Resident Evil Zero

Its time to lock the doors, close the curtains and turn out the lights all over again, this game will make you wet yourself more times than the average horror movie and for good reason, there's more zombies and evil critters than you can shake a stick at, although in this case point a gun at.

Set just before the happenings of Resident Evil, the game is set up via a FMV which is beautifully done, it shows S.T.A.R.S Bravo team in a helicopter on route over the mountains, what ensues from this point on is to say the least disturbing, I will not go into details as it would ruin the surprise for those who are yet to play it. But the initial FMV is just a whiff of things to come, the story is excellently done and given to the player with a series of FMV's or real-time cinematics.

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At the beginning of the game you are given control of Rebecca, a young officer out on her first field mission and maybe her last, but after a short time you will meet up with another character, Billy Coen, a accused murder who is on-route to Jail when his carrier was attacked and he escaped, upon meeting Billy, Rebecca attempts to arrest him but her attempt is met with quick remarks from Billy who then walks off. Later on you will control both of the characters, simultaneously.

You can switch between Billy and Rebecca with the press of a button, granted that the other character is available, you can also set the unselected play as either Attack or Idle, if Attack is chosen the computer player will attack the nearest threat with whatever weapon they have equipped. If set on Idle the computer player will just stand by, Idly, not attacking or even attempting to avoid whatever is heading its way.

You can also turn the player to Solo or Team. If set on Solo the character will remain in the room where you turned solo on until you either return and turn solo off, or you switch characters, if there is monsters in the room and the other character is set on Solo they will attack enemies that come near and also run to avoid them, on Team they will follow you but will not defend themselves.

The idea of using two characters may sound confusing at first but it works quite well, although it almost destroys the tension the game works up because you can take down the enemy twice as fast.

As with previous instalments of the Resident Evil series Capcom has not updated the control scheme, so the characters will still turn like a log even if they have a monster breathing down their neck, Capcom has given you the ability to change between various control set ups, although the default one is the best and there is little difference between versions.

Also gone from Zero is the ability to do a 180 turn with the use of the control stick as it is now used to control the computer play, 180 turns are now delegated to pressing down and b at the same time.

The ingenious puzzles return in this game, but unlike the other versions the puzzles seem more applicable and could actually happen, although some things like getting an icepick to open a door seem impractical when the character is carrying around a loaded Rocket Launcher.

Puzzles can vary from the aforementioned icepick to open a door to moving giant chess pieces in the correct manner to unlock a desk, they are all well thought out and many will leave you scratching your head.

Taking down monsters is done through the various weapons found in the game, from pistols to Molotov cocktails. The different weapons work well against different monsters, although because of ammunition been sparse you will most likely spend a large portion of the game using the default hand pistols on most enemies and the stronger weapons against some of the nastier monsters that roam the game.

The games sound is almost as beautiful as the games music, which is to say it is brilliant. The musical score of the game is absolutely beautiful with a mix of haunting melodies, and sometimes there is no music at all, all these things help the game go along. When attacking the monsters of the game the games music will become tense and once they have been dispersed the music will return to normal, this is both good and bad, at first it is nice but by half way through the game the tensed music will begin to get repetitive and may annoy some players.

The voice actors are mediocre at best, with all of them speaking tensely, they still get the job done, but with a game as high profile and voice heavy as Resident Evil it does leave a little something missing. Also when one of the characters you are not controlling gets attacked they will yell for the character you control, the thing is, they only say 2 or so different phases for the entire game, this also gets old fast if you are finding ourself continuously in the grasps of the games monsters.

The monsters grunts and groans are great, everything from the zombies roaming corridors to the barks of dogs, all are down exceptionally well, almost lifelike, almost.

The games sound effects also excel, when you shoot the large cockroach looking creatures you can hear their hide crack and crumble, the hard thudding of the zombie monkeys is also done exceptionally well, you could almost believe that the monkey is in your room, this is how well Capcom have done in the sound department.

Resident Evil Zero has to be the best looking game on the GCN to date, granted it is done via pre-rendered backgrounds with real time rendered character models the game is still a charm to view.

The only major criticism that can be said about the games graphics is that the character models are a little stiff when, the player looks like a walking log, yet all the games monster walk/run/attack with extreme grave and are a pure joy to watch, although while you watch its recommended you unload a few rounds at the same time.

The games graphics are very well done, even though the backgrounds are pre-rendered Capcom have managed to add to it, with rolling bottles and rubbish blowing in the wind. The games water is a little lower quality than that of Resident Evil, but this can be forgiven given the character models are nicer looking as are the general environments.

After the main game is completed most games end just there, but Resident Evil Zero gives you access to a mini game called the Leech Hunter, where you take control of both Billy and Rebecca and go around one of the games many areas searching for "Leech Tokens" which if gathered enough unlocks new weapons, and most importantly, Infinite Ammo, for the single player game. This is a great addition that will have you wrapped up for hours hunting out every last Leech Token.

You can also replay the game to unlock new weapons for the next time through, which is a gruelling task as you have to get through the game in only a small number of hours which is easier said that done.

All these added features add to the games length, which is always a welcomed bonus given the markets demand for long games.

"The monsters grunts and groans are great, everything from the zombies roaming corridors to the barks of dogs, all are down exceptionally well, almost lifelike, almost."
- Resident Evil Zero
Follow Own it? Rating: R16   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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