Brains to go.
May we forever salute the original Playstation, which brought us all out of flatland, turned us on our Z-axis and ushered in the 3D universe. The new opportunities this offered game developers led to some incredible virtual experiences, not to mention some of the easiest "A" grades that GR has even given out.
One of those games was Resident Evil. It might not have technically invented the survival-horror genre (purists would probably hand that credit to Alone in the Dark), but it was clearly the one that made horror gaming hip. It was so good, in fact, that Deadly Silence is actually the second remake of the game to appear on a Nintendo console, after Resident Evil on the Gamecube.
But unlike that highly-tweaked masterpiece, Deadly Silence is an almost exact port of the Playstation original. Play as S.T.A.R.S. special agent Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine as you explore a zombie-filled mansion and eventually uncover the Umbrella Corporation's deadly viral secrets. Okay, so there were some spoilers in that last sentence, but sorry folks: there's a statute of limitations on these things and if you haven't played one of the dozens of Resident Evil games or seen either of the movies, I just can't be held accountable. The glass slipper, by the way, fits on Cinderella's foot.
And the eagle crest still fits in the eagle crest slot. The puzzles have been mixed around a little bit, but they're still pretty much the same as before. There are also a few puzzles that use the touchpad and microphone, as per the draconian DS rules, but by and large this is the same game as the one released in 1996, just smaller.
That is, if you're playing through Classic Mode. This remains the most unchanged, and unless you've played the original recently, you'll be hard pressed to notice any of the differences. Rebirth Mode sees more DS changes, more touchscreen utilization, and is more action-oriented. It also features a first-person knifing mini-game which occurs at a few places in the mansion, immobilizing you and forcing you to stab at the zombies using your stylus. It's clever, but ultimately unrewarding.
Other DS enhancements include a permanent map on the top screen, which is actually quite useful given Resident Evil's crazy, architecture-defying locations. Likewise, your inventory can be managed down on the touch screen if you can't figure out the buttons for some reason.
While the characters, locations and even camera angles haven't changed a bit, the graphics have suffered mildly in the translation, getting a little grainy and sometimes hard to see on the tiny screen. The sound, on the other hand, is an exact copy, from the laughably bad voice-acting to the great, suspenseful, creepy noises of the lurking monsters waiting to lunge at you when you least expect it.
In fact, Deadly Silence is such an exact copy of the Playstation Resident Evil, they even copied over the loading screens. Whenever you changed locations by going through a door or going up stairs in the original PSX game, it would cut to a scene of the door opening or the stairs moving while the console accessed the CD. Deadly Silence, however, uses a cartridge, so there should essentially be zero loading time, yet the loading screens are still there. At least you can skip them, but that means you have to skip them every single time you go through a door. It's a truly bizarre design choice.
The multiplayer isn't much of an addition to this bag of bones, either, allowing you to play Co-op or Versus modes on some custom maps with up to four players. Co-op has you working together to survive, where Versus just pits you against the others in a race to the exit. The real bummer is that you can't actually see any of the other players, as instead they're merely represented by a star. Weird.
Although this once-great game obviously feels a little dated, I think this DS re-release is a terrific idea. Frankly, I don't know why both the PSP and the DS didn't launch simultaneously with a collection of the best games from that earlier generation. Not just Resident Evil (and the awesome Resident Evil 2), but how about Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII, Banjo Kazooie, Ocarina of Time, Super Smash Bros., Colony Wars and tons more? I never got to play Xenosaga and would love the chance to carry it around in my pocket.
Likewise, if you haven't experienced the original Resident Evil, now is your chance to embrace a classic. Gamers who have played it before, however, won't find quite enough extra here to justify paying for the privilege of doing it all over again.