The Definitive 50 GameCube Games: #11 Resident Evil

The series so far: The Definitive 50 GameCube Games.

As I discussed in my video for Resident Evil 0, six games from Shinji Mikami’s genre-defining survival horror series would eventually make it to the GameCube. Capcom began at the beginning, releasing a masterful remake of the original Resident Evil in April of 2002, preceding RE0 by just a few months.

Resident Evil on the PlayStation was a revolution in gameplay design that signaled the rise of the survival-horror genre, but make no mistake, Resident Evil‘s remake for GameCube is the definitive way to play the game. “REmake” takes what made its source game so successful, and brings it up to modern graphical and presentational standards, breathing plenty of fresh scares into the aged title.

This is the classic horror tale of Umbrella Corporation’s mad experimentation with the T-Virus, the resulting zombified, mutagenic victims, and the special tactical unit sent to investigate.

Take command of either Jill “Master of Unlocking” Valentine or Chris Redfield, both iconic S.T.A.R.S. team members, and explore Umbrella’s biohazardous Spencer Mansion along with allies Barry Burton, and Rebecca Chambers. Unravel the mansion’s mysteries, and find out just what Umbrella and Albert Wesker, are up to.

Unlike modern Resident Evil games, the original title focuses on providing scares, rather than action. Players are given limited weapons, and a limiting control system, both of which ensure every encounter with the game’s famous lurking horrors is a dangerous one.

Rather than the now standard behind-the-should third person view, the game takes advantage of fixed camera angles to obscure visibility and amp up scares. This can make weapon aiming difficult, but in Resident Evil, running is often the best course of action anyway. Gameplay focuses on exploration and puzzle solving, as you must pick up items, fit them together, figure out where to use them, and slowly work through the mansion’s twisting corridors and its connecting facilities.

As with the original, Resident Evil for the GameCube blends polygonal character models with pre-rendered environments. Of course, the generational leap in graphics technology allows for far more detail in both. The game’s eerie, shadow-filled environments have been described as “photo-realistic,” enhancing immersion, and contributing to the game’s constant, foreboding tension. A re-done set of cutscenes and voice acting strengthen the horror, and provide a more serious edge.

I’ve now covered two of the six Resident Evil games to appear on GameCube, but one other title from the series is still to come.

Next week we begin counting down the top 10 GameCube games. Let me know where you think Resident Evil 4 should rank, and what other titles deserve spots. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #10 on the Definitive 50 GameCube games.