First Impressions: January 10th, 1999|
Shinji Mikami and his team at Capcom are promising a darker, scarier and more evil than has been previously seen in the now famous "survival horror" Resident Evil series.
At the end of last month, Japanese gamers were privileged to get a PC conversion of Resident Evil 2 (Biohazard 2 in Japan). Packaged with the game was a very playable demo of Code Veronica. What amazed me initially was the length of the demo, just over one hour! Capcom assures us that this outing for the series will be the longest yet, and if the demo is any indication, they are right on schedule. So what about the demo, you may ask? Read on.
Despite what happened in Racoon City throughout the first 3 outings on the Playstation, Umbrella Corporation still has many facilities spread around the globe. Code Veronica picks up where Resident Evil 2 left off. After escaping a harrowing experience, Claire Redfield goes in search of her brother (Chris Redfield from the original Resident Evil) who is investigating Umbrella's activities in France. Claire goes to Paris and sneaks into the facility. The opening of the game shows her trying to escape the facility. This CG sequence is one of the finest pieces of work ever seen and even rivals the so called masters at Square and Namco. Everything looks real as a number of guards are chasing Claire down a hall. The camera movements resemble something out of an action movie, similar to the work of John Woo and James Cameron. As she gets to the end of the hall a helicopter shines its lights through the window. Claire quickly spots its machine guns and makes a dive to another hallway while the helicopter starts to unload in the process killing the guards. Next Claire runs down another hall with the helicopter blasting through the building closely behind her. When she gets to the end of the hall she dives down a staircase and through a door to find herself surrounded by gun totting guards. What happens next is a classic textbook piece that John Woo would be proud of. Claire raises her hands as to surrender when she notices some flammable containers behind the guards. In slow-motion she raises her hands and lets go of her gun, then suddenly she drops down catching the gun before it hits the ground and firing a clear shot at the tanks. A huge explosion occurs taking out the guards. As she gets up she is caught by un-identified character. Whew!! This is only the opening sequence!! From here you find yourself in a jail cell on some secret island located somewhere near South America.
After awakening in the cell from some sort of explosion above, the game begins and you take control of Claire. As she gets out of the cell the story slowly begins to unfold. She is not sure where she is, or what exactly is going on this particular island. The game follows the regular pattern of the series. Nothing too earth shattering in terms of gameplay. You have about 8 items you can carry, herbs and first aid cans are still the choice for health revitalization. Unfortunately the characters still utilize an awkward control system which I was hoping would be full 360 degree free movement by the time the game got to its fourth iteration. Using the camera work Mikami used in Dino Crisis, gives Code Veronica a genuine movielike look similar to Metal Gear Solid for PSX. The real-time cinemas are wonderfully integrated directly into the action of the game. Action is a key word in this demo as there were few instances when something was not going on. For example, in one scene when you come out of the barracks and head down the stairs, the game goes to a perspective under the stairs as something is watching you. Very creepy to say the least.
The sound in the game is above and beyond anything done in the series. With the power of Dreamcast, Capcom is able to mix a number of sounds at once. For example, you can hear the rain coming down while you have a conversation with a character and even hear a zombie moaning in the background. This ability to play with the sound becomes evident towards the end of the demo where lightening strikes add to the tension of the unknown. This brings me to the brilliant lighting effects used in the game. Right from the start where Claire uses a lighter to light her path to the lightening strikes mentioned above, Code Veronica screams next generation.
The character models which were highly criticized when the game first showed at last Spring's Tokyo Game Show, have been totally revamped to now look stunning. Having played both Code Veronica and Shenmue, I can confidently say that the character models in Code Veronica are better than Shenmue. Watching Claire's facial response to different situations is amazing. In one scene where a lab worker has his head crushed up against a glass window, Claire looks on in horror and you can see clearly by her facial expression how she feels. This in itself makes you the player a little more anxious and un-easy about what lies ahead.
The zombies have been revamped as well. I enjoyed blowing away some "hill Billy" type zombies who sported hats. When I blew one of their heads off the hat went flying. The zombies finally fall like real-life people. For example, if you waste a zombie near a wall then it will slump down against the wall. The puzzles presented in the demo were not too difficult but there were a couple of interesting variations. For example, in order to gain access to one building I was required to deposit all items which contained metal into a security box. Thus leaving me quite uneasy as I had no weapons to defend myself. The demo does not reveal too much of the plot but Claire does run into Steve Burnside who appears to be an inmate of the island and is trying to escape. He also appears to have family problems and does not trust anyone. The other major character who actually tries to shoot you is Alfred Ashford. Apparently his family runs Umbrella and he is in charge of this particular compound. He accuses Claire of purposely getting caught in order to lead an "attack" on the island. Of course Claire has no idea what he is talking about and will have to figure this out. The demo comes to a close with Claire coming to set of stairs that looks up towards some sort of castle or mansion. It immediately reminded me of Castlevania. The demo then shows a short video of scenes to come in the final product which is headed to Japan on February 3rd and shortly thereafter in North America. Until then, start saving. Code Veronica is going to be a must buy for all Dreamcast owners.
Regular Game Info: October, 1999
One of the best known game developer which some might say created the hype of fighting game is none other than Capcom. From their classic work Street Fighter 2 to their cute Mega Man series, Capcom has been able to let gamers express their emotion through the TV screen. But now, it's no longer beating the living crap out of player 2 nor controlling a cute blue man shooting at bad guys. This time now is for survival.
If your living in the gaming world, you probably seen or played Resident Evil. With the recent announcement of Resident Evil 3 coming for the Playstation, Sega fans do not have to worry because Resident Evil: Code Veronica is coming to Dreamcast. Many changes have been made to take advantage of the powerful 128-bit Dreamcast processor. Unlike Resident Evil 3 coming soon for the Playstation, gone are the pre-rendered, non-interactive backgrounds replacing them with 3-D polygon environments. This will allow more real time strategy and fast speed action and rotate in camera angles.
The story of Resident Evil 3 lies between Resident Evil 1 and 2, however Code Veronica will take place right after where Resident Evil 2 left off. For those of you who've beaten Resident Evil 2 with Claire Redfield, there's a hint that she is gonna go to Europe to find her lost brother. This is exactly where Code Veronica is going to take place. Europe is where the evil Umbrella Corporation's main base is located, Claire will most likely find her lost brother, new friends / allies along with new weapons to blast her way through brain sucking zombies.
Only this much information is known so far for this game and the release date would be sometime in year 2000. Could there be possibly a multi-player option using Dreamcast's modem? Could there be 2 scenario one using Claire and the other using Chris? One can only dream of having these cool options but knowing Capcom, gamers won't be disappointed.
| First Impressions by: Micheal Weatherup
General Info by: Vincent