Code Veronica has been one of the most anticipated games ever since it was surprisingly announced by Capcom back in September of 1998. This the fourth outing for the famed series, finds the young Claire Redfield in search for her missing in action brother, Chris Redfield. The game gets off to a spectacular start as Claire is caught snooping around in Umbrella's European facility. The next thing she knows, she is on some strange island facility owned and operated by Umbrella. From here the mysterious and equally deep storyline will unfold in the process of surprising and shocking you.
It is quite interesting if you have followed the development of this title. When it was showcased on video for the first time at the Spring 1999 Tokyo Game Show, both gamers and media alike left unimpressed. The environments looked shallow, the characters awkward and the overall experience uninspiring. Fast forward to December 1999 when the demo was released along with Biohazard 2 Special Edition in Japan, and the game had taken a 360 degree turn for the better.
It is important to note here that the game has been developed for the most part internally by Sega, with some assistance from Capcom. The result? Absolute brilliance. The character models are only second to Shenmue's in depth. The fact that so much care has been taken in the character models impacts the overall look and feel of the game. The facial expressions easily convey the character's feelings whether they be horror, surprise, shock, love or laughter.
The environments turned out to be highly detailed and have never conveyed a more eerie aura. They are full of life from raging fires, bursting water pipes, rain, to cockroaches enjoying the abundance of readily available flesh to munch on. On more than once occasion I found myself returning to areas in order to carefully enjoy the lush environments. The textures have been chosen carefully for each area. Without giving too much away, there a number of locals you will come across throughout your journey.
The zombies and new bizarre characters have come a long way since the original Resident Evil on the Playstation. Now they actually look like something out of the Night Of The Living Dead. The zombie design varies according to your location on the island. You will find zombie pilots, zombie hillbillies, and even zombies with night vision goggles. There are a couple of returning creatures that will keep your heart pumping. As you progress through the game, the bosses get better and better, leading up to a grand finale.
Slowdown is non-existent except for a couple of occurrences in the Battle Mode bonus missions found after successfully completing the main mission.
The soundtrack for the Resident Evil series has always been a key element in the gameplay and overall horror experience. There is no exception with Code Veronica. The soundtrack fits like a glove to what you are experiencing on the screen. Even John Carpenter would be impressed with the eerie soundtrack.
The sound effects are mostly basic fare. The infamous creaky doors return as do the moaning zombies. The weapon sounds are still the same, yet quite convincing. There is nothing like unloading the pair of Uzis into some un-expecting zombies.
After the millions this franchise has made, it is nice to finally see Capcom/Sega hire some competent voice actors. For the most part, the voice acting is done well with enough enthusiasm to be believable.