Resident Evil Zero

Review

posted 12/18/2002 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: GC
When Resident Evil first hit the scene back in 1996, it was embraced largely because it was full of surprises. It was a game unlike anything console gamers had seen before, and better yet, it was genuinely scary. You never knew what would be waiting around each corner, and even if you thought you did, Resident Evil was able to shock even the most jaded horror fan.

Now a number of sequels, a movie, and six years later, the Resident Evil series hasn’t really changed all that much. Gamers are still involved in a life or death struggle to solve puzzles, investigate deathly quiet locales, and get out of huge enclosed zombie filled houses. The problem is, quite simply, the Resident Evil world is no longer as scary, interesting, or shocking as it once was, and in turn, has lost a lot of its charm.

As the title indicates, Resident Evil Zero takes place before the other episodes in the franchise. Like most of the games, though, Zero starts with the S.T.A.R.S. team investigating strange happenings. After an unfortunate helicopter crash, Rebecca Chambers, our hero, uncovers a lead, a motive, and a suspect, named Billy Coen.

Of course, things are never that simple. The trail leads Rebecca to what appears to be an abandoned train, where the real adventure starts. As she investigates the train, Rebecca becomes torn between tracking what she believes is a cold blooded killer, Billy, or finding out what’s going on, and why the dead seem to be coming back to life. Either way, things don’t look good for this young S.T.A.R.S. member.

It doesn’t take much convincing for Rebecca to realize that Billy is indeed a good ally to have against the waking dead. He is a better shot, and frankly, he can take a lot more punishment than Rebecca, making him a valuable fighter to have on your side. Unlike other Resident Evil games, Zero allows gamers to use both characters in real time. For the most part switching between characters is as easy as a push of the button, adding an entirely new element to the game.

You can have your characters search independently, or together as a team. If you decide to journey solo, the other character will stay behind in whatever room you leave them, and radio if they get into trouble. As a team, however, the computer will control the other character, running right behind you and aiding in fights with monsters. For the most part this set-up works out well, but there are times when the computer-controlled character gets trapped by zombies, or stuck behind things in the foreground.

No matter if you’re playing with Billy, or Rebecca, both survivors are presented in amazing detail. You can see every detail of Billy’s jeans, or his handcuffs, or even his exceedingly large, and detailed, tattoo. Sadly Rebecca isn’t as interesting looking as Mr. Coen, what with her plain white vest and fanny pack on. She is extremely detailed, is pretty dull, and lacks that charm and beauty we’ve come to expect in our Resident Evil women.
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