Games that provide a bit of a scare were far and few between previous to the development of the Resident Evil series. Although Alone in the Dark is probably the first game that can be called a survival horror game, Resident Evil is the game that really led to the creation of the genre. Once Resident Evil became a hit, survival horror games began to grow in number quite rapidly. What is it about Resident Evil that makes it so good? Aside from the high quality graphics, it is the fear factor.
Resident Evil’s storyline is not completely original as it is not unlike that of a horror movie. At its heart, Resident Evil really is just a horror movie that allows players to control the action. This is certainly apparent after the live-action video opening followed by the introduction of the cast of characters using actors. Just as in many movies of this type, the good guys go to investigate a strange occurrence and find themselves in the middle of danger. Most of the enemies here are zombies but there are some other creatures like a large worm-like beast, some killer undead dogs, poisonous snakes and even sharks. Although the story is nothing that has not been done in a movie, it is rather original for a console videogame and it is good enough to keep you playing as you begin to anticipate what is around the next corner and just who is behind all of this.
Action is viewed from a third-person view while the viewing angle jumps between fixed cameras as you move. A majority of the time the camera angle is sufficient and allows for easy movement. Controls are not complicated but moving your character will take a little time to get used to. Since you cannot move and shoot at the same time you will need to get a pattern down of running, then stopping, turning and shooting.
Resident Evil moves along at a fairly slow pace as the game has to stop and quickly load the next location every time you advance through a door. The slow advance through each door is actually a good thing as the anticipation builds and you become more tense knowing that a zombie may be ready to grab a hold of you and eat your flesh before you can react. Another reason the game moves at a slow pace is that players will need to spend more time solving puzzles than fighting the bad guys. Puzzles are fairly easy to solve but may not be obvious right away. Usually you will find an item but won’t yet have found the place where it must go. Also, the main characters can only hold so many items and because you won’t know what item you will need next, you will have to retrace your steps quite a few times. However, you do not need to remember where you found an object as you can store any of your items in a storage box located in the mansion.
The graphics lend themselves to the spooky feeling as well. After all, you’re not exactly going to be scared if the game is bright and filled with color. Most of the game takes place inside of the mansion while some of the action takes place just outside of it. Despite the outdoors being darker, inside is just as creepy as outside. The mansion has an old, early 1900s feel to it and everything in it looks great. Everything is detailed, from the floors to the wallpaper to the antiques located in each room.
Sounds are another extremely important feature to a horror movie as well as a game. Resident Evil does not disappoint in effects and music. When walking from a carpet to a tile floor or to a wood floor, you will notice the different sounds your footsteps make. Most of the time the game will be fairly quiet which only adds to the mysteries located around each corner. Music will play in the background at times and fits the pace of the game perfectly. One area where the game does fail is in the character dialogue. The voice acting is bad while the lines are even worse. Perhaps the characters would not have sounded so bad if their lines were written better but it does not hurt the game too much.
While some players will think the game is not scary at all, most should jump out of their seat a few times their first time through the game. There are many events that you just can’t anticipate happening. Replay value does drop significantly after you play through the game though as nothing will catch you by surprise. However, there are two playable characters that do cause the story to vary slightly at times. If you like horror movies then you really can’t go wrong with Resident Evil. Even if you don’t like horror movies you should probably check this game out just so that you can experience a truly original title.
The dark and eerie settings fit the game perfectly. Everything is very detailed as well. In comparison to the PlayStation version, it looks almost identical while just slightly not as sharp.
Sound effects and music set the atmosphere well but the dialogue is very weak.
Overall the game is quite original and will keep you attached to your controller until the end.
Replay Value replay
While the game will have you hooked the first time through, the second time is not nearly as much fun since you know where all of the creatures are at.
Explains everything that you should need to know. Some color and more artwork would have been nice.