After putting in some time with the main story and Mercenaries Reunion, I got around to trying the two bonus scenarios included in Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition. I held off as long as I could because I remembered bonus scenarios or extra stories in Resident Evil games are always, always hard. I remember playing the "4th Survivor" in Resident Evil 2 and getting killed by dogs in the second room (that was a long time ago). Closer to RE5, "Assignment Ada" from RE4 was brutal until I managed to beat it somehow. To tell the truth, I don't honestly remember all the details of beating Assignment Ada, only that Krauser at the end was a total bitch and that I got the Chicago Typewriter for my trouble. One thing Lost in Nightmares and Desperate Escape have over previous bonus modes is the ability to choose a difficulty. You can make it easy and check things out, or crank that shit up to Tofu Survivor levels. Like knife only, no spray cans kind of shit.
Lost in Nightmares
Lost in Nightmares feels like a prologue to Resident Evil 5 that was cut somewhere as the game was developed and brought back to life as DLC. It's pretty short with the exception of one part that drags out forever and banks a lot of appeal on nostalgia. The beginning is like a long list of "remember when . . ." from the very first Resident Evil. Remember zombie things jumping through windows? Remember plaques and crests? Remember when you found a magnum and there were only 6 bullets for it? Yeah, Lost in Nightmares trades with that kind of currency. There's only one enemy type in the whole scenario, which is some strange shout-out to Lisa Trevor from the Resident Evil GameCube remake. You spend very little time running around a mansion before going underground and navigating mazes and such.
However, one thing I was surprised with was how different my playthrough was compared to Brad's when he did a Quick Look of Lost in Nightmares for the site. He went head on with his first enemy and had a fight in a narrow dungeon hallway. When I ran into my first enemy I got flanked by two of them and was nearly trapped between anchor toting freaks with eyeballs on their backs. At one point I was swarmed by four of them. I didn't kill any of the Anchor freaks until I absolutely had to in order to beat the scenario. It was interesting to think that if I played again online or with Jill, the enemy locations might switch again. Still, it feels bare as far as extra scenarios go in Resident Evil games. Like I said before, it's more like a prologue. You find a mansion, shoot a few monsters, lose a hopeless boss fight, Jill falls out a window, skip ahead a few years to Chris Redfield in Africa, start the real game.
Desperate Escape lives up to its name. Your best course of action through the whole scenario is run run run. Get the hell away from TriCell Africa. It's pretty much like the Mercenaries mini-game with a cast and a story. No matter where you go or what you do, guys will keep coming until you are dead or a timer runs down. The majority of them are Majini with melee weapons and dynamite but they also throw Executioners and Chainsaw Majini at you as well. I was playing on normal, so it never felt like ammo was a problem. Healing items though are rare like a damn endangered species. I was sitting on shotgun ammo, machine gun ammo, a magnum and several grenades and I haven't even gotten to Josh yet. But I was in the orange zone for health nearly the entire game. This is much harder than Lost in Nightmares but there's a lot more meat to the scenario. Again, compared to Brad's run in the Quick Look he did, my weapon set was very different. I picked up a shotgun and another handgun compared to his PSG-1. And the Executioner he tangled with jumped me much later on in the stage.
Also, a helicopter pilot dies. Anyone who cries spoilers at this point should know- If you are a helicopter pilot in Resident Evil, you are going to die. No exception. This game series has a proud tradition of killing off anyone who flies a whirly bird and tries to be a big goddamn hero by saving the player characters. Brad Vickers survived a game or two, but even he got what was coming to him. I mention this, because Desperate Escape takes itself a bit too seriously and tries to act like the death of the pilot is some shocking development. The characters act that way. I laughed because I knew it was coming, and the game did not dissapoint. Don't fly helicopters in Resident Evil kids, you'll live longer (but probably not by much). Desperate Escape has the most replay value, because I could see co-op runs of blasting through the gauntlet they throw at you getting pretty frantic. Playing this on higher difficulties (and the zero margin for error Professional Mode) could keep serious RE players occupied for some time.
I'd say that Desperate Escape is my favorite of the two simply because it has that feeling of "4th Survivor" where shit is going down and you're out of luck. The more I think about Lost in Nightmares, the more I would have liked if it was the beginning of RE5 (with a few changes for pacing). It quickly goes over how far the series has come and then shifts to Africa for the central story to begin. The player knows what happened to Jill and they can wonder what exactly went down between Wesker and Spencer before they showed up.