The Resident Evil series set the survivor horror genre on the right path to success. Many loved its atmosphere and challenging game play. For the most part the series made little change until Resident Evil 4 which really threw the series on to a new path, into a Third Person Shooter. As the series goes on in a new, and possibly better, direction the older games titles are still available to remind us where the series came from. Resident Evil: Code Veronica was originally on the Sega Dreamcast and was the last main entry in Resident evil with the traditional style Resident Evil game play. Capcom ported all the Resident Evil main entries from 2 to code veronica on to the Nintendo Gamecube due to the introduction of the franchise onto the console. The last of these ports, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X for the Nintendo Gamecube is a port of a port of the Playstation 2’s Code Veronica X. Is the resident evil formula still in full effect or was it for the best that they turned away from this formula?
Unlike the first two titles, Code Veronica starts off with Claire no matter what. The second character comes to play later on in the story, at which it will automatically change to his story. Claire has been arrested from infiltrating a Umbrella Facility while continuing her search for Chris. She ends up being sent to an Island that Umbrella uses for a Prison and a research facility. She arrives just in time for a virus outbreak on the island. Claire and only a few other survivors remain. She has to fight to escape the island while unveiling the mystery behind the Ashford family who lives on the island. Eventually Chris learns of Claire’s imprisonment on the island and arrives to help her. Chris section of the game takes up the last half of the game and focuses mainly on finding Claire and rescuing her.
The story remains very close to the tried and true formula from previous titles. Much of it relates to previous titles in the series. Playing Resident Evil 1 and 2 is ideal if you want to completely understand Code Veronica’s story. The Gamecube and Playstation 2 versions also have altered and added cut scenes. It doesn’t really add too much to the experience though, but for those who want to see everything, Code Veronica X is a better choice then the Dreamcast original title. The game also features files much like the other titles where you read journal entries and documents to fill in some of the back story and solve puzzles. Overall if you have played any of the past titles, the story will feel very familiar. Although it leaves quite a few unanswered questions which can be looked into more in future titles.
Code Veronica’s story isn’t the only thing that’s familiar. The controls are much like the past titles as well, clunky. From walking to shooting, much of the time it will be a chore at because of the awkward controls forced by the fixed camera angles. While some would consider the controls annoying and broken, others would say that it benefits the experience making it more freighting to play. Those who enjoyed the controls in previous games will probably like them just as much as they did before. The only thing that really feels awkward and is a constant nuisance through the whole game is going up and down stairs. It requires you to press the A button rather then just allowing you to walk onto the stairs.
Much like the past titles, you have a limited amount of ammo, healing items and saves. This encourages you to save as much of your supplies as possible. While this is still a challenging concept, it has its issues. If you lack supplies for certain sections of the game, you’re stuck. Unless you made a separate save file you will need to restart the game and play through again while better managing your supplies and doing more searching for extra weapons and ammo, which can be a frustrating process. It also doesn’t help in veronica some enemies seem to re-spawn even after being defeated. This feels like a bad development choice, since if you have limited supplies you can waste a lot of supplies on enemies that will just reappear once you return to that area. While the game has a relatively dark tone it feels like the scare factor had been lessened a little in this title. There are a few surprises that make you jump but nothing more. Also the load time doors make a return, with some doors having added heart beating sounds and rumble to help the suspense, but this can become tiresome at times.
One thing that is quite the departure for the franchise is the full 3D graphics. Previously titles used pre-rendered backgrounds for detailed environments. This allows for some more freedom with the camera angles but overall the camera is still fixed so the experience is relatively the same. Unfortunately the actual detail takes a drop due to the change from pre-rendered but overall it still looks good with plenty of objects, showing off the power of the Dreamcast. For the Gamecube and Playstation 2, minor graphics enhancements were added, but Gamecube and Playstation 2 are capable of much more. Character models look blocky and textures are times can be blurry; frame rate never drops fortunately, keeping it overall a smooth experience. CG cut scenes and real time cut scenes are used, but the CG cut look a bit blurry and compressed.
Voice acting is as cheesy as in previous titles; depending on who you are this will be a good or a bad thing. While it is an improvement over past titles, but its still is pretty bad. The music wont win any rewards but is well done and is used in the properly to set the tone, from wandering dark hallways with slow evil sounding music and sitting in a save room safe with piano music playing, it all matches the mood for each part of the game. Most of the songs are orchestrated which is a plus. Sound effects are pretty typical for Resident Evil, but come around forth game and hearing a zombie moaning on other side of the room anymore is no longer that scary. It’s more of just an alert of something that is coming.
Code Veronica shares about the same length and re-playability as previous titles. The main story will last you around 15-20 hours. After beating the game Battle Mode is available. Those who enjoy racing the clock will enjoy this for a little while but other then killing zombies and racing the clock it’s a short lived. This mode also features a first person mode, but it feels tacked on and was just used to show off the 3D engine. Aiming is incredibly hard and it’s very difficult to see where you’re going at times. You also get ranked at the end of the game and if you do well enough you get un-lockable content which also extend the life for those who like to get everything in the game.
Overall Code Veronica stays true to the past resident evil titles. If you enjoyed all the previous traditional Resident Evil titles, this one will most likely be no different. The Playstation 2 and Dreamcast Versions of Code Veronica are very cheap. There is even a bundle for the Playstation 2 that includes Resident Evil 4, Code Veronica X and Resident Evil Outbreak that you can pick up for 20$-30$ on Amazon.com. The Gamecube version however is quite expensive. Ranging 40$-60$ for a used copy. If you have played the previous Resident Evil titles and enjoyed them I highly recommend you purchase Code Veronica on PS2 or Dreamcast. The Gamecube version I can only recommend if you find it for a low price or only own a Gamecube or Wii.