Survival Horror at its finest on the Dreamcast.
Resident Evil in prime form on the Dreamcast
Expands on the backstory of Umbrella
Wasteful use of ammo will be unforgiving
Using the analog stick will get you killed fast
Weapons can get lost in the shuffle during character switching
"Resident Evil: Code Veronica" for the Sega Dreamcast is another installment of the Resident Evil franchise, and the first and last Resident Evil game on the short lived console. This adventure stars Claire Redfield of the Resident Evil 2 fame as she searches for her missing brother, Chris Redfield of the Resident Evil 1 fame. On her search, Claire will make startling discoveries to the origins of the Umbrella Corporation.
Learning about the background origins of the Umbrella Corporation is the other important storyline in Code Veronica besides finding Chris. The Ashford family comes to the forefront when uncovering the formation and true purpose of Umbrella; the secrets of the Ashford family are just as twisted and horrifying as the B.O.W.s (Bio Organic Weapons) Umbrella creates.
Code Veronica splits the gameplay into two places: An illegal Umbrella prison and an Umbrella Antarctic base. For the first half of the game the player assumes the role of Claire as she escapes from her prison and resumes her search for Chris. She's joined by a new character, Steve Burnside, who has his own set of motives, as they both attempt to escape from the prison island. Chris takes control for the second half of the game, as it's his turn to find his lost sister. Chris follows in his sister's tracks as he explores both the prison and Antarctic base through alternate routes and even discovers places where Claire missed on her initial search.
The gameplay mechanics are much like the previous Resident Evil games; the camera stays fixed depending on the character's location, the player still has to aim before shooting, herbs can be mixed with other herbs to strengthen their properties, and solving puzzles will break up the zombie action. What's different this time around is that Code Veronica uses a fully polygonal environment as opposed to the pre-rendered backgrounds that has been used in the past games.
Code Veronica brings back the combat knife from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The combat knife will be one of the more important weapons this time around because if used correctly, the knife is able to take down the run of the mill zombies with ease; this is a huge break because it allows the player to conserve much needed ammo down the stretch. Wasteful use of ammo will be unforgiving, but this is more common sense than a con.
The 180 degree turn is also present in Code Veronica. Another useful tool in the arsenal as it allows the player to quickly turn around and attack zombies behind the character or to make a hasty retreat. The controls aren't bad, but they can at times be a little sloppy. The analog pad will get the player killed more than anything because the controls can flip unexpectedly.
The VMU constantly displays the player's health status, even though the health status can be visible by how the character walks or runs; this is still a nice addition rather than constantly having to pause the game to see the health status. The map would have also been nice to have displayed on the VMU, though given the limitations of the hardware it wouldn't really be a surprise if the map was unreadable on the VMU and the idea was scrapped altogether.
There's no control when switching between Claire and Chris in the second half of the game; this could cause issues when it comes to who's carrying what items. The player could find themselves shorthanded when the game switches to Chris if Claire is still carrying the heavy weapons or the healing items. Unless the player is looking for a challenge, they should make note of when the game switches view points as to know when to put important items in the item cache.
There is an updated version of the game, "Resident Evil: Code Veronica X" for the Playstation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube, with better graphics, extra scenes and boss fights; this version of the game would undoubtedly have more of a following since the original Code Veronica went down with the sinking ship known as the Dreamcast. But Resident Evil: Code Veronica for the Dreamcast is one of the great games on the console and the player won't be disappointed if they only have a chance to play the original.