Recently, I’ve been playing quite a bit of Resident Evil. I mean, I’ve been playing it so much that you could say I am quite hooked on it. Rather than give my standard-styled opinion on things, this time I’m going to take a sort of comparative approach. So here it is, Capcom’s Resident Evil for the GameCube (RE) as seen from the eyes of one who holds Lucas Art’s Grim Fandango for the PC (GF) as the gold standard, even across genres.
– RE’s genre is technically “survival horror”, while GF is a “traditional adventure” game. But they’re actually closer than their genres might indicate.
– There is much less talk in RE. In fact, there is almost no talk at all (discounting the grunts and moans of the zombie folk). It’s all text you need to read when you’re out exploring.
– There is absolutely no real music to speak of in RE. GF had extremely immersive tracks that fit the scene’s mood perfectly.
– RE’s puzzles are, in general, infinitely easier. Plus you have your trusty map that tells you whether you’ve finished everything important in a region, so that helps. And oh, if something moves, push it. It is bound to solve something.
– As far as I remember, only one (annoying) puzzle in GF involved timing. RE has more such, but only because you might get mauled while attempting to do something.
– RE has very little by way of range of characters. You have a few human males and females, that’s it. Oh, and the zombies and other monsters.
– The control scheme in RE is the most stiff, antiquated and retarded I’ve ever used in a long time. Basically your character can do a standard up-down-left-right, but in some sort of super stiff and clunky way. GF’s controls were nothing to write home about (if played with a joystick), but RE is just poor. After being spoiled by z-targeting in action-adventure games like Zelda, being unable to control the camera is downright lame. But I guess it’s a necessity given most things are pre-rendered for a given camera position and orientation. Which naturally leads to the next point.
– RE is graphically very pleasing (and so was GF at its time). I am quite impressed by the lighting, shadowing and general effects in RE. It is also very scary once you really get into it. But then again, while GF was spread across a variety of rich (, colourful and pretty) lands and times, RE is pretty much all in one mansion, over a night. Also, it would have been nicer if the characters in RE turned their heads and focussed on the interesting things in a room, rather than make the items shine, which seems out of context, atmosphere wise.
– You can die rather easily in RE. In GF, you can’t die. (Which is good since you’re actually “dead” before the start of the game.)
– More importantly, you don’t particularly care if a character in RE dies. Sure, she’s kinda pretty, but it’s no big deal when she gets mauled by a zombie and blood flies everywhere. GF on the other hand, though I knew nothing could go wrong, I almost cried when I thought Glottis was going to die.
– Trying to model reality closer, there is a limit to the number of things Jill can carry in RE. Manny Calavera on the other hand could carry infinite things in his suit. (Which sucked later on because you couldn’t do the “attempting to use all items in all possible locations” and hope to solve anything.)
– GF is quite linear whereas RE seems to have quite a few story branches. Each time I start from a restarted point, things sort of head in different directions. Which means, it isn’t as simple as remembering where a zombie is, dying, coming back there and taking him out with ease in the next life, like in say, doom.
All in all, RE is still a great game and loads of fun, in a freak-you-out-scary way at points. It’s just when it is compared to an absolutely stupendous experience, like GF, are its flaws apparent.
More succinct ratings will be available on the GameCube Page.