Resident Evil 0

The first completely original Resident Evil adventure hits the GameCube.

As the first ?all-new? Resident Evil game in a long time, Zero is hardly a step back for the series: It introduces intriguing new characters, implements unique play techniques, and helps flesh out the ongoing Evil narrative. And although some of Zero's key elements don?t add up, the overall sum of the game equals much more than the title number.

We Don?t Need Another?Zero?
As the title suggests, Resident Evil 0 takes place before the events of the first game and tells the tale of Rebecca Chambers and how she arrived at the Spencer Mansion for the fateful events in the first RE game. A second character, renegade soldier Billy Coen, joins Rebecca for much of the game. As per other Evils, Zero has plenty of monster blasting supplanted by a host of archaic puzzles and quality moments of fright as the action takes place in runaway trains, creepy mansions, and blood-stained laboratories. Zero?s monsters make valuable contributions, too, especially a rubbery, seemingly indestructible zombie who appears repeatedly throughout the game.

Saved by Zero
As innovations go, Zero has some of the best of any game in the series. Foremost is the Partner Zapping System that allows you to control both Rebecca and Billy together, or solo at will. Zapping not only forces you to remain acutely aware of your status and surroundings, but also lends a unique strategy element that?s lacking in other Resident Evil games.

The other key new feature, removal of convenient Itemboxes, makes the game take much longer to play out than it should. Playing sans Itemboxes was a novel idea, but in practice their absence makes the game more cumbersome than challenging and you?ll spend a great deal of time making repeat long-distance trips to transport key items between locations. The boss battles are also problematic as they frequently arrive without warning and often times?after a thorough schooling?send you back to the last save point.

The Sum of All Fears
Setbacks aside, Resident Evil 0 is a redoubtable addition to Capcom?s long-running survival/horror franchise, and fans of the series will eagerly eat it up. Even after seven years of sequels and side stories, RE still gives good fright.

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