Portable Review

Resident Evil Gaiden


I’ve always been a big fan of the Resident Evil series. So when Resident Evil Gaiden was released on the Game Boy Color, I jumped at the chance to play it. The chance to fight zombies on my handheld, who wouldn’t want to try it? Unfortunately, it was rather poorly made, poorly designed, and poorly conceived. The game does have its high points, but they’re somewhat few and far between.

The story starts as Barry Burton, from Resident Evil 1, boards a cruiseship to locate a Bio-Organic Weapon, or B.O.W., and discover the fate of agent Leon Kennedy, from Resident Evil 2 and 4. Barry arrives, and discovers zombies. It’s typical of Resident Evil, but this game goes beyond the traditional to quickly become crap.

First off, there’s the music. It stinks. It actually sounds like the game just beeps the entire time, in an attempt to make a tune. One saving grace, however, is that the music is also so unmemorable, it virtually vanishes from your mind within five minutes. As for actual sound effects, they do exist, but they’re either every bit as subdued as the actual game music, or high pitched screeches that will probably give you an aneurism. Do yourself a favor and just turn the music off, there is no point in listening to it.

Graphically, this game is rather dark. Throughout the hundred or so rooms in the game, there are dozens of dimly lit corners, alcoves, and hallways from which zombies spring. Combat isn’t pretty, and takes place in a first person mode. Only the enemies, and maybe a couple of boxes or curtains, are the only things visible. As for the enemies themselves, there are only a handful of sprites to represent the hordes of undead, and to express strength changes, they simple change from green to brown to blue, etc. The main character’s sprite, meanwhile, does actually look like a person, though the running animation seems a bit bow-legged. By no means is the game pretty, but then again, it’s not really meant to be. It also can’t take multiple sprites moving, so the game likes to freak out and suffer very noticeable slow-down whenever an enemy moves. Multiple enemies moving only make the problem worse.

As far as gameplay goes, Resident Evil Gaiden is boring. The game seems rather linear, featuring puzzles which involve taking a key found at point A to unlock point B, which always seems to be one room over. The only real deviation occurs when the player screws up and goes the wrong way. After that, expect an hour or so of randomly wandering the ship, wondering what to do. To make this process harder, enemies will sometimes carry items, which the game tells the player by flashing an annoying red exclamation point in the bottom right corner whenever he approaches one of these enemies. Unfortunately this item can be anything from ammunition, to healing, to the key you’ve been needing for the past hour and a half. Meanwhile, regular items left lying about will cause a green exclamation point to flash, though half the time it’s ammunition for a gun you don’t have, and is therefore useless.

The game does feature an unusual combat system, especially for Resident Evil. Whenever a zombie collides with the player, which happens often, they can get you no matter how far away you are, it seems, the game switches to first-person, where the player must attack the zombie at different ranges. Sometimes multiple zombies will arrive, sometimes just one, but it’s always annoying. The player attacks by pressing the action button whenever a horizontally moving box passes over a white bar in the middle of the screen. If they hit this white bar, the enemy is hit. If they hit the box in the middle of the bar, the enemy is criticalled. Zombies can also do this in return, and they will. Some zombies also carry crowbars, and they can hit you from farther distances, which doesn’t really make sense, considering the knife can’t reach them at all at that point. You also cannot move distances, you have to sit and wait for your enemies to come to you, and some just won’t ever do it. Also, considering you can drain ammo like water and not even dent some enemies, most of the game you’ll be wielding the knife. So you’ll just have to sit there and look at them while they beat you into submission with what is apparently a ten-foot-long crowbar.

Bottom line…this game is ok, but not great.

-Originally Posted by Phantom of Krankor


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