There is more to evil than you might think...
The date is July 23rd and Raccoon City’s S.T.A.R.S. Bravo unit is on its way to investigate the recent murders that have occurred in the forest around the Arklay mountains. All of a sudden their helicopter suffers from engine failure and they make an emergency landing in the middle of the forest. They soon find a military vehicle with two dead soldiers inside, there is also some paper work that says that the truck was transporting a convict named Billy Coen to his execution. After a briefing the team splits up and Rebecca finds a train in the middle of the woods, when she enters Rebecca soon finds that the dead looking passengers aren’t as dead as they look. Except for the dead waking up in their seats, Rebecca also finds the escaped convict Billy and since the train has started moving to who-knows-where they decide to cooperate with one another. From there the game shows you how Billy Rebecca slowly start to trust each other as they make their way through countless of Umbrella facilities to escape certain death. Before the game finally wraps up, you’ve gotten to see some interesting things that explain a little more about how everything in the Spencer Mansion came to pass, and even though most of it really isn’t that important to the main story of the Resident Evil-universe, it still serves as an interesting part of the big whole. Some of the details are a little stupid and ridiculous at some points but other than that most of it feels pretty solid.
The gameplay in Resident Evil Zero is just like that of the previous games in the series except for one big addition, unlike previous Resident Evil-titles Resident Evil Zero allows you to play with both Billy and Rebecca at the same time, which adds a little twist to what would otherwise be just like any other Resident Evil-game.
Both characters have different pros and cons with how they can be used. Rebecca has a chemistry set and can mix herbs that she and Billy can use, whilst Billy has a lighter that he can light things with. But beside their equipment there is also a difference in the amount of damage each character can take and also how strong they are. Billy can for example take a lot more damage than Rebecca can, while Rebecca can crawl through small holes and cracks.
The only problem with this is that these aspects keep being used in puzzles and in some cases get a little overused, this only happens once or twice toward the end but you really feel that if the developers had put their minds to it they could have easily found a better reason to split Billy and Rebecca up beside the fact that the crawlspace not being big enough for Billy. There are plenty of good examples of situations where Billy and Rebecca are separated that don’t circulate around that kind of excuse but the few cases of the hole not being big enough for Billy easily could have been lowered to one or maybe two occasions.
Otherwise the game plays excellent in almost all aspects, of course the game suffers from the same issues that all “pre-RE4” Resident Evil.-games suffer from, but once you get used to them you will feel right at home. Your AI counterpart that takes control of the team mate you aren’t controlling at the moment works the way you would expect and can take a number of orders, such as “stay here” and can also be programmed to stop shooting and only follow your lead from the options-screen.
Basically Resident Evil follows the classic Resident Evil formula with some fun additions which help set it aside from the rest of the series, but aren’t exactly anything revolutionary. So if you don’t like the way previous Resident Evil games played, you won’t like this, it’s as simple as that.
Visuals: Resident Evil Zero looks great, there’s no denying it. You could complain saying that its backgrounds are pre-rendered and therefore shouldn’t be considered impressive, but the truth is that even though the backgrounds are pre-rendered the result is great and the game really looks amazing by Gamecube standards. The environments really set the mood and in most cases look near life like. You will notice little details like crooked paintings, ripped wallpaper and even stuff like bottles rolling around on the service carts on the train level. So basically even though the game is pre-rendered the designers have taken the time to add small details to make the game world look as alive as possible and in most cases do as much as they possibly could to make the game world stay interesting and deep. My only real complaint about the environments is the fact that toward the end of the game you will have seen so many concrete walls and lab stations that you will be getting a little tired of the setting.
Other than that the game stays pretty consistent all through out and except for some transitions between pre-rendered cutscenes and in game cutscenes the game looks amazing all through out the adventure.
The sound in Resident Evil Zero is pretty much what you have come to expect of a Resident Evil game. The game often relies on its sound to create tension in some situations and it often stays completely silent when you enter a room so that you won’t know what to expect. The only problem is that you’ve heard this so many times before and will have heard it even more times once the game starts to wrap up that you’ll know almost exactly when something is happening and when the game is trying to trick you.
When it come to the effects they all sound pretty good, the monsters all sound pretty cool, the hunters make their shrieks that sound really scare and the zombies make their classic moans. The only problem with the monsters is the zombies; they still haven’t gotten enough voices and different moans for the zombies. There should at least be a few zombies that moan something that could in some way be seen as some attempt at speaking English. Instead we only get moans all through the game which is kind of disappointing. Then there is the voice acting, which in most cases is really good. The actors all manage to make a solid performance and make the experience a lot more fun and believable. There are a few small issues and one particular scene where one of the villains does a classic villain laugh which just feels completely stupid, but other than that Resident Evil Zero has enjoyable dialogue that any Resident Evil fan can probably enjoy.
Resident Evil Zero is a great game, it takes the old Resident Evil formula and implements a few minor features to give it a fresh twist, and even though it doesn’t make it feel like a completely new experience it still works in almost all aspects. The game combines beautiful visuals with great audio and manages to draw you into its world. Add a fun mini game that is unlocked after playing through the main story and alternate costumes and you get a pretty good way to spend your time once you’ve completed the game.
The game only has a few problems, it hardly feels different from other previous Resident Evil games and even though you control 2 characters in this game it only really makes a difference a few times throughout the entire game. The main story might leave you a little confused since it in some aspects creates more questions than it actually answered, but when all is said and done you will probably have gotten a satisfying experience out of it.
Other than that Resident Evil Zero is a great game and a fun trip back to the back to the beginning of the franchise birth, and even though the experience doesn’t even try to scare you at all compared to old Resident Evil games, the game is still a satisfying experience.