Resident Evil 0
Capcom shocked the gaming industry in September 2001 when it announced that the Resident Evil franchise would be exclusive to GameCube. The most impressive portion of the announcement was the unveiling of the Resident Evil remake, which was barely recognizable from its former PlayStation form with highly detailed visuals. In the midst of all this the status of Resident Evil 0 was completely unknown. With the completion of the Resident Evil remake and the passing of time we know a good deal more about the prequel.
- Uses the same stunning technology featured in the Resident Evil remake
- Only the shell of the N64 version remains as RE0 has been totally revamped
- Play simultaneously as the attractive Rebecca Chambers and newcomer ex-Navy Seal Billy Cohen
- Takes place in the tight corridors of a zombie-infested train and surrounding areas
- Dim the lights and let the moody environments and twitch scares induce fright
- Exclusive to Nintendo GameCube
Originally an N64 title, Resident Evil 0 was one of the first announced GameCube titles. Capcom decided to ditch its efforts programming for the flailing N64 userbase when Nintendo had the sleek "Project Dolphin", now officially called GameCube, underway. So it began porting the title to GameCube, but it wasn't long before renowned RE director Shinji Mikami began work on an exclusive remake of the original Resident Evil. He sent his team to work on the system and the results were breathtaking. As we've seen the Resident Evil remake offers up truly eye-popping visuals and unparalleled art design, creating a remarkably believable world by blending pre-rendered backgrounds with real-time characters, particle effects, lighting, and more. When the Resident Evil 0 team saw what Mikami was up to it decided that it had to repeat the same feats if it hoped to impress gamers when it released months after the remake. So, while RE0 has been in development for many years, the team has had to spend a lot of time keeping up with the ever-changing world of technology.
Much of the storyline and gameplay was already in place on the N64, which we experienced hands-on as long ago as the 2000 Electronic Entertainment Expo. Along with the few details that have been released we have a good idea of what kind of gameplay Resident Evil 0 will deliver. The title prequels the story of RE and follows the exploits of characters Rebecca Chambers and newcomer, ex-Navy Seal Billy Cohen, as they adventure through a zombie-infested speeding train and explore the areas surrounding it.
For this much RE0 is as expected, but Capcom has a few tricks up its sleeve. To add a whole new gameplay dynamic, the enables gamers to switch between the two characters at certain points, using their strengths and observing their weaknesses to complete specific puzzles and move forward. Imagine controlling Rebecca on one end of the train, pulling a switch that time-unlocks a room filled with angry zombies, and then having to direct Billy through the fuming masses to pull yet another switch before time runs out and the door closes shut. A purely speculative situation, but you can see some definite room for tense, heart-pounding situations. The first screenshots of the title actually show Rebecca and Billy in the same room. It's likely that when the two are in the same frame one of them will be computer controlled. However, all of these details are being kept behind closed doors.
Another new addition to the series comes in the form of the ability to drop items. This is a significant change from the past Resident Evils, which forced you to store all of your items in a magical chest that could be found at every save point. Now when you need to pick up an item and your pockets and holsters are full, you'll be able to drop the item of your choosing and come back for it later. It's a pleasant thought to be rid of those wicked magical chests, but on that same accord if you drop a case of shotgun ammo in a room full of zombies you'll be wishing it were in the same safe room as the former chests. This of course raises the question about how dropping items will work in combination with character switches. Can you, as Rebecca, drop a loaded shotgun on the floor, take control of Billy, pick up the shotgun and then go attack that pack of zombies knowing you have a better chance of survival because Billy is healthier and/or stronger? We're not sure yet, but any step in that direction will make for an entirely different Resident Evil experience.
We expect RE0 to feature the same digital control that it always has; namely, because the N64 version of it utilized the D-pad and saw no advances in analog control. Don't get us wrong. We'd love to be proven otherwise, but this is one feature that Resident Evil has been stubborn to take advantage of to date. At best, we gather it will support the brand new "Type C" control seen in the remake which has gamers walking and running with the analog R-trigger and steering with the analog stick.
Graphics and Technology
Resident Evil 0 will draw on similar technology to that featured in the GameCube remake of the original Resident Evil. Instead of a fully real-time 3D world it will use the combination of stunning pre-rendered backgrounds, complimented by layers of FMV animations, and real-time visuals including character models, particle effects, lighting, and shadows. The end result is said to be "just as pretty as Resident Evil, if not more so," according to sources who have witnessed the game in action. One scene described to us featured Rebecca Chambers struggling atop a speeding train. The locomotive was an FMV animation, beautifully animated, with a sheet of real-time water raining atop it as it sped by detailed backgrounds. All of this was brought to life with real-time lights and shadows, and of course a group of ugly zombies to boot, allegedly.
This is going to be a rough train ride.
First screens of the title, while not high-res and scans from Famitsu magazine, seem to be in line with that statement. While we've yet to see if there are as many full-motion video animations, such numerous layers of trees and mist in Resident Evil, it appears to be spot-on in design. There's real-time lighting that sends Rebecca and Billy's shadows casting dynamically across the train and colorful lighting techniques often used to help set the mood. One scene outside the train demonstrates a downpour of rain in front of a real-time light and you can almost see each individual raindrop glow as it falls in front of the illumination.
With any luck, Resident Evil 0 will indeed be every bit as beautiful as Resident Evil and more. And, we're crossing our fingers for progressive scan HDTV support this time, as Capcom neglected to support the feature for the remake.
Resident Evil 0 promises to be one of the most talked about titles when it releases in Japan later this year and shortly after in the US around October. It's perfect timing for the release because gamers that enjoyed the remake will no doubt be ready with wallets in hand for this all-new prequel. If it stands up to RE in visuals and sound design it may in fact be the better game with the new gameplay dynamics including switching characters and dropping items. Additionally, this setup leaves room for some sort of two-player co-op mode, which woudl greatly up the replay value, but we're not counting on anything.
source IGN Cube
Number of Players