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Resident Evil 2: Dual Shock
Dual Shock Version
Review By: Lyenhardt
Developer:   Capcom
Publisher:   Capcom
# of Players:   1
Genre:   Horror
ESRB:   Mature
 

Resident Evil was an instant success in both the US and Japan. It introduced the true concept of "fear" in a videogame, thanks to the realistic graphical, musical, and elemental effects the Playstation was able to achieve. Then along came its sequel, approximately 2 years since the original release of the RE series. Resident Evil 2 not only improved on the basic formula of 'survival horror', as the genre became to be called, but also showed that Capcom was going to be a major threat to its competitors, with its awesome series of Resident Evil. It is simply unbelievable what Capcom, Flagship, and Shinji Mikami accomplished with this landmark game.....

Resident Evil 1 was a great game at its time, but its younger brother showed the world what a survival horror game is supposed to be. A few adjustments had to be made with the series to improve it. First, the main thing that made RE:2 so good was the new storywriters hired, and the company that did the scenario and story was mainly a subsidiary company called 'Flagship'. That is why the story, dialogue, and other text made so much more sense and were cool, and most of the thanks go to Flagship. Also, it seemed that the ideas of Mikami that were left over from RE:1 were really good, so he accommodated them into RE:2, and the result was flawless

To begin with, the graphical level achieved literally obliterated RE:1's quality, simply due to a much vast knowledge of programming and the dedicated staff Mikami was working with. The character models were much more intricately detailed, the FMV quality jumped head over heels over the original, backgrounds were littered with minute details only the observant could see, and the motion captured movements are extremely lifelike. This game just shines and radiates with graphical quality beyond any other. Below in the next few paragraphs I will explain the factors of the graphics in a little bit more detail.

*Character Models:* The models were tweaked here and there since RE:1, and they surely show it. The polygons were smoothed out slightly, the clipping was virtually eliminated, and the textures were a bit more detailed on the characters. As for the enemies, there a multitude of different zombies, ranging from cop zombies, fat zombies, and even to female zombies, and they looked a hell of a lot better than RE:1's zombies.

*FMV:* A great improvement over the original, in terms of quantity and quality. The cinematic cut-scenes were beautifully done, and were used a tad bit more in this installment. From the intro of the Licker, to the stunning and explaining scene of how the G-Virus was spread around the city, it seemed to have it all. And might I add the opening cinema, as it was a masterpiece among its time. The FMV (Full Motion Video) found in this game is even better overall than RE: Nemesis, at least viewed by many, including me.

* Backgrounds:* The backgrounds in RE:1 seemed dull, repetitive, and lacking detail. Yet, the sequel boasted a more colorful, clearer, more detailed, and a much more '3-D' appeal than RE:1 had to offer. An insane amount of detail was put into everything in this game, and most noteworthy though would of course be the backgrounds. A main scenery of this game was rooms filled with something that was trashed or destroyed. The graphics artist did a magnificent job with all the little, insignificant stuff that no one would give even a second thought about (except for me, of course. :) You will see everything you could possibly think of anywhere in the game, and then some. For example, there is graffiti streaked across many walls, broken glass littered about, destroyed chairs, papers spread everywhere, etc. Since it is 2-D, pre-rendered backgrounds, all this detail was possible, as it would have been impossible to add all that in real-time polygons. Regardless, 2-D backgrounds may seem a bit restricting and suffocating, but the level of detail achieved by RE:2's backdrops couldn't have been possible without it, at least not until the Playstation 2 comes out along with RE:4.

*Motion Capturing:* O.K. If you have noticed by now, I seem to pay quite a lot of attention to the things that are happening in the game. Well, the motion capturing is one of the trademarks of the RE series, and it even showed that in RE:1. The hand gestures are improved a bit, but still lack realism. But that is not much of a problem. What the motion capturing does glow in is the action parts that the characters and enemies show off. Whenever your protagonists gets hit and the way they respond........The action they perform when shooting powerful weapons.......The realistic stumbling effect they perform when they are seriously injured..........The way they try and desperately pull themselves up from the ground after getting slammed down by a virus empowered demon..........is all..............so..............
breathtaking.............

The storyline and the way it was presented to the player was as amazing as a novel, except RE:2 was interactive, unlike a novel. A major contributor to the story was the subsidiary of Capcom called Flagship, who wrote the story, dialogue, and scenario for RE:2. Here is the lowdown of what happened that started the event of RE:2... A rookie cop by the name of Leon Kennedy, who is 1 of the main characters of the game, comes into the district were his department is, and to his astonishment, discovers a body in the middle of the road. He stops his jeep, gets out, and examines the body. A low moan floats up from behind him, and he turns to see what it was, and as he does, the body on the street grabs his ankle. Leon pops a cap into the creature's skull, giving it the eternal rest it needed, and notices a whole flock of the 'zombie'-like creatures shuffling toward him. At the same time, in a diner close by, the second protagonists of the game, Claire Redfield, discovers that the place she has went into on a late night break from driving the roads on her motorcycle, is filled with zombie-like creatures hungry for some flesh. Quickly she dashes for a door she spots in the back, as the front entrance is filled with more of the evil demons... Meanwhile, Leon dashes to a nearby alley, and continues his futile attempts to hold back the demons. Now at the end of the alley, still trying to hold back the mindless beings, when a door suddenly opens without warning, revealing a young woman. Noticing a zombie behind her, he yells "Get down!", and shoots just over her head, nailing a zombie dead center of the head. Both Leon and Claire dash back through the cafe/diner dodging the enemies, and finally making it outside, and to an abandoned police car. Both get in; Leon at the wheel, Claire in the passengers seat. He takes off, and directs her attention to the glove box, which holds a handgun, and Leon tells her to take it. All of a sudden, another one of those darned zombies jumps up from the back of the seat, clinging onto Leon, causing him to lose control of the police car. He ultimately ends up fishtailing the car into a street pole, sending the zombie flying through the back windshield. Relieved at their safety, Leon breathes a sigh of relief, but as soon as his relief began, it was over, as a giant semi truck was plowing its way through the car littered streets of Raccoon City.....directly at Leon and Claire. They quickly and desperately get out of the destroyed police car, and dive out of the way just in time, as the truck barrels into the car, causing a titanic explosion that rocks the cities buildings with an awesome intensity. As the tanker burns relentlessly, both Leon and Claire are dazed at the event, and also separated from each other, as both of them got out of the car on opposite sides, and the flaming semi separated them from each other........now begins the adventure of their lives.......

From there, the game seamlessly integrates both Claire's and Leon's story into a whole, which makes it a truly cinematic experience. The game comes with 2 CD's; one for Leon's adventures, and one for Claire's. This game introduces a neat innovation dubbed as "zapping". To put this simply, it is a system that works like this: If you play the game with Leon, and beat it, after all of the cinemas and credits, you will be prompted to save your game. After saving, you have the choice to start a new game as Claire, using the same save you used after beating the game with Leon. Once you start that new game, you will get to experience the game from Claire's perspective, which is significantly different. This can be done the other way around also, starting as Claire, and then as Leon.

Now, back to the story of the game. It is a beautiful and quite emotional story, unlike RE:1 and RE: Nemesis. There will be many plot twists, emotional deaths, and heart racing moments in this masterpiece. If you beat the game only once, and not take another look at it, you would be missing the whole story of the game, so I suggest that you play through it the 4 different times that it offers.

The gameplay hasn't changed too much from the original. To be honest, it has added on to the gameplay, as most sequels do anyway. But this RE adds just so much to the game. The puzzles have been upgraded to a natural status, at least on most of them, and the flow of the game has been smoothed out and paved over to give you the feeling that the game has some sort of 'order' and transition between events. You no longer have the feeling that the game is being rushed, which is a definite plus. Besides that, you must do basically the same stuff you were doing at the Spencer Estate. You must search the Raccoon City Police Dept. and other mysterious locations for items that help you in your advancement throughout the game. But of course, this game isn't all exploring and searching for the next item to get you to the next area. You will have to fight the many nasties that the evil and controlling conglomerate called Umbrella have produced. These enemies range from the common zombies, to the spider-like 'Lickers'. There are even the mini-bosses, like the snake monster in RE:1, and they are well designed, too. There is the mutant monster that spits out little 'leechers' that grab onto your character's body, and there is the even cooler, badass mother called simply "Mr. X." He is a relentless, cold killer dropped in via helicopter by umbrella, and his sole purpose is to get something, and he will not stop at anything to get it. He doesn't flinch when hit with a bullet. He doesn't worry about you getting away, as he will always find you no matter what. He walks toward you ever so slowly, using strategic attacks, trapping you in a corner and then pounding away at you until you are a bloody pulp, blending you in with the other corpses lying about that you so happily slaughtered. He is just so cool, so don't mess with him. Just don't do it! Now, moving on. About the 'real' bosses. The amount of detail, yet again, is absolutely amazing. They sport high polygon counts, and an even higher arsenal of cool attacks and motion captured movements. Whenever they kill you, you will have your own death cinema, so to speak. They're big. They're bad. And, they're mutants with the biological program to KILL!!!

Since I am reviewing the Dual Shock vs., I might as well touch on the new things incorporated into this game. First off, Capcom put in the Rookie Mode option, which allows you to start the game with a wide array of destructive weapons, with an infinite amount of ammo, too. That includes the secret weapons, which are the chaingun and the rocket launcher. Now, any rookie, beginning player can jump right in and blow the living hell out of anything that happens to cross their path without too much of a fear of getting busted up by those muties. Second, the dual shock feature. If you have a dual shock controller, you can now feel the gunshots, zombie bites, sudden surprise moments, and other monstrous jolts, jerks, and hits. While the dual shock feature is nice, it will not really add that much to the game, unless of course you are playing RE:2 for the first time. Then it should add even more frights to it than the normal version. And finally, Capcom put in a survivor mode. In the survivor mode, you must go from one point to another with a limited amount of ammo life, etc. You can also get Ada Wong and Chris Redfield in this mode, too. While all of these features are nice and tempting, the game isn't worth it unless you haven't.....1.) Ever played RE:2 and want to jump in. 2.) You sucked at the normal version and need some help via the new Rookie Mode. Or 3.) You are a diehard fan and must collect them all. Otherwise, you might want to skip it. However, it is now rather cheap to buy, and you might want it just for the extras!

One aspect of the game that is a personal favorite of mine is the music and sound effects. I liked the soundtrack so much, I had to import it. Anyway, getting back to the point, the music adds that magical feeling to the game, the feeling of dread, fear, and panic. Without the music, I would have to say that the game might not be the same, and I couldn't simply enjoy it. The music matches the environments well, and the best music is the adrenaline pumping, booming, symphonic tracks played during the G-type boss battles. Nothing like an ear-piercing orchestra playing in the background as you battle an omnipotent abomination of science. The sound effects aren't too shabby either. Some of the guns could have used a bit of realism, and some echoes would have been nice, but I will settle for what I got. A notable fact about the sound effects, though, would be the magnitude of different sounds heard underneath your feet as you walk over different surfaces.

I don't think that this game could've been any better, considering the limitations of the knowledge of the programmers at the time of the game's arrival. Given the fact that they had more to work with, I think that Capcom, Mikami's team, and Flagship could have made a PERFECT game. They sure was determined to make a great game at any cost, and the evidence to prove this is the fact that they trashed the game after being 60% complete, and then starting over from scratch! That is totally unbelievable! From that very day, I was hooked to the series, even though I wasn't to fond of the first one. That just goes to show how much they improved on the game with the sequel, and sequels have a bad reputation to fall below the standards of the establishing game. Yet, Capcom managed to pull off the impossible, and also start a whole new series to milk once again........

Overall: 9.1


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