Resident Evil 2
In 1996 Capcom revived a near dead survival horror genre when it unleashed a surprise hit on PlayStation. That game was Resident Evil. It quickly became one of the industry’s most prominent game series and quite rightly went on to sell millions. A sequel was inevitable and despite a series of setbacks and re-designs finally got its eagerly awaited release in March 1998. Again millions of copies were sold.
There have been several more survival horror outings since then but most importantly in agreement with a deal forged between Capcom and Nintendo the entire series has made a second appearance on the GameCube platform. In this instance though we take a look at the 128-bit port of the aforementioned Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 2 begins shortly after the events that transpired in the ill-fated mansion laboratory of its immediate predecessor. With the T-virus and all relating evidence believed to be destroyed the remaining members of STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) returned home. But as you watch the gorgeous Resident Evil 2 introduction it is made apparent that the heroic efforts of Jill Valentine Chris Redfield and Rebecca Chambers came just a little too late. The infamous Raccoon City has already fallen its inhabitants deceased… or undead. It is here where our two unwitting protagonists Claire and Leon meet.
Following a rather nasty car crash instigated by an unpleasant horde of zombies Claire and Leon are left separated and must find their own way through the survival horror. Players must first choose the character they wish to play as before the game can begin. There is a different scenario for each and although their paths are similar they will both experience terrors the other will not.
Once you begin your adventure you’ll quickly realise that with respect to presentation and gameplay Resident Evil 2 is very much like the original. The game environments are realised with a series of lush 2D backdrops creating the illusion of a sophisticated 3D game world. Character movement remains tricky – forward to move left and right to change direction – but it inflicts a sense of urgency that magnifies the atmosphere of the game especially when trying to escape a surrounding clan of flesh-eating deadbeats.
Resident Evil 2’s monster bestiary is admirable and much more extensive than that in the first game. On this occasion you’ll encounter zombies rabid dogs Lickers triffid-like creatures mutant spiders giant alligators and an over-sized moth of sorts. Many of these creatures make unwelcome and unexpected appearances and camera angles are positioned for maximum effect. There are many occasions where players will be literally frightened – on one occasion we were forced to pause the game just to regain composure after an angry Licker burst through a one-way mirror.
Weapons ammo and herbs are more liberally spread here than in the first game but players are again limited to storing the contents of their inventory in magically linked boxes. It does makes the game easier to manage though.
In all honesty the GameCube port of Resident Evil 2 is just that. It’s not the complete overhaul seen in the GameCube version of the first game – improvements here and few and far between. The backdrops have been cleaned up slightly characters are better textured and the controls have been tweaked for the GameCube controller.
But even without extra features and added graphical wizardry Resident Evil 2 still stands out as one of the greatest games of the PlayStation generation and it’s as playable now as it was back then. A true classic.——
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