Resident Evil Code: Veronica X Review
Making it's wide US debut on the Sega Dreamcast back in April of 2000, Resident Evil Code: Veronica was an instant success, and quickly soared to high mountains, as it became arguably the best title in series. The whole franchise has come a long way, first appearing on the Playstation and Sega Saturn back in 1995, Resident Evil was a game that had no parallel in every single aspect. Something that gamers were not used to seeing was voice acting, and even though Resident Evil's voice acting was off, the fact of the matter was that it was there. The visuals were also something from up top, polygonal characters with pre-rendered backgrounds. Soon after a sequel was announced by Capcom. Half way into development Resident Evil 2 was dumped, because the producer -Shinji Mikami- was not satisfied with the product and decided to re-start on the development, therefore creating a delay. But the wait was well worth it, Resident Evil 2 earned its spot as one of the best Playstation games ever, and also took what the original did, and eclipsed it in every regard.
Following RE2, Capcom released Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, yet another excellent RE title, but it didn't fare well enough to topple its predecessor. Around the time of Resident Evil 3's release, was the US debut of Sega's Dreamcast console, and it was also the time when many of us first saw the newest in the Resident Evil chapter. The game was looking mighty impressive, and did exceptionally well with the critics and retailers. But fast forward a year and a half and here we are, the Playstation 2 is the only next-generation console on the market, pummeling Sega's Dreamcast to the pits, Sony got the break they needed. So what was once a Sega exclusive, is now an enhanced director's cut titled Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, and indeed Capcom has done many great things with this director's cut of Code Veronica.
If you read the context above you'll notice I mentioned the phrase "enhanced port." Yes indeed, Code Veronica X is one of the very few ports that actually has something drastically improved in it. For the first time in the franchises' history, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X's backgrounds are fully polygonal, and not pre-rendered like they were on the Dreamcast. The visuals, while nothing stunning, aren't very bad. They do look outdated when compared to titles like The Bouncer, Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2, but never the less CVX is a pretty looking title with many things going go for it. For starters, the game now has an all-new CG intro, which ties in with the ten additional minutes of never before seen footage. Much of the footage consists of computer-generated videos, but they are intense nevertheless. The character detail definitely shows age, if you take a look at the joints such as elbows, you'll notice that they are out of proportion and look disconnected from the forearm. The overall work on the characters is very nice, up close shots, during segments, will show off the good detail that was put into them. The environments don't vary too much, since they remain to be nocturnal and don't exactly feature any immense detail effects. Though their quality is quite good. Visually Resident Evil won't 'wow' you, but it isn't a disappointment, just a port of an 18-month-old game.
Those looking for a new and refreshing experience need to look elsewhere, if you've already played the Dreamcast version there's pretty much no point to playing the PS2 port. But, if you neglected to play the DC title, then I highly suggest you give Code Veronica X a look. It's a great all around title that has its eerie and scary moments, but in all honesty the only time I get scared in an RE title is when I have my headphones plugged into the TV, the volume cranked up, and then suddenly a zombie dog flies through a window. That would get me shook, but the rest of the game feels just like a shoot 'em up. Now don't misinterpret that, like I said Resident Evil Code: Veronica X is an excellent game, but for those looking for a change and something with more pizzazz should stick around and look forward to Devil May Cry. Getting around Code Veronica may require a strategy guide, because some of the puzzles aren't as obvious as others, thus creating a magnitude of confusion. I myself used a guide when I originally completed the Dreamcast version, because some of the puzzles were just too darn rigorous, unlike the more clever ones in Resident Evil 2. Replay value wise, like every other survival horror title that Capcom has made in the past, Code Veronica isn't a very lengthy game. For the experienced RE gamer it can take an upwards of 5-7 hours to finish, for the perfectionists and/or newcomers it's roughly a 12-15 hour quest. As a replay perk, the game offers a battle mode which is earned by completing the game.
The original Resident Evil featured Chris Redfield as the main character, the sequel starred Claire Redfield (Chris' sister) and Leon Kennedy, and the third included Jill Valentine, who was also in the first Resident Evil. Now, in Code Veronica you play as Claire Redfield, and meet a newcomer into the series by the name of Steven Burnside. Both cast members are fighting to get off of Umbrella's Rockfort island, which has been -of course- infested with zombies and the like. Your journey will consists of solving puzzles by going 'here' and 'there' or finding 'this' and 'that.' Weaponry will be a factor as always, you will have everything from a pistol to a grenade launcher to a shotgun and to a rocket launcher. At times Resident Evil can also feel like a frag-fest (Read: first person shooters; Unreal Tournament). Every zombie you kill raises your adrenaline little by little, as you begin to search for more and more brainless dead pieces of turd only to blow them apart into bits and pieces with your rocket launcher, hmm just me? Like I said, if you are looking for something new, you won't find it here, but if you are looking for some challenging gameplay, welcome home.
The gameplay still remains Resident Evil, which means that crappy control scheme is still present. It's intriguing how Capcom would overhaul the environments by adding real-time backgrounds, but ignore the flowing demands for a new control scheme. Granted, there should have been one as an option, we have all become too tired of the control and we've been demanding a change for a while now, and what would've been a tiny job for the development staff was ignored. Luckily, Devil May Cry has been given an all-new control layout that makes the game feel like an adventure game, because this time we finally have a jump button.
Resident Evil titles have always been known for their eerie audio atmosphere, which is always one of the series' best features, and Code Veronica is no exception. Taking cue from its predecessors CVX features some great atmosphere sound effects that never fail to set the mood, whether its a rusty lamp swaying back and forth making a creaking noise, or the crackle of glass as you step on it, the audio department doesn't fail. The voice acting can sound a bit melodramatic, but delivers on all rounds. It doesn't have any hesitation between replies, which is an extremely important thing and can make or break the cinematic feel of a game. Nothing to complain here either, a suggestion though the gun shot sounds need a little more volume, they sound a bit dim.
In the end those who've patiently waited for a PS2 Resident Evil title can rejoice with Code Veronica X, as a stand alone director's-cut the game is great, as a total package, which includes the Devil May Cry demo, this baby is worth every penny. Resident Evil Code: Veronica may not have the best PS2 visuals around but the package is pretty overall, the gameplay can get complex at times and may deem to be frustrating but nonetheless this challenge ads to the value of the game. The PS2 version also features 10 extra minutes of never before seen CG footage such as an all new intro, and even though the controls are the same as they've been forever, RE fans will over look the flaw and enjoy Resident Evil Code: Veronica X.
8/28/2001 Arnold Katayev