Resident Evil 2: Remake – PS4, XBox One, PC

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I…I mean, the….Capcom…

Well, fuck. I thought I was just putting this article off because of laziness. But now I have an entire half-hour free, and everyone here thinks I’m working somewhere else. It’s prime time for writing, and I still don’t really know what to say about Resident Evil 2. I think the problem I’m having is that I generally base my humor around the game’s faults, and I didn’t really find any major ones until just after I finished my Leon B scenario—more on that, later.

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But this game is…well…fuck you Resident Evil 4! Turns out all I wanted was the combat mechanics of RE4. The escape room, horror aspects, ammo conservation, and even—for once—the puzzle solving…that was perfect. Seriously, I almost wept. Classic Resident Evil is the eponymous dad who steps out for a pack of cigarettes and doesn’t come back for 14 years, and you’re glad he’s back, but it still kind of makes you sad that you lost all those years with him, instead being forced to bond with a cool, but excessively linear step-dad with a penchant for action movies.

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“I shouldn’t have taken that donut out of the STARS office…”

I have to admit, though, I’m a little worried. Capcom did some pretty smart things this time. They returned to a classic format. They legitimately remade the game, changing maps and puzzles and key items. They even opted not to churn out yet another remake of the original game, which at this point have been spreading faster than a zombie outbreak. But now they’re talking about remaking Resident Evil 3, and I’m concerned they’re attributing their success to the nostalgia factor, as though their only audience is grizzled, aged millennials, mourning the loss of their teeth and fondly remembering the good old days when they had the jaw power to sink their teeth into the infected corpse of a fellow human being.

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Obligatory taxidermy trophy buck.

No. That’s a bad Capcom! Bad! First of all, if you’re going to do another remake like this, you want to do Code Veronica because RE3 is too short. Second…well, honestly I can’t remember second because my half-hour ran out and now that it’s two months later, I kind of lost my train of thought. When it derailed. And crashed into a Walmart. At the bottom of the cliff it fell from.

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But do you know what I do remember? The sound. The fabulous, brilliant, artistic orgasm that engages more than just my sense of sight and my desire to shoot something without getting into trouble. The original RE2 also decided to take advantage of the brilliant new technology that that Al Jolson talkie made so famous; the paranoid feeling when the crunch of Claire’s boot on a patch of broken glass sounds just like a corpse high-tailing it toward the buffet line would rival the intense fear of society only seen in the most hardcore of right-wing conspiracy theorists. But in the remake, I caught myself nudging open the door of the safe room, listening for Mr. X’s footsteps to fade like a teenager waiting for his parents to fall asleep before sneaking out to the living room to pop in the VHS of Terminator and watch the scene where you see a silhouette of Linda Hamilton’s breast on repeat until it’s time to go to school the next morning.

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Herbs heal you. I guess we’re going for subtly in our tutorials.

Wait…uh…where was I?

Sound! Right! Give the fucking Nobel prize to Capcom for actually using sound, and doing it effectively. Sensory information totally enhances an experience, but too often the horror games just darken the image and hope that’ll terrify me. Anyone who’s ever stared at an unplugged TV for five minutes could tell you the flaws in that approach.

There were a few things that gave me pause, but these were mostly personal issues. I felt a little strange when Dr. Birkin morphed into the Mindflayer from Stranger Things (it’s a twenty-year-old game! That doesn’t qualify as a spoiler!), and the overwhelming ratio of Claire to Leon screenshots that I took (…not to mention the fact that I looked up the nude mod someone made…let’s just say that that knob went up to 11), I realize that taking pictures of the pretty girls in games is less “desperate” and more “creepy.” Not to mention my disdain for sitting through a half hour of credits just so I can learn the names of the assistant sales marketing directors for Capcom in twenty-seven different countries.

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Yes, and give her about fifteen years, yes on the short one too.

But, God help me, Claire is a goddess incarnate from a mythology that would make Freya and Athena tremble like teeny-boppers. And, yeah, Leon is cool too. The Resident Evil 2 remake is a damn-near perfect game. Capcom, don’t screw this up!

So, I guess…ten out of ten. The game was not as forgiving when grading me:

Claire

Standard

7:07:39

B

Leon

Standard

6:16:36

C

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Going meta here. Taking a picture of a pretty girl looking at pictures of pretty girls.

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A dodo. A fucking dodo. that the hell, Brian?

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(Trust me…I took way more than this…but it’s way too late to organize and caption them all.)

Resident Evil VII: Biohazard – PS4

 

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Nah. Nothing wrong here.

Resident Evil 6 was released when the series was 16 years old. It makes sense in a way, a teenage series, angsty with hormones, trying to figure out its own identity. It tried to appeal to the popular kids at the Call of Duty Table, while secretly wanting to hang out with its old friends eating cold brains out of a bag. But in its quest to be liked by everyone, it just turned out an awkward, ungainly mess that no one wanted to spend time with. Well…time to reinvent yourself for college!

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Okay this just got really kinky…

College, as it turns out, is Resident Evil 7:Biohazard, allegedly a continuation of the series, but more of a gritty reboot (*sigh* Really? Another gritty reboot?) set in a wilderness homestead of a crazy hillbilly family. Right off the bad, the game gives off a strong Evil Dead vibe—and if you’re not convinced by the protagonist losing a hand in the first five minutes to a chainsaw wielded by a demon-possessed girlfriend, then perhaps a later discovery of a chainsaw as “groovy” would convince you. There’s a strong attempt to mimic found footage films. It also invokes games like Haunting Grounds and Clock Tower with its low enemy count, constant pursuit, and a boss fight against a giant pair of scissors. There are even some nods to Silent Hill, if you dig deep enough…into the toilet. In fact, the only games it didn’t swipe elements from was…well…Resident Evil.

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Nods to Silent Hill 2, Evil Dead, Clock Tower, IT, and even 1408. Maybe, I don’t know…add a zombie or something?

Resident Evil: Biohazard is quite obviously Capcom’s Breath of the Wild. That is to say, it’s a dramatic return-to-roots somehow by completely redefining everything that came before it. It’s a wonderful idea, but personally I’m not sure if the open-world go-anywhere-from-the-start style of gameplay works for a series that’s all about escape, finding keys and solving puzzles to progress little by little. To be fair, the game played beautifully, but I wonder if perhaps they didn’t overcompensate on the difficulty to prevent the inevitable maelstrom of backtracking when players needed one more Cerberus crest and had an entire fucking mansion to look for it and if I have to dash past the mould monsters in the basement one more fucking time and—oh look, this note tells me exactly where to find it—and…the basement it is.

But finding it tied to a hook dangling over a fenced in pit isn’t an obvious trap in the least.

Anyway, I digress.

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Found this outside a frat house with a “free” sign taped to it.

The return-to-roots protagonist follows the series standard of cops, soldiers, and all-round grenade-launching badasses with a…systems engineer? Great. Because if I want to blast my way out of a murder house, I’ll need a good working knowledge of firewalls to prevent employees from downloading porn at work. Although again, to be fair, he actually shows perseverance, fortitude, and an abnormal level of dexterity considering his left hand is literally stapled to his stump arm. On the downside, he does have a tendency to leave a trail of open doors in his wake, not realizing it lets in all manner of pests like racoons, snakes, and murderous hillbillies driven mad by the fungal las plagas. The game, I think would be far easier if Ethan were only give a “close door” option every now and then.

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“I will not tell lies…”

And yes, it’s fungi this time. They lost interest in their gluttonous viruses and ditched them for tapeworms with delusions of grandeur. Now they’ve apparently dumped those, too, for the shiny luster of mushrooms with anger management problems. I expect next they’ll move on to a colony of bacteria struggling with its gender identity or plankton that isn’t particularly good managing finances.

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Sure, it’s creepy. But you know he only got the role because his dad was in Resident Evil 2.

As one final note, I began this series on Resident Evil by comparing the games to escape rooms with zombies. Well…they may have toned down the zombies, but I hope you’re good at escape rooms.

Eh. All in all, it’s pretty good. Didn’t need to be Resident Evil, but it’s a good game in its own right.

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Yeah, they’ve chased me, beaten me, tried to shear me in two, and hit me with a car a few times, but I’m going to stop and judge them based on the books they read.

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Ethan…getting a little weird there now.

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So you know how you’ll find a puzzle and dick around with it before you leave and look for the answer? Well, I nailed it on dick #1.

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This one’s only scary when you’re in your car.

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Chose your caption: 1. My my my…this is a lovely room of death. 2. Obligatory tribute to Norman Bates. 3. “I use antlers in all of my DEEEE-cora-tinng!”

Resident Evil 6 – PS3, PS4, XBox One, XBox 360, Switch, Microsoft Windows

 

RE6 Sherry Jake

They’ve known each other about a week and she’s already giving him the “I’ve got a headache” excuse.

Hello, everyone. I just wanted to pop in to say something unheard of happened in the last two months since my RE5 post. We’re talking alignment-of-the-planets rare, the birth and death of stars rare, something of Big Bang or otherwise astrological frequency; someone started reading me. And not just one person…like, four or five people subscribed to Retrocookie. So you have managed to drag me back here, away from my play script about the secret agent convention. Probably for the best. My writing style was dangerously similar to a torrent stalling out at 93%. I’d make myself promises, come up with deadlines, then sit down and type out two or three lines per week. But hell, with that work ethic, I could be sitting on top of the next Song of Ice and Fire book.

So thank you to those of you who started following me. Sorry that it might take me a while to get myself running at full capacity, but I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve; take time off from work, drink a nice cup of high-end tea, and blow in the cartridge a bit (note: don’t actually blow in your cartridges Your connection pins aren’t dusty, and we’ve lost too many classic games to Dorito spittle). Good news is, Anne’s black belt in Demanding Toddler style kung fu has beaten me down enough to buy a PS4. So after writing about a few games I’ve played in the interim, I’ll be right back to finish the series with Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 7.

For now, let me amuse you by interpreting the notes I made over two months ago:

1. Sherry’s jiggles – Yes, this is the little girl from RE2. But she’s all grown up now into a mature, highly-trained BSAA agent, just waiting to be objectified by thousands of lonely teenage boys. Although Capcom gave her a reasonable athletic figure, her small breasts happen to jiggle as though she’s replaced the standard bullet-proof kevlar vest by stuffing her bra with ballistic gel. It’s actually a nice touch that they thought to bring her back, and to make her a playable character, and create a missing son for Wesker so they riff on classic archetypal themes of redeeming themselves for their father’s sins of mutating their genetics until they become aggressive mutants hell-bent on mass murder. Unfortunately, they just didn’t. I guess breast physics were considered a bit more meaningful. And to top it all off, while both Sherry and Wesker’s son, Jake (Grammar nazis, note how I skillfully avoided any Oxford Comma confusion there!) are playable characters, the game just assumes you’ll want to play as the beefy, muscle head that no one has ever heard of instead of the established character with a feminine deficit of testosterone.

RE6 Sherry

This is a designer hospital gown. You know…if your ass hanging out isn’t good enough, this way your tits can come loose in any of a dozen directions. Although looking closely, I think that’s a push-up hospital gown.

2. Off screen deaths – Yeah, sorry, but the T-Virus (or G-Virus or Plagas or Oroburous or whatever Sesame Street villain is sponsoring this game) must have been developed from cat DNA, because if a character dies off-screen, you’re not fooling anyone. He’s coming back. Hell, if a character dies on-screen there’s about a 75% chance they’ll just shake off that drill through the torso or rocket blast to the face with a good nap.

3. China falling apart? – Was I making a note here or commenting on the state of global affairs? Not sure what I wanted to say here.

4. Lava rooms – for definite deaths – Okay, whatever I said earlier, we all know as soon as you step into a room full of lava, that you’re ready for an epic showdown. Sudden, inexplicable rooms full of magma are the Chekhov’s Gun of video games.

5. Not dead–just very badly burned – Okay, sorry…forget what I just said. In addition to liquid hot mag-ma, we also have a character who isn’t dead…just very badly burned. Capcom is now taking inspiration not so much from classic Resident Evil games, but from classic Austin Powers movies. Groovy, baby.

RE6 Leon

Ever fire two guns whilst jumping through the air?

6. Leon, he’s obviously a zombie – Arguably, no character is as bad-ass as Leon Kennedy, now on his third Zom-pocalypse (fourth, if you count Resident Evil Gaiden. I don’t.). So then why does his scenario opened with this seasoned horror veteran trying to reason with a man who obviously has nothing on his brain except other brains?

RE6 Pres

They turned the president into a mindless beast ready to devour those closest to him to satisfy his own monstrous hunger. And Sci-Fi continues to be prophetic.

7. Villain dressed like a plantation owner – Umm…well, he is. I remember that. But why? Is it to make some statement on how zombifying two major world powers is akin to enslavement? Or, more likely, plantation owners are both well-dressed and historically confirmed douchebags.

8. Hours of credits – Seriously, you’re going to give us four different scenarios, and then make us read through your entire marketing and design department staff roster each time?

9. Resident = Whole world – We have now reached the loosest definition of the term “resident” here, as we are no longer confined to a haunted house, castle or city. Our heroes are now cleansing evil from the U.S., China, and parts of Europe as well (convenient, at least, that all three apocalypses have the decency to unfold concurrently). Before I make any assertions that, even if Capcom isn’t playing by the rules anymore, we can still believe that we are all residents of the earth, let me wait to see if they put RE8 on fucking Mars.

RE6 Sherry 2

Who is more mentally ill? Sherry for squeezing into the exact outfit she wore in RE2, or the guys who actually want to see her do that?

In sum, Resident Evil 6 is a game that can appeal to everyone. For those of you who want a traditional apocalypse filled with zombies and confined spaces, you can play through Leon’s scenario (although you will have to put up with a segment where Leon quite literally jumps a shark). For those of you who enjoyed the thrill of running from Nemesis through Racoon City, Sherry’s scenario will keep your heart beating. Meanwhile, for those of you who don’t like Resident Evil at all and would much rather be playing Call of Duty, Chris has a scenario that might be more up your alley. And finally, if stealth, subterfuge, and espionage is more your thing, you can play as Ada wong. This multi-scenario system ensures that the only people who will walk away frustrated and disappointed, are fans of classic Resident Evil games.

RE6 Chris

For those of you who loved Chris’s wits and strength to get out of horrific situations, enjoy him with a team full of army dudes and lots of guns!

Pick a target audience, game developers. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up with a game that disappoints everyone.

Final Score:

Chris B
Sherry B
Leon A
Ada ?

RE6 Monsters

Resident Evil 4 – PS2, Game Cube, Wii

 

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Unfortunately, he didn’t have the same talent for music as Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles

After nuking Raccoon City and moving Resident Evil games to exotic locales—like the frozen wastes of Antarctica—Capcom decided it needed to up the ante and asked themselves “What’s more disgusting and repulsive than a zombie caused by a virus?” Then, presumably after pulling a worm out of a dog, they had their answer: zombies caused by parasites.

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I get that the parasites control their hosts to spread to more hosts, but why do they put sacks over their heads and reach for the chainsaws?

Resident Evil 4 takes place in a small Spanish village that unearthed some bad prehistoric sushi. Despite being locked in fossils since the time of the monsters from Tremors, one particular parasite has his sights on global domination. This granddaddy hookworm takes up residence—presumably evilly—in the brain of Osmund Saddler, and founds an oppressive hierarchical cult, complete with its own mindless followers, fanatical zealots, and a militant branch that would make even the strongest banana republic dictator shit his pants. You know: everything a good cult needs—assuming Jim Jones had mixed his kool aid with malaria instead of cyanide. Essentially, Capcom got tired of using a tyrant as the boss for every previous game and instead chose to make the boss of RE4 a tyrant.

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Because we all want to play as a whiny, helpless teenage girl.

But they still spend the entire opening sequence recapping the events of the original game for us, even though it has about as much to do with the story as a solid understanding of offshore drilling safety regulations. I actually found this backstory narration hilarious, as they expect us to believe that the American government would even consider shutting down a major corporation for something as minor as a zombie apocalypse that resulted in the deaths of nearly 100,000 people and the complete obliteration of the city. Hell, realistically they’d let Umbrella write off the whole affair as a deduction on their taxes.

RE - Gun

Why get up when you still have a bullet in the chamber?

They seemed to get everything else right about America, though: our constant need to meddle in foreign affairs, the president’s potential for becoming a parasite who makes everything he touches feel like they need a long shower in hydrochloric acid, and even Leon’s preference for applying firearms to otherwise simple tasks, like pulling a necklace off a hook a half a meter in front of him.

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I don’t know…including this costume in the game seems like an admission of guilt to me.

I don’t actually have much else to say. It’s a famously good game, and I really have no comp—quick time events. FUCK quick time events! Oh, and constant baby-sitting missions. If they didn’t know that was obnoxious, why did they put an alternate costume for Ashley that stops bullets like a concrete wall and prevents crazy plagas monsters from carrying her off?–Anyway, like I was saying, it’s a great game and I have nothing to complain—actually, you know what? It’s a little too linear. Minor complaint, yes, but I’d like the option to return to old areas to look for items. But other than that, I have—actually, the unlockable weapons. I honestly don’t like how overpowered they are. You play through the game two or three times trying to purchase these things, and suddenly the game is boring.

But really, it’s a pretty good game.

Resident Evil – Operation Raccoon City – PS3, XBox 360

RE - USSEnough of these Resident Evil games that force me to play as heroes! It’s high time we had a game that put us in the dark black combat boots of the true underdogs—that’s right! The true victim of this whole Racoon City affair is the little, downtrodden, mom-and-pop multibillion dollar megacorporation so hell-bent on destroying the world for a few bucks that their company slogan is, “We put the ‘harm’ in ‘pharmaceuticals.’” Operation Raccoon City follows Umbrella-hired mercenaries as they root out the true threat behind the Zom-pocalypse, any survivors who might impeach Umbrella’s good name.  What’s that? A game where you hurt innocent people in order to save the reputation of a faceless corporate entity? It makes sense, in a way. I mean, that whole “hero who saves the world” trope does have a sort of inherent liberal bias, so it’s about time they started making Republican games, too.

RE - GameplayAt the beginning of each mission, the player chooses one of six cartoonishly villainous rogues, who all wear masks, presumably to prevent them from obsessively twirling their moustaches in the same way you put your dog in a cone to keep him from biting his stitches. And if the facelessness didn’t clue you in that they were evil enough, one character is literally named after James Bond’s nemesis organization, SPECTRE.  You then have a standing mission of erasing any evidence that Umbrella caused the outbreak in the city, as though in the wake of a zombie epidemic, people aren’t immediately going to turn to the mad scientists in charge of creating biological abominations for the U.S. government. “Mom! Dad’s turned into an undead cannibal!” “Oh Christ! Is this because we didn’t throw out the romaine lettuce?” “I don’t know. We better check his blood pressure pills. GlaxoSmithKline might not have been honest about those side-effects!”

RE - Ada

Your mission: kill a cameo hero that we know will escape unharmed.

Of course, this game does more than simulate rooting through your house looking for that iPod you’re pretty sure you kept.  Most missions have some sort of main-series cameo, the likes of which include William Birkin, Nikolai Zinoviev, Claire Redfield, Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy.  Umbrella tasks you with murdering most…well, all…of them, but since each character has to die in a different game or survive indefinitely, they’ll usually just run away until your team gets distracted by some shiny object and abandons the assassination to look at a statue of a raccoon. There’s even a mission where you have to fix the broken Nemesis, although since it’s an action-shooter game, “fixing” Nemesis somehow involves riddling him with bullets. A case of “every problem looks like a nail,” I guess.

RE - Nemesis

Arrgh! What I wouldn’t give for a good aerrating!

The game is actually pretty fun.  It’s a bit on the easy side, but some games have to be. At the very least, it’s not much of a time commitment, although in the spirit of corporate power, Capcom seems to have locked half the game behind DLC.  Without that, Operation Raccoon City feels a bit anemic, so I wouldn’t expect a feast.

Containment: C

Corruption: B

Lights Out: S

Gone Rogue: A

Expendable: C

Redemption: A

End of the Line: B

Resident Evil – Spin-offs, Sidequests, and Schlock

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Forget everything I’m about to write about. This is the most intriguing thing in any of these games. Ostrich Beer? Is it beer made from ostriches or for ostriches? How does one make a beer out of ostriches anyway? Or is it regular beer ingredients with ostrich flavoring? What does ostrich taste like? I need answers!

Resident Evil Outbreak, Resident Evil Survivor, and Resident Evil Gaiden

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Jeez, it was just a request. I guess some people would rather fake their own deaths than play “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Having finished Code Veronica, I’ve come to an end–of sorts–for this series. There are no more games with creepy atmospheres and pre-rendered backgrounds that emphasize weapons and item management while searching for tools to open up branching paths ahead. Of course Resident Evil 4 was a groundbreaking change that invigorated the series, but with its run-and-gun focus on shooting enemies and exploiting boss weaknesses (not to mention a mad scientist named “Albert”), the second half of the series has more in common with Mega Man than with its own predecessors.

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This would be a more horrific revelation were it not for the fact that THIS IS THE SCALPEL’S INTENDED PURPOSE. What other scary things are you going to tell us? That the bedpan is full of shit?

But before I move on, there’s a lot of schlock out there. And while I’m not really going to play every Resident Evil game–partially because I now live in New Zealand, which sells region-4 games for my region-1 systems, doesn’t seem to sell used games anywhere, and also has a tendency to censor things it thinks will hurt my delicate brain–I thought I should take at least a cursory look at some of the weird nonsense Capcom has chucked at its fan base over the years.

Resident Evil Outbreak doubles down on Capcom’s insistence that survival horror characters simply shouldn’t be alone. Although considering some of their partner mechanics and AI, it probably is scarier with some schizophrenic meat bag doing whatever the voices in their head tell them. Outbreak gives you all-new ways to be disappointed in your partner, by connecting you online with what I assume are children privately swearing at you like a sailor.

slus-20765-game-ss-36They also take out any pretense of plot, and instead of Leon, Jill, Chris or Claire, they cast everyone ever rejected from a George Romero film. Seriously, these characters are so mass-produced, I actually heard the first zombie victim shout out, “Hep me! Hep me! I was only three days from mah pension!” Jesus, do we want to black up our faces, bite into a watermelon and strum on de ol’ ban-jo while we’s at it? Whether they were woke to racism or just cliches, even RE2 knew enough not to kill the black guy first.

The first mission begins in a bar, and as such the controls feel half-in-the-bag, and the loading time between rooms is severely diminished. It’s a type of sluggish feeling that would make me say, “Give me your keys, Outbreak. You’re drunk,” but literally the only thing you do is find keys. Or so I thought. I made it to the end of the first mission only to find I needed to start a fire. That thing? I chucked it on the floor at the beginning of the level! Apparently the pocket technology of the Raccoon City Police hasn’t reached the general populace yet, so your pockets can fit a bag of M&Ms so long as you eat a handful first.

I couldn’t even attempt to light a fire with a bullet, since I was limping badly and these zombies are apparently afflicted with the Usain Bolt virus. So I had no choice but to die and restart, but even offering up my tender loins as a peace offering to the zombies ended up a sluggish, tedious affair. My character didn’t have the decency to die when he lost all his health. He just started crawling around like a roomba trailing a pile of cat puke until the viral infection took over and I enlisted in the ranks of cannibals, flesh-eating bacteria, and billionaire capitalists.

Next!

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Did…did I just wander into Silent Hill?

Resident Evil Survivor, it turns out, isn’t the steaming tyrannical hell dump I was led to believe. It’s not good, but it isn’t awful. Mostly, it’s just boring. You enter a room, start spraying bullets like you’re auditioning for a Quentin Tarantino film, rinse and repeat. The game is in first person, which is odd for the series, but does make it a little more shocking when a dog takes a surprise bit out of your ass (And that’s when the attack comes—not from the front, but from the other two lickers you didn’t even know were there.) It’s a nice attempt, but the fact that the only limitation on combat is a short pause to breathe every now and then really detracts from any sense of anxiety we might get. Like Outbreak, it’s frustratingly linear, and Capcom has boiled away the intricate escape-room design until the only thing left was a pile of keys, most of which enable you to open doors to access the next key you need. All in all, I’ve had more memorable bowel movements.

Next!

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-181332

We get it. You’re beautiful. I’d be to if I was scientifically created in a lab. Just put on some damn pants!

Sure, Resident Evil looks gorgeous and frightening with its beautifully rendered backgrounds powered by Sony’s hardware, but you know where it would really shine? A two-inch screen on an 8-bit system.” And, lo, by that conversation—most likely fueled by a combination of weed and NyQuil—Resident Evil Gaiden was born unto the Game Boy Color. I always forget that Game Boy technology is the Methuselah of video games.

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-183215

And I-EE-IIII will always love you–ooooo!

So honestly, I expected to play this game for less than an hour and tell you how bad it was in my usual style of strained similes…but I actually finished this one. Yeah. It turns out that this horribly ill-conceived notion of downgrading Resident Evil to processing power straight out of the 80s actually is surprisingly playable. Sure, you still end up unlocking enough keys to feel like you’re questing to become the world’s most powerful janitor, and the soundtrack sounds like a cat sharpening her claws on an old guitar, but the first-person combat system actually held my attention, and wandering around the undead cruise ship actually felt like exploring the Spencer Mansion or the Raccoon City Police Department. They’ve kept an emphasis on conserving bullets and trying to run past zombies without being eaten. The game was challenging without being frustrating, and I was almost all the way through it before I realized how far I’d gotten.

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-174424

…yeah, he’s definitely coming back.

Don’t get me wrong…it has some flaws. The story is basically a clip show of all the RE games up to that point: they rescue a young girl inexplicably linked with the boss monster, “Did Barry double-cross us? No! He actually triple-crossed Umbrella!”, “The boss just dissolved into a puddle? Obviously he’ll be back for more!”, and they even through in a cliched “Which one is the real Lucia?” scene at the very end of the game. After a few battles, the boss monster stops even pretending to die, and instead just backs away from you with a look on his face like he was trying to toss some spare change in your cup, but then realized you were some stark-raving-mad, diseased hobo.

Not to mention the twist ending, while befitting the horror genre, is inconsistent enough with the rest of the series that doubtless this moment will be debated indefinitely by obnoxious twats on the Internet who insist on hammering every detail of a fictional universe to fit some idea of what is canon. Is he dead? Is he alive? Who the hell cares?

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-234058

Forget the implications behind Leon having green blood…his lips look like someone kidnapped two earthworms, hog tied them, and threw them in the trunk of a car.

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-174255

The reputation of the sun deck is greatly exaggerated.

 

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-213733

…mostly just to chase those punk kids off his lawn.

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-151050

Barry is so hardcore paramilitary, this is how he has sex.

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-181335

And suddenly Cthulu bursts like a Xenomorph from the tyrant’s intestines.

Resident Evil Gaiden (USA)-170622-204803

Any of you see that Venture Bros episode where they introduced Fat Chance?

Resident Evil: Code Veronica (X) – Game Cube, Dreamcast, PS2, PS3, Xbox 360

RE - Veronica

I’ve made it this far! Game number six of the classic Resident Evil games before the format went the way of the dinosaurs, whalebone corsets and Mega Man. After their crowning achievement that is Code Victoria, the traditional escape-room-with-monsters format went right back into the Capcom vault until, presumably, indie gamers crowdfund a shitty game preying on nostalgia and Capcom watches that Kickstarter counter climbing and showing them exactly how much money their fan base is still willing to give to them.

RE - Tyran

Early in the game, you’ll find BOW Grenade Rounds. If you don’t save them for this guy, you’ll end up living some horrible Groundhog Day life, trapped on this plane for eternity.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica (or Code Veronica X, depending on your console of choice) stars a smattering of Redfields (what is the collective noun for Redfields? Let’s see…a murder of crows, a pod of whales, a flight of dragons…I’m going with a magnum. Does that sound right? A magnum of Redfields?). Chris and Claire, the Redfield siblings, play against the Ashford twins, who are essentially Jamie and Cersei Lannister if they were raised by Norman Bates.

RE - Twins

These two look so inbred, they’re probably their own incestuous parents.

Also, taking cues from Nemesis, which gave Jill a sexy hispanic mercenary boyfriend, Code Veronica gives Claire Steve, an immature, unstable loon who is tempted to violate her personal space while she’s asleep. Eh. I suppose we can’t all strike gold. Fortunately, they finish him off within the story, which is code for, “No more major protagonists! We don’t want to do a Resident Evil Zero for every dipshit who spends three minutes as a playable character!” Still, after a quick tap dancing lesson and strapping a pair of high-quality Dutch clogs to their feet, they throw our protagonists into a situation where a poorly-timed noise means the difference between life and the retirement plan of the typical plate of sushi.

RE - Steve

Really? Capcom gave me this? …Fine. Are we doing this or what?

Reprising his role as Chris’ mentor and would-be murderer, Albert Wesker shows up every so often to do villain things in dark gasses and show us that a virus that turns everyone into mindless undead cannibals can somehow turn one guy into the next incarnation of Neo. Personally, he gives me hope that some day I’ll get a cold that gives me a raging case of pyrokinesis. Wesker appears on the back of the box over the blurb, “Discover key plot clues!” How bad did Capcom think this game was that they thought the most exciting, interactive thing players could do would be to understand the dialogue?

RE - Alexia

No, I won’t kill you. In order to make the point that Chris is the stronger character, we’re just going to pit you against my unstable brother Alfred.

Code Veronica ups the usual stakes of Resident Evil by introducing not one, but two complexes with self-destruct mechanisms. Curiously enough, after a false ending halfway through the game, you actually get to return to the site and witness the aftermath of one of these explosions, which apparently have wrought all the devastation of a garbage truck driving past the building while the driver emits an especially prolific fart. Most of the elevators, equipment, and booby traps still work, and save for the occasional bit of rubble fallen across a door, the place seems pretty much intact.

E

10:28:10

38 saves 48 retries

Yeah, by now it’s probably no use hiding how bad I am at these games.