Story: Bravo Team were sent to Arklay Mountains after reports of cannibalism had broken out. They went missing. You’re part of Alpha Team, who get chased into a mansion by a group of rabid dogs. Regrouping inside you play as Jill or Chris, both get their own sidekick (Barry or Rebecca), and you constantly split up to search the mansion and uncover the massive conspiracy tied to the mansion, by solving puzzles and shooting things in the face. Rock on.
Progression: Mansion – Guardhouse – Return to Mansion – Tunnels – Laboratory.
• The main differences are now it can toggled to widescreen, which is brilliant, and new analogue controls. Oh shit, tank controls, I’d forgotten just how cumbersome and frustrating it is. So being able to use analogue stick to walk & run is fantastic.
• Amazingly cinematic, static, intentionally obscuring camera angles: the game looks gorgeous. the mansion feels real and ominous. Problem with the new analogue control scheme, although much nicer than simple tank controls, but it gets wobbly changing camera angles (pressing down to go forward, change camera angle, change direction slightly and down is now back etc) It was really bad for one statue-pushing puzzle on a timer but otherwise grand.
• They actually didn’t make new models, just added HD textures to the GC models, creators citing it had a huge polygon count back in 2002. They didn’t re-render the FMVs, but zoomed in and they look pretty naff. Most of the static background textures look great, some of them could’ve used more work.
• The whole point of playing this is the mansion: It’s beautiful, dripping with atmosphere; it’s so great being back. The game hinges on being on-edge due to limited ammo and clunky controls (ie making it difficult to evade/kill monsters, so despite being a SWAT TEAM, you feel more helpless, stripping away being empowered, which’d kill tension).
• People who joined RE during ‘modern Resi’ (i.e. Resi 4 onwards) will be shocked how ‘quiet’ this game is. The series has become more action-focused, but this is the scariest/most atmosphere-focused. The bulk of the game is literally running around an empty mansion, trying locked doors, getting a key that opens a few more doors, and searching through them for a new key. There’s so little zombies, you get a shock actually seeing them and scramble to kill them. Ok that might sound shit, but I can’t stress how much more effective and enjoyable I find this. It’s an actual survival horror game.
• No HUD is great atmospherically, but it means you have to spend a lot more time in the item/map screen (which is still 4:3 by the way). WiiU dual screen would have it both ways. Come on Ninty, get on it.
• Tons of backtracking. Running around the mansion, you spend a lot of time by yourself. You will know the mansion layout well by the end, it will stick in your head, and that’s a great thing. I wish after you tried a locked door they’d tell you what key unlocks it on the map. Again with a WiiU port you could draw on the map and have it with you.
• I don’t miss item bollocks, like a key taking up as much space as a shotgun and needing a space to combine herbs (you can’t pick one up to add it to another herb). Also typewriters. Ink Ribbons, remember them! Save manually (intentional limited saves to increase tension).
• Voice acting is from the gamecube version: The Jill Sandwich line is gone but they do reference a sandwich. Any other scenario, Barry suggesting a “Jill Sandwich” he’d be done for sexual harassment! Barry straight up he dodges questions about his whereabouts, you’re definitely in on it mate! Wesker’s heel voice is hilarious.
• Although high quality, I don’t like the music as much as the original, esp. the iconic mansion violins.
• Apart from shotgun headshots (hold up and wait for zombies to lunge to shoot), you can’t aim, so your character just pumps lead into their tummies. Jaysus. (It heightens tension but is a bit ludicrous from Special ops forces.) Sometimes you get a headshot with other guns but I never did.
• Although a cool, technological leap and scary biscuits, having zombies follow you through doors is kayfabe breaking! No chance a zombie has the coordination to grasp and turn a door knob! Ok if it was a push door but you clearly see it isn’t!!
• Barry was behind a lock-picked door? In kayfabe, perhaps he found the key and he locked himself in. It would be a good idea to be extra safe.
• Ach, Monster Mash in the crypt (after putting in the four death masks) is still a huge let-down. It’s the first crimson head, but the crimson head is the new generic zombie. You can sort these ginger killers by either a headshot or burning their bodies – with your lighter and kerosene (which is only in some rooms, you can hold two doses), adding a new factor to the game. They’ll turn after you visit the room a couple of times without burning them. Another great way to increase tension in the game.
• Visual of first massive spider is still wonderful.
• Tons of blue plants in the guardhouse.
• Crows don’t bother you unless you startle them (puzzle wrong, run past) or shoot at them.
• Lots of guns (magnum) before u need them (but there’s a jump in toughness with hunters)
• Why would the master of unlocking not have a lock pick?
• Some scares like Neptune you’re expecting it. Other ‘when will it happen’ scares like the dogs jumping in the window or zombies crashing in are still shocking and will make you dread going through that hallway in top right 2F!
Overall; back in 2002 I immediately fell in love with the game, improving on the iconic RE1 in every way, and this improves on that with widescreen, new textures and analogue control, and it’s still amazing. You need to play this game, it’s both important gaming history and an excellent, atmospheric game. 9/10.