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Developer Capcom Options
Distributer Virgin 1 Player
Game Type Strategy/Adventure Memory Card
Review Date December 1997 Standard Joypad
Screenshot No.1
Screenshot No.2
Screenshot No.3 
Setting the Scene
Fifteen months ago, Capcom were putting together the finishing touches to a project that would take the video games world by storm. Hyped up to the hilt with more advance publicity than the Superbowl received, Resident Evil was finally unleashed on the Playstation during the second quarter of '96, and everyone was totally knocked out with the experience.

Considering that over the last twelve months the Playstation games console has sold more units than it did over the previous two years, Capcom decided to take the original game, spruce it up a little, pop in a demo of the forthcoming sequel and re-launch it under the title of Resident Evil - The Directors Cut.

It is the inclusion of the half hour tasty tit-bit that could prove to be a true stroke of genius as I doubt that the millions of gamers who purchased the original version would have given Res DC a second glance, had a sneak preview of Resident Evil 2 not been included. Of course new PSX gamers get to play the enhanced version of the original and a peek at next years main attraction. Jammy beggars!

On with business. I have decided to split the review into two parts. First, a summary of the Director's Cut and then a few paragraphs on the preview demo disc.

Resident Evil - The Classic
"You have once again entered the world of survival horror."
Resident Evil is a strategy and adventure game which takes place in a scary mansion that is packed with evil creatures and sinister events. The player controls either Jill Valentine or Chris Redfield who are members of the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) Alpha rescue team who have been called out to investigate the strange goings on at a spooky mansion which is situated in the hills to the small surrounding city known as Raccoon.

The first change noticeable is that you are immediately presented with an option screen that requests your choice of difficulty from Standard, Training or Advanced.
Standard is the original game intact.
Training is the original game made easier with more ammo available - guns now hold 30 shots - and extra save ribbons, while Zombies now only gently nibble at your heck and barely leave a hickey. Why this game has been given an easier option is beyond me as the original game was paced just right. Perhaps it will allow your Grandparents to have a go.

The real 'meat and two veg' is the Advanced mode. Several camera angles have been changed giving the visuals a whole new perspective. Monsters have been moved around and increased in numbers. Waltzing into a room that was previously unoccupied is not recommended as up to three zombies may now be lying in wait, and if space is tight, they are upon you before you can say 'SHiiiiiiT'

The first experience of this comes in the ground floor shower room. On entering the room your attention is drawn to a twinkling object that lies on a dresser. You immediate reaction is to pick it up. Suddenly a creature leaps from the shower and he's got you - one bite and your dead. You don't even have an ink ribbon to save your progress, so it's back to the start where you must sit through that long, boring intro - and no, the acting has not been advanced:-
"I hope this isn't............ Chris's blood!"
"It's Kenneth. Now he has become a shadow of his former self."
"It might be a good idea if you, the Master of Unlocking, took this...."

Another nice scare is when you venture across to the ground floor corridor that leads to the second save box. You prepare to meet a Zombie at the bottom of the stairs and.... he's gone.... Silence.... Where is the bastard.... "Come out, I know you're in here somewhere."
CRASH !!!!!
Three dogs smash through the windows for the second time, only this time totally unexpected.

The speed of the creatures has also been boosted. I don't know what Capcom have been feeding the dogs on for the last year, but it has certainly puts an extra spring in their step. Not all Zombies move faster, but those who have been taking their vitamins pills almost break into a run to get their teeth into you.

Once again the great FMV opening sequence really draws you into the "mood" of the game. It's sharp and crystal clear and gets right to the point. From there, it kind of melds into the actual game. The characters are very well rendered and easily identifiable. Jill and Chris sport new outfits which may be changed in the previously locked closet that could only be opened by those super fast players who completed the game in under three hours.

The music really sets the mood. If you have a home setup with surround sound, you will be in Heaven...or Hell! From the sloshing, wet gooey sound of the zombies footsteps, to the birds cawing, the dogs pawsteps, to the various sounds your footsteps make on the different surfaces you traverse, this game covers it all. There are times that things will JUMP OUT in front of you and the sounds they make will make you drop more than just your joypad!

Once final point is that the objects have been shifted around. You go for the blue jewel and you get half of the moon crest. You head straight for the bag of chemicals and it has been replaced with a few measly bullets. Damn, I suppose you will have to play it all over again.

Resident Evil 2 - The Demo
The setting for the sequel takes place only a few months after the destruction of Tyrant (for those of you who managed to complete the first game properly). With the Umbrella scandal under investigation, our heroes from the STARS team have been dispersed to various missions and all is strangely quiet in the area..........

..........that is until now. This time the mysterious plague has spread from the mansion in the hills to the small surrounding city known as Raccoon. The previous horrendous incident received massive worldwide publicity and so when the locals of Raccoon begin to contract skin diseases, they want action and they want it immediately! The local government assure everyone concerned that all testing has proved negative and there is no relationship between these incidents.

But something is stirring in the night as the plague is spreading across the land, for there is movement in the graveyards and morgues. This horrifying disease is bringing all the dead back to life and the corpses are taking to the streets and attacking the living. Once bitten, those infected will join the ranks of the living dead and unmonitored, the disease spreads across the city like a forest-fire. Soon zombie-like creatures began to walk the streets, gradually outnumbering the few who have so far escaped the disease.

A small group of survivors, all with varying degrees of experience gather in the local police department, where the new story begins............

The Demo opens with a straightforward option - Sound or Play. Select to play and you are thrown straight in at the deep end onto the burning streets of Racoon. Fire's rage all around and wrecked cars litter the streets. From the flaming ruins stagger two slightly well-done Zombies, arms outstretched, moaning and groaning in pain. The whole set up is presented in a style that has remained since the days of Dawn of the Dead.

The player controls Leon Scott Kennedy, a rookie cop armed with a measly combat knife and a German H&K UP70 hand gun that uses 9mm parabelam rounds. The knife is fine for carving Elza Walkers name into a tree but barely curbs the Zombies hunger for blood. The handgun sounds quite powerful when the trigger is pulled but takes at least four shots to put the creature down.... for the first time. Within the small opening area there are six roaming Zombies that, with care, can be gathered all together on one screen and then picked off at will.

The polygons have been upped for the characters who now have a more solid look to them and move quite realistically. Leon offers a side glance as he passes his attackers and if he should take too much damage will begin limping and staggering until his health is returned back to normal. The Zombies each have their own individual look and movements. No more rag and bone men but young men in T-shirts, cops in uniforms and gals in mini skirts. They are just ordinary citizens like you and I, with a bit ketchup thrown in to distinguish the good from the evil.

Leaving the street you enter a gun store where the petrified owner offers the demo's first speech. Thankfully it is not as bad as the original game but it does still suffer from over dramatization and annoying gaps in between each line. After a few minutes chitchat the Zombies from the streets burst through the store window and feast on the chubby store owners flesh. Take them out and you can nick his shotgun. The Remington M870 Bulldog uses 12 gauge rounds and is shorter then the standard edition because it's barrel has been reduced. Wow, you get to pump those Zombies with a saw-off shot gun, and furthermore you can aim at their limbs and blow 'em straight off. They will continue to attack you but at reduced speed because they no longer have legs to walk on. You can't really call them the walking dead anymore, can you?

The backgrounds are gorgeously pre-rendered in 2-D, but the various cuts and camera angles are awesome and really immerse you into the environment and give it a somewhat 3-D feel. The special effects such as the flames are superb. Creatures actually walk right OUT from the bottom of the TV screen and into the action. Resident Evil 2 is considerably more detailed than its predecessor and the amount of detail is remarkable in areas such as the locker room. What a mess!

The gameplay sticks rigidly to the successful formula experienced in the the first game. Ammo and health can be discovered on your travels by standing over an object and pressing the action button. The item is then placed in your inventory for later use. Keys are required to unlock sealed areas and puzzles involve pushing statues around onto floor switches to reveal hidden items.

Not wanting to spoil all the surprises in the demo I will finish off by saying that there are 12 areas to investigate, masses of Zombies to mutilate, one particularly ugly son of a bitch to get by and a couple of puzzles to solve. In all it should take about half an hour to get through the demo but it is worth playing over again as you will be surprised what you missed the first time.

Value for Money
There can be little doubt that Resident Evil is one of the finest video games of all time, combining quality graphics and ingenious programming techniques, with intelligent puzzles and a horrifying story line, all wrapped up in a shoot-em-up that had everybody hooked.

If you don't own the original game then the Director's Cut provides the best value video game package that money can buy and you would be foolish to pass this one by.
If you already own the original then there have been enough changes to warrant Resident Evil a second glance and the Demo is so cool, but try before you buy to avoid disappointment.

GRAPHICS: Brilliant It would have been nice to see a few new puzzles in the original game as even with the extra enemies and new hiding places for objects I still completed the advanced mode within five hours.
If I had my way I would have offered the player unlimited ammo and made the Zombies indestructible. Three or four shots could put them down but they will always return to haunt their domain.
Overall a tidy package that proves great VFM.
SOUND: Excellent
VALUE: Superb

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