Now perhaps zombies aren't known for their intelligence or their oratory skills (except for Keith, the singing zombie), but please allow me to climb up on my zombie soapbox for a minute. It is often my habit when writing a game review to check out some other people's opinions. Unfortunately, this usually leads to the discovery that other people are morons. The GR editor in chief even wrote a rant about this once.
But still, I was astonished. So-called gaming "professionals" from a dozen places (I won't mention their tawdry websites here) had their facts all wrong. Review after review described the incredible differences between the PS2's Code Veronica X and the year-and-a-half-old Dreamcast version (which has no X). These writers gushed about the all new opening movie, and how the backgrounds were now all polygonal. Obviously a zombie had eaten their brains.
I'm here to tell you that there are exactly two differences between the old Dreamcast game and the new PS2 game. The PS2 game has:
(1) A couple new video clips in the middle of the game.
(2) An X.
But hey, X's are cool, right? Xtreme undead!
So it was way back in April of 2000 that I first wrote about Umbrella Corp's bold new financial venture on Zombie Island. How does it stand up now? Actually, pretty well. Umbrella's stock price might not have gone up, but it's only slumped a little bit while other tech companies have taken a bath.
Code Veronica was revolutionary for it's time, the best looking game for any system and scary to boot. While the new version may not have added anything, it's no cheap port like the disappointing RE3: Nemesis for the Dreamcast. Capcom spent some time making sure that their horrific vision remained true to the original. Perhaps the X stands for the amount of time it took.
Either way, this is a nearly X-act copy of the original - the voices, the puzzles, the control, the plot, everything. With only a couple minor tweaks, the graphics duplicate the DC game. Side by side, I'd be hard-pressed to figure out which one is which.
Read my old review if you want all the gory details - let's just get to the facts. You are Claire Redfield. In your search for your brother, Chris Redfield of original Resident Evil fame, you end up in a prison on Umbrella's island laboratory. True to form, the pesky T-virus gets loose and the island becomes plagued with shambling, groaning, fun-loving undead monsters. The zombies shuffle around, eating brains, breaking things, hiding the blue key on the other side of the island, and otherwise behaving like zombies. You must stop them and survive.
The same pitfalls that the first game faced - namely, some silly puzzles - are here once again. I have a question. Despite the fact that I need three keys, two emblems and a partridge in a pear tree to get past one locked door, there always seem to be zombies in just about every hard-to-reach spot in the game. For a bunch of brainless monsters, these guys sure know how to unlock things.
The graphics, like the DC version, are all polygonal, so no more flat backgrounds and motionless camera angles. They hold up well, despite the passage of X amount of time, and only look slightly dated compared to some of the very latest stuff about to come out like Metal Gear Solid 2 or Devil May Cry (demo disk included with Code Veronica X). The new video clips are fine and dandy, but since you probably didn't play the first one, you probably won't even notice them as being any more new than anything else.
All of this makes Code Veronica X a zombie in pretty good shape; let's just say she hasn't lost too much of her flesh yet. I know most of you probably haven't played the DC version, despite the fact that the system had games years ago that look as good as games coming out now. But the DC's tragic demise shouldn't stop any PS2 owners from picking up a copy of Veronica.
Assuming you haven't played it before, take this zombie for a dance around the floor and you won't be disappointed. And maybe someday the Dreamcast will be resurrected as a zombie.