If the Resident Evil games were made into a cocktail, they would probably consist of one part zombie, two parts Albert Wesker, a dash of green herbs laced with the T-Virus and an Umbrella cocktail stick to serve. And like a cocktail, Resident Evil follows a recipe to create a game that, at times, can be a little predictable, often frustrating (where the hell is a green herb when you need one?!) yet ultimately, an entertaining experience that will probably make you feel merrily drunk towards the end of the night. Ladies, gentleman & zombies, I give you Resident Evil 0… Now, where did I leave my shotgun….?
Step Back in time…
Taking a stumble back in time as a prequel to the first Resident Evil game and the mansion incident, players get to see what happened wayyyy before Chris Redfield and his chums even got a look in on the zombie party. With both old and new areas and fiendish puzzles to solve, it’s a HD remaster of the 2002 (14 years old!) exclusive to the GameCube now with a lovely lick of fresh pixelated paint and trophy support.
For those who haven’t played Resident Evil 0 before (shame on you), the story takes place just before an outbreak in a fictional part of America named Raccoon City. Those who have played Resident Evil won’t be getting any “Jill sandwiches” in this game – it focuses on newbie Billy Coen, a convict who gets wound up escorted by S.T.A.R.S super gal Rebecca Chambers (Resi fans will recognise her from Resident Evil as the rookie healer) who crash into a mysterious mansion from a leech invested, zombie train (and you thought Northern Trains were bad) and funnily enough, they find themselves not in Kansas anymore…
mutilated monkeys, oversized centipedes and gigantic tarantulas and more that would melt anyone’s coldest heart with their cuteness
Even though the standard Resident Evil formula stands here: stranded S.T.A.R.S characters with questionable acting in an over run mansion with zombies and little ammunition to deal with…. blah blah blah but where Resi 0 differs is the character control system, simply by the tap of a button lets you can control either Billy or Rebecca along with gaining their items / inventory and abilities. Would you believe it, you’ll need to use this magical facility to switch between characters throughout the game because you will get split up, giving a surprising sense of isolation. It’s actually a lot better than it sounds, adding a new level of complexity to puzzles, it’s just a shame the puzzles themselves aren’t very imaginative or difficult, they consist of dull situations like making one character stand on one spot while controlling the other to do reach an item. So revolutionary!
The mansion has been re-imagined with quite a few surprises to keep Resi veterans on their toes and works well as you explore each area finding new weapons, keys to locked doors (still unable to blast your way through with a grenade launcher, those pesky keys are so powerful!) and new enemies to kill…erm, to be dead again. In true Resi style, it’s not just zombies that have been let loose, but mutilated monkeys, oversized centipedes and gigantic tarantulas and more that would melt anyone’s coldest heart with their cuteness. Aww.
Age before beauty
For a 14 year old game, Resi 0 has aged remarkably well thanks to the HD eye lift. Textures look smooth, detailed, giving the undead that fresh, mutilated shine us mere ghouls could only hope to achieve in our beauty regime. Though some environments do suffer a little giving away the games age this may be due to the fixed camera angles but the overall look and feel of the game is a success nonetheless.
An old game does bring up other aging woes – Resi 0 has a poor control system, because moving your character like a tank didn’t suit then and it just doesn’t cut it anymore now! Thankfully, there are modernised controls you can switch to, though nothing can be done about Resi 0’s worst and unforgivable problem- the item system. Gone are item boxes of previous games and instead you are now able to drop items anywhere. It’s all well and good in theory, until you need some important item you dropped way back in a room infested with giant tarantulas…. Thanks Capcom! If that wasn’t bad enough, Rebecca & Billy can only hold 6 items each so be prepared for lots of time spent item swapping, combining and generally trying desperately to keep space free for important items in a zombie infested world like, Oh I don’t know… Maybe a gun and some bullets? Instead you are given Ink Ribbons and blue herbs galore. Geez!
Some awesome outfits are available (at extra cost) including a cheerleading outfit for Rebecca (Go team zombies!) and a nice jacket combo for Billy. Ah, fashion! Other additions include unlockable modes and those all-important trophies for you trophy whores out there.
If you can overlook the minor irritations, Resident Evil 0 is a gaming classic. You are instantly drawn into caring for Rebecca, rooting for her and Billy to get through the perilous mansion switching to each whenever is necessary and are sometimes forced to. It’s not a perfect game by far, rather an enjoyable experience for both fans and newbies alike.
It may be a good place to start if you’ve never tried Resident Evil, just be wary of your brain, as zombies do tend to like new brains…. Mm, brains….