Resident Evil 2 – Virgin Interactive – Capcom – PS1/Dreamcast/PC/Gamecube/N64
In our second look back at the Resident Evil series, which this year celebrates 15 years of scaring the bejesus out of gamers, HCF takes a trip toRaccoonCitywith Resident Evil 2.
Released in 1998, two years after the original kept us awake at night, Resident Evil 2 was bigger, better and even scarier. Resident Evil 2 saw the introduction of two new main characters, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield.Leonis a rookie cop, on his way to start his first day as an officer at the RPD, and if you hadn’t guessed it already, Claire is sister to one of the original games protagonists, Chris Redfield. She is out looking for him as he dropped off the radar after no one would believe what happened following the mansion incident. Unfortunately as they get into town, it happens to be overrun with the walking dead.
This time around, rather than having the difficulty determined by which character you choose, the character choice now determines the path you will take. Spread across two discs, disc 1 beingLeonand disc 2 being Claire, there are four overall ways of playing the game. Played out with two scenarios, A and B, you have two story lines to get through. For example, the beginning seesLeonand Claire separated and making their own way to the police station to rendezvous. Depending on who you start with first, this is scenario A, meaning you head round the ‘front’ way to police station, and scenario B sees the other character head the ‘back’ way. Both have different story lines and objectives (other than get hell out of town) as well as certain areas only being accessible depending on which scenario you are playing out. As mentioned, there are four ways of playing the game, Leon A/Claire B and Claire A/Leon B. Given how big the game is, that’s a lot of play time!
Along the way you will meet other characters, some of which you will actually take control of. These characters will also assist you throughout various stages in the game, usually helping you get to otherwise unreachable areas. This journey will take you from the wrecked streets ofRaccoonCity, to Umbrella’s subterranean lab, via Raccoon Police Department and a dark sewerage network.
Unlike the original, where encounters with zombies would be few and far between, Resident Evil 2 really ups the ante. I think I killed more zombies in the first 10 minutes of this one, than I did in throughout the entire first game. This game also ups the variety of the enemies. One of the first new enemies we meet is shortly after you enter the police station. Nicknamed the Licker, this is a very quick creature with a long, lance like tongue and razor sharp claws. Much like the Hunter from the previous game, these are agile, and if you are not quick enough, will soon make short work of you. We are reacquainted with the Cerberus, the zombified Doberman dogs, which seem to be a little more difficult to deal with this time round too, as they will attack you from all angles. The giant tarantulas also make a return, wanting to infect you with their poison. There is also a giant alligator and moth as well as mutant plants trying to have you for lunch. Two new Tyrants make an appearance too and stalk you in the latter half of each scenario, both as terrifying as each other.
The weapons are pretty much the same only with the addition of a sub machine gun and a crossbow. The crossbow can only be used by Claire however, along with the grenade launcher. The wonderful inter-dimensional storage chests make a return, although there are more inventory slots available this time round. Also making a welcome return are the files and journals that are found lying around in various places which give you a bit more background on the events that took place, as well as hints towards puzzles and situations you may face.
Even though the game is a lot bigger, the visuals are much improved, giving it a darker, detailed look in contrast to its predecessor. The same can’t be said for the B-movie voice acting. Still as wooden as ever, but that adds some charm I think. The scares are more frequent, though they tend to be more jump scares this time round. There’s a part in an interrogation room, with a two-way mirror. I’m sure you can guess the rest if you haven’t played it already. Scares the crap out of me every time!
As well as the main game, perform well enough and you unlock new modes, including a short new story, The 4th Survivor, where you take control of Hunk, one of Umbrellas mercenaries given the task of commandeering samples of the new strain of virus and returning it to Umbrella HQ.
Overall, this sequel improves on the original in every way, expanding on the story, better visuals and with more longevity. With Resident Evil 2, Capcom raised the bar even higher. In my opinion, Resident Evil 2 was the greatest survival horror of its generation.
Resident Evil 2 gets a well deserved 10 out of 10.