In the many games of the Resident Evil franchise, the series has transported their brand of
Zombie Biological Organic Weapons to a variety of unique locals and settings. We went from mansions to airports, to local isolated communities, and even to Africa. The games rise and add new features and variety to the rich tapestry of what came before. For the Gameboy Colour, Capcom worked with British developers, M4, to create a portable terror know as Resident Evil Gaiden.
The luxury cruise liner The Starlight might by carrying more than just passengers, And Leon Kennedy is sent to check it out, when he arrives he discovers that most of the inhabitants are dead… or worse, Now Leon has lost contact with his superiors, meaning that Barry Burton from the original must be sent in to carry on the work. It’s now up to him and a young girl called Lucina to stop the spread of a devastating virus.
The Gameboy Colour manages to create a tremendously creepy atmosphere, despite the consoles relatively low specs. The desolate remains of the once prestigious cruise liner are faithfully realised. The music is a strong mixture of eerie and dramatic, while also, like a lot of Gameboy music from the time, will earworm itself into your head. These two elements work in tandem to create an unsettling vibe that’s a return to form for the premier horror franchise.
Dealing with the undead ghouls on a device with only eight buttons can be challenging, but the game wallowing in its survival horror trappings takes this difficulty up to ten. The limited inventory space remains, making every item you keep and use a life or death choice and the limited save spot system returns as well. The process itself of dispatching the zombies is a tense mini-game where you must target their hit points on a rapidly moving slider. Every shot you take is the difference between life and death, and you’re not just limited to a one-on-one situation there can be multiple enemies each with their own attacks. With certain weapons, you can aim and get the drop on the fiends, but this only buys you a couple of precious seconds.
The Resident Evil formula not only withstands the limitations of the restricted hardware but thrives on it. The combat and gameplay retain that tense thrill that survival horror fans crave, and the feeling is masterfully underscored by visual and audio prowess. A lot of Gaiden’s DNA would find itself repurposed in the successful spin-off Resident Evil Revelations. Showing how good ideas can spread much like the aforementioned virus itself.
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