I’ll be linking to the video review that goes along with this at the bottom of the article. Yay for new formatting!
Today, I’m taking a look at the game that started it all, Resident Evil. Well, the Sega Saturn version, anyway. That came out a few months after the PSX release.
Originally released upon the world March 22, 1996 for the PlayStation and later ported to the Sega Saturn, PC, and, much, much later, Nintendo DS, Resident Evil turned the gaming world on its head. Atmosphere and who-dun-it mystery, mixed with solid gameplay and crazy puzzle solving made the game an instant success around the world.
Let’s take a look!
Preface: Yes, I know the game is 21 years old (Goddamn, that went by fast), but I’m still making this spoiler-free because, believe it or not, there ARE people who haven’t played it yet. Also, I’m going to cover the overall story as it doesn’t really matter who you choose lore-wise, outside of some minor differences. In the end, canonically, everyone escapes regardless of how well you do, so take solace in the fact that if you failed to save anyone, they still kinda got out.
I guess. How’d you even get hired on with S.T.A.R.S.?!
Resident Evil starts with us getting recap of the events taking place on the outskirts of Raccoon City that have citizens on edge and the police working overtime. From here, we join the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics And Rescue Service) Alpha team who is sent out to find their compatriots from Bravo. While en route to the last known coordinates of Bravo in the Akrlay Mountains, Alpha spots a plum of smoke rising out of the forest and decide to check it out.
What they find produces more questions than answers.
They find Bravo’s downed helicopter, but don’t get to examine it in any meaningful detail as they find themselves under attack almost immediately. In their mad dash to escape they rush towards the only thing they see– a mansion. Once they get inside, they realise that someone’s missing. Who it is depends on who you chose to play. If you chose Jill, Chris will be missing, and if you chose Chris, Barry will be missing.
Before anyone can really come to grips with everything that’s just happened, they hear a gunshot ring out and your chosen character is sent to investigate. When they find the source, they’re met with the recently deceased Kenneth of Bravo team. This is also where we get the iconic slow-turn-zombie scene.
From here on out, you’re left to your own devices to explore the mansion while trying to survive whatever creatures haunt its halls and the traps that fill its rooms…
Resident Evil is notorious for, at least, two things: God awful voice acting and tank controls.
I’ll get to the voice acting in a minute, but for right now, let’s talk about those tank controls. Personally, I love them. To me, they make perfect sense in a game with wildly differing camera angles coming at you constantly. They’re like an anchor, of sorts, because they don’t care what direction you’re faced, they work exactly the same all the time.
I know a lot of people don’t like them and find them confusing. I feel like those people are kind of stupid, but those are both opinions, so take them for what they’re worth.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely had my share of fights with the tank controls, but more often than not, they don’t hinder gameplay in any meaningful way. At least not outside of extremely high level play (I’m talking speedrunning, no damage, and knife only games here), but if you’re playing at that level, you could probably beat the game with a banana as your controller.
Outside of debatable controls, you’ll be tasked with solving a plethora of puzzles throughout the game. Puzzles can consist of something as simple as picking up a battery and placing it in a slot two feet away, or be as lengthy and in-depth as picking up a crest in one room, going to another and playing a piano, running one emblem to another room to replace the one you used to replace it with, leading to a grandfather clock sliding out of the way for a key that’s used in the mansion.
…ok, that SOUNDS way more complex than it actually is. I promise.
Along the way, you’ll come across some bosses, some of which have multiple strategies that can be employed. Maybe you don’t want to deal with that Giant Snake, well, you can run past him, grab what you need, and run out. Well, ok, if you’ve practiced it, you can, otherwise the old Nope Rope is probably gonna chomp that ass.
And that giant spider? Make him destroy the webbing for you if you don’t want to risk fighting him.
So, something that was sorely missed and there are a few things that I could’ve done without…
In my recent play through, one of the biggest hindrances of this release, was the lack of aim-assist, the increased enemy numbers (this is partially due to playing Chris because fuck me for picking the dude), and their difficulty. This was done to arbitrarily increase difficulty and boost rentals. For me, this added a ton of unnecessary stress and made the game more of a chore to play at certain points. That isn’t meant to imply that I didn’t have fun, because it’s goddamn Resident Evil and that’s what I do, so obviously I did, but I had to employ some strategies I generally don’t use in a normal play through like the ones mentioned above and serious dodging practice that I, honestly, probably needed.
If there’s one thing the Saturn got right, and I really mean that, it’s that it was the first release of any Resident Evil game with Battle Mode. You’ll have to clear a set number of rooms as quickly as possible with limited ammo, but definitely enough to finish, and enemies that get continually stronger with each passing room. There’s even a special zombie floating around in one of the rooms that’s a hell of a lot stronger than any other zombie found anywhere in the game.
All that said, there’s definitely something else the Saturn got right, and that’s looking good.
There’s a very distinct difference when it comes to the Saturn version of Resident Evil and, well, basically every single other platform’s release and that is the look of the character models. In the Saturn version, it looks like the colors are far more varied, deep, and vibrant than the other versions. The skins for the characters look amazing, but due to poor lighting and really rough jaggies on the models, they’re almost ruined.
On the flipside, the other versions have much better lighting, and cleaner character models. It’s a small thing to note, but I feel like the characters look a bit beefier in the Saturn release, as well. Everyone looks too damn skinny in the other versions. Literal fucking bean poles. What do they eat in Raccoon City?
If I had to point out something I wasn’t a huge fan of with the Saturn release, it’s definitely that the character models don’t look too great. At a distance, the colors and their blending can look great, but in some instances, it looks a bit washed out or faded. At some points, the lack of lighting even makes enemies look pretty bad. Hunters, for example, look pretty strange. Instead of a decent green, they look almost black and gooey. The Ticks in the mines do too. Well, the Ticks look more like walking lumps of shit, if I’m perfectly honest.
Does it hold up today, though? Well, yes and no. The colors, for me, hold up incredibly well, but the weaker, more jagged look of the character models is kind of a pain to look at.
Atmosphere is what makes up about 85% of any Resident Evil game, something they seemed to lose sight of with 5 and 6. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about those two in the future, and no, I won’t beat up poor RE4 again. Especially not after that last review.
A major part of the game’s atmosphere comes with the music, the ambient sounds, and the sound effects that bring this world to life.
Once you have the dog’s clicking nails ingrained in your head, you’ll be jumpy as shit for the rest of your life when you hear something that sounds even remotely similar. Seriously, my brother, stepdad, and myself all still get on edge when we hear anything that sounds like them.
The music direction is great and it shows when the music is calm, subdued, and quiet, or nonexistent, and then swells to a heart-pounding, anxiety laiden orchestra of “You’d better be on your damn toes.”
Every little thing in Resident Evil has a distinct and tell-tale sound. Zombies sound like they’ve got shoes full of squishy porage, Hunters have very bass-y, thick, heavy footfalls, and of course, the dog’s clickity nails. You’ll always know what’s waiting for you after you get through a door just by the sound the enemy makes when moving.
Enemies aside, the weapons you get to use all sound like they’ve got impact and actually hold some power to them, even if they’re a bit on the weaker side. Looking at you Beretta… I love the sound the Colt Python makes, it sounds like it’s gonna fuck up whatever it hits, and it damn sure does.
Ok, ok. I know. You’re waiting for me to talk about the voice acting. Well, let’s dive head-first into this dumpster of bullshit.
Jesus. H. Christ. Who the fuck directed these poor people? I mean, there are so many factors to consider; was it bad direction? Bad actors? Both? Neither? Uh…huh, yea, right… Resident Evil’s voice acting is legendary for being some of the worst voice acting ever recorded, and with good reason. I mean, shit, it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for the worse video game dialogue EVER. Seriously. Go Google that shit right now. I’m not joking.
I don’t even have to make jokes about it. It’s like one, long running joke in itself. It’s campy as shit and I love it.
So, bad voice acting, inflated difficulty, and questionable controls definitely put a few dents in the game’s reputation, but what it gets right and doesn’t falter with are the areas of having fun, teasing your brain, and giving you plenty of reasons to go back and replay the game multiple times.
A first timer playing the game might get between 8-10 hours out of it, and after that, your time will be cut down drastically. Hell, my last run was just under 4 hours long, and I hadn’t played Chris’ scenario in years. You can easily get a sub 2 hour run once you’ve got an efficient route. Doing so will unlock some goodies for you. They tend to vary to a degree depending on the platform you’re on, but you can always count on a Rocket Launcher with infinite ammo with a sub 3 hour run. The PC version has a special weapon for Jill and another for Chris in addition to the Rocket Launcher if you do this. There’s also the dressing room key you earn for getting the good ending with either one for some extra dress up fun.
So, is it worth buying? Well, you can usually find a copy of Biohazard (the Japanese release), which isn’t just arguably better, it completely is, for $15-$20USD. The US release doesn’t seem to want to go for anything less than about $60USD for the DISC ALONE. Considering the drawbacks the US version has compared to the Japanese version, do yourself a favor and get the Japanese release.
Unless you actually still own a PlayStation in some form (PS4 currently withstanding because Sony are being fucking stupid about letting PS1 Classics roll out on it, but that’s a rant for another day…), and in that case buy the Director’s Cut Dualshock Version. Yes, that exact one, because the regular DC Version has god awful music. You can probably find the disc pretty cheap if you’re on the PSX/2 and it’s definitely cheap digitally on the PSN. I think maybe $10 on there, for it? I haven’t checked in a very, very long time. Anyway, pick this bad bastard up and go shoot some zombies and mutant freaks!
That’s all for now.
Take care and watch your backs out there. I’ll see you out on the streets of Raccoon City!
Link to the video (hammy acting by yours truly) below!
Now, this is a sale!
Phew, that’s quite the list. Every one of them worth it. Well, at least I hope Dead by Daylight is at this point.
Back to work on the Until Dawn review and some other projects. It’s all coming up on YouTube soon, right over here.
Steam’s really gone out on a limb this time with a ton of adventure waiting for you. Let’s take a look at this list…
That’s not a bad little list at all, I think. Hours upon hours of aimless adventuring, dungeon crawling, base building, and espionage. Of course, there are a metric fuckton of other games included, but as usual, I just listed the ones that jumped out to me.
You guys have fun and hunt some mammoths or some wild shit. I’ll see you all soon.
So, reason being, and my old regular readers (are you guys even still around?) know that I almost never post my personal life stuff on here, but I got married, started a family, switched careers, and haven’t had much time to even think about the poor blog. That said, things are starting to stabilize and aside from PC reviews, I plan to start putting in some current gen console reviews as well. I’ll get into that later.
Before I get any further, I want to give a huge, from-the-bottom-of-my-black-heart “thank you!” to an awesome blogger that goes by mh4wp. You can find his blog right over here! He nominated me back in June of last year for the Liebster Award and it means a lot, so I wanted to really say thank you again. Not just in a comment tucked away in an old review or some obscure place. Also, he’s got a book in the works about the political science of video games, which sounds awesome. I absolutely encourage you, not only to check out the book, but also the blog. Again, thank you so much for the nomination. It put me over the moon, even if I was 8 months late to the party.
In less exciting news, the console reviews I mentioned earlier will focus on Playstation 4 and its exclusives. Don’t worry, I won’t shun the multiplatform games. I won’t be able to review Mass Effect: Andromeda (and its glorious, juicy multiplayer co-op) if I do something as silly as that. Side note: I believe I also heard rumors on the wind of Marvel Heroes coming to consoles? It’d make sense given their beta testing phase of controller usage. If it does go through, I’ve got my fingers crossed for the ability to link my PC account to my PS4. I really don’t want to level 3/4 of the cast to 60 again. I mean, I would, but I don’t want to.
Ok, ok. Let’s address the big, fat elephant in the room. The Nuzlocke. Yes, I know. I FUBAR’d that one yet again. I just don’t think it’s been long enough since the original. I don’t have the drive for it again…yet. I know it was probably the most popular part of this blog. I also know I’ve horrendously failed Lord Emperor Branga by not completing my end of it and leaving his mud puddle garbage frog to rot in its PC storage bank indefinitely. It’s ok, though. Charles wasn’t exactly going places anyway.
Oh, jumping back to the console reviews and such (tangent thinking, even when you think you’re on the train after it hops off the rails, you’re not. Yay.), given that I can record video and take screenshots easily with the PS4, I’ll be using both features for future reviews on the system. I absolutely intend to make some videos for my YouTube channel (yea, I’ve got one of those. It’s right over here! Yea, it’s pretty small still.), such as Let’s Plays and, possibly, reviews. We’ll see how the video reviews go, I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time. Anyway, my first target in this whole new, crazy plan is the PS4 exclusive: Until Dawn. I know, it’s old at this point, but honestly, it’s a huge part of why I bought my first PS4 a few years ago. Of course, that one got sold, and the game hadn’t even been released yet, so no harm, no foul, I suppose. Anyway, with the new PS4, Until Dawn, and a huge amount of love for both, I’m setting my sights on it. I might also try to shoe in some older Resident Evil reviews, too. RE2 and Nemesis, most likely. I wouldn’t mind doing Code Veronica, too, if I could. Oh, and REVII, you’re on my list too, sucka. Better what yo’self.
I think that just about covers everything for now. Yes, I’m going to try and keep myself in check and the blog alive this time (my wife will crack the whip if I don’t). It should be infinitely easier now with the hours I’m working these days. No more wild and crazy schedules for this guy.
That’s all for now. You folks have fun, take care, and I’ll see you next time.
Steam has a lot going on this weekend. Seriously. A lot.
Let’s start off with the big one! Activision is the star of a publisher’s sale and there are a ton of great games up on offer. You can find the whole list here. How about we take a look at a few names on the list, too? Just for good measure.
Ok, now that the Activision sale is done, let’s move on!
The Saints Row Franchise Pack is getting its own sale as well! Up to 66% off anything Saints Row. Not bad at all considering you can get all four SR games on Steam for under $20, not counting their DLC packs. Seriously, that’s a sale for a big franchise, not dropping a 6 year old game to thirty fucking dollars and acting like it’s a favor. Sorry Activision.
Anywho, I’ll try to keep my price ranting to a minimum. The Saints Row games are silly, ridiculous, and absolutely a ton of fun. Maybe skip that copy of Black Ops III and buy all the SR games and their DLC packs for less? Well, that didn’t last long. Moving on!
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is having a free-weekend, so if you’ve been looking for some Tom Clancy goodness, here’s your chance. The free-weekend lasts until Sunday at 1PM PDT, but it’ll stay on sale until Monday at 10AM PDT.
Holy shit, I think that’s all of the majors. I hope your wallets are prepared for this. I know mine is, because it’s empty, so I don’t have to worry.
There really are a ton of great franchises getting discounted during these sales, so get out there and fatten up that library!
Stay tuned for some other cool news coming up right after this post!
Well, I arrived in Littleroot Town today. It was a long, crappy, boring ride. I was stuck in the back of the moving van.
Near the end of the ride, I spoke to Professor Birch on the PokeVid, he had a few questions for me before I got to town, but none of them worth mentioning.
When I got home, Mom told me that I’ve got my own room now, so that’s pretty cool! She called me downstairs while I was settling in and told me dad was on TV. He’s the Petalburg Gym Leader. I’m not sure why he was on TV, though. We missed that part.
I decided to head to Professor Birch’s place to introduce myself, but wound up meeting his daughter May, instead. She’s a bit of a nerd, but she seems nice enough. It turns out that Birch was out trying to catch PokeMon, so we went to go find him.
Well, we found him with no problem. All we had to do was a follow the noise and commotion he was kicking up by being chased by a PokeMon. This– this is the man that’s supposed to be a well-respected and well-known PokeMon professor? The guy’s a freakin’ idiot.
Either way, he said there were some PokeBalls in his bag, so I grabbed one and tossed it. A little green Treecko popped out and looked just as confused by the situation as I was. He gave me one of those looks as if to say “What the hell am I doing here? This again?” I just shrugged and told him the Professor was in danger. I guess this wasn’t the first time because he rolled his eyes and sighed in a very deliberate way. Almost like he was tired of this crap already.
Anyway, we beat the PokeMon chasing Birch, and he recognized me as Norman’s son. At this point, he invited me to his lab to talk a bit more like we’d intended to do before. He wound up telling me to keep the Treecko.
I’ve decided to call him Henry. He seems fairly happy to be away from the Professor. Can’t say I blame him one bit.
Professor Birch mentioned that I might be able to find May along Route 103, tracking down PokeMon. I really don’t know why I’d want to find her, or what it has to do with me, but what else were we gonna do?
After meeting Birch, I can see why May is a bit airheaded and dopey. It must run in the family.
Either way, I headed towards Route 103. Henry absolutely smashed a few wild PokeMon that decided to try and slow us down. This little dude is a powerhouse. We also seem to get along pretty well, so that’s a plus.
After smacking the wild buggers around, we got to Route 103, and sure enough, found May making a checklist of the PokeMon she’d seen. Then she wanted to battle because she’d gotten a Torchic from Birch.
Henry must’ve been as over it as I was because he didn’t waste any time smacking the little chicken nugget around.
After the battle she healed our PokeMon and suggested we go back to Littleroot. I really don’t understand why these people love backtracking so much, but what else were Henry and I gonna do?
Once we got back to town, we headed to Birch’s lab. He then praised me for beating May in a battle. Really not sure why, she’s more of a threat to herself while walking down a set of stairs than a threat to anything else.
Birch handed me a PokeDex and asked me to get to work on it. What the hell is with these people? It reminds me of a quote, but I can’t recall who said it. Some scruffy guy with a trench coat with weird sunglasses. “I didn’t ask for this.” Hmm, yea, that’s the one.
I guess I’m being ushered off on an adventure whether I like it or not. Oh well, they did give me some PokeBalls to use if I needed them. Maybe I can catch some friends for Henry.
Either way, it’s been a long, weird, crazy day. I’m going to bed. I’ll go save the world, or whatever silly garbage I’m being sent to do, tomorrow. Besides, I wanna hang out with Henry a bit more before we leave.
Well, I guess that makes it official, the Nuzlocke is alive and well again. Our new trainer has a bit of an attitude, though, doesn’t he? Maybe he’ll lighten up in the future? Who knows! You’ll have to keep checking back for new entries to find out.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any Gen VI trainer gifs, so I’m just using the classic one.
Welp, my Nuzlocke has begun.
It’ll be up tomorrow at 12PM EST. Entry one is fairly lengthy, but the first one usually is, isn’t it?
At some point, I’ll be getting to work on this week’s review. It’s going to be a little different than the rest. I might be calling in some friends for this one.
Anyway, I’ll see you kids tomorrow for the Nuzlocke!
Before I start this week’s review, I want to give a big “Thank you” to my buddy Monger who donated this game to me (actually, it was quite a while ago that he did…). He’s got a YouTube channel here with some Let’s Plays and other things. He also streams regularly, you can find that right here. If you follow me on Twitter (Monger’s is right over here!), you might’ve seen me promoting his recent return to streaming, so give him a follow or two or three and come join us for the streams. They’re a hell of a lot of fun.
Another side note: Being incredibly sick this week, I totally forgot to get screenshots for this review, so in lieu of that, here’s the trailer!
Breach & Clear was originally developed by Mighty Rabbit Studios, published by Gun Media, and released for iOS in July of 2014. It was later ported to Android, Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and the Playstation Vita. Following up the X-Com review, it’s a tactical strategy game that’s actually quite a bit of fun. So, without further ado, let’s, well, breach and clear!
I’m gonna just jump right onto the game play, ok? Good.
It’s totally different to any tactics game I’ve played in the past. Mind you, I haven’t played a whole lot of them, but I really like how it works. You’ll start off with some number of doors you can stack your team on. Everybody on one door? Sure. One guy to flank the back while the others move in from the front? You can do that too. It’s flexible. Very, very flexible. I like it.
That’s not the main part of what made it feel so different to other tactics games for me, though. That would be the fact that you plan out your entire turn before anything happens. You chart your soldiers’ paths, even giving them the ability to stop, do something, then continue on. While you’re doing this, you can decide which way you want them to face, so if you need coverage over a few doors that aren’t open yet, you can get it.
After you’ve set all this into motion, you, well, literally set it into motion and watch the turn play out. Your team moves in, sweeping the area, taking down any enemies they come across. I really, really like the way this works. It feels a little more thought-out, I suppose is the phrase, than other systems. When I say “thought-out” I mean that I feel like I put a bit more thought into what I was doing while I was planning out my turns than I do with, say, X-Com, where I just try to move carefully and spend more time moving slowly and cautiously. I guess it’s a bit more action oriented.
Either way, enough rambling. The game lends itself very well to people of all tactics experience ranges.
Eyes Open, Rookie
Given that the game started out as an iOS game, it looks fairly decent. The animations are smooth and clean, they look really nice.
On the flip side, the character models look a bit generic, the portraits you can choose for your soldiers are pretty hilarious, and the bullets…oh man, the bullets. They look less like they come from a military based game, and more from something akin to the opening of A New Hope. Actually, that’s a pretty good analogy for how the game usually plays out.
Really, if you set the opening scene from that movie to play as you’re playing Breach & Clear, pause it between your turns, and then watch them both play out, I promise you it’d be eerily similar.
So, now that I’ve managed to mix Star Wars and modern military tactics, let’s move on!
Honestly, there isn’t much else to say about this one. It’s entertaining, there’s plenty to do, there’s soldier customization, loadout customization, some RPG elements, but it’s all so similar to itself that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish exactly what you’ve done.
That said, I’d put over an hour into the game before I’d realized it and even though it felt like I’d only done three or four missions, I’d actually done about twelve. This is good in the sense that it means the game had me engrossed enough to be engaged and keep playing. It’s bad in the sense that I didn’t actually feel like I’d had any variation. After I stopped playing, I felt like I should’ve been exposed to a bit more of the game by that point, but hadn’t.
Overall, it didn’t sully my experience, really. I still had fun with it, and I’ll still play it when X-Com delivers too many “That’s X-Com, baby!” moments for me to handle. As of writing, the game is sitting on Steam for a cool $14.99 (actually, it’s on sale for $2.24, remember that weeklong sale post I did earlier this week? No? Well, you would if you’d read it.), which to me just feels like too high a price point for what you get. I feel like $9.99 might be a better price for it, and anything under that (again, that weeklong sale), or even under $4.99, is definitely a green light to pick it up.
So, in the end, the game is a bit repetitive, a little generic, and somewhat bland, but, honestly, it’s a lot of fun. Go buy it. Right now. It’s on sale. Go!
That’s all for now.
You folks have fun, take care, and I’ll see you next time.