|I can barely see what's going on too|
Looking back, briefly, over my posts on Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2, I am reminded of two things: how awfully these games have aged in terms of controls, but how well they hold up in terms of their concept. I absolutely sucked trying to play them but wanted to see more in both cases, and with remakes for both, there was probably a version out there for me that'd just fit my wants and needs and allow me to enjoy these games.
Enter Resident Evil - Code: Veronica, a game that is a spin-off and a true sequel, depending on who you ask, that takes Resident Evil into the third dimension properly this time. Gone are the pre-rendered backgrounds of yesteryear, replaced by the very best in muddy, depressing concrete-coloured areas that the systems of the day could manage.
Will the new looks mean better gameplay? Will the story be as bonkers as ever? Will the voice acting be poor? It's time to pick a version of Code: Veronica and find out.
Oh, and remember...
Since its original Dreamcast release, Code: Veronica has popped up damn near everywhere, much like the Zombies that inhabit every inch of the world portrayed in these games. HD Remasters are available but I think the trusty PlayStation 2 will be my go-to here. I have the Code: Veronica X disc, which features minor alterations from the Dreamcast release a year prior, but as the PS2 is all the way over there and I'm already settled here, I'll be emulating it.
The game begins with what appear to be flashbacks within flashbacks, but from what I can tell, we, Claire Redfield, have been trying to escape some kind of armed forces intent on killing us, it seems.
We can't be the hero without an exit plan from dire situations like this, and conveniently placed flammable objects will do nicely.
Well, it looked cool, at any rate. We've still been captured and imprisoned somewhere.
It certainly looks like a nice game so far, if a little hard to follow what's going on. We've just woken up to the sounds of the building being bombed, maybe, and we were unconscious after being knocked out by a guard. There's footage of it, but because of flashbacks within flashbacks, this was shown to us before all of that above:
Long story short, we're in prison.
Seeing, in general, would be handy, and it just so happens that we have a lighter on our person. It's time to see what improvements have been made to the Resident Evil inventory screen.
None! Still as cumbersome as ever. You'd think the 'Use' option would make a lot of sense here, but no, you just need it equipped and then another cutscene will trigger.
Who are you? What do you want? Why am I being let go? You went through a lot trying to arrest me, why let me walk out? What's getting you down? You sound like all hope is lost.
These questions and more go unanswered and we're finally in control of a next-generation Resident Evil title, complete with fully three-dimensional environments to navigate with...
Tank controls! Oh boy, just what I wanted! The cameras may not be as static as they once were, but they still treat the 'Up' button as 'Forward', no matter where you're facing. There is a run button, too, which is on the other side of the controller and just serves to make you look even clumsier, but it does at least drastically alter your speed from 'treacle' to 'trying to get a move on'.
If you're wondering what else has returned, loading screen/increase the suspense doors are still a thing, as is saving at typewriters, assuming you have an ink ribbon.
The graphics look somewhat promising, but all it takes is a character walking into walls and running on the spot because of tank controls and it's all reduced to a clunky looking game from a time that we should be looking forward to moving on from. Sadly, not in this game. Press X to climb the stairs...
Out in the open, things have started to hot up, with an exploding truck introducing us to the situation - all hell is breaking loose, again.
An unbelievably jarring cut to some pre-rendered footage just makes our situation much worse, adding some freshly made zombies to the shambling once-human torch from the truck. Armed with only a knife, how will we escape?
By trying to attack with a knife, mostly failing to attack with a knife, then running through the next door with a knife. I'm sure these zombies haven't figured out door handles yet.
A blinding light accompanied by a mini-gun opens fire on anything that moves, which means us, but we manage to sit ourselves down right next to a pistol and get things under control in absolutely no time at all. I think Claire is used to this lark by now.
Fourteen-year-old prisoner Steve was the cause of our troubles, and I absolutely hate him already. He's not actually fourteen but sounds like it. If we're ticking things off the 'Resident Evil must have...' list, then mark 'Terrible voice acting and awful dialogue' with a big fat marker, because all that is here too. It's not as bad as the original game, but it still makes me wish the zombies would win so that I could be done with all this.
Fool that he is, Steve tells us not to follow him because, quote, I'll only slow him down. Nice try, little boy. You go hunt down the airport you think is here, I'll attend to the problem at hand, yeah?
The prison is locked with comically magical puzzle locks and padlocks that you can't shoot open, so we're left to explore each area of the map section by section, funnelled into opening up areas piece by piece, and pressing X to climb the stairs. All the stairs. Even a few stairs.
|Tell me something I don't know.|
A prisoner diary fills us in on something happening, but it's something I have no interest in. I don't know what relevance it has to the plot because I don't know the plot in the first place. You are just a distraction, like these handgun bullets.
I'm not firing a warning shot here, I'm trying to aim for the head in order to conserve ammunition.
It fails, and I've probably picked up fewer rounds than I've used clearing the area. Probably should have just run, but I'd only have stumbled into the wall, the bed, the zombies, the wall again... I'll take a few hits if it means dealing with the problem now, rather than later.
|Why would I ever say no?|
The map is clear, at least, showing doors, locked doors, even one-way doors and from which direction you can open them. I thought it'd be more helpful in terms of where to actually go, but I'm sure we're being funnelled in the right direction anyway.
I don't know whether these zombie dogs are foreshadowed or we're outright told 'come back here and there will be zombie dogs', but eventually, after surrendering every metallic item we have (which is apparently everything I have), we find Steve again. What is he up to now?
I should have put subtitles on if that was even an option. So we find Steve, he asks whether we're related to Chris Redfield, we say we're siblings, he says that Chris is being watched by Umbrella, we go 'oh, blimey, better get online and warn Chris about this via Leon Kennedy', Steve then says that the longitude and latitude information of this very prison is casually sitting on the table right next to us, and then jokes that we should get Chris to come and help, which we do because duh, why not, which upsets Steve because he's been let down by promises and relying on people in the past, and his twelve-year-old self walks off in a huff.
Yup. Can't wait for this one to get fed to the zombies...
|It's always 'Yes', why ask?|
After finding the obviously significantly important to our escape Hawk Emblem, we stick it in the metal detector box for safekeeping, along with everything else, because we can't get out of here otherwise, and we backtrack to a garage door we've just unlocked.
|Why even ask?|
An absolute slog of a fight later, I'm the walking wounded and four zombies lay dead for a second time. For my troubles, I got a fire extinguisher. No idea what I'll need that for.
As expected, the zombie dogs set themselves upon me, and I've gone through all my handgun ammo already, so I'm left to slash at them wildly with a knife - had to finish off the previous group of zombies with the knife too, such was the amount of ammo I wasted. After a minute of faffing about trying to finish them off, I'm able to stumble around the corner, clearly on the verge of death, not knowing what to do.
I ended up going all the way back to the computer, where it reminded me that spamming e-mails isn't cool and that this was clearly not where I needed to be.
Despite a typewriter sitting right there, I called it a day. Code: Veronica hasn't impressed, and I didn't know where to go anywaa-ait. Use the fire extinguisher on the truck, safely get the briefcase, further the plot. Balls. Wish I thought of that while playing. Eh, I'd have died before then anyway...
So, Resident Evil - Code: Veronica. I don't know what you're about. I don't know who Veronica is if she's even a person. I don't care for your characters, your plot, your controls, your way of doing things in general... the one redeeming feature going for it is that it's all in 3D and doesn't look awful.
I survived a lot longer than I thought, but I'm still out of ammo and critically wounded less than an hour in, so my chances aren't looking great. Well, even slimmer owing to the account that I didn't save. I guess the question of 'would I play again' is an easy one to answer...
The controls just don't work for me. I suppose I could give it a shot on the actual PS2, but what'd be different? Analogue stick sensitivity between PS2 and an Xbox controller? That's not enough to stop me from walking into walls and aiming at anything other than a zombies head.
We are clearly at that point in video game history where a better way of gaming is coming, and the outdated ways of gaming are on their way out. Each genre will see things progress in their own way, but the survival horror genre seems to love making it awkward for us. Maybe that's the appeal; to force players to use outdated mechanics because it's the only way to instil a sense of fear into us. "Oh, God! It still uses tank controls! How am I ever going to be free of these zombie hoards?"
For previous Resident Evil entries on this list, I said that it was likely that I'd only experience them via video, not gameplay. In the case of Code: Veronica, I don't even think I'll get that far. I'm just not interested in seeing where this one goes.
Should you play it to see the history of Resident Evil? I suppose, yeah. Should you play it to see the history of video gaming? Ehh... does it really offer enough in those regards? I'll have to let you decide.
Instead of being driven by panic, as in the previous titles, Code: Veronica's story is driven, supposedly, by a lullaby. I must not have gotten that far yet.
Resident Evil - Code: Veronica, developed by Capcom, first released in 2000.
Version played: Resident Evil - Code: Veronica X, PlayStation 2, 2001, via emulation.