The Door to Safety is Shut. There is No Turning Back...

A couple weeks ago I set out to play through the entire Resident Evil saga in story order. Why? I don't know, probably because I like Resident Evil and never played some of the games or maybe because I'm crazy. Who knows such things.

I discovered the series with Resident Evil 2 and it was magical. The graphics, the music, the atmosphere, the gore. All of it struck a chord in me like few other games did before. But what about the controls, the terrible gameplay? Well the first time i picked up the controller to play it, I hadn't read the instructions, no one told me how to play, the game doesn't have tutorials, I just played and it instantly made sense how everything worked.

My interest for the series would maintain itself for years. Sure I didn't like Resident Evil: Code Veronica quite as much, nor did I have a GameCube to play Resident Evil Zero and the remake of the first game. Even when Resident Evil 4 took the series in a new direction I was still thrilled for a new game, especially after such a long break in between games having skipped over the GameCube ones.

And then my interest declined. Resident Evil 5 just didn't reached the same heights that its predecessor did and I was no longer convinced I liked the new, more action oriented direction the series took with the fourth installment and I certainly was no fan of the Co-op focused gameplay. But this is a story for another time. For now let's go back to where it all began. July 1998, Arklay Mountains, Racoon City.

What better way to start this year long endeavour than to go back to classic Resident Evil gameplay in one of the games I never played? Well one that was good would have been better. Ok it may be a bit unfair. It's never easy going back and discover a decade old game for the first time with no nostalgia attached to it and trying not to judge it by today's standards. I feel that it's when judging that game by the standards of its time and those set by its predecessors that Resident Evil Zero stumbles. But for now let's start with the goof stuff.

This is a truly beautiful game

The bad story and dialogues, the ridiculous antagonist, the dumb puzzles, tank controls. Yep, that game has them all and it's for the best. This is a Resident Evil game in the truest sense.

“Rebecca! You're safe, let's get out of here.” says Enrico, “No, i can't!” to retort Rebecca. “Ok, be safe Rebecca.” And with that shrug the commanding officer of the squad was on his way out of the game. But better yet, let's have Marcus laugh maniacally as he tells you that he will have his revenge! Truly some award winning storytelling and i wouldn't have it any other way.

Dialogues and story are one thing but what about the puzzles? There's the obligatory “insert 3 tablets into X to get to Y” or how about you find some chemicals and mix them to create some makeshift battery acid? Yep it got that too. But all this is nothing compared to the game having you use a hookshot to get to the roof of a train car. I mean, ok the ladder is broken and out of reach, let's improvise and find a way up there. Hey a hookshot, I can use that! But that would be too logic for a Resident Evil game. When you get said hookshot you also find a manual detailing official instructions to the train personnel on how to use the hookshot to reach the roof of the train. I shit you not, this is standard operating procedures aboard that train!

That's the good stuff. Where the game stumbles and goes to shit for the whole duration of the adventure is in the atrocious inventory system. No more magic item box. You now drop your items on the ground and come back to retrieve them as needed. Why? For an increased sense of realism? Get that crap out of my Resident Evil! These games have always been plagued to a certain extent by a non-negligible amount of backtracking and that system amplify it ten folds. Add to it the limited size of each character's inventory and weapons such as the shotgun and grenade launcher taking two spaces each and you quickly understand that you're never going to use those weapons and that you'll constantly be making trips back and forth between the main areas as you transfer all your stuff as you progress to the next major section of the game. This is both tedious and limiting in a franchise that is already clunky in a lot of ways. It didn't need to be more than it already is.

In a way the game makes up for it by having a much more limited number of enemies to fight and never requires you to carry the big and fun weapons to take care of them but this is hardly a solution, this is a boring way around a problem. As a rule of thumb, if a game gives me a grenade launcher i want to use it. This is a real shame too because it is the only real problem i had but it is a problem that plagues the whole thing and heavily influences every other aspects of the game, all for the worst.

That left me in a tough spot. I really wanted to enjoy it and in short bursts I did. Unfortunately every time I made it to a new major area, or every time I was stuck not being able to pick up some much needed supplies or an essential puzzle item or the times I had to face one of the few more powerful enemies where a shotgun or napalm grenades would really have been handy I was reminded how fundamentaly broken the game is because of its inventory system.

And so for most of the playthrough i was trudging tediously through the game hoping to quickly reach the end and be done with it. And then... faith restored!

It may not seem like much but this copy paste of the factory in Resident Evil 2 really hit the spot. The second game is easily my favorite in the series and this is one of my favorite area of the game and revisiting this place, for as short as it was brought back some great memories and reminded me just how much fun the later games are.

I also want to put in a quick words about the visuals. This game looks stunning. Or rather looked stunning in 2002. Going back to pre-rendered backgrounds and breathing new life in them with dynamic lightings and shadows, moving vegetation and realistic looking water, the game made me pause quite a few times to try and imagine just how amazing a Resident Evil game could look on the current or next generation platforms if they were to go back to that visual style.

As you can tell I did not exactly enjoy my time with the game and I feel like I don't have all that much to say about it. Perhaps it's because there is less to it. It is certainly lighter on story and characters and if it wasn't for all the backtracking it would probably be the shortest entry in the series. It certainly feels that way. So I didn't like it but I didn't hate it either. I don't regret playing it. It was good to go back to good old tank controls and soothing music when you enter a save room. Besides, this is just a prologue that leads to great things.

REmake is next and is another one I haven't played. I did play the original PlayStation game mulitple time but have yet to see this particular version and all the additional content it came with.

I will see you next time, in a new mansion and boy, what a mansion!

Duder, it's over

22 Comments
22 Comments
Posted by Pr1mus

Not even one comment :( and i still have 8 more games to go through!

Edited by Blu3V3nom07

Um. I never had a PS1 back then, '64. I would go to my cousin's house and play a bunch of PS1 games. It would suck though cuz he didn't buy a memory card for a while! So, we would definitely play RE1: Director's Cut, with no memory card. 'Just see how far we could get. ~ So, I can't really comment on this too much. ~ Cool pictures, though!

Edit: You know, this Is RE0. Didn't play that one either! : ) ..

Edited by Demoskinos

I really liked RE Ø it was a fun game the choice of characters is interesting though as Rebecca was entirely a side character in the first game. I'd like them to bring her back. We haven't heard anything from her since this game.

Edited by Gravier251

I loved the visuals in RE 0 and the remake of 1 especially, shame they are only available on the gamecube. As someone who played Resident Evil 1 so many times as a kid it made the remake all the more amazing to me. There are some new aspects that are pretty interesting and retreading the old ground with the vastly improved visuals was great. I expect you will definitely enjoy the remake. I just hope you have managed to avoid having the additional content in that game spoiled, there are some interesting surprises.

Back on the subject of RE 0, I likewise wasn't a big fan of the inventory system. It was interesting, but largely it just meant more backtracking as I went about hoarding all my vast amount of supplies on the floor of the main hall (vaguely recall there being an item limit so I couldn't put everything in there as well). It made me miss the magical box approach.

Anyway, I enjoyed RE 0, but it dosn't really compare to the remake. The remake was incredible.

Posted by Pr1mus

@gravier251: I'm going into REmake without any spoilers. I never looked up what they added.

Also yes there is an item limit per room in RE0 which made things even worst! I don't understand why there is this limit either since clearly the game is able to keep track of every items in the game. Maybe it's a memory thing. Too many flashing objects in one room could have killed the framerate or something like that.

Edited by Yummylee

Besides Code: Veronica X, I'm a huge fan of all the old-school RE games (shocker, I know) and RE0 is no exception for me. I'll agree that the inventory system is a little busted, but the trick is to have Rebecca basically function as your pack mule; stick her with a handgun while you carry all of the other firepower, and then use her inventory to carry key items and such.

That hookshot was a pain, though. Even I was forced to let out a sigh of irritation once I had to run all the way back for the hookshot I left in the training facility after beating that giant bat, but otherwise the inventory didn't pose too much of a problem for me. What I also had some issue with was the controls and how stiff they are; even by RE standards they felt awfully clunky with a much larger emphasise on animation. You'll understand what I mean once you play the remake as a frame of reference, but the animations are weirdly sluggish in RE0, and then there's those bloody dumb waiters that feel like they take forever to load your items up/down.

Otherwise the act of splitting up the two characters and then exchanging items using the dumb waiter, or solving one puzzle so the other character can do this and that ect, I thought was pretty neat. Billy Coen being the sole character across the series who can't mix herbs is one helluva contrivance, though, and RE0 also has one of the most mundane and boring unlockable minigames for the series -- though Veronica's Battle Game takes the prize for being the worst of the lot.

RE0 is definitely one of the hardest as well, but I kinda liked it for that. Those damn leech zombies would always give me an adrenaline rush and I knew that I just had to get the absolute shit outta there. Plus like you mentioned, splitting off from Billy after he was washed down the sewers or whatever and it's just you as Rebecca, so incredibly tense. You had gotten so comfortable leading the charge as Billy, who's a goddamn tank, and then for the game to completely sabotage that air of confidence when you're forced to play as Rebecca was just devilishly cruel -- and I loved it! Plus they introduced to you the very first Tyrant during that part, which was really neat.

I can still remember the relief I felt when I completed this on hard mode. I'm at the very end boss and I had actually ran out supplies, both ammunition and healing supplies. Rebecca was so close to finishing with the valves too, and I all could do was to just keep running into the Queen to slow its advance. Miraculously enough it worked! I was able to bear the damage while slowing it down enough as Rebecca could turn the last valve -- and wulah, RE0 on Hard mode completed! I only got a C rank, though... I thought the story was fine and it was nice to see a little bit more of Wesker's days as an Umbrella scientist, but yeah, shit like Enrico just leaving Rebecca there despite all of the crazy nonsense that's happening around them was so incredibly stupid.

It's unfortunate to hear that we're not on the same page when it comes to RE0, but you're going to really enjoy remake. Without a doubt one of the greatest horror games you can find, let alone Resident Evil games.

Edited by Cyrus_Saren

I also was not a huge fan of Resident Evil 0. I did not like the backtracking, inventory management, and, as pointed out, some parts of the story made no sense. I did enjoy seeing some of Wesker's back story though. All in all, it is probably my least favorite Resident Evil.

Edited by Pr1mus

@yummylee: The movements are sluggish to be sure. There's this weird 1/4 turn going on when you're trying to rotate without moving and the leech zombies and roaches would often have the time to get another hit in while you are still recovering from the previous hit. Animations definitely extend for too long. It wasn't too bad on normal but i can see this being a problem on hard.

I'm definitely looking forward to REmake and getting back into known territory. It might be off to a rocky start for this endurance run of sort but i was expecting it. Like i said it's not easy playing a 10 year old game that doesn't come with a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Edited by Yummylee

Also, y'know what else I liked? Removing the safety out of save rooms! I can still remember how flabbergasted I was when I entered a save room to find one of those Eliminators (zombie monkey) awaiting me inside. Fucking crazy. Turning the whole system upside down!

@pr1mus said:

@yummylee: The movements are sluggish to be sure. There's this weird 1/4 turn going on when you're trying to rotate without moving and the leech zombies and roaches would often have the time to get another hit in while you are still recovering from the previous hit. Animations definitely extend for too long. It wasn't too bad on normal but i can see this being a problem on hard.

I'm definitely looking forward to REmake and getting back into known territory. It might be off to a rocky start for this endurance run of sort but i was expecting it. Like i said it's not easy playing a 10 year old game that doesn't come with a healthy dose of nostalgia.

That's what so superb about remake; regardless of how many times you've played the original, there's still plenty to be shocked by. In fact it's at its best if you happen to know all of the details big and small about the original to heart so you can really pick apart what's different. It still follows the same structure of course, but the remake easily stands on its own. It's actually even a little frightening sometimes, too. If you aren't already afraid of sharks in particular, your encounter with Neptune will make sure work to change that :P

The controls really are so much better in the remake. They're still tank-controls of course, but there's a lot less animation-priority and your character's movements just flow a lot better than they do in RE0. Which is weird because the remake came first, so I've always wondered why RE0's controls ended up the way they are.

Edited by Ravenlight

Jill sandwich, master of unlocking, etc.

I don't actually know anything about RE.

Edited by Pr1mus

Jill sandwich, master of unlocking, etc.

I don't actually know anything about RE.

That's the stuff that really matters!

Posted by Quarters

RE0...woof. Definitely one of my least favorites of the whole series. The story's kind of light, and feels oddly distant at points considering how close it takes place to RE1. Plus, just not a big Rebecca fan. Billy's alright, though. I enjoy it in the sense of seeing where it somewhat fits into things, but that's mostly it. I like learning more about Progenitor, the glimpse of Africa, and seeing the relationship between Wesker and Birkin. Plus, it is important in the sense that you're taking out one of the trifecta of Umbrella. Overall, I'm glad it exists, despite it's problems.Hopefully Rebecca and Billy pop up again one day...though it at least makes decent sense if they don't.

The inventory system is the worst. Having to shuffle crap around between the two characters is ridiculously tedious, and Rebecca is borderline useless compared to Billy in terms of combat ability. Negatives aside, though, it is a really cool looking game. Even now, it still holds up decent. The bright side is that the REmake is definitely better...except for those dang crimson heads. That's more of a personal opinion, though.

The good news is that like I said at the top, RE0 is one of the low points. You have some good stuff to play for a while now.

PS. Is anyone ever thrown off by Rebecca's one line of narration after re-meeting Enrico? She talks once in the intro, and then nothing else until that one line, and then nothing after. It always makes me chuckle to myself a bit.

Edited by Pr1mus

@quarters: One weird thing is that i feel i learned more about Marcus and his work in RE5 through files than i did in this game. And it's true that Rebecca doesn't say much. Well she does say "Billy!" a lot so there's that. The other thing that bothered me with the story is that you really don't get to learn anything about your other squad mates. Kenneth is already dead at the start of the first game. Richard i think is the one that gets bitten by the snake? Where are those guys in this one? It's a missed opportunity.

And i know i've got some good stuff to play for a while, i have every other games and played them multiple times save for Revelations and 6. The remake will be new but i'm at least familiar with the original.

Posted by Yummylee
@pr1mus said:

@quarters: One weird thing is that i feel i learned more about Marcus and his work in RE5 through files than i did in this game. And it's true that Rebecca doesn't say much. Well she does say "Billy!" a lot so there's that. The other thing that bothered me with the story is that you really don't get to learn anything about your other squad mates. Kenneth is already dead at the start of the first game. Richard i think is the one that gets bitten by the snake? Where are those guys in this one? It's a missed opportunity.

I have to agree with you there. In fact they should have had Rebecca paired with another BRAVO team member instead of Billy. I thought Billy was OK and all, but I'd have rather preferred to learn just a little more about another one of the BRAVO squad; delegating all but Enrico and Ed Dewey to cameos was kinda sucky. Richard Aiken would have made for a suitable compatriot to Rebecca I think as it would actually make his death in the remake a little more impactful, as well as Rebecca's reaction to it, given you've hypothetically spent all this time with him beforehand.

Edited by Pr1mus

@yummylee: I wonder if they'll ever bring back Rebecca and Billy. Pair them together in the BSAA or something (does the BSAA even exist anymore?). It could in retrospect make the story in zero a bit more meaningful.

Plus Rebecca would have changed a lot. I thought it was super interesting when they picked Leon for RE4 because he was so far the character that had the smallest presence in the series plus likely to have changed the most. Characters like Chris who was a cop for a while and had a military background had seen some shit already but no so much for rookie cop Leon. Rebecca could be interesting in a similar way.

Posted by ArbitraryWater

Much like a lot of the games I like far too much, I think I like RE0 a bit more than it deserves. As you say, the change in inventory, while initially welcome, reaches its zenith of obnoxiousness with the hookshot being needed to go through the hole in the chapel ceiling, and it's kind of hilarious how durable Billy is in comparison to Rebecca, partially contributing to how difficult the game is. On the other hand, I think the game is extremely successful at establishing a gloomy atmosphere, especially from disk 2 onwards. That part where you're playing as Rebecca solo, going through some iconic locales from RE2 and then fighting the prototype tyrant? One of my favorite single segments from any game in the series.

In any case, REmake is undoubtedly a better game and I think you'll have a better time with it. Looking forward to you going "Holy shit man, it's like the original, but with a twist!"

Posted by Yummylee

@pr1mus: Oh boy... this is potentially leading into an RE6 discussion so I should hold my tongue until you've played it for yourself, but you're right, they should have brought Rebecca and Billy back as BSAA agents or something like that. They should have done a lot of things with that game, but alas. They're most likely just going to reboot the whole series from a story perspective anyway, which I'll be fine with. There's a lot of baggage with this series now and the fiction just keeps getting more and more ludicrous and expansive, it makes the MGS timeline appear completely coherent by comparison.

They're apparently using the console port of Revelations to see if they'll by chance take the series in a similar direction to that game, which supposedly mixes in a lot of the old with the new of Resident Evil. Or so everybody keeps saying... God, I really want to dig into Revelations. I'm so damned curious about how it all works. From what I can gather it's basically like another RE4, which... seems OK by me at this point. Plus they're apparently randomising enemy encounters, which was one of my favourite features that they introduced with RE3, so I'm pretty excited.

Edited by Pr1mus

@yummylee said:

@pr1mus: There's a lot of baggage with this series now and the fiction just keeps getting more and more ludicrous and expansive, it makes the MGS timeline appear completely coherent by comparison.

Now you're getting me excited for RE6!

Posted by Yummylee

@pr1mus: Trust me, there's no reason to get excited about RE6. The story is just stupid stupid, not fun stupid like most stories in RE games. I had such high hopes for what could have transpired, too; they had so much to work with and they blew it.

Posted by Quarters

Here's my obligatory "RE6 is friggin' awesome" comment. You could really love it, or dislike it. There's people in both camps. I don't like it in spite of itself, I actually think it's a genuinely great game, and one of the best(if not the best) coop experiences I've ever had. It's worth a shot regardless. And it would've been nice if they developed the other team members more in RE0. Guess that's something that the "Nightmare" scenario is good for in Umbrella Chronicles. It serves as a good bridger between the two. Plus, Wesker's stuff in the RE0 section is pretty cool. Heck, all of his stuff in UC is neat.

I am curious to play Revelations. Didn't care for the story in it much(watched the cutscenes on Youtube), but it does add a couple of interesting hints towards Chris and Jill.

As for Billy and Rebecca being BSAA or something like that, I don't know if it's totally necessary. While it would be nice to see them, Billy was just dragged into all of it to begin with, and Rebecca clearly wasn't cut out for it. She survived out of necessity, but she didn't have the same drive that Chris, Jill, or Leon had. Carlos applies to this too. Even Claire isn't a fighter, really. She's more of a peacemaker who got caught in a situation. That's why I don't mind them just existing in the universe, without having their hands in everything.

And yes, Richard is the one who gets bitten by the snake.

Posted by Video_Game_King

@pr1mus said:

Not even one comment :( and i still have 8 more games to go through!

That's how the blogging game works, son. Some blogs get a billion comments, others get nothing, and you'll never understand why.

Edited by Pr1mus

@video_game_king: Actually what didn't help is that i posted the blog but didn't attach it to the forums immediately. I did some editing and placed the images because i don't trust the formatting to not be a complete mess so i wanted to make sure everything looked right first. Long story short by the time i attached it to the forums the blog had been up for maybe 30-40 mins and appeared way down on the forum's front page even though it wasn't visible for those first 30-40 minutes.