(572, 579 Megs)
Animated Blood & Gore
| Retail Barcode:
0 13388 21023 7
| Sony ID:
January 21, 1998
Can you survive the horror?
First there was the disaster at the mansion lab. Umbrella Corp. developed the T-Virus, a muta-genic toxin for use in biological weapons. After breaking loose, living things mutated into all sorts of decaying creatures. The case was eventually closed, but Umbrella’s experiments were far from over.
Now it’s the worst possible nightmare: a new virus runs rampant. All of Raccoon City is infested. Blood thirsty zombies, hideous mutations now overwhelm the community. When Leon and Claire arrive in town their nightmare is just beginning…You now control their destiny.
If the suspense doesn’t kill you…something else will.
(Originally written for Game-Rave.com’s old web-site.)
Capcom has always had a very peculiar relationship with the number 2. Street Fighter 2 and Marvel vs. Capcom 2; Freakin’ awesome! Devil May Cry 2 and Lost Planet 2….eh. Thankfully, Resident Evil’s 2nd running is one of the better sequels in the stable.
The game begins after the original, providing both context in the future and past of the series. You play rookie cop Leon on one disc, and Claire Redfield on the other disc. It just happens that Leon is in the wrong place at the wrong time his first day on the job, while Claire is trying to find her brother Chris, the main male from the original Resident Evil game.
To understand this particular release, we need to first understand the original. Resident Evil 1 set a precedent upon release – it was a fresh intellectual property with a new graphic style, a mature rating, and provided 2 mysteries for every 1 you solved. Puzzles took the form of specific keys, rooms that lead into another hours later, and random jewels that acted as keys and the like. It’s live action cinemas, (terrible) voice actors, and blood soaked zombies created an entirely new fan-base right out of the gate, and this first sequel was one of the most highly anticipated games for the 1998 release schedule.
So during it’s early development cycle, Resident Evil 2 was coming along quite nicely, scenes of zombies crawling over each other through a glass wall, new characters with new abilities, and the fact that it took place in a police station located in Raccoon City all added fuel to the fire. As the game reached the final stages of its development cycle, something unprecedented happened.
The team pulled the plug. Resident Evil 2, like its core enemy, was dead.
There has never been a concrete reason as to why this was; the common notion (to the degree of at least finding a direct quote) was that it didn’t feel fresh enough. This is important and odd for at least one reason – in the original version, the police station was laid out with a more realistic approach to it. In the final version, it has the same qualities and puzzle elements of the original game’s mansion. Some stories will just never be told, I guess.
Anyway, back to the real Resident Evil 2. You basically start the game from a car crash, and must work your way to the police station in town. From here, you will learn that the sewer is the only way to get out of the city, only to find out it just leads you deeper into the heart of the Umbrella Corporation’s stronghold. Umbrella, if you don’t know, are the little evil bastards that created the original game’s T-Virus, and are now working on the new G-Virus in this game.
What makes the game stand out is the way the 2 discs work. Basically there is an A quest, and a B quest. You start the game as either person, and when you beat their A quest, you get a save file that will allow you to load up the B quest of the other character. This B quest is essentially what happens from that characters perspective while you were running through the game the first time. There is a small hitch to this very cool concept though, check the trivia tab for more information.
As I mentioned earlier, the station is set-up in the same way the mansion was. You must locate shape specific keys and various jewels, gems, and emblems to open up the doors and secret areas you need to get to. Regretfully, just like the first game you only have so many item slots at your disposal, so you must make expert work of the randomly located treasure boxes where you can store items and the like. While the game is essentially the same for both characters, they each have different weapon assortments and minor differences in power-ups. Leon starts with a lighter, and has access to the heaver weapons sets, where Claire starts off with the lock-pick and uses more group based weapons like a grenade gun and crossbow.
For the record, I would just like to help point out how absolutely idiotic the police force of Raccoon City was if they couldn’t tell something is wrong with the chief when he is ordering $10,000 worth of statues and art and then yelling at people to stay out of guard and clock towers. If someone decides to place statutes of angels and gods and demons around a public building, for god’s sake speak up!
Game play wise and graphically for that matter, the in-game stuff still shines to this day. Sure they have that slight robot slide when they’re turning, but c’mon this was 1998. Even better, after all this time, there’s still 2 or 3 places where I jumped out of my seat at the random scary stuff (Hint: crank your surround sound system). From that statement, I can tell you all the sound effects and music still hold up as well. Funny enough, the voice acting is still pretty bad, but I think they did this intentionally.
The game’s total running time depends on your play-style. If you’re going for a spend run, it can actually be done in under an hour and a half. I took my time (read: I was lost *sigh*) and it took about 4 hours plus. Keep in mind this is simply based on you’re A Scenario run through. Tack on another 2 to 4 hours for Scenario B, plus the other character’s play-through, and then add in the two hidden character’s modes. So there’s plenty of replay to be had, and let’s be honest; who doesn’t like shooting crossbows and plunging grenades into zombies?
When all is said and done, it’s been 12 years since Leon and Claire met on that fateful evening, and it’s still as hauntingly fun as it ever was.
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- Chicago is name dropped in the game, being the locale of a story character’s boyfriend.
- Resident Evil 2 uses a curious ‘switch’ system that provides the player with a potential 6 replays through the game in one form or another. Basically once you beat a character’s disc, it will create a “B” save file for the other character’s disc. If you load up that save file on the other disc, you will be provided with an alternate quest that basically explains how various situations got to be how they were. That means each character has two run-throughs, plus the two hidden characters.
- The previous mentioned ‘Switch’ system poses a problem however. While certain new elements appear and the path is now completely backwards, all of the puzzles, keys, items, and weapons, are relocated, but unused. If the B scenario is really taking place at the same time as A, almost 80% of what you do should either not be possible or already used up / done. Essentially you have to suspend disbelief that any of the actual ‘game’ elements happened on the A play-through and vice-versa.
- A rather curious cameo is possible if you follow a specific set of rules in the beginning of the game, one of which involves passing up the first few bullet boxes.
- For a game that has a cop as a main character and takes place in a police station, am I the only person that noticed Claire, while entering the diner, walks under a giant DONUTS sign?
- The game has had a very troubled past, and an even more troubled afterlife. For those who do not know, Resident Evil 2 started off as a very different game, with a different female lead. At about the 80% finished mark, for whatever reasons the game’s upper management felt that it was not right and cancelled the game. They then started from scratch, and from that restart came the real Resident Evil 2.The former version, which to fans has been lovingly dubbed “Resident Evil 1.5”, has been the Holy Grail for collectors, enthusiasts, prototype fans and more. Various petitions have been signed, e-mail campaigns sent out, and more from fans for Capcom to release the original version even in its unfinished state. Obviously this hasn’t and will most likely never happen.
- Right before the final fight, you pass up a giant bio-hazard warning symbol poster. “Bio-Hazard” is the game’s real Japanese name, which could not be used in American due to a Copyright issue.
- Despite the minor differences in items / weapons, the game’s opening sequence poses a rather amusing continuity error. Leon was driving the car, with Claire in the passenger seat when they crash. If you start Leon’s A Quest, he and Claire are on the wrong side of the car when the game starts.
- Capcom humor: After the opening sequence where the giant tanker truck smashes into our heroes’ car and explodes, when the game starts the first street sign to the left clearly says, “NO TRUCKS”
- Speaking of the opening area, the large department store behind you is called ARUKAS, which is Sakura spelled backwards. Sakura is a young female Street Fighter character.
- Under normal circumstances, when you happen upon an item, the game states that “There is [an item] inside, will you take it?” While the opening cinematic is playing, Claire opens a glove box and very purposefully says, “There is a gun inside,” to which Leon replies, “Take it.”
- In some areas of the game, it is possible to turn towards the camera and actually shoot the screen.
- It’s possible to stop the invasion of zombies…sort of. The gun owner’s shop in the beginning moments is set-up on a trigger. If you simply stand there, the zombies will never crash through the window. Once you run ‘off camera’ into the back area of the store, you’ll hear the PlayStation access the game disc; once you come back from behind the left most counter, the zombies will attack. If you do just stand in the window area, the owner will watch your every move, including your hand slashing the knife.
- Also of note: The shop owner is impervious to your bullets and knife slashing, but dies at the hands of the zombies. Everyone has their kryptonite, I guess.
- In typical horror fashion, the final elevator you need’s arrival time is only as long as you need to finish off the last boss.
- The game’s hidden character Tofu (who I will not ruin for all 5 of you who haven’t played this yet), is actually a nod from Capcom to the fans. In Japan, a Resident Evil 1 player sent a gaming magazine a VHS tape (god…I’m old) recording of himself completing the game using only the knife. They counted his knife-only fight with Tyrant took something like almost a 1,000 slashes to kill. I do not have that kind of time or patience; I was pleasantly happy with the shotgun. 🙂
- Besides the PlayStation version, Resident Evil 2 was also released on PC, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, GameCube and Game.com. I even did a full walk-through for the Game.com version way back in the day.