Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Resident Evil Zer0

Now for some history. When the original Resident Evil was in development, some idiot on the team thought it would be a good idea for a prequel.
Yeah, that's a little bit weird. The game wasn't even finished and they were already thinking about MORE story for the series. Resident Evil Zero was in development for the Nintendo 64 back about '99 and was going to be a title for the 64 Disc Drive back when people thought it would work. Thanks to the fact that the Disc Drive didn't move a lot of units they shifted to regular the regular cartridge. Considering the fact that they managed to fit Resident Evil 2 onto a single 512MB Nintendo 64 cartridge I guess Capcom figured they could fit this massive game into a single Game Pak.
Unfortunately, they exceeded the maximum cartridge size, which either meant they needed to put it on two carts or wait until the release of the GameCube.
After a while it also exceeded the technical capabilities of the Nintendo 64. Considering the game was originally designed to take advantage of the N64's significantly more powerful CPU and approximately twice the RAM at stock that's saying something. The game wouldn't have worked on the PlayStation, since the system couldn't even handle Marvel vs Capcom without having to butcher the tag-team mechanics. While the Nintendo 64 had about half the polygon per second capability at stock, in Turbo-3D mode it's capable of almost double the PlayStation's polygon count. The graphics suffered, but with the RAM expansion Pak you could easily increase the resolution to 640 by 480. Not to mention being able to expand the texture cache.
Anyways, this game and REmake were both pushing the standard of realistic graphics in the sixth generation, and I haven't seen a modern game that has lived up to the sheer photorealism and depth these games have.
Call me a snob for the old stuff, but I freaking love the graphics in this game.
So let's talk about the plot. There have been several strange murders in the Raccoon City, which have been traced to a group hiding in the nearby forest. The RCPD has sent the S*T*A*R*S* Bravo team to check the situation out.
The team consists of Captain Enrico Marini, the team leader.
Edward Dewey, the pilot and team mechanics expert, as well as a sharpshooter.
Kenneth J. Sullivan, the team pointman and oldest member of S*T*A*R*S*.
Forest Speyer, Bravo Omni man, Chris Redfield's best friend and the team sniper.
Richard Aiken, Bravo rear guard and communications expert. Lives with his girlfriend.
And finally, Rebecca Chambers. The newest and youngest member of S*T*A*R*S*. Bravo team's medic and biochemist. Also one of the main characters of the game as you can see by looking at the cover of the game.
And finally, here's the other main character, ex-United States Marine Corps Second Lieutenant William "Billy" Coen. Currently a death-row inmate convicted for a massacre he refused to participate in.
As the game progresses, you learn more and more about the man known as Billy Coen, and the situations surrounding the biohazard outbreak.
I say learn, but to be honest, Resident Evil Zero only muddies the already murky waters of the series plot so far.
The guy who looks like Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII in the intro of the game is apparently the younger version of the guy who Wesker and Birkin killed to get ahold of sole control of the T-Virus. He came back to life thanks to some leaches.... Somehow... I'm obviously paraphrasing and abridging here, because this is one of the most complicated and bizarre plots in the entire series. It's better made than something like Dead Aim, which I'll be getting to next year. For now let's just say that Dead Aim is badly written, terribly acted and is probably has the least reason to exist of any game in the series. If you want to play it that badly just import a copy of Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica. It's a much better game.
What I'm trying to say is that if you don't play this game you won't be missing much in terms of plot. But then again, outside of the novels Rebecca Chambers had very little meaning as a character. She was never mentioned after the original game outside of a report she filed about the "death" of Billy in the Nintendo 64 version of Resident Evil 2. And considering that the GameCube port was based on the Dualshock version, and didn't bother including the supplemental material the N64 version had, this game doesn't really tie into the existing plot in any way.
The game doesn't take place inside the Spencer mansion, it doesn't even really take place near the Spencer mansion, and doesn't even bother to mention how any of the S*T*A*R*S* Bravo members got into the Spencer mansion. It's got an area from Resident Evil 2 in it towards the end, with an appearance by Enrico with absolutely zero explanation of how he got there or how he got to the catacombs under the Spencer mansion.
So I have no idea what this game is for. It's not that it isn't fun, it certainly is. It's not Dead Aim, which was both completely disjointed inside of its own story and had zero connection to the existing canon as well as being boring and disappointing.
Sorry for that minor rant, so moving on.
Resident Evil Zero has some cool puzzles, interesting level design and you could easily spend your time and money in worse ways.
In the end, I'd say it's a decent enough game. They wasted a decent plot, certainly. All in all though, I'd say it was a pretty good game. Story-wise, it's confused. But it's still pretty fun and it's a got a decent mystery plot backing it up. So yeah, I recommend it. As far as Resident Evil games go it's not as good as REmake or 3, but I'd say it's still worth your time.
All in all, I give it an 8.2* rating. It loses quite a few points for the confused plot, but gained several back for being a fun game. I'll see you next week with Resident Evil 2!