The last couple of years have seen quite a few old games remade for newer consoles and some of those facing reboots have been the Resident Evil series. Granted, I quite enjoyed the remakes of Resident Evil 1-3; the second was particularly good with the update of Mr X, a huge, hatted beast of a man, seemingly impervious to weapons, following you around the police station, his footsteps still to be heard even when you’re out of his range. Creepy stuff.
The gamer in the above clip has an interesting way of dealing with Tyrant. I wouldn’t have done it that way – I’d have led him a merry dance around the stairs and moved the stacks while he was still stamping above me. Each to his own, I guess. Play this at night, though, with the sound up and Mr X stalking you through some of the darker parts of the police station and you’ll understand how nervy this section is.
Anyway, the original 3 games were brilliant but the remakes did them no harm. With updated graphics and a few surprises thrown in for good measure, they were a joy to play but they don’t take away from how good the originals were. I don’t think that will be said if Capcom decide, for the technologically advanced PS4 and 5, to remake the fourth, which, in my opinion, does not need to be remade.
At £40 a pop, it was an absolute bargain. Not only did you get the opportunity to play the full game in 3 difficulty settings (easy, normal and professional), with the game adding parts for each setting, but you also had 3 more games as extras; Separate Ways, Assignment Ada, and The Mercenaries, the latter where you could play as one of 5 characters in a Battle Royale kill or be killed setting (one of four) where you had to play for a 5 star rating by blasting the crap out of everything while picking up time saving bonuses. It was a brilliant game, the last decent one of the originals, but from what I have read (and I hope it’s wrong), it looks like Capcom are going to be remaking it for 2022. WHY?!! It just doesn’t need it and I’ll tell you why.
First of all, I don’t think the remake will have all the additions that the original had. If they do, they will come down as DLC’s (downloadable content) which means that by the time you have everything the original had, it’ll have cost you an arm and a leg to get it. I reckon The Mercenaries section, in a remake, would be online only which once again will cut off those who actually enjoy playing on their own rather than joining an online community.
The original was technologically brilliant. Yes, the graphics would be spruced up in a remake but there was nothing wrong, in my opinion, with the graphics on the original PS2 version. They were grainy where they needed to be and sharp in other places – from the village, where the story begins, to the island, where the story ends, Leon S. Kennedy, the game’s protagonist, leads us on a merry jaunt through a variety of places and a smattering of basic (ganados) and abnormal (El Gigante, Regenerators, to name some) beasties as he attempts to rescue the President’s daughter, Ashley Graham, from the clutches of an evil cult, the Los Illuminados. The background settings are well done, the characters well drawn and through the motion capture and voice acting, the whole thing comes together brilliantly. Don’t just take me word for it. Have a butchers and let me know what you think:
Apologies for the Spanish version – the English versions only seemed to be updated versions rather than the original PS2 game.
I’d have copied in some more clips but it seems to be difficult finding original PS2 snapshots rather than walkthroughs of updated versions. That said, updated snapshots only provide a high definition version of the original; the graphics, otherwise, are practically the same.
Taking aside the main story, you then have the option (once you’ve completed the main game on the normal setting) to access the extras and play one of the bonus games. My favourite is Separate Ways, a side story working alongside Leon’s game, where the new protagonist, Ada Wong, works to recapture the virus sample while keeping Leon alive. Ada, by the way, does all this in the most ridiculous attire for such a fight – long, flowing red dress and high heels which, miraculously, never get stuck in the mud or grates she runs on but she kicks arse. She moves differently to Leon, has the option of a grapple gun and a cool fan kick, and fights in different settings as she makes her way to her objective, all the while being tracked by her employer, the mysterious and dangerous Arnold Wesker.
It’s not only the changing environment that makes this side mission great. In many ways, it’s much harder than Leon’s game. There are a lot more enemies to deal with and some of the challenges Leon has to tackle are much harder on Ada’s game, notably Jack Krauser, former soldier turned traitor, and Lord Saddler, the game’s main baddie, who Krauser now works for. The music is different too, much sleeker in contrast to the haunting scores of Leon’s game. Both have that battle hardened element behind them but the scores match the character very well indeed. Here is a snapshot of Separate Ways:
Then there is Assignment Ada, a smaller submission where she has to collect samples of the virus and return them to Wesker. This mission also has its challenges since it comes without the option of a merchant to buy and sell so the only weapons you have are those you start with. You cannot get a larger case for your pickups so as you pick up the samples along the way, you have to juggle how much health and ammunition you carry which provides its own problems.
Lastly, there is The Mercenaries, a series of timed missions in 4 different locations where you can play as one of 5 characters – Leon, Ada, Krauser, Wesker and Hunk – all with their own weapons, movement and style of fighting. Each location has its own main villain too; the last of the 4 has a double chainsaw baddie who can leap tall structures and is genuinely terrifying. A lot of fun and very difficult to get the 5 stars in each location.
Considering when this game came out and how much it cost, it’s an absolute bargain and has survived the test of time. It is still just as much fun to play now as it was then. There’s nothing wrong with it. The music, the settings, the characters, the stories, the side missions, the controls and movement of the characters – everything is brilliant about it. The game does absolutely not need to be remade and can be played not only on the PS2 but also on the PS3 and 4 models, with the graphics cleaned up. I personally still prefer it on the PS2 so my advice for anyone who has not played this fantastic game is to dust off your old model or buy one second hand and revisit one of the best games ever made. No remake could ever truly match it.
© 39 Pontiac Dream 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file