The first single-player add-on for Resident Evil 5, called Lost in Nightmares, lays on nostalgia for the old days of Resident Evil so thickly that it spends a lot of its 90 or so minutes situated squarely in fan-service territory. Among the things you will see in this episode:
- A big spooky mansion, complete with grand foyer and staircase limned with lightning
- A first-person, walking-through-doors animation between rooms
- A diary entry containing the words "itchy, tasty"
- A long moonlit hallway with windows that burst inward as you walk by
- Various plates and crests, bearing the images of mythical figures
- Jill Valentine
- Jill Valentine playing "Moonlight Sonata" on a piano
If you played the very first Resident Evil way back when, you've realized by now that Lost in Nightmares represents Capcom's slightly cheeky effort to recapture a little slice of that seminal original game with nice high-def graphics and modernized gameplay mechanics. Though, it also seems like part of the joke that an included easter egg even lets you play this episode with the trademark unwieldy fixed camera angle that helped define the series in the first place.
Lost in Nightmares is set during a flashback you saw during Resident Evil 5, when a still-brunette Valentine and Chris Redfield assault the cliffside mansion of Umbrella Corp. founder Ozwell Spencer, before Jill and Wesker end up tumbling out a window and over the side of the cliff. The first half of this episode lets you explore a mansion almost identical to the one in the original Resident Evil, though it stops just short of actually populating that mansion with real shambling zombies for you to shoot. So the illusion is not entirely complete, but it's close.
The other half takes you through some sinister dungeons where you'll fight one rather burly new type of enemy half a dozen times, and match up colored cranks with like-colored podiums. Then you fight Wesker. Then it's over! It's worth noting that your character progress from Resident Evil 5 proper has no bearing on what goes on in this flashback. Nor is there even a save system, which initially struck me as ridiculous. But the episode is so short you really don't need one, especially on subsequent playthroughs when you know where everything is.
There is a short list of new achievements to gain, including 18 S.T.A.R.S. emblems to hunt down. You can also unlock Jill as a playable character (when playing single-player) and Professional difficulty level (best suited for co-op). Actually, you should always play this thing in co-op, since there are a couple of spots where your AI partner might get themselves killed, sending you back to the last checkpoint. And there's a modified version of the Mercenaries score-attack mode that features a couple of new characters, if you didn't get your fill of Mercenaries already. But the new story episode is the real reason to get this add-on.
Capcom made the right call pricing Lost in Nightmares at $5 on both XBLA and PSN. It's short and a bit thin on content, but what's there is pretty, well-produced, and a satisfying if slightly silly curiosity for anyone who remembers the first Resident Evil even a little bit fondly.