Resident Evil Zero E3 Impressions

Resident Evil hits the Nintendo 64 again in an exclusive title for fans of the last cartridge based console.

Though it's got classic Resident Evil style of gameplay (low ammunition, life-restoring herbs, zombies everywhere, rose shaped keys for rose shaped locks, etc.) I couldn't help but think that Resident Evil Zero seemed archaic. The graphics were good for the Nintendo 64, but they're nowhere near the quality of previous titles like Ocarina of Time or Turok 2, and those games were rendered on the fly. The visuals in RE Zero seem somewhat stilted and tired, as if Capcom is throwing together one last Resident Evil title out of sympathy for the fading console. Rebecca's motions were jerky and her body was remarkably jagged for a Nintendo 64 title. Even though the Capcom representative assured me that it was still early in development, so much of the game was in place that I can't really see it being improved cosmetically. The sound effects were also well below Capcom's standards, with the sound of Rebecca's pistol resembling more of a firing pin striking an empty chamber than an actual gunshot. When compared to other games Capcom was showing for the PS2 and the Dreamcast, RE Zero just didn't hold its own. The one thing that could save this game from an early trip to the bargain bin is the classic style of story, gameplay, and horror that the series is known for. The Nintendo 64 has been suffering from a lack of A titles recently, and though it might succeed on a level deeper than mere cosmetics (which is what all games aspire for), Resident Evil Zero isn't going to help the system survive the onslaught of 128-bit games.

[Editor's note: These impressions are based on the N64 version of the game displayed at E3 2000. Resident Evil Zero is now confirmed for release on the Nintendo GameCube.]

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