Evening, readers! Last week, I talked about this. It's my second-favorite game series ever.
This week, I figured I'd look at a game that treated us differently upon its release. A game that didn't give us all the bullets, or had you play as an unstoppable badass.
Though this box art could've fooled me.
Yep, Resident Evil. The original, not-GameCube, pixelated, tank-controlling Playstation classic. It's actually nearing it's 20th (!) anniversary, having first came out in 1996 (!!) But does the original hold up today?
...kind of. Meh...maybe?
Everyone knows this story. S.T.A.R.S. (That's Special Tactics and Rescue Squad) Alpha Team goes into the woods to find the missing Bravo Team, apparently made up of rejects plus Rebecca Chambers. Alpha Team hides from crazed zombie dogs in a giant mansion that they somehow never knew existed. Zombies, sharks, giant plants, Hunters, Chimera, Tyrants, and Wesker abound.
Naturally, what was cool about RE was those (for the time) photo-realistic environments you wandered around in the game. Not only did it give us a new perspective to play games in (and some, er, interesting controls to struggle with), it made the Spencer Mansion seem like something you could find in real life. It looked like a real place (layout issues aside).
But mainly, the survival horror gameplay was the real meat of the game. In a post-Doom gaming world, RE challenged us by giving us just a small amount of ammo and enemies that took more than one or two shots. In a move that spoke against everything you knew as a gamer, sometimes you'd have to run away. Because you were out of ammo, out of herbs/First Aid Spray, or whatever. For the first time (at least, as I remember it) you couldn't always kick ass.
And in that, at the center of the whirlwind of low ammo, low health, dogs crashing through the windows and those damn Hunters...you feel something.
Which, when you look at it in hindsight, is kind of odd. Here we have a game from Capcom, who at the time was making things like Disney-licensed games (most of which are awesome) and MegaMan. All of which are colorful, somewhat happy titles. Okay, Mega Man X is a bit more serious, but it's not scary.
This was, though.
Fear was an emotion we never expected to feel in a video game. You're walking around, and in the back of your head, you know something might crash through that window, or a Hunter might jump from around the corner. There's even a shark, and basically everyone's afraid of sharks. There's even that moment when you first shoot the Tyrant to zero effect. You feel like this monster might be indestructible (though we all know he gets his).
Sadly, as we all know, the Resident Evil series...has seen better days, as a whole. As I replayed this one, in fact, I saw it didn't scare me much anymore. Maybe it's because I'm more grown up now. Or maybe it has to do with that voice acting. Uh, and the dialogue.
(Picture from my recent playthrough on my old, dusty DSi)
I don't know who they hired to actually do the voice acting here, but it seems like an awful lot was lost in translation from Japanese to English. The writers and voice actors seemed to have a knack for choosing the wrong word and then misapplying it. I'm not knocking it, however, because without the odd acting, we wouldn't have Barry Burton, king of the oddball/hilarious lines. Like the infamous "Jill Sandwich" line above, of course. But also:
"Woah! This hall is dangerous!" (There are no monsters in the hall)
The "Master of Unlocking" line, and my favorite:
"It's a weapon. Its' really powerful, especially against living things!"
And really, that's why I said the game only "kind of" holds up. It won't scare you anymore. But it's got a lot of charm. Not just in those terrible lines, but also in it's overall B-movie atmosphere. There's something endearing about the game even almost 20 years later. Even after a mess of Resident Evil titles, some great, some not, you can still go back and see what it was.
Oh, and they never even really lost the bad dialogue. Read this on IGN. These are all real quotes :-/
So yeah, having replayed the original RE on my DS over the past couple of days, I still kind of had a good time, in that retro kind of way. It's not gonna creep me out on that tiny screen or anything, but still. It's fun.
But the GameCube remake is still terrifying. And awesome.
Thanks for reading! As always, hit the comments section! Ask questions, drop comments, and suggest future Game of The Week articles! Also I'm on Twitter, if you're into that sort of thing: @WingZero351
Next week, I'm off these mainstream hits for a while with an adventure game I really like. I hate playing it in public though, because holding your DS sideways makes you look like a doofus.