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Resident Evil 2
Minimum specs:  Unavailable
Developer:  Unavailable
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date:  Unavailable No Players:  Unavailable
UK price: £35.00 PC Gamer Score: 85%

Article first published: Issue 68, April 1999
Writer:  Matthew Pierce

Visceral
Zombies are extremely fickle things. For a start, if they really do want to feast on the flesh of the living, how come they never finish their meal? According to the films, they take a couple of bites (thereby creating a new zombie mate), and then move on to the next one. It's almost as if they don't really like the taste of human meat at all, and would rather sit down to a plate of insalata delle feste, served with a lemon grass and papaya compote. Now that, I'd pay to watch.

Instead of this, though, Capcom have, as with the first game, stuck to horror convention - and delivered an action adventure game that's responsible for some of the most genuinely terrifying moments in front of your monitor. Invalid page faults and general protection errors aside, the enormous, hairy tarantulas, legions of moaning zombies and, in particular, the 'licker' are supremely well-realised adversaries - easily on a par with the beasts populating some of today's finest first-person shooter adversaries.

These were always to be expected, though, thanks to the hugely flattering reception the game received nearly a year ago on the PlayStation. At the time it was a landmark title that became the latest fastest-selling game ever on that format. The time that's passed was always going to have had an effect on its ability to amaze, but it's the PC we're talking about here - the platform for deeply involving 3D games that are pushing back the boundaries of what's possible from both technological and story-telling points of view.

With these criteria in mind, Resident Evil 2 suffers. But thankfully only slightly. Most crushing is the revelation that the game isn't a significant improvement on the console version. Sure, the two main characters, Leon and Claire, are almost flawless in terms of both modelling and animation, having been re-worked to take advantage of 3D cards. Pity the same can't be said for the backgrounds. What look to be directly ported versions of the PlayStation environments are used - meaning they appear to be hideously low-res, with a terminal case of pixellation and nothing in the way of lighting effects. It's a problem that blights many games that crossover from consoles, including the original Resident Evil and Final Fantasy VII, and it's disappointing that Capcom couldn't be bothered to make use of the PC's vast graphical ability.

In most other areas the game remains largely untouched too. The same (relatively simple) puzzles require you to find and use various keys, often asking you to travel huge distances around the maps in order to reach your next logical destination. It's a trial at times, especially considering the just-long-enough-to-be-annoying loading times, and the cumbersome interface that's incredibly limiting on the amount of objects you can carry, demands that you reload weapons often, and asks you to pick up and use ink ribbons just to save your game (?!).

 

 

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