Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Resident Evil for Nintendo Gamecube.

Remember that unboxing I did last year, when I got the first disc of Resident Evil and the second disc of Resident Evil Zero? Remember how pissed I was?
Yeah, I managed to sort that out thankfully. Resident Evil Zero is coming next week, but right now we need to get to the remake of the original Resident Evil.
Shinji Mikami has been noted as saying that Resident Evil for the GameCube is about seventy percent different from the PlayStation version (It's crazy that PlayStation is a word but not GameCube or GameBoy) but personally I would say that it's more than a hundred percent different. While there are similarities, pretty much everything has been completely changed from the original. Gone are the bright technicolor backgrounds (and static lighting) that were part of the reason why I liked the original. But considering how cool the new graphics look, that's not even an issue.
In fact, I'd say that it still looks great. Even the 3D modeling looks really good. Considering the fact that I haven't seen any game that has graphics that good in.... Ever.
I'm not kidding. I've seen really good looking games in my time, but not as good as this. Really, the only game I've seen that I could honestly say looks that good is Mario Kart 8, or Ocarina of Time 3D.
And I've seen a lot of really good looking PC games as well. It's weird. I guess I'm trying to say that there's not really any other game that took me in the way this one did. It's immersive and realistic while not dipping into the uncanny valley, like a lot of games do.
You know, it's funny. Resident Evil for the PlayStation had Chris on the front, and Resident Evil for the GameCube had Jill on the front. And I played the former as Jill and the latter as Chris. Huh.
The voice-acting has been entirely re-recorded with voice-actors who actually have some talent. And a voice-director has ears. While the laugh-out-loud humor has been removed from the dialogue, the surreal structure of the game has stayed.
The STARS Bravo Team has been sent out to take out a group of cannibals that have been hiding in the woods and preying on hikers. The RCPD lost contact with Bravo and sent the Alpha team after them.
Joseph Frost finds the eviscerated body of Kevin Dooley in the sabotaged chopper, along with most of Bravo's standard-issue equipment. The team fans out in search of the other members of Bravo, but are ambushed by a group of zombie dobermans. Joseph gets torn to bits by the dogs and they almost manage to kill Jill and Chris.
Chris almost gets eaten by a Cerberus, but is saved by the captain. The remaining members of Alpha Team manage to get to a mansion in the middle of nowhere and bar off the door. Barry Burton has gone missing in the clamor. A shot rings out from the western wing of the mansion, and Chris goes to check it out. The captain and Jill stay behind to secure the entryway while Chris goes to look for Barry and the cause of the shot.
Chris apparently lost his gun (I'm not entirely sure how, I watched the intro five times and never saw him drop it) and as such is left with his combat knife. I find it rather odd that Chris didn't have an extra firearm on him. Or maybe borrow a spare gun someone else had. Or maybe take Jill and Wesker with him.
Anyways, Chris goes through the dining-room and finds a zombie eating Kenneth J. Sullivan.
Chris kills the zombie using only his combat-knife and takes a VHS tape off of Ken's body, because the game was made in 2002 and set in 1998.
Making his way back to the entryway, Chris finds that Jill and Wesker have vanished, leaving Jill's gun behind.
This essentially undermines what I feel the whole point of not having a gun in a game where things are trying to kill you is. But then again it makes the game a lot less irritating.
Chris finds the horribly mutated Lisa Trevor in the gravekeepers shack. She and the multiple heads attached to her body attempt to kill him, but Chris manages to outmaneuver her and escape with his life and most of his bullets intact.
Anyways, Chris runs into Rebecca Chambers from Bravo Team, having locked herself in a safe-room away from the zombie horde.
Chris also runs into Richard Aiken, having been bitten by a massive snake. He runs back to the safe-room and administers anti-venom to Richard's wounds.
Unfortunately, Richard gets eaten by a Neptune shark while they're searching for the rest of Bravo Team.
Chris finds the bird-picked body of Forrest Speyer on the balcony of the mansion. It comes to life and tries to kill him, but Chris shoots the head off of the monster and continues his search for the other STARS members.
Chris finds Captain Wesker locked in combat with Lisa Trevor in a pretty precarious cavern underneath the mansion. Chris and the captain manage to kill Trevor and escape the caverns.
I almost wonder what would have happened if I had left Wesker to die instead of reloading my save file and saving him.....
Later on Chris and Rebecca find a badly wounded Enrico Marini in the catacombs below the mansion, and he manages to tell them that there's a traitor within the RCPD before being fatally shot by said traitor.
Chris and Rebecca find Jill locked in a prison cell, and then confront Wesker after finding out he's the mole.
Now, to be honest, the actor in the new picture doesn't look a thing like the polygon model they used for this game. If it had just been the picture, and not a list of names as well, I wouldn't have known that was supposed to be Wesker.
Wesker gets impaled by the Tyrant, which proceeds to attack Chris and Rebecca. They manage to subdue it, free Jill, and set the mansion to blow so they can prevent the spread of infection. Chris radios Brad Vickers while the girls cover his back, and sends up a signal flare to show him where they are. Brad starts to land, but the Tyrant bursts through the helipad and starts attacking the S*T*A*R*S* members on the ground. Chris and Jill manage to keep it from killing Rebecca long enough for Brad to circle around and drop off a rocket-launcher. Chris picks it up, and blasts the Tyrant to pieces. Brad lands, the surviving S*T*A*R*S* members leave, and the mansion blows up behind them.
The game is extremely graphically sound. For being over a decade old, it holds up a lot better than some of its contemporaries, such as Final Fantasy X, or Resident Evil Code: Veronica. Strange, those were both games that used similar engines to previous games in their respective series and eschewed pre-rendered backgrounds for full 3D. And wound up looking extremely dated in a few years (Much less ten) because of it. Or for that matter, new (At the time) IPs like Splinter Cell, which had horrible lip-sync, disgusting graphics, and almost intolerable load times.
Enough hating on Splinter Cell, I've beaten that subject to death pretty much.
Anyways, I actually really like this game. It takes the surrealist bent of the original and turns it even more surreal, by replacing the amateurish voice-actors and shoddy translation of the original with more professional everything pretty much. That's not to say that there aren't spelling errors or possible mistranslations, there are. They're just a lot less frequent and noticeable.
Also, thanks to the fact that they were able to achieve more realism in the graphics, the atmosphere is also enhanced to prey on some primal fears, managing to pierce even my jaded shield towards horror. Mostly because the few primal fears I still have are related to darkness and a lack of control of my surroundings.
As for the gameplay and puzzles? They're nice. The puzzles are different enough that it doesn't seem like a rehash of the original at all. For that matter, the environments and design are also very different, so even if you're not playing on arrange mode you'll still be challenged if you've never played anything but the original.
Granted, given that Resident Evil will be turning twenty in two years, it's unlikely that's the case, but then again there are always going to be people new to the series that want to get in on the ground level. I was like that once, and the impenetrability of the fanbase initially turned me off of the series. I'm not saying that there needs to be a friendly and approachable cartoony mascot for every series, even ones that would suffer for it. What I actually am saying is that for newcomers, the series is fairly impenetrable. I'm not talking about the plot, that's pretty straightforward (Yes, I just called the plot of Resident Evil straightforward) I'm referring to the fact that it's damn near impossible to find a copy of the first couple of games in the series for a reasonable price. People like me, determined not to support digital distribution if at all possible will find it hard to get into a lot of older series since, despite there being no shortage of copies on the market, collectors and sellers have jacked up prices to maximize their profit margin. And considering that the HD port of this game has only seen a limited physical release only on the PS4 and only in Japan, it's not very encouraging for games of the future. Ace Attorney 5 and the Phoenix Wright HD Trilogy are also digital exclusive despite the former seeing a physical release in Japan and the components of the HD Trilogy have seen physical releases on the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS.
And then there's Resident Evil 4: Ultimate HD. Resident Evil 4 is a game that's seen a release on the Nintendo GameCube, the PS2, the PC, the Xbox 360, the PS3 and the freaking iPad of all things. While the Xbox 360 and PS3 releases (Outside of a limited edition released alongside Resident Evil 6) were digital only outside Japan, the PC release was physical, because the internet wasn't nearly strong enough for an online marketplace where you could buy and download fourth generation games, much less four gigabyte monsters like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Halo. Despite my not supporting the way some games get released, it doesn't affect the quality of the game. Considering how much I loved the first two Ace Attorney games, it's highly unlikely that I'll be able to hate it simply because it's only being released digitally in America. And considering how much fun I had with Resident Evil 4 during my playthrough of the game, and how much fun I had with Resident Evil for the Nintendo GameCube, I won't be able to fault them for digital distribution simply because I like the games so much. Same goes for Azure Striker: GUNVOLT. Digital only, and yet it's probably going to turn out to be one of my games of the year simply because of how amazingly good it was.
So, after having gone off on a massive rant about digital distribution (Let's just ignore my massive Steam Library, shall we?) let's talk about the Wii version of the game.
Despite not having played much of Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil, and indeed having not recorded much, I can easily tell you that it's essentially a straight port with some new control methods, and some annoying borders on the side of the screen which cut off the edges of the field of view. Keep in mind that I played the GameCube version on my Wii, displayed on a 4:3 television, and I presume that the borders are there so they wouldn't have to crop, stretch or redraw the backgrounds for widescreen. Why it still displays like that on a 4:3 television, playing in interlaced mode on a console that's incapable of high-definition video-output is beyond me.
So anyways, all in all I liked Resident Evil. It does a decent bit of streamlining the original game and improving the acting, animation and graphics to bleeding-edge realism that still holds up today.
In the end I'll go ahead and give it a perfect score of 10.1*. Despite there being some awesome moment in both later games and earlier, I'd say this is probably the most perfect game in the series that I've played so far, tying right up there with Resident Evil 4. Not that I don't like the other games in the series, I'm going to disprove that notion several times this month.
I'll see you next week with Resident Evil Zero, and later with the novel based on the original game, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy. If you haven't already seen it, here's my review of the original Resident Evil.
I'll see you next week with Resident Evil Zero!