It has now been ten years since those damn dogs came flying through the window, and no longer do I panic and scream like a little girl as my handgun bullets fail to find their mark. I’m not afraid of this game any more, and I feel silly for ever being so in the first place. Alas it is because I have grown up, my spooks are now more psychological than shock value, and after playing through Resident Evil for the umpteenth time I must say that this game has little to offer, even with the new “Rebirth” mode. But I will say this, if you’ve never had a chance to play the original Resident Evil, you’ve probably never picked a better place to start.
To reproduce the whole RE cannon in this review would be silly so I’ll keep it simple, S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team has been lost in the Arklay mountains near a town called Raccoon City following a series of grisly murders. It’s up to Bravo team to find out what has happened to them. The search will take them through a mansion loaded with zombies and a ton of other apparitions that are out for your brains and blood. The story sets up for the many spin-offs that have occurred at this point, but you’ve really got to see the humble beginnings that this series has come from, complete with simplistic graphics, shorter than short game play, and insultingly bad voice acting.
All is not that bad though in Resident Evil land, the game play is still as solid as it was before, it’s still fun, and the graphics translate surprisingly well on to the little DS screen. On the bottom screen is where all the action happens, and if you’re playing the new Rebirth Mode, a lot of the cool extras go on here. One of the key things is the ability to swing your knife from a first person view, it’s a good way to conserve ammunition however you’ve got to be good with the knife because it’s still the weakest weapon in the game, even after all the improvements that were made from Resident Evil: Code Veronica and on, you’ve still got a really crappy knife.
If you’ve played the original Resident Evil then without a doubt you’re familiar with the awesomely bad voice acting, short of Dead Alive’s line “I kick ass for the Lord” I think you’ll be hard pressed to find worse voice acting. There’s the classic “Jill sandwich” line, along with a whole lot of other scenes that are just made much worse when combined with the decidedly bad acting. Some of the side characters have even been replaced with worse actors, something I didn’t think previously possible. The rest of the sound remains faithfully intact, so I still get the shivers when I hear one of those damn hunters running down the hallways.
Graphically this game holds up very faithfully, it looks good, and has all of the full motion video scenes that were present in the original game. The character models have suffered a slight hit in the polygon count but they still look as good as they did almost a decade ago. A touch up on the still shot backgrounds would have been nice but it is acceptable as it is.
This game still handles like the ancient dinosaur that it did on the Playstation and that is too bad, because this game really could have used a fully 3-D controls scheme instead of the forklift style of control. It’s still functional but it feels very slow and clunky, even with the DS control pad.
Given how long it has been since the last time I played the original Resident Evil I must say that this is a great port of a game that has not necessarily been able to withstand the test of time. Granted this is the only good portable survival horror title it still is simply above average at best. There are a number of other games that can fill your DS library, but if you’ve never had the chance to experience the game that started it all, then try it with this version, or the GameCube version if you’re looking for a challenge. I have once again entered the world of survival horror, and for once, I wish I stayed home.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
In a past life I worked with Interplay, EA, Harmonix, Konami, and a number of other developers. Now I'm working for a record label, a small arm of casual games in a media company along with Gaming Nexus, and anywhere else that sees fit to employ me.