|What could be better than the first time you played a Resident
Evil game? The first time you play Resident Evil on a next generation system. Resident
Evil: Code Veronica brings Capcoms world famous survival horror series to the
Dreamcast. Mutilated zombies, desperate humans, and homicidal maniacs never looked so
beautiful. In RE:CV everything, right down to the cockroaches and rats that roam around
beneath your feat, is rendered beautifully. Coupled with some notable improvements in game
design and play, and longer than its predecessors, RE:CV is the most satisfying
installment in the series so far.
This time out you play Claire Redfield again, who escaped Raccoon City with Leon Kennedy in RE2. For those who havent been paying attention, the condensed backstory goes like this: A shady multinational corporation, Umbrella, has developed a compound known as the "T-Virus," which mutates animals and people, and causes the dead to become zombies. The STARS team discovered this in the first Resident Evil, and since then various characters have joined in the quest to end the T-Virus outbreak and discover the exact cause. Claire Redfield escapes Raccoon City and heads to Europe, Umbrella headquarters, to find her brother, Chris, and put an end to the horror. In the opening cinemas you see her get captured by Umbrella, and the game begins with Claire in a prison cell at an Umbrella military installation.
Needless to say, after that you, as Claire, try to escape the base, find Chris, and stop the evil genius, Alfred, who is a big man around Umbrella. I could tell you more, but that would spoil it. Along the way you hook up with Steve, who bears a striking resemblance in both look and voice to Corey Feldman, a former prisoner at the military base. You can probably guess what the prisoners were used for
In addition to playing Claire, youll take a turn with Chris, and the game unfolds similarly to past installations. RE:CV breaks from the unrelenting "key hunting" of previous titles. While youll still collect your fair share of keys, this time youll need those puzzle solving skills. The puzzles are much better in this one, too. Rather than randomly trying combinations or pushing things into place, the whole puzzle solving process has been made more inuitive and realistic. Clues are more artfully and decipherably presented, which makes the puzzles more fun to figure out. There are far fewer places where it isnt clear what you should do next, and if youre paying attention the first time through you wont have to do much backtracking.
As always, the odds are stacked against you. You begin with nothing but a lighter, and there is no difficulty setting, so you cant make it easier. There are lots of zombies, and the bosses are incredibly tough. To beat the bosses youll have to replay a lot, and be alert to little tricks of maneuvering. Also, different guns are more and less effective against different opponents, just as in previous installments. You can shoot barrels to blow them up, as in RE3, but there is no dodge button. RE:CV makes use of the VMU display to show your current health, which saves you from moving back and forth to the items screen.
While there are plenty of zombies, and they look better than ever, there arent as many swarms as in RE3 or the beginning of RE2. To make them more insidious, they do lunge at you as you try to dodge around them. Bullets are in short supply, so the old "juke and dodge" is a must, but its made harder by the new, proactive zombies who really want to catch you and eat your brain.
The graphics and sound are incredible. The FMVs are gorgeous, but its still hard to tell the difference between FMV and actual gameplay. The new graphics add to the cinematic feel of the game, and that feel is further enhanced by the mobile camera. You cant control the camera, but it is no longer completely static as in previous RE titles. In fact, its very similar to the camera in Dino Crisis, which was quite good. It also adds to the suspense and jump-factor of the game. Lighting effects are drastically improved, adding a whole new level of eerieness to different situations. In addition, the overall design has become even more twisted. Bodies hanging in various states of decay, bizarre gender oddities, and creepy, creepy situations are all over Code Veronica.
As with all the RE games, there are several things you can open up once you get through it all. The Battle Mode opens after beating the game, any way, any how, and if you do in under such and such time and collect this and that item you can unlock new weapons and characters to play in the Battle Mode.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica is the scariest, goriest, most groaninest installment yet, and it is glorious. The zombies have never chomped so hard, the bosses have never driven you crazier, and a video game has never given you nightmares like this before. If youre a fan of the series, then you dont have to be told. If youve never delved into the RE universe, Code Veronica makes a nice introduction. Play it and you will be afraid.