Sunday, 7 June 2015

Resident Evil 2 (PSX) - Part 2

Hello, this is the last page of my first impressions of the survival-horrifying Resident Evil 2 (aka. Biohazard 2).

Click this link to return to the streets of Raccoon City: Part one.



The bad news is that the zombie apocalypse happened on Leon's first day of work. But the good news is that he survived the commute and only lost two cars along the way! But the bad news is that his workplace seems utterly abandoned, and with no one watching the front door there's a very good chance that everyone in the precinct is dead.

Leon agreed with Claire to meet here here though, so all I can do is explore the place and wait for her to turn up.

I'm getting a definite 'Resident Evil mansion' vibe from this precinct, with its huge entrance hall and its locked doors. Though back in Spencer Mansion all the locks had symbols on them, like armour or a sword.

There you go, the central fountain features a cryptic keyhole complete with a cryptic clue. Nothing I can do about that yet though. The game doesn't have a 'jump around in the water' button or a 'kick the thing until it works' button, so my options are limited.


A COUPLE OF LOCKED DOORS LATER.


I've found the one unlocked room in the building and it's got a survivor inside!

He kicked me back out and locked the door.

But before that, he explained that the zombies have something to do with the events of the first game two months ago. Survivors Chris, Jill and Barry tried to convince people that the Umbrella corporation were behind the zombie outbreak at the mansion, but seeing as they blew up the mansion with all of the zombies and Umbrella labs inside it, there wasn't much evidence left to back up their story. And now they've all gone missing, and zombies are running amok!

The cop's too badly injured to help, but he still found the strength to point a gun at me and order me to go help the other survivors. Then he handed me a keycard, kicked me back out and locked the door behind me! I realise that he's turning into a zombie and doesn't want me to be his first victim, but that's no excuse for being a jerk.

Well at least I can use the keycard to get these electronically locked doors open now.

Okay I know I'm doing something wrong here, but... what?


LATER.


Resident Evil 2 precinct reception desk computer screen
Ah, I use the keycard with the computer over by the reception desk. This gives me two unlocked doors to investigate to find these survivors.

Oh thank fuck, there's an old school typewriter here for me to save my game, and they've given me a couple of ink ribbons to save with! I really didn't need to replay all that again.

The game has no quicksaves or checkpoints, only these typewriter save points, and it costs me one ink ribbon per save. There's a computer right over there, he could open up a word processor and write his save note to the hard drive, but nope it has to be written on the typewriter.

Leon there's a pen and notepad right there, you could take them with you and save whenever you want! Fuck, you could even strap the typewriter to your back and drag it with you! It'd be like a retro Typing of the Dead.

Hang on, who's Leona? Is that Leon's internet nick?

Okay I've successfully saved my game and now I'm safe! I never have to make it through those streets again, and I'm free go explore this police station and take risks and make all the dumb mistakes I want. Let's see what's behind electronically unlocked door #1.

Okay fuck that, let's see what's behind door #2.

Door #2 contains a storage box, a locked drawer, a note, another exit at the back, and a monster crawling past the window.

The note is a pretty good find, as it mentions the combination to a safe (and I didn't have to listen through a whole audio diary to get to the good bit), but the storage chest is absolutely essential. If this is anything like Resident Evil 1, every one of these chests I find will be linked up to every other one, giving me a place to dump unneeded items until I need them. With only 8 inventory slots I can't even afford to carry this spare ink ribbon with me.

I'll keep going through the door in the back.

Wow, this really is the Resident Evil 1 mansion all over again isn't it? Except with more blood dripping from the ceiling.

I wonder what's up with that anyway.

OH SHIT... IT'S A CGI CUTSCENE!

The creature dropped down and chased me, but I was able to make it back to the storage chest room safely and it seems that enemies can't open doors. So now I've got a choice between one door that leads me to a room full of zombies, and one door that leads me to a creature so hard that it wears its brains on the outside of its skull. Awesome.

Well I know from experience that I can kill the zombies, so fighting a room full of them seems like the best of my bad options. I'm almost 50% certain I've got the bullets for it, and auto-aim means I'll be 100% certain I'm actually hitting something.


SOON, BACK IN THE ZOMBIE ROOM.


I love the way the empty shell casings bounce off the wall, that's such a cool and pointless little touch. Plus it helps sell the fact that my 3D character's actually in a room right now, not just projected onto a 2D pre-rendered backdrop.

This is what the combat's actually like by the way, a whole lot of standing still and emptying the magazine, often at enemies standing off camera.

Okay, that could've gone worse.

There's a few exits to this room, plus I saw a helpful healing herb growing in a plant pot in the corner and walked over to pick it up. Then I tried to examine it to learn why a plant that can cure anything short of a missing head was growing in a police precinct hallway, and accidentally used the thing instead!

Crap, I can't afford to waste healing items like that when I'm not injured. This is a survival horror with limited resources and I am really really bad at the genre, so that herb (mixed with a red herb later for extra power) could've made the difference between success and failure!

I'm going to have to load my last save game. Which is also my first save game.


EVENTUALLY.


The zombies don't seem to be respawning, but I can't keep wasting ammo clearing rooms I might never return to, so this time I'm trying to lure them all away from the office so I can go take a look inside.

Hey, there's that safe in here! The one mentioned in the note, that I have the combination for. And inside the safe I found...

A map of the police station!

Not as useful as it could've been, seeing as the game's been automapping the place for me as I go, but it does colour code the locked doors to indicate what key I'll need! It also shows that I'm at a dead end, so there's nothing else I can do here but go back and fight that pink ceiling-hugging brain monster.


SOON.


Turned out he was a wimp.

Right, on to the next room full of zombies then. I'm going to try not to shoot these gentlemen, because I'll need to conserve my ammo for the next ceiling monster.


A FEW ROOMS FULL OF ZOMBIES LATER.


I found a fireplace with a painting above it called "A Sacrifice to the hell fire," and Leon just happened to start the game with a lighter on him, so it seemed sensible to light a fire under its ass to see what happened

Aha! Part of the painting just burned away, revealing a red jewel hidden behind it. Now I can bribe the zombies to leave me alone. Now I'm wondering how I would've solved this playing as Claire, as she carries a lockpick instead of the lighter. Probably in the same way that I solved the 'locked drawer' problem as Leon I guess: by finding the right item for it.

I think that act of puzzle solving genius has earned me a save game. I've only got the one ink ribbon left, but I've done so much! Though there's a corridor lined with zombies between me and the typewriter and I'd have to dodge past them both ways, so it might be safer to keep going and hope I find another save point further on.


LATER.


I found another red jewel puzzle right after coming back from the typewriter, which is a shame really as I could've gotten them both done before saving.

"The god of sun and the god of moon. Their gaze upon me is the only thing that can release red soul." is my clue this time, though it might as well be an instruction guide seeing how obvious this is. There's two statues, they're staring forwards, they're obviously not pre-rendered like the background, and they can be pushed... how can you screw this up? I mean the 'puzzle solving' bit, not the 'lining the character up with the objects using Resident Evil tank controls' bit.

A friend dropped by and he watched for a bit while I was pushing the things into place, before casually pointing out that I'd gotten it wrong. I was a bit confused, until he pointed out the part of the puzzle I'd missed entirely: pressure plates in the floor. The statues need to be on them.

And now I have two red gems.


SOON.


Oh crap. Don't you dare bite me you asshole, not after I deliberately let you live! I'm just exploring, solving puzzles, and looking for a place to slot two red jewels.

I really need to get better at dodging these creatures, but it's really not that easy when I've got 'move up', 'turn left', and 'turn right' mapped onto the same d-pad. The game takes place in a world where people never learned how to step sideways.

Fortunately Leon did learn how to shake a zombie off by rocking the d-pad, and he shoves them a fair distance when he does.

No survivors in the S.T.A.R.S. office, but I've found Chris and Jill's desks at least, plus some classic CRT monitors and a whole lot of other stuff Leon won't touch. There's a way to collect secret outfits for Leon and Claire by unlocking a certain locker... but he refuses to take the jacket and beret that are sitting right there! I can at least go dig through that medical bag on the right though.

Also Chris has left his diary here... with the unicorn medal under it! This is what I need to plug into that fountain in the entrance hall.

Oh hi Claire, I totally wasn't reading through your brother's diary just then. Though it says that he's gone off to Europe somewhere, and he doesn't want you to know about it. So can we finally team up, now that there's no exploding truck wreckage in-between us? No? Well I guess it does make more sense for us to split up and walk around the zombie infested precinct alone, even though I'm the one who's been collecting the keys we need to get anywhere.

Hey Claire's got the same "Made in Heaven" design on her back that Chris has on the jacket he left behind. And they both wear a knife holstered on their shoulder too, which makes a bit more sense for the guy in rainbow SWAT, but whatever, it suits her.

I'm actually kind of glad she took the diary off me as even items like this take up space in the inventory, and I needed a slot free to grab the unicorn medal. Hey, is that a locker behind her on the right?

Oh for fuck's sake, I really need that!

I kind of wish I'd killed all the zombies outside the room now, seeing as I'm going to have to go all the back through them to dump some stuff in the storage chest, then come back again to pick up the shotgun. But no, it was more important to save my precious ammo. I'm suffering from zombie regret.

This wouldn't have even been an issue if keys, gems, unicorn medals and other important quest items were stored separately to my survival gear. All these trips to the storage chest are a pain in the ass.

You know, I'm just going to start killing zombies from now on, and burn through my ammo. I'm claiming every room and corridor in this building as mine, so I can safely backtrack all I like, and if that means I run out of ammo then I'll just quit and play something else.


SOON, BACK AT THE FOUNTAIN AT THE CENTRE OF THE POLICE STATION.


Huh, using the unicorn key on the fountain just got me another key? How does that make any sense?

Even weirder, the clue mentioned "To obtain the key to open your heart, I'll wait for the Unicorn, the beautiful beast" and then it gave me the spade key instead!

Not that I'm complaining. There's plenty of doors I can unlock with a spade key, and thanks to my map I know exactly where to go to find them.


SOON.


Another save room! I didn't expect to find this so soon, though I'm definitely grateful. I feel like I've been given permission by the game to use up a precious ink ribbon here.

Those are the lockers with the secret outfits in by the way... or at least that's what I've been told. Apparently the trick to get the key is to reach the precinct without picking up a single item outside, then kill the hidden bonus zombie that appears.

Is it really wise though, to screw around trying on new costumes in the middle of a zombie crisis? After seeing 'Dawn of the Dead', I'm thinking 'sure'. After seeing what Jill Valentine's stuck wearing for the whole of Resident Evil 3, I'm double sure.

Right, now I'm going back to get that damn shotgun. If I can remember where it was.


LATER.


Holy shit, the spread on this thing is amazing. My new shotgun can wipe out an entire room in one or two shots! I'm suddenly not so worried about running dry on ammo any time soon.


MUCH LATER.


Still working on finding those survivors, but with some new routes opened up I was eventually able to find the place to slot my red jewels!

I've no idea what any of this is about, but I had to solve two puzzles to get them, then backtrack to a storage chest to get them here, so the reward has got to be something good.

Uh?

I just converted my two mysterious jewels into one mysterious plug, and it's brought me no closer to discovering the point of any of it.

What is wrong with the people in this city! It doesn't matter if I go to a mansion on the outskirts or a precinct in the city centre, everyone's got their shit locked up in the most irritating convoluted way. Well at least one plug's easier to store than two jewels.


EVENTUALLY.


Well I never did find those survivors, but I managed to find a different way back into the room the cop locked me out of all those many minutes ago, and it seems that becoming a zombie hasn't improved his mood at all.

I'm sorry this had to end in gunfire my friend, but you've got your teeth in my neck and I'd very much like you to cut that shit out. I don't think it's ever explained why Leon (and Claire) just happens to be immune to the zombie virus, but I'm really glad he is right now.

Hey I've finally found that heart key I was after... oh, I'm out of space again? It's a tiny key, he can carry it in his hand! He can hold it in his mouth, behind an ear, tucked into a sock, in the ammo box or even on a keyring with all the other bloody keys!

Wait, I need this key to open up rooms in the precinct, and this guy had it on him the whole time? He sent me out to search the building for survivors even though he knew it was impossible without his key... what a total dick!

Even worse he didn't even give me my 'Welcome to Raccoon PD' note or a party hat. Plus there's ammo in here. The more I look around this room the deeper this betrayal gets.

Anyway I've been reunited with (and then separated from) Claire, I've activated the fountain, I've used the red jewels, and I've gotten my revenge on the zombie cop. I think this is as good a place to quit as any, seeing as this could just go on and on like this and I'd rather it didn't spill over onto part three.


CONCLUSION

Can't say I expected to be saying this, but Resident Evil 2... doesn't actually seem so bad.

I mean I wasn't really enjoying it a whole lot; the puzzles seemed pointless, the combat involved getting some distance from the enemies and then pulling the trigger until the moaning stopped, and I spent a lot my time running between storage boxes. But I found it less frustrating than the original Resident Evil somehow.

Maybe I like it more because I've grown as a person over the last two years... or perhaps the improved map made finding my way around less of a pain, and I was never really hurting for the ammo and healing items I needed along the way. In fact if you've been scrolling through my screens looking for the 'YOU DIED' screenshot, you'll be disappointed, because I never saw it come up! I didn't get a single game over, which is a pretty massive difference to the number of reloads it took me to get absolutely nowhere in RE1. I was so so bad at that game.

Not that I found it to be a cakewalk though, I'm not the kind of guy who has to outright fail at something before I can consider it challenging. But I realise that some people are, and I can see them being disappointed that there's only 'normal' and 'easy' difficulties. But there are bonus modes and weapons to unlock for getting high grades and low completion times. Also each character gets a B scenario unlocked upon completion of the opposite character's A scenario, which starts with you jumping out of the police car and landing on the other side of the exploding tanker for once. Lots of excuses for replays.

I've barely seen any of Resident Evil 1, but to me this is a bit like the 'Terminator 2' to the first game's 'Terminator', the 'Aliens' to its 'Alien'. It's feels faster paced, bigger budget, and flashier. But it still keeps true to the core of the original, which in this case means getting well acquainted with a large network of hallways through continuous backtracking. Not sure I want to see any more of it myself though.


If you have any opinions about Resident Evil 2, the Resident Evil franchise, the survival horror genre, or basically anything relevant then please feel free to leave a comment! Or you could just try to guess the next game I suppose.

9 comments:

  1. You do get out of the police station after a while, so it's got that going for it over the first one.

    I adored this game back in the day. My friend Chris worked at Blockbuster and he kept extending my rental of this game for free -- which may be the reason why they went under -- so I played it for weeks throughout the summer of my A Levels -- which may be the reason why I got a C in Psychology -- and it was a great summer.

    Back then it was much more difficult to get access to cheats and codes so I didn't know about the secret characters Hunk and Tofu until much later, by which time I'd returned the game and moved on.

    The thing I liked most about it, I think, was the parallel narrative and the way you'd see the same story from two different perspectives, so things that were mysteries on the first play were explained in the second. It was the first time I'd seen anything like that in a game -- perhaps anywhere -- and it was impressive.

    The (proper) ending was also ace, but I don't know if it would seem less so now.

    For a long time this was the peak of the series for me, in part because the sequels were a bit rubbish, but then Resident Evil 4 came out and was sort of a more polished and clever version of this, with much better controls.

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    1. Wow, nice job breaking Blockbuster. My friend got fired a few years back thanks to you bankrupting them!

      Back then I was reading more PlayStation magazines than playing the games (on account of not having a PlayStation), so I was actually knew about Hunk and Tofu well before I even saw the game in action. Well I knew they were in there anyway.

      Also I like it when games pull off the parallel narrative thing too, and if I could think of any others right now I'd mention one. Damn, now I'm going to be struggling to remember them all afternoon.

      Oh! Raw Danger for the PS2, that was an... interesting one. 6 characters all trying to escape a flooding city, whose storylines cross over along the way and reveal different parts of the overall mystery. I'm sure there's something more obvious I'm forgetting, but that game made me realise that there's a lot of potential in the concept that hasn't been tapped yet.

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    2. Does Final Fantasy 6 do it, just after the mid-point where the party is broken up and you have to find them again? It's been so long that I don't remember how they framed that sequence.

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    3. I can barely remember it myself, but I'm also thinking nope.

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  2. Replies
    1. Wrong type of button, God of War is a Sony exclusive. Though PlayStation controllers have an X too I suppose.

      Here's a clue for you: the first two games I played for April were both from the Alien franchise, the first two games I played for May were both sci-fi tie-ins beginning with 'Star', and the first two games of June are going to follow the pattern.

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  3. I played the original Resident Evil back in 1996 usually at night in my step dad's giant house (near a giant cornfield by the Paulwakee Airport in IL here, now homes) and it was clunky, nerve wracking, scary and tense.

    I loved the backgrounds, layout of the mansion, puzzles were sometimes mediocre, Moonlight Sonata was cool and the giant plant, snake, shark and other creatures, the dogs jumping through that Windows scared me shitless the first time, really like it's campness and most of all soundtrack.

    I played RE 2 a few years later, very good analogy of using Terminator 2 and Aliens cause the sequel did feel bigger and better, loved the giant alligator... Nevermind.

    These game prepared me to play the RE 3, RE 4, Raccoon City and the Silwnt Hill series, not to mention get me ready for Scratches, the Penumbra Trilogy, Amnesia TDD and even that game in a clock tower with guy with giant scissors running after you.

    I am getting ready to play a PS2 game that's a survival horror game that takes place on a ship, Cold... Something. Cold Fear, maybe.

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  4. if you are playing the dual shock version of play station, you can use the infinite weapons cheat. it will make you enjoy the fact you can shoot all the weapons in the game in a infinite way. By the way, you can use it in extreme battle mode too.

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