Resident Evil 2 Platinum
It's close to midnight ...
Published by Capcom Entertainment
Posted on 03/28/1999
NEWS: PC to Get Resident Evil ...
Shot One Never use your tongue on a first date
Just in case you've been sequestered for the past few years (living in a cave, sitting on a jury, flying a balloon around the world, et cetera): A PlayStation zombie-shooting game called Resident Evil and its sequel, Resident Evil 2, are smash hits. Resident Evil 2 has recently been ported to PC as part of a package, called Resident Evil 2 Platinum, which includes the game proper, desktop themes, screen savers, and a few special bonuses.

Resident Evil told the fairly ordinary story of zombies in a haunted house; Resident Evil 2 brings the action to a nearby city. Both games let the player control one of two primary characters, who follow slightly different stories so that you can replay the game after finishing without being bored stiff. And both games are adventure games that were cleverly spun by advertisers to look like action games, which helps account for their huge success.

Shot Two Zombie cops. Respect their authority
The single biggest flaw with RE2 is the fact that you can only save the game at certain points. The second biggest flaw is the dialogue, which is not quite as cheesy as the first game's but is still far from stellar, stranding it neither here-nor-there. Sometimes scary, often gross, and usually fun, RE2 plays a lot like an interactive movie (or, more precisely, like an interactive music video—it's all about looks and atmosphere—more on this in a moment). The backgrounds are better than they were the first time around, when the game's 3D acceleration was wasted, and this latest release includes an "Extreme Battle Mode" which takes the focus off the narrative, in case you're inclined that way. But don't imagine for a moment that RE2 is anything but an adventure game. If you don't like puzzles, searching for keys, and learning through laborious trial-and-error, keep your distance.

Shot Three Burn, baby, burn
There is no excuse, in this day and age, for the pre-determined save points. But there's plenty of good stuff here too. Perhaps the most memorable is a trick which gets repeated a few times, whenever you get too close to a boarded-up window—zombies reach through and grab you with jump-out-of-your-seat suddenness. Even when the zombies are lurching towards you with their usual cadaverous clumsiness, however, the game creates a good effect. Pump bullets into the bastards until they lie down for good; the fact that a whole slew of them keep coming, and that they keep getting up again, lends these slow-moving scenes a certain undeniable tension. There are also some good non-zombie bad guys, like poisonous spiders and the memorable Lickers, undead beasties with hungry tongues. And the game, even without multiple characters to play, is not short. Throw in the multiple characters with their different experiences and puzzles and you've got yourself a near-epic, at least in length.

But if the next Resident Evil game doesn't break some new ground, other games that try harder could easily pass it by. The game was derivative even in its first incarnation, and although RE2 tweaks plenty of things along the way, it's still a do-things-in- the-right-order adventure game enlivened by periodic action.

Shot Four Claire: A cross between "La Femme Nikita" and Christy Turlington
People tend to compare the Resident Evil series to Night of the Living Dead and The Evil Dead, but this comparison is not quite right. NotLD, remember, had no budget and was therefore forced to trade cannily on psychological horror; most of the movie took place in a house with no dialogue and no visible bad guys. Sam Raimi's Evil Dead series was hyper-kinetic and purposely funny. Neither film has the same look or the same feel as the crepuscular RE2. To find the real inspiration for the slow-moving, suppurating zombies of this game, one needs to look a bit farther down the line, to the Thriller video. The zombies imagined by NotLD had, by this time, become well-lit and plentiful—they shambled forward (and danced) en masse, with every rotting piece of flesh in your face—and there was no psychological horror to be seen.

Thriller is still the most popular, mainstream zombie "movie" ever, and RE2 is the computer game equivalent.

by John Altman

  • Windows 95/98
  • 166 MHz Pentium or higher
  • 24 MB RAM
  • 2X CD-ROM
  • 3D card supported but not required
Single Player
©1999 Strategy Plus, Inc.

Resident Evil 2 PLAYSTATION M 01/98 $19.95
Resident Evil 2 Dual Shock Version PLAYSTATION 12/98 $24.95