Oct 02 //
Resident Evil - PlayStation [Owned], PC, Saturn, PSN [Owned]
Resident Evil is where it all started. Gaming legend Shinji Mikami created a game that was not only an homage to Sweet Home, but also a great survival horror companion to Alone in the Dark.
Unlike most games at the time, you simply didn't know what to expect next -- literally anything could jump out and try and bite your head off. Moments like the first time you experienced zombie dogs jumping through a window, or the famous first-person Hunter scene are burned into my memory. Despite the low-budget voice acting (which only added a campy, enjoyable Evil Dead feel to it), Resident Evil is a pure classic, even today.
Resident Evil 2 - PlayStation, PC, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, GameCube, PSN [Owned]
Resident Evil 2 took the first iteration's mansion setting, and turned it to 11. It wasn't just "The Mansion" anymore -- your playground was an entire city. Somehow, someway, Resident Evil 2 filled this city with secrets, story, and tons of character.
Costume changes and hidden modes became more of a big deal, and started shaping up Resident Evil's trademark of packing in tons of content. The unique "two-disc" approach, in which the game was basically two games, was also rarely done at the time, and was a testament to the sheer undertaking that this year-and-nine-month project really was.
The dynamic "Zapping System" mechanic that changed your story was pretty much unheard of at the time, and still is today. While I don't think Resident Evil 2 was as fun as the original, one thing's for sure: it's one of the most technically impressive games of all time.
Resident Evil 3 - PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast, GameCube, PSN [Owned]
"3" was unique in that it had a big bad boss enemy stalk you the entire game -- basically right from the very beginning. It also introduced a mechanic that I was extremely grateful for, and rarely re-used: dodging.
After the main game was completed, you could access the first true Mercenaries mode, entitled "Operation: Mad Jackal." RE3's variation was much more fleshed out than the prior installments' "Survivor" or "Battle Game" gametypes.
Quite honestly, Mad Jackal set me up for my rabid love of the Mercenaries gametype. In fact, for a few titles, I would play Mercenaries for considerably longer than the actual core game -- Resident Evil 3 was one such example.
Resident Evil Survivor - PlayStation [Owned], PC
My recollection of Survivor is vague at best: I remember renting it with my little brother, and beating it in an afternoon.
The only specific thing I really remember about it is that it's basically Doom in Resident Evil form, and you literally cannot save the game, ever. While you're able to keep any weapons and items after death, you have to restart from the beginning if you die: considering is is around 1-3 hours, that might suck.
Survivor is what it is. It's not a terrible "lightgun game," but it isn't great, either. One of the biggest punches in the face is the fact that it feels like a straight arcade port (even though it's not) given the fact that there are no continue points. It's hard to recommend for that reason alone, but if you're a Resident Evil fanatic, you may as well track this one down.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica - Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 [Owned], GameCube, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Owned]
Code Veronica was formerly my favorite game in the series, before REmake and RE5 came along. It was the first game to offer semi-fixed angles for the camera, instead of pre-rendered backgrounds, which was partly due to the upgrade in hardware to the PlayStation 2.
It also offered a first-person view for a few weapons, and an amalgamation of various Resident Evil games, such as the 180-degree turn, upgradeable weapons, and explosive scenery. Simply put, it was just a clean, fun Resident Evil game. In the PS2 version, there were a few ham-fisted action scenes involving Wesker, but they were good fun too and helped add to the game's enjoyment. In addition to the normal game (Code: Veronica X), I completed battle mode with every character.
Resident Evil Gaiden - Game Boy Color [Owned]
Gaiden ("side-story" in Japanese), is probably the only "bad" Resident Evil game in the entire franchise. While a few others were extremely average, Gaiden is borderline unplayable. Strangely enough, it's a top down/rhythm game hybrid -- the results are disastrous, and not even Leon and Barry can save this one.
Combat is done in a turn-based game style, where contact with an enemy initiates a mini-game similar to the "field goal kick" bar from the popular Madden NFL series. To be blunt, combat just wasn't scary, and it wasn't much fun either.
Resident Evil REmake - GameCube, Wii [Owned]
RE1's GameCube REmake is possibly the best remake of all time, for any series. Capcom pulled out all the stops for this one, when they could have easily just re-released the game à la the RE GameCube collection.
The graphics are updated, the voice acting is improved, and the game is overhauled so much that fans will barely recognize some parts of it (among a few new areas). The REmake offers up classic RE1 gameplay with a brand new veneer -- personally, while it's not my favorite, I think it's technically the best game in the series.
Resident Evil Zero - GameCube [Owned], Wii [Owned]
Resident Evil Zero is one of the only games I haven't completed in the series before this Quest. While I had a GameCube, I was too busy playing other stuff at the time (including the GameCube's REmake), and just missed this one.
I've heard mixed reactions -- both that it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, and that it's a solid entry to the franchise. Either way, I'm excited to jump into one this year with the Wii re-release.
I'm not a huge fan of Zero, but that's mostly due to the two title characters involved. As the main series precursor to RE, I think Zero falls short in many respects. I didn't really feel connected to Rebecca or Billy nearly as much as I did with any previous character in the series, and considering they hardly ever make a re-appearance, I can only assume many people felt the same.
I applaud Capcom for bringing us back to the Spencer Mansion and giving us a bit of insight into the mystery there, but honestly, REmake did all of this and more (I can't say enough good things about that game).
Resident Evil: Dead Aim - PlayStation 2 [Owned]
Dead Aim is easily the best light-gun game in the series, especially for its time. Movement was shown in a third-person view like standard Resident Evil games, but it switched to first-person for shooting purposes.
This basically created a hybrid shooting/adventure game that at least allowed you to pick your fights during most instances, instead of being forced to battle every single enemy on-rails.
Why Capcom didn't follow this formula further, I'll never know, as it made for a really interesting game. It also offered up a few new characters that, while forgettable, show Capcom was at least trying something different instead of putting Leon and Chris into a game for the hundredth time.
Resident Evil Outbreak - PlayStation 2 [Owned]
Outbreak was a fan's dream: for the first time, Resident Evil was truly multiplayer! You could cooperate or betray your teammates, just like a real zombie apocalypse.
There were plenty of "How could you leave me behind!" and "It was both of us or one of us!" moments, and this made for a unique experience that hasn't really been matched yet, even with Left 4 Dead.
Outbreak served up classic hopeless Resident Evil tension with heated multiplayer gameplay, and it's a shame so many people missed out on it (mostly due to the haphazard marketing of the PS2's HDD and Internet accessory).
Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 - PlayStation 2 [Owned]
Strangely enough, Outbreak 2 was the first Resident Evil game to allow people to move and shoot. Since it wasn't as popular in America, however, no one really talks about it. Part of the reason for the lack of popularity was the fact that it was basically a carbon-copy of Outbreak 1, with a few different scenarios.
The game added an extra communication system that allowed people to talk to one another despite the region, and a few other small additions, but it wasn't really enough to show up on most people's radars. Personally, I wasn't upset with more of the same, as I enjoyed the original Outbreak.
Resident Evil 4 - GameCube, PlayStation 2 [Owned], PC, Wii [Owned]*, iPhone [Owned], iPad, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Owned]
Many fans are upset at Resident Evil 4 for spearheading the series into an action-oriented direction. Personally, I see it as a natural evolution of the series. The behind-the-back camera and aiming mechanics are a much better alternative than anything previously offered, and the enemy variety lends itself well to the new direction.
For whatever reason, people never seem to fault Resident Evil 4 for a more action-centric focus, instead choosing Resident Evil 5 as the sacrificial lamb. Personally, I never saw it: I was already ready for action ever since Code Veronica X.
The Mercenaries mode also takes a further step forward, and offers up even more additional content than ever before -- most notably the ability to select multiple stages, and the inability to actually complete it. Resident Evil 4 was also insanely popular, and helped revitalize the series.
Resident Evil: Deadly Silence - DS [Owned]
Deadly Silence. DS. Get it?!
One of the cool things about this version of Resident Evil is that the top screen of the DS is used as a map, and a health indicator at all times. Additionally, the game is pretty much a spot-on port of the PS1 game, voice acting and all, which is pretty impressive given the DS' general lack of horsepower. It also has a multiplayer mode; it's kind of weak, given that you and your friends never actually see each other in different parts of the mansion, but it's a free addition nonetheless.
To differentiate this playthrough from my original RE run, I'm playing the "REbirth mode," which adds a ton of unique first-person action scenes, and DS-centric additions/re-arrangements. Even though the game is basically a port, touch screen-specific puzzles and changes are enough to justify another playthrough here.
All in all, Deadly Silence is about what you'd expect out of an above average portable port, and a solid addition to any RE fan's collection.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - Wii [Owned], PlayStation 3
Umbrella Chronicles is an on-rails shooter for the Wii. That's about all I can say about it, honestly, before I head into this one. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort or time to complete it, and cooperative gameplay is kind of shoe-horned in.
Thankfully, it has a decent amount of unlockable content. While I have played Umbrella Chronicles, I haven't tackled it as much as Darkside Chronicles, so I'll be sure and post extended thoughts below.
If you like light-gun games, be sure and check this one out. It offers pretty standard, enjoyable light-gun arcade-y fun over the backdrop of a few past Resident Evil titles. Umbrella Chronicles is a good way to get a refresher for Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil 1, and Resident Evil 3.
Although, despite how fun it can be, I'd highly recommend playing it with a partner, as it enhances the enjoyment tenfold.
Resident Evil 5 - Xbox 360 [Owned], PlayStation 3 [Owned], PC
I make it no secret that Resident Evil 5 is my favorite game of all time (emphasis on personal favorite). The day I got it at midnight, I took off work the next day, and beat it sometime in the morning. The next day, my wife and I started a co-op campaign that would last about a week -- after that, I grinded through another playthrough to get some cash for extra weapons; I just couldn't get enough.
To put it simply, I think RE5 is the most fun game in the entire series. There's a hefty campaign, tons of extra content, co-op, and for the first time, there's co-op Mercenaries -- what more could you want? I literally played RE5 for months on end, and ate up all the DLC possible. I can't say enough good things about this game. For my 2012 playthrough, I'm either going to tackle the PlayStation Move version of the game, or replay it with my wife.
Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles - Wii [Owned], PlayStation 3
Darkside Chronicles is a considerable improvement upon Umbrella Chronicles. There's a new evade move and it offers a dynamic difficulty setting, along with an improved co-op mode.
Like the other light-gun titles in the series, Darkside Chronicles is basically a love-it-or-hate-it kind of game. It doesn't really offer a whole lot more than most other on-rail shooters. If you're a Resident Evil fan, however, you may want to put up with it just for the extra story bits.
Out of the two light-gun Wii titles, Darkside Chronicles is the better game; especially for two players. The developers make a much better effort to accommodate co-op play, and the new mechanics make gameplay smoother.
You also get crucial backstory on Leon and Krauser, which helps make Resident Evil 4's Krauser encounters that much more enjoyable. If you have to choose one of the two Wii light-gun games, make it Darkside -- but getting both isn't a bad idea.
Resident Evil: Deck Building Game - [Owned]
If you haven't played a deck-building game before, the concept is pretty simple. There are a bunch of stacks of static cards in the center of the play area. You have one giant deck, of which you draw five cards at a time from. With those five cards, you can perform a number of actions depending on what you randomly drew -- you can buy cards from the middle or perform actions to either draw more cards or modify your deck.
Resident Evil's deck-building variant adds another new concept: fighting infected. On any given turn, you're allowed one buy, one action, and one "exploration" that allows you to take a door card and explore the Spencer Mansion. In the mansion you can find items or battle infected for trophies -- depending on the gametype, the player with the most trophies (kills) wins.
I've played a number of deck-building games before such as Dominion, but Resident Evil is one of my favorites. Each player gets assigned a unique character that changes your abilities, which helps add to the characterization and uniqueness of the game. Also, it's a delight to take down the Nemesis with a bunch of knife cards as Krauser.
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D - 3DS [Owned]
Mercenaries 3D is a very niche title. If you love the Mercenaries mini-games from other titles, you may like Mercs 3D. If you loathe them -- well, that's kind of the entire game here.
Mercs 3D made waves in the gaming community at release due to the inability to delete saves, and its incredibly short length (it can be beaten in a few hours).
It also had a few other problems like the short draw distance, among other graphical glitches. Personally, I thought the game was acceptable, and played it for quite a while before putting it down. While it may seem like a cash grab at first, there are a decent amount of scenarios included, and Mercs fanatics will be sure to come back to it occasionally.
Resident Evil: Revelations - 3DS [Owned]
Did the mysteriously abandoned Resident Evil PSP game end up as Revelations? Does it really matter at this point? Early previews are calling this "one of the best Resident Evils in a long time, and possibly the best Resident Evil ever."
The demo is great, the visuals are great, and there's really no reason to doubt this entry, despite the fact that it's on a portable. I plan on getting this game day one and ripping through it in a few days. I'll be sure and post my thoughts after completion.
After playing the final release, I felt like the demo was a bait and switch of sorts. The fact of the matter is, without going into spoiler territory, at least half of the game is not the tight-knit claustrophobic experience the demo made it out to be.
A lot of Revelations is spent with an AI partner clunking around, or in open areas fighting non-stop enemies in a full-out actionfest -- the switch between the Cruise Ship sections and everywhere else is jarring, and the story isn't the greatest to boot.
Thankfully, the game looked great, controlled great, and Raid Mode is pretty fun solo or with a friend. I hope that Capcom puts this new engine to good use, and expands upon a lot of concepts with Revelations. It's not one of my favorite Resident Evil games for sure, but it's not bad, either.
Resident Evil Game Boy Color - Game Boy Color ROM [Owned]
This previously unreleased title has finally been given to the public by an anonymous source.
While it evidently isn't possible to beat the game in its current state, I'll still attempt to complete as much as possible. Up until 2012, no one has had a chance to play this missing piece of history, so I'm pretty excited to see what we've been missing all these years.
Considering Resident Evil GBC is only available as a free ROM, you aren't really risking anything financially to try it. There isn't a whole lot to say about this one that can't really be said by looking at the screenshot above.
It's a very simplistic version of Resident Evil, distilled into a tiny cartridge-size package. The ROM isn't complete, but at least you can get a taste of this lost game. While it isn't ideal, I would have salivated at the prospect of a portable Resident Evil game for car trips as a child.
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City - Xbox 360 [Owned], PlayStation 3, PC
I honestly have no idea what to expect from Raccoon City. I'm not the biggest fan of Slant Six, and I'm not too keen on the possible idea of shooting down Resident Evil's heroes and heroines. Additionally, based on rumors, the game may not have a split-screen mode, which would hinder my ability to play with my wife.
Regardless, I'll be picking up Raccoon City this year on my 360, and I'm eager to see what it can offer to the series.
Raccoon City is a disappointment. While fun, the game has a heap of issues, from online stability, to numerous gamebreaking glitches. Players have been known to fall through the floor, turn into ghosts, and all sorts of other mishaps. It's a shame, because for Resident Evil fans, the game is a fun little romp through the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3.
You get to see pretty much every major monster from the series (Nemesis included!), and some familiar faces like Birkin, Leon, and Hunk. If done correctly -- and possibly as canon -- this could have been a really worthwhile entry into the franchise. As it stands, it's a hard recommendation
Resident Evil 6 - Xbox 360 [Owned], PlayStation 3, PC
I could not be more excited for Resident Evil 6. From the rumors offered so far, it looks to have a full Mercenaries mode with multiplayer, story mode co-op, and a single-player campaign without an AI partner. In short, it apparently offers more content than RE5.
I'm excited for the new setting, and hopefully the story will be interesting this time around without Wesker (presumably, provided he isn't cloned). Although the series is decidedly more action-oriented, there are also rumors of more claustrophobic areas and slower-moving zombies having a part in RE6 -- if they can do it right, I say bring it on.
Despite my initial excitement, over time, I came into Resident Evil 6 expecting to be disappointed. I had heard so many bad things from my friends and colleagues who have played it at various events like E3 and TGS. I had personally bought Dragon's Dogma primarily for early access to the Resident Evil 6 demo, and came away fairly unimpressed. I played the Resident Evil 5 demo for hours on end (over twenty hours in fact) -- with the Resident Evil 6 demo, I literally played it once and deleted it.
So with all this in mind, I came into Resident Evil 6 very skeptical, and left mostly impressed. Mostly.
Spreading apart all three (four, if you count Ada) stories was a ballsy move. With Resident Evil 5, it was enjoyable to play as Chris and Sheva the entire game, as the story wasn't all over the place, and you were grounded in both characters, which made it easy to learn their nuances and melee abilities.
With Resident Evil 6, you're jumping all over the place at times, and it can be jarring. Not only does every character handle differently, but everyone has a different UI to boot. Given the mostly fast-paced action the game spews at you constantly, design choices like the inability to pause the game in co-op just feel weird, as do QTEs that only involve one player, wrapped up in such unexciting things as starting a car.
Still, I found myself enjoying the game the more I played it. (I'm talking ten hours of learning the nuances of combat). I'll fully admit, Mercenaries -- which you all know I'm a giant fan of -- really helped me grasp said nuances much quicker than the campaign, and bolstered my enjoyment tenfold.
As you can see in this video, combat is more than meets the eye in Resident Evil 6. There's sliding, counters, quick-shotting, and contextual melee moves. It's like a complex fighting game in a sense, but integrated into one of my favorite franchises of all time. Naturally, since it's done well, I'm enjoying myself.
RE6 also has a ton of content provided that you're ready to embrace the action-oriented gameplay (which has been a staple since RE4). There's an Ada campaign, a handful of online modes, a meta-game involving skill XP in both the campaign and Mercenaries, tons of unlocks and some costumes for Mercs, and more. Like RE5, there's enough here to keep you playing well into 2013.
While it isn't one of my favorite games in the franchise by far, I think it's a fairly solid action game (what immediately comes to mind is my opinion of Skyward Sword: great action-RPG, alright Zelda game). Just like RE5, your mileage will vary depending on how fun your co-op partner is -- just know, however, that the co-op AI is not nearly as frustrating as Sheva was.
The Resident Evil series has certainly had its ups and downs. From its horror roots to a metamorphosis of action to the chagrin of many fans, everyone has to admit that the franchise is interesting, if nothing else.
As a whole, I found myself not enjoying this Quest nearly as much as the other ones, and I can't really put my finger on why, as I still like the series overall. While I was truly eager to rip into Tony Hawk, Kingdom Hearts, and Zelda almost immediately, I took a long break in between some of the games here, as I found it fairly tough to continue on.
Perhaps it's because of the slow-moving nature of many of the earlier games, and when played in rapid succession, it can get a bit grating? I don't know for sure. Thankfully, the multiplayer iterations kept me going, as it was a blast to, well, blast away the undead with my wife or with a friend.
Carter's Quest [Read on for a description of every Resident Evil game ever released in the US, and my completion of them all in 2012.]
Why Resident Evil?
This year, Capcom is pushing out three entirely new Resident Evil games -- it's also t...
Sep 24 //
Resident Evil  (GameCube, Wii)Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomReleased: April 30, 2002
In a nutshell: In 2002, Capcom did what no developer would dare do in 2012: made a faithful recreation of a six-year-old game with a cult following. This remake added new areas, enemies, endings, and improved controls, but the biggest upgrade was in the visuals, which added the horror back into the game's large, foreboding mansion. Though we still use the label "survival horror," the emphasis has been taken off "survival" since the release of this gem.
A large, interconnected world
Like any great horror movie, there is an ebb and flow to the horrors of Resident Evil, and it's all dictated by the game's brilliantly crafted setting.
Some would love to have a mansion, but the thought of all that empty space and dark corners scares me away from the idea. Resident Evil is a game about this feeling -- the unnerving fear of the unknown and the comfort of familiarity.
At the start, the Spencer Mansion is a foreboding place where every door is an invitation to evil and dismemberment. Soon, you start to map out the first floor. Next, you find brief sanctuary in the save rooms. By the time you clear out the halls, the house begins to feel like a home, and your heartbeat relaxes. The game teases you with locked doors -- even worse, mysteriously jammed doors! Unlocking them to discover a shortcut to a previous area is as satisfying as taking down one of the game's bosses.
Never knowing what's around the corner
As a culture, we live in fear of spoilers. A great surprise is as close to a holy moment as us geeks get, and there will be hell to pay if someone takes that away from us!
Lucky for you, Resident Evil is a game full of surprises, though they aren't very nice ones. It never highlights what's around the corner or gives the false security of a checkpoint, so you'll be constantly praying that the next room is a puzzle and not a boss encounter. As you travel further into the game, old areas start revealing hidden items, cleared rooms start offering new enemies, and old bosses rear their head again. You'll be wishing you didn't leave that ammo box on the ground in that one room that you can't remember where the hell it is and OH GOD A GIANT SNAKE FUUUuuu ...
It goes without saying that surprise is essential to a good horror game. Just look at Silent Hill: Shattered Memories to see how limp a horror game can become when it advertises its next move. Resident Evil asks the player to blindly trust the game; that if the player tries their best, they will survive. But some players will soon realize that their best isn't good enough. Just like in Dark Souls and Spelunky, making it to areas that you know others could never reach makes the journey all the sweeter.
Finding comfort in a familiar place
Resident Evil is a grueling game that isn’t shy about playing with expectations. Dogs provide literal jump scares, new enemies invade old areas, and there is a price to pay for every zombie you don't fully dispose of. Along with the horror of feeling locked outside areas and trapped within others, there is a simple joy to playing virtual cartographer. For those God of War and Super Metroid players who feel giddy after fully exploring an area, Resident Evil will make them pee their pants -- assuming they don't shit themselves first.
Finding solace in the save rooms and main hallway is a unique feeling that I don't get from any other series. By the end of the game, you feel like you know the mansion inside and out, making you feel empowered. Or maybe that's just the grenade launcher with 18 acid rounds talking? Regardless, you feel like you've been on a wild ride as you return to familiar places and reflect on all the horrifying events that have transpired. The game allows you a moment to catch your breath before giving you another reason to let it all out in a scream, again.
Alternate paths and strategies
Maybe it's the fault of marketing and media exposure, but the branching paths of Heavy Rain and Mass Effect never shocked me in the way those of Resident Evil do. While it's clear that those two games were designed around the branching path concept and wanted to make the element of design clear to the player, Resident Evil is a game about psychological fear and withholding information.
There are several times in the game where the player can choose drastically different options, but you'd never think you had an alternate choice unless you read about it in a FAQ. Even when you do read a guide, you'll often find yourself lost. "Wait, where is the automatic shotgun and why am I carrying this broken shotgun?" you’ll ask. Or, "Why did I never have that boss fight at the end?"
In addition to these narrative splits, there are some clever alternate approaches one can take in the combat. There is the binary choice between evading and fighting with the common zombie, but things become more interesting with the boss fights that often offer a non-combat approach if you go the extra mile in your puzzle solving. On top of all this, the game has two main characters to play as that offer different dialog, weapons, and changes in the narrative.
Unlike Heavy Rain and Mass Effect, by the end, I felt like I played the game the only way it could have been played rather than carving out my own version of it. Instead of wondering if I played the "best version," I was left wondering if there was even another version at all.
Death means something
As anyone who has played Spelunky can attest, taking away the ability to save can render even an approachable, cute platformer into a game of tense, horrific moments. And as anyone who has played the recent batch of horror games can attest, being given numerous checkpoints takes the fear out of the genre.
The greatest fear for a Resident Evil player isn't zombies, but running out of ink ribbons. These ribbons are hidden throughout the game and are the only way to save progress. Since there are only 30 or so throughout the 11-hour game, and since you'll often be lucky to have more than one in your inventory, it's a constant source of tension that makes every unopened door and uncleared hallway into an unbearable threat.
There is a compromise the player and developer make with such a restricted save system. Yes, it inconveniences the player, but it also heightens the fear and pleasure of the game. There is no moment more tense than going an hour without saving and being stuck with low health. But, there is no moment more satisfying than finding a save room, right when you thought you'd have to restart the entire game.
For the brave and willing, the ink ribbon system will give you some of the most memorable gaming moments ever.
Resident Evil was a landmark title in 1996 that ushered in mature console horror gaming. By 2002, its impact had been weakened, but Capcom addressed this with this nearly flawless remake. The lightning, detailed CG backgrounds, and high-polygon models still look fantastic and keep the game from feeling goofy in the way the original PlayStation games are now.
For those who think they can handle the challenge and scares of this classic, you'll need to readjust how you approach games. Resident Evil was never the norm. Its pacing and unforgiving design limit its audience, but all of its misperceived flaws are essential to the experience. The controls aren't sluggish but intentionally slow, making intense moments more intense. The ink ribbon system and limited inventory ask players to make constant sacrifices that add weight to their actions.
It's clear that Resident Evil is an abnormal, obtuse game, but everything about it adds up to one of the most unique, memorable horror games of all time. Resident Evil (1996) may have spawned the genre, RE2 may have broadened its scope, but this remake is the crown jewel of the genre.
[And yes, I love RE4, but it's not survival horror.]
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May 04 //
Jim Sterling There's a decent chance that you actually don't know what I'm talking about, and that's understandable. Metal Arms, unfortunately, was not a major success. The game released with very little fanfare, sold poorly, and was never seen again. This ran contrary to the plans of its creators, of course, who had poured their love into the game, only to have the work wasted, snatched away, and locked up for good.
The story of Metal Arms is a melancholy one, but it's a story that deserves to be told.
Boba Fett versus Planet Robot
Metal Arms was devised by Swingin' Ape Studios, a company that formed in 2000 under the leadership of Scott Goffman, Mike Starich and Steve Ranck. While doing contract work for other developers, Swingin' Ape was working on its own game, a title that was never be finished but eventually went on to inspire the concept of Metal Arms.
"The game put the player in control of a Boba Fett-like intergalactic bounty hunter where each level took place on a different planet," explained Ranck. "One of the planets was called Iron Star and was occupied by a variety of sentient and deadly robots. It was by far our favorite planet in the game. When our contracting job unexpectedly ended, we decided to put our full efforts into the bounty hunter game.
"But within a few weeks, another intergalactic bounty hunter game was announced and we decided it would be difficult finding a publisher interested in funding our game."
A Glitch in Time
With no income and only a few months of survival cash in the bank, the founders met with the team to discuss the grim possibility that after less than a year, Swingin' Ape might be out of business shortly.
Faced with premature death, the team had a meeting to figure out what it should do with whatever time it had remaining. In that meeting, the concept for Metal Arms was born. Taking Iron Star and its robotic inhabitants as a starting point, Swingin' Ape decided it could make a shooter with an extreme level of violence that would retain its all-important "Teen" rating, due to the fact that the characters were not made of flesh and juicy, censor-baiting blood.
"With just a few weeks until 2001 E3, we worked hard on developing a concept movie that demonstrated the look and feel of the game," recalled Ranck. "We ended up including this movie in the final game -- it can be viewed once all 42 levels in the campaign have been completed.
"When E3 arrived, Scott, Mike, and I were equipped with a laptop with the movie, a stack of colorful presentations, and a fairly polished pitch. For two days, we literally ran from meeting to meeting and pitched Metal Arms to over 15 publishers. Some were interested and at least appeared to be enthusiastic. Others yawned through the presentation and glanced at their watches. Nice. When we returned from E3, we really didn't feel any closer. Everything was still up in the air, and Swingin' Ape was almost out of time."
At the very last minute, however, the studio got a call from Mike Ryder, then-president of Sierra. While no commitments were made, Ryder was shown the full concept for Metal Arms and expressed a hopeful amount of enthusiasm. Nothing was set in stone, but Sierra was now Swingin' Ape's best chance at succcess.
The seven-person studio set itself the daunting task of creating a fully playable demo level within six weeks, armed only with an unfinished proprietary engine and limited design ideas. Amazingly -- and thanks to the sacrifice of all free time and sleep -- Swingin' Ape built its demo. In Ranck's own words, the end result was, "Fun. Very fun."
Sierra loved the demo, and Ryder was personally championing the game. Yet despite the excitement, the project was never officially greenlit and the studio was still facing closure. As luck would have it, Ranck was able to license out the technology used in the creation of Metal Arms' demo, which allowed Swingin' Ape to survive just long enough to sign a contract with Sierra in December 2001. Against all probability, Metal Arms was now officially a game, and development could begin.
"Developing Metal Arms was incredibly fun, though the game itself wasn't. Not in the beginning. The demo was just that -- a slice of fun that demonstrated the game. When you focus on a slice of gameplay, it's much easier to find the right formula to make it fun. But developing general, full-featured levels is another thing altogether," Ranck told me.
"It's not that we didn't know how to make the game fun, but that we had a huge amount of foundation code to write initially. I very much respect the people running Sierra at the time, because they fundamentally understood that for Metal Arms to be a good game, we needed the time to invest in our technology foundation. Once we had the core foundation done, we were then able to focus on the game's physics & destruction system, arguably the key component to the gratifying gameplay feel. Once the destruction system was complete, the fun level skyrocketed, and Metal Arms began to feel like a game. We were definitely hopeful for its chances of success."
Sierra was compliant and development was going smoothly, but an ominous figure loomed over the horizon, threatening to strike Metal Arms down with an unjust fury. That shadowy malevolence was Vivendi, Sierra's parent company. Unlike Sierra, Vivendi had no clue what was so appealing about Metal Arms. It could not understand why the publisher had greenlit the project, and as such, often pretended the game didn't exist and would regularly omit it from project reviews.
"Then, the week before 2003 E3, Vivendi held their pre-E3 press event, where they showed off their games lineup to the press," revealed Ranck. "At the end of the event, the members of the press were invited to fill out a card where they ranked the games Vivendi showed to them.
"Metal Arms ranked #1, which caught Vivendi off-guard. To be honest, it caught all of us off-guard. Unfortunately, Vivendi had disappointingly dedicated only a single kiosk of their massive E3 booth to Metal Arms, which is a good indicator of how they considered the game, but after the press event, they scrambled to find more space and ultimately got the game on a 2nd kiosk as well as into Microsoft's Xbox booth. The E3 press on the game was strong, and it won several awards."
Life's a Glitch, and then you die
From then on, Vivendi bucked its ideas up and decided to lend some marketing weight to the game. A TV spot was aired and web banners were published on top-ranking sites. However, Ranck believes it was a case of too little, too late. Vivendi's marketing only came just prior to release, and most sales were generated through pure word of mouth -- at least as far as Swingin' Ape's anecdotal knowledge is concerned.
The gaming press was generally supportive of the title, although Ranck noticed several reviews from authors that "clearly have played only the first level or two, and yet feel they've played enough to form an opinion of the game and then publish a score."
Armed with press coverage and late-but-welcome publisher backing, Swingin' Ape had high hopes for Metal Arms' retail performance. Due to grassroots hype and critical acclaim, Vivendi was confident enough to commission a sequel, which the studio began to work on. Three months after development began, though, the game was axed. Things had not gone according to plan.
"It was cancelled because despite Metal Arms' success in the press, it wasn't selling well. In general, the people who played Metal Arms really liked the game. But there just weren't enough people who were aware that the game existed."
Just like that, Metal Arms: Glitch in the System was done. The game eventually made its way to Xbox Live as an Xbox Classic, but Ranck has no idea how well it performed. He's not even entirely sure where the IP currently rests, although www.metalarms.com now redirects to Activision's site, which would make sense, since Activision swallowed Vivendi in 2007. That Metal Arms would eventually drown in Activision's sea of lost souls, however, is through no lack of Ranck's attempts to rescue it.
"I did try to acquire the IP but Vivendi wouldn't part with it," confessed Ranck. "Metal Arms was originally written as a trilogy which is why the game's story has a few unanswered questions. I'll take this opportunity to, for the first time ever, share some with your readers. I suppose you could consider this a SPOILER ALERT in a way, but since MA2 seems highly unlikely, maybe it's a risk worth taking for some."
Metal Arms 2
The following section details what would have become of Metal Arms' story had the two sequels been made. As Ranck pointed out, they are spoilers, but for games that will likely never be made -- so feel free to read and imagine what could have been.
"Okay, so although we never came out and said it, Glitch was indeed created by the Morbots. That symbol on Glitch's head matches the glyphs in the Morbot region. The Morbots then intentionally planted Glitch for the Droids to find. The big reveal in Metal Arms 2 was that General Corrosive (the main villain of Metal Arms) was also created by the Morbots. He's Glitch's brother. Exavolt thinks that he created Corrosive, but he was just a tool in the Morbot's [sic] master plan. I won't go into detail as to what the Morbots were doing here, but will say that the whole thing was a grand experiment.
"You never see a Morbot in Metal Arms. We know they live under the planet's surface. In fact, the name 'Morbot' spawned from the 'Morlocks' from H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. The Morbots generate and control the massive power consumed by the bots on the surface. Exavolt wants that power at his fingertips so he can win the war and rule the planet, but there are only a few gateways that lead down to the Morbot region, and the gateways appear to have no doors. You can see one of these Morbot gateways in the game when Glitch takes the massive lift up and out of the Morbot region. The next level is the first of the Mil City levels. When that level starts, the structure behind Glitch is a Morbot gateway. The markings match that on Glitch's head.
"Exavolt never could figure out how to open the gateway. So, he came up with the plan of drilling through the planet's surface to gain access to the Morbot region. If you remember the giant drill level in the R&D facility, that's what that was all about. It's the Mil way of doing things -- sloppy, brute force. The Mils flooded into the Morbot region and occupied it, but the Morbots were nowhere to be found. They would reemerge in MA2. When Glitch discovers he was a pawn and killed his brother, he is motivated to settle the score with the powerful Morbots."
That is where Metal Arms 2 would have taken us, but alas, it was not to be. Perhaps one day, Activision will remember that it's sitting on a critically acclaimed property that could have been a surprise hit if only it had been supported, and will greenlight another Metal Arms. Given Activision's tendency to not do such things, perhaps that's an incredible level of wishful thinking.
There are those of us that do remember Metal Arms, however, and are glad we got to play at least one game in what was a promising, original, heartfelt series. Metal Arms: Glitch in the System is available on Xbox Live Classics, and you can find the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube versions for peanuts.
Should you ever feel the need to play a violent, funny, brutally tough shooter, don't forget Metal Arms. That's the very least it deserves.
My first encounter with Metal Arms: Glitch in the System came via a banner ad on IGN. Being an impulsive chap who will often be drawn to things simply because they look cool, I was immediately intrigued by the game, whic...
Mar 31 //
Chad Concelmo The Set-Up
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the GameCube has been featured on The Memory Card a couple times before. And for good reason: I LOVE THE GAME SO MUCH!
If you want to read more details about the game’s epic story, you can click here and here to read the previous two features. For this entry, I am going to focus on the specific moments leading up to this week’s Memory Card.
In the game, you play as Link, the green tunic-wearing hero of all the Zelda games.
After his sister is kidnapped at the start of the game (already a twist on the classic damsel in distress storyline), Link sets off on an ocean-spanning quest to find her. Along the way, his adventure transforms from a simple rescue mission to that of a quest to save the world from all evil!
During his quest, he meets a sassy pirate named Tetra. Upon finding the legendary Master Sword from the castle of Hyrule (now trapped in time under the sea), it is revealed that Tetra is actually Princess Zelda.
After discovering the true identity of Tetra, Link sets off alone on a journey to restore the Master Sword to all its glory. To do this, he must awaken the Sages of Earth and Wind and find the hidden Triforce of Courage.
Awakening the sages is not easy, but after completing two lengthy, satisfying dungeons, Link accomplishes his task.
Finding the triforce on the other hand, is a whole different story. After locating eight treasure maps, Link finds all the pieces of the Triforce, while simultaneously discovering that the true Triforce of Courage is inside Link himself. He is the hero of legend that is destined to destroy the root of all evil.
With his tasks complete, Link hurries back to Hyrule Castle.
As Link enters the castle he witnesses a shocking sight. Right before his eyes, Princess Zelda disappears, captured by Ganondorf, the source of all evil.
With a powered-up Master Sword in hand, Link breaks through a magical barrier surrounding Hyrule Castle and enters Ganon’s Tower.
It is here in the tall, foreboding tower when this week’s Memory Card moment occurs: A royal assist.
Ganon’s Tower is a treacherous dungeon full of enormous enemies and puzzling traps.
After a long journey through the interior of the ominous structure, Link makes his way to the top room of the tower.
Standing before him is a massive door.
Slowly moving forward, Link pushes the door open and steps inside.
As he steps inside the giant, water-filled room, Link sees an ornate bed in front of him. The bed is covered in a clear white curtain; two silhouettes projected by candlelight dance on its sheer surface.
Link closes in on the bed and learns that the two shadowy shapes belong to Princess Zelda and Ganondorf.
Princess Zelda lies asleep on the bed as Ganondorf towers over her.
After a dramatic soliloquy on the fate of the world, Ganondorf screams and transforms into a massive three-formed beast.
All three forms (Puppet, Spider, and Snake) are increasingly challenging, but Link manages to defeat them with the help of his handy light arrows.
Ganondorf’s final form explodes in a puff of purple smoke.
Link takes a deep breath.
But, suddenly, from the ceiling, Ganondorf returns, holding an unconscious Princess Zelda. He beckons Link to the roof of the tower.
Determined to get Zelda back, Link follows.
As Link emerges from the darkness of the tower, he steps into a huge stone circle at the bottom of the sea. The only thing holding back the water is an energy barrier created by the power of the Triforce.
Before Link even has a chance to ready himself, Ganondorf swoops forward and knocks Link back, the Master Sword flying out of his hands and landing only inches away from Princess Zelda’s still body.
Ganondorf lifts Link in the air and extracts the power of the Triforce from him.
But in a twist of fate, the King of Hyrule appears and stops Ganondorf from using the power of the Triforce. He splits apart the Triforce, causing the barrier to break, unleashing walls of water all around the tower.
As Link stands up, Zelda unexpectedly joins his side, Master Sword in hand.
She hands Link the Master Sword and tells him that they have to defeat Ganondorf and return to the world above the sea before the water washes them all away.
With this, the final battle begins.
Instead of Zelda standing by and being the object on the sidelines Link has to fight for, Zelda becomes a major contributor to the action.
She equips herself with the light arrows and jumps into battle.
While Link distracts Ganondorf, Zelda sneaks up behind him, charges her aim, and shoots a light arrow right into Ganondorf’s back.
The impact stuns him, allowing Link to move forward and slash him with his sword.
This process continues -- Link and Zelda, working together to defeat a common foe.
After Ganondorf is injured, Zelda recommends a new technique, one sure to damage their enemy even more.
Link equips his mirror shield and holds it up, all the while avoiding the constant onslaught of Ganondorf.
When his shield is in the correct position, Zelda fires a light arrow directly at Link. Rebounding off his shield at the perfect angle, the beam from the light arrow strikes Ganon and stuns him one final time.
With a golden opportunity in front of him, Link leaps into the air.
He raises the Master Sword and plunges it directly into Ganondorf’s forehead.
For a moment, everything stops. The screen goes white.
When the action fades back in, the Master Sword is shown stabbed in the head of Ganondorf. The only sound that can be heard is the roar of the surrounding waterfalls.
Ganondorf slowly turns to stone.
He is dead.
Shocked, but happy it is over, Zelda holds up Link, exhausted from the battle.
The King of Hyrule steps forward, thanking the two for their heroic deeds.
With no warning, the barrier surrounding the tower disappears completely. An entire sea pours in, surrounding Link and Zelda.
Luckily, through the power of the King, Link and Zelda are placed inside magical bubbles, safe from the incoming water.
As they float to the surface they say their final goodbyes to the King, watching him as he disappears into the dark waters below.
Link and Zelda are safe.
They reach the surface and look to the horizon; a new land and a new future await them.
You can watch the incredible moment when Zelda assists Link right here:
The final battle in Wind Waker is absolutely breathtaking.
Before we get to the twist -- and the focus of this Memory Card -- let’s just talk about how gorgeous it is.
The cell-shaded style of the graphics alone is stunning, but surrounding everything with beautifully animated waterfalls just takes everything over the edge.
The final battle just looks incredible. It may be the best-looking final boss battle in the history of the Zelda series.
And as soon as the battle starts it takes a major twist. Instead of fighting alone as Link -- as you had done in every single Zelda game up to that point -- Zelda fights along with you.
Princess Zelda. A character that had been nothing but a damsel in distress was now fighting right next to you -- a vital part of the final battle.
Tetra/Zelda was already such an interesting, well-rounded character throughout the entire game, that ending Wind Waker with a traditional Link vs. Ganondorf battle would have been fine -- Zelda would have still been viewed as the best and most complete iteration of the classic princess yet!
But, no, the game doesn’t take that easy way out.
And, honestly, it really couldn’t have. Throughout the entirety of Wind Waker, Tetra/Zelda is a major part of the story. She helps Link in so many situations, easily becoming the game’s second main character (outside of the King of Red Lions, of course).
When Zelda is Tetra, she is a tough, strong girl, one that would never back down from a fight in order to help Link and save the ones around her.
So why would this brave, courageous young woman not help Link just because she becomes a princess?
She wouldn’t ... and the game respects this.
At first, Wind Waker has Tetra stay behind once she finds out she is actually Princess Zelda. And, then, when Link returns to her, she is immediately kidnapped and knocked unconscious by Ganondorf.
These moments are a slap in the face to the way Tetra/Zelda was developed up to that point.
But, in a way, maybe the game’s designers did this on purpose? Once Zelda is kidnapped just like in every other Zelda game, it is easy to believe the rest of the game will play out just like the others.
So when Zelda appears by your side during the final battle -- Master Sword in hand, mind you! -- it comes as a true surprise.
As soon as Zelda wakes up, she is not going to stand on the sidelines like the end of Ocarina of Time. She is there to fight. She is there to do whatever it takes to put an end to Ganondorf.
Just like Tetra.
In this last moment, Princess Zelda proves that she and Tetra are one and the same.
Watching Princess Zelda assist in the battle with Ganondorf is awesome and one of my favorite moments in the Zelda series. (One that worked so well it was duplicated in Twilight Princess.) The moment is surprising, clever, and a true breath of fresh air.
It is a moment that changed the Zelda series (and how everyone viewed the iconic princess) forever.
The Memory Card Save Files
Season 1.01: The return of Baby Metroid (Super Metroid).02: Palom and Porom's noble sacrifice (Final Fantasy IV).03: The encounter with Psycho Mantis (Metal Gear Solid).04: The heir of Daventry (King's Quest III: To Heir is Human).05: Pey'j is captured (Beyond Good & Evil) .06: The Opera House (Final Fantasy VI).07: Attack of the zombie dog! (Resident Evil).08: A twist on a classic (Metroid: Zero Mission).09: A Christmas gift (Elite Beat Agents).10: To the moon, Mario! (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island).11: The Solitary Island (Final Fantasy VI).12: Wander's brave friend (Shadow of the Colossus).13: The submerged letter (StarTropics).14: The legend of Tetra (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker).15: Snake pulls the trigger (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater).16: Riding under the missiles (Contra III: The Alien Wars).17: Hover bike madness! (Battletoads).18: Syldra's final cry (Final Fantasy V).19: Death by ...grappling beam? (Super Metroid).20: The message in the glass (BioShock)
Season 2.21: Crono's final act (Chrono Trigger).22: Ganon's tower (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time).23: It was all a dream? (Super Mario Bros. 2).24: The assimilation of Kerrigan (StarCraft).25: A McCloud family reunion (Star Fox 64).26: The return of Rydia (Final Fantasy IV) .27: The battle with the Hydra (God of War).28: Fight for Marian's love! (Double Dragon).29: The Hunter attacks (Half-Life 2: Episode 2).30: The Phantom Train (Final Fantasy VI).31: The end of The End (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater).32: In Tentacle We Trust (Day of the Tentacle).33: Peach dances with TEC (Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door).34: Learning to wall jump (Super Metroid).35: A leap of faith (Ico).36: The Master Sword (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past).37: Thinking outside the DS (Hotel Dusk: Room 215).38: Running outside the castle (Super Mario 64).39: Del Lago! (Resident Evil 4).40: In memoriam (Lost Odyssey)
Season 3.41: The tadpole prince (Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars) .42: Pyramid Head! (Silent Hill 2).43: Waiting for Shadow (Final Fantasy VI).44: Solid vs. Liquid (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots).45: The birth of the cutscene (Ninja Gaiden).46: Insult swordfighting (The Secret of Monkey Island).47: A castle stuck in time (The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker) .48: 'That's the magic flute!' (The Wizard).49: Saving Santa (Secret of Mana).50: A shocking loss (Half-Life 2: Episode Two).51: The flying cow (Earthworm Jim).52: Blind the Thief (The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past) .53: The nuclear blast (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare) .54: Microwaving the hamster (Maniac Mansion).55: The fate of Lucca's mother (Chrono Trigger).56: A fiery demise? (Portal) .57: Jade's moment of silence (Beyond Good & Evil) .58: The Great Mighty Poo (Conker's Bad Fur Day).59: With knowledge comes nudity (Leisure Suit Larry III).60: Flint's rage (Mother 3)
Season 4.61: The dream of the Wind Fish (The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening).62: Leaving Midgar (Final Fantasy VII).63: Auf Wiedersehen! (Bionic Commando) .64: Death and The Sorrow (Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater).65: A glimpse into the future (Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter).66: Taloon the merchant (Dragon Quest IV).67: Scaling the waterfall (Contra) .68: Anton's love story (Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box).69: TKO! BJ! LOL! (Ring King).70: Giant robot fish! (Mega Man 2).71: The rotating room (Super Castlevania IV).72: The collapsing building (Uncharted 2: Among Thieves).73: Death by funnel (Phantasmagoria).74: Crono's trial (Chrono Trigger).75: The blind fighting the blind (God of War II).76: Brotherly love (Mother 3).77: Prince Froggy (Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island).78: The statue of a hero (Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride).79: Inside the worm (Gears of War 2).80: The return to Shadow Moses (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)
Season 5.81: A prayer for Ness (EarthBound).82: Yuna's empty embrace (Final Fantasy X).83: Blast Processing! (Sonic the Hedgehog)
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Amna Umen Don't forget [img]http://i.imgur.com/AlijIqq.gif[/img]Mike Wallace I wonder how far the show would be taken out of context if the lyrics were "Go, Go Power Rangers, you Mighty Morphine Power Rangers."Rad Party God I just tried out Skyforge, and...
[img]http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--wCowrD8c--/1423499241920185774.jpg[/img]Pixie The Fairy Is it weird I finally want a Samurai Warriors game because I think Koshosho is super fab? [img]http://operationrainfall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/koshosho-4.jpg[/img]Gamemaniac3434 I've never cleaned my comp in the 3-4 years I have had it.
Soon I will dust it.
I....I dont know what I will find, hidden in the dust. CoilWhine Happy late thanksgiving Dtoid. I played Doodle God and Murasaki Baby on PSVita, and am now Achievement grinding in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious on Xbox One. Super easy 1000G, I need it.
Pixie The Fairy Black Friday pick ups so far are Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Titan Souls and tomorrow Devil Survivor 2 Break Record ($29.99 at GameStop).Gamemaniac3434 This thanksgiving, give thanks for the fact that your family wasnt 1 of the 3 to have picked out a wasp filled turkey, buying a meal and becoming a meal.
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