Resident Evil 4
Consoles: Gamecube, PS2 and Nintendo Wii
Hopefully you are all familiar with the territory of Resident Evil, both the games and films, but incase you are not, the series focuses on ‘zombies’, with a group of protaganists trying to rescue their comrades and/or escape their territory which has become overrun with the undead beings.
Resident Evil 4 revitalised this series by introducing new elements and story. The game opens with Leon S Kennedy, a government agent who survived the T-Virus outbreak in Resident Evil 2 in 1998. It was his first day as a cop of Raccoon City when he aided Claire Redfield to find her brother Chris during the outbreak. Since the events in 1998, Leon has worked through the ranks and is now employed by the secret service protecting the newly elected president. His first mission sends him to a remote village in Spain, where a cult is believed to be holding the president’s daughter, Ashley Graham, who was kidnapped.
Leon, who is initially accompanied by two mainland Spanish police officers, make his way alone into the village where he quickly encounters hostile locals. After some background information by his government contact, Hunnigan, and from tidbits he finds as he makes his way around the village, it appears the citizens are being controlled by parasitic organisms called Las Plagas. Leon must investigate what the Las Plagas are and find Ashley before its too late.
If I told you anymore regarding the storyline, I’d be ruining the experience but I can divulge that the game is full of interesting and horrifying characters, mainly two characters called Dr Salvador and Regenerator, the latter of whom you meet later in the game.
The game is an action survival-horror, with the emphasis on action, as this is one game that hardly comes up for air. The game is well paced, with action at every turn. For the most part of the game, you’ll be blowing enemies to smithereens, but there are also some little puzzles to keep you entertained, including an optional shooting range.
The shooting range is hosted by a cockney merchant, who is by far the most loved character in the game. Leon first meets the merchant, with his long hooded coat and bandana around the face, when coming out of a building. The merchant can be found in many hidden, quiet places around the game, always along the path that Leon takes. He’s always stood next to a blue flame and is a sight you will grow to love. The merchant sells a wide range of weapons, though never any ammo, as well as health sprays, attache cases and scopes. As you play the game, more weapons become available. The merchant sells a wide range of handguns, shotguns, magnums and rifles, as well as the TMP which I am never without. The merchant allows you to purchase upgrades on the guns, such as reload speed and ammo capacity. Later in the game you can acquire the rocket launcher and if you complete the game, you have access to buy an infinity rocket launcher, a rocket launcher that has infinite ammo. You can also sell treasures you’ve found to the merchant, although he is quite happy to purchase any unwanted grenades, weapons, health sprays and other gear you might not want too. The shooting range is only found at odd stops, so you may not access it at every point you see the merchant. I can guarantee though that when you put down you’re controller you’ll be spouting such merchant lines as, “hahaha, welcome stranger”, “got a lot of good things on sale stranger”, “ahh, i’ll buy it at a high price”, and “hahaha, thank you, come back anytime…”
Throughout the game, you’ll come across some bosses, some of which are more difficult than others to defeat. As you progress through the game, the bosses get scarier and more difficult to destroy. When approaching any enemies, be it the villagers or something more deadly, the music changes into a frantic beat, which creates tension and fright. Once you’ve killed all enemies in your surrounding area, the music will relax into a calm tempo. Listening to the sounds in the game is a good way of preparing youself for the enemies that lie ahead.
The game is played from a third person perspective onlooking Leon. The weapons are pretty spot on, as when you aim your weapon, a red laser beam with a spot on the end helps you to aim at the enemy. The best way of killing an enemy is aiming for the head and if you use the semi-automatic rifle, you can enter scope mode to fire more accurately. You also have a knife which is useful for close combat battle and for breaking any boxes or barrells which hold goodies such as ammo, herbs or jewels. When you have a weapon armed and your enemy gets too close for comfort, Leon may react with a physical attack instead when you press the ‘fire’ button.
When purchasing or picking up items, you store them in the attache case. As you progress through the game, you can purchase bigger attache cases but even after you’ve purchased the largest, you still have to manage the contents of your case. There are limited spaces and you must strategically place all your weapons, ammo and health spray/herbs inside so you can store them, else you will have to sell or drop some to make room for other, more important items. This in itself can be an art. My biggest piece of advice is try to find a save point after you’ve re-arranged your attache case contents, because the last thing you want is to be killed and have to reorganise it all over again. This brings me onto the save points. There are two ways to save your game: the first is by finding a typewriter. A typewriter is found every so often in the game. There are plenty when you consider the limited save points in other games. I’ve never cursed the game for not having a save point when I needed one. A typewriter is usually found before a boss battle and our friend Merchant likes to position his shop nearby them too. The other savepoint comes when you complete a chapter and are given your statistics for shot:hit ratio. You are asked if you would like to save. I try to save as much as possible, especially if you have come across lots of goodies lying about.
Once you have completed the game (if you’re playing on PS2), you have access to a side game called Seperate Ways, where you play as Ada Wong (a character seen in the main game), following a path parallel to the one which Leon took through the game. This side mission gives you more storyline which is missing from the main game and once completed gives you a very special weapon indeed…
This is a brilliant, scary game with plenty of action and storyline to keep you gripped. I think it’s one of those games best played with the lights off and hooked up the surround sound. The monsters are horrifying and the game can be quite difficult at times, but the adrenaline from being attacked by these creatures will soon get your blood pumping to those fingers on the joypad.
Resident Evil 4 is one of the best games ever released for Playstation 2, and Juan Vasquez has kindly informed me that Capcom are releasing it on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 (it’s already available for Nintendo Wii), as they are for Resident Evil: Code Veronica. So if you never played RE4 on the PS2 or Gamecube, I urge you to buy it! It’ll be one purchase you will never regret.
P.S. If you’re already a fan of the game, check out Mega64’s video here