Resident Evil Director’s Cut (with Dualshock support!)
Release Date on PSN: May 28th, 2009
Original Release Date: 1995
The story in this one is… little more than an afterthought. There is a helicopter accident in the mountains outside of Raccoon City, a Stars (Police Special Forces) helicopter that is. Their team mates head off to investigate the crash when they’re attacked by rabid dogs and take refuge in a nearby Mansion. You have the choice of two characters to play as, Chris and Jill, I decided I’d play Chris. Very soon after beginning you find the real reason you’re here, to kill zombies (or at least that’s why I picked up the game) and there are a good number of zombies in here, along with some other creatures you need to defeat, and this is all due to the bio-pharmaceutical company, Umbrella. I must admit though, the story didn’t really get me interested in this one, it’s bland and been done to death, not only in games but in movies. And the voice acting is laughable, it’s like the actors read exactly what was written on the page from the Japanese translation, grammar mistakes and all. And the cheesy full motion video introduction is cringe-worthy, but still in a strange way entertaining.
This is where I believe the game really falters. Though the game is designed well enough I found there were way too many puzzles that are based around you memorizing the mansion and fetching different keys for different doors. Not that I don’t enjoy puzzles, but I was really getting frustrated with the amount of them. Controlling your character can be a bit of a chore sometimes as well, they handle like tanks would, and they need to stop and aim whenever you need to shoot. This wasn’t that big of a problem in combat but the control scheme really started to bite on me when trying to move puzzle pieces around, because you can never get it to where you want it, making you give up leave the room and start the puzzle over. I will admit though, once I received some of the later weapons, like the shotgun, I started to like the combat, but mostly because you can aim high and blow the head clean off of any zombie hungry enough to approach. That was satisfying.
But if you come to this game looking for an action title, you’ll be disappointed, it’s slow and boring for the most part and there are puzzles and fetch quests everywhere. It feels like a chore, and the story doesn’t hold your attention either. I heard the later games are better in this regard; luckily I bought those too, and will be reviewing them soon.
This one came out in 95, and it does show its age, they used a technique called pre-rendered backgrounds, where the environment is
static and two dimensional (along with the camera views). So the environments don’t look bad, but they’re not interactive in the same way a platformer’s would be. The character models are a little bland, and after seeing the 25th identical zombie get his head blown off it gets a little boring in the visuals department. The 3d cut scenes aren’t a total loss on the other hand, and at times can be a tad frightening, but the mansion just doesn’t seem scary, and in a survival horror game, then environment’s character is just as important as the protagonists. (Silent Hill’s town is much more interesting in this regard, read my review of that here).
The music as well doesn’t seem memorable; the only thing I can say about the sound design is that it sounds nice when you kick in a zombie who’s been gnawing at your leg, or when you take their head off with a shotgun. I’m assuming they left the shotgun in for later installments, that small pleasure was one of the only reasons I finished this title.
How Resident Evil holds up today
If you’ve read the rest of this review you can tell I wasn’t a big fan of this game, I thought it was bland and unoriginal, but it is one of the first horror games that made it big and shooting zombies never gets old.
For ten dollars though your money can be better spent. If you want an atmospheric survival horror experience, play Silent Hill instead. The campaign took me just under 9 hours to complete but most of it was running back in forth from item boxes because my inventory was so small (Though Jill’s inventory has two more spaces than Chris’s). If you want an action game, check out the sequels RE2 and RE3 Nemesis. (I’m in the process of playing through those games for you now).
It is nice to know that I’ve beaten Resident Evil just to say I did, but it feels like a Pyrrhic victory.
In game image via Mobygames.com