bill-swift - February 26, 2014
The original 1996 installment was, is, and ever shall be a classic. Its influence, its legacy, its hilariously, ballachingly bad voice-acting... it really is something special. And you know what that means: you can't remake or otherwise mess with the game without unleashing a nerdly Internet shitstorm.
Many a flaming bag of crap has been left on a developer's doorstep for just this reason. In 2002, though, a miracle occurred. A remade version of the original (pun-tastically dubbed ‘REmake' by fans) surfaced, and was swiftly declared the definitive version of the game. Let's take a look.
Resident Evil was an early Gamecube release, exclusively for the lil' Fisher Price-y funbox. A deal with Capcom was secured around the console's launch, in an attempt to prove that Nintendo isn't all Mario-with-garish-rainbows-shining-out-of-his-ass. This also brought the rest of the series to the 'cube, as direct ports, along with the prequel Resident Evil Zero. REmake, as we say, was a different beast entirely.
Prior to the launch, screenshots were thrust into our eager eyeballs at every opportunity. The message was clear: this is some sexy stuff, right here.Look at it!Look! At it! And it really was. The game looked fantastic, and still holds up remarkably well over a decade later. Has Barry's awful ginger beard ever looked... awful-er or ginger-er? You're damn right it hasn't. A technical tour de force for the Gamecube, and probably the sexiest thing it crapped out in its whole lifespan. Look how pretty those pre-rendered backgrounds are, and cry tears of sweet, sweet manly joy.
As ‘master of unlocking' and/or ‘Jill sandwich'-based piss-taking will tell you, the cutscenes needed a hell of an overhaul as well. And so it was. This is still some of the hammiest acting you'll see outside of an episode of Melrose Place, but a marked improvement nevertheless. This, alongside the visuals, adds so much to the atmosphere of the experience. It really is like playing through Resident Evil as it was originally intended. The first attempt is the ghastly-ass ugly sister to the sextastic Cinderella on the Gamecube.
The gameplay, too, has been nipped and tucked in all the right places. With regards to plot, all is largely as it was, and only a few puzzles in the Spencer Mansion have been altered. That mask-collecting business at the outset, for instance. The additions are more subtle, but further increase the fear factor. The best of these is probably the spangly new Crimson Heads, the new breed of zombie. These mofos are created when you don't dispatch their regular shambling brothers with care, and are far more intimidating.
Without a headshot/burning the body with the gas can, zombies won't ‘die,' and will rise again when you next pass through the area. Only now, they'll sport fancy-ass new claws and athleticism. The first time one of these guys comes barrelling at you like Usain Bolt with the craps, you will piss yourself a little.
Other elements, like the fancy new defense items, add something new for even veterans of the games. And when you can please those angry dudes, you've done something very, very right.
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