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Posted on Aug 23rd 2012 at 09:43:41 PM by (noiseredux)
Posted under Dreamcast, Sega




As a fan of B-horror films, it kind of goes without saying that I'm a fan of the Resident Evil series. Silly plots, bad acting, over-the-top violence... it's a lot of what I adore. However, I've never been a die-hard fan of the series either. I've always been the type to pick and choose specific titles to play from the series. It all started for me with the original Resident Evil on PS1. I'm talking the original original, pre-Dual Shock version. I vividly remember borrowing the game from a friend during Summer vacation. I was 16 if I'm remembering correctly. I'd wait until my parents went to bed, bring my PlayStation downstairs on the big (whopping 27 inch!) TV to play the game alone late at night while everyone slept. And certainly I got my fair share of jumps, be it the infamous "first zombie scene" or the dogs jumping through windows.

As much as I loved that game, I somehow managed to miss out on the second and third games in the series. This is made even odder by the fact that I would actually go on to play the glorious GameCube remake, along with the slightly tweaked analog-enabled PS1 edition. But as far as the series went, I mostly overlooked it. I'd eventually get into the extremely awesome GBC game Resident Evil Gaiden, which took cues from series inspiration Sweet Home, and finally the absolutely incredible Resident Evil 4. The fourth game blew my mind -- like many a gamer -- but also seemed to change many of the things that made the original what it was. Gone was the claustrophobia and in was the vast rural landscape. Tension was pushed to the side for high energy action. And really in a way the whole Night/Return of the Living Dead vibe was replaced with something much more akin to HP Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Innsmouth" (or perhaps more specifically Stuart Gordon's film adaptation Dagon).

So to finally delve into Code: Veronica has been something of a revelation -- a reminder of a simpler, and more riveting era of gaming. I should go on to remind you here that these recent blog posts chronicling my slow discovery of the Dreamcast's library was meant to be done so with the intention that I would put in some serious time with each game before writing about each. I confess that at this point I've only played two hours of Veronica. Two hours, and I've made very little progress. I don't even have a save on my VMU at this point. And yet I was driven to write about it now.





Let me walk you through my experience with the game thus far. I was first greeted to an amazing CGI intro that reminded me once again at the processing power of the Dreamcast. Watching the intro I found it hard to believe that this wasn't a DVD. Everything was so detailed, so believable from the visuals to the soundtrack. And then I was dropped into the game, in a dark room in need of a light. I thought for a moment that my monitor needed some tweaking. I played with the brightness, contrast, etc. Nothing. After several minutes I finally figured out that I had a lighter in my inventory. Duh.

Once I could see where I was going and the game actually began I was reminded of something:  Tank Controls. Oh how disheartening. I had forgotten just how utterly terrible the whole tank control scheme was. I checked the options menu, but sadly there was no alternate control setting. So tank controls it was. Certainly it took me a while to re-acclimate myself with this affliction. But soon enough I was on my way picking up a knife, some bullet shells for a gun I had yet to find, green herb for healing and -- oh no! -- a typewriter ribbon. There it was, the other horrible device that made the original RE such a pain. Set save-points. I took a gulp, and ventured on.





Now let me just side-track for a moment in case it sounds like I'm complaining too much. Here are two devices that I've processed to hate about the series; two devices that were alleviated by the time RE4 hit. Yet I can't say they are without their merit. Personally, as a gamer I hate tank controls because I just find them impossible to wrap my brain around consistently. I can never do what I want without thinking long and hard. And I personally, as a gamer hate set save-points because I just don't have the same time I had when I was a teenager. I hate making a bunch of progress only to realize that I need to get to bed and can't find a place to save. Yet as a game fan, I think tank controls are sort of brilliant within the survival horror genre. They create a sort of fumbling confusion that can really elevate the tension in those fight-or-flight moments. And again, as a game fan the set save points force you to really think about when you should save instead of always playing it safe. These are at least interesting devices within the genre.

Continuing on I made it to the first zombie encounter. It's within a graveyard where you are surrounded by five zombies. This is where I first died. And then I died again. And again. And again. I swung that puny knife so many times, fumbling around with my tank controls, flailing and almost never making contact with zombie flesh. It took me maybe five continues before I realized I could just run my way out of that graveyard and right into a cut-scene that would give me a handgun. I should also note at this point I was on eBay researching whether or not a Code Veronica strategy guide was published for the Dreamcast. Sadly, it looks as though any of them were for later ports of the game, and really I'm not one to collect strategy guides under normal circumstances but have kind of warmed to the idea of Dreamcast ones. Oh well.

From here the game started to open itself up a lot more. The path was far less linear. The "right" door was less obvious. I staggered, bleeding down a long alley before realizing there were more zombies than I wanted to deal with ahead. When I started to make my way back I was startled by zombie dogs! And just like in the original game, I jumped you guys. I mean really jumped and let out a yell that I think startled my poor wife who was trying to relax with a book. I just barely killed the dogs and made my way back to a porch that had a green herb for me. After healing up I headed inside and was forced to battle some more zombies. I cleared the room and searched it for goods before making my way into a bedroom lined with bunk beds.

And there I froze up. I'm not being dramatic when I say this, I was too tense to play any further tonight. The thought of what could pop out at me while investigating this bedroom was just too stressful. I felt it best to just turn the system off, and try again another night. Now this might sound like I don't like the game, but quite the contrary. I am by no means new to the horror genre. As stated previously, I am a huge fan of horror films. I've played my fair share of horror games outside of the Resident Evil series. But wow, this game is generally scary. I look forward to venturing on (howlongtobeat.com says it'll take me at least ten hours) and seeing just how badly it can scare me in the coming months.




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Comments
 
I think this is a very underrated game especially on DC this game was short but I think very thought out in comparison to the main stream Resident Evil games.  This game was a good side story to the rest of the Resident Evil world.  Good post I really like your DC posts they make me want to buy more and more DC Games.
 
I've never been able to get into the Resident Evil titles before RE4.  Tank controls and the save ribbons have always thrown me off.  I do want to play through at least one pre-RE4 title someday.
 
I guess I should also mention that Tank mode is probably the worst part of the game but the story, graphics, and most of the game play (other than tank mode) makes up for its lower aspects.
 
@blcklblskt:  Code Veronica is a good Pre-RE4 game you can either play it on DC, PS2, GCUBE and I believe PS1.
 
I'm pretty sure Code Veronica was not on PS1. Would seem odd to me that they'd publish it on both PS1 and PS2. And remember, it didn't come out on PS2 until the end of 2001.

Anyway, thanks for the positive feedback on the DC posts guys! Jeez, looking back at it, is this my longest blog poster ever or what? Haha. Well... it least it got more comments than my NHL 2K post!
 
@noiseredux:
FWIW, noise, I read EVERY SINGLE BLOG post on this site, as do quite a few others. Even if we don't comment on them for some reason, you can be ensured that we're reading them.

Code Veronica is available as an HD remake on Xbox 360. It's download only in the US, but has a disc version in Japan. It'll also be available as part of the Archive bundle for Resident Evil 6:
http://www.trueachievements.com/RE-CODE-Veronica-X-xbox-360.htm

I think Code Veronica and RE2 are the only ones I haven't played through yet. Code Veronica was actually one of my very first Dreamcast experiences, and the graveyard encounter that you mentioned stuck with me. I don't think my younger cousin or I ever did just try to run away from them...

Also, I'd like to add that I really enjoyed reading this blog post. Even though it's only a couple hours into the game, it really flows with the frantic nature of the game, and being able to read your feelings about the game after having just started it gives a really accurate feel to the game. Often, after having completed a game, the initial rush of playing it has worn off, and quite often games will fall off at the end. This will leave you with a bitter taste of the game, when in fact it was only a small portion of the game that failed. I think you should do more blogs in this vein, where you give your initial impressions and then a complete overview once it's completed.

EDIT: I'm forwarding this blog post on to a few friends. Let's see where that gets it. Smiley
 
^that's some great feedback, Shadow. Thanks! I do kind of think maybe it would be interesting to do more of these kind of "first play" reviews if you will. In a sense I think that if I sit down, pop a game in for the first time and play it for an hour or two then I'm going to have a pretty legit first reaction to write about. And I think in this instance, you're right. The frantic nature of the game worked well here because I was basically writing it frantically trying to remember everything that had just happened in my game. And I know what you mean about waiting to beat a game since often I'll find that I'll make a mental note about a game while playing and kind of forget to mention it by the time I've beaten a game.
 
THERE WAS AN NHL 2K POST AND I MISSED IT??!!!
 
@wildbil52:
It's still around... Smiley

EDIT:
Friend's reaction:

Wow,

That was an awesome read.  I miss experiences like this.  Talking to someone who is experiencing it the first time and their honest reactions.  Wink

Thanks!

WG
 
@noiseredux: Thanks Noise I couldn't remember for sure about the PS1.
 
@Shadow Kisuragi: that made my day Shadow.

Y'know, back when I played SOTC for the first time I kept my thoughts on it logged as I made my way through each colossi and then published the whole thing as a blog post. Sometimes I go back and re-read it myself and love remembering the sort of excitement of experiencing a great game for the first time.
 
I'm a huge fan of the pre-RE4 Resident Evil games and havnt been able to transition along with the series I used to love so much. Hell I'd MUCH rather play the Resident Evil Outbreak games than RE4 or 5. Unlike many others I absolutely LOVE tank controls, save ribbons and juggling inventory.

Code Veronica is one of my favorites in the series. One of my friends got it on his Dreamcast back when we were kids and we didnt really play it much (other than watching that awesome opening scene every once and a while). For whatever reason we just didnt "get it". But after re-examining it several years later I really started to enjoy it. I'm pretty sure its the longest of the Tank Controlled era, but I thought the story was interesting and unpredictable enough to keep me entertained. It didnt have the jump factor or tense vibe I received from some of the other titles like 2 or 3, but regardless I've got lots of very fond memories of the game and I'm glad I gave it another chance.

Cant wait to see what you think as you get further!
 
I felt that way with Deadspace.  I however never beat it but it was my first time truly feeling sick to the stomich with a game.  If I have never played deadspace I prob would of been like WOW he turned off a game because it was to scary lol?  But I completly understand the concept now so I have nothing negitive to say
 
Like Crabby, I played this game back in the day but just didn't like it for whatever reason (though I only briefly played it).  After reading this I may have to give it another go (man I bet it looks crispy on VGA).

Thanks for the article, noise!  Like Shadow I read every blog post on this site (usually while standing at my work terminal), though usually don't comment if I feel I can't articulate anything. 
 
Looking forward to the new RE movie!

 
I still have the Dreamcast version still sealed somewhere. I've been tempted to buy the PS2 version, but VGA makes the Dreamcast version prettier to play, despite all the additions the PS2 version had.
 
I remember buying this back at launch and playing. At the time having this really did seem like a neat step forward for the series to me, and I really got a kick out of it. The Antarctic was also an interesting back drop that was very different from the earlier games in the series.

I really want a great RE game that goes back to zombies. The enemies of the last two games don't feel too action-y for me, and Dead Space has really taken up the mantle that RE seems to have dropped. I'm hoping that RE6 goes back in the right direction.

Great read, thanks for taking me back!

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