|Alone in the Dark (DOS)|
Man, who would have thought back in 1992 that this dapper gentleman would eventually be played in a movie by Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves star Christian Slater? A really really shitty movie.
S.T.A.R.S. apparently stands for 'Special Tactics and Rescue Service', so I guess they're like a budget S.W.A.T. team, except with more colourful outfits. Not that you can tell as they've turned the footage black and white to obscure the horrific gore as the group discovers Beta team's gruesome fate.
(This is panning shot in the game by the way, I photoshopped them all together to save me from showing five screenshots.)
Interestingly, the entire intro has English voices in the original Japanese version. Which possibly explains why the acting and dialogue is a little... off.
The worst thing about ropey dialogue for me, is when I find that I can't actually think of a better line myself. I mean what do you yell at your cowardly pilot when you're stuck in misty forest in the middle of the night, surrounded by hell hounds and dead teammates?
"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!" is the best I can come up with.
And so the intense survival horror experience begins...
Like fan favourite Barry Burton for instance, who should have totally been the star of the movie series. They could have put a ginger beard on Milla Jovovich or something, she's a good actress, she could've made it work.
Before we can even think about putting our coats up and making a cup of tea there's a gunshot from another room and Chris volunteers to check it out. Alone. Wesker seems to think this is a great idea and says that he and Jill will wait here in the hall "in case of an emergency." And he's not even joking.
I think I like this guy already.
|Resident Evil (Game Cube)|
This time around Wesker says he and Jill will "stay and secure this area" instead, but it's still a shitty excuse to force poor Chris to go off alone.
Alright, no sign of any guns, blood or victims in the dining room, so I suppose I should continue my search in the next room. Just as soon as I can get Chris lined up with the door.
You know who could tell me what's around that corner? Chris, who's standing there right now looking that way! In fact he's halfway off the bloody screen already.
By the way, if you scroll up you'll notice that Chris was actually standing on that rug earlier. I had to practically walk him onto the corpse before the camera would shift to show me this view.
Unfortunately there's no way to check in with them and find out what they're up to, as we don't carry radios... or phones. (Yes there were mobile phones back in 1996, I saw them on the X-Files).
I think I will take the BERETTA as it seems that I have misplaced my own. Though I do have a knife, a F-AID spray, and a wooden emblem I stole from the dining room. You know, just in case it came in handy.
|Resident Evil (Game Cube)|
Annoyingly he can only carry six things at once, so after picking up the gun, PlayStation Chris only has two slots left.
Man, I keep thinking that corpse is going to get up and bite my ankle as I walk past. Something needs to be done about this.
Hey, there's something up in that green statue. Time to use my pushing skills again to get the step ladder over and investigate. Actually it's my 'lining myself up with an object' skills that are really going to be tested here. Did I mention these controls are really bad?
But everything's locked up, so I guess I'm going upstairs...
I'm kind of wondering if it was a good idea to use one up so early now, as I wouldn't want to run out when things start getting serious.
BUT THEN, ON THE NEXT FLOOR UP ABOVE THE DINING ROOM.
I mean I get that I'm supposed to be crap in a fight, as it wouldn't be scary if I was able to just punch his head off (or so they claim...). But you know, this isn't exactly scary either. It's mostly just frustrating for me as I don't know what I've done wrong.
Dark Souls. It's a good thing I saved really.
And then it puts me back to the CAPCOM logo video at the very start of the game, because nothing creates a feeling of claustrophobia and tension like being kicked out of the entire game when you're killed. So now I have to skip the videos, get back to the title screen, and load my game.
Man, now I realise how good I had it in Dark Souls.
Right, I've found out what I'll need in this hallway, nothing else for me to do here.
Well I learned all I wanted to know about this corridor anyway so I'll just reset and load my save. No sense at all continuing on wounded if I don't have to; my healing supplies are too limited.
Rebecca offered to come with me, but somehow I don't trust the AI in this to be very competent, so I told her to wait here where it's safe. She seemed happy with that, as she cheerfully explains that the room is full of chemicals. Rebecca likes chemicals.
She's trying to play Moonlight Sonata but she could definitely use some practice, so I left her to carry on with that as I go back to solving the mystery of the missing Jill and Wesker. Annoyingly the map doesn't seem to have the locked doors marked on it, so I can't remember exactly what sword doors I've passed.
Man I really wish I could just kill these things, but even when I manage to get my knife to connect enough times to knock them down, they just get back up again! I mean I'm absolutely certain that if I knock them down enough times I will kill them, but I'm just as certain they'll manage to bite me if I try it and Chris can only survive like three hits.
Choosing the paintings in the right order opened up a safe, with a STAR CREST inside. I was kind of hoping for bullets, a couple of F-AID sprays and maybe a rocket launcher, but I'll take what I can get.
The typewriter room is actually pretty close by, but I really can't be bothered doing all that again. Also taking the ink ribbons out of my inventory and putting them back in the box every single time I reload is kind of getting old now.
FIVE RELOADS LATER.
The funny thing is that I've heard the auto-aim was removed for the original western release of the game because they didn't want players to complete the game in one rental. Which I would have thought would make it basically unwinnable because you can't hit things hiding off-screen or behind blind corners without it, but apparently a lot of gamers are actually awesome at games and managed to finish it just fine anyway.
Anyway it turns out I can't go any further this way just yet so I'll have to backtrack to... I dunno, the stairs I guess? Maybe there's a sword door on the top floor.
Back to the typewriter for you good sir, and don't forget to pack your ink ribbon away before leaving the room to get instantly killed by that asshole shuffling around outside for the sixth time. Actually you know what, I think I'll just quit now.
Alright that was Resident Evil then. I tried it, didn't like it. I understand it's supposed to be about resource conservation and dodging enemies, but for me it mostly turned out to be suicide runs to find out what to expect in the next area and what items I needed to bring out with me on my next trip out. If there's a way to take an enemy down without getting bitten or wasting half my ammo (literally) then I haven't found it yet, and it's bloody demotivating. There's no fear of failure when there was barely any hope of success. I suppose you could say 'don't play it on normal difficulty then, idiot', but that still wouldn't solve the tiny inventory, limited saves, blind corners and terrible controls. Because they're not mistakes, they're deliberate design choices and I guess the fans love the game because of them.
Personally I don't think awkward controls or a limited view are necessary to add some vulnerability and terror to a game at all. Games like Left 4 Dead, Undying and Condemned gave me slick first person aiming and plenty of toys to aim at bad people, and still scared the shit out of me with good sound design and, uh, stuff (sorry, it's been a while since I played them). Not that I'm saying first person is superior to third, I'm just pointing out that you can have fear without frustration.
If you have any thoughts about Resident Evil, the Resident Evil franchise, the survival horror genre, or basically anything relevant then please feel free to leave a comment! Or you can sit in silence if that works better for you, I don't mind.