OW! Leggo my foot! OW!
If you've been dying for a gruesome meaty treat, look no further than Resident Evil. This is the kind of game we love to see at Game Revolution. Stunning graphics, intelligent design, and revolutionary gameplay! Intrigued? Read on!
The game begins with your special forces team landing in the 'Raccoon Mountains'. The black and white video is a nice touch, but both the acting and film values are second rate. Your mission is to find the previous team which disappeared while investigating a strange cult. You are suddenly attacked by a vicious zombie werewolf! Three of you make it to the mysterious mansion alive, but abandoned by your helicopter
From this point on you are free of the FMV until you get to the very end (some reward!). There are two different characters to play: Jill and Chris. The action all takes place on beautiful pre-rendered 3D sets. With your polygonal character you can explore, move certain objects around, and fight monsters. The camera angle is stationary (because the sets are pre-rendered) but there are usually several different shots of each room depending on where you are.
The control takes a little getting used to. Because the camera angles are always changing, the control has to work independently of the view. While a little bit of smooth feeling is lost here, the non-linear freedom it gives is more than worth it. Beginners will have some difficulty with their first combat encounters; you only get one life. My advice is: Once you get past the long segments with bad voice acting, save your game so you never have to deal with them again!
The genius in the design of Resident Evil is the seamless combination of a good adventure / puzzle game with full action. There is no transition time between the action and adventure segments. They work through the same interface. You can be solving clues, Myst-style, when suddenly a rotting zombie will crash in through the window and try to eat you! Very unlike Myst indeed.
The enemies in Resident Evil range from the standard flesh-eating-zombie to giant spiders to carnivorous plants to fearsome biologically engineered creatures. Look out for zombies that seem dead, they have an irritating habit of grabbing onto your foot and gnawing away. Weaponry includes the wimpy combat knife, 9mm Beretta, shotgun, 357 Colt Python, bazooka, flame-thrower, and the devastating rocket launcher (available only at the very end).
The designers worked long and hard to create a game that will engross you for many hours. The game is very extensive. Yet the programmers never lost their eye for detail. Even at the very beginning, in the main hall of the mansion, your footsteps echo across the marble floors, but become muffled if you walk across the rug. These are the kind of beautiful details that make some games truly immersive experiences.
Another great feature of this game is that the adventure is different depending on which character you play. You must solve different clues and take different paths. Jill, for example, can use lockpicks to go where Chris cannot. So there is a real incentive to play the game again even after you have solved it. There are even slightly different multiple endings for each character depending on how many of your team you manage to rescue.
All together, Resident Evil is a very impressive package. This is exactly the kind of revolutionary title that we applaud. Sure, others like it will come along, some will even surpass it, but hats off to Resident Evil for getting there first. Even deducting a few points for bad voice acting and the gratuitous use of special forces teams, this game earns its grade.