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Resident Evil: Code Veronica X


Mark E
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Well, even the mainstream game sites are finding it hard to say much about Resident Evil ports these days, but let's let our resident Resident Evil fan put in his two cents for those of you looking at this port...

 

Resident Evil: Code Veronica, for those who don't know, is the fourth installment in the venerable Resident Evil series that has been slowly infecting itself across the console world for the past few years. The strangest thing about this one is that it is not considered the fourth RE game, but more of a side story. What really makes this seem odd is that Code Veronica is far more of a step forward for the series than the 3rd RE title, Nemesis, actually was!

 

The RE titles are ostensibly 'survival horror', but the emphasis is on survival. If you're looking for a good horror title, try something like Silent Hill or Eternal Darkness. The RE series has always been firmly a B-movie style of zombie horror and it sometimes wrings the odd scare from a well-placed jump moment, but it's mostly about the running and the gunning.

 

So is this title worth running and gunning to the store for? Let's open it up and see what we've got...

 

Story

 

This isn't exactly the most accessible title, but as in every RE since time immemorial, zombies are on the loose as a result of the experiments conducted by the dastardly Umbrella corporation. Claire Redfield, star of RE2, has been imprisoned on Rockfort Island after busting up an Umbrella installation looking for info on her brother Chris, star of the very first Resident Evil.

 

Story-wise, Code Veronica X stacks up quite nicely with the other titles in the series, arguably offering the most interesting story when comapred to the other titles in the range. This is really the first glimpse into the Umbrella Corporation that we're given in the series, and the tale of the bizarre Ashford family plays out in some highly unexpected and satisfying plotting.

 

Is it perfect? Not exactly. Quite possibly the worst character in the series, Steve Burnside, is introduced in Code Veronica, though the game does a damn fine job of very nearly making him something sympathetic. Also, the accessibility thing I mentioned is a concern for those who aren't reading synopses. Sure the title can be played without prior knowledge, but veterans will get so much more with their knowledge of the backstory.

 

The game doesn't exactly go out of its way to provide you with information on the previous installments either, and the shocking return of the series' most memorable villain is rather diluted if you don't know who the hell he is. Not that the front and back of the box don't spoil the whole thing for you just in case you have played the other games.

 

Still though, minor quibbles aside, this is still something better than the standard Resident Evil fare.

 

Graphics:

 

Well, it's a direct port of a Dreamcast title from a couple years ago, so this game isn't going to set the world afire like it once did. Still, the graphics would be quite acceptable, if we hadn't been spoiled by the RE remake and RE0, which stand as two of the most beautiful Cube games thus made...

 

No, it's not horrible, and it definitely looks crisp enough, but you graphics mavens out there are not going to be showing your system off with this game any time soon.

 

The Cube gets rapped for having a lot of compressed video, but the video on this title looks fine to me. The cut-scenes are done with both the game engine and a little CGI for the really important bits and they look fine, likely a result of the game being split across two discs. I should mention that the intro scene still manages to impress after all this time, it remains one of the most exciting openings for any title I've played.

 

Sound

 

It's there.

 

There are no fancy options and no fancy sounds. It's all perfectly acceptable and does the job, but your woofer is not going to get a workout unless you're talking about playing the game with your dog.

 

Voice acting is not bad, and appropriately B-movie, which is a step up from the original RE voice acting. Some of the actors have trouble with the more subtle emoting, but generally they're nothing to make you pray for subtitles.

 

Controls

 

If there's anything that'd make this title worth a purchase, it would have to be Capcom's control-c scheme that has now made its way to the majority of RE titles (except RE0, which still grates me to this day).

 

The original PSOne titles had rotate and propel controls that were not conducive to much of anything, except 'sit and rotate' jokes. Still, those of us who became fans of the series put up with it. Like it or not, the GameCube controllers are not well designed for that sort of control scheme, however, and what was tolerable with patience on the PSOne becomes slightly more awkward and thus more frustrating on the Cube.

 

Enter control-c, where the R button is pressed lightly to walk and completely to run, and the regular controller is used to steer. To me this is THE way to control RE. I'm not a big fan of the Devil May Cry style of control, so for my tastes the control-c is the optimal method, and it is certainly the best of any choices we currently have once you adjust to it.

 

The only thing that irked me about control-c in this title, which players need to be aware of, is that you have to just walk in order to push something. Running constantly against something will not push it, while it will in both "traditional" control schemes and the RE remake control-c. I switched control schemes a few times before finally figuring that out, since there's nothing about it in the manual.

 

Challenge

 

This game is hard. It is the hardest Resident Evil title I've ever played, period. That makes it quite enjoyable but also potentially frustrating. There are some nasty boss battles in this one that can quite easily pulverize the novice RE'er. One fight in particular, which I won't detail for those new to the game, that occurs right at the end of the first section with Claire, always takes me two or three tries to get right.

 

Heck, the regular monsters are nasty for that matter. The game can be brutally stingy on ammo as well, forcing you to resort to using the knife on more than one occasion just to spare along the bullets. Worse, some of the monster types in this game are viciously nasty. The moths and hunters in particular are maddening.

 

Still though, it's nice to not simply waltz through the game. Couple this with the lengthy storyline I mentioned before and you have the longest Resident Evil yet. Newbies to the series could be looking at 16-20 hours if they don't cheat or use a guide, veterans are still looking at 12-15 under the same conditions.

 

Bottom Line

 

After all that, you'd think recommending Code Veronica would be a no-brainer, but it's not. In fact, despite my enthusiasm for the title and control-c, it's really hard to say that people should rush right out and get it.

 

Why? Value for money. Capcom is asking gamers to shell out the cost of a brand new title for a direct port of a Dreamcast game already available in the exact same version on the PS2 in that system's Greatest Hits line-up. This is not a situation where the term 'business sense' can readily be applied.

 

For people like myself who are fans of the series and have no PS2 or DC and thus don't own the game yet, not to mention love control-c, this is the best opportunity to own the game. That said, I still asked for mine as a Christmas gift because I couldn't rationalize putting my money towards it.

 

So, yes, it's worth owning or renting if you like the series and haven't played it yet, but not necessarily on this system and definitely not for this price. It should have been released at $20US, period. So close, Capcom, and yet so far. Don't worry though, us loyal fans will still be here when you have something fresh to offer us up in a few months.

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FutureShop up here was selling it for $50, so I'm guessing $40 down there, Cameron.

 

That may have changed, my cousin had to get the game from EB so I'm not sure of the exact price, but EB and FutureShop are usually the exact same and that was FS' pre-order price.

 

Like I say, good little game if you've never played it.

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Heh, now, you want to talk your yellow journalism? Try the GameSpy review of RE: CVX. It is the single worst supposedly professional review of a game I have EVER read.

 

Oh my god!

 

They actually changed the review from what I read this morning. They went up and fixed it based on the bitching in the forums, that's terrible. Anyway, when it went up this morning, the review was riddled with stupidity, claiming CapCom had ended its exclusivity deal with Nintendo as of this release, that the game was a PS2 port (it's not, they converted the CV:Complete version from the DC), they incorrectly identified how many RE titles had been done for the Cube. The reviewer even goes on to say that this is the last RE title for the Cube (or did, check the forums for what was actually said).

 

They bitch about the tank controls, no Control-C mentioned anywhere, which is not a tank control scenario, period. They seem to be more interested in bashing Nintendo, which is something that GameSpy seems to be really into lately. They claimed Donkey Konga was absolutely hopeless in the last import column simply because it was a rhythm game.

 

They pick on the voice acting for being freakin' Canadian!!

 

Revamp the PSOne graphics? Yeah for the remake, dumbass, they smoothed them out for the Cube but the other two are exactly the same.

 

Share my pain.

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  • 4 months later...

I'm resurrecting this thread because I finally got around to beating Code Veronica X last night and I would like to share my thoughts on it with my fellow Resident Evil kooks. (You know who you are.)

 

First off, I won't go into much detail about the technical aspects of the game. I think we all know what to expect from this version, which is essentially a straight port of the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 titles. There is no 16:9 or 480p support and the sound is pretty much a straight stereo mix with little activity in the rear channels. (Although I will say that the sound spread out nicely across the front three speakers.) My only gripe with the sound would be in the area of voice acting. I know that compared to the Playstation games, the voice acting in this game is light years better, but it's still pretty bad. And can someone please shut Steve the hell up for me? Thanks!

 

The graphics are a little dated, particularly when you see close-ups of the character models in the cut-scenes. Compared to those in the REmake or Resident Evil Zero, it's obvious that Capcom was working with older technology. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the game looked for the most part. The true 3D environments were a welcome change of pace from the static backgrounds of the other two titles and offered for some dramatic camera moves that helped set the mood throughout the game.

 

As for the game itself, I must say that when you guys told me that this was one of the best of the series, you were not kidding! This is an astounding game at almost every moment. I still believe that the REmake is a bit better, but of the three Resident Evil games I've played through thus far, this ranks a very close second.

 

The true strength of this game comes from three major factors: the exceptional level design, the perplexing puzzles, and steady ramp-up in difficulty towards the end. But let's start with the level design. At the beginning, you play as Claire and make your way through some sort of abandoned military facility that's inhabited by - you guessed it - zombies. At first it appears to be pretty standard stuff: find items, solve puzzles, open new doors, kill some monsters repeat the process. However, as you play through the first part of the game, it becomes obvious that certain items and areas are off-limits for whatever reason, and nothing you do can get your pistol-packin' hands on them. The genius of the levels doesn't become apparent until disc two when you switch characters and start playing as Chris. Suddenly, you realize that those items were never intended for her to have in the first place. As a result, you begin to discover new areas and secrets that you couldn't access the first time through. In a lot of ways, it reminded me Eternal Darkness, which took place in only four locations and in turn changed each time you returned to them. You realize while playing as Chris that both sections, the military base on the island and the Antarctic facility were designed with two characters in mind and not just one. Such a feat takes a high degree of talent to pull off well, and Capcom did one hell of a job in that regard.

 

Next up, there are the puzzles, which I actually don't have much to say about. Rest assured they are tough and will stump you on the first run through. As with all great puzzles, the solutions are so absurdly obvious that you have to wonder, "Why didn't I think of that sooner?"

 

Finally, the last element that makes Code Veronica X great is its difficulty. Specifically, it does what I like to see most in games starting off as pretty easy and progressing toward something extremely challenging toward the end. At first, Claire has an abundance of ammo, herbs, and first-aide sprays at her disposal, leaving little to worry about getting through the first few sections. By the time you reach the Antarctic facility as Chris, I wondered if I was going to be able to beat it because I had a handful of bullets, and my health was at an orange caution. Still, it's never so insanely difficult that it can't be done as long as you conserve your items. As with most hard games, the toughness of it kept me going, thinking that this next time I would be able to beat this boss and get to the next section. Or as I like to call it, Super Monkey Ball Syndrome.

 

Anyway, overall, I?m very pleased with Resident Evil: Code Veronica X. I can only hope that Resident Evil 4 is half as good.

 

Oh, and CONTROL TYPE C RULEZ!!!!!1 :P

 

(Forgive me, I'm very tired right now.)

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