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Written by  :  Sycada (191)
Written on  :  Sep 01, 2004
Platform  :  GameCube
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The remake of one of horror gamings most influential titles steals the crown all over again.

The Good

It's true that Resident Evil was not the first Survival Horror title ever made but it certainly revolutionized the genre and brought it into the mainstream. Now the remake is set to bring about the biggest evolution that the RE series has seen since, well... since the original that it's based on.

Of course the first thing that jumps out at you is that the visuals have been vastly improved. Capcom have finally done away with the circle shadows of previous titles and now figures arch up walls and tree branches outside are silouetted in motion against ceilings as they sway in the wind. Lights flicker and cast real-time shadows and colours over everything enriching the environment in a thick, dank, dread. Characters are so detailed that even the creases in their clothes are fully modelled, not texture maps and in-game models are the same models used in the stunning real-time cutscenes. The game looks so good in fact, that it puts even the pre-rendered CG cutscenes of any previous RE game to shame. The abundance of eye candy does more than just look good though, it creates an atmosphere so thick with tension that nothing else can compare with it, coupled with the amazing soundtrack of course. Each footstep echoes out with unnerving realism and suspense. Music is a beautifully haunting blend of old and new tracks that have been completely revamped and, like the visuals are better than ever.

Yes it looks and sounds fantastic but Capcom didn't stop with a facelift, many things about the actual game have been changed also. There are new areas to explore as well as a host of new puzzles (which are a lot better) new weapons plus some new enemies including an extremely creepy woman who I'll always remember as the scariest character ever to grace a RE title. It's always a joy to see areas from the original redone for old school players of the series but pretty soon you start treating them like new areas because most of the jumps and sequences are changed leaving you very susceptable to attack. One section, new to the game but shall remain nameless for spoiler purposes had me so tense I started to feel sick in the stomach, something I have not felt playing a horror game for many years.

One of the new features is that if you take a zombie down but don't do it appropriately, they can come back to life even more dangerous than they were before. There is also a very handy emergency weapon feature that allows you to use various small arms on zombies just before they are about to attack you, saving you some health and allowing for a quick getaway.

As before the layout of the game and overall story is much the same but a really nice addition is the Trevor Spencer side story that was originally to be included in the first game but was removed for various reasons. In fact, many of the new areas relate directly to this story too and this helps add a richness to the game that was painfully absent in the original version.

The Bad

It's always the same for every game in the series, the voice acting is terrible. Yes it was redone for the remake and while the lines and acting are an improvement over the abysmal example that the original gave us, they are still awful and fall in line with the average offerings of more recent RE titles.

None of the core controls have been changed either and while this is open for debate as to whether it's a good or bad thing, some players may be a little put out by this. There is also a lack of the quick dodge feature that RE3 had which is a real shame and I still don't see why you can't walk around with your gun pointed ahead. Many other games have done this such as Nocturne and there's no reason why this otherwise brilliant game should lack this simple but effective feature.

The Bottom Line

The finest example of Survival Horror to date. Similar enough to the original to be considered a remake but different enough in many ways to be more than worth getting for long time fans of the series.