A Filthy Classic
The earlier, “classic” Resident Evil games often get brushed off in the post-RE4 world. After all, it’s kind of difficult to go from quick-paced, guns ablazin’, over the shoulder action to a world of admittedly terrible voice acting, ammo conservation and much more apparent straight lines. Resident Evil Deadly Silence is a re-make of the original Resident Evil (released on the PlayStation in 1996) ergo; it has a lot of the same problems. However, if you can put your cynicism on the shelf and approach REDS with patience and willingness to learn, you’ll have a higher chance of enjoying this true survival horror.
A story that went on to spawn an epic tale begins with STARS, an elite police squad, investigating a helicopter crash and a secluded mansion in the Arklay Mountains. Things quickly go south and the team gets separated. Now Chris Redfield or Jill Valentine (whoever you choose) has to piece together what happened and what’s going on with those zombies.
Resident Evil Deadly Silence’s gameplay may seem archaic in comparison to almost any modern 3D video game, but it just requires a fresh perspective. You can’t play this like RE4 or 5. The characters control not unlike cars. The D-pad is used for movement with up to walk forward, down to backpedal, and left/right to rotate. There are buttons for dashing and 180 degree turns, guns and other weapons are drawn with the R-trigger and characters can only pivot when a weapon is drawn. The main goal of the game is to move through the mansion unscathed by the undead while solving item based puzzles (put this medallion in this slot, push this box on this switch) to progress the story. As you progress, you’ll open up more areas on the property, find items there that will solver earlier problems, and backtrack.
Ammunition, ink ribbons (used for saving), and healing items are all limited in the game making it very possible to be completely screwed at many points in it. This beckons for many try/die/repeat cycles attempting perfection. Dodging slow monsters to save lead for more troublesome ones later is an important part of Resident Evil. This is the “survival” part of survival horror and can be both incredibly frustrating and rewarding.
The audio still creates a solid creepy ambience on the DS provided you’re wearing headphones. Ominous music, orchestra strikes, glass shatters and groans are all there. The original voice acting and live-action intro (both bathed in cheese) remain intact and ironically enjoyable.
Compared to the complete Resident Evil overhaul on the GameCube in 2002, Deadly Silence is hardly a “re-make” so much as a port with a little spit and polish. Some obligatory touch screen/microphone stuff (first person knife fights, puzzles) and the non-essential multi-player modes don’t really add all that much to the experience. I personally found the game to be much more playable and addictive in this portable form, though. To quote Homeless in Denton and Put It In Your Mouth’s Jeremy Thorn, “it’s still good”!
4 out of 5