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GI Reviews

January 1998 Issue

Frightfully Delicious!

  • Size: 2 CD-ROMs
  • Style: 1-Player Action/Adventure
  • Special Features: Play as Claire or Leon; Character-Specific Weapons; Mini-Quests Using Different Characters; 2 Difficulty Levels; Zombies & Other Mutant Foes; New Bosses & Story After Completing First Adventure
  • Levels: 18
  • Created by: Capcom
  • Available: Now for Sony PlayStation

    Just a short while after Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and the rest of the S.T.A.R.S. team ventured into the Raccoon Forest, discovered Umbrella Corporation's secret genetics lab, and blew the thing sky high, the small town of Raccoon City started to feel the repercussions. Just like the inhabitants of the Raccoon Forest mansion, citizens of this quaint town in the Pacific Northwest have been overcome by a frightful disease. The source of the disease is uncertain, but the effects are deadly. Slowly developing as a skin rash, the disease quickly takes over the central nervous system to snuff the life out of its victim. Even though the victims actually lose all pulmonary and brain functions, the disease seems to be some kind of living form that takes control of the dead victims - transforming them into horrendous zombies.

    Enter Leon Kennedy, a young and brash cop, and Claire Redfield, sister to former zombie-killer Chris Redfield. Thrown into a chaotic city of the undead, they must find a way out.

    The wait is finally over for one of the most anticipated PlayStation sequels ever. Capcom's Resident Evil 2 is on its way to PS-X gamers around the world. After the original game was released back in March of 1996, Resident Evil quickly became one of the best selling PS-X titles ever - racking up nearly 3 million copies in worlwide sales. A sequel was inevitable, but most gamers didn't think it would have taken this long. Capcom originally announced the release of Resident Evil 2 to be March of last year. To the dismay of nearly every PS-X fan, the release moved, moved again, and ultimately culminated in this month's monumental launch. Through constant updates from Capcom concerning the progress of the game, we can tell you that it barely resembles the early scenes we received nearly a year ago, as Capcom scrapped the original design and work. Most noticeably, one of the main characters, the female protagonist, was first introduced as a college student with an interest in motorcycle racing. She was then completely redesigned to become Claire Redfield, sister to original RE character Chris Redfield. Other changes have occurred with relation to the environments, enemies, and weapons. It's not that every game doesn't go through these types of changes during its development cycle, but a high profile game like Resident Evil 2 makes us take notice. Even though the long wait and anticipation has sent us into a fervor of comparison and reflection, Resident Evil 2 is now here, and a must play.

    There are many similarities to the first installment. The control, menu screens, and other item features are strikingly similar to the original. The typewriter and ribbon allow for saves, chests can be used to store items, and combining green and blue plants for health are just a few of the parallels between new and old. A seasoned Resident Evil veteran will grab this game and be off to the races as they snap up the ammo and mow down zombies right from the get go. But soon, the player will notice the major differences in Resident Evil 2.

    Even with the minor likenesses to the first game, Resident Evil 2 (like any worthy sequel) has a lot of killer new additions. Most noticeably, the overall appearance has been drastically improved. Everything is more colorful, detailed, and vivid. The main characters, Leon and Claire, have head-tracking animations that give them new life. Their heads swivel and tilt as they walk, or (in most cases) run through the game. Leon and Claire will also show signs of injury. A strapping young rookie cop goes from a confident stride, to holding his side, to moving with a severe limp after several bites from a zombie. Speaking of zombies, Resident Evil 2's graphic detail carries over to the enemies as well. Zombies with varying looks, acid-spitting plants, ferocious dogs, wall crawling mutants, and some of the nastiest looking bosses you'll ever see in a video game come alive in Resident Evil 2. With the insatiable appetite of these mutant zombies also comes the need to dispose of them. The death and carnage - both trademarks of Resident Evil - are exceptionally gory in Resident Evil 2. Body parts explode, flesh rips, and the blood flows in extreme graphic detail. For example, when Claire is grabbed by a zombie around her ankle, she will give a swift kick to its head, sending it across the room like a soccer ball.

    Graphically, there is no doubt that the first game pales in comparison to the second, and many will be glad to hear that the acting is far improved as well. We admit that some of the GI staff have a soft spot in their hearts for the cheesy and memorable lines from the first game, yet the real-time animations were stiff and uninteresting. Resident Evil 2 is loaded with varying cut-scenes that heighten the intrigue, suspense, and incredible horror. Additionally, the scenarios and scenes change the second time through the game. New cut-scenes will replace the old, while new items, monsters, and other pitfalls will change as well. New bosses also emerge.

    Indeed, the arrival of Resident Evil 2 has been a long time coming, but it has been well worth the wait. Superior graphics coupled with the intertwining of action and story will engulf you into this new world of survival horror.

    Paul, The Game Professor

    Concept: 9.25
    Graphics: 9.75
    Sound: 9.25
    Playability: 9
    Entertainment: 9.75
    OVERALL: 9.5
    "Because the developers at Capcom scrapped their first work on Resident Evil 2, I almost consider this the third game. Although the play control and many of the puzzles are very similar to the first game, the graphics make Res Evil 1 look like crap. The story and acting are improved and the game flows much better with less loading time from room to room. The way RE 2 intertwines the two adventures will keep everyone interested. Also, the second time through is filled with new bosses and areas. The first game is easily one of my favorites, but it has to make room for this new world of survival horror. A great sequel and a must play game."

    Andy, The Game Hombre

    Concept: 9.25
    Graphics: 9.5
    Sound: 9
    Playability: 9.25
    Entertainment: 9.5
    OVERALL: 9.25
    "I liked Resident Evil, but I thought the action was a little disjointed and the lack of ammo was a big bummer. Like Beavis, I like to kill, kill, kill! Fortunately, Resident Evil 2 is filled with more fodder, more ammo (you are in a police station for a big portion of the game), and smoother, faster action. I especially like the fact that this game has two characters that follow different sides of the same story, making it a necessity to finish the game with both characters. And then to top it off, there's a second quest. Woo-hoo! This game is violent, so it's not for everyone, but it is definitely my kind of game. Res fans, prepare yourself for one butt-kickin' game."

    Reiner, The Raging Gamer

    Concept: 9.25
    Graphics: 9.5
    Sound: 9.25
    Playability: 9.25
    Entertainment: 9.75
    OVERALL: 9.5
    "As far as innovative techniques go, not that much is new, but the adventure is where the entertainment lies. And this quest goes above and beyond anything I thought I'd ever see out of this title. Capcom upped the scare and gore factor to an almost incomprehensible degree, so that you won't want to move on to the next room for fear that a ghoul will scare the #%*! out of you. The incorporation of character side quests, greater numbers of enemies, and new weapons are also nice touches. Resident Evil was a great game. Resident Evil 2 is even better. The first one made me laugh, this one frightens me, and the next one will probably make me buy rubber sheets."

    The Bottom Line: 9.5

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