Resident Evil - GameCube

Also known as: Bio Hazard

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Also for: PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PlayStation, Saturn
Viewed: 2.5D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Adventure: Graphic
Shoot 'Em Up
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Capcom Soft. Co.: Capcom
Publishers: Capcom (GB/US)
Released: 13 Sept 2002 (GB)
1 May 2002 (US)
Ratings: BBFC 15, ESRB Mature 17+ (M)
Accessories: Memory Card


There’s an ongoing debate in video games as to which game created the genre we have all come know and love as survival horror. Some people trace its history back to the text-based adventures of the seventies and eighties, but most consider the original Alone in the Dark the game that started it all. This may be true, but Capcom’s 1996 munchfest Resident Evil is responsible for making the survival horror game one of the most mainstream and popular genres of the 21st century.

Conceived by Shinji Mikami, Resident Evil continued to thrive for another five years under the watchful eye of its creator as three sequels and several gun-based spin-offs were produced. But with the series now spanning some ten titles, Capcom decided Resident Evil should remain on a single platform for the foreseeable future. That platform is GameCube, and demonstrating the company’s commitment to the platform, Capcom has released a complete remake of the 1996 original.

So you’re ready to play? Disconnect the phone line, close the curtains, turn off the lights and, if possible, rig your GameCube to any loud speaker system for maximum effect. Place the first of two discs into the console, close the lid and switch on. Choose New Game, be chilled as an eerie voice shouts ‘Resident Evil’, choose to play as either Chris or Jill and be awe-struck at the following cinematic introduction. After being chased by several flesh-eating zombie dogs, you’re only retreat is into a seemingly abandoned mansion. Your survival horror begins here...

The first and perhaps most amazing aspect of Resident Evil on GameCube that jumps up and bites you are the visuals. Despite its pre-rendered backdrops, Resident Evil is simply one of the most stunning titles we’ve witnessed on a next generation console. Most of the technical prowess can be seen in Resident Evil’s light-sourcing and shadow effects. The trailing shadows of Chris and Jill ripple as you race down a flight of stairs and even stretch along the ground accordingly as you stroll past a nearby lamp. But the 3D elements of Resident Evil are equally stunning. All characters, including giants sharks, mutant spiders and king size plants have been beautifully rendered, right down to the hair on a spider’s legs and the dripping fangs of an oversized python. Character animation is perhaps one of the few aspects of the original that was slightly overlooked, but here, walking, running, shooting, and even turning on the spot is more realistic than it ever was.

But without great gameplay, all games are nothing more than a graphical and technical showpiece for developers. Fortunately, Resident Evil is more than adequate in the play department. The adventure is split into two distinctive playing methods - combat and puzzle. Between rooms, players will frequently and unpredictably encounter zombies, super zombies that run for the player, rabid dogs, and six-feet mutant frogs. This provides the excitement and genuine fright you’ll expect from a game of this stripe. Puzzles can be found scattered throughout the mansion and its surroundings, and many of them must be completed to progress. Puzzles are sometimes simple, such as piecing together small jigsaws, but many are cryptic and require significant intelligence. The rewards are often worthwhile, though.

The GameCube version of Resident Evil will be widely recognised as the hardest in the series, not because of the frequent zombie encounters, taxing puzzles and sometimes awkward controls, but because of the reduction of supplies, particularly weapons and ammunition. Bullets are scarce in the mansion, and those that have been left lying around are often hidden under bookcases or are easily missed. Players must be thorough in exploration if they are to stand a fighting chance. Health supplies are also limited, and inevitably you’ll be attacked at some point by a hidden zombie lurking quietly around a corner. Fortunately, there’s a new emergency defence system in place that allows you to fend off the walking dead without being bitten. Using small knives and a battery powered tazer, you can disable the creature by pulling the L1 trigger. This buys the player valuable seconds to draw a weapon and finish the zombie off.

Resident Evil is, at least in part, an excuse to show off the capabilities of the GameCube hardware, but it is much more than a graphically enhanced replica. Around 30-40 percent of the game is completely original, and offers a new challenge for die-hard followers and veterans of the original release as well as newcomers. Resident Evil is more than a game, it’s a nightmare.