a true analog control scheme is a CRIME. Players used to the fluid and responsive control of other third-person titles are in for a rude awakening, and are likely to find themselves fighting the controller more than the zombies. Skilled players will be able to overcome this hurdle, but itís an oversight that added needless difficulty and frustration to what could have been a nearly perfect title.

Still, Resident Evil is terrific, if unnecessarily difficult. Itís got a lot more mood and less campy-ness than the original, and feels fresh and new (aside from the old-school controls). Anyone looking for a solid game with excellent graphics and a good, scary theme should grab this game the minute itís released. But be prepared to do a lot of cursing and reloading.

Rick Powers, Senior Editor

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