Resident Evil: Zero
Resident Evil has been a very successfull franchise for Capcom since it’s first release.
It’s been so big actually that it has over 3 sequels to it (and more in the making, including an online version for the PS2). It doesn’t stop at that: a remake of the original RE for new-gen consoles and a movie set in the RE universe are also on the list of achievements for the game.
The real Question is: when will there be a prequel to it all? Who will tell us what happened that led to the events at Raccoon city? So Capcom made RE0 and saw it was good(-ish)…
RE0 begins in July 1998, just one day before the events that occur in the first RE (reffered to as “the mansion incident”). There have been some bizarre murders in the Arklay Mountains, located just outside Raccoon City. Because of the strangeness of the murders the police departement of Raccoon City sends a team of S.T.A.R.S (Special Tactics And Rescue Squad), the Bravo Team.
The helicopter of the Bravo Team crashes in the woods, not far from a mysterious train that is lying dead on it’s tracks.
Rebecca, a young rookie on her first mission, is sent along with one half of the team that is supposed to examine the train while the other half goes to investigate a burning wagon they saw during the crash. The game itself starts just after Rebecca enters the train…
RE0 is actually what could be defined as “yet another resident evil”: The beautiful pre-rendered scenes, the eerie sounds and the great suspense, they all are there. There’s also a great story and very nice cutscene movies.
To make it even better, there’s ‘partner zapping’, allow me to explain: In the train Rebecca meets an escaped convict named Billy Coen. He is supposed to be a very dangerous murderer, but Rebecca finds out he isn’t such a bad guy after all. As the sole survivor of her team (the rest of it got brutally slain or eaten) she joins up with Billy in order to stay alive.
After Becky and Billy team up you can switch from player with the press of a button. This allows for some really interesting stuff, because you can control both characters at the same time. At the same time. Yes, at the same time! There’s a nifty command system that allows you to tell the non-active character exactly how to behave. You can leave one of the characters (perhaps the one with the least health?) in a secure area while the other one goes out to explore a room. You can also tell your partner to follow you, and how to act when he/She sees an enemy (shoot? do nothing?) and change items from your inventory.
Both of the characters also have unique skills: rebecca can mix medicines with her personal mixing kit and heal herself and Billy, while Billy is stronger and can push heavier objects etc. He also has a zippo lighter, for firing up molotov cocktails 😉 Maybe you could say that these added details are merely futile efforts to milk out an already milked out cow, but they really do make the game extra interesting.
The only bad thing I could say about the game must be the unresponsiveness of the D-stick. I don’t really understand why they have a “run” button when there’s an analog D-stick. The C-stick (which you can use to directly control your partner) on the other hand, does use it’s analog capabilities.
The unlucky way the D-stick is handled combined with the static camera can be irritating, but after a while you should get the hang of it.
On a personal note: the “RESIDENT EVIL ZEROOOOOOO” voice at the beginning is a bit over the top.