Gamestyle Archive intro: the survival horror coverage continues with another spin-off in the Resident Evil series. This one has been relegated to the backwaters of civilisation for good reason. Dating from March 2002 and from JJ.
When Resident Evil Survivor was released for the Psone it was the lowest point in the successful horror survival series. A terrible attempt to translate the story into an arcade gun game to match Sega’s House Of The Dead suffered from poor design and graphics. For some strange reason Capcom have decided to try again, this time with Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica, based on the Playstation 2 and Dreamcast game.
I expected the game to be poor given the fact that it was rushed out onto the shelves last week before any reviews were published and little pre-release publicity. However I did not expect something that ranks below the terrible Saturn port of House Of The Dead and believe me, that was bad. Just like Code Veronica and the earlier Resident Evil 2, you can play as either two characters namely Steve Burnside or Clare Redfield. The main mode is set on Rockfort Island and the aim is to stay alive whilst trying to escape from the clutches of the undead, which include zombies, bandersnatch and surprisingly Nemesis.
The level design is familiar to any light gun player, shoot anything that moves, kill the boss and progress to the next area but set against a timer. If you haven’t killed the boss before it reaches zero then Nemesis will appear. As you cannot kill Nemesis you have to leg it in comical fashion and speed. So tell me what is the point of Nemesis given that you cannot kill him and the timer factor? Don’t expect the game to offer you much freedom, it may boast multiple routes but in reality this is more on the rails than an Intercity 125. The route that you need to go is highlighted by large arrows and glowing doors. The need to explore Rockfort Island is instantly removed by the poor design. You can play this either by yourself or with a friend and if you don’t have a friend then you can select a computer-controlled partner. Having a partner that you cannot communicate with brings obvious problems and wastes ammunition and time to put it mildly.
The other mode is the Dungeon mode and again you need to shoot anything that moves on the screen. The design here is odd as you are given an overall mission score but this is dependent on how many enemies you have killed. Each time you kill one of the enemies a combo gauge appears, giving you a brief moment to kill another. If you manage to do this within its limited time, the combo continues allowing you to build up some impressive scores. There is little skill involved in this as you just keep firing away machine gun style. Enemies move slowly and do not present difficult targets and as everything is up close and personal – your long-range skills will be untested. This mode is strictly for one player only; even excluding the computer controlled partner. The level design is once again predictable and uninspired. As with the game on which it is based your character can carry several weapons throughout although here it’s limited to three. Adding to the variety is that each character will prefer certain types of weaponry while ignoring others, leaving you to experiment to find the most suitable.
The game supports the dual shock controller and the best available gun i. e. G-Con 2 from Namco. Neither control method works well as trying to use the D-pad on the gun is a jerky experience nor why would you use a controller to play a gun game? Zombies may come in greater numbers thanks to the power of the Playstation 2 and from all sides but this creates a problem. Being a first person game you can only see what is in front of you. Enemies approaching from other angles will gladly inflict damage while you try to locate them, highly frustrating and not an inspired piece of game design.
Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica will take you through familiar locations first seen in the original game however they did not look as poor as this. Survivor 2 is certainly not a great looking game or fast paced and after experiencing Time Crisis 2 or House Of The Dead 2 you realise how drab and boring it is graphically. This is highlighted after playing Maximo a fantastic looking game; you know that Capcom are capable of much more so why does Survivor 2 look pale in comparison? Light gun games by nature appeal to only a select few even though anyone can grasp what is required of them within moments. Whether it is the perceived short life or extra cost of peripherals I’m not sure but some of my best moments in front of a console have come from Time Crisis or House Of The Dead 2.
It is hard to judge the life span of a game such as this; some will have finished the game in one sitting whilst others will return time and time again. Even with all the extras the developer has included I could not see myself playing the game beyond the time it takes you to read this review. The simple reason is that if the game is bad, it does not matter how many extras you bundle with it. During your first play you will think to yourself, is this it? Before bundling the game back into the case and returning it to where it came from. There are few gun games available for the Playstation 2 at present but this is set to change in the coming months with several titles due for release. In the next month alone we are expecting Vampire Night from Sega/Namco, 24/7 from Konami and Time Crisis 2 is already on sale.
Given the standard of the competition it is easy to state that Resident Evil Survivor 2 Code: Veronica is the worst light gun game for the system and will take some beating to lose that tag. As a hidden extra (on a full Resident Evil release) the game would have been passable but as a stand-alone product it is just a cynical attempt to make you part with your hard earned cash. Let us hope that Capcom do not try to attempt a third version.
Gamestyle Score: 3/10