Resident Evil Zero (GameCube)

Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  MAT (102232)
Written on  :  Oct 22, 2003
Platform  :  GameCube
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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AMAZINGLY SUPER-BRILLIANT is not eloquent enough for this game.

The Good

|| Prologue ||
It is almost a year since I entered the realm of Capcom's Resident Evil universe, and ever since I started with Resident Evil 2, I saw an enormous potential in the storyline and gameplay. A lot was promissed not only in gameplay and various locations, but also in explanations of the story fragments, cinematics added on the right spot, and surprises added where you couldn't possible expect them. Luckily afterwards, my next one was Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X, which just happens to work as a sequel to RE2 more closely. That game offered much better graphic, delved deep into the roots behind the Umbrella corporation, unlocking us many secrets, and gave us plentiful of unexpected locations and pre-rendered cinematics. Needless to mention, both games had extremely balanced soundtrack you could know whether you're endangered or safe just by listening to the music. And so, what I thought of just adding to my collection for loving horror-survival genre almost the most, I ended up being quite intrigued by the storyline and more games within the franchise (that excludes FPS versions alternate route, though).

|| Unlocking Secrets ||
So, one day I got myself Resident Evil Zero, and even though I had no GameCube at the time, the game's storyline and characters intrigued me as much that I was almost positive getting a console for this game only would also be justifiable. And after finishing it, I don't doubt the choice. It opens in an dynamically fast-paced cinematic of some virus mutated life-forms taking over the speeding train. Then, S.T.A.R.S. team was sent in to investigate, and due to some malfunction, their chopper crashed into the nearby woods. To put more juice on all that, they found a wrecked jeep with couple of killed soldiers (they obviously didn't bother to see faces nor how were they killed), and papers about planned execution of Lt. Billy Coen. Hence the team scatters in search of this man. You're cast in the role of Rebecca Chambers (very cute little gal), and walking through the forest, you encounter a somewhat wrecked train... and decided to enter.

|| Double Gameplay ||
Gameplay doesn't differ from any other typical horror-survival, it has static (well, rather to be said dynamic in most cases) background, and you move your 3d character with normal set of actions, and that basically include walking, running, shooting, and 180 degrees quick-turning. As soon as you partner with Billy, you'll be able to control both characters, wether they go together or each of them in separate ways. There will be some puzzles that will require two of them to be at different places at exact time, but otherwise, it's very cool to see them both together as you always feel like you have some backup when threat arrives on the scene. Their characteristics are well balanced, and hence Billy is stronger and can withstand much more harm than Rebecca, also he can turn some rusted wheels or push metal crates, whereas Rebecca can only push wooden crates. It's a fine ballance, and they indeed work brilliant as a team. Great thing about this game is that not only can you switch items while your characters are close, but you can drop them and later pick them up, or check on the map where items you dropped or didn't picked in the first place are.

|| Graphic or Art ||
Backgrounds and all this is with the ultimate level of quality, seems like (and probably is) everything is pre-rendered, yet when explosion occurs, or the background dynamically changes, it feels like you're in the middle of real atmosphere which is what pre-rendered cinematics throughout the background offers you. Character details are breathtaking, and you can see their every gesture, body movement, and muscle, and that doesn't apply to main characters only, monsters have that quality too. From intriguing movement scripts to different ways of dying. Also mirroring and water reflections work like something divine assembled them alright. And then of course, there are pre-rendered cinematics, plenty of them, and really pleasure to watch, mostly giving up some backgorund of the story, or showing some action scene, nothing less than you can expect from Capcom when it comes to CG FMVs.

|| Surprise, Surprise ||
The grand surprise is that this all happens before the original Resident Evil and the mansion incident, and you get to see some cool story behind all this. And not only that, you get to see Wesker. I only met him in some cinematics of Code: Veronica X, but he's here too, and from what it appears, he deliberately brought second S.T.A.R.S. team into the mansion in original RE as they would stand for excellent specimens for testing with all their training under belt. I dunno what happened, or how Wesker turned into whatever he was later in Code: Veronica X story, but it will be a great way of finding out more, hopefully in the Resident Evil remake for GameCube. Another thing that surprised me... and sort of mis-surprised me, was the fact that just when I thought the game is over, I found myself running through the factory I stumbled upon when playing Resident Evil 2, and not only that, I had to fight Tyrant twice. Hmm, that makes you wonder how big this place is, and how big is the time difference between Billy & Rebecca story from RE0, and Leon & Claire story from RE2. And what was Tyrant doing in all that time between, lol?!

|| Action within Horror ||
Guess we who tried some other RE games did expect some powerful weapon arsenal and more action than actual horror. But no, this game won't provide you with some machine guns or rocket launchers. It all basically comes down to a gun, winchester, shotgun, and a grenade launcher which is very useful, but not as ammunition rich to use it too often. I left it pretty back in the game, and didn't want to go all the way back for it, and game is perfectly fine by using just a gun for Rebecca, and a shotgun for Billy. This game will probably not torture you on any psychological way as Silent Hill games did, too much, but will have quite some surprises to trigger upon you so you won't have time to think which event was more frightful, the anticipation of an approaching sound of some creature, or the fact you didn't see it coming and in due panic set your partner on fire by accident.

The Bad

Not much, this is like a train to past, not only story-wise, but somehow atmosphere-wise. The game has three levels of difficulty so that problem is solved, graphic is masterfully balanced with not too big of a difference of ingame and cinematic quality, sound is real and echoes at the exact part of the screen, music is brilliant, and as always in RE games, piano tunes are magnificent, especially end credits theme. No, there is really no complaint about this game, it's one of rare games that aside from personal perfection, it also has technical perfection.

The Bottom Line

This is The best Resident Evil game with lots of surprises, different locations, dynamic, new two-player controls, story, and GameCube exclusive. It is a reason enough to get the entire console to be able to play it. But luckily, there are a few more GC exclusive RE games, so you'll enjoy even more. Sheer perfection shadowing all the Resident Evil games before, and movie only helped in bringing the franchise to a ruin, rather than helping. Making a movie of this game would be a solid effort. Also, this is a rather long game, longer than you might expect, both time-wise, and especially locations wise. It has extremely lot to explore, and hence, to give.