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Overview

Resident Evil 2 (or Biohazard 2 in Japan) is a survival horror game that was originally released in 1998 by the company Capcom. Resident Evil 2 uses the same mechanics and gameplay styles as the previous Resident Evil, but with updated graphics and new characters and locations.

Plot

Claire and Leon

Resident Evil 2 follows the story of rookie cop Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield during the zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. On his first day on the job, Leon finds a dead body on the road as he enters the city and leaves his car to investigate. He becomes surrounded by zombies and runs into Claire Redfield after his escape. The two jump into an abandoned police car and begin driving away only to be caught in an accident due to a zombie in the car's backseat and a zombified truck driver. The accident forces Leon and Claire to split up and they decide to rendezvous at the police station.

In the police station, Leon finds the area abandoned save for a lone, injured police officer who gives Leon his key card and tasks him with escorting survivors outside of the city. However, the only remaining people have been zombified or killed, and numerous journal entries illustrate the survivors' diminishing state before Leon's arrival. Among all the documents, Leon finds Chris Redfield's journal and informs Claire of her brother's business in Europe when she arrives at the police station. The two split up again to find other survivors and a way out of the city.

While inside the police station Leon meets a woman named Ada Wong, who is in search for her missing boyfriend John. Leon and Ada then accompany each other for a good part of the game. While Claire on the other hand meets a little girl named Sherry, while checking out the police Chief's office. Sherry is the daughter of the scientist William Birkin, who was over the G-Virus, which leaked out into the city and turned everyone into zombies. Claire and Sherry then run into William Birkin in a mutated monstrous state, after he was nearly killed when Umbrella forces were sent to retrieve the virus from him and he injected himself with the virus.

Birkin plays the role of the main boss throughout the game, and terrorizes Leon and Claire at certain intervals. After Leon and Claire make their way through the sewers and into the underground Umbrella research facility beneath Raccoon City, they learn all about the secrets that the corporation were hiding, and experiments they were doing. After genuine Resident Evil puzzle solving and zombie shooting, Leon and Claire set the facility to self-destruct and destroy all that's in it. They plan their escape by using the facility's subway system to get outside.

Claire meets Annette.

With every end to a Resident Evil game, comes the final boss. Just as they're preparing to leave, Birkin crashes their plans as Leon, or Claire has to deal with him. Depending on what scenario you're on, you'll fight Birkin 2 or 3 times until he's out for good. After Birkin is out of the way Leon, Claire and Sherry all make it out on the subway, as the facility explodes, ending the zombie terror, for this Resident Evil.

Depending on which character you're playing scenario B as, the ending note will be on the search for Chris Redfield or putting a stop to Umbrella's experiments once and for all. Going by Code Veronica and Claire Redfield's epilogue from Resident Evil 3, it is strongly believed Claire's vow to find her brother is the canon ending.

The A and B Scenarios

Resident Evil 2 featured four different scenarios; the first two were labelled as Leon A and Claire B scenarios, where Leon entered the police station through the front entrance and Claire through the back door. The second two scenarios, labelled as Claire A and Leon B, had the roles reversed with the plotline slightly altered. Each scenario provided a different experience such as meeting with Robert Kendo and Marvin Branagh on Scenario A and the battle against Mr. X on Scenario B.

Since Resident Evil 2 featured several different combinations of events and endings, it left the players initially wondering which order actually happened. It was eventually confirmed by CAPCOM in the official Resident Evil timeline in Resident Evil 5 that the canon version is the Claire A & Leon B telling.

Gameplay

The gameplay in this installment of Resident Evil is just the same as the gameplay of the first one. Polygonal characters models are used for the zombies and main characters, while there are pre-rendered backgrounds, and fixed camera angles are still being used. The player travels as Leon, or Claire, through various locations throughout Raccoon City, solving puzzles as needed to continue forward, as in all Resident Evil games. Besides zombies, the player will encounter a few different types of mutated creatures. From zombies and zombie dogs to acid-spitting plants and giant moths.

Throughout the game you will also find different types of weapons with their own unique uses. There's the common handgun, used in a lot of games, the shotgun, and machine gun. After further progression through the game you'll get weapons like a grenade launcher, magnum and even a flamethrower. Upon completing the game with certain requirements met you can also unlock the unique weapons the Rocket Launcher, Gatling gun and an infinite ammo variant of the submachine gun.

Claire successfully avoiding an encounter with a Licker

With the new engine and improved graphics, there are now are more zombies appearing on screen, and you can see how your characters health is by body animation. If a character is in the caution zone, they'll hold their chest, but move at the same speed as if they were perfectly fine. On the other hand if they're in the danger zone they'll hold their chest and limp, moving incredibly slower than before. The death screen is also more gruesome this time, showing the character being devoured or eaten off of by the creature or creatures that killed him or her.

The most important thing about Resident Evil 2 is the scenario system. When a player finishes the first run of the game (known as the A Scenario) and save the data, they've opened up the B scenario. The B scenario is the same events that the person went through, but from the opposite character's perspective. If you beat the A scenario as Leon, you would start your B scenario as Claire. In addition, there is one area in the B scenario that wasn't there in the A scenario. There are four scenarios, two for Leon, and two for Claire.

There's also a ranking system dependent on how you finish the game. Ranks are determined on how fast you finish the game, how many first aid sprays are used and number of saves. Higher ranks will unlock special weapons that wouldn't normally be usable. Another unlockable is the survivor mini-games which has the player assume the role of USS operative codenamed HUNK. Starting off at the sewers entrance, he has to make his way through the RPD to the rooftop for extraction with possession of the G-virus. After so many completions, a parody of the HUNK scenario is unlocked where you play as a giant piece of tofu.

Yet another minigame also exists, but only for specific ports. Titled Extreme Battle, it has a selectable character out of the initial two and eventually four fight their way from the Umbrella underground facility to the Raccoon City Police Department to locate four anti-virus bombs. It had multiple difficulties and again unlockable characters.

Version Differences

Resident Evil 2 (Sony PlayStation)

The original version of Resident Evil 2 released on January 21, 1998 in North America. One week later, Biohazard 2 would be released in Japan. The content was spread across two discs and featured considerable improvements to the mechanics and graphics from the preceding Resident Evil (see "Gameplay" section above).

Supposedly, the Japanese release was considerably easier than its North American counterpart, featuring different item placement, better firepower and auto-aim enabled by default. Additionally, the Japanese version did not include scenes of player characters being eaten by zombies after death and gore was diminished along with some violent depictions.

Resident Evil 2: DualShock Version (Sony PlayStation)

Virtually the same as the original PlayStation version, but with added functionality to accept the DualShock Controller released after the game's original release date. The game featured vibration functions and analog controls. This release also saw the addition of Extreme Battle, an unlockable mini game where the player needs to reach the police station and find four anti-biohazard bombs. Also, a cheat code for unlimited ammo was added.

The Japanese DualShock version featured a "USA Version" mode, bringing the difficulty up to par with its overseas counterpart; this release also had feature parity with the North American version and sported the same add-ons and DualShock-only functions. The violence scenarios and gore, however, still remained censored, edited or omitted.

In 2009, the DualShock Version was released on the PlayStation Store at a $5.99 price point and is compatible with both the PlayStation 3 and PSP.

Resident Evil 2 Platinum (Windows '98 PC)

Contained the same content as the PlayStation releases, except the Dualshock Version's mini games were unlocked from the start. The game was spread across two CD-ROMs.

Resident Evil 2 (Nintendo 64)

After commercial success on the PlayStation, Capcom commissioned Angel Studios (later renamed to Rockstar San Diego) to handle the Nintendo 64 port. The two-disc PSX version, however, had 757 MB of data spread across its two discs (according to PlayStation Store data) and the highest capacity for a Nintendo 64 cartridge was a paltry 64 MB. Despite the software media limitations, the N64 port was comparable to the PSX version with the omission of the DualShock Version's Extreme Battle mini game. This version also added EX files, which referenced numerous plot details and the then-unreleased Resident Evil Zero.

Thanks to the Expansion Pak, the game displayed at a higher resolution at times, switching between 640x480 and 320x240 (the PSX version's native resolution) depending on how many enemies were in the area. If the player defeated the enemies, then the game would automatically switch to the higher resolution. Without the Expansion Pak, the game's visuals closely resembled the PSX version.

Audio from this version suffered the most compression despite the addition of surround sound (which was absent from previous releases). All content fit on one cartridge and did not force players to switch between two different pieces of media.

Biohazard 2 Value Plus (Sega Dreamcast)

A Japanese-exclusive release that came out one year after the DualShock version and in the same year as the PC and N64 ports. It was bundled with a disc with a demo of Resident Evil: Code Veronica and assorted music from various games in the series. Since the Dreamcast ran on a Windows CE operating system, this version of Resident Evil 2 was identical to the PC release (see above). However, if the player had a VMU, they could see their character's health on the display.

Resident Evil 2 (Sega Dreamcast)

Resident Evil 2 on Dreamcast in territories other than Japan is a two-GD ROM set with each disc being a campaign for the two characters, not unlike the PlayStation edition. The Dreamcast version is known for having no drops in the game's framerate and having higher resolution backgrounds than the Playstation, Nintendo 64 and GameCube versions. It also had an "Extra" option in the main menu that allowed the player to view concept art and in-game cutscenes. Like the Japanese version, if the player had a VMU, they were able to see their character's health status on the VMU screen.

Biohazard 2 PC (Windows XP PC)

The same as the PC version released in 1998, except now compatible with Windows XP machines and on one DVD-ROM with uncompressed CG scenes. This particular release is a Japanese exclusive.

Resident Evil 2 (Nintendo Gamecube)

Some note this as the definitive version of Resident Evil 2, and while it does not feature any of the EX files on N64, it comes complete with the Battle Game minigame. Although it did sport slightly better graphics, background resolutions were worse than the Dreamcast and PC versions. Minor differences such as the voice on the main menu are present. All content is available on one disc.

Along with the release of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the Gamecube, this particular version is considered a rarity for the system because of a low circulation.

Resident Evil 1.5

After the launch of Resident Evil, work immediately began on Resident Evil 2 and was scheduled for a 1997 release. Nearing the end of development, when the game was about 80-90% done, the creators felt the sequel was more of the same and was scrapped. The previous version of the game had a female protagonist named Elza Walker who was eventually replaced by Claire Redfield. She shared many of Claire’s traits such as being an avid fan of motorbikes and was a student. While Claire is the sister of the Chris Redfield, the Resident Evil 1.5 protagonist, Elza, was completely unrelated to any previous Resident Evil character. Leon Kennedy also had a radically different appearance initially, but that too was altered since Capcom believed it held too strong a resemblance to former Resident Evil hero Chris Redfield. Additionally, the policeman named Marvin who dies early on in Resident Evil 2 had a much bigger role in this incarnation; supposedly he would help the player escape the city similar to the role of Barry in Resident Evil 3.

Furthermore, the design and layout of the police department was modern and resembled a typical police structure. It lacked the gothic elements of the final police station and used the color gray quite frequently; perhaps in a bid to make the area feel sterile. Finally, amongst other things, were the varieties of the monsters. Sketches and screenshots showcase zombies of different races, monsters that resembled the reapers from Resident Evil 5 and two bosses, which made the cutting room floor named Zeiram and Gorgoda. Zeiram and Gorgoda’s elements of design ultimately were used to create William Birkin’s G-form.

A version of the game that looks to be almost complete is in the confines of a private collection, but other than a 10 minute video of previously unseen footage posted on Youtube, nothing else has been released, much to the dismay of fans.

Soundtrack

There are two soundtrack CD releases for Resident Evil 2, the first release came out in January 29, 1998 and consisted of 31 tracks and one CD. But since not all music contained in the game was included, a new version was release in August 21, 1998 named Biohazard 2 Complete Track and with 50 tracks and two CDs. The soundtrack was composed by Masami Ueda, Shun Nishigaki and Shusaku Uchiyama.

Biohazard 2 Original SoundtrackBiohazard 2 Complete Track
CD 11. "The Beginning of Story"
2. "Annette's Recollection"
3. "Normal End Title"
4. "Special End Title"
5. "Credit Line of Whole Staff"
6. "Prologue"
7. "Raccoon City"
8. "The Front Hall"
9. "The First Floor"
10. "The Second Floor"
11. "Secure Place"
12. "Leon With Claire"
13. "The Library"
14. "Sherry's Theme"
15. "The Basement of Police Station"
16. "'T'-A"
17. "The First Malformation of 'G'"
18. "Ada's Theme"
19. "The Marshalling Yard (The First Half)"
20. "The Marshalling Yard (The Latter Half)"
21. "The Second Malformation of 'G'"
22. "The Underground Laboratory"
23. "Is Ada Spy!?"
24. "Escape From Laboratory"
25. "Good Bye, Leon"
26. "Mother"
27. "One More Kiss"
28. "'T'-B"
29. "The Third Malformation of 'G'"
30. "And After That..."
31. "Credit Line"
1. "The Evil Eye"
2. "Prologue ~To Know The True End~"
3. "Weapons Don't Give Us Relief"
4. "Falling Victim to the Ex-Neighbors"
5. "Drove the Passengers to be the Living Dead"
6. "Left Alone?"
7. "The Buildup of Suspense"
8. "Screaming Target"
9. "Above the Blood Pool"
10. "Nothing More to do Here"
11. "Hope Against Hope"
12. "Who's That Lady?"
13. "Madness Under the Mask"
14. "Now in Two Pieces"
15. "Embryo in its Cradle"
16. "His Final Scoop"
17. "Destined to be Malformed"
18. "Don't Look Up"
19. "Dropping Into the Water"
20. "Wandering Alone"
21. "Dropping Again"
22. "Heads Up!"
23. "Women Squaring Off"
24. "The Gigantic Alligator"
25. "'It' is After You"
26. "This is My Nest"
27. "Like a Shadow"
28. "The Shadow is Gone?"
29. "Wreckage of the Mad Experiment"
30. "Fearful is No Word for It"
31. "Maximize Your Survival Instinct"
32. "To Another Nightmare"
33. "The Daredevil Four"
34. "Your Mission"
35. "Set About the Mission"
36. "Mission Accomplished"
37. "Under Cover of Darkness"
38. "Long and Gloomy Underground Passage"
39. "We Will Never Die"
40. "Find the Final One!"
41. "Dawn Never Fails to Come"
42. "'The Ultimate Bio-Weapon' Medley"
CD 21. Start~Cursor
2. Door
3. Foot Step
4. Enemy
5. Weapon
6. Room
7. Character's Voice
8. Sound Staff's Voice

ESRB

The ESRB rated the game Mature for Animated Violence and Animated Blood and Gore.

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