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Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero (Wii)

Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero (Wii)

If you own a Wii and never managed to play Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil Zero, then now might be an ideal time as it has been ported across from the Gamecube version. The game has underwent some changes however as the controls have been adapted to take advantage of the Wii configurations.

When Zero was first released in 2002 it was a moderate success because even though it looked quite stunning at the time the core design was outdated … even then. This was partly due to the fact that the game was in fact originally designed for the Nintendo 64 a few years earlier.

The controls were unintuitive and the fixed camera perspective could be very frustrating. Zero was the first all new Resident Evil game since 2000’s Code Veronica and many fans of the franchise were a little annoyed that the quirky issues were still rearing their ugly head, even after years of complaints. Opening doors for instance was akin to watching paint dry and when the characters climbed stairs you had almost enough time to nip downstairs and put on a pot of tea. The game also insisted that you carted ribbon around so you could manually save via the typewriter. Combat was only slightly better as quite often the mechanics had you shooting at creatures you couldn’t even see on the screen.

Sadly when playing it now, nothing has changed for the better, all the annoying quirks and issues are still apparent and your inventory is still set at a total of six items at one time, regardless of the size they should take up. The breaking point for many will be after dying when the game reloads progress from around half an hour ago. Painstakingly annoying is an understatement.

Even with all the problems however there is something really hard to define about a Resident Evil game, because it still manages to get its hooks into you. The minutes will quickly pass and before you know it, you have been staring at the TV screen for the last 6 hours without even realising.

The partner system works well – you can swap between the two main characters on the fly. Escaped convict Billy Coen and medic Rebecca Chambers have their own individual strengths and weaknesses; Billy can take a lot more damage for instance and can move heavy objects while Rebecca’s slender frame means she can slip into narrow spaces and mix herbs and chemicals to create potions.

The characters find it hard to work together and the personalities make the game slightly more endearing for some reason – the heightened dynamic between them makes it all seem more realistic. The puzzle system in the game has stood the test of time, giving the title a special kind of charm. This system can also extend to interacting with the environment for instance, moving objects between the characters and helping each other into otherwise impossible places.

The cooperative combat is however not without fault because the partner AI often does what you least want. For instance firing the most powerful weapon at an insignificant enemy, wasting important ammo. Inventory management is so critical in this game that often you will look around to see your dumb AI partner firing rounds into the husk of an already dying enemy. I find that commands to keep them deliberately out of combat is the best way to maintain your ammunition. Fighting a boss character with a pistol when your most powerful ammo has been wasted does not make for a fun experience, trust me.

If you have played any Resident Evil game before then this will be nothing out of the ordinary, you run around a variety of dark and creppy environments, solving puzzles, conserving ammo and trying to push your dumb AI friend into the safest spots so you can deal with the situation at hand. The addictive nature of the game is also its biggest annoyance because you never quite know what is around the corner, and sometimes getting killed is the only way to be prepared …. next time.

The game really does have some marvelous boss battles, which can be on a regular basis extremely difficult to defeat. Capcom were less inclined to create the boss characters for a younger audience back then, and they took every ounce of resolve and intelligence to defeat, even for experienced gamers. Preplanning and strategy worked much better than loading as much ammo as possible and hoping for the best.

The graphics while slightly dated are surprisingly good for a game of its age. The detailed backdrops more than set the tone for the ‘on the edge of your seat’ experience and the animation and lighting is equally as impressive. Capcom really are masters of environmental design and if only this remake had killed the static camera technique then it might be even more impressive. This dates the game more than anything and is a good indication of why it was ditched years ago, it really just doesn’t work.

Resident Evil Zero is a fine purchase for a Wii owner in the new year. It has bags of atmosphere and some great puzzles which requite a lot of lateral mind power. The slower pace and more difficult bosses however are sure to alienate the less patient gamer however for fans of the franchise it is one worth checking out again.


Good fun to play, even if it is slow paced by todays standards
The graphics have held up very well and the atmosphere is electric.
Great ambience configurations and a decent score
Will take a long time to complete and there are some very memorable sequences.

Well worth a look if you can pick it up cheap in a January sale.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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