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Resident Evil was first released back in 1996 on the original Play Station. It was a game ahead of its time and consisted of great graphics, great game play and a great story that was highly addictive as well. This game has now been transferred to the portable gaming world and is available on the DS. I found it took me a couple of hours to get in to the original game but once I did I was hooked.
Resident Evil is like something straight out of a horror movie in that the elite S.T.A.R.S alpha team is sent out to find the Bravo team, who mysteriously disappeared whilst investigating a disturbance near an ancient mansion. On their arrival the Alpha team are attacked by non-human bodies, i.e. monsters and are divided as a result. Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine (the main characters) and the surviving members of their team are now trapped in the mansion and have to re-group and devise an escape plan.
Can Chris, Jill and their team get out of the mansion alive and destroy the monsters?
There are two modes to chose from, including the "classic" mode and the "Re-birth" mode. Unsurprisingly, the classic mode is the exact replica of the original 1996 game. There are no additional bits, no hidden extras, no new characters or anything like that. It is taken straight from the Play Station and dumped on the DS.
The Rebirth mode is different and has got some additional bits and pieces, and whilst these add an extra dimension to the game it is still effectively the classic mode with a few bolt-ons.
You can choose to play as either Chris or Jill and whilst the majority of the game remains the same regardless of the character, there are different ending scenes. In addition there are other subtle differences in that Jill has a larger inventory but Chris can take more punishment. All said and done the character you choose doesn't change the game significantly.
****Controls and game play****
The underlying game play is a simple and consists of shooting everything that moves. There is the requirement to solve the occasional puzzle but these aren't too taxing, which is a good thing given the reasonably fast pace of this game. The puzzles are more interesting in the rebirth mode, which is not surprising given the touch screen technology of the NDS, which obviously wasn't around during 1996. For example there is one puzzle where you need to blow into the DS' microphone to try to resuscitate an injured team member. Very clever.
The characters are controlled using the directional pad and the A, B, X and Y buttons. The touch screen and stylus is seldom used. The up button makes your character move forward which is fine if it is moving upwards, i.e. directly away form you, but when your character is coming down the screen, i.e. towards you or either to the left or right it is a bit strange. It took me a while to get used to pressing the up button when the character was moving left (instinct kept telling me to press the left button).
The top screen on the DS constantly tracks your progress on a decent map that is clear and easy to read. In addition, the same screen also starts flashing when you're injured and close to death. Whilst this is useful as it serves as a prompt to go and get a power up to restore your health it can be an annoyance since it is a constant reminder that is easily visible.
Aiming and shooting involves pressing and holding down the right shoulder button and then tapping fire. It should be noted that you do not have unlimited rounds therefore you can't go in 'all guns blazing' and it is sometimes better to take flight as opposed to stay and fight in order to preserve ammunition for those times when it is desperately needed.
Your characters' inventory space is very limited, for example Chris can only carry six items at a time, so if you've got two keys, a shotgun, some spare shells, and a medicinal herb, you're practically full. If your inventory's full and you find one of those all important items to progress (which happens a lot) you can't just drop an ad hoc item to make room for more. Instead, you must find a storage chest in which you can leave the spare items.
In some parts of the game, you will find yourself going back and forth through areas many times just because you don't have enough space in your inventory to take everything you find. This repetition gets very tiresome and makes the game much longer than it really ought to be.
The ability to save your progress is limited to the number of ink ribbons you have, which are used at various typewriters throughout the mansion. Personally, I am not a great fan of this saving system as you can't save when you want so if game play time is limited for any reason, or you have to exit the game suddenly this may create a few issues.
The graphics are quite poor and not really up to scratch. Whilst the main characters, and the monsters, are all 3d polygon rendered, which is quite good, but they are very blocky. Personally, I think the producers have tried to fit in too much detail (it is a replica of the original but where the PS could deal with it the DS just isn't powerful enough) and it just doesn't work. Moving around is confusing at first but this is caused by the cinematic camera angles as you are playing the game.
In addition the main characters are tiny and quite difficult to see. Once again, I think this down to the amount of detail and the fact that the DS is just not powerful enough to cope with it.
The audio is taken straight from the original game right down to the cheesy dialogue at the start of the game. To create the right atmosphere there is plenty of eerie music and some great sound effects, like the "click, click, click" of the monsters' claws as they are walking the corridors.
Personally, I find the audio of most games very disappointing and end up turning it off. However, whilst playing Resident Evil the audio adds to the overall gaming experience and the sound of the monsters are usually the first indication they are there and you are going to get attacked, so it is crucial to play the game with a bit of volume.
There is a Wi-Fi mode that allows four individuals (each player must have their own DS and a copy of the game to participate) to compete or cooperate and fight through several different areas.
If cooperation is not your thing there is a versus game allowing you both to shoot the living daylights out of each other. Some people may find this versus fun but I have never really understood the point of these and just think it is mindless, but each to their own I guess.
Whilst the multi player functions may seem like a good idea, a bit like Halo on the DS, in reality it is disappointing and really quite boring, unless you are a fan of these type of games that is.
****Price and availability****
Resident Evil for the NDS has been around for a couple of years now so getting a copy should not be an issue from online and offline retailers. I actually rented my copy from a local shop and it cost me £1.50 for the weekend, which I thought was very good value.
A quick internet search shows this game is available from Amazon for £44.98 excluding P&P (new) and £12.45 excluding P&P (used), so there is quite a large price differential.
As always, I would recommend renting a copy before purchase to ensure you think it is worth buying, and then shopping around to ensure you get the best deal.
This game is rated a 16+ which I consider to be a bit high. Because of the violent nature, the graphic scenes of blood, the eerie environment etc. it definitely is not suitable for young gamers but I think younger teenagers may appreciate this game.
Overall Resident Evil on the DS is an average game. I like the fact that you can choose from the classic game, and attempt to re-live the classic years of the original Play Station, or the rebirth mode that uses the advancement in technology like the touch screen and the microphone.
The problem is that the NDS just isn't powerful enough to deal with the polygon rendered 3D graphics, the fast pace, the sophisticated audio and the amount of characters, which is a shame. The end result is blocky characters that are very small, but the audio is quite good.
I consider myself to be an 'average' gamer and I completed the classic mode in just under 5 hours, so I don't think it would be a good value for money purchase. Experienced and hardcore gamers will complete the game in much less time. I admit that I only hired it (and I am glad I did not buy a copy of this game) for nostalgic purposes.
Many would not believe that a Resident Evil game could make its way to the DS, Capcom have managed to bring the classic horror series with a remake of the Playstation 1996 classic - Deadly Silence.
The first thing I noticed when playing the game apart from the freaky intro was the backgrounds in game. They aren't pretty and are generally low resolution. This is down to being able to fit the whole game on to a limited size cartridge. The movie visuals such as the characters and enemies look a lot better. If you can get over the look of the backgrounds you'll have yourself a game that you won't forget.
You play with the stylus which isn't that difficult to get used to. The general combat was good but using the knife was too hard and found myself dying a lot. Apart from that the controls are pretty tight.
Like most RE games the voice over and acting is pretty poor, you expect that and this is the same, the sound and effects though especially when wearing headphones will leave you wishing you had brought a spare pair of underwear with you. The game is frightening when played in complete darkness not knowing what to expect next.
The game is obviously long and you get your monies worth, it makes good use of the touch screen and at times even has you using the microphone. It is a worthy edition to the series.
Other things you can expect from the game is lots of running around, returning to areas you have been before with keys you have since found. The game offers you two gaming modes, one is the classic and the other is rebirth which has first person scenarios and enemies in different places to the original.
The DS version is well worth picking up, if you haven't played the original on the Playstation this is your chance, and if you are a fan of RE you will like this new version. There is also a multiplayer option..
4 out of 5
A remake of the first Resident Evil game with the DS's unique feature set in mind as you work your way through the now classic storyline involving Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and that well-known mansion that introduced the world to Resident Evil back in 1996. Zombies are now smarter and actually work their way around doors as they chase after you. You'll find that there's no solace in a room that you think you've completely freed from zombie infestation.