Before starting, I will refer to this game as Biohazard since that is the actual name and game I am reviewing and not the domestic version known as Resident Evil.
Capcom and Shinji Mikami released the original Biohazard for Playstation in 1996, with a Domestic release in 1997 (Resident Evil). The series was an instant success. It brought many changes to the horror genre that was once unpopular, and made it mainstream. Biohazard went on to have multiple sequels and saw life on multiple platforms. Another Capcom classic has been created. Last year, Capcom announces full exclusive rights to Nintendo’s Gamecube for their Biohazard games. Included in the announcement is a remake of Biohazard and ports of its sequels. Plus the GameCube will also see the release of a new additions to the series, Biohazard 0 and 4. With all that said, let’s dive into the review of Biohazard: Re-Make.
The Story of Biohazard (Resident Evil) Re-Make:
The game takes place in Raccoon City. Strange reports over murder have been surfacing lately. They have all taken place near the forest, where victims were found … eaten. BRAVO team is sent into the woods to take a look, but all radio contact with them is lost soon after. The Raccoon City STARS are sent in. They land and find the wreckage of the BRAVO Team’s helicopter. Suddenly, the are attacked by monstrous dogs and seek refuge inside a mansion nearby. They begin to search to mansion and uncover the details of what went on and what caused the creatures to mutate…
You take on the roll of either Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine. Each goes through all the same things but will see slightly different events throughout the game. There are also different endings for each of them to uncover depending on what you do in the game. Each will team up with another character, also Jill carries a lock pick while Chris must find and use keys, and Jill can carry more items at a time than Chris. Play both and find out which presents the bigger challenge.
First off this game is the first 2-DISC Gamecube game, if that’s any indication. Biohazard also includes a free Memory Card 59 (nice stickers for them as well) and it’s packaged in a thicker case than the usual Japanese packaging. Unfortunately when Biohazard sees a release as Resident Evil on our shores it will not include the free Memory Card. Nintendo of America haven’t wised up to this great idea our friends in Japan get. Nice boxart, and manual. The game boots up and we already have the feeling of Biohazard with a clip of a zombie arising from underneath a sheet. Then we are taken to the Biohazard Main Screen where three options are selectable. New Game, Load Game, and Options (Brightness, Sound, etc.)
When you begin a New Game expect to hear “BIOHAZARD!” in the deep voice we have all known from the previous installments. Beginning a new game will treat you to an amazing opening video that explains the story so far for Biohazard. The power of the Gamecube has really allowed for this to be an awesome opening video. Once you begin to play the game you will see that the cut scenes are done real-time. Very similar menus of the original games but with that enhancement to them. Overall we see familiar aspects in the presentation combined with an enhancement to allow for an even better look and feel to a six-year old game.
Shinji Mikami has realized a vision on the Gamecube. It is stunning, and anything previously tried is blown away by Biohazard: The Re-Make, which has got to be the most visually satisfying game made in years. I have yet to see a game as beautiful as Biohazard. Everything has been revamped and built straight up for the Gamecube hardware and it is truly visible. Capcom’s efforts are clearly shown here. Prepared to be blown away, this is one of the greatest efforts done graphically by any developer. When I first looked around the mansion, I couldn’t recognize it. Almost nothing of the original mansion remains, except for the way some of the rooms are laid out. The worlds of the Spencer Mansion are realistic-looking, and the shadows and lighting are truly accurate.
Unfortunately, the backgrounds are pre-rendered, which doesn’t hinder the game at all. The pre-rendered backgrounds are better than any of Capcom’s efforts. Simply be amazed by the level of detail seen here, and it’s a testament to the fact that there is nothing wrong with pre-rendered backgrounds. Another great feature is the ‘zombie blood’. Where the angle of a gun shot will make is splatter in a certain direction. We see a combination of some fantastic polygon and pre-rendered backgrounds with real time lighting and shadow effects. Candles are almost everywhere, casting their glow, and just like in real life, their light is different than the light given off by a roaring fire or fluorescent lights. Lightning flashes, briefly lighting dim areas (often giving a glimpse of something lurking about), and making you wish you weren’t playing alone, if you chose to do so. The character models are done very well, and the cutscenes are also done well. Lip-synching is done to match the words spoken but lacks facial expressions and the like seen in other Capcom games such as Onimusha 2.
Mikami ‘wants’ you to ‘see’ all that he and his team have labored hard for years on (yes, the game is much longer)- do yourself a favor and honor his request. One of the best visual packages ever assembled. Thank You, Capcom and Shinji Mikami for bringing this wonderful piece of eye-candy to the Nintendo Gamecube.
Amazing sound. The sounds of the Gamecube come to life in the remake. Every footstep sounds extremely authentic, and the lightning sounds true to real lightning. The moans of the zombies are clear, and really authentic. The effects of the guns, people yelling and even the swing of a knife is a grand marvel. The sound really helps add more effect to the scare factor of this game as well as the realism. Each sound is detailed and accurate. From dogs barking to a fireplace burning. The music sets the mood very well, and really tenses you up for the next moment in the game. Without the sound effects you would see a dull game as the sound does play a big role. People complained about the pathetic voice-acting in the Playstation version but do not fear regardless of what other say the voice-acting is done very well and fits each character. Great job on the effects.
Welcome home Biohazard. The same original controls that made the series is back with a few enhancements. The Gamecube controller is perfect for the Biohazard series. This game controls better with Gamecube and it’s unique controller. It seems that everything is just perfectly natural with the controller:
A = Action/Climb
B = Run (When moving D-Pad/Analog Stick)
Y = Access Item Screen
X = Cancel
R = Ready Weapon
L = Change targets
C = Stick: Move it just once to do a 180* turn.
There are three control schemes, the first is almost identical to its little cousin back on the PlayStation. I say cousin because although the story is the same, the game is not. Nearly all new puzzles, brand new locations and the others rooms have been moved around quite a bit. Another new addition is the knives that are spread about. If your attacked by a zombie, you can hold it off for a second, grab the knife and plunge it into your adversaries head, which definitely adds a new element to the fray–defensive weapons.These come in two forms: A knife (not the combat knife that characters start with) and a taser. Both are single use only, meaning if you pick up one knife and use it, you can’t pick it up again. The weapons really bring depth to the combat system, like the dodge feature did for Nemesis. With the implentation of the defensive weapons,you can now escape from a munching by a zombie or dog without losing a single drop of health. But unlike the dodge feature, the weapons are very scarce in the game so they must be used sparingly or else you’ll find yourself being zombie chow a lot. This adds strategy in a way that you must think if you want to save a weapon for later or use it on the zombie that’s about to take a chunk out of you. The choice is yours and after experiencing this feature, I must say I didn’t know how previous games in the RE series could have fared so well without it. Headshots also return in this incarnation of RE. Like the Director’s Cut version on the PSX, the normal beretta can now execute an instant kill head-shot. Take note: this is a random feature, so don’t rely on it to save your hide. But something I found out was that Chris had more headshots compared to when I played as Jill. Gameplay balancing? You betcha, but it also stays true to RE mythos (Chris is supposed to be a sharpshooter). Shotgun headshots are satisfyingly graphic compared to the ones seen in Code Veronica. Fans will be disappointed to find out that ‘the master of unlocking’ has been cut, but the game remains true to the original with all the original characters, a slight change in the story (not very big), and the creepy atmosphere.
The zombies here have gotten a major work over in the AI department. One of the first improvements you’ll notice in the game is that the stairway sequences no longer load that familiar animation. If a monster can see you, there’s a darn good possibility that it’s going to come after you, and you’ll probably squeal like a pig the first time it happens. I guess that ‘improvement’ was made in favor of the new AI, and I know a lot of die-hards will ‘die hard’ many times because of this, and the fact that the zombies are a bit faster and deadlier. Make that much deadlier. On Easy, they take at least six shots to put down, and another few to stay down. Ammo is more scarce than in the original, and the game actually encourages you to use the knife or knives a lot. If you even think of stupidly emptying clip after clip into a mere three zombies thinking that there’s going to be bullets just around the next corner, you’ll be loading saves like moving day at the Enron offices. And that’s just the zombies! Sure, they’re a constant threat as you make your way through the mansion. But compared to the other beasties you’ll have to deal with in the game, the zombies are the least of your worries.
Hunters exceed the ones in the first game, big time. They’re all set on ”Must..Rip..Off…Head. NOW!” and go all the way to ”Must..Rip…Off..Head…REALFASTNOW!”. And lordy, they can cross a room like linebackers with strapped-on rocket packs. And the dogs, ah, the dogs…”Please keep your hands and head IN the mansion, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll need them later”, is all I’ll say. They have a rather impressive habit of showing off Capcom’s total dedication to making you poop in your pants in certain areas of the game (no spoilers here, folks). As for the other members of the menagerie, trust me, you’ll want to see for yourself. When you finish some areas, you’ll probably need to take a shower–it’s guaranteed that your armpits will be fused to your torso from all the sweat. You will die in this game–frequently if you’re careless, less often if you’re patient. The character death scenes really push the game over the edge, especially when you get caught off guard and mangled by the unexpected.The game is definitely very challenging over its predecessors and you will definitely die many times before even accomplishing anything in the game. Just take this as a precaution and be prepared for a challenging experience.
Well, let’s compile the statistics here. The game in the beginning has two different modes and two different characters. I suggest starting with the easier mode because well it isn’t much easier. It will take you at least 10 hours per character to complete the game. Then you unlock more difficulty modes, which I will let you discover for yourself. You can also unlock new costumes for the characters as well. You will see yourself sending your pants in to the dry-cleaners time and time again because of this game. This is one experience you can’t miss out on.
If you’ve never experienced any of the Biohazard or Resident Evil games back on the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Playstation and Playstation 2, then–where have you been for the past 6 years? Shinji Mikami and crew have recreated a masterpiece and this recreation is an even bigger masterpiece than the original. Please put the ‘console wars’ bull***t aside and buy yourself a Gamecube. You will not regret it, because this game alone is worth it combined with the Gamecube’s strong lineup and the next releases of the Biohazard series. If you are a Gamecube owner then please go buy the game when it hits our shores on April 30th.
If you are able to play imports, then please go and import this game. Capcom breathes new life into the Biohazard series.