Code: Veronica is an astonishingly well-done accession to the Resident Evil universe.

User Rating: 9.4 | BioHazard: Code Veronica (Limited Edition) DC
I knew that Code: Veronica was going to be good when I bought it, but I never knew it would completely change my perception of Capcom's potential. This Resident Evil game is technically the 4th installment of the RE series, but it is not necessary to have played the previous games at all. You play as Claire Redfield, introduced in RE2, and all you need to know is that she is trying to find her brother who's disappearance is linked to the same company that loosed the undead-sprouting virus on Raccoon City. Unfortunately for her, and despite some Woo-style gunplay, she is captured and incarcerated on the Umbrella Corporation's secret prison island. This place is messed up, believe me. Shortly after arriving, the island is beseiged by unkown forces. Claire must explore the island, on which the sole permanent resident is this blonde nutjob named Alfred. If nothing else in the game will scare you, his lilting laughter should. With this great premise, Capcom's developers ran with the ball and created an excellent game. Graphics are once again great, and makes a good showing of the Dreamcast's capacity. There are few FMV sequences, and they are great, but serve more to add style and advance the storyline. The rest of the game still looks great. I would have liked to have seen more variety in zombie-wear, but when on a prison island I guess you don't get much choice in attire. No matter what they are or are not wearing (ugh, naked undead), the zombies move fluidly with a halting gait that can be surprisingly fast. The camera angles are still static, but the backgrounds aren't pre-rendered anymore, but actually move with the character. Sometimes it is very little, sometimes quite a bit, but the camera will eventually move to a new perspective, sometimes several per room. This makes the game feel much better, less rigid, than before. Despite not being pre-rendered, the backgrounds are still rich in detail and depth. Obviously, I think highly of the graphics. Sound and music are overall superb. The music has been improved over past RE games, serving to add tension or instill a sense of calm depending on the room. The creepy playroom music comes to mind...Sound effects remain excellent, from the incessant moaning of the undead to the flutter of parasite moths. Of course, the campy voice acting that is ever-present in RE games has remained. Clair isn't so bad, but Steve's dialogue really gets under my skin. This is a survival-horror game, so the gameplay is just that: survive the horror. This is done, however, using a lot of clever problem solving and lots of undead rupturing. And yes, you will be a go-fer. However, it seems like that aspect of the game has been rendered less tedious.

Okay, one complaint: Claire's method of finishing a zombie that has latched onto her leg while it is down. She used to kick the head right off, now she just gives em a good kick that stops their movements. The "up is always forward" command system has been preserved, and that is totally up to each individual gamer to judge. Personally, I think it works well with the static camera angles. Like before, the action button is the fire button when you press the right trigger. Your character can run or walk, but controlling him or her can be a challenge when time is critical. Lastly, is it scary? Oh yes. The undead still freak me out, and there are plenty of "jump out of your chair" moments. The longer you play, the more the tension builds, so if you want a scare, then it is in your best interest to play for more than an hour. Apparently you can get this game for any of the current-gen systems of 2006, and if you have never played a survival horror or RE in general, Code: Veronica would be a great way to be introduced.